Category Archives: Attendee Profile

Meet our Artist in Residence: Rebecca Shapiro

Loving the awesome art installation that we have for the TEDActive stage this year? Have you had a chance to explore the Dome in the Creative Lounge?

Both of these wonderful pieces were designed and built by the TEDActive 2015 Artist in Residence, Rebecca Shapiro. Rebecca is a painter, illustrator and installation artist whose work has been featured in numerous exhibitions including TEDxMtHood (formerly TEDxConcordiaUPortland) in 2013 when she designed the stage installation and gave a TEDx talk.

Rebecca is the creator and project lead for the TEDx Artist in Residence Incubator Program working closely with TEDxMtHood co-curator, Michelle Jones. The TEDx Artist in Residence Program supports TEDx organizers who want establish official artist in residencies for their events, strengthening community ties, honoring local culture and enhancing attendee experience.

Rebecca’s stage installation, titled Untangled, is a piece about “untangling the stores, beliefs and behaviors that keep us bound and prevent us from enjoying movement and momentum in our lives.”

Photo: Marla Aufmuth/TED

This piece and her installation at TEDActive this year are inspired by her long-term projects, some of which focus on themes like discovering yourself, community, and reflection. She enjoys creating interactive pieces that require the audience to think and offer their own ideas to the piece.

“Remember making forts as a child?” she asked me. “Inside the fort, you created your own story. You didn’t know that you were doing it, but you were writing the story of who you are.”

Her interactive art installation, The Act of Stillness, is “a metaphor for the pursuit of the creative process.” This piece invites attendees to create intentional moments for reflection and creativity during TEDActive. People can enter the space and add their own thoughts to its walls, creating a collection of memories and ideas sparked by other attendees or TED speakers. Rebecca contends that  “stillness leads to your best ideas,” so she wanted to create a space where attendees could slow down and invite their best ideas and stories to emerge.

Image provided by Rebecca Shapiro

“I wanted to create a low-tech space within a busy, tech-heavy conference. I created a space you could step into to reflect or ask a question or do nothing, because we need to take more of this time for ourselves,” she explains.

Photo: Marla Aufmuth/TED

Rebecca challenges our TEDActive attendees to carve out some time for themselves to reflect on everything they see and hear this week. Make sure to stop by The Act of Stillness this week and add your ideas to its walls!

by Diana Enriquez

TEDYou 2015: Introducing Our Speakers

TEDYou, a longstanding TEDActive tradition, is taking place once again in beautiful Whistler! TEDYou is a curated session of talks delivered by attendees who applied with a proposal featuring their work, talents and interests. TEDYou will take place between Sessions 8 and 9, on Thursday, March 19, from 8:15am to 9:45am. For those of you watching on TED Live, TEDYou will not be live webcasted, but several of the talks may later appear on If you will be onsite in Whistler, come support your fellow attendees who will be speaking about a variety of different topics, ranging from materials science to the choices we make about our identities.

This year, nine awesome speakers and performers will take the TEDYou stage:

Shark Tank HS2

Barbara Corcoran is the Founder of the Corcoran Group, Barbara Corcoran Inc. and Barbara Corcoran Venture Partners. Barbara is a businesswoman, investor and speaker on topics ranging from real estate to investment to surviving in the business world. She is also one of the “Sharks” on the reality show “Shark Tank.”


Sally Kohn is considered one of the leading progressive voices in the United States. She currently contributes to CNN and the Daily Beast. She has also contributed to Fox News, MSNBC, Washington Post, New York Times, Reuters, More Magazine, Salon, Politico, Time and many others. Sally was listed as one of the Top Nine Rising Stars in cable news by Mediaite and the 35th Most Influential Gay Person in the Media by The Advocate.

TEDActive Picture

Shivam Shah is a classical pianist and a junior neuropsychology student at the University of Cincinnati, on track to be a medical student once he graduates. He has been playing the classical piano for 13 years and jazz piano for seven years. He is currently writing a piano concerto and has recorded some of his work with indie bands in Cincinnati. Despite playing the piano for years, Shivam is still working to understand the intangibles of music.


