x = independently organized TED event

This event occurred on
March 23, 2022
Charleston, South Carolina
United States

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized (subject to certain rules and regulations).

Charleston Music Hall
37 John St
Charleston, South Carolina, 29403
United States
Event type:
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Alex Pelbath

Colonel Alex Pelbath is the former Director of C-17 Special Operations at Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina. Alex graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 2001 and spent over 20 years in the US Air Force. He amassed over 4,000 hours flying multiple aircraft, commanded several large organizations, and has multiple deployments supporting nearly all major military operations since 2001. In August of 2021 Alex was the Air Mission Commander and last aircraft off the ground during the final evacuation of military and civilian personnel from Kabul, Afghanistan, ending the United States’ 20-year war. For his role leading through the chaos of the evacuation he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the nation’s highest award for aerial achievement, and was the first ever recipient of the Sully Sullenberger Award for Courage. Alex currently resides in Mount Pleasant, SC with his wife and best friend, Lynden, and their two kids Jake and Izzy

Alex Spiotta

Vice Chair of Neurosurgery at the Medical University of South Carolina, Alejandro Spiotta has performed thousands of complex high-stakes brain surgeries in record time through deep focus and mindfulness. He’s used similar techniques in Ironman triathlons, and is convinced that a wide range of professionals can learn how to find their own performance-enhancing flow state.

Andrea Abbott

Andrea Abbott is a board-certified Surgical Oncologist who received her undergraduate and medical degrees at the integrated six-year Medical School/BLA program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City; completed surgical residency training and earned a Masters in Clinical Research at the University of Minnesota; and earned a fellowship in surgical oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. In 2015, she moved to Charleston, South Carolina, where she is an Associate Professor and attending Surgical Oncologist at The Medical University of South Carolina, specializing in the surgical treatment of breast, skin, and soft-tissue cancers. She is the Medical Director for the Comprehensive Breast Program and the Director of Cancer Quality at Hollings Cancer Center at MUSC, where she devotes herself to educating and training the next generation of surgeons, mentoring medical students and residents, bringing cutting-edge treatments and surgical techniques to patients throughout the state, promoting equal access to high-quality care for all South Carolina cancer patients, recognizing the need for mental health and wellness improvements in the surgical community, and advocating for the empowerment of women in the surgical world.

Ashley Hink

Ashley is a doctor at the Medical University South Carolina, caring for trauma, burn and critically ill patients, and expanding trauma-informed care and violence prevention strategies in our health care system and to future health care providers.

Austin Fitzhenry

Wildlife biologist
Austin Fitzhenry is a third-generation Charlestonian, wildlife biologist, professional cellist, business owner, and environmental philosopher. His eclectic experiences have informed his unusual and thoughtful views of the world. Austin grew up exploring the thickets and swamps of the Lowcountry, strengthening his inborn affinity to wild creatures. Austin has been internationally published for his thoughts on higher education. While studying biology at the College of Charleston, he learned Spanish on his own in South America, tested out of calculus, and took on twice the usual number of biology courses. . As a field biologist, he’s studied coral reefs in Belize, eagles in Charleston, crocodiles in Australia, and dinosaurs in Wyoming. He has hitch-hiked through New Zealand, done home renovations in low income areas of Charleston, worked as a commercial fisherman in Alaska, and guided tourists as a professional SCUBA diver.

Bonnie Compton

Bonnie Compton, APRN, BC, CPNP is an End of Life Doula, Conscious Living & Dying Coach, Grief Educator & Guide, Child & Adolescent Therapist and Parent Coach. Bonnie is the author of the book "Mothering With Courage." As an end of life doula Bonnie helps individuals and families prepare for the death of a loved one. She understands loss, as her brother and father died suddenly when she was a teenager. Bonnie vividly remembers not being able to tell them good bye or that she loved them. Bonnie offers support and resources to help families navigate end of life decisions. She supports their loved one in consciously creating their most authentic life and death, while they are still able. Bonnie also inspires individuals, as a Conscious Living & Dying Coach to live their life with intention and create the life they want to live, no matter how young or old.

