TEDxUniversityofNevada http://www.tedxuniversityofnevada.org Creating Community Conversations : January 24, 2014 Wed, 28 Jun 2017 05:15:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 TEDxUniveristyofNevada 2018 Call For Speaker Proposals http://www.tedxuniversityofnevada.org/tedxuniveristyofnevada-2018-call-for-speaker-proposals/ Thu, 01 Jun 2017 23:49:39 +0000 http://www.tedxuniversityofnevada.org/?p=2955 read more →]]> TEDxUniverisityofNevada 2017 Speaker Slider 3Our call for speaker proposals is now open and will run until June 30. We are looking for great ideas worth spreading and not necessarily great speakers. It’s critical to understand that TEDx is an idea forum rather than a speaker forum. We have a formal speaker preparation process and we can prepare anyone with a great idea to deliver an impressive TEDx talk.

Before you apply, please take a few moments to review all the information we provide at this page

The final link on that page entitled “Proposal Submission Process” will provide the link to the Speaker Proposal Form at the bottom. Please note that our proposal form will request a link to a short video of you speaking, and proposals that don’t provide a link to a video will not be considered.

Got an idea worth spreading or know someone who does? Our speaker selection process is very competitive, so apply early!

TEDxUniversityofNevada Live and TEDCinema http://www.tedxuniversityofnevada.org/tedxuniversityofnevada-live-and-tedcinema/ Sat, 15 Apr 2017 17:04:35 +0000 http://www.tedxuniversityofnevada.org/?p=2884 read more →]]>

TED 2017 will take place April 24-28 in Vancouver, BC. The conference theme this year is The Future You. There are two ways you can experience some of the excitement of a live TED conference right here in Reno.

  1. TEDxUniversityofNevada Live will be Thursday, April 27, 11 am to 5 pm, at the University of Nevada Innevation Center. It will be a live, real-time simulcast of the program that day. There are two sessions that day, one from 11 am to 12:45 pm, and the other from 2:15 to 4 pm. This event is free and open to the public, so stop by as your schedule permits and watch talks live from the TED stage in Vancouver.
  2. TEDCinema experience provides three opportunities to view special screenings of TED at the Riverside 12 Theater, downtown at 11 N. Sierra Street. Opening event is Monday, April 24, 8 pm. TED Prize event is Tuesday, April 25, 8 pm. Highlights Exclusive is Sunday, April 30 at 4 pm. The Highlights Exclusive showing on Sunday will be hosted by the TEDxUniversityofNevada organizing team. Tickets for each event are $18.

We hope to see you at one of these two exciting ways to experience TED 2017 live here in Reno! If you have any questions, please e-mail simmonsb@unr.edu

Your Roadmap to Building a Healthy Identity http://www.tedxuniversityofnevada.org/your-roadmap-to-building-a-healthy-identity/ Sat, 18 Feb 2017 02:53:08 +0000 http://www.tedxuniversityofnevada.org/?p=2874 read more →]]> By Tiffany Brown

America is deeply entrenched in an identity crisis. According to the Barrett Values Center, which is an organization that studies cultures and nations by analyzing actual and desired values within a given framework, there is a deep incongruence at the moment between where we are in America vs. where we would like to be. This stands in contrast to other nations where values are more in line and cultures are facing lower levels of uncertainty and political upheaval. But, could this be the beginning of a rebirth?

According to the latest National Values Assessment, America is a culture marked by corruption, bureaucracy, blame, crime, uncertainty and wasted resources when what we really want as citizens is accountability, employment opportunities, the ability to care for future generations, affordable housing, quality of life, and peace.

At the same time, as individuals within society, we are also coming to grips with a split personality disorder of sorts as we navigate not our analog lives (as cultural anthropologist Amber Case referred to in her 2010 talk on the TEDWomen stage who studies how technology is impacting humans), but our digital lives too. In her talk, she specifically referred to the idea that people nowadays must experience two adolescence periods as they manage both actual and digital lives. She opined:

“I’m most worried about the fact that people aren’t taking time for mental reflection. They aren’t slowing down and stopping being around ‘all of those people in the room’ all of the time who are trying to compete for their attention. And really, when you have no external input, that is the time when there is a creation of self, when you can figure out who you really are.”

So by now you may be wondering, how can we as both a nation and as individuals, move from point A to point B? How do we form healthy identities in the midst of perceived chaos and ever-changing conditions? As the world restructures itself, where do we fit into the equation? What matters most, and why do we matter? How can we bring about the change that we want to see in the world?

