x = independently organized TED event

Theme: BONDS

This event occurred on
February 3, 2024
Eustis, Florida
United States

Like the ties we’ve created with our family and the chemical connections that make up the very atoms that form our world, BONDS are a constant in our daily lives. At the 2024 TEDxEustis conference, we’ll explore the theme of BONDS and all the ways they shape our experiences and influence our interactions.

From the BONDS between people all over the globe that are created by a humble traveling journal or the community BONDS cooked up by a TikTok chef who fosters a relentlessly positive space for a few minutes each day, to the stronger BONDS we must forge with domestic animals to reduce cruelty, we will explore the ways in which we, as dwellers of planet Earth, connect with each other.

But BONDS go beyond human interaction, encompassing the way that our brains are formed. By exploring new education techniques, we can build better mental BONDS between learner and concept. They’re also meant to be broken, like the debilitating BONDS that are cruelly crafted when early trauma shapes our experiences in adulthood. BONDS can take the form of societal constraints and stereotypes, which often decide a person’s abilities and worth in advance of any performance. BONDS can even be literal, like the scourge of human trafficking that hides beneath the surface of even the most refined, modern society.

On Saturday, February 3rd, 2024, fourteen speakers and performers will bring to us their amazing “Ideas Worth Spreading”, revealing these and other BONDS and giving our audience the ideas and tools needed to create and strengthen the BONDS that replenish us and break the BONDS that keep us down.

Eustis High School
1300 East Washington Avenue
Eustis, Florida, 32726
United States
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Amy Sweezey

Meteorologist Reimagined
Amy Sweezey is an award-winning meteorologist, author, and public speaker. She spent nearly 30 years in full-time broadcast news before leaving in 2020 to pursue her “What’s Next” after realizing that reinventing herself didn’t have an expiration date. She now focuses on public speaking and providing media services for various companies worldwide. As Founder and CEO of Social Weather, LLC, Amy’s portfolio includes Carnival Cruise Line, Growing Bolder, Convention News Television, and nationwide local affiliates of ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and Spectrum News. Amy has authored two children’s books about weather, one fiction, and one nonfiction, and created two weather workbooks for elementary school students based on Florida’s state standards for science and weather. She lives in Central Florida with her husband and three children.

Chris Andrews

Time Guardian
Father | Brother | Uncle | Son | Entrepreneur | Certified Drone Pilot | Author | Educator Life's my canvas, and I paint it with vibrant experiences. As a dedicated family man, entrepreneur, and creative spirit, I embrace each role with passion, resilience, and a love for helping others. I'm a graduate of the "School of Hard Knocks." My journey has been a winding road of learning, where I've honed my skills as a barber, certified drone pilot, and author. Each step has been an opportunity for reinvention and growth. My greatest achievements come by way of touching lives thru sharing my personal stories and experiences to inspire others. Beyond my God given talents, I find solace in basketball, music, fishing and working out. This fuels my creativity and keeps my spirit thriving. My life's motto is simple: "Every setback is a setup for a comeback." I believe challenges are opportunities in disguise, and I'm here to seize them.

Dotti Groover-Skipper

Valiant Stalwart
Dotti Groover–Skipper believes in dynamic living through servant leadership! Since graduating from the University of South Florida, she has facilitated expert programming to impact positive policy change in addiction, sex trade and helped develop numerous sustainable community coalitions. She is founder of HeartDance Foundation which serves men, women and children exploited in the sex industry and strategizes legislation on anti-human trafficking initiatives. Groover-Skipper is an ordained missionary and has operated at the national level to mobilize and train faith communities to engage in issues of addiction, human rights and social justice. She has received numerous awards for her tireless anti-trafficking efforts and most recently, recipient of The Lifetime Achievement Award by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for her 40 years of dedicated service. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Roger. Together they have seven grown children and are grandparents of three.

