Trending Now | TEDxSonomaCounty 2015

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Jackson Theater at Sonoma Country Day School - Santa Rosa, California

Engaging speakers, artists and entertainers exploring the theme "Trending Now."

Trending Now screams at us from our computers and smart phones, telling us what to read, what to buy, what celebrity is doing what with whom right now. We’re never far from our apps and our feeds. The digital immigrants watch in awe as the younger generations, the digital natives, seem to accept their devices as a part of them, another limb.

In a relatively brief span of time, we have seemingly embraced a digital life: From the way we communicate to the way we shop. From the way we read and listen to music, to the way we learn and the way we create art. From the way we date, to the way we make war. But how is our humanity being defined by our technology and how are we defining it?

TEDx Sonoma County will bring together leading thinkers and doers to explore multiple perspectives on the theme, Trending Now. We’ll imagine a world where we will be more connected than ever before. How will our lives be richer beyond our imaginations as our devices, our homes and our societies become connected in new ways? Where will we embrace new technology, making the quality of our lives and the world a better place? Where will we push back preferring older ways of doing things, and why?

Scroll down for this year's Speaker Preview or click the Purchase Tickets button to register. Join the conversation by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

Download TEDxSonomaCounty PDF Flyer

Event Schedule

  • Doors open at 12:15pm.
  • Speakers begin at 1:00pm.
  • Two sessions separated by an intermission.
  • Food and wine reception following featuring tastes of Sonoma County.
  • Event concludes by 6:00pm.

Purchase Tickets

$40 general, $25 student

Purchase Tickets

Speaker Preview

Our eclectic in-house curation team has assembled what promises to be the best TEDxSonomaCounty to date.

SPEAKER NOMINATIONS: Our curation process for TEDxSonomaCounty 2015 has come to a close. Thank you for your interest!

Michael Brito

michaelbrito Michael Brito is a social strategist, author, and adjunct professor with over 15 years experience helping organizations solve marketing challenges. He is head of social strategy at WCG, a W2O Company, where he is responsible for helping clients think through their content, social and paid media strategy. | Read full bio »

Freddy Clarke

freddy_clarke Born in Fresno, California, Freddy studied classical guitar at San Francisco State University. Igor Stravinski and John Cage are two influences who have helped shape his vision. Freddy's solo performances and original compositions have likened him to "Segovia on acid", and "the Kenny G of flamenco guitar", and  "Smashing Pumpkins meets Gypsy Kings". | Read full bio »

Henry Evans

henry_evans At age 40, Henry Evans was left mute and quadriplegic after a stroke-like attack caused by a hidden birth defect. Years of therapy helped him learn to move his head and use a finger -- which allows him to use a head-tracking device to communicate with a computer using experimental interfaces. Now, Evans is a frequent and enthusiastic collaborator with robotics teams who are developing tools to help the severely disabled navigate their lives. | Read full bio »

Dezi Gallegos

dezi_gallegos Dezi Gallegos was fourteen when he co-wrote and assistant directed the award-winning Prop 8 Love Stories, which received performances throughout the Bay Area before traveling to New York for a two-week run Off-Broadway. Most recently, his play, Yesterday Again, received rave reviews and ran for twelve performances. Twenty-year-old Gallegos, now the recipient of the inaugural Annette Lust Award for Promising Theatrical Talent studies film at the University of Southern California.  | Read full bio »

Nolan Gasser

nolan_gasser Nolan Gasser is a critically acclaimed composer, pianist, and musicologist – most notably, the architect of Pandora Radio’s Music Genome Project and the company’s chief musicologist from its founding in 1999. He holds a Ph.D. in Musicology from Stanford University. His original compositions have been performed in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall, La Salle Pleyel (Paris), and the Rose Bowl (Pasadena), among many others.  | Read full bio »

Adam Gazzaley

adam_gazzaley Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D. is Professor in Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry at the UC San Francisco, the founding director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center, and director of the Gazzaley Lab. His lab’s most recent studies explore neuroplasticity and how we can optimize our cognitive abilities via engagement with custom-designed video games, and how this can be bolstered by closed loop systems using neurofeedback and transcranial electrical stimulation. He has filed multiple patents based in his research, authored over 110 scientific articles, and delivered over 425 invited presentations around the world. | Read full bio »

Liz Gore

liz_gore Elizabeth (Liz) Gore is the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Dell, where she drives initiatives that support Dell’s goals around helping small and medium businesses scale and prosper, fueling the expansion of global entrepreneurship, thereby creating jobs that will drive the world economy. Mrs. Gore also chairs the United Nations Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council and builds global partnerships that positively affect the UN’s most pressing humanitarian issues. Ms. Gore was named by People as one of the top 100 Extraordinary Women and is one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business.  | Read full bio »

