x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Brave New World

This event occurred on
November 8, 2014
11:00am - 8:00pm EST
(UTC -5hrs)
Jersey City, New Jersey
United States

“O wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, that has such people in’t.”
William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I, II. 203-206

These words are exclaimed by Miranda in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, out of joy at the gift of new human contact and the end of isolation. Intended by Shakespeare as irony, as her new guests are insidious characters, Miranda’s words portray great hope but warn us against naivete.

Envisioning future possibilities calls upon the greatest hopes of human imagination, and also invokes our most basic fears.

Since the Age of Enlightenment much of our history has been framed through the hopeful assumption that humankind is on a continuous march toward progress. In response, dissident voices like Orwell, Voltaire, and Huxley revolted against Utopian ideals with cautionary tales of dark outcomes to our promised “progress.”

Another perspective perhaps is to understand that history is merely a tale of change, whether positive or negative - and the future will be as well.

So what of this moment in human history that we inhabit now? Social and technological changes have dramatically altered our world in the span of a few decades. Change has been so rapid that the multiple generations of people alive on Earth today were born into radically different paradigms of communication, connectivity, resource scarcity, manufacturing systems, even the balance of our very ecosystem, and our definitions of identity.

Some of these changes have been devastating, but many have been wondrous and empowering. We at TEDx Jersey City invite you to join us and our many talented speakers today to explore multiple facets of our current moment in human history and the future probabilities unfolding before us as together we create our Brave New World.

337 Newark Avenue
Jersey City, New Jersey, 07302
United States
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Dan O’Dea and Eagle Ridge

Dan O’Dea and Eagle Ridge are a bluegrass band based out of Jersey City, NJ. The group consists of Nick Conte - guitar, Mike Mulhollan - banjo, Ken Trotta - bass, and Dan O’Dea - fiddle and mandolin. Eagle Ridge has been playing together in various incarnations for the last four years. In July, O’Dea started the Jersey City Bluegrass Jam, which happens every Tuesday night at the Lamp Post Bar and Grill on 2nd St. Co-hosted by Eagle Ridge guitarist, Nick Conte, the jam brings up to twenty musicians together around a single microphone to play some good old fashioned bluegrass. Earlier this year, Dan and the boys had the chance to perform at the New Jersey Folk Festival, and last month, they opened for Jeff Austin of Yonder Mountain String Band. Dan has one album, Eagle Ridge, available on iTunes and Spotify, and the band is currently in the studio working on their next release. Visit for more information.

Meagan Woods & Co.

Meagan Woods graduated with a BFA in dance from Rutgers University, earning the Margery Turner Award for choreography. She has performed professionally with Liz Lerman, Sarah Skaggs, Orit Ben-Shitrit, Glitterati, SHUA Group and Insurgo Stage Project. Meagan is the originator of Dance Within the Art at the Zimmerli Art Museum, and frequently serves as a choreographer and lecturer for the museum. She also choreographs, designs, and guest lecturers for Rutgers University. Meagan is co-producer of the Art House Productions event Your Move, NJ’s annual modern dance festival. She also choreographs the musical theater programs at Art House and St. Peter’s University.

Therese Mahler

Therese Mahler has been a WFMU host and programmer since 2008. She once won $1550 in the Cash Cab. She lives in Jersey City.

Christopher Englese

Christopher Englese is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and visual creative with a talent for words and storytelling. While earning his Master of Philosophy degree he moved overseas to complete his dissertation. Christopher’s overseas work includes production for the BBC, BBC Radio 1 and Black Camel Pictures. After spending several years in Europe he was eager to get back to New York City and continue his passion of making authentic films that challenge social norms. Christopher has since developed shows for major networks, completed his first feature and has proudly contributed to award-winning documentaries, broadcast work for companies such as MTV, TLC, The History Channel, Discovery, ABC and advertisements for major brands and Broadway productions.

Colleen Mills Finnerty

Colleen Mills-Finnerty holds a M.A. degree in Psychology and is a 5th year Ph.D. student. Her research has been published in academic journals such as Neuroimage. She is a Mortimer D. Sackler Institute Fellow, and her work has been presented at over a dozen national and international academic conferences.

Emily Helck

Emily Helck is a writer and artist living in Jersey City. Her prize-winning nonfiction has been published by ABC News, the Huffington Post, and the Jersey City Independent. She holds a master’s degree in literature and creative writing from Fordham University.

Gaylord Fields

Gaylord Fields, a Jersey City resident, has hosted and programmed his freeform music show on WFMU for more than two decades. He is also a journalist and editor who has written about music and popular culture for Rolling Stone, Spin, AOL Music, and Time Out New York, among other print publications and websites.