Charleston Symphony String Quartet

String Quartet
The Charleston Symphony Orchestra aka CSO, is an American orchestra based in Charleston, South Carolina and performs Masterworks and Pops series, Youth Orchestra concerts and more, at the Gaillard Center and dozens of other venues across the Lowcountry. The current roster of full-time, salaried core musicians is 24. The orchestra supplements its core by bringing more than 400 professionally auditioned guest musicians to Charleston annually

Chris Singleton

Inspirational Speaker
Chris Singleton is a former minor league baseball player drafted by the Chicago Cubs. He became a nationally-renowned speaker with a message of resilience, forgiveness and unity following the loss of his mother in the 2015 Mother Emanuel Church Tragedy in Charleston, SC. Chris now shares his message with over 60 organizations annually and his clients include: Boeing, The Houston Texans, Microsoft, Biogen, Volvo, The Washington Wizards and over 100,000 students and educators across the world. One of his children's books, Different – A Story About Loving Your Neighbor, was a best seller in its category and has been featured by numerous outlets, including The Obama Foundation. Chris' overall mission when speaking is to inspire his audiences with his story of resilience and to unite millions of people with his belief that, "Love is Stronger Than Hate."

Christian Morant

Christian Morant is an enigmatic wordsmith with uncanny curls. Most known for his enthralling level of poetry and advocacy on mental health, he also writes for and is inspired by rock, hiphop, funk, and whatever else fuels the creative vibe. Beyond music, Christian frequently performs at New York’s legendary Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Philly's nationally curated Voices In Power events, has been featured in Charleston's City Paper, and is a former director, producer, and editor in the video community. He also models, acts, and is most proud of last year’s milestone in having selections from his upcoming book published in Free Verse Press’s anthology "I Am A Furious Wish".

Dom Cooper

Dom Cooper is a licenses Massage Therapist and a small business owner. After the loss of my 16-year-old son to suicide, I had to learn how to live again. I focused on how to live with a wound that would never heal. I had to accept that my heart would never beat the same again. I have resolved to focus on making a difference in life. I speak very transparently on the aftermath of suicide, how to recover from the trauma, and even the PTSD that can be triggered from simple things. I share my everyday struggles with accepting that my son is gone from this life. My mission is to bring awareness and realization that no matter where people are in life, action steps can be taken to begin the recovery process, I hope to offer some light into the smothering darkness of depression that can lead to suicide for us who have lost a child. Grief is not a cycle, nor it is a stage we go through. Grief is a journey. One that we will always walk until our last day. My goal now is to be a guide on this journey that is forever changing in front of us.

Earl Bridges

As a TV host of THE GOOD ROAD, Earl gets to travel the world with his childhood friend and introduce audiences to the inspiring people who look at the world's most impossibly hard problems with an attitude, "I can help". Earl has also founded several tech companies which provide tools for brands to connect with their local communities and communicate who they are, by how they show up. He coined the term "Philanthropologist" to describe his role.

Euforia Borsich & Diaz

A unique performance duet combining musical and visual arts that features a Cuban-born internationally recognized artist and a renowned chef and best-selling author. Euforia is a treat for all your senses that is a showcase of collaboration and coordination.

Grace McNally

Full Circle is a project by guitarist and songwriter Grace McNally that incorporates traditional rhythms and music from Charleston SC, Central and South America. It features local Gullah gospel group The Plantation Singers, percussionist Gino Castillo, bassist Tim Khayat and pianist Abdiel Iriarte

Gracie & Lacy Miller

In 1995 sisters Gracie & Lacy produced their first show on their driveway in St. Louis, MO. “Broadway on the Driveway” became a local tradition as hundreds flocked to the performances each summer. The productions caught the eye of the media, and the traffic jams caught the eye of local law enforcement. Soon afterwards, Gracie & Lacy moved the shows to performing arts centers, producing full-length broadway-style musical for 18 summers. In 1997, the duo launched their touring sister act, Gracie & Lacy. With rave reviews in NYC (Cabaret Scenes), they have captivated audiences for 20+ years with “smooth-as-butter harmonies” (Viera Voice), power-house vocals, tap dancing, and stunning glittering couture, bridging the generations with song and dance hits from the Golden Era and new original works. The sisters now reside Charleston, SC

