x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Xceptional UnXpected U

This event occurred on
July 23, 2023
El Cajon, California
United States

About › Programs & Initiatives ›
TEDx Program
TEDx is a grassroots initiative, created in the spirit of TED’s overall mission to research and discover “ideas worth spreading.” TEDx brings the spirit of TED to local communities around the globe through TEDx events. These events are organized by passionate individuals who seek to uncover new ideas and to share the latest research in their local areas that spark conversations in their communities. TEDx events include live speakers and recorded TED Talks, and are organized independently under a free license granted by TED. These events are not controlled by TED, but event organizers agree to abide by our format, and are offered guidelines for curation, speaker coaching, event organizing and more. They learn from us and from each other. More than 3000 events are now held annually.

In the spirit of TED's focus on "Ideas Worth Sharing", TEDxTaftAvenue's aim is provide Xceptional and UnXpected content on our event stage that will inspire, uplift and change U combined with educational content that makes you feel as though you just graduated from Life U...creating an Xceptional UnXpected new U!

Samuel M. Ciccati Performing Arts Center
900 Rancho San Diego Pkwy
El Cajon, California, 92019
United States
Event type:
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Bonny Llyn

Mental Health & LGBTQ Advocate
With a Master’s degree from Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, Bonny is trilingual and speaks, reads, writes, and translates Taiwanese, Mandarin, and English and is sure to inspire all audiences.

Brad West

Attorney by day, nonprofit CEO by night, Brad has been passionate about determining how we can do the most good together. Toward that end, he has formed a nonprofit named the Consumer Power Initiative. When Brad has free time, he enjoys going for walks around the neighborhood or in parks, listening to science fiction or fantasy audiobooks.

Chris Nielson

Communication, Leadership and Improvisation Expert
Chris Nielson combines his expertise in peak performance, sports psychology, and improvisational comedy to deliver captivating presentations and workshops across North America. As the founder of Speaker Skills Plus and Communication Skills Plus, he has revolutionized gamified communication training, unlocking the true potential of effective communication. With a focus on creating collaborative and creative cultures, Chris empowers individuals and teams to achieve peak performance. He has worked with prestigious organizations like Microsoft, Intuit, Federal Reserve Bank, Sony, and more, fostering cooperation, communication, creativity, collaboration, and leadership. Based between Surprise, Arizona, and Grand Rapids, Minnesota, Chris is a loving father and cares for his elderly parents while embracing the values of empathy, connection, and growth.

Dan Knauss

Navy Diver
Dan has served as a U.S. Navy Deep Sea Diver as well as the San Diego Sheriff’s Search and Recovery Dive Team. He is currently a recreational Instructor and Public Safety Diver Instructor. In addition, Dan is a Comic, Cartoonist, Youth Leader

Dr. Debra Dupree

Dispute Resolution Specialist
Dr. Debra Dupree, the MINDSET Doc, transforms challenging confrontations into learning conversations, taking the “sting” out of conflict. Dr. Dupree is a Dispute Resolution Specialist, Conflict/Leadership Coach, International Trainer and Keynote Speaker. She hosts the podcast ‘Decoding the Conflict Mindset’ to bring “thought leaders” to her community worldwide to gain insight when high emotions run high and tough negotiations are at stake. Recognized as one of the top ten trainers globally by SkillPath Corporate Strategies in 2016, Dr. Dupree was also designated as a “Super SMART Mediator” by the Los Angeles Federal Executive Board in 2008 and is the author of three eBooks to date and numerous articles.

Ellie Shoja

Personal Advocacy
Ellie Shoja is an award-winning writer, motivational speaker, and story consultant. She’s the author of The 13th Planet and Your Hear Knows the Way, and founder of Peace Unleashed. She has ghostwritten books and articles for notable public figures and consulted on numerous brands, books, and speeches. She currently speaks to audiences about the true meaning and application of practical resilience, and what it takes to live authentically in one’s power.

Frank King

Speaker, Coach, Wellness Comedian
Frank King, aka The Mental Health Comedian, is a Suicide Prevention and Postvention Public Speaker and Trainer who turned a lifelong battle with depression into a keynote worth spreading. After writing for the Tonight Show for 20-plus years and performing comedy, Frank's attention changed to a mission to end the stigma surrounding mental health because he himself has thought about killing himself more times than he can count. He addresses his own trials and tribulations using a tool people from all walks of life can relate to, humor. With his TED Talk "A Matter of Laugh or Death" he openly addresses topics considered taboo in today's society. Frank's uses comedy and life lessons break the ice and helps those struggling to find a voice to express themselves. He believes that where there is humor there is hope. And where there is laughter there is life...Nobody dies laughing.

Irma Goosen

Immigration Advocate, Author
An international speaker and author of insightful books that directly address immigrant enrichment and youth empowerment, Irma is a two-time immigrant herself. From South Africa to the US then Canada, she embodies the immigrant experience. Utilizing her engineering background, Irma navigates and unravels the complexities of cultural and business assimilation, creating clear paths for others to follow. This ingenious C.O.N.N.E.C.T. strategy — Communication, Open-mindedness, Networking, Nurturing, Exploration, Cultivation and Thriving — is Irma's brainchild, a game-changing blueprint for immigrants. Through her focused and empathetic approach, she pioneers a strategic pathway for successful integration, demonstrating that success and humility are not only compatible, but interdependent.

