x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Seeds of Change

This event occurred on
June 11, 2023
La Jolla, California
United States

Seeds of Change is a one-day event that showcases short, powerful talks by 14 of San Diego's leading thinkers and doers, featuring ideas worth spreading. The audience will also have the opportunity to enjoy an Artist-in-Residence, a Musician-in-Residence, and four incredible performances. Join us on June 11, 2023, from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center in La Jolla for an exciting afternoon filled with inspiring speakers and amazing performances. Remember, an idea is like a seed - share it globally and watch it change the world.

The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center
7600 Fay Ave
La Jolla, California, 92037
United States
Event type:
Standard (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Hernán Luis y Prado

Speaker - Educator & Innovator. Workshops for Warriors - Founder & CEO
A 15-year Navy veteran, Hernán Luis y Prado founded San Diego-based Workshops for Warriors (, the only nonprofit school in America that trains, certifies, and places veterans and transitioning service members into advanced manufacturing careers to help rebuild America's manufacturing capabilities. WFW has graduated over 1,100 veterans working in every state for companies like Tesla, Boeing & Ford. Luis y Prado was named the US Small Business Administration’s Entrepreneur of The Year for 2022 for the state of California. Reach Luis y Prado at:

Jay James

Performer - Artists and Composer
Justin "Jay James" Adu-Acquah is an artist, composer, and multi-instrumentalist from San Diego, who was born in Ghana. Jay creates lush and cultivating soul music using mostly live instrumentation and combining his favorite musicals styles from all over the world, including soul, jazz, hip hop and folklore Ghanaian music. Playing over 10 different musical instruments, Jay writes, composes, arranges, produces, performs, and mixes all of his own projects as well as creating creative marketing campaigns to release his work. He highly appreciates collaboration and being commissioned to work with other artists, labels and filmmakers. A 2018 San Diego State University graduate with a degree in Music, Recording technology and audio design, Jay also possesses plenty of composition and production experience as well as in-studio work. His favorite TED Talk is "Do Schools Kill Creativity?" by Sir Ken Robinson.

Jesse Leon

Speaker - Survivor Advocate - Alliance Way - President & CEO
Jesse Leon is a bilingual award winning author, public speaker, executive coach, and consultant to philanthropy, government, and impact investors. Jesse creates public-private-philanthropic partnerships, impact investment fund strategies, and grant programs for housing, substance abuse, mental health, sex trafficking, and LGBTQ2S+ issues. Jesse is an alum of Harvard University, UC Berkeley, and UPENN. Jesse Leon is the author of I’M NOT BROKEN and NO ESTOY ROTO published by Penguin Random House. He is Lambda Literary Award finalist. His book was named one of NPR's Best Book of the Year for 2022, one of the Best Books of the Year with the San Francisco Chronicle and Book Scrolling, and Best Memoir of 2022 (San Diego Writers Festival). For more information on Jesse visit: Reach Jesse on: Instagram: @jesse_leon_author LinkedIn: Facebook: JesseLeonAuthor Twitter: @jesseleonauthor

Katie Ruiz

Performer - Chicana Artist
Katie Ruiz is a Chicana artist. She is an interdisciplinary artist, making work in painting and fiber sculpture. She is most well known for her blanket series in which she portrays couples standing or lying under colorful Mexican blankets. Geometric patterns and bright colors are reiterated throughout her work. She is also known for her activism work with refugees, The Pompom Project, and children’s book Brian the Wildflower. The Pompom Project has the ability to transform a space and the people who created it. People cried, hugged, grieved, and calmed down while focusing on simple craft tasks. Folks took pride in their pompoms and made new friends. When the artwork was created a sense of pride filled the space and visitors came in to gasp at the beauty of thousands of pompoms coming together to make Fine art.

