x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Connected

This event occurred on
December 2, 2012
11:00am - 6:30pm PST
(UTC -8hrs)
Napa, CA
United States

What does it mean to be connected?” we asked. Are we talking about technology and the overwhelming ways we can plug in to browse, gather information or create community? Or are we talking about relationships–knowing the kind of influential people who can help you secure a job, make a deal or introduce you to the love of your life? Maybe we are talking about a yearning for connection with something more meaningful, such as earth, nature or our spiritual self? Our ability to love? To heal? Our joy? The answer to all of these questions is yes.

TEDxNapaValley 2012 is aimed to bring you some of the most valuable insights on what it means to be connected. Our speakers engineer creative products that allow us to communicate with each other in new and exciting ways. They dissect relationships, sometimes those that are unusual and surprising, to examine how they affect the outcome of our lives. They take radical approaches to remind us of our common values. Overall, they combine technology, art and design in novel ways that delight and inspire. We think the exchange of ideas is one of the best ways to build connections that last. We hope you will join us.

Napa Valley Opera House
1030 Main
Napa, CA, 94559
United States
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Dianne Aigaki

Dianne Aigaki currently makes her home in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dianne has had a home in Dharamsala, India (the major Tibetan refugee community in exile) since 1996, working as a volunteer for various non-profit organizations and Tibetan exile government departments, training individuals and groups to write solid project plans and compelling fund-raising proposals and helping to develop adult education and community garden projects. In 2000/2001, she was Coordinator of the Gyudmed Tantric Monastery Compassion Tours in the United States, raising money for health clinics, education of monks, water systems, and monastery infrastructure.

Jean Arnold

Consulting with Hanzell Vineyards since 1999, Jean L. Arnold was named President in January of 2002 as Bob Sessions’ retirement to Winemaker Emeritus was announced. Prior to joining Hanzell Vineyards as President, Jean was CEO of Jackson Family Farms and its nine independent wineries. With over thirty years’ of wine industry experience in business leadership, executive management, marketing, and sales, her experiences have included such notable wineries as Chateau St. Jean, Chateau Montelena, Jordan Vineyards & Winery, J Vineyards & Winery, Chalk Hill Estate and Williams Selyem. In 1999 she founded her consulting firm, the Jean Arnold Group, to offer luxury brand positioning and image creation to private wine industry clients including Laurel Glen Vineyards, Rudd Vineyards & Winery and the management firm of Motto, Kryla, & Fisher.

Mario Chiodo

Mario Chiodo has been the owner, designer and lead sculptor of his own firm for twenty years in the Bay Area. From consumer products and play sculptures for children, to large monumental installations, Mario has created artwork that delights and teases the imagination all over the country. His works can be found locally at the Oakland Zoo, Children’s Fairyland, and the Wax Museum in San Francisco. Mario is considered a Classical sculptor, a skilled artist capable of depicting likenesses with breathtaking detail and gesture. Through both bas-relief panels and fully dimensional sculptures, his works effectively convey history via inspirational figurative artworks, which are acutely narrative and evocative. Mario received a large commission from Harrah’s New Orleans to sculpt the History of Jazz through eleven 8 ft tall panels and three feature sculptures. Recently, Mario completed the commission to sculpt the founder of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Lt. General Hubert Harmon.

Mike Dowling

Born in Berkeley California and raised in the Bay Area, Mike Dowling is a former U.S. Marine Corps military working dog handler and author of the critically acclaimed book Sergeant Rex: The Unbreakable Bond Between A Marine and His Military Working Dog (Atria books of Simon & Schuster). He and his military dog, Rex, were part of the first Marine Corps dog teams deployed to the front lines of combat since the Vietnam War. They operated in an area known as the “Triangle of Death” and were tasked with searching for the deadly improvised explosive devices (IEDs). They were awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for their actions. He has traveled across the country sharing his story and the value of military working dogs.

Peter Hassen

I use sculpture, painting, printmaking, photography, video and landscape intervention to build on the nexus between the individual and culture. I am drawn by the underlying power of symbols and have always felt deep connection to historic cultures. In working towards an understanding of our commonalities, I see connections between different peoples and traditions and the functions of individual spirituality and crucible of human culture. I hope to give viewers reason to pause and consider their own place in the wider scope of human history. I find that my work can act as a catalyst for understanding and seek that a-ha moment, where I connect the past to the present, and help point to the future. Through reinterpreting our collective, historic culture I identify with the heroic in myself and seek to help people discover it in themselves.

Sheldon H. Kardner MD

Sheldon H. Kardener, MD graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a subsequent medical doctorate from Wayne State University, with honors. He completed his psychiatric residency at UCLA joined the faculty where he continues his affiliation as a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry. For over forty years he has written extensively, practiced psychodynamic psychotherapy, with a special interest in couple therapy, and taught every mental health discipline both in the United States and Sweden. His book “Breaking Free: How Chains From Childhood Keep Us From What We Want” distills and illuminates his unique approach to the field.

