x = independently organized TED event

Theme: We Rise

This event occurred on
May 19, 2023
Atlanta, Georgia
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).

Rialto Center for the Arts
80 Forsyth Street, NW
Atlanta, Georgia, 30303
United States
Event type:
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Alistair Dove

Marine Biologist
Alistair “Al” Dove is one of the foremost experts on the whale shark, the world’s largest fish. He is a leading voice in marine research and education inspiring audiences around the world with his passion, expertise and storytelling skills. From the depths of the Arctic Ocean to the coral reefs of the Caribbean, Al has explored and documented the biodiversity of some of the most inhospitable environments on Earth. His work has contributed to our understanding of the complex and interconnected ecosystems that make up our blue planet. As Vice President of Science and Education at the Georgia Aquarium, he leads education, research and conservation initiatives and spearheads partnerships with other institutions. His work with policymakers and industry leaders have contributed to advancing sustainable marine resource management and conservation practices.

Amol Khanapurkar & Sai Kishore Ravisankar

Classical Indian Musicians
Tabalchi Amol Khanapurkar and flutist Sai Kishore Ravisankar are accomplished musicians who have separately performed on All India Radio and on various stages in India and the United States. Amol has performed the tabla for former Indian Prime Ministers Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Bharat Ratna Shri Rajiv Gandhi. Today, despite their respective non-musical careers, Amol and Sai carve out time to collaborate musically as part of various international musical collectives.

Anant Madabhushi

AI Health Researcher
How can AI be used to save cancer patients from chemically and financially toxic treatment options? How can AI accelerate advances in precision medicine? These questions drive Anant Madabhushi’s pioneering research which improves diagnostic and prognostic accuracy of cancer and other diseases. He is a faculty member at Emory University’s Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering and Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering. A world-leading authority on medical imaging and AI with more than 500 scientific papers and 100 patents to his name, Anant received the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society award in 2017 for technical achievements in computational imaging and digital pathology. Resources:

Andrew McConnell

Entrepreneur, Author
Andrew McConnell believes the keys to living well in a chaotic world lay in the ancient Greek philosophy of Stoicism. He is the CEO of, a company that helps property owners maximize their rental income and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of “Get Out of My Head: Creating Modern Clarity with Stoic Wisdom.” In the book, Andrew illustrates how Stoic principles helped him navigate the peaks and valleys of his entrepreneurial journey and his experiences as a management consultant working with some of the world’s largest enterprises. Andrew is a contributor to Forbes, Inc., and Huffington Post and also pays it forward as an advisor to early-stage technology companies.

ConunDrums Group

Drumming Group
ConunDrums is a diverse community of women drawn together by the call of the drums of West Africa. Their high energy, interactive performances are centered on the centuries-old musical tradition of the Mandingue and the teachings of master djembefola Mamady Keita and other master drummers.

Debra Lam

Inclusive Innovation Champion
Debra Lam believes that technology can be a force for good and inclusion. She is passionate about creating more equitable, resilient and sustainable communities through innovation. Debra has worked with cities nationwide and those in the United Kingdom, Taiwan and Hong Kong on addressing climate change, urbanization and social inequality. Debra is the founding director of the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation in Georgia and previously served as the city of Pittsburgh’s first Chief Innovation Officer. Apolitical named Debra a top 100 most influential people in digital government. She is an Atlanta Business Chronicle and Georgia Trend 40under40 honoree and serves on the U.S. Department of Commerce Internet of Things Advisory Board.

Dr. Anthony Law

Laryngologist, Research Scientist
Dr. Anthony Law’s ground-breaking research is forging a new frontier in laryngeal cancer detection and treatment. A board certified head and neck surgeon with broad experience in mathematical modeling and computational models, Anthony’s research and clinical interests converge with his focus on applying machine learning to characterize and categorize diseases of the voice box. His vision is to make voice a biomarker for disease. Anthony is a member of the Emory Voice Center team where he treats patients with disorders involving voice, airway, and swallowing using a wide array of techniques ranging from open surgery, endoscopic minimally invasive surgery, and laser surgery. He also holds a faculty position at Emory University School of Medicine’s Department of Otolaryngology.

