x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Collide

This event occurred on
November 20, 2021
Hickory, North Carolina
United States

On November 20, TEDx Hickory is going to “Collide.” Unstoppable force; immovable object. A lot of things, perhaps all things, move, in a small world. Collision is inevitable. Past and present. East and West. Dark and Light. Progress and tradition. Supply and demand. One idea and another. One interest, ambition, desire, and another. And an endless array of things not on the same continuum but merely coexisting in limited space. Things come together. Sometimes peacefully. Sometimes aggressively. Often creating change that reshapes the world, eroding how things were, pushing up new structures, twisting what was into what is, or blending as if by magic, several into one.

What collisions have you witnessed? Survived? Been part of? How have they changed you or the world around you? What collisions do you see happening today? And what results do you expect to come from them? What collisions do you see on the horizon? Can they be avoided? Should they? How will things change if they come to be? TEDxHickory invites you to attend our 9th annual event. More information is available now at TEDxHickory.com.

Belk Centrum
625 7th Ave NE
Hickory, North Carolina, 28601
United States
Event type:
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Jason Failing

Born in Nigeria, West Africa, to Church of England missionaries, Jason Failing is a man of literary talent, exemplified by his witty and often thought-provoking poems, spoken word, and raps. While he was born overseas, he lived most of his life in Wilmington, NC, where he first explored the literary and theatrical community. In 2001, he married and shortly after that became a father. In 2006 he wrote a narrative to a ballet performed by a prominent Wilmington-based dance company. Jason was no stranger to the Port City's open mic scene, was a featured poet at a downtown venue, and performed at a local R&B radio station's Poetry Jam event. In 2009, Jason won a poetry slam event hosted by faculty judges from UNC Wilmington. In 1995 at the young age of 16, he was first diagnosed with mental illness and spent many years as a revolving door patient at institutions to get treatment. In 2006, Jason found that through concerted efforts at self-improvement and a new medication regime, stability, and healing with his illness that has seen him through to this present day. In part due to his struggle with mental illness, he divorced, and in 2017 he remarried. He and his wife enjoy the outdoors hiking, kayaking, and camping. As of 2021, Jason and his wife bought their first home in Wilkes County, NC. Jason is passionate about his faith in God, family and challenging community stereotypes of mental illness by sharing his ongoing testimony of redemption. Jason is currently pursuing publishing a compilation of his written work. He is the proud father to one son, Sullivan, and happily married to his wife, Amy.

Melissa Petersen

Dr. Melissa Petersen is a sought out visionary female leader in the fields of human potential and precision longevity, who is redefining the limits of what is possible in human flourishing. She is the founder of the Human Longevity Institute, inventor of the CENTER stress optimization and brain training platform, host of the online Longevity Summit, author of the best selling book, the Codes of Longevity, an adjunct professor of continuing education at Life University, a clinical educator for Medfit and an advisory board member to both Grr-ithm AI technologies and Heads up Health technologies. Her clinical training and background include a Licensed Doctor of Chiropractic & Epigenetic Human Performance Coach, with a Board Certification in Holistic Health and a Masters in Wellness Leadership and Performance. A true change agent, on a mission, to help people thrive by design as they unlock the potential within to live their longest, healthiest and most fulfilling life. Learn more about Melissa at www.DocMelissa.com.

Miri Ben-Ari

A Grammy Award-winning violinist-producer, originally from Israel, who created her own unique sound: a fusion of classical, Hip Hop, and dance music, recognized as a musical pioneer. Miri Ben-Ari is a “Goodwill Ambassador of Music” to the United Nations, originally from Israel, who has created her own unique sound – a revolutionary fusion of classical, Hip Hop, and dance music. She is a music trendsetter, recognized as a musical pioneer. This classically trained violinist, who once studied under the late classical master Isaac Stern, Ben-Ari has helped sell millions of records by collaborating with other Grammy award-winning artists such as Kanye West, Jay Z, Wyclef Jean, Alicia Keys, Wynton Marsalis, Britney Spears, Maroon 5, Akon, Donna Summer, Janet Jackson, John Legend, Aventura, Fetty Wap, Armin Van Buuren, and Diamond Platnumz. Her album "The Hip Hop Violinist"/ Universal Records features many of these collaborations. Miri Ben-Ari paved the way for future generations, she is the first (and only) violinist to win a Grammy in the Hip Hop category, and the first violinist to be featured on hit songs and music videos as a featured artist in Hip Hop, Latin, EDM, and Afrobeats music.

Nathan Ahlgrim

Nathan Ahlgrim is an educator driven by curiosity. While earning his Ph.D. in neuroscience from Emory University, an unexpected side-quest turned his planned career trajectory on its head. He became a regular fixture at many local schools as “The Brain Guy,” always arriving with his bucket of brains to share the mysteries of the mind. This passion for informal science education drew him to the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains, where he spent a year teaching natural history and ecology in classrooms that had no walls save the mighty pine trees of the forest. He now works as an educator of all sorts. His day job is teaching Psychology classes to a diverse group of North Carolinians, in which he cares more that his students can evaluate a questionable tweet than that they learn what Sigmund Freud would have thought about their dreams. He is always looking to spread his excitement for scientific inquiry throughout the Hickory community, whether it be in writing for the Hickory Record or nerding out with scientists of all ages at the Catawba Science Center.

Rikki Poynter

Rikki Poynter is a 30-year-old disabled (deaf, chronic pain and fatigue) content creator, streamer, writer, accessibility consultant, and public speaker based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Since 2013, she has advocated for better accessibility on YouTube, specifically closed captioning, and has raised awareness about disability. In 2016, she created her campaign #NoMoreCRAPtions to bring the situation to light. She has worked with companies such as VidCon, Apple, Facebook, Firefox, and Google to continue that mission. In July 2018, she won an award from the National Association of the Deaf for her efforts. Rikki’s efforts do not stop at making videos. She is also a writer for a local paper called Queen City Nerve, and she does consultations for businesses as well as travels the country to various conferences and schools to speak about accessibility and her journey finding her deaf identity. On Twitch, Rikki often talks about whether or not the games she’s playing are accessible.

Organizing team


Hickory, NC, United States


  • Alan Jackson