x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Rise & Fall

This event occurred on
September 16, 2018
Boulder, 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).

Macky Auditorium
285 UCB University Avenue
Boulder, Colorado, 80302
United States
Event type:
Standard (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Adam DeGraff

Adam DeGraff is an American violinist, composer, producer, educator, and farmer. He spent the first part of his career as a first-chair, professional orchestral musician. Since then, Adam has been experimenting with rock violin, live looping, alternative music education, and traditional permaculture farming practices. Adam graduated from Northwestern University where he studied with famed Portuguese concert violinist, Gerardo Ribeiro. He then continued with graduate work at Rice University where he studied with the world's most beloved concertmaster, Raphael Fliegel.

Ann-Marie Madigan

Theoretical Astrophysicist
Dr. Madigan is a theoretical astrophysicist (with a fondness for dinosaurs) who studies the strange orbits of icy bodies in the outer Solar System. Born in Dublin, she was one of the first students in Ireland to receive an undergraduate degree in Astronomy (at the university of Ireland, Galway). After a year in India, she moved to the Netherlands to pursue her PhD on the motion of stars and gas around supermassive black holes. In 2012, she was awarded a NASA Einstein Postdoctoral Fellowship to continue her research at UC Berkeley. She joined the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2016 as an assistant professor.

Benjamin Lovejoy

Ben is a seasoned creative with decades of experience helping clients craft and articulate brands. A veteran of many agencies including his own, and long-term hanger-out of his own shingle, he spends most of his time helping brands, and people come alive. For the last twenty years Ben has been on a spiritual journey, defining and redefining his relationship with God, prayer, meditation and music as a regular meditator, seeker, and DJ of meditations all over the U.S. Ben coaches speakers to help them get to the heart of their message, and craft talks and presentations that inform, persuade and move people. He also speaks to and coaches groups and individuals to tap into their inherent creativity. His latest endeavors include Peaks of Harmony, a creative collaboration, and birthing Father, a podcast with interviews of creative and entrepreneurial leaders who are dads, exploring how the journey of fatherhood effected their purpose and the way they operate in the professional world.

Bianca Mikahn

Emcee & Poet
Bianca Mikahn is a power-house emcee, poet, digital composer, cultural activist and educator. She is Executive Director of youth mental health based organization Check Your Head and a Partner Artist with leading creative educators, Youth On Record and Think360. Bianca’s writing style is described as experimental and thought-provoking, fearlessly addressing themes of self awareness and community engagement. Whether performing alone or as producer & performer of ground breaking musical duo "The Maybe Sos", her stage presence and lyrical content have earned her multiple nominations for “Best Emcee” in the Denver Westword. She has shared stages at Regis University, Denver University, La Napoule's reknowned Chateau in Nice France and Stockholm Sweden's historical Fylkengin Theatre. Her lyrical work is also featured in social justice studies at Wyoming University.

Brer Rabbit and Jonny 5 of Flobots

Brer Rabbit (Stephen Brackett) and Jonny 5 (James Laurie) are lead emcees of the Flobots, the Denver-based alternative hip-hop band known for their platinum single, “Handlebars,” and for their commitment to grassroots social change. In addition to touring and performing with the full band, Brer Rabbit and Jonny 5 also appear as frequent speakers, lecturers, and facilitators at conferences, trainings, and academic institutions. Regardless of the venue or audience, Flobots use their expertise in applying interactive techniques to immerse all those present in an experience of their shared power. In 2007, Flobots founded Youth On Record (formerly, an organization that offers musical training and recording facilities as a tool for youth development for Denver’s at-risk communities. In 2014, Flobots created the NOENEMIES project, a series of public workshops dedicated to recovering the power of collective song as a tactic for social movements.

Gopal Shah

Since joining Google’s Geo team in 2009, Gopal Shah has worked on myriad projects that share his love of imagery and storytelling. For the past three years, he’s helmed the Google Earth team as product manager. Last spring, on Earth Day, Gopal led the launch of the new Google Earth, helping bring Earth to users on modern devices. He also worked as a consultant on the Academy Award-nominated film, Lion, and co-created Earth View — a collection of 1,500 striking satellite images that have been featured on everything from flagship Android phones to the world's biggest billboard in Times Square! Throughout his career, Gopal has collaborated with the New York Times, the BBC and NASA to help bring stories to life with maps, and his team has won several awards along with way including, most recently, four Webby awards for the new Voyager feature in Google Earth.

Jane Weintraub

Executive Management
Jane Weintraub is curious. Her queries extend across myriad disciplines and are highly contagious. She, “sees patterns everywhere”, and enjoys pulling contrary hypothesis from those deep waters for further investigation and play. A best day for Jane includes sharing ideas and concepts with other people, experimenting, hiking in the mountains, prayer, contemplation, music and movement. Her professional background includes executive management, teaching entrepreneurship, facilitating leadership development workshops, and coaching leaders. She holds a MS in Organizational Change Management. She is actively seeking partners to support her in spreading ideas that help human beings experience more vitality, clarity and well-being.

