x = independently organized TED event

Theme: (Un)Conventional Wisdom

This event occurred on
September 19, 2020
9:00am - 4:30pm MDT
(UTC -6hrs)
Salt Lake City, Utah
United States

The phrase “conventional wisdom” was born when John Kenneth Galbraith coined it in his 1958 book, The Affluent Society. Although clearly about economics, the book fits more comfortably alongside the radical sociology of the decade. For Galbraith, “conventional wisdom”—the stifling conformity of elite opinion—was just another manifestation of the postwar homogenization of American life. Society, he concluded, rewards those who repeat old verities, rather than skeptics or innovators.

At TEDxSaltLakeCity 2020, we will feature “ideas worth spreading” from speakers and performers who will share how being unconventional can drive innovation, encourage diversity, and disrupt outdated social norms through technology, entertainment, and design.

Kingsbury Hall
1395 Presidents Circle
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84112
United States
Event type:
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Adam Bateman

Artist and Arts Advocate
Adam Bateman was raised in Ephraim, Utah. He received a BA in English with a Spanish Minor at BYU. He received an MFA from Pratt Institute with recognition for special achievement in Sculpture. He was the Executive Director of CUAC, an award winning, and internationally publicized non-profit art venue located in Salt Lake City that featured Utah artists paired with artists from around the world, and has curated exhibitions all around the United States. As an artist, he has exhibited his work all across the country, including numerous museum exhibitions—UMFA, UMOCA, BYU’s MOA, Schnieder Art Museum, Boulder Museum of Contemporary art, Akurari Art Museum, Disjecta, Barrick Museum, to name a few, and in Spain, Germany, Japan, and Iceland. He is a recipient of the Utah Artist Fellowship and of the Joan Mitchell Fellowship. He is also a UX Strategist and he just launched a disruptive art initiative in Salt Lake City called The Flat File.

Adam Peek

Packaging Podcaster
Adam Peek lives to serve others and elevate their stories. He is passionate about his family, his faith, and uplifting packaging as a source for positive change in both our local and global communities. He is the host of the People of Packaging podcast and is a frequent speaker on packaging and sustainability efforts both in the U.S. and abroad. He works for Fortis Solutions Group and lives in Utah with his wife and their 5 kids.

Alicia Ross

Dancer and Filmmaker
Alicia is a Salt Lake City based dance artist focused on performance, choreography, and filmmaking. She recently graduated with a BFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah. Throughout her college career she worked with choreographers such as Luc Vanier, Steve Koester, Anouk van Dijk, Satu Hummasti and more. Her latest choreographic work, a solo entitled Introspection, was showcased at the University of Utah’s Fall Student Concert 2019. Through her studies she also found a love for screendance, the collaboration between dance and cinematography. Her first film, entitled Peace Will Come, was screened at ACDA Northwest Conference, the University of Utah’s Spring Student Concert 2019, and LINK by Salt Contemporary Dance. Her second and newest film, in the void, premiered at the University of Utah’s Spring Modern Student Concert and the ASUU Inauguration 2020. She is now a freelance artist looking forward to a career that celebrates humanity through dance in all of its forms.

C. Valenta

Hip Hop Artist
Cornelius was raised by a single mother of 6 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The adversity he faced left him with two options: follow those before him or deviate, despite the risk it carries. His question wasn’t where to start, but how to establish oneself while lacking direction. During his childhood, his mother would play music in a van that often served as their home. Unknowingly at that time, music would play a pivotal role in the years to come. His hardships changed his priorities, forcing him to place his education on hold, and focus on earning a stable income. In 2015, Cornelius obtained his GED before enrolling at Salt Lake Community College. There he would study two other degrees before he found himself captivated by the music. In November of 2018, music’s impact would allow him to become C. Valenta; creating a mouthpiece for silenced adversities.

