x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Freedom Dreaming

This event occurred on
May 4, 2023
Cortland, New York
United States

Robin Kelley reminds us that, “Without new visions we don’t know what to build, only what to knock down. We not only end up confused, rudderless, and cynical, but we forget that making a revolution is not a series of clever maneuvers and tactics but a process that can and must transform us.” Join us as we freedom dream and imagine new worlds--together.

SUNY Cortland
22 Graham Ave
Cortland, New York, 13405
United States
Event type:
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

"Relentess" Royal Tanis

Motivational Speaker
Relentless Royal is a multipurpose problem solver with a heart to serve humanity. He overcame daunting childhood challenges that led him to become a popular youth motivational speaker based in New York City. Relentless Royal helps people overcome trauma by sharing his life experiences, and through compassion and creativity. He offers motivational speaking assemblies and mentorship programs for at-risk students, grades 6th through 12. Relentless Royal finds great joy in helping youth beat the odds stacked against them.

Aasha Ealy

Aasha has bachelor’s degrees in sociology, English and ethnic studies from Santa Clara University and earned her law degree from the University of West Los Angeles. Aasha was founder and president of the University of West Los Angeles chapter of the National Black Law Students Association and is a member of the Ambitious Women of Color Association and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. In addition, Aasha is a personal fitness trainer and leads a fitness ministry program.

Lee Bonvissuto

Lee (they/them) wants to dismantle systems that silence voices in our society so that we’re listening to — and being led by — more types of people. As founder of PresentVoices, Lee helps people communicate with more comfort and helps organizations build inclusive cultures. Combining backgrounds in neuropsychology and theater direction, Lee started doing this work in public hospitals, helping front-line staff communicate in high-stakes settings. Since then, Lee has helped thousands of people across industries be more powerfully present at the world’s leading companies. Their work has been featured in Forbes, Success Magazine, Harvard Business Review, Bustle, Real Simple, and Communications Week.

Marcus Bell

Assistant Professor
Marcus is an assistant professor of sociology and a Diversity Faculty Fellow at SUNY Cortland. In his work, Marcus explores processes of ideology, inequality and identity, focusing on how they intersect, contradict and reinforce one another in individual and collective experience. Broadly speaking, Marcus uses qualitative methods to decompose the numerous, and at times, conflicting ways that racial ideology, racial inequality and racial identity are constructed and experienced, and how these processes change over time. He has published widely on the topic of racial identity, and he teaches courses on race and ethnicity, social stratification, crime and punishment, and the sociology of hip-hop.

Natasha Ickes-Saman

Natasha Ickes-Saman is a seasoned entrepreneur with a passion to help people reframe their challenges into opportunities so they can be happier and more fulfilled. She overcame significant challenges to open and own Shear Passion Salon in Oakland, California. In her salon, she annually spends thousands of hours speaking to individuals about trauma, challenges and adversity. In her search to understand more about the human psyche, she earned an Associate of Arts Degree in Social Science and a Professional Communications Certification from Harvard University Extension School. She is now an author, life coach and motivational speaker.

Otto Janke

Otto Janke C.D. is in private chiropractic practice in Cortland, N.Y., owning Janke Family Chiropractic for more than 30 years. His focus has been to help, coach, persuade, educate, lead, serve as an example and offer an occasional kick in the butt to his patients to do what’s needed to make the most of their next decades. He is the author of a book, “You Were Born to Be Healthy,” which takes a holistic approach, offering 11 steps for improving health, quality of life and longevity. Otto has published numerous articles and has an active speaking schedule.

Renee Heitmann

Renee is a lecturer in SUNY Cortland’s Performing Arts Department and the Hamilton College Music Department in Clinton, N.Y. She is a critically acclaimed soprano, and has been a professional musician and performing artist for the last 17 years - singing, voice teaching, and taking on a number of other creative roles. Renee also writes, directs, and produces musical revues. Her long-time residency in Astoria, Queens brought many other facets of her life into focus, including her philanthropy/baking venture, Single Girl Cookies. Renee holds a Masters of Music from Temple University in Philadelphia, and a Bachelors of Music from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey.

Sarah Pospos

Sarah Pospos M.D., M.S. is a perinatal and sports psychiatrist and former student athlete who serves patients in California through her own telehealth enterprise, Lifestyle Telepsychiatry. She completed her psychiatry residency as a chief resident at UCLA-Kern and has published extensively on burnout and depression. She is devoted to helping others feel their best again by incorporating exercise, nutrition, sleep, stress and time management - something she has learned a lot about as a working psychiatrist and mother of two children under the age of 2 - and other sustainable lifestyle changes.

Shena Driscoll Salvato

Lecturer and Entrepreneur
Shena began to Follow Leads Intuitively Trusting (FLIT) as a child nestled in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest and then traveled widely. She revels in contrast and finds inspiration and freedom in many forms of water and earth, preferring remote areas brimming with natural beauty. A university lecturer since 2006, she works in the field of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages in the Modern Languages Department at SUNY Cortland and in English for International Students and Scholars at Cornell University. Additionally, she is Founder and Idea Actualization Guide at Live My Passion Now and a core contributor at Elan Vitae magazine.

Todd Kane

Speaker & Author
Todd Kane is a hairstylist, speaker, author, and experienced leader who has spent over 30 years developing the talents of diverse people in both the military and private sectors. In his first book, "Hide & Seek, There’s No Truth in Fear," Todd shares his personal experiences of choosing safety over uncomfortable truths and introduces his FIND methodology, which helps individuals and organizations overcome fear and navigate difficult conversations with integrity. He is an experienced speaker and facilitator who frequently presents authenticity, diversity, and inclusion across the country.

Organizing team