My name is Gabby, and I am the Director of Community Engagement for TEDxOhioStateUniversity. When I was asked to write this blog post, I was told to write about my experience of holding an executive position as a sophomore. I had to think about what to say for a while, because this position fell into my lap almost organically. So in this, I will detail my journey thus far in the organization, and, more importantly, I will highlight some of the work my committee is currently doing.

I found out about TEDxOhioStateUniversity when I was still in high school, from one of my best friend’s older brothers who was already in the organization. The moment I heard about TEDx, I knew that I had to be a part of it. When I arrived at OSU in the fall of 2016, I was determined to find TEDx at the involvement fair, and I subsequently applied to be a member of the team. I was ecstatic when I was offered a position on the marketing committee.

On the marketing committee, I was in charge of running the TEDxOhioStateU Twitter account, a small job that was surprisingly stressful! I also helped out at marketing booths throughout the year, and I live-tweeted satellite events. However, my favorite part of last year was when I got to live-tweet the main event. Because I was given this job, I was able to sit in the back of the room and carefully watch every talk. A lot of people do not know this, but as a team member, the majority of us do not get to watch any of the talks on event day. I was extremely thankful for the experience I was given on that day.

After Precipice was over, I was encouraged to apply for an executive position by both my committee director and the curator. I thought they were crazy, and I assumed I was wildly unqualified for an executive position. Yet, I interviewed for it, even though at that point I did not specify the committee I wanted to run. I was appointed to be director of community engagement, and though I was scared, I jumped right in, learning as much as I could before the spring semester ended.

I would love to say that I feel completely comfortable with my position, but that would be a lie. I still have a lot to learn about my leadership style and about the logistics of my committee, but I know I am starting to become the leader that I want to be. Community engagement does great work, and I am proud to be in charge of the committee that embodies the TED motto of ideas worth spreading. This year we are working with organizations including Refuge, Ohio Reformatory for Women, Marion Correctional, and East High School’s TED-Ed program. Though I personally may feel overwhelmed from time to time, because of my community engagement team, I am constantly reminded that the work we do is important, and we are impacting people’s lives on a daily basis.