x = independently organized TED event

Theme: UnexpecTED

This event occurred on
April 10, 2016
Chicago, Illinois
United States

The theme is UnexpecTED, this word comes from unexpected and we use capital letters of "TED" to demonstrate that we are having a TEDx event, for our event, we are looking for an unexpected idea which improves the lives of many people, results in significant positive changes or brings abundant joy and pleasure. The idea could have already been done in the past, the present, or soon to be in the future.

The x in the UnexpecTED Theme implies that the idea could be in any field such as technology, energy, humanity, arts, culture, or basic needs. Speakers can stretch their imaginations. Since the TED or TEDx Talk is about ideas worth spreading, we are looking for an unexpected idea comes from an ordinary situation, an unexpected situation which led to an idea worth spreading, an idea on how to deal with the unexpected situation or people: the good, the bad or the ugly.

IIT Tower
10 W 35th Street
Chicago, Illinois, 60616
United States
Event type:
University (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Carl Seidman

Strategic management advisor & executive coach
Carl is a strategic management advisor whose perspectives on life and work have attracted the attention of businesses and journalists around the world. He has worked with nearly 200 companies and thousands of professionals aligning business growth with interpersonal relationships and communication. Carl helps leaders craft empowered work cultures and speaks to young professionals about enhancing their confidence, acting on their ideas, and becoming more engaged in the workplace.

Chris Gladwin

Founder, Cleversafe
Chris Gladwin is the Founder of Cleversafe, whose software is the foundation of many of the largest data storage systems worldwide. Their technology is used to store many of the files, maps, songs, television and movies you use every day. The company also created one of the 10 most powerful patent portfolios in the world and then was acquired by IBM in 2015. Prior to Cleversafe, Chris founded the first music service provider, MusicNow, and tablet computer company, Cruise Technologies. Chris is a member of the Illinois Tech Board of Trustees and will be the 2016 commencement speaker.

Ellen Schnur

Business Improvisation
After years in business and training, Ellen studied improv at Second City and discovered the real world applications improv offered. Things like: - How to make stronger connections with clients. - How taking risks helps you to get past your inner critic. - How saying “Yes, And” can change everything! Ellen believes that applying and practicing improv tools and principles, along with business communication tools and research, creates better speakers, team members, and leaders. And it’s is SO MUCH FUN! Ellen Schnur has led Applied Improvisation workshops for businesses and organizations including Dow Corning, Diners Club, American Association for Manufacturing Excellence, NAWBO, TEDxIIT, Zebra Technologies, VanDerCook College, Smith Bucklin, Toastmasters, and more.

Frances Bronet

Provost of Illinois Institute of Technology
Frances Bronet, ACSA Distinguished Professor and Chancellor of Distinguished Professors, ACSA, is Provost at Illinois Institute of Technology after being dean of University of Oregon School of Architecture & Allied Arts as well as UO Acting Provost. She has designed in & published work on multidisciplinary design for the past 25 years. Bronet has produced multiple installations with renowned national and regional dance companies and has been funded by National Agencies from NEA, NSF to NEH. Her writing on space-making asks how movement and specifically ‘actioned’ bodies can affect how we build space

Garrett Gray

Professional Engineer
Garrett Gray is a Professional Engineer, an Award Winning Speaker and Artist and All Around Great Guy! Garrett speaks about his life experiences and lessons learned from his 25+ years in Engineering with audiences ranging from students to professionals. Garrett has a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and a M.S in Geotechnical and Environmental Engineering from Iowa State University. Garrett brings his distinct blend of high energy, unique perspective and contagious enthusiasm to audiences whenever he speaks. Garrett,apastTEDx Emcee/Announcer, also films, directs & edits television programs for Tinley Park public access television. He also emcee and Announcer for TEDx IIT 2015

Haydn Shaw

Author, Speaker, and Advisor on Building Winning Cultures with Multiple Generations
Haydn Shaw has researched and helped clients regarding generational differences for over twenty years. He is the author of Sticking Points: How to Get 4 Generations Working Together in the 12 Places They Come Apart and FranklinCovey’s bestselling workshops Leading Across Generations and Working Across Generations. He also writes on generations and leadership for the Huffington Post. TIME wrote, “Shaw is an expert on cultural differences at the office.” He has spoken to over 100,000 people and worked with more than 1,500 organizations.

