I was on hand last week when Dan Haley, Editor and Publisher of the Wednesday Journal, had to change a light bulb.  Before you even ask, the answer is seven.

But it reminds me of how many people contribute to a successful undertaking.

This past week, I gave a TEDx talk at the Nineteenth Century Club in Oak Park.  It was a dream come true, lots of work and a challenging process.  I spoke about “outrage” and how it has the power to destroy our community – but also has the power to change the world for the better, when channeled appropriately.  Thrilled to report that it was favorably received.

Just like the light bulb joke, my TEDx talk resulted from many people.  It may have been me on stage, but I had loads of help.

TEDxOakParkWomen is powered by volunteers committed to creating a local TED experience.  Thank you to leaders Tania Haig and Janna Fiester and the countless volunteers who procured sponsors, arranged for production, helped the speakers and took care of all the little details.  Huge shout out to the sponsors (too many to list; find them at tedxoakparkwoment.com) who made the event possible.

My own preparations involved people across the Village.  Countless friends and colleagues offered feedback on early drafts.  I especially appreciate the Huskie Wrestling Family (and that wrestling credo of “you’re great, now get better!”), my Chamber team who gave me insightful comments, Team Blonde and Nora’s Shoes who outfitted me, Constance and Kevin Barker who helped me get in shape, my New Jersey family who constantly texted inspiration and my dear friends Kim, Adrienne, Mary, Dawn, Tammie and Lisa who kept me authentic.

Finally, thanks to my family.  Erin traveled in from Columbus to help edit, Chris provided constant encouragement and Scott stood by me through the three months of prep work.

Most importantly, I want to give a nod to the people who inspired my talk.  I spoke about outrage and how incredibly hard-working, diligent people are ostracized for speaking out on controversial issues.  You know who you are.  Thank you for working so hard to make our community a better place.

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Cathy Yen

Cathy Yen is the Executive Director of the Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce.  She has lived in Oak Park for 21 years and done business locally, first as a retailer and then as a small business...