Get a taste of the TEDxBreda rockstars – Interview with the people behind the scenes

TEDx is returning to Breda on 5 November. The motto of this year is “A taste of…” – a taste of culture, technology, community and innovation. Who are the people driving this movement forward? Who are the rockstars that keep the wheels of this event turning? We will discover more about TEDxBreda with Frederik Theuwis, Vivienne van Oosterum and Hans Mulder.


What’s your role throughout this event and your motivation behind it?

Frederik: When the previous TEDxBreda team quit, I got involved as one of the three new initiators. I vowed to give Breda its TEDx back and to socially engineer a way of working that is sustainable and renewable, making sure that Breda keeps its TEDx after we quit. I see my role as fueling the overall process with my enthusiasm and vision and to make sure we have enough motivated volunteers, partners and sponsors.

Vivienne: My current role is within the Resources group and the Communication group. For the resources group, I work together with a team to find enthusiastic partners and sponsors for this year’s event. I get in contact with several companies to find their passion for TEDxBreda and see where we can create a win-win situation. It is great to see this many different companies and being able to make them enthusiastic about this event! Within the communication group, I help with writing content for the online media and I love to think about the strategical part of the communication and marketing for TEDxBreda. Together with Danielle, we have also worked very hard on creating the new website of TEDxBreda together with our partner Netvlies. My motivation to help TEDxBreda, is that I have always been a big fan of TED and their talks and I think it is great that we have such an event in Breda. I was born and raised in Breda and have seen so many great ideas configured in Breda, so I am certain this kind of event shouldn’t be missed in such a city full of chances and opportunities. Besides this, I love to work for great innitiatives and work together with enthusiastic people!

Hans: I am a little bit older than the average member of the TEDx-team, with almost 40 years experience as an officer in the Royal Netherlands Army, working in the Netherlands but also many years stationed abroad. After my retirement in 2010 I studied (international and european) law, graduated in 2013. My first encouter with TED was in 2009 when I worked and lived in the USA. It was an e-talk, on a local network and I have seen and heard several e-talks over there. Was not possible to get access to a real-life TED event. Upon my return to the Netherlands I managed to get access to the first TEDxBreda in 2012 which was a real inspiring event, not only the talks on stage but also the audience with whom you could speak in the breaks. When I heard in the spring of 2014 that a group of young, enthusiastic people were thinking of organising a TEDx-event in 2015, I offered my knowledge and experience as a general advisor. That is what I do: listen to what the team wants to do, advise on how to do that, warn for possible dangers, look at contracts, etc.

What are your greatest hopes for this years TEDxBreda event?

Frederik: One of my great hopes is that the live audience will be full with people who have never attended a TEDx and have only remotely heard of it. In this way we will have the most critical and fun audience as possible.

Vivienne: I hope that we are able to create a TEDxBreda community instead of only a TEDxBreda event of one day. I think it would be great if we could work as a idea platform for creators and innitiatives in Breda. Besides this, my greatest hopes for this year’s event is that I hope we are able to inspire the visitors and that we are able to exceed their expectations beyond their imagination. I think we are able to do this because we have some very nice things in store, which will surprise the visitors and TEDxBreda followers!

Hans: I look forward to a successful event in November, with not too many things going wrong.

How do you think TEDx will influence the Breda community?

Frederik: My dream is for TEDxBreda to be an independent value-driven platform for great local speakers and ideas that empower the local community. We are not the only one doing this, and we are only an infrastructure for impact and influence of others. Hopefully the community of Breda will have a better creative source to tap into year round, sparking collaboration between the local creative industry and international community of thinkers and storytellers.

Vivienne: I think TEDxBreda can function as a platform for new ideas and innovations throughout the year. This is something we are also hoping to organize together with our partners, to maintain buzz for TEDxBreda throughout the year. On the other side I think we are also able to enthuse more Breda people because we have a very exciting invite-program for the main event. In this way we are able to inspire a different kind of community and stimulate the mutual passion for ideas.

Hans: TEDxBreda will have only limited influence on the local community, there are many other events / topics that matter for people (like their health, work, family, income, etc.).

What’s your current ambition?

Frederik: My ambition now for TEDxBreda is to tie all the loose ends. We have invested time in partnerships, volunteers, planning, et cetera to deliver a flawless event. Writing this, we have 3 months ahead, and we are in the phase of preparing delivery. Harvesting what we have sown and tying it all together is now my chief aim.

Vivienne: I think my overal ambition is based upon my “motto”, to think in challenges instead of restrictions. Besides TEDxBreda I work for my own marketing company and I have a huge passion for riding horses. In both I find my ambition to be the best and for my company, my ambition is to work on great exciting projects with various backgrounds. In this way I hope to expand my vision and knowledge and stimulate my curiosity for new business. For TEDxBreda, my ambition is to create an event together with the team that will blow the minds of the visitors. I think with the current team we have, we are capable of so many wonderfull things and I can’t wait for them to happen 🙂

Hans: My current ambition is using my knowledge and experience to the benefit of others, e.g. I am advising small businesses to improve their work-procedure, contracts, EU-regulations, and so on.

