x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Breaking Free: (Re)Defining the Undefined

This event occurred on
September 26, 2019
Fremont, California
United States

In life, there are always new challenges that every human encounters. You try to learn something new, challenge emerges that prevents you from succeeding. You seek to grow, obstacles arise. You attempt to break patterns, you succumb to the familiar, the routine. There are stereotypes, norms, rules, forces that arise and prevent us from being the best version of ourselves. Join us in breaking free, to not let the defined hold us back. We owe it to ourselves to break free and redefine our life on our own terms.


Ohlone College
43600 Mission Boulevard
Smith Center
Fremont, California, 94539
United States
Event type:
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Antonio Reza

Law student
In 2012, Antonio Reza was released from jail newly convicted of second-degree armed robbery and received a strike. Upon his release Antonio was determined to NOT become a statistic. Instead, he took advantage of his new found freedom as a second opportunity at life and decided to turn his life around. In 2013, he enrolled at Ohlone College where he graduated with 3 Associate Degrees before transferring to University of San Francisco. In 2018, he graduated from USF as valedictorian with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies, minoring in Legal Studies and Sociology. Currently, Antonio is in his first year of law school, attending Santa Clara University School of Law and is excited to study abroad in Oxford in summer 2020. Preferred pronouns: he/him/his

Brenda Ahntholz

Goddess of Ceremonies
Brenda Ahntholz is a Professor of Communication and Gender and Women’s Studies at Ohlone College in Fremont, CA where she developed the Communication Centers, the Communication Colloquium Speakers Series, and the Gender Sex Fair. She has served as Faculty Senate President, Director of the Communication Centers, and General Education Curriculum Chair. In April 2018, she emceed the first TEDx event at Ohlone and in September 2018 she coached speakers for TEDx Los Gatos at Netflix. Her areas of academic interests are in critical cultural studies, gender and sexuality studies, and critical communication pedagogy. Her master’s degree is in Communication Studies with a focus on gender & women’s studies, LGBTQ studies, and communication education from the University of Northern Iowa. Pronouns: She/her/hers

David Corfield

Founder of LifeWork
David Corfield is an expert on the Future of Work and is passionate about empowering individuals to maximize their potential and happiness in an uncertain future. With his MBA and background in management consulting, David spends his time coaching freelancers on how to improve the business side of their freelance career, as well as advising organizations on how to utilize freelance talent effectively and ethically. He has also recently founded LifeWork - a platform that ensures freelancers get paid faster - as a step towards his mission of making remote freelancing a sustainable career choice. David’s other passions include his friends and family, traveling the world, and maintaining a healthy body and mind. Pronouns: He/him/his

Delia Danae Rawdon

Actress, performance artist, mother
Delia Danae Rawdon, is an out and visible Transgender Woman living in Los Angeles with her wife and 3 children. She has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Health Care Management and presently works as an Actress and Performance Artist. She is an active advocate for the Transgender Community and strives to break down the social constructs around gender and sexuality that society has put upon us. Pronouns: She/her/hers

Ellen Kamei

External Affairs Area Manager for AT&T; Mountain View City Councilmember
Ellen Kamei is public policy professional and Mountain View City Councilmember. A third generation Mountain View resident, Ellen is the daughter of a Chinese and Puerto Rican American mother and a third-generation Japanese American father. Ellen serves as a board member on the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC) and Avenidas. She is passionate about youth engagement and chairs the City’s Council Youth Services Committee. She is also a Board Member of the League of California Cities Women’s Caucus. Her professional experience includes city, county, state, and federal government as well as politics and campaigns. Currently, she is an External Affairs Area Manager for AT&T in Alameda, Santa Clara, and San Mateo counties. Ellen completed her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania, Fels Institute of Government. She received her B.A. in English from the UC Santa Barbara. She speaks Mandarin, Spanish, Japanese, and English. Pronouns: she/her/hers

Erin Mathis

Style coach & Director, The Style Core
Erin Mathis has been styling women and men into greater confidence and opportunities for over a decade. Through her innovative online approach she coaches clients from around the world. Erin first experienced the power of a style transformation in her own life as a young woman, going from invisible to empowered—from overlooked to open doors. In 1994 she earned a Bachelors Degree in Visual Communications from California State University Chico. A few years later, she met Image Industry pioneer, author and trainer—Carla Mathis, who would become her mentor, mother-in-law and business partner. Since 2003, their company The Style Core has grown as an international resource for training, products and services. Erin oversees the company’s Institute and global network of 350+ Image Consultants in 17 countries. She is passionate about helping people create style that is authentic and supports the impact they want to have in the world. Pronouns: She/her/hers

Isabel Reichert

College professor, performance artist
Isabel received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and is currently an Assistant Professor of Multimedia and Graphic Arts at Ohlone College. Prior to joining Ohlone, she taught courses in art, design and critical theory for California College of Arts (CCA), the University of California at Santa Cruz and the San Francisco Art Institute. Her artwork has been screened at international film festivals and her multimedia artwork has been featured in galleries and museums. For the TED talk, Isabel will appear with her husband and artistic collaborator, Sean Fletcher. Pronouns: She/her/hers

