Joe Mercaldo has an altruistic goal for his talk—to set an example for folks in our community to just be themselves. “I want people to walk away feeling like they can share different viewpoints with others. I want them to be aware that not everyone around them believes the same things—and that’s okay. There is more than one way for someone to be a good person.”
Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Joe moved to Greenville nine years ago at the urging of a friend with whom he’d recently reconnected. The warmer climate was a welcome change, and he soon felt right at home in a city that has stunning natural beauty and an unexpected, contemporary coolness.
As the president of the Piedmont Humanists, Joe enjoys gathering with freethinkers who like to hike, go to movies, and chat at local coffee shops. “Just because we think differently, doesn’t make us different,” Joe shares. “Our group is filled with open minds and open hearts who want to build a community where people belong.”
According to Caroline Caldwell, the TEDxGreenville program team member who guided him through the organization’s nomination process, Joe will give the audience an intimate peek at a stance which is different from that of most people’s views in our region. “This speaker will surprise you and shatter myths and stereotypes,” she says.
Curator Lisa Marie Corley is eager to see Joe’s topic on a TEDx stage. “Greenville as a whole has made some pretty significant efforts to be more inclusive, to embrace diverse lifestyles and cultures. It’s great! There are still groups and individuals, though, who are wounded a bit by other people’s intolerance.” Lisa believes that Joe’s message addresses one example of lingering bias.
“I hope this talk will spur honest conversations and lead to greater acceptance,” she says. “Joe is a friendly, warm, and brave soul who will lay his heart out there for our audience.”
Joe’s topic will be revealed at the April 10th annual conference.