x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Uncommon

This event occurred on
June 16, 2018
Denver, Colorado
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).

Buell Theatre
1350 Curtis Street
Denver, Colorado, 80202
United States
Event type:
Standard (What is this?)
See more ­T­E­Dx­Mile­High events


Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Aviv Ovadya

Digital Thought Leader
Aviv Ovadya is Chief Technologist at the Center for Social Media Responsibility. By mitigating the indirect harms of social media and related technologies, he works to ensure that our online information ecosystem has a positive impact on society. He co-instigated Credibility Coalition standards work, consults for a prominent fact-checking organization, and was a Knight News Innovation Fellow. His work in software engineering, product design, and research spans Amazon, Morgan Stanley, Quora, and Google. Aviv is the proud co-author of the broccoli emoji.

Duane Topping

Fashion Designer
After a decade of military service and multiple deployments, Duane Topping was haunted by PTSD and struggled to adjust to civilian life. To escape the darkness, he learned how to sew and launched Topping Designs. Now a successful fashion designer, Duane notes, “Clothes allow us to be who we want to be, to transcend the barriers placed around us. I want the people wearing my garments to follow my footsteps from the darkness into the light.” Duane lives in Denver with his loving and supportive wife, Jamie. He is a biker and a feminist.

Elise Legendre

Singer Songwriter
At just 7-years-old, Elise Legendre wrote her first song on the piano: "Boris, The Bulgarian Dancing Bear." It wasn't very good, but it sparked her lifelong passion. Since then, Elise has appeared at Boulder Arts Week, the Boulder International Film Festival, the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, and twice on the TEDxMileHigh stage. She studies songwriting at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and has released several singles with Birdland Records. She is a voracious reader and would love to hear your book recommendations.

Emelise Munoz

Singer Songwriter
Folk-rock Americana singer-songwriter Emelise Munoz has been performing in front of crowds since she was six years old. Now 12, she has presented in premiere concerts, including The Clocktower Kids Got Talent in Denver, LA’s Winston House, and the Denver Women’s March earlier this year. In 2017 she placed first in The Stars of Tomorrow Competition at the world famous New York’s Apollo Theatre. Most recently, Emelise was featured in Denver’s 5280 Magazine as Country’s Next New Rising Star.

Gerardo Lopez

Community Champion
Gerardo "Clever" Lopez has worked in gang intervention for over two decades. Formerly of the notorious Los Angeles gang MS-13, Gerardo escaped gang life and now ensures that at-risk youth from making the same mistakes. He is Executive Director of the Denver chapter of Homies Unidos, a nonprofit dedicated to ending violence and promoting peace through gang intervention and prevention. Gerardo is an avid baseball fan waiting for the Dodgers to win the World Series, and the subject of the award-winning, short documentary CLEVER.

Jake Weidmann

Visionary Craftsman
Jake Weidmann is a self-taught artist and certified Master Penman. The youngest in history among twelve Masters today, Jake received his certificate from the International Association of Master Penman, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting (IAMPETH) in 2011. He uses traditional calligraphic flourishing and hand lettering across many different artistic mediums. Jake draws inspiration from the Colorado outdoors and is a self-prescribed closet-bodybuilder. His growing family is his greatest joy and most delightful pursuit.

Jed R. Brubaker

Digital Identity Expert
An Assistant Professor and founding member of the Department of Information Science at the University of Colorado-Boulder, Jed R. Brubaker is best known for his research on digital afterlives, interactions with post-mortem data, and how to improve the management of accounts and personal data after we die. He was the lead researcher on Facebook’s post-mortem solution, Legacy Contact. In the physical world, Jed’s life is full of adventure -- he has camped at National Parks with his cat and spent weekends with elephants in Sri Lanka.


