TEDxToronto 2014: Relentless Pursuits

This past October 2nd I had the privilege to attend my second TEDxToronto event and I came away inspired and driven. Working in the Marketing industry I get asked why I attend this event and what does it have to offer? My response is always the following:

TEDxToronto is not a business conference but a social conference. It’s an event where people gather to get inspired and be challenged to not only create something in their own lives but to make the world a better place by doing it. While other conferences feed your brain, this one also feeds your soul.

This year the theme of this social conference was ‘Relentless Pursuits’. We are driven by our pursuits which are the ideas, goals and dreams we have for our lives and sometimes those of others. We relentlessly pursue these things because they define who we are and give us purpose. This year’s TEDxToronto theme was a relentless pursuit of not just ideas worth spreading but ideas worth doing.

The day was kicked off with a beautiful performance by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, followed by 14 amazing speakers sharing their ideas and pursuits. In-between we had performances by a group called Choir!Choir!Choir! and a closing performance by Maylee Todd.

There were four speakers that were my favourite:

Nav Bhatia – Raptors Superfan

Nav’s talk really touched me because it was an amazing story of an immigrant who came to Canada and worked hard to make a better life for his family. In that success he became a very successful Hyundai dealer owner but also became an advocate for changing the perceptions of Sikhs in the mainstream. The seed for this passion got planted when he entered a store and someone mistook him for their driver just because he looked the way he did with his turban. This moment in his life started a fire in him to change the way his people were viewed and treated so he started his campaign. What you also need to know about Nav is that he is literally the biggest Raptor’s fan you will ever meet and has used his passion and connections with the organization to help his cause. Listen to his story:


Colin Boyd Shafer – Photographer, Cosmopolis Toronto

Following the same lines as Nav’s, Colin, an award-winning Canadian documentary photographer and high school teacher, pursued a project to photograph Torontonians that represented each country in the world. Colin photographed 195 people in his journey and called his project Cosmopolis Toronto. Through photography he has documented 195 immigrant stories. Immigrants who were born in another land but now call Toronto home. I am the son of immigrants and proud of it. Listening to Colin’s passion project made me think about how different we all are yet how we are all the same. Hear about his journey to document these stories:


Rachel Parent – Founder, Kids Right to Know

Rachel is a force of nature. She is a 15 year old who is fighting the good fight for companies to label our food indicating whether GMO’s have been used or not. She has been creating awareness of GMO’s since she has been 12. Whether you are pro GMO’s or anti-GMO’s, Rachel’s relentless pursuit is just for companies to identify when they are used and for them to inform their customers who are buying these foods. Just label the packaging is all she asks and let customers make their own choice. You must hear this passionate talk from an amazing individual that truly inspired me:


Adam van Koeverden – Olympic and World Champion, Sprint Kayaking

Adam gave a talk that was very light-hearted but with so much wisdom. He spoke about how all of us start with ‘youthful vigor’ and as we age we hopefully transition to ‘veteran wisdom’. He also taught us about ‘executive capacity’ – if you want to achieve something great, it’s your foot on the gas pedal. I promise that you will be entertained by his talk but you will also definitely learn something:


TEDxToronto 2014: Feed Your Soul

This isn’t a business or digital conference, it’s an inspiration conference. It’s a place where you will hear from some really smart people who are doing some really cool things and hopefully they inspire you to self-reflect on your life and ponder what your relentless pursuit is. Most conferences feed your brain; this one feeds your soul.

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