Since its inception in 2013, it’s been go, go, go for TEDxSalem. And our team diligently working behind the scenes to pull all the pieces together, has never received an official introduction…until now. We are proud to introduce the people behind the curtain, the volunteers who dedicate their hours and expertise to make TEDxSalem an inspiring, community-engaging event for all, year after year.
Favorite TED talk: Candy Chang: Before I die I want to …
Brian is one half of the curatorial team for TEDxSalem.
“I’ve always been a fan of TED, even before I knew what it was,” said Brian. “Then Carlee and I did our first interactive art project together from start to finish, a Before I Die wall that was based on a TED talk and the entire experience changed my life. It triggered something inside of me, I thought, there is something to this TED thing. We should look into doing one here in Salem, just then our friend Mark Powers was hosting what is now TEDxMtHood, we asked to join their volunteer committee, but was granted a license before we even starter there… the rest is history.”
His favorite part leading up to the main event are the 1001 small details that make the TEDxSalem experience special for our attendees. During the event, it’s all about watching our speakers and performers do their thing, reflecting on how much their talk has grown, as well as watching our attendees and seeing their eyes light up as they soak it all in.
Day job: Video Producer for Allied Video Productions
Laughs at: Life
Known for: Probably biting off more than most can chew.
Inspired by: Everything all around me, art, nature, music, friends, family and myself.
Hobbies: This one thing called TEDx. Also on the board of the Salem Progressive Film Series, President of the Moxie Initiative, radio producer for Cool Sheets, social stuff for RiverCity Rock Star Academy, all forms of art and your average all around friendly Salem community activist.
Fatal weakness: Ice cream!
Favorite Movie(s): Impossible to answer some of my favorite directors are Hitchcock, Scorsese, Kubrick, Tarantino, Smith, Rodriguez, Coppola, and a bunch of others.
Favorite Author: Tim Ferriss changes the way I look at myself and the world the most often.
If you had a superpower, what would it be? All of Superman’s powers that’s all, that’s just one right?
What do you want to be when you grow up? I never want to grow up! I only want to do what I am already doing, stay curious, appreciate the wonderful life I have and all of my friends and family that are a part of it.
What color would you be in the crayon box and why? BLUE!! You’ll soon find out why!
Favorite TED talk: Ron Finley: A guerilla gardener in South Central LA
Carlee is one half of the curatorial team for TEDxSalem. Her favorite part leading up to TEDxSalem’s main event is watching the pieces come together.
“As the team works with the speakers and the speakers become more confident with their talks, as the theme develops and the event production comes together, it’s a puzzle of abstract pieces carefully being crafted, connected creating this unique, layered experience that changes every year,” she said.
During the event, it’s all about the energy. “Watching people’s reaction to the various talks and entertainment and then seeing them engage with activities and people during the breaks, it creates this contagious, radiating energy that fills me with happiness. I love seeing how people – strangers – connect over these common interests, goals, and inspirations,” she said.
Day Job: Writer, designer, artist
Laughs at: My daughter’s wit
Known for: Crown Royal fashion and what’s happening in Salem.
Inspired by: Everything – seriously, that is not a generalization. I can find inspiration in all 🙂
Hobbies: Can working be a hobby? Is TEDxSalem my hobby?
Favorite food and why? Lately, homemade blended coffee. I can’t get enough of that stuff. Coffee is food, right?
Favorite Music: Frank Turner
If you had a superpower, what would it be? I used to think I wanted to stop time, but I wouldn’t actually want to age and have the world around me not age. So…. I just want to know all the things. I want the ability to read something quickly and to understand and remember it.
I secretly wish I was: A superhero (see above ;))
What color would you be in the crayon box and why? Blue…always blue…It’s rich, deep and expressive and the base for so many other beautiful colours.
What do you want to be when you grow up? ALL THE THINGS!!! (although maybe I’m never growing up and I will just be all the things anyway)
Role: Speaker Liaison, Presentation Coordinator
Favorite TED talk: IWAN BAAN: Ingenious homes in unexpected places
Carmen has been involved with TEDxSalem for five years, first as the PowerPoint Presentation Coordinator and more recently taking on a larger role as a speaker liaison, too. A Fiscal Analyst for OHA/Health Systems Division by day, Carmen’s appreciation for community together inspired her to get involved with TEDxSalem. Her favorite part leading up to the event is how everyone works together.
“It gets crazy busy but it feels more like hanging out with family instead of working. I enjoy that,” she said. And during the main event, it’s all about seeing everyone’s hard work, from the speakers to the volunteers, come to fruition.
Laughs at: The stupid things that come out of people’s mouths. It’s hilarious sometimes! LOL
Known for: My cat and dog allergies.
Inspired by: The moon, the sun, the sky and nature inspire me. No matter what they endure.
