Start Now.

We all possess the power to initiate change, in ways both small and large. Regardless of our situation or current challenges we can each start now. We can start with what we have, what we know, our human network, and with the knowledge gained from experience. We can begin with the lessons of the wise, and the optimism and fresh perspective of the young. We can start with simple gestures of kindness. We can start with clarity of purpose. We can start with a new outlook.

TEDxMidAtlantic 2013 showcased the stories of those who have led by example, and the ideas that can help us reframe the most intractable problems in new, imaginative ways.

Watch José Andrés’ talk »

José Andrés

Spanish Culinary Master

Named “Outstanding Chef” by the James Beard Foundation and recognized by Time magazine on the “Time 100” list of most influential people in the world, José Andrés is an internationally-recognized culinary innovator. Andrés teaches at Harvard and The George Washington University. He is also the founder of World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit which aims to feed and empower vulnerable people in humanitarian crises around the world.

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Guest Curator

Cameron Russell

Supermodel & Media Reformer

Cameron Russell has spent the last decade posing as a supermodel. Occasionally she writes about grassroots public art and political power, and experiments with making art for the internet and the street. Cameron’s 2012 TEDxMidAtlantic talk has been viewed over 3 million times. She is the director of The Big Bad Lab, which creates participatory art and media platforms dedicated to including people in radical demonstrations of positive social change, and she recently founded Interrupt Mag, a participatory magazine.

Watch Gen. McChrystal’s talk »

Gen. Stanley McChrystal

US Military Commander

General Stanley McChrystal is the co-founder of McChrystal Group and is a Senior Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs where he teaches leadership. He also heads the Aspen Institute Franklin Project to encourage and promote national service. The General is a former Commander of US and international forces in Afghanistan and his career in the U.S. Army spanned 34 years.

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Watch Jim McGovern’s talk »

Rep. Jim McGovern

US Congressman

Since his election in 1996, Congressman Jim McGovern has been widely recognized as a tenacious advocate for his district, a tireless crusader for change, and an unrivaled supporter for social justice and fundamental human rights. Currently serving his ninth term in Congress, McGovern serves as the second ranking Democrat on the powerful House Rules Committee, which sets the terms for debate and amendments on most legislation; and a member of the House Agriculture Committee.

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Watch Shiza Shahid’s talk »

Shiza Shahid

Director of Malala Fund

Shiza Shahid helped Taliban gunshot victim Malala Yousafzai return to school, and is the co-founder and director of the Malala Fund. The fund supports education innovators and activists across the world. Shahid has supported Malala’s work since 2009, when she mentored Malala and others in a summer retreat in Pakistan to raise awareness about the Taliban’s attack on female education.

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Watch Seth Goldman’s talk »

Seth Goldman

Honest Tea Founder

Seth Goldman is co-founder, President and TeaEO of Honest Tea, the company he co-founded in 1998 with Professor Barry Nalebuff of the Yale School of Management. An entrepreneur at heart, Seth started with lemonade stands and newspaper routes as a kid, created a non-profit urban service program, and nearly pursued a prize-winning biotechnology idea before he started Honest Tea in his kitchen.

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Watch Gbenga’s talk »

Gbenga Akinnagbe

Actor & Activist

Gbenga Akinnagbe is best known for his role as Chris Partlow on the HBO original series The Wire. Gbenga has also starred in multiple movies, including The Savages, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, The Good Wife, and is the lead in the upcoming indie film Home. He starred in Showtime’s Nurse Jackie and is currently on the hit show Graceland. Gbenga also recently founded the clothing line Liberated People.

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Watch Sam Berns’ talk »

Sam Berns

Life Champion

Sam Berns is a Junior at Foxboro High School in Foxboro, Massachusetts, where he has achieved highest honors and is currently a percussion section leader in the high school marching band. He recently achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. Sam was diagnosed with Progeria, a rare, rapid aging disease, at the age of 2. He is featured in the documentary Life According to Sam, which will premiere on HBO on October 21, 2013.

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Watch Akec Khoc’s talk »

Akec Khoc Aciew

South Sudan Ambassador

Due to his remarkable background in international affairs, and upon the establishment of the Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan in the United States, Ambassador Akec was appointed as the first ambassador, making history in May 2012. In this capacity he and the Embassy staff hope to enhance the bilateral diplomatic relations between the Republic of South Sudan and the United States of America.