John Winsor

Entrepreneur & Thought Leader
John Winsor is an entrepreneur, thought-leader and global authority on the future of work, the human cloud, open innovation and crowdsourcing. John’s ideas, expressed through his writing, speaking, and the companies he’s built, have placed him at the intersection of innovation, disruption and storytelling. “John Winsor is a brilliant founder and visionary, a true pioneer who understands how digital disruption is changing the future of work,” says David Jones, Founder and CEO of You & Mr. Jones. John is currently the executive-in-residence at Harvard Business School’s Laboratory of Innovation Sciences at Harvard (LISH) and founder and CEO of Open Assembly, a company that provides content, community, and strategic advising to organizations, people, and platforms to co-create the future of work.

Khalida Brohi

Brohi was the first girl in her village, located in the province of Balochistan, to go to school. She attended school in Karachi. In 2004, when Brohi was 16, a close friend became a victim of an honor killing. Her friend was killed because she wanted to marry a person she loved instead of someone her family chose. Brohi began to protest honor killings while she was in Karachi, but this only angered people and caused the tribal leaders to oppose her. She fled Karachi in 2008. Brohi recalls that in response, her father told her, "don't cry, strategize." Instead of openly protesting, she created the Sughar Empowerment Society, which is a non-profit organization which helps women in Pakistan learn skills related to "economic and personal growth." Sughar means "skilled, confident woman" in Urdu.

Pesha Rudnick

Pesha Rudnick started her career as a theater director and actor at the age of 7 in her backyard in Venice, CA. She is currently the founding artistic director of Local Theater Company in Boulder, CO, where she pursues the company’s mission to discover and develop new American plays. For Local, Pesha has directed 5 world premiere productions and curates Local Lab, a new play festival that attracts playwrights (near and far) to grow their work with audience collaboration. As a freelance director, Pesha has directed over 30 new plays including the world premiere of O.P.C. by Eve Ensler at the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University. She has also worked at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Signature Theater, Creede Repertory Theater, Curious Theater Company, Florida Stage and The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Phil McKinney

President and CEO, CableLabs
A trailblazer in technology innovation, Phil McKinney is passionate about tapping into creativity to drive successful innovation in his personal and professional life. He is an avid blogger, author, speaker and host of the award-winning nationally syndicated radio show and podcast in its 14th season, Killer Innovations. Across his platforms, McKinney invites leading innovators to share their personal stories of innovation and creative success. In his book, “Beyond the Obvious,” he advises on the skills and planning needed to make both revolutionary changes and nuanced tweaks required for success. McKinney serves as the president and CEO of CableLabs, on the advisory board for Hacking Autism, chairs the board for Pioneer Education Africa and oversees the Techtrend Group, which invests in entrepreneurs in developing countries to create jobs that fuel economic growth.

Ricardo Baca

Journalist & Thought Leader
After serving more than two decades as a staff writer, editor and critic at daily newspapers, Ricardo’s editors at The Denver Post named him the paper’s first-ever Cannabis Editor in 2013. Now Ricardo is considered to be the world’s first (and “most prestigious” according to Vice) marijuana editor; founder of award-winning news vertical The Cannabist; primary subject of Rolling Papers, a documentary released theatrically in February 2016; one of Brookings Institution’s 12 Key People to Watch in Marijuana Policy; one of Fortune magazine’s 7 Most Powerful People in America’s Marijuana Industry; one of Time magazine’s 140 best Twitter feeds; and one of Sensi magazine’s 24 Cannabis Pioneers Who Matter.

Riley Bright

Executive Director of Harvest of Hope Pantry
Riley Bright is the Executive Director of Harvest of Hope Pantry, in Boulder, CO. As a Public Health professional, Riley has spent her professional life studying and working at the intersection of health and the built environment. Riley received her Masters in Public Health from Boston University, where she studied Health Policy, Health Behavior Change Theories, and Nutrition. While Health Policy has some of the most broad sweeping impact for individuals, it was glaringly obvious to Riley that so much of what impacts people’s health over-time has to do with the environments in which we exist. As a CO native, Riley felt compelled to return home and get involved with the Health Equity and Food Justice work happening in her community.

Zoe Donaldson

Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder
Dr. Zoe Donaldson is an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder. She joined the faculty after completing a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Emory University and pursuing post-doctoral training at Columbia University. She studies how close social bonds, such as those that mediate friendships and romantic love, are encoded in the brain. In order to understand the cells and molecules that make bonding possible, her lab uses monogamous prairie voles. Unlike rats and mice, these rodents forms lifelong pair bonds between mates akin to human romantic partnerships. By examining the neurobiology underlying these bonds and what happens when they are lost, she hopes to identify novel treatments for psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Organizing team


Boulder, CO, United States