Hobbies: I like to recycle broken jewelry and watches. I take them apart and create new jewelry pieces.
Favorite emoji: 😲
Fatal weakness: My children. If anything were to happen to them I would die.
Favorite food and why: Thai food. The spices. The aroma. The taste. Yummy!
Favorite TV: The Walking Dead. What? It could happen!
Favorite Movie(s): Action: The Raid; Romance: Sense and Sensibility; SyFy: Blade Runner; Drama: Gran Torino; Foreign: Old Boy
Favorite Music: Mexicana Regional/Ranchera, Salsa and Classic Rock
I secretly wish I was: living in Italy running my own little ristorante 🌸💜🌸
What do you want to be when you grow up? World traveler.
Role: Speaker Liaison
Favorite TED Talk: Joe Smith: How to use a paper towel
When Carole was approached five years ago to be part of the TEDxSalem core team, she jumped at the chance and hasn’t looked back since. “I’ve been a fan of TED talks for years and this was a great way to be involved with my community by helping put on the local event,” she said. Her favorite part leading up the main event is “getting to hang out super creative and smart people – our speakers and planning team!” During the event, it’s all about helping the speakers stay calm before they go on stage.
Day Job: Director, Industry Services of Travel Oregon/Oregon Tourism Commission
Favorite ’90s jam: This was hard, so many great ones to choose from, I’ll say Bare Naked Ladies ‘One Week’
Laughs at: My 7 year old – he’s hilarious
Known for: Knowing someone everywhere I go
Favorite Emoji: Right now I am using the jazz hands smiley face a lot
Favorite Food: Scallops. Because they taste so good and you rarely see them on menus!
Favorite TV: Gilmore Girls
If you had a superpower, what would it be? To not have to sleep so I could get ALL the things done I want to!
Role: Speaker Liaison and Storyteller
New to the TEDxSalem team, Chris jumped in and took on two jobs as a speaker liaison and a storyteller. While he has wanted to get involved for some time, completing his graduate degree took up any free time to spare.
“This year I finally have time to participate and so I asked if I could be considered worthy to get involved. Good news,” he said. His favorite part so far as been spending time with the team members, speaker’s hobnobbing and talking shop. If he had a superpower, it would be the ability to complete yard-work with the wave of his hand.
Day job: Behavior Analyst/Family Therapist
Favorite ’90s jam: My favorite 90’s jam would have to be the Pearl Jam.
Laughs at: Punning and Dad humor.
Known for: I have a deep commitment to community and caring for people.
Fatal weakness: Redheads
Favorite food and why: Hot sandwiches (especially if they have Lamb).
Favorite TV: Arrested Development
Favorite Authors: Kurt Vonnegut or Douglas Adams
Favorite TED Talk: Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity
She’s a self-proclaimed nerd about logistics so it’s no wonder why Heather is the queen of registration and ticketing for TEDxSalem. “I can’t help but get excited about ways to make check-in and registration a better experience each year,” she said. Heather’s been watching videos on TED.com since 2010 and had the pleasure of working with people who actively involve TED talks into their work and teachings, so when the opportunity to help with TEDxSalem was presented, she couldn’t turn it down. (Thank goodness for us, too!) Her favorite part of the event, other than nerding out over streamlining registration, is learning about the the passion of others. “I always feel so incredibly inspired.”
Day Job: Property Manager
Laughs at: Cat Memes
Inspired by: People who want to leave things better than they found them.
Hobbies: I play roller derby and I volunteer for the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association to help put on the annual international playoffs and championship.
Favorite emoji: Anchor
Fatal weakness: I’m actually incredibly lazy… but I find that it helps me to find faster/easier ways of doing things.
Favorite food: Apple Cider Donuts… they always remind me of my favorite season
Favorite movies: Lady and the Tramp & Little Miss Sunshine
Role: Speaker Liaison and Storyteller
Favorite TED talk: Kelsey Juliana: Youth as Solutionaries
Jay came to TEDxSalem as a storyteller, but has taken on an active role as a speaker liaison over time. His favorite things leading up to the main event is working with and getting to know our growing speaker family. Day of, it’s all about the inspiration. When not working as a construction manager (his day job), you can find him training for what he wants to be when he grows up: Vin Diesel.
Day Job: Construction Manager
Favorite ‘90s jam: On advice of counsel, I respectfully decline to answer in accordance with the 5th amendment protections against self-incrimination
Laughs at: On advice of counsel, I respectfully decline to answer in accordance with the 5th amendment protections against self-incrimination
Known for: Playing musical instruments
Inspired by: Our TED speakers
Hobbies: TEDxSalem, rowing, writing
Favorite emoji: All of ’em, bless those little bastards
Favorite TV: Vizio SmartCast M-Series Ultra HD 75″ – $2,499 best bang for the buck
Favorite Movie(s): Second half of Wyatt Earp, First half of Lord of the Rings Return of the King
Favorite Music: Guns ‘N’ Roses
Favorite Author: Joseph Conrad
Role: Speaker Liaison
Favorite TED talk: Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter … “I saw this talk shortly after I attended my first spoken word event. It’s not a traditional TED Talk, but I really connected with it.”