Jacquelyn Ollison

Jacquelyn Ollison. Ed.D. is a committed educator with extensive education experience as a teacher and school site and district administrator. Aside from her tenure as a teacher, school Principal & Vice Principal, she also coordinated numerous educational programs. Dr. Ollison also served in the California Department of Education (CDE), co-facilitating and supporting workgroups whose recommendations were the impetus for current education climate initiatives and interventions. Recently, Dr. Ollison earned her doctorate at the University of the Pacific. Currently, she serves as an Education Administrator for the Equity and STEAM Office at the CDE and supports the State Superintendent’s Closing the Achievement Gap Initiative. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of the Pacific, Gladys L. Benerd School of Education. She lives in Northern California with her husband, three stepchildren, and her dog Seo. Pronouns: she/her/hers

Javon Johnson

Professor, slam poet, artist
Javon Johnson is an Assistant Professor and Director of African American & African Diaspora studies and holds an appointment in Gender & Sexuality Studies in the Interdisciplinary, Gender, and Ethnic Studies Department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Dr. Johnson is a creative scholar with a variety of interests, a published author, and he also mounted exhibitions at the California African American Museum where he managed the History Department. A renowned spoken word poet, Dr. Johnson is a three-time national poetry slam champion, an eight-time national finalist, and has appeared on appeared on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, BET’s Lyric Café, TVOnes Verses & Flow, The Steve Harvey Show, The Arsenio Hall Show, United Shades of America with Kamau Bell on CNN, and co-wrote a documentary titled Crossover, which aired on Showtime, in collaboration with the NBA and Nike. He is currently finishing up his first book of poems. Pronouns: He/him/his

Jeff O'Connell

Professor and lifelong learner
Professor Jeff O’Connell is a proud community college graduate with an AA degree from Diablo Valley College. He has his Bachelors in Applied Math from UC Davis and a Masters in Math from San Jose State University. He started teaching in the Ohlone College Math Department in 1995. In addition to teaching classes, Jeff has given several speaker series talks, including Math is Beautiful, the Golden Ratio, Card Counting, as well as Math in the Movies and on T.V. He is one of the teachers in the Ohlone Math Gateway Program which helps STEM majors accelerate math courses while fulfilling other requirements. This past summer, he completed an Ignited Summer Fellowship in the Dynamic Design Lab at Stanford University where they study the design and control of motion, especially as it relates to vehicle safety. Pronouns: He/him/his

Katie Frank

Katie Frank is a Professor of Art at Ohlone College teaching studio and academic classes online and in the classroom. She completed her Masters in Fine Arts at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California and earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts, Magna cum Laude and her Bachelor of Arts, Cum Laude from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Recent art projects have included international installation work that explore collaboration and ephemerality. Katie and her students have also created numerous installations around the Ohlone College campus as part of her studio arts curriculum.

Nader Noori

Cognitive Scientist, Neuroinclusivity activist & advocate, entrepenuer
Nader Noori introduces himself as a Cognitive Scientist, Inclusivity Activist, Neurotechnology Entrepreneur and Neuroinclusivity Advocate. He earned his Ph.D. from USC by studying the human working memory. His research interests lie at the intersection of Cognitive Science and Cognitive Technology. He has worked as a researcher and scientific advisor to non-profit organizations such as ICCATS and MindLA. Dr. Noori is the founder and CEO of MindQue a public benefit corporation with Neuroinclusivity as its public cause. Before his graduate studies in the US, Dr. Noori worked in a leadership position at the National Organization for Developing Exceptional Talents (NODET) in Tehran/Iran where he managed a large-scale experimental project for developing a multifaceted educational system to accommodate for a diverse set of cognitive and learning styles. His current efforts are focused on developing technologies which enable casual monitoring of the brain health for the ordinary users.

Nick Chivers

Professor, ska music lover
Nick Chivers is a tenure-track faculty member of Communication Studies at De Anza College in Cupertino and previously an adjunct instructor at several Bay Area Colleges & Universities. After receiving his M.A. in Communication Studies from San Francisco State University, Nick’s work has focused on bringing social justice and critical theory into the community college classroom. He is a regular presenter at the Western States Communication Association annual conventions regarding application of critical communication pedagogy. He is also a lover of ska music and distance running. Pronouns: He/him/his

Sam Campbell

Student, activist, current Congressional candidate
Sam Campbell is a student at San Francisco State University majoring in communication studies and minoring in queer ethnic studies. As an indigenous scholar they dedicate their time to advocating for indigenous rights and issues surrounding missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. As a queer studies scholar they continually fight for trans* and two Spirit equity along with safety advocacy. As a congressional candidate for the 2020 election, Sam is pulling the election Focus off of white men for the first time in many years in California is 15th district. In office Sam will be a voice for change and fight for people who are so often silenced. Preferred pronouns: They/them

Susan Frank

Fundraiser, activist, and can't keep quiet
Susan Frank is Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, at the Energy Foundation where she designs and stewards strategies and campaigns to advance clean energy and climate policies. Susan previously served as President & COO of The Better World Group, Inc., where she led the firm’s practice on environmental strategy, policy development, communications, business engagement, and coalition management focused in California and nationally. Prior to joining BWG, Susan held multiple positions at the Steven and Michele Kirsch Foundation including serving as its chief executive. Susan started out her career with the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce where she was President and CEO. Susan is a proud native of Las Vegas, Nevada, but happily has called California home for 35 years. She holds a B.A. in English from Stanford University. When she is not working to end manels and wanels, she can be found walking her dogs, spending time on/near bodies of water, or making homemade ice cream. (She/her/hers)

Organizing team


FREMONT, CA, United States


Union City, CA, United States