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Digging into TEDxBuffalo: 2013 speakers announced

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

Part of TEDxBuffalo’s beauty is that it’s not a gathering of CEOs or absurdly wealthy individuals who’ve advanced to the top of the corporate world and aspire to explain their secrets to success.

Instead, the annual event—now in its third year—exposes the ideas of some of our region’s most creative individuals to a local audience that’s eager to absorb information and effect change. I had a lot to say about the 2012 TEDxBuffalo—my first year attending.

Held for a full workday on Oct. 15 at Canisius College’s Montante Cultural Center, 2001 Main St., Buffalo, the gathering of 300 attendees—up from 100 in years prior—will be privy to at least 14 live speakers and performers. Each selected participant has 18 minutes to convey an innovative idea that’s made a community more vibrant.

Buoyed by lead organizer Chaz Adams and founder Kevin Purdy—as well as a support staff of nine others—TEDxBuffalo has already announced the vast majority of its speaker lineup for this year.

Asked to create a two-minute video introducing their ideas and why they should be chosen to speak at TEDx, these individuals earned the opportunity:

**Bryana DiFonzo and Bishnu Prasad Adhikari: The duo works together at Journey’s End Refugee Services, which aids Buffalo’s surging refugee population in areas like resettling, employment, education, immigration and interpreting. The not-for-profit serves between 300 to 400 refugees annually.
Title of talk: The new American dream: How refugees are revitalizing Buffalo

**Dan Behrens: A musician under the moniker Danimal Cannon, Behrens writes music for video games and commercials as well as creating his own albums. An avid explorer of chiptune—a style of electronic music crafted from the sound chips of old gaming systems, in Behrens’ case—the musician-composer blends an acceptance of innovation with performance.
Title of talk: Pushing the limits using constraints

**Mike Connelly: With admittedly big shoes to fill when former The Buffalo News editor-in-chief Margaret Sullivan accepted a position with the New York Times, Connelly moved from the Herald-Tribune in Sarasota, Fla. to Buffalo to continue his well-traveled career.
Title of talk: Unclear, but it may be The Buffalo News

**Courtney Creenan: An amateur beekeeper as well as project coordinator at Buffalo’s Flynn Battaglia Architects, Creenan helped design and create Elevator B, an urban habitat for bees. You know who’s important to our environment? Bees.

Browse through the Hive City blog and marvel at the photos.
Title of talk: Recovery through design

**Karen Forster: Coordinator of the Priscilla Project of Buffalo, a subsection of Jericho Road Ministries, Forster actively empowers refugee women through a prenatal mentoring program.

Here’s a brief rundown from the Priscilla Project page: “Recognizing the critical need for pregnancy health in the refugee community, the Priscilla Project works to facilitate access to community benefits and resources to improve birth outcomes and maternal health.”
Title of talk: Stop worrying about your hubcaps!

**Stuart Fuchs: Fuchs focuses on the healing power of music, and it’s hard not to be compelled by a man who can play the aboriginal didgeridoo, a natural wooden trumpet crafted by indigenous Australians. See the YouTube video below to listen to a didgeridoo.

An artist-in-residence at Buffalo’s Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Fuchs’ emphasis on holistic music education and yoga of sound has aided staff and patients for over five years.
Title of talk: Ukulele, Naad Yoga & the healing presence of music

**Cameron Garrity: Daemen College’s Geppetto Festival: A Day of Puppetry is the brainchild of Garrity, a recent graduate who’s graphic design skills complement his puppetry prowess. Say that a few times quickly.
Title of talk: The power of puppetry

**Brian K. Patterson: A motivational speaker and City of Buffalo police chief, Patterson created his own brand of hot sauce and saw his three children get into Harvard. He’s a staunch advocate of dreaming big.
Title of talk: Everything I know about life I learned at the dinner table

**Matt Petroski: A start-up wizard who’s grown three companies and trains executive and sales management teams in mental toughness, Petroski blossomed among 16 siblings. That’s a lot of bedrooms and one very large dinner table.
Title of talk: The two lines to live theory

**Bernice Radle: One of Buffalo’s key figures in the realm of historic preservation, Radle’s name keeps popping up in several circles—particularly sustainability and neighborhood development, both central topics in Buffalo’s revival. She blogs a lot, too. For what it’s worth, Buffalo.com is also quite pro-Jason Wilson as well.
Title of talk: Preservation 2.0: Neighborhoods, heart bombs & engaging young people

**Jeremy Speed Schwartz: He’s the founding member of the “League of Imaginary Scientists,” which sounds like it would fit snugly into an episode of the “Big Bang Theory.”

Schwartz navigates the crossover between science and art—and has apparently discovered the surface of Mars in Ireland with NASA geologists. I think it’s best to let him explain in October.
Title of talk: Imaginary science: Experiments and collaborations in science/art

**Ben Siegel: He’s the editor of Block Club, the flourishing branding and marketing agency that produces a visually-stimulating print publication as well.

He’s an art critic for The Buffalo News that readers take seriously—that’s not a simple accomplishment—as I can’t begin to interpret art.
Title of talk: Ground breaking: Creating a brand-new Buffalo

**Gloria J. Zemer: Zemer “champions the cultural impact of business success” while working as a strategist for BlackDog Strategy and Brand—which proffers the slogan “We don’t brand bullshit” and has bases in four major cities.

The company is bold and aggressive, to say the least.
Title of talk: The great American turn around: Restoring the human spirit and debunking thoughtless capitalism

(Photos courtesy of TEDxBuffalo.com and photos from last year’s event courtesy of Buffalo.com photographer Cody Osborne. See his album here.)

TAGGED: bernice radle, chaz adams, danimal cannon, kevin purdy, mike connelly, montante cultural center, speakers, tedxbuffalo

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