x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Think the Unthinkable

This event occurred on
March 16, 2013
9:00am - 5:00pm PDT
(UTC -7hrs)
Vancouver, BC

Transformational ideas don't come from uncovering the answers to questions that have already been presented. They come from inventing new ones. At TEDxStanleyPark, we believe that possibilities are around the world and around the corner. On March 16th, speakers will share unthinkable stories of once undiscovered potential. They'll help us tap into our own ideas, while drawing from an amazing wealth of innovation, passion and inspiration in Vancouver, and beyond.

UBC Robson Square
800 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC
Event type:
Standard (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Joe Roberts

Joe was a celebrated Canadian entrepreneur before he was 35 years old. He was nominated by Maclean’s Magazine as one of 10 Canadians that make a difference. What is most amazing about Joe is that in 1989 he was a homeless drug addict living on skid row. His story is one of perseverance, determination and the resiliency of the human spirit. Joe is a testament to the idea that “anything is possible”. In the summer of 2012 he pushed a shopping cart from Calgary to Vancouver as “training” for his walk across Canada in 2013. All of this is to help kids at risk through his foundation The Push for Change.

Rick Antonson

Rick is vice chair of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) based in Bangkok, Thailand, and is vice president of Pacific Coast Public Television. He is also a former board chair of the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) based in Washington, D.C., and served as an Ambassador for the 2010 Olympic Winter & Paralympic Games held in Vancouver and Whistler, Canada. Such volunteer roles are anchored around Rick’s responsibilities as President, CEO of Tourism Vancouver, a 1,000 member organization whose vision is to be a global leader in destination marketing, sales, management, and visitor experiences. Rick is author of the acclaimed book To Timbuktu for a Haircut; A Journey Through West Africa, and the newly released Route 66 Still Kicks; Driving America’s Main Street. He travels extensively around the world for business, speaking engagements and on personal journeys, including an expedition to the summit of Mt. Ararat. He is a firm believer that tourism is a vital force for peace.

Sean Sibbet and Marco Pasqua

Sean and Marco are a powerhouse duo that believes you can turn any obstacle into an opportunity. With over 30 years experience working with computer technology, Sean Sibbet combines his technical savvy with a desire to improve the quality of life for anyone regardless of their age or abilities. As an entrepreneur, Sean is constantly looking for ways to push the envelope but keep it simple. He believes that technology should be making lives easier not aggravating. Marco is an inspirational speaker, accomplished athlete, earning over 22 gold medals in various sports, and an avid gamer. Born with Cerebral Palsy, Marco has always found ways to thrive in situations that presented him with a challenge. After 4 years experience in the video game industry, Marco wanted to give back in a whole new way. He began writing for The AbleGamers Foundation, an organization that serves as the voice of more than 33 million people with disabilities that use gaming for rehabilitation, quality-of-life improvement and recreational distraction from terminal illnesses or trauma. Together, Sean and Marco bring a passion and positive impact that will “even the playing field”. They believe that the "unthinkable" isn't unattainable, but rather, just one idea away from being possible.

Shawn Smith

Shawn Smith is an Adjunct Professor and founding Director of RADIUS (RAdical Ideas Useful to Society), the home of social innovation at the Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University. He is also founder of several social ventures and has been featured by the United Nations and a wide variety of media outlets for this work, and speaks and consults regularly on social entrepreneurship, education, and international development. Shawn is fascinated by emerging leaders and ideas, and has dedication his life to this pursuit, whether that’s meant cycling from Amsterdam to Istanbul, working intently with East African social entrepreneurs, or building university programs here in Vancouver.

Gobinder Gill

Gobinder has worked in many facets of the media dealing with diversity issues. His experiences cover all facets of radio, television, film and print. As a journalist he has interviewed high profile personalities including Mother Teresa. But his journey to success in life did not come easy. As an immigrant orphan child growing up in Prince George, B.C, he faced more than just racism and bigotry. He faced other insurmountable challenges that are unthinkable to the average Canadian. He believes we must change our attitude towards others who are socially, economically or morally different

Poh Tan

Poh Tan is the Founder and CEO of Innoguidance Consulting, a strategic marketing consulting firm that helps bring innovative ideas in science and applied science to the marketplace. Her passion is for stem cell research, and she will be speaking about Myths and Misconceptions about Stem Cell Research at TEDxStanleyPark. Dr. Tan earned her PhD from the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia where her research focused on mechanisms and molecules that regulate hematopoietic (blood) stem cell migration to the bone marrow. She has shared her thesis research with both national and international audiences, and her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Stem Cells and Oncogene. She is the former Chair of The Training and Education Committee for the Canadian Stem Cell Network and the former Product Manager in the marketing department of Vancouver's largest biotech company, STEMCELL Technologies, where she managed one of their flagship embryonic stem cell product lines. Dr. Tan's passion is to educate the general public about the realities and more importantly dispel the myths about stem cells so that people do not rely on fiction (such as Hollywood), persuasion and religion when making informed decisions about stem cell policy, advocacy, research and therapy.

