TEDx wraps up with talks on housing affordability, transformational travel

The final two speakers for TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2020 will take the virtual stage on Sept. 2 to talk about adversity, first with housing costs and then with helping families cope with medical crises. 

TEDxSnoIsleLibraries graphic imageChris Collier will premier his TEDxSnoIsleLibraries talk, Addressing Housing Affordabilityscheduled for 11 a.m. Sept. 2Then, John Fahey’s TEDxSnoIsleLibraries talk, Vacations That Make a Transformational Difference, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 2. 

Both talks will be presented via Zoom and on Sno-Isle Libraries Facebook page and YouTube channel. The Zoom meeting requires preregistration. Event host Phil Klein will introduce each speaker’s pre-recorded TEDx talk followed by a live question-and-answer session with the speaker. During the talk, viewers can ask questions in the chat function of each platform.  

Each event is scheduled for one hour. 

Chris Collier 

Chris Collier
Chris Collier

Collier’s academic and career focus is on public service. While he worked for NASAs Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs and then Human Spaceflight and Operations, the Puget Sound-region native earned a masters degree in Public Administration from The Evergreen State College in Olympia 

In a position with Gov. Jay Inslees office, Collier saw challenges of housing stability. Now with the Alliance for Housing Affordability, he advances the mission and vision of no household being without an affordable place to call home. 

The work keeps him busy. 

“If I had any hobbies, COVID did away with those – now I just work inside all day!” said the Lynnwood resident. 

Why did you want to present a TEDx talk? 

I enjoy pushing myself to present ideas in new mediums and be a persuasive speaker that advocates for change,” Collier said. After all, if not me, who (will take the time to speak up)? I view it as a civic duty to talk to people about issues that matter. 

What inspired your TEDx talk topic? 

With the typical Snohomish County single-family home selling for $545,000 in July 2020 (9.2 percent more than in July 2019)Collier sees the many impacts unaffordable housing has on everyday peopleHome sales prices are rising far faster than median income and rising rents erode whatever people can save for a down payment. 

I’ve talked to too many people to count who were on the verge of losing their homes, losing their families, because of this unaddressed issue,” he said. It’s one that must be brought into the public sphere for discussion. 

What expectations do you have with your talk? 

Collier just wants people and policymakers to talk about the problem and look for solutions. 

I don’t have expectations, I have hopes – that people, whether they agree or disagree with the data and implications, will think about this issue and talk to their friends, family, and coworkers about housing affordability,” he said. That is my only hope, that we see this issue just get the discussion it needs. 

What have you learned from this experience? 

Like every TEDxSnoIsleLibraries speaker this year, Collier had to adapt his presentation midway through the process when the public event transitioned to the virtual realm. 

Presenting isn’t easy,” Collier said. “Presenting to an empty room and a camera because of coronavirus is even harder! Talk about challenging myself to present in new mediums. 

John Fahey 

John Fahey
John Fahey

Fahey is an author, travel writer and Seattlebased entrepreneur. He is known around Seattle as the owner of Seattle Donut Boat Co., a business that rents quirky little round boats that have become a Lake Union icon. His books and writing focus generally on the Pacific Northwest, so he has come to be regarded as a Northwest travel expert. He’s a guest and contributor to local television programs, radio shows and publications.  

His latest venture is The Vacation Angel Network. The organization provides free vacations to families dealing with a hardship such as an injury or an illness. Often these are families who have children in treatment for pediatric cancer.  

Why did you want to present a TEDx talk? 

I have always loved TEDx, because it gives a platform for ideas that might otherwise go unheard, and I think that creates such potential to affect positive change,” Fahey said. 

What inspired your TEDx talk topic? 

Fahey said the launch of Vacation Angel Network has been “a dramatic change in my life,” one he thought deserved an explanation before a broader audience.  

Call it a mid-life crisis, but the new path I followed has really changed my perspective, and put me in contact with so many new and inspirational people, that I felt the idea and concept of what I am doing might be a great idea to share with other people,” he said. 

What expectations do you have with your talk? 

I have no idea what to expect of the talk,” Fahey said. I really enjoyed giving it. You’ll see from the talk that this is an emotional subject for me, so I would love it if people got to feel a small sense of that emotion, and perhaps could use it to incorporate some of my ideas into their own life. 

If he gets feedback and insights from people who followed a similar path, he’s all ears.  

I don’t expect that this talk will spread the word of what we are doing, but I’ll confess that I secretly hope it will find a good audience and make them aware of our mission,” he said. I describe my organization as a virtuous cycle,’ and if this TEDx talk helps me to increase that cycle, even a little bit, I would consider that a huge success. 

What have you learned from this experience? 

Preparing for TEDxSnoIsleLibraries helped Fahey focus and refine his goals for Vacation Angel Network. 

You can have a general idea, and be acting on that idea, but you can get so busy working on the mechanics of it, especially in start-up mode, that you can lose track of your core mission, or perhaps, fail to realize that your mission has changed slightly,” he said. Preparing this talk has helped me to really stop and consider what we are doing, how the vision has changed, what we hope to accomplish, and how we might better get to that goal. Being able to succinctly define the project has proven to be a priceless exercise in directing and focusing our efforts. Preparing a TEDx talk has really been akin to a business seminar, and, as a result, I am more excited about what we are doing than ever.