Speakers Announced for 2017 TEDxLizardCreek



Katherine Amey (Ashtabula, OH) – Assistant Professor of Geography & Geology at Kent State at Ashtabula

Jacquelne Gee (Ashtabula, OH) – Lecturer of American Sign Language (ASL) & Deaf Culture and Community at Kent State University Main Campus, Sorenson Video Relay Interpreter

 The Chasm Facing U.S. American Deaf Education and Culture

The talk will suggest ideas for bridging the chasm that exists between profoundly Deaf U.S. Americans and education/culture. We will simultaneously be presenting in tandem in both English and American Sign Language (ASL). In this way, our points will be communicated effectively to both the hearing and Deaf community in their first language. As both a hearing and Deaf society, we need to bridge the gaps in language and literacy, peripheral learning, interpretation of the visual world, and Deaf culture and history. These barriers to education and culture are now due to lack of recognition that educational needs have shifted because Deaf culture has changed. Within the last two generations, our society has moved from a Deaf residential institutional education to mainly a mainstreaming education relying on interpretation. This bilingual bicultural societal shift has resulted in a gap in language and literacy so it is possible that Deaf students enrolled at the university level don’t know English, and the average age for national level reading English remains at a third grade level. A second gap in education is peripheral learning, or incidental information, which may be completely missing from the Deaf child’s education.



Sharlene Provilus (Raleigh, NC) – artist, entrepreneur, writer and speaker

Your Voice Has Value

We all have something in common. We all have a voice. Within our voice contains stories of exceptional value. This inherent value creates an opportunity for common ground which leads to further connection. The connections we develop based on the shared value of and similarities between our stories (our voices) becomes a bridge that closes the relationship gaps between individuals who may at one time thought they had nothing in common.





Elizabeth Dankoski (Asheville, NC) – Ivy League College Consultant, Founder and CEO of The Dream School Project

Inspiring Rebellion: From Convent to Ivy League Consultant 

For nearly two decades, Elizabeth Dankoski has worked as a college consultant, helping hundreds of students get into the nation’s top universities, including Harvard, MIT and Columbia, among many others. 75% of her students have been accepted into the top 20 universities, and 100% have been accepted into the top 40.
More important, however, she is the founder and CEO of The Dream School Project. After watching many students struggle with tremendous stress and overwork to achieve top grades and test scores only to receive waitlist letters far too often, she set out to transform the way we prepare students for college — and for life. She created The Dream School Project, a mentoring program that teaches students to develop a project that showcases their unique interests and serves their communities in a meaningful way. Her unusual approach of helping students discover what lights them up and how they can make an impact on their communities not only earns them extraordinary acceptance rates but also allows them to thrive in college and beyond.
Elizabeth holds a B.A. from Wellesley College and an MFA from Bennington College. To learn more, please visit www.dreamschoolproject.com.


Robert Darling (Stafford, VA) – retired Marine officer, aviator, author, public speaker, and President and CEO of Quantitative Analytics, LLC, and Turning Point Crisis Management-USA, a crisis leadership, decision-making, and management consulting company located in Stafford, Virginia. 

You Are stronger Than You Know

 Each of us has tremendous potential… potential to do good and even great and wonderful things in our lives.  But too often that potential is never realized. We don’t turn our human potential into the what’s possible and then work on it until it becomes the probable.  Too often the great potential that exists in each of us lies dormant – untested and unproven, inexperienced and unexalted. After this talk you’ll no longer be able to blame your “indiscriminate destiny” or passivity in the face of potential on anyone except yourself.  You see… you oversee your destiny.  And, after tonight, you will leave with a road map and a bridge to become stronger than you know, smarter than you think and greater than you might have ever thought possible.  But it only works if you use it.  You’re in control.





Joel Goodwin(Oxford, NC) – Attending Surgeon and Medical Director, OmniPoint Surgical Associates

Emergency Surgery in Rural America: ER to OR to ICU

I will be discussing the alarming problem of the dwindling surgical specialist workforce in rural communities, why this is important, why this is not going to go away anytime soon, and practical strategies (bridges) we are using at LifePoint™ to assist, bolster, and maximize the efficiency of these professionals, doing more with fewer providers, thereby bridging the conventional past with innovative strategies so that we can continue to field effective surgical teams in rural communities in the future.



