Culture 31 December 2018
Thrilling, daring ideas are thought of every day. Many hope to share these ideas, beliefs, values or passions with others. Now they can. Former TEDx Producers, Tricia Brouk and Jamie Broderick, have partnered with Iman Oubou, CEO & Founder of SWAAY, to produce Speakers Who Dare - SWAAY The Narrative, a groundbreaking speaker series curated like a Broadway show. Out of a sea of applicants, they will be featuring 20 people with big ideas from across the country.
Former TEDx Producers, Tricia Brouk and Jamie Broderick, have partnered with Iman Oubou, CEO & Founder of SWAAY, to produce "Speakers Who Dare – SWAAY The Narrative." Photo Courtesy of John DeMato.
The inaugural event will take place on March 26, 2019; standup comic, Terri Trespicio, will be hosting. “There's so much conversation that needs to be had, especially those daring conversations, so we're excited about this," Broderick exclaims. This dynamic duo combines intellect with creative content. Broderick is a visibility strategist, business-building mentor and has ignited the start and growth of many businesses. Brouk is an award-winning director and producer who help speakers bring the art of performance to talks. Together they make quite a team. They sat down with SWAAY to share their excitement and what they're looking forward to.
“We're constantly thinking about how to improve, change the narrative, make a difference in the world and give women voices as well," Brouk comments.
Their journey began during their days at TEDxLincolnSquare, where Brouk was Executive Producer and Broderick was Co-Producer. “When Jamie and I came together for the first TEDx, it was called, Risk Takers and Change Makers," Brouk begins. They swiftly answer questions, based on one another's responses. “The last two shows we did for TEDx were sold out and people just could not talk more highly about them," Broderick chimes in. “They were incredible, so we're just taking it up a few more notches from there." After retiring from TED, they decided it was the perfect transition into Speakers Who Dare. As daring women themselves, they wanted to create this theatrical academia, which Tricia has coined, with fewer restrictions than TED. “We're constantly thinking about how to improve, change the narrative, make a difference in the world and give women voices as well," Brouk comments.
Brouk and Broderick allow each other to do their part and make the show come to life. “I am a theatre producer, film maker, a creative, so I am the Executive Producer of the show and of all the talent and the casting," Brouk says. Broderick's role is completely different. “I'm great with community building, marketing, tech, visibility," she smiled. “I create the website map, create all the social media profiles, introduce the speakers to each other and help to fill the seats and put it all together." They make the big decisions without getting in one another's lane to put on a show. “We come at it from different points of view with the same goal, which is to entertain our audience, transform our speakers and build a community," Brouk clarifies.
Speakers Who Dare differs from TED Talks in many ways. Brouk and Broderick emphasize the main difference is their theatrical academia for this series, which makes it one of a kind. This time around, they have more of a creative license and is choosing to give those with daring ideas and voices a platform. “I want to be able to give speakers who are saying the things we are thinking a safe place to do that," Brouk says. Broderick picks up Brouk's answer, to share a few other benefits. “We're not restricted to showing videos during the [event][and] Tricia can put on a whole razzle-dazzle show [that will] take things up a notch," she explains. In addition to their lineup of daring speakers, they want to build a team of sponsors who dare as well. “When a sponsor comes on to Speakers Who Dare, we can promote them [and] that is something you cannot do with TED," Brouk clarifies.
The series will take place in an intimate theatre. It will not only enhance the creative space, but also make the performances intimate. “If you're a Broadway show [or] TED talk lover, you're going to [learn], be inspired by these talks and then be incredibly blown away that you get to see Broadway performers," Brouk says. Performances will take place in the morning and afternoon shows, such as Elphaba singing Defying Gravity from the musical, "Wicked". “If you buy one ticket for the whole day, you get to see all the speakers that have been selected," Brouk excitedly shares.