Dr. Dan Jurman, DMin

Trauma-Informed Leader
Dan got his start at summer camp working with at-risk youth in places like Camden, Newark and Atlantic City before going on to run programming and lead overnight and day camps for children with intellectual and physical disabilities. Since then his career has included fundraising for Federally Qualified Health Centers and doing community organizing and anti-poverty work. In December 2019, Dan began serving as the first Executive Director of the Governor of Pennsylvania’s new Office of Advocacy and Reform where he wrote the state’s Trauma-Informed PA Plan, led Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts, and worked to protect the state’s most vulnerable residents from the impacts of COVID-19. He left that role in February 2022 to become the President & CEO of Camp Boggy Creek in Eustis, FL, a free camp for children with serious illnesses founded by Paul Newman and General Norman Schwarzkopf in 1996.

Dr. Timothy Stafford, Ph.D.

Education Futurist
Timothy M. Stafford, Ph.D., serves as the Director of Graduate Online Academic Affairs, the Director of Instructional Design and Online Instruction, the Director of the Office of Graduate Education and Research, and the Program Director for the MS in Instructional Design and Technology program at St. Thomas University. With a Ph.D. and MS in Instructional Design for Online Learning, Dr. Stafford is a recognized expert in instructional design, educational technology, virtual instruction, virtual education, digital literacy, digital course design, and educational futuring. He has over 30 years of experience in educational leadership, instruction, and curriculum and course development in higher education, K–12, and multiple for-profit and not-for-profit industries. He has contributed to the creation of thousands of online courses across more than a dozen different industries.

Kyra Peralte

Curator of Chronicles
Kyra Peralte is the visionary founder behind The Traveling Diary, an innovative platform that elevates storytelling into a global movement for unity and understanding. By circulating physical diaries among women across over 30 countries, Kyra creates a space for sharing intimate stories and experiences, enriching the fabric of digital communication with depth and authenticity. This initiative not only connects diverse cultures but also highlights the shared threads of human experience. Beyond The Traveling Diary, Kyra's passion for storytelling extends to indie game design, where she crafts immersive narratives that foster meaningful connections. Her dedication to empathy, cultural bridging, and building an interconnected world defines her work.

Lance Otto

Child Achievement Specialist
Lance Otto is not just an Elementary Education Teacher; he positively impacts the world through his influential and inspirational teaching. For over 25 years, Lance has poured his heart into what he believes matters most: Kids, Parents, and his Fellow Educators. He doesn't merely shape minds; he molds the future. Through his media brand, Best Kids Solutions, Lance combines timeless wisdom with today's needs, uplifting everyone with his vital T.R.I.U.M.P.H.S. child success principles. His many awards range from the Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year to the Walmart Teacher of the Year. These are not just honors but a testament to his relentless pursuit of educational excellence. As a Title 1 educator, his profound work helping students with disabilities along with at-risk youth showcases his deep commitment to child success. Lance believes that by fully supporting our Children, Parents, and Teachers, we do more than just educate; we open a world of limitless human potential.

Lauren Wittenberg Weiner

Witty Gritty Entrepreneur
Lauren Wittenberg Weiner became an accidental entrepreneur when she quit her White House job to follow her husband on military orders to Italy. Once there, she discovered that military spouses were prohibited from holding professional-level jobs. She started WWC Global, and she and her team grew to $100m in annual revenue before selling it to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in 2022. In 2018, WWC Global won the largest-ever contract to a woman-owned business in US Special Operations Command headquarters history— the headquarters for the Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets—making WWC Global one of the most successful women-owned small businesses in the government contracting space. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and a Ph.D. in psychology from Dartmouth College. She lives in Tampa Bay with her family, where she sits on the Board of multiple non-profits, acts as primary caregiver for her aging parents, and is a loud and proud hockey mom.

Leslie M. Bosserman

Emotional Endurance Educator
Fueled by local coffee and big dreams, this dynamic mom of three is on a mission to help you get unstuck! After working in higher education, she launched Lead With Intention® and has researched, coached, and trained teams around the world on the science of Emotional Endurance to enhance their fulfillment. Leslie has served on the leadership team for TEDxSacramento and volunteered in Jordan teaching leadership in local schools. After becoming a parent, she created The Makers Place™, Sacramento’s first coworking space with onsite childcare offering flexible solutions for local families. Leslie graduated from UCLA with her Bachelor’s in Mass Communications and a Master's of Education and is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach. She is a novice pickleball player and an expert bargain shopper! Leslie lives in Northern California with her family, and travels internationally for coaching, organizational trainings, and retreat facilitation.

