x = independently organized TED event

This event occurred on
April 13, 2012
9:00am - 2:00pm EDT
(UTC -4hrs)
Lansing, MI
United States

The Greater Lansing area is buzzing once again. Home to Michigan’s state capitol and one of the nation’s largest research universities, Greater Lansing is reinventing itself. A teeming hub of innovation fueled by a drive toward progress, local entrepreneurs are taking advantage of a growing array of business incubators, a vibrant social media culture and a fervent “local first” attitude to go from start-up to success.

The true value of TEDxLansing is in the experience. You’re going to be surrounded by people who are passionate about big ideas and making the changes necessary to ensure a prosperous future for Lansing and the state of Michigan. You’ll hear speaker after speaker talk about what inspires them to be more and do more everyday. And in the process, you may just find their big ideas help you generate your own.

Simply put, TEDxLansing aims to engage and challenge audiences with ideas worthspreading.

In its third year, TEDxLansing joins forces with the Capital City Film Festival for four days of film, music, technology, entertainment and design throughout Lansing.

Lansing Public Media Center
2500 South Washington Avenue
Lansing, MI, 48910
United States
See more ­T­E­Dx­Lansing events


Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Alison Gass

“Art in Strange Places: New Art Practices in East Lansing and Beyond” Alison Gass is the Curator of Contemporary Art at the Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, where she is responsible for developing exhibitions and commissions of international scope, guided by the museum’s dual focus on presenting international contemporary art in all media, as well as thematic exhibitions that investigate contemporary works within a historical context. Previously, Gass served as Assistant Curator of painting and sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), where she organized exhibitions for the museum’s New Work Series, which showcases emerging and midcareer artists, most recently with Tiago Carneiro Da Cunha, Klara Kristalova and Mika Rottenberg. She co-curated the 2008 SECA Art Award exhibition and Fifty Years of Bay Area Art: The SECA Awards. Additionally, she served as assistant curator for the traveling retrospective Luc Tuymans, 2009. In 2010, The New York Times named Gass one of nine young curators to watch in the article “The New Guard Steps Up.” Gass has degrees in Art History from both Columbia University in New York and New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts.

Stephen Thomas

“The Comic Book: Mild-mannered Amusement by Day, Educational Superhero by Night” Stephen is an Assistant Professor of Zoology at Michigan State University and an Assistant Curator for science education at the MSU Museum. His research examines visual communication of science, which blends his interests in biology and art. In his role as educator, Stephen often incorporates new technologies to improve student engagement with science in both formal and informal settings. In addition to teaching, he freelances as a biological illustrator and is currently working on children’s books, webcomics, and educational touchscreen games.

Jim Luke

“Will Plato Hack the iPad?”Jim is a professor, author, consultant, and innovator who builds on his broad academic background with degrees in communication, finance, marketing strategy, and economics. He thinks in pictures and stories. Since 2002, he has been teaching economics at Lansing Community College, with both face-to-face and online classes, where he engages students by building narratives to convey complex economic principles and concepts. He helps students connect with economic theory and to make sense of their world by using history, metaphors and analogies. He develops creative ways to immerse students in economic ideas through the use of in-class games and thought experiments.

Jeana-Dee Allen Rogers

“Increasing Engagement through Creativity and Technology”Jeana-Dee Allen is a bicyclist, creator, and avid hula-hooper, as well as an award winning photographer and active community leader. Before moving to Lansing she worked as a photojournalist in her hometown of Flint, Michigan. Her experience of growing up in Flint and professionally documenting crime for The Flint Journal inspired her to pursue creative and innovative ways of bettering her community. She spent the past three years helping build programs for Lansing youth that teach literacy through photography, help children establish stronger connections with an incarcerated family member and build community through mural making. This summer, she will assist teens as they produce a Lansing-based arts and music TV show. Jeana-Dee currently works at REACH Studio Art Center and is a master’s student in the College of Education at MSU. She also volunteers throughout Lansing to increase accessibility to the arts.

Terry Link

“One Planet, One Family, One Future”An academic librarian for many years, Terry co-founded the American Library Association’s Task Force on Environment in the 1980s, and was named a “Library Superstar” by College and Research Libraries in 1988. He was founding director of MSU’s Office of Campus Sustainability in 2000, a position he held until 2009 when he took on the leadership at the Greater Lansing Food Bank a position he retired from recently. He is currently President of Starting Now, LLC, a sustainability consulting business; a Senior Fellow with the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development; Associate Editor of a forthcoming two-volume encyclopedia on sustainability; a columnist on “sustainability” for the City Pulse and the political science and public policy specialist with MSU Libraries. He has been involved with development of the US Partnership, the Global Higher Education Partnership for Sustainability, the Higher Education Network for Sustainability and Education, Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, and the Michigan Higher Education Partnership for Sustainability. Terry has served on the boards of a number of local organizations including Greater Lansing Food Bank, Urban Options (now Michigan Energy Options), Capital Area Local First, Michigan Students Sustainability Coalition, Greater Laingsburg Recyclers as well as the state DEQ’s Environmental Advisory Council. He was also elected county commissioner for Clinton County, where he initiated a Green Government Initiative, oversaw the county’s greenhouse gas inventory and chaired the Solid Waste Council and Physical Resources Committee. He has lived in Laingsburg with his wife, Ellen, for 30 years. They have two adult children, Alexandra and Noah.