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Watch Jon Jarvis’ talk »

Jon Jarvis

National Park Service Director

National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis began his career in 1976 as a seasonal interpreter in Washington, D.C. Today, he manages that agency whose mission is to preserve America’s most treasured landscapes and cultural icons. Today, he is responsible for overseeing more than 22,000 employees, a $3 billion budget, and 401 national parks that attract more than 280 million visitors every year.

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Watch Leigh’s talk »

Leigh Gallagher

Fortune Magazine Editor

Leigh Gallagher is an Assistant Managing Editor at Fortune magazine. She is a cochair of the Fortune U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership and a visiting scholar at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. Her first book, The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream is Moving, was published by Portfolio in August 2013.

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Watch Susan Shaw’s talk »

Susan Shaw

Marine Scientist

A marine toxicologist, explorer, author, and passionate ocean advocate, Susan Shaw is widely known for her pioneering research on the toxic legacy of man-made chemicals in the ocean environment. An outspoken and influential voice on ocean pollution, Shaw dove in the Gulf of Mexico oil slick in May 2010 and has informed the national debate on the hazards of chemical dispersants.

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Watch Paul Reed Smith’s talk »

Paul Reed Smith


Paul Reed Smith – guitar-maker, musician, songwriter and the Founder and Managing General Partner of Paul Reed Smith Guitars, was born in Bethesda, Maryland. He made his first playable guitar for extra credit at St. Mary’s College. In 1985, he opened Paul Reed Smith Guitars. Today the company is the third largest electric guitar manufacturer in America.

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Watch Paul Reed Smith’s talk »

Isobel Coleman

Council on Foreign Relations

Dr. Isobel Coleman is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York, where she directs CFR’s Civil Society, Markets, & Democracy program. Her areas of expertise include the political economy of the Middle East, democratization, civil society, economic development, educational reform and gender issues. She is the author and coauthor of numerous books, most recently: Pathways to Freedom: Political and Economic Lessons from Democratic Transitions.

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Watch Mickey Edwards’ talk »

Mickey Edwards

Aspen Institute VP

Former Congressman Mickey Edwards is a lecturer at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is also vice president of the Aspen Institute. Edwards served as a member of Congress for 16 years, during which time he was a senior member of both the House Appropriations and Budget Committees, and ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Foreign Operations.

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Watch Liz Ogbu’s talk »

Liz Ogbu

Sustainable Designer

A designer, social innovator, and academic, Liz is an expert on sustainable design and spatial innovation in challenged urban environments globally. From designing shelters for immigrant day laborers in the U.S. to a water and health social enterprise for low-income Kenyans, Liz has a long history of engagement in the design for social impact movement.

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Watch Michel Nischan’s talk »

Michel Nischan

Sustainable Food Leader

Chef Michel Nischan wears many hats, from dynamic restaurant owner, award-winning cookbook author, and media personality to food policy advocate and non-profit foundation CEO. A proponent of sustainable farming, local and regional food systems, and heritage recipes, Michel has long been a leader in the movement to honor local, pure, simple, and delicious cooking.

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Watch Pierce Freelon’s talk »

Pierce Freelon & Apple Juice Kid

Beat Making Lab

Pierce Freelon is a musician, professor, and artivist with a passion for creativity and community. He has taught music, African studies, and political science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University. He is also the co-founder of Beat Making Lab; a program that has partnered with PBS to build music studios in international community centers.

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Watch Rachael Chong’s talk »

Rachael Chong

Catchafire Founder

Rachael Chong is Founder & CEO of Catchafire, the nation’s leading online pro bono network that connects talent and purpose. Prior to Catchafire, Rachael helped start up BRAC USA by strategically utilizing pro bono talent. Rachael founded Catchafire with a vision to create a more efficient and effective social good sector, and a world where it is commonplace to serve for the greater good.

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Watch Mason Peck’s talk »

Mason Peck

NASA’s Chief Technologist

As the chief technology advocate, Mason Peck will help communicate how NASA technologies benefit space missions and the day-to-day lives of Americans. NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist coordinates, tracks and integrates technology investments across the agency and works to infuse innovative discoveries into future missions. The office also documents, demonstrates and communicates the societal impact of NASA’s technology investments.