Performance Poet
KerrieJoy is a spoken word artist and aspiring author from Brooklyn, New York, who enjoys challenging the beliefs of her audience. After suppressing her identity for almost two decades, she found her voice and started speaking her whole truth. Since moving to Denver in 2017, KerrieJoy performed at the MLK Parade and the Denver Women’s March. "I don't just speak to be heard,” she says, “I speak to be felt and hope that feeling is transformed into action and love. I speak to remind others of the power of their unique voice.”

Kim Gorgens

Brain Scientist
Dr. Kim Gorgens is a professor of Psychophysiology, Clinical Neuropsychology, and Psychology of Criminal Behavior at the University of Denver. She manages a portfolio of brain injury-related research--studying the reported history, cognitive function and brain biomarkers of probationers, inmates and college athletes. Her mission is to better understand the short and long-term impacts of injuring our most vital organ. She has a fridge filled with human brains, and a love of zombie movies (coincidence?). Simply put, Kim cares more about your brain than you do.

Lisa Raville

Public Health Advocate
Lisa Raville is the Executive Director of the Harm Reduction Action Center, a public health agency that works with people who inject drugs. Her experiences as an overnight homeless shelter coordinator, a County Supervisor campaign manager, and an AmeriCorps volunteer at an HIV/AIDS agency cultivated her activism. She holds leadership positions on the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition and the Colorado Consortium on Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention. In 2014, Lisa won the Colorado Public Health Association Award for Excellence in Policy.

P.J. Parmar

Medical Pioneer
Physician P.J. Parmar founded Ardas Family Medicine, a private practice that serves resettled refugees, and Mango House, a home for refugees with activities and services that include dental care, food and clothing banks, churches, scout troops, and afterschool programs. Before studying medicine, P.J. was an environmental engineer, a backpacking guide with the Boy Scouts, and a world travel junkie. He is the son of Punjabi immigrants and stay-at-home dad to a four-year-old. P.J. owns just two identical pairs of pants and enjoys his oatmeal lumpy.

Pat Ferrucci

Journalism Scholar
As Assistant Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado-Boulder, Pat Ferrucci focuses on media sociology - specifically, how economics and technology influence digital news. He was a journalist for nine years, covering pop culture, primarily music, for newspapers, magazines, and online publications in the Northeast. His work has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals, NPR, Slate, and ESPN the Magazine. He collects vinyl and CDs, and will root for any Boston sports team; yes, even soccer.

Romain Sepehr Vakilitabar

Compassionate Technologist
Romain Sepehr Vakilitabar is an artist and the founder of Pathos Labs, a non-profit focused on using technology to accelerate understanding across lines of difference. From a young age, empathy became a fascination, and he has made himself the subject of experiments worldwide to see how empathy can be achieved in difficult circumstances. Through innovative technologies and visual storytelling, Romain's work challenges our deepest convictions about those who are “different.” Romain is a big fan (and expert) of two things: gummy bears and people watching.

Sarah Werner Konradi

Natural Designer
Sarah Konradi is a landscape architect working at the intersection of design, conservation, and health. As Program Director of the National Wildlife Federation's Early Childhood Health Outdoors program, Sarah works with underserved communities to re-envision outdoor spaces used by children and families, creating playgrounds that support child development and connection to the natural world. Sarah lives with her German husband, 9-year-old son, and a cat named Chuck Norris. She is an amateur meteorologist, obsessively following the weather forecast.

William Woodward

Violence Prevention Expert
William Woodward is a faculty member at the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence (CSPV) at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He co-authored the Report on the Arapahoe High School Shooting and trains schools in the Safe Communities Safe Schools model developed by CSPV. He is a faculty member for the National Sheriffs’ Institute Leadership training academy. He was Staff Director of The State of Colorado's Division of Criminal Justice and served in law enforcement for fifteen years. In his free time, Bill enjoys road trips with his loving wife.

Organizing team


Denver, CO, United States
  • Cate Croft
    Team member
  • Helena Bowen
  • Nicole Dill
  • Tiffiny Costello