Meet our speakers and performers below.

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CASCADES embodies the spirit that triggers great force and movement within the Charleston community and beyond. The city is overflowing with energy and momentum, and Cascades illustrates that dynamic renaissance our whole area is experiencing. Our 2020 event explores timely, relevant and inspiring ideas with the power to cascade throughout the rest of the world. All photographs by Jack Alterman except for Jonathan Rypkema, photography by Nicholas Rypkema and for Charleston Symphony, photograph by Charleston Symphony

Stephanie Armstrong

A MUSC College of Nursing nurse, scientist and educator, Stephanie has a strong interest in marginalized, exploited members of our society. Her mission seeks to increase awareness, community connections, and improve availability of services for survivors. Filmed at

Jody Bell

When this College of Charleston freshman was in high school, she noticed good friends suddenly not coming to school out of fear for their undocumented parents. Jody will share her idea to help educate this growing, often overlooked population. Filmed at

Jared Bramblett

Flooding is escalating: solutions are daunting. Jared, engineer and expert on issues relating to flood mitigation, sees the need for increasing collective awareness on sea-level rise impact and modifying approaches to accelerating risks. Filmed at

Charleston Symphony

Seven members of the renowned Charleston Symphony Orchestra will honor yet another anniversary happening in 2020: Beethoven’s 250th! Performers include Joseph Eller, Brandon Nichols, Quinn Delaney, Yuriy Bekker, Jan-Marie Joyce, Norbert Lewandowski, Taddes Korris. Filmed at

Zandrina Dunning & Stephen Washington

A Boston-born, Charleston-based classically trained singer/songwriter joins a native son of the Low Country who is a piano virtuoso. Together the talented duo will debut an original work inspired by the Cascades theme. Filmed at

Austin Fitzhenry

Enamored with biology from an early age, Austin looks to nature for clues on improving our own human interactions. Who knew that the much-maligned snake would give us a template on how to treat each other in life, by using environmental responsibility as a natural bridge to culture and environment? Filmed at

Gracie & Lacy

Talented performers, song writers and creators whose work honors their Charleston roots, this dynamic duo will present with their unique style an original piece honoring the 350th Anniversary of Charleston. Filmed at

Jacquelyn Nagel

The old saying holds true: we can learn from nature. Jacquelyn, a PhD in mechanical engineering, believes inspiration through biomimicry can lead to realistic and feasible solutions using nature as a guide. Filmed at

Sam Norton

Farming – not on land – but in the sea. Budding entrepreneur and recipient of the most ever grant funding by a College of Charleston student, Sam is working to grow a new sustainable food supply. Filmed at

Karen Perlmutter

With a master’s degree in clinical social work, Karen has seen first-hand that addiction is a tragedy with a profound effect on the family. She has ideas on how to combat addiction through more than treating the addict. Filmed at

Kristy Pierce-Danford

A director of Charleston County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) since its inception, Kristy has seen how diminishing resources and inadequate prisons and jails present growing challenges on the horizon. Filmed at

Russell Reagan

Must the grass always be greener? Expert horticultural scientist and landscaper Russell thinks there are more options than having a lush, green lawn, which in the long run may do more harm to our environment. Filmed at

John Rhodes

Becoming a physician is hard enough, but MUSC cardiologist John proves that overcoming dyslexia, attention deficit and other processing deficits is not an insurmountable task. John scored zero on his MCAT reading, but is now a doctor. Filmed at

Steven Rosenzweig

A happy accident in the lab leads to incredible advances in cancer and dementia treatment. This MUSC and Hollings Cancer Center researcher, Steven, a PhD from the University of Toronto and former faculty at Yale Medical School, provides more. Filmed at

Landon Sanford

How many times have we wished to learn more from those who are at the end of their lives? Charleston native and recent Vanderbilt grad Landon thinks the answer may be asking questions as they look back on life. Filmed at

Keith Smalls

The only formerly incarcerated member of Charleston County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC), Keith’s 19 years in prison’s punishment and rehabilitation process taught him what doesn’t work. Filmed at

Anthony Waite

Active duty naval officer Anthony has seen that mentoring young men with no positive male influence can disabuse them of following the wrong leader. He is a believer that one person can, indeed, make the difference in a young life. Filmed at

LB Adams, 2021 Emcee

A crowd favorite last year, LB returns as mistress of ceremonies. Fresh off her well-received 2019 talk entitled “The Power of Words”, LB will dip into her theatrical skills to keep TEDxCharleston 2020 cascading along. Filmed at

Jonathan Rypkema, 2021 Artist

With a degree in Visual Arts, Jonathan is a Charleston based visual artist working in various mediums including spray paint, acrylics, and wood. Currently he is expanding to include three-dimensional paintings on custom shaped wooden panels. Filmed at


2020 Pandemic in the Lowcountry A discussion with local experts and TEDxCharleston alumni on where our community stands as the Covid-19 situation evolves. TEDxCharleston presents an interactive discussion with two noted experts on the science and medical facts behind infectious diseases. Hosted by award winning Post and Courier journalist Tony Bartelme, the session will present timely information and insights into where we stand, and where we are likely to head next, in the Lowcountry's battle with the coronavirus.