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Watch Lale Labuko’s talk »

Lale Labuko

NatGeo Humanitarian

National Geographic Emerging Explorer Lale Labuko witnessed the unspeakable and spoke out. At age 15 he saw elders from his tribe in Ethiopia tear a two-year-old girl from her mother’s arms. The child was never seen again. On that day, he heard the word “mingi” for the first time, an ancient term to describe a cursed infant deserving death. He co-founded Omo Child to stop the ritualistic killing of infants and children.

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Watch Jeff Speck’s talk »

Jeff Speck

City Planner

Jeff Speck is a city planner and urban designer who, through writing, public service, and built work, advocates internationally for smart growth and sustainable design. The Christian Science Monitor called his recent book, Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time, “timely and important, a delightful, insightful, irreverent work.”

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Watch Monique Sternin’s talk »

Monique Sternin

Positive Deviance Creator

Monique and her husband Jerry developed the Positive Deviance approach over the last two decades. In addition to using the PD approach to fight childhood malnutrition in the developing world, Monique has promoted the use of the PD approach in various sectors, such as advocacy against FGM in Egypt, condom usage for commercial sex workers in Myanmar, and maternal & newborn care in Pakistan.

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Watch JJ Rendon’s talk »

JJ Rendon

Political Strategist

Besides being a psychologist, communicator, publicist, and film director, J.J Rendon has gained recognition throughout the world for his remarkable work as a political strategist. Over the last thirty years, Rendon has advised over five thousand political campaigns for executive and legislative levels of government, both provincial and municipal. He has been the recipient of several honorary awards for his defense of democracy, freedom, human rights, and educational support.

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Watch Claire Fraser’s talk »

Claire Fraser


Claire M. Fraser, PhD, is a world-renowned scientist who launched a new field of study – microbial genomics and, through her ground-breaking research and pioneering leadership in this field, has fundamentally changed our understanding of the diversity and evolution of microbial life on Earth. Her collective work over two decades, has made sustained and transformational changes to our understanding of microbial biology.

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Watch Austin Troy’s talk »

Austin Troy

Urban Researcher

Austin Troy addresses issues at the intersection of urban planning and environmental sustainability. He is author of The Very Hungry City, which looks at how cities consume energy, what makes some cities more efficient than others, and what rising global energy prices will mean for cities. Additionally, he is co-principal investigator of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, one of the National Science Foundation’s two urban Long-Term Ecological Research projects.

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Watch Alexis Casson’s talk »

Alexis Casson

Artist Collective Founders

Alexis Casson wears many hats: cinematographer, editor, photographer, and she also dabbles in simple web design. As a creator and storyteller Alexis’ passion lies with using art as a way to tell the stories of others. Alexis loves the idea of dissecting social issues and creating works that explore topics far beneath the surface. In 2011, Alexis, along with business partner Caneisha Haynes, created the web series The Peculiar Kind.

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Watch Andy Shallal’s talk »

Andy Shallal

Busboys and Poets Founder

Andy Shallal moved to the U.S. from Iraq when he was 11 years old—the same year that Saddam Hussein came to power in his native country. In 2005 he opened Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C. Andy’s mission for this restaurant was to have a gathering place for people of all different incomes, races, and identities to come together and exchange ideas about social and political issues. Busboys and Poets today remains a popular restaurant and community resource for artists, activists, writers, thinkers, and dreamers.

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Watch Jimmy Lin’s talk »

Jimmy Lin

Rare Disease Warrior

Jimmy Lin, MD, PhD, MHS, is a 2012 TED Fellow and Founder & President of Rare Genomics Institute, the world’s first platform to enable any community to leverage cutting-edge biotechnology to advance understanding of any rare disease. Partnering with 18 of the top medical institutions, such as Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, and Stanford, RGI helps custom design personalized research projects for diseases so rare that no organization exists to help.

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Watch Jennifer Golbeck’s talk »

Jennifer Golbeck

Human-Computer Researcher

Jennifer Golbeck is Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab and an Associate Professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research has focused on developing computational methods for inferring information about people and their relationships online. She uses this both to develop personalized web applications and to inform users about the hidden information they unknowingly divulge through their activities.

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Watch Henry Evan’s talk »

Henry Evans & Chad Jenkins

Robotics Engineer

Henry Evans was a healthy 40 year-old father of four when he experienced a stem-brain stroke, caused by an unknown genetic birth defect, and woke up with extensive paralysis. Today, he is non-vocal, but is able to move his head and one finger. Odest Chadwicke Jenkins, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Brown University. They will be showcasing the power of robots to assist those with severe physical disabilities.

