TEDx refers to a locally organized event, designed to spread ideas, with speakers on various topics.
In her role as Operations Director for Success Road Academy, located in Vancouver, B.C., Lawrence persisted in making this vision a r
eality. She has been working virtually for this company for the past two years, alongside founder and owner, Iman Aghay of Vancouver.
He expresses his pride that Lawrence tackled such a difficult undertaking. “It was one of the hardest times to organize something of this level that she organized,” says a grateful Aghay.
They took their inspiration from a TEDx event in Stanley Park in Vancouver. “It attracted 2700 people live and was the biggest event of its kind,” claims Lawrence.
At TEDxTenayaPaseo, named after a street with a catchy name, there were 24 speakers, with nine from Las Vegas, as well as a Canadian involved, in the 12-hour affair.
Though there were 168 tickets sold and Lawrence’s target was 300, she says she was pleased with the turnout.
“The air of magic in the event and room was really how I want to show up in the world,” says Lawrence, who aims to make a difference through such inspirational learning opportunities.
Sarah and Iman Aghay of Vancouver
Aghay recognizes their shared love of professional speaking and of helping others.
“My goal is to make an impact in the lives of 100 million people before I die,” he reveals, adding that his near-death experience with cancer almost 10 years ago led to this important vow. “To do that, I want to help 10,000 people to make an impact in the lives of 10,000 people each. To achieve that goal, I want to make sure every person involved in every work I do is contributing to that goal.”
Aghay says that Lawrence continues to impress him.
“In the last two years that I have known Sarah, she has gone from a very basic level to be one of the most amazing speakers I’ve ever known,” he recounts. “I can’t imagine what she could achieve five years from today. She was like this canister of potential that just needed an opportunity to flourish, to explore.”
Four years ago, she joined Jackpot Speakers, a Toastmasters club in Las Vegas that develops the communication and leadership skills of participants.
“I’ve always wanted to be a speaker,” says Lawrence, who reveals that a Speakers Retreat in San Diego gave her the spark that she needed to pursue her dream.
The leadership skills she gained from Toastmasters and from other experiences in her life certainly came in handy at TEDxTenayaPaseo. It was originally scheduled for May 2020 at a venue and later postponed until September of that year.
“I lost my venue,” Lawrence explains. “I didn’t know what I was going to do. I had no battle plan.” Then she learned about a hybrid event in Texas. “I can take their model and amplify it,” she thought. “I don’t do anything small.”
Her drive led to the inception of the marathon-like event that adhered to COVID-19 protocols, like social distancing, says Lawrence. She is elated with her efforts. “I made it happen during a pandemic,” she explains. “I needed to get that together fast and make it happen.”
Though Lawrence was at the forefront of the project, she credits a team for the stellar results. It includes Amy Cravin of Las Vegas who became the Stage Manager, while the tech company, Let Your Nerd Be Heard, with Justin James, did livestreaming and post-production. Total Staging TEC tended to the backdrops and lighting and hushXpose Photography CEO Kat Armendariz to the photography.
The speakers also didn’t disappoint. “They gave the talk of their life,” says Lawrence. “They brought their best. They showed up in a big way, celebrating all the traits I value.”
Great organizational skills met speaking excellence to create a memorable experience. “It was really, really impactful and I feel we built a good foundation for when the talks get posted on YouTube,” says Lawrence.
The Las Vegas organizer can breathe a sigh of relief now that TEDxTenayaPaseo is over – but not for long. Next year’s event will require months of planning.
“I like to say I function on chaos and magic,” concludes Lawrence. “Everything always works out, even if I doubt myself.”
It’s a feeling she hopes will propel her to new heights with the 2022 version right around the corner.