x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Challenging What Is. Personal. Local. Universal.

This event occurred on
June 24, 2016
Savannah, Georgia
United States

Thank you, TEDx supporters! Our June 24 TEDxSavannah event sold out and we had a standing-room-only audience pack the Jepson Center. For complete bios of our speakers and videos of the talks that will post soon, please go to
Many thanks to our speakers: Weslyn "Mahogany" Bowers, Semaj Clark, Seth B. Darling, Clinton Edminster, Justin Gunther, Timothy King,Angelina Patel, Courtnay Papy, Marc L. Roark, Murem Sharpe, Alexandra Trujillo de Taylor, Peter Ulrich, Kelley Waldron and Beverly Willett.

207 W York Street
Savannah, Georgia, 31401
United States
Event type:
Standard (What is this?)
See more ­T­E­Dx­Savannah events


Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Adam Turoni

Adam Turoni started his career in his grandmother’s kitchen when at age 8, he would have sleepovers and they would stay up for hours baking cookies for the family. It was during those late nights with his grandmother that he discovered his love for baking. At 14, he got his first job working in a kitchen; by 17 he was the pastry chef of Isabella restaurant in Pennsylvania. He interned for six months at Alice Water's restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, and assisted Chef Greweling with research and recipes as he worked on his third book: "Chocolates and Confections: Formula, Theory, and Technique for the Artisan Confectioner Second Edition(2013)." Adam is a pastry chef and graduate of the 2009 class of the Culinary Institute of America in New York. He founded his eponymous company in 2010 at the age of 20.

Alexandra Trujillo de Taylor

Alexandra Trujillo de Taylor has lived in Savannah for over 20 years. She met Adam Turoni at a dinner party and was instantly inspired. The more she discovered about Adam the more intrigued she became. His talent and drive inspired her to step in and help a millennial find focus, direction and achieve his dreams by utilizing her negotiation skills, PR and business experience as a freight forwarder (12 years) and her chic eye for curated interiors and design (a lifetime).

Angelina Patel

Angelina Patel is a high school junior at Savannah Country Day School who is extremely passionate about computer science and coding. Angelina attended an intensive coding summer session last year at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where she learned Java, Python, C++, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Using this love for coding, Angelina founded Savannah Kids Code, a community-orientated program held at the local library. Savannah Kids Code is designed to teach kids basic computer programming skills while immersing them in an environment that fosters creativity and innovation in technology.

Beverly Willett

Beverly Willett is a former NYC entertainment attorney who got in her car at midlife, left the Big Apple, and drove south to begin, again. She lives in Savannah and has just completed a memoir. She has written for dozens of the top national newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Newsweek, The Washington Post, Salon, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, Woman’s Day, Family Circle, All You, Prevention, South and Savannah Magazine. She has spoken nationally on radio, co-founded the Coalition for Divorce Reform, and serves on the board of the Chatham-Savannah Authority for the Homeless. She has two daughters.

Clinton Edminster

Originally from Homer, Alaska, where he worked on a commercial fishing vessel, Clinton moved to Savannah in 2009 to pursue an education at the Savannah College of Art and Design. In 2013, he co-founded Art Rise Savannah, an award-winning and nationally recognized non-profit arts organization. In 2015 he opened Starlandia Creative Supply, a new and used art supply shop in the Starland District. Clinton is a graduate of the Georgia Center for Nonprofits Momentum Program, recipient of Savannah Magazine's Generation NEXT 2016 Award and a proud resident of the Starland District.

Courtney Papy

Courtnay Papy is an activist, writer and native Savannahian who has returned home and happily so. As lead organizer of Emergent Savannah, she develops the scope and vision of the organization and takes care of the nitty-gritty operational management. She was recently awarded the 2016-17 Greensboro Justice Fellowship from the Highlander Center and is a Step-Up Savannah Neighborhood Leadership Academy graduate. She served as the creative director of the Flannery O’Connor Book Trail and currently serves on the Department of Cultural Affairs Commission Board, works as an educator across Savannah, predominantly in Title 1 schools and after-school programs, is a PEN America Prison Writing Fellow and works as assistant director of Communications at The Savannah Country Day School.

Justin Gunther

Justin Gunther is professor of historic preservation at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where he focuses on community-based redevelopment, preservation of the recent past, and the innovative management and adaptation of cultural heritage resources. Prior to teaching, Justin was curator at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater and restoration manager at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. He currently serves as vice-chair of the Savannah Historic District Board of Review, board member of the Friends of Owens-Thomas House, and member of Historic Savannah Foundation’s Education Committee.

