Look who's talking at TEDxHouston

In 2012 we were excited and thankful to have brought together another phenomenal list of speakers and special guests who RESONATED throughout the day.


Andy Hines

Andy Hines had us at hello. Hello future that is. Andy's career has lead to him helping organizations integrate future thinking into their business processes and decision making. As a lecturer and Executive-in-Residence at the University of Houston’s Graduate Program in Futures Studies, he believes that foresight can help deliver the insight that is so needed in today’s organizations and the world. Full Bio

Andy Hines is Lecturer and Executive-in-Residence at the University of Houston’s Graduate Program in Futures Studies, bringing together the experience he earned as an organizational, consulting, and academic futurist. He is also speaking, workshopping, and consulting through his firm Hinesight.

Before that, he was Managing Director of Social Technologies/Innovaro, and served as an Adjunct Professor with the university since 2004. Hines enjoyed earlier careers as a consulting and organizational futurist. He was a partner with Coates & Jarratt, Inc., a think tank and consulting firm that specialized in the study of the future. He was also Futurist & Senior Ideation Leader at Dow Chemical with a mission of using futures tools and knowledge to turn ideas into new business opportunities. Before that, Hines established and ran the Global Trends Program for the Kellogg Company.

Hines is motivated by a professional hunger to make foresight practical and useful, and he believes that foresight can help deliver the insight that is so needed in today’s organizations and the world. His goal, he says, is to infect as many change agents as possible with this message. Thus, he has honed a skill set designed to make foresight more actionable in organizations.

In this pursuit, In this pursuit, he has authored five books – the just-released Teaching about the Future: The Basics of Foresight Education (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012); ConsumerShift: How Changing Values Are Reshaping the Consumer Landscape (No Limits Publishing, 2011); Thinking About the Future: Guidelines for Strategic Foresight (Social Technologies, 2007); 2025: Science and Technology Reshapes US and Global Society (Oak Hill, 1997); and Managing Your Future as an Association (ASAE, 1994) and the just-released Teaching about the Future: The Basics of Foresight Education. He has also authored dozens of articles, speeches, and workshops, including the 2003 Emerald Literati Awards' Outstanding Paper accolade for best article published in Foresight for “An Audit for Organizational Futurists” and the 2008 award for “Scenarios: The State of the Art.” He has appeared on several radio and television programs, PBS Houston, KRIV-26 News, and the CBS “Early Show.” He also co-founded and is former Chair of the Association of Professional Futurists. Learn more >


Anthony Brandt

Dr. Anthony Brandt is one of the first nominees we met with this year. His creative works are as rich and broad as the many interests he draws inspiration from. His curiosity and insights on the creative process left quite an impression on us, and we cannot wait to see what you may be able to create after listening to what he has in store. Full Bio

Composer Anthony Brandt is an Associate Professor at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. His honors include a Koussevitzky Commission from the Library of Congress and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet-the-Composer, the Houston Arts Alliance and the New England Foundation for the Arts. He has been a fellow at the Wellesley Composers Conference, the Tanglewood Institute, the MacDowell Colony and the Djerassi Resident Artists Colony. His compositions include the chamber opera The Birth of Something with a libretto by playwright Will Eno, and Maternity for soprano and orchestra, with a libretto by neuroscientist and author David Eagleman.

Dr. Brandt is co-founder and Artistic Director of the Houston-based contemporary music ensemble Musiqa and is currently involved in a research project examining music’s role in early language acquisition... Learn more >


Ben Jackson

Ben Jackson is a truly talented and mystical individual. He has studied the art of magic from a very young age and in pursuing his passions, it has led him in representing the United States at an international level in his field. Ben shares with us some of the intimate stories of his travels and experience, and if you watch closely, he may even vanish. We're looking forward to seeing him (or not?) on November 3rd. Full Bio

In 2010 Ben Jackson became one of the youngest magicians to win the World Magic Seminar's International Close-up Magic Competition in Las Vegas, NV. He had a lot in common with the presenter, Lance Burton, a former World Magic Seminar winner 30 years prior.

