where do we go from here

Look who's talking at TEDxHouston

Who is speaking on the big day in 2011?

Some of our communities most inspiring and interesting educators, researchers and artists. As the event draws near, we'll continue to release updates here and on Twitter and Facebook.

Roberta Ness

Roberta B. Ness, M.D., M.P.H. Epidemology
Dr. Ness is a frequent advisor to the National Institutes for Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Department of Defense. She has taken part in several Institute of Medicine, National Academies' reports.

Dr. Ness is past-President of the American College of Epidemiology and has served as a member of its board of directors since 2004. In 2011 she became President-Elect of the American Epidemiological Society. Recently, she became the founding chair of the Joint Policy Committee of the Societies of Epidemiology - the first organization to coordinate joint policy actions among 14 epidemiology societies.
More Information: UT Health


Godiwalla - Author on Leadership
Godiwalla is the bestselling author of Suits: A Woman on Wall Street, which The New York Times describes as the Devil Wears Prada of investment banking. It's an insider's perspective on her experience at Morgan Stanley from an outsider's point of view- woman, second-generation Indian American, and Texan. Suits was chosen by USA Today as a top pick, and FORTUNE CNN Money call it a "must read."

She is also the CEO of MindWorks (www.mindworkscorp.com), which provides stress management and meditation training to corporations and other professional organizations. Before founding MindWorks, she spent almost a decade working for Fortune 500 corporations. She speaks nationally on diversity and stress management in the workplace, and she has been featured in major media including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, CNN, ABC News, and NBC. has a MBA from Wharton School of Business, a MA focused in Creative Writing from Dartmouth, and a BBA from University of Texas at Austin.
More Information: godiwalla.com

Kurt Podeszwa

Kurt Podeszwa - Camp for All
As the Camp Director for Camp For All in Burton Texas, a camp for children and adults with special needs and chronic illness, Kurt has had the opportunity to work with a variety of special populations including; traumatic brain injury, spina bifida, down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, cancer, kidney disease, autism, cerebral palsy and more.

Kurt is an accomplished presenter and author and the founder of Journey Consulting. He is a faculty member of Expert Online Training and has presented at national and regional conferences as well as for companies and schools on topics ranging from staff training and development to adaptive programming and processing.

More Information: Kurt R. Podeszwa | Camp for all

Havikoro Dance Group

Havikoro - Urban Dance
For the past 10 years Havikoro has been competing on a National and International grade. Since 1999, members continue to innovate moves, over-step physical boundaries and bring light to once "underground" dance form.

Inspiring youth is a major component of Havikoro. In 1995, Havikoro partnered with American Voices and the U.S. State Department to share their story and engage international youth who have similar life situations. Many members of Havikoro grew up in rough neighborhoods of Houston, Texas and therefore relate to many students regardless of language barriers. Over the past 10 years Havikoro has visited over 40 countries they are often regarded as the "Hiplomats" around the embassies.

More Information: Havikoro

Tory Gattis

Tory Gattis - Social Systems Architect
Tory Gattis is the Social Systems Architect and Founder of OpenTeams collaboration software as well as a new education technology startup currently in stealth mode. His “Bossless Organization” concept recently won the Management Innovation Prize.

Tory writes the popular twin blogs "Houston Strategies" as well as "Opportunity Urbanist", a City Brights blog for the Houston Chronicle. He is a former McKinsey consultant with an MBA and BSEE from Rice University, where he is a lecturer with the Center for Engineering Leadership.

More Information: Houston Strategies

Micki Fine

Micki Fine, M.Ed., L.P.C. - Living Mindfully
Founder of Mindful Living in Houston, Texas, and Certified Mindfulness Teacher, Micki Fine was awarded this credential from the University of Massachusetts Medical Center where Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn founded the renowned Center for Mindfulness. She holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology and is licensed as a professional counselor. She has been in private psychotherapy practice since 1990.