2020 Pandemic in the Lowcountry

MIchael Schmidt, Satish Nadig, Tony Bartelme

An interactive discussion with two noted experts on the science and medical facts behind infectious diseases. Hosted by award winning Post and Courier journalist Tony Bartelme, the session presents timely information and insights into where we stand, and where we are likely to head next, in the Lowcountry's battle with the coronavirus. Filmed at TEDxCharleston


CURRENTS bring together unstoppable, incredible energies for a convergence of conversation. We’ll learn together what forces have taken hold and empower each other to dive in, explore, and take action with open minds and hearts. All photographs by Alice Keeney.

Take Charge of Your Words – Out Loud

LB Adams

Teaching others to frame themselves in the light they want to be illuminated is essential for building confidence and empowerment. Discover how words used to narrate their stories help shape how others perceive them. Filmed May 2019 at TEDxCharleston

Plankton – Our Breath of Life

Tony Bartelme

On a mission to expose the connection between plankton, oxygen and carbon dioxide, this three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist gives us the deep dive on major climate threats waiting just below the ocean’s surface. Filmed May 2019 at TEDxCharleston

Porn – A Mother’s Concern and Action

Stephanie Boye

With increased accessibility to porn, the perspective of healthy sex and relationships for teens is increasingly skewed. This mom turned activist says parents can impact the trajectory of their teens’ sexual experiences. Filmed May 2019 at TEDxCharleston

Opioid Epidemic – One Fix from a Physician

Jay DeMarco

Think every broken bone requires a prescription to opioids? This 18+ year orthopedic surgeon is urging others to think again. Learn about post-op healing using non-narcotic methods to combat the current opioid epidemic facing the US. Filmed May 2019 at TEDxCharleston

Detecting Concussions in the Blink of an Eye

Ryan Fiorini

What if you could determine in 20 seconds whether a patient is suffering from a concussion, and if necessary, provide immediate care. Learn how one biotech entrepreneur is changing the game of neurological damage. Filmed May 2019 at TEDxCharleston

The Flow of Dance

Annaliesa Gowe

From ballet to contemporary, dance flows from movement to movement. This teen dancer shares this in an expressive performance that offers a glimpse into the backstage elements necessary for a dancer’s preparations. Filmed May 2019 at TEDxCharleston

Atrocity to Apology: Beginning The Path for Change

Melissa Maddox-Evans

Working to break down barriers of race relations, this champion and community leader insists apologizing for past atrocities is necessary for progressive dialogues and collective change. Filmed May 2019 at TEDxCharleston

For the Love of Jazz

Robbie Madison and Kanika Moore

What are the sounds of modern jazz? Meet this dynamic duo, whose mutual love for this genre led to the forming of their band. Their performance celebrates, honors and modernizes the classics for music to be enjoyed and shared by all. Filmed May 2019 at TEDxCharleston

The Future of Hearing Is Loud and Clear

Keith McElveen

What would life be like without the ability to hear and pick out one voice from many? For some, it’s an every day challenge.This audio engineer has cutting-edge technology to perceive the acoustic depth of different voices for thousands with hearing loss. Filmed May 2019 at TEDxCharleston

Police and Communities – How to Build Trust

Kylon Middleton

With the critical divide between law enforcement and the communities they protect and serve, discover how one Charleston-based program is working to fill that void. Kylon Middleton shares strategies for uniting our communities and police. Filmed May 2019 at TEDxCharleston

Music – Medicine for the Brain

Jacobo Mintzer

Can music heal? Some say it heals the spirit; heals the body; but what about healing the brain? As the Executive Director of Alzheimer’s Research at Roper St. Francis, Dr. Jacobo Mintzer says that early evidence suggests yes. Filmed May 2019 at TEDxCharleston

40% of Homeless Youth Are LGBTQ – What We Can Do

Melissa Moore

Coming out at a young age is difficult in the LGBTQ community—but being homeless? That only deepens the isolation many experience in an already confusing time. With over 40% of the homeless population identifying as LGBT, Melissa Moore is working to break the perpetuating cycles. Filmed May 2019 at TEDxCharleston

Your Brain In Space

Donna Roberts

With the probability of space tourism on the horizon, the question shifts from how to send humans to the moon, to how to bring them back—without permanently altering their brain and body. As long-duration human missions to Mars and other celestial spots become closer to reality, this NASA-funded neuroscientist is researching such concerns. Filmed May 2019 at TEDxCharleston

Service Provider

Small Opera

What happens when we care more about the screens than the people around us? Better yet, what happens when this modern day conflict is put to the test with opera as its medium? Service Provider by Christopher Weiss and John De Los Santos is performed by Small Opera, an opera group found popping up on a moment's notice. Filmed May 2019 at TEDxCharleston

AGEs Might Kill You. Do You Know What They Are?

