Former UNITY Co-President and UNITY Alumnus takes story to TEDx Talk stage
“When I began with UNITY at 13, it was at a time that I knew I had a story to share but I didn’t know how to share it. UNITY gave me the tools I needed to be comfortable speaking in front of a large crowd. When I served as UNITY Co-President, I gained more,” said Dan Terrio, who was featured as a TEDx Talk speaker earlier this month.
More than 7,500 speaking engagements later, I was ready to take on my biggest speaking engagement yet; serving as a TEDx Speaker. Being a TED speaker was something that I always dreamed about but never thought would happen. In May of 2018, I was approached by several friends to apply for UW-Green Bay’s first TEDx event. After strongly considering it, I submitted my application only to find out that they received 100 applications. I didn’t think I would be selected. The wait was excruciating. On July 5th, I was sitting in my office and an e-mail came through my inbox that threw me to my feet and screaming with excitement. I received the notification that I was one of eight speakers selected to speak at this inaugural event! My manager ran into my office to make sure I was ok. I had to keep the news secret until it was formally announced to the general public.
Now the real work began! I knew that my topic was going to focus on one’s ‘Human Beingness’ and how we need to share our stories and life journeys so others can see the real being. This concept was instilled in me by two tribal elders, who mentored me at a young age. ‘Human Beingness’ embodies your whole being. It is what makes you who you are. This concept became a constant theme in my work and when I would speak nationally. As I began to write and brainstorm concepts, I developed a severe case of writers block. I knew that I needed to tell my story and share this concept in a creative way, but didn’t know how. I was two days away from having to submit my topic when I bit into a burrito and the idea came to me; tell my story from the perspective of another person. An hour later, my talk was ready. As part of the TED experience, I had to submit several manuscripts to be approved, read an incredible book on how to create the right TED Talk, and meet with a TED approved coach periodically to craft the message. Through the experience, I was able to create something that is powerful and moving, while learning more about the power I have as a speaker. I’m still in disbelief that I am a TED speaker!
I am now seeing and hearing the effects my TEDx Talk has had on people who listened to my words. It was an experience that I will never forget and always carry with me. I credit UNITY, especially J.R. Cook, Russell Coker, and Jeri Brunoe, for giving me the skills, knowledge, confidence, and the platform to mobilize communities and inspire others through my words.
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SJ2IdsFDxo
SUBMITTED BY: Dan Terrio, M.S.
Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians, Wisconsin
Former National Co-President, UNITY 2002-2003, 2004-2005
UNITY Alumnus 1997-2005