He has appeared at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, in MAGIC magazine, and in the newly released book, Magic's Most Amazing Stories. Ben's past clients include British Petroleum, Hewlett-Packard, Lincoln Financial, Dave Lesar, the current C.E.O. of Halliburton, and celebrities such as Tom Colicchio, star of the Food Network.

Most recently Ben won 1st place, the People's Choice Award, and the coveted Medal of Merit from the 2012 Society of American Magicians' National Close-up Magic Competition at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas, NV. With an unprecedented "triple win" from the world's oldest and most prestigious magic society, it's safe to say that Ben Jackson is taking the magic world by storm.

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Chitra Divakaruni

Chitra is a wonderful story teller, and she says that one of the most important parts of being a good story teller, is being a good listener. So listen closely as she will tell us a bit about where her ideas for her work come from, and where they end up, to perhaps come back around some other day. Full Bio

Divakaruni's work has been published in over 50 magazines, including The Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker and her writing has been included in over 50 anthologies including the Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Prize Stories, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. Her fiction has been translated into 20 languages, including Dutch, Hebrew, Indonesian and Japanese.

Divakaruni began her writing career as a poet. Her two latest volumes of poetry are Black Candle and Leaving Yuba City. She won several awards for her poems, such as a Gerbode Award, a Barbara Deming Memorial Award and an Allen Ginsberg Award.

Divakaruni's first collection of stories Arranged Marriage, which won an American Book Award, a PEN Josephine Miles Award, and a Bay Area Book Reviewers Award, greatly increased her visibility. Her major novels include The Mistress of Spices, Sister of My Heart and Queen of Dreams. Although the greater part of her novels are written for adults, she has also written a young adult fantasy series called The Brotherhood of the Conch which, unlike many of her adult novels, takes place wholly in India and draws on the culture and folklore of that region. The first book of the series, The Conch Bearer was nominated for the 2003 Bluebonnet Award. The third and final book of the series, Shadowland, was published in 2009.

Divakaruni's latest novel for adults, The Palace of Illusions, is a re-telling of the Indian epic, The Mahabharata from a female character's perspective. -via Wikipedia

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Craig Rusin

Craig has been waving a flag of innovation and opportunity throughout the Houston Medical Center. He has been an advocate for a new way of thinking about the valuable biological information that medical technology is able to generate. The complex interplay of medical diagnosis, computer assisted decision making, patient confidentiality and the big data movement will be explored by this local entrepreneur. Full Bio

Dr. Craig G. Rusin is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Department of Pediatric Cardiology at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine. He received his BSE in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University and his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia. Dr. Rusin’s research has spanned diverse scientific fields from applied nonlinear dynamics and rhythmic engineering to neurology and biophysics. His work has been featured in prestigious journals such as Science. His current research focuses on developing new modes of patient monitoring which can provide physicians with real-time, condition-specific information on the health of their patients. The goal is to provide physicians with the most complete information available so that they can make more informed decisions regarding management of patient care. Better clinical information leads to better results for patients.

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Dr. Glauco R. Souza

When we visited Dr. Souza's nano technology lab, we didn't know what to expect. Or to phrase it correctly he told us we could expect to see levitating three-dimensional cell cultures infused with bio neutral magnetic nano particles that would allow them to grow faster and in a more condusive environment for their development. This new technology has enabled all sorts of new ways to study cell cultures and has huge implications for the way we develop medicine, cancer research and beyond. Glauco will share with us this November how aspects between science, levitating cells, friendship, and sports can be the key ingredients for scientific discovery and the entrepreneurial process. Watch out! Full Bio

Glauco R. Souza, scientist, water polo player, and marathon runner, was born in Brazil and moved to the United States when he was 18 years old where he attended The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. (GWU). While at GWU, Glauco received his B.S. in Chemistry, and M.S. and Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry.

