Ar⁠t⁠hur Zards

August 9, 2022

August 9, 2022

“People think freedom is the Four Seasons, not realizing that it’s a lot of hard work.”

“My parents are perfect examples of that. They both came from Latvia during World War II – your typical American story where they had no money, but they always had traditional American values knowing that you can succeed.”

“They never sat me down and said ‘here’s our family history; appreciate what you have.’ It was more through their actions and their stories of what it’s like leaving your country when the communists came over. Seeing firsthand what it’s like from somebody that didn’t have the freedoms that we have, I never took those freedoms for granted, which I think a lot of people did and still do.”

“That’s why I love immigrant stories. They have a different perspective on the American Dream from somebody who has been here multiple generations. Immigrants, they know what it’s like outside of the U.S.”

Ted Talks image of Arthur Zards

“Most people want the world to be a better place. We want freedom, love, friends, family, the ability to run a business, the ability to help people. Most people are good people and have a lot more in common than the media would say we do.”

“We all want a better world for our kids – and for ourselves. Most people want to help but just don’t know what to do. Everybody’s waiting for somebody else to show them that first step, and that first step is hard.”

“I got involved with the TEDx movement in 2009, and what we’re trying to do is to put people on stage that are showing the first step of what they did. I call our event a giant permission slip to take action.”

“People are there to have conversations, to meet other people, to have their beliefs and belief systems challenged, and to have their perspectives challenged with interesting speakers. We want to get people to think critically and build a community that lives and breathes that.”

“Sometimes I purposely seek out somebody who’s from a different environment, a different perspective. Diversity is really important, but it’s the diversity of ideas. We have embraced discourse and disagreement.”

“The wonderful thing we have… is we have the power to have somebody sit there for 18 minutes and listen to an idea that they may not understand or agree with. I’ve had speakers I don’t agree with. And that’s where change comes from.”

“If you are willing to put in the work, this country still has an abundance of opportunity. We are further along than people realize.”

“If you want to make an effort, you can make it happen. I don’t care what your situation is, how it’s stacked against you, you have that opportunity. People don’t realize that other countries don’t have that opportunity.”

“That’s a shame.”

Arthur Zards
Naperville, Illinois

Arthur Zards leads TedX Naperville, Illinois where he brings together speakers from different backgrounds and ideological points of view to encourage thoughtful discourse.