TEDx Portland


TEDxPortland presents – Our seventh annual event
April 15 Keller Auditorium

Portland is a prism of possibility —
a creative community where people
intersect and an unseen, radiant vision
of opportunity is unlocked. Ideas are
born, inspiration takes hold.

A celebratory gathering that honors
the light in all of us.


Adam Garcia

Adam’s love of story-based gameplay, hip-hop dance and music led to the founding of his creative studio, The Pressure. Through this studio he distributes his love for music via Soundset, an annual hip-hop festival that draws crowds reaching 50,000. A purveyor of language, he also hosts The Amazing Stumptown Spelling Bee and is working his way into the world of fiction writing. His work has led him to unique collaborations from
Kanye West to the Department of Homeland Security.

Stephen Green
Community Builder

A voice for the underrepresented, Stephen works by day as a community manager for Townsquared, a startup that seeks to connect businesses with the knowledge they need to succeed. He also engages with blossoming African-American PDX entrepreneurs in the annual competition “Pitch Black.” A true connector of people, Green has worked tirelessly for the last 17 years in banking and finance to help deserving businesses start, grow and prosper.

Renu Malhotra, PhD
Planetary Scientist

An esteemed professor of physics, member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the American Academy of Arts
and Sciences, Dr. Malhotra is an esteemed astrophysicist. She has examined a wide variety of topics, spanning from extrasolar planets to the meteoric bombardment history of the planets. She has revolutionized our understanding of the formation of “Plutinos” and other small planets, as well as the orbital migration of giant planets. She cannot help us understand why man-buns are in style.

Marla Smith-Nilson
Water Crusader

In the one-stoplight town of Benson, in the Sonoran desert of southern Arizona, Marla learned the important role water plays in providing life and prosperity. After obtaining degrees in both civil and environmental engineering, she founded the nonprofit, Water1st International, to provide water and toilets to 168,000 people in the 1,900 impoverished communities around the world.

Ben Kaiser

Ben owns both the Kaiser Group, Inc., which is committed to commercial and residential construction, and PATH Architecture, Inc., which offers the highest level of conceptual design and timeless modern works of architectural beauty. Kaiser recently concluded an 8-year term on the Portland Design Commission, which is tasked with overseeing the constant zoning, design and planning within the City of Roses. He is currently developing the tallest engineered timber building in the United States – Carbon 12.

Dave Sanders, MD
Care Giver

Dave is a physician and business-builder with a passion for radically changing the way we care for our health. He’s made a career out of challenging convention and questioning the status quo, and co-founded ZoomCare in 2006 in Portland, OR. Today, ZOOM+ delivers “Twice the health, at half the cost, and ten times the delight” to more than 200,000 people at 20+ neighborhood clinics throughout Portland alone. Their mobile app allows members to choose from over 500 appointments every day.

Benjamin Dehen-Artaiz

Ben grew up as the oldest of five children in Banks, Oregon and spent his childhood summers working in his great-grandfather’s factory, the Dehen Knitting Company. Today, Ben works as the company’s international sales manager and assists his father, Jim, with the family business to deliver “heavy duty old school truth.” Ben can also be found embracing his passion for cooking at Donnie Vegas, the bar he owns in Northeast Portland.

Ragini Dindukurthi

Ragini is a freshman at Westview High School in Portland and loves the challenge of identifying problems and
working toward solutions. She also has a passion for fashion and co-founded the fashion club, Wildcat Couture. She loves robotics and designing things and plans to pursue a career in product design engineering.

Thor Drake

The pull of the Pacific Northwest was strong on Thor, who was born in Norway and raised in Arizona. With a nose for adrenaline, he spent his early life as a daredevil on land and snow. He became a sponsored snowboarder at the age of 16, had creative pit stops at Nike and Wieden + Kennedy, and today owns and operates See See Motor Coffee Co. He also created The One Motorcycle Show – the most prolific motorcycle show in the PNW. His philosophy: If he can dream it, he can build it.