Micki teaches mindfulness meditation and stress reduction in a variety of settings including her private practice, the Jung Center, Rice University, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, and The Institute for Spirituality and Health. She has acted as a consultant and teacher for National Institute for Drug Abuse grants studying mindfulness and its effects on chemical dependency recovery and smoking cessation. She has taught Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression Relapse Prevention at the nationally known Omega Institute.

More Information: LivingMindfully.org

Chris Seay

Chris Seay - Pastor at Ecclesia
Chris Seay is a Native Houstonian, Founder of Ecclesia Houston, Pastor, Teacher, Progressive Thinker, and Storyteller. Author of The Gospel According to Tony Soprano (Penguin Putnam), The Tao of Enron, The Gospel According to LOST, The Gospel According to Jesus and Six other books.

As President of Ecclesia Bible Society Chris is leading a team of literary artist to collaborate with language scholars in a groundbreaking translation of the Christian Scriptures. Chris loves his family, the Astros, and Mexican Food.

More Information: Chris Seay

Chris Seay

Wade Adams - Nanotechnology and Energy
Dr. Wade Adams is the Director of the Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology at Rice University. The Institute is devoted to the development of new innovations on the nanometer scale. Some of the institute's current thrusts include research in carbon nanotubes, medical applications of nanoparticles, nanoporous membranes, molecular computing, and nanoshell diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

Wade was appointed a senior scientist (ST) in the Materials Directorate of the Wright Laboratory in 1995. Prior to that he was a research leader and in-house research scientist in the directorate. For the past 36 years he has conducted research in polymer physics, concentrating on structure-property relations in high-performance organic materials. He is internationally known for his research in high-performance rigid-rod polymer fibers, X-ray scattering studies of fibers and liquid crystalline films, polymer dispersed liquid crystals, and theoretical studies of ultimate polymer properties.

More Information: Wade Adams

Chris Seay

Donte Newman - Spoken Word

Born May 12, 1991 in Houston, Texas, Donte Newman is a Spoken Word Artist who has worked collaboratively and individually on a variety of artistic projects. He has performed original pieces in Germany, Tanzania, Africa and Budapest, Hungary. He has written odes for Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and editor-in-chief of Essence Susan L. Taylor. Currently he’s a junior at the remarkable Texas Southern University majoring in Speech Communication with a minor in Political Science.

More Information: Donte Newman

Chris Seay

Michael Skelly - Clean Line Energy
Michael Skelly led the development of Horizon Wind Energy from a two-man company to a leadership position in the U.S. wind industry.  Founded by the Houston-based Zilkha family, Horizon was acquired by Goldman Sachs in 2005.  In mid-2007 Goldman Sachs sold Horizon Wind to EDP in the largest transaction to date in the burgeoning clean energy industry.  Before Horizon, Skelly developed thermal, hydroelectric, biomass and wind energy projects in Central America with Energia Global.  In the early 1990’s Skelly co-founded the Rain Forest Aerial Tram, a mile-long tramway system which takes visitors on an aerial tour of the rain forest in Costa Rica.  That company currently has 400 employees.  Skelly has played a leading role in several other businesses.  In 2008, Skelly ran for the United States Congress as the Democratic nominee in the seventh District of Texas.

Michael Skelly has a BA in Economics from the University of Notre Dame.  He served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Central America before obtaining an MBA from Harvard Business School.

More Information: Michael Skelly

Constance Adams

Constance Adams - Space Architect

Constance Adams is a specialist in high-performance architecture and design innovation, particularly in the area of architecture for human spaceflight. Currently leading research for Synthesis LLP, her work for NASA has included performing operations integration for the International Space Station, crew systems design and new module architecture. Adams’ tenure as architectural consultant to NASA and to commercial space ventures has sensitized her to issues of human-machine interface, sustainable systems, the importance of biomimetic design and the need for new ways of addressing risk in the design and building professions.

