Behind the Scenes with Carrie Morgridge at TEDxMSU

Reach Exclusive | Blog | Video | 5 Min.
Written By: Meredith Dreman | Posted On: 12/20/2019

What makes for good disruption in philanthropy? Carrie Morgridge is an avid athlete and entrepreneur who brought her fresh perspective and an ambitious mindset to the world of philanthropy. As the Chief Disruptor of The Morgridge Family Foundation, Carrie has given away millions of dollars in transformational gifts over the past decade. She has inspired audiences through countless speaking events and her award-winning book, Every Gift Matters: How Your Passion Can Change The World. Now she is sharing the lessons she learned along the way in her TEDxMSU talk, Four Pillars of Disruption in Philanthropy.

Whether you are new to the nonprofit world or an active philanthropist, this thought-provoking talk will encourage you to challenge your giving routine. True to her title, Carrie is a bold leader who is refreshingly honest about failure, success, and the learning curve in philanthropy. Her TEDx talk will energize you to ask, “what will I disrupt?”


Watch Carrie’s TEDx Video Here.

I caught up with Carrie after the event and asked her about the TEDxMSU experience. Read on for an exclusive chat with the speaker.

What was it like being chosen as a TEDx speaker?
I was overjoyed and thrilled beyond measure to be a speaker at TEDxMSU. TED’s mission sings to my heart because I believe that communities can change the world when they are brought together to share ideas. In my role as Vice President and Chief Disruptor at the Morgridge Family Foundation, it is my mission to inspire and empower individuals to make a difference in their communities and find their path to creating an impact. It was exciting to share that message from the TEDx stage.

Were you a fan of TED talks before the event?
Absolutely. The first time I went to a live TED talk, I knew I wanted to be a part of this forward-thinking society. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that one day I would be a TEDx speaker. The previous speakers who have stood on TED or TEDx stages have provoked my curiosity and shared perspectives that captivate my imagination.

Were you nervous before your talk?
Of course! Standing on the TEDxMSU stage is an honor and a challenge that warrants nerves. I knew that this would be one of the most important speeches of my life. So I practiced, rewrote, and practiced more. Each time slowly tweaking my talking points, until I felt confident that this was the idea truly worth sharing.

So… How was the big day?
The TEDx MSU experience was over the top amazing. I will never forget the full day of events because it engaged me on every level and went full cycle, from learning to teaching.

On the day of the talk, I purposefully wore two outfits because I knew I was going to sweat through the first. The day started at 7:30 am with a group picture of the speakers. All of my anxiety left after the photo. I knew I had to make it until the end of the day, and that meant keeping a cool head.

As you said, the day started at 7:30 am and you went on stage around 4 pm. How was that?
What I loved most about going second to last was the chance to watch the first two groups of TEDx speakers and learn from them. I thought sitting and listening for hours on end would get boring, but it wasn’t at all! The other speakers were engaging and thought-provoking. Above all, I respected that the other speakers were themselves. It reminded me that I was chosen to be my authentic self, and helped to ground me for telling my own story.

When it was time to go backstage before session three (my session and the final session of the day), all hell broke loose. I could feel the jitters and adrenaline of the other speakers in my session. The five presenters in the back room were feeding off each other’s nerves. I decided to do ten pushups in my suit with Tyler Kingsbury, the last speaker of the day, to shake off some extra energy. Tyler went on to do 100 jumping jacks before her talk. We were provided a breathing coach that benefitted all of us in the green room. She was calming speakers down by having them breathe in positivity and let out self-doubt. The nerves were off the chart crazy.

What would you compare the experience too?
A TEDx event is a lot like a wedding. You prepare every detail months in advance, roll with last-minute changes, and feel nerves in the air. Oh, and it’s not for everybody. That said, the high stakes and off-the-cuff changes energized me.

Any final reflections on the day?
What made TEDx so special for me was the amount of support I received from the people who showed up and the many more who watched the live stream. Now that TEDx MSU is in the rearview mirror, I am grateful for the experience and the friends, old and new, who shared it with me.