Speakers

This year’s amazing lineup of speakers for TEDxGrandRapids: Constant/Change hail from all across the U.S., the U.K., and our own community. These 15 exceptional people will surprise you, delight you, and above all, inspire you with ideas worth spreading.

“Constant Change” 2015 Speakers

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Brian Robertson
Brian Robertson is an experienced entrepreneur, CEO and the creator of Holacracy, a management system for governing and running organizations without a typical management hierarchy. A variety of global leaders have implemented Holacracy, including Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, Twitter Co-Founder Ev Williams, and the best-selling author of Getting Things Done, David Allen. Brian previously founded a software development firm that won numerous awards for both fast business growth and innovative people practices. He is the author of the upcoming book, Holacracy: The New Management System for a Rapidly Changing World.
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David Chae
David Chae is an assistant professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland. His research focuses on how dimensions of racism generate racial disparities in health. He has received grants from the National Institutes of Health to study links between racial minority stress and risk factors for accelerated biological aging. Collectively, his work has provided further evidence for the ill health effects of racism.
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David Weston / @Informed_Edu
David Weston is the founder/CEO of the Teacher Development Trust, the U.K.’s national charity for effective professional development in schools and colleges and one of the foremost voices on teacher development. He has written extensively in top education publications such as the TES and The Guardian, and was recently appointed to chair the U.K.’s new Teacher Professional Development Expert Group, charged with developing a new set of national standards. As one the first openly gay teachers in his school, he also founded OutTeacher.org and speaks frequently on TV and radio about LGBT issues.
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Deborah Alden / @deborahalden @bkaccelerator
Deborah Alden is the managing director of the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator (BF+DA). With more than 15 years of experience as a designer, strategist, educator and intrapreneur, her work has ranged from innovation and brand consulting for Fortune 100 companies to launching new initiatives, such as Firebelly U—a start-up incubator for designers launching social enterprises. In addition, she is a frequent media advisor for the Sundance Institute and Skoll Foundation’s Stories of Change initiative.
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Gina Fattore
Gina Fattore is a television writer/producer whose credits include Masters of Sex, Parenthood, Californication and Gilmore Girls. She began her TV career working on the animated series King of the Hill. She’s known for her work on WB network’s signature teen drama, Dawson’s Creek, writing more than 20 episodes over four seasons and working her way from executive story editor to co-executive producer. She has also sold original pilots to FOX, ABC, NBC and FX, and is currently writing a book about the 18th century novelist and diarist Frances Burney.
TedX Grand Rapids
Henry Muñoz III
Henry Muñoz III serves as chairman of the board and chief creative officer of Muñoz & Company, one of the largest minority-owned design practices in the country. In January 2014, he, Don Graham, CEO of Graham Holdings Company, and Carlos Gutierrez, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, founded the TheDream.US, a multimillion-dollar national college scholarship fund for immigrant youth who qualify under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.
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Jorge Sá / @VasconcelloseSa
Jorge Sá is the author of several books on business and has worked as a private consultant for a variety of companies, including Coca-Cola, SHELL, IBM, Microsoft and Johnson & Johnson. He holds a master’s degree from the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management in California, a doctorate in business administration from Columbia University in New York and earned the Jean Monnet Chair, the highest European academic award.
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Kim Dabbs / @kimdabbs
Kim Dabbs is a social entrepreneur, advocate and innovator who currently serves as executive director of the West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology (WMCAT). Her transformation of traditional educational models through design thinking earned her an invitation to participate in a 3-month residency at Stanford’s d.school in 2015. She has spoken on social impact design at the Aspen Institute and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and is a guest author for Edutopia.
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L.S. Klatt / @GRPoetLaureate
L.S. Klatt is the current poet laureate of Grand Rapids and teaches literature and creative writing at Calvin College. His first collection, Interloper, won the Juniper Prize for Poetry, and his second, Cloud of Ink, won the Iowa Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in literary magazines and anthologies, including Blackbird, Denver Quarterly, Harvard Review, Crazyhorse, Michigan Quarterly Review, Verse Daily, and The Best American Poetry. He is currently completing a series of prose poems titled with the names of American corporations.
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Melody Roberts / @Twelody
Melody Roberts is the global senior director of experience innovation for McDonald’s Corporation. She and her team focus on the five- to ten-year horizon, envisioning and prototyping practical, scalable solutions to complex customer and employee experience challenges. In her nine years with the company she has helped to shape the long-term global service strategy, to implement modern retailing practices, and to define the potential of digital commerce. Prior to McDonald’s, she spent seven years in design consulting, including two years with IDEO, helping clients foster a culture of customer-centered innovation within their organizations. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in American studies from Yale University and a Master of Design in human-centered product design from Illinois Tech.
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Miriam Petty
Miriam Petty is an assistant professor in the Department of Radio/Television/Film and African American studies at Northwestern University. She writes and teaches about stardom, reception, genre, race, and media, and the history of African American representation in Hollywood film. Her forthcoming book, Stealing the Show: African American Performers and Audiences in 1930s Hollywood (University of California Press, 2016) explores the complex relationships between black audiences and black performers in the classical Hollywood era.
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Penny Lewis
Penny (Penelope) Lewis is a neuroscientist at the University of Manchester, where she runs the Neuroscience and Psychology of Sleep (NaPS) lab. Her research investigates the role of sleep in strengthening and altering memories and the ways people can use this to their advantage. She is the author of The Secret World of Sleep, which has sold around 10,000 copies, and has written for a variety of popular science publications, including New Scientist, Scientific American and BBC Focus.
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Radha Mistry / @Radha_Mistry
Radha Mistry works as a foresight and innovation consultant at Arup, an international firm providing design and consultation services. Prior to Arup, Radha worked in the architecture industry focusing on hospitality, education and retail projects in the United States, Southeast Asia and West Africa; subsequently she co-founded the design office GOATstudio in New Orleans, Louisiana. Radha has worked on E.U.-funded community engagement initiatives in cities across Europe, exhibited work during the Lisbon Architecture Triennale, and currently sits on the Global Generational Advisory Council for World Future Society.
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Riva Lehrer
Riva Lehrer is an instructor in medical humanities at Northwestern University, and an artist/writer focusing on issues of physical identity and the socially challenged body. Her work has been presented across the nation, including at the United Nations, Smithsonian Museum and the Chicago Cultural Center, and featured in numerous documentaries, including The Paper Mirror and Self Preservation: The Art of Riva Lehrer. Her writing and art have also been included in publications such as Criptiques and Sex and Disability.
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Sean Saifa Wall / @SeanSaifaWall
Sean Saifa Wall is an intersex activist, researcher and visual artist. He founded EMERGE, a visual art project that examines conversations about African American culture and inequality. Originally from the Bronx, New York, Saifa witnessed the devastation of the 1980s crack epidemic firsthand, losing his father to the prison industrial complex, and eventually to AIDS. He was featured in the documentary One in 2000, and has been a guest on Huffington Post Live, speaking on the issues faced by people born with variations in sexual anatomy.