Jacquelyn Nagel

Engineer & Educator
Dr. Jacquelyn K. Nagel is Assistant Department Head and Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering at James Madison University (JMU). Dr. Nagel has ten+ years of engineering design experience in both industry and academia. Dr. Nagel has been actively using innovative teaching methods and pedagogies of engagement since joining JMU in 2011. In 2013, she was selected in a competitive process to attend the National Academy of Engineering's (NAE) fifth Frontiers of Engineering Education (FOEE) symposium for her innovative pedagogy. Dr. Nagel has become an internationally recognized expert for her work in the areas of bio-inspired design process and pedagogy. In 2012, Dr. Nagel was recognized by the National eWeek Foundation and IEEE-USA as one of the New Faces of Engineering for her pioneering work in bio-inspired design. In 2016, she received the SWE Distinguished New Engineer Award for her outstanding technical and leadership achievements.

Jane Kelly

The Covid pandemic reignited an age-old debate about myths and realities of health and medicine. Jane is a veteran epidemiologist and was on the front line of the pandemic as a consultant for DHEC. She brings her perspective on the challenge of finding the truth in today’s noisy world.

Jared Bramblett

Engineer & Photographer
Jared is a professional engineer with over 13 years of experience working with public and private sector clients throughout the southeast. His technical work primarily includes stormwater master plans, watershed assessments, flood mitigation and drainage improvement projects, green infrastructure design, and resilient projects and programs. Jared is also a photographer and has been documenting Charleston’s complex relationship with water over the past several years. Jared is active in Charleston’s resilience and engineering communities. He recently participated in the Dutch DialoguesTM Charleston, which was a “collaborative effort bringing together national and international water experts working alongside Charleston’s local teams to conceptualize a Living With WaterTM future.” He served on Charleston County’s Resilient Element Task Force, which studied and recommended resilience strategies to be incorporated into the County’s Comprehensive Plan. .

Jody Bell

Student and Activist
Jody Bell is currently a Junior at the Honors College at the College of Charleston. She released her organization, In Case of Deportation(, in 2018 as she noticed high school peers facing parental deportation with little-to-no resources available to them. In 2019, 16.7 million households contained at least one undocumented individual (American Immigration Council), and in many cases, these individuals are the parents of American born children. Noticing this issue firsthand, she developed her site as an informational platform that prepares children and families for potential separation. Following the release of her organization, an Associated Press article ran on the New York Times, Washington Post, and more, bringing forth a previously non-existent conversation revolving around mixed-status families. Jody is studying International Business. She hopes to continue to expand her organization and bring awareness to this commonly ignored group of children.

John Rhodes

Dr. Rhodes is a cardiologist who performs procedures for children and adults with congenital heart conditions present at birth. He graduated with honors from North Carolina State University, received his medical degree from Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, completed his Residency in Pediatrics at Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) receiving an award for outstanding senior resident for teaching and leadership, and he did his Cardiology Fellowship at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. In 2003 he became the Clinical Chief of the Children’s Heart Center at Duke University Medical Center. He then worked at the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, Florida where he was the Chief of Pediatric Cardiology and Adult Congenital, as well as Director of the Interventional Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory. In 2018, he joined the MuSC the Operations Director & an interventional specialist for children and adults with congenital heart disease.

Karen Perlmutter

Educator and Therapist
After earning her undergraduate degree through the University of South Carolina in 2003, Karen began working with teens and families through a therapeutic foster care agency. She pursued higher education in the field, earning her Master's in Clinical Social Work at the University of North Carolina (Wilmington) in 2007, and continuing on to becoming a Licensed Independent Social Worker. Karen has over a decade of experience working as a therapist with individuals, couples, and families. She specializes in the treatment of substance abuse and mental illness, and has developed a particular interest in supporting the holistic needs of families who are affected by these struggles. Karen has developed an evidence-based curriculum for families coping with a loved one’s substance abuse. She has also spoken in a variety of settings including community outreach events, public radio, university campuses, and treatment centers.