Gret Glyer (Fairfax, VA) – CEO of DonorSee, a tech startup 

“Are you a member of the global 1%?”

This talk will help Americans realize their relative position and privilege in the world and will help them understand the opportunity they have to make a massive impact in the lives of people all over the planet.




Mike Williams(Youngsville, NC) – teacher & social studies department chair Warren New Tech HS, JD NCCU

Live Local. Think Global

While living, investing and teaching local, the teacher-speaker has focused on broadening the perspective of his students by infusing his curricula with global-based connections, strategies and principles.





Jarod Haning (Columbia, SC) – performance coach, professional musician

Musical Secrets

A breakthrough in relationship starts with a breakthrough in your thinking. Because of the way the brain encodes language as emotion, shifting the conflict in     relationship is akin to speaking a new language.  What’s interesting here is that   the process that allows this to happen is the same process our brains use to make    sense of music.




Shaun Keesee (Warrenton, NC) – bio-intensive farmer

 Bridging the innovation gap between small scale and large scale growers

Small scale farming has seen a resurgence through consumer trends in food awareness. This niche demand has brought about returns to methods of growing and knowledge lost to our very recent mechanized methods of farming in the course of human agricultural history through necessity to the small grower with little capital and land. Interestingly enough, there have been proven small scale models that have not only taken on these economic challenges, but have actually increased revenues and margins substantially.


Melissa Kennedy(Raleigh, NC) – transformer, innovation facilitator, author

The Return of the INTRApreneur

We are going through a major transition. We are moving from an industry age (think assembly line, clear hand offs and dominant industry players) to an information age (think complexity, rapid change, technology enabled everything and a proliferation of startups disrupting the status quo).  And yet, we are still relying on the same leadership, systems, policies and culture of the 20th century within traditional organizations where the majority of the population works. We need a bridge between the eras.




 Peter Maeck (Raleigh, NC) – playwright/poet/photographer/corporate writer/ghostwriter

Gabriel Maeck  (Raleigh, NC) – licensed clinical social worker

Beautiful Dreamer

A dramatic sketch that illustrates how Gabriel Maeck, a clinical social worker, structures a therapy session in the way that Gabriel’s father, playwright Peter Maeck, designs a play. Gabriel’s unique “theatrical” approach casts his client not as an ailing patient, but as an intrepid, even heroic adventurer whose current trials do not reflects shame, guilt, or pathology, but instead show perfectly normal human reactions to abnormal stressors and traumatic prior events. By bridging the creative and psychotherapeutic arts, Gabriel shows his client – and his TEDx audience – a route toward appropriate ongoing care to address mental health issues longer-term.




 Preston Peterson (Purcellvile VA) – co-owner and founder of Sail the Seven C’s, LLC, leadership instructor, facilitator, consultant, and motivational speaker

Sail the Seven C’s—Navigate Life Awake at the Helm

Life is like a vast ocean, full of unforeseen dangers and difficulties, waters that we all must cross as the captains of our ship.  In essence, borrowing from the Sail the Seven Seas idiom, we must Sail the Seven C’s—Competing, Comparing, Chasing, Controlling, Complaining, Criticizing, and Clinging—in order to be truly present and awake at the helm of our ship, navigating our life in a conscious direction of our choosing.




2017 TEDxLizardCreek Theme Announced

Shaping the Unseen: Bridges

Our theme is “Shaping the Unseen: Bridges” What moves us, what shakes us, and what invites us to action is often a private journey that can lead to a very public reaction. That which others cannot see – our hopes, dreams, fears, ambition, trepidation, joy – remains ever present, moving us in a direction of our choosing. In the current world of polarized points of view and divided perspectives on life and the world, we would like to emphasize talks describing innovative bridges. Previously unseen bridges between dissimilar technologies, bridges with the past, bridges between people or groups of people, bridges leading to new opportunities are all candidates for “ideas worth spreading.”


