x = independently organized TED event

This event occurred on
May 19, 2010
7:00pm - 7:00pm CDT
(UTC -5hrs)
United States

TedxPotomac draws its name - and its inspiration - from the Potomac River, less than half a mile from where we’re sitting today.

The river is woven into our history. It graces our landscape. And in a modern urban environment, it is a reminder of our connection to the natural world, to ideas larger than us, and to our past and future.

Today is all about connections to innovative ideas, creative thinking, and positive interactions that can lead to real change. We are excited about today’s presenters. Each has a message to impart, a gift to offer, an ability to energize and enlighten. They will not only inform and entertain us, but challenge us to expand our horizons. As you’re listening to them and engaging with your fellow participants, we invite you to:

* Be curious. Embrace new concepts. Ask questions. Be receptive to serendipity and synchronicity.

* Be generous. Share your thoughts and enthusiasm with your fellow participants. Bring them
back into your workplaces and communities.

* Get connected. Get involved. Give back.

I hope you leave here today with an expanded, more whole, and more nuanced understanding of the world — and a vision of tangible change that you can make personally.

This event has been a labor of love that would not have been possible without the dedication, passion, and efforts of many people, along with their spouses, partners, and families. Thanks to each and every one of you.

An historic river runs through this city. New Ideas will soon flow through us. Dive in.

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

Colin Beavan

Colin Beavan is an American grassroots green movement leader whose non-profit, The No Impact Project, helps citizens choose happier, more sustainable lifestyles. He founded the effort after launching a year-long project in 2006 when he, his wife, his daughter, and his dog went off the grid and attempted to live in the middle of New York City with as little environmental impact as possible. Colin’s experiment in lifestyle redesign is the subject of his book and a Sundance-selected documentary. He also was named one of MSN’s Ten Most Influential Men of 2007 and an Eco-Illuminator in Elle Magazine’s 2008 Green Awards. He has been featured in the New York Times and the Christian Science Monitor, and he has appeared on “The Colbert Report,” “Good Morning America,” and “Nightline.”

Warren Brown

In 2000, Warren Brown left his career as a lawyer to become a baker. Armed with a credit card and a sense that people wanted something better than what was currently on the market, he founded CakeLove and Love Café. His organization includes seven retail storefronts in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. He has been recognized for his entrepreneurial spirit by a number of local and national media outlets including the “Oprah Winfrey Show,” “The Today Show,” and national advertisement campaigns for American Express and Dell computers. From 2005 to 2007, he was the host of TV show “Sugar Rush” on the Food Network. He is the author of two cookbooks, CakeLove – How to bake cakes from scratch and United Cakes of America – Celebrating recipes from every state, to be published in May 2010.

Bob Corrigan

Bob Corrigan is the product manager for the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), an ever-expanding, web-based biodiversity resource launched in 2008 following Professor E.O. Wilson’s TED Prize wish in 2007. EOL’s goal is to bring together information on all species known to science. Bob is a member of the staff at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Prior to his appointment to the Smithsonian, Bob served as the VP of Product Management for Emmi Solutions. He has held product management and marketing roles at small and large organizations including Compuware, Sybase, InstallShield, and Macrovision. He earned his BS in Microbiology from the University of Notre Dame. Bob describes himself as a writer, product manager, musician, raconteur, collector, traveler, gourmand, and Francophile. He currently resides in Chicago with his wife, two kids, some orchids, and a cockatiel named Kitteh.

Alexandra Cousteau

A globally recognized advocate on water quality and policy, Alexandra Cousteau continues the work of her renowned grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau and her father Philippe Cousteau, Sr. At 33, she has already mastered the remarkable storytelling tradition handed down to her and has the unique ability to draw audiences into the weighty issues of policy, politics, and action. Alexandra is dedicated to advocating the importance of conservation and sustainable management of water in order to preserve a healthy planet. Her global initiatives seek to inspire and empower individuals to protect not only the ocean and its inhabitants, but also the human communities that rely on freshwater resources. In 2008, she founded Blue Legacy International, a not-for-profit project of The Ocean Foundation. It develops and distributes traditional and new media projects that inspire people to take action on critical water issues in meaningful ways.

Shannon Hader

Dr. Shannon Hader is the director of the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration within the DC Department of Health. As a public health doctor with a long-standing commitment to the HIV/AIDS response and a career focus on translating information to action, she has worked in a diversity of challenging situations, from rural Mississippi to rural Russia, and has emphasized accountability, scale, and impact to build sustainable responses from Washington, DC to Zimbabwe. Shannon is known for boldness, transparency, and working across organizational boundaries to foster innovative partnerships and collaborations. She has worked clinically caring for children and adults in the United States and abroad, in Brazil, China, Jamaica, and Zimbabwe. She completed her undergraduate degree at Stanford University, medical school at Columbia University, residencies in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at Duke University, and fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Emory University Hospital. Shannon is currently adjunct clinical faculty at Emory University, and was a 2007 Katherine Houghton Hepburn Fellow at Bryn Mawr College.