Keith Smalls

Keith Smalls is the founder and director of My Community’s Keeper Mentor Group. He also is a frequent speaker on community issues including gun violence prevention, criminal justice reform, and grassroots community improvement and revitalization projects. Keith was awarded his GED by the Gateway Job Corps and later attended Trident Technical College. After getting arrested at the age of 21, Keith spent 19 of the next 21 years of his life in the department of corrections. While serving time, Keith worked as a teacher’s assistant and mentored youthful offenders. One year after release, Mr. Smalls’ only son was a casualty of gun violence at the age of 17. He serves as a Community Representative for the Charleston County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) and as a Victim Impact Panel speaker for the Ninth Circuit Solicitor’s Office Juvenile Diversion Program. He’s also a member of the Tri-County Gun Violence Coordinating Council.

Kristy Pierce Danford

Collaborative Reformer
Kristy Pierce Danford is a data-guided, collaborative reformer with over two decades of experience. As founding Director for the Charleston County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC), she leads the CJCC’s transformative efforts to safely reduce jail use, face inequities, and engage the community in improving the local criminal justice system. She is an active member of the Charleston Forum Board, Executive Board of the National Network of CJCCs, and the Advisory Board for the Master of Public Administration program at the College of Charleston. She also served as a Probation and Parole Agent in SC, court services Program Manager in CT, and as a Senior Associate with the Crime and Justice Institute. She completed her undergraduate degree at Charleston Southern University where she played on the women’s soccer team. She holds a graduate certificate in Public and Nonprofit Management from the UConn and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the College of Charleston.

Leon Geter

Dr. Leon T. Geter currently serves as the Chair, Benedict College Department of the Criminal Justice Administration and Social Sciences (CJASS). As well as, the Founding Director, Benedict College Center for Cybersecurity. Dr. Geter has served as the Principal Investigator (PI) of the Benedict College Cybersecurity Initiative, that was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). Dr. Geter chairs an annual cybersecurity Symposium.

Mahoganee Amiger

Mahoganee Amigér is a Gullah Geechee native artist of South Carolina. She is a creative and multi-disciplinary certified teaching artist. Recording Artist, songwriter, poet, content creator, visual artist and music cultural preservationist who believes in art advocacy through strategic partnerships.

Michael Bauerschmidt

Michael is Founder and Medical Director for Deeper Healing Medical Wellness Center. He learned firsthand about the current deficiencies in our time-honored system of care from the patient side of the table. I have been able to meld my formal training from the Ohio State University College of Medicine honed by 43 years of practice with my "School of Hard Knocks" diploma into a reproducible paradigm of evaluation and treatment that has been clinically validated to improve health and provide a roadmap to follow for continued vitality. He has degrees from the University of South Florida and the University of Toledo and past president of the American College of the Advancement of Medicine.

Natalie Hauff

Natalie Caula Hauff is a Deputy Director of the Charleston County Public Library, where she directs innovative programs and services. Previously, Hauff spent almost a decade as a journalist, reporting on radio, TV and newspaper, and earned a Pulitzer Prize while reporting with a Post & Courier team on a series about domestic violence. She currently serves on the American Library Association's Public Awareness Committee, is the Chair of the Board of Director's of My Sister's House, a non-profit supporting victims of domestic violence, and serves as mentor and leadership coach. She is Cuban-American and lives in Wando with her husband, Chris, and 5-year-old son, Jonah.

Paige Knowlson

Paige is an occupational therapist by trade, non-profit executive by chance and opportunity. She leads Pattison's Academy, an organization that improves the lives of individuals with disabilities and empowers their families through comprehensive programs. In addition to oversight of direct programming, She is a fierce advocate for the inclusion of individuals with disabilities, using Pattison's and her state level advocacy work to break down the barriers between these individuals and their communities.

