Volunteer Spotlight: Péralte Paul, Marketing Communications Co-Lead

Péralte Paul lives in the world of words, working to tell people’s stories as a communications professional at a prestigious university following a nearly 3-decade career as a print journalist.

As someone who enjoys experiencing new perspectives, meeting new people, trying new foods, Péralte enjoys traveling overseas by biking and hiking. He’s visited 25 countries, biked across 10 of them, and hiked the equivalent of 990 miles in one year — roughly the length of New Zealand’s North and South islands combined.

What First Drew You To TEDx?

Péralte Paul: I knew about TEDx and saw some of the videos of different talks and was drawn to the concept of getting to hear from people from all walks of life encouraging us to think about something new or challenge our own paradigms about the what we accept to be true or how things ought to be. I went to a then-TEDxPeachtree event in the 2010s, but I had the serendipitous chance of working with Jacqui Chew (TEDxAtlanta Licensee and Curator)a few years ago. I was fortunate to have a front row seat into what makes it a unique experience and the philosophy behind the “ideas worth spreading” maxim.

What’s Your Favorite Memory From Your Time Working With TEDx?

PP: It’s hard to limit it to just one, but for me, as a person whose career is in telling stories and bringing new concepts to the forefront, I think working with the speakers and giving feedback as they refine their talks is what I enjoy the most because it’s an opportunity to not only learn something new and see things in a different way. Maybe even more impactful is that these talks stay with me long after the speaker has left the stage. They affect me to think and act. One other thing I would say is a favorite memory is opportunity to interact with volunteers who come from all walks of life an experiences, but all of course come together in a unified desire to share great ideas and findings with broad audiences. 

If You Could Describe Your Volunteer Experience With TEDxAtlanta In Three Words, What Would They Be?

PP: Committed would be first because, you have to be committed not just to your part in the process that leads to events throughout the year and the main conference, you have to commit to being fully engaged to ensure those depending on your contributions can succeed with their contributions. The second word is opportunity. I have met some of the most interesting people as fellow volunteers — some of whom I’m not sure I would have had the opportunity to meet had it not been for TEDx and our shared interest in exploring ideas that challenge and inspire us. Lastly, I would say fulfilling. It’s a lot of work and planning that go into TEDx events, but it is rewarding to see how one person’s talk can spark conversations and further exploration into what could be possible. For me it’s rewarding to see the speakers engaged in discussions with conference attendees who really connected with the talk and leaves me wondering how many will leave inspired to act and effect change in their corners of the world.

What’s Something People Would Find Surprising About TEDx?

PP: We really are all volunteers. I think to see such a professional event be put together on such a large scale and the caliber of the talks presented, most would assume there’s a big-budget production entity behind it all. But it’s team of committed volunteers.

What’s Your Favorite TEDx Talk?

PP: See How the Rest of the World Lives, Organized by Income,” by Anna Rosling Rönnlund. This talk is a fascinating exploration of what we consider home and normalcy through race, class, and economics via the visuals of housing, everyday activities, and cultural norms. It’s a critically moving presentation of the disparities from country to country and how economic class shapes the day of what we consider ‘standard.’

How Has Joining TEDx Changed Your Day-To-Day Life?

PP: From the different talks I’ve watched, I am often reminded of the things I’ve learned and an underlying realization that big, bold ideas, and new ways of thinking can be garnered anywhere and everywhere in the most unexpected of places. Joining TEDx has made me become more open to hearing perspectives that I might not necessarily agree with. I still might not agree, but I am more open to understanding the “how” and “why” behind their views.

Has TEDx Helped You Grow Professionally Or Personally?

PP: Without a doubt. The biggest thing is collaboration. In hey both teach me how to be a better leader to my own team [and] a better communicator. So, it does teach me a lot. Not only how to lead a team but also how to find the leaders within the team and help them grow and keep that loop going. We’re all helping each other. Building each other up to our full potential. That’s something that I’ve learned over the years and especially through TEDx.

Why Should Others Volunteer With TEDx?

PP: You get to have fun and work with volunteers and make great friends.

Follow Péralte on LinkedIn