x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Seeking Balance

This event occurred on
September 13, 2011
12:00pm - 6:00pm EDT
(UTC -4hrs)
Atlanta, GA
United States

How appropriate that Chuck Leavell got up from his seat in the audience and made his way to the bench waiting for him in front of a Yamaha C7 grand piano. Balance, those who attended or tuned in would learn over the course of the afternoon, requires that we come into a clearing together, to both listen to the stories of others and to share our own.

Leavell used that piano to nudge the audience out of its workday mindset and into the clearing, but he did something more: He shared his memories of how his love for piano is rooted in listening to his mother play; He shared his concern and passion for the future of our environment and communities. And then, having shared his stories, he took his seat, back in the audience, to listen.

Balance, the day also revealed, is in how we use both our memories and our dreams for the future to be present in this moment.

Teresa Amabile shared stories that revealed that it is small actions that can solve the “crisis of engagement” that plagues the workplace. Chuck Raison challenged us to recognize that our enemies are not the people we believe them to be, but the fear and anger we feel toward those people. John McFall helped us feel the power of dance to help us find joy, confidence and even our potential. Rita Charon healed us with her stories about narrative medicine, which has proven the efficacy of story and relationship.

Balance took on yet a different dimension when the harmonies of The Holmes Brothers opened the second session of the afternoon. Radcliffe Bailey revealed both through his stories and his amazing works how he has woven bits and bobs of his entire family history into maps that help us navigate the world ahead. Radcliffe also demonstrated a balance that only emerges from equanimity and authenticity.

Greg Best, one of America’s most celebrated mixologists, remixed and rebalanced our view of the bartender and the social role they play. Hugh Acheson used stories of his relationship with Tim Mills and Mills Farm to underscore that communities not only find balance but have impact when they support and nurture local businesses.

In the middle of the program, a special tribute was paid to the late Ray Anderson. TEDxAtlanta traces its own roots to a luncheon talk given by Anderson for Unboundary, which was the founding sponsor and is now one of three organizing sponsors of TEDxAtlanta. Anderson’s remarkable TED Talk was one of the videos shown. So appropriate that in Ray’s TED Talk he focused on his vision of rebalancing the Erhlich’s Environmental Impact Equation.

No recap of TEDxAtlanta would be complete without thanks to its sponsors, to the community of attendees and webcast watchers, and the volunteers involved in its production.

384 Northyards Boulevard
Building 100
Atlanta, GA, 30313
United States
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Radcliffe Bailey

Internationally acclaimed artist, currently on exhibit at The HIGH Museum, Atlanta

Teresa Amabile

Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School. She is also a director of research at the school. Her current research program focuses on the psychology of everyday work life: how events in the work environment influence subjective experience (“inner work life”) and performance (creativity, productivity and commitment to the work).

Hugh Acheson

TOP Chef and owner/chef of Empire State South in Atlanta, Five & Ten in Athens.

Dr. Rita Charon

Rita Charon is professor of clinical medicine and director of the program in narrative medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Bill James

Founder of JPods Inc., producers of an efficient, safe, ultra-light, computer-controlled vehicle suspended from rails and runs off solar energy.

Dr. Charles Raison

Clinical director of the Emory Mind-Body Program, and his colleagues study how meditation can reduce inflammation and stress, which are linked to serious illnesses including depression, cancer, and heart disease.

John McFall

For the past sixteen years, John McFall has cultivated Atlanta Ballet’s artistic vision into one of the country’s premiere dance companies. Led by a strong commitment to imaginative and innovative programming, John continues to push the envelope with inspiring productions and unique collaborations, including on-stage partnerships with the Indigo Girls, the Red Clay Ramblers, The Michael O’Neal Singers, and most recently with Big Boi of OutKast.

Greg Best

His role at Atlanta’s Holeman and Finch Public House has earned him numerous accolades such as GQ magazine’s “Top Ten Cocktail Bars in the Country” and Playboy Magazine’s “Top Ten American Mixologists.”

Chuck Leavell

Chuck Leavell is one of the most respected and sought-after piano players in modern music history, as well as one of the most dedicated and revered conservationists in the world. He joined the Allman Brothers Band in 1972 at the age of 20, and for the past three decades, he has played keyboards with The Rolling Stones.

The Holmes Brothers

Over the course of 30 years, the Holmes Brothers have fed the souls of their devoted fans with a joyous and moving blend of blues, gospel, soul, R&B, rock ’n’ roll and country. Their amazing three-part harmonies, mixing Wendell’s gruff and gravelly vocals with Popsy’s soaring falsetto and Sherman’s rich baritone brings the soul and spirit of gospel music into everything they perform. Equally gripping is the rhythmic foundation laid down by Sherman’s bass playing and Popsy’s drumming, perfectly complementing Wendell’s blues-soaked guitar solos and church-inspired piano playing.

Organizing team


Atlanta, GA, United States
  • Jenn Graham
    Speaker Liasion
  • Jenn Flemish
  • Sherry Duffy
  • Dawn Gahan
    Planning Committee Member
  • Molly Hargather
  • Dave Whitling
    Communications Design
  • Steve Hsu
    Website Design
  • Chris Wojda
    Planning Committee Member
  • Michael Piersa
    Steering Committee Member/Sponsorship
  • Barbara Griffin
    Steering Committee Member
  • Leo Alvarez
    Steering Committee Member
  • Charles Green
    Steering Committee Member
  • Govantez Lowndes
    Steering Committee Member/Planning Committee Member
  • Bill Nussey
    Steering Committee Member
  • Patty Tucker
    Steering Committee Member
  • Janice Rys
    Steering Committee Member