Montclair State alumnus Nicholas Juzdan will be speaking at TEDxYouth@Kinnelon conference on Nov. 19 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The conference will be held at Kinnelon High School and is open to the public. The event encourages students of various ages to attend for the opportunity to listen to numerous speakers talk about variety of topics.
Nicholas Juzdan, who graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in sports, events and tourism marketing, has been invited to the conference and will speak about his knowledge of the film industry, business and filmmaking. Juzdan gained much of his knowledge while at Montclair State due to the school’s “great business program.” It wasn’t until later in his college career that he decided to marry his love for business with the film industry.
Julia Balick, a senior at Kinnelon High School, spent many months planning the event and will be hosting the conference this upcoming Saturday. Balick became inspired to start her own conference “after interviewing a member of TedEd, Ted’s education branch.”
“[The person I interviewed] mentioned that anyone could host their own Tedx conference, so I decided I wanted to do that,” said Balick. “I hope that the event exposes students to fascinating speakers, and I hope we are able to share fascinating ideas.”
Juzdan will be joining various different speakers including Mandy Leverett from New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking, David Benjamin on “What I Learned from 2,500 Skydives,” Michael Ransom, a scientist and the author of “The Ripper Gene,” and many others from different professions.
“The conference is a day event, where [speakers] go to a library or school and talk to the youth,” said Juzdan. “And they tell them to listen cause this is how life is and it’s their own experiences.” He had first learned of the event after being recommended from the Montclair Film Festival, which he had volunteered for one year and was hired for another three years as an operations coordinator.
Currently, Juzdan is working at Ashley Stewarts, Inc., a plus size company, as a marketing coordinator. He obtained the job after spending his college years interning in different jobs and spending two years as a freelancer. Juzdan is extremely proud of the work that his company has been doing, as it is helping to transform the public view on plus size individuals.
“What they are doing is being more than a plus size company. It’s a movement,” said Juzdan. “They are trying to make a media company out of it, to give plus size women a stage, an area, a platform to be seen,” Juzdan added, with pride in his voice. Though, bringing awareness to plus size women isn’t the only thing the company is concerned with. Juzdan also explained that “[it] cares not just about plus size, but different races and multi-cultural people. It’s giving these people an outlet, [a] platform to be themselves.”
This upcoming Saturday, Juzdan will be given his own platform to talk at the TEDx Youth Conference.
“I think things like this [the conference] is very important. I mean, I’m not trying to say if there are older people they won’t relate, but it’s cool that they are reaching out to people that are my age, more in their early and late twenties,” Jurzdan said about the speakers of the event. “It’s like a big brother type of thing, like [they can] relate more to the person. With older people talking, I think they can’t relate as well.”
When asked about feeling nervous about the event, Juzdan revealed, “I’m not nervous, but I also want to say the right things. There is so much that I can say, but obviously I can’t be up there for an hour…so I just want to make sure that I hit on the right things.”
Juzdan hopes that his speech will be able to inspire students to gain more confidence in themselves and “not to be afraid of going out of your comfort zone.” He continued, “I feel like there are a lot of people who are afraid of being themselves and to stand out.” He explained that he wants students to be able to stand out by “[sharing] their ideas and [letting] people know who [they] truly are.”
Juzdan understands the struggle students undergo as they try to find themselves, after going through such a phaze in his life. Juzdan recalled, during his high school years, being in every play production and at the movie theater daily catching the latest film with his friends. While the idea of a major in theater or film had popped into his head, Juzdan said, “Then, I thought I wasn’t the greatest actor, singer or whatever you want to call it, or future celebrity so I [asked], ‘Why do I like this?’”
This question led him to understand that he loved the process of making something out of nothing, but he was more interested in the funding aspects of the projects. His questions led him to be a part of the behind-the-scenes action of the film industry, leading him to receive his degree in business.
“Even though the degree’s concentration is sports events and tourism, what that really means is entertainment. What we really learned was entertainment because you can relate a sports game to a concert. There is a venue, celebrities and someone singing on stage. I did that and I applied it to what I want to do in the future and it worked out perfectly.”
Juzdan produced many films over the years, though the film that has always stuck with him is “A Crib,” directed and written by Jake Shapiro, who is also a graduate of Montclair State.
When asked what type of advice he would give to Montclair students, Juzdan suggested “taking classes that you wouldn’t regularly take like on the Trojan War, an art or film [class]. Explore and join different clubs. Get to know things and experience things that you haven’t before.”