Menu Close

Press Release Announcing Our Speakers

It’s late Friday afternoon, so this press release won’t go out until Monday, but we are so excited we wanted to share it NOW!


Contact:  Abbi Whitaker, The Abbi Agency

TEDxUniversityofNevada announces session speakers for inaugural January TEDx event

Event features a variety of young, professional, and active community members to share insightful stories

(Reno, Nev., November, 2012) ­- TEDxUniversityofNevada, an independently organized TEDx event, announced the 17 speakers from Northern Nevada to conduct presentations during its inaugural event on Friday, January 25, 2013, which will feature several youths, CEOs, a rural educator, a doctor and more.

The sessions will take place inside the Joe Crowley Student Union on the University of Nevada, Reno campus from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Each speaker is featured in one of the four topics: Health and Hope, The Promise and Challenge of Education, Business and Entrepreneurship, and Bold Ideas Worth Spreading.

The sessions are designed to showcase a variety of subtopics and style of speakers. The speakers were chosen from more than 70 proposals submitted before mid-October. Sessions last a total of 80 minutes, with two breaks and a lunch discussion.

“The proposal response was overwhelming” said organizer Dr. Bret Simmons of the University of Nevada College of Business. “After reviewing them with the TEDxUniversityofNevada Team, we feel we have a very impressive line-up of speakers for the community and supporters of the TEDx series.”

The speakers for the Health and Hope session are Shawna Korgan, CEO of Korg 3.0 Movement; Matt Benardis, Operations Manager for First Warning Systems; Veronica Scavacini, an 8th grader who raised funds to travel to Kenya to deliver water filtration systems; Mike Morkin, MD, an emergency room physician from Renown Hospital that was on duty the day of the Reno Air Races crash; and Leilani Schweitzer, a patient liaison for the hospitals at Stanford Hospital.

The speakers for The Promise and Challenge of Education session are Washoe County School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez accompanied by Hug High School Principal Lauren Ford and one of her students; Fernley teacher and Nevada Teacher of the Year, Deanna LeBlanc; Ryan Dolan, CEO of Dolan Auto Group; 13 year-old Logan LaPlante; and 16 year-old singer Grant Davis.

The speakers for the Business and Entrepreneurship session are Bill Eadington of the UNR College of Business; James Kosta, CEO of 3G Studios; Laura Zander, CEO of Jimmy Bean’s Wool; and Mark Estee, owner of downtown Reno restaurant Campo.

TEDxUniversityofNevada will culminate with speakers in the Bold Ideas Worth Spreading session. The three speakers for this session are Brian Williams, UNR College of Business Senior and Founder of Think Kindness, Robb Smith, CEO of Chrysallis, and Grant Korgan, author of the new book “Two Feet Back: A Journey Sponsored by Love,” an inspiring memoir of a man whose broken back taught him to stand in his truth.

Tickets for the event are $25 and will be available in December. Occupancy for the event is limited to 100 participants and organizers urge those who want to attend to buy early.

For more information on TEDxUniversityofNevada visit

About TEDx, x = independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 26 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. At TED, the world’s leading thinkers and doers are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Talks are then made available, free, at TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Benoit Mandelbrot, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Two major TED events are held each year: The TED Conference takes place every spring in Long Beach, California (along with a parallel conference, TEDActive, in Palm Springs), and TEDGlobal is held each summer in Edinburgh, Scotland.

TED’s media initiatives include, where new TEDTalks are posted daily; the new TED Conversations, enabling broad conversations among TED fans; and the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as the ability for any TEDTalk to be translated by volunteers worldwide.

TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world are given the opportunity to put their wishes into action; TEDx, which offers individuals or groups a way to host local, self-organized events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

For information about TED’s upcoming conferences, visit

Follow TED on Twitter at, or on Facebook at