Patrick Bryant

Patrick Bryant is a serial entrepreneur, professional speaker and co-founder/CEO of Charleston-based software product agency CODE/+TRUST/. After co-founding his first company, Go To Team, the largest staff video provider in the US, and taking it to 25 offices around the US 25 years ago, his bio is then a steady stream of starting new businesses in media, rolling papers and software. In total he's launched six (and counting) multi-million dollar companies, some in less than two years time. In addition to his many successful startups, Patrick serves as co-director of Start Up Grind DC, and currently chairs the Harbor Entrepreneur Center in Charleston, SC. He's recognized as a Liberty Fellow, a Riley Fellow, a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and Entrepreneur Organization Certified Speaker.

Raven Saunders

Olympic Champion
Raven Saunders is a Chalreston born track and field athlete who competes in the shot put and discus throw. She was the silver medalist in shot put at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, throwing a distance of 19.79 m (64 ft 11 in). She won three NCAA collegiate titles in the shot put for the University of Mississippi. She was a world junior medalist in 2014 and the Pan American junior champion in 2015. She holds a personal record of 19.96 m (65 ft 5+3⁄4 in) for the shot put. Saunders attended Burke High School in Charlestonand competed in track and field while there. In April 2014 she broke the national high school record for the shot put with a mark of 17.27 m (56 ft 7+3⁄4 in). She was nominated as the Gatorade Female Track and Field Athlete of the Year for her efforts She has also worked as an advocate for racial justice and mental health.

Russell Reagan

Horticulturist + Entrepreneur
Russell's career began in 2004 at North Carolina State University, where he received my Bachelor’s of Horticultural Science and was captain of the rugby club. While attending school he worked part time jobs at the JC Raulston Arboretum and Phytotron Environmental Control Laboratories. During this time, he earned his Pesticide Applicator’s License and Plant Professional Certification. Upon graduation, he took a position as a landscape maintenance crew leader with Bland Landscaping and have been working in landscaping since. Currently, he is a self employed landscaper and gardener and soldier in the SC National Guard. While in Charleston,he was named Employee of the Year at Good Natured Gardening two consecutive years as their Senior Supervisor. In 2016 he entered the ranks of management and accepted the position of Maintenance Manager for Carolina Landscape. March of 2019 he began the exciting adventure of self employment with the formation of Old Hickory Landscaping.

Sam Norton

Entrepreneur + Farmer
Sam Norton, founder of the seawater agriculture company Heron Farms, is a graduate student in the College of Charleston’s Master of Environmental Studies program. He was raised on the coast of South Carolina surrounded by marsh and ocean, where he first developed his interest in the role of halophytes in the coastal environment. Norton’s research on the use of saltmarsh plants for seawater agriculture won the South Carolina Department of Agriculture’s annual ACRE competition and his start-up Heron Farms won first place in Charleston’s Harbor Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program. He is currently writing his Master’s thesis on the commercial feasibility of indoor seawater hydroponic agriculture and the effect of LED spectra on halophyte biomass and morphology.

Stephanie Dasher

Stephanie Dasher is the Executive Director of the Warrior Surf Foundation and helps lead the foundation in program growth, strategic planning, and community engagement. Before working for Warrior Surf Foundation, Stephanie spent five years in the United States Navy and then earned her degree in Nuclear Engineering Sciences and Technology. Drawing on inspiration from Leonardo Di Vinci and his creative take on problem-solving she went on to receive a degree from Savannah College of Art & Design in Visual Communication and Graphic Design. Stephanie owns her photography and graphic design consulting business, though her primary focus has become the upward growth of the Warrior Surf Foundation. Her personal life experiences with PTSD have given her a passion for Veteran advocacy and have driven her desire to push for expanded Veteran services and access to alternative therapies. She has been married to an Army Combat Veteran for 15 years and has 4 beautiful children, who keep her and everyone at Warrior Surf Foundation on their toes. Stephanie enjoys surfing, photography, and any opportunity to experience the great outdoors.

