x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Here By Choice

This event occurred on
November 12, 2013
10:00am - 5:00pm PST
(UTC -8hrs)
Bellingham, WA
United States

Bellingham is a place like no other. This inaugural TEDx event celebrates our shared sense of place and the individual choices we’ve each made in our lives.

Thoreau said, “As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind...” We could interpret that to mean ideas are not created in a vacuum. All knowledge is connected. Ideas are infinite. The more you know, the more there is to know.

We hope you’ll approach this day in the spirit in which it is presented. Choose to consider a new idea. Choose to be moved. Choose to be inspired; to take action; to change the world. Or, simply choose to be.

The Pickford
1318 Bay Street
Bellingham, WA, 98225
United States
Event type:
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Swil Kanim Marshall

The Gift of Presence: Swil Kanim, an enrolled member of the Lummi Nation, is the president of HonorWorks, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. He is a classically trained violinist, native storyteller and actor. He and his team carry the message of hope and healing to schools and organizations, where young people learn to honor themselves by staying in school, staying alive, staying sober and creating healthy communities. Swil Kanim’s compositions incorporate classical influences as well as musical interpretations of his journey from depression and despair to spiritual and emotional freedom. The stories and music emerging from his experiences have been transforming people’s lives for decades.

Paul Akers

Creating an Innovative Culture : Paul Akers is founder and president of FastCap LLC, a product development company manufacturing products for the contractor/cabinetmaking, coffee, tech, surfing and gardening industries. After Paul discovered Lean and the Toyota Production System (TPS), Fastcap became even more successful. In 13 years, Paul and his wife, Leanne, built FastCap from their garage into a multi-million dollar company. Paul became passionate about Lean, wrote 2 Second Lean, and was named Business Executive of the Year by Seattle Business magazine. Paul’s passion is helping people discover their full potential and teaching others how to implement Lean thinking for their own business and personal success.

Rhonda Gothberg

Creating a Life of Plenty: 40 Acres & a Milk Goat : Rhonda Gothberg traded her health care executive career for managing a herd of dairy goats and making cheese. She redefined her life’s priorities to be feeding her community and feeding her soul, and has created her own unique self and style through life’s inevitable transitions.

Jasmin Wilhelm

She Rises: A Story of Grace: Jasmine Wilhelm is a senior at WWU, double majoring in Studio Art and Recreation. She hopes to have a career in Wilderness Therapy, helping youth realize their value by honoring their personal stories, struggles, journeys and victories. She wishes to use her passion for creating as a form of healing and coalesce it with the therapeutic properties of spending time outside. She loves thunderstorms, juicy pear jellybeans, listening and practicing vulnerability. The daughter of two professors, Jasmine never wants to stop listening and learning, growing and loving.

Phyllis Shacter

Not Here by Choice : Phyllis Shacter began making unconventional lifestyle decisions when she attended U.C. Berkeley at 16 years old, during the Free Speech Movement. After college, she made pioneering choices, including living in an intentional community for much of her 20s and 30s. Her careers include 10 years as a teacher and school manager, 12 years as the founder and owner of a business and technology firm, and 10 years as a personal life and business coach. Phyllis is a teacher of living creatively and boldly, and is committed to educating people about more conscious ways of living and dying.

The Gallus Brothers

Performance: The Gallus Brothers sound like a record collection found in the basement of a retired acrobat with a penchant for good old-fashioned blues. Devin Champlin savagely syncopates on a reso-phonic guitar, while Lucas Hicks amps it up by playing percussion on a suitcase full of bones, bells and antique tomfoolery. Both are talented multi-instrumentalists and their sets are a mix of country blues, old Tin Pan Alley songs, mandolin and fiddle tunes, and a dash of danger by way of acrobatic antics. They have played across the U.S. and Canada, from festival stage to smoky bar, wooing crowds with their fun music, their good humor, and their willingness to jump on a table, stand on each other, and juggle while playing a good old tune from way back when.

Tom Malterre

Broccoli: The DNA Whisperer: Since the age of 10, Tom Malterre has been fascinated by the science of nutrition. In his quest to understand the genius of food, he has achieved both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nutritional science from Bastyr University, learned from world experts in medicine at the Institute for Functional Medicine, become a faculty member of the Autism Research Institute, co-authored two books, and coached numerous health care practitioners on using nutritional science as a tool in their clinical practices. Tom loves to spend time with his wife and children hiking in the mountains, harvesting wild food, and tending to the family garden.

Galen Emanuele

Improv to be a Better Human Being: As the president of Shift Yes, Galen transforms organizations by showing them how to apply the principles of improv to be more successful in business and life. He has been performing and teaching all levels of performance and applied improv for almost 10 years, and has over 16 years experience in sales and marketing. He spends his time making the world more awesome by providing staff development workshops and keynotes for tons of different organizations and thousands of people. He also started Pass The Hat, a brilliant non-profit that provides financial relief to local families facing tragedy. Good stuff.

Dustin Morrow

Better Living Through Music: Dustin Morrow, a professor of Film at Portland State University, is an award-winning author, programmer, speaker, and filmmaker, whose works have been shown in venues around the world. He has written extensively about film, pop culture, technology and pedagogy for a host of online and print publications. His feature film musical Everything Went Down is currently playing the national film festival circuit and his textbook Producing for TV and New Media was recently published worldwide by Focal Press. His next book, a collaborative work with the legendary actress Kathleen Turner, is due early next year. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Sandi Doughton

Shake, Rattle - and Rebound: Sandi Doughton is an award-winning science writer for The Seattle Times and the author of Full Rip 9.0: The Next Big Earthquake in the Pacific Northwest. During the more than 20 years she has lived in the Pacific Northwest, her reporting has taken her to the Bering Sea, where she covered climate change and chased seals over pancake ice, and to Africa, where she tracked the Gates Foundation’s efforts to develop a malaria vaccine. But earthquake science is her favorite subject, because it’s a great example of the way research can make a real difference to society and in people’s lives.

