x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Rising Phoenix

This event occurred on
February 2, 2024
London, Ontario

In ancient Greek and Egyptian mythology, the phoenix symbolized renewal and rebirth. Legend depicts that each phoenix lived for 500 years, and only one lived at a time. In the final moments of a phoenix's life, it would build a nest and set itself on fire. As the flames died, a new, young phoenix emerged from the ashes to live another lifecycle.

Similarly to the phoenix, when we face the fires of catastrophes, our resilience and determination to succeed define us more than what has happened to us. Amid hardship, we are presented with opportunities to rise; reflecting on our darkest hours, we find our greatest strengths, amplify our capacity, evolve, and excel. Our TEDxWesternU conference on February 2nd, 2024, will feature twelve speakers who have fought for what is right, against injustices, to make the world a better place, restore what was lost, find inner strength, and protect our community, country, and humanity. Join us as we explore the indomitable human capacity to rise from the ashes of adversity.

1151 Richmond Street
London, Ontario, N6A 3K7
Event type:
University (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Achille Ettorre

Loblaws Senior Executive & Smith School of Business Advisory Board Member
Achille Ettorre is a transformational leader known for championing the value of big data, AI, analytics, and business intelligence in Informing Strategic Decision Making. His frameworks for data-driven decision-making have consistently delivered significant ROI, embedding an analytics culture across corporations and optimized operations across 2,400+ stores. At Loblaw Companies Ltd., he revolutionized a large supply chain and established Canada's largest analytics program with more than 500 practitioners. With an Executive MBA from Western University’s Ivey School of Business and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Western Ontario, Achille has helped many leading global organizations build out impactful analytics programs.

Amanda Quick

Bestselling Author & Founder of The Golden Haven Foundation
Amanda Quick is an International Bestselling Author, Public Speaker, and Trauma Advocate. Her #1 Bestselling Memoir "The Sex Trafficker's Wife: A Story of Truth, Faith, and Trust in Self" shares her story of discovering the truth of the man she was married to, and what it took to create safety in her and her children's lives. Her passion is to help people heal from traumatic experiences and create system-wide changes that support everyone to find safety and connection. As founder of The Golden Haven Foundation, Amanda strives to provide mental and emotional support to people fighting for custody from their abusers and their children's abusers.

Bob Fabey

Anglican Priest & Author
Bob Fabey, an Anglican priest, punched a teacher who poked him hard in the chest in the seventh grade. Instead of expelling Bob or throwing him out of class, the teacher sat him down and asked him to write down everything he liked about himself. He couldn’t come up with anything. His teacher then showed him his list. It ran the length of the page. This simple act of dignity helped change his life forever. The Dignity Gap, Bob's new book, was released in March of 2023 and illustrates his passion for viewing himself and others with dignity. His relatable approach to life and the scriptures makes his teaching practical and compelling, all while adding a dash of humor!

Debbie Bryan

Business Consultant, Author
Debbie's entrepreneurial spirit ignited at the tender age of seven when she sold 12 TVs from her house in a single afternoon. This early glimpse of her passion for business would later play a significant role in shaping her future as a successful salon owner. Life seemed to be on the right track, but in 2011, everything changed dramatically. A life-threatening accident struck, leaving her unable to walk at the age of 55. This devastating event could have broken many, but not Debbie. Her story reminds us that, with the right mindset and support, we can overcome even the most daunting challenges and emerge stronger than ever.

Emilio Justo

Founder & Medical Director of the Arizona Eye Institute & Cosmetic Laser Center
Dr. Justo emigrated to the United States with his parents at age 3, escaping Communist Cuba and searching for freedom and opportunities. Since 1989, Dr. Emilio Justo has specialized in general ophthalmology and cosmetic surgery. He is renowned for his state-of-the-art refractive cataract surgery and CO2 laser blepharoplasty, having performed nearly 50,000 such procedures. He was able to make delicious lemonade from the sour lemons he was dealt with and is passionate about inspiring others to fulfill their dreams and achieve their goals, hence making society as a whole more productive and harmonious.

Manuel García Boragina

Manuel García Boragina will enter Western next fall as a first-year student. As Manuel adapted to a new culture after immigrating to Canada from Argentina in 2019, he faced language barriers. He overcame these challenges due to his unwavering commitment to using basketball for connection and growth. In addition to being a talented basketball player, Manuel is also a dedicated educator, teaching life skills such as teamwork and problem-solving through sports. Manuel's inspiring story and mission to create a more inclusive and understanding world make him a remarkable advocate for the transformative potential of sports in building stronger, more connected communities.

