In 2009, Ruth Ann Harnisch saw an opportunity to fuse her passion for the TED community with her passion for coaching.

A TED patron since 2006, Ruth Ann was a founding member of the TED Fellows program, designed to bring young world-changers and trailblazers who have shown unusual accomplishment and exceptional courage into the TED community. She called on longtime ally Renee Freedman from Renee Freedman & Company, Inc to co-found and execute a pro-bono coaching service that would amplify the impact of Fellows’ projects and activities. The result: SupporTED.

Launched in 2009, the SupporTED program provides each class of TED Fellows with personal and professional pro-bono coaching and mentoring. Over the course of 12 sessions, Fellows work alongside their coach and/or mentor to identify how they can best maximize their effectiveness and make the most of the TED Fellowship. The range of hoped for outcomes is varied: while some Fellows need assistance formulating next steps on a project, others aim to create more balanced and healthy personal lives. The beauty of SupporTED is that it’s individualized. Participants decide for themselves what they want and where they want to go — we just help them to get there. To date, nearly 250 TED Fellows have used these SupporTED services.

SupporTED Fellows
Coaches & Mentors

The SupporTED Collaboratorium:

 As we were building our talent laden roster of coaches, one of our fabulous SupporTED coaches requested the opportunity to work with Fellows in a live venue. Our partner, Renee Freedman, took that to heart by brainstorming and designing an immersive experience that evolved into the SupporTED Collaboratorium. After considering the potential impact of such an experience, we couldn’t help wondering whether an immersive environment might further accelerate our efforts. Therefore, in collaboration with Renee Freedman & Company, we decided to take the SupporTED program a step further.  In 2011, together, we launched this live, collaborative experience where teams of coaches and other professionals offer their expertise, talents, and ideas to the selected group of TED Fellows.

That year, 13 Fellows were selected for a multi-day intensive in New Orleans, Louisiana. To say it was a success is an understatement. Imagine if you could wave a magic wand and assemble a team of wizards to help you think through your most pressing problem. That’s what we offered. Since its inception, numerous Fellows have come through the Collaboratorium and each year we welcome more.

Learn more about the program by watching the 2011 SupporTED Collaboratorium video below and visiting the SupporTED site.