TEDxRVA Announces Speaker Lineup for June 23 event, Change

May 15, 2017

TEDxRVA today announced the speaker lineup for its fifth consecutive annual event on June 23, a day that will bring a diverse range of individuals with varied backgrounds to the city to share insights exploring this year’s theme, Change.

The speaker lineup includes a former aide to President Barack Obama, a virtual reality artist, a hand transplant pioneer, a former marketing manager at Cadillac, a surgeon practicing in fetal medicine, and many more.

As in years’ past, TEDxRVA will include both the speaker series and multiple interactive experience elements throughout the day designed to engage audience members through creative collaboration and strategic thinking. A curated selection of breakfast, lunch, and snack items for attendees will be provided by local businesses. TEDx Talks and sessions will revolve around the concept of activating change: to one’s self, one’s community, and the world at large.

“TEDxRVA has become an annual institution in Richmond and offers an immersive, connective experience for attendees, and the speakers selected for the Change event will no doubt continue on this tradition,” said Katie Shea, Producer at TEDxRVA. “These speakers both from inside the Richmond region and outside of Virginia will offer those at the conference and others following along online with inspiring and creative insights, and no doubt change the way all of us view the world.”

This year’s TEDxRVA conference speakers and performers are:

  • Eneuri Acosta: Communication Strategist
  • Melody C. Barnes: Co-Founder, MB2 Solutions, Senior Fellow in Presidential Studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, Former Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council under President Barack Obama
  • Carlos Betancourt: Multi-Disciplinary Visual Artist
  • Arthur Burton: Executive Director, Kinfolk Community Empowerment Center
  • Linda C. Cendales, M.D.: Hand Transplant Pioneer, Associate Professor of Surgery and Director, Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation, Duke University Medical Center
  • Courtney D. Cogburn: Assistant Professor, Columbia University
  • Tom Doland: Founder and Producer, Spiral Richmond Arts Collective
  • Elda Stanco Downy, Ph.D: Global Citizen and Educator, Founder and CEO of Roanoke Spanish
  • Lindsay Ellyn & Taylor Alexander: Singer-Songwriters, Musical Artists
  • Mark England: Co-Founder, Procabulary
  • Dave McCormack: President, Waukeshaw Development, Inc.
  • Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D.: Assistant Professor of Sociology, Virginia Commonwealth
  • University and Faculty Affiliate at Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society
  • Amber J. Phillips and Jazmine "Da K.O.S." Walker: Podcasters, The Black Joy Mixtape Podcast
  • Oluyinka Olutoge: Professor of Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine and Co-Director, Texas Children’s Fetal Center
  • Rachel Pater: Founder, Richmond Story House
  • Amy Pruden, Ph.D: Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of Interdisciplinary Graduate Education in the Graduate School at Virginia Tech
  • Mo Regulinski: Richmond Artist and Designer
  • Semi Ryu: Korean Shamanism Puppetry Artist
  • Jen Siomacco: Creative Director and Co-Owner, Catalyst Wedding
  • Ben Sollee: Cellist, Composer, and Creative
  • Vida Williams: Data Scientist
  • Dean Whitbeck: Photographer Covering the RVA Refugee Population
  • Desiree Roots:Performer, Musician
  • Ezibu Muntu African Dance Company: Performer, Richmond Dance Group

On the event

TEDxRVA will be held on June 23 at the Dominion Arts Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The performing arts center can seat about 1,800, and those who can’t make it are invited to join a free, live-stream viewing party to take place at dozens of participating venues across the area, and can follow along on social media at #tedxrva.

On the theme

From shifting seasons to greying hairs, Change is a force that shapes our future and an ever-present part of life. Whether on a global scale, at the community level, or in our personal lives, change happens either because or in spite of us. So what does great Change take, what does it look like and how can it lead to meaningful transformation? How do you become a change-maker rather than a witness? And where do we begin?

On the sponsors

TEDxRVA is produced in partnership with Venture Richmond. This year’s sponsors include Allianz, Capital One, CarMax, Harris Williams & Co., Sands Anderson, SingleStone, The Martin Agency, and Weinstein Properties. Contact James Warren ([email protected]) to learn how to become a sponsor.


Since its inception in 2013, TEDxRVA has become an institution in Richmond designed to connect, inspire, and change the way our community views the world. TEDx’s are local, volunteer-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like (Technology, Entertainment, & Design) experience. TED provides general guidance for the TEDx community, but the local TEDx events are designed and curated by community volunteers. TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading; its two annual TED Conferences invite the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak, and many of these sub-18 minute talks are made available, free, at TED.com. For more information about the Richmond event, visit TEDxRVA.com.