x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Wonder

This event occurred on
November 11, 2017
Denver, Colorado
United States

What was the last time you experienced a feeling of surprise caused by something unexpected and beautiful. Let us marvel in the amazement of that moment, let us Wonder - that place where we re-engage our senses, let us minds run wild, and step back into the youthful spirit of our lives. It's here that creation is effortless, imagination is ever-expanding, and our visions of the future are extraordinary.

Colorado Convention Center
700 14th Street
Denver, Colorado, 80202
United States
Event type:
Standard (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Ben Cort

Marijuana Policy Expert
Sober since 1996, Ben Cort has seen the devastation that substance abuse can bring first hand as well as the joy that is recovery. He spent the last 10 years inside nonprofit drug treatment and education programs like Phoenix Multisport, Stout Street Foundation, and The University of Colorado Hospital. He is the author of Weed, INC., a professional speaker, and a frequent guest in the media. Ben is a husband, father of three, and an avid sportsman. He enjoys fly fishing, hunting, mountaineering, and bike racing.

Beth Mosenthal

Urban Futurist
As an architect, Beth Mosenthal works with corporate, public, and nonprofit clients, and is passionate about creating designs that bridge art, urbanism, storytelling, and sustainability. She advocates for equity and accessibility, facilitating dialogue between architects and the citizens they serve. Prior to working at Anderson Mason Dale Architects, she studied and practiced architecture in Shanghai, New York, and Chicago. Beth lives in Denver with her husband, baby daughter, and dog Frida.

Brian Toon

Atmospheric Scientist
A professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado-Boulder, Brian Toon investigates the causes of the ozone hole, how volcanic eruptions alter the climate, how ancient Mars had flowing rivers, and the environmental impacts of nuclear war. He contributed to the U.N.’s Nobel Peace Prize for climate change and holds numerous scientific awards, including two NASA medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement. He is an avid woodworker.

Christian Picciolini

Peace Advocate
After leaving the white-supremacist skinhead movement that he helped build in the 1980s and 90s, Christian Picciolini co-founded Life After Hate, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people disengage from violent extremism. His memoir, White American Youth: My Descent into America's Most Violent Hate Movement—and How I Got Out (Hachette), which details his involvement, and eventual disengagement, from the early American white nationalist movement, will be published on December 26, 2017. Christian lives in Chicago.

Danielle Shoots

Leadership Expert
Danielle Shoots is a wife, mother of two teenagers, and VP of Finance Operations at Comcast. With a Business Administration degree from CU Denver, she has worked with Denver Health and the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment. Danielle is deeply involved in the community, serving as VP to the board of Mile High Ministries and as a mentor with the Challenge Foundation. She enjoys yoga, travel, spontaneous dance parties, and spiced coffee. She was named to the Denver Business Journal's 2017 40 under 40.

Dick Durrance

Dick Durrance has devoted his life to traveling the world as a photographer. He covered the Vietnam War as a U.S. Army combat photographer, served as a National Geographic staff photographer, and created images for global advertising agencies, earning many accolades throughout his career. He is a Colorado native, raised in Aspen, and was a competitive ski racer when he was younger. Dick now lives in Carbondale with his incredible wife, and helps people tell better stories through photography.

Dominique Christina

Author + Poet
Dominique Christina is a mother, author, licensed educator, social agitator, and intersectional feminist. She is the two-time Women of the World Slam Champion, 2011 National Poetry Slam Champion, and 2013 National Underground Poetry Individual Slam Champion. She has authored three books and contributed to numerous journals, anthologies, and websites, including The Huffington Post, Upworthy, IBTimes, and Poetry Magazine. She was an actor and contributing writer on HBO’s High Maintenance.

James Orsulak

Space Entrepreneur
James Orsulak serves as the Director of Business Development at Planetary Resources, an asteroid mining company that has embarked on the world’s first commercial deep space exploration. The company focuses on technologies such as rocket propellant, water for life support functions, and construction materials sourced from asteroids. Previously, James spent a decade developing industrial-scale fueling stations on Earth. He is an avid gardener who lives in Denver with his amazing wife, 2-year-old twins and a rambunctious Goldendoodle named Waffles.

Joan C. Williams

Class Scholar
Joan C. Williams is a Distinguished Law Professor and Founding Director of the Center for WorkLife Law at UC Hastings. Her path-breaking work helped create modern workplace flexibility policies and the field of work-family studies. She has authored over 90 academic articles and 11 books, including White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America and What Works for Women at Work. One of her proudest accomplishments was winning the Betty Crocker Homemaker Award in high school.

