Danielle Lemieux and Stefano Sacchi of the TOA Content Team

At TOA, we book speakers who believe that their ideas will change the world

  • TOA’s Content Team explain exactly why the mix of speakers at TOA is unlike any other — and why you’ll leave TOA more inspired than a standard tech conference
  • “We book speakers who believe that their ideas will change the world. And we work really hard to find them.”
  • Tickets are selling fast — so why not make 2017 the year you dive into a tech festival like no other?

In this, the first of our weekly peeks behind TOA’s curtain, we’re paying a visit to TOA’s Content Team — the people who book the speakers, panels and initiate the discussions that make TOA so amazing.

There’s one piece of feedback we receive time and time again from our attendees, speakers and partners alike: “TOA’s just so different to other tech conferences!” It’s a happy truism which we’re unashamedly proud of, and work incredibly hard to maintain — from the unique open-air festival vibe to the stories the speakers tell.

TOA’s speakers are more than simply interesting — they tell unique stories, from people who make the decisions that shape our lives.

The ethos of the Content Team, comprising Rosie Horgan, Danielle Lemieux and Stefano Sacchi, is shaped by TOA’s experienced Head of Content Nadine Riede, and is focussed on one thing: fighting mediocrity!

For the Content Team, TOA’s speakers need to be more than simply interesting.

TOA speakers need to tell unique stories, and they need to be from people who make the decisions that shape our lives.

“When you leave TOA, I guarantee that the speaker who inspired you the most will be the one you least expected!”

Rosie Horgan, who’s been kicking ass and booking names in our Content Team, explains how they dig into the human side of tech to find something special:

Rosie Horgan, of TOA’s Content Team

“We want people to come to TOA and talk, person-to-person. We don’t want speakers to simply talk about their product: we want them to enthuse about their passions, the journey that brought them there, and how that made their unique project happen.

“TOA’s non-hierarchical in some important ways: we want to facilitate the exchange of powerful knowledge between everyone in attendance.

“And that’s something that is found in stories from the founder of a small, hyper-innovative startup, just as much as it is in the world’s biggest tech companies.

“So we book both — and when you leave TOA, I guarantee that the speaker who inspired you the most will be the one you least expected!”

TOA isn’t a stop on a victory-lap speaking tour.

It’s where CEOs and founders come to share deep-rooted beliefs, get asked tough questions, and to share the rarest of things: what makes them tick.

So TOA’s speakers are only the type of people who dream big and make things happen. You’ll hear it from the horse’s mouth — or to be more accurate, the Founders, CEOs and other C-level movers and shakers of the hottest startups, research institutes and creatives.

Danielle Lemieux sees her role in the Content Team in a kind of journalistic sense, sniffing out the real story that attendees want to hear:

“For me, the most important thing is finding founders who have a story. Unicorn companies are great — and we have a few lined up already! -– but I’m on the hunt for people who are looking for more than money and Silicon Valley stardom.

“We book speakers who believe that their ideas will change the world. And we work really hard to find them — because these are the stories that our audience will take with them and use to fuel their own adventures at the cutting edge.”

Rosie agrees: “We think of speakers as thought-leaders and humans rather than “CEO of XYZ.” We work closely with them all to draw out each amazing story — and they all have one. The idea is that TOA’s visitors will absorb the thinking of the people who actually make a difference.”

“We personally curate each topic and make sure it gives as much value to our audience as possible. You’ll hear things that have never crossed your mind!”

For Stefano it’s this personal touch — coupled with a slightly obsessive devotion to unearthing cool new stuff to learn along the way — is the key to what makes a TOA talk special:

“What’s important to me is inspiration, an eye-opening story, and knowledge — lots of knowledge! We personally curate each of TOA’s content topics, and make sure it gives as much value to our audience as possible.

“If you come to TOA, you’ll hear things that have never crossed your mind and you’ll be inspired to go and dominate the world!”

OK, so maybe Stefano is exaggerating a tiny bit.

You might not become supreme leader of the planet (yet) — but the Content Team aim to make sure that you feel a bit like that. It’s important that everyone leaves TOA brimming with confidence to start making their dreams a reality, whatever their discipline.

At TOA, you won’t find the same speakers trotting out the same presentations — and it’s our Content Team who work incredibly hard to find exactly the right speakers that will blow minds, and then invigorate them!

TOA’s hard-working Content Team has already booked a series of revolutionaries to speak: Damian Bradfield, President & CMO WeTransfer, who has fundamentally changed how we share things; Hector Ouilet, who, as Head of Design at Google Search, has transformed how we find information; and Nicole Shanahan, who, as Founder/CEO of ClearAccessIP is changing how data affects the law.

You’ll not want to miss it — join us in Berlin in July!

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Originally published at blog.toa.berlin on April 25, 2017.