Giselle Bellas

Cuban-American artist, Giselle Bellas’ young career has included solo performances at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall in New York, Miami’s Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, and Orlando’s Bob Carr Performing Arts Center. She has recently appeared in independent films and performed in various concerts throughout the U.S. In anticipation of the grand opening, the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, FL released a documentary on Giselle. She resides and performs throughout Jersey City and the Tri-State area. Currently, Giselle is recording new music that incorporates her classical training in a contemporary style.

Janice Kovach

As of 2015, Janice Kovach is the current Mayor of Clinton, NJ. Previously, Janice had been appointed Director of the New Jersey Division on Women in August 2006 and served until September 2010. Prior to joining state government, she was a Councilwoman in the Town of Clinton, serving as the Planning Board Liaison, Chair of the COAH committee and the Historic Preservation Commission. Janice served various boards including Girl Scouts Heart of NJ and the Women’s Heart Foundation. She continues to serve as a member of the United Way Women’s Leadership Council, executive board member and chair of the education & training committee of the NJ Women’s Political Caucus, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of NJ and recently joined the Global Advisory Board for Honor Diaries Janice has worked as a consultant for several companies. Follow Janice on twitter @janicekovach and read the many articles she shares about women in politics, government, business and academia.

Jay Shapiro

Entrepreneur, adventure traveler and professional envelope pusher, Jay Shapiro looks at how digital innovations can change the global face of business…and then does it. In 1999, on the 10th anniversary of the birth of the World Wide Web, Jay Shapiro launched “BLUE”, one of the first dedicated web marketing agencies in Asia. From this third-floor walk-up apartment converted into a makeshift start-up office would grow into one of the largest digital marketing agencies in the world. Leveraging the power of online collaboration and remote teams in those early days opened Jay’s eyes to the potential for creating companies that exist entirely in the cloud. Jay has become a thought leader in the area of remote work and cloud-based companies through his many ventures including AppMakr, which despite being the largest mobile app publisher in the world has no physical offices, anywhere.

Jim Kalbach

Jim Kalbach is a designer and business consultant with over 18 years of experience in online services and software. He holds a degree in music theory and composition from Rutgers University, where he also studied information science. A seasoned instructor, he has taught many courses, workshops and seminars on a variety of topics. In Hamburg, Germany, where he previously lived for 15 years, he was the founder of an active jazz combo. Jim arranged most of their songs, including several concept projects such as jazz for children. Since returning to NJ in Sept 2013 Jim has joined the local jazz scene in Jersey City. Jim is an active speaker, writer, and instructor on strategy, web design and information architecture. He is the author of best-selling book Designing Web Navigation (O’Reilly, 2007). Jim blogs at and tweets at @jimkalbach.

John T. Trigonis

Writer, independent filmmaker, and renowned crowdfunding expert John T. Trigonis has mentored thousands of filmmakers, storytellers, and other creators worldwide to help them craft compelling crowdfunding campaigns that not only reach, but oftentimes exceed their online fundraising goals. Trigonis also literally wrote the book on Crowdfunding for Filmmakers after running his own Indiegogo campaign for his eighth short film Cerise. The advice offered in Crowdfunding for Filmmakers has not only proven useful to creatives, but also to those raising funds for everything from setting up a local restaurant to gaining awareness for personal or social causes. After spending a few years as a private crowdfunding consultant for a number of creative projects on various platforms, Trigons was brought on board Indiegogo’s film team as its head specialist and now works behind-the-scenes, all while continuing to nurture his own creative multimedia projects.

Katja Larssen

At just 13 years old Katja Larssen is already a successful singer songwriter. A lifelong resident of Jersey City she began performing at Jersey City events including ‘Groove on Grove’, ‘Ladies That Rock’, ‘The 4th Street Art & Music Festival’ and ‘All About Downtown’ by the age of 9. More recently Katja performed at the Inauguration of Mayor Steven Fulop singing ‘America the Beautiful’. She also recorded a duet and back up vocals for the Children’s Christmas album ‘Merry Christmas from Grandma Mikie’. As an 8th grade student at the Learning Community Charter School Katja has set her sights on academics and activism having become a state finalist in the group creation of a documentary ‘LBGTQ Rights: A New Era’ for National History Day 2013-2014 in the state of New Jersey.

Kerry Magro

Autism Self-Advocate Kerry Magro was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), a form of autism, at age 4. Growing up, he dealt with many difficulties in regards to sensory integration, motor problems, overall social interaction and communication delays. After being re-diagnosed at 5, Kerry’s future was very uncertain. Now 26 years old, he has completed his Masters in Strategic Communications at Seton Hall University. Along with this Kerry is also a columnist for Autism after 16, a life coach, motivational speaker, and an aspiring writer. In July 2013 Kerry released his first book, “Defining Autism from the Heart”. In 2012 he finished consulting on his first motion picture project in Joyful Noise, which made 30 million domestically and is now currently working on the indie-film “Jane Wants a Boyfriend.” He also recently founded a Non-Profit Organization focused on post secondary scholarships and advocacy for the disabled community.

