Poet, photographer, activist, role model
Alexandra is a 14-year old poet and a student at Rumson Country Day School. She has been writing about equality, feminism and freedom since she was 11. Over the years she has won awards for excellence, and honors, including the highest awards at the NJ Orators competition.
She’s also active in her church and is the fundraising chair for the Jersey Shore chapter of Jack and Jill of America, a children’s leadership organization.
Alexandra believes that simply putting yourself in others’ shoes and thinking before you speak can build compassion and a better understanding of others’ differences.
Singer, Songwriter, Band Leader, Musician
Avery Rose Puryear is singer-songwriter and leader of the band, Avery Rose and The Thorns. A student at Rumson Fair Haven Regional High School, Avery plays the piano, drums, saxophone, and bass guitar. She was accepted into the New York Grammy camp for songwriting and performs at the Stone Pony and The House of Independents.
Avery earned a spot at the TEDxAsburyPark event after wowing the crowd at an open mic contest in January with the song.
Rap artist, award-winning playwright
Baba Brinkman is a Canadian rap artist, playwright, and former tree planter based in New York City. He is best known for his "Rap Guide" series of science-based hip-hop albums and theater shows, including Rap Guides to Evolution, Climate Change, and Religion.
Baba is also a pioneer in the genre of “lit-hop” or literary hip-hop, known for his adaptations of The Canterbury Tales, Beowulf, and Gilgamesh. He is a recent recipient of the National Center for Science Education’s “Friend of Darwin Award” for his efforts to improve the public understanding of evolutionary biology.
Baba tours and performs regularly and has spoken at several TEDx conferences and performed at the World Science Festival.
Educator, Comedian, Martial Artist
Carl Perino is a middle school Principal, former martial arts and wilderness survival instructor who has developed team-building, public speaking, and anti-bullying programs. He has worked as the Artistic Director for Improv Jam Comedy Labs, NJ's Premiere Improvisational Comedy Group.
He holds a Master's Degree in Educational Administration from Michigan State University and a Master's in Biology from the University of Montana. He feels that his most important education came from summers driving cross country and backpacking across Europe, Central America and Southeast Asia.
Christine, from Readington, NJ, just released her fourth studio album, the autobiographical “Angels of War.” She’s refined a style that marries raw grit and tender warmth and cultivated a home for herself in the historic music scene of Asbury Park. Her grass-roots following of loyal supporters have dubbed themselves the "Tucci Train."
Leader, Mentor, Educator
Christine Zilinski is an award-winning salon owner, stylist, industry speaker, trainer and leadership expert who believes that “When you own your hair, you own who you are.” She has built a strong foundation within the professional beauty industry by adeptly cultivating her skills as both a creative and technical stylist and an industry leader.
Investor, entrepreneur, author, keynote speaker, and thought leader of the global technology landscape
David Orban is an investor, entrepreneur, keynote speaker, author and thought leader of the global technology landscape. He is the Managing Partner of Network Society Ventures, a seed stage global investment firm focused on innovative ventures at the intersection of exponential technologies and decentralized networks.
He is an advisor of Dotsub, which he led as CEO from 2011 to 2015; the Founder and Trustee of Network Society Research, a London-based think tank with representatives in over 30 countries; on the Faculty of, and Advisor to, Singularity University; a mentor at the Thiel Fellowship; and former Chairman of the Board of Humanity +.
David explores the ways in which technology is shaping our everyday lives, and how society adapts to these advancements.
His vision is at the crossroads of technology and society as defined by their co-evolution.
Emily and Justin Bornemann
Emily and Justin Bornemann, performing as "Dentist," come from the oceanfront urban landscape of Asbury Park, New Jersey. Formed in 2013, their sound combines the freedom of the beach atmosphere and the urgency of the city into a fuzzed out, surf punk-tinged brand of indie pop with hooks and infectious melodies to spare. Emily and Justin had been writing songs and performing together since their first meeting in 2008, and eventually married.
Eric Burdge is the owner of DRH Furniture, a woodworking business that specializes in 17th- and 18th-century-style handmade furniture. He encourages kids who are disenchanted with the education system to take their own path to success.
Professor, Author, TV Host
Dr. Heather Berlin is a cognitive neuroscientist, professor of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and visiting scholar at the NY Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oxford and Master of Public Health from Harvard University.
