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salon women 2020

We want to thank all of you who came out to be a part of our first Salon event of 2020, TEDxDaytonSalon | Women, which was held on February 29th at the Dayton Metro Library. Be sure to take a look at the videos from the Speakers and Moderators who made the event a tremendous success.

Photos, just like with all of our events, are located on our FLICKR account. Videos are linked below by each speaker’s name, or click on the button below for the full playlist.

Special thanks to Natalie Kratz & The New Media Incubator at Wright State University for the amazing photos and videos!


MODERATOR: Sierra Leone – Artist, Educator & Healer

Sierra’s Talk: Daughters Rising from the Dust

Sierra is a Governor’s Award winner, and the President and Artistic Director of OFP Theatre Company. For more than a decade, Ohio has benefited from her vision of creative urban arts as a powerful artistic medium to bring communities together across racial, cultural, ideological, and economic divides. She speaks joyously about being one of the few Poets with an M.B.A. Her work with youth arts organizations, schools, community organizations, and regional businesses has been ongoing through her company’s educational arm, Signature Educational Solutions. She has written and performed commissioned work for local and national organizations.

SPEAKER: David Bodary, PhD – Servant Leader

David’s Talk: 100 Years after the Vote

David is the Chair of the Department of Communication at Sinclair Community College. He joined Sinclair as a faculty member in 1994 and has served a variety of roles since that time. Currently, David is a board member on the Sinclair Foundation. Additionally, he serves on boards with the Kettering Parks Foundation, Aviation Trail, Inc. and the Dayton League of Women Voters. David has degrees in Communication from Eastern Michigan University and Wayne State University. He is most proud of his wife Susan and three children: Annelise, Samuel and Lily.

SPEAKER: Jennifer Cruz, PhD – Pianist

Jennifer’s Talk: Margaret and Me: Finding Our Way Home

Jenny is a Professor of Piano at Central State University. With roots on the island of Guam, she was raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she began her piano studies at the age of four with Suzanne Lent. After being discovered by Alexander Toradze at a master class, she graduated from high school early to join his studio. Her degrees are from Indiana University-South Bend, Manhattan School of Music, and University of Cincinnati. She has taught at Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati, and has performed in recitals and master classes across the United States, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Israel, Guam, and Serbia.

SPEAKER: Andrea Walker Cummings – Story Seeker

Andrea’s Talk: From Suffrage to Suppression

Andrea, a native Daytonian, is a graduate of Roosevelt High School and The Ohio State University. Retired from a 30-year technical career, Andrea devotes a major portion of her spare time fine tuning the needlecraft skills she began learning at the age of 7 from her mother. Andrea’s artwork has been included in past exhibits of Black Heritage Through Visual Rhythms, Visual Voices, Skyscrapers, and the African American Visual Artists Guild (AAVAG) of Dayton, of which she is the membership Secretary and Curator. Additionally, her work can be found in private collections across the country.

SPEAKER: Joni Fedders – Conscious Mother

Joni’s Talk: Mother as a Leader

Joni opted for work-life integration early in her career; believing these two identities have the ability to strengthen, support, and enhance each other. As the President of Aileron, her work is focused on leveraging professional management to help businesses, teams, and entrepreneurs thrive. This gives her a unique lens on motherhood; she and her family weave principles of continuous learning, being a “we” system, and conscious leadership into their daily lives. Joni is a certified Leadership Coach, regional finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year, and 40 Under 40 recipient, but her most meaningful recognition is bestowed upon her by her three children: Greatest Mom Award.

SPEAKER: Lisa M. Hess, PhD – Wisdom Walker

Lisa’s Talk: Scarred, Scared, Sacred

Lisa is a recovering scholar, contemplative, author, poet, CrossFitter, and Presbyterian teaching elder who has held sacred spaces for teaching and learning in Ohio for over 15 years. An innovator in restorative-wisdom leadership, she has been shaped by Princeton Theological Seminary, Women Writing for (a) Change (, and PeerSpirit ( She is the author of A Companionable Way: Path of Devotion in Conscious Love (Cascade, 2016), among other publications. She keeps one foot in a variety of ‘establishment’ worlds, and one foot in the seeking-daring worlds calling us all.

SPEAKER: Tom Lasley, PhD – Educational Entrepreneur

Tom’s Talk: Paths Taken…And Not Taken

Tom served as a Professor and Dean at the University of Dayton, School of Education and Health Sciences for over 30 years and retired in 2015. He currently serves as the CEO for a small non-profit, Learn to Earn Dayton, which is focused on helping more Dayton and Montgomery County young people pursue and secure a marketable credential or post-secondary degree. He completed all his degrees at The Ohio State University. He has authored or co-authored 14 books. He loves reading and golf, though is much more intellectually fulfilled by the former and emotionally diminished by the latter.

SPEAKER: Jeri Ward – Resilient Survivor

Jeri’s Talk: Speechless

Jeri is an active volunteer, advocate, social worker, and counselor. Jeri currently serves as a Development Director for the American Heart and Stroke Association. Most recently Jeri created the first self-care committee in the state of Ohio. Jeri enjoys traveling the country and speaking as an ambassador for the American Heart Association and the National Blood Clot Alliance. In 2018, Jeri was crowned Mrs. Ohio America. Jeri is passionate executive board member the Junior League of Dayton and serves as the Accessibility Chair for We Care Arts. In 2019, Jeri created an organization, The Lemonade Project, focusing on better lifestyle and overall wellbeing through prioritizing self-care. Jeri is proud University of Dayton coach’s wife.

SPEAKER: Reverend Vanessa Oliver Ward – Faithful Leader

Reverend Vanessa Ward’s Talk: One Woman…One Voice

Vanessa is the Pastor Emerita of the Omega Baptist Church, and the President of the Omega Community Development Corporation. She oversees providing services to develop and improve the lives of the youth, families and the community of Northwest Dayton. Rev. Ward has been a recipient of local awards, including the Dayton YWCA Women of Influence Award, and the 2018 Brother Raymond L. Fitz, S.M., Ph.D. Award. She is a graduate of The College of Wooster, United Theological Seminary, and in 2012 she received the Master of Philosophy in Hebraic and Cognate Studies (M.Phil.) at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio.


What is TEDxDaytonSalon | Women?

  • This event is a place for inspiration and for recognizing the incredible expertise and ideas of speakers who champion. Women. Everyone – not just women – is welcome to join us for this special event.

What is a TEDxSalon event?

  • Salon events are smaller, more intimate and informative events centered around a single topic. Salon events keep a TEDx community engaged between regular TEDx events.


In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxDayton, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDxDayton event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.

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