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TEDxDayton announces speaker lineup, hosts and schedule for free November live-stream events

October 26, 2020 (DAYTON, Ohio) — For the first time, this year’s TEDxDayton will be a virtual event featuring four new talks on four nights in November — 16 talks in all — during live-stream events that can be viewed online for free.

TEDxDayton organizers this week are announcing the speaker schedule and hosts for each evening’s event.

The events will be live-streamed on YouTube and at at 7 p.m. on Nov. 10, 12, 17 and 19 — each one an entirely different program with new talks and performers.

“This is both unusual and exciting for us. In past years when our Signature Event has been done live at the Victoria Theatre, we’ve never released the speaker lineup before the day of the show,” said Brenden Wynn, one of this year’s co-chairs of the event. “This year is different, of course. The pandemic made it necessary to make the event virtual, and this year we want our audience to know what to look forward to when they tune in.”

“It was very important to us to keep TEDxDayton going this year,” said co-chair Bridget S. Hutt. “So many events have been canceled or postponed; knowing how important the ideas and stories of TEDxDayton are to our audience, we wanted to present TEDxDayton 2020 as our gift to the community during this challenging year.”

The programs will be hosted by Neal Gittleman, music director of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra; Lisa Wagner, executive director of the Levitt Pavilion Dayton; Dr. Karen Townsend, a diversity and inclusion professional from Dayton; and Joshua Stucky, co-CEO of Square One Salons in Dayton and a co-founder of the famous Rubi Girls. Stucky and Gittleman are also previous TEDxDayton speakers.

“What is the same this year, despite the online format, is that our talks, hosts and performers have deep Dayton-area connections and each, in their own way, show anew how this is such a wonderful place to live and work. Our speakers have worked as hard as ever to give the talk of their lives, in the TED spirit of presenting us with Ideas Worth Spreading,” said Ron Rollins, the third co-chair for this year’s event.

The live-stream programs will also feature new performances by Dayton guitar master Jim McCutcheon, the popular longtime host of Discover Classical’s “The Intimate Guitar,” and Ted Yoder, a nationally renowned player of the hammered dulcimer who shares how this beloved folk instrument helped him meet a rock star.

Also on deck is a newly created dance by well-known local choreographer Rodney Veal — also a former TEDxDayton speaker — featuring Dayton Contemporary Dance Company member Brianna Rhodes and music by Josh Strange.

“We’re so proud of the entire group of speakers, volunteers, performers and partners and the great work they’ve put in during this unusual year,” Wynn said.

Here is the lineup for each night’s program:

Tuesday, Nov. 10, 7 p.m.
Host: Lisa Wagner
• Daj’za Demmings, discussing intergenerational mentorship.
• Anne Marie Romer and Conor Crippen, discussing Conor’s traumatic brain injury and giving up the burden of trauma.
• Subhashini Ganapathy, sharing how industrial systems engineering is actually fun and improves our world.
• Timothy Nevius, discussing the exploitation of college athletes.
• Performance by Ted Yoder.
The evening will include a Q&A session between Wagner and Demmings about her talk.

Thursday, Nov. 12, 7 p.m.
Host: Joshua Stucky
• Dr. Ronald Fletcher, former health director for the state of Ohio, on how the AIDS crisis taught us lessons about the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Kathleen Wiant, discussing the dangers of hazing and bullying, and how it affected her family.
• Ann Puckett, sharing how DIY isn’t about doing it yourself and actually builds community.
• Amy Riegel, discussing affordable housing and how our zip codes define our opportunities.
• Performance by Rodney Veal and Brianna Rhodes.
The evening will include a Q&A session between Stucky and Fletcher about his talk.

Tuesday, Nov. 17, 7 p.m.
Host: Karen Townsend
• Jacquelyn Wright Palmer, discussing genealogy and her family’s history of enslavement.
• Shomari Payne, discussing the inheritance of poverty.
• Christopher Wyatt, discussing how opioids, overdoses and breathing are connected.
• TEDxYouth@Dayton speakers Dana Clark and Ryann Mescher talk about the non-profit they created to address “period poverty.”
The evening will include a Q&A session between Townsend and Palmer to discuss her talk.

Thursday, Nov. 19, 7 p.m.
Host: Neal Gittleman
• Jodie Mader, talking about how it feels to be a Luddite in a high-tech world.
• Elijah Muhammad, sharing his personal experience with labor trafficking.
• Joshua Montgomery, discussing how building “Star Wars” droids made him a better teacher.
• Charlie Campbell, sharing his personal experience with downsizing and saying goodbye.
• Performance by Jim McCutcheon.
The evening will include a Q&A session between Gittleman and Mader about her talk.

Talks and performances were recorded before small, socially distanced and masked groups of family and friends in October at the Creative Arts Center at Wright State University, with the close partnership of staff and students from the College of Liberal Arts.

This year’s event is made possible with support from title partner Wright-Patt Credit Union and our creative partner, Wright State College of Liberal Arts with special thanks to the Theater, Dance, and Motion Pictures Department.

Program partners are Synchrony Financial, Morris Furniture, McGowan Brabender and SOCHE, the Southwest Ohio Council of Higher Education. CareSource is the performance partner this year.

To learn more, visit

Update: Due to a scheduling error, Jim McCutcheon was aired on November 17 and will not be aired on November 19. TEDxDayton organizers apologize for this inconvenience.


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 TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, often in the form of short talks delivered by leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED conferences, intimate TED Salons and thousands of independently organized TEDx events around the world. Videos of these talks are made available, free, on and other platforms. Audio versions of TED Talks are published to TED Talks Daily, available on all podcast platforms.

TED’s open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; TEDx, which licenses thousands of individuals and groups to host local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities; The Audacious Project, which surfaces and funds critical ideas that have the potential to impact millions of lives; TED Translate, which crowdsources the subtitling of TED Talks so that big ideas can spread across languages and borders; and the educational initiative TED-Ed. TED also offers TED@Work, a program that reimagines TED Talks for workplace learning. TED also has a growing library of original podcasts, including The TED Interview with Chris Anderson, WorkLife with Adam Grant, Pindrop and TEDxSHORTS

Follow TED on TwitterFacebookInstagram and on LinkedIn.


Contact: Ron Rollins, 937-477-0092, [email protected]; Jessica Reinsmoen, [email protected]


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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