Speakers and Performers

TEDxFayetteville 2018 Speakers and Performers

Amber Farrow Taggard | Avoidable Negativity: Harnessing the Power of Organization

Amber Taggard combines her Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health with her background as a Professional Organizer to describe what happens mentally and emotionally when we let clutter control us. Amber uses lessons learned from her clients in this talk on creating emotional peace and mental clarity by taking control of physical spaces.

Amber’s passion for helping others reclaim their homes and spaces began with a mindblowing statistic: the average person spends 17 minutes each day looking for things they’ve lost or misplaced. Amber, with her background in counseling psychology, became the perfect opponent for the fight against clutter in residential and commercial spaces all over Northwest Arkansas, beginning her business in 2011. In addition to teaching and creating organization strategies, Amber is passionate about helping women grow their businesses and enjoys serving the Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Amber, her husband, and their four kids enjoy life in Northwest Arkansas.

Austin Ashford | Stories we love, stories we live

Actor and playwrite Austin Dean Ashford demonstrates the role of stories that we love in creating the stories that we live. Austin uses the elements of storytelling to explain how our lives are influenced and shaped by the narratives around us.  

Austin’s trophy shelf is packed with national and international awards, from recognition at the 2018 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival to the 2018 San Diego International Fringe Festival, the United Solos Festival in New York, and more. Austin earned 21 National Championship Awards in competitive Collegiate Speech and Debate during his undergraduate training, and still holds the 3-year-running title of “Most Valuable Performer” from the Denzel Washington/Melvin B Tolson Forensics society. Austin adds to his solo work, and his one act (I)sland T(rap), with an inaugural course “Hip Hop Theatre/Film,” which he developed and teaches at the University of Arkansas, concurrently with his work toward being a 3rd year MFA candidate for playwriting and acting. Austin’s future plans are the further his work lessening the distance between humans, whether on stage, page, or screen.

Barry Belford | Coloring outside the absolutes

When we live our lives with a black and white perspective, we limit ourselves both interpersonally and intrapersonally. We look at things, at people, at situations, and we see them as right or wrong. In his talk, Barry Belford shares how a simple interaction with an employee brought color to the world around him, impacting his relationships, his work, and his life.

Barry Belford was born near Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and now lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He came to the University of Arkansas to get an education, and found much more in his wife, Angela. Barry has built a life as a father of 3, a software architect, and a business owner. He enjoys cooking, playing soccer, traveling, being with family, and self-discovery. He finds it easiest to learn about himself and what he genuinely wants while driving his Jeep with the top down.

Blanca Estevez + Micah Wallace | How NWA can impact the world through giving

Blanca Estevez and Micah Wallace speak on inspiring and empowering under-educated community members through compassion and giving. The lack of education we see on a global scale is an issue that can be addressed on a local level. By cultivating vibrant and diverse communities, we can fill the gaps in our society, and help our fellow community members to reach their full potential.    

A political refugee from El Salvador, Blanca Estevez came to the United States to escape conflict in her home country. Micah Wallace was born just over the Texas border, in Texarkana. Despite their distant beginnings, Blanca and Micah have both found their purpose in working on community development in Arkansas. A Rogers native, Blanca has organized events such as the Women’s March and Tacos for DACA that bring awareness to marginalized communities. Micah’s activist journey began with her founding of the Gravette Young Democrats Chapter. Blanca and Micah have joined forces to give back to rural Arkansas, with their GIVE BACK initiative, which focuses on changing the futures of the working class in Arkansas.

Brandon Weston | It can’t do any harm: Ozark folk medicine in a modern world

raditional healers, herbalists, and folklorists like Brandon Weston are finding that the traditions of Ozark Mountains haven’t died out in our age of technology, but rather have been transformed into mediums of healing still applicable in a modern world. Whether it is by physical healing with plant-based chemical compounds, or through the alleviation of psychosomatic symptoms with prayers and charms, these traditional healing techniques still follow the old Ozark saying, “It can’t do any harm,” and continue to heal even today.

Brandon Weston is an Ozark healer, herbalist, folklorist, and writer living in Northwest Arkansas. Brandon is the owner and operator of Mountain Man Healing, and he is an active blogger on Ozark magic and medicine. He also gives lectures and native plant walks throughout Arkansas and Missouri. Brandon comes from a long line of Ozark hillfolk and works hard to keep the traditions that he has collected alive and true for generations to come.

Facebook: MountainManHealing Twitter: @ozarkhealing Instagram: @mountainmanhealing

David Johnson | Beyond Words: The Evolution of the Public Library

David Johnson details the responses of a nationally-recognized public library to today’s changing definitions of learning and literacy. David and his team are dedicated to delivering experiences and opportunities that exceed community expectations, and that are free to all.  

David Johnson is a Master in Library Science, and Executive Director of the Fayetteville Public Library. David worked in information systems, sales and marketing, and research and development before joining the library’s team of innovators. David is currently leading efforts for an 80,000 square-foot expansion for the library, to be completed in mid-2020. David is a proud member of the Fayetteville community, along with his wife.

