x = independently organized TED event

Theme: RISE

This event occurred on
January 27, 2023
Hamilton, Montana
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).

Bitterroot River Inn & Conference Center
139 Bitterroot Plaza Drive
Hamilton, Montana, 59840
United States
Event type:
Standard (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Britnee Kinard

Military Caregiver Consultant & Advocate
In 2005, Britnee Kinard’s husband, US Army Specialist, Douglas Kinard, was critically injured in Iraq by an IED, resulting in a severe traumatic brain injury which left him in a coma for 3 days. He retired from the US Army and she became his full time caregiver. In 2014, Britnee founded the SD Gunner Fund, a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to veterans, children with disabilities and first responders. She also owns Britnee Kinard, LLC where she consults with companies and speaks to organizations nationwide to educate and inspire, showing how critical courage is to live a life of impact and purpose while also raising awareness about military caregivers. Britnee also offers programs to companies/ organizations that feature education, training and resources on service dog laws, to include ADA / HUD / FHA.

Byron Caughey

Senior Investigator Chief, TSE/prion Biochemistry Section Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases NIH/NIAID Rocky Mountain Laboratories
Byron Caughey, PhD, is a biochemist at Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. After graduate work at the Universities of Wisconsin-Madison and London, and post-doctoral work at Duke University, he moved to RML in Hamilton in 1986. His lab’s research has focused mostly on neurodegenerative diseases caused by protein misfolding, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and prion diseases. Their recent discoveries range from solving the first structures of highly infectious and deadly prion pathogens to developing much-needed ultra-sensitive and accurate diagnostic tests for a variety of protein misfolding diseases. He has published over 250 scientific papers and served as an editor of several scientific journals.

denise rose

Executive Director, Hamilton Players
denise rose, who has not capitalized her name since the 7th grade, is the Executive Director of Hamilton Players, a local nonprofit community theater. She is also the owner of Rose Grant Works and Consulting. denise has worn many hats in her lifetime. She worked as a massage therapist, a line cook, a trail guide, a lab tech at the University of Washington – Department of Pharmaceutics in the Regional Primate Research Center, and a lodge hostess/fish processor/deckhand in Alaska. In addition to her work history, denise has volunteered with many nonprofits over the past 20+ years. In 2018, denise received a professional certificate in nonprofit management, followed by her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Montana.

Jesse Bradley

Pastor, Speaker, Author
Jesse Bradley is a pastor, speaker, author and former professional athlete. After graduating from Dartmouth College, his childhood dream came true, playing professional soccer as a goalkeeper in Zimbabwe. A prescribed medication built up toxic levels in his system and ended his career. He was fighting for his life for one year, and it took ten years to fully recover. In this tragedy, Jesse discovered a hope greater than his challenges with a new purpose and passion. Jesse authentically brings hope to millions of people around the world through daily conversations, empowering videos, and media appearances like Good Morning America. Jesse serves in many roles, including pastoring Grace Community Church, a vibrant multiethnic congregation. Jesse and his wife, Laurie, have four children and a patient dog named Bella.

Jonwyn Ayres

College Student, Ranching Advocate
Jonwyn Ayres, a fifth-generation rancher raised in Western Montana and Southern Oregon, is passionate about empowering others to be advocates. The reoccurring news headline of cattle’s presumed negative impact on the environment is an unanswered question the beef industry must answer. Many people in the industry have avoided this question; one young cattle producer has done her research. Jonwyn has stepped forward to convey to consumers that cattle offer a solution to global environmental problems. Jonwyn is now a college student pursuing an undergraduate degree in Agriculture Economics and planning to continue on to law school. Ranching has been a way of life for Jonwyn, and she now realizes the importance of encouraging people in the industry to speak up and tell their stories.

