Uncharted Territory

Uncharted Territory: Carving a Path to Innovation

Last Saturday, I attended TEDx Portland, which took place in the beautiful Gerding Theater to a sold out crowd of 650. In honor of Lewis and Clark’s transcontinental journey in 1804, the event’s speakers celebrated the “Uncharted Territory” theme by sharing stories of their own journeys .

What I always admire most about the speakers who take part in TEDx is the degree of authenticity and vulnerability they bring with each experience they share. It is this honestly and candidness that draws the audience in, resulting in personal reflection and gratitude. This year’s lineup did not disappoint, and I feel privileged to have been a part of it.

A few of the most memorable presentations that day included Bassima Mroue, who spoke of her passion for supporting nonprofit organizations that focus on the intersection of business innovation and social change. She shared this moving video about The Girl Effect and her own journey that brought her to where she is today and the opportunity we each have to make our own difference.

John Waller and Ben Canales unveiled their most recent time-lapse photography masterpiece titled, Finding Portland, which they were able to complete in 51 days from start to finish and is comprised of 308,829  photos taken over 50 unique locations. The final cut is incredibly moving and a true reflection that anyone with a love for Portland will resonate with. They also shared a clip of another one of their works, Finding Oregonwhich took them over 1,600 miles across the state of Oregon to remote locations while packing 700-plus pounds of camera gear which proved to be equally impressive. Their ability to capture the beauty of our state through the lens of their passion is truly breathtaking. We also watched a video where Jeb Corliss, world-renowned BASE jumper and accomplished wing suit flyer, shared his story of his recent January 2012 accident while wing suit jumping off Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa. His message to not lose sight of the fear and vulnerability rang clear through his story of courage and respect for the elements.

One of the most unique perspectives came from eleven-year-old Gavin Davison, who started SevenSeven skateboards at the ripe young age of seven. Though his journey may have been one of the shorter ones of the day, his dreams and visions for futuristic skate parks and local athletes earned him one of the many standing ovations.

Each of these speakers has experienced their own versions of Uncharted Territory through the disruptive and daring journeys they’ve charted. Their stories, and personal reflections, encourage us each to do the same. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Thanks TEDx Portland for reminding us to do just that. 


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