Brain banquet at Tedx | Letters

Can you imagine using a cell phone instead of a needle to test for anemia? Did you know there’s an effort underway that captures the image of an individual’s eye to safeguard their identity and help prevent human trafficking and death? How deeply do you acknowledge our universal human lack of perfection, such as the acclaimed aviation expert who was seconds away from a mistake that could have cost hundreds of lives?

These are just some of the incredible ideas and mesmerizing stories presented at this year’s brilliant TEDx at the San Juan Community Theatre on Sept. 23 – a wow of a not-for-profit event organized by unpaid volunteers (learn more at

I missed last year’s event, and frankly hesitated about taking the time to attend this year (there’s a lot going on; moving my mom, training a horse, out-of-town guests…). I took the plunge and now just shake my head at how close I came to missing what turned out to be some of the most entertaining, inspiring, soul-sustaining and brain-kick-starting presentations I have ever heard.

We have amazing people in our midsts – TEDx talks feature speakers with local ties – and you never know who you’ll sit next to, either. Audience members are encouraged to wear name tags, changes seats often and ask fellow attendees questions like, “What do you love about what you do?”

Saturday’s event gave my brain delicious fodder for months to come, and I’m already eagerly awaiting more. I’ve marked by calendar for next year and plan to even volunteer some time (gulp) to help in any way I can (Gary Franklin, are you taking note?).

Please join us! TEDx is one more reason to love our islands.

Amy Herdy

San Juan Island