Ms. Adams translated an early specialization in urban design and institutional architecture into a unique portfolio of designs for NASA’s human spaceflight program, including two surface habitats for lunar/Mars exploration, a long-duration crew transit spacecraft, and vehicle architecture for the X-38 Crew Return Vehicle, the larger Crew Transfer Vehicle and the Orbital Space Plane. She is one of the principal designers of the winning design for the Virgin Galactic hangar facility at New Mexico’s Spaceport America. This work has been published in Metropolis, I.D., Wired, Popular Science, Architectural Record, Newsweek and other journals and has been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Yale School of Architecture. She has won several NASA awards for her innovative technologies.

More Information: Constance Adams

Constance Adams

Will Reed - Technology For All

Will Reed serves as the President and CEO of Technology For All (TFA), an organization he helped found in October 1997. With TFA, Dr. Reed has focused on digital inclusion projects in Houston and beyond that empower low-income and under-resourced communities through the tools of technology. He currently serves as the Co-Principal Investigator on three National Science Foundation grants with Rice University for the TFA-Wireless project, which serves over 4,000 users in the Pecan Park neighborhood in Houston’s East End. He also serves as the Managing Director of the Texas Connects Coalition, a collaborative project for which TFA recently received a $9.6 million Department of Commerce grant to develop 70 new and improved public computer center sites in low-income neighborhoods across Houston and Texas. Dr. Reed is the author of several journal articles on community technology as well as other subjects and also writes an occasional blog entry.

More Information: Will Reed

Chris Seay

Michael Holthouse - The Holthouse Foundation For Kids
Michael Holthouse became a Houstonian in 1980 after obtaining a degree in Economics and Computer Science from Indiana State University. He is best known in the business world as founder and President of Paranet, Inc., a computer network services company. As an INC. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year and a two-time “Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Company” winner, Michael grew Paranet in 6 years to 27 offices, 1600 employees and revenues in excess of $100 million and ultimately sold the company to Sprint in 1997.

Since then he has focused on philanthropy, investments and a variety of business interests. Community involvement is an enormous part of Michael’s life and he has served on a variety of boards including Junior Achievement, Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers and Sisters, The Children’s Museum and Houston Achievement Place. Other organizations with which he has involved himself include Young Presidents Organization, Leadership Houston, Center for Houston’s Future and Houston Proud.

More Information: Michael Holthouse

Jazz Ensemble
Does Jazz have the ability to continue influencing the growth of music? Find out as ART FRISTOE (PIANO), ANDREW SEIFERT (UPRIGHT BASS) and RICHARD CHOLAKIAN (DRUMS) explore an original piece written by Art Frstoe.

Angela Blanchard - Neighborhood Centers
Angela Blanchard is recognized for her pioneering work in asset-based community development that focuses on the human, social and cultural strengths of vulnerable populations. Blanchard is the President and CEO of Houston-based Neighborhood Centers Inc., one of the top 1% of U.S.-based charitable groups that serves 250,000 clients annually through 60 facilities in the Houston and Gulf Coast regions.

More Information: Angela Blanchard / Neighborhood Centers

Carrie Schneider - Hear our Houston
Carrie is a contemporary artist working on several projects around the city. In this TEDxHouston talk, she announced her latest project which empowers Houstonians to tell and share the stories of their city. Via her website: "I see artists as activators, free agents, problem solvers, tricksters, healers, liminal space dwellers and conduits for change. I use art to invent ceremony, mark meaning, and reconfigure memory in my personal experience. When this process succeeds as a catharsis, I manifest it in a parallel public practice. I borrow from my experiences with developmental psychology, the Southern Baptist church, rural Texas towns and the concrete hyperbole of Houston, generous communities found where I travel, and contemporary tango culture. In my recent history I spent half of a year as the primary caretaker for my terminally ill mother, and then another half in recovery from surgeries myself. I am using art to graft this experience into the commons by examining the roles of caregiver/carereceiver through experimental movement."

More Information: Carrie Schneider / Hear our Houston

Laura Spanjian - City of Houston Sustainability
Laura Spanjian, as the City of Houston’s Sustainability Director, is responsible for directing and coordinating projects and initiatives that improve air, land, and water quality; supporting and expanding renewable energy, energy efficiency, green buildings, recycling and composting; alternative and clean transportation; local food production; and more livable and vibrant neighborhoods."