Skip to: Press releases and coverage | TEDxChattanooga →
Chattanooga, TN
2016 Talks View →

TEDxChattanooga announces slate of speakers for February 27 conference

TEDxChattanooga announces slate of speakers for February 27 conference

The organizers of Chattanooga’s next TEDx conference announce whose crazy ideas will be part of TEDxChattanooga, February 27, 2016.

How many times have you heard a conversation start out with “This might sound crazy, but…?” Some of the best ideas are born from these conversations, and that is exactly what organizers of TEDxChattanooga are hoping.

Purchase tickets now at


Selected to speak at TEDxChattanooga are:

Linda Murray Bullard, Owner and Operator, LSMB Business Solutions, Chattanooga, Tennessee

The Power of Choice—When you are born in an underserved part of the city, the odds are stacked against you. Poverty could be your sentence, but exposure, education, and empowerment can be game changers for the underserved.


Tracey Carisch, Blogger and Activist,, Colorado

Racalibrating Modern Family Life—In 2014, Carisch left her career in STEM education and her husband and their three young daughters embarked on a journey around the world that would take them through 24 countries on six continents over the next 18 months. At the heart of their decision to take this dramatic life turn was the increasingly frenetic pace of modern family life.


Christian J. Collier, Poet and Educator, Chattanooga

The Healing Power of Poetry—For hundreds of years, poetry has served as a tool to help us make sense of the world as well as our places in it. Poetry allows us to tap into our creative selves and to better heal the wounds we’ve carried throughout our lives.


Dr. Anna George, Director of the Tennessee Aquarium Conservatory Institute, Chattanooga

Chattanooga: The Global Freshwater Crisis Is Here—Just 45 years ago, rivers in the U.S. were so polluted that some actually burned. Today, two-thirds of our population have never known a time when clean water was not readily available. Despite improvements, freshwater habitats in the Southeast remain among the most imperiled on Earth. How can we solve the freshwater crisis in our own backyard?


The Impressions—Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singing group

Keep on Pushing—A TEDxChattanooga couch interview with members of the group discussing equality and their experiences with segregation and racism.


Karen Mills, Comedian and Survivor, Chattanooga

Cancer Is a Laughing Matter—After an annual routine check-up turned anything but ordinary, a diagnosis of ovarian cancer challenged Mills to answer the question “Can cancer really be a laughing matter?” With a mantra to stay positive and find the silver lining, Mills found that humor is healing and laughter is the best medicine.


Cole Montalvo, Biohacker and Biosafety Evangelist, Chattanooga

Why We Should Embrace GMOs—While biohacking may sound ominous, biohackers are actually cautious scientists. Geneticists investigate the code of life by reading, writing and manipulating DNA. Biohackers “boot up” artificially engineered life. To fuel creative work and infuse biology with art, society must encourage and embrace the biohacker.


Asami Nakano, Japan Outreach Coordinator in the UTC Asia Program, Chattanooga

Japanese Culture Helps Chattanooga to Be Environmentally Friendly—In Japanese Furoshiki, a simple square cloth can be used for many things—a bag for grocery shopping, a table cloth, gift wrap. What if we could use the traditional art of Furoshiki to reduce waste in Chattanooga? Furoshiki can promote environmentally friendly behavior with this traditional Japanese practice as well as introduce the idea of mottainai, the understanding in Japan that its people should always be taught to not to waste things.


Stephen Palmer, Teach for America Appalachia Corps, Harlan, Kentucky

Learning Appalachia: My Time Teaching in Coal Country—As the coal industry declines in Eastern Kentucky, it becomes more and more evident that rural Appalachia’s most valuable resource is not mineral but mental. We must train and retain the brightest minds to help revitalize this region. How can we can keep those students who are creators and innovators from leaving the region? This youth-led revitalization in one of the poorest areas in our nation could lead to the largest economic turn-around in American history.


Rachel Raisin, Senior, Girls’ Preparatory School, Chattanooga

1000 Paper Cranes—Hear how making 1,000 origami cranes led one young woman to see beyond opportunities. What if Chattanooga became a place with no expectations and no limits? Chattanoogans have the chance to align ourselves despite our differences and recognize that we do not always have to do what others might expect.