Marci Elliott

Pawsitive Ally
Marci has a natural curiosity and genuine interest in hearing what people have to say. This came in handy when working as a TV news co-anchor, reporter, writer, and producer for NBC and ABC local affiliates in New York State and Ohio. It continues to come in handy in her current capacity as a psychotherapist / life coach and writer based out of Orlando, Florida. Her creation of a weekly animal education TV news segment led to countless shelter animals throughout Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York State getting another chance at life. As a result of her dedication to saving lives, the New York State Veterinary Medical Society honored her with a Gold Medallion Award. When not helping clients tackle emotional hurdles like depression, anxiety, substance abuse or grief, she delights in bringing words to life as a voice over artist. And when not working, she enjoys spending time with her rescue animals, wiping their paw prints off glass tables and windows. The things we do for love...

Matrick Thorpe

Contemporary/Classical Cellist
Matrick Thorpe (think Patrick with an "M") is a 16 year old contemporary/classical cellist from Sarasota, Florida. His irrepressible love for music performance, education and working with others has won him several scholarships. awards and grants that have led him to performing in 22 countries. While still a student himself, he works with several nonprofits, schools and libraries, hoping to inspire others to pursue the arts or at the very least... listen to more music. And though he performs with several orchestras, he goes out of his way to perform in the streets because he believes music should be shared with everyone.

Matthew Bounds

Aggressive Swearing Mr. Rogers
Matthew Bounds, also known as Your Barefoot Neighbor, is a cookbook author and social media creator who creates space for everyone in his kitchen. Matthew taught himself to cook during the pandemic and takes an inclusive, accessible approach to getting dinner on the table, working to remove the stigma from taking shortcuts when necessary. He believes there are no dumb questions when it comes to kitchen skills, and together with his audience, tries to make feeding ourselves a little less intimidating. Matthew rallies his online community to raise money for special causes, buy out wishlists for foster kids, and support small businesses. Known for his colorful language, Matthew also draws a hard line on bad behavior and enforces it. Matthew lives in Gulfport, MS with his husband of 16 years, CJ. He is already planning a second book, which will highlight the rich culture of the gulf coast area he calls home.

Mellisa McHaffie

Scent Alchemist
Mellisa McHaffie, a visionary entrepreneur and the owner of Crafted Scent Bar since 2021, is on a mission to unlock the hidden potential of our sense of smell and its profound impact on our daily lives. She left her 27 year career in banking because of a call to connect with others again along with a deep-rooted fascination with scents dating back to her beginnings in candle-making in 1998. Mellisa combines her passion for scents and our olfactory system with her commitment to community, family and faith. Her TEDx talk will inspire you to rediscover the overlooked power of scent, grounding us in the present moment and forging connections. Mellisa's relentless dedication to Crafted Scent Bar has earned her recognition in both media and an engaged online community, solidifying her position as a leader in the world of sensory experiences.

Tom Cobin

Presentation Skills Expert
Tom Cobin has been speaking publicly for more than half a century! In 7th grade, he started winning speech contests across the NYC area. In high school debate, he reached State Finals. He majored in journalism at NYU, where he was a radio reporter, anchor, talk show host, and DJ. Even before graduation, he was hired as a writer at WCBS-TV, ultimately advancing to Weekend Producer. He later became an Investigative Reporter, Weathercaster, and Anchor. He has won an Emmy Award, two Edward R. Murrow Awards -- among the most prestigious in journalism -- and was named “Reporter of the Year” by the Virginia Associated Press. After a 20-year TV news career, Tom became a top-performing pharmaceutical sales representative, and was promoted to National Trainer: a role in which he gave Presentation Skills Workshops for field reps. Tom now brings his extensive experience to a career as a speaker and coach, helping others to realize their own goals and dreams by communicating more effectively.

Organizing team


Eustis, FL, United States


Eustis, FL, United States
  • Peter Kenjosian
  • Robin Richter
  • Sabrina Sterling