x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Bridgewalkers

This event occurred on
September 20, 2014
9:00am - 5:00pm MDT
(UTC -6hrs)
Salt Lake City, UT
United States

How does an upgraded city look, feel, and behave? We asked our speakers this question last year, and one response kept showing up in their talks: more connection and collaboration.

This year we're looking for the "bridgewalkers" in our city. Who's out there bridging the current gaps in information, communication, and innovation to optimize our resources and make Salt Lake a model city for the world?

At TEDxSaltLakeCity, we are proud to support the mission of Ideas Worth Spreading. Join us to learn what some of our community's "Bridgewalkers" have to say.

The Leonardo
209 E 500 S
Salt Lake City, UT, 84111
United States
Event type:
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Bassam Salem

Bassam was born in Egypt, lived in France and England as a child, and immigrated to the US at age 13 as a foreign student. He attended the University of Utah where he completed three degrees in Computer Science as well as an MBA. He started his professional career at a young age, programming professionally at 15, completing his first Master’s degree at 21, and awarded his first patent at 28. Bassam is currently Chief Business Officer at publicly-traded software company inContact where he leads the company’s customer and enterprise operations. During his 4-year tenure with the company, its market capitalization has grown from under $100 million to nearly $600 million. Prior to inContact, Bassam was with many leading-edge technology companies such as Omniture (acquired by Adobe), Siebel Systems (acquired by Oracle), IBM, and Phillips Electronics. Bassam is passionate about helping and mentoring others and sits on a number of civic, non- profit, and start-up technology boards. He feels grateful to be able to call Park City, Utah his adopted hometown but enjoys international travel. Bassam writes frequently on both his personal blog and industry journals covering a broad range of topics from self-improvement to personal finance to business management.

David Sturt

David Sturt is the Executive Vice President of the O.C. Tanner Institute and a New York Times bestselling author of Great Work: How to Make a Difference People Love. He has been interviewed and quoted by the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CBS Radio, Huffington Post, and numerous other media organizations. He is a weekly contributor on and is a highly sought after speaker. He has spoken to thousands of people at conferences and companies across the US, Canada and the UK including the AMA, SHRM, Gulf States Symposium, Qualcomm, etc. Prior to O.C. Tanner, David was the head of technology and product development at, where he created internationally award-winning education software that is used by millions of students around the world. David has a bachelors degree in Training and Development and an MBA, and has two decades of experience in research, innovation, technology and leadership. He was born in England, raised in South Africa, educated in the US and Asia/Pacific, and is driven by making a difference in the world.

Devun Hansen and Shandel Payne

Devun Hansen and Shandel Payne are 15 year old, Salt Lake City youth activists, who are determined to give their Utah peers the voice they deserve.Together they want to change the way youth are perceived in the community by breaking down the barrier between kids and adults and becoming involved in developing solutions to societal issues that affect them and future generations. They are working to achieve this is by reaching out to local community leaders, legislatures, organizations, and members of the community and by assisting with programs, support groups, legislation, and other resources that will bring awareness to these topics. Shandel, a passionate singer and photographer, focuses on issues relating to positive self-image, women's rights, and ending homelessness. Devun’s focal points are bullying prevention, self-harm awareness, and LGBT rights, and in his free time he enjoys skateboarding and hip hop dancing. Together with other RAD Youth Teens, they are finding unique ways to bring their community together, while still having fun.

Dut Bior

Dut Bior is originally from the Republic of South Sudan. He is the founder of Student Orphan Aid Program also known as SOAP International, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering orphans students living in extreme poverty. He is one of the 20,000 boys who were displaced during the Sudanese Civil War in the late 1980s, now known as the Lost Boys of Sudan. His childhood was in a Kenyan refugee camp called Kakuma Refugee Camp and now his United States education has led him to create SOAP International to spread his dedication to education and open doors for students still in the refugee camps of Africa.

Jason Utgaard

Discerning that lost-function does not mean no-function, Jason Utgaard is an ecopreneur focused on designing tomorrow’s world using only recycled materials. Jason holds degrees in Leadership & Management and Entrepreneurship from the University of St. Thomas and Schulze School of Entrepreneurship. Having grown up working for the family’s nationwide retail business, the exposure provided in-depth experience with supply chain management, product lifecycles, market strategy, merchandising, inventory control, price-point metrics – you name it. The various roles as well provided an all-encompassing perspective of our culture of consumption and the impacts of one-way supply chains. Now incredibly passionate about green tech, sustainability, renewables and incubator-phase concepts, Jason is Founder of The Spotted Door and actively involved with The Climate Reality Project and other environmental causes in the broader community.

Joel Hunt

Joel’s life story is made of diverse experiences. He has worked as a cowboy on ranches, assisted a Veterinarian in Ethiopia, served in the US Army for 6 years, and finally found his home as a physician assistant working at a clinic for homeless persons as the medical outreach director. He is passionate about restoring hope and dignity to those who have been depraved of these in life. He has a heart for underserved people groups and likes to create innovative ways to reach them and take reality based care directly to them. Being able to journey alongside others is a very humbling endeavor and he is extremely fortunate to be allowed to walk this path with some very incredible people, many of whom are unsung heroes. He has much to learn from them. Chief of all is the wonderful love of his family and walking through their journey together is his greatest joy in life.

