TEDxRaleigh x=independently organized TED event.

Previous Speakers for TEDxRaleigh

2013 Speakers

Chris Marlow- Help One Now

In 2007, Chris met a starving young orphan living in an abandoned gas station in Zimbabwe. That encounter compelled him to start Help One Now and dedicate his life to seeking justice by empowering leaders and organizing tribes to launch global movements that do good.

In the last three years, the Help One Now tribe has raised almost $3 million to help alleviate global extreme poverty. We are committed to raising $100 million in the next 20 years and recruiting 1,000 high-capacity local leaders to care for orphans, transform their communities and create sustainable change that breaks the cycle of extreme poverty through local innovation.

Chris currently lives in downtown Raleigh with his wife and two daughters.

Matt Tamasulo- City Fabric

Matt Tomasulo is the Chief Instigator and Founder of CityFabric Labs, a civic design studio, and Walk [Your City], an emerging civic platform and mission-driven business that uses online tech to build offline tools to boost community walkability. Walk [Your City] grew out of Walk Raleigh, a catalytic guerrilla wayfinding project that spread to 75+ communities around the globe over the past year. Matt’s work has received numerous accolades and been featured by The Atlantic, Bloomberg, BBC News and NPR among others, and is currently part of the Spontaneous Interventions exhibit in Chicago.

Matt holds a dual Master of City & Regional Planning/Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and NC State University where he was recipient of the Wings on Wings award, the Robert Stipe Fellowship, and 3 national Student ASLA awards, and won the ULI Hines Urban Design Competition. While in school, Matt successfully funded two civic-minded Kickstarter projects totaling $48K from 1500 backers, and most recently was chosen as part of Next City’s Vanguard, a “40 Under 40” class of new urban leaders.

Kyle Berner- Feelgoodz

[expand title=”more info”]Kyle Berner is the Founder of Feelgoodz, a conscious footwear brand based on a mission of empowerment and a lifestyle of “Steppin’ Easy.” Born and raised in New Orleans, Kyle thrives on culture, community, and the celebration of life. He is the author of “From Backpacker to CEO,” a book that recounts the adventures of the Feelgoodz story. Kyle is passionate about travel and believes that everyone, at some point in their lives, should “Pack a Backpack and just GO.”

Bonner Gaylord, City Councilman, Raleigh District E

Councilman Gaylord was raised in Raleigh and attended Root Elementary, Hunter Elementary, and Ligon Middle School. After graduating from Broughton High School, Bonner went on to receive his undergraduate and MBA degrees from UNC Chapel Hill before returning to ‘Inside the Beltline’ (ITB). He is currently a Raleigh City Councilor, inaugural Chair of the Technology and Communications Committee, member of the Comprehensive Planning Committee, and Council Liaison to eight boards and commissions in the Raleigh community.

With a passion for technology, Councilman Gaylord launched SeeClickFix in his district and proceeded to expand the program’s reach by partnering with WRAL to bring SeeClickFix to the greater community of Raleigh. Because of these and other efforts, he was awarded Outstanding Public Servant (video here).

With the help of a hardworking team of volunteers, Bonner also co-founded CityCamp Raleigh. This initiative launched three days of open sourced talks and problem solving to re-imagine the way that technology will shape the future of Raleigh. At the national level, he was asked to serve on the National Technology Adoption Advisory Council.

Locally, his daily role as the General Manager of North Hills affords him the opportunity to push for the annexation of North Hills to ITB, Raleigh. He is an active member of Vintage Church, and regularly serves as a board member for the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association (GRMA), as well as the Triangle Commuter Bike Initiative.

Aly Khalifa – Owner, Product & Engineering Director

Aly comes to the design profession from a bipolar education at NCSU: Mechanical Engineering and Product Design. His goal is to find the balance of both of these disciplines in each project challenge. Aly’s career is chiefly centered around Gamil Design, a firm he started in 1995. His work experience previously included working for NCDOT, wind tunnel of the US EPA, Performance Bicycle, and teaching at NCSU’s School of Design.

Aly started Gamil in the interest of furthering the synthesis of creative design with creative engineering into a field called invention development. Gamil’s specialty in advanced design, engineering and development of sporting goods accessories (skates, footwear, eyewear, gloves, bags) has led them to many clients, including: Nike, Trek, Bausch & Lomb, and Outdoor Products. This has further developed into partnerships between Gamil Design and Asian manufacturers. Aly travels heavily to Asia to realize Gamil’s projects that are produced in mass-market quantities.

