To give a TEDx talk is a highly coveTED and prestigious opportunity. Perhaps my favorite aspect of TEDx events is the diversity of thought; while each event has a theme, every speaker’s unique perspective sheds new meaning and encourages thought long after the talk is over. I love searching for TEDx talks to watch online, and of course, supporting Next Gen Community members in their own talks.

Of all those I’ve watched, here’s a list of some of my top TEDx talks. All of these, despite diversity in content, location, and perspective, are contemplative, uplifting, and engaging. They’re definitely worth a watch, and help to redefine our own “ideas worth sharing.”

1.Thought to Action | Aaron Pludwinski | TedxUMaryland

This TEDx talk by Aaron Pludwinski gestures to the power of moving from thought to action, or from an idea’s concept to reality. Aaron gave this talk to “inspire people to take the first steps in accomplishing their long-term goals.” Critical to this is not only an action plan to execute the vision, but a mindset. The talk echoes his own story with his lifelong yearning to succeed at all of his ambitions, offering adoptable ideas for how to bring your own ideas and goals to life.

2.How to Contact Congress is What’s Wrong with Congress | Maria Yuan | TEDxHobokenWomen

Maria Yuan is the founder of IssueVoter, a nonpartisan, online platform with a mission to give everyone a voice in democracy by making civic engagement accessible, efficient, and impactful. She utilized her TEDx talk to create urgency around civic engagement, sharing workable solutions and suggestions to citizens who hope to mobilize their political efforts to create the outcomes they desire.

3.Serving Women’s Needs is the Future of Global Commerce | Danielle Kayembe | TEDxYouth@Hewitt

Danielle Kayembe is deeply passionate about communicating the coded patriarchy, raising the fact that most of the products and services we interact with were designed by men. From heavy doors, long bathroom lines and health apps without period trackers, Danielle explores this design blind spot that affects our everyday lives. More interestingly, she outlines the rising female-driven economy – businesses creaTED by women and for women, to take advantage of this underserved female market.

4.Storytelling in the Modern World | Manu (Swish) Goswami | TedxUAlberta 

“Regardless of whether you want a personal brand or not, you have one.” In this talk, Swish Goswami provides a compelling case for why everyone should construct a personal brand. He breaks down how there are three types of content you can share (informative, inspirational, and personal anecdotes), discussing how you can effectively share your personal journey and expertise through platforms like LinkedIn. Post what makes you happy and what you truly believe in.

Swish’s inspiration came from the first moment he decided to post on LinkedIn over a year ago. In a short time, he has cultivaTED a community of nearly 70K followers on the platform.

5. A Platform to Make A Difference | Omar Bawa | TEDxUNIGE 

Omar Bawa was just 19 when he gave this TEDx talk, which focuses on the importance of leveraging technology to make an impact. His inspiration? His own parents. They served

in the humanitarian sector working for the UniTED Nations High Commission for Refugees and the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria – a true platform to make a difference, indeed.

6.Advocacy in the 21st Century | Abbey Perl | TEDxYouth@UrsulineAcademy 

It’s 2018, and innovation is a key factor for advocacy, yet not everyone has caught up. So, Abbey Perl, Founder of Diverse Gaming Coalition, used her voice to create an anti-bullying comic book to challenge the way we talk about bullying. This TEDx talk covers her reasoning for starting the Coalition and how others can also advocate against bullying.

8.Why Millennials Today Hold More Power Than Ever Before | Jared Kleinert | TED Institute 

Author and CEO Jared Kleinert has spent thousands of hours studying the millennial mind. To aid this talk, he spoke with and befriended millennials from all walks of life. The talk shares insights from this research with as many people and corporations as possible. He shares a few stories of individuals achieving exponential success at a young age in order to show how we can solve problems faster than ever before in our own lives and organizations.

9. Living in a Trustless Society | Aishwarya Balaji | TedxFordhamUniversity

Aishwarya Balaji is the founder and CEO of the Impact Chain Lab, a blockchain innovation lab focused on global development and social impact. Her TEDx talk focuses on how trust is at the crux of society and how blockchain technology is fundamentally going to shift how we trust. She then takes her argument a step further, analyzing the implications of blockchain and how it will impact our futures.

 10. Innate Incredibility | Shreyas Parab | TEDxPSUBerks 

Growing up as a kid in a big public school, Shreyas Parab knew that the ‘one size fits all’ approach wasn’t going to work for him or his peers. He realized that if you shifTED your understanding of students and what potential they have into a framework of “Innate Incredibility,” you could start unleashing a whole new side of students. He says that the inspiration came from having to break through the traditional education system towards his own Innate Incredibility.

11.Raising AI | Lolita Taub | TEDxIEMadrid

Lolita Taub’s Raising AI TEDx talk is centered around artificial intelligence, as it relates to our personal and professional lives. She explains what it is, where it is, what it does, and how it can be useful to us. Lolita shares the good and bad of AI. She closes her talk by sharing the why and how everyone – technical or not – should get involved in molding AI technology, creating a powerful and educational talk.

12.More Than Solo Cups and Studies | Kyle Herron | TEDxLSU  

Kyle Herron gave this TEDx talk at the mere age of 19, in the midst of what he dubs a ‘crazy collegiate journey.’ He highlights his own experiences, and focuses on redefining the general view of college. He asserts that college is an opportunity to grow, to fail, and to discover – not just to socialize and educate. It can be a powerful period of introspection, but he remains steadfast in his thesis: personal happiness should be a priority, not just in college, but in all stages of life.

13.The Power of Exclusion | Tiffany Yu | TEDxBethesda 

Tiffany Yu gets vulnerable about disability and how it often made her feel excluded. With the overarching message, “Disability doesn’t have to be a reason to exclude, it can be the reason to belong,” Tiffany’s talk is a powerful testament to community, belonging, and sharing our stories.

14.The Power of Social Storytelling | Larissa May | TEDxWilliam&Mary 

Larissa May, the founder of Half the Story, shares her personal journey with mental health and how her platform evolved from a dorm-room project to a global non-profit, leading the cause against the effects of social media on our mental health.

A round of applause to each of these Next Gen TEDx speakers. It takes courage to get up on a stage and share our most treasured messages, each deeply interwoven with unique experiences and passions. Give these a watch – maybe they’ll even prompt your own ideas worth sharing.

Like these talks? Want to know more? Join the Next Gen Community here


  • Haley Hoffman Smith

    Speaker & Author of Her Big Idea

    Haley Hoffman Smith is the author of Her Big Idea, a book on ideation and women's empowerment which debuted as a Top 3 Bestseller. She has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, and the Washington Examiner, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brown in May 2018. She is the founder of the Her Big Idea Fund in partnership with Brown's Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, which awards grants to women who apply with BIG ideas, and Her Big Lash, a cosmetics company.

    At Brown, she was the President of Women’s Entrepreneurship and started the first-ever women’s entrepreneurship incubator. She speaks on topics such as women's empowerment, innovation, social impact, and personal branding regularly across companies and college campuses, most recently at Harvard, TEDx, SoGal Ventures, University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, and more.