She explores the neural basis of impulsive and compulsive psychiatric disorders with the aim of developing novel treatments. Dr. Berlin is a committee member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Science and Entertainment Exchange, and host of the PBS series "Science Goes to the Movies," and the Discovery Channel series "Superhuman Showdown." She co-wrote and stars in off-Broadway and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival show, "Off the Top," about the neuroscience of improvisation.
Prisoner Reentry in Society
Jim McGreevey is a former New Jersey governor who is now the chairman of the NJ Reentry Corp, a Jersey City-based nonprofit that helps former inmates with job training, addiction treatment and legal aid.
His own narrative changed dramatically when he “came out” in 2004. Overnight, he went from being perceived as a politically-affluent, heterosexual male to becoming the recipient of stereotypes and slurs. He entered the General Theological Seminary in New York in 2007. He had always grappled with his identity as a politician, where he never quite felt like he could be himself.
When Jim began ministering to inmates at a prison in Harlem as part of his seminary training, something clicked for him.
“I realized we were on the same journey -- we had different stories and backgrounds, but on a basic level, we shared the same fears, joys, longings, and spiritual goodness. We all felt the need to live into our better angels.”
Jasmin Singer is the author of "Always Too Much and Never Enough," the co-host of the Our Hen House podcast, and the senior editor for VegNews Magazine. In 2016, "The Advocate" named Jasmin an exemplary person on its annual “40 Under 40” list for her work with Our Hen House. That same year, she completed a 45-city book tour for her memoir, which documents her transformation from a bullied kid to an activist, losing 100 pounds, and resolving everything from her food addiction to her sexuality. The Our Hen House podcast, now in its eighth year, has been twice-honored by the Webby Awards, and VegNews—which reaches more than 2 million readers monthly—has won nearly every major magazine industry award. Jasmin speaks extensively throughout the country and has appeared on "The Dr. Oz Show," and in the documentaries "Vegucated" and "The Ghosts in Our Machine."
Expert on gender issues, certified psychotherapist
Jean Malpas is a certified psychotherapist and the director of The Gender Family Project of the Ackerman Institute for the Family (ackerman.org/gfp), which provides comprehensive multidisciplinary services for gender-expansive children, transgender adolescents, their families, and communities. He is a globally recognized expert on gender issues and is a regular on-air speaker for MSNBC, CNN and other news outlets.
Writer, Speaker, Activist, Demander and Fighter of Equality for All
Jenan Matari is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of MissMuslim, a women’s empowerment website covering a wide range of topics from faith to food and fitness, to female/sexual health and dating, to politics and pop culture. MissMuslim starts the necessary conversations about topics deemed too controversial or taboo for women in various communities to speak of.
Using social media, blogging, and speaking at schools and rallies, Jenan encourages her audience to be true to themselves even when society expects something else from them.
While she admires her culture, she’s also an activist who is passionate about equality and human rights around the world. At a young age, Jenan realized a person’s voice could have a huge impact on making a change in the world.
Jess was born in the US and lived with her grandparents in China until she returned to the US at age four. She received bilingual Mandarin-English education and attended Johns Hopkins University, where she studied International Studies and Economics. Since high school, she has been active in the local Asian community, teaching classes and giving talks on education, bridging cultural gaps, and parent-child relationships, drawing from her experience as a child of immigrants and a student in NJ public schools.
Joe Primo is the CEO of Good Grief, the organization that assists hundreds of children and families each month following the death of a mother, father or sibling. He currently serves on the advisory board of Option B at the Sheryl Sandberg and Dave Goldman Family Foundation. Primo formerly worked as a hospice Chaplain at both The Connecticut Hospice and The Hospice of Southeastern Connecticut. He received his Masters of Divinity from Yale University, where he concentrated on end-of-life care.
Government Affairs and International Relations
John Sitilides is a government affairs specialist; he chairs the State Department’s Advanced Area Studies Program for Southeastern Europe at the Foreign Service Institute, Washington’s primary training institution for American senior diplomats and other professionals of the U.S. foreign affairs community.
Twice recognized by the State Department for expertise in public policy and international relations, he speaks on geopolitical risk management and the business impact of American politics and global developments at investor and business conferences, and before government, military and intelligence community audiences.
He has testified before Congress and conducted hundreds of interviews on national security, global affairs and American politics in broadcast, print and digital media.
John received the 2007 “Greek Letters and Culture Award” for his contributions to the advancement of classical knowledge in American education, religion and culture.
He has a Master's Degree in International Affairs from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs and a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Queens College.
