x = independently organized TED event

This event occurred on
September 13, 2018
Kalamazoo, Michigan
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).

Judy K. Jolliffe Theatre
359 S Kalamazoo Mall
Second Floor
Kalamazoo, Michigan, 49007
United States
Event type:
Standard (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Angela McMillan

Motivational and Business Speaker
Angela is passionate about lifting people up through communication because, as she puts it, “Words matter.” Whether showcasing all that the Kalamazoo realtor community has to offer or customizing a visioning plan for a new client, the lessons she’s learned about how we communicate and who we can be through that communication make things better for everyone she works with. A graduate of Grand Valley State University, Angela takes every opportunity to expand her knowledge, especially when it comes to innovation, design, and society. She is a critical thinker who finds creative solutions and has a proven track record with implementing inbound marketing, developing human-centric communication and operations to delight customers, elevating event communication and management, and leading strategic planning and organization.

Angela Moe

Professor of Sociology, Animal Assisted Therapist
While many educators as accomplished as Angela would be content to rest on their laurels in the ivory towers of academia, that’s just not her style. Deeply involved in her community, Angela and Sunny, her Golden Retriever, put their training to work in schools, hospitals, shelters, and anywhere else the calming presence of an animal can foster healing. When she’s not with Sunny, Dr. Moe doesn’t slow down: she’s busy publishing research, working with numerous organizations that empower women, and finding new ways to pass on her experience. She really does it all. A Professor of Sociology at Western Michigan University, Angela specializes in victimization, trauma, and holistic health. She has a B.A. and M.S. in Criminal Justice, a Ph.D. in Justice Studies, and certifications in Animal Assisted Therapy and Holistic Health. She and her canine partner, Sunny, are a registered therapy team with Pet Partners, offering animal assisted interventions throughout the Midwestern United States.

Dale Anderson

Chocolatier & Advocate
A passionate advocate for the Kalamazoo’s youth and better mental health for all, Dale has parlayed his extensive experience as a counselor, mediator, and engaged community member into making more than artisanal chocolates; he has created a foundation for success in the lives of numerous young people in need of a second chance. His skills as a former licensed builder also means he’s left his mark on the physical structure of Confections With Convictions. Whether it’s laying tile, building counters, or just jumping in as Mr. Fit-It when there’s a leaky pipe, he also provides the literal foundation for his team’s work. Dale received his Master of Arts in Counseling Education and Counseling Psychology from Western Michigan University in 1996. He remains a part of the WMU family as the Coordinator of Campus Employee Dispute Resolution Services, in addition to the hours he spends in the store as a boss and mentor.

Denise Miller

Outfront Executive Director, Writer, Poet
Should you ever happen to see Denise sitting still, consider yourself lucky: it is a rare occurrence indeed. Whether performing her poetry, workshopping a new play, teaching numerous classes at one of West Michigan’s universities, or facilitating a retreat of writers and chefs, she is seldom a body at rest. Drawing inspiration from the works of her loved ones, as well as the histories of previous generations, the intimacy and immediacy of her poetry, prose, and community activism showcase her limitless curiosity and unflagging belief in the potential of others. Her commitment to delicious, plant based culinary exploration has opened Kalamazoo doors for vegan chefs and diners alike. She's been voted one of the top 5 chefs to watch in Southwest Michigan in 2012 (the only vegetarian chef & woman to gain this honor to date), she has opened multiple restaurants to critical acclaim and continues to gain accolades as a published author and academic.

Ed Roth

Professor and Director of the Music Therapy program and Director of the laboratory for Brain Research and Interdisciplinary Neurosciences (BRAIN) at Western Michigan University,
Ed combines his passions for music and neuroscience by studying the biology and clinical application of music improvisation and how improvisation creates experiences of flow, creative self-expression, and social bonding for people with issues related to mental health. In addition to channeling his love of music and healing into practical therapeutic best practices for counseling groups for adolescents diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and acute anxiety, Ed has also focused on children and teenagers with neurologic disorders, particularly traumatic brain injuries in his clinical work. Currently serving as Professor and Director of the Music Therapy program and Director of the laboratory for Brain Research & Interdisciplinary Neurosciences (BRAIN), his work has been published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, the Journal for the Professional Counselor, Perceptual and Motor Skills, and the Australian and Canadian journals of Music Therapy.

Jonathan Kline

International Development Executive Director
A childhood spent in Europe and Africa, and an adulthood spent in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, gave Jonathan a deep love for exploration and desire to truly hear the stories of the people he meets. While he relishes the natural beauty of his home in Michigan, he feels most comfortable overseas with a cup of tea in his hand engaging in conversation with community members. Jonathan has over a decade of experience in the international humanitarian sphere working mostly in the areas of Food Security, Agriculture, and Livelihoods, including numerous engagements with government agencies, non-profits, and international NGOs. He studied at Sterling College and Cornell University with focuses in Sustainable Agriculture, and International Agriculture & Rural Development. He currently is the Executive Director of Tillers International.