Dennis Wemyss | Giving a Damn About Human Experience

When our lives, cultures, and workforces focus on designing better human experience, we can live more fulfilling lives. When we learn to focus on living in the present while building for the future, we can design the best human experience.

Dennis is a UX/UI Designer, amateur chef, entrepreneur, and overall creative looking to make the world a little bit of a better place through design thinking. Great concept and execution is paramount for aesthetic, while great attention to users is paramount for great experience, whether it be in digital products, branding, landscaping, or architecture.

Kat Wilson | The Year of the Kat: My Photography Formula

Kat Wilson, dedicated artist, describes her approach to her nationally-recognized Habitat series (2004). Kat reveals how she formulated Habitats, and how she is revisiting this approach for her newest series, Warrior Women.

Kat Wilson has come to accept that she is a medium for gathering and displaying information. She employs centuries-old compositional devices to present theatrically-conceived projects that transcend the quotidian familiarity of the personal belongings and spaces they depict, casting subjects as both intimately vulnerable, and heroic. She searches for the complexity in natural spaces, and draws forth a human element with the desire for a sound bite in time. Her greatest achievements, she says, are when her works communicate indiscriminately to the public.

https://katwilsonartist.com, https://katwilsonphoto.com 

Katy Henriksen | How to feel more human by connecting through music

Music is the great resonating force that connects us all; yet, we’ve come to experience it primarily as consumers. Katy Henriksen redefines how we connect with music in her talk on replacing our passive relationship and engagement with music with active and intimate experiences that blur the line between performer and audience. Through these experiences, Katy contends, we interact, engage, and explore what it means to be human.

Katy Henriksen was born into music. She made her first concert hall appearance in utero, with her mom performing upright bass. After studying classical voice, violin, and viola, she decided to make musical journalism her profession. Her writings on music and the arts appear widely in publications both national and local. She hosts the two-hour daily classical music and arts radio show Of Note on 91.3 FM NPR in Fayetteville, and serves as executive director of the Trillium Salon Series, an intimate and unusual concert-going series featuring classical, new, and experimental music.  

Twitter: @ofnotekaty Instagram: @katyhenriksen

Lorenzo P. Lewis | Building a better mental health culture through storytelling

Inspired by personal experiences with mental health, wellness, and depression, Lorenzo Lewis opens a dialogue about his research on the black male identity through storytelling. Lorenzo shares his ideas on how society as a whole can help construct solutions to better the mental wellness of men and boys of color.

Born in jail to an incarcerated mother, Lorenzo struggled with depression, anxiety, and anger throughout his youth, to the point of being at-risk for re-entering the system. From this, Lorenzo grew The Confess Project, an initiative that confronts the stigma around mental health for men of color. Lorenzo’s project takes a two-sided approach, researching the issues within the individual and within society. Lorenzo’s life story and his life’s work give him a unique perspective on behavioral health and the social science issues surrounding the black male identity.

Instagram: @theconfessproject

Meghana Bollimpalli | A teen scientist’s $1 invention to store energy

With the increasing demand for energy worldwide comes the need for an efficient way to store the energy we have. Meghana’s research replaces expensive, platinum-dependent electrodes with carbon-based electrodes made from natural materials that are both environmentally and economically friendly.

Meghana Bollimpalli’s research and development of environmentally and economically-friendly carbon-based electrodes for energy storage has won her international acclaim as a scientist. Adding to her awards from NASA, NOAA, and the American Chemical Society, to name a few, Meghana was named the “Intel Foundation Young Scientist” of 2018, out of thousands of students from over 80 countries. As an Amy Poehler Smart Girl, Meghana was given an incredible platform to share her passion for environmental science and research with other students at events around the country.  

TwitterInstagram: @mbollimpalli


TEDxDicksonStreet 2017 Speakers and Perfomers

The Video Playlist can be found on Youtube.

Our 2017 TEDxDicksonStreet Speakers were:

  • Allison Thurmond Quinlan + Jessica Hester | Street trees create tangible benefits for urban dwellers
  • Angela Belford | CommUNITY is the solution to homelessness
  • Creed Tumlison | Inaccuracy in self-knowledge assessments impacts our decisions
  • Ilana Starr Berman | Why we need to offer group trauma treatments to (ordinary) males
  • Jamie Smith | Do you hear what I hear?
  • Laura Bell Phillips | From Despair to Drag: How performance helped save my life
  • Martha Londagin | Adverse Childhood Experiences Can Be Connectors to Joy
  • Munya Nyamanzi | Do What It Is That You Love
  • Olivia Trimble | Just Do The Thing
  • Peter Ungar | The Ancestral Human Diet
  • Raj Suresh | Nobody’s Listening
  • Robert Dayton Castleman | Tilting at Rockets
  • Taylor Bridges | Reclaiming the 3R’s: A New Direction to Salvage Sustainability

Check out more information on the 2017 speakers here.