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  • Itzel Santiago Pastrana

From Taipei to Seattle to New York. The Young Women Behind the TEDXYouth Seattle Event.

Have you ever wanted to take a look behind the curtain? To find out what all goes into putting an event together? Putting a face to the people that make those events possible?

Just like me, I'm sure your just as curious to get to know the people behind TEDxYouth. So on a Sunny weekday in Seattle I found myself in Fremont about to meet Jenni Chiu who is is one of the leads in TEDxYouth.

Fremont Bridge, Seattle Washington

Stone Way Café is a cozy coffee shop located on the edges of Fremont, just right across the water from Westlake. I planned to meet Jennie Chiu here as she currently lives in the Seattle area and what better way to meet than over a cup of coffee in Seattle.  Jenni comes from Taipei, Taiwan. She became a Seattilite 4 year ago when she moved to the Seattle area and attended high school. She discovered Ted Talks back when she was 10 years old when she found a video of a favorite ballet dancer by the name of Juliet Doherty. Since then she was hooked and continues to watch and be inspired by Ted Talks and TedX. Come January she will be flying out to New York to attend Cornell, but before that, she is the Event Lead and handles the logistics of the event for TedXYouth Seattle.


I’m happy that I get to meet with Jenni because she is friendly and everything she talks to me about she says it with an electrifying excitement. There is no awkward moments of silence where neither of us doesn’t have something to say. It honestly feels like I am catching up with a friend at our usual coffee shop of choice. Jenni is the type of person you want to become friends with and I find it so easy to connect with her personally that I’m not surprised when she tells me that her team for the event has all become best friends at this point and they’re all like a family now. 

Jenni Chiu, photographed by Itzel Luccas


Jenni has been working on TedXYouth Seattle since January, she was one of the first youth to come on board. She found out about the opportunity to be a part of TedX Seattle back when she met with a school advisor. At the time she was in search of inspiration and that was exactly what she found. As the event gets closer Jenni and her team don’t miss a beat so that attendees for the upcoming event have an amazing experience from the second they walk in.


The event is a little over a month away now and Jenni is excited to hear what the youth speakers will be talking about. None of us have even gotten a preview of their speeches with the exception of a select lucky few like their speaker coaches. Yet, Jenni is also interested to see what everyone, from the speakers, to the volunteers, to the attendees, will take away from the event. Overall she’s excited to see how each of them will grow from these experiences. 


As Jenni drinks her coffee she explains how language is very powerful. Her eyes light up as she goes into detail and one thing that really resonates with me is when she says “Ted Talk in itself is it’s own language.” I agree, in fact have we not all at some point been inspired by another’s speach or passion. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be a whole speech that moves us, but just a simple phrase or a single word said. Just imagine who might inspire you next or what words are yet to be spoken that will move you. Inspiration is everywhere, but Jenni is correct, language is very powerful and I’m happy that she’s the Event Lead because such an important job couldn’t be in better hands than that of her and her team. 






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This independent TEDx event is operated under license from TED.