Danielle Morgan-Smith

Danielle is a postdoctoral fellow working at East Carolina University for the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations. She has had a lifelong passion for the sea and has devoted her career to studying the biology of the deep, dark, unexplored regions that make up the vast majority of the world’s oceans, and recently has delved even deeper to explore the microbiology of the rocks beneath the seafloor. This summer, Danielle had the amazing opportunity to see the world’s deepest and hottest hydrothermal vents – a place that has been visited by about as many humans as the surface of the moon – aboard the Japanese submersible Shinkai 6500 and witness in-person a world where the usual laws of biology and chemistry seem to be turned upside down. As a scientist, she feels driven not only to investigate the unknown, but to share that knowledge through education at all levels, and to ignite a love of exploration and discovery in everyone she meets.

Justin Senkbeil- Co-Founder, CEO CompostNow

I am a generalist, a visionary, a thinker, a seeker… adaptable and ever evolving. My latest interests lie in intuitive decision making, intentional environments, and minimalism (simple living) as a path to increased freedom and happiness. Together with an amazing team, I am working on CompostNow – a company dedicated to its mission of redefining waste as a valuable resource.

Dennis Markatos-Soriano – Executive Director, East Coast Greenway Alliance

A native of the Triangle, Dennis was born and raised in the woods of Chatham County where he first connected to the natural wonder around him. He was a Morehead & Byrd Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill and the campus’s first Robert Bryan Public Service Award recipient in 2001. He co-founded one of the nation’s first email listserv student networks covering hundreds of campuses called SURGE – Students United for a Responsible Global Environment – and attained a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University in the process. He later attended Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School for a Master’s in Public Affairs where he was the 2008 David Bradford Prize recipient for Academic & Civic Achievement in Science, Technology & Environmental Policy. He is living his dream focusing on a tangible project, the East Coast Greenway, that will help solve the climate, health, and economic challenges facing our nation and the world. A proud husband and father of two young sons, Dennis aims to complete this urban sister project to the Appalachian Trail before his sons graduate college and are ready to bike or walk from Key West to Canada on their own.

Daniel Wallace – Author

Daniel is an American author, best known for his 1998 novel “Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions,” the basis for the Tim Burton film “Big Fish” and the Broadway musical of the same name. His other books include “Ray in Reverse” and “The Watermelon King”. His stories have also been published in a number of anthologies and magazines, including “The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror.”

In Chapel Hill, Wallace worked for thirteen years in a bookstore and as an illustrator, where he designed greeting cards and refrigerator magnets. A running motif in his works are glass eyes; Wallace has stated in numerous interviews (including the one published in the back of the paperback edition of Big Fish) that he collects glass eyes. He continues to live in Chapel Hill with his wife, Laura, a social worker, and their son, Henry.

Hank Bowman – Sales Strategist & Singer/Songwriter

Hank Bowman is an education technology executive and singer/songwriter from Raleigh, NC. Hank began a journey to find absolute truth several years ago and today weaves together music, business and self inquiry into a mosaic of true nature discovery. Hank is an advanced sales and marketing strategist helping growth stage companies cross the chasm through a focused, mindful approach of doing the next obvious thing. Hank is also the lead singer and guitar player with the Outliers, a NC based bluegrass band. www.theoutliersband.com

Bates Battaglia – NHL Left Winger/The Amazing Race Winner

Bates is an American professional ice hockey left winger who is currently an unrestricted free agent. He most recently played with Karlskrona HK of the Swedish HockeyAllsvenskan after having played in the NHL with the Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Battaglia is the grandson of former Chicago mob member Sam Battaglia. Bates and his brother Anthony recently competed and won Season 22 of The Amazing Race.

2012 Speakers

Brian O’Hara- SE Coastal Wind Coalition

Brian O’Hara is a recognized leader in the U.S. offshore wind industry and has led development, policy and advocacy efforts in the Southeast since 2009. He has over 15 years of combined experience in offshore energy, project development, project management, engineering, and finance. Prior to entering the offshore wind industry, Brian gained first-hand operational experience as an engineer in ExxonMobil’s international offshore drilling group, working primarily in West Africa. He also led development teams and finance efforts in the real estate industry, gaining a depth of experience in permitting, entitlements and environmental studies. He holds an MBA and master’s degree in engineering from Stanford University as well as a BS in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech.