Julie Castle

Julie Castle is Chief Marketing and Development Officer for Best Friends Animal Society and one of the biggest champions of the animal welfare movement in the country. Julie graduated from Southern Utah University magna cum laude and interned for the U.S. Senate. On her way to law school in the mid-90’s, an unplanned visit to Best Friends Animal Society caused Julie to abandon law school as she was drawn to the Best Friends value of all living things. She became “Employee Number 17” and never looked back. Among Julie’s many accomplishments was as executive director of a Best Friends-led coalition of rescue groups, animal control agencies and veterinarians that launched as No More Homeless Pets Utah. The coalition was formed to help take the state No Kill by 2019 and is now called No Kill Utah. Julie helped design and implement programs that serve as models nationwide. In 2010, while undergoing treatment for cancer, Julie was also instrumental in No Kill Los Angeles (NKLA.) Julie lives with her husband, Gregory Castle, CEO of Best Friends and their dogs and cats in Utah, where they run marathons and hike in Southern Utah's red rock wilderness.

Justin Kahn

An entrepreneur at heart, Justin has a knack for recognizing a need, creating innovative solutions and rallying a team of people who share a similar vision around the cause. He has been the driving force of TruClinic since it was merely a concept, and has successfully guided the company from development, to pilot, to rollout and scale. His goal for the company is pretty simple: make telemedicine available to everyone. Justin is passionate about social entrepreneurship and the belief that a company can provide for the social good while still having an economically successful business. He views TruClinic as an opportunity to impact the world in a positive way by making healthcare more accessible, and that is what gets him out of bed in the morning. He has been recognized for his work with TruClinic by Utah Business Magazine’s 40 Under 40 list in 2011 and was also nominated as a HIMSS H.I.T. Game Changer for the Innovators, Up and Coming category in 2014.

Lee Smith

Lee Smith, MD, is Director of Stress Medicine at The Center for MindBody Health in Salt Lake City. He is an internist with subspecialty in behavioral medicine, which interfaces mental and physical health. He has chaired national curriculum committees in this area. He established the Stress Medicine Clinic at the University of Utah, where he was Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine. He previously was Medical Director of the Behavioral and Stress Medicine Task Force at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, where he was also Vice-Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine. He was a cofounder of The Institute for Spirituality & Healing in Medicine. Dr. Smith’s research interests have centered on defining the types of medical disorders associated with anxiety and depression, on chronic pain problems, and on the effects on health outcomes of effectively treating the stress issues. He co-authored a widely used textbook entitled Mind-Body Health: The Effects of Attitudes, Emotions and Relationships, currently in its fifth edition as well as authored many other scholarly articles and books.

Moudi Sbeity and Derek Kitchen

Derek Kitchen grew up in South Jordan, UT. He earned his degree in Political Science and Spanish from the University of Utah. Derek has always been passionate about local politics and development, and loves being involved the growing Salt Lake City community. Derek is one of the six plaintiffs leading the case for marriage equality in Utah, Kitchen v. Herbert. Moudi Sbeity moved to Salt Lake City in July of 2006, as an evacuee from the Lebanese/ Israeli war. He earned his undergraduate degree in Economics and Philosophy from Utah State University, and worked on a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Utah. Moudi and Derek both own and operate a local business in SLC, Laziz, serving grocery stores and farmer’s markets state wide. Moudi is one of the six plaintiffs leading the case for marriage equality in Utah.

Pat Crowley

Pat Crowley is one random guy. His career path has taken him from surf guide, to whitewater rafting guide, to hydrologist, to now insect-eating entrepreneur, all driven for his passion to ensure a more sustainable water future. After a year of hitchhiking through Mexico and Central America, Pat Crowley returned to the US and received a M.S. in Watershed Hydrology, intending to use his education towards solving global water dilemmas he witnessed in his travels. His concern for our water future here at home increased as he observed the disproportionate rate of water consumption vs. availability. His early career path focused on agricultural water conservation, the largest global consumer of freshwater resources. After having worked for public water-planning agencies, Pat decided to address the issue from the consumer level, when he co-founded Chapul in 2012. His mission now is to introduce insects into Western cuisine as more water-resource efficient form of food. The intent is to create a consumer demand that will drive changes at the agricultural level towards a more sustainable food system. When he’s not in the Chapul kitchen, he can be found playing in the nearest river, lake, or ocean.

Richard Swart

Richard Swart runs a research program at UC Berkeley studying the intersection of innovation and social funding mechanisms. He is one of the world’s top experts in crowdfunding dynamics. He works with the US Government, the World Bank, and the European Union where he advises on the use of crowdfunding and crowdsourcing to spur innovation. Frequently playing at the intersection of startups and research, Richard undertook a research project years ago studying networking. He used this knowledge to build one of the nation’s largest communities for entrepreneurs and small businesses – one of the fastest growing meetups ever formed. Dr. Swart consults with many companies to mentor their executives on how to leverage the power of networking and build innovation capacity. He is avidly interested in the intersection of science and the social graph – and how changing social dynamics allow us to collectively solve complex problems.

Organizing team


Salt Lake City, UT, United States


Salt Lake City, UT, United States
  • Allie Kesler
    Event Designer
  • Anna Decker
    Primary Organizer
  • Becki Thatcher
    Steering Committee Coordinator
  • Brittany Badger
    Zero Waste/Event Manager
  • Camille Winnie
    Sponsorship Coordinator
  • Keith Anderson
    Community Partner Coordinator
  • Kevin Rose
    Project Manager
  • Madison Page
    Graphic Designer
  • Margaret Watts Romney
    Speaker Coordinator
  • Scott Follett, Jr.
    Co-Organizer/Tech Coordinator
  • Sumiko Martinez
    Event Emcee
  • Teri Whittenburg
  • Heather Flash
    Talent Coordinator