Eight speakers chosen for TEDxMahtomedi 2019

After considering nearly 50 applications from across the United States and auditioning 21 top prospects, the TEDxMahtomedi program team has chosen eight speakers for TEDxMahtomedi 2019, to be held November 10, 3–7 pm at WBUUC in Mahtomedi:

Founder of a mission-driven cookie company, Junita Flowers works to reduce relationship violence against women through the power of conversation. She will challenge us to move away from defending our own perspectives and instead embrace the power of hope to break down barriers, change perspectives, mend hearts and unify people for common good. 

 Kyle (KC) Legacion is a graduate of the University of Minnesota / Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program with a minor in sustainability studies. Kyle will describe how social media keeps us from engaging fully with our environment and explore how we might improve our relationship with nature — and better care for our planet — by being less present to our devices and more present to the world around us.

 Brent Olson is a commissioner in Big Stone County on the Minnesota–South Dakota border. He will invite us to “Think Again!” about the future of rural America as he describes his vision to turn one of the smallest, poorest counties in the state into a vibrant haven for creative minds reminiscent of the Left Bank in Paris, SoHo in New York and Uptown in the Twin Cities.

A childhood survivor of civil war and now founder and executive director of the Sierra Leone Foundation for New Democracy, Hindolo Pokawa works to build local communities’ capacity to see themselves as part of the solution to problems they face — producers of knowledge and agents of change. He will speak about the power of teaching and learning from a cultural context grounded in indigenous teachings.

Carolyn Porter is an award-winning graphic designer, type designer and author whose book “Marcel’s Letters: A Font and the Search for One Man’s Fate” was a 2018 Minnesota Book Award finalist. She will talk about the value of passion projects — things we do outside of work that provide an outlet to explore, create, think and “Think Again!” about new ways to approach problems.

A lead scientist at 3M, Vasav Sahni uses spider silk as an inspiration for the development of innovative adhesives. Starting with his own experience (he’s terrified of spiders), Sahni will explore how collective opinions, societal beliefs, and individual experiences can keep us “stuck” to old ways of doing things, and how we might convert barriers to opportunities to maximize our impact in the global community.

April Seifert is a social-cognitive psychologist, life design strategist, and co-founder of Peak Mind: The Center for Psychological Strength. Her presentation will explore how the choices we make with respect to self-awareness, flexibility and psychological strength can transform our minds into our our biggest liability  — or our most valuable asset.

Mahtomedi High School students Ruby Ales, Mary Edmunds, Ava Schimnowskiand Alyne Torenvliet will use their experience as a Modeling a Protein Story (MAPS) high school team and subsequent presentation of their research at a national Experimental Biology conference to invite the audience to “Think Again!” about the role of science in our lives. 

We’re looking forward to sharing these amazing all stars and their stories with our community and the world at TEDxMahtomedi 2019!