x = independently organized TED event

This event occurred on
May 4, 2019
Birmingham, Alabama
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).

UAB's Alys Stephens Center
1200 10th Ave S
Birmingham, Alabama, 35205
United States
Event type:
Standard (What is this?)
See more ­T­E­Dx­Birmingham events


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

Beau Beard

Health Conservationist
Beau Beard is a sports chiropractor, conservationist, outdoorsman, writer, and speaker. As a child, a femur fracture ignited his interest in healthcare, particularly chiropractic medicine. Dr. Beard now owns and operates The FARM: Functional Athletic Rehabilitation & Movement along with his wife Dr. Sloan Beard in Birmingham, AL, where they treat athletes ranging from Little Leaguers to Olympians. An avid runner, Dr. Beard couples his background in health and human performance with a passion for the environment and wildlife. When not in the clinic, Dr. Beard dedicates time to both local and national conservation efforts, hunting, fishing and trail running.

Brandi Lewis

Blood Disorder Awareness Activist
Inspired by her 10 year battle with two blood disorders, Aplastic Anemia and PNH (Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria), Brandi Lewis has a passion for helping others diagnosed with blood disorders. She founded a non-profit organization called Brandi’s Blessings, which aims to educate and spread awareness of all types of blood disorders as well as providing resources and support to patients and families. Brandi has participated in pageants since her freshman year in high school. She won the title of Miss University of North Alabama in 2011 and went on to compete for the title of Miss Alabama.

Brett Levine

Cultural Curator
Brett Levine is a writer and curator focusing on contemporary artistic and curatorial practice. He holds a PhD from James Cook University, where his research focused on how curators influence the ways audiences experience art. His writings have appeared in Who Runs the Artworld: Money, Power, and Ethics and in monographs on Brad Buckley and Ross T. Smith. He has also written for Australian Centre for Photography, Artspace, Object, Urbis, burnaway, and more. His forthcoming book, Curatorial Intervention: History and Current Practice, is being published by Rowman and Littlefield.

Drew Ann Long

Drew Ann Long is an advocate for families with children with special needs. She has lobbied members of the United States Congress and presented to the National Council on Disability and to the United States Access Board. Addressing the lack of accessibility and inclusion in the retail world, Drew Ann designed Caroline’s Cart, the first ever patented special needs grocery cart for older children and adults with disabilities. Caroline’s Cart was awarded the 2013 International daVinci Award for Best Product in Mobility, and Drew Ann was named one of “THE LIST 2017” National Retail Foundation of People Shaping Retail’s Future.

Gilberto Herrera

Community Entrepreneur
Gilberto Herrera was born in Panama and raised in Brooklyn, New York. An entrepreneur with an interest in helping others achieve their goals, Gilberto started HL Holdings, LLC, a real estate investment firm, as well as Gilberto Herrera Enterprises, a consulting firm that works with entrepreneurs in sales and marketing. Since 2011, Gilberto has been involved with the Birmingham Urban League, Inc and now runs its Financial Literacy and Workforce department. He is also a mentor for Operation Hope's Business in a Box program and works with the Birmingham Education Foundation on their Career Development Curriculum.

Jacqui Jones

Marketing Strategy Architect
A native of Birmingham, Jacqueline Jones has traveled the world as a professional songwriter, choir director and performer, and was a member of the United States Air Force & Air National Guard. Jacqui transitioned her love for telling people’s stories through music to marketing and developed a heart for small business and entrepreneurship. In 2013, she founded One Degree, a marketing firm, as a part-time endeavor until in 2018 when she took the plunge to pursue her business full-time. In 2018, Jacqui completed the Small Business Administration Emerging Leaders Program where she was awarded as an SBA Emerging Leader.

JohnMark Edwards

Urban Educator
Having spent part of his childhood in Costa Rica, JohnMark Edwards has a passion for travel, history, and culture. This passion has taken him around the world from teaching English in Tibet to helping with a medical ministry in rural India. For the past decade, JohnMark has taught and coached middle schoolers at Phillips Academy in the Birmingham City School district where he won Teacher of the Year, got National Board certified, and was awarded a Golden Apple in Education from his alma mater, Samford University. For the 2017-2018 school year, he worked as a Teacher-Resident for Samford's Education Department.