Chelsea Keefer

Soloist at Ballet West
Chelsea Keefer was born and raised in the great state of Utah. She is an enthusiastic contributor to Salt Lake City’s blossoming art community as a Soloist at Ballet West. Over the past 10 years, Chelsea has obtained a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and a 200-hour Yoga Certification from Kripalu. Chelsea began dancing professionally in 2009 with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet touring their Nutcracker, later joining The Tulsa Ballet for three seasons, and has been a member of Ballet West since 2013. She is currently providing Mentorship, Life Coaching, and Workshops for dancers who struggle with anxiety through the process of meditation, life skills, daily tools, and yoga. Wellness is a prominent word within her vocabulary whether it is physical or mental.

Danor Gerald

Actor and Director
Danor Gerald was born in Louisiana and raised in rural Mississippi by his great-grandmother. Later, he moved to Dallas to attend school where he earned diving and acting scholarships to Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas. In 2003, Danor moved to Utah where he finished a digital cinema degree at Utah Valley University. He has called Utah home ever since. Danor Gerald is an award-winning actor and director of stage and screen. Since 2015 he has created diversity-focused content for The Black House Foundation at the Sundance Film Festival.

Dr. Angela Dunn

Utah State Epidemiologist
Dr. Angela Dunn is currently the State Epidemiologist for the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) where she works across the department to identify and address health concerns of Utahns. She came to UDOH as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As an EIS Officer, she has responded to communicable disease outbreaks both in Utah and abroad, including the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. Dr. Dunn is boarded in General Preventive and Public health, and completed her residency training at the University of California, San Diego. Prior to joining the CDC, Dr. Dunn worked as a primary care and public health physician in San Diego, focusing on women’s health, sexually transmitted diseases, refugee health, and tuberculosis. Dr. Dunn also engaged in health systems research and interventions aimed at improving health care delivery within the military health system and federally-qualified health care clinics.

Dr. Chelsea Shields

Bio-Social Anthropologist
Dr. Chelsea Shields is a bio-social anthropologist, placebo studies expert, and runs a local consulting business. In her academic work, Dr. Shields focuses on the evolution and elicitation of the placebo effect outside medical contexts. She coined the concept of social susceptibility to talk about how and why our human bodies have evolved to react, adjust, and adapt to specific social rituals, relationships and communities. Her work also investigates the evolutionary mismatch of modern human hyper-sociality and the health implications of a global, digital, 24/7 social network. In her professional work, Shields runs a research and strategy business that specializes in qualitative, quantitative, and ethnographic research as well as creative ideation, branding, and user-experience design. Dr. Shields is also a TED Fellow, 3x TED speaker, and teaches speaker training that is focused on the 90% of communication we never talk about: the non-verbals!

Jazzy Olivo

Jazmin “Jazzy” Olivo is a Dominican singer, songwriter, and actress who began her career at the age of 3. After winning numerous singing competitions in her native Dominican Republic, she moved to Utah at the age of 17 and trained with David Schmidt, current Head of Vocal Studies at the University of Utah. In 2005, Jazmin was awarded 6th place in La Academia USA, a musical reality show with Hispanic contestants. She toured the country for a year and then moved to Mexico City where she debuted on Broadway—cast as Motor Mouth Mable in Hairspray the Musical. Since returning to Utah, Jazmin has performed with the Utah Symphony and different local bands. In 2017, Jazmin co-founded a jazz fusion band, The Mix, with Pianist Courtney Smith. Jazzy is now embarking on her solo career with her single “Para Ti, “ the first release from her bilingual (Spanish/English) debut EP, releasing in 2020. Other songs from the album include Broken Bloody Heart, Me Repongo, Kidibum, and El Circo.

JeanneLauree Olsen

Hospice Chaplain
JeanneLauree Olsen has spent more than 15 years as a hospice chaplain, working as part of an interdisciplinary team dedicated to helping terminally ill people and their loved ones respond to death with dignity and grace. As a non-denominational chaplain, she serves people regardless of their beliefs. Prior to becoming a hospice chaplain, JeanneLauree spent a decade working as a co-therapist in a private psychology practice. JeanneLauree has proven success in using specific tools and techniques to disrupt today's general attitudes toward dying, which are fraught with fear and anguish, are impersonal and overly medicalized. She was able to use these principles to create a rich and joyous end of life experience for her own parents. The five years she spent caring for both of her parents confirmed the ease and effectiveness of JeanneLauree’s forward-thinking conviction that death can be infused with joy and beauty.