Mike Shoreman

Author, Award-Winning Inclusion, Allyship and Mental Health Speaker
Mike Shoreman is a mental health and accessibility educator with over two decades of experience in corporate communications. In 2022, Mike became the first person with disabilities to cross all 5 Great Lakes, leading one of the largest youth mental health awareness campaigns in Canadian history. Mike is an accomplished writer, best-selling author and he is the subject of Matthew Wagner’s feature film ‘When Hope Breaks Through,’ exploring the Canadian mental health crisis. His work has been recognized by the Mood Disorder Society of Canada as the recipient of the 2022 Mental Health Leadership Award. He is a 2023 Ontario Premier’s Award nominee and has been recognized by the Ontario Legislative Assembly, the House of Commons, and the Prime Minister.

Missy Mastel

Non-profit Transformational Consultant & Founder and CEO of Mass Tel Communications
Missy Mastеl is a distinguishеd financial stratеgist, transformational lеadеr, and dеdicatеd advocatе with ovеr 25 years of remarkable succеss shaping the landscapе of nonprofit organizations. Missy has been a beacon of financial wisdom throughout her career. As thе CEO and Foundеr of Mass-Tеl Communications, shе has savеd companies more than $300 million through hеr mеticulous work blending compliance and efficiency metrics with easy-to-achieve sustainability. Whether it is vaulting an organization out of a scarcity mindset or creating the tools to allow Executive Directors and Founders to blossom in their calling, Missy’s visionary leadership and stratеgic acumеn have consistently pavеd thе way for organizations to thrivе in complеx financial еnvironmеnts.

Nokuzola (Zola) Ncube

Western University MSc. Student & Social Entrepreneur
Zola Ncube is an MSc. Student and Canadian graduate scholar at Western University, where she focuses on research in intimate partner violence. She is recognized as a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholar for her work in social business and sexual reproductive health in Tanzania and serves on ANOVA's Board of Directors. Beyond academia and advocacy, Zola expresses her creativity through dance, film, and an avid interest in pre-colonial African history. Through her work with La Compagnie de Danse and Hwabaraty, she continues to explore various avenues of storytelling and her belief in the power of dance and music in connecting people of all backgrounds.

Ryan Martell

Huron University College Student
Ryan Martell is a first-year presidential scholar at Huron University and an international student from Jamaica. He is a youth leader and aspires to become a catalyst for Transformation throughout the Caribbean region and globally. Having a thirst for knowledge, he believes knowledge and data are crucial currency exchanges in today's brave new world. At Huron University, he studied Climate Emergency and Environmental Governance and became aware of the urgent need to address our climate crisis and hold stakeholders accountable. As one of UNICEF Jamaica's newly appointed Youth Climate Action Advocates, Ryan believes in "leading my generation in creating a better future.”

Sally Armstrong

Award winning author, journalist & human rights activist
Human rights activist, journalist and award-winning author Sally Armstrong has covered stories about women and girls in conflict zones worldwide. From Bosnia and Somalia to the Middle East, Rwanda, Congo, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Iraq, her eyewitness reports have earned her awards, including the Gold Award from the National Magazine Awards Foundation and the Author's Award from the Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Letters. She received the Amnesty International Canada Media Award in 2000, 2002, 2011, and again in 2017. Armstrong was named Massey Lecturer for 2019. Her lectures and book, titled Power Shift: The Longest Revolution, illustrate how the status of the female half of humanity is crucial to our collective survival and thriving. She is the recipient of ten honorary doctorate degrees and is an officer of the Order of Canada.

Teresa Greco

Educational Technologies Consultant & Happiness Expert
Teresa Greco is a certified life coach pursuing her Ph.D. in transpersonal psychology and inner happiness. She is a 3X bestselling author, international writer, and editor of a Canadian lifestyle magazine as well as the host of two internet TV and radio shows. An educator of over 25 years and educational technologies consultant, Teresa coaches students with learning disabilities to uncover their potential by removing barriers and obstacles so they can flourish in all areas of their lives. The founder of Steps to Happiness Coaching, Teresa is on a mission to empower others to choose to take action to live their happiest life by understanding what true inner happiness is and the various steps they can take to 'BE' truly happy.

Organizing team


Toronto, ON, Canada
  • Cole Shane Rutman
  • Manuela Garzon
  • Marina Matti
  • Sean McCormick
  • Suhani Shah