Suban Nur Cooley

Suban is a writer, rule breaker and booty shaker. A mongrel of culture (blame her parents), she openly suffers from a serious case of wanderlust and has called four of the world’s seven continents “home” in her lifetime. This African-Australian now happily resides in Lansing’s Moores Park Neighborhood, where she’s constantly scheming ways to create a strong sense of place among her fellow Lansingites.A journalist by profession, Nur Cooley began her reporting beat working for a music magazine in her Australian hometown, interviewing the likes of comedienne Margaret Cho and the Buena Vista Social Club. She is currently the managing editor of Capital Gains Media, where she helps “tell the story of the city’s entrepreneurs, investments, neighborhoods, arts and culture.” A lover of all things local, you can find her frequenting many of Lansing’s locally-owned restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, museums and parks.

Simón Perazza

Simón has an extensive background in digital media, strategic communications and creative learning. He joined ArtServe Michigan, the state’s arts advocacy organization in 2008. He recently was named the organization’s Director of Strategic Communications after launching a biweekly e-publication and events website focusing on Michigan’s creative sector. The project is currently underwritten by the National Endowment for the Arts, Ford Motor Company Fund, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and a number of other Michigan foundations. Perazza serves as editor-in-chief for the e-magazine project.In 2006, he worked on multicultural marketing and other strategic brand marketing projects for The Walt Disney Company’s Buena Vista Home Entertainment division before graduating from the Eli Broad School of Management with his MBA in Strategy, Marketing and Leadership & Change Management in 2007. Prior to this, he studied film at the University of Michigan and also at Columbia College Chicago and has won numerous statewide and national awards for his videos and original scripts in the past. As part of a federally-funded Title IIA Teacher Quality Grant program, Simón also led 152 teaching-artist workshops which culminated in 55 student-produced videos. He managed personnel, equipment, production, digital archival and web distribution for MATRIX, the Online Center for the Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences at Michigan State University.

Glenn Stutzky

Glenn is a Clinical Instructor with the School of Social Work at Michigan State University. He has worked extensively with educators, administrators, parents, students, and law enforcement in developing and implementing innovative violence prevention programs especially around the issues of bullying and sexual harassment. A recently discovered talent for writing noir poems has led him to become a part of the Community Advisory Council for MSU’s Center for Poetry. Glenn is using his background as a community organizer to facilitate creative and innovative ideas for fund raising and developing projects to rebuild the infrastructure in remote villages in South Sudan. Using this same creative approach Glenn has designed a new kind of online class, “Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse – Catastrophes and Human Behavior” which has attracted national and international attention including the Center for Disease (CDC) and the University of Cincinnati, College – Conservatory of Music.

John O’Malia

John was born in Cleveland Ohio and raised in upstate New York. After graduating from high school he received an A.A.S. from Alfred State Technical Institute in 1959. Following graduation he worked construction and served in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged. He went on to graduate from Tri-State College, with a BSCE, with honors, in 1964 and then received a M.S., in Sanitary Engineering, in 1972 from MSU.He is a registered Professional Engineer in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana and is affiliated with “the American Academy of Environmental Engineers” as a diplomat, “Michigan Society of Professional Engineers” as a member and officeholder, “Michigan Water Environment Association” as a member and officeholder, and “American Water Works Association” as former President, Trustee and 1993 Fuller Award winner.He has received eight awards. The most significant are as follows: Engineer of the Year, Grand Valley Chapter of Michigan SociCety of Professional Engineers in 1981, Alumni Association of the College of Engineering MSU Service Award in 1996, Small Business Advocate of the Year Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce in 1990 and the Claud R. Erickson Award from MSU Engineering College in 1995. In addition, he has published seven papers.

Erik Proulx

As a 15-year veteran of the advertising industry, Erik once created commercials for brands like Volvo, Fidelity Investments, GMC Trucks, and Perdue Chicken. He is now a documentary and commercial film director under the production company Fighting Monk, Inc. As the both the creator and a subject of his first film “Lemonade,” Erik has front-line exposure to a profound shift in attitude around work and careers.His experience, combined with the collective experience of the hundreds of people he’s interviewed for Lemonade (the book), has made him an insightful speaker, author, and advocate for personal and professional reinvention. He has appeared on CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, NPR’s “On Point” with Tom Ashbrook, ABC News with Tory Johnson, and several other national print and broadcast media to discuss his expertise in careers and re-employment.Erik is currently filming a feature-length documentary called “Lemonade, Detroit” about the reinvention of a city trying to redefine itself after the collapse of the auto industry.

Tashmica Torok

Tashmica Torok is a wife and mother of three children created from the unique combination of thunder and lightning. Her husband owns and operates Heritage Flooring, the family business she helped develop until she realized her purpose was saving the world. Lucky for her, positions in that field were available. As the Development Associate at The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project she helps an amazing team of individuals combat poverty with education in southwest Uganda. In her spare time you can find her skating with the Lansing Derby Vixens as Nina Firecracker which continually provides her with volunteer opportunities, physical empowerment and the opportunity to hit people repeatedly. You can usually find her heart laughing in an incredible pair of shoes or writing her blog The Mother Flippin’ at a local diner where she offers humor, insight and inspiration to women in Lansing and across the U.S.

Organizing team


Lansing, MI, United States


Lansing, MI, United States
  • Payal Ravani
    Performance Director
  • Camron Gnass
  • Jennifer Middlin
    General Curator
  • Robin Miner-Swartz
    Artistic Director
  • Jessica Knott
  • Ryan Knott