We’re excited to introduce David Hudson as our host for the 2018 TEDxAmoskeagMillyard event on June 2, 2018, at Stockbridge Theatre. Rather than telling you all about David, we invited him to share his story directly in this Q&A.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m not sure I’ve ever answered this question the same way twice, which probably speaks to my varied interests more than anything else. I’ve been an entrepreneur and business consultant, worked in IT, done quite a bit of training over the years, and spent a lot of time writing. Lately, I’ve been splitting my energy between being a professional volunteer and working on some poetry. I’m a lifelong New Englander and currently live outside Manchester with my wife, two kids, two cats, and a dog.

How did you get involved with TEDxAmoskeagMillyard?
I’m a big fan of TED Talks and when a dear friend of mine invited me along to a meeting several years ago, I jumped at the chance. They foolishly gave me some responsibility and haven’t been able to get rid of me since. I even “retired” last year and you can see how well that worked.

What roles have you held on the organizing team?
In addition to being on the overall organizing team, I’ve been involved on our speaker team. We curate and select the speakers for each event, help the speakers find and tell their story, and shepherd the speakers through the process of preparing for the big event. I started as the team lead and held that post for a few years, then shared those duties, and now have had to dial back my involvement to simply serving as a speaker coach.

What keeps you coming back?
There are lots of reasons. First, the whole team is amazing. It’s one of the most highly functioning volunteer endeavors I’ve ever been a part of. Second, I’m really passionate about ideas and stories, so TED talks are a perfect way to follow my heart. Finally, it’s been an honor and a privilege to work with our speakers as they try to bring their stories to life.

What would you tell someone who’s never attended a TEDxAmoskeagMillyard event why they should come to our June 2nd event?
If you’ve never seen a TED talk, you need to start there. Go to the TED website, type in any topic that interests you and watch a talk or two. Go ahead, I’ll wait… Powerful stuff, right? Now, imagine sharing talks like that live with a roomful of other folks. There’s an energy in the auditorium that can’t be missed. Plus, it’s a treat to spend an entire day immersed in the world of ideas. It’s like five year’s worth of great conversations condensed into a single day.

Do you have a favorite talk? If so, which one is it and why?
This is like asking me if I have a favorite child. It can’t be done! There are talks that have changed the way I think about certain issues. Talks that I re-watch from time to time. Talks that have challenged me and talks that have brought me to tears. That said, given the political divisiveness of the age, I’ll single out Jonathan Haidt’s 2008 talk as being particularly relevant. He shows how liberals and conservatives share common principles but just prioritize those moral values differently.

You’ll be the host of this year’s main event. How’s that feel, and what can we look forward to this year?
I am thrilled to be this year’s host! After years being behind the scenes, except during some technical difficulties over the years, I’m very excited to have the chance to introduce each speaker and guide us through the day. It’s like the icing on the cake, especially when you think about our lineup this year. Here again, it’s almost impossible to single any talk out. Our speakers include a professor discussing racial bias in artificial intelligence algorithms, a former reporter talking about fake news, a social scientist whose research suggests that the the fervor of the #MeToo movement may help fuel the Black Lives Matter movement, and an interfaith minister who thinks the way to combat polarization is to focus on the tribes of our heart. Heck, that’s not even half the lineup. Don’t you think you should head over to Eventbrite and get your ticket now?

Register now for the TEDxAmoskeagMillyard event on June 2, 2018.

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