x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Beyond Objectification into Empathy

This event occurred on
March 18, 2013
10:00am - 6:00pm PDT
(UTC -7hrs)
Gabriola Island, BC

On March 18 2013, the very first TEDxGabriolaIsland took place at The Haven, Gabriola Island. Although many thousand TEDx events are held around the globe every year, TEDxGabriolaIsland is one of very few representing a small, rural island community.

One hundred attendees from Gabriola Island and further afield came together for an in-depth exploration of empathy, unity and diversity. TEDxGabriolaIsland was sold out, and the lucky attendees won their places in a ticket draw, as the demand for tickets was much higher than the availability.

The day began with a welcome by video from Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo. Speakers included Mary Gordon, internationally renowned creator of the Roots of Empathy schools program and broadcaster Shelagh Rogers. Musicians Victor Wooten and Mike Stevens also spoke and were joined by performance artist Megan Daalder (creator of the Mirrorbox). Also presenting was Gabriola artist Sheila Norgate, community activist Shelagh Huston and author and lecturer Jock McKeen. Two grade 11 students from Nanaimo District Secondary School, Rachel Fritz and Jenna Mirau, completed the speaker line up.

Each speaker presented their own unique perspective on the topic; the TED videos enabled the audience to hear from the likes of Karen Armstrong, Daniel Goleman and Shane Koyczan. It was an amazing day full of learning, inspiration and wonder and, of course, 'ideas worth sharing'.

It was such a success, the organizers hope that it can become an annual event.

For further information contact Rachel Davey, TEDxGabriolaIsland organizer by email ( or phone (1 877 247 9238 x 235).

The Haven
240 Davis Road
Gabriola Island, BC, V0R 1X1
Event type:
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Victor Wooten

Victor Wooten, a five-time Grammy winning musician, is the author of The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music. Wooten hit the worldwide scene in 1990 as a founding member of the super-group Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and was listed by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the-top ten bassists of all time. Continuing to blaze a musical trail with the Flecktones and the Victor Wooten Band, he has also become widely known for his own Grammy nominated solo recordings and tours. Among other things, he is a loving husband and father of four, a skilled naturalist and teacher, a published author, a magician and acrobat, and has won every major award given to a bass guitarist. He founded and teaches at Victor Wooten’s Center for Music and Nature near Nashville, Tennessee as well as at schools and universities worldwide. Wooten was recently featured in the TED-Ed on-line film ‘Music as a Language’ offering an inspiring message worth sharing on music as a powerful communication tool. Recently, Wooten simultaneously released two records - ‘Words and Tones’ and ‘Sword and Stone’ – on his own label – VIX RECORDS. Both records made it into the top ten on iTunes jazz chart at the same time – a feat to be proud of (and maybe a first.)

Mary Gordon

Mary Gordon is recognized internationally as an award-winning social entrepreneur, educator, author, child advocate and parenting expert who has created programs informed by the power of empathy. In 2011, she won the Manning Innovation Award – Canada’s top prize for social innovation. In 1981, she founded Canada’s first and largest Parenting and Family Literacy Centres. The Roots of Empathy program was established by Gordon in 1996, and is now offered in ten countries and every province in Canada. In 2005, she created Seeds of Empathy. Gordon is a Member of the Order of Canada and an Ashoka Fellow.

Sheila Norgate

Sheila Norgate is a visual artist, performer, feminist, author, lesbian, and lover of dogs, not necessarily in that order (especially according to her dog). Her paintings have been exhibited in galleries throughout North America and her work is widely collected. In 1994 Norgate came across an old etiquette book for girls, and it changed the trajectory of her life. That book explained a lot of things, like why the man on a woman’s left rises when she leaves the dinner table but not the man on her right, and how the person facing forward on a train always sleeps in the lower berth. It also made clear why cheese should never be taken up with the fingers. But more importantly, that book with its stifling doctrine intended exclusively for girls, explained why Norgate grew up feeling truncated and pruned back, peering through the foggy glass that separated her from North America’s post-war reverie. Her father used to say the world was her oyster, but he left out the part that she would not be doing any of her own shucking. Norgate’s collection of vintage books on etiquette, beauty, charm, and home economics, has swelled to over 100 titles and she now works – through performance and writing – to connect the dots between this cultural smoking gun, and the issues still thwarting women and girls today.

Shelagh Huston

Community has marked Shelagh’s life. A Salish Sea islander since the back-to-the-land sixties, Shelagh’s wide-ranging experiences include founding an island preschool in the nineteen-seventies, spearheading a successful defence of the Islands Trust in the eighties, determining the economic value of ecological resources as a consulting economist in Africa in the nineties, catalyzing the founding of the Gabriola Commons in the 2000s, and serving as an Anglican deacon in the 2010s. Her life experiences have cultivated her understanding of the principles, processes and practices that support and encourage diverse people to birth and sustain deep community.

Megan Daalder

Megan May Daalder is a self-styled guinea pig using performance, video, and scientific curiosity to investigate life on Earth. Her main interest is in probing the human brain and body for inspiration into future possibilities. Her videos and performances have been shown internationally at Mains D'Ouvres in Paris and the WRO media art center in Poland, where she took top prize for her Mirrorbox installation. Her video Painting the Town was shown on 2,0000 Los Angeles City Busses for the Freewaves Out the Window Project and she recently completed a feature length documentary called "The Terrestrials" which was nominated as 'Best Archive Preservation Project' by FIAT/IFTA in the Netherlands. Currently, she is collaborating with neuroscientists at USC to research the new sense of shared identity she discovered through her Mirrorbox installation. She is also writing and performing in a post climate change docu-sci-fi film, which explores the future of human modification in response to environmental challenges.

