Join us for an evening of ideas worth spreading. Our theme this year is 1Square Block: the exploration of how an individual or an idea can grow to make a change, build a movement, or make a difference. The beginning of something big always starts with something small – one individual, one word, one pixel, one brick, one room, one building, one street or one square block. What can we do with one square block to change an entire community?
TEDxUtica 2015 Speakers
Jamie’s love of food, hospitality and books led her down a winding path through commercial foodservice, not-for-profit organizations, and grant writing before she discovered the perfect intersection of her obsessions as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner.
These days she focuses on educating and empowering people to cut through lies, myths and marketing to reclaim their health and reshape the future through informed, personalized, and unapologetic food and lifestyle choices. Jamie believes that every day (and diet!) should contain a little mischief, and advocates for indulgent, nutrient-dense real food at nutritionalmischief.com.
Gabriela Girona is native Utican who is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law. After travelling and earning a B.A. in international studies and globalization from Humboldt State University in Northern California, Gabriela returned to the area to be closer to family and attend law school.
Gabriela has a long history of advocacy which includes volunteering in Buras, LA post-Katrina, involvement in various multicultural events and activities, and her current work with Syracuse University Program for Refugee Assistance. These experiences and her interest in the animal agricultural industry have led to her current research in ag-gag laws and how they impact local communities.
Ryan Harb is a certified permaculture designer, community organizer and was the first person in the nation to receive a Master of Science degree in Green Building.
In 2010, Harb created a job for himself as Sustainability Manager for UMass Amherst Dining Services . He then began developing one of the first university permaculture gardens in the nation that supplies locally grown produce and hands-on sustainability education to the campus and local community.
Within 18 months, “The UMass Permaculture Initiative” went viral and was featured in over 100 media publications including the New York Times, Boston Globe, Huffington Post, and on MTV. The project has engaged over 3,500 volunteers and won 8 national awards. In 2012, Harb was invited to the White House to meet and speak alongside President Barack Obama. He was named a “White House Campus Champion of Change”, and UMass Permaculture was voted the top university program in the country that’s changing the world for the better.
Grace Kim knew she was gay since she was four years old, making her grow up depressed and selectively mute. In order to get over her suicidal past as a loner without any real experiences, she created Best Day Project to force herself to do all the things she’s always wanted to do, but never allowed herself. She wrote out her bucket list on pieces of paper, pulled them out of a jar at random and forced herself to do it while documenting it all on her website. She uses lessons learned as a successful, professional poker player and B.S. in Bioengineering from U.C. San Diego to try and unlock the secrets behind changing behavior, finding happiness and living your ideal life.
Victor Martin Lenuzza is a proud Utica native. He has studied at Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, NY and is a Mohawk Valley Community College (Advertising, Design & Production) and Syracuse University (B.F.A in Illustration) alumnus. He continued his studies at the Illustration Academy in Kansas City, MO with some of the top illustrators in the country (E.g. Mark English, Fred Otnes, and Malcolm T. Liepke). His work has been exhibited and published internationally.
Traveling extensively throughout Europe, and most recently working creatively with individuals with special needs, Victor consistently finds the importance that art has to transcend verbal language and be a universal connection. This significantly continues to impact his personal and professional work.
Lana M. Nitti is a Utica resident, graduate of Mohawk Valley Community College, and social activist. She has researched the issue of childhood lead poisoning in Utica for over two years, winning several academic awards for her research. Ms. Nitti is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biology at Utica College, with the ultimate goal of becoming a physician’s assistant with an emphasis on women and family healthcare. She continues to engage with the issue of lead poisoning locally with an emphasis on improving her community, not only for herself but for her peers as well.
Formerly a Broadway conductor and keyboardist, Garth is co-owner of the American Hotel in Sharon Springs, New York and founder/President of Hero Fund America, a non-profit dedicated to first responders. Additionally, Garth serves on the Board of Directors for Bassett Hospital (Cobleskill regional) and the Klinkhart Hall Arts Center.
Michelle Truett is the owner of 484 Design, Inc. – a graphic design and branding firm in Utica, NY. She holds a BA in graphic design from Rochester Institute of Technology. 484 specializes in branding and buiding awareness for small businesses, start up companies and non-profits. Over the past year and a half, she has spearheaded two major neighborhood branding efforts for Utica along with Rust 2 Green Utica – the historic Bagg’s Square neighborhood and the Downtown district and will be continuing with the Brewery District and Bleecker Street in 2015.
Michelle has been an instructor with the Young Entrepreneur Academy at Mohawk Valley Community College for the past three years, guiding middle and high school students in starting their own businesses. She is a member of the Bagg’s Square Association, serving as the marketing chair and is also a longtime board member and secretary of the Fort Schuyler Club – one of the country’s oldest private clubs.
She is the mom of a 14 year old, a thimble collector, a runner and an avid snowboarder.