Lecturer at University of Michigan- Dearborn
Aaron Kinzel is a lecturer in Criminal Justice Studies in the College of Arts, Sciences and Letters at UM-Dearborn. Also pursuing his PhD in Public Administration, Kinzel is not a typical college professor due to his diverse roles and interests. Despite having three degrees under his belt, back in the day Kinzel found it immensely hard to find an appropriate job. He is an example of one individual who has risen from the ashes and turned his seemingly impossible life around. A true believer that a person’s past mistakes in society should not define the rest of their lives, Kinzel’s story is one of persistent determination and struggle to change the system not just from the sidelines but right smack in the center court/ center of the ring.
A distinguished member of the Detroit community, Reverend Faith Fowler is a pastor at Cass community United church, executive director at Cass community social services; and an adjunct professor at the university of Michigan Dearborn. Renowned for her "Tiny Homes" initiative", a program designed to help the poorer sections of the community to have more ownership and control over their lives, Rev Fowler talks about a novel approach to affordable housing at TEDxUMDearborn.
Manufacturing, and Engineering
Joe LaRussa, a three-time graduate of UM-Dearborn and a Difference Maker is a leader and manager in not just his work environment, but also beyond. With industry experience of over seventeen years, Joe is skilled in a combination of factors required in the creation of an effective leader. Taking a leaf out of his own work experience, he feels that everyone has the potential to develop leadership skills right at home. Targeting youngsters mainly, he engages anyone who listens that once home is equated to an organization, leadership skills can be carefully crafted and developed to benefit individuals in their professional life.
The indefinable art of storytelling requires as much structure and engineering as cars and computers need. Case in point – Story Engineering which is a methodology that rises from the theory that good stories need as much defined engineering as it requires creativity. Josh Powlison who has been giving himself writing tips from the age of nine, is one such writer and story engineer who guides people in developing strong mindsets to create impactful stories. A guide to upcoming writers, Josh has written stories for almost every medium including musicals, comics, films, theater skits and video games. He will be exploring the myriad forms story-telling has taken over hundreds of years and how it will evolve with upcoming times.
Justine Brooks Froelker is the author of Ever Upward, a book that dives into the mental hurdles that surround the journey of a woman whose life hasn't turned out how she hoped, dreamed, and planned after a failed infertility journey. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator practicing in St. Louis, Missouri. Her talk – ‘The Permission of the And ’ – touches upon a deeply personal story of struggle and loss. Learning from heartbreak, her sanguinity in the face of hopelessness, and story through recovery and chosen happiness despite all odds, has helped many to believe in and create a happy life.
An immigrant living the American dream, Kavita Vyas is a master story teller and President of the Toastmasters Canton chapter. She is also a qualified speaker at the Speak to Impact Speakers Bureau. Her chosen story for TEDxUMDearborn 2017 revolves around the misconceptions we sometimes grow up with in life, and how they shape the life experiences we have.
In a world that is more co-dependent than ever before, Kenneth Myers has been working for over six years helping businesses and corporations from diverse cultural backgrounds do commerce smoothly and seamlessly. To ensure that employees from different nationalities and backgrounds communicate and read body language of their diverse colleagues, he through his seminars has been helping bridge gaps and allow better understanding of human behavior while making presentations. A sports enthusiast, Ken also dabbles in playing the violin occasionally. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Ken is constantly on the move with his job – shuttling not just between different cities but also countries with his homes in Germany and America.
Khodr is a 24-year-old student of Political Science at UMDearborn. Born blind in Beirut, Lebanon, he has overcome many obstacles until now to be able to obtain an education and overall life experience comparable to propel with no disabilities. A 2017 Difference Maker at the university, Khodr continues to set his sights higher, constantly exceeding the expectations people may have for visually impaired individuals.