Dr. Monisha Pujari

Hospice and Palliative Care Physician
Dr. Monisha Pujari believes that striving to die well is an extension of striving to live well and she has dedicated her life to helping patients proactively manage their decline. With more than a decade of experience as a palliative and hospice care physician, Monisha is known among her peers for her novel approach that offers terminal patients the option of hospice care in the home setting. She currently serves as Longleaf Hospice’s medical director. Monisha is board certified in hospice and palliative care in addition to holding a Hospice Medical Director certification. She received her internal medicine training at the Mayo Clinic.

Gerry Chen

Technologist Gerry Chen envisions a future where robots will be universally perceived as empowering vs threatening. His fascination with robotics and autonomous vehicles began after watching a 2006 documentary about the DARPA Grand Challenge featuring self-driving cars. This passion persisted throughout his years pursuing an undergraduate degree at Duke University when he co-led the Duke Electric Vehicles team that broke the Guinness Book of World Records for vehicle fuel efficiency in 2018 and 2019. Gerry is now a doctoral candidate at the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines at Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing where he studies artist-robot collaboration. He has also authored several publications in the fields of robot art, optimal control, and agricultural robotics.

Isabel González Whitaker

Civic Engagement Evangelist
Isabel González Whitaker believes engaging civically is not only a right, it is every citizen’s responsibility. She is a dynamic storyteller with a successful journalism and media career spanning over two decades. From covering the fashion runways of Paris and Milan to exploring the cultures of South America and Asia, Isabel has interviewed some of the biggest names in entertainment, including Jennifer Lopez, Oprah Winfrey, and Beyoncé, as well as political figures like former President Bill Clinton. Her mother’s sudden death when Isabel was 35 years old set her on a transformative journey from civics neophyte to evangelist. Today, she is the chief operating officer of All in Together, a nonprofit dedicated to equipping voting-age American women with action-oriented, nonpartisan civic education so that they may realize their full potential as leaders shaping our nation.

JahWill Fannings

Singer, song-writer
When not studying for his undergraduate degree in music technology at Georgia Tech, JahWill Fannings is a multihyphenate: Multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter-producer, mixing engineer and graphic artist. Not satisfied with just one genre, JahWill’s musical expressions come to life through pop and hip-hop.

Joe Bankoff

Constitutional Law Scholar, Civic Leader
Joe Bankoff believes that protecting the tenets of representative democracy is the cornerstone to building more sustainable, equitable and resilient communities. He is passionate about solving global challenges. Joe has a wealth of experience in the law, arts, and technology having served as president and CEO of Atlanta’s Robert W. Woodruff Arts Center and as a senior litigation partner at King & Spalding. In 2012, he was appointed chair of the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech. Today, he continues to make an impact as a professor of international affairs. Active in the community, he chairs the boards of the Fulton County Arts Council, which awards over $1 million annually in support of the arts, and the Georgia Foreign Trade Zone. Atlanta magazine named him to the Atlanta 500 in 2019 and in 2020 he was awarded the Honorary Alumni Award by Georgia Tech.

Kris Braman

Entomologist, Bee Advocate
Kris leads the Department of Entomology at the University of Georgia and her research not only advances our scientific understanding of insects, it has also informed public policy on issues such as pesticide use and environmental protection. The sustainable pest management practices developed by her team has helped farmers around the world reduce their reliance on harmful chemicals and increase their yields. For her contributions in the field, Kris has received numerous awards including the Entomological Society of America’s Distinguished Achievement Award in Horticultural Entomology and Georgia Green Industry Association’s Environmental Friend of the Industry Award.