Rodney Denno

Rodney spent the first 20 years of his working life designing and building secure systems to keep hackers and organized crime out of payment networks. Then he did the unthinkable and left it all behind to write, teach and coach entrepreneurs and corporate executives on how to transform from good to great by hacking into themselves. Recently Rodney received the highest Toastmasters leadership honor in British Columbia – The Outstanding Toastmaster of the Year Award. His hope for today is that you recognize what unthinkable times we live in and get inspired to use this awareness to build a better world.

David Stork

Dr. Stork is a Distinguished Research Scientist and the Research Director at Rambus Labs. He has held faculty appointments in 8 disciplines and programs, holds over 40 US patents and has published nearly 200 technical works. David graduated in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Maryland and studied art history at Wellesley College. David has lectured at universities, conferences and museums on computer image analysis of art. He is also an accomplished orchestral musician.

Max Cynader

Dr. Max Cynader is Director of the Brain Research Centre and the Javad Mowafogian Centre for Brain Health. He holds the Canada Research Chair in Brain Development at UBC and is Professor of Ophthalmology. His research has focused on the nature of the processing performed by the cerebral cortex. Max has had over 200 articles published in scientific journals, has presented over 350 papers at national and international scientific meetings, and is the holder of several patents. He has made important contributions to technology development, and to the commercialization of research results. Max has appeared on over a dozen television programs in the last 3 years and delivered countless presentations on radio and to lay groups about brain functioning.

Christopher Molineux

Christopher has lived a life dedicated to comedy and communication. As a comedian he has worked with some of the comedy world's greatest luminaries including Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Jerry Seinfeld and Ellen DeGeneres. The last 13 years have seen Christopher teaching people across North America and the United Kingdom how to create and deliver comedy. He has worked as a writer for Electronic Arts and as a communication skills coach for the Coca Cola Olympic site and Olympic torch teams in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. He is currently developing humour systems for artificial intelligence. Christopher’s upcoming book "Humour Explained" will address the origins and functions of humour.

Mary-Wynne Ashford

Thirty years ago, Dr. Ashford joined an organization called the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. She found herself plunged into activism and began a parallel track to her medical career as a writer, speaker and consultant on the health consequences of nuclear weapons. The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 for their work bringing together Soviet and American doctors to raise the alarm that in the event of nuclear war, medicine has nothing meaningful to offer. Mary-Wynne served as Co-President of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War for two terms, and has spoken to audiences in over 30 countries. Today her passion is sharing the surprising, true stories of successful non-violent actions that have prevented or ended violence.

John Robinson

Dr. Robinson is the kind of intellectually exciting professor we all wish we’d had in school. He is the Associate Provost, Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. He has spent his career researching, teaching, leading, debating, pondering, speaking, writing and in many other ways addressing one of to-day’s most critical issues: sustainability. John has been honored many times -- as a Pierre Elliot Trudeau Fellow, as Canadian Geographic’s Environmental Scientist of the Year, and, in 2007, as a key member of the team that shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. His five grown sons and wife Deborah give John a healthy perspective on life. They fuel his relentless drive to change the world for the better.

Ed Alfke

Building 20 companies in the US, Canada and Europe makes Ed Alfke a serial entrepreneur. He enjoyed early success with the founding of Rent-A-Wreck, a business that became the largest used-car rental company in the world. Ed is a founding member and director of the National Angel Capital Organization, and is active with the Angel Capital Association in the US. He is a contributing author to Brian Tracy’s latest best-seller, “The Only Business Book You Will Ever Need”. Ed is a case study, speaker and guest lecturer in universities, and has received many business and community accolades. He is here to-day to tell you what you need to create your own success and live your dream.

Bro Gilbert

Bro Gilbert is a writer, speaker and magician who has worked behind the scenes as a creative consultant for many of television's most popular magicians. He operates one of the Magic World's most famous brands, Paul Harris Presents, a company that creates and develops magic tricks and instructional products for magicians around the world. Bro's passion is crafting and teaching others how to evoke and share moments of astonishment with each other through training and workshops. His greatest hope is that more and more people learn the techniques of magicians and other creative artists to design and construct amazing experiences for those with whom we share this world.

Abhishek Kumar

Dr. Kumar is a post-doctoral research fellow at TRIUMF. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Chicago and received his PhD in Physics from New York University in 2010. Abhishek’s research aims to extend the current theory of particle physics, which describes nature in terms of elementary particles. He anticipates the discovery of new particles at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and is interested in the clues that they might offer in furthering our understanding of the universe. Abhishek is also interested in Dark Matter, the puzzling substance that constitutes a quarter of the energy density of the universe. Abhishek enjoys sharing his enthusiasm for the mysterious workings of nature with people and has guest lectured at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

Organizing team


Vancouver, Bc, Canada
  • Emre Akkas
  • Iman Aghay
  • Sam Elahee
  • Stephanie Jhala
  • Brian Wu