Well, this process begins with YOU, and many of this year’s TEDxUniversityofNevada talks directed us toward the same answers. As told through the collective story that unfolded throughout the day’s talks, it soon became evident that the formulation of a healthy identity, re-imagining our role in society, and then taking action on those realizations were key steps toward solving the riddle of our shared identity crisis. In short, this year’s TEDxUniversityofNevada talks urged us to recapture our humanity and to reflect on our role in the connectivity equation. Uncover the answers for yourself as told through this year’s series of moving TEDx talks, all summarized below.

Forming Healthy Identities

The vast majority of this year’s talks asked us to look within versus without for answers, and above-all to be accepting of who we are, as illustrated by the following examples:

  • Iskra Lawrence – “Ending the Pursuit of Perfection” reminds us that we need to be accepting of ourselves and practice self-care to move forward and flourish
  • Adam Kramer – “How Paris Hilton Changed My Life” explores the need to make a positive difference and meaningful contribution, a talk about following your inner voice
  • Ashley Clift Jennings – “Have You Met Your Soulmate?” focuses on the concept of a soul mate, forces us to look deep within ourselves to decide what true love really means
  • Ashley Evdokimo – “Do You Know How You Want to Die?” asks us to consider long-term planning for ourselves in a culture where death is not often discussed, and how those decisions impact the ones we care most about
  • CamThrough sharing the meanings behind some of her songs, Cam provided a journey through the  full range of emotions and explained how music can be used as a tool to deal with difficult to talk about things
  • Marc Roberge – “Fans for Life. Real Communication in Real Time” reflects on the importance of living your own life and telling your own story, concepts shared through song
  • Ming Li Wu – “Poetry as a way to be Authentically Vulnerable” gives perspective on what it feels like to be multiracial and coming to terms with different aspects of self as told through poetry
  • Mariana Atencio – “What Makes You Special?” asks us to be humanists, and to realize that we’re all special in our unique ways
  • Tara Conner – “Recover Out Loud” features a story about overcoming obstacles, and specifically addiction
  • Tyler Glenn – “I Found Myself When I Lost My Faith” talks about finding authenticity within a pre-defined context
  • The Warning – “You’ve Been Warned!” highlights the individuality of three Mexican sisters who are pursuing their dream in the music industry

The Concept of Self in Society

In addition to the talks about looking within ourselves for answers, there were also plenty of discussions that asked us to consider our role in society, where we fit in, and whether or not we need to re-think what it means to be a citizen in today’s world:

As you can see, in many ways the entire day’s worth of talks and performances hinted at a more general, underlying theme about coming to terms with ourselves and the need to re-define, or at least re-discover our role in a deepening and ever-connected world.

Beyond that, of course, there were talks that gave us an understanding and structure for how to move forward and create positive change. Listen to these three talks for inspiration to take meaningful action in your life:

  • Bill Eckstrom – “Why Comfort Will Ruin Your Life,” provides a backdrop for understanding the process behind and need for personal growth
  • Jocko Willink – “Extreme Ownership” pushes us to take ownership of our lives through sharing a story about a grave situation in which stepping up was the only solution
  • Michael Jr. – “More Than Funny” guides us to uncover our defining life purpose, and why we must consider our own punchline

By now, it is hopefully evident that the real answer to forming a healthy identity begins with the the process of self-introspection, and it absolutely begins with us. We genuinely hope you will take these ideas worth spreading, and use these talks as a tool to spearhead the type of change you would like to see in not only your own life, but the world.

Feel free to share your own stories of how these talks have inspired you in the comments section below.

TEDxUniversityofNevada: A Unique Community Collaboration Supported By Local Sponsors http://www.tedxuniversityofnevada.org/tedxuniversityofnevada-a-unique-community-collaboration-supported-by-local-sponsors/ Tue, 07 Feb 2017 04:32:13 +0000 http://www.tedxuniversityofnevada.org/?p=2850 read more →]]> TEDxUniversityofNevada is one of the university’s most unique community collaborations. It is organized by university students, faculty and staff with strong support from 21 local business team members. The event is sponsored by the University of Nevada, Reno, Associated Students of The University of Nevada (ASUN), the university’s College of Business, JamPro Music Factory, the Nevada Wolf Shop, Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, The Abbi Agency, Bristlecone Holdings, Dolan Auto Group, Marked Studios, Reno-Tahoe Limousine, Red Carpet Events and Design, Your Authentic Image, KTHX-FM, KTVN, Microsoft, AT&T, RSCVA, Argentum Partners, Marcio Decker Fine Arts, Roundabout Grill, edible Reno-Tahoe, and Yelp!

Read on to learn more about why some of our sponsors enjoy supporting TEDxUniversityofNevada.

