Last fall, I attended BarCampDC and happened to be sitting next to the illustrious Patrick Smith. Little did I know at the time that I would be volunteering much of my free time throughout the DC blizzards and bourgeoning spring to help plan the inaugural TEDxPotomac, which Patrick was organizing.

What a THRILL to be part of such an incredible event! What an even more amazing experience to write its content, lead its marketing efforts, and plan its website. Luckily, I was surrounded by a dynamic group of supportive individuals who made my life easier as I worked to do the same AND promote ticket sales.

In December, I pulled together a couple wireframes and the group voted to institute something like this:

Homepage Wireframe: TEDxPotomac
Homepage Wireframe: TEDxPotomac

In January, I identified and rallied a designer and developer to build the website in WordPress for our ongoing content management needs, which resulted in the actual website:


In February, the site launched, and I spent the next couple of months writing blog posts that promoted our impressive speaker line-up.

In April, I wrote and sent an email calling for ticket sales:

Looking forward to seeing some stellar talks on Thursday, May 20, at the inaugural TEDxPotomac? Then register now!

Tickets are on sale beginning today, April 8, and we expect to sell out quickly given the interest in our line-up, which includes…

General admission is $99, and all proceeds go to the cost of hosting the event. TEDxPotomac is only possible through the generous contributions of our attendees and sponsors. Tickets are tax-deductible through our fiscal sponsor Uplift, Inc. You may also choose to apply for a scholarship.

It’s going to be an inspiring day in DC — don’t miss it!


The payoff to all this effort throughout the spring? We sold out our first round of tickets in the first 24 hours. When we opened ticket sales for round two, the same thing happened.

In May, I wrote a pre-event blog post to build buzz and push simulcasting parties.

During the event on May 21, I (wo)manned the Twitter account and posted updates to our fans on Facebook, and I monitored the live feed to notify our internal teams immediately if any of the video or audio went down (which is did not. whew!).

After the event, I helped aggregate (in a blog post) the conversations that were happening socially — Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook — to paint a post-event picture of the key takeaways attendees and livestream viewers were reporting. Overall? A resounding success. And I couldn’t be prouder.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but when it came to considering being a part of TEDxPotomac 2011, I was among the first to re-volunteer.