“What’s Connected?” 2014 Talks

Conversation with Richard Saul Wurman “One Way”
RICHARD SAUL WURMAN & DAN KLYN

Reality Reconciles Science and Religion
MICHAEL DOWD

The Coming Transhuman Era
JASON SOSA

Connecting Kids to the Cosmos; The Big History Project
BOB BAIN

Hip-Hop(e) – The Art and Science of Cultivating Hope in the Hip-hop Generation
ROBERTO RIVERA

Fighting Stigma and Social Inequality
CLEMENT CHIWAYA

Waking up to Connection – How the Power of Attention Changes Everything
JEFF KLEIN

My Black Year – One Woman’s Quest to Buy Black in America’s Racially Divided Economy
MAGGIE ANDERSON

Connected Fate
SHARNITA JOHNSON

The Evolution of the Craft Cocktail
WAYNE CURTIS

Cultivating A Sustainable Digital Homestead
RACHEL SEGAL

Mindscapes and Constellations
DOUG FITCH

The Yes and No Knot
JULIANNE WURM

The Nun, The Sailor, and the Suggestion Box
PAUL RINN

“Tag, You’re It” 2013 Talks

SCARCITY REFRAMED IS ABUNDANCE
Simone Ahuja

INVENTING DIGITAL CIVIL SOCIETY
Lucy Bernholz

GEMINI DA POET AND LADY ACE BOOGIE

THE IMPACTS OF COMPASSION & SERVICE
Jose Bright

LET THEM EAT ART
Nicole Caruth

ON YOU
Eric Daigh

HOW TO BECOME A CULTURE CHANGER
Evan Grae Davis

MAKING SCHOOL A GAME WORTH PLAYING
Luis de la Fuente

JUMPING THE INGENUITY GAP
Greg Galle

WHY BUSINESS? WHY NOW?
Fred Keller

THE POWER OF THE CONNECTOR
Gurjit Lalli

THE RISE OF GENOMIC MEDICINE
Rick Leach

GO GET IT!
J.A. Mustapha

COMMUNITY + ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Tim Rowe

CLIMBING BEYOND OUR LIMITS
Lori Schneider

THE STREET JAZZ ORCHESTRA
Performance

KARISA WILSON
Performance

“What Now?” 2012 Talks

Material Innovation Now
Andrew Dent

Epic fail now!
Bill Sabram

Connect Now
Carla Atwood Hartman

Dancing Gratitude
Dance in the Annex (DITA)

So What Now
Ebony Davis

Engage Now
Edwin Martinez

Edye Evans Hyde

Resilience now
Joan Borseynko

Computer industry research now
Kristen Tolle

Envision it now
Lesley Carmichael

WTF Now
Linda Chorney

Picturing peace now
Linda Ragsdale

The Gay Agenda Now
LZ Granderson

Why we struggle now
Michael Dowd

All together now
Nathan Waterhouse

The Ragbirds

Become a Story Now
Vikram Gandhi

“Innovate X” 2011 Talks

Mickey McManus
Innovate: Education

Jeffery Kimpton
Innovate: Art

Jeffery Kimpton
Innovate: Art

Sam Harrington
Innovate: Ultra-Rapid Renewables

Christina Keller
Innovate: Entreprenuerism

Layli Miller-Muro
Innovate: Justice

Michael Strong
Innovate: Experience

Steve Rosenbaum
Innovate: Curation!

Carol Coletta
Innovate: Your City

Sheryl Connelly
Innovate: Uncertainty

Robert Fuller
Innovate: Wonder

Gabor George Burt
Innovate: Innovation

Patrick Flanagan
Innovate: Cyborg Musicality

Garrett Borns
Musician

Salah Boukadoum
Innovate: Philanthropy

Amy Davidsen
Innovate: Clean Revolution

Steve Frazee
Innovate TEDxGrandRapids