TEDxPasadena: TRANSFORM 2018
a day dedicated to transforming the future, and putting words to action.
© 2018 | Molly O’Keeffe Photography
Set 1: Transform Your Circumstances
Entrepreneur, Foodie, Olympian
From Boardroom to Bobsled: The Courage to Become an Olympian
Olympic athlete, Lauren Gibbs, shares how giving up old dreams can allow new ones to soar. Late in life, at thirty-years-old and knowing nothing about the sport, she risked it all, by walking away from a lucrative corporate job and dedicating her life to bobsledding. With a surprise ending, Lauren encourages all of us to ponder, “What can we accomplish when we follow our hearts and commit fully to our dreams?”
Speaker, Author, Minister
The Mental Strength of an NFL Hopeful, Now Thriving as a Paraplegic
Football phenom, Timothy “TA” Alexander, had a bright future as a collegiate athlete until a car accident left him paralyzed from the neck down. Overnight, he went from being the talk of the town because he was a star athlete, to being the talk of the town because he would never walk again. Throughout his rehabilitation, however, he discovered that while physical care was important to recovery, more essential was the nurturing of his mind. By choosing to not only embrace, but to celebrate his circumstances, TA made a recovery that will leave you dumbfounded and believing, “We don’t need it to be easy, we just need it to be possible.”
Researcher, Futurist, Crypto-enthusiast
Owning Your Digital Self: Monetizing Your Personal Data
Researcher, futurist, and crypto-enthusiast, Dana Budzyn, advocates for digital autonomy. After spending 70 days in the ICU, she realized that personal health data could not only solve some of the world’s most puzzling medical mysteries, but it could also empower people with a vested interest in and ownership of the cures. This fascinating, user-friendly, content dense talk, discusses the possibility of overcoming privacy infringement, by proposing individual ownership of our personal digital currency as a way to provide innovative solutions to the larger problem. Her best idea? Monetizing your own personal data.
Peter and Adenike Harris
Father, Daughter, Allies
Healing vs. Retaliation: Surviving Trauma and Sexual Abuse
When the tragedy of sexual abuse struck Peter (“Pops”) and his daughter Adenike (“Ade”), they were faced with two life-altering paths: retaliate against Ade’s stepfather who had repeatedly sexually assaulted her from the time she was fourteen, or choose to strengthen their own relationship. Together, the two worked to create an inspiring system of support for one another that will change the way you think about love. Affectionately known as “Popsnade,” the father/daughter allies challenge, “What do you need to begin your healing foundation? Therapy? Non-abusive allies? Whatever you choose, it will require that you dig in. It hurts, it’s tough, and it is a consistent lifestyle change. But it is so worth it.”
Set 2: Transform Your Perspective
Urologist, Professor, Surgeon
The Heartbreaking Truth of Penis Cancer
Problem Solver, Explorer, Trailblazer
A Childlike Sense of Wonder: The Curious World of an Aerospace Engineer
The audience gasps in delight when this quirky trailblazer, an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, shows a rarely seen shot of the south pole of Jupiter. Taught since childhood to cultivate her natural sense of curiosity, Tracy Drain shares beautiful photographs from her work on the Juno mission to Jupiter, and an artist’s renditions of the metallic asteroid 16 Psyche, set to launch in 2022. “Hanging onto my childlike sense of wonder has made it possible for me to grow from a curious little girl in Kentucky to a still-curious engineer working for NASA. You can visit Wonderland whenever you want to! You just need to look at the world through the eyes of your inner child.”
Jeffrey S. Bucholtz
Motivator, Educator, Consultant
Endorsing Justice: Normalizing Respect, Safety and Inclusion
Jeffrey Buchholz argues that if we don’t take action in the face of injustice, we normalize disrespect, violence, and discrimination. Through this dynamic, funny and poignant talk, Jeff enlightens with insight and an action plan, in a time when dialogue around civil rights, sexual violence and consent are more important than ever. The concept is simple, he says, “Our action or inaction is the difference between inclusion and discrimination; between safety and violence. Because when we dehumanize and disrespect other people – hurting them gets easier.”
