If anyone knows the adage “content is king”, it’s Gildo Conte, a Laval resident and businessman, whose love of learning and knowledge has led him down a twisting and turning career path.

The former hairdresser has also had a career in behavioral psychology, life coaching, essential oils, and as of late, professional photography and videography. As the owner of several businesses ranging from online learning to media production, his multi-passionate entrepreneurial spirit allows him to relate to people and ideas in unconventional ways, and his extensive experience in different fields has afforded him contacts in the world of business and entrepreneurial innovation.

“If content is king, then content curation is the queen!” says Conte. With the proliferation of online content today, Conte laments the fact that today’s information consumers are not always certain which sources offer the most value, or even which sources are valid. “We have big need for new ideas and solutions,” he says. “We are at a crossroads in many situations and aspects of our lives, whether it’s to make a decision in our personal lives or in our business. But at the same time, we need to exchange ideas more efficiently.”

Conte, in an effort to bring forth new and innovative ideas, launched TEDxLaval more than two years ago, with the third edition on the way in May 2018. TEDx events are locally and independently organized events licensed by TED, a brand that has become synonymous with eye-opening concepts brought to the public via public speaking events, along with the highly accessible videos of the speakers’ talks online. Both TED and TEDx events have the mission to ‘share ideas worth spreading’, typically in the three categories of Technology, Entertainment and Design (hence the acronym TED).

“I wanted to bring forward ideas worth sharing, especially for training and educational purposes,” says Conte, pointing out that the immense popularity of TED and TEDx talks has spurred many large businesses to use videos of the talks to launch meetings and to inspire its staff. Since TEDx franchises became available in 2001, there have been TEDx events in 164 countries worldwide, and videos of these events have been viewed 360 million times on YouTube and TEDx sites.

This year’s TEDxLaval edition is themed “Links and Anchors” and will attempt to stretch our minds to see the links between concepts and people. This May, Conte aims to feature eight speakers and two artists. “Our team always looks through the piles and piles of proposals for presenters that will challenge our perceptions and views,” says Conte. As in previous years, it will be a bilingual event with a bilingual host. To learn more or reserve your tickets, visit tedxlaval.com.

Not satisfied with leaving all the learning to the adults, Conte is also on a mission to bring TEDx-style conferences to our local youth. The first ever TEDxYouth@Laval event will take place in April at Collège Letendre, and it will be the first event of its kind in Laval, bringing together youth aged 12 to 18 from both the public and private education sectors. Not only will it be a unity of different educational backgrounds, but the event is also designed to be multicultural and bilingual.

A group of approximately 40 students forming five committees will be responsible for planning out all aspects of the event, from marketing to technical elements (sound, lighting, video, stage direction, etc.) to curating the content and choosing the student speakers.

Student speakers will prepare talks of about 3-5 minutes to present on stage. The selected theme for the first TEDxYouth@Laval event will be “Experiences”, leaving the door wide open for youth to express themselves on a platform that could potentially reach millions of their counterparts online.

“My first mission with TEDxYouth@Laval is the same as TEDxLaval: to promote ideas worth sharing and to change our perception on things,” says Conte. “But with youth, my second mission would be to have their talks on video be used by teachers in the classroom to start up discussions.” Taking it one step farther, Conte envisions the future of TEDxYouth events branching out to licensed personalized events at individual schools, allowing schools to host their own TEDxYouth events.

To learn more, find out how to get involved, or even to become a sponsor for the event, visit TEDxYouth@Laval on Facebook.