Laura Zam

Laura Zam is a writer, performer, and educator described by The Washington Post as “A name to know.” She is best known for her signature blend of hilarity and pathos. Her published work appear in Monologues, Time Out, Prague, Poet Magazine, and others in the United States and abroad. She has created five one-person plays presented at such venues as The Public Theater, The National Theatre, and The National Press Club. Laura is engaged in trauma recovery and international peace building through the use of drama; one notable project is a post-conflict, reconciliation workshop for teens in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She is the winner of several awards including the Amiri Baraka Literary Prize. She holds a BA in Theater from Brooklyn College and an MFA in Creative Writing from Brown University, where she has also taught.

Yoko K

Yoko Kamitani — known as Yoko K — is an electronic musician and vocalist whose album, “012906” was nominated for “Best Album in Electronica” by the 6th Annual Independent Music Awards. She works on art projects that promote social change, such as “Promoting Tolerance through Arts” by Meridian International Center and Pink Line Project, and “Tap Project” by UNICEF World Water Week. Yoko has performed at venues such as Irvine Contemporary, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Sackler Gallery, and the Finnish Embassy. She received the Young Artist Grant in 2006 and the New Media and Audio Grant in 2007 from the Washington DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Born and raised in Japan, and classically trained since the age three, Yoko aspires to mediate between the sensual and spiritual life through her ephemeral, “organic electronica” soundscape.

Frances Moore Lappé

Frances Moore Lappé is a “living democracy” advocate and world food expert. She is the author or coauthor of 18 books, including Diet for a Small Planet, which was chosen among “75 Books by Women Whose Words Have Changed the World” by the Women’s National Book Association. It also was recently dubbed a “blueprint for eating with a small carbon footprint long before the term was coined,” by J.M. Hirsch of the Associated Press. In 2008, “Gourmet Magazine” selected Frances among 25 people, including Thomas Jefferson and Julia Child, whose work has changed the way America eats, and the James Beard Foundation named her Humanitarian of the year. She is a winner of the Right Livelihood Award, called the Alternative Nobel. She and her daughter Anna Lappé launched the Cambridge-based The Small Planet Institute and the Small Planet Fund in 2001. Frances’s major media appearances include the “Today Show,” “Fox News,” “Hardball,” NPR, and PBS Now. Articles by or about her have appeared in the New York Times, Harper’s, O: The Oprah Magazine, People, The Nation, and more.

Steve Moore

Steve Moore is the president and CEO for the Washington, DC Economic Partnership (WDCEP), a non-profit organization that works to promote the business and retail potential that shapes the District of Columbia and tracks $74.5 billion in development opportunities. Steve has spearheaded the launch of new programs through WDCEP like a Creative Economy Summit, the nation’s largest GLBT Economic Summit; actionomics[dc], the area’s largest Business Plan Competition; and a Small Business Awards program. WDCEP has also undertaken rigorous research initiatives covering the creative, green, retail and technology sectors. Before WDCEP, Steve directed the strategic planning and marketing for The Rouse Company’s urban projects nationwide including Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Westlake Center, South Street Seaport, Pioneer Place, Arizona Center, and Santa Monica Place.

Craig Newmark

Craig Newmark’s website craigslist.org gives people the opportunity to help each other with everyday needs, including housing and jobs. He currently works as a customer service rep — but not management — and as an advisory board member of Wikipedia, where he focuses on issues related to trust. Additionally, Craig is working with a wide range of groups using the Net to help each other out, like Donorschoose.org, the Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America, Kiva.org (microfinance) and Consumer Reports. He’s also actively engaged with government workers on multiple levels to use the Net for superior public service, and with Sunlight Foundation for government accountability and transparency. His previous experience includes thirty years of working with computers for IBM, GM, Charles Schwab & Co, and Bank of America. He’s not as funny as he thinks he is, but sometimes he just can’t help himself. Craig no longer wears a plastic pocket protector and thick black glasses that are taped together, but he still claims to be a nerd.

Berit Oskey

Berit Oskey’s Affinity Lab during the past nine years since she co-founded the company has helped more than 100 small businesses, entrepreneurs, and non-profits flourish by providing them with shared office space, a networked community, and the tools necessary to thrive in the DC region. In short, Berit’s mission is to help entrepreneurs realize their dreams. Through her own love of entrepreneurialism (which started when she launched DC-based web development firm Articulated Impact), a voracious reading habit, and a penchant for travels, she has gained the experience and expertise to build one of DC’s “Best Places to Work,” according to the Washington Business Journal. Affinity Lab has been featured in the Washington Post, LA Times, Washington Examiner, and on Fox, NBC, ABC, NPR, and Voice of America.