Augmented Reality Expert and Innovator
John Werner is an innovator, mobilizer, and human super connector. He constantly builds community and is a "moonshot" thinker, innovating as he goes while incorporating the latest technologies. He believes passionately in 21st century collaborative creativity in innovating with direct human or environmental impact. John is the vice president of Strategic Partnerships at Metavision where he explores augmented reality. He is the recipient of the Loeb Fellowship at Harvard Graduate Study of Design. Additionally, he is the founder of TEDxBeaconStreet and on the board of advisors for TEDx along with a number of other TED affiliations. His work has been featured in dozens of TED talks.
John Dias- Teal Wicks
Two River Theater Artistic Director John Dias introduces Teal Wicks singing the song "Unbuttoning the Buttons" from "The Ballad of Little Jo," a musical by Mike Reid, Sarah Schlesinger and John Dias, based on the film of the same name by Maggie Greenwald.
Teal Wicks, who plays the roles of Josephine and Jo Monaghan, appeared as Mary Barrie in the Broadway hit, "Finding Neverland." She also starred as Emma Carew in the Broadway revival of "Jekyll & Hyde," played Elphaba in the Los Angeles and San Francisco companies of "Wicked," before making the leap to Broadway in 2011.
JT Bowen started his professional career in the early 60’s with The Rockets, an R&B band from Maryland. It’s there he met Maryland native Clarence Clemons, sax player from a band called The Vibratones. After moving to New Jersey in the late 60’s, JT became an icon with Asbury Park’s “West Side” groups, such as Soul Flame and The Chosen Few, where he was joined by Clarence again on sax.
JT’s friendship with “The Big Man” blossomed over the years, and when Clarence formed The Red Bank Rockers in the 70’s, JT Bowen was the obvious candidate to be the group’s voice. Clarence Clemons and The Red Bank Rockers recorded and toured from 1981-1984, and soon the world discovered the great voice and stage presence of JT Bowen.
A hybrid entrepreneur, investor and advisor focused on deploying sustainable technologies to change the world
Justin is an entrepreneur, investor and advisor, a cofounder and partner of KDC Ag, and helped develop KDC Solar which has over 75megawatts of solar operational; and is on the board of several sustainable businesses. He has been at the forefront spearheading sustainable, environmentally progressive technologies and food movements for the past six years. His angel investments and entrepreneurial talents have led him to be deeply involved with growing technologies that are actively transforming the agriculture world; creating a more sustainable food supply chain; and eliminating food and plastic waste.
He has always been fascinated with sustainability, trying to progress the world towards becoming more regenerative and environmentally sensitive.
Dean of the Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Monmouth University.
Kenneth Womack is Dean of the Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Monmouth University, where he also serves as Professor of English. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including "Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles (2007)," "The Cambridge Companion to the Beatles (2009)," and "The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four (2014)."
Dr. Womack is also the author of three award-winning novels, including "John Doe No. 2," "Dreamland Motel," "The Restaurant at the End of the World," and "Playing the Angel."
He serves as Editor of Interdisciplinary Literary Studies: A Journal of Criticism and Theory, published by Penn State University Press, and as Co-Editor of the English Association’s Year’s Work in English Studies, published by Oxford University Press.
Kory Stamper is a lexicographer at Merriam-Webster, America's oldest dictionary company, and an author. In addition to writing definitions, she appears in Merriam-Webster's online video series at merriam-webster.com, and writes and speaks on the role of language and dictionaries in society. Her blog about dictionaries, "Harmless Drudgery," has been mentioned in "The Paris Review" and "The New York Times." Her debut book, "Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries," was released in 2017.
Founder/Director of Pennsylvania Gestalt Center for Psychotherapy and Training
Mariah is a 36-year ALS survivor, advocate, motivational speaker, award-winning psychotherapist and the founder/director of the Pennsylvania Gestalt Center for Psychotherapy and Training, in Malvern, PA. She focuses on inspiring others to create positive relationships for personal and professional excellence. Mariah is also the author of "Tales of a Wounded Healer," an intimate description of her life and work.
Creator and Musician
Mileece is the founder of Children of Wild Designs a program that integrates renewable energy, technology, and art to create novel perspectives. She focuses on how to connect people with plants, peace, and unity through interactive audio and imagery. Her work has been featured in The New York Times.
CEO, Business Advisor, Author.