In addition to leading the Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition, Brian offers professional consulting services in the energy industry.

Dipika Kohli – Design Kompany

At age 10, Dipika Kohli lost her closest friend when a terrorist bomb exploded in the underbelly of her friend’s plane. This happened in 1985, just off the coast of Ireland, where Dipika chanced to find herself an expat 15 years later. She’s chronicled the story of love, loss, chance, and hope in a four-volume memoir titled “Kismuth”, which means ‘destiny’ in Hindi. Trained in engineering at N.C. State where she was a John T. Caldwell Alumni Scholar, Dipika now turns her attention to the quiet space of memoir, of introspection and immersion in stories of chance, the heart, and fate.

“Physics always intrigued me,” she says. “Philosophy, too. I think about the way Max Planck and the early quantum physicists were called ‘natural philosophers.’ It’s not unrelated, you know. The quest for query, exploration, and the human will to seek. For the heart to search for story in unrelated patches of events.”

Her work has been published in The Irish Examiner, AbroadView, Tokyo Notice Board, J@pan, Inc., The Independent Weekly, and what used to be the Triangle’s own Spectator and Urban Hiker magazines. Dipika currently lives in Durham and is half of Design Kompany. http://www.kismuth.com

Arthur E. Apolinario- Social Artist.

Arthur E. Apolinario, M.D., M.P.H. is a Board-Certified Family Physician, entrepreneur, and social artist. Earning his MD and MPH from Tulane University School of Medicine, “Dr. Art” went on to embrace unorthodox learning pathways, studying Hypnotherapy, Neuro-linguistic Programming, and Emotional Freedom Technique. These integrative methodologies have enhanced his medical practice helping patients with disorders ranging from obesity, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and fibromyalgia.

The pathway that led to this integration was that of the social artist. After a divorce, he set out on the path to self-improvement in his relationships with “in the trenches” training under the Pickup Artist community, made famous by Neil Strauss’s best seller “The Game.” Art became one of the top social-arts instructors in the United States, presenting at the PUA World Summit 2010, 2011 and recently, the Ultimate PUA Convention this September 2012.

Dr. Art has served two terms as Board President of the U Care Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program, served on the NC Governor’s Crime Commision, Council on Domestic Violence under Governor Easley, holds an AMA Young Physician’s Section Community Service Award for his work in domestic violence prevention and was a nominee for the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence: Men for Change award.

Jeffrey Fischer- Core Career Coaching

Jeff Fischer, Ph.D. has been on all sides of career coaching and business development; chasing the brass ring, and catching quite a few. He’s been a banker, consulting firm partner, fund manager, and corporate executive. He even picked up four graduate degrees along the way. Jeff found his own career resonance by following the CORE principles he now teaches. Jeff firmly believes that developing your career involves knowing who you are and what you do naturally and having the courage to find where that fits in the world. The key to doing that is Resonance. And it has everything to do with how you can land the business or job you want. You can learn more about Jeff at http://www.corecareercoaching.com.

Larry Larson- Larry’s Beans

[expand title=”more info”]Larry grew up in Seattle and ended up in Raleigh by way of earning his PhD in Economics at NC State, with a smooth transition from studying economics to practicing it by starting one of the first coffee houses in the Triangle in 1994. He eventually sold the coffee house to focus on sourcing and roasting coffee. In 1999, motivated by searching out more wildly unique coffees, he became one of the founding members of Cooperative Coffees, the country’s first and only cooperative of indie coffee roasters completely committed to sourcing Fair Trade. In 2001, he went on a Fair Trade delegation to Chiapas, Mexico and found himself utterly inspired by the conviction of the farmers.

When Larry says, “once you start doing things to make the world better, it’s addicting,” he speaks from personal experience. In 2004, through his creative blends program, he made his entire inventory 100% organic, shade-grown and fair trade. He then developed a program that let customers track their bag of coffee’s entire document trail from the farm to the roaster, and has since spearheaded FairTradeProof.org, scaling out that transparency to all members of Cooperative Coffees. He switched his company’s local delivery vehicle to a school bus running on used vegetable oil collected from area restaurants. He established and continues to host Raleigh’s only Biodiesel 100 pump. He “green-o-vated” the company’s warehouse and roasting facilities, incorporating a passive solar clear story, active solar radiant heating and rain-water harvested supplied restrooms. He invested in the creation in what may have been the industries first biodegradable coffee bag, and he is in the midst of several efforts to raise the bar on overall product transparency, which he sees as a key force for transforming the intelligence and ethics of the marketplace.