Siobhan MacDermott

lee-shupp Siobhan MacDermott is one of the foremost experts on the future of the Internet, cybersecurity, privacy and business-government relations globally. She has experience working global policy issues, and has worked extensively with Boards of Directors to lead successful initiatives to engage governments, stakeholders, policymakers, NGOs and global institutions on regulatory issues. She is the Vice Chair of the Fund for Peace. | Read full bio »

Mickey McManus

mickey_mcmanus Mickey McManus is a research fellow at Autodesk in the Office of the CTO and a principal and chairman of the board at MAYA Design, a technology design and innovation lab.  He's a pioneer in the fields of pervasive computing, collaborative innovation, human-centered design and education.  | Read full bio »

Bob Richards

bob_richards Dr. Robert (Bob) Richards is a space entrepreneur and futurist. He is a Co-Founder of the International Space University, Singularity University, SEDS, the Space Generation Foundation and Moon Express Inc., a lunar resources company competing in the $30M Google Lunar X PRIZE, where he currently serves as President and CEO.  | Read full bio »

Lee Shupp

lee-shupp Lee sparks innovation with clients by understanding how technology, consumers and culture are evolving. He joined Speck Design in 2014 after stints at The Futures Company and innovation consultancy Cheskin. | Read full bio »

Nell Watson

nell_watson Nell Watson is an engineer, entrepreneur, and futurist thinker who grew up in Northern Ireland. She has a longstanding interest in the psychology of technology, and how that combination creates emerging social trends. | Read full bio »

"We know infinitely less about the ocean
than we do about outer space."

Previous Talks

We have curated some of our most popular Talks for your viewing in the gallery below.

View all TEDxSonomaCounty Talks: 2014 | 2013 | 2012
  • Tiny professors — how kids can teach adults to read: Mac Barnett
    • Tiny professors — how kids can teach adults to read: Mac Barnett

    Tiny professors — how kids can teach adults to read: Mac Barnett

    Children's author Mac Barnett explores the relationship between fiction and reality and suggests that kids are ideal readers of fiction. Mac Barnett is the author of fifteen books for children, including the multiple award-winning, New York Times bestseller Extra Yarn, illustrated by Jon Klassen. Mac was the executive director of 826LA, a nonprofit writing center, and founded the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, a convenience store for time travelers.
    Justice for all: Francisco Carrillo Jr.
    • Justice for all: Francisco Carrillo Jr.

    Justice for all: Francisco Carrillo Jr.

    In March 2011, the Los Angeles County Superior Court reversed Francisco (Franky) Carrillo Jr.'s 1992 conviction for murder, and ordered his release after two decades behind bars. In his moving talk, Franky reminds us that one person can make all the difference. Franky now works as a Justice Advocate with Death Penalty Focus and is a student at Loyola Marymount University.
  • Flying carpets of ebony silk: Robert Rubin
    • Flying carpets of ebony silk: Robert Rubin

    Flying carpets of ebony silk: Robert Rubin

    In his passionate talk, Robert Rubin, PhD. shares his experiences studying the beautiful and gentle Pacific manta ray, and what they may have to teach us. Robert Rubin, marine biologist and Director of The Pacific Manta Research Group, has conducted fieldwork on animals that live at environmental extremes. Robert has taught at several colleges and universities in California and elsewhere, and is currently a professor at Santa Rosa Junior College.
    Flying to dream: Amelia Rudolph
    • Flying to dream: Amelia Rudolph

    Flying to dream: Amelia Rudolph

    Amelia Rudolph talks about how performing perspective-bending dance in public space changes what dance can be and how people perceive that space. Amelia Rudolph is a choreographer, community leader and dancer/athlete. She is the Artistic Director of BANDALOOP, which brings together dance, climbing and varied off-the-ground movement through site-reactive work on cliffs, urban structures and in theaters.
  • How to get to the North Pole: Eric Larsen
    • How to get to the North Pole: Eric Larsen

    How to get to the North Pole: Eric Larsen

    Eric Larsen talks about his record breaking unsupported and unaided North Pole expedition, one of the most difficult adventures on the planet, to a place that few people understand that may be the last of its kind in history. Polar adventurer, expedition guide, dog musher and educator, Eric Larsen has spent the past 15 years of his life traveling in some of the most remote and wild places left on earth. He speaks around the world to schools, universities, and non profit organizations. Eric is finishing the documentary, COLDER, about the Save the Poles expedition.
    The future of our past: Tatjana Dzambazova
    • The future of our past: Tatjana Dzambazova