University of Nevada, Reno

“The University is proud of the thought-provoking conversations created by TEDxUniversityofNevada. The speakers provide insights and perspectives that are important in today’s increasingly complex and interconnected world, and the University is proud to be at the center of these discussions. Those attending the live event were treated to the compelling stories of an internationally recognized opera singer, the confidence and the struggles of a young poet, the morphing of women’s roles within the Muslim community, the true meaning of accepting your soulmate, and so much more. Attendees cheered for, related to, cried with and supported speakers. The support did not necessarily mean agreement, but, rather, a respectful listening to another individual’s idea. The foyer and hallways were buzzing with friends sharing different perspectives or agreeing with core values. TEDxUniversityofNevada generated the kind of discussion that is supposed to happen when we hear big ideas. We are proud to bring these conversations to Northern Nevada, and we’re proud to share them with the world online.”

-Patricia Richard, Chief of Staff, Chief Diversity Officer and Assistant Vice President, Constituent Relations, University of Nevada, Reno

Associated Students of the University of Nevada

“ASUN proudly supports TEDxUniversityofNevada because of the diverse plethora of topics that are discussed at the event. All of the ideas that are shared, especially the controversial ones, invoke new ways of thinking and spark dialogue among those in attendance that you cannot get at any other event in Reno. As a sponsor of the event, my favorite part of the event was the inclusion of students in every aspect of the planning process. With the Associated Students being one of the premier sponsors of the event, Dr. Bret Simmons went above and beyond to advance the student experience for those who were able to be there.”

-Brandon Boone, President, Associated Students of the University of Nevada

College of Business, University of Nevada

“We are excited about the way that TEDx brings diverse ideas, initially to Northern Nevada, and then through the videos, to the world. It helps highlight the University of Nevada’s role as a home of intellectual endeavor and outreach through “ideas worth spreading.”

-Gregory C. Mosier, Dean, The College of Business, University of Nevada, Reno

JamPro Music Factory

“As a professional and innovative startup located here in Reno, we at JamPro Music Factory recognize the value in supporting a local endeavor like TEDxUniversityofNevada – an A-level event by any national standard. MBA students at UNR are incredibly fortunate to be part of something of this caliber. In our opinion, TEDxUniversityofNevada is shining example of the amazing potential of Northern Nevada and we are proud to be a sponsor!”

-Chris Sewell, President, Founder, JamPro Music Factory

Dolan Auto Group

“Dolan Auto Group is so proud to have partnered up with TEDxUniversityofNevada! As a partner, we have loved seeing our community rally around this thought provoking, humbling and extremely creative event. We know that TEDxUniversityofNevada works to bring great value to Reno year after year and we look forward to what is to come!”

-Ryan Dolan, CEO, Dolan Auto Group

Marked Studios, Inc.

“I am very selective when it comes to sponsorships. I want my business representing positive, uplifting and overall good stuff. TEDxUniversityofNevada is everything I want my company to be associated with and we are very honored to be included in support of it.”

-Mark McKinnon, President / Artist, Marked Studios, Inc.

Reno Tahoe Limousine

“Part of Being an Entrepreneur means to me to Always learn from others and better myself, that’s way TEDxUNR is near to my heart – every one of those speeches were uplifting and life changing. I believe in Showing Up and Making a Difference when and where we can specially in our local community – You Have to Give Back, it’s one of the most rewarding things to do as a Business Owner.

The event was very well organized and orchestrated – very professionally done and these are qualities that’s super important to the RTL brand. From the organizers to the venue to the speakers – This Event was Top Notch and something all of Reno can strive for when bringing events to our city.”

-Danell Wilson-Perlman, Co-Owner, Reno Tahoe Limousine

Red Carpet Events & Design

“Red Carpet Events & Design supports TEDxUniversityofNevada because it aligns with our philosophy as a company. We are an idea company, constantly creating, so we appreciate TEDx’s effort to foster ideas worth spreading. The more discourse on social justice, equality, and new perspectives, the better for our community! We love working with such a diverse team of professionals who donate their time to collaborate on producing TEDx. It’s an honor to work with such a talented team!”

-Brynna Nichols, Administrative Manager, Red Carpet Events & Design


“We are proud to support TEDxUniversityofNevada. The TEDx event in Reno provides a rich and unique experience unlike any other in the region. The spirit of TEDx greatly aligns with our company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. As a sponsor of the event, we bring out a team from Microsoft each year to gain new perspectives and to be truly inspired!”

