TEDxUniversityofNevada lauded for diverse speaker presentations

In its second year, the sold-out event’s more than 200 attendees experienced talks that elicited a range of emotions

1/28/2014 - By: Nicole Shearer
TEDxUniversityofNevada took place Friday, Jan. 24, with 22 speakers giving the talks of their lives.

Ideas worth spreading. It's a simple enough concept that has been revolutionized by the popular TED and TEDx brands. This past Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, 22 individuals gave the talk of their lives at TEDxUniversityofNevada, sharing ideas, eliciting a range of emotions and offering insight on a wide selection of topics.

Elizabeth Smart, whose childhood abduction case was one of the most followed cases in history, offered one of the most awaited talks. Although the audience was already familiar with her story, her talk had everyone waiting with bated breath as she detailed her experience and emotions as a victim of sexual abuse. She encouraged other victims to take a stand and speak out about their experience to help put an end to crimes like the ones she experienced. 

"We knew Elizabeth's talk was going to be one of the most anticipated," Bret Simmons, associate professor in the College of Business and TEDxUniversityofNevada event organizer, said. "She is a very special person whose message of hope and encouragement encompassed her conviction behind the work she does to empower victims to move forward in their lives. She's a person who overcame extreme adversity, not allowing her past to dictate her life's future."  

Other national speakers included top management and leadership educator, Barry Posner; strategy and innovation leader, Michael Raynor; Stanford University business professor, Hayagreeva "Huggy" Rao; Caring for Cambodia founder, Jamie Amelio; emergency medicine physician and director of patient-centered care research at George Washington University, Leana Wen; venture capitalist and author, Victor Hwang; Jones Day corporate and transactional attorney, Andrew Sherman; founder and executive director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Mike Haynie; human resources practitioner and "HR guy" for Steve Wynn, Arte Nathan.

Speakers from northern Nevada gave a variety of poignant talks. KTVN-TV anchor Wendy Damonte captivated the audience with an introduction to "boobs" before sharing her mother's battle with breast cancer and the work being done to inform women about dense breast tissue. High school senior and teen grief speaker and author, Bridget Park, wowed people with her personal insight into how best to comfort someone who's grieving. Rex Briggs enlightened the audience with a different perspective on ROI while Harvey Turner, founding and preaching pastor of Living Stones Churches, focused his talk on living in the city for the city. Montessori teacher Racquel Abowd and Trish Shaffer from the Washoe County School District both gave inspirational talks on the power of teachers and the different ways student needs can be addressed.    

Five people from the University of Nevada, Reno also took the stage. David Aucoin, associate professor in the University of Nevada School of Medicine's department of microbiology and immunology, shared insight into the impact rapid diagnostic testing has in resource poor settings. Peter Epstein, associate professor and director of jazz and improvisational music at the University, offered the day's only musical performance. Student-speaker competition winner Tim Grunert used the Rubik's Cube as a metaphor for individuality and MBA students Kristen Stith and Paul Klein impassioned the audience with their grassroots Biggest Little City movement.

The event boasted 10 published book authors, a sold out audience of more than 200 people and a lineup that left everyone with something to think about at day's end.

"This year's event was a labor of love," Simmons said. "It was a big success and I can't wait to share the talks with the rest of the community and with the world. I know these talks will have a big impact and they will continue to showcase the University of Nevada, Reno community as one with people in it who have ideas worth spreading."

All TEDx UniversityofNevada talks will be loaded to the TEDx YouTube site within one month's time. Follow TEDxUniversityofNevada on Facebook to be alerted when they become public.  

"There's no telling how far these talks can reach," Simmons said. "Last year's TEDxUniversityofNevada talk by Logan LaPlante on Hackschooling has become the third most popular talk ever uploaded to TEDx Talks with more than 4 million views (and counting)." 


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