Jun Kamei is a biomimicry researcher who uses his research to develop new materials. He is both passionate about the patterns and structures within nature and modern engineering processes as well as appreciative of traditional methods and materials from rural Japan. Jun was a member of the TEDxTohoku organizing team.


Onyx Ashanti is a Beatjazz sonic architect. He is a musician, geek, open-source advocate, maker and collaborator. Beatjazz is a multidimensional performance piece that Onyx invented using his own musical tools. It is as much a musical experience as it is a complex visualization of sound. Beatjazz continues to evolve over time as Onyx adds new elements and technology to the ways that he plays with sound and visualizations.

Jacqui Square (2)

Jacqui Chew is the founder and CEO of iFusion Marketing. Jacqui is focused on helping startups navigate and gain skills they need to survive in competitive markets. She is also the editor in chief of BeyondMVP, a publication that offers news, analysis and lifestyle features on startups and tech in the American South. Jacqui is a co-organizer of TEDxPeachTree.

Marco Tempest Image

Marco Tempest is a cyber illusionist and current Director’s Fellow at the MIT media lab. His work combines magic and technology to produce mind-blowing performances. His career began as a stage performer, but his work with different kinds of technology and his access to wider networks over the internet allowed him to expand his repertoire and audience. Tempest supports the open source community, works with artists and studies different practical uses of illusion technology.


Jamila Lyiscott is a poet and educator. She is currently an adjunct professor at Long Island University and Columbia University’s Teachers College, where she is also an advanced doctoral candidate. Her focus is on the education of the African Diaspora. Jamila has been a spoken word artist since she was 15, using her performance work to engage with youth, educators and activists across New York City.

Joshua Prager

Joshua Prager is a journalist and author. He writes for Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, and New York Times andhe explores storytelling through longer works as well. His book The Echoing Green was named Best Book of the Year by the Washington Post. His second book, Half-Life, was about his recovery process after a bus crash that broke his neck. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard in 2011 and a Fulbright Distinguished Chair at Hebrew University in 2012.

See you at TEDYou!

By Diana Enriquez

Meet your TEDActive Hosts! (Part 3 of 3)

This week we introduce our last round of TEDActive 2015 Hosts!

A mere 12 days to go before TEDActive kicks off in Whistler, and we’re rounding the corner on introductions to the wonderful TEDActive attendees who have volunteered to welcome you “home.” You have met 18 of our Hosts in the past two weeks. Here are the rest plus a special guest!

Chadburn Blomquist

Chadburn Blomquist TED Badge Photo

Chadburn and his TEDxTC team (Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN) have produced nine TEDx events! As a returning TEDActive attendee, Chadburn says, “Now, when I am planning travel to new places with my family, I reach out to fellow TEDActive members and they are the most gracious and amazing hosts you can imagine! What a gift TED has given us.” Chadburn has worked  at Apple, Palm, GE, and, currently, Cisco. He’s also a Partner at Social Venture Partners. Chadburn’s latest project is ‘Gals and Geeks,’ a platform designed to unite geek parents with their daughters to encourage interest and exploration in technology and science.

Jennifer Arzonetti


Jennifer is both an experience junkie and a pusher! At work, she helps people connect to a purpose and get the experiences they need to grow personally and have a more fulfilling career professionally. Her own career has taken many twists and turns, including giving her the opportunity to work in Hong Kong, Singapore, Austria and Germany (she loves to travel). Jennifer has attended TED since 2009, an experience made exponentially better since becoming a shared journey with her sister. (Not to mention Ashley usually makes her something awesome to wear at TED like a crown, a fascinator or a spirit stick!) Jennifer has hosted community and corporate TEDx events and loves being a TEDActive host because it gives her an excuse to meet you (yes, you). Jennifer is also a cheerleading coach, an aerialist, a faux chef and a passionate lover of glitter.