Ioan Raicu

Professor, Founder at DataSys Labs, IIT
Dr. Ioan Raicu is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science (CS) at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), as well as a guest research faculty in the Math and Computer Science Division (MCS) at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). He is also the founder (2011) and director of the Data-Intensive Distributed Systems Laboratory (DataSys) at IIT. He has received the prestigious NSF CAREER award (2011 - 2015) for his innovative work on distributed file systems for extreme-scales. He was a NSF/CRA Computation Innovation Fellow at Northwestern University in 2009 - 2010, and obtained his Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of Chicago under the guidance of Dr. Ian Foster in March 2009. He is a 3-year award winner of the GSRP Fellowship from NASA Ames Research Center. His research work and interests are in the general area of distributed systems.

Javid Akherat

PhD Candidate in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Javid Mahmoudzadeh Akherat received his Master’s degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from IIT and is currently a PhD candidate at the MMAE department. His research focus is on blood flow simulation of the end stage renal disease patients using computational fluid dynamics and mathematical optimization. He is developing a predictive framework to improve the patency of vascular accesses for dialysis patients, which is expected to become a medical protocol for dialysis treatment. He is also a student leader, speaker, and the president of graduate student advisory council of the MMAE department and former vise president of the same organization.

Jim Mecir

Baseball Pitcher
Jim Mecir is a former 10-year Major League Baseball player. He pitched for five teams including 1996 World Series Champion New York Yankees and the 2002 Oakland Athletics who were the inspiration behind the book and movie “Moneyball”. Jim is known for his ability to overcome a birth defect to persevere in the Major leagues. In 2003 he won the Tony Conigliaro award given to the player who overcomes an obstacle through the spirit of courage and determination. Jim transitioned from the mound to the stage where he speaks about overcoming adversity and performs teamwork workshops for ImprovTalk.

John Katsoudas

CEO and co-founder of Influit Energy & Research Scientist IIT
John is CEO and co-founder of Influit Energy and a research scientist with IIT for over 13 years. He has extensive experience in designing complex scientific equipment for the characterization of energy-related materials using synchrotron x-rays. After his B.S. in physics from IIT and before returning to complete an M.S., John had the unique opportunity to participate in the design and construction of a multimillion dollar recording studio with outstanding sound quality, which continues to attract A-list clientele. Most recently John was Co-PI on a $3.5 million ARPA-e funded research project to engineer a flow battery to meet transportation needs.

Kate Cesario

Kate Cesario is a fifth grader at Whittier School in Downers Grove, Illinois. She was the Midwest winner for the American Immigration Council’s “Celebrate America” Fifth Grade Essay Contest. In between swimming, Minecraft and climbing trees, Kate is passionate about sharks, social justice and understanding the world around her.

Ken Nelson

Ken Nelson, MD completed his residency training in Family Medicine at La Grange Memorial Hospital and continued on to the University of Chicago where he completed a post-doctoral fellowship in clinical Pharmacology. Dr. Nelson helped found the Prairie Medical Group in west suburban Westchester. For the past two decades, Dr. Nelson has volunteered his services at the La Grange-based Community Nurse Health Association’s (CNHA) free clinic for adults and has served as the clinic’s Medical Director since 1992. CNHA’s clinic provides primary and specialty care services to thousands of underserved residents from the western suburbs of Cook County. Expanding his commitment to volunteer health care, in 2010 Dr. Nelson led an effort to open Illinois borders to volunteer health care providers from other states by initiating HB5744 which was signed into law on June 19, 2010.

Laurel Bellows

Attorney/ Employment Law
Laurel is an internationally recognized business lawyer. A past president of the 400,000 member American Bar Association, she developed an action agenda to reduce slavery. Laurel provides business with tools to assure slave free recruitment and supply chains and a workforce educated to minimize this horror. Her accolades recognize her creative advocacy: past president of the Chicago Bar Association, Crain’s Chicago Power Players , Vision 2020’s Visionary Award, Athena’s Global Leadership Award and Lexus’ Rule of Law Award shared with Mary Robinson and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Laurel serves on Minister Gordon Brown’s Global Citizenship Commission.