Altruist, Coach, Connector
Opposing Political Viewpoints: Building Bridges by Breaking Bread
After the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Tim Hartley became disheartened with the contentious temperament he saw growing in America. But he realized that it did nothing to express his political opinions on social media. With the polarizing climate, friends were unfriending friends and he was essentially operating in a vacuum. In response, he made a heartfelt Facebook post, but instead of venting his frustrations (again), he tried something new. What resulted was a social experiment with an outcome that will completely surprise you. After all, it might be easy to love someone because of your similarities but try loving them because of your differences.
Ashlee Marie Preston
Host, Commentator, Activist
Effective Allyship: A Transgender Woman’s Take on Intersectionality
Host, commentator, and activist, Ashlee Marie Preston teaches that when we talk over people, ignore them or shut them down, what we’re really saying is, “I’m more important than you are … I don’t really care what you think, I don’t have time for your opinion, or, this isn’t a conversation. It’s a contest and I’m gonna win.” In this passionate and deeply heartfelt talk, Ashlee seeks to help promote understanding about intersectionality, allyship and an urgency for compassion.
Storyteller, Scientist, Humorist
It’s Not Easy Seeing Green: The Complexities of Color Blindness
Storyteller, scientist and humorist, Bryan Kett, shares a witty poignant tale on the science of color blindness and how the reconciliation of seeing things differently can be a catalyst for acceptance. By exploring the genetics, social implications, philosophical elements, and technological advancements surrounding color blindness, Bryan digs into the larger idea of how perspective is relative. After all, since we cannot see through each other’s eyes, who is to say what defines green…or red…or blue?
Set 3: Transform Your Innate Talents
Nancy Baker Cahill
Artist, Innovator, Communicator
Augmented Reality (AR) as an Artist’s Tool for Equity and Access
Multidisciplinary artist, Nancy Baker Cahill, believes in increasing dialogue through drawing, and uses innovative mediums such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to defy boundaries and space. Through the use of exquisite photographs and videos of her creations, she demonstrates for the audience that she is fierce with talent and conviction. Growing up, Nancy was “under the impression that true artists had to be tormented and die in obscurity, but as it turns out, you don’t have to be solitary or tortured to make art.” Her passion for promoting equity and access will challenge everything you’ve ever thought about art as a medium for self-expression.
Visual Storyteller, Dancer, Music Lover
The Process of a Choreographer: Looking at Dance as More Than a Spectator Sport
Visual storyteller, Steven Butler, makes his living as a dancer, producer, and an artist, but what encompasses all of these passions is choreography. “I hate to break it to you, but you’re kinda watching dance all wrong. I know that you would look at me and tell me how much you love dance and love watching dancers, but what you really mean is ‘I love watching people be a spectacle for my enjoyment.’ I call this: Audience Entitlement…and I would like to suggest a new way to view dance.” Watch as Steven walks the audience through the creative process he uses to choreograph, delving into tone, style, and “synesthesia;” all to encourage a deeper look at the intent behind each piece of choreography we see.
Erika Jayne Girardi
Performer, Author, TV Personality
Life as an Exaggerated Figment of People’s Imaginations
If it is easy to sit in front of the television or anonymously behind a computer screen, and pass judgement on a celebrity, presuming that every ounce of what is presented over the airwaves is indeed true, then it might be difficult to reconcile the fact that what we see on TV, and what exists in real life, might not actually be the same things. Could it be that “reality,” as it is billed to the consumer, is instead an intentional manipulation of the viewer? In this heartfelt discussion about the tangled web of identity, reality star Erika Girardi, discusses how, by her nature, she is soft spoken, sweet and shy. She admits to hiding behind her wealthy husband and prefers to curl up on the couch in her sweatpants above all else. But, as Erika Jayne, the playful over-the-top fantasy character she “created as an art project,” she becomes a blond bombshell for her fans; with major sex appeal and some fiercely outspoken wit. In this sincere and genuine talk, delivered straight from her heart, Erika wrestles with the juxtaposition of her warring identities…and seeks to find peace with who she really is.