x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Passion

This event occurred on
May 19, 2018
Asbury Park, New Jersey
United States

The 6th edition of TEDxAsburyPark (formerly TEDxNavesink) - May 19, 2018

Passion drives ideas, people, and communities to action. Passion makes leaders. Passion combined with knowledge creates new ideas worth spreading. Passion can lead both to creation and destruction, to inspiration, suffering, grit, compassion, and extraordinary service.

TEDxAsburyPark discovers and curates 25 (estimated) speakers, entertainers, and artists who will share their passion stories on the famed Paramount Theatre stage in an all-day event on Saturday, May 19, 2018. We offer reserved seating (with and without lunch) and general seating with lunch on your own. There is also an option to add on a ticket to the post-show cocktail reception with the speakers and entertainers of the day in attendance. Both lunch and cocktail reception will be held in the world-famous Asbury Park Convention Hall.For more information, to apply to speak, be a sponsor, or to volunteer, please visit

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to email us at

Paramount Theatre
1200 Ocean Avenue
Asbury Park Boardwalk
Asbury Park, New Jersey, 07712
United States
Event type:
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Alberto del Saz

Mr. del Saz is the Artistic Director of the Nikolais/Louis Foundation for Dance. In 1980 he became the First Spanish National Champion in figure skating. In 1985 Mr. del Saz joined the Alwin Nikolais Dance Theatre and as a member of this internationally acclaimed company he has toured to virtually every continent of the globe. Mr. del Saz has appeared for President Reagan at the Kennedy Center Honors as well as on a PBS American Masters series in "Nik and Murray." He has represented the US State Department on a tour of India. Mr. del Saz has danced Rudolph Nureyev's role in "Moments" a work created by Murray Louis. Mr. del Saz has been with the Nikolais/Louis Foundation for 35 years, at the moment his focus is in preserving the Nikolais/Louis technique, repertory and legacy through his teaching, performing and directing.

Annica Lin

Self-proclaimed Iron Chef, Marathon Runner
”How does running marathons transform my life?” Annica spent her formative years in Taiwan, resolving to come to America to provide a better life for her family. To accomplish this, she saved up and bought herself a one-way ticket to NYC, where step by step, she worked herself up to her version of the American Dream. She earned a Master’s degree at NYU, and rose through the ranks at a stock brokerage on Wall Street. She later fell in love with digital media and decided to pursue it as her new career, becoming a Google-certified partner and working at advertising agencies. Through it all, she kept her passion for living her healthiest life. A self-proclaimed Iron Chef, she unintentionally discovered running in 2011. Struggling to run a mile on a dare, she stuck with the sport, and many enthusiastic years later, qualified for the Boston Marathon. She loves to share her passion for running and wants to help people fall in love with the sport.

Arlan Feiles

Musician, Songwriter, Activist
“Songwriting, Activism and the Passion to Create for a Better World” In the tradition of many great troubadours before him, LA-born Arlan Feiles has made his way across the American landscape playing and recording his own brand of modern folk rock, gospel, and Americana music. With nothing but a piano and guitar, Arlan continues to wow audiences in his adopted home state of NJ and around the world. He is an award-winning musician and songwriter who has shared stages and worked with some of the great legends in music, including The Band, the late Warren Zevon, Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame Producer Tom Dowd, Dave Grohl, Joan Baez and many more. You can find his music in a variety of TV programs and theatrical films and trailers, including the Academy Award-winning movie Dallas Buyers Club. Greg Baker of The Miami Herald said “If songwriters were bad weather, Hurricane Arlan would be a category 5…he’ll blow you away.”

Ben Freeberg

Comedian, Venture Capitalist
Ben Freeberg is a stand-up comedian and venture capitalist living in New York City. He has performed all over New York at clubs including Caroline's, Gotham, and Dangerfield's, and has shared the stage with Jim Gaffigan, Caroline Rhea, and many others. During the day, Ben works as a venture capital associate for Alpha Venture Partners. Ben graduated from Duke University with his B.A. in Economics, a concentration in Finance, and a Markets and Management certificate. In his spare time, his other passions include doing the Chinese devil sticks, snowboarding, and playing basketball and tennis.