Joél-Léhi Organista

Educator and Social Entrepreneur
Born in Mexico City, Mexico, but raised in Salt Lake City, Utah; Joél-Léhi has spent a decade leading in educational justice issues across the country. Named as one of Utah’s 20 in their 20s by Utah Business; Joél-Léhi created the EdTech startup Machitia, which is a space for educators to share best practices and transformative lesson plans. He’s also the founder of the local nonprofit Casa Quetzalcoatl, which uses decolonized frameworks to create sustainable Latinx leaders in Utah. He serves as the National Vice President of Youth for the League of United American Citizens (LULAC), the largest and oldest Latinx civil rights organization in the country. Joél-Léhi is also the National President for the Education for Liberation Network. He has degrees in Sociology and Education, with an emphasis on Social Justice Pedagogy. He is doing his second Masters Degree at the University of Utah Business School in Business Creation. Joél-Léhi knows Spanish, English, Japanese and Nahuatl.

Kennedy Pawloski

Kennedy Pawloski is currently a student at Lumen Scholar Institute, working towards both a high school diploma and an associate degree from Utah Valley University. For the past four years she has participated in Speech and Debate, winning awards and placings throughout every year of competition. Kennedy loves Mock Trial, competing with her team most recently with an undefeated 2020 season. Kennedy loves finding new adventures and has tried everything from sourdough bread baking to hand lettering. She is very excited to bring her idea to the TEDxSaltLakeCity stage!

Meg & Dia

A Sister Act
Meg and Dia, a sister act from Utah, formed their pop band in 2004. They started out writing their first demo in their bedrooms and recorded the songs in a local studio. After booking several tours on their own in their city and surrounding areas, they decided to contact a manager they met at a local show from L.A. They traveled to Los Angeles to perform at a showcase. They quickly signed to Doghouse Records and released their debut album, “Something Real” in 2005. They went on their first major tour that summer, a punk-rock festival, called The Van’s Warped Tour, which launched their early career. They began touring extensively and released 6 full length albums. Sire Records, a subsidiary of Warner Brothers Records, signed the band in 2007. Though Meg and Dia tour mostly in the U.S., they have also made stops in western Europe and Southeast Asia. Their most popular song to date is a remix of their first single, “Monster”, which has been viewed over 16,000,000 times on YouTube.

Michelle Porcelli

Author, Educator, Counselor and Corporate Trainer
Michelle Porcelli is an Author, Educator, Counselor and Corporate Trainer. She has been a certified teacher for 23 years, a School Counselor for 10 years, and known as The Resiliency Lady. She has written and instructed courses for BYU Independent Study and has been a speaker for their Especially For Youth program. She graduated with a degree in education from BYU in 1993 and earned her Masters Degree in School Counseling in 2011. Michelle teaches resiliency, coping skills, and accountability for your mental health. She runs Hope Squads for two elementary schools and loves this age group. She believes, “The world would be a much kinder place if we would follow the examples of little children showing compassion, forgiveness, and unconditional love.” She just became a grandma and loves to spoil her grandson. Michelle thinks her 5 children and 1 daughter-in-law are the best people in the world. However, she knows her husband wins the trophy for most supportive and tolerant.

Robin Konie

Researcher, Writer, and Entrepreneur
Robin Konie is a researcher, writer, and entrepreneur. An educator at heart, Robin has been teaching in one way or another for more than two decades. After graduating with an MFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah, Robin assumed her career would be fairly straightforward as a university professor. But after five years of teaching in higher education, she made the difficult decision to leave her safe job and start her first business. Since then, Robin has authored six books, written over 400 articles to an online audience of more than 20 million people, and spoken at national conferences and virtual summits. While often messy, the thread that connects her work is a love for the creative process and a deep desire to question everything. That curiosity led Robin to create Munga Punga, an organization dedicated to helping kids and parents ignite their creativity.