-David Taylor, Community Relations & Communications Manager, Microsoft

KTVN Channel 2 News

“KTVN, Channel 2 News supports TEDX University Of Nevada Reno because we truly believe in TED’s mission of ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’. As journalists, we effort to not only bring you the day’s news but we also strive to tell the daily story of our community. Supporting the Truckee Meadows is vital to the mission of KTVN. Over the course of 2017, Channel 2 News will support northern Nevada with food drives, blood drives as well as helping to raise money for those less fortunate. By partnering with TEDX University Of Nevada Reno, we’re also saying that we believe in changing attitudes, creativity and the amazing people that live and work here in northern Nevada. TEDX’s positive impact and inspirational messaging is something Channel 2 is proud to help bring to the Truckee Meadows community!”

-Ann Burns, Promotion Manager, KTVN, Channel 2 News

Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitor’s Authority

“The Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitor’s Authority loves supporting this event from a community perspective. We are very deliberate in the community endeavors that we choose to support and TEDxUNR provides us the opportunity to affiliate with a project that elevates the perception of the region. We are proud to be acknowledged along with other top-quality sponsors and we feel this event contributes to the tapestry of the Reno/Tahoe offerings that both a resident and visitor can enjoy.”

-Jennifer Cunningham, Executive Director of Marketing, Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitor’s Authority

A Call for Better Leadership, Citizenship, and Change http://www.tedxuniversityofnevada.org/a-call-for-better-leadership-citizenship-and-change/ Thu, 02 Feb 2017 18:11:30 +0000 http://www.tedxuniversityofnevada.org/?p=2837 read more →]]> By Tiffany Brown

Have you ever been a part of a team that failed miserably on a project, until someone swooped in to pick up the pieces and make things right? Perhaps you’ve witnessed a fellow citizen take a stand, whether it be rescuing someone from danger, resolving an injustice, or simply sharing an act of kindness when it was needed the most? Maybe this person was you? At TEDxUniversityofNevada 2017, many of our speakers asked for us to do more, take control, think beyond ourselves, and make a difference.

Dr. Albert Lee is Director of Vocal Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno, and also happens to be a tenor. He kicked off the day’s talks with a patriotic bang, performing his fine-tuned rendition of the national anthem, a song that he has sung over 100 times and in front of as many as 10,000 people. Following a standing ovation, he reflected on the depth and meaning of our national anthem, ultimately asking: “have we embraced the responsibility of American citizenship?” By carefully and gloriously reflecting on the various lines of the anthem, he led the audience through a journey that outlined the depths and triumphs of our shared past. He asked for us to consider our collective hopes for the future and decide whether or not we are honoring our dreams and fulfilling our highest aspirations.

During former U.S. Navy SEAL Jocko Willink’s talk about extreme ownership, he shared a gut-wrenching story about a particular situation he endured on the battlefield. Pausing to reflect, he stated: “war teaches you about death, but also about brotherhood, honesty, humility and leadership.” Through an intense and heart-stopping account of a terrible experience—which commanded the audience’s attention in such a way that you wouldn’t have heard a pin drop—he urged us to stop blaming others, take ownership of our lives, and lead. Using his own story as an example, he shared extraordinary insights that motivated people to not only wake up, but to grow up, and shape up.

Bill Eckstrom supported both Dr. Lee and Willink’s statements by providing background for understanding growth as a process, and particularly why it’s important to embrace discomfort and complexity. He shared: “when you hit discomfort, you hit complexity, and that creates growth.” Reflecting on a personal situation that created unexpected, sudden and deep discomfort, he later understood that this change was necessary for his growth. When your concept of order is disrupted, complexity ensues, and through reshuffling order (experienced as a state of complexity), you grow. In other words, “what makes you comfortable can ruin you; only in a state of discomfort can you grow.”

Following the heavy but inspirational talks given by Dr. Lee, Willink, and Eckstrom, comedian Michael Jr. provided some much needed lightheartedness and laughter. Reflecting on his comedic journey, Michael Jr. talked about a defining moment in his career when he felt a shift between getting laughs and giving people a chance to laugh. He likened this shift in his comedic approach to the experience of setting up a joke and getting to the punchline, which is actually nothing more than a change in expected direction. He explained that while most people know their setup, few know their punchline. “The punchline, is when you realize that it’s not about what you can get, it’s about what you can give … your setbacks are part of your setup, which will get you to your punchline. Find your punchline and deliver.”

Photo credit: Tim Dunn and Chris Holloman

Q&A With TEDxUniversityofNevada Event Organizer: Dr. Bret Simmons http://www.tedxuniversityofnevada.org/qa-with-tedxuniversityofnevada-event-organizer-dr-bret-simmons/ Mon, 30 Jan 2017 21:25:31 +0000 http://www.tedxuniversityofnevada.org/?p=2806 read more →]]> By Tiffany Brown

In addition to being known throughout the greater Reno-Tahoe community as the organizer of the annual TEDxUniversityofNevada event, Dr. Bret Simmons also happens to be a management professor committed to excellence at the University of Nevada, Reno where he has taught for over 10 years in the College of Business.