Christopher Powell

Adventurer, Seeker, Marketing Expert
“Don’t Be A Spectator” “I’ve been a ‘spectator’ in my life,” says Chris Powell. “Interested in many things, but never passionate about any one thing. To my mother’s great dismay and angst, I had no clear path: I stumbled through life reacting to things as they came to me.” Perpetually seeking opportunities that can become great stories, Chris pushed himself to new limits in January 2018 by participating in the South Pole Energy Challenge expedition led by Robert Swan. Never one to choose the ordinary path, Chris’ training included dragging a steel sled through his neighborhood and cryotherapy sessions. “As I found myself stumbling toward the South Pole, I realized that sometimes you find your passion, and sometimes it finds you.” A graduate of Penn State, Chris is Chief Marketing Officer of Commvault, a $2.4B publicly-traded software company headquartered in NJ. A self-described “terrible” athlete, he runs, bikes, and tackles triathlons.

Dana Wiener

Dana has been passionate about dance all her life, beginning training at a young age. At 14, she entered Joffrey Ballet School Jazz and Contemporary Pre-Professional Trainee program, and moved to New York. While at The Joffrey, she performed works of Joanna Numata, Scott Fox, Kevin Wynn, Marlies Yerby, Ephrat “Bounce” Asheire, Tiffany Rae-Fisher, Lauren Cox. At 17, she was attended the Dana Foglia Dance 3 month mentorship program in LA. Dana performed works of Jose “Boi Boi” Tenna, Ryan Davis, and Dana Foglia, and assisted in the production of DFD’s Vatic performances in Los Angeles and in New York. Dana works with VESSELS and is a rotating member of Lauren Cox’s Humans Collective. Dana also was a member of renowned hip hop crew Generation X. Dana has also worked as Assistant Production Manager in the the CURRENT SESSIONS VI, Issue I.

David Hernandez

Musician, Composer, Entrepreneur
“How an Immigrant's Bicultural Identity as an American Fuels the Unique Passion to Achieve the American Dream” David is a Cuban-born first generation-immigrant, raised in New York City and educated in private Catholic schools. He is also a professional musician and published composer who has worked and toured internationally. His credits include co-writer, co-producer, and music director for Village People, and recordings with Thompson Twins, Elvis Costello, and Ringo Starr, among others. He is co-founder and managing partner of lotus823, an award winning integrated communications and marketing agency based in Eatontown, NJ. Married and a father of three sons living in Monmouth County NJ, he is still active musically and has played locally with veteran Jersey shore musicians, including Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez.

David Hamilton Thomson

Mr. Thomson has primarily worked as a collaborative performer/creator in the fields of music, dance, theater & performance with such artists as Bebe Miller, Trisha Brown ('87-'93), Susan Rethorst, Remy Charlip, Grisha Coleman|Hot Mouth, Ralph Lemon ('99-'10), Sekou Sundiata, Tracie Morris, Meg Stuart, Dean Moss/Layla Ali, Alain Buffard, Marina Abramovic, Yvonne Rainer, David Bowie, & Maria Hassabi among many others. His own work exists among the intersections of movement, text, sound & song. Thomson's work has been presented & supported by The Kitchen, Danspace Project at St Mark's Church, Dance Theater Workshop, Movement Research at Judson Church, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Gibney Dance, LMCC and The Invisible Dog Art Center, PeformanceSpace New York. He is a Bessie award-winning artist for Sustained Achievement (2001), a 2012 USArtist Ford Fellow, a 2013 NYFA Fellow in Choreography, a Yaddo, MacDowell & Rauschenberg Fellow. He holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from SUNY Purchase.

David Harry Stewart

Founder and Face AGEIST
“Redesigning Age” It is well-documented that people over 50 are living in radically different ways than their parents, and those who are 50+ are now a critically important demographic. Their political, social and economic standing makes them the most powerful generation to have ever lived. David is founder of media and research company AGEIST, whose purpose is to reinvent how life after 50 is lived, experienced, and understood. He says this is best achieved through design and modern media tactics rather than legislation, and until this is embraced, we will fail to see the real economic, humanitarian, and cultural benefits of increasing longevity. David suggests that our attitude towards later life needs a reboot at every level. He says that we’ve locked ourselves into a culture that is anti-age and it is evident throughout media, organizations, and even in the language we use.

