My Catawba County

X Marks the Spot

X Marks the Spot

Later this month, TEDxHickory – one of the most uniquely informative and inspiring events in our community – will celebrate its tenth anniversary here in Hickory. What exactly is TEDxHickory? We asked longtime TEDxHickory organizer Hani Nassar to fill us in.

What is TEDxHickory?
TEDxHickory is an independently organized TED event. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. Its mission is to spread ideas, foster community, and create impact. It is intended to bring people together to share “ideas worth spreading”. These ideas are presented as talks no more than 18 minutes in length. TED talks are free from commercial, religious, or political agenda.

Where and when will TEDxHickory 2023 take place?
TEDxHickory 2023 will take place at the Belk Centrum on the Lenoir-Rhyne University Campus on Saturday April 22 from 10am – 4pm.  Attendees receive a free gift, lunch, and a post event party to meet the speakers at Blowing Rock Ale House.

What is this year’s theme? Who are some of this year’s featured speakers, and what will they be presenting?
This year’s theme is “The Power of X”. It signifies the 10th Anniversary of TEDxHickory. “X” denotes 10 in Roman numerals and, at the same time, an unknown variable. This means that the topic is “open” to the speakers who apply to speak at our event. There will be 12 speakers at this year’s event who will represent local presence in Hickory and other cities in NC, as far north as Canada, and as far west as California. Due to the flexibility of the theme, a variety of ideas will be shared such as the conditions & restoration of the coral reefs on coastlines, preventing Recidivism, the power of Psychedelics, the power of Nun, digital Dopamine, and why you are never too young to follow your dreams.

Why should people attend, and how can they get tickets?
There is a variety of reasons to attend TEDx talks. Attendees expand their knowledge and interests by listening to many good ideas that will spark their imagination. There is also a lot of exciting energy at a TEDx event from both speakers and attendees, and this energy is contagious and gives you the desire to be engaged. Another reason is the interesting people you meet, the contact with the speakers at the after party, and the friendships you will form moving forward.

For tickets, please go to

When and why was TEDx started in Hickory?
The main TED organization started in 1984. In 2009, the TEDx event was born which focused on local communities. TEDxHickory was started in 2012 by Daniel Goss and Alan Jackson. The main purpose was to bring people together in and around the Catawba Valley that are doing things to make a difference in our community and to share these ideas with others to inspire them.

Who is involved in making TEDxHickory happen?
Previous TEDxHickory organizers, community members, previous speakers, and previous volunteers make up the TEDxHickory organizing team. This team evolves over time but the basic structure remains the same.

Any favorite or noteworthy TEDxHickory moments or memories you’d like to share?
The best moments are the standing ovation for some of the speakers and the on-stage performances that sometimes accompany a speaker. Of special pride for our community is the special record still being held by the Untouchables for over 50 years. Here are these talks:

Is there anything else you would like to add about TEDxHickory?
Everyone who has attended a previous TEDxHickory and voiced their opinion where very enthusiastic about spending their day listening to inspiring and noteworthy talks. It is difficult to explain the inspiration of a TEDx talk on a local stage without personally experiencing it. It takes 10 months of planning and over 100 speaker applications to filter before determining the speakers that will represent your TEDx event for any given year. You will just need to attend one of these events to get hooked. For a $40 ticket you will get a gift bag, snacks, lunch, and an after party where you can meet the speakers and engage.