Photo by Dian Lofton

“To be a good curator, it’s important to…be open to what you don’t know and to be looking for people to tell you what the new important ideas are instead of going out and saying, I think I know what matters.” — Corey Hajim, TED Business Curator

She didn’t know it while it was unfolding, but when you look back at Corey Hajim’s career trajectory, it makes sense that she became the business curator at TED. Prior to joining the conference and content company, Corey got an MBA at Harvard, spent a decade in finance in New York City, and was a reporter at Fortune. So when she saw the job description for a curatorial role at TED, it didn’t just speak to her for the skills it required. There was one other sentence that hooked her: “We only hire nice people.”

Corey is most definitely a kind person, but what was fascinating to find out in this conversation is how niceness can make you a better curator. With that as a foundation, Corey dove into how she helps to program multiple events and online series each year, including working directly with dozens of speakers to make sure their TED talks shine. Learn from her deep curatorial experience while extracting some public speaking tips for yourself. 

Highlights, inspiration and key learnings:

  • How she became the business curator at TED
  • Why the role spoke to her
  • What attributes make a great curator
  • What makes an “idea worth spreading” in a talk
  • How she finds and coaches people for TED talks
  • How she thinks about the talks as a holistic body of work
  • Reacting to news and cultural moments
  • Presentation tips for the rest of us
  • Who she still wants to get for a TED talk
  • Underviewed talks worth your time
  • How she tracks her ideas when she’s always consuming
  • Favorite TED talks and other culture picks

Browse the companion Storyboard to get the episode, plus the TED talks Corey thinks more people should watch, her favorite TED talks, and other books and media recommendations. 

You can find “The Art of Curation” podcast on Flipboard as well as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, etc. Please subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode, and if you like what you hear rate, review and share. 

— Mia Quagliarello, head of creator community and newsletters, is curating the curators in “The Art of Curation” podcast