Today, Dr. Glauco R. Souza is the Chief Science Officer (CSO) and co-founder of Nano3D Biosciences, Inc. (n3D). He is one of the inventors of n3D’s Bio-Assembler, which is a device designed to use nanoparticle-assemblies and magnetic fields to enable three dimensional (3D) cell culturing by magnetic levitation. Prior to co-founding n3D, Dr. Souza was an Odyssey Scholar at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. During his work at MD Anderson, he applied a multidisciplinary approach to developing nanotechnology tools for tissue targeted imaging, gene delivery, and tissue engineering. Towards the end of his post-doctoral tenure at MD Anderson, in collaboration with his friends from Rice University, Drs. Killian, Raphael, and Stark, the genesis of 3D cell culturing by magnetic levitation took place. This groundbreaking technology was first reported in Nature Nanotechnology, the premiere journal of nanotechnology. During this same period, Dr. Souza, David Lee, Dr. Killian, and Dr. Raphael founded n3D. Now, Dr. Souza’s research mission is to advance 3D cell culturing by magnetic levitation into a routine laboratory tool that will measurably improve the drug discovery process, cancer research, and regenerative medicine. Dr. Souza’s research has been funded by grants from National Science Foundation (NSF) and State of Texas Emerging Technology Fund (ETF).

Beyond science, Dr. Souza was a four-year letter winner and water polo athletic scholarship holder and was inducted into the GWU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004. Today, he is the President of FFP BON Running Club, the largest running club in Texas, and brand ambassador for lululemon athletica. Learn more >


Jane Weiner

Can you imagine the world without art? For a day? A week? Forever? Jane can. Jane's seen it, experienced it, and changed it. Through her impressive background of dance and teaching, Jane has dedicated her career -- and created the entire Hope Stone movement -- to empower and educate young people through the arts. So settle in to your seats and listen and as she takes our imaginations to a dark place: The world without the arts. It's going to be a bumpy ride. Full Bio

When she’s not with her furry four-legged children, Jane Weiner spends her time unlocking the innate creativity of children and adults and improving their quality of life through the performing arts. Jane's focus has not always been on just dance, but also youth education. She graduated from Bowling Green University with a degree in deaf/elementary education with a minor in dance. Before her move to Houston in 1996, she had the unbelievable opportunity to work with the Doug Elkins Dance Company for a decade of fine dancing, touring and unforgettable experiences.

Although she loved performing, Jane still focused on educating youth. Jane moved to Houston and found a way to incorporate her passion for dance and education through teaching the performing arts. Jane Weiner is the President & CEO of Hope Stone, Inc., and Artist Director of Hope Stone Dance Company and the Pink Ribbons Project. The heart of Hope Stone is Hope Stone Studio, a dance and movement facility where exercise, good fun, and community meet.

One of Jane's most treasured programs is the Hope Stone Kids, an arts education outreach program for children 6-18 years old, which has also expanded to Katy, TX as well as New Orleans, LA. The program uses master teachers in dance, theater, music, photography, and yoga to empower and educate youth. Jane created Hope Stone Kids to help meet the artistic and emotional needs of underserved and at-risk students.

Jane had the opportunity to work with wonderful talents during her professional dance career and has sent her work to numerous renowned theaters and institutions in Houston. She has been awarded and recognized countless times during her career, and we are excited to continue her recognition this November at TEDxHouston.