Kristine Lokken

Dr. Kristine Lokken is a neuropsychologist with a passion for helping people protect and restore brain health. Her extensive background in clinical research, medical neuropsychology, and holistic wellness merged together to create the Brain Health Institute (BHI) with its mission to equip patients with the knowledge to achieve optimal brain health. Dr. Lokken has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals and has lectured extensively on brain health. She is an avid reader, foodie, and health nut.

Mary Michael Kelley

Nonprofit Founder & Director
Pursuing her mission to make Alabama a better place, Mary Michael Kelley worked for the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama for ten years. While there, she founded the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Alabama as an affiliate of the food bank. In 2016, Mary Michael became Interim Executive Director of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) and in 2018, became Executive Director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Alabama, where she helps families navigate the waters of chronic illness. Having lost two of her three children, Mary Michael writes about her walk through grief on her website,

Matt Might

Precision Medicine Man
Since 2017, Matt Might has been at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he is the Director of the Hugh Kaul Precision Medicine Institute and a Professor of both Internal Medicine and Computer Science. Matt’s mission is to make precision medicine a reality for all patients. He is also a Scientific Advisor to brain-focused precision medicine company Q State Biosciences (after acquisition of his start-up Pairnomix). In 2015, Matt joined the Biomedical Informatics at the Harvard Medical School, and from 2016 to 2018, he was a Strategist in the Executive Office of the President in The White House.

Michelle Bearman-Wolnek

Adoption Advocate
Michelle Bearman-Wolnek is the executive director and co-founder of Heart Gallery Alabama, a non-profit organization founded in 2005 that advocates for children in foster care and partners with photographers to match children with permanent families. Heart Gallery Alabama has helped over 600 children find their forever family and was recently recognized as a 2017 Nonprofit of the Year award winner. Michelle is an active member of numerous community organizations and is passionate about children, both her own and those in the community. In her free time, Michelle can be found on her beloved Peloton bike riding to nowhere.

Mira Walker

Mira Walker, who just completed her junior year as an applied music major at UAB, is a student of artist- in-residence and Professor of Piano Yakov Kasman, DMA, in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Music. Walker, of Birmingham, has been studying with Kasman since 2014, and has successfully participated in numerous piano competitions and performed locally, nationally, and internationally. She is also in the Honors College’s University Honors Program.

Niya Picket-Miller

Communication Professor
Dr. Niya Pickett-Miller is an Assistant Professor of Communication at the historic Tuskegee University. Her scholarship focuses on the visual rhetorical criticism of marginal identities. Currently, she is exploring how individuals with albinism, a rare genetic condition, are communicatively framed in media. She is also exploring the value of promoting student narratives as a method of culturally responsive teaching practices at Historically Black Colleges/ Universities (HBCUs). As an albinism advocate, she volunteers with the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH), offering information and support to parents with newly diagnosed children.

Randall Woodfin

Mayor of the City of Birmingham
Randall L. Woodfin was sworn in as the 30th mayor of Birmingham, Alabama on Nov. 28, 2017. A native of Birmingham and graduate of Cumberland School of Law, Mayor Woodfin is an attorney and former president of the Birmingham Board of Education. Throughout his career, he has worked in various positions for the City of Birmingham, which is why he’s committed to bringing a new vision, a new dedication and a new energy to a city where he wants citizens to have every opportunity to work, play and grow to their fullest potential.

Scott Pierce

Serial Improviser
Scott Pierce is a born technologist, writing his first production code for his parents’ software company at 10 years old. Pierce worked as a software developer for a variety of companies before taking a technology leadership position at of one of the South’s largest ad agencies. In his spare time, Pierce can be found working a stage as a trained improvisational actor. He likes to read, cook, and play with his cats, but he never combines cooking with his cats. He has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and by his own assessment, he is a mediocre musician at saxophone, guitar, and piano.

Stefan Kertesz

Addiction Scholar
Stefan Kertesz is a physician in internal and addiction medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center. His clinical work and published research focuses on tailoring care for people with addiction and homelessness. Over the years, Dr. Kertesz has become a national voice on behalf of patients with long-term pain whose care has been impacted by institutional efforts to reduce opioid prescribing. Dr. Kertesz continues to advance research on improving primary care, addiction, pain and overdose risk in vulnerable populations, and serves on teams to support the Governor of Alabama’s Opioid and Addiction Council.

Organizing team


Birmingham, AL, United States


Birmingham, AL, United States
  • Jennifer Mallory
  • Katie Burton
  • Mandi Coker
  • Suzan Brandt
    Team member