x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Connect the Dots

This event occurred on
January 13, 2018
9:00am - 4:00pm MST
(UTC -7hrs)
Tucson, Arizona
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).

Berger Theater
1200 West Speedway Blvd.
Tucson, Arizona, 85745
United States
Event type:
Standard (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Andrea Casteel Smith

Andrea worked 14 years in ministry before becoming the chief operations officer of seven charter schools, three of them in Arizona. She is the founder of Scarred Beautiful, a movement and nonprofit organization. Her book, Scarred Beautiful, a memoir published in 2014, hit a publishers top 10 list in its first two weeks. Andrea continues to share her message with an ever-growing audience, while helping thousands of people through her blogs every day. She lives in Tucson with her husband and two children.

Andrés Portela III

Andres was born and raised in Sierra Vista and attended Buena High School and Paradise Valley Community College, at which he played soccer. He transferred to Cochise College to complete his associate degree in political science. Andres received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona in political science/pre-law with minors in African studies, East Asian studies, adolescent and community education, and marketing. While in college, he was a writer for the school newspaper, campus radio DJ, certified as a nursing assistant, completed a medical mission to Africa and was an intern for Congressman Ron Barber. Since graduating, Andres has worked for Apple Inc. and McFadden Gavender Advertising. He is currently marketing and community outreach manager at Tucson Hebrew Academy.

Artifact Dance Project

Dance Company
Artifact Dance Project is a contemporary dance company fusing movement, music and drama in environments that deepen and broaden the human experience. Choreography is by Ashley Bowman and music is written and performed by Bobby Jo Valentine titled, "Trading In." The dancers are Lauren Renteria, Marquez Johnson, Allison Knuth, Nathanael Myers, Samuel Kraus, Kendra Howell, Samantha McKinney, Lyna Ward, Carole Mueller.

Ashwin Naidu

Wildlife Conservationalist
Ashwin received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Wildlife Conservation and Management from the University of Arizona. His work focuses on applying interdisciplinary approaches for the conservation and management of endangered species and their habitats. Ashwin is a Carson Earth Fellow of the University of Arizona, a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Species Survival Commission Cat Specialist Group, and a current representative of the University of Arizona Wild Cat Research and Conservation Center. Inspired by the potential of community-based conservation, he started the Fishing Cat Conservancy in 2014 to help survey and protect the endangered fishing cat and its globally important mangrove habitat.

Bobby Jo Valentine

Bobby Jo’s music features thoughtful, spirit-focused lyrics and catchy melodies. The poetic nature and spiritual focus of his stories and songs has resulted in awards and a growing, loyal following around the country. His music has won song of the year twice at West Coast Songwriter’s Association, and he has appeared on radio, TV, and in feature films. Bobby lives in northern California, and likes to discuss the big questions, challenge the easy answers, and inspire people to move closer to love.

Desiderio Abeyta

Desiderio is a registered dietitian who identifies and changes feeding practices that can evolve into eating disorders which may lead to obesity and even organ failure. As a new father and self-proclaimed diet "anarchist," Desiderio observes that problems can occur in the feeding relationship between children and parents when adults stop trusting their instincts. He emphasizes that food is more than just a diet.

Kacey Ernst

Pubic Health Researcher
Kacey is an associate professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Arizona College of Public Health. Her work focuses on understanding the dynamics of disease emergence, particularly mosquito-borne diseases in relation to climate change. She seeks to develop an understanding of how people approach this risk and to create tools to improve detection, prevention, and control of diseases like Zika, dengue, and malaria.

Kimber Lanning

CEO of a Non Profit
Kimber is founder and executive director of Local First Arizona, a statewide organization implementing innovative strategies for new models of economic development that create vibrant local economies. Kimber is an entrepreneur, business leader and community development specialist who works to cultivate strong self-reliant communities and inspire a higher quality of life for people across Arizona. Kimber fosters cultural diversity and inclusion, economic resilience and responsible growth for Arizona. With more than 3,000 business members and four statewide offices, she leads 23 associates who work on an array of programs ranging from healthy local food access, entrepreneurial development in underserved communities and rural community development, each of which plays a part in building sustainable and resilient local economies.

Nick Maskill

Nick is a singer and songwriter based in Tucson. He fronts M. Crane, an alternative rock band, which has been recording and performing since July 2015. His music draws from influences such as Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, Elliott Smith, Van Morrison, The Smiths, and Edith Piaf.

Star Hansen

Star is a certified professional organizer and lifestyle coach who helps people get their life in order by deconstructing their past to make space for their future. Star has worked more than 13 years with passionate people who experience problems dealing with an overabundance of responsibility, stuff, ideas, community and commitments. She helps her clients create systems and strategies that eliminate chaos, enabling them to focus on what is important while filling their space with life, not stuff. Her approach has been featured on OWN, TLC, A&E, Style, HGTV, and the Tyra Banks Show.

The Rifle

Nelene is from Redding, CA. She studied biochemistry at University of San Francisco. She now works in the analytical department at Tucson-based biotech startup NuvOx Pharma and plays music in the three-member indie dream rock band.. Kevin comes from San Diego, and grew up playing every fretted instrument he could find. He moved to Tucson to join his love, Nelene. He learned bass to join The Rifle. Randy grew up in the Pacific Northwest with a passion for music and drumming. Randy dedicates himself to the percussive arts.

Theresa Sanders

Public Health Researcher
Theresa moved from the moist and mossy lands of Washington State to the fierce and fiery desert to attend the University of Arizona more than 15 years ago. She studied philosophy, nutrition and chemistry, and is currently completing a master's degree in public health. Theresa believes in a multifaceted approach to health and wellness and has been influenced by her pursuits as a yoga instructor, health educator, organic farmer, public health researcher and science writer. In personal pursuits, Theresa commits time to meditation, storytelling, and experiencing the outdoors. She is also a dedicated feminist parent and partner. Theresa believes in the health promoting power of nature, spirituality and story-telling.

Organizing team


Tucson, AZ, United States
  • Evan Grae Davis
  • Robert Betancourt