Mallory Ottariano

Apparel Designer
The day she graduated with an Architecture degree, she bought a $100 sewing machine on eBay and started sewing clothes she sold online. That has since turned into multi-million dollar clothing brand Youer, based out of Missoula Montana. Her career as an apparel designer and business leader has led her to be an impactful voice for American manufacturing. Mallory is leading the apparel industry in Montana while she works to build her own factory to support her brand and others. Her storytelling and educating on the apparel industry has been shared in Forbes, Inc Magazine, Outside Magazine, and Buzzfeed. She lives in Lolo Montana with her husband Jeff and their dog Luna where she enjoys the many recreation opportunities the Bitterroots offer.

Mara Luther

Bookstore Owner
Mara has lived full-time in the Bitterroot Valley for 19 years and has been peddling books at Chapter One Book Store since 2005. In bookselling, she has found the sweet spot between serving her community and constantly learning something new. Mother to an hilarious 9 year-old, she also makes time to pursue multiple types of storytelling in art, music, writing and performing. Recently, she finished a degree in literature and creative writing and looks forward to a life of continued learning. Constantly amazed at our very own “backyard”, Mara loves to cross country ski, hike, kayak, backpack and had the divine experience of hosting the St. Mary’s Peak Lookout last summer.

Mary-Ann Sontag

Associate Professor, University of Montana, LCSW
Mary-Ann Sontag is an Associate Professor at the University of Montana with professional expertise in loss, grief, and end-of- life care. Reflecting a commitment to using her position and privilege in service to others, Mary-Ann is a past Chair of the University of Montana Faculty Senate, works collaboratively with colleagues and students to expand and enhance mental and behavioral health services across Montana, and is an active community volunteer. Mary-Ann has three degrees, including a Ph.D, from the University of California at Berkeley and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Mike Turner

Mike Turner is a seventy-two year old retiree, who lives happily in a multi-generational home with his oldest daughter and one great grandson. He also lives close to his son and enjoys frequent visits and conversations. He has five adult grand- children and nine great grand-children that live close enough for frequent interaction. He also has another daughter, two adult granddaughters, and one great grandchild who live in another state. He enjoys many activities with his family, like hunting, fishing, and camping. Retired in his hometown, he has re-established old friendships and started new ones. Mike supports and attends local high school activities, veteran groups, and is president of his local Toastmasters club.

Nancy Bevins

Film Writer & Producer
Nancy Ann Bevins moved to the Bitterroot Valley in 2019 and likes to remind folks ... it was BEFORE the pandemic. Writing and producing films in LA and Montana, Bevins thrives on storytelling. Working with St. Francis church, she was instrumental in getting Father Stu into the Pharoahplex theatre. Bevins frequently lends a hand to productions happening across the state. Casting background for a recent Zombie / Cuisine movie. Budgets for Kung Fu flicks, Creative producer for a ghostly drama shot outside Corvallis. Coming up is an actress running from the Mob. As an award-winning screenwriter her stories reveal human frailties intertwined with grace and in the end.... redemption. Bevins shares her Florence home “with a view” with her husband and Zappa the cat.

Saundra Amsden

Lieutenant Commander, US Navy, Retired
Saundra Amsden was born & raised in Montana. A graduate of Hamilton High School and the University of Montana, receiving her BA degrees in Small Business and Information Systems. She joined the U.S. Navy in 1989 and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander before retiring in 2009. She attended the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and received her Master’s Degree in Computer Science. Saundra returned to the Bitterroot Valley after retiring. She now focuses her volunteer activities to improve the lives of women and girls in our local community. Saundra lives in Corvallis with her partner Heidi and their two cats. Her father lives in Hamilton and she has two adult children, Danielle and Nathan. She loves gardening and the Montana seasons...her perfect life.

Steve Fullerton

Radio Broadcaster
Steve Fullerton was born in the Bitterroot and chose to stay in the valley most of his life. He has a Journalism degree from the University of Montana and has been an award-winning radio broadcaster at Hamilton’s KLYQ Radio for decades. He also spent a couple of years as Managing Editor of the Ravalli Republic newspaper. Steve loves to examine history and how it influences current events. His creative side has helped develop the popular Daly Mansion murder mystery evenings, along with numerous local radio comedies.

Organizing team


Hamilton, MT, United States