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is the founder of Bedtime Math, a nonprofit that helps kids love math. Over 50,000 kids and parents enjoy Overdeck’s wacky nightly math problems online and in her two books, with the third launching soon. Having garnered press in TIME Magazine, The New York Times and others, Bedtime Math has now launched Crazy 8s Club, a hands-on after-school math club for elementary-school-aged kids. Today there are more than 1,600 clubs serving over 25,000 kids, making it already the biggest after-school math club nationwide for grades K through 5. In addition to being a social entrepreneur, Overdeck is Chair of the Overdeck Family Foundation, which supports math/science education reform. She is also Vice Chair of the Board of Liberty Science Center, and serves on the boards of Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth and Governor’s School of New Jersey. She holds a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business.

Lillian Bustle

Lillian Bustle is an actor, singer, burlesque performer, and gleeful loudmouth about body love. Although her first burlesque performance was in 2012, she made her nightclub debut at the age of 14 as a singer in a drag show. She’s been covered in glitter and boas ever since. Influenced by body-positive activists like Jes Baker and bodacious women like Bette Midler, Lillian busts through societal boundaries about size and beauty. She hopes to help people of all shapes and sizes celebrate in their own skin.

Margaret Nichols, Ph.D.

Margaret Nichols, Ph.D. is a psychologist, sex therapist, and Executive Director of the Institute for Personal Growth, a psychotherapy organization she founded in 1983 with offices in Jersey City, Highland Park, and Freehold New Jersey. Among many other specialties, IPG has always worked with sex and gender diverse people, including the LGBT community. Dr. Nichols has been active in community mental health for many years, helping to start one of the first shelters for victims of domestic violence in the 1970’s and the Hyacinth Foundation, New Jersey’s largest HIV support and service agency, in 1985. She is a frequent speaker on LGBT issues and author of many articles and papers on LGBT sexuality. Her current primary clinical areas of interest include transgender and gender nonconforming young people. Under her leadership. IPG has worked with and advocated for hundreds of ‘TGNC’ kids as young as age 4 as well as their parents and families.

Nati Amos de Huerta

Natalia Amos De Huerta is a biochemistry graduate of Roosevelt University now living in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Molecular Biology. Amos was born with an extreme congenital disorder that left her with 1/3 of a face and disfigured hands. She has been in various medical publications and given lectures to physicians regarding bedside manner over two decades of surgeries. She seeks to be a bridge between the medical community and people with non-science backgrounds. In her off time she tutors science education. Outside of the science realm, she is an accomplished dancer and sideshow starlet who has performed internationally, but is most well recognized for her appearances with Coney Island’s “Sideshows By The Seashore”, through laughter, education and charm Nati hopes to show through her talk that someone’s appearance or physical traits should never override their intelligence and qualification for a paying job.

Olivia Tarplin

Olivia Tarplin is a Jersey City native who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Global Studies with a concentration in Gender and Media Studies from The New School in 2014. Her research has centered around issues of gender, politics, sexuality, media, and specifically pornography. Focusing on the thriving industry of feminist pornography, she has spent the past 2 years studying how experiments in feminist porn can change the widespread sexual culture and how porn made ethically can act as a new and improved way to educate the masses about sex. In keeping with these interests, during her time in college she co-designed new and innovative ways to teach sex-positive sex/health education, and implemented these strategies by leading sex education workshops in Freshmen classrooms around campus. She currently works in New York City in the non-profit world.

Ryan L. Brooks

Ryan Brooks is a third year law student at Rutgers School of Law – Newark. His academic focus, both as an undergraduate and law student, has been international law, legal and political theory, and global policy. Ryan recently worked for the Rutgers International Human Rights Clinic, with a specific focus on issues pertaining to human trafficking. Mr. Brooks is currently pursuing positions as an international legal consultant. He is currently a J.D.Candidate at Rutgers School of Law-Newark.

Sean Kiely

Sean Kiely released his first record “Arch Envy” under the name “SEAN0SEAN” on Mecca Lecca Recording Co. in 2012. Arch Envy is a collection of anxious pop songs that look sideways at the deep weirdness of current life in the U S A. Following that release, Sean moved away from the studio manipulation and electronic textures of “Arch Envy,” and started over on the acoustic guitar. A new group of songs developed out of this: more direct and personal, looking inside and out for connection. These songs comprise the upcoming record “Your Logo, My Logo.” Sean was born in Brooklyn, NY, and lives in Jersey City, NJ. He plays regularly at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City. social media: /sean0sean

Tim Ruiz

Timothy Ruiz is a songwriter, singer, poet, guitarist and producer that is in a constant state of creation, expression, and relation to the world around him. You can find more of his music out at , , and search YouTube for many videos of live performances that cover years of his stages in artistry.

Organizing team


  • Anne McTernan
    Associate Director
  • Yvonne Vairma
  • Caley Vickerman
  • Michelle Luebke