Jim Whitehurst- RedHat, Inc

Jim Whitehurst was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Red Hat in December 2007. Prior to joining Red Hat, Whitehurst held various positions at Delta Airlines, most recently as Chief Operating Officer, responsible for Operations, Sales and Customer Service, Network and Revenue Management, Marketing and Corporate Strategy. Whitehurst also served as Vice President and Director of The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and held various leadership roles in their Chicago, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Atlanta offices.

A native of Columbus, Georgia, Whitehurst graduated from Rice University in Houston, Texas, with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Economics. He also attended Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen, Germany, and holds a general course degree from the London School of Economics and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Phil Freelon – FAIA – The Freelon Group Architects

Phil Freelon is the Founder and President of The Freelon Group, Architects – a 65 person firm based in Durham, NC. Focusing on higher education, science & technology and museum/cultural center projects, Freelon’s firm has successfully delivered award winning building design within a collaborative and innovative studio environment. The firm has completed major museum projects in Baltimore, San Francisco, Greensboro and Charlotte. The team of Freelon Adjaye Bond is leading the design for the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture currently under construction on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Recent commissions include libraries in Washington, DC, Atlanta and Chicago, as well as a commemorative park in Houston and a museum in Jackson, MS. The Freelon Group has received forty-five American Institute of Architects (AIA) design awards and has also received AIA North Carolina’s Outstanding Firm Award in 2001.

Freelon has served as an adjunct professor at the College of Design, NC State University and has been a visiting critic and lecturer at Harvard, the University of Maryland, Syracuse University, the University of Virginia, Kent State University, the University of Cincinnati, Catholic University and the University of California-Berkeley, among others. Freelon currently holds a Professor of Practice appointment at MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning where he has taught since 2007.

Freelon is one of 30 licensed architects and 31 LEED® Accredited Professionals in his firm and is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. In 2009 he received the AIA Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture and in 2010 he was awarded AIA North Carolina’s Gold Medal. In 2011 he was appointed by President Barrack Obama to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. Freelon is also a recipient the Loeb Fellowship from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.

A native of Philadelphia, PA., Freelon holds a Bachelor’s of Environmental Design (Architecture) from NC State University’s College of Design and a Master of Architecture from MIT.

W. Steven Burke – Biofuels Center of NC

Mr. Burke has served as President and CEO of the Biofuels Center of North Carolina since March of 2009, previously serving as founding board chair and lead initiator from July 2007. The Biofuels Center is a private, non-profit corporation established by the State of North Carolina to implement policy and strategic commitment for large biofuels capacity. The Center is judged the nation’s only agency working within a long-term and comprehensive framework for all aspects of biofuels development.

Mr. Burke has been an active participant in the national and international life science and biotechnology communities since the mid-1980’s. He speaks nationally and internationally on life science technology development, with particular attention to:

-The policies, issues, and development of biofuels

-The factors, strategies, and issues shaping effective biotechnology and life science communities

-The international and cultural imperatives of biotechnology development

Mr. Burke departed the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in 2009 as senior vice president for corporate affairs. Over 24 years, he helped shape the approach and strategies of the Center, the world’s first targeted initiative for biotechnology development. He was responsible for varied activities and programs addressing strategic, governmental, policy, societal, and international issues.

Prior to joining the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in 1985 as its fifth employee, Mr. Burke taught Instructional Design at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has an undergraduate degree in Religion and Literature from Duke University, and a Master of Education in Instructional Design from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He owns, curates, and informs about the nation’s largest collection of American folk art buildings.

Ryan Finch – Raleigh City Farm

Health! That’s the name of the game for Ryan. During her first career, she improved the mental health of individuals and families–working both in the United States and France. Strengthening intercultural well-being also came naturally through her work, travel and Rotary International experiences. Recently graduated from an MBA program specializing in Managing for Sustainability, Ryan now focuses on business health.

She feels she hit the jackpot in working with the urban farm startup, Raleigh City Farm, because urban farms positively impact the well being of: the economy, the environment, individual physical and mental health, and community health.

