The Idea Island
To the many families, small businesses, organizations and corporations that have settled on greater Daniel Island, the place itself has undergone a profound, important transition. In the past, the island was a hot location attracting spillover growth from greater Charleston and Mount Pleasant. Today, for all involved it has become “home” in every sense of the word.
Daniel Island has become a home in another sense as well: it’s become a home to ideas. For evidence of that fact take last Wednesday, October 19, when Daniel Island and a few of its talented residents played a big part in putting on what has become a bi-annual event dedicated to ideas themselves, TEDxCharleston.
TEDxCharleston is an all-day symposium featuring speakers from many disciplines, including science, art, performance, and business. Its purpose is to “gather inspiring people with diverse ideas to share the many untold stories of Charleston’s thinkers, visionaries and fascinating teachers.” This year’s incarnation of the event was held at the Charleston Music Hall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For those who couldn’t score one of the highly coveted tickets to the event, it is available to watch online through a live stream offered on the event website.
This year’s event, titled “TEDxCharleston: Tipping Point,” was designed around the “magic moment(s) when an idea, trend or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips and spreads like wildfire.” The speakers selected for the event were chosen for their role as leaders “who are identifying, predicting or causing tipping points in Charleston and beyond,” and the event’s goal was to inspire, engage, and transform Charleston-area viewers and event participants alike.
And Daniel Island, for its part, was well-represented. Not only did Clements Ferry Road-based co-working and meeting space, Holy City Collective, sponsor the event and host one of only three Charleston area viewing parties, a pair of island residents played a major role in its production. Mary Beth Natarajan, Daniel Island resident and president of the Jazz Artists of Charleston, headed up the event’s marketing and branding efforts, and fellow Daniel Islander Kate Boehm Jerome was a selected speaker at the event (look for a feature article in next week’s issue of The Daniel Island News on Jerome’s Tedx participation and her experience as a student at the Stanford University Distinguished Career Institute.)
For Paul Sorensen, owner and operator of the unique, collective workspace venue Holy City Collective, participating in TEDxCharleston was a no-brainer. “The TEDxCharleston Executive Team actually meets here,” said Sorensen. “What we want to do is help forge new ground in the City of Charleston. For us, we see Charleston as being not just a place to experience the TEDxCharleston talks, but also a place where TEDx fans can rub elbows with like-minded people.”
Last Wednesday, viewing party attendees got their chance to do just that. In the spirit of all that is the TED Talks and TEDx speakers’ series, the conversation engendered at the event was fruitful. “I think Charleston is at its own tipping point with population growth and transportation infrastructure coming to a head,” said one live-viewing attendee, Mt. Pleasant resident and Blackbaud employee Caleb Copper.
Another attendee, Clements Ferry Road resident Gigi Manning, embraced the mantra of TED by taking the discussion a step deeper, introducing the concept of gentrification into the conversation. “All developers are thinking about is dollars and sense, there’s no thought about neighborhoods, communities,” said Manning, a U.S. Air Force veteran, BP employee, and a 31-year resident of Charleston. “You can’t just displace people on a purely monetary basis.”
The conversation that took place around the live viewing of TEDxCharleston: Tipping Point, held in one of several conference rooms inside the inspirationally organized workspace at Holy City Collective, serves as a perfect example not only of the kinds of conversations happening every day at Sorensen’s business he says, but on Daniel Island and in greater Charleston as a whole.
“I think that from within Charleston there’s a culture of excitement, creativity, and innovation, but even beyond Charleston,” said Sorensen. “Charleston has become a destination for people and companies to move to. It’s become a destination, not just for tourism but for innovation.”
If he’s right, Charleston indeed has reached its own tipping point.
Holy City Collective is located at 142 Sportsman’s Drive, off of Clements Ferry Rd. You can find more information on the business online at www.holycitycollective.com. For more information on TEDx Charleston’s past or upcoming symposiums, visit www.tedxcharleston.com. You can follow TED on Twitter at twitter.com/TEDTalks, or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TED.