Patty Azzarello is the founder of Azzarello Group, a company that helps businesses (and people) get better at what they do. She is the author of two books: RISE, which helps people advance their careers in an authentic and non-political way, and MOVE, which helps organizations decisively implement their strategies. She has a BS in electrical engineering from Monmouth University.
She was the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33. She ran a $1B software business at the age of 35 and became a CEO for the first time at the age of 38. Patty is known for her straightforward and practical manner, and through her work strives to bring authenticity and humanity back into the business world.
Singer Renee Maskin is an established singer-songwriter and the band Lowlight is currently working on its first full-length album. Part Southern Gothic, part Americana and part indie, Lowlight is blazing new trails that include pop elements and some jammy excursions.
Founded in 2014, the group playfully describes themselves as "roadhouse chic."
Professional Baseball Coach, Author, and Radio Host
Learn how to perform your best under pressure like an elite athlete. Rick Peterson is the Former NY Mets , Moneyball Oakland A’s and Baltimore Orioles Pitching Coach. During his 15 years as a Major League Pitching Coach with the Oakland A’s (during the Moneyball years), the New York Mets, and the Milwaukee Brewers, he has coached Hall of Famers, All Stars, and Cy Young Award Winners including Hall of Fame pitchers, Tommy Glavine, Pedro Martínez, Trevor Hoffman, as well as Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, Al Leiter, Tim Hudson, Jim Abbott, Billy Wagner, Johnny Franco, and many others. Rick has also worked with many other elite athletes like Roger Clemens and Michael Jordan. He is a sought-after keynote speaker who inspires audiences to perform their best and experience greater fulfillment in life and work.
Architecture and Design
Rob Van Varick will make you look at the assistive needs of our aging population and the simple cane in a new way. He is a partner at Michael Graves Architecture & Design and believes that design plays a key role in our identity and has the power to positively impact people’s lives. “Every single choice we make redefines who we are,” he says.
His mission is to apply the right blend of research, psychology, creativity and strategy so that root causes are identified, allowing the best solution to be designed.
Rob has a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design, where he studied industrial design.
Non-Fiction Author, Associate Professor of Economics
Dr. Hanson is an Associate Professor of Economics at George Mason University, and a research associate at the Future of Humanity Institute of Oxford University. He has a doctorate in social science from California Institute of Technology, master's degrees in physics and philosophy from the University of Chicago, and nine years experience as a research programmer at Lockheed and NASA.
He says that we need social institutions to pretend to give us what we pretend we want, while giving us what we need.
He is the author of "The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life When Robots Rule the Earth" and co-author of "The Elephant in the Brain."
Technology Startups and Music
Roy is the CEO and co-founder of Vydia, a centralized video distribution and monetization startup in New Jersey. Profiled by Forbes, The Huffington Post and International Business Times, Roy has become synonymous with the launch of visionary and inventive companies, propelling him as the go-to guy in the music video space.
As a C-student turned successful entrepreneur Roy only identified as being a bad student and a future failure when he didn't go down the one path he was presented, i.e., to do well in school, follow the rules, and get a good job. He dropped out of college to start his own company, figuring that the qualities that made for a lousy student – chiefly the inability to follow the rules – were desirable for technology entrepreneurs.
Sean O’Sullivan is managing partner of SOSV, the world-leading “Accelerator VC.” With $300 million assets under management, SOSV backs more than 150 startups annually through its accelerators.
Sean got his entrepreneurial start in 1985 as a founder of MapInfo, bringing street mapping technology to personal computers. MapInfo went on to become a $200 million public company with over 1,000 employees worldwide.
A major promoter of economic and social development, he founded JumpStart International, a leading humanitarian engineering organization based in Baghdad, which operated throughout Iraq during the post-war period of 2003-2006.
As Chairman of the Irish Entrepreneurship Forum and founder of Open Ireland, he is a leader and influencer of Irish government policy in fueling economic growth and recovery in the Technology sector. Sean was a regular investment panelist on the popular RTÉ TV show Dragon’s Den, and occasional columnist for the Sunday Business Post.
Sean holds a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Masters of Fine Arts in Film Production from the University of Southern California.
The Shady Street Show Band
Shady Street is above all else a show band, with each member bringing his or her own unique musical experiences to the mix. The band serves as a melting pot for classic rhythm and blues, soul, and American roots music, running the gamut from intimate ballads to huge production numbers featuring a full horn section with ties just as close to vaudeville as they are to rock and roll.