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Jay Berckley

Do you remember a mentor in your life that always comes to mind when you think of someone who really listened closely, influenced your outlook and performance, and taught you life-long lessons that helped shape who you are today? Jay Berckley remembers, and is driven to help connect all students to the right mentors and methods that will shape the decision makers of tomorrow. He will bring his experience and passion to the stage this November as he shares with us his own lessons learned and how multi-disciplinary environments can play a role in truly shaping a better future for us all. Full Bio

Mr. Jay Berckley, M.M.A., is a passionate educator and serves as Director of Visual and Performing Arts at The Village School, a member of Meritas International Family of Schools. As advocate, administrator, and consultant for children he has worked in public, non-profit, and proprietary aspects of education. Developing programs at the nexus of research and practice, Jay is a proponent of utilizing research-driven data and understanding modern neuroscience. These practices frame his work for building emotional esteem within children, while simultaneously providing a foundation for academic potential

Jay is an impassioned performer. Having music in his life from an early age, his fluency in the arts encompasses more than professional education. As soloist, bandleader, and composer Jay’s music has excited audiences at NBC Studio’s Rainbow Room, The Bowery Poetry Club, B.B. Kings, Cleopatra’s Needle, The United Nations, Galapagos Art Space, and locally with the Houston Sinfonietta.

Jay grew up near Detroit, which taught him to understand the growing dichotomy within urban and suburban learning environments. Moreover, studying the impact of local, state, and federal policy on educational outcomes fuels his belief that education not only needs more concerted attention and resources – it needs a paradigm shift altogether.

Jay is married to his best friend, Monica Berckley. They have three amazing children, Madeleine, Lydia, and Tallulah, and now live in Houston, Texas. Learn more >


Jeffrey J. Kripal

There are complexities and wonderment in life we simply cannot explain. When we look to science and religion, we can't always find the answers. Have you ever experienced deja-vu, coincidences, or dreams that may have seemed real? Have you ever wondered what exactly qualifies as human consciousness? Reality vs. Abstract? So have we. Jeffrey will join us this November in a discussion to explore these and more paradoxical ways of thinking. Full Bio

Jeffrey J. Kripal holds the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University, where he is also the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, and is the Associate Director of the Center for Theory and Research at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. He is the author of six books, including: Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal (Chicago, 2011), Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred (Chicago, 2010), and Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion (Chicago, 2007). Jeff is a historian of religions who specializes in the comparison of extreme religious experiences and anomalous events across space and time. His present areas of interest include the history of sexuality in American religions, the mysticism of science, and the history of Western esotericism from ancient Gnosticism to the New Age. He thinks he may be Spider-Man. Learn more >


Karen Walrond

Oh Snap! Another Surprise! Karen Walrond has such a wonderful way of elucidating and higlighting the beauty of the individual, and the wonderful promise and peril of the diversity of our world. She just returned from a trip to Ethiopia a few weeks ago, and she will be sharing with us some of her experiences there, and her broader mission of helping people see The Beauty of Different. Full Bio

Karen Walrond, a former engineer and attorney, is the author of Chookooloonks, the award-winning website which pairs striking imagery and inspiring words to provide evidence that the ordinary is, in fact, extraordinary. Published online since 2004, Chookooloonks was voted Best Eye Candy Blog 2010 of the 2010 BlogLuxe awards and judge's pick for best photoblog of the Black Weblogs Awards. She is a contributor to the book Expressive Photography: A Shutter Sisters' Guide to Shooting from the Heart, a guide for beginning and intermediate photographers in adding heart and soul to their imagery. Karen's writing, images and other projects have been featured on CNN.com, Good Housekeeping, Wondertime magazine among others. Karen is a sought-after keynote speaker and has appeared on both local and national television, including The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Karen's new book, The Beauty of Different, is a chronicle of imagery and portraiture combined with written essays and observations on the concept that what makes us different makes us beautiful -- and may even be the source of our superpowers. It is available from both Bright Sky Press and Amazon.

She is a proud and awestruck member of the advisory board of the ONE Moms, a part of the ONE Campaign, a grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease in developing countries, particularly in Africa.

