TEDx Comes to Tacoma

TED is a nonprofit conference series that centers on sharing ideas from the technology, entertainment and design industries. Leading innovators and experts in many different fields come together at these conferences to speak. These conferences, along with the independently organized TEDx events, have produced some of the most important game-changing ideas that have gone on to better communities, small and large.

With the hard work of some brilliant local minds, Tacoma has secured its own TEDx conference. Rhonah Harvey of D2E Consulting is one of the organizers. “By organizing a TEDx event, we will have the opportunity to create a truly unique experience that will unleash new ideas, inspire, inform and affect others in our community,” she said.

TEDx Tacoma organizers have been working on the speaker list for months, vetting some of the best minds in the Northwest to create what they hope will be a conference that brings some real, positive change to Tacoma. “TEDx speakers tackle humanity’s toughest questions, attempting to answer them with innovation, enterprise and enduring optimism. Our TEDx event is a place in our community that will hopefully inspire people to change their lives, their futures and ultimately, their world,” Harvey said.

Here is the lineup of Tedx Tacoma speakers so far, with more to be announced soon!

Photos by Dane Gregory Meyer

1. Jean Brittingham is the founder and CEO of SmartGirls Way, the breakthrough brand for integrated support for women entrepreneurs. Over the years while working in the field of sustainability, Brittingham has come to believe that women, and in particular women leading innovative businesses, are the key to sustainable economic growth and a thriving world. Prior to starting SmartGirls Way, she founded Brittingham Partners, an innovation and sustainability studio, and worked with Fortune 50 companies, innovative start-ups, local and national governments and nongovernmental organizations. Brittingham has served on the Consumer Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum, as strategic advisor, director and faculty member for the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership and as an expert on gender equity for the Katerva Challenge. She sits on numerous business and nonprofit boards and plays key roles in the women’s entrepreneurial movement through her partnership and work on the We Own It Summit (WOIS).

2. Scott Ercoliani is the President of Real To Reel Media, Inc. and the creator of NOWtheater movies. He produces videos for government agencies, major corporations, small businesses and individuals such as the U.S. Army, Department of Defense, Habitat For Humanity, Turner Construction, SeaTac International Airport, AT&T and more. Ercoliani is also a contributing author of the best-selling book “Living In Abundance,” along with Dr. Wayne Dyer, Tony Robbins and Michael Beckwith. His main focus is producing the inspiring NOWtheater transformational movies.

3. Janine Terrano leads Topia Technology with a unique blend of hands-on leadership and hands-off trust in company personnel. Her skillful guidance helped Topia realize an extraordinary increase in revenue of greater than 1,000 percent between 2000-2005. In 2006, Topia was named the seventh-fastest growing company in the Puget Sound area. Topia released Skoot, its desktop large-file transfer and information sharing application, in December 2006. The company has multimillion dollar contracts.

4. Susan Russell Hall has been painting and exhibiting art since 1977 and doing medical drawings since 1979. She works mainly in the encaustic medium which originated in Egypt more than 2,000 years ago. It is a time-consuming process in which hot beeswax and pigments are applied to a prepared, reinforced wooden board in multiple layers. The beeswax is applied as a hot liquid and the entire surface is heated with a propane torch allowing her to “paint with fire.” Every painting is unique and truly one-of-a-kind.

5. Eric Van Alstine founded several companies, including M3, Inc., an integrated learning provider for Global 5000 companies and a leadership consulting firm figure headed by Harvard Business School’s most recognized professor of leadership. Van Alstine’s other companies have served several New York Times bestselling authors, company executives and the largest retailers in the world. He also is founder and chairman of Project28, an initiative that offers proven systems and structures of corporate training to ministries and nonprofit organizations.

6. Brian Nelson is a major in the Washington Army National Guard and currently serves as the executive officer of the 341st Military Intelligence Battalion (linguist). He has worked in the Military Intelligence community since 1992. Nelson was the operations officer for Task Force Dagger, the Military Intelligence Battalion supporting 10th MTN DIV for Operation Enduring Freedom 05-07. He managed and trained 16 HUMINT Collection Teams, three Low-Level Voice Intercept Teams, four Counter-Intelligence teams, and all the HUMINT collectors at the various Internment Facilities (to include Bagram) in Afghanistan. Through aggressive task-organization, his teams were responsible for a 45 percent increase in usable intelligence during their deployment. He also developed LingFit.com, a daily language training program loosely modeled after CrossFit.com — a physical training program. The basic premise is to train the brain like one trains the body.

7. Kathleen O’Brien, LEED AP and CSBA, is a nationally recognized leader in the field of sustainability and has been a writer, educator, strategic planner and project consultant for nearly 30 years. Sept.13, 2011, was named Kathleen O’Brien Day and Gov. Chris Gregoire and Congressman Jay Inslee recognized her lifetime achievements as a champion of green building. Twenty years ago, O’Brien founded O’Brien & Company, the first green building consultancy in the Northwest and was instrumental in the development of green building programs, policies and innovative demonstration projects throughout the state and beyond in the residential and nonresidential sectors. She recently launched the Emerge Leadership Project, designed to develop and support leaders working in building to create a more sustainable society.

8. Kristin Lynett began work as the manager of the City of Tacoma’s new Office of Sustainability in June 2009. Prior to working for the City of Tacoma, she worked for the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife in Olympia for nine years. She first worked with watershed groups across the state in developing local salmon-recovery plans. For four years she was the agency’s sustainability coordinator, tasked with reducing the agency’s environmental footprint. She also served on the Washington State Agencies Sustainability Task Force.

9. Joe Kane (not pictured) is an author of two books and a journalist who writes for numerous publications such as The New Yorker, National Geographic and Esquire. He has reviewed various motion pictures as The Phantom of the Movies. Kane is best known for his book, “Running the Amazon” (1989), a firsthand account of the only expedition ever to travel the entire 4,200-mile Amazon River from its source in Peru to the Atlantic Ocean. He served on the Nisqually Land Trust board of directors from 1998-2004 and was named executive director in 2005.

10. Joe Dispenza, (not pictured) D.C. has lectured in 24 countries on six continents, educating people about the role and function of the human brain. He has taught thousands of people how to reprogram their thinking through scientifically proven neuro-physiologic principles. As a result, this information has taught many individuals to reach their specific goals and visions by eliminating self-destructive habits. His approach, taught in a very simple method, creates a bridge between true human potential and the latest scientific theories of neuroplasticity. As an author of several scientific articles on the close relationship between the brain and the body, Dispenza ties information together to explain the roles these functions play in physical health and disease.

Committee Members (left to right): Co-host and organizer Rhonah Harvey, Pavel Mikoloski, Todd Ostrander, Andrew Wright, Lisa Fitkin, Kathy Lund, Mandy Landa and co-host and organizer Josh Dunn.


TEDx Tacoma is set for 9:30am to 7pm on April 17 at the Museum of Glass. Learn more at tedxtacoma.com or facebook.com/tedxtacoma.

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