David Turner

Foods you are eating on a daily basis is literally taking years off your life. From processed foods to the ways you cook your meals, discover exactly what these toxic AGEs (advanced glycation end products) are doing to our bodies—and how to prevent it. Filmed May 2019 at TEDxCharleston

Brian Sullivan, 2019 Emcee

Returning from our 2017 lineup, this clinical psychologist and tech entrepreneur uses his talents and insatiable curiosity for how people think and behave to better understand how technology can bring us together Filmed at

Mary Edna Fraser, 2019 Artist

This artist’s life work is from an aerial perspective, a view of the earth she chooses to transcribe onto silk using dyes in the ancient medium of batik.  Her stage design were panels from “Charleston Coastline”, an aerial view of the Charleston Coastline, commissioned for the Charleston Visitor Center over 20 years ago. Filmed at


Shake It Up! Speakers, Artists and Performers: SHAKE IT UP flips the script on conventional wisdom by enriching our community with unlikely conversation. As an audience of many gathered as one, we’ll explore new perspectives that transcend normal expectations – and kickstart the future by setting invigorating ideas into motion. Photographs by Vince Musi unless otherwise noted Click on presenter's name to learn more

Making Sense in a Fake News World

Dan Bellack

It may be newsworthy, but is it news? This professor studies ways confirmation bias alters perception, and is sharing techniques for finding credible news sources and questions that separate fact from fiction. Filmed at TEDxCharleston

Drive Innovation through Cognitive Diversity

Li Chang

Powerful problem solving is rooted in diverse thinking. Discover how this technologist embraces a spirit of celebration and inspires his team to use their unique creativity, logic, and reasoning to do better together. Filmed at TEDxCharleston

College Is for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Edie Cusack

Disability is not a life sentence, but a cause for celebration. This advocate has programs in place to give students with intellectual difficulties tools and resources to living, working, and thriving as equals in society. Filmed at TEDxCharleston

What’s in Your Water

Sarayu Das

Pharmaceuticals aren’t just in our medicine cabinets, but are in our tap water. This student invented prototype filters to combat contaminated water and is educating others on the importance of proper disposal. Filmed at TEDxCharleston

Can We Save Our Reefs

Phillip Dustan

Ecology begins at the grassroots – or in the bottom of the ocean. Our reefs, marshes, and waterways are slowly degrading due to warming oceans and rising tides. Learn how you can take action. Filmed at TEDxCharleston

Mind Your Monkeys

Feral Creative

You know how to mind your manners, but do you know how to mind your monkeys? Watch as these puppets, people, and masks uncage your innermost thoughts to unleash your most creative thinking. Filmed at TEDxCharleston

Embrace a Future with Robots

Jason Kerestes

Robots aren't as you see them in movies. This technologist is disrupting how we see robotics in everyday spaces, and how robotics is changing industries. Filmed at TEDxCharleston

Toys Are for Grown-ups

Michael Kleiss

Think toys are all fun and games? Think again. This Clemson University architecture professor is redefining play, exploration, and experimentation as necessities for unlocking the genius within the human spirit. Filmed at TEDxCharleston

Sober Reality for the F&B Industry

Steve Palmer

This celebrated restaurateur knows the strains and successes of his industry can drive employees to the darkest of places. With a focus on service, he’s committed to flipping the tables on professional support. Filmed at TEDxCharleston

Men, Own Your Role in Domestic Violence

Christan Rainey

It takes a cycle-breaker to shake up generations of domestic violence. Meet the man who is encouraging men everywhere to own their role in breaking the chain. Filmed at TEDxCharleston

Contemporary Twist to Gullah Sounds

Ranky Tanky

Get down with this Gullah quintet, celebrating the timeless sounds of the Southeastern Sea Island region with contemporary arrangements. Filmed at TEDxCharleston

Strings of Change

Rene Russell

Freedom is yours to grasp – if you’re bold enough to pick up your instrument. This Lowcountry guitarist and singer-songwriter share her stories of choice, change, and the hope that talks between twelve strings. Filmed at TEDxCharleston

Global Connections Begin at the Dinner Table

Tina Singleton

Breaking down barriers starts with breaking bread together. Tina Singleton traveled to the hostile corners of the world to find what all humans desire: to belong and to be fed. Filmed at TEDxCharleston

Game Your Brain

Jake Stauch

Your brain is a muscle you can train! This neuroscience entrepreneur is sharing how live feedback can change the landscape of ADHD, giving access to attention and controling impulsivity and hyperactivity. Filmed at TEDxCharleston

Emotive Tools to Empower Human Connection

Brian Sullivan

Does reach equal engagement? This clinical psychologist isn’t convinced. Learn how emotion science empowers human connection through new emotive tools. Filmed at TEDxCharleston

Let’s Give Face to Mental Illness

Emily Torchiana

To break the stigma, we’ve got to shake up the silence. Emily’s brave quest is to bring invisible illnesses into the light by giving herself and others permission to see the strength in their struggle. Filmed at TEDxCharleston