Karen is originally from Trinidad & Tobago, but currently lives in Houston, Texas with Marcus (her English husband), Alex (her American daughter), and Rufus the Wonderdog. She's a former engineer and an attorney, holding a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Texas A&M University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Houston. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas. Learn more >


Mariam E. Haddad

Mariam is able to sing in 7 different languages, through this and many life experiences, she is dedicated to helping people understand the different ways people learn, and teaching ways we can improve our speaking and our listening. In her words: "Global communication creates a problem we need to better address." We're eager to hear from her extensive background and how it's being applied to help individuals and businesses communicate with the world. Full Bio

Mariam E. Haddad, President and Founder of Performance English, was raised in a tight-knit Middle Eastern community in the U.S. surrounded by the Mexican culture. Interacting in this multi-cultural environment early on highlighted for Mariam the challenges of establishing connection in communication and being understood with people of varying cultural identity, age and perspectives.

For many years, Mariam had great success instructing pianists and singers. Her goal at the time as owner of Foray Music Studio was to help people discover themselves as they used the tool of music to look within. It wasn’t until people in the business world began to approach her to help them get beyond their fears of speaking in front of others that she began to shift the focus of her business... Learn more >


Nick Skytland

Nick Skytland is working hard on the open source movement in Government. As he brings his knowledge and experience from NASA to the stage, Nick will help raise the discussion of transparency, and how we can help bring our Government back to it's roots - participatory and democratic - in order to better innovate and adapt to an ever changing future. Full Bio

Nicholas Skytland is a creator, designer, and technologist, with a passion for engaging all generations in the adventure of space exploration. He is continually working to help NASA embrace new technologies, increase public participation and innovate on how government does business. Skytland is currently the Program Manager of the Open Innovation Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC, where he leads a motivated team of entrepreneurs and technologists who are responsible for directing the agency's Open Government Plan and Digital Government Strategy, with aggressive goals towards releasing more high value data sets online, pushing forward the use of open source technology, and creating participatory opportunities to engage citizens in NASA's mission. He has experience planning galactic-sized hackathons, envisioning future space exploration missions, designing next generation space suits, training space-bound astronauts, developing open-source technology and crafting new partnerships between government and industry. His current research focus is to better understand how governments can apply the art and science of mass collaboration to solve humanity's toughest challenges.

Previously, Skytland managed two science and technology projects for NASA’s Human Research Program, formed new collaborations with industry, academia and other governments in NASA's Strategic Partnerships Office, and trained astronauts for spacewalks at NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory. Skytland has also worked in the private space industry at the Zero G Corporation helping other experience the excitement of weightlessness during parabolic flight and the X PRIZE Foundation where he was instrumental in the planning of the first privately funded, manned space launch of SpaceShipOne in the Mojave Desert.

Combining elements of space exploration, science, technology, visual art and storytelling, Skytland is well known for many of his presentations promoting human space exploration, citizen science, digital natives, social media, participatory exploration, and open innovation. He has spoken to numerous audiences, including the Pentagon, the United Nations, Disney Imagineering and many others around the world. His favorite speaking experiences include the Nobel Prize Public Services Summit in 2009 and the South by Southwest Interactive festival the past three years.

Skytland holds a bachelor’s degree from Valparaiso University in mechanical engineering, a master’s degree from the International Space University in space studies and a MBA from the University of Texas McCombs School of Business. In 2008 he was the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Valparaiso University.

Born in North Dakota, he now lives in Texas with his beautiful wife and two adventurous sons. Learn more >


Nilofer Merchant

This year, our reach ripples out to the West Coast: We're welcoming Nilofer Merchant to the stage, who will join us from Silicon Valley to discuss "Onlyness". As one the few people who can say they’ve battled Microsoft and won, Nilofer has personally launched more than 100 products across the world and will bring her tremendous expertise and insight to bear on how "to resonate is to be filled in such a deep and full way that what we produce is rich and resounding." We're speechless already. We hope you will be, too. Full Bio

Nilofer Merchant's career has rocketed from admin to CEO to board member of a NASDAQ-traded company, earning her monikers like "the Jane Bond of Innovation" along the way for her ability to guide Fortune 500 and startup companies through impossible odds.