2017 Application Letter Now Available

The 2017 Application Letter for TEDxLizardCreek is now available. If after you review this information, and you feel that you would like to be part of TEDxLizardCreek, we ask you to email tedxlizardcreek@gmail.com and state your interest.  A TEDxLizardCreek selection committee will then review all interested speakers information. Please submit your information as soon as you can, but by July 1, 2017 at the latest. Speakers will be announced by August 1.

Thanks to our 2015 TEDxLizardCreek sponsors!

TEDxLizardCreek sponsors
Lake Gaston Lions Club
Lizard Brain Solutions
The Pritchards
Lake Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce
PhytoChem Pharmaceuticals Inc.
The Center for Energy Education
Watersview Restaurant
Earl Britt
The Daily Herald
Trent Dikeman
Juel Duke
Bill & Suzie Goertemiller
Lake Gaston Gazette-Observer
Andrea Nash

Tickets are now available for the 2015 “Shaping the Unseen” TEDxLizardCreek

Please see our Eventbrite link to secure a ticket to this year’s TEDxLizardCreek on October 24 at the Lake Gaston Lions Den in Henrico, NC.

TEDxLizardCreek opens doors to attendees at 9:30am with coffee and tea; speakers will begin at 10am. Speakers will conclude at 3:30 pm, and the event is followed by a reception (cash bar) until 4 pm.

If you are interested in supporting TEDxLizardCreek outside of your admission, or wish to make a donation in lieu of attendance, please select the ‘Donation’ option on the Eventbrite page.

Click here for Eventbrite page.

2015 “Shaping the Unseen” TEDxLizardCreek Speaker lineup announced


Mike Williams (Youngsville, NC)- teacher & social studies department chair Warren New Tech HS

“Who You?”
Ancestral Research As A Means Of Shaping Identity

The colloquially titled “Who You?” talk will briefly delve into Mike’s personal, academic and historical quest to open an ancestral door closed by his grandfather’s recurrent statement of “Y ou don’t want to know about that. ” The statement, while spoken from a place of segregated pain and fatherly protection, shaped Mike’s sense of identity and started him on his current journey to understand his rural, African­American family roots by examining oral histories, searching contemporary databases, and pursuing national/international research opportunities. “Who You?”, while grammatically incorrect, represents an internal and external query that unabashedly cuts to the core of self­identity and conversely highlights the importance of preserving oral histories and capturing multi­generational ancestral voices.


John Campbell (Raleigh, NC & Lake Gaston)- Chairman of the Board, WasteZero; 2006 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Cutting the Trash in Half in America’s Cities and Towns: An Achievable Goal Right Now

America is drowning in garbage, even after 40 years of investment in recycling and related infrastructure. We generate about 900 lbs. of trash per person just in our homes each year, and we spend hundreds of billions of dollars simply to move it around. Even without taking the environmental impact of all this trash into account, our wasteful ways force us to underinvest in other vital areas. The solution lies not in more trucks, or additional infrastructure, or new technologies, but instead in the breathtakingly simple idea of changing the way people pay. Campbell will frame the issue in a clear and compelling way and reveal astounding success stories from cities large and small, rich and poor.


Patricia Tirrell (Durham, NC)- Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed, Certified Research Administrator

Learning to See With the Heart

It is special that two different species, humans and dogs, are able to live together in harmony. In order for the relationship between species to work there are rules that need to be followed – much the same as when we visit another culture. Working with animals I have learned about the unseen aspects to building a relationship. Relationships need trust in order to thrive. It is interesting to share the stories of a blind dog and his joy – these are very compelling stories. He never gives up. He has a way of engaging others so that it isn’t just his success but everyone’s success. He is special, but the wisdom and lessons he has are meant to be shared for everyone. When you trust and believe in yourself; when you leave doubt behind; when you engage others in your dream; you will discover that anything is possible.


Barger Jeutter (Waynesboro, VA & Lake Gaston)- owner of Solution Consulting – coaching for executives, life, leadership, teams

The Power of Choice

We have the opportunity to shape the unseen – the ability to create what we want to see in our future, by using the Power of Choice. The future is “unseen” – however, by making intentional decisions to see it and to shape it, there is clarity. You see yourself there, you have made it visible and you hold the power, the unlimited power, to plan and drive a course that allows you to control the things you can control – using the Power of Choice. Shape the unseen by seeing your future, making a plan, showing who you are, sharing what you have and living a life of intention – not default.


