x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Expanding Horizons of Understanding

This event occurred on
November 23, 2013
10:00am - 6:00pm PST
(UTC -8hrs)
Los Angeles, California
United States

TEDxPCC was held at the Arcadia Performing Arts Center on Saturday, November 23rd 2013.

The event was a gathering of leading thinkers and doers. During the full day immersion, presenters gave their “talk of their lifetime,” and shared their moving, innovative, and thought-provoking ideas. Between sessions the audience had opportunities to mingle, connect, and foster their own, "Ideas Worth Spreading."

Confirmed Speakers

William Pomerantz is the Vice President for Special Projects at Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, the world’s first spaceline. Virgin Galactic is building on the legacy of the ANSARI X PRIZE-winning SpaceShipOne, bringing a fleet of commercial spacecraft into service for private, civil, and scientific passengers. Will is a graduate from Harvard University, the NASA academy, and the International Space University. From 2005 - 2011, he worked at the X Prize Foundation, the world-leading incentive prize organization. As Senior Director of Space Prizes, he served as the primary author and manager of the $30 million Google Lunar Prize and the $2 million Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander X CHALLENGE. Will has also worked at Harvard and Brown Universities, the Futron Corporation, the United Nations, and was the co- founder and Editor in Chief of SpaceAlumni.com.

Brent Bushnell is the CEO of Two Bit Circus, a Los Angeles-based "make tank" focused on building products at the crossroads of amusement and education. The interdisciplinary team strives to make entertainment more enriching and education more fun. Most recently the team launched STEAM Carnival, a modern re-imagining of the midway to inspire kids about science, technology, engineering, art and math. Previously he was the on-camera inventor for the ABC TV show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and the CEO of Doppelgames, a mobile game platform company that sold to Handmade Mobile in 2012. He's a founder of Anti-Aging Games, a company creating casual games that reduce the risk of early memory loss; was a founder of Syyn Labs, a creative collective combining art and engineering to create high engagement for large brands and bands including Google, Disney and responsible for the viral hit Rube Goldberg music video for OK Go that garnered 40 million views on YouTube. In his spare time, Brent mentors teens in game development and entrepreneurship via programs such as Spark and NFTE. He publishes at brentbushnell.com and @brentbushnell

Saru Jayaraman is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. After 9/11, together with displaced World Trade Center workers, she co-founded ROC in New York, which has organized restaurant workers to win workplace justice campaigns, conduct research and policy work, partner with responsible restaurants, and launch cooperatively-owned restaurants. ROC now has 10,000 members in 19 cities nationwide. Saru is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She was profiled in the New York Times "Public Lives" section in 2005, and was named one of Crain's "40 Under 40" in 2008, 1010 WINS's "Newsmaker of the Year," and one of New York Magazine's "Influentials" of New York City. Saru co-edited The New Urban Immigrant Workforce, (ME Sharpe, 2005) and authored Behind the Kitchen Door, forthcoming from Cornell University Press.

Josh Kun is a writer, music journalist, curator, and professor in both the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the USC Dornsife College’s Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at USC. Josh’s research focuses on the arts and politics of cultural connection, with an emphasis on popular music, the cultures of globalization, the US-Mexico border, and Jewish-American musical history. Josh’s articles have appeared in numerous scholarly journals, anthologies, and exhibition catalogues, covering everything from the music of the Mexican border and the lost histories of Jewish mambo and Jewish jazz, to African- American and Latina/o musical exchange in Los Angeles. His journalism on the US-Mexico border earned him a 2007 Unity Award in Media and made him a finalist for a 2007 Southern California Journalism Award.Josh currently serves on the board of Dublab and on the editorial boards of American Quarterly, The International Journal of Communication, Boom: A Journal of California, and The Journal of Popular Music Studies. He has also worked as a consultant and curator with Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Autry National Center, and the Santa Monica Museum of Art.

Olympia LePoint is best known for her role as an award-winning rocket scientist, keynote speaker, and book author who leads as a TV expert and host in educational entertainment. As an internationally-recognized leader within Science, Olympia LePoint helped design and build space rockets, launching a total of 28 NASA Space Shuttles from 1998-2007. LePoint launched NASA’s Endeavour, Discovery, Columbia, and Atlantis Space Shuttles. She won The 2004 Boeing Company Professional Excellence Award, and The 2003 National Black Engineer of the Year "Modern Day Technology Leader" Award.While teaching as a part-time math professor, Olympia LePoint discovered Mathaphobia, a learning disability and fear linked to the amygdala part of the human brain. She published the book, Mathaphobia: How You Can Overcome Your Math Fears and Become a Rocket Scientist in 2013.
Olympia specializes in helping audiences triumph over obstacles through educational brain reprogramming. Olympia holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Mathematics, and a Master’s of Science Degree in Applied Mathematics from California State University Northridge. Olympia travels nationally to deliver keynote speeches, provide TV hosting, and is now in talks to produce her new TV show "Solve with Olympia", an educational science TV show for kids.