Jerry Redman, Co-Founder and CEO, Second Life, Inc., Chattanooga

If We Want To, We Can—Although the issue of sex trafficking has received major exposure over the last decade, the focus has been on assisting victims. The idea of ending the crime has received little attention. We can end sex trafficking in Chattanooga in a way that transcends hope and idealism. While measurability and strategy are key to this work, the belief that we can and will succeed remains vital.


Dr. Martha Summa-Chadwick, Cadek Conservatory faculty and Founder and Executive Director of Music Therapy Gateway in Communications, Inc., Chattanooga

Dance of the Neural Tango—Music is a direct conduit to the brain and can have amazing benefits to persons challenged with motor, speech, and cognition issues. The powerful outcomes of music in the brain are well known in the upper circles of neuroscience professionals, but not so well known on the street, where much benefit could be realized for those with Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, Traumatic Brain Injury, autism, and stroke.


Dr. Elaine Swafford, Director, Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, Chattanooga

Forget Archaic Pedagogical Educational Boxes and Experience Success—What if low-performing urban public schools were given the opportunity to operate under complete autonomy? Three years ago, the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy was both on the brink of closure and the State Low Performing List. Today, CGLA is off that list and thriving, a clear example of what can happen when educators jump out of the boxes drawn around them by our school systems.


Billy Weeks, Photojournalist, Ringgold, Georgia

Two Views in Documentary Photography—Poverty, hunger, child labor, war, and many other concerns are often addressed by photojournalists, sometimes at great personal risk. The moment when the photographer and the subject intersect with a single point of view gives the image the power to provoke change, a common ground that can only be reached by the history embedded in both.


The campus and community will be involved in the independently organized and officially licensed public event based on TED:  Technology, Entertainment, Design conferences. Please visit for more information or follow on Twitter @TEDxChatt.


About TEDx, x = independently organized event

In 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, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. 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.)

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or fewer) delivered by today’s leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED’s annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and made available, free, on TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

TED’s open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from thousands of volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; the annual million-dollar TED Prize, which funds exceptional individuals with a “wish,” or idea, to create change in the world; TEDx, which provides licenses to thousands of individuals and groups who host local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Follow TED on Twitter at, on Facebook at or Instagram at

Times Free Press interviews Frost re: TEDx

Chattanooga Times-Free Press interviews Linda Frost re: TEDx

Linda Frost, chair of TEDxChattanooga and dean of the Honors College at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga sat down with Evan Hoopfer from the Times Free Press to discuss the event and the upcoming deadline to speak. She shared a little about what the vision is related to the theme. Read the article…

“It’s Chattanooga celebrated, but it’s not Chattanooga exclusive.”
— Linda Frost

Chattanooga Times-Free Press article on TEDxChattanooga

TEDxChattanooga coming February 27, 2016

Don’t miss TEDxChattanooga on February 27, 2016, at the Roland W. Hayes Concert Hall in the Fine Arts Center at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. That’s right… TEDx in Chattanooga.

Tickets go on sale Monday, August 3, 2015, at

“This might sound crazy, but…” is the theme for the talks. Applications and nominations for speakers for TEDxChattanooga can be submitted beginning August 3 at; the deadline for applying is September 7. The roster of speakers will be announced fall 2015.

“Some of the most creative, inspiring and thought-provoking conversations begin with someone saying ‘this might sound crazy, but…,’” said TEDxChattanooga organizer David Levine, Cline Chair of Excellence in Physical Therapy at UTC. “The plan to build an aquarium on the Tennessee River might have started with ‘this might sound crazy, but…’ We are looking for examples of crazy ideas that have the power to change our society for the better.”

Along with Levine, Linda Frost, dean of the Honors College at UTC, serves as TEDxChattanooga organizer. A team of community leaders will be leading the event and selecting the speakers.

TEDxChattanooga organizers are seeking sponsorships from local businesses and individuals.

“We are looking for partners to help us engage the innovators that will be speaking at and attending TEDxChattanooga,” said Frost. “Sponsoring TEDxChattanooga is an opportunity to showcase your organization’s vision for our community’s collective future and to stand out as a thought leader in our community.”

Email for more information on sponsoring TEDxChattanooga.