DePaul faculty reaches viral status as official TED speaker

Kelly Richmond Pope on stage
Associate Professor Kelly Richmond Pope delivers her talk on the importance of whistle-blowers at TEDxDePaulUniversity 2017. (DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)
In 2017, Kelly Richmond Pope, an associate professor in the Driehaus College of Business, delivered a talk at DePaul’s annual TEDx event examining the role and importance of whistle-blowers.

After her video was posted on YouTube, it took on a life of its own, amassing more than 150,000 views. Its popularity caught the eye of TED producers and on Oct. 12, Pope’s video was published to the TED website. In the weeks since her talk was elevated to the TED platform, the video, “How whistle-blowers shape history,” has gone viral with nearly 900,000 new views.

Pope now holds the prestigious title of official TED speaker with other world-famous thought leaders, including Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Stephen Hawking and Shonda Rhimes. 

“I have received emails from whistle-blowers all over the world sharing not only their personal stories but telling me how my talk has inspired them to speak up,” Pope says. 

On rare occasions, when TEDx talks receive a large number of views, TED will move the talk to TED.com and promote it through their influential channels with the potential to reach several million viewers. Though it has only been a few weeks since TED posted her video, Pope already has felt the power of her video reaching new eyes. 

“Carrying the TED speaker title has definitely opened the door to new opportunities, including the opportunity to write a book, which I am currently exploring,” Pope adds.

Pope is an expert in organizational misconduct, fraud and ethics. In her talk, she discusses some of the most important whistle-blowing cases of the past and how they have helped shape history. Her research on organizational misconduct led to directing and producing the award-winning documentary, “All the Queen's Horses,” which explores the largest municipal fraud in United States history. The documentary premiered as the top documentary on iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play and Direct TV during its debut week on the on-demand platforms in April 2018.

Pope’s success speaks to the power of the TED and TEDx platform to promote thought-provoking ideas from the DePaul community. Past TEDxDePaulUniversity speakers said being chosen as a speaker has led to media opportunities, given validity to their academic work, and provided networking opportunities and speaking engagements around the world.

Do you have an “idea worth spreading?” There is one week left to complete your application for TEDxDePaulUniversity 2019, and all faculty, staff, student and alumni thought leaders are invited to apply. This year's theme, “Fast Forward,” invites potential speakers to envision, confront and reframe the challenges of tomorrow. Creative interpretations of the theme are encouraged. 

TEDx talks and performances incorporate concepts that change perceptions, connect with emotions, are widely relatable and can be conveyed in 18 minutes or less. 

TEDx events, such as the one hosted by DePaul, are self-organized and independent of TED yet share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, live speakers and videos of TED Talks combine to spark deep discussion and connection. DePaul’s annual event features a mix of faculty, staff, students and alumni speakers. All of DePaul’s past TEDx videos are posted online. 

Speaker applications are being accepted from DePaul faculty, staff, students and alumni until Nov. 15 at 5 p.m. (CT) here. Following committee review, selected speakers will be notified on or before Dec. 20. 

TEDxDePaulUniversity 2019 will be held April 12, 2019, from 1-5 p.m. at the Holtschneider Performance Center, 2330 N. Halsted St. For more information about the event, visit the TEDxDePaulUniversity website.

​​​