Emily Grove

Singer, songwriter, and musician
Named Best Female Acoustic Act at the Asbury Music Awards in 2001, 2012, 2013, and 2014, she has also received Jersey Acoustic Music Awards for Top Female Vocalist and Top Female Songwriter. Emily has played with and opened for the likes of Glen Burtnik, Willie Nile, Ari Heist, Rhett Miller (Old 97s), Marshall Crenshaw, Dan Reed, John Lefler (Dashboard Confessional) and many others.

Felicia Simmons

Activist, Organizer, Mother
“You see this smile, it was carved with a blade of hard fought victories” Accomplished and energetic with a solid history of achievement in organizing, Felicia has been elected twice as an Asbury Park Board of Education member. She has served as President of the Monmouth/Ocean County National Action Network, Education Chairman of Asbury/Neptune chapter of NAACP, founder of Proper Foundation and above all else, mother, daughter, artist, and friend. Felicia is known as a tireless community organizer and a motivated leader.with strong organizational and prioritization abilities. She is a devoted mother to her son Zack, who drives her to reinvigorate Asbury Park with a new sense of purpose. She is dedicated to being the new face of Asbury Park, making it into one unified community looking towards the future.

Gabriella Sibeko

Gabriella began dancing very young under Paula Urrutia. She attended The Ailey School, graduating in 2016. She performed works by Alvin Ailey, Nathan Trice, Mike Esperenza, Yoshito Sakaruba, Ellenore Scott, Amy Hall, Hope Boykin, Francesca Harper, Jacqueline Buglisi, Darshan Singh Bhuller and Dwight Rhode. Ms. Sibeko performed as a featured dancer in music videos like “Serenading in the Trenches” (Sondre Lerche) and “Show Off” (Ana Kay). She co-choreographed the international video campaign, “Freedom: International Day of the Girl.”, produced by Beyoncé Knowles and The Global Goals. Ms. Sibeko assistant choreographed for Nathan Trice & Emily Greenwell, and performed in the principal company of IKADA Contemporary Dance Company, Gotham Dance Theater, Dirty Soles Dance, Genesis Contemporary Dance Theatre, and as a guest for Abarukas Dance & cullen+them. She is currently in the principal company of nathantrice/RITUALS dance theater, BARE Dance Company, ELSCO Dance Company and DEPTH Dance.

Gary Mottola

Senior Managing Director & President, MMREF
Gary Mottola is past president of Madison Marquette Investments and is currently a Senior Executive at the company. Prior to joining Madison Marquette, Mr. Mottola was a partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, a prominent international law firm, where he practiced real estate law and financial transactions. He is a member of the Foundation Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Hall of Fame, and was the founding trustee of a nonprofit regional theater company in northern New Jersey, as well as president of the Board of Directors of Asbury Boardwalk Rescue. Mr. Mottola received his undergraduate degree from Harvard College and a JD from the University of California at Berkeley. Gary led Madison Marquette’s efforts to revitalize Asbury Park, to reclaim its title as the “Jewel of the Shore.” his leadership played a significant part in rebuilding the mythic boardwalk, repositioning Asbury Park as an entertainment destination, and reinvigorating our historic oceanfront community.

Heather Zeluff

Student of Psychology, Autism Advocate, Therapist
“Traveling Within is the Deepest Journey” Heather is 18, a current student at St. John’s University as a Psychology major, and is trained in Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy (ABA). This means she is skilled in administering brain- training cognitive therapy and social skills for individuals with special needs, specifically Autism. She started learning the program when she was 12 and later started her own business. To facilitate her efforts, Heather created a book and curriculum for her clients using ABA therapy—all personalized for their needs. As an aspiring clinical psychologist, she has worked in different areas of mental health, performed ABA, cognitive brain therapy, social skills, motor skills, and other therapeutic techniques used to help the special needs community. Her passion for helping others branches out from her brother who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, and her rocky journey throughout life.