2017 Emcee

Marcus Amaker

Charleston’s first Poet Laureate and performer for TEDxCharleston 2016, Marcus Amaker returns as our 2017 emcee. Filmed at TEDxCharleston

2017 Artist

Zak Collins

Balancing art with aesthetic, Zack captures the mysterious and the mystical in his landscapes. Photograph by Jennifer Collins Filmed at TEDxCharleston


Tipping Point Speakers, Artists and Performers: Experience today’s change agents who have reached Tipping Points to harness ideas, actions and events are positively impacting our community and the world. Explore the concept that Tipping Points are not easily reached, but can and do lead to constructive outcomes if the idea is buoyed by sufficient energy, passion and purpose. Expect results as speakers inspire a diverse audience of bold, bright, inquisitive people who in turn will strive toward reaching Tipping Points in their vocation or avocation. All photographs by Fia Forever Photography. Click on presenter's name to learn more

Head In A Bucket

Don Alderman

In this TEDxCharleston talk, Don shares his story of helping a family create a sustainable dairy farm, and build a life for themselves that in turn enriched the community Filmed October 2016 at TEDx Charleston

Roll Down The Windows, Unlock The Doors

Jack Alterman

In a desire to “roll down his windows and unlock his doors” and get to know his neighbors, Alterman launched a photo project called East Siders Matter. Here he shares his story of how it impacted the neighborhood. Filmed October 2016 at TEDxCharleston

Poetry And Jazz

Marcus Amaker & Quentin Baxter

Take the mesmerizing rhythm of spoken word verse and add the percussive magic of drums and you get the genre-blending marriage of poetry and jazz. Marcus Amaker and Quentin Baxter perform “The New Foundation” with an intuitive syncope that is both riveting and inspiring. Filmed October 2016 at TEDx Charleston

Cuban Jazz Experience

Gino Castillo with Abdiel Iriarte

Cuban samba rhythms and New Orleans’s style jazz piano are an intoxicating combo in this jiving performance by Castillo on drums and Iriarte on keyboard. Filmed October 2016 at TEDx Charleston

More Ocean Less Plastic

Lia Colabello

Eight million tons. That’s a lot of plastic to swallow, and a lot of straws to bear even if you’re the world’s oceans (yes, who knew we use 300 million plastic straws a day?). Or rather, especially if you’re the ocean, according to the startling data that Lia Colabello delivers in this talk on the global marine crisis of plastic pollution. Filmed October 2016 at TEDx Charleston

Correcting Corrections: Why I Am In Prison

Lefford Fate

We’ve all heard the startling statistics regarding incarceration rates, and our burgeoning prison industrial system. What’s less known or acknowledged is the high rate of mental illness among our prison population. Nearly one in five offenders in our correctional system suffer from mental illness, and Lefford Fate believes this is unacceptable. Filmed October 2016 at TEDx Charleston

Forget What Your Mom Said: Laugh At Me

Jason Groce

Need to laugh today? Listen to Jason Groce present his very dry, self-deprecating sense of humor and material which borders on both clever and bizarre. Filmed October 2016 at TEDx Charleston

Ignore The Gap: Connections Are Key To Disrupt Aging

Kate Jerome

Think vertical, says Kate Jerome. Make connections between generations—it’s the best kind of problem solving: mutually beneficial, easy and not costly to do. Filmed October 2016 at TEDx Charleston

Creating An Ecosystem of Good

Catherine LeCour

Catherine LaCour is keen on disruption. But mostly, she’s a champion of innovation, and here she challenges TEDx viewers to be catalysts of shaking things up in a positive way by the power of enterprises and the cloud. That may sound simple, but as she makes clear, it’s pretty radical. Filmed October 2016 at TEDx Charleston

Cyber Insecurity: Why You Are The Vulnerability

John LaCour

Warning: don’t watch this TEDx talk if you a) currently feel invincible on the internet; b) have little stomach for vulnerability or c) shy away from FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt). Filmed October 2016 at TEDx Charleston

Brighter Than A Billion Suns: Imaging Life On Earth

Phil Manning

Paleontology is often viewed as a 'blue sky' science, one with little relevance, beyond Indiana Jones movie scripts, in the 21st Century. Phil Manning buries this prehistoric notion in a compelling talk that first and foremost reminds you just how totally cool scientific research can be (plus, his British accent doesn’t hurt). Filmed October 2016 at TEDx Charleston

And You Thought History Was A Snore

Joseph McGill Jr.

