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TEDxGrandRapids reveals speaker lineup

April 16, 2015
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TEDxGrandRapids names speaker lineup
TEDxGrandRapids is licensed by the New York-based nonprofit TED Conferences. Courtesy TEDxGrandRapids

Local, national and international voices from a variety of industries are ready to talk at TEDxGrandRapids.

TEDxGrandRapids released today its speaker lineup for the 5th-annual independently organized TED event on May 7 at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre.

“We’re hosting a diverse range of global speakers to spark conversations addressing challenging topics, such as immigration, racism and gender identity,” said Bill Holsinger-Robinson, lead organizer, TEDxGrandRapids.

“The goal of listening to the various perspectives on this year’s theme, ‘Constant/Change,’ is to help us examine the process of innovation in our own community, acting as a catalyst for productive change.”

TEDxGrandRapids 2015 speakers

Deborah Alden

Deborah Alden is the managing director of the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator, or 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 startup incubator for designers launching social enterprises. In addition, she’s a frequent media advisor for the Sundance Institute and Skoll Foundation’s Stories of Change initiative.

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.

Kim Dabbs

Kim Dabbs is a social entrepreneur, advocate and innovator who serves as executive director of the West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology, or WMCAT. Her transformation of traditional educational models through design thinking earned her an invitation to participate in a three-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.

Gina Fattore

Gina Fattore is a television writer and 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 writing a book about the 18th-century novelist and diarist Frances Burney.

L.S. Klatt

L.S. Klatt is the 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 completing a series of prose poems titled with the names of American corporations.

Riva Lehrer

Riva Lehrer is an instructor in medical humanities at Northwestern University and an artist and 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.

Penelope "Penny" Lewis

Penelope "Penny" Lewis is a neuroscientist at the University of Manchester, where she runs the Neuroscience and Psychology of Sleep lab, or NaPS. 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.

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 U.S., southeast Asia and west Africa. Subsequently, she co-founded the design office GOATstudio in New Orleans. Radha has worked on E.U.-funded community-engagement initiatives in cities across Europe, exhibited work during the Lisbon Architecture Triennale and sits on the Global Generational Advisory Council for World Future Society.

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, or DACA, policy.

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.

Melody Roberts

Melody Roberts is the senior director of experience innovation for McDonald’s Corporation, focusing on service experience, retailing, operations systems, ecommerce strategy and restaurant culture. She has also worked in design and innovation consulting, including leading joint IDEO-client design programs intended to foster a culture of customer-centered innovation within the client organization. She earned a bachelor’s in American studies from Yale University and a master’s in human-centered product design from Illinois Tech.

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. He 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.”

Jorge Sá

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, a European academic award.

Sean Saifa Wall

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, he witnessed the devastation of the 1980s crack epidemic firsthand, losing his father to prison 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.

David Weston

David Weston is the founder and 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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