According to TEDxUniversityofNevada team member Nicole Shearer:

Bret pours his heart and soul into this event. Without his dedication, passion, and conviction it wouldn’t be possible. He gives so selflessly and endlessly to support everyone’s big idea.

Bill Eckstrom, CEO of the EcSell Institute also echoed and supported these statements when he said:

The EcSell Institute continually preaches the obvious, ‘the performance of individuals and teams are a reflection of how they are coached,’and this University of Nevada TEDx event certainly follows that theme. Dr. Bret Simmons, the event’s director, is a rock star. He is the kind of Coach I would (and did) follow into battle. He strategized, challenged, hugged, prodded and loved. As a result of him, the TEDx committee is equally as strong, and combined they made the event the most memorable professional experience I’ve had to date.

Read more to learn more about how Dr. Simmons pulls together and executes these complex events.


Tell us about how you became involved with TEDx.

It was total serendipity. I had dinner with a guy in Oklahoma City in April of 2012, met him for the first time there, and he mentioned applying for a TEDx license. I’d never heard of that. First thing I did when I got home from that trip was apply for a license for TEDxUniversityofNevada. I got the license two weeks later, then had to go ask my boss Greg Mosier for permission to hold our first event. That guy I had dinner with, David Burkus, spoke at our 2016 event and his talk is now featured on TED.com.

What is the hardest part about pulling an event like this together?

It’s a very complex show, lots of moving parts. The hardest part is putting together a team of talented people then asking them to dedicate crazy amounts of time to pulling this off. It’s a labor of love for all of us. All of our core team members believe this is a great thing for our community. In the months, weeks, days before the event, and then the day of the event, everyone executes his or her assigned task with distinction

It’s also increasingly difficult to find good local speakers, but our local speakers are critical to the success of the event. There is no shortage of people that will travel here to speak, because we’ve earned a reputation for being a great TEDx event. I’ve contacted everyone I know locally with an “idea worth spreading”. One of the most important jobs of our local team members is to continually suggest locals they know that might make a great TEDx speaker. Finding new local speakers is one of the main reasons we add a few new team members every year.

Selecting the speakers is hard, but preparing them even harder. Our local speakers are required to meet with us three times in person – once in October, November, and then December. Preparing our non-local speakers is even more challenging because that has to be done with phone calls and skype. It’s very time consuming.

What is your favorite aspect of organizing a TEDx event?

Watching our team execute. I wake up the day of the event pretty relaxed because I know it’s all out of my hands at that point, and in the hands of people I can trust. They are so good at what they do. This year I spent more time in the audience just watching the show than any other year. Our motto is “we will not fail our speakers,” and this year I felt we delivered on that promise better than ever. I love being around people that take such great pride in their work.

What is one thing you’ve learned from hosting these events that you did not expect to learn?

I’m amazed and delighted how we continue to raise the bar on the show we organize. Every year I leave thinking “how are we going to top THAT?” and every year we do. Some people mistakenly think that I’m the reason this event is successful, but I’m convinced I’m one of the biggest constraints to our success. If we return for a 2018 event, I have to learn to let go of even more of the things that I do and instead give them to team members.

Do you have a favorite TEDx talk of all time?

Not really. We were extremely lucky to have Logan LaPlante speak at our first event. He took us to school on how to do a great TEDx talk, and I learned my vision for the event was way too small. We didn’t even have a red carpet on stage that first year! I’ll never forget the Elizabeth Smart talk – maybe the most riveting 12 minute talk I’ve ever experienced personally. Meeting her in person was such an honor; she was very humble and kind. Jill Tolles did a really tough talk for us last year, and I was proud of her for exceeding our expectations. I do love The Warning. Their talent and passion is inspiring, and they are such a genuinely nice family. Probably the biggest thrill ever for me was having Jon Foreman perform and speak for us. Switchfoot is my favorite band, so I got to meet one of my “heroes” in person, and he was better than I imagined. Such a humble guy, and his message between songs was like poetry. We’ve seen some amazing talks right here on our stage in Reno. Everyone on our team knows that the folks we had speak in 2017 were incredible. Honestly, our 2017 speakers and performers were truly exceptional.

What advice do you have for people who would like to be considered for giving a talk next year?

TEDx is an idea forum, so the key to a great talk is a great “idea worth spreading”. We are not looking for great speakers, we are looking for great ideas. If you have a great idea, we can help you develop a talk. Want to know if you have “an idea worth spreading”? Read Chris Anderson’s book TED Talks for the best description of what makes a great idea. If after reading his book you think you have a great idea, contact me and we can talk. If we return in 2018, or open call for speakers will likely be in June 2017 – so watch our website and don’t miss the deadline. The most important question of the form is “what is your idea worth spreading?”