Keisch “Foci” Wilson is a former High School teacher and musician having taught at Pasadena's Blair I.B. School and John Muir High School. A staple within the community, Foci also helmed an after school program for the artistically and musically inclined youth of the San Gabriel Valley. Although he is no longer in the classroom, Foci continues to advise and mentor the city's youth while also sharing the stage with legendary artists such as Mos Def, DJ Premier, and Wu Tang Clan. Foci's music has been featured in the AMC Channel's Low Winter Sun, Eminem's Shade 45 Sirius/XM, and many other outlets.

"I'm able to speak to a wide audience of people. The potential of my message and its reach knows no bounds. It's truth and and brutal honesty without being profane. The content is unique and it's something that can be applied to everyone."

Oliver Sicat is CEO and president of Ednovate, the charter management organization that oversees USC Hybrid High School, a public charter school designed and built by the USC Rossier School of Education. Sicat was the former chief portfolio officer for Chicago Public Schools and the founder of the successful University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College Prep, a campus of the Noble Street Charter Schools. UIC College Prep has been the highest-performing non selective school in Chicago for the last two years. Sicat was a math teacher in Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago who was named Boston Teacher of the Year in 2006. He holds a master’s degree in education from Harvard University.

Eric Gradman , CTO & Mad Inventor, Two Bit Circus USC Computer Science, USC Master of Computer Science. Eric Gradman is an inventor & entertainer who makes others see technology as magic. He has a colorful history as a circus performer, professional whistler & roboticist. For 15 years he has designed and built cutting-edge technology products including 3d-touch displays, virtual reality systems, satellite control systems, intelligent robots, concept cars, assistive devices, and crazy games that will blow your mind. He is at the forefront of a revolution in personal manufacturing tools that make inventing accessible to all. He is cofounder of Two Bit Circus: a Los Angeles idea factory making entertainment more enriching and education more fun. He is one of the brains behind the STEAM Carnival, reimaginging the carnival with robots, lasers, and fire Eric is on television: as an on-screen inventor for ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition, a talking head for Outrageous Acts of Science (Discovery Science), and as a special guest on several shows including Invention: USA (History), and The NEXT List (CNN). His interactive artwork has been exhibited at LACMA, Sundance Film Festival, The Leonardo, Mindshare.LA and the TED Conference.

Wenli Jen is an educational consultant, motivational speaker, writer, community leader, business woman, nonprofit program director, and Recipient of 2013 Woman of the Year, 49th Assembly District of California. As a second- generation Chinese American woman, Dr. Jen speaks about cultural competency, race and privilege and other related topics in national and state conferences. Her expertise in human development, psychology, and education has made her advice valuable to several communities. Dr. Jen holds her doctorate in Educational Leadership, master’s degree from Harvard University, and B.A. from UC Irvine. In addition, Dr. Jen is a licensed esthetician and credentialed teacher. She has two published stories in the Asian American anthologies, Pho for Life and Miso for Life. Dr. Jen is also the 2012 Woman of the Year for the 24tn Senate District of California.

Eric DelaBarre is an award-winning author, filmmaker, speaker, and bestselling ghostwriter for Random House/Harmony Books. DelaBarre began his career with Universal Studios on NBC’s mega-hit drama, Law & Order. His work has beensold around the world and showcased on HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz/Encore, USA Networks, and NBC. He is former president of the Boys & Girls Club Council of Santa Monica and travels the country talking to kids about literacy and their potential in life.

Gabriela Valle is Sr. Director of Community Education & Mobilization with California Latinas for Reproductive Justice. Gabriela is passionate about her “RJ” activism and self-determination for all peoples. She believes that powerful change happens in spaces where women share our stories & experiences - to challenge systemic problems. In her current work, she builds relationships with individuals and organizations in support of comprehensive “RJ” approaches to policy issues such as: Sexual Health Education, Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Youth, Choices, and Ballot Initiatives impacting Latina/o communities. She conducts workshops and trainings for organizations, conferences and universities on intersections of Gender, Sexualities, Race and Immigration, Self-Care, Women’s Empowerment, and Re- thinking Views on Young Mothers/Parents. Gabby is trained in Augusto Boal's, Theater of the Oppressed and a certified Hatha Yoga instructor. She transferred from Los Angeles City College to UCLA - joining the generations of students, faculty and whose labor established the UCLA César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies. Gabriela proudly serves on the Board of Directors for the Center for Young Women's Development.

