TEDx speakers connect to crowd



Lisa Jesswein talked about “embracing your inner cheerleader” during life’s tough times.

TED Talks are known for telling inspiring stories of adventure, success and overcoming adversity. TEDx is an independently organized TED event featuring community members who have stories worth telling.

Oakland University’s TEDx held its first salon event from 6-9 p.m. on Monday, March 27 in the Oakland Center Banquet Rooms. Salon events are meant to be small and reflect the community. OU plans to hold another in the fall.

The theme of the night was connections. Lisa Jesswein, Terri Orbuch and Nicholas Kristok discussed three very different topics in the hopes of connecting with the crowd.

Lisa Jesswein

After walking on stage to OMI’s “Cheerleader,” Jesswein let the crowd know she wouldn’t be using any fancy presentation tools.

As an alumna of the class of 1989, she just wanted to talk with her fellow Golden Grizzlies.

The cancer survivor and two-time kidney transplant recipient shared a story of how she overcame her circumstances. Throughout her life, she has lived by her acronym PAT – prepare, adjust and trust – to keep herself positive.

“Be a participant in your life, no matter if it’s really good or if it stinks,” she said. “Listen to that inner cheerleader.”

Terri Orbuch

This OU professor of sociology is internationally known as “The Love Doctor.”

She has two books and years of study behind her. She discussed survey results from her 30 years of research which indicate many people measure happiness by the success of their relationships and suggested ways to strengthen these relationships.

Garnering many laughs, Orbuch talked about myths society believes about relationships with an IQ test for the audience. After she educated them a little, she gave examples of small things they can do to make sure their relationships are happy.

She gave five pieces of advice: have realistic expectations, give regular appreciation, resolve arguments constructively, implement change and always communicate.

“The happy couples in my study ask questions to their partners,” she said. “As time goes on, we don’t ask questions any more. Keep asking your partner questions and listen to them.”

Nicholas Kristok

Kristok is an OU alumnus and the executive director of Fleece & Thank You, a nonprofit that gives blankets to hospitalized children. He shared the story behind Fleece & Thank You and how it has impacted him.

Then, he asked the audience to get involved.

After sharing 10 pieces of advice about launching a new business, he asked each table to find something it was passionate about and create a hypothetical organization around it. Ideas included educating children in Third World countries, cleaning water supplies and promoting adult literacy.

He bounced ideas back and forth with the groups and encouraged members of the audience to share their stories and say why their causes were important to them. He’s certain that a great idea will emerge out of the event.

“A great organization will come out of tonight,” he said. “And if you guys don’t go after it, I will. And then I’ll email you.”