Hana Elliot


Hana leads product marketing efforts at a Nashville-based tech company. She also sits on the TEDxNashville board and chairs the speakers committee. She is passionate about world travel, Carolina basketball, creating opportunities for minorities in STEM fields and green building: She lives in Nashville in a LEED-certified home with her husband and two rescue puppies!

Jay Klaphake

Jay Klaphake

After a brief stint as a politician in Minnesota, Jay found his way to Japan where he teaches global affairs. He leads TEDxKyoto as way to “give something meaningful back to my community.” Jay is passionate about creating open, creative and collaborative ecosystems that foster global innovation at the local level. He plays a mean jazz drum set, and is thrilled to be returning to his fourth TEDActive!

Ruta Kruliauskaite


Ruta is a serial TEDx organizer and TEDxVilnius in Lithuania curator. Along with her TEDx involvement, she acts as Executive Producer for one of the biggest business summits in Central Europe Forum One, and is a driving force behind My Cup Of Tea. Ruta is passionate about building platforms for talented people to get together — that’s why she just can’t wait to be back to her third TEDActive.

Jan Scheele


Jan Scheele is a self-described martial arts fanatic, wine lover and director of TEDxMaastricht and TEDxAmsterdam. He is also the director of an online acceleration agency for startups called Jan serves his community as a board member of ZweitVeurLeid and the Wiecker Tribbenaol, as an organizer of 60MinutesOfZuivereKoffie and as founder of Caritas Mosae and Groot Wyck.

Diane Hatz


Diane Hatz is the founder and executive Director of Change Food, where she uses her expertise to raise awareness, develop creative projects and motivate people to take actions to change the food system. Diane is also founder and organizer for TEDxManhattan, themed “Changing the Way We Eat,” an annual event that brings together key experts in the food and farming movement to discuss issues in the American food system.

Alan Wallace


Alan Wallace loves public relations, photography and his teenage son. He recently moved to Boston and is looking forward to TEDActive so he can “get a break from all of the snow.” (Ha!) He is an advocate for data privacy and protecting children online. This year, he plans to ski at least once during his time in Whistler!

John Marston

John Marston - Black and White

John is passionate about living life with vitality. Born in the United Kingdom, John has lived in Los Angeles, California for over 20 years as a serial entrepreneur. He presently manages two online video subscription businesses with customers in over 100 countries! John has loved being the curator of over 20 TEDxManhattanBeach events and enjoys helping others with their TEDx events. He looks forward to spending a week with the TED community and having fun at TEDActive this year!

Netha Hussain

Netha Hussain

Dr. Netha Hussain is a TED translator, doctor, blogger and Wikipedian. A child of the nineties, she grew up with technology: Her best discovery ever was that Wikipedia is an editable space! Armed with this wonderful information, she made a few edits, only to fall in love with Wikipedia. When she’s online, she blogs, translates and reads. She loves solitude and knows what to do with it. When she’s offline, she grooms kittens to cardiac murmurs and rides bicycles. Netha also occasionally treats illnesses and saves lives.

Allison Beltramini

Allison Beltramini

A first year TEDActive Host and attendee, Allison is a passionate educator. Having taught communication and public speaking for the past 16 years, she cites teaching and learning as her vocations. “This is what brought me to TED!” In addition to helping her students become better communicators, she is the mother of two teenagers and is committed to living an authentic life. In her free time, Allison plays roller derby, volunteers as a mentor and advisor to LGBT students and is a member of a seven-time international champion women’s chorus. Allison equally loves hockey and Broadway musicals. 

And last but not least, meet our Truth Fairy!

Amy Krouse Rosenthal

amy headshot

Amy likes to make things.

Some things she likes to make:

Children’s books.

Grown-up books.

Short films.


Connections with the universe.

Something out of nothing.


Amy and her Deputy Truth Fairy, Lenka, will be floating around TEDActive this year, daring attendees to explore and commit to their truths. They will aim to inspire you and make you think, so don’t hesitate to connect with them at the Truth Booth and around our Whistler Wonderland!