Moe Ari Brown

Therapist, LGBTQIA+ Advocate
As a transgender, non-binary person and a licensed marriage and family therapist, Moe Ari Brown brings a unique perspective when helping others navigate identity, relationships and belonging in a diverse world. He is passionate about helping LGBTQIA+ individuals and allies find their authentic selves and connect with others in meaningful ways. Moe Ari envisions a world where we all embrace our innate authenticity and diversity so that all people experience belonging and love just for being who they are and has been featured in a broad array of media outlets from USA Today to Out Magazine to Discover Magazine.

Omer Inan

Biomedical Engineer
Omer Inan creates medical devices and systems that improve human health and well-being. He believes that wearable technology can revolutionize healthcare by providing personalized feedback, improving diagnosis, and enhancing treatment. A smart patch that measures fluid accumulation in the lungs of heart failure patients, a wireless device that monitors joint inflammation in arthritis patients, and a wearable system that can track muscle activity and fatigue in athletes are just some of projects powered by his research. Omer is Professor and Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Chair in Bioscience and Bioengineering in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Adjunct Professor in the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech. His work has earned him numerous accolades, including an Academy Award for Technical Achievement and the IEEE Sensors Council Young Professional Award.

Rob Hardy

Filmmaker, Director
Celebrated filmmaker and director Rob Hardy is known for his groundbreaking work on hit shows such as STARZ’s Power Book III: Raising Kanan, The CW’s All American, and BET Network’s The Quad to name a few. His directorial genius has been recognized by top industry publications with Entertainment Weekly naming episodes of Power and All American to ‘The 30 Best TV Episodes” in 2018 and 2020. He continues to direct some of TV’s hottest shows, including Prodigal Son, Evil, Shameless, Black-ish, The Flash, and Grey’s Anatomy. A 2014 NAACP Image Award nominee, Rob is credited for being a foundational force in Atlanta’s thriving television and film production industry. He co-founded nonprofit The Amazing Stories Foundation to train and place apprentices from diverse backgrounds on film and TV sets.

Susan Cohen

Entrepreneurship Researcher
Susan Cohen is a leading scholar on entrepreneurship and innovation and one of the foremost experts on startup accelerators. Her work explores how entrepreneurs and corporate managers can navigate technological transitions and create new markets. An award-winning faculty member at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, Susan’s research has been published in top academic journals including the Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science and Strategic Management Journal and featured by the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Economist. Susan is a sought-after speaker regularly presenting at conferences in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and across the U.S. She began her career in product and brand strategy and was a member of Priceline’s founding team. Resources

Sydney Scherr

Child Re-Trafficking Prevention Champion
Sydney Scherr is a renowned jewelry designer and educator who is dedicating her life to ending the re-trafficking of children. Over the last three decades, Sydney was a sought-after jewelry designer creating award-winning, museum quality pieces for appreciative clients from her studio and teaching college-level jewelry design. But a chance encounter during her seven-year stint living and teaching jewelry design in Malaysia changed everything. While vacationing in Cambodia, Sydney met the two girls and their mom who sparked her interest in joining the fight against human trafficking. She is the founder of The Alchemy Design Project, a program that seeks to end the re-trafficking of children in the commercial sex trade by equipping survivors with skills that will help them achieve financial independence when they are reintegrated into the community.

Tara Stoinski

Primatologist, Conservationist
Renowned primatologist Tara Stoinski has studied gorillas for over 20 years and her research has been instrumental in developing conservation strategies for these majestic creatures, including the creation of new protected areas and the establishment of community-based conservation programs. In recognition of her extraordinary contributions to the field of conservation, Tara has received numerous awards and honors, including the prestigious Indianapolis Prize, widely considered to be the Nobel Prize of conservation. Her work has also been featured in a number of documentaries, including the acclaimed film “Virunga,” which chronicles the efforts to protect gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The National Geographic Magazine, CNN and NPR are just some of the press outlets that have covered Tara’s work. She is the president and CEO of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

Organizing team


Atlanta, GA, United States
  • Gabriella Marvin
  • Sophie Desert