    The future of our past: Tatjana Dzambazova

    "Technology Whisperer, Tatjana Dzambazova, shares her passion for the latest developments in technology that offer new, exciting ways to archive, help protect, and experience our vulnerable cultural and natural heritage. From photo cameras and scanners, to drones, 3D printing and interactive online exploration, Tatjana introduces the concepts of RIP FIX BURN and RIP MIX LEARN. Tatjana Dzambazova is Senior Product manager and Technology Whisperer at Autodesk Inc., where she focuses her energy on promoting powerful design technologies to make them accessible to a wide range of audiences. Tatjana passionately evangelizes and teaches internationally. For more information on some of the covered projects:
  • The Myth of Average: Todd Rose at TEDxSonomaCounty
    • The Myth of Average: Todd Rose at TEDxSonomaCounty

    The Myth of Average: Todd Rose at TEDxSonomaCounty

    High school dropout turned Harvard faculty talks about how a simple new way of thinking helps nurture individual potential. L. Todd Rose is co-founder and president of Project Variability, an organization dedicated to providing leadership around the emerging new science of the individual and its implications for education, the workforce, and society. In addition, he is a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he teaches Educational Neuroscience. Todd is also the author of Square Peg: My story and what it means for raising visionaries, innovators, and out-of-the-box thinkers.
TEDxSonomaCounty brings together our community with inspiring
speakers, artists and performers to explore a theme.


We are proud to recognize those businesses whose cash and in-kind support made TEDxSonomaCounty 2014 possible. Thank you!

For information on becoming a sponsor, email
  • Sonoma Country Day School
  • Bellwether Farms
  • Thermal Sun
  • Repertoire Productions
  • Wallis Family Estate
  • Bergin Glass Impressions
  • Sonoma Jet Center
  • Don Ramatici Insurance
  • Bank of America - Merrill Lynch
  • Savant Angel Investors
  • Sudha Schlesinger
  • Ned Bonzi Photography
  • ChromaGraphics
  • LINK Creative
We are proud to recognize those individuals whose support has made TEDxSonomaCounty possible. Thank you!
  • Paul and Debra Johnson
  • Liam and Diana Callahan
  • Jeff and Amy Kloes
  • Marilyn and Edward Wallis
  • Mike and Karen Bergin
  • Chad and Kate Hawley
  • Michael and Mary Colhoun
  • Josh and Julia Hochberg
  • Paul Godowski and Melanie Mark
Many thanks to the following food and wine sponsors who hosted our late afternoon reception.

Organizing Committee


  • Kate Hawley
    Kate Hawley
    Committee Co-Chair

    Kate Hawley wife of one. Mother of two. Friend of many. Avid world-traveler. Believer in the power of education to change the world.

  • Karen Bergin
    Karen Bergin
    Committee Co-Chair

    Karen Bergin is a former banker, a lifelong learner and an avid community volunteer. She is a mother of 4, a grandmother of two, and the co-owner of a successful small business in the Napa Valley.

  • Shannon Ledger
    Shannon Ledger
    Organizing Committee

    Was an executive at Yahoo! and survivor of the web's early years. Is a Sonoma County native, mother, wife, writer, and pursuer of passions.

  • Julia Hochberg
    Julia Hochberg
    Organizing Committee

    Producer. Wife, mother of two girls, and admirer of creativity, design, passion, brilliance, and a good laugh.

  • Amar Hanspal
    Amar Hanspal
    Organizing Committee

    TEDxSonomaCounty License Holder and host of this year's TEDxSonomaCounty. Currently an executive at Autodesk helping imagine, design and create a better world. Husband, father of two (+ a puppy), world traveler and frustrated writer.

  • Diana Callahan
    Diana Callahan
    Organizing Committee

    Diana Callahan is wife of a cheesemaker, mother of two wild boys, loves adventures, life and people who make me think.

  • Jimi Conners
    Jimi Conners
    Organizing Committee

    Graduating in summer of 2015 from father of dogs to father of human, Jimi is an advocate for education, design, and creativity and Development Associate at Sonoma Country Day School.