Mike Stevens

A Mike Steven’s performance is always a genre bending explosion of ideas and influences. His talent is as unorthodox as his career trajectory. As an innovative, groundbreaking, Performer, Educator and Author Mike Stevens’ influence continues around the world. Mike has released 9 albums from traditional Bluegrass to Acoustic Blues to Free Jazz to Canadian Fiddle tunes to Rocking Experimental music. With over 300 shows on the World Famous Grand Ole Opry stage and countless performances around the world, Mike continues to Breathe in the World and Breathe out Music. Through many years of touring with Bluegrass Legends Jim and Jesse and The Virginia Boys and The Lewis Family, Mike created his spot in history by pioneering the harmonica in Bluegrass music. Mike’s often copied style of playing is documented in a best selling book Bluegrass Harmonica which is distributed around the world by Hal Leonard publishing. When Mike plays, the harmonica becomes a musical paintbrush with no limits. It could be a traditional performance at The Carter Fold (the Carter Family homeplace) with long time friend Raymond McLain or an Avante Garde Soundscape performance at the Eastman Mansion with Magnum photojournalist Larry Towell. In 1999 Mike started going into some of Canada’s most troubled Northern communities,. He would load up with harmonicas and head into the bush looking for young Gas sniffers. When he found them, he would hand out harmonicas and start a friendship. Over the years, Mike has started instrument lending libraries with donated musical instruments in many of the communities. Eventually, Mike founded ArtsCan Circle a non profit organization dedicated to Youth at Risk across Canada’s North. These experiences resonate in Mike’s music. Mike has a powerful message and is a much sought after Performer, Speaker and Educator. He is available to corporations, schools and concert promoters nationally and internationally.

Shelagh Rogers

Shelagh Rogers is a veteran broadcast-journalist. She has hosted flagship programs with CBC Radio, including This Morning and Sounds Like Canada. In 2000, she won the John Drainie Award, Canada's highest broadcasting honour. Two years ago, she was named a Champion of Mental Health for a series she did about mental illness and the impact on families and friends. That same year, she received a Transforming Lives Award from CAM-H for speaking publicly about her own depression. In 2010, the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario gave her their Hero Award. And the BC-CMHA presented her with their “Voice of Mental Health” Award. She has been honoured for her work in reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada. Currently, she is the host of "The Next Chapter" on CBC Radio, a program devoted to writers and songwriters, and she is the very proud, first-ever Ambassador-at-Large for the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough because she believes we are all in the same boat. She holds honourary doctorates from the University of Western Ontario and from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. In June 2011, she was named an Honourary Witness to the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Last September, Shelagh was installed as an Officer of the Order of Canada for her commitment to volunteer work in adult literacy, mental health and reconciliation from coast to coast to coast.

Jock McKeen

Jock McKeen MD, LicAc(UK), DLitt, is an accomplished presenter and author. Starting out as an emergency physician, he studied acupuncture at the College of Chinese Acupuncture, Oxford, England. After establishing a complementary medical practice in association with Bennet Wong, they collaborated in the development of The Haven, a centre for personal and professional development on Gabriola Island. Together they have blended an in-depth approach to self- development aimed at integration of the individual in body, mind and spirit, emphasizing responsibility for the self in health, relationships and lifestyle. In their over 40 years of professional association together, McKeen and Wong have traveled and taught extensively all over the world and co-authored six books.

Linda Nicholls

Linda Nicholls is the Onstage Host for TEDxGabriolaIsland. Linda is a respected and dynamic facilitator with an extensive background in group process. She is Senior Faculty and a member of the Educational Steering Group at The Haven Institute. Her work focuses on personal growth, transformational breath work, and the strengthening of relational skills. She has led groups on five continents, offering creative experiences for people to establish their harmonious wellbeing. Linda values nature’s diversity—the vast and varied outdoor landscapes of our earth as well as the vast and varied interior landscapes of human beings. From amongst her eclectic interests, she brings passion for wilderness adventures, photography, film-making and theatre to her global pursuit for inspired transformation.

Jenna Mirau

Jenna Mirau is grade 11 student at Nanaimo District Secondary School, co-founder of the school’s anti-bullying team, Empathy NDSS and youth facilitator with the Red Cross. As a youth facilitator, she presents the RespectED: Beyond the Hurt workshop to students in grade five to eight. The program looks at what bullying really means, how it can be prevented, the effects it has on everyone involved and much more. At her school, Jenna is a peer counselor, willing to listen to and help fellow students with their struggles. She wants to show everyone, especially younger teens, that it's okay to not always feel okay. Talk about your problems, no matter their size, because they matter. Keep talking until someone hears you out. We are born with two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as you talk.

Rachel Fritz

Rachel Fritz is a grade eleven student at Nanaimo District Secondary School. She is one of the many members and supporters of a recent anti-bullying movement called Empathy NDSS that spends time giving “Speak Out, Reach Out” presentations to younger students. Empathy NDSS just this year started a successful peer counseling program that they hope to expand within the next year. With Empathy NDSS, Rachel and a few of her peers had the opportunity to speak at a workshop at the BC Counselor’s Conference in Vancouver where they shared their perspectives on cyber bullying. Rachel is also an active member of the school’s student council and global community committee, and is currently working hard to raise money for the Adopt A Village campaign through Free The Children.

Organizing team


Gabriola Island, Canada
  • Kelly Price
    Web site designer
  • Louise Amuir
    Venue Coordinator, Speaker Wrangler, Budget
  • David Raithby
    Program advisor
  • Toby Macklin
    Storyteller, chief Tweeter, designer
  • Sean Kearns
    Camera operator
  • Graemme Brown
    Sound engineer, videos, slideshows
  • Jules Molloy
    Camera and editing
  • Garry Pendygrasse
    Camera operator
  • Dano Pendygrasse