This article originally appeared in the Mountain Xpress on August 14, 2017.
Bloom Post on the TEDxAsheville stage.
Bloom Post on the TEDxAsheville stage. Photo by Micah Mackenzie

Since its inception, TED talks have become a global phenomenon, producing short, engaging lectures on a variety of subject matter. “TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged,” according to the organization’s website. The TEDxAsheville event brings together thinkers and speakers from divergent backgrounds to discuss variations on a theme —  this year’s topic is “awakening.” TEDxAsheville takes place on Sunday, Sept. 10.  at Isis Music Hall.

Organizers Ron Hoffman and Robin Funsten believe the spirit of “ideas worth spreading” comes alive in Asheville. “TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events. [It exists] to spark deep discussion and connection,” says Hoffman.

The speakers at this year’s talks come from many different disciplines. Topics include astrology and yoga for social change, by Virginia Rosenberg and Lynsie McKeown, respectively. Jackson Carpenter discusses methods for reducing one’s carbon footprint quickly and effectively and Danna Smith brings her expertise, as founder of the Dogwood Alliance, to the importance of standing forests in protecting the communities most vulnerable to climate change.

Continuing to reflect the local spirit, several musicians will give talks, including Jonathan Scaleson the importance of follow-through in accomplishing goals. David LaMotte discusses what music can teach us about cultivating a peaceful community and world. Michelle Moog-Koussa, the daughter of legendary synthesizer engineer Bob Moog, will discuss her father’s legacy and how to use sound and inspiration to transform society.

In the realm of psychology and community development, Danya Perry will speak on bridging the gap between youth gangs and the communities they impact. Beth Hockman will illuminate the need for communication within families to raise powerful, autonomous citizens. And veteran wilderness therapy instructor Zackary Paben will explore his “More Heart than Scars” method of self-empowerment and living boldly.

“Scott Woody and our friends at Isis have been generously working with us to put this event together,” says Hoffman. “There are lots of people in Asheville who care about continued personal growth and service to others and/or are undergoing some type of transformation.”

Space is limited, though attendees will be able to talk with some of the speakers at the event. For those unable to make the event, the talks will be on YouTube where viewers can also watch speakers from previous years.

When asked which of this year’s presentations are not to be missed, Hoffman says, “We have 10 speakers, and they are all amazing.”

WHAT: TEDxAsheville,
WHERE: Isis Music Hall, 743 Haywood Road
WHEN: Sunday, Sept. 10, 1-5:30 p.m. $45


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