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Melissa Ong

SFU Co-op Student
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication, Beedie School of Business
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This is my second year volunteering at TEDxSFU, and I’m currently one of two Project Leads for the 2017 conference. My role is essentially as a project manager - ensuring the planning of the conference is on schedule and making sure that everything comes together by November 12th, the date of the conference. There have been so many memorable moments along the way, but based on my previous role as Director of Content Development, seeing the speakers deliver their talks onstage is probably the most rewarding. Last year, one of our speakers faced some challenges while preparing for the conference – they had never delivered a talk to an audience of that size before, so understandably, they were nervous. The conference came around, and that speaker got onstage and just delivered.

It was amazing to witness all those months of hard work and effort materialize into a seamless 15-minute talk; we ended up getting a lot of feedback that he was an audience favourite! Most of my volunteer experiences have required me to deal with other students, but TEDxSFU has given me the opportunity to also work closely with thought leaders in our community – people in the industry, working professionals. Also, planning such a large event has been a relatively new experience for me, thanks to TEDxSFU. I really don’t think you can verbalize how it feels to see 9 months of planning come to fruition – it’s an incredible feeling.