Save The Date: TEDx Talks In Memphis

Posted by Holly Whitfield | July 27th 2015 5534 0

You’ve heard of TED talks. They’re the conferences featuring speakers like Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, and J.J. Abrams, whose quick, punchy presentations are about all kinds of topics branching out from the core areas of technology, entertainment, and design (TED). Some of the most popular TED talks have been about motivation, leadership, body language, and how schools might kill creativity. 

TEDx new graphic

But what is a TEDx event? It’s an independently-run event done in the spirit of the original TED events. And there’s a big one happening in Memphis later this summer. 

On August 29, 2015, at Rose Theatre at The University of Memphis, about a dozen speakers will show up to give dynamic talks about their own “ideas worth spreading”. The speakers are a mix of Memphians and non-Memphians, but most have some tie to the city. 

Aside from giving locals the opportunity to hear interesting, inspiring individuals with unique ideas, the whole thing will be recorded for inclusion on TEDx’s website, meaning that the Memphis event will be accessible to people from all over the world. 

In my opinion, taking this “loving local” idea and expanding it to connect with groups, outlets, and people from other places is an important part of the process of making Memphis a better place. The idea that these talks will be filmed and shared is the most interesting part of this event, at least to me. 

Most TEDx events around the world charge admission fees to cover costs, but ticket prices for the TEDxMemphis event have not been released. Right now, tedxmemphis.com has more information, and tickets will go on sale on August 1, 2015.

Update 7/23: The speakers has been announced. Here’s the list of speakers and an abbreviated bio. To see the full list, click here

Kimbal Musk – inventor, philanthropist and chef. Co-founder of The Kitchen restaurant opening soon in Memphis

Robert B. Carter – executive vice president of FedEx Information Services and chief information officer of FedEx Corporation

Jason Wexler – president of business operations at Memphis Grizzlies Inc. 

Gabriel Fotsing – founder and CEO of The College Initiative

Todd Richardson – co-leader of Crosstown Concourse,  associate professor at the University of Memphis, co-founder of Crosstown Arts (click here to read my Q&A with Todd about the Crosstown Concourse groundbreaking)

Melissa Anderson-Sweazy – local award-winning screenwriter, film and music video director, essayist and photographer

Lieutenant Colonel Jon S. Jackson – Office of Military Commissions, Office of the Chief Defense Counsel

Dr. Scott Morris – founder and CEO of the Church Health Center in Memphis

Katie Smythe – founder, CEO and artistic director for New Ballet Ensemble in Memphis

Kathleen Gallagher – clinical assistant professor in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina and an educational psychologist

Cliff Goldmacher – a songwriter, producer, engineer, author and educator

Loretta Jackson-Hayes – associate professor of chemistry in the Department of Chemistry at Rhodes College

Ephie Ballard-Johnson – president and CEO of the Neighborhood Christian Centers

Marco Pavé – leader of Radio Rahim Music, and uses his music as a pathway to build partnerships and influence how organizations engage with Memphis communities through art (click here to read my interview with Marco

Sarah Petschonek – founder and CEO of Volunteer Odyssey in Memphis (read more about Volunteer Odyssey here)

Derwin Sisnett – co-founder and CEO of Gestalt Community Schools, a charter management organization that develops and manages the growth of high-performing, community-based charter schools in Tennessee

Dr. Stacy L. Spencer – senior pastor for New Direction Christian Church. He serves as Chairman for the Board of Directors of the Power Center Community Development Corporation

Go there:

August 29, 2015
Michael D. Rose Theatre
The University of Memphis

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.


Show Comments


  1. So exciting!!! I love Ted Talks!

  2. Adrian Reaves says:

    This is great! May be worth making an extra trip to Memphis to hear some of these speakers live!

  3. Alice Becton says:

    Impressive speaker lineup. Considering 

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