Colleen Haggerty

Forgiving the Unforgivable: Colleen Haggerty is most happy when she is supporting others to live into their best versions of themselves. Colleen is an author, small group facilitator and coach who has worked in the non-profit sector for 15 years. After losing her leg in an auto accident at age 17, Colleen spent many years attempting to repress her anger. It wasn’t until she forgave the man who hit her with his car that she was able to walk into the future she had always wanted.

Robbyn Peters Bennett

Violence - A Family Tradition: Robbyn Peters Bennett, LMHC, CMHS is a psychotherapist, educator, and child advocate who specializes in the treatment of trauma-related mental health problems resulting from the effects of early childhood stress, abuse and neglect. She is the founder of, a non-profit dedicated to educating the public on the dangers of spanking. She is on the steering committee of The U.S. Alliance to End the Hitting of Children. Robbyn is currently producing a documentary, The Last Resort, about the cultural practice of spanking children.

Naseem Rahka

Remember to Live: Naseem is a mother, author, photographer, geologist, explorer and spy. Her greatest talent is sleeping, which leads to dreaming, which leads to writing. She is an international best-selling author, and was recently the Artist in Residence at the Grand Canyon. Naseem loves to write stories that push people’s buttons, getting them to think, talk and be a part of this planet. Naseem has just returned from Arizona, where she has been on a solo expedition down some of the Colorado River’s tributaries. When Naseem is not doing the aforementioned, she is busy painting the inside of her fingernails with turmeric and dirt. She has been known to make a great curry. Find out more at

Mark King

Three Reasons to Take on a Big Project: Mark King is a 23-year-old engineer and owner of Trayvax Enterprises. He received both his Eagle Scout and first U.S.patent at age 18, and went on to building electric cars before moving to Bellingham. After inventing and manufacturing organoleptic analysis methodology for General Mills at age 21, he received his CNC machining degree from Bellingham Technical College. Mark now works on expanding his company and making an impact with creative products and creative philanthropy.

Scott Sonnon

How We Suppress Genius and Create Learning Disability: Scott Sonnon overcame dyslexia so severe that he was hospitalized in a children’s psychiatric institution. He was advised that he should not set very high his expectations of his potential. He went on to become a five-time world martial arts champion, award-winning producer and author, patented inventor, and fitness industry magnate. Scott was named one of the top 24 trainers in the world by Men’s Fitness magazine, and one of the six most influential martial artists of the 21st century by Black Belt Magazine.

Daniel Kirkpatrick

Making Education Matter: Daniel spends his days directing Explorations Academy, a fully accredited high school that prepares young people to be global citizens and change agents. Daniel is a past recipient of the Willi Unsoeld Award for contributions to the field of Experiential Education, and has taught students from 4th grade through college. He holds a black belt in and teaches Aikido (which legitimizes him throwing teenagers around), and has been a consultant and trainer for schools, public agencies, and community groups. Daniel’s passion is facilitating growth and change. He also loves telemark skiing, woodcarving, music, sailing and being in wild nature.

Heather McKendry

Dark is the New Light: While getting her master’s degree in Organization Systems Renewal at Seattle University, Heather came to the realization that embracing both the light and dark sides of being human can lead to more meaningful connections. Her search led her to defining her purpose—unleashing the world’s love. She is an accomplished leader with diverse business experience. Her expertise is in creating the conditions necessary to foster connections and bring about transformational shift in organizations and people. Heather appreciates the simple joys that come from watching her dogs play and seeing the light dance on the trees from a Bellingham sunset.

Celeste Mergens

What Are We Not Asking? Simple Solutions for Global Impact: Celeste Mergens is the Founder and Executive Director of Days for Girls International. Days for Girls was born in an “ahha moment,” after an event in the slums of Kenya prompted the idea for a simple and sustainable solution to reversing the cycles of poverty and violence for women. Today, just five years later, Days for Girls International empowers girls, women and communities in 60 nations on six continents. Celeste invites the world to join Days for Girls and its rapidly expanding international network in an audacious goal to create a global contagion of empowerment for every girl and woman. Everywhere. Period. By 2022.

Organizing team


Bellingham, WA, United States
  • David Wiggs
  • Marli Williams
    Speaker Chair, co-curator
  • Breanna Bart
    Sponsor Liaison
  • John Bauer
    Technical Director
  • Lindsay Baugh
    Creative Director
  • Marla Bronstein
    Stage/Event Director
  • Cindy Brooks
    Speaker Coach
  • Samantha Clark
    Swag & Ticketing
  • Erin Curran-Tileson
    Food & Beverage Coordinator
  • Matt Lesinski
  • Bonnie Perez
    Audience Outreach
  • Cindi Pree
    Volunteer Director
  • Teresa Schmidt
  • Elisha Weinberg
    Speaker Coach
  • Kaila Williams
  • Dave Morales
    Emcee: Session 1
  • Jill MacIntyre Witt
    Emcee: Session 2
  • Christina Keppie
    Emcee: Session 3
  • Jeff Anderson
  • Tammy Bennett
  • Nario Bonilla
  • Amy Brewster
  • Katie Cassidy
  • Jennifer Castaldo
  • Kate Healy
  • Laurie Bombstad Heck
  • Jamie Jedinak
  • Molly McKay
  • Alyssa Minzak
  • Ashley Pirret
  • Annie Stewart
  • Damian Vines
  • Becky Williams