TEDx event connects community at JBSA-Lackland

  • Published
  • By Vanessa R. Adame
  • 37th Training Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – Cultivating resiliency and making connections, that was the theme of TEDx here, Texas, Nov. 4. The event brought together approximately 150 people with a mission to provoke thoughtful conversations.

It was the second year for the event, which was created in the spirit of TED’s overall mission to discover ideas worth spreading.

Dr. Elizabeth Rich, Chief, Faculty Development Flight, 37th Training Support Squadron, was behind the idea to bring TEDx to JBSA-Lackland. As lead organizer, Rich explained that TEDx has evolved “from an event, into more of an experience.” 

Puzzles and play dough helped add to that experience. The items were placed in the center of tables to encourage attendees to listen while being creative.

“TEDx is not just about the speakers, it is also about the people you meet,” Rich said. “We wanted attendees to walk away today with making new connections, which is why we asked attendees to change tables after every break, engage in discussions with new people, and create those new connections…the day was all about thriving by cultivating resilience and connections."

Chief Master Sgt. Sam Caballero, Air Force Reserve Command Headquarters, was one of the speakers who shared how he overcame a difficult time in his life and used his past experience to propel him into a new career.

“Everyone can relate when they’re challenged and struggled by something,” Caballero said. “People are going to leave here and think in the most odd and usual places, like in the car or shower or something. And that’s when they can plug away to some of the things that were shared [here] today.”

“I think it’s absolutely gratifying to be here,” said Master Sgt. Xavier Clark of the 320th Training Squadron.

He said continuous learning was his biggest takeaway “…to make sure that as an adult you’re still trying to better yourself in your day-to-day life and with the people you lead,” Clark said.

Master Sgt. Graham Lees of the 332nd Training Squadron, considered himself fortunate to attend the event, having arrived at JBSA-Lackland only two weeks ago. He said TEDx gave him a leadership perspective and is encouraged to share what he learned with his subordinates.

“The most impactful thing has been about connection and how human connection doesn’t see rank. It doesn’t see position or title. It’s all about connecting with other people and taking that continuum and just refining the process throughout everything we do. No matter what the mission is, you’re always going to be doing it with other people, there’s no such thing as by yourself or solo, so continuum of connection is the theme for me,” Lees said.  

Similarly, Caballero hopes people can connect back to what they learned here today, when they need it.  

“I’m hoping that this leaves a footprint in their minds, and that they are able to take all the materials and place it in a special place so that if they forget, they can connect. If they need help, they can engage with the materials,” Caballero said.  “When we truly focus on resiliency, it is intentional, it is impactful, it is influential, so that we’re able to help each other help ourselves.”