4.5 Questions with TEDxNormal Speaker & Emcee Kim Behrens Kaufman


We’ve saved the best for last with our TEDxNormal speaker spotlights. We are just one week away from the big event and today we’d like to introduce you to TEDxNormal 2015 emcee and speaker Kim Behrens Kaufman, a writer, storyteller, and public speaker who’s featured her creative talents on both stage and screen!  Kim is a former television news anchor, and current freelance journalist—who’s shared her passion for communication with audiences as far as New York City, Memphis Tennessee, and now…TEDxNormal!

We’re delighted to not only have Kim speak…but take on the large and important task of being the EMCEE for the big event, and couldn’t help but get her take on the following questions:

#1. Why are TEDx talks valuable?

I believe all too often we get stuck in our social “bubbles.”  Get up, go to school/work, and go home.  Another day another dollar…ho-hum.  TEDx talks help burst the bubble we’ve all grown accustomed to.  The depth and breadth of the TEDx speeches, topics, and presenters…isn’t only inspiring–it opens our eyes to new possibilities, new ways of thinking, and new solutions.  After all, the event theme Anything But Normal, is a goal we should strive for—improve ourselves and thus, improve the world.

#2. If the world ends of November 6, 2015 the day before TEDxNormal, what would people die without knowing? Their potential.  That is, if they choose to use it.  The beauty of the future is the fact there are so many adventures to be had and stories to be told.  Never give up.  Stay healthy, enjoy the moment, and keep applying yourself.

#3. The TED tagline is “ideas worth spreading.” What’s an idea you wish would stop being spread? The notion that one can be, “doing too much.”  For the working professional, this scenario could be: juggling a full-time job, raising a family, working a consulting business on the side, and volunteering in the community.   Or for students, it’s going to school, working, being involved in extracurricular activities, etc.  Often people say, “that’s too much..you’ll go crazy from the stress.  You need to focus.”  I couldn’t disagree more.  Getting involved and paying it forward allows you to find your passions.  You become well rounded, while enjoying what life has to offer.  And, when that deserved down-time rolls around if feels, oh so good!

#4. What’s your best piece of advice for the person reading this? Stories make the world go round.  The more you do…the more you’ll have to tell.  Find the story in each day.  It keeps life interesting.  If you’re looking to start a business—remember the story.  It’s what keeps people coming back for more.  Two more related tips:  Read/watch/follow the news.  Some of the best stories come from there.  And, take time to listen to tales told by your elders.  You’ll always cherish it.

#5. What was one time in your life when you…”realized you could do anything?”

This past winter…I saw a “Call for Speakers in New York City.”  The memo pertained to finding presenters for an upcoming conference in the Financial District.  Now, to set the record straight, I LOVE NYC, so I figured why not?  But by the time the “Speaker Call” fell into my lap, just three days remained till the application deadline.  I feverishly began writing my submission to speak about one of my favorite topics—storytelling.  I worked hard.  I stayed up late creating material.  I read…and re-read some more.

In a nutshell, this was my pitch: Stories are important…but how do you tell a good one?  Let’s explore some important tips.

Three weeks later, I got accepted.  In March I presented my motivational storytelling speech in New York City.  In an auditorium filled with faces I’d never met.  I wrote the speech myself…used true life experiences…and even got applause.

That’s when I realized…when you apply yourself with a heart for helping others…anything is possible.

Watch Kim share her message LIVE on November 7th at the Normal Theatre!

Seating is limited, but a simulcast could be made available if support surrounding TEDxNormal is great enough!  You can also follow Kim on Twitter and Facebook.


We still need volunteers! To learn how you can get involved in TedxNormal, contact event organizer Doan Winkle: DWinkel@ilstu.edu

AND…get the latest TEDxNormal news and updates by liking our TEDxNormal Facebook page!

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