Holt St Youth
x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Igniting Innovation: Empowering Houston's Young Changemakers

This event occurred on
September 9, 2023
Houston, Texas
United States

Join us for a transformative TEDx event spotlighting the remarkable young changemakers in Houston. Discover their inspiring stories of breaking norms and fostering innovation while gaining insights into the power of creativity, entrepreneurship, and technology-driven problem-solving. Together, let's cultivate a vibrant ecosystem that supports and connects young entrepreneurs, offering mentorship, funding, and networking opportunities. Join the movement to transform Houston into an innovation hub and empower the next trailblazers.

The Ion
4201 Main Street
Houston, Texas, 77002
United States
Event type:
Youth (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Christa Westheimer

Rice Alum and Incoming Deloitte Strategy Analyst
Christa Westheimer is a Rice University graduate with majors in Sport Management and Managerial Studies and minors in Entrepreneurship and Business. At Rice, Christa was the Managing Director of Rice Ventures, the former student-run startup accelerator where she directly assisted entrepreneurs in accessing $50K+ in funding. She also worked with the nation’s #1 graduate entrepreneurship program, the Lilie Lab, as a teaching assistant and operational employee. Christa worked for two venture capital firms, New Stack Ventures and The Artemis Fund, that focused on distributing capital to underserved populations. In the venture capital capacity, Christa sourced deals, helped founders, and published articles to an audience of over 15K individuals in order to promote entrepreneurial literacy. One of Christa’s three previous TEDx Talks discusses how she also made an impact by creating an ESL service organization and how others can leverage their individual gifts to make impacts, too.

Harshadha Chaganti

Founder and CEO of Learnology
Harshadha Chaganti, an advocate for student entrepreneurship, embodies impact-driven change. A Junior at Westwood High School and delving into the business world, she sparked Learnology, an ed-tech startup valued at $17 Million. Her vision champions equity, widening access to quality education globally. Remarkably, Harshadha's impact extends beyond the business realm. As a catalyst for social change, she founded "thismatters.now," mobilizing youth to drive positive action. An intern member of the World Economic Forum, she's shaping the intersection of AI, policy, and education. Harshadha's journey resonates as a speaker, empowering youth to navigate challenges and innovate. Furthermore, Harshadha is set to launch "Entrepreneurs," a groundbreaking free incubator tailored for student entrepreneurs. Her legacy? Empowered learners, thriving communities, and a future where innovation is equitably accessible.

Jianyi Zhang

Host of The Framing Effect Podcast
Jianyi Zhang is an ardent devotee of behavioral economics and the founder of The Framing Effect Podcast. Through dynamic interviews with industry pioneers, financial giants, and Nobel prize-winning professors, he helps the next generation understand how overarching economic forces affect the way we think and act. Jianyi also leads the Youth Association for Teaching Economics and Close the Education Gap Texas. Both organizations aim to bridge knowledge gaps, with the latter being a coalition of state educators, government officials, and UN representatives focusing on revamping the current Texas educational infrastructure. Regarding education and social sciences, Jianyi has been invited to speak for nonprofits and NGOs in California, Texas, New Jersey, and New York.

Raquel Paz Bergia

Founder of Unwiring Minds, Advocate for Brain Education
Raquel Paz Bergia is the driving force behind Unwiring Minds, a groundbreaking organization empowering youth through brain education. She dedicates her time to revealing the unimaginable potential of our minds and how brain education can reshape the future of young changemakers. She has interviewed over 80 medical leaders for the Unwiring Minds podcast and has authored over 30 articles to create awareness of neurological disorders and emerging neurotechnologies. Her commitment has impacted nearly 120,000 people across the world and continues to influence people every day.

Rushil Shah

Founder and President of Brevard Finance for Youth, Researcher, and Author
Rushil Shah, a high-school senior in Melbourne, Florida, is the president and founder of Brevard Finance for Youth Inc. After years spent developing an extensive personal finance curriculum, he has now reached 20,000+ students through public speaking and outreach efforts and is working to expand his organization across the United States. He has presented his work and ideas surrounding financial literacy in his first TEDx talk at TEDxCapeCanaveral and was featured in a story by NBC News. As a researcher, he has spent three years working on a multi-disciplinary study involving financial decision-making using a novel psychological and mathematical-based approach. He has presented this work twice at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair, attended and shared his work at the Harvard Conference of Undergraduate Research, and was recently named a Ying Scholar. He is the author of “Finance 101: Explained by a 16-Year-Old” and “The Entrepreneurial Journey to a Millionaire.”

Sebastian Sanders

Founder and Executive Director of Sanders Hand
Sebastian Sanders, aka "The Youth Principal," is a globally recognized speaker, leader, and founder of The Sanders Hand. Based in Houston, Texas, Sebastian is dedicated to empowering at-risk youth for a brighter future. With a degree in business administration management, Sebastian excelled in supply chain operations and retail sales leadership at Pepsico and Frito Lay. In 2017, Sebastian established The Sanders Hand, a nonprofit impacting the lives of over 5,000 at-risk youth and college students in Texas and Oklahoma. Through programs such as Universal Basic Income and the Young Billionaires Club, Sebastian aims to provide financial education to empower young individuals. He has also expanded his efforts to support technology education in Ghana. As an acclaimed public speaker, Sebastian inspires audiences with his talks on entrepreneurship. With his experience and dedication, Sebastian continues to motivate others to create a better future for themselves and their communities.

Sparkle Whitaker

Social Impact Designer and Founder of The Onyx Incubator
Sparkle Whitaker, a visionary and interdisciplinary designer from Chicago, is committed to addressing pressing societal issues and effecting profound change within her community. She earned her BA in Fashion Design and Sociology from Washington University in St Louis in 2022, laying the foundation for her remarkable journey. In 2023, Sparkle established The Onyx Incubator, a nonprofit education program that provides at-risk youth in Chicago with free-of-cost design education. Onyx masterfully forges connections among diverse networks, bridging gaps to nurture innovative thinking and exceptional design acumen. Beyond her nonprofit pursuits, her creativity extends to the fashion realm with designs featured at Chicago Fashion Week—a testament to her brilliance and profound ability to make a lasting impact on diverse fronts. Unstoppable in her mission to empower youth and reform education models, Sparkle applies the transformative potential of design-thinking to change systems of inequity.

Terrance Williams

Founder of Meta Wellness, Mental Health Advocate, Public Speaker
Terrance Williams is the founder of Meta-Wellness, a company that creates virtual reality simulations for mental health professionals, non-profits, and education. Raised in Newport News, Terrance earned his Masters in Business in Florida. He is a mental health advocate and speaker on the state of men's mental health and the future of mental health technology. Terrance is dedicated to improving mental health awareness and accessibility through innovative solutions.

Organizing team


Houston, TX, United States


Houston, TX, United States
  • Bianca Juarez
  • Zain Kundi