Although she’s a more recent addition to the TEDxSalem team, Jillian is no stranger to TED. “I was involved with TEDxShanghai and I just fell in love with it,” she said. Her favorite parts of a TED event are watching the ideas and talks take shape and seeing people inspired by new ideas.
Day job: Management Consultant with Mainz Brady Group.
Laughs at: Silly silly humor
Known for: Always willing to take a leap, try new things, and stretch my limits
Inspired by: Seeing people overcome their fears and do things that truly take courage
Hobbies: ALL THE ROLLER DERBY!
Favorite emoji: 😳
Fatal weakness: Cheese
What do you want to be when you grow up? A professor
Role: Speaker Liaison
Karen Holman is the second speaker turn team member to join the TEDxSalem family. A longtime supporter, Karen volunteered to run a recess activity at TEDxSalem III, spoke at TEDxSalem IV and has become a speaker liaison for TEDxSalem V.
She got involved because TEDxSalem is a rare combination of things she can’t live without: creativity, enthusiastic intellectualism, art, and emotion.
“It pushes boundaries in both an external sense—with talks that are thought-provoking, have societal ramifications, and encourage discussion—as well as sparking internal contemplation. Many of the talks challenge us to grapple with our own inner struggles, if we are open to it. I have often described TEDxSalem as THE #1 premier annual event in Salem in terms of its professionalism and the event-planning prowess that clearly goes into it each year,” she said.
Day job: Chemistry Professor at Willamette University
Known for: …some say it’s for starting KMUZ. Others don’t know about KMUZ but they know I’m a chemistry professor. Others don’t know about either one of those, but they know I play guitar and sing in punk bands. And everyone else just knows me for being Griffin the Corgi’s mom. But besides all that stuff, I am known for being optimistic and tenacious.
Inspired by: People who create something far-reaching or beautiful out of very little resources. When they have so much passion for it that they have to do it, no matter what, even if it’s nearly impossible. I love seeing others that have dedication to make the world a happier and more compassionate place for all of us. It makes me want to try harder to do the same.
Hobbies: Two bands, three radio shows on KMUZ, walking in nature, kayaking and traveling
Favorite Movie(s): I have seen the original Star Wars close to 75 times and the Empire Strikes Back is a close second to that.
Favorite Music: I love any music that has deep feelings associated with it and that is created authentically by the artist. Those feelings can be extremely energetic and passionate, tranquil and ethereal, or anywhere in between. As a result, I love a lot of different kinds of music and what I choose to listen to at any given moment depends on my mood and what I’m doing. I think the only kind of music that I don’t enjoy are songs that are grating or that feel contrived.
Role: TEDxSalem Artist-in-Residence Coordinator
After holding the position as TEDxSalem Artist-in-Residence for 2017, Kathryn has taken charge in the coordination role mentoring the 2018 AIR. It’s quite fitting for the creative who takes on the titles: Artist | Opportunity Maker | Co-Conspirator of Awesomesauce for her “day job.” Her favorite part leading up to the event is meeting the new TEDx family members. Of course, during the event, she appreciates seeing a great design set the tone of the stage and room. Admittedly, she’s biased.
Favorite ’90s jam: Raspberry 🤣
Laughs at: Really dry humor!
Inspired by: Badass people inspire me.
Hobbies: What do you do in your “free” time? No such thing as free time!
Favorite emoji: Cats, of course!
Fatal weakness: My husband. Yep!
Favorite food and why: Truly depends on my mood each day. I love great food!
Favorite TV: Dr. Who, Sherlock, The Grand Tour.
Favorite Movie: Howl’s Moving Castle
Favorite Author: Basically authors who write books for kids.
I secretly wish I was: able to run really fast. Really really fast. Like across the state of Oregon in an hour fast.
What do you want to be when you grow up? I don’t plan to grow up. Ever.
Favorite TED talk: Joe Smith: How to use a paper towel
Keith Seckel has been involved with TEDxSalem since our inaugural event.
“First: I had an idea worth spreading. Then: I wanted to stay connected to seeing others share/spread their ideas!” he said.
His favorite part of TEDxSalem leading up to the main event is getting to know the speakers and a big-picture feel for the overall vibe. During the main event, it’s about seeing it all come together – seeing so many light bulbs show up over people’s heads, and then seeing them connect with others.
Day Job: Home Hospice RN
Laughs at: Kittens running sideways.