Stephen Washington

Charleston native, Stephen Washington is arguably one of the most skillful piano virtuosos of his time. Born to musical parents, it’s no surprise to hear that his first instrument was the drums at age 5. He began to teach himself the piano at the age of 9 and has been playing at his dad’s church since the early age of 11. Stephen’s musical journey continued throughout his teenage and early adult years playing for the College of Charleston’s Gospel choir and other local gospel singers and groups. He has been privilaged to play for national recording artists Cee Cee Winans, Gospel mega star Travis Greene, American Rock band Hootie and the Blowfish, and many other notable artists across genres. Stephen has traveled extensively throughout the world to include countries such as Madrid, Spain and Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia spreading the healing power of music to the masses. His passion for music has always been at the forefront of who he is and outside of his boundless musical capabilities, he’s most known for his abilty to be a phemonemal band leader while maintaining a consitant team player attitude. Today, Stephen can be found as the Musical Director for powerhouse vocalist and fellow hometown celebrity, Quiana Parler (Ranky Tanky) and her legendary band; Quiana Parler & Friends. He is a keyboardist for American Idol Season 11 finalist, Elise Testone, the Black Diamond Band, BlackNoyze band, the Zandrina Dunning Experience, and is a member of Nashville singer/songwriter Patrick Davis’ Midnight Choir. Stephen also writes and produces for several other musical projects both locally and nationally.

Steven Rosenzweig

Cancer Researcher + Educator
Steve lost both his parents to cancer; his mother when he was nine and his father ten years later. Consequently, when he began his career as a researcher, cancer became a focus of his work. Steve’s first exposure to research occurred when he was a senior in college, which was his entryway to scientific research leading to a Master’s degree in Physiology from Wayne State University School of Medicine and a Ph.D. in Physiology/Molecular Endocrinology from the University of Toronto. Steve was appointed Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Cell Biology at Yale University School of Medicine after completing three years of postdoctoral training in the Department of Cell Biology. In 1991 he was recruited to the Department of Cell and Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at the Medical University of South Carolina, where he is currently a Professor and the Associate Director of Shared Resources at Hollings Cancer Center.

Sydney Ford

Sydney Ford is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a degree in Public Relations, and a graduate of the Emory University School of Law where she obtained her juris doctorate degree. She is currently employed at Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services. Formerly, she was an Assistant Public Defender in the juvenile division of the DeKalb County Public Defender’s Office for several years, and followed this path because of the number of grieving children involved in the juvenile justice system. Sydney’s article on trauma-informed pretrial diversion programs for our grieving youth in the juvenile justice system is available in the Northwestern Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology Online. She has also testified for the South Carolina Joint Committee on Children about grief resources for children into South Carolina schools and presented to The Gault Center Southern Region on trauma-informed care for those grieving in the juvenile justice system.

Watoto Dance Ensemble of Meeting Street School

Featuring students from the Watoto Academy of the Performing Arts at Meeting Street School, this stage production entitled The Happy People features the music, costuming and movements from African to Cuba, Brazil, Puerto Rico the Caribbean. It is a colorful, exciting festival on stage representing cultural diversity through the arts.

Zandrina Dunning

Performer and Producer
Zandrina Dunning is a Charleston-based singer/songwriter and event producer originally from Boston. She performs all genres of music ranging from opera to soul/funk to country. She is a mother to her beautiful daughter, London. Zandrina studied classical music and musical theater at South Carolina State University, receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Industry/Vocal Music in 2004. Zandrina has performed with local and national recording artists, including Multi-Grammy Award winner George Benson, Nashville singer/songwriter Patrick Davis, Darius Rucker and Mark Bryan of Hootie & The Blowfish, Elise Testone, and more. She has performed around the world, including the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, in Cuba with international jazz percussionist Gino Castillo, and in Liberia with the Save More Kids.. Zandrina performs in Charleston with local bands and with her own project, The Zandrina Dunning Experience.

Organizing team


Charleston, SC, United States