How can we stay up-to-date with TEDx events and initiatives around the country year-round?

Go to TED.com and join the community! Follow our TEDxUniversityofNevada Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter @tedxuofnevada. I tweet new TED and TEDx talks all the time, and I try to spread news provided by TEDx and TED.

Photo credit: Tim Dunn and Chris Holloman  

Women in the Spotlight at TEDxUniversityofNevada 2017 http://www.tedxuniversityofnevada.org/women-in-the-spotlight-at-tedxuniversityofnevada-2017/ Fri, 27 Jan 2017 18:34:53 +0000 http://www.tedxuniversityofnevada.org/?p=2792 read more →]]> By Tiffany Brown

Sixteen powerful, inspiring, and thought-provoking women graced the stage at this year’s TEDxUniversityofNevada event to share collective messages of sorrow, hope, joy, encouragement, and inspiration.

While Alexis Jones, Ebonee Davis, Julia Picetti, and Tara Conner gave hard-hitting talks about issues, Ashley Greenwald Tragash, Ashley Evdokimo, Samina Ali and Vanessa Vancour educated through personal experiences. Iskra Lawrence and Ming Li Wu shared stories about self-acceptance, as Mariana Atencio and Ashley Clift-Jennings asked us to simply be humanists. Cam’s performances soothed and explored emotions, while Daniela, Paulina, and Alejandra of The Warning Band rocked out and inspired.

Read on to learn more about some of the key points shared during each of these women’s elegant talks.

Alexis JonesAlexis Jones is a thought-provoking and energetic speaker who has given recent lectures at the United Nations, White House, Harvard Business school, NASA, ESPN and more. Through sharing stories about her conversations on college campuses and in locker rooms across the country, she talked about the need to re-frame the discussion surrounding violence against women. This begins with teaching men how to respect women. “We have to imbue these young men with enough self respect that they can respect others,” she said.

Ashley EvdokimoAshley Evdokimo is a hospice care worker at Saint Mary’s Hospital in Reno, as well as an MBA student at the University of Nevada, Reno. She also happens to be the winner of the TEDxUniversityofNevada 2017 speaker competition. Through sharing her own personal near-death experience, combined with the time she’s spent working in hospice care, she simply asked people to have the courage to choose how they want to die. By educating about advanced directives and explaining their importance, she is empowering those to take action and avoid placing unnecessary burdens on others.

Ashley Greenwald TragashAccording to Ashley Greenwald Tragash, Ph.D. “birth should be seen as a dance between mom and baby.” But unfortunately, too many births are medically controlled from start to finish, never allowing for a woman to experience the natural process that birth is meant to foster. As a behavioral psychologist and doula, Tragash has participated in more than 100 births. Her talk boiled down to empowering women to deliver their babies in a way that they choose, by opening their eyes to the choices they actually have available when it comes to making decisions about their child’s birth.

Ashley Clift-JenningsAshley-Clift Jennings opened her talk with a simple question to the audience: do you believe that you’ve met your soulmate? According to Jennings, she’s certain that she could find her soulmate in a room even if the lights were turned off, which was a statement that reduced many to tears throughout the audience. For even after her soulmate told her he was transgender, the strength of their connection did not dissipate. Listen to her talk to find out the full story, which is a talk that explores the concept of love, what it means to be married, and how our souls run deep.

CAM: Cam is a country music singer and songwriter who was recently featured on the TV show The Voice. Cam gave a poignant talk about the role of music in our lives. She said: “Music lets us talk about things we can’t discuss, like guilt, rage, and grief.” Through sharing a couple of her own songs and the deep meanings behind their lyrics, she opened her heart up to the audience and invited them to explore. With classic grace and poise, she guided attendees through a journey of song, driving home the point behind the latent power of music.

Ebonee DavisEbonee Davis is a New York City-based model. She recently penned an open letter to the fashion industry that appeared a few months ago in Harper’s Bazaar. She wrote: “As artists in the fashion industry, we are the embodiment of free speech. We set the tone for society through the stories we tell—fashion, the gatekeeper of cool, decides and dictates what is beautiful and acceptable.” In her talk, she reflected on her personal experiences as a black model in the fashion industry. She challenged the audience to broaden their definition of what it means to be beautiful; she even challenged Vogue Magazine to put a Muslim woman on their cover featuring a hijab.

Iskra LawrenceIskra Lawrence is a British model and body positivity advocate currently featured on the cover of this month’s issue of Self Magazine. Her inspirational talk invited women to practice the art of self care. Encouraging women everywhere to support and lift one another up, she asked that women stop striving to be perfect because “the real beauty ideal is being perfectly you.” Through her inviting, convincing, and likable style, she shared stories of personal struggles and issues overcome. With over three million followers on Instagram, this talk will surely help to carry her message even further.