Known for: Compassion and connection.
Hobbies: Endurance running.
Favorite emoji: 🍁
Favorite food: Pizza. It has it all!
Favorite author: Stephen King
What do you want to be when you grow up? Happy. (Hat tip to John lennon)
Role: Creative Director/Designer
Favorite TED talk: Steal Like An Artist: Austin Kleon at TEDxKC
Michael’s been a TED Talk fan for many moons. Although a first timer to TEDxSalem, he brings a wealth of information on design and branding. Leading up to the main event, his favorite part is helping to design premium cohesive branding and a inspiring experience. But when it comes to day of the event, it’s all about the talks. “You want to see all the speakers shine,” he said.
Day job: Design Consultancy Owner/Creative Director + Art Gallery Owner/Director/Curator
Favorite ’90s jam: Ride “Vapour Trail”
Hobbies: Surfing and beachcombing.
Favorite food and why? Buffalo Wings and Shoestring French Fries. Heat & Salt.
Favorite Movie: Stand by Me
Favorite Music: Loud.
What do you want to be when you grow up? A big kid.
What color would you be in the crayon box and why? Black. It’s clearly the best color out there. Best wardrobes are mostly black.
Role: Speaker liaison and in-kind donations coordinator (previous Volunteer Coordinator)
Favorite TED talk: Brain magic: Keith Barry
Mindie’s involvement with TEDxSalem began on day one, first as Volunteer Coordinator, then adding In-Kind Donations Coordinator to her plate. She’s an example of “just ask,” as she was asked to help out and hasn’t been able to turn away since. Today, she continues coordinating in-kind donations and also serves as a speaker liaison. A women’s health nurse practitioner by day, Mindie’s favorite pre-event part is all the wrangling that gets done. Day of the event, it’s the recess sessions.
Favorite ’90s jam: Jump Around
Laughs at: Anything silly, love to laugh!
Favorite emoji: 🤣
Favorite Music: Anything but country
I secretly wish I was: able to travel into space
What color would you be in the crayon box and why? Cerulean, reminds me of the ocean
What do you want to be when you grow up? Still searching for that
Favorite food and why? All foods! My trip to New York City is all based on the food places we are going!
If you had a superpower, what would it be? Have super speed like the flash
Role: Speaker Liaison
Favorite TED talk: Dan Pink: The puzzle of motivation
Sean played the role of host for the inaugural TEDxSalem in 2013. “I made the move from roller derby announcer to TEDx on-stage host,” he said. Soon after transition to the role of speaker liaison. His favorite part leading up to the main event are the core team interactions. Day of, it’s the chemistry. “No matter how involved you are leading up to the event it’s always a surprise finding out how all that chemistry is going to work out during the event,” he said.
Day Job: Supervisor
Inspired by: The pursuit of excellence.
Hobbies: What do you do in your “free” time? I’m a video game fan.
Fatal weakness: Delicious nachos can make me weak in the knees.
Favorite Movie(s): Do or do not, there is only Star Wars.
Friends convinced Stefanie to join the TEDxSalem team as a storyteller three years ago. With her journalist background, it was the perfect way for her to give back, especially since one of her favorite aspects of the event is getting to know the speakers and sharing their stories. During the event she loves the energy of the crowd. “Everyone is engaged and ready to experience something new,” she said.
Day Job: Run the library at Harritt Elementary
Favorite ‘90s jam: “Undone: the sweater song”
Laughs at: Monty Python
Known for/inspired by/hobby: Dancing (I am an award-winning bellydancer.)
Favorite Emoji: 💃
Favorite food/Fatal weakness: Chocolate. It needs no explanation.
If you had a superpower, what would it be? I would love to fly.
What do you want to be when you grow up? A published author someday
What color would you be in the crayon box and why? Fuchsia, because that’s my favorite color right now.
Role: Uhmmm, depends on the day?
Saerom has been involved with TEDxSalem since it’s inception in 2013. Her favorite part leading up to the event is seeing the speakers’ talk shape up into the best talk they can give. During the main event, it’s feeling the ah-ha moments and brain stimulation in the room all around her. She got involved because the value TEDxSalem brings to our community and the world.
Day job: Deputy press secretary for Governor Kate Brown
Favorite ’90s jam: Destiny’s Child, TLC, Mariah Carey … I’m a ’90s kid.
Laughs at: Fart noises. Doesn’t get old.
What color would you be in the crayon box and why? Mossy green, because it’s calming with personality.
Get your tickets for TEDxSalem V
TEDxSalem V is an all-day event featuring talks, performances, refreshments, lunch and a swag bag that takes place Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, at the Salem Convention Center. Early bird tickets are on sale now. Follow us on Facebook for the most up-to-date news from our community, and check our website regularly for new information. You can also reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.