Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The TED Fellow Program

The TED Fellows program brings to TED accomplished young people from around the world and from a variety of fields who would not ordinarily be able to afford TED. It's become much more than that. Under the very special mentorship of Tom Reilly it has become a tight supportive community.  There are 53 of them here in Banff and their camaraderie is palpable - and loud. At a TED Fellows main stage session, the TED Fellows clap the most and cheer the loudest for their colleagues. And if a speaker hesitates, or loses their composure, the clapping and cheering just accelerates and buoys them along. It's lovely to watch.

The TED Fellows presentations are some of the best of the conference. Future posts will describe some of these talks. But I can't talk about the Fellows without talking about the inimitable Tom Reilly.

Tom  runs the Fellows program. He is burly, energetic, brash, loud, charismatic, hilarious and completely irreverent. He used to give a hilarious stand-up comedy routine roasting the TED speakers at the end of the conference. I miss those days.

But Tom has a serious side and he has hefty responsibilities these days. He does an incredible job with the Fellows. Clearly the sense of community starts with him. All of the Fellows I have met describe Tom as changing their life. He is an extraordinary, inspiring person. He's my hero.

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