Mike Marinoff , A seasoned executive with over 20 years of experience, Mike leverages his extensive background and expertise, to architect innovative solutions that help his clients achieve key organizational objectives and maintain a competitive advantage....Results! Mike currently manages three start-ups while raising his amazing daughter, Alivia. He has been featured in CNN Headline News, and more. A small business consulting expert, with a background in the field of staffing, recruiting, hiring, career development and economic partnerships, Mike works extensively with local entities, colleges, universities and job seekers alike to develop opportunities with Local, National and International Employers.

Jodi Sagorin is a future physician and initiator of mini non- profit projects around the world. She started her journey turning down NYU in favor of working in rural Uttar Pradesh, India. Most recently, she led a campaign to raise full ride nursing school scholarships for 5 young Haitian students. When Jodi is not working or studying, she loves jumping out of planes as a certified skydiver, surfing, teaching yoga, and playing fetch with her scrappy one-eyed rescue puppy. Above all, Jodi is passionately curious. She is supremely interested in social good, patient care, medical/STEM education, and bringing delight to every new project.

Jason Troia has been at the heart of multiple large protest movements and recall campaigns throughout both his public relations career and his education. During Troia's time at Long Beach City College, a series of events convinced him to run for a seat as the student representative on the College’s Board of Trustees. In his role as a Student Trustee, Troia became known statewide for a complete recall of the Board, which he initiated and saw through to its completion. It remains to be seen where Troia’s quasi-revolutionary spirit may lead him, but his profound sense of social justice and civic responsibility will continue him on his quest for change.

Charles Yarborough , MD, MPH, FACOEM, FACPM, is the Director of Medical Strategies for Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMC) based in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Yarborough has over 20 years of experience in guiding health initiatives for several corporations including Exxon and Caterpillar and as a private practice physician. He holds active medical licenses in Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Texas, and Alabama. Currently, Dr. Yarborough is on the medical staff at Johns Hopkins Medicine Suburban Hospital, and is an Associate in the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health.
He is also an adviser for a medical residency training program at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center, and an appointed member of the Operating Model and Insurance Rules Committee for Maryland’s Health Insurance Exchange Board. Dr. Yarborough has held clinical appointments as Chief Physician of the Veterans Administration Health Care System and at the University Medical Center at Princeton. Previously, Dr. Yarborough served on a health advisory committee for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, reporting to the Director.

J.PERIOD, praised as a “music guru” in the latest edition of Rolling Stone Magazine and called one of the “world’s Top DJ’s” by The New York Times, J.PERIOD’s vast musical repertoire bridges cultures, generations and styles, making his signature sound the perfect compliment to the Nets’ new Barclays Center home. A veteran in moving large crowds, J.PERIOD has served as official Tour DJ for artists including Lauryn Hill, The Roots, Q-Tip and international icon K’NAAN, performing at venues from NYC’s Central Park Summerstage to Johannesburg’s Coca-Cola Dome. In his new role with the Nets, J.PERIOD is both curator and producer, creating an exclusive library of remixes for the team—an NBA first. J.PERIOD’s resume of remix and production credits includes work with Grammy-winners including Kanye West, Joss Stone, John Legend, and Mary J. Blige, and his “audio documentary” mixtape series (the latest, “Rage Is Back,” in support of best-selling author Adam Mansbach’s book of the same name) has won numerous accolades and awards. J. Period will be performing, "The Art of the Crossfade" with Josh Kun.



1. What is TEDxPCC?

An annual independently organized conference operating under license from TED. The event will be held November 23rd at Arcadia High School’s Performing Art Center.

2. Who is behind TEDxPCC?

TEDxPCC is not-for-profit and is run by an all-volunteer team led by Eric Espinosa and Renee Shaw.

3. How are speakers selected for the conference?

Industry and community leaders, inspiring story tellers, and talented performers are sought out by the TEDxPCC team. After an extensive vetting process, the most inspiring, cutting-edge, and interesting presenters are selected to give their, "Ideas Worth Spreading!"

4. How do I attend the conference?

Tickets are available now!! https://tedxpcc.webconnex.com/tedxpcc

5. How much are tickets?

Tickets are $100 for general admission and $35 for students, faculty members, military and seniors.

6. What does my ticket include?

Your ticket includes a goodie bag, lunch and refreshments throughout the day. Yum!

7. What can I expect at the conference?

8. What is the dress code?

Please come dressed.

TEDxPCC is one of more than 800 TEDx groups across the globe. The conference is an immersive one-day experience comprised of the official spoken program and extended networking breaks in between speaker sessions. Attendees are encouraged to converse with conference speakers during breaks, get to know new people and explore new ideas and perspectives throughout the day.

Finally, in the spirit of TED, talks are non-commercial and non-partisan in nature.

Attendees are expected to stay the entire duration of the conference.

Arcadia Performing Arts Center
180 Campus Drive
Los Angeles, California, 91006
United States
Event type:
University (What is this?)
See more ­T­E­Dx­P­C­C events

Organizing team


  • Ian Murphy
  • John K. Bates