Annie Choo

Annie is another Portland wunderkind. As a junior at Lakeridge High School with an overbooked schedule, she is involved in theater, tech, mock trial, and most importantly, robotics. This year she’ll bring her vision for the future and passions for robotics, biology and engineering to the TEDxPortland stage. With youth like Annie in our midst, we dare you not
to be inspired about the future.

Colin O’Brady

Colin, a native of Portland, is a testament to mindfulness, setting audacious goals and achieving them despite overwhelming odds. Last year, Colin set two world records: He became the fastest person ever to complete both the Seven Summits and the Explorers Grand Slam (the Seven Summits + skiing to the last degree of the North and South Poles). He completed the challenges in 131 and 139 days, respectively. His nonprofit, Beyond 7/2, strives to inspire kids to lead active, healthy lives and pursue their biggest dreams.

Emma Mcilroy
Wild Feminist

Emma is the CEO and Co-Founder of Wildfang – a place that badass women call home. Wildfang is a lifestyle brand that launched in March 2013 and saw 20k girls join in just 30 days. Wildfang has since built a highly engaged tribe of fans, including numerous celebrities and musicians like Janelle Monáe, Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood. A self-confessed brand marketing nerd, she is sports-crazy and an avid runner, footballer, golfer and tennis player.

Luis Vargas

Luis was born in Mexico City, grew up in California and found a home in Oregon. He has spent 20 years
working around the World in the digital start-up and adventure travel space helping iconic brands like
Disney, REI, and The Clymb create meaningful experiences-based businesses. His purpose is to inspire and enable others to have transformative travel experiences, with the knowledge that travel can be a force for good.


Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp For Girls
Strawberry Jam

Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp For Girls provides week-long summer camps for girls, including trans and gender non-conforming, where campers learn to play an instrument, form a band, write an original song and perform live. Through music instruction and creation they build self-esteem, leadership and life skills, and encourage social change. Tuition assistance ensures no girl is turned away due to lack of funds. Rock Camp is a safe space where self-expression is encouraged and being loud is applauded!

China Forbes
Vocalist Virtuoso

China is a Portland treasure and is known around the globe as the longtime lead singer of Pink Martini. After graduating from Harvard in 1992, where she won the Jonathan Levy Prize for acting, Forbes worked as an actress for several years, performing Off-Broadway in New York. She then became a musician and formed a band before moving to Portland to work full-time with Pink Martini. She’s also released two solo albums: Love Handle (1995) and ‘78 (2008).

Redray Frazier

Redray grew up singing in the church but totes an impressive repertoire of genres. He’s toured with his band, Mosaic, and has opened for Lenny Kravitz and Blues Traveler. He then moved to Portland – away from his family and bandmates – setting out for the first time with just his voice and an acoustic guitar.

Performance Art

Led by Emmy Award-winning choreographers Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland, BodyVox is known for its unique ability to combine dance, theater and film into breathtaking productions. Since its founding in 1997, BodyVox has toured to critical acclaim on stages around the world. Based in Portland, BodyVox’s movement surges from a fascination with the endless possibilities of the human body in motion.

Choir Ensemble

PHAME believes art is a fundamental right. Since 1984, PHAME has supported artists and performers with disabilities in achieving their full creative potential. Through classes, performances and a statewide coalition, PHAME affects systemic change to build a more inclusive world. Recent collaborations have included Pink Martini, the Portland Cello Project, and a world premiere musical by Debbie Lamedman and Laura Gibson.



TEDxPortland is proudly supporting TED Cinema Experience here in town starting April 24, 2017. Once a year, the world’s most powerful ideas are shared on the TED stage in Vancouver, BC. Watch in a special streamed experience for cinemas,
captured live.

There will be three unique screenings at Lloyd Center theater. For the full speaker lineup, visit TEDCinema.com. Join us!