Mariana Atencio: At the beginning of her talk, NBC and MSNBC journalist Mariana Atencio noted: “It’s like we’re stuck in these bubbles that no one wants to burst. It takes courage to show respect.” Having grown up in Venezuela, Atencio at first felt like an outsider in the U.S., but eventually realized that what made her different is what made her successful. After spending time with her sister who was confined to a wheelchair following a bad accident, she declared: “being able to reimagine yourself beyond what people can see, that is the toughest task of all.” She encouraged people to not only celebrate that which makes them special, but to be humanists before and after everything else.

Ming Li WuAccording to Reno Davidson Academy high school senior Ming Li Wu: “for a dialogue to take place, someone has to make the choice to be vulnerable and share.” At the start of her talk, Wu jumped right into to a colorful and captivating slam poetry session about her mixed heritage. She emphasized the frayed emotions one feels by constantly being pushed and pulled into the opposing realms of differing cultural backgrounds. She asked that we “tell our stories honestly, thoughtfully, and with all the complexity they deserve.”

Julia PicettiJulia Picetti is a Reno local who very recently lost her daughter to a drug overdose, and has since opened up an addiction recovery home. “My heart is broken and I’m pissed off. Our substance abuse programs aren’t working,” she stated. Sharing the story of how her once jubilant and energetic daughter slowly changed after becoming involved in drugs, she reflected that “addiction has no bias.” She encouraged us to re-think what it means to be an addict, and the need to view addiction as a sickness in need of treatment.

Samina Ali: Samina Ali is a former cultural ambassador for the U.S. State Department and regular contributor to The Daily Beast and Huffington Post. In her talk she guided the audience on a trip back through time and tradition to explain the history of Muslim women’s dress. After describing how the use of the hijab came to be in modern society, she made the point that if Muslim fundamentalists want to return to the year of 600 AD, it would actually be a huge step forward. Stay tuned for her thought-provoking talk about the changing history and treatment of women across time and culture.

Tara ConnerTara Conner is a former Miss America whose career hit a turning point once she was busted for cocaine. What most people didn’t realize, however, was that she had already been leading up that moment for a very long time. Her talk is perhaps best summed up from an attendee who stated: “Tara Conner, who worked for Trump, dropped cocaine, Trump, religion, hell, molestation, and sex in first 60 seconds.” Certainly, Conner knows how to grab one’s attention. Through sharing her story of overcoming a rough upbringing, hitting a critical turning point, and now celebrating 10 years of sobriety, hers is a story anyone can appreciate, learn from, and celebrate.

Vanessa VancourVanessa Vancour is a former news anchor and current faculty member at the University of Nevada, Reno. Opening up her talk in Spanish, she shared the story behind her Mexican heritage and her mother’s experience as an immigrant. Some of her key points were that “you have always had the power to challenge your own assumptions,” and that you’ll never know a person’s story unless you ask.”

The Warning BandBack for their second year at TEDxUniversityofNevada, sisters Daniela (16), Paulina (14) and Alejandra (12) rocked the house with their original music. In-between songs the girls shared insights and uncovered the motivations behind their creativity. Bonded by a deep love for playing music together, and driven by focusing on their individuality, these sisters radiate pure passion, confidence, and zest. After sharing a story about various music industry contacts attempting to change their sound, they asked: “why would we want to change ourselves to be successful?”

Did you know that only 15 percent of the speaker recommendations that come in for the flagship TED event each year are represented by women? Well in Reno, we are reversing the trend! Nearly three-fourths of the talks at this year’s event were given by females. After taking the full spectrum of these talks into account, one thing is clear: these women simply rule, and we are grateful for their stories.

Photo Credit: Tim Dunn and Chris Holloman

Aha Moments at TEDxUniversityofNevada 2017, Told in Tweets http://www.tedxuniversityofnevada.org/aha-moments-at-tedxuniversityofnevada-2017-told-in-tweets/ Tue, 24 Jan 2017 02:46:27 +0000 http://www.tedxuniversityofnevada.org/?p=2779 read more →]]> By Tiffany Brown

Defined as “a moment of sudden insight or discovery,” an aha moment shuffles the order of something that was previously known and instantly opens up a new pathway to learning, resulting in fresh insights and unexpected connections.

When people who attend a TEDxUniversityofNevada event make such remarks as “completely mind blown today,” “speechless,” “this talk reduced me to tears,” “I just don’t know what to say other than thank you,” or “seeing things in a new perspective and wanting to make a difference in this world” (all real tweets from attendees at this year’s event), it’s clear that the experience is working to move people in a powerful way.

