x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Becoming

This event occurred on
October 11, 2012
10:00am - 5:00pm CDT
(UTC -5hrs)
Bentonville, AR
United States

One year ago a team of ten enthusiastic volunteers came together to bring TEDx to the Bentonville community. Inspired by the tremendous growth and change currently taking place in Northwest Arkansas they have worked to create an event that will explore these very ideas, provide a forum for differing perspectives, inspire conversations – and ultimately, new action at the individual, organizational, and community levels.

An impressive list of local speakers is lined up for 10.11.12 to cover different facets of the Becoming theme, ranging from Business/Education, to Arts/Culture, and Environment/Sustainable Growth.

Avondale Chapel & Gardens
2005 E Central Avenue
Bentonville, AR, 72712
United States
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Jeff Amerine

Jeff’s career has involved creating, financing and deploying high-tech telecommunications and information technology products and services. He has held senior leadership positions in seven startup ventures and three Fortune 500 companies over the past 22 years. Jeff joined the University of Arkansas Technology Licensing Office in February 2008. His role at the University is to implement effective strategies and methods that lead to commercialization of world-class research. In addition, Jeff teaches entrepreneurship and at the Walton College of Business. Jeff also serves as a consultant to a state program called Innovate Arkansas which is chartered with the creation and support of a knowledge-based economy in Arkansas. Over the past 4 years Innovate Arkansas has served over 100 clients and has helped them raise $75 million in public and private funding. Jeff holds a BS, Physical Science from the United States Naval Academy, an MS in Operations Management from the University of Arkansas, and is pursuing a doctorate in workforce development education at the University of Arkansas. Jeff is a certified project management professional (PMP) in good standing since 2002.

Jodi Beznoska

Jodi Beznoska is the Vice President of Communications at Walton Arts Center, where her duties include managing marketing, publicity, sales and brand identity. She earned her bachelor’s degree in International Studies at Colby College and her Masters in Business from the University of Wisconsin Madison. She’s had a brief stint as an off-Broadway producer, and harbors a secret hope to someday make her way back onstage. An avid New England sports fan and dog lover, she enjoys traveling, playing volleyball and exploring her beautiful Ozark backyard. She can be heard on KUAF’s Ozarks at Large every Thursday.

Becky Howard

Becky Howard is a Northwest Arkansas native and scholar. She received her bachelors and masters degrees from Texas A&M University and is currently a PhD candidate in history at the University of Arkansas. She plans to teach and write history at the collegiate level after completing her dissertation on Arkansas’ Civil War veterans.

Bentonville High School Team

Will Sasine, Tanner Hedstrom and Courtney Brooks ~ Will was born in central Florida, but lived abroad and in other parts of the U.S. before moving to Bella Vista. He is a senior at Bentonville High School and hopes to attend the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. Will wants to pursue a career in some form of public service. Tanner was born in Fayetteville, AR and has lived in Bentonville his entire life. This is his 13th year in the Bentonville Public School System, and following this year he will be attending school to become an educator. He enjoys reading, writing poetry, singing, and most of all public speaking. Courtney was born in Fayetteville, AR and has lived in the Rogers area her entire life. She is a senior at Bentonville High School, and hopes to attend American University in Washington, D.C. next fall. Courtney wants to pursue a master’s degree in International Relations with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. She hopes to someday work for the US State Department as a Foreign Service Officer.

Kassie Misiewicz

Kassie Misiewicz is a professional Theatre for Youth director and educator with over twenty years’ experience. In 2008, she founded Trike Theatre, Northwest Arkansas’ professional theatre for young audiences. Unique in Arkansas, Trike Theatre’s Outreach programs use kinesthetic drama-based strategies to increase students’ literacy skills, reach all learners and cultivate imaginative, collaborative thinkers.

