x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Roots

This event occurred on
January 7, 2023
Gainesville, Florida
United States

The mission of TEDxGainesville is to highlight local individuals and stories to open minds and transform the Greater Gainesville community. A central goal of this year’s event is to explore origin stories and customs of our diverse local community and beyond, uniting our varied sectors and populations based on common ground and shared experiences. We will be assembling a panel of speakers and performers that embody the spirit of heritage and inspire our audience with new ideas. By unifying our community’s stakeholders in determination and resolve, we seek to strengthen the bonds that will allow our community to thrive and continue to grow.

20 N Main St
Gainesville, Florida, 32601
United States
Event type:
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Heather Hansen

Author and self advocacy expert
Heather Hansen helps clients advocate for their ideas, their teams, their businesses and themselves with the tools of a trial attorney. As a result, they turn the people around them into their advocates. Heather’s twenty years as a trial attorney gave her the tools to persuade diverse groups of people to see different perspectives and give her wins. She has shared these tools with teams at Google, Sav A Tree, Bimbo Bakeries, LinkedIn, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services and LVMH. She’s presented at Harvard Business School, Stanford Law School, and to audiences in Kuwait, Ireland, Mexico and across the United States. Heather is the author of The Elegant Warrior-How to Win Life’s Trials Without Losing Yourself and Advocate to Win: 10 Tools to Ask for What You Want and Get It. She has appeared on The Today Show, CNN, NBC, CBS News, Fox News Channel and Fox Business. Heather believes that facts tell, stories sell, and advocates win.

Jenny Susser

Human Performance expert, emphasis: human.
Sport Psychologist, teacher, pusher of all-things performance, in-your-corner specialist. A recovering resilience-a-holic, understanding the need for more than just a bounce back led to discovering the potential of replenishing personal energy to get the mind and body right. While the highlight of an All-American swimming career was NOT making the Olympic Team, it placed her firmly on a path of curiosity, passion, and perhaps obsession toward unlocking the code to high performance. Dr. Jenny’s philosophy is as eclectic as her methods, reflected in a wide range of tools combining heart, science, and performance to help others find the personal power they seek.

John Diggs

Author, Love Life Coach, Master Mind Mappineer
John Diggs is a former professional football player turned businessman, who, after losing everything he owned, including his family, went on to become a Certified Love Life Coach and Master Mind Mappineer to now live a life full of excellent health, extraordinary wealth, enormous success, and extreme happiness! John lives in Val Vista Lakes, Arizona and loves spending quality time with his three daughters and social dancing around the world.

Katie McCleary and Jennifer Edwards

Bridge Builders
Jennifer Edwards and Katie McCleary, are passionate about creating healthy relationships between diverse people in a polarizing world. As Fortune 500 leadership and communication coaches, they equip people to engage in curious conversations that open up meaningful dialogue in even the most tense of encounters. Jennifer and Katie are “work wives” who personally know the transformative power of collaboration between diverse, talented, and smart people. They embrace their own dichotomies of being Conservative/Liberal; Country/Rock-n-Roll; Christian/Buddhist; Executive/Creative and have helped thousands find the sweet spot in their relationships by transforming how they show up, think, behave, and connect. Inc. magazine named their book, Bridge the Gap, as 1 of 3 business books to read in 2022. Their work has appeared in Fast Company, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Inc., NPR, New York Post, Shondaland, and ComputerWorld.

La'Kendra Garrison

Host, TEDxGainesville
La’Kendra was born and raised in Gainesville, FL. She has a master’s degree in public relations from Full Sail University. La’Kendra has worked more than 15 years in Corporate America with several years of leadership experience, as well as over a decade of communications work in the religious and non-profit sector. In 2017, La’Kendra begin her entrepreneurial journey and launched Integrity Orchid Consulting, LLC, an event management company. During the global pandemic in 2020, La’Kendra launched to assist with business planning, strategic communications, and creative projects. In her spare time, La’Kendra loves working at her church and volunteering. She currently holds board positions with Dream on Purpose and the University of Florida’s Association of Black Alumni. La’Kendra also serves as an ambassador for Gainesville Black Professionals. La’Kendra is the mother to one emerging adult son, Jai’Lyn, who is looking forward to his 2021 high school graduation.

Michael Tomaino

Author, Teacher, Coach, Game Designer, Speaker, and Superhero
Michael Tomaino loves helping people of every age find their real life superpowers. As an Author, Teacher, Coach, Game Designer, Speaker, and lots more - he has been helping people find their superpowers for over fifteen years. And he is excited to help you find yours!

Mike Goldman

Leadership Team Coach
Mike Goldman is a leadership team coach and bestselling author of two books, Breakthrough Leadership Team and Performance Breakthrough. During his 35-year coaching and consulting career he’s worked with hundreds of leaders and dozens of organizations including Disney, Verizon, CHANEL and Polo Ralph Lauren. His insights have been featured in Forbes, Fast Company and Chief Executive Magazine and he’s widely regarded by CEOs as the expert on building great leaders and leadership teams. As both coach and speaker, Mike is on a mission to help CEO’s grow their business and have more impact while creating a more engaging, fulfilling environment for their team using his Breakthrough Leadership Team approach. Mike is a life-long learner. In fact, he often tells his clients that he if he’s gone ninety minutes without recommending a book, they should dial 911 because there may be a serious issue.

Oliver Telusma

Equal Justice Works Fellow- Community Justice Project
Oliver Telusma is a spoken word poet and public speaker who is the 2021-2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Community Justice Project. In this role; he will be responsible for trying to prevent COVID-fueled evictions of small businesses and residential renters at high risk of displacement in South Florida via direct legal representation, policy advocacy, and movement lawyering. He earned his Juris Doctorate at the Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando, Florida in 2021. He earned his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Florida in 2018, where he worked as a research coordinator for the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program for almost two years. In his free time, he's probably in the gym, or window shopping for sneakers.

Stephanie Alexander

Attorney, author & lecturer
Stephanie D. Alexander is a long-time spiritual seeker who has become obsessed with scaling the concepts of kindness, empathy, and compassion as taught by the great sages such as Jesus and the Buddha back into a humanity too often left hurting in isolation and loneliness. Stephanie uses her experience as an innovative legislative policy and courtroom attorney to try to make the world better for humanity and, as a board member of a consciousness institute, to help spur her mission to help bring humanity back to its spiritual center. Stephanie has been involved in major legal victories that, among other things, have shaped the scope of public education and the rights of pharmacy patients in Florida. Her practice of law shifts how society functions and her practice in life of consciously connecting with other humans opens hearts. Stephanie holds two degrees, including a law degree, from the University of Chicago.

Stephen Kohler

Founder & CEO
Stephen Kohler, Audira’s intuitive founder and CEO isn’t your ordinary executive coach or strategic thinker. He is a University of Chicago MBA-trained executive with P&L experience who led global marketing and strategy departments for several blue chip and industry-leading brands such as Weber, Kraft, and Shure. Seeking to focus his career more on the people side of business, where the true power of every organization resides, Stephen founded Audira to help people find clarity, direction and purpose in their work. On top of an accomplished business background and an immense network of functional and industry professionals, Kohler holds a BA in philosophy from Northwestern and is a passionate musician. The common thread here, which is woven into the fabric of Audira, is a desire to see people work authentically and in concert to achieve a meaningful goal. Stephen knows what magic can happen when people are all listening to each other and contributing.

Organizing team


Gainesville, FL, United States


Gainesville, FL, United States
  • Jennifer Phelps
  • Kevin Spellicy