Raleigh City Farm grows food from local rain, local sunshine and local compost, less than a mile from the city center. We are working to change the predominating industrial food paradigm by inspiring people to reconnect with food and community. Come visit us on the farm! raleighcityfarm.org

Aaron Syrett – Director of NC Film Office

Aaron Syrett was appointed director of the North Carolina Film Office in April of 2007. He comes to North Carolina via Salt Lake City, Utah, where he was the Director of the Utah Film Commission. He holds a BS degree in Film, Television, and Radio from the School of Communication at the University of Utah, and a certificate in Producing from Rockport Film School in Rockport, Maine. In 2009, Aaron became one of the first film commissioners in the world to attain the professional designation of Certified Film Commissioner CFC awarded by the Association of Film Commissioners International. Aaron’s work experience includes: Canal + US, KZHT 94.9, Carmike Cinemas, Mann Theaters and the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s office producing crime prevention videos. Aaron is married and has a son and twin daughters.

Marissa Heyl- Symbology Clothing

Anthropologist-turned-fashion maven Marissa Heyl is founder of newly launched Symbology Clothing, an ethical fashion label with global perspective. She is a pioneer in the fashion industry, fusing handmade artisan fabrics from developing countries with fashion-forward designs–or as she puts it, fair trade made sexy.

Prior to founding Symbology, Heyl strategized with nonprofits on how to utilize multimedia platforms to promote positive change. She received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellowship at UNC, where she also founded Patchwork magazine, the university’s first international publication. She has worked with a multitude of artisan communities around the world, thanks in part to her experience as the 2007 Duke Enterprising Leadership Fellow at Ten Thousand Villages. Heyl’s inspiration to start Symbology developed from her research as a 2006 Mahatma Gandhi Fellow, in which she researched how fair trade empowers craftswomen in India.


David Diaz-Downtown Raleigh Alliance

David is a visionary and passionate advocate for downtowns who relentlessly pursues innovative solutions for every aspect of his work. During David’s tenure (2007-present) as CEO of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA), Raleigh’s Central Business District has attracted over $1 billion in new investments. DRA is the nonprofit leadership organization responsible for expanding on the ongoing revitalization of downtown.

In 2006, David received the Bronze Star for his service as an Army Intelligence Officer in Operation Iraqi Freedom. David has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Virginia Tech and he did his graduate work in City & Regional Planning at Cornell University. In 2011, David earned a certificate from the Harvard Business School for Excellence in Nonprofit Governance. David was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in Philadelphia. David, his wife Emily, and twin boys Xavier and Ansel, live in the downtown neighborhood of Pilot Mill in Raleigh.

A.J. Ware – Inmates to Entrepreneurs

A.J. Ware is the executive director of Inmates to Entrepreneurs, Sageworks’ community outreach program that teaches current and former inmates how to start low capital businesses. A.J. is responsible for the overall growth and operations of the organization.A.J.’s entrepreneurial experience started at the age of 15 when he co-founded Mobile Radio Communications Company (MRC). In 1985, A.J. decided to change the company’s direction from selling CB radios to selling cellular phones. That decision took MRC from being a paying hobby to a true business that was sold three years later to Cellular One.

A.J. still has the entrepreneurial spirit, running a painting company and a motorsports park in addition to his work with Inmates to Entrepreneurs.

Shaun Jay – Alchemist

From the humbling beginnings of honing his craft on the street to catapulting into high demand in the corporate world, Shaun Jay truly is an alchemist. Most people call it magic, but he likes to think of his talent as a blessing that helps him express and communicate sales messages for corporate clients. He combines improv-style comedy with meticulous sleight of hand to create presentations that are enjoyed by audiences of all ages, leaving boring presentations a thing of the past!

Ayr Mountaineers – Musical Performance

The Ayr Mountaineers are an Americana/Country band rooted in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. All songs are originally written by singer/guitarist Ella Bertram, with an array of handsome boys standing behind her in support. Their backporch-pickin’ sound warms the heart, taps the toes, and makes the bodies shake. On stage you will find Alan Best on the piercingly sweet accordion and mandolin, Jack Fleishman on the hoppy banjo, Stacy Harden playing his deep melodic bass, Since fall 2010 they have been playing in and around the Triangle, filling restaurants, bars, clubs and parks with their unique mountainous sound. Early 2012 marks the release of their debut, self-titled album which, as you will find, flows like a crisp mountain stream into a whiskey still.