Alan Kropf

At only 29-years-old, Mutineer Magazine President Alan Kropf is a leader amongst the next generation of beverage professionals and has extensive knowledge and experience with a range of beverages. Kropf is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, holds an Advanced Certificate with Merit through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, is a Certified Beer Server through the Cicerone Certification Program and holds a Bartending/Mixology Certificate through National Bartenders Bartending School. Kropf has worked as a Sommelier at some of the world’s more prestigious properties, including the Beverly Hills Hotel with its legendary celebrity clientele and he helped Gordon Ramsay open his signature restaurant in the London West Hollywood in 2008. Alan has industry experience as an artesinal mixologist and barista.

Jason Rzepka

Jason Rzepka is senior vice president of public affairs at MTV, the #1 global youth brand. His charge, quite simply, is to use MTV’s superpowers for good. Jason does this by marshaling the network’s forces to engage and activate America’s youth on the biggest challenges facing their generation. He is responsible for the strategic direction of all of MTV’s “pro-social” campaigns, including the boundary-shattering, Peabody-winning “It’s Your (Sex) Life,” with the Kaiser Family Foundation, which has reached over 200 million young people on sexual health issues; Webby-winning “A Thin Line,” which has inspired well over 1 million young people to draw their own line between digital use and digital abuse; and “Power of 12,” which is helping unleash the exponential power of young voters in the 2012 elections and beyond.

Holly Stiel

Holly Stiel is a trailblazing service philosopher who innovated a method of training based on the practices and principles of the world-class concierge. Her clients include: Disney, Nordstrom, AVEDA, American Express, Visa Signature card, Hilton and Hyatt hotels. In 1976, Stiel became the first female concierge in the country when she created the desk at the Grand Hyatt Union Square in San Francisco. Two years later she was the first American woman to be admitted to the exclusive Les Clefs d’Or Association for concierges. She is the author of four books including, The Art and Science of the Hotel Concierge, Ultimate Service, The Complete Handbook to the World of the Concierge, Thank You Very Much –A Book for Anyone Who Has Ever Said, “May I Help you?” and The Neon Signs of Service. With a team of producers, Stiel has created three award-winning instructional DVDs and custom-designed corporate training programs

Cassandra Vieten PhD

Cassandra Vieten, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist, Director of Research at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, co-director of the Mind-Body Medicine Research Group at California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, and co-president of the Institute for Spirituality and Psychology. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the State of California, and several private donors and foundations, her research has focused on spirituality and health; development and pilot testing of mindfulness-based approaches to cultivating emotional balance (primarily in the areas of addiction and pregnancy/postpartum well-being); and factors, experiences, and practices involved in psychospiritual transformation to a more meaningful, compassionate, and service-oriented way of life. Her primary interest lies in how psychology, biology, and spirituality interact to affect experience and behavior.

Emilie Maranec

TEDxNapaValley Student Speaker winner Emilie Marenec was born in San Francisco, grew up in Sonoma and attends Sonoma Valley High School. Born of an Italian mother, Marcella Note, and Czech father, Ladislav Marenec, Emilie has traveled much to the land of her ancestors and learned both English and Czech as a child. In fourth grade at the age of 9 Emilie started playing the violin and auditioned for the Napa Valley Youth Symphony at 13, and was accepted. Now 17 Emilie has been a member of the Napa Valley Youth Symphony for 4 years and recently toured Austria and The Czech Republic. As a Czech speaker Emilie was asked to introduce her symphony to the audience at the Mahler Festival in the Czech Republic during this tour. Emilie aspires to go to school at UC Davis, and plans on ‘double’ majoring in chemical engineering and international relations, and minoring in music.

Lisa Gansky

Lisa Gansky is an entrepreneur, author of the bestselling book The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing and the founder of Mesh Labs and the Mesh Directory, a global community of organizations, agencies and companies working to define and expand the sharing economy. She is a recognized international thought leader in the design of new products, services, partnerships and business models in which access to goods, services and talent triumphs over the ownership of them. Lisa’s specific passion and interest is to create & test new models and partnerships that will engender vitality in our daily life and economy between companies, communities and local governments. Lisa is a co-founder and director of Dos Margaritas, an environmental foundation focused on community based conservation in Latin America.

Organizing team


Napa, CA, United States


Napa, CA, United States
  • Geni Whitehouse
    Speaker Director
  • Tia Butts
    Marketing - Press & PR
  • Barbara Sabbadini
    Marketing - Education Outreach
  • Jeff Prather
    Speaker Team
  • Sandina Bailo
    Co - Curator
  • Andrew Healy
    Co - Curator
  • Justin Linkner
    Event Director