Nilofer has worked for major companies like Apple (with Steve Jobs) and Autodesk (personally hired and fired by Carol Bartz), and for startups in the early days of the Web (Golive/ later bought by Adobe). Logitech, Symantec, HP, Yahoo, VMWare, and many other prestigious companies have turned to her for guidance in developing new product strategies, entering new markets, defending against competitors, and optimizing revenues. And as for that battle with Microsoft: Nilofer beat them out for Symantec Anti-Virus' $2.1B annual business. She has personally launched more than 100 products, netting $18B in sales, with expertise in European and U.S. markets. Today she serves on boards for both public and private companies.

"The Future is not created. The Future is Co-Created." That's the central thesis of her first management book, The New How, published by O'Reilly Media in 2010. Her latest book, The 11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra, reconciles things that are often considered opposing forces—doing right by people and delivering results, collaborating and keeping focus, having a social purpose, and making money—because they are really not in opposition. They never have been. But it does take a more sophisticated approach to understand business models where making a profit doesn’t mean losing purpose, community, and connection. Finding the right balance between them is the key. It's just this type of balance that we hope will resonate deeply with you.

You can connect with her at nilofermerchant.com and follow her on Twitter at @Nilofer. Learn more >


Patrick J. Miller

Reverend Patrick Miller is an Episcopalian Priest with a hobby of boxing. When we first met the Rev, we didn't know whether to dress in our Sunday best, or our boxing briefs. He shared his perspective on the narratives that shape who we become, and the benefits of better understanding those influences. The principles which make the private and the social versions of ourselves work together to define who we are. Full Bio

The Rev. Patrick J. Miller is the 9th rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and Executive Chairman of St. Mark’s Episcopal School. He is a graduate of Austin College and The Seminary of the Southwest. He serves the diocese as Dean of the East Harris Convocation, as a member of Camp Allen’s Board of Trustees, as a trustees of The Seminary of the Southwest, and as a Deputy to The General Convention. In the city of Houston he serves as a member of the board to The Cathedral Health and Outreach Ministries and as a clergy advisor to Christian Community Service Center. He is an alumni of the Texas Lyceum. He has served parishes in Austin, Waco, Tyler, Houston and Connecticut. He has two books and his latest hobby is boxing. Get ready!


Space City Gamelan

Space City Gamelan is a group of diverse musicians who have come together as keepers of an amazing collective of instruments known as a Gamelan. The origin is Indonesian, dating back as far as 230 AD (thank you Wikipedia) and the individual musicians are from many diverse backgrounds. We found their story to be a fascinating example that speaks true of the multicultural amalgamation that is Houston. Full Bio

Space City Gamelan is an Indonesian style orchestra based in Houston, TX. "Gamelan" in Bahasa Indonesia means "to hammer", thus the ensemble features a variety of percussive instruments including metallophones (similar to xylophones), drums and gongs as well as bamboo flutes and dancers. Soothing at times, energizing at others, the music is melodic, cyclic, repetitive and trance-inducing. Gamelan provided ambiance for the courts of Indonesia, is famous as an accompaniment for puppet plays and features prominently in public ceremonies. Continuing in that tradition, Space City Gamelan has been a part of historic events in Houston, having performed for the opening week of Discovery Green, the ribbon cutting for the Indonesian Gold Gallery at the MFAH and the new Asia Society Houston Center's First Look Festival. We have also performed for weddings, art gallery shows and have conducted music workshops for grade school, high school and college students. Our group honors the teachings of our Master teacher Gatot Winandar, whose compositions and style shape our repertoire. Learn more >


Stephen Kleinberg

Surprise! By popular demand we have invited Dr. Stephen Kleinberg to bring us an update on the demographical changes that The Greater Houston Area is going through. His team's latest survey has revealed some very interesting trends in our community's evolution and potential future directions. He will be updating us on some key findings that we cannot wait to share! Full Bio

A graduate of Haverford College near Philadelphia, Professor Klineberg received an M.A. in Psychopathology from the University of Paris and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Harvard. After teaching at Princeton, he joined Rice University's Sociology Department in 1972. The recipient of ten major teaching awards, including the George R. Brown Lifetime Award for Excellence in Teaching, he is a faculty associate and divisional advisor at Lovett College, where he twice served as Interim Master.