Hope Clarke

Ms. Clarke performed as principal dancer with the Katherine Dunham Company and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, 1960s; actress on stage, film, and television, 1970s-1980s; choreographer and director, 1980s. Clarke served on the Tony Awards Nominating Committee for the 2011-12 Broadway season. Clarke made history in 1995 when she became the first African American, as well as the first African-American woman, to direct and choreograph a major staging of Porgy and Bess. Clarke's production of the George Gershwin classic was staged in celebration of the work's 60h anniversary, and it toured not only major American cities but Japan and Europe. Clarke drew critical acclaim for her commitment to staging the show as a monument to African-American community and pride, giving a more hopeful, positive aura to a story that has been criticized for stereotypes. As for the director herself, the success of Porgy and Bess is just the latest accolade in a long career devoted to dance and drama.

John Dias

John is the Artistic Director of Two River Theater since 2010. He has helped to bring new vitality to the 20-year-old theater, including producing subscription shows, launching the theater’s literary department & commissioning program for new plays, presenting annual events such as a musical theater cabaret in collaboration with NYU and the Crossing Borders festival of Latino plays, and developing arts-education initiatives. Previously he worked at The Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival where was responsible for production on the theater’s stages & the Delacorte Theater. He was dramaturg at Hartford Stage Company, and co-founded and led the Affinity Company Theater and The Playwrights Realm. He has been a Tony Award nominator, a consultant for the National Endowment for the Arts & other organizations, and he has taught at NYU & Yale. He currently teaches at Columbia. He has a BA from George Washington University and an MFA from the UM/Amherst.

JT Bowen

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. He moved to Asbury Park and became an icon with "West Side" groups Soul Flame and The Chosen Few, where he was joined by Clarence again on Sax. His friendship with "The Big Man" blossomed, and when Clarence formed The Red Bank Rockers in the 70's JT Bowen became the group's Voice. Clarence Clemons and The Red Bank Rockers recorded and toured from 1981-1984. JT's powerful Soul Style led to Bruce Springsteen extending an invitation to record on the Gary US Bonds album On The Line, produced by Bruce. JT also recorded with Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul, as well as Bob Dylan Violinist Scarlet Rivera. Today, he is still performing to loyal fans at venues around the Northeast, and released a new album, Out of the Shadows in 2014, with songs written and produced by Marc Ribler.

Karen McCarty

Professional idiot, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Healthy Humor
“My Passion for Healthcare Clowning” As the former Creative Director of the Big Apple Circus and Community Programs and now Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Healthy Humor, Karen has performed with and managed hundreds of clowns in leading pediatric hospitals across the country for almost 30 years. A recipient of the Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian Award. Karen has been featured on numerous tv shows as her clown, “Dr. Ginger Snaps.” She also performed in the first national tour of the Broadway musical Barnum. Karen’s vaudeville theatre company, Serious Foolishness, has performed internationally for over 20 years. Her memoir of the same name focuses on surviving pediatric cancer and her subsequent career as a professional idiot. Karen has a BFA in acting and directing from West Virginia University and is a graduate of L’Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris.

Karen Kendra Holmes

Transgender Advocate, Award Winning Public Servant
“40 Years and Wandering No More” Karen will share her passion for helping others transition and to foster acceptance and support from those around them, and how life can be fulfilled by being true to oneself and to others. Karen educates others who are not transgender to foster understanding that she and others live normal lives, and are doing good things in our community, state, and country. Karen works for the Federal Government as a Safety Officer. She has won many awards as a passionate and highly effective public servant and volunteer in the National and State (MD) Guards, and many national and local community service and first responder organizations. LGBTQ Nation selected Karen as one of the Top 50 Transgender Americans You Need to Know in 2017.

Lauren Cox

Performer, teacher, choreographer, and poet
“A Spark of Passion that Shaped a Lifetime” Using spoken word and dance, Lauren presents the story of her grandparents, Elsa & Eugene; how their passion for one another challenged the status quo and shaped the life of her mother and herself. An Edelweiss plant has a short but bold life; it’s rare and grows in the harshest environment. Thriving at altitudes of 9,000 ft., it symbolizes sacrifice and opposition, passion to bloom, and strength to survive. Lauren brings the talented trio of Tyrone Bevans, Gabriella Sibeko and Dana Wiener to help her integrate spoken word and dance into this unique choreographed talk. Lauren is a performer, teacher, choreographer, and poet from the San Francisco Bay Area. She has taught an performed around the world. She teaches at the Joffrey Ballet School in NYC and has studied dance extensively. She has performed with Gwen Stefani, Alicia Keys, and Pharrell. Lauren has a degree in sociology and speaks 3 languages.

