Kat Simmons to present TEDx talk in Carson City March 29 | RecordCourier.com

Kat Simmons to present TEDx talk in Carson City March 29

by Amy Roby

Since she graduated college, loaded up her car, and drove to Los Angeles in hot pursuit of a lifelong dream, Gardnerville Ranchos resident Kat Simmons has devoted herself to comedy. Her successful career has spanned more than three decades and includes years on the stand-up comedy circuit in clubs and on cruise ships; touring as part of a renowned comedy troupe; serving as a keynote speaker at conferences, conventions, expos, and retreats; authoring a book; and teaching comedy workshops.

Several months ago, Simmons decided it was time to take a break from teaching and reevaluate her next steps.

"For 32 years it has never crossed my mind that I wouldn't do comedy. But because I'm wanting to not travel like I have and instead stay closer to home, I kind of question what it is I want to do… continue on in comedy, teaching, speaking, or a combination of all three? It felt like a turning point."

While cleaning out her office on a recent afternoon, Simmons came across a faded vision board she'd created 10 years ago.

The vision board contained "offshoots of Kat Simmons productions; different things I've been able to do with my comedy career," said Simmons. Some of the items listed on the board included publishing a book; increasing the frequency of her public speaking engagements; writing, directing, and producing a one-woman show; and leading a TEDx (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) talk.

"I thought to myself, I've done almost everything on here; I should just take (the board) down," she said. Almost immediately, another thought chimed in. "No. You know you still want to do a TEDx talk."

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So the board stayed put.

Days later, Simmons received an email from a program director at the Brewery Arts Center (BAC) in Carson City asking if she wanted to submit an idea for a live TEDx Carson City talk. The theme was "Square One – Back to the Beginning."

Simmons' first thought was, "I don't have anything that fits that (topic)… I don't even know what subject I would talk about."

Within two minutes, Simmons said she realized, "That is exactly where I am with my career. I'm an empty nester, my kids are gone. (I'm wondering), 'How do I want to change the course of my direction?'"

Simmons saw potential in drawing upon lessons learned throughout her personal and professional experiences and compiled a successful pitch titled "Discovering the ME in CoMEdy." She was chosen to be one of 15 presenters at the upcoming TEDx live event scheduled for March 29 at the BAC.

"This is out of the box for me," said Simmons. "It's literally an opportunity to be back at the beginning again. I am now the student, not the teacher, but my 20 years of teaching comedy workshops have also taught me, right along with my students, the value of being authentic, concise, and getting your point across as quickly as possible. There is a process when you are trying to write a talk or a speech to impart an idea; what you start with is often not even close to what you end up with. You just have to trust the creative process as it comes through you."

The realization of this long-held dream fuels Simmons' robust enthusiasm around the themes of reevaluation and reinvention.

"My goal and my intention is to inspire and touch the audience through my story. When we stop trying to live any one else's vision for us and start to embrace who we really are, that's a success story."

The 2019 Carson City TEDx live event will be held Friday, March 29 starting at 9 a.m. in the BAC's Maizie Harris Jesse Black Box Theater, 449 W. King St. General admission tickets are $100 each and include continental breakfast and lunch.

For information about the event, the other keynote speakers, or to inquire about ticket availability, log on to tedxcarsoncity.com. Tickets may also be available through in-person, on-site purchase at the BAC.

Information about Kat Simmons and a list of her upcoming events and classes can be found at katsimmons.com.

From the tedexcarsoncity.com website: "TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes or less. Many of these talks are then made available, free, at TED.com."

"In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized."

Amy Roby can be reached at ranchosroundup@hotmail.com.