Plenty of museums and cultural sites sponsor living history programs, but Joseph McGill is likely the first person to dream up a “sleeping history” program. But five years ago, when he began sleeping around, so to speak, in former slave dwellings, he realized he was on to something. Filmed October 2016 at TEDx Charleston

Silence Is Not Always Golden

Kat Morgan

Speak up. Speak out. Speak loudly, especially in calling out racism. That’s the quick take-away of Kat Morgan’s compelling and heart-felt talk that we all need to hear, especially those of us who are white and may think racism isn’t “our issue.” Filmed October 2016 at TEDx Charleston

The Sea Also Rises: Prepare For A Changing Shoreline

Eric Morris

If you’re on the fence about whether or not the sea rising is real, you better find a taller fence, at least if you plan on watching Eric Morris’s absolutely riveting talk about sea level rise. (You’re going to need that fence’s elevation). Filmed October 2016 at TEDx Charleston

Bollywood Finds Its Roots

Anuradha Murali with Mrudani School of Performing Arts

Did you know that Bollywood dancing originated from classical forms of Indian dance? Kathak, Mohini Attam, Bharathanatyam and Kuchipudi are a few styles of the Indian classical dance. Anuradha Murali with the Mrudani School of Perform Arts show that classical dance provides the foundation for Bollywood. Filmed October 2016 at TEDx Charleston

How To Win Transplants And Influence People

Satish Nadig

As one of only five transplant surgeons in the state, Satish Nadig is pursing innovative research to prolong the life of organs through immunosuppressive nanoparticles or to create groundbreaking technology which can enhance or replace the functions of the damaged organs. Filmed at TEDx Charleston

Kid Power: Small But Mighty

Jackson Silverman

What if you were 7 years old and you were told that you could not help feed hungry kids, what would you do? Well, Jackson Silverman decided this was unacceptable and started a nonprofit where kids help kids, packing backpacks to feed hungry children on the weekend in an area where one in four children are at risk of hunger, with poverty rates as high as 44 percent in some pockets. Filmed October 2016 at TEDx Charleston

Heirs Discover Money Does Grow On Trees

Jennie Stephens

Across the South, land that has been in African American families for generations is often untitled. The family may wish to hold on to their land, but economic pressures make it difficult. That’s where Jennie Stephens comes to the rescue. Filmed October 2016 at TEDx Charleston

Becca Bernet, 2016 Artist

From intricate drawings to delicate sculptures, Becca explores why humans try to hold on to the fleeting corporeal. Filmed at

2016 Emcee

This 2014 TEDxCharleston speaker, currently CEO of the Center for Civil and Human Rights and founder of the Global Soap Project, is back as our emcee. Filmed at TEDxCharleston


Embrace Chaos Speakers, Artists and Performers: Experience today's change agents who have Embraced Chaos to harness ideas, actions and events that are positively impacting our community and the world. Explore the concept that chaos, disorder and uncertainty indeed abound, but can and do lead to constructive outcomes if embraced with passion and purpose. Expect results as speakers inspire a diverse audience of bold, bright, inquisitive people who in turn will Embrace Chaos in their lives and community and use it creatively. All photographs by Fia Forever Photography Click on presenter's name to learn more

The Science Of Yogic Breathing

Sundar Balasubramanian

ARather than examining what takes your breath away, Sundar Balasubramanian, a radiation oncology researcher studies what breath gives you. A deep breath relaxes, and as he explains it creates significant beneficial changes in physiologically relevant biomarkers. Filmed April 2015 at TEDx Charleston

Our Disposable Architecture

Jenny Bevan

When admiring an old building's fine craftsmanship and durability, have you wondered if a new building would be similarly admired 100 years from now? Jenny Bevan is glad you are asking. A designer from the birthplace of historic preservation in the U.S., Bevan outlines how old ways hold new, sustainable solutions. Filmed April 2015 at TEDx Charleston

Zero Equals One: Creating A Business From Nothing

Riley Csernica

Riley Csernica makes entrepreneurship a simple equation, especially for young adults. The 24-year-old biomedical engineer explains how she co-founded a medical brace device company to create a job she would love. Filmed April 2015 at TEDx Charleston

Not Just Ebola

Jeffery Deal

"Write it down," advises Jeffrey Deal, inventor, physician, author, and the director of health studies for a global non-profit. Additionally, Dr. Deal prescribes collaboration and sharing credit as the other key elements to put an idea into action. Filmed April 2015 at

The Business of Hope

Randy Dobbs

Following a long business career, Randy Dobbs, a three-time CEO, describes a challenge he never anticipated. An expert in turning around businesses and motivating people, Dobbs was equipped to handle that which would be daunting for many. Confidently, Dobbs shares how he has lived his motto, “I will never give up on whatever I do! " to apply his business skills to make an inspiring and meaningful difference for his family in their endeavor to overcome his daughter's pancreatic cancer. Filmed April 2015 at TEDx Charleston

Classical Fusion

Seth Gilliard

Violinist Seth Gilliard fuses different times and places for a unique experience. In this riveting performance Gilliard, combines elements of a classical Bach piece with a violin arrangement of Flo Rida's piece Good Feeling. Accompanied by electronics, Gilliard has mixed, Gillard's violin music mesmerizes. Filmed April 2015 at TEDx Charleston

Digitizing The Family Doctor: Put Care Back Into Healthcare

Nicholas Glover, Sr.

