x = independently organized TED event

This event occurred on
July 31, 2015
4:00pm - 10:00pm CDT
(UTC -5hrs)
Minneapolis, Minnesota
United States

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized (subject to certain rules and regulations).

Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts
528 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55408
United States
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.


SHAPESHIFT is a hip-hop/contemporary theatrical dance company originating from Minneapolis- the Midwest hot bed for dance innovation. ShapeShift fuses different styles to create high powered storytelling productions. Tackling themes from chemical dependency to discrimination, audiences experience a deep connection, long after the lights turn down and the performance ends.

Eric Dayton

Born and raised in Minneapolis, Eric Dayton graduated from Williams College with a degree in English and later received his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In 2011, Eric and his brother, Andrew, opened three businesses inside a historic warehouse building in the North Loop of Downtown Minneapolis. Since then, they have helped to transform the area into one of the city’s most dynamic neighborhoods. Their men’s clothing brand, Askov Finlayson, has been recognized by Esquire as one of the ten best men’s stores in America. The brothers’ restaurant, The Bachelor Farmer, was named one of Bon Appetit’s top ten new restaurants in the country when it opened and Marvel Bar has twice been a James Beard national semifinalist for Outstanding Bar Program. Prior to starting his own company, Eric worked for Target Corporation. Eric is a trustee of the Minneapolis Institute of Art and a member of NRDC’s Midwest Council. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and their son.

George Vasmatzis

George Vasmatzis, Ph.D., is the co-director of the Biomarker Discovery Program within the Center for Individualized Medicine. In addition to earning a doctorate in biomedical engineering, Dr. Vasmatzis has acquired experience in diverse disciplines, including bioinformatics, molecular biology and computational biology. His research team consists of bioinformatics specialists, molecular biologists, epidemiologists and pathologists. Dr. Vasmatzis' laboratory has demonstrated success in discovery and translation of several biomarkers as well as developing evidence-based models that should help clinicians stratify patients with cancer in order to provide each individual with the appropriate care. His organization's work is set on the shoulders of the Human Genome Project, and could present us with a vision - and hope - for the future of cancer treatment.

Michelle Hensley

Michelle Hensley is the artistic director of Ten Thousand Things, where she has directed and produced over 60 tours of award-winning drama to nontraditional audiences in prisons, shelters and housing projects, as well as the general public, with most productions making local critics' Top Ten Lists. A McKnight Theater Fellow, in 2012 Michelle was named the Star Tribune's Best Artistic Director. She received the Francesca Primus Prize from the American Theater Critics Association for outstanding contribution to the American theater by a female artist. She is a founding member of the Minnesota Theater Alliance, serves on the boards of the Theater Communications Group and Howlround, and in March published her book All The Lights On: Reimagining Theater with Ten Thousand Things. TTT's touring model has been adopted by The Public Theater in New York City, the Bay Area's California Shakespeare Theater, and The Old Globe Theater of San Diego.

Sherman Patterson

Sherman Patterson wants to end the culture of gun violence in Minneapolis. An audacious goal, but few are better suited for the job than Sherman. A public safety policy aide for former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. A community liaison for Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau. A resident of a Minneapolis neighborhood notorious for gun violence. He has built the connections and earned the respect, both in the corridors of power and on the street corners that are necessary to tackle this issue. Sherman focused his Bush Fellowship on devising and implementing a wide range of strategies to combat gun violence in our communities.

Tom Fisher

Thomas Fisher is a graduate of Cornell University in architecture and Case Western Reserve University in intellectual history, he was recognized in 2005 as the fifth most published writer about architecture in the United States. He has written 9 books, over 50 book chapters or introductions, and over 400 articles in professional journals and major publications. Named a top-25 design educator four times by Design Intelligence, he has lectured at 36 universities and over 150 professional and public meetings in the U.S. His newest book, Some Possible Futures, Design Thinking our Way to a More Resilient World (Minnesota) will come out in Spring 2016. His current research involves looking at the implications of the “Third Industrial Revolution” on architecture and cities in the 21st century.

Vednita Carter

Vednita Carter is the founder and executive director of Breaking Free, a non-profit organization that educates and provides services to women and girls who have been victims of abuse and commercial sexual exploitation (prostitution/sex trafficking) and need assistance escaping the violence in their lives. She has extensive experience in developing and planning programs for sex trafficked women and girls, and was awarded the Norma Hotaling Award for her life-long service to victims of sex trafficking. She was recently named a CNN Hero for her work in ending sexual exploitation of women and girls.Also in 2013, she traveled to the Middle East and Asia to educate service providers and community members on Breaking Free's pioneering work. Vednita was awarded the prestigious Path Breaker Award from Shared Hope International for her tireless efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex. She has dedicated her life to advocating for, rescuing and restoring victims of prostitution.

Organizing team


Chicago, IL, United States


  • Dustin Huibregtse
  • Mel Zoerb
  • Madeline Mitchell
    Attendee Experience Lead
  • Sammie Holden
    Community Engagement Lead
  • Kam Kubesh
    Production Lead
  • Grant Spanier
    Creative Lead
  • Cassie Utt
    Speaker Experience Coordinator
  • Jasmine Russell
    Attendee Experience Team
  • Karl Knudsen
    Attendee Experience Team
  • Ariane Laxo
    Attendee Experience Team
  • Nicole Olsen
    Artist Engagement Coordinator