I was honored to be selected to give a TEDx talk in January 2017 in Reno, NV at the Grand Sierra Resort in their Grand Theatre. My TEDx talk encourages viewers to change the conversation surround death and dying, and invites each and every one of us to have the courage to ask one another, “Do you know how you want to die?”. It encourages everyone to complete an advance directive and to STOP waiting to have the necessary, however scary, conversation about end of life care. You can read more on the topic in my Uncomfortable: End of Life blog post.

TEDxUniversityofNevada January 21, 2017.
TEDxUniversityofNevada January 21, 2017.  Photo credit: Chris Holloman

This was the largest venue that TEDxUniversityofNevada has ever been held in and it was one heck of an event! The day started off strong with the national anthem sung by Albert Lee, followed by Bill Eckstrom‘s motivating talk about why comfort will ruin your life. Bill became a sort of mentor to me over our last few meetings and practices. He gave me opinions and words of advice on my talk before the event. Bill knows what to say to help you calm down and he knows how to hype you up before game time. He is a phenomenal speaker and his presence was truly an aura that lit up the room. I am thankful that I met Bill when I did!

Most people will never understand how much planning and practice goes into this type of event. Bret Simmons was our fearless leader and he executed this event flawlessly. Anything and everything we needed as speakers, from hair and makeup to a big hug and an ego boost – they had us covered. All of the volunteers helped TEDxUniversityofNevada run as smoothly as possibly and without their help and support, this event would not have been as successful as it was.

Photo by: Chris Holloman

There were over 2,000 people in attendance for the event – talk about making your heart race! I was SO nervous. I was walking around in circles backstage before my talk – running through it over and over again. The last time I ran through it before I went on stage I completely missed an entire paragraph… and I had a mini panic attack O_o

You put so much time and effort into this kind of talk. TEDx is such a huge platform that messing up was the LAST thing I wanted to do. I had been writing and rewriting and practicing this talk since September… I wanted to make everyone who believed in me, and this idea worth spreading, proud. I was afraid of failure, of messing up so bad and letting everyone down who had allocated their time to help me or who had supported me throughout the process. Fear is an interesting emotion – you feel so many things at the same time. The entire time I was giving my talk I was a sentence ahead of myself. Thinking about the next paragraph and how it tied into what I was currently talking about. And thankfully, I made it through the talk with only a couple minor hiccups – that only I really knew about 😀

Photo by: Chris Holloman

This event was more successful than I could have imagined. Not only because of the amazing talks that were given, but because of the conversations these talks started. If you can touch one person’s life, then you’ve been successful. But, we have been given the opportunity to touch thousands, maybe millions of people’s lives – and that puts so much into perspective in terms of what these TEDx talks mean. The hundreds of hours you put into prepping. The countless sleepless nights because you can’t shut your brain off. The seemingly endless rewrites to get it absolutely perfect. It was all worth it.

TEDx TEDx UniversityofNevada January 21, 2017 Photo by Tim Dunn
TEDx TEDx UniversityofNevada January 21, 2017 Photo by Tim Dunn

I am honored to have been a part of the TEDxUniversityofNevada 2017 event. I am thankful to have met these amazing speakers, and I am blessed to have graced the stage with brilliant and passionate minds.


Below are a few of the TEDx talks from the 2017 TEDxUniversityofNevada event. Bill and Albert’s talks are linked to their names in the beginning of this page. I hope you enjoy these ideas worth spreading!!