Nirupama Raghavan

Nirupama Raghavan is the current President of the Hindu Association of Northwest Arkansas (HANWA). On July 29, 2012, HANWA opened the first Hindu temple in the state of Arkansas, the result of over 12 years of effort by the community. The last 5 years have seen significant growth in the Hindu population in Arkansas and HANWA membership has, likewise , increased to the point that a permanent temple structure was necessary and practicable. Nirupama was born in India and moved to U.S. as a child. She has also lived in Mauritius and Kenya. After receiving an MBA from the Darden School at the University of Virginia, she spent over ten years working at Walmart and Sam’s Club. She currently works for Cognizant Business Consulting in the Retail, Travel and Hospitality practice.

Zeek Taylor

Executive Director of the Eureka Springs’s Artist Registry. An award winning artist and the subject of many one-man shows, Zeek’s work is included in collections around the world. His work has been on display three times during exhibitions at the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock and one of his watercolors, an iris, is hanging in the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion. He is the recipient of the Arkansas Arts Council’s 2012 Governor’s Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Niki Ciccotelli Stewart

Niki Ciccotelli Stewart is the Director of Education Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. She has worked in the field of art education for nearly twenty years as an art teacher, museum educator, and professional artist. Niki’s experience also includes 10 years with the Walt Disney Company in many art and education departments including Disney Design Group, Walt Disney World Entertainment, Creative Costuming, The Disney Cruise Line, The Disney Institute, and Disney’s Youth Education Series. Niki holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, where she majored in Illustration and minored in Photography. She has also studied at The College of New Jersey, Hussein School of Art, and Moore College of Art and Design. She is licensed to teach K-12 Art in both Arkansas and Florida, and holds specializations in Gifted & Talented Education and Reading.

Trey Stephens

Trey Stephens is an author, speaker and life-long veteran and advocate for diabetes. A native of Russellville,  Trey is a former chair of the Wal-Mart associate resource group Advocates for Disability Awareness (ADAE). Prior to Wal-Mart, Trey held leadership roles in the Telecommunications and Internet industries with BellSouth, ALLTEL and Nextel.   Trey and wife Kim have two teenage children, Sawyer and Kennedy.  He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas in Finance, a boisterous member of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity where he is a past Alumni Board Chair and holds an MBA from Winthrop University. In his free time, Trey is active in the CrossFit community, Fellowship Bible Church in Rogers and enjoys riding the back roads and trails on his Harley and mountain bike.

GW Chew

With obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and other chronic ailments affecting millions, we envision a restaurant that will not just feed people healthy food but teach them how to become healthy and stay healthy. We look to provide a tangible solution coupled with science to meet the fast-paced American lifestyle. We seek to provide something better. GW Chew is entrepreneur and the co-founder of Something Better Foods International, a healthy gourmet restaurant and lifestyle education center. Chef Chew envisions a restaurant that combines cooking classes, personalized consultations and research based meal plans that empower clients to experience a better quality of life and true longevity.

Al Lopez

Al “Papa Rap” Lopez, is building a communication bridge of friendship between people. Al’s purpose in life is to enlighten and help North Americans develop a deeper understanding of Latino and other cultures moving into the USA and at the same time help newcomers understand the new culture surrounding them.

Dr. Stephen Graves

Steve is an organizational strategist, pragmatic theologian and social capitalist. At any given time, he is advising 5-6 high profile CEO’s or business owners, along with 3-4 young energetic social entrepreneurs. He sits on numerous boards, holds several degrees, writes often, speaks occasionally, and is part owner in over a dozen businesses. He lives in Northwest Arkansas with his wife Karen, has three adult children and if he doesn’t return your call quickly there is a good chance he snuck off to the river…again."

Organizing team


Rogers, AR, United States


Bentonville, AR, United States
  • Virginia Germann
    Producer / Co-Curator
  • Shawn McGrew
  • Daniel Hintz
    Core Team
  • Barry Cobbs
    Core Team
  • John Mauck
    Core Team
  • Bradley Phillips
    Core Team
  • Brent Robinson
    Core Team
  • Mark Levine
    Core Team
  • Clint Lazenby
    Core Team
  • Jerra Nalley
    Marketing / Social Media
  • Mailena Urso
    Marketing / Social Media
  • Eve Rosin
    Stage Design & Event Logistics