Student at University of Michigan- Dearborn
A student at UM-Dearborn, Kristen Ewald has always been excited by the field of genetics and its increasing role in our everyday life. Touching upon a highly contentious topic of genetic disorders, she will engage a discussion about how our notions of prenatal screening affect society. She is an enthusiastic student who believes that the best way to redefine preconceptions is through education and compassion of others.
Nutritionist & Dancer
A professional Nutritionist with over thirty years of experience in the field of music and dance, Lalitha Ramamoorthy is an artist proficient in both South Indian classical vocal music and Bharatnatyam dance styles. Ramamoorthy has also been training scores of students in the classical art forms through her non-profit school – School of World Music and Dance. With a Masters in Nutrition and Food Science, she has seamlessly integrated her two knowledge bases in art and nutrition to inculcate holistic knowledge in healthy living. Balancing her profession and passion for performing arts on an equal plate, she advocates that creative ability and desire to follow passion will lead to more confidence and motivation to pursue one’s interests.
Teacher at Kentwoods
Luke Wilcox is a personified example of the same. A high school teacher and Math instructor, Wilcox has been in the field of education for over sixteen years. Recently announced as Michigan’s Teacher of the Year 2017-18, Wilcox believes that every student needs well-motivated teachers and influencers encouraging them to push through and excel in life. Teaching at the West Michigan based East Kentwood High School, he has helped turn around the lives of students coming from different walks of life through his mantra ‘Beating All Odds’. An instructor in AP Statistics, he has also been awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching.
Student at University of Michigan- Dearborn
Raquel Estrada, one of UM-Dearborn’s own home-borne talents is a current student well-recognized amongst her peers in our close-knit college community. Studying her Master’s in Engineering Management at UM-Dearborn, she constantly endeavors to step outside the comfort of her classroom walls to tackle unexplored and unfamiliar domains. Bringing her experiences to the forefront through TEDx, her talk – ‘Breaking the Comfort Zone ’ – deals with unshackling the invisible boundaries we end up confining ourselves in.
Facing repeated failures and stuck within the margins of what is comfortable? Grappling with similar issues, Raquel’s talk merges with the core ideology of TEDX -Dearborn – ie. of being RE-B.O.R.N by making the first step towards personal success through sheer determination and tenacity.
President of ImageOne
An early passion for entrepreneurship took shape in high school when Rob teamed up with imageOne Co-founder Joel Pearlman to start their first business together, selling Blow Pop lollipops out of their lockers to classmates. Today, with Core Values as the foundation, Rob and Joel have grown imageOne into the leading organization in Document Lifecycle Management and a company well-known as exceptional; receiving national recognition for its rapid growth and strong focus on culture, the company was awarded the 2017 Small Giants distinction from Forbes Magazine as one of 25 Best Small Businesses in America. As an author and speaker, Rob challenges business leaders to do nothing™, sharing his leadership story and lessons learned from more than 12 years of a daily meditation practice, as well as biannual silent meditation retreats.
Student at University of Michigan Dearborn
Shakira Khanam is an undergraduate student at the university. Juxtaposing the ‘Gilded Age’ with the constant theme of conditional inclusiveness intensifying in contemporary society, Shakira Khanam’s talk will evolve around dissolving these very barriers. In an age where cultural identity is examined with a microscopic eye, Shakira, a second-generation South-Asian immigrant plans to lay out her experiences in dealing with hurt and rejection from a community she has always called home. She strongly advocates that a life defined by labels and restricted by culture needs to dissolve its lines and be done fast for a better and inclusive future.
VP of Business Development at OSP
To be oneself, simply oneself, is so amazing and utterly unique an experience that it's hard to convince oneself so singular a thing happens to everybody" ― Simone de Beauvoir, Prime of Life
Wissam Bazzi is a leadership coach who counsels audiences on the complexities of human kind. When each individual is intrinsically unique and capable of unique potential, he asks hard-hitting questions about human behavior and the need to conform to society’s understanding. Questioning the need for constant external validation, he wants a shift in paradigm amongst people to avoid negativity and embrace individualism.