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Eight Local Speakers Poised to Deliver 2019 TEDxUniversityofNevada Talks

In just a few short months, TEDxUniversityofNevada will return to the Reno/Sparks Convention Center for its 7th annual event, which will be back bigger and better than ever! With a record number of proposals received in 2018, the competition for having big ideas heard among those who submitted was the fiercest yet. But, the process also brought to light some very powerful and moving ideas, ideas that we cannot wait to share with you!

Among the local Reno-area speakers who have been selected to give talks at our upcoming event are an Olympic champion, a healthcare CEO, an urban planner, a manufacturing industry expert, a forensic meteorologist, a geological sciences and engineering professor, a multimedia production specialist, and a fitness trainer. Our local speakers run the gamut, and represent a diverse set of experiences and backgrounds. Can you guess who any of them might be?

Read on to learn more about each of our dynamic local speakers:

David Wise

Reno native David Wise is a professional skier, adventure seeker, a four-time X Games Champion, and a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist in halfpipe skiing. At 28 years young, David is also a father of two. He considers parenting his highest calling and credits his wife, his family and his faith for his success and his ability to live a multi-faceted, balanced lifestyle. In March 2018 David published his first children’s book, “Very Bear and the Butterfly.” Having grown up in the Reno Tahoe area, David is more comfortable outside than inside. He competes in archery, rides mountain bikes and dirt bikes, plays softball, hunts and fishes in what he calls his “giant Nevada backyard.”

Tony Slonim

Tony Slonim, M.D., DrPH, FACHE, is the president and CEO of Renown Health— the region’s largest, not-for-profit health system serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and the eastern Sierra. Dr. Slonim is a national expert in patient safety, accountable care, healthcare quality and innovative care delivery models focused on improving health outcomes across the community. He is the first physician in the U.S. to be quadruple board certified in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine Critical Care and Pediatric Critical Care and has more than 100 publications and 15 textbooks to his name.

Cynthia Albright

Cynthia Albright is an Urban Planner with a passion for creating meaningful and positive change in communities through comprehensive investigation and engagement. A wife, mother, endurance athlete, and life-long student, Cynthia moved to Reno in 1989 from southern California where she earned a Master of Arts degree from UCLA in Architecture and Urban Planning. Professionally, she is one of only 47 American Planning Association Certified Urban Designers nationwide, and the only one in Nevada.

Mark Anderson

As Director of Nevada Industry Excellence, Mark Anderson is continuing his career passions: strengthening the manufacturing industry and economy by advancing the skills and knowledge of employees. Anderson was the first U.S. employee for Panasonic Energy, a partner in the Tesla Gigafactory, the world’s largest factory located outside of Reno, Nevada. As General Manager of Human Resources and General Affairs for Panasonic, Anderson helped shape the Gigafactory’s innovative and collaborative culture.

Elizabeth Austin

Dr. Elizabeth Austin is CEO and founder of WeatherExtreme Ltd., a research and consulting firm established in 1994. She has held professor/research positions at the Desert Research Institute, Inc. and Sierra Nevada College, a four-year, private college in Incline Village, Nevada. She currently holds a professorship at the University of Nevada, Reno’s Atmospheric Sciences Department.

Graham M. Kent is director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory and professor in the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno. Previous to July 2009, Graham was a research geophysicist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and had been director of the Visualization Center at Scripps from 2001-2009. Dr. Kent is a native of South Lake Tahoe, California.

Michelle Rebaleati

Michelle Rebaleati is a multimedia production specialist in the @One Digital Media Services of the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center at the University of Nevada, Reno. In addition to her engineering roles for university-related media events, Michelle is a content producer in digital video, audio, and most recently, virtual reality. Her position allows her to gain an advanced knowledge of the technologies offered to students and faculty.


Mena Spodobalski is the founder of Reno’s Evoke Fitness Training Facility, and also the co-founder of “Breast Cancer 2 Bikini”, a program to help breast cancer survivors take their life back after battling cancer. Her goal has been to empower women and build their confidence through fitness and a healthy lifestyle. An avid fitness competitor herself, in 2017 she was named the “2017 Lululemon Ambassador” and also won awards in multiple West Coast fitness competitions.

Make sure to keep an eye out for when tickets go on sale this December to support our amazing locals. In the meantime, please click here to subscribe to our mailing list to be notified and stay up-to-date on the latest TEDxUniversityofNevada 2019 details. Additional updates will also be made on social media: you can follow us here on Facebook, @tedxuofnevada on Twitter, or @tedxuofnevada on Instagram.