Steven Sharp Nelson

Steven Sharp Nelson is an award winning, Billboard chart topping, YouTube rock star…in a cellist sort of way. His creations are watched and listened to over three million times every day. He has performed in dozens of countries and iconic concert halls such as the Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall, the Greek Theatre, Royal Albert Hall — in Rio, Paris, Singapore, Japan, Istanbul. In 2011, Steven hoped to incorporate all of what he had experienced and learned when he, along with three partners, built The Piano Guys, a group of self-proclaimed “dorky dads” who film classically-influenced instrumental music videos in nature. Steven is an advocate for music education and the promotion of creativity through musical demonstration, interaction and innovation. It is Steven’s wish wherever he speaks or performs that he, along with his music and his message, can be considered a spokesman for hope.

Sydne Jacques

Civil Engineer
Sydne Jacques is an advocate for “humans in hardhats." She is a civil engineer turned CEO and consultant. This farmgirl from Montana built an award-winning company with worldwide clients, has trained over 20,000 individuals and has facilitated team-building for more than 350 construction teams. Sydne has a unique ability to motivate individuals to help them reach the “Next Level” of life and leadership. She was also named one of “30 Women to Watch” by Utah Business Magazine. Sydne currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Utah Associated General Contractors, on the National Advisory Committee for the College of Engineering at Brigham Young University and on the board of directors for the non-profit Working Moms Connections. Sydne loves sports and is proud of two gold medals earned in basketball in the senior Olympics. She and her husband love to travel and she is the proud mother of four awesome kids.

Tippe Morlan

Urban Planner and World Traveler
Born and raised in Hawaii, Tippe Morlan moved to Utah in 2010 after finishing a BS in Urban Planning at the University of Southern California. She became passionate about tourism planning and cultural preservation while volunteering at the Thai Community Development Center in Los Angeles. She discovered travel hacking in graduate school which quickly became her biggest hobby. She began traveling the world on mistake fares, credit card points, and airline miles and loves sharing her passion for cheap travel. Tippe has visited 67 countries, 40 states, and all 7 continents since graduate school, all while maintaining a full-time desk job. She currently works as a Senior Planner for the City of Saratoga Springs and serves as Vice-Chair for the International Division and Assistant Professional Development Officer for the Utah Chapter of the American Planning Association. Tippe is also producing a podcast called Just One More Trip with the goal of making travel more accessible to all.

Tony Pavlantos

Athlete and Entrepreneur
Tony Pavlantos is a local athlete and entrepreneur and co-founder of Prival USA, The Prival Foundation, and Arbor Concepts. Tony's environmental and philanthropic values are directed toward improving the air we breathe. In search of powder-covered mountains to foster his snowboarding career, Tony landed in Salt Lake City. While exploring the Eastern Shoshone, Goshute and Ute native land from high on the ridgelines, Tony couldn’t ignore the toxic air in the valley below. Personally, he began radical experimentation with how he moves and where he dwells. In business, experiences with product design illuminated the environmental impacts of manufacturing. Socially, he committed to US production of outdoor gear, and offered his voice into the legislative process. Tony lives on the delicate line between environmental ethics and efficient business, believing economic development and the wellbeing of the natural world are compatible, viable, and crucial.

Organizing team


Salt lake City, UT, United States

Mata Sivera

Salt Lake City, UT, United States
  • Adrian Lefler
  • Aubrey Mark
  • Beth Wolfer
  • Carri Newbold
  • Jared Quan
  • Jennafer Martin
  • Jennifer Mitchell
  • Jeremiah Bennett
  • Jessica Baynes
  • john cole
  • Lisa Arce
  • Manjhunath (MJ) Ayyampudur
  • Marina Agloro
  • Marsha Fetzer
  • Melanie Jones
  • Mickey Jacobs
  • Mohan Sudabattula
    Team member
  • Rachel Warner
  • Sandra Acero
  • Thad Weiland
  • Trish Layton
    Team member