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Watch Derek Braun’s talk »

Derek Braun

Deaf Scientist

Derek Braun is a professor and geneticist at Gallaudet University’s Department of Science, Technology and Mathematics. Gallaudet is the world’s only liberal arts university for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. He oversees the Molecular Genetics Laboratory, where deaf undergraduate students perform research alongside deaf faculty. Research interests include mutations in the connexin 26 gene, which are responsible for up to half of congenital deafness in many world populations.

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Watch Chris Ullman’s talk »

Chris Ullman

World Champion Whistler

Chris Ullman is the four-time national and international whistling champion. From the steps of the U.S. Capitol, where he performed with the National Symphony Orchestra, to an Oval Office serenade of President George W. Bush, as well as 350 personalized Happy Birthday whistles a year, Chris rejoices in sharing his art with people around the world. By day, Chris is a Managing Director at The Carlyle Group, a global alternative asset manager.

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Angel Gil-Ordóñez


The former Associate Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of Spain, Angel Gil-Ordóñez has conducted symphonic music, opera and ballet throughout Europe, the United States and Latin America. Currently, Mr. Gil-Ordóñez holds the positions of Music Director of PostClassical Ensemble in Washington DC, Principal Guest Conductor of New York’s Perspectives Ensemble, and Music Director of the Georgetown University Orchestra in DC.

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Watch Karen Rennich’s talk »

Karen Rennich

Bee Keeper & Scientist

As the Project Manager of the Bee Informed Partnership and the APHIS National Survey, Karen Rennich is based out of the University of Maryland’s Entomology Department. She works closely with all members of the BIP team and other organizations throughout the U.S. and gets to tackle everything from data analysis to field work and all jobs in between to keep BIP’s goals in sight and to keep the project moving forward.

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Watch Juan Llanos’s talk »

Juan Llanos

Bitcoin Expert

A Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist, Juan has over a decade’s experience of building and managing AML/CFT and regulatory compliance programs for multiple international jurisdictions, including Canada, Italy, the United States and Spain, and is recognized as a pioneer in the development of compliance and risk management best practices for the money transfer industry. He is a member of the Bitcoin Foundation’s Regulatory Affairs Committee, and writes about risk and virtual currencies.

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Watch Michael Smith’s talk »

Michael Smith

Social Innovation Fund Director

Michael Smith is the Director of the United States government’s Social Innovation Fund, which operates under the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The SIF is a CNCS program that mobilizes private and public resources to grow community-based nonprofits. Previously, Michael served as Senior Vice President for Social Innovation at the Case Foundation, where he led social innovation strategy, including investments, programs and partnerships.

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Watch Gerard Ryle’s talk »

Gerard Ryle

Investigative Journalist

Gerard Ryle is the director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in Washington, D.C., where he oversees more than 160 member journalists in over 60 countries. In April 2013, ICIJ published leaked financial documents comprising tens of thousands of offshore accounts, in which many prominent international figures were implicated. That document was the product of a collaboration of thirty-eight news organizations including The Guardian, the BBC, and The Washington Post.

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Watch Ben Miller’s talk »

Ben Miller

Fundrise Founder

Ben is a co-founder of Fundrise. Ben’s responsibilities involve strategic partnerships, deal underwriting, real estate development, PR as well as setting the long-term strategy and goals for the company. Ben has 15 years of experience in real estate and finance, and he has acquired, developed, and financed more than $500 million of property in his time as Managing Partner of WestMill Capital Partners and President of Western Development Corporation.

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Watch Carrie Irvin’s talk »

Carrie Irvin

Education Entrepreneur

Carrie Chimerine Irvin is passionate about making sure every child has the chance to attend a great school. After a career in education policy and public education reform, she accidentally became an education entrepreneur when she and a colleague founded Charter Board Partners. The nonprofit is dedicated to improving the quality of public charter schools by helping them build stronger boards of directors

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Watch Lisa Guernsey’s talk »

Lisa Guernsey

Early Education Advocate

Lisa Guernsey is Director of the New America Foundation’s Early Education Initiative. Ms. Guernsey focuses on elevating dialogue about early childhood education, in part by editing the Early Ed Watch blog, and spotlighting new approaches for helping disadvantaged children succeed. Ms. Guernsey’s most recent book is Screen Time: How Electronic Media – From Baby Videos to Educational Software – Affects Your Young Child.