KishaLynn Elliott

Speaker - Educator & Artist - School Project - VP of Operations
KishaLynn Elliott is a multi-hyphenated artist, educator and speaker. She is the author of CHILDish: Stories From the Life of a Young Black Girl ( Her new book, BLACK WOMAN GROWN, releasing in June, is her latest collection of personal stories about growing up too soon, turning tragedies into triumphs along the way. ( She is also the Chief Operating Officer for the Monarch School Project in San Diego (, and a TEDxSanDiego Speaker in the Education Catergory. Her TED Talk, “Unhoused Students Are Stronger Than You Think” shares how she pioneered the first longitudinal research study on the social-emotional learning of school-aged youth experiencing homelessness. She currently lives in San Diego with her wife and son. She graduated from Spelman College in 2002. Contact KishaLynn Elliott at, on Facebook and LinkedIn, and follow her at @coachkishalynn on Instagram.

Madhushree Ghosh

Speaker - Author and Scientist
The daughter of refugees and an immigrant, Madhushree Ghosh’s award-winning debut food narrative memoir, KHABAAR: An Immigrant Journey of Food, Memory, and Family, was a Ms Magazine ‘Most Anticipated Read in 2022’, and won an Independent Publisher Book Awards’ 2023 Gold Medal for Memoir/Autobiography. Her work is forthcoming in Best American Essays in Food Writing (2023), Pushcart-nominated, and published in The New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Longreads, BOMB, Poets & Writers, LARB, High Country News and others. Working in oncology diagnostics, Madhushree is focused on gender pay parity in science, especially for women of color, and food stories of immigrants. Madhushree is a sought-after speaker on food and social justice issues, food-narrative braided memoir workshops and pop-up dinners-and-conversations, as well as on women of color in biotech and scientific leadership panels. Madhushree can be reached at @writemadhushree, LinkedIn or

Pat Salas

Speaker - Chief Dream Enabler - SBHIS Insurance Services, Inc. - President and CEO
Pat is well known and highly respected in the national Medicare space. Pat's passion is to serve seniors and her mission is to make Medicare easier for them. Pat has consulted for a number of health systems, opened new markets for various health plans and is active in many senior causes. In 2005 Pat founded SBHIS Insurance Service, an insurance agency dedicated to serving Medicare beneficiaries exclusively. Pat's team delivers excellence in service with heart. They are fantastic at what they do because they truly care. Clients at SBHIS become family and are treated as such. SBHIS members are responsible for an average of 60% of the agency's monthly enrollments. At SBHIS they believe in taking the stress of choosing the right plan off their clients shoulders and replacing it with the joy of knowing you have someone who will help you with your healthcare coverage anytime you need it.

Paula Sylvia

Speaker - Innovation Facilitator - Port of San Diego - Program Director - Aquaculture & Blue Technology
Paula Sylvia is the Program Director of the Aquaculture and Blue Technology Program at the Port of San Diego. She oversees a variety of initiatives aimed at developing environmental and economic opportunities for aquaculture, blue technology, and other nature-based solution businesses in the region. She also manages the Port’s Blue Economy Incubator, an impact investment platform to support entrepreneurship and innovation partnerships to facilitate and scale pilot projects and build a portfolio of new businesses that can deliver multiple social, environmental, and economic benefits to the region. She is passionate about breaking down barriers and creating a more enabling environment for these new blue economy opportunities to take hold in the southern California region. She lives in San Diego with her son Liam and enjoys all things in and around the ocean, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and walks on the beach. Connect on LinkedIn.

Philippe Lazaro

Speaker - Climate Change Activist - Plant with Purpose - Storyteller / Communications Manager
Philippe shares the stories of people living at the forefront of the climate crisis, who are working to transform their ecosystems and communities. He loves emphasizing the human experience, and keeping conversations about the environment centered on the communities most affected by it. As the lead storyteller for Plant With Purpose, he has orchestrated storytelling initiatives in Mexico, Thailand, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. Philippe's interest in storytelling is expansive, and includes creating videos, digital drawing, and writing. He has partnered with a number of nonprofits and community based organizations to further climate and social justice movements. He is an avid traveler, an improviser, and a dad to three. YouTube: Online: Newsletter: Instagram & TikTok: @philippelazaro