Though Speakers Who Dare is inclusive of men, it has a female slant. The announced speakers are listed below:
Marc Cordon - A Revolution Of Joy
Mari Carmen Pizarro - The Impact Of The Self-Imposed Glass Ceiling
Jason Harris - The Power Of Storytelling
Dr. Kristina Hallett - Watching A Talk Happen (speaker will ask the audience for an idea)
Tracey Wik - The Influence In A Zip Code
Nydia Han - Creating Community
Rachit Kansal - We Are Abusing Our Planet
Amy O'Neill - A New Way Of Approaching Resiliency
Rocco Cozza - The Practice Of Kindness
Stephanie Simpson - Artists Can Save The World
Theresa Nguyen - Immigration: A Lack Of Access To The American Dream
Jazz Biancci - A Talk Happens (speaker will channel an idea from the audience)
Sarah Nannen - Being A Renegade Widow
Mike Shereck - Man Up
Alexis Fuentes - For The Love Of Hate
Terence A. Monahan - The Importance Of Neighborhood Policing
Tonya Harris - Discrimination And Mental Health
Marla Schultz - Being An Accidental Advocate
George Andriopoulos - Not For Profit
“We wanted to be able to marry an online storytelling platform with an in-person and alive storytelling platform," Brouk starts off. “[On] SWAAY people express themselves in the stories they're telling. Speakers Who Dare is doing the same thing."
In addition to the preview of speakers above, Brouk has also casted two more speakers for the show who will not be coming in prepared with talks. “One of them is going to ask the audience for an idea and talk right there - talk about daring!" she happily expresses. “The other one is a channeler [who is] going to sit down, read the room and then talk."
The speakers not only get to perform, but are also provided with a stylist, photographer, a copywriter, and more. They are required to come to tech rehearsals as Brouk and Broderick plan for the big day. In doing so they can receive feedback and work directly with them. SWAAY is expanding their resources as well.
Each performer also has the chance to write op-eds for SWAAY, as well. “It's about being daring, innovating, creative, [creating an] impact and legacy," Broderick says. “The [speakers] will always be part of our family and our legacy."
PARTNERSHIPS WITH SPONSORS WHO DARE
SWAAY is one of four sponsors who dare. Brouk and Broderick agree that the partnership with this publication is important. “We wanted to be able to marry an online storytelling platform with an in-person and alive storytelling platform," Brouk starts off.
“[On] SWAAY people express themselves in the stories they're telling. Speakers Who Dare is doing the same thing."
In addition to SWAAY, Binge Networks is another sponsor that will be the host of all speaker series content. “There is a Speakers Who Dare TV channel [and it's] important to me because we wanted our speakers to have a greater reach than just YouTube," Brouk says. “It's a massive platform for our speakers." Recorded talks will also be shared on Apple TV, Sony, Roku, Google Play, and more.
The end goal between this dynamic duo is to put on a great show with a great set of speakers. Right now, they are in the process of licensing their brand for upcoming events. “There is a lot of power behind women coming together, collaborating and lifting each other up," Brouk says. “That's what Jamie and I do for each other, for all the people we work with."
“It's about being daring," Broderick says.
“It's about being daring, innovative, creative, [creating an] impact and legacy," she goes on. “The [speakers] will always be part of our family and our legacy."
"Sh*t!" my daughter exclaimed as she dropped her iPad to the floor. A little bit of context; my daughter Victoria absolutely loves her iPad. And as I watched her bemoan the possible destruction of her favorite device, I thought to myself, "If I were in her position, I'd probably say the exact same thing."
In the Rastegar family, a word is only a bad word if used improperly. This is a concept that has almost become a family motto. Because in our household, we do things a little differently. To put it frankly, our practices are a little unconventional. Completely safe, one hundred percent responsible- but sure, a little unconventional.
And that's because my husband Ari and I have always felt akin in one major life philosophy; we want to live our lives our way. We have dedicated ourselves to a lifetime of questioning the world around us. And it's that philosophy that has led us to some unbelievable discoveries, especially when it comes to parenting.
Ari was an English major. And if there's one thing that can be said about English majors, it's that they can be big-time sticklers for the rules. But Ari also thinks outside of the box. And here's where these two characteristics meet. Ari was always allowed to curse as a child, but only if the word fit an appropriate and relevant context. This idea came from Ari's father (his mother would have never taken to this concept), and I think this strange practice really molded him into the person he is today.