Violinist Seth Gilliard fuses different times and places for a unique experience. In this riveting performance Gilliard, combines elements of a classical Bach piece with a violin arrangement of Flo Rida's piece Good Feeling. Accompanied by electronics, Gilliard has mixed, Gillard's violin music mesmerizes. Filmed April 2015 at TEDx Charleston

Lucky Is A Lie

JamieSue Goodman

A self-taught computer programmer, JamieSue Goodman explains that no one really knew about computers or computer programming in her native, rural town of Manning, South Carolina when she was a student. That's changing. Implementing a pilot program to cultivate future computer programmers, Goodman provides several examples of how fourth to eighth grade students create programming from what they know and love. Filmed April 2015 at TEDx Charleston

Indigo Dreams: Downhome Roots Of The Blues

Donna Hardy

A blues artist of a sort, Donna Hardy is a plant-loving native of Augusta, Georgia. She shares where her interest in a new-found species, descended from a 270 year old indigo plant inspired her to specialize in growing and harvesting indigo in Charleston, South Carolina. Farmer, chemist, historian, entrepreneur and artist, Hardy digs into how the plant used to create the beautiful blue is a culture all its own. Filmed April 2015 at TEDx Charleston

Creating Opportunity From Chaos

Earl Hewlette

ways to stir things up. Answering the "why" in the midst of chaos has resulted in two of his biggest successes. A natural skeptic, Hewlette matter-of-factly outlines the opportunity and value that disruption provides. Filmed April 2015 at TEDx Charleston

College: Necessary, But Insufficient

Will Jamieson

A self-confessed computer geek, Will Jamieson says he doesn’t play video games. He's interested in pragmatic applications—in both technology and in education. Jamieson, a student at the College of Charleston published his first million-plus-user app at age 16. Though his apps have been used in more than 50 countries, and featured on several online blogs, he explains why, he's still in school, and talks about the value of incorporating a practical component— as there should be more to school than just the "A." Filmed April 2015 at TEDx Charleston

Lightning, CO2, And A Microbe Walk Into A Bar…

Harold May

Harold May introduces all the elements and encourages scientists, elected officials and business people to work together for a sustainable outcome. Trained in microbial physiology and ecology, May shares a new field of environmental research. He illustrates how microbes use carbon dioxide and electricity to make fuels and chemicals. This process, unlike conventional biofuels, doesn't depend on food crops, arable land or water, but rather waste, making his discoveries a two punch impact. Filmed April 2015 at TEDx Charleston

Life Is Full Of Delays: Finding Peace With That

New Music Collective

Percussionist Ron Wiltrout and saxophonist Dan Voss transport listeners to a new realm of music. This structured improvisation, titled Life is Full of Delays— Finding Peace reflects the emerging patterns of natural systems, which seek balance. From the field recording of nature sounds, the two performers respond from opposite ends—one simple, the other elaborate, and they subtly begin connecting, as they play towards the other's direction. Filmed April 2015 at TEDx Charleston

Secrets Of A Wounded Healer

Nancy Simpson

Nancy Simpson describes herself as uniquely positioned to de-stigmatize mental illness because she has been on both sides of the locked door. With great honesty and humor, Dr. Simpson, who is a licensed clinical psychologist, courageously uncovers what can lay behind the milk and honey. Walking the talk, Dr. Simpson offers a personal testimony for the need to de-stigmatize mental illness. Filmed April 2015 at TEDx Charleston

Finding Home Among The Homeless

Derek Snook

Not long after graduating from Furman University, Derek Snook embarked on an unusual career path, and lived at a homeless shelter in his hometown. There he observed first-hand the difficulties for those who were trying to get ahead. Snook shares how he was challenged by someone whom he least expected. From this experience, Snook found the support and courage to write the next chapter of his own story, in order to help others find voice to theirs. Filmed April 2015 at TEDx Charleston

Drawing The Line With Political Cartoons

Steve Stegelin

From the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, Steve Stegelin recognizes the two sides of the same coin - one that provokes to instill fear, and the other to instill awareness and thought. A published satirist since college, Steve Stegelin passionately believes in the power of the pen. This editorial cartoonist in only a few square inches of space and a “deceptively cute” style targets hypocrisy and chaos from his adopted hometown of Charleston, South Carolina. Filmed April 2015 at TEDx Charleston

Return From Chaos: Treating PTSD

Peter Tuerk

Peter Tuerk, the director of a VA PTSD program, introduces how we process experiences and trauma. Using examples from his research, he describes how it's possible to process memories and their associated meanings to overcome a traumatic incident. When active avoidance impedes natural recovery the most effective healing is facilitated through treatment designed to limit avoidance and to assist with the processing of relevant information. Filmed April 2015 at TEDx Charleston