Kathleen Nadeau (Silver Spring, MD)- psychologist, Director of the Chesapeake ADHD Center, author

Shaping the Unseen – focusing on that which others cannot see – our hopes, dreams, fears, ambition, I will be talking about my journey as a professional in developing a very different understanding of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, while, at the same time, I gradually gained a realization that I have ADHD as well. My presentation will focus on developing a very different understanding of ADHD, currently viewed as a “disability,” hoping to encourage the audience to develop a very different understanding of those with ADHD including their very real gifts that have already contributed so much to our American culture – gifts including creativity and entrepreneurial talents – gifts which today remain trepidation, joy unseen, but which I hope to help bring into the light.

logan aldrige

Logan Aldridge (Raleigh, NC)- one-armed competitive wakeboarder & CrossFit athlete, motivational speaker

The Power of Choice: the ability to control your own destiny through attitude

Everything that we do in life falls back on the two simple things that control every facet of who we are in the short term, or in trying to shape the unseen for the long term. The simplicity and power of attitude and expectations will dictate your successes and failures of the unseen and unknown future. Life is decided not on what impacts you but rather how you affect changes on the things that can impact you.


John C. Mather (Hyattsville, MD)- astrophysicist, cosmologist and 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics laureate

How we got here, and how far we can go: How the Big Bang led to life on Earth, how instability, chaos, competition, and combat produced civilization over thousands of generations of human history. What extremely long time means for our future: anticipating the next great changes on Earth, how we could travel in person to the planets, and how our robotic partners could take us to the stars, a bumpy but exciting ride!


Gaurav Satija (Hyattsville, MD)- economist, professional dancer

Reimagining Your Path

Living a modern life, we are quickly losing touch with our inner selves. As we pursue material goals, we leave behind the aesthetics which invigorate us. Born and raised in India, I was on a similar path and was studying Engineering at a very prestigious school. Afterwards, I moved to the U.S. seeking graduate studies and better job opportunities. However, I felt an invisible discontent with my goals and achievements. My work was intellectually challenging, I had many friends, an active social life and good fitness levels, but all did not seem rosy. And I could not figure out the cause of this dissatisfaction. Perhaps I was just being moody, I thought to myself. I gave myself a pat on the back and got on with life, as they say. One day, on a complete whim, I went salsa dancing with a friend. I felt good; good enough to come back.


Peter Maeck (Durham, NC)- writer, photographer, speaker

“Cradle And All: From Womb to Tomb – And Back Again”: Peter Maeck’s previous TEDxLizardCreek Talk, “Remembrance Of Things Present,” described his journey with his father while he had Alzheimer’s Disease. Peter’s present Talk, “Cradle And All: From Womb to Tomb – And Back Again,” treats personal and public separations such as through divorce, death, and disillusion, and suggests how we may channel our departed loved ones’ creativity to achieve in our own lives Thomas Aquinas’s three criteria for beauty: Wholeness, Harmony, and Radiance. Thus life’s beauties, enshrouded for a time by sorrow, can once more be clearly and brightly seen.


Holland Blumer (Charlotte, NC)-  teenage entrepreneur, President of Clothes for Change, founder Teenternships, cofounder of Girls for Tomorrownonprofit

Simone Johnston (Phoenix, AZ)- teenage entrepreneur, COO PurchaseMate, cofounder of Girls for Tomorrow nonprofit

Why young girls need to strive to be weird: a glance inside of modern day high school 

Not enough girls are going to STEM careers. This divide becomes apparent in high school. The boys populate the programming and engineering classes and master the subjects while girls are discouraged from the same opportunity by their peers. My nonprofit has found that changing a high school girl’s perspective on a social norm in this vulnerable time in her life is close to impossible. Yet this issue can be solved before it even comes to the surface. The most effective way to get women in STEM is to have schools require the classes starting at the young age of 11-12 (6th grade) and up through high school. The talk will focus on how this change will help not only the student but also the school, and how to execute on this mission.