Lauren "LOLO" Pritchard

From Jackson, TN, LOLO is a show-stopping singer who has "so much music flowing through [her] that it fills two people" (Associated Press). She has proven herself a venerable songwriter, from penning hits for Panic! At The Disco’s recent #1 blockbuster album to writing a New York Times raved about off-Broadway musical, “Songbird” — a perfect segue from LOLO's past role as the originator of Ilse in the critically-acclaimed smash musical “Spring Awakening.” Her album, In Loving Memory of When I Gave a Shit, is a come-to-Jesus moment for the songstress who moved back to Tennessee after exploring her path on the stages of New York and time in London - a literal reflection of LOLO's journey on the road back home, which paints the picture of a woman who is finally able to shine and be her true self. With a daring and emotionally charged voice, her music evokes a hot southern night – rough around the edges but with a velvety quality that soothes the soul.

Lisa Russell

Filmmaker, Entrepreneur, StoryShifter
Lisa Russell, “Can Big Data Drive Creativity and Passion to Save the World?” Lisa Russell, MPH is an Emmy-winning filmmaker with a Master’s in Public Health who has 10+ years experience producing films/creative campaigns and curates artistic performances for UN/NGO agencies. With a diverse portfolio of creative work that spans the arts, social justice and global development, Lisa is on a mission to revolutionize storytelling for the social good. As Founder and CEO of StoryShifter, Lisa is launching a new entertainment portal for the social good, powered by machine learning and data analytics. Her goal is to grow the world's largest roster of international artists, storytellers, and innovators who are committed to using their talents to address racial and gender inequalities, promote health and education, and protect the planet.

Michael Blake

Contemporary Dance Teacher, Choreographer and Teaching Artist
"LIFE IS A DANCE" Dance artists over 50 years of age have withstood the test of time by defying what some see as the limitations of age. For these extraordinary artists, age is not an obstacle when it comes to achieving sustained artistic discovery and excellence. Michael will bring with him the immensely talented and celebrated dancers Sarita Allen, Hope Clarke, David Hamilton Thomson, and Alberto del Saz as he integrates spoken word and dance in this special choreographed piece with the assistance of dramaturge, Netta Yerushalmy. Michael Blake teaches Contemporary Dance in NYC and is a teaching artist in the BA and Graduate Dance programs at Hunter College. Michael has his MFA in dance and has won the 2010 Bessie Award. He shares that it is a blessing to continue his dance life for this long. He turns 60 years old this year, has had both hips replaced, and still lives for the chance to dance every day.

Michael Zapcic

Podcaster, TV Personality, Comic Book Expert
“A Passion for Pop Culture” Michael Zapcic reveals his "secret origins" as a comic book nerd and pop culture lover. His childhood fascination with classic stories of right and wrong, good vs. evil, all set against a four-color backdrop, has evolved into a life and career of amazing stories and uncanny adventures. His lifelong devotion to the comic book medium allowed Michael to step off an unfulfilling path prescribed for him by family and friends and instead, to pursue a life with meaning, purpose and passion. He is a podcaster, TV personality, and comic book expert and assistant manager at Jay & Silent Bob’s Secret Stash for more than 15 years. Michael’s passion for comics has fueled a career filled with amazing stories and uncanny experiences. His message is broadcast each week through the internet via his podcasts "I Sell Comics" and "The Ming and Mike Show."

Michela Martello

Artist, Muralist
Come interact with Michela on May 18 and 19 in the Grand Arcade as she paints a mural for TEDxAsburyPark. Born in Grosseto, Italy, Michela Martello's works are humanistic, accessible, and consistently characterized by her use of symbolism. A perpetually curious and interdisciplinary artist, she brings together the traditional and contemporary influences of a variety of techniques, media, themes, and cultures to create art that achieves a universal language of aesthetics that merges centuries and crosses cultural bounds.

