x = independently organized TED event

Theme: 2020 Vision – Empowering the Future with Ideas from the Present

This event occurred on
September 19, 2020
Kansas City, Missouri
United States

In a time of constant change and competition, it is more often than not that we see ourselves and our leaders becoming complacent with minor accomplishments. The smallest accomplishments become feats of ‘success’, and many stop pushing forward secondary to reluctance and fear of failure. This fear of adversity often hinders the pursuit of new opportunities, and as a society this stagnant mindset is our greatest detriment - especially in a time where technology and innovation are right at our fingertips; yet very few are taking the lunge towards achieving greatness.

We did not reach the present by being content with our previous accomplishments. Rather,the road for our success today was paved by the trailblazers who viewed life as a blank canvas: open to anything our minds were capable of imagining. It is those individuals who continuously seek unconventional ways of thinking, and who accept obstacles as opportunities to learn that strive and reach for greatness. It is those who refuse to be finished with a single triumph that we should aspire to take after, and from whom we should draw lessons to apply to our own lives.

Innovation lies within each of these people, and it is from them that in the year of 2020 we hope to empower the future with ideas from the present. By learning about the constant challenges and societal norms that the influencers of Kansas City had to face in order to create change, we too can follow their footsteps and incite ourselves to push forward, starting with today.

National WWI Museum and Memorial
2 Memorial Dr
Kansas City, Missouri, 64108
United States
Event type:
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Adrienne Haynes

Attorney and Business Woman; Speech Title: How Collective Vision Transforms Communities
Adrienne B. Haynes is an attorney and business woman who specializes in helping entrepreneurs develop sustainable infrastructure and business practices. She is the managing partner of SEED Law, a boutique business law firm, and owner of SEED Collective, a consultancy. Adrienne uses over ten years of business and leadership experience to create legal and strategic planning solutions for her clients and to speak and write on topics relating to law and economic development. Through SEED Law, Adrienne has developed long term relationships with business clients throughout Missouri, and she works closely with business resource partners to provide industry specific legal representation and education and to help foster an inclusive and innovative business community. Adrienne prioritizes community service through nonprofit representation and leadership, and she has participated in the founding of several nonprofits.

Marisa Wiruhayarn

Restaurant Owner/Entrepreneur; Speech Title: Overcoming Obstacles - An Inspirational Thai Immigrant Story
Tenacity, dedication, and dreaming have proven beneficial to the Marisa Wiruhayarn's entrepreneurial journey. Marisa immigrated from Thailand years ago and has built a name for her restaurants and brand here in Kansas City (KC). Her story is one of overcoming obstacles and learning from mistakes to rise to independence and success. Marisa's tenacity, business savvy, and willingness to learn have made it possible for her American Dream to become a reality. She finds profound joy in bringing the delectable tastes of Thailand to KC residents. To give back to the community that supported her during difficult times, Marisa dedicates her time and energy to volunteering with several organizations, advocating for women-and minority-owned businesses, and encouraging others to pursue their own dreams. Her empowering message will inspire many and show the world that it is possible to overcome obstacles.

Molly Bingaman

Owner and CEO of Ladybird Styling; Speech Title: The Link Between Personal Style and Identity
Molly Bingaman has a passion for helping people see their true beauty. She founded Ladybird Styling in 2010 with the bold intent of changing the way people see themselves, their style, and their world. Through merging the language of design with elements from math and physics, she and her team of experts have created a radical new approach to styling which teaches clients to choose the clothes, hairstyle, and makeup that best represent who they are. The Ladybird method has given hundreds of women the tools to show up authentically in their wardrobes and in their lives. It has been thoroughly tested, it works every time, and is completely teachable. Molly has a BA in Fine Art from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA and was trained by Stacy London of TLC’s What Not to Wear. Her work has been featured in Design*Sponge and Good Housekeeping Magazine as well as many other local publications. She is married and lives in Kanas City, MO with her husband and perfect dog, Piccollo.

Nicholas Comninellis

Founder and President of the Institute for International Medicine (INMED); Professor at UMKC School of Medicine - Speech Title: Refugee Care – Displaced but not forgotten
Over a two year period, Dr. Comninellis served inner city citizens at Shanghai Charity Hospital, and over another two years led a healthcare ministry in the war-besieged nation of Angola in southern Africa. Dr. Comninellis next served for six years in the Kansas City public hospital before launching INMED in 2003. He attended the UMKC School of Medicine, the Saint Louis University School of Public Health, and was a family medicine resident at John Peter Smith Hospital. Dr. Comninellis also earned a professional diploma in tropical medicine from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and became board certified in both public health and family medicine. Among his authored books are Shanghai Doctor, Where Do I Go From Here, and INMED International Medicine & Public Health. He was recognized as the 2009 United Nations Association of the United States World Citizen and the 2015 University of Missouri-Kansas City Alumni of the Year.

Sameena Hameed

Medical Student; Speech Title: Why do I need to learn this? A student approach to redefining education
Sameena is a second year student in the UMKC BA/MD program and was born and raised in the Kansas City area by two incredible Indian immigrants. She is involved with several organizations around campus, serving as president of her class, peer mentor for incoming students, and Hospital Hill Liaison for the Muslim Student Association. Sameena also volunteers with Islamic Relief USA, Sojourner Health Clinic, and Kansas City Free Eye Clinic. She has previously spoken at a local NAACP banquet and at her school's National Walkout against gun violence. Sameena enjoys spending time with friends, family, and a good book. She strongly believes in the power of community engagement, comprehensive representation, and learning. With her talk, Sameena hopes to provide an alternate framework by which students can view and appreciate their educational opportunities.

Wesley Hamilton

Founder/Executive Director of Nonprofit Organization; Speech Title: FROM PARALYZED TO PURPOSE-DRIVEN - MY INSPIRATIONAL STORY
Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. After my 24th birthday I suffered a spinal cord injury after being shot multiple times. I then went into a deep depression. I found myself as a single father in a wheelchair, adjusting to a completely new and difficult lifestyle. I was also dangerously overweight. But my daughter inspired me. My love for her is greater than she’ll ever know. And that love inspired me to take action, and I decided to become a good role model for her. I began a weight loss journey with a fitness and nutrition regiment. My physical and mental transformation was something that I realized had potential to help others who may be in similar situations. I wanted to help other individuals who were struggling, so I founded my non-profit, Disabled But Not Really. Individuals with disabilities should feel empowered to overcome any mental limits they may have — that’s the driving force of the organization.

Organizing team


Kansas City, MO, United States
  • Madhavi Murali
  • Sangeeth John
  • Shaan Patel
  • Tayyibah Mahmood
  • Vamsi Vemulapalli