Kama Mitchell

Doula, Birth Justice Advocate
Kama wears many hats in her daily life: healer, mama, yogi, doula, dancer, and more. Focusing most of her on life claiming and sharing body awareness, she encourages women to own their bodies and their birth experience. Kama activism for birth justice, racial equality and mental health awareness is a cornerstone of her personal and professional life. Never more at peace than when she’s surrounded by the people and things she loves, Kama can often be found soaking in nature’s splendor (especially the ocean), taking joy from the antics of babies, and replenishing through all forms of art. She is certified in belly binding through the Zulu Birth Project and has training in reflexology and massage. Kama is a Birth Doula, Postpartum Doula, and the Executive Director of Rootead, an organization she co-founded that supports women of color, especially mothers. A practitioner and teacher of Para Yoga, Kama has also had numerous trainings with many master dance teachers of the African Diaspora.

Loreen Niewenhuis

Author, Adventurer
A native of Michigan, Loreen has never been one to stay still. From a childhood spent playing on the shores of Lake Michigan to a professional life covering a wide range of scientific pursuits, her journeys through academia, motherhood, and outdoor adventuring give her an expertise that’s as much brain as it is heart. She currently travels the country sharing the stories in the award winning trio of book and speaking on the profound lessons learned from mighty Lake Michigan. After completing her Masters of Science at Grand Valley State University, Loreen’s passion for writing lead to an MFA from Spalding University. Her collection of short stories, Scar Tissue, was as finalist for the 2009 Flannery O’Conner Award and books about her thousands of miles walking the beaches of Lake Michigan remain in publication through Crickhollow Books.

Michael Wolfe

Pscyhcology Professor, Researcher
A Californian since his earliest years, Michael made the trek to Michigan after graduate school, liking it so much that he decided to stay and raise a family. While a good deal of his time is spent in the great outdoors – skiing and spending time in the mountains are two of his favorite pastimes – his academic work is never far from his mind. Many of his experiments have had their genesis during a bike ride, as he’s always pondering new questions in need of answers. Michael’s primary field of study focuses on reading comprehension and memory, and most recently his research has centered on how and when beliefs may change as a result of reading, and the extent to which people are aware of these changes.

Sue Ellen Christian

Journalist, Educator
As a journalist and an educator, Sue Ellen has sought to inform both careers with a focus on inclusion and telling untold stories. Her career in the newsrooms of the Detroit News, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune honed her critical eye for people, culture, and the world around us. Sue Ellen is a professor of communication at Western Michigan University, where she teaches journalism and media literacy, and is currently working on a new book, Everyday Media Literacy: An Analog Guide to Your Digital Life. She was named the 2016 Michigan Professor of the Year by the Michigan Association of State Universities. She was a reporter for the Chicago Tribune for a decade and is the author of Overcoming Bias: A Journalist’s Guide to Culture and Context.

Tim Hiller

Professional Speaker and Coach
When asked about his passions, Tim could talk about football – he’s spent time at WMU and with four NFL teams – or writing – his book “Strive: Life is Short, Pursue what Matters” is already available – or even family, as his wife and two children are three of the best things in his life. At the forefront of everything though, is his passion for helping others develop personally, professionally, and in their leadership journeys, which he’s able to do through coaching young athletes at Next Level Performance and his numerous speaking engagements around the country. Tim’s time at Western Michigan University also allowed him to earn his MBA. He currently leads the Talent Management function for Stryker’s Instruments division, where his team supports the sales training, leadership and talent development of over 2,000 employees worldwide. No surprise from someone as highly decorated for both his athleticism and his civic engagement.

Troy Thrash

CEO of the Kalamazoo Air Zoo
A man of infinite imagination and constant reinvention, covering the width and breadth of Troy’s experience is a job best left to posterity. From Pennsylvania stargazing as a child igniting his love of science and the wonder that comes with it, Troy has brought his infectious enthusiasm, dogged work ethic, and profound belief in the power of education to everything from the Space Telescope Science Institute and the Da Vinci Science Center to the Pennsylvania Youth Theatre Board and Kalamazoo’s own Civic Theatre. He’s even mastered the art of government work as Executive Director of the National Aerospace Development Center, where his efforts brought federal and state governments, industry groups, educators, workforce systems, and community developers together to develop vital workforce programs. Today Troy is the CEO of the Kalamazoo Air Zoo and its most vocal advocate for STEM and STEAM accessibility for Kalamazoo’s youth.

Organizing team


Kalamazoo, MI, United States
  • Majken Ruppert