In March 1982, he and his students initiated the annual Houston Area Survey, now in its 29th year of tracking the changes in the demographic patterns, life experiences, attitudes, and beliefs of Harris County residents. The Houston region recovered from the collapse of the oil-boom in the 1980s to find itself squarely in the midst of a restructured economy and a demographic revolution. No other city in America has been the focus of a long-term longitudinal research program of this scope. None more clearly exemplifies the transformations that are refashioning the social and political landscape of urban America.

The project has attracted great interest and generous support from foundations, corporations, and individuals in the wider Houston community and beyond. That support has made it possible not only to fund these professional surveys, but also to expand the research each year with additional interviews in Houston's Anglo, African-American, and Latino communities. In 1995 and 2002, the surveys reached large representative samples from Houston’s Asian communities as well, with one-fourth of the interviews conducted in Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin, or Korean.

Co-author of The Present of Things Future: Explorations of Time in Human Experience, Dr. Klineberg has written numerous journal articles and research reports, and appears frequently on radio and television. He is also the founding Co-director of Rice University’s “Institute for Urban Research.” Its mission is to provide a permanent home for the annual Houston Area Survey, stimulate other metropolitan research, sponsor educational programs, and engage in public outreach that advances understanding of pressing urban issues and fosters the development of more humane and sustainable cities. Learn more >


Dr. Vineeth John

Dr. John's insights are drawn from psychology and help describe the patterns and behaviours that can enable us to become better leaders, or empowered when we work with leaders. Join us as he explores the relationship between leadership and followership, the dangers of toxic leadership, and strategies to empower yourself to become a guide, even in followership. Full Bio

An award winning academic leader in psychiatry with formal business training, Dr. Vineeth John has been on a mission since 2004 to educate a broad spectrum of professional groups about the impact of toxic leadership on individuals and communities keeping in sync with the latest research from the academia. He finds himself in a very unique position to comment on the biological correlates as well as the socio-economic impact of toxic leadership. He has developed a well-tested survival strategy to combat toxic leadership called the "V.A.R Mantra" incorporating the timeless principles of Virtuousness, Authenticity and Resilience. The “V.A.R Mantra” has been presented to national and international audiences to much acclaim. Two decades of clinical practice have convinced Dr. Vineeth John about the power of the human spirit to rally against extremely destructive social evils. Through TEDx Houston, Dr. John hopes to be an agent of joyful, authentic transformation so as to mitigate the devastating impact of toxic leadership.


Viswa Subbaraman

"Hearding cats" is no easy task but when Viswa Subbaraman raises his hands, the entire room listens. As a conductor, Viswa works hard to imagine what a performance should sound like, but dominance can limit creativity so it takes a special kind of magic to blend leadership skills with the talent of others to produce true masterpieces. On November 3rd, Viswa will share insights into his processes and might just help us realize that when you leave your comfort zone, you might just find that balance. Full Bio

Internationally acclaimed American conductor, Viswa Subbaraman, is currently the Artistic Director/Founder of Opera Vista, Houston’s innovative contemporary opera company. Most recently, Mr. Subbaraman was selected by the HoustonPress as a 100 Creatives 2012: one of the one hundred most creative people in Houston. Opera Vista and Mr. Subbaraman were also honored with the 2010 Mastermind Award from the HoustonPress for artistic creativity and innovative outreach. Performance highlights during his tenure with Opera Vista include the world premiere of James Norman's Wake…, the world premiere of Line Tjørnhøj’s Anorexia Sacra (marking Mr. Subbaraman’s stage directing debut as well), the Texas Premiere and historic New Orleans premiere of Amy Beach's Cabildo, the world premiere of Somtow Sucharitkul’s The Silent Prince, and the creation of the annual Vista Competition for new opera.