. R Street Collective

R Street Collective is a performance ensemble of Duke Ellington School of the Arts. These Literary Media and Communications students write their own work, and speak to a multitude of issues as they pertain to the art and Washington’s youth. Thought-provoking and system challenging, R Street Collective continues to break boundaries of age, and redefines the caliber of spoken word and poetry. Members of R Street Collective have been the featured performers at a number of events and venues including The Fridge Gallery, The Hillyer Gallery, Busboys and Poets, the feature for a panel on education with Sonia Sanchez, and most recently the Mayor’s Office and the Financial Literacy Foundation.

Josh Sundquist

Josh Sundquist is the bestselling author of Just Don’t Fall, a motivational speaker, and a Paralympic ski racer. He has spoken across the country to groups ranging from Fortune 500 companies to inner city public schools to the White House. At age nine, Josh was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer and given a 50 percent chance to live. He spent a year on chemotherapy treatments and his left leg was amputated. When Josh was 13, doctors declared him cured of the disease, and he took up ski racing three years later. In 2006, he was named to the U.S. Paralympic Ski Team for the 2006 Paralympics in Turino, Italy. He also is the founder of LessThanFour.org, the world’s largest social networking website for amputees. Josh has been featured on CNN, USA TODAY, and NPR.

Neil Takemoto

Neil Takemoto is the founder and CEO of CoolTown Beta Communities. His work over the last 17 years has been committed to the crowdsourced development of places with significant economic, environmental, and social benefit; currently, Washington DC, New England and New Orleans. Neil is the founder of CoolTown Studios, a “crowdsourcing cool places for creatives” blog and news site that attracts 40,000 unique visitors a month. It has been featured in Architect Magazine and the ULI’s annual developers conference. He is also the cofounder of Bubbly, a crowdsourcing web application, and Mobfuse, a crowdsourcing consulting firm. With Andres Duany, Neil co-founded the National Town Builders Association in 1997, the only business trade group of Smart Growth/New Urbanism real estate developers. Prior to that, he founded a national nonprofit educational clearinghouse for the New Urbanism field.

Roshini Thinakaran

Roshini Thinakaran is founder of Women at the Forefront, a multimedia company focusing on social, political, and economic challenges faced by women in conflict zones. Since 2005, she has researched and profiled the lives of women living in post-conflict zones including Iraq, Liberia, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka. Women at the Forefront projects include a feature in a National Geographic publishing project promoting literacy among adolescent children and a national advertisement for the Sri Lankan Ministry of Tourism to promote tourism in her native home. Her documentary entitled “What Was Promised” focuses on the U.S.-led initiative to integrate Iraqi women into Iraqi security forces. It currently is being distributed by London-based TVF International. Roshini is A National Geographic Emerging Explorer and TEDIndia Fellow.

Gary Wynn

In medical school, Dr. Gary Wynn contemplated a career in neurosurgery, but found he preferred talking to people rather than using a scalpel, so he became a psychiatrist. Today, he still sees unraveling the mysteries of and directly interfacing with the brain as a field full of potential — from treating disease and assisting the injured to augmenting the human experience. Gary is an up-and-coming expert in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and senior editor of The Clinical Manual of Drug Interaction Principles. Whether studying psychopharmacology and drug interactions, employing transcranial magnetic stimulation to treat the devastating effects of psychiatric illness, or developing and consulting on cutting-edge research, he is forging new roads in brain research and applications. When he is not flying around the country to speak or working at a premier research lab for the U.S. Army, then Gary’s usually spending time with his wife and their Boston Terrier.

Organizing team


Arlington, VA, United States
  • Vincent BenAvram
    Participant Interaction
  • Patrick Donnelly
    Graphic Design/Illustration
  • Lorne Epstein
    Speaker Recruiting
  • Jill Foster
    Speaker Coaching
  • Pamela Garlick
    Event Planning
  • Stephanie Hay
  • Russell Heimlich
    Web Development
  • Ericka Hines
    Event Planning/Volunteer Supervision
  • Ben Hofer
    Web Design
  • Michelle Hoffman
    Co-Organizer and Program Curator
  • Paul Hyland
    Technical Liaison
  • Meghan Keener
    Speaker Recruiting and Artistic Direction
  • Izetta Mobley
    Stage Manager
  • Rhiannon Pimentel
    Speaker Support
  • Patrick Smith
    TEDxPotomac Organizer