Netta Yerushalmy

Ms. Yerushalmy grew up in Israel and received her BFA (Honors) from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a 'Grant to Artists' from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, a Jerome Robbins Bogliasco Fellowship, a NYFA Fellowship, and the Toulmin Fellowship for Women Leaders in Dance at NYU’s Center for Ballet. Her project, Paramodernities, (world premiere August 2018 at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival), received New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project award. She presented works at the Joyce Theater, American Dance Festival, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Watermill Center, Danspace Project, New York Live Arts, Suzanne Dellal Center, and Hebbel am Ufer. She contributed to Josiah McElheny’s project for the Madison Square Park Conservancy, choreographed a Red Hot Chili Peppers video, and has collaborated at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry. Netta has danced with Doug Varone & Dancers, Pam Tanowitz, Joanna Kotze, & the Metropolitan Opera Ballet.

Nicholas Despotidis

Optometrist, author, and lecturer
“A Childhood Disease Worth Preventing” Dr. Nick will discuss how his passion for healthy eyesight lead him to discover that the current myopia epidemic is much more than a vision problem. It’s also a physical manifestation of a broader problem: Social Myopia. His shares his passion by combining expertise with foreboding to enlighten us about the cause and prevention of both myopias. An optometrist, speaker, author and leader in the field of vision care, Nick is a pioneer in the use of corneal reshaping of contact lenses which are used to slow down or prevent the deterioration of eyesight in children and young adults. He is the lead author of the book My Children Are Nearsighted Too and the newly released A Parent's Guide to Raising Children with Healthy Vision.

Olive Persimmon

Author, Speaker, Communication coach
“Literary Libido:How Writing About Sex Helped Me Overcome My Fear of Intimacy” After a five-year dry spell, Olive Persimmon embarked on a journey to "get her mojo back" and save her love life by exploring sex and dating in New York City. Her adventures included everything from 20 blind dates in 30 days, exploration of the foot fetish scene, and work with a sex therapist. She chronicled the stories for her second book and in doing so, realized she wasn't the only one who felt insecure, scared, and inexperienced when it came to sex. Olive's talk discusses how both exploring and writing about sexuality unintentionally reignited her long-lost passion and helped her overcome her fear of intimacy. Her first book, Unintentionally Celibate, takes a comedic approach to talking about sex. Her second book, The Coitus Chronicles, will be out on Valentine's Day 2019.

Paulina Porizkova

Author, Feminist, Supermodel
“How America Made Me A Feminist” Paulina Porizkova has lived in four very different countries: Czechoslovakia, Sweden, France, and the U.S. She will share the commonalities, differences, and perceptions of women and how these four countries have shaped her as a person and as a woman. A supermodel, Paulina Porizkova was first a cover girl as a child refugee in Sweden before she became one in the fashion business in Paris in 1980. Never content to be just a pretty face, she turned to movies and TV, and later to writing. You can read Paulina’s NY Times Op-Ed piece "America Made Me a Feminist".

Peter Gray

Research Professor of Psychology, Boston College
“How Our Schools Thwart Passions” Professor Peter Gray is a research professor at Boston College ( whose work focuses on the role of play in human evolution and development. He is author of the book Free to Learn and authors a regular blog for Psychology Today, and is the president of the nonprofit Alliance for Self-Directed Education ( He has conducted and published research in comparative, evolutionary, developmental, and educational psychology. His current research and writing focus primarily on children's natural ways of learning and the life-long value of play. His own play includes not only his research and writing, but also long-distance bicycling, kayaking, backwoods skiing, and vegetable gardening.

Remy Arnou

Student, traveler, President of the Middletown High School South TED-Ed club
“TED-Ed Clubs: Be Heard” Remy, 16, found his passion with TED-Ed Club. As president of the Middletown High School South TED-Ed Club, he has led many projects including the Be Heard board, which gives people a platform to express their different ideas. The Be Heard board is currently on display at the Middletown Arts Center. Passionate and always ready to help, Remy has the “joie de vivre” for spreading ideas. Remy is a bilingual (French and English) and a world traveler. His travels have opened his eyes to the concept that people all over the world need to “Be Heard.

