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TEDxGrandRapids reveals speakers
Entrepreneurs, designers and the founder of TED are just some of the talented people who will be joining the Grand Rapids community this spring for the TEDxGrandRapids conference.
TEDxGrandRapids revealed today its most-diverse lineup yet, with 15 speakers set to take the stage at the Grand Rapids Civic Theater on May 7.
Each speaker will approach this year’s theme — “What’s Connected?” — from their personal experiences.
“True to this year’s theme, our speakers will share reflections on the nature of being connected and the surprising ways people and things connect,” said Bill Holsinger-Robinson, TEDxGrandRapids lead organizer. “We’re bringing experts from across the world to Grand Rapids for what might be the most provocative, engaging TEDxGrandRapids event to date.”
For people who can’t attend the event, it will be live streamed online and available at the event’s website.
Across Michigan, students and educators will also tune in to watch the event live in an education-focused environment.
The TEDxGrandRapids Livestream for Education event, held at the Kentwood Performing Arts Center on the Kentwood High School campus, is open to anyone in the field of education, including educators, mentors, coaches, support staff and administrators.
Registration for this year’s Livestream for Education is open until April 16.
TEDxGrandRapids 2014 speakers
Margarita (Maggie) Anderson, founder, The Empowerment Experiment
Anderson and her family were featured in national headlines as they lived exclusively off black businesses, professionals and products for an entire year. Her experience, chronicled in her book, “Our Black Year," is called The Empowerment Experiment.
Bob Bain, associate professor, University of Michigan
Bain is an award-winning associate professor at the University of Michigan, with joint appointments in history, educational studies and museum studies. He’s also a faculty lead for the Big History Project. The international research and design group has developed an online curriculum, assessments and professional development to enable high school students to study 13.82 billion years of cosmic history, from the Big Bang to the future.
Clement Chiwaya, chief whip, United Democratic Front
At the age of two, Chiwaya contracted polio and lost the use of his legs. Through assistance, he moved from Malawi to Grand Rapids, where he graduated in 2002 from Aquinas College.
Wayne Curtis, freelance journalist and contributing editor, The Atlantic
Curtis writes the “Drinks” column for The Atlantic and the “Behind the Bar” column for Imbibe magazine. He's also written about cocktails, spirits and bars for many other publications and is the author of “And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails” and the forthcoming book “The Last Great Walk: The True Story of a 1909 Walk from New York to San Francisco and Why It Matters Today.”
Michael Dowd, big history evangelist
Dowd returns to the TEDxGrandRapids stage after delivering his popular talk in 2012, “Why We Struggle Now.” He is a bestselling evolutionary theologian and evangelist for Big History and what he calls “an honorable relationship to the future," known for his book, “Thank God for Evolution.”
Doug Fitch, co-founder, Giants Are Small
Fitch is a visual artist, designer, director and co-founder of Giants Are Small. He has received accolades and praise from prominent publications, such as The New York Times, New York Magazine and TimeOut New York for his 2010 Giants Are Small production of György Ligeti’s “Le Grand Macabre” for the New York Philharmonic.
Sharnita Johnson, program officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Johnson provides leadership and oversight for on-the-ground execution of W.K. Kellogg Foundation programs in Detroit.
Jeff Klein, CEO, Working For Good
Klein leads marketing and business development campaigns working with the principles of Conscious Capitalism. He also serves as executive director of The Baumann Foundation and director of marketing and business development for Conscious Capitalism, Inc.
Dan Klyn, co-founder, The Understanding Group
Klyn leads a world-renowned team of information architecture consultants in the making of places made of information.
Paul Rinn, Captain (ret.), United States Navy
An accomplished naval leader and successful businessman, Rinn’s career in the U.S. Navy spanned almost three decades. He now speaks to corporate audiences in both the public and private sector.
Roberto Rivera, president, The Good Life Alliance PBC
Rivera leads The Good Life Alliance PBC, an organization that publishes multimedia educational tools and trains educators, youth workers and parents to connect positive youth development to community development.
Rachel Segal, digital strategist
Segal has spent more than a decade working with some of the largest brands in the world on their social media and content marketing programs. In 2012, she and her partner Scott moved out of the city and on to a remote island homestead, where she continues to freelance for a number of agencies and companies, in between milking goats, feeding chickens and planting seeds.
Jason Sosa, founder/CEO, IMRSV
Sosa leads his computer vision and artificial intelligence company and was named one of “10 Startups to Watch in NYC” by Time and one of “25 Hot and New Startups to Watch in NYC” by Business Insider.
Julianne Wurm, founder, R3
Wurm leads a consulting firm that works to create digital content and live experiences.
Richard Saul Wurman, FAIA architect/founder, TED
Widely known as the founder of the TED conference, Wurman is the inventor of the information architecture field. He has written, designed and published 83 books on topics from health care to cartography and received numerous awards for his work in IA.