  • Mari Aixalá Dawson
    Mari Aixalá Dawson
    Organizing Committee

    Mad for storytelling and travel. Creative producer, world citizen, wife, and mother of two girls. Always en route to Cuba to connect, create, and change via

  • Nancy Ferrick
    Nancy Ferrick
    Organizing Committee

    Wife, mother of two sons, retired educator, mentor, community do-gooder and volunteer. Passionate about education, social justice, family and friends.

  • Ed FitzGerald
    Ed FitzGerald
    Organizing Committee

    Ed FitzGerald father of five, grandfather, educator, cloud-head. Loves empowering others with emerging technologies, growing vegetables, and spiriting The Great Turning.

  • Elizabeth Gleadall
    Elizabeth Gleadall
    Organizing Committee

    Elizabeth Gleadall is passionate about children, education, philanthropy, and bringing joy to others. As a mother of two and Director of Development at Sonoma Country Day School, she gets to do just that.

  • Paul Godowski
    Paul Godowski
    Organizing Committee

    Paul Godowski is a husband, father of three, and a scientist who is passionate about education. He loves working with creative people willing to explore new ideas that can change the world.

  • MK Hicks
    MK Hicks
    Organizing Committee

    A two-decade Sonoma County volunteer-aholic, passionate about volunteering to enrich her community in the arts and enrichment for kids and families. This right-brain focus helps balance her left-brain career in technology, start-ups and new product introductions.

  • Debra Johnson
    Debra Johnson
    Organizing Committee

    Debra Johnson is fascinated with what inspires a passion for learning in kids. She is a parent, an aspiring artist and promoter of her family’s Napa Valley winery and gymnastics facility.

  • Steve Kirkish
    Steve Kirkish
    Organizing Committee

    Steve Kirkish is father to a creative, curious daughter and co-owner with his wife of a successful Healdsburg gallery. He believes the best future is through open minds and open hearts.

  • Jill Murphy
    Jill Murphy
    Organizing Committee

    Jill Murphy is a design research and brand consultant. She is passionate about understanding people and their experience of the world. She is a wife and mother of one.

  • Katie Wetzel Murphy
    Katie Wetzel Murphy
    Organizing Committee

    Katie Wetzel Murphy greatest achievements: raising three children, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, driving in Paris. Loves kids, baseball and her garden, and has the most patient husband in the world.

  • Vincent Rago
    Vincent Rago
    Organizing Committee

    Vincent Rago arrived at his place in West Sonoma County to experience the sensations of homebuilding, farming and living near the coast. He believes the classical concept of “synthesis from opposites” is a key element of creativity.

  • Edward Wallis
    Edward Wallis
    Organizing Committee

    Edward Wallis champions a small Napa Valley winery, and loves TEDxSonomaCounty as a Brain Spa. Good clean global fun.

  • Brad Weaver, Ed.D
    Brad Weaver, Ed.D
    Organizing Committee

    Brad Weaver is an independent school leader focused on creativity, youth leadership and ethical development, outdoor and experiential education, service learning, and culturally responsive teaching.

TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that
bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

About TEDxSonomaCounty

What is TEDxSonomaCounty?

TEDxSonomaCounty2014.182In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDxSonomaCounty will bring together our community with inspiring speakers, artists and performers to explore a theme. We are organized by a group of individuals who are inspired by TED and want to bring the experience to Sonoma County. TEDxSonomaCounty is operating under license from TED, organizers of the immensely popular TED Conference, an annual event where some of the world's leading thinkers and doers are invited to share what they are most passionate about. In the spirit of "ideas worth spreading," TED has created TEDx, a program of local, organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

What is TED?

TED StageTED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California almost 30 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes on a diverse mix of topics. Many of these talks are then made available, free, at TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The TED2015 Conference will take place in Vancouver, British Columbia, along with the TEDActive simulcast in neighboring Whistler. TED 2015: Truth & Dare will take place on December 8, 2015 in Geneva , Switzerland.

TED's media initiatives include, where new TED Talks are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; and TEDBooks, short e-books on powerful ideas. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world get help translating their wishes into action; TEDx, which supports individuals or groups in hosting local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Follow TED on Twitter or on Facebook. For information about TED's upcoming conferences, visit

What is TEDx?

TEDx-logoIn the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

Feature One

This is one of the many features about "Trending Now" that will make this event be something you won't want to miss.

Feature Two

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Feature Three

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Feature Four

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TEDxSonomaCounty is held annually
in The Jackson Theater at Sonoma Country Day School.


Jackson Theater at Sonoma Country Day School

Address: 4400 Day School Place, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Telephone: (707) 284-3200

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Mac Barnett's 2014 Talk on fiction and reality
currently has over 1,000,000 views on YouTube.