Putting on a TEDx conference is a big task. For the fifth straight year, TEDxNavesink is bringing ideas worth spreading to Monmouth County. In this monthly series, we introduce you to the people who organize one of the largest independently organized TED conferences.

Have you ever been mesmerized by an inspiring TED talk? While most of the credit goes to the inspirational speaker, the real magic happens off stage. The speaker coaches and organizers make sure the event runs smoothly, and at TEDxNavesink, Mary Rawlinson plays a vital role as chief of staff and speaker coach.

This is Mary’s second year with TEDx. She coached six speakers for the TEDxNavesink Makers event earlier this year.

Outside of TEDxNavesink, Mary is a communications consultant specializing in global brand, design and relationship management projects, brand guidelines, and implementation. She chose the profession because “it involves art, business, critical thinking, and producing expertise.”

She combines her creative and analytical skills to help build powerful brands and foster a constructive, productive, harmonious project environment. Her skill set translates well to an event like TEDxNavesink.

“My background is in theater and performing arts, and I’m trained as a communicator. It’s great to combine that experience with the business of producing a TEDx conference,” Mary said.

So what drew Mary to get involved with TEDxNavesink? “Meeting highly intelligent people doing fascinating things with their lives,” she said. Many TEDxNavesink volunteers and speakers share that sentiment. Bringing creative people together is a large part of the event. It creates a collaborative space, which is what TEDxNavesink is all about.

“I’m genuinely curious about people and companies, and I hope I’m sympathetic to individual challenges,” Mary added. “It’s very satisfying to be part of, organize, and rally a team for maximum efficiency.”

Mary coached speakers Garry Kvistad (above), Gary Mottola, Akin Shoyoye, Chris Dudick and Bernadette Mullen, and Rinde Eckert for the TEDxNavesink Makers event and cited those as her favorite talks. She also said actor and writer Baba Brinkman’s talk from 2014 was one of the best in the event’s history.

When she’s not consulting brands and organizing the conference, Mary enjoys going to the theater, blogging, exercising, gardening, and seeing family and friends. She is also involved with Best Buddies and local arts councils.

Are you looking to use your creativity and communications skills for a good cause like Mary? Get involved with TEDxNavesink to be a part of our collaborative community. Fill out a volunteer form to get started.