Sarah DaVanzo

Chief Curiosity Officer
"Passionately Curious" While we find passionate people curious, what ignites intensely passionate curiosity in people? And what ignites it in places like Asbury Park? Why are some places magnets for the passionately curious: good and bad? Can a seaside resort really make one “curiouser?" Sarah "will answer these questions and challenge the audience to tap both passion and curiosity. A seasoned public speaker, Sarah delivered the keynote address at the 2017 World Future Society conference in Istanbul. She has worked in 12 countries, circled the globe twice, and embodies passionate curiosity: living as a monk; conducting ethnographic research in the African jungle; met Nelson Mandela; founded the Gold of Africa Museum. She starred in a reality TV show; holds 3 patents; and inspired a South African soap-opera character.

Sarita Allen

Ms. Allen is a world-renowned dancer and performing artist whose career has spanned 3 decades. Upon joining the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater she immediately began her meteoric rise within the company. Throughout her stay, Alvin Ailey Choreographed 8 original ballets for her, namely The Mooche and Night Creatures. These ballets set the tone for her Ailey tenure with leading roles and outstanding performances including galas at The Paris Opera, The Acropolis, The Pyramids At Giza, The Kennedy Center and the White House for two Presidents. Allen was an original member of Complexions Contemporary Ballet and is currently their Artistic Advisor. She currently teaches at the Ailey Extension, HBO and internationally.

Scott Hopeck

Team builder, Revenue Generator, Turnaround Leader
“Passion Left Unchecked” What happens when your passion is out of control? Scott’s talk will 1) expose the underbelly of passion; 2) demonstrate how quickly passion can turn into addiction; and 3) offer practical advice for how to regain control of your passion. Over the years, Scott has leveraged his unique ability of being able to balance an analytic mindset with creative thinking to drive positive organizational change. This has earned him the reputation of being a turnaround leader. The son of a plumbing and heating contractor, Scott's dad taught him from an early age to always leave things better than the way he found them. His mindset of "making things better" has led to a successful 21-year career, building teams and generating revenue in the media and entertainment industry.

Sebastian Terry

Inspirationalist, Author, TV Host, Speaker
“100 Things - What's on Your List?” Sebastian Terry is an inspirationalist who, after the loss of a friend, created a list of 100 Things that he wanted to do to find purpose. Known worldwide for pursuing an incredible list of 100 Things that he wants to achieve before he dies, Sebastian Terry’s story is surprisingly not about a bucket list. It’s about something more far-reaching: permission, choice, growth, and connection. “I thought initially that it would take me 100 Things to reach a state of fulfillment, but it’s taken me 72 things to realize that ‘ticks’ are just the beginning. The key to growth and happiness is finding out who you are on a primal level and then being that person, each and every day.” Now an author, TV host, and speaker, Sebastian focuses his time on empowering peer-to-peer altruism.

Simon Nynens

CEO, Philosopher, Lecturer, Soccer Enthusiast
“Everyone Deserves a Fairy Tale” Don’t expect a boring presentation. Expect a true story about struggles, real life tests, vulnerability, and yes, some fairy tales. Simon is a Dutch immigrant who is the CEO of Wayside Technology Group in Wall, NJ and is focused on forward-thinking and employee-empowered leadership. He is a philosopher and guest lecturer at universities. A graduate of the Harvard Business School, he serves on the board for the New Jersey Technology Council (NJTC) and has received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® 2011 Award in the Technology Services. Simon is also a founder of FC Monmouth (Football Club Monmouth).

Tyrone Bevans

Tyrone was born and raised in the Bronx. He is a dancer, choreographer, and visual artist. He began his journey in dance while studying at the Mark Morris Dance Group and Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance.He is currently dancing for Christal Brown’s INSPIRIT, a dance company and Joya Powell’s Movement of the People Dance Company. In the past Tyrone has performed for choreographers and artist such as Vessels, Amalgamate Dance Company, Maya Orchin, Enforced Arch Dance Company, International Affair, Sons Of Kick, Neil Schwartz, and Karla Garcia.

Organizing team


New York, NY, United States


Asbury Park, NJ, United States
  • Eric Wiener
  • Matthew Leddin