Everyone’s experience is different – how did volunteering for TEDx have an impact on you personally?

Frederik: TEDxBreda is my playground for my ideas about organising and leading things in a community-grounded fashion. To get such freedom and trust from my co-volunteers to shape this organisation has kindled a deep creative fire and a warm heart for the whole team of volunteers. I continue to learn where to direct and where to let go, and love it.

Vivienne: I think it is great to see how enthusiastic every team member is about TEDxBreda and that we are all capable of working individually on the same mutual goal. It’s great to meet such team members that have the same mutual passion. On the other hand I have also gained a lot more experience on approaching companies for becoming partner and/or sponsor and how I have been able to stimulate and inspire them to join us.

Hans: It is rewarding to be able to make a difference.

Who would you like to hear give a talk?

Frederik: I would really like to hear the story of Wajeeh Nuseibeh, the keyholder of the Church of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Why? To reconcile the rivalry between Christian sects over the church a Muslim, an ancestor of Wajeeh, was given the key to the church. Up till this day his family holds the key to this super sacred church and opens and closes the door every day. A Muslim who opens and closes the door for the Christian community, every day, in a land torn by ‘religious’ war. For me this story holds an idea about different religions taking care of each other like brothers, instead of fighting each other.

Vivienne: Recently I read a book from Brene Brown and I know she did some talks already. I think she could be very inspiring for many, but if I would have to chose a Dutchy, I would love to hear a talk from an innovative start-up. There are so many great start-ups, only in Breda you already have a lot and I think these can be very inspiring for others.

Technology, entertainment and design – how do you see the relationship between the three?

Frederik: Well in one sense it’s the ‘panem et circenses’ of the innovative 20th century community. The mass is at ease when things work, are fun and look fancy. Often the first isn’t even necessary. For me TED is way more than these three fields. You could also abbreviate Art, Science and Stories, but that just wouldn’t create such a strong brand I think 😉

Vivienne: I think this relationship is infragible. Coming from a family where Technology, entertainment and design are the talk of the day, I think these always go hand in hand. My father is the founder of Kharma, which has always made a passionate connection between the three, so I think these always link in many different ways. Most Technology is designed to entertain and most entertainment is designed by technology. Design is also something which is built with several technologies to be able to entertain or inspire people, so I think there is always a connection between the three 🙂

If you were to have your own TEDx talk, what would it be about?

Frederik: Tolerance, egoism and cooperation. I think there should be more of those. Yes, more egoism. Makes you think, right?

Vivienne: I think it would be between the relation of your personal life and sport. I have always been into sports, since I was little and it has shown me so much things that I have been able to apply in my personal life. I have always also been interested in philosophy and psychology so I would infiltrate these elements within the talk. Especially Neuromarketing for instance, this is a subject I read about a lot at the moment, because I find it very interesting how our brains react to certain situations and relations, which has a wonderful relation to sports.

What’s your favorite place in the world?

Frederik: My sleeping bag when traveling.

Vivienne: I don’t really have a favorite place in the world, as long as I have the people with my I love, I think every place could be wonderful!

Hans: My preferred place in the world is home (where ever that is) and the most amazing place is still the Grand Canyon (USA).

What is the most thought provoking question that you’ve asked yourself?

Frederik: “What do you want?”.

Vivienne: I often question myself, why certain things happen to me or to others around me? I do believe that things happen for a reason, so I sometimes question myself what that reason could be. Another question would be, why people react the way they do to certain situations. I also think this correlates to the books I currently read 🙂

What will the future bring for TEDx?

Frederik: The archives of TED and TEDx keep getting fuller and fuller. I guess the future will bring more ways how to interact with this archive. Ideas expressed in on a TEDxMiddleOfNowhere in 2002 could be useful in for a big city in 2020. How to connect those two? Discernment of quality and use are key to the development of TEDx and its users. Advice for TEDxBreda organizers? Frederik: I think it would be great to work more together offline. We have great offers of Breda Actief, Easyflex and Netvlies to use their offices. Not meetings, but working together will get things done and are fun!

Vivienne: We have a lot in store for TEDxBreda, with a lot of energy and ambition we strive to keep inspiring partners, sponsors and visitors, but also stimulate them to reach maximum capability of their own lives and/or jobs. As I mentioned before, I think it would be great if we could stimulate a larger Breda TEDx community to inspire, educate and entertain throughout the year.

Advice for TEDxBreda organizers?

Frederik: I think it would be great to work more together offline. We have great offers of Breda Actief, Easyflex and Netvlies to use their offices. Not meetings, but working together will get things done and are fun!

Vivienne: Keep up the good work! We are a very strong team and I believe we are capable of great things!

Dana Leahu