Jackie Bailey

Educator, author, coach
Known as The International Conversation Coach, Jackie Bailey inspires clients to break their silence and become victorious over trauma. She is the founder and executive director of The Speak Feed Lead Project which has empowered hundreds of children, teens, and adults with confident, courageous voices shared on global stages, competitions, podcasts, and books. Jackie is a 2015 semi-finalist in The World Championship of Public Speaking. She’s a best-selling author of four books on topics ranging from leadership, healing, communication, and parenting. She is also the co-host of Life Mastery Radio with Todd & Jackie, and an award-winning team-builder, educator, leader, and coach.

Jeff Price

Financial Services Problem Solving Expert
Jeff Price is an optimist who believes almost everyone can lead an exceptional life, but that many lack the skills and knowledge necessary to achieve it. He is committed to sharing the personal development lessons and insights he learned over more than thirty years working for global information technology companies. In a professional career centered around financial services, he consulted with and trained at dozens of Fortune 500 companies, has been a frequent speaker at conferences and trade shows, and has conducted hundreds of training sessions on personal and leadership development. During a multi-year assignment leading a business unit in Singapore, he developed an appreciation for cultural differences in markets as diverse as China, Japan, Australia, India, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Jeff earned an MBA from the University of Illinois but has learned the most valuable life lessons from his wife, from raising two sons and from traveling extensively.

Jill Sherman-Warne

Native American Environmental Protection Advocate
Jill Sherman-Warne (She/Her/Hers) is the Executive Director of the Native American Environmental Protection Coalition (NAEPC) where she works with 27 tribes located in CA, AZ, NV, and NM. She is an enrolled member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe. Ms. Sherman-Warne received an appointment by the Governor of California to the California Native American Heritage Commission where she served for 15 years. Jill is a Senior Consultant to the Environmental Finance Center West and currently serves as Vice-Chair of the San Diego American Indian Health Clinic Board of Directors, a member of the UC San Diego Chancellor’s Community Advisory Board, San Diego Water Advisory Board, the Clean Vehicle Assistance (CVA) Advisory Board and the Mobile Renewable Generator Technical Advisory Committee. In 2022, the California Air Resources Board appointed Jill to serve as the First Native American appointed to the State’s Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (EJAC).

Keith Eck

Ex-NFL Player
After graduating from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, Keith subsequently played for the Washington Redskins in 1977. In 1978, he coached at UCLA and in 1979 played for the New York Giants until he suffered a heart attack on an airplane en route to a pre-season training camp abruptly ending his NFL career requiring him to refocus his goals. That began an almost unbelievable odyssey of tribulation and triumph that continues today.

Lada Lysniak

Award Winning TV News Journalist
As an award-winning TV news journalist, Lada has traveled the world and covered many interesting stories and interviewed thought-provoking people. She has produced award winning documentaries, working at various US and International TV networks including ABC News. As a TV personality, she has created and hosted over 100 live TV shows. These days Lada is a Play Advocate, traveling the world, reminding people of the wisdom and superpower of play. Lada knows this firsthand as Play helped save her LIFE. Lada speaks and keynotes all over the world sharing the importance of play in people’s lives.

Linlin Wills

Generative AI Author and Strategist
Linlin pioneered and executed growth marketing strategies, seamlessly integrating the nuances of Generative AI with wearable media, AR, and emotive AI to amplify experiential brand storytelling, fostering a potent network effect.

Margarita Pinhas

Computer Science and Math Professional and Self Help Advocate
Margarita Pinhas is an accomplished leader and international speaker, recognized for her expertise in personal transformation. Her extensive experience across diverse cultures, having lived in the Soviet Union, Israel and San Diego, equips her with a unique understanding of the challenges others might face. In her professional journey, Margarita has mastered the art of adapting to new environments and has developed innovative strategies for fostering a profound sense of belonging. Margarita offers a compelling roadmap to cultivating a lasting sense of connection and belonging, no matter where life takes you.

Michael Doyle

Dr. Doyle holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Cambridge University. He has developed and implemented scientific innovation and information lifecycle initiatives and overseen strategic relationships with Boeing, Lockheed, Aerospace Corp, Cytec Exxon-Mobil, Dow, Henkel.

Shoba Rao

Health Self Advocacy
Shoba Rao is an author, speaker and mentor and while passionate about all three she is an engineer at heart. Shoba is a successful career woman with a Masters in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University and twenty-five years of experience in the semiconductor industry, currently serving as director of manufacturing engineering. Shoba often shares her life journey in her speeches, focusing on inspirational speeches with a humorous touch. In her spare time, she enjoys exercising, reading, dancing, painting, baking, cooking, and volunteering with various organizations. Her first book is titled "My Race Against Death" and chronicles her fight with cancer and kidney failure with the hope that the lessons she learned could help others in similar situations.

Organizing team

Saunders Nasheed

San Diego, CA, United States


San Diego, CA, United States