Plexusplay Live

Performer - Music Performer & Animator
Plexusplay is the brainchild of Matt DiBiase, a jazz vibraphonist, dance music producer and motion graphics artist based in Southern California. Plexusplay shows invite the audience to choose their own adventure through his multimedia performance, interacting in real time via data input on mobile devices. Plexusplay's mission is to encourage people's creative confidence and challenge our traditional notions of live music shows. The show combines cutting edge audiovisual softwares, a custom designed reactive 1,000 LED suit, and virtuosic mallet percussion to create a live music experience unlike any other. For more information on Plexusplay visit Experience Plexusplay's weekly vibraphone & visual creations - Links to Spotify & Apple Music for Plexusplay's latest full album (released April 22nd) -

Roderick Jeter

Speaker - Game Designer
Rod Jeter is a navy veteran and married father of 5 adult children. His career spans from being a real estate broker to entrepreneur, and he has a master’s degree in software engineering. Married for 12 years, Rod and his wife were kicked out of marriage counseling on the fifth of what was supposed to be twelve sessions. It was admittedly Rod's fault, but never the less, he was moved to find a way to help couples see results faster than traditional counselling. Rod created a game to help couples resolve their disagreements in just minutes - NO FUSS NO DRAMA. Rod’s goal is to create happier homes and help as many couples as possible solve conflicts and disagreements with less drama and more fun through the YBAngry relationship tool. Watch couples resolve disagreements in minutes at Reach Rod Jeter on Linktree IG @mrrodjeter Facebook and LinkedIn

Saundra Pelletier

Speaker - Women's Health Change Agent - Evofem Biosciences - CEO
Saundra Pelletier is unforgettable, and her fierce, grounded, common sense approach leaves a lasting impression on all who meet her. She is a single mother, daughter, published author, breast cancer conqueror, CEO, and true trailblazer. As one of the most dynamic women in today’s biotech industry, she leads Evofem Biosciences, a company revolutionizing women’s healthcare with innovative products meeting the unmet needs of millions of women. Saundra has been responsible for the company’s rapid growth, including Evofem’s transition to the public market in January 2018 and multiple equity financing rounds that have raised in excess of $500 million. Under her leadership, Evofem launched Phexxi – the first and only FDA-approved prescription birth control that is hormone-free, on-demand and does not shut down a woman's ovaries. Phexxi empowers women with a product they use only when they need it, and never when they don't. &

Shelby Stanger

Speaker - Outdoor Storyteller - REI Co-Op Studio's Wild Ideas Worth living Podcast - Host/Creator/Author
Shelby Stanger is the host and creator of the hit podcast, Wild Ideas Worth Living, an REI Co-Op Studios Production. Often chasing adventure herself, Stanger has surfed from Canada to Costa Rica; sand-boarded down desolate dunes in Cape Town; paddled down a remote portion of the Amazon River (so many bug bites); and interviewed countless CEOs, athletes, activists, and thought leaders. Her journalism work has appeared in Outside Magazine, ESPN, and The San Diego Union Tribune, among other publications. As a podcaster, Stanger created a show about health called Vitamin Joy, hosted a show about travel for Lufthansa, and regularly consults with brands and individuals on how to tell better stories and launch their own shows. Her first book, Will to Wild: Adventures Great and Small to Change Your Life, published by Simon and Schuster comes out June of 2023, and has already received several accolades. Reach Stanger on IG @shelbystanger, on Linkedin, or on her website

Southern Sea Dragon & Lion Dance

Performer - Director of Operations - USA Dragon and Lion Dance Sports Association
The organization was founded in 2009 as a UCSD student organization with the mission to promote and elevate the standard of lion and dragon dancing. Over the years, it has expanded and extended their reach by allowing any interested member of the community to also participate and join the organization. They are currently one of the largest lion dance organizations in San Diego County and a registered 501(c)(3) California Nonprofit Organization. For more information regarding the group, please visit

Stu Weintraub

Speaker - Social Change Maker - Center for Child-Safe Divorce - Founder, CEO
Stu is a creative visionary, social impact entrepreneur, author, speaker, and shamanic energy healer. His "Waves of Love" and "Love Before Law' workshops are inspiring minds, healing hearts and awakening souls nationwide. As Founder & CEO of the nonprofit organization, Center for Child-Safe Divorce, Stu is aggregating a professional alliance of clergy, counselors and coaches to help parents mediate instead of litigate. In his book, The HEART of Divorce, Stu vulnerably tells his own personal story, and offers inspiring spiritual and practical guidance for parents whose children are being negatively impacted by conflict during and after divorce.