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Watch Matthew Green’s talk »

Matthew Green

Cryptologist at Johns Hopkins

Matthew Green is an Assistant Research Professor of Computer Science at the Johns Hopkins University. His research focuses on computer security and cryptography, and particularly the way that cryptography can be used to promote individual privacy. His work includes techniques to securely access medical databases, enhance the anonymity of Bitcoin, and to analyze deployed security systems. Prior to joining the Johns Hopkins faculty he served as a Senior Technical Staff Member at AT&T Laboratories.

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Watch Laurenellen’s talk »

Laurenellen McCann

Sunlight Foundation

Laurenellen McCann is the Sunlight Foundation’s National Policy Manager, working to help build, expand, and support transparency and, in particular, open data initiatives around the country and the world. She leads Sunlight’s work on state and local issues. Laurenellen also directs Sunlight’s largest annual community gathering, TransparencyCamp, an “unconference” for knowledge exchange between open government advocates that’s inspired similar events across the globe.

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Watch Anwar’s talk »

Anwar Dafa-Alla

Sudanese Activist

Anwar Fatihelrahman Ahmed Dafa-Alla,PhD, is Adjucant Professor of Computer Science at Sudan University for Science and Technology and Neelian University and head of Information Technology department at Garden City College for Science & Technology in Khartoum, Sudan. Anwar is a special guest of TEDxMidAtlantic this year and is beloved by the TEDx community for his giving spirit and tireless efforts to advance knowledge throughout the world.

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Watch City of the Sun »

City of the Sun

Street Musicians

City of the Sun was created in 2010, in the subways, streets, and local bars of New York City. They began as “buskers,” or street performers, and their driving rhythms and fluid melodies immediately caught the attention of New York locals. Describing City’s sound can be a bit of a challenge—words never seem to give it justice. It is distinctly eclectic—a mélange of flamenco, blues, and indie/folk rock.

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Watch Jen Oxley’s talk »

Jen Oxley


Jennifer Oxley was born in Hollywood, California and caught the filmmaking bug early – she made her first film at the age of seven. Since then she has directed fifteen short films for Sesame Street, as well as the award-winning adaptation of Spike Lee and Tanya Lewis Lee’s children’s book, Please, Baby, Please. Her latest film, The Music Box, was acquired by The Museum of Modern Art for their permanent children’s film collection.

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Jeremy Jones

DMVFollowers Founder

Jeremy Jones is a young entrepreneur from Bowie, Maryland. He specializes in brand marketing, promotion and advertising for local businesses, entertainers and corporations. In 2010, Jeremy and his business partner Matthew Talley jumpstarted the DMVFollowers brand. With various business ventures with AT&T, recording artist Wale, and a host of others, Jeremy has made a great splash in the business and entertainment culture in the D.C. area, as well as the Atlanta area with the brand GAFollowers.

Watch Jackie Savitz’s talk »

Jackie Savitz

Protector of Oceans

Jacqueline Savitz is Oceana’s Vice President for U.S. Oceans. In this role she oversees Oceana’s Responsible Fishing, Seafood Fraud and Climate and Energy Campaigns. She also recently led a feasibility study to develop plans for Oceana’s Save the Oceans, Feed the World project. Over the past decade, Savitz has developed and led Oceana campaigns including its Climate and Energy Campaign, its Mercury Campaign and its first pollution campaign which was focused on cruise ship pollution.

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Watch Bayeté’s talk »

Bayeté Ross Smith

Mixed Media Artist

Bayeté Ross Smith is an artist, photographer, and educator living in New York City. He began his career as a photojournalist with the Knight Ridder Newspaper Corporation. His collaborative projects “Along The Way” and “Question Bridge: Black Males” have shown at the 2008 and 2012 Sundance Film Festival, respectively. His work has also been featured at the Sheffield Doc Fest in Sheffield England and the L.A. Film Festival.

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Watch Misra Walker’s talk »

Misra Walker

Activist Artist

Misra Walker is currently a junior at Cooper Union and is a Fine Arts Major. Her work blurs the line between activism and art by interrogating the history and politics that make up the backbone of her community. She is the founder of The House of Spoof, an art collective in Hunts Point, The Bronx, that hosts gallery shows for emerging artists and provides free art classes for the community in honor of their friend Glenn “Spoof” Wright who passed away in 2009.

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