Lillian Smestad

Researcher of particle physics at CERN
Lillian Smestad, a Norwegian researcher of particle physics at CERN, specialized in the studies the smallest building blocks of Nature. The Nobel Prize in Physics 2013 was awarded based on the discovery of the Higgs boson at CERN while her PhD from UiO, was on the hunt for the Higgs boson with the ATLAS experiment. Lillian researched dark matter before her current engagement in getting to know antimatter better. She won FameLab CERN 2015 and was awarded Runner-Up in FameLab International 2015, the world’s largest science communication competition. Lillian thinks the world is an amazing place, which deserves our admiration.

Maya-Camille Broussard

Designer, Culturist
Maya-Camille Broussard is a creative entrepreneur, designer and culturist. In 2009, Broussard opened Three Peas Art Lounge in the South Loop of Chicago. As a curator, Broussard made viewing and collecting art less intimidating by incorporating a bar inside of her gallery and by featuring rising stars of the art world such as Amanda Williams, Hebru Brantley and Krista Franklin. After closing Three Peas Art Lounge, Broussard continued her work as a curator and designer while also spending a significant amount of time developing recipes for her current venture, Justice of the Pies. Justice of the Pies, a bakery that specializes in sweet and savory pies, was founded in memory of her late father, Stephen J. Broussard. The elder Broussard, who dubbed himself the "Pie Master", was a criminal defense attorney with a passion for baking and eating anything made with a crust!

Michael Gorham

Professor at IIT Stuart School of Business and Director of the Center for Financial Innovation, Author
Michael Gorham is Industry Professor at IIT Stuart School of Business and Director of the Center for Financial Innovation. He serves on boards or committees of the CBOE Futures Exchange, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the GARP Risk Review, Futures Industry Magazine, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He is co-author of two books; India's Financial Markets: An Insider's Guide and Electronic Exchanges: The Global Transformation from Pits to Bits. He was director of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's Division of Market Oversight, economist at the Fed and VP of Research and of International Marketing at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Mustafa Bilgic

Professor, Founder and Director of the Machine Learning Lab at IIT; NSF CAREER Award Winner
Mustafa Bilgic, PhD, received his Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from University of Texas at Austin and his PhD in Computer Science from University of Maryland at College Park. He has been an Assistant Professor of Computer Science in Illinois Institute of Technology since 2010. He received the best student paper award at the premier international data mining conference (ACM SIGKDD) in 2008, and in 2014 he received the prestigious NSF CAREER award and IIT College of Science Junior Research Excellence Award. He was profiled by ChicagoInno as one of the top entrepreneurs and innovators teaching at Chicago universities.

Robert Baittie

Designer/Author of "Tremors in the Universe"/Shaman
Diagnosed with Parkinson's disease at the age of 52, Robert Baittie has turned a personal setback into a much stronger push forward to fight the disease with a most "unexpected" outlook. His inspiring book. "Tremors in the Universe" shares his story of how a diagnosis of a chronic illness changed his life for the better. Robert's story is not what most people have come to expect from Parkinson's disease. Robert found another way. Another way of thinking. Another way of living.

San Lae Lae Cho

Student in Illinois Institute of Technology
San Lae Lae Cho is an enthusiastic, curious and hardworking future architect with a growth mindset and communication skills. As a young architect, she is occasionally nominated for her architectural design. Not only is she an outstanding architecture student, but also excels in leadership and commitment through various involvements on campus such as student organizations and volunteer work. Due to this wide field of involvement, she has experience in leadership, teamwork, problem solving, decision making and stress management. From a unique cultural background of Myanmar, she loves experiencing new culture and working with a diverse community.

Vinesh Kannan

Computer Science Student and Educator & Launched SCSI at IMSA
Vinesh believes that every student has a responsibility to mentor others. He helps design enrichment programs and has taught 450+ students about collaboration, computing, and entrepreneurship. In 2014, Vinesh and his classmates launched the Student Computer Science Initiative (SCSI) at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) to make the CS classroom more collaborative while reducing pressure put on teachers. Having graduated from IMSA, he now studies Computer Science at the Illinois Institute of Technology and works for Chicago Public Schools’ CS4ALL Initiative, which is preparing 170+ high schools to meet a city-wide CS graduation requirement mandate by August 2016.

Organizing team


Chicago, IL, United States


Chicago, IL, United States