Teresa Smith

Speaker - Educator - Dreams for Change - CEO
Teresa Smith founded Dreams For Change in 2009 to provide comprehensive social services through innovative programming and research. Teresa developed the leading model of Safe Parking for individuals and families who are homeless and residing in their vehicle, which is currently being replicated in multiple cities throughout the country. Teresa is a past fellow of the REDF Social Enterprise National Accelerator program and awarded the James Irvine Foundation State Leadership Award for her work with the development of Safe Parking in 2018. Teresa’s educational experience includes a BS in psychology from Western Michigan University, MA in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of San Diego, and a MA and Ph.D. in Human Sciences from the California Institute in Human Sciences. Teresa also served eight years in the US Army Reserves coordinating mental health services.

The Garners Jazz Trio

Performer - “The Garners” is a Modern Vintage Duo/Trio that Embraces Gypsy Jazz
The Garner Trio is a modern vintage ensemble performing Jazz Manouche (gypsy jazz,) 1920’s & 30’s jazz, and original compositions. Composed of two jazz Manouche guitars, a touch of melodica, and an upright bass. Lorelei Garner on rhythm guitar/melodica/vocals, Jon Garner on lead guitar/vocals and Paul Tillery on acoustic upright bass. Embracing the ethos of pre-war jazz, they infuse their music with the romantic, sweet, fiery and hot joy of life found in the great Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club of France. Youtube,Instagram, FB @thegarnersmusic YT: Insta: FB:

Timothy McDonald, MD, JD

Speaker - Patient Safety Advocate - RLDatix - Chief Patient Safety and Risk Officer
A Harvard-trained anesthesiologist, pediatrician, licensed attorney, Patient Safety/Medical Liability Specialist, and author. As Chief Patient Safety and Risk Officer for RLDatix, Tim has taken his passionate for shattering the wall of silence in healthcare and infused it into software to better support organizations who are on their journey to more compassionate honesty intended to help heal patients, families, and affected members of the clinical team after harm in healthcare. Tim has also worked with patients and family members to share their stories with healthcare organizations, to reinforce the importance of this approach. Reach Tim on IG @rldatix and LinkedIn

transcenDANCE Youth Arts

Performer - Co-Founder & Executive/Artistic Director
transcenDANCE is a nationally recognized Creative Youth Development organization that facilitates dance and performance experiences as a catalyst for powerful personal and collective change. transcenDANCE centers young people, their voices and creativity, to bring forth inspiration and transformation for communities in San Diego. transcenDANCE was founded in 2005 and works in Title I school and community settings reaching over 1,800 young people each year through holistic, long-term programs. Their new long term home, the transcenDANCE Arts Center in Lemon Grove, is a hub for their work with youth, as well as adult dance companies in residence. FB & IG @tdartsyouth

Walter Green

Speaker - Philanthropist and Author
Walter Green was Chairman/CEO of Harrison Conference Services for 25 years which became the nation’s largest conference center management company in the U.S. He has lectured at Wharton Graduate School of Business and is a contributor to Forbes and U.S. News and World Report. Walter is the author of a bestselling book, This Is The Moment! How One Man’s Yearlong Journey Captured the Power of Extraordinary Gratitude. He is actively involved with Reality Changers, a San Diego-based nonprofit that helps low-income youth become First-Generation College Students and is an active supporter of the Free the Children Organization ( In 2017 Walter and his wife, Lola, funded We College’s School of Hospitality and Tourism which is the first “needs blind” college in Kenya. Walter’s latest initiative is Say It Now, which is a gratitude movement inspiring people all over the world to pay tribute to those who've impacted them the most while they are still living, before it's too late.

Organizing team


San Diego, CA, United States


St George, UT, United States
  • Alejandro High
  • Amy Pfleger
  • Jose Alonso
  • Mary Gross
  • Olivia Peachey
    Team member
  • Rebecca Smith