5 Ways to Overcome Uncertainty, as Discovered by Our Experience Working With TEDxSanDiego

5 Ways to Overcome Uncertainty, as Discovered by Our Experience Working With TEDxSanDiego

The following post was contributed by Magali Ambrosi and Alexandra Steinhaus, a student and alumna, respectively, of the Kroc School's MA in Social Innovation (MASI) program.

When the pandemic hit, Magali, a current MASI student, and Alexandra, a recent MASI graduate, didn’t know what tomorrow would look like, let alone what a future career or life would look like. While Magali was quarantining with her family in Mexico City, and Alexandra was staying in San Diego, we started questioning the very systems that make up our global community. Together, we started asking questions, making connections, and analyzing the current systems that are failing so many people.

Our quest for answers brought us to TedxSanDiego, who was using their now global (virtual) platform to discuss some of the biggest questions we’ve been asking. As TEDxSanDiego says, "Our world is changing in ways we never imagined. It’s calling for us to change as well." So, we joined the team of dedicated volunteers and set out to plan a four-day event that provided a platform for people to discuss how they were overcoming uncertainty and pivoting their lives. And through our experience planning the RE: Think, Imagine, Create event, we found some answers for our own lives as well.

Now, let’s explore how you might overcome uncertainty, as discovered by our TEDxSanDiego experience.

1.     Find opportunity in the challenge

The pandemic hit, and we had to take classes on Zoom. Magali had to go home to Mexico City and she didn't know when she would come back. Alexandra had recently graduated and had no idea what starting a new career looked like during a global pandemic. Through our Kroc School community, we were connected to TEDxSanDiego, where we learned about the opportunity to plan their upcoming event, improve our skills, and even learn new ones (virtual events are an adventure!). We both supported the marketing and events teams, which included social media, sponsorships, partnerships, planning, coordinating, and executing. Magali experienced her first live broadcast, and even wrote scripts and worked “backstage” with the virtual performers, speakers, and tech coordinators. Alexandra learned the art of engaging an audience through a computer screen. At the end of the day, we learned how to connect with people in different ways, develop relationships, and spark conversations about deep-rooted issues with people of many opinions.

We ended up having a great experience despite the challenges we were facing. Because of the many questions we asked, the many people we spoke to, and our stubborn optimism, we were able to find the opportunity that gave us hope during this time.

2.     You need to be resilient

As MASI students, we develop tools to analyze problems, collaborate with empathy, and design measurable and scalable solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems. In a time that is overflowing with challenges, we as social innovators are determined to discover new ways to transform our communities. While we were each stuck in our homes, trying to figure out how to present a powerpoint deck on Zoom without any glitches, we kept asking, “What else can we do? How might we see things different?”

As summer came, we each signed up for every webinar we could, constantly shared articles we found, and set up weekly networking calls. We were determined to continue learning outside of the classroom, to find out what our next career step was, and to find some sort of internship or job. Not all conversations led to our life passion, but one, in particular, brought us to TEDxSanDiego, and we are grateful for the resiliency that brought us to that moment. Most importantly, we are grateful for the Kroc School community that brought us the introduction.

3.     Follow what inspires you

We both came to the MASI program with a business background and believe change requires collaboration. We are inspired by stories of businesses, nonprofit organizations, and governments working together. We are drawn to experiences that bring unlikely partners together and teach us a new perspective. We saw the power of community at TEDxSanDiego and were instantly inspired by its ability to collaborate with volunteers across the country (and the world!). It seemed like a minor detail at the time, but our love for connecting with people and asking questions are what brought us to the TEDxSanDiego team. It’s what continues to motivate us and push us through this journey. Inspiration can come in many forms, so pay close attention the next time something excites you – it may be a catalyst for your next adventure!

4.     It is always a perfect time to start

We are no strangers to conflicting priorities, busy schedules, and self-doubt. Especially during times of uncertainty, it’s so easy to get trapped in a cycle of fear and stress. But what we’ve found is there is always time to volunteer, learn, teach, share, and have fun. A few weeks after joining the TEDxSanDiego team, Alexandra excitedly accepted a full-time position at the International Rescue Committee. For us, the work at TEDxSanDiego is inspiring and energizing, so we made sure to carve out time every week to explore and discover with the RE: Think, Imagine, Create team. You never know who you might meet or what project you might work on that will help you move forward to your next journey, so we believe today is the perfect day to start something new!

5.     We can’t do it alone

We all have work to do, and we can’t do it alone. Through our experience with TEDxSanDiego, we saw a global community come together to RE: Think, Imagine, and Create our future. We were so inspired by this journey and saw the incredible work that can be done with the right team. In less than a month, TEDxSanDiego:

  • Engaged with four incredible activists on a global platform
  • Inspired 900 people to discuss what the world needs today
  • Led discussions with participants from 15 different countries
  • Partnered with more than 8 organizations
  • Received more than 40% paid admissions despite fee waived option

Seeing it all come together brought us hope and reminded us of the power of collaboration. We need each other to overcome uncertainty, and that is the most beautiful fact of them all! Now, how might you overcome uncertainty?


Justin Prugh
(619) 260-7573