Guinea Suite

Wona Womalan West African Drum and Dance Ensemble

Ushering a colorful, vibrant energy of ancient times, Wona Womalan awakens the collective unconscious. This performance celebrates the seasons and the elements of life. The Charleston-based ensemble is influenced by traditional Guinean rhythms. Celebrating the distinctive style of an all-female Dun-Dun (bass drum) section, they are dedicated to preserving the arts and culture of West African dance, drum, musical and folkloric traditions. Filmed April 2015 at TEDx Charleston

Entanglement: Aerial Silks Duo

Wonderson Duo

Jordan Anderson and Clayton Woodson elegantly suspend themselves and the audience's breath. This duo's performance exhibits strength, flexibility, fearlessness, and trust. With the grace of ballet dancers and the daring of circus performers, they create beauty as they spin through the air supported by silk and their skill. Filmed April 2015 at TEDxCharleston

Navigating From Storm To Agreement

John Zinsser

Whether at home, school or in the workplace, John Zinsser observes that most people want to avoid disagreement, but at what cost? Like a summer thunder storm, conflict regularly occurs and has benefit. Zinsser makes the case that it's the legal-based model of how we react to conflict, which creates the maelstrom. For a more fulfilling path forward, he encourages people to embrace conflict, using three waypoints to negotiate a beneficial outcome. Filmed April 2015 at TEDxCharleston

2015 Artist

Kristy Bishop

A textile artist working in locally sourced natural dyes who finds inspiration in what most people think of as weeds: indigo, goldenrod and tickseed. Filmed at

2015 Emcee

Vince Musi

An award-winning photographer for National Geographic, this 2014 TEDxCharleston speaker will do about anything to get into a TEDx talk for free. Filmed at


Ripple Effect Speakers, Artists and Performers: Experience today's change agents whose ideas, actions and events are creating an ever expanding Ripple Effect in our community and the world. Explore the concept that even the smallest ideas and actions can have exponential impact. Expect results as speakers inspire a diverse audience of bold, bright, inquisitive people who have the potential to create their own exciting Ripple Effect. All photographs by Fia Forever Photography Click on presenter's name to learn more

Common Denominator

Annex Dance Company

Memminger Elementary School's fifth graders are on the move, on the stage and in the classroom, thanks to Annex Dance Company's extraordinary blend of math, science and modern dance. Filmed April 2014 at TEDxCharleston

Rock ‘N Ripple: Double Standard

Laura Ball

There was nothing standard about the songs Laura Ball and Ann Caldwell rolled out, popular tunes that created a ripple effect right there on the spot. Filmed April 2014 at TEDxCharleston

Teach Life Skills And Change Our World

Jill Chalsty

The way to help young people succeed, is to build their schooling on a strong foundation of communication, decision-making and goal setting tools. Filmed April 2014 at TEDxCharleston

Successful Thinking: It’s A Know Brainer

Heather Collins

Cognitive neuroscientist proves that what holds you back from happiness and lifelong growth is all in your mind, and so is the solution. Filmed April 2014 at TEDxCharleston

Gullah Geechee: The Me I Tried To Flee

Ron Daise

Gift yourself with the impact of your own culture, says educator and historian, and enrich the lives of others around you. Filmed April 2014 at TEDxCharleston

Simple Solutions for Colossal Problems

Derreck Kayongo

Using an ordinary object to make an extraordinary difference in the world, human rights hero transformed the lives of those most in need. Filmed April 2014 at TEDxCharleston

Your Roof – Why Green Is the New Black

Hunter Legerton

Only in high school, this student is sure to go over your head, as he speaks passionately about sustainable engineering which led him to design a modular, green roof. Filmed April 2014 at TEDxCharleston

Beauty And The Beast – Photographing Animals

Vince Musi

Taking pictures of animals was doggone challenging for this National Geographic photographer until he learned how to channel his inner Doctor Doolittle. Filmed April 2014 at TEDx Charleston

Schoolhouse Rock – Changing Status Quo

Ben Navarro

Why is the American dream nothing more than a dream for so many children? The problem isn't the kids, says businessman and educational reformer, the problem is the system, and the solution is in our hands. Filmed April 2014 at TEDxCharleston

Art Is My Soap Box

Kate Nevin

As a citizen artist in a creative community, this talk paints a picture that illustrates the many colorful ways in which you, too, are a citizen artist. Filmed April 2014 at TEDxCharleston

Rather Have HIV Than A Broken Leg

Edward O’Bryan

Travel halfway around the world to explore how healthcare practitioners can make a difference by treating what hurts. Filmed April 2014 at TEDxCharleston

Your DNA Speaks – Do You Have A Choice

Jorge Roig

Does leaving DNA threaten your civil liberties? Learn how corporations can use genetic material you leave everywhere you go. Filmed April 2014 at TEDxCharleston

Libraries Bridging The Digital Divide

Andrew Roskill

Entrepreneur advocates for a public library of the future, a multi-purpose techno center that exists and thrives in cutting edge communities. Filmed April 2014 at TEDx Charleston