Jose "Jozer" Guerrero

Performance Poet
Jose "Jozer" Guerrero is a spoken word poet, stage and screen actor, and member of Chicano Funk band Los Mocochetes. He is inspired by his students' strength, compassion, determination, and willingness to change. His work has been featured on Univision, PBS, HBO, and American Theater Magazine. In his free time, he enjoys long distance running, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and boxing. Jozer has learned more from his son, JT, than any teacher.

Mara Mintzer

City Planning Pioneer
Mara Mintzer is a founder and the director of Growing Up Boulder, Boulder’s child and youth-friendly city initiative, based out of the University of Colorado–Boulder. She writes and speaks internationally on the topic of engaging young voices in city planning. Prior to working in Colorado, she designed and implemented programs for underrepresented children, families, and neighborhoods in New York and California. She loves to travel and practice her French & Spanish language skills fearlessly.

Patrick Bultema

Food Systems Visionary
Patrick Bultema has served as CEO, Founder, and Executive Chairman of numerous companies, including FoodMaven, a Colorado-based company and online marketplace for surplus food from the grocery industry that would otherwise end up in landfills. With a Master of Divinity from Princeton, he values a stewardship approach to our planet and its inhabitants. Patrick and his wife are the proud parents of seven children, three of whom were adopted from China.

Paula Stone Williams

Compassionate Leader
Reverend Dr. Paula Stone Williams is the president of RLT Pathways, Inc., a non-profit providing counseling and coaching services. She works with the Center for Progressive Renewal, serves on the board of the Gay Christian Network, and is an active member at Highlands Church in Denver. She has been featured in the New York Times, The Denver Post, and Colorado Public Radio, and is a blogger for The Huffington Post. She is an avid runner and mountain biker with three children and five granddaughters.

Tamika D. Mallory

Social Justice Activist
Tamika D. Mallory, a 37-year-old mother to her teenage son and nationally recognized activist, is a champion of the new civil rights movement. In 2017, Tamika gained recognition as one of four co-chairs for the Women’s March on Washington; and with participation from 5 million people worldwide, her role in the march landed Tamika on the 2017 Time 100 Pioneers list and Fortune’s 2017 list of the World’s Greatest Leaders. She is the President of Mallory Consulting, a strategic planning firm.

Tasha Eurich

Organizational Psychologist
As a third-generation entrepreneur, Dr. Tasha Eurich was born with a passion for business, pairing her scientific savvy in human behavior with a practical approach to solving business challenges. As an organizational psychologist, she’s helped thousands of leaders improve their effectiveness, from Fortune 500 executives to early-stage entrepreneurs. Her new book, Insight, reveals the findings of her three-year research program on self-awareness, which she calls the meta-skill of the 21st century.

Toluwanimi Obiwole

Performance Poet
Toluwanimi Oluwafunmilayo Obiwole is a Nigerian-born, Colorado-raised poet, organizer and educator, holding a degree in Ethnic Studies. She was Denver’s first Youth Poet Laureate in 2015-2016 and continually tours/performs nationally. In 2016, she co-wrote and co-starred in a play called How I Got Over which was featured at the Denver Center for Performing Arts. In 2017 she was announced as one of The Root’s 25 Young Futurists. She was a member of Slam Nuba organization from 2015-2017 and now functions as the co-director. She is a previous TEDxMileHigh speaker and is the author of two chapbooks: OMI EBI MI, and How to Become a Lightning Storm. She writes, hoping to cultivate her own black girl magic while creating space and a platform for people who have yet to realize that their voices are necessary.

Travis Branam

Inspired Educator
Travis Branam is the co-founder of Vocal Coalition (VoCO), a youth choir that pairs middle and high school students with professional artists on stage in an effort to build community through music. He serves as the Assistant Conductor for the Colorado Symphony Chorus and has developed forward-thinking music production classes at Denver North High School. Travis lives in Denver with wife Emily and dog Olive, and enjoys hiking, camping, watching baseball, and spending time with his church family.

Vocal COalition

Youth Choir
Vocal COalition (VoCO) connects middle and high school students with Colorado bands, songwriters, and hip-hop artists through community-cultivating musical experiences. In a divided world, these collaborations create a platform for understanding people across racial, socioeconomic, age, and gender spectrums. Participating youth learn to honor the music and culture of others, while developing their own musical identity. VoCO is joined on stage by Pink Hawks, Trout Stage Revival, and The Reminders.

Organizing team


Denver, CO, United States
  • Cate Croft
  • Eric Kean
  • Helena Bowen
  • Nicole Dill