They own this TEDx and my very first photo inside Donovan

The TEDx preparation is moving forward incredibly fast. And the men own this event! It’s apparent in some bigger ways – like the ones described below – and in countless tiny ways: You ought to see the reflection and care these guys put into speaker selection. The men say things like “let’s do it this way; it’s the fairest way for the inside and outside attendees.”   They will do everything in their power to be at our weekly Core Team meetings, even when sticks get placed in their spokes. They postponed the voting on the outside speakers by an entire week because just one Core Team member was pulled away to attend his class. Etc. Etc.

Over the past few weeks, the Core Team of “men in blue” have brainstormed and prioritized the topics they wish to hear from outside speakers on their stage. It’s now a go! We have that list and it’s time for us outside folks to get to work, reaching out subject matter experts in the listed topics. Because the Core Team set the bar quite high!

As this TEDx is designed and organized by the Core Team of inside men, we’ll interview the subject matter experts and will be bringing back what we learn to the men so that they make the final speaker decisions. Lots of coordination. And it’s all worth it when we experience the men’s ownership for this complex event. They deserve to make these key decisions.

Another example of ownership. Over the past week, we asked the men to write up the descriptions of the event and the theme we’ll use in the event invitation to all of you, possible attendees. Something that sounds so easy for us – we’d meet up, draft it, send it around for comments over email, maybe get together again to finalize – can be incredibly difficult for these guys. They don’t live in the same buildings. Their yard times are different. Their in and out privileges don’t match. But, didn’t we say that they guys are committed?!?!?!?? Three of the guys told us on Tuesday how they masterfully coordinated their movements to be able to sit down together and draft the text together! Which, incidentally, is brilliant writing you’ll have a chance to read as soon as tickets go on sale.

img_0299Before the men arrived on Tuesday, we took 30 minutes to measure the event room and create our detailed map of the space. Since this provided a very rare occurrence of having a camera inside the prison walls, here’s a photo of us on the yard. You’ll see super tall Mark who’s been on the crazily magnificent journey with me from the start. On the right, Dita joined us inside a few weeks ago; you likely read her post about her first time inside prison. She has now organized her entire schedule around Tuesdays at Donovan to all of our great benefit.

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