Rhythm Effect

Taiko Charleston

A dynamic musical art form, grounded in core aspects of the martial arts, dance and percussion, . Taiko Charleston drums up awe and excitement. Filmed April 2014 at TEDx Charleston

Fun Kills Fear

Greg Tavares

Improvisational comic becomes head coach and lead cheerleader show us how fending off what frightens us most is indeed a laughing matter. Filmed April 2014 at TEDx Charleston

Looping Effect

Graham Whorley

Songwriter and instrumental virtuoso presents a moving and breathtakingly beautiful acoustic set that gives us all "permission to think." Filmed April 2014 at TEDx Charleston

Why They Call It Play – The Joy of Sports

John Wilson

Professional soccer player talks about what's really at stake when we forfeit our love of the game and lose sight of the real goal. Filmed April 2014 at TEDxCharleston

Solving Obesity Crisis One Child At A Time

Louis Yuhasz

Inspired by love and driven by pain, advocate is determined to change the way society disregards and discards overweight youth. Filmed April 2014 at TEDxCharleston

2014 Artist

Lisa Abernathy

A papercut artist, inspired by Chinese medicine and Southern storytelling, to create work emphasizing parallels between human emotions and natural landscape. Filmed at TEDxCharleston

2014 Emcee

Teresa Bruce

A one-time Olympic hopeful turned memoirist and screenwriter, and former Ogilvy PR executive, who was a featured speaker at TEDxCharleston 2013. Filmed at


Reinvent Speakers, Artists and Performers: Our speakers share transformative concepts backed by inspired action - exploring breakthrough ideas that honor the past while bringing forth the full potentioal of something new. Our goal is to provide a platform where thinkers, visionaries and fascinating teachers will inspire us and in turn, be inspired. All photographs by Fia Forever Photography Click on presenter's name to learn more

How Cheating Alters Our Happiness

Jennifer Baker

Applying ancient ethical standards to modern day life, undestand how cheating and our ethics can alter happiness. Filmed June 2017 at TEDxCharleston

The Unpainted South

William Baldwin, Mindy Burgin, Rutledge Leland

This poet who dreamed of being a country song writer, reads his poems while musicians sing and play music created for the poems. Filmed June 2017 at TEDxCharleston

Seeking A Sense Of Place

Eve Blossom

Implementing social change by stemming human trafficking through a plan to connect artisans and designers around the world. Filmed June 2017 at TEDx Charleston


Caleb Borick and Benjamin Halford

A 10-year-old homeschooler pianist and a third-grader violinist perform Mazurka together. Filmed June 2017 at TEDxCharleston

The Wisdom In Quitting

Teresa Bruce

A one-time Olympic hopeful turned writer discusses how reinvention starts with learning how to quit.. Filmed June 2017 at TEDxCharleston

Make It Or Miss Out

Dave Dawson

How artisanal manufacturing positively impacts innovation through process, training, culture and experience. Filmed June 2017 at TEDxCharleston

A Chef’s Hunt

Ricky Hacker

Restaurateur and outdoorsman talks about how hunting makes a better chef and more importantly a better person. Filmed June 2017 at TEDxCharleston

Promoting A Culture Of Stewardship

Winslow Hastie

A preservationist and urban planner presents how we need to look at historic preservation differently. Filmed June 2017 at TEDxCharleston

Conscious In Unconscious Times

Brendan James

Brendan performs and presents how performers can use their song to inspire social change.   Filmed June 2017 at TEDxCharleston

Gershwin/Wild & Rachmaninov

Micah Mclaurin

An 18 year-old piano soloist performs Gershwin and Wild & Rachmaninov. Filmed June 2017 at TEDxCharleston

Creating Parks In Urban Areas

Michael Messner

How an abandoned rail line and urban areas can be used to create parks and recreation for the city. Filmed June 2017 at TEDxCharleston

Try Anything, Try Everything

Justin Nathanson

How I was able to come back from heroin addiction by the mantra, Start Doing and Stop Thinking. Filmed at TEDxCharleston

The Womanist Way – Technology Reimagined

Tiffany Russell

How technology can be used to empower women and communities Filmed at TEDxCharleston

The Secret And The Solution

Michael Schmidt

How copper, used ages ago, can be used today to control healthcare associated infection. Filmed at TEDxCharleston

Conversations With The Universe

Simran Singh

How one can heal and change with faith in the universe. Filmed at TEDxCharleston

When Trying To Solve, Does Not Solve Problems

Bill Stanfield

Rather than focusing on problems, philanthropy should focus on discovering and investing in the assets of particular individuals and neighborhoods. Filmed June 2017 at TEDxCharleston

Skipping School – Concept of Unschooling

Lua Martin Wells

Lua introduces the idea of Unschooling, a concept where students are schooled at home and the students choose what they will study. Filmed June 2017 at TEDxCharleston

2013 Emcee

Lee Lewis

Prepare to be entertertained by one of the original company members of Theatre 99, Charleston's home for improv comedy. Filmed at TEDxCharleston