Brevard Women
x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Two Steps Forward & One Step Up

This event occurred on
November 11, 2023
Brevard, North Carolina
United States

Brevard, North Carolina is holding its first TEDx event!

We are located in the Blue Ridge Mountains and are celebrating the strong women and men in our community.
This inaugural event will highlight speakers, performers, artists, and adventurers. All of us are experiencing our first TEDx talk, with "Ideas Worth Sharing" that are close to our hearts.

"Two Steps Forward" is the theme for TEDWomen 2023. In these mountains, supporting each other with "One Step Up" takes us closer to the most beautiful places.

Tickets for the event will go on sale October 1, 2023 through Eventbrite. When tickets are available, this page will display "Open to public" with a link to the Eventbrite ticket sales page.

Please direct questions to

Thank you.
Nancy McCullough, MS
TEDxBrevard Women Organizer

Please join us in the magical Blue Ridge Mountains and be inspired.

Brevard Music Center, Parker Concert Hall
Music Camp Road
Brevard, North Carolina, 28712
United States
Event type:
TEDxWomen (What is this?)
See more ­T­E­Dx­Brevard ­Women events


Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Billy Smith

Creative Artist and Inspiration Instructor
When “God-taught” artist Billy Smith paints, his brush connects the Divine to the canvas. Born and raised just north of Brevard, NC in Pisgah Forest, Smith was the youngest of six children and spent a good amount of his childhood in the woods exploring colors, textures and shapes. Instead of an instructional art book, the flowers, trees, dirt, sky and everything in between inspired him. After a traditional school education, Billy realized he was an artist, as it was innately planted in him. What started as sketching local musicians, Billy's art grew to include commissions for large city murals and into a full blown art studio instructing Brevard’s youth. In 2018, Smith learned that he had Type 1 Diabetes. While in a coma, clarification came about being a cinematographer and film-maker, leading to multiple shoots for clients across the board. Billy is Fine Arts Director at Destiny Church and President of the Transylvania Community Arts Council.

Clinton Colmenares

Clinton grew up in Houston and the East Texas town of Lufkin. He attended Texas A&M and graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University. In 1995 he began writing as a medical journalist in San Antonio. After a move to Nashville in 2000, he began working at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and has worked in higher ed since then, telling stories himself and helping reporters deliver the news. In 2004 he became a father, beginning a long journey of discovery with new stories to tell. He is director of news and media strategy at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. In 2023 he earned an MFA in narrative nonfiction from the University of Georgia.

Cyndy Orr-Cathcart

Sexual Abuse Advocate & Business Owner
Cyndy is a native of Transylvania County. In 2003, she and her brother founded both a sales consulting firm and a membership travel company. In the 1990s, she held leadership positions in nonprofits focused on mental health, public policy and nonprofit resource development. She attended Montreat College and Campbell University and is a proud Brevard Blue Devil. Cyndy and her husband, Greg, are involved in advocacy for victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence, those experiencing PTSD, and the wrongfully convicted.

Ella Colmenares

Ella split her childhood between Birmingham, AL and Clemson, SC graduating from high school last spring. Her poem “Woman to Girl” is published in the Rattle Young Poets Anthology. She currently attends the University of Richmond as an Anthropology major with a minor in Legal Studies.

Jill Haynie

Stone Artist and Storyteller
Jill is an Atlanta native that grew up playing in the creeks and woods of Georgia. She was drawn to the Western North Carolina mountains in 1979 and attended Brevard College. She knew she would return to Brevard later in life.Through twist and turns, she left Atlanta in 2000 to start a different way of life in the Western North Carolina mountains; a successful landscaping business. She was led to the world of stone artistry and has grown in many ways from the intense nature of the stone work. In 2018, Jill was approached by a law professor who asked her to do a storytelling "salon". This opened a portal into another realm and she has been exploring and following this instinct, leading her to the stage. She has a podcast, "Hammered...A Story of an Insatiable Spirit" which has been written into a screenplay and has gone global while picking up momentum into countries all over the world. Her podcast is and is available on streaming services.

Kyzandrha Zárate

Small Business Owner, Artist, Singer
Kyzandrha Zarate is the woman behind all things creative at ARThropology, CEO of Lifestyle & Living Photography, singer in Gypsy & Me, & founder of the White Squirrel Artisans Market. Her career began at The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, FL. Since then, she's served as an Art Director at a print company, Designer/Photographer at an ad agency, and Marketing/Communications Director at a nonprofit organization. Kyzandrha & her fiance, Mike are the music duo, Gypsy & Me, and own Lifestyle & Living Photography. When Covid brought life to a halt, Kyzandrha dove deeper into jewelry design. Her work can be found at several businesses in Brevard & Cedar Mountain, NC. Kyzandrha is an ambassador for the local arts community. In 2023, she founded the White Squirrel Artisans Market.

Leah Webb

Whole Foods Educator
Leah is the author of two books and operates a garden coaching and edible landscaping business in western North Carolina. She studied soil processes and food systems for seven years before starting her career in health and gardening education in 2009. Her practical approach to whole foods cooking and gardening is inspired by the complexities of raising two children with unique medical needs. Leah shares her personal story, knowledge, and books at events throughout country.

Sarah Dearbaugh

Artist, Business Owner, Community Organzier
Founder of Studio276 Art & Co., the art/gallery portion of Cedar Mountain Moonshine Distillery - a family-run, small business in the heart of Cedar Mountain, NC. I host over 20 events a year for our community with the help of our businesses, other surrounding Cedar Mountain businesses, and my non-profit, The Cedar Mountain Music Project.

Tara Jean Melendez

Tara is an incurably knowledgable expert in botany. When she came to the Western North Carolina Mountains, she used her knowledge to help her clients learn about their native fauna and flora. As well, Tara is planning an Appalachian Trail through-hike.

Organizing team


Brevard, NC, United States
  • Michael Reynolds
    Post production