Equally comfortable in the orchestral realm as with opera, Mr. Subbaraman served as Assistant Conductor of the Orchestre National de France where he assisted Kurt Masur and visiting guest conductors, such distinguished artists as Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Muti, and Sir Colin Davis. Highlights of his tenure with the Orchestre National de France include the world premiere of the Overture du Roi Lear by Paul Dukas, a performance of the Stravinsky Octet with soloists of the orchestra in Paris’ famed Théatre des Champs-Elysées and the French premiere of the Symphony for Trombone and Orchestra by Ernst Bloch, which has been recorded and released under the title Tranquille through the districlassic label. Mr. Subbaraman has been featured as a guest conductor of the Orchestre National de France, and he was invited to conduct a New Year’s Day concert with the Orchestre Symphonique et Lyrique de Nancy.

Mr. Subbaraman has conducted the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C. at the Kennedy Center as a Debut Conductor in the National Conducting Institute. Additional conducting appearances have included the Orchestre National d’Ile de France, Colorado Springs Philharmonic (USA), Thames Philharmonia (London), the Bombay Chamber Orchestra (India), Orchestre Symphonique et Lyrique de Nancy, the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra (New York, USA), Longview Symphony Orchestra (TX), the Midland/Odessa Symphony and Chorale (USA), the Orchestre National du Capitole Toulouse, the AudioInversions Contemporary Music Ensemble (TX), the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra (PA), and the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra (Santa Cruz, CA) as part of the Cabrillo Festival conducting seminar.

In 2005, Mr. Subbaraman was awarded the Herbert von Karajan Conducting Fellowship by the Herbert von Karajan Centrum and American Austrian Foundation which resulted in his residency at the Salzburg Festival. He also took part in the 2006 Beethoven Seminar sponsored by the Beethoven Orchester of Bonn and the BeethovenHaus, Bonn. Normally a seminar open only to German conductors, Mr. Subbaraman was invited by Maestro Masur to take part in lectures given by BeethovenHaus scholars and was also invited to conduct the Beethoven Orchester of Bonn on the final concert.

Raised in West Texas, Viswa Subbaraman studied at Duke University where he earned degrees in both music and biology. After completing his degrees, he worked as assistant to William Henry Curry, Resident Conductor of the North Carolina Symphony. Upon completion of his master’s degree from Texas Tech University, he was awarded a Fulbright Grant to study conducting with John Nelson in Paris where he also worked as the Visiting Assistant Conductor of the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris. Two months after arriving in Paris, Subbaraman was offered a post by Kurt Masur with the Orchestre National de France. At the end of his initial Fulbright year, Mr. Subbaraman received the first extension of a Fulbright grant ever issued by the French Fulbright Commission.

Mr. Subbaraman has completed his MBA through the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin and is collaborating with renowned economics professor Michael Brandl to write a business primer for musicians. Mr. Subbaraman was selected as a delegate to the 2010 Asia21 Young Leader’s Summit in Jakarta by the Asia Society. Most recently, Mr. Subbaraman was one of 100 Indians from around the world invited to take part in the inaugural Indiaspora Summit, which brings together influential members of the Indian community from all aspects of business to academia to the arts in order to discuss how to make the world a better place.

Further conducting study includes the Kurt Masur Conducting Seminar at the Manhattan School of music, the Institut Musical de Provence-Aubagne in France, Accademia Chigiana in Italy, and the Brevard Music Center (NC). Subbaraman was also a semifinalist in the Suwon International Conductors Competition in Suwon, Korea, the Vakhtang Jordania Competition, and the Grzegorz Fitelberg Competition. He has studied with many prominent conductors including Leonard Slatkin, Marin Alsop, David Effron, and Gunther Schuller and is also a recipient of the Edward C. Lynch Fellowship.

Currently a resident of Houston, TX, Mr. Subbaraman lives with his crazy cats Milton and Cameron, and is a devout college basketball fan. Learn more >