But it wasn't long after we met that I discovered this fun piece of Ari Rastegar history, and I got to drop a pretty awesome truth bomb on Ari. My parents let me do the same exact thing…
Not only was I allowed to curse as a child, but I was also given a fair amount of freedom to do as I wanted. And the results of this may surprise you. You see, despite the lack of heavy regulating and disciplining from my parents, I was the model child. Straight A's, always came home for curfew, really never got into any significant trouble- that was me. Not trying to toot my own horn here, but it's important for the argument. And don't get the wrong impression, it's not like I walked around cursing like a sailor.
Perhaps I was allowed to curse whenever I wanted, but that didn't mean I did.
And this is where we get to the amazing power of this parenting philosophy. In my experience, by allowing my own children to curse, I have found that their ability to self-regulate has developed in an outstanding fashion. Over the past few years, Victoria and Kingston have built an unbelievable amount of discipline. And that's because our decision to allow them to curse does not come without significant ground rules. Cursing must occur under a precise and suitable context, it must be done around appropriate company, and the privilege cannot be overused. By following these guidelines, Victoria and Kingston are cultivating an understanding of moderation, and at a very early age are building a social awareness about when and where certain types of language are appropriate. And ultimately, Victoria and Kingston are displaying the same phenomenon present during my childhood. Their actual instances of cursing are extremely low.
And beneath this parenting strategy is a deeper philosophy. Ari and I first and foremost look at parenting as educators. It is not our job to dictate who our children will be, how they shall behave, and what their future should look like.
We are not dictators; we are not imposing our will on them. They are autonomous beings. Their future is in their hands, and theirs alone.
Rather, we view it as our mission to show our children what the many possibilities of the world are and prepare them for the litany of experiences and challenges they will face as they develop into adulthood. Now, when Victoria and Kingston come across any roadblocks, they have not only the tools but the confidence to handle these tensions with pride, independence, and knowledge.
And we have found that cursing is an amazing place to begin this relationship as educators. By allowing our children to curse, and gently guiding them towards the appropriate use of this privilege, we are setting a groundwork of communication that will eventually pay dividends as our children grow curious of less benign temptations; sex, drugs, alcohol. There is no fear, no need to slink behind our backs, but rather an open door where any and all communication is rewarded with gentle attention and helpful wisdom.
The home is a sacred place, and honesty and communication must be its foundation. Children often lack an ability to communicate their exact feelings. Whether out of discomfort, fear, or the emotional messiness of adolescence, children can often be less than transparent. Building a place of refuge where our children feel safe enough to disclose their innermost feelings and troubles is, therefore, an utmost priority in shepherding their future. Ari and I have come across instances where our children may have been less than truthful with a teacher, or authority figure simply because they did not feel comfortable disclosing what was really going on. But with us, they know that honesty is not only appreciated but rewarded and incentivized. This allows us to protect them at every turn, guard them against destructive situations, and help guide and problem solve, fully equipped with the facts of their situation.
And as crazy as it all sounds- I really believe in my heart that the catalogue of positive outcomes described above truly does stem from our decision to allow Victoria and Kingston to curse freely.
I know this won't sit well with every parent out there. And like so many things in life, I don't advocate this approach for all situations. In our context, this decision has more than paid itself off. In another, it may exacerbate pre-existing challenges and prove to be only a detriment to your own family's goals.
As the leader of your household, this is something that you and you alone must decide upon with intentionality and wisdom.
Ultimately, Ari and I want to be the kind of people our children genuinely want to be around. Were we not their parents, I would hope that Victoria and Kingston would organically find us interesting, warm, kind, funny, all the things we aspire to be for them each and every day.
We've let our children fly free, and fly they have. They are amazing people. One day, when they leave the confines of our home, they will become amazing adults. And hopefully, some of the little life lessons and eccentric parenting practices we imparted upon them will serve as a support for their future happiness and success.