TEDxOgden Speaker Lineup Challenges Meaning of Crossroads


Tickets are on sale for the third annual TEDxOgden taking place June 29 at the historic Peery’s Egyptian Theater. The $20 ticket includes eight Tedx talks, multiple performances, a social hour before the show, as well as entrance to the after-party where attendees can meet speakers and performers. The event brings together change makers, unexpected thought leaders, aspiring artists, and community members with an ‘idea worth spreading’ under the theme ‘Crossroads’.

“TEDxOgden’s event theme was inspired by the sesquicentennial celebration of the completion of the transcontinental railroad,” stated TEDxOgden project manager Amir Jackson. “The theme was intended to explore how crossroads could be interpreted beyond making a decision at an intersection. The speakers and performers have exceeded our expectations and have expanded our way of thinking what it means to be in a state of crossroads.”

This year’s TEDxOgden speakers and performers are all from the Wasatch Front. Utah is home to an affluence of trailblazers and innovators and this event taps into some of the talent and thought provokers that reside in our home state. Speakers will face the challenge to influence the audience short talks that range up to 12-minutes.   

The all-local lineup includes:

Kennedy Conroy is the youngest presenter to speak on the TEDx Ogden stage. Conroy attends Nuames High School and is on the running team for Syracuse High School. Conroy will begin her first semester of early college this coming fall where she plans to earn her associate degree before high school graduation. Conroy’s topic is “Finding Balance while striving to be an Independent Woman.” In her words, “I believe too often it’s misconstrued that independence means unattainable, complete autonomous function. For young women, it’s important to be aware of the spectrum of qualities- aside from what society awards- that can contribute to the persona of what an independent woman is.” 

Marc Nelson is an adjunct instructor at Weber State University where he teaches philosophy, honors, and study abroad courses. Nelson will be speaking on Epicureanism, ancient answers to Modern questions. Minimalism, equality, and serenity might sound like modern values, but these ideas were embraced by ancient Greeks over 2,300 years ago. In a philosophy of life now known as Epicureanism, Epicurus recommended maximizing peace of mind and health of the body by embracing minimalism, humble lifestyle and more. You might be surprised by how applicable these ancient ideas are to modern dilemmas. You might even call Epicurus the original millennial. 

Lin-Hsiu Huang was born and raised in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. She is a multi-disciplinary designer and intersectional activist. She has presented her advocacy research and productions in over a dozen conferences (e.g. Poster on the Hill, the Appalachian Studies Conference, the Southern Honors Council Regional Conference). Currently, Huang is the program coordinator at Clever Octopus–a creative reuse center in Murray, Utah–and an AmeriCorps VISTA member. She enjoys bringing studio art elements into her design work, and she designs with sustainability, purpose, and empathy. During her TEDxOgden talk, Huang will reshape the way we think about waste through creativity.

Joseph Grenny is a four-time New York Times bestseller author and co-founder of BitalSmarts, a global leader in training and organizational performance improvement. His lifelong passion has been studying why people do what they do, and how to help them change. His company has worked with over 300 of the Fortune 500 companies and has trained millions around the world. In 2015 Joseph co-founded The Other Side Academy, a two-year, peer-run community of long-time felons and drug addicts who help one another become a person they have never met before. Grenny will be using his experiences and history with The Other Side Academy to present what he has learned about happiness from 100 felons.

Amy Wilde is an author, marketing professional, motivational speaker, adventurer, sports fan, and a lover of high heels. Born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, Wilde is passionate about educating others and sharing her physical and emotional journey of hope, kindness, inner beauty, and the powerful significance of one. During her talk, Wilde will ask the question, “what happens when you show bold, unwavering love, or stand up for someone who has no voice, or in an instant dissolve doubts by a daring act of kindness?”

Bruce C. Kusch became the 13th President of LDS Business College in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2017. During his tenure he has implemented significant change in the college’s learning and teaching framework, resulting in increased student satisfaction and performance across a variety of academic disciplines. Kush is focused on how he is able to prepare students for jobs that haven’t been thought of or created yet. Kusch will discuss how education can prepare students for the future by being in control of their education during the “prove it” economy. 

Julie de Azevedo Hanks, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist specializing in women’s emotional health and relationships. Dr. Hanks is the founder and director of Wasatch Family Therapy, author of The Burnout Cure and The Assertiveness Guide for Women, a blogger, a local and national media contributor, a coach, a private practice consultant, and an award-winning performing songwriter. Hanks will be speaking on the hardships new mothers face when choosing between contributing to society out of the home or inside the home in her talk titled “I Refuse to Choose: Healing Aspirational Shame.”  

Brad Mortensen completed his doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy at the University of Utah. He also holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Utah State University. Now the newly appointed president of Weber State University, President Mortenson feels compelled to speak on the power of caring.

TEDx is a global program of independently organized events licensed by TED. Tickets can be purchased at www.smithtix.com or in person at the Peery’s Egyptian Theater Box Office.

Visit www.tedxogden.com or the TEDxOgden Facebook page for the most up-to-date details on the 2019 event. Videos of talks from the 2017 and 2018 TEDxOgden event can be viewed at www.ted.com or on the TEDxOgden Facebook page.

Stuart is the founder, writer and wrangler at several sites including Gastronomic SLC, Utah Now and, The Utah Review; Stuart is a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune and has worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake.