There are many things I can and should write about the TEDMED 2012 convention in DC, but first things first. I must share the two top experiences that I got from TEDMED (these will be the following two blog posts at later dates) and the amazing story of how I came to attend TEDMED 2012, which I blog about here.
I first learned about TED Talks when I became a Master in International Management student at Portland State University a few years ago. It seems amazing to me that during my 27 months as a part time student, I had never heard of TEDMED, until these past few months.
I have a Twitter account (@alivsworld) and one day this guy, Fred Cuellar (@FredCuellar), followed me on Twitter. I had never met Fred before, but I decided to follow him back because in his little 160 character Twitter profile, he included that besides being the Founder and CEO of Diamond Cutters International (I confess, this does not interest me greatly), he is also an author, inventor, executive coach, motivational speaker, and grateful (these five things DO interest me greatly).
One day I saw that Fred tweeted about TEDMED with a link for a scholarship. I clicked on his link, which led me to click on more links, and I quickly learned what TEDMED was about. I knew I wanted to be a part of the TEDMED community. I was giggling with delight because I just could not get over the fact that there were essentially TED Talks that were geared toward medical professionals. This was absolutely perfect for me – a pediatric intensive care nurse and recent international business graduate! Upon finding Fred’s link, I immediately applied for the TEDMED Front-Line scholarship. I was awarded a partial scholarship of $2,500 to attend the TEDMED convention. I was floored!
Fast-forward to the TEDMED convention that was just held in DC this past week. On Wednesday, the second full day of the convention, I joined a table full of strangers at lunch. Mind you, there were about 1,800 attendees at this convention. I chit chatted with a doctor to my right and a pharma industry professional to my left. As I glanced around the table at the other people I was sitting with, I noticed the man a few seats away from me with the TEDMED ID badge that said, “Fred Cuellar.”
Fred was deep in discussion with his neighbor and there was no pause in which to break into their conversation gracefully. I tried to wait patiently but finally confessed my Twitter story to my neighbor. She was so amazed that she immediately interrupted Fred’s conversation and informed him that I needed his attention for a minute. Of course, Fred, as well as the whole table, turned to look at me. So, I boldly extended my hand and introduced myself to Fred. “Hi, my Twitter handle is Alivsworld. I’m Ali Mondragon, and we follow each other on Twitter. A few months ago you tweeted about the TEDMED scholarship. I saw your Tweet, and applied, and received a partial front line scholarship. You are essentially the reason why I am here at TEDMED today. So, I just wanted to thank you.” The table was amazed and everyone went crazy.
And that is my first amazing Twitter story for you. As I have tweeted and tweeted for the past two years, I wondered what kinds of things Tweeting leads to, if anything. Engaging in social media takes time. But I would have to say that for this opportunity alone – to learn about TEDMED through the Twitter community and then to receive a partial front line scholarship to attend – it has definitely been worth the time I have spent on Twitter.