Kelley Waldron

Kelley Waldron is the assistant head of school for Academic Affairs and lower school head at St. Andrew’s School as well as the founder of Teach the Future Fellowship. She is passionate about doing the right things in education for our students, schools and communities. This means always having an open ear and mind about thoughtful ideas and researching what it means to help our students reach their fullest potential through education. Kelley is the wife of a minister in the United Methodist Church and the mother of two wonderful children. Whenever she can, Kelley enjoys being by the ocean with friends and family.

Marc Roark

Marc is a professor of law at Savannah Law School and studies the impact that urban development and property ownership have on extreme poverty and city living. His current research focuses on the impact that diminished interests in property have on people living in extreme poverty environments – public housing, extremely low-income rentals, and those who have no home. His work has appeared in the New York Observer and The Savannah Morning News and been cited in numerous academic journals.

Murem Sharpe

Murem Sharpe established a software company in Savannah, created logistics products in Connecticut, led technology acquisitions around Europe, awarded foundation grants from New York, and managed a U.S. senator in Washington, DC. She has combined her sympatico with innovators with her technology and business expertise into StrategyRx, a consultancy enabling entrepreneurs in medicine and health care to succeed. Her lifelong volunteerism, often focused on women, continues as a Mayo-trained WomenHeart Champion, and as a board member of Georgia’s WIN List, training and electing progressive women candidates statewide.

Peter Ulrich

Peter Ulrich has been in public education administration for 14 years. Peter has a very supportive and energetic wife, Marie, and nine children. Before becoming an administrator, he worked in several areas of counseling including school guidance, domestic violence and family reunification. Peter now works at The STEM Academy at Bartlett, a magnet program in Savannah, Georgia. The Future of Education Technology Conference recently named Bartlett the number one middle grades STEM program in the United States. According to parents and teachers, Peter creates a positive, collaborative culture where individuals feel supported and everyone has an opportunity to engage in a transformative academic experience. For Peter and his faculty, STEM is less about the acronym and more about how to access the world and work together to solve problems

Semaj Clark

Semaj Clark grew up in the midst of violence, chaos and dysfunction in South Central Los Angeles. He was placed in various foster homes where he was emotionally and physically abused. With no guidance at home, he turned to life on the streets. As a teenager, his participation in two programs—the Brotherhood Crusade and BLOOM—inspired Semaj to get a high school diploma, attend college and engage in self-development. In October 2015, while attending a Juvenile Justice conference on community safety in Savannah, GA, a teenager attempted to rob Semaj and then shot him in the back, leaving Semaj paralyzed from the waist down. After rehabilitation for his spinal cord injury, Semaj returned to Savannah to live, study and help problem solve. His desire to run to the fire instead of away from it motivated him to create his own nonprofit organization, F.I.R.E., which stands for Forgiveness, Introspection, Respect and Education.

Seth Darling

Seth B. Darling is a scientist at Argonne National Laboratory and a fellow at the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. After receiving his PhD from the University of Chicago and serving as the Glenn Seaborg Fellow at Argonne, Dr. Darling joined the Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne as a staff scientist. His group’s research is motivated by humankind’s grand challenges with a particular emphasis on solar energy and water treatment. Dr. Darling has published over 100 papers and a popular book on climate change, holds several patents, and lectures widely on topics related to energy, climate, and water.

Timothy King

A recognized operations leader known for crafting the strategic vision to achieve business and service goals. Timothy King offers a unique blend of executive acumen and team-building. As SEAL Savannah's executive director, Timothy has built a responsive research and design team that consistently delivers results by aligning the needs of students with the capacity of local resources and providers.

Weslyn Bowers

Born in Savannah, Georgia, and raised in the Woodville community, Weslyn “Mahogany” Bowers attended Savannah Arts Academy, where she cultivated her craft and graduated with honors in dance theater. She has performed on almost every stage in New York City. Mahogany’s greatest love is her community. In 2011, she started a program to try to close the hunger gap in her hometown. Named Blessings In A Book Bag, the program provides food to sustain families over the weekend and feeds over 70 children every Friday in downtown Savannah. Her mission is to cultivate the minds, bodies and spirits of the next generation and help them understand that the sky is the limit.

Organizing team


Savannah, GA, United States


Savannah, GA, United States
  • Cyndi Satlow
  • Murray Wilson