Below is an exploration of thoughts shared throughout the event across Twitter that led to some personal aha moments:

On Systemic Issues in Society

Aha moment: Consider our institutions, the intentions behind them, and whether or not we’re honoring their highest purpose. Have we lost sight of what really counts?

On Addiction and Recovery

Aha moment: Stop stigmatizing those with an addiction; instead recognize them as human beings who are sick.

On Being True to Yourself 

Aha moment: Embrace who you are, use your truth as a tool for exploring your own definition of what it means to be successful.

On Owning Your Story 

Aha moment: Be honest with yourself. By acknowledging and sharing that honesty with others, you can make a difference.

On Empowerment 

Aha moment: Empowerment makes change and growth possible.

On Personal Growth

Aha moment: By looking deep within yourself, being vulnerable, and committing to hard work, you can grow.

Calls to Action 

Aha moment: Be humble, courageous, take responsibility for your life, give back, make a difference.

To summarize it all: watching a TEDxUniversityofNevada event in person is nothing less than a disruption of order for most people, but a required disruption for building personal growth and awareness. Pay attention to the talks that speak the most to you and explore what it is about them that stands out. Recognize, honor, and explore those calls to action.

Order Of Presentation TEDxUniversityofNevada 2017 http://www.tedxuniversityofnevada.org/order-of-presentation-tedxuniversityofnevada-2017/ Tue, 17 Jan 2017 10:54:09 +0000 http://www.tedxuniversityofnevada.org/?p=2771 read more →]]> Get ready to be inspired at TEDxUniversityofNevada 2017! We still have tickets available so get yours now and be part of this unique community event. Ticket price includes all 22 speakers/performers, lunch, and two breaks.

Doors open at 8 am, Saturday, January 21, at Grand Theater in the Grand Sierra Resort. Opening remarks will be delivered promptly at 8:45 am. Our first speaker should be on stage around 9:00 am.

All participants see every speaker in every session – 22 total speakers and performers. Once you are seated for a session, we ask that you remain seated for the entire 90-minute session. If you arrive after a session has started, you will be directed to sit in the back of the theater.

There is no reserved seating. We have 22 speakers and performers, and their family, friends, and fans will want to move closer to the front for their favorite speaker’s session. If you want to “camp out” in one spot for the day, we respectfully ask that you select a spot either in the very back of the theater. We hope you will interact with and meet new people, so if you will change seats for every session you will be better prepared to get a different perspective – one of the main goals of TEDxUniversityofNevada!

Please silence your phones during the show! You are welcome to take photos and video, but please no flash photography as the flash will distract the speaker and affect the quality of the professional video we make of the performance. If you take a photo, post it on your Instagram or Twitter account, hashtag it #tedxunr, and you will be automatically entered in our social media contest!

Please visit our on-site bookstore and check out the books, CDs, and DVDs of our fantastic presenters!

Session 1: 9-10:30 am

  1. Albert Lee
  2. Bill Eckstrom
  3. Vanessa Vancour
  4. Mariana Atencio
  5. Jocko Willink
  6. The Warning

30-minute break; refreshments and light snacks served

Session 2: 11 am – 12:30 pm

  1. Adam Kramer
  2. Ashley Greenwald Tragash
  3. Ashley Evdokimo
  4. Ebonee Davis
  5. Julia Picetti
  6. Cam (performance)

1-hour lunch break; box lunch served.

Session 3: 1-3:30 pm

  1. Tyler Glenn
  2. Alexis Jones
  3. Ashley Clift Jennings
  4. Ming Li Wu
  5. Cam (talk)

30-minute break; refreshments and light snacks served

Session 4: 3:30-5 pm

  1. Marc Roberge
  2. Samina Ali
  3. Iskra Lawrence
  4. Tara Conner
  5. Michael Jr.

After party at LEX!


Tickets Still Available! http://www.tedxuniversityofnevada.org/tickets-still-available/ Tue, 20 Dec 2016 01:50:54 +0000 http://www.tedxuniversityofnevada.org/?p=2737 read more →]]> We still have tickets available for TEDxUniversityofNevada 2017! Regular tickets can be purchased online at Ticketmaster or in person at Grand Sierra Resort box office.

Student tickets can be purchased for $30 with a valid student ID at The Nevada Wolf Shop on the UNR campus or at the Grand Sierra Resort box office.

All seating is general admission; every ticket allows you to get your preferred seat on a first-come, first-served basis.

Doors open at 8 am and opening remarks start promptly at 8:45 am. The show should run until about 4:30 pm. All ticket prices include lunch and two breaks.