2011 Presenters

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Birke Baehr
“What it means to speak at TED”
[expand title=”more info”]An Internationally recognized speaker and youth advocate for sustainable food and agriculture, Birke has visited and worked at farms around the United States and recently returned from a stint on an organic farm in Italy. He has attended seminars with renowned farmer and author, Joel Salatin who has mentored Birke in his pursuit of new thinking about food and agriculture. Birke continues his education in this genre and expects to be a sustainable organic agriculturist in the future. He has a passion for educating others, especially his peers, about the destructiveness of the industrialized food system and the enlightening alternatives of sustainable and organic farming, food and practices. Birke was the youngest presenter at TEDx Next Generation Asheville (Aug. ’10) where he gave the talk entitled, “What’s Wrong With our Food System” which became the most watched TEDx talk of all time with over 350,000+ views.[/expand]
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Jeffrey Kluger
“The Hidden Power of Siblings”
[expand title=”more info”]Jeffrey Kluger is senior editor of TIME Magazine’s science and technology reporting. He has written or co-written more than 35 cover stories for TIME and regularly contributes articles and commentary on science and health stories. Kluger is also co-author, with astronaut Jim Lovell, of Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13, which was the basis of the Apollo 13 movie released in 1995. His other books include, Splendid Solution, published in 2006, which tells the story of Jonas Salk and the polio vaccine. He is also the author of the 2008 Hyperion release Simplexity: Why Simple Things Become Complex (and Why Complex Things Can Be Made Simple), the young adult novel Freedom Stone, and the newly released The Sibling Effect. Before joining TIME, Kluger was a staff writer for Discover magazine, where he wrote the “Light Elements” humor column, and he was also an editor for the New York Times Business World Magazine, Family Circle and Science Digest. Kluger, who is also an attorney, has taught science journalism at New York University.[/expand]
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Leah Quintal
“Beyond Handouts in Haiti”
[expand title=”more info”]Leah Quintal is a Warren Wilson College alumna with a passion for exploring the intersections of science, technology, art, and communication. After pursing science writing with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, she turned to the hands-on, down and dirty, grassroots approach of international volunteer-work and social entrepreneurship. She is now Outreach and Project Coordinator with American Green International, a media company dedicated to providing simple, affordable, culturally-appropriate, sustainable technologies to developing communities world-wide. Gift of Light for Haiti, the inaugural effort of AGI, aims to distribute 1000 Nokero solar light bulbs to women living in tent cities in Port-au-Prince, Haiti this coming January. After showcasing the solar bulbs in country, Quintal and team plan to implement an economic development plan that will allow Haitian people to take ownership of the project and make purchasing and distribution decisions themselves. Quintal also works as Program Manager with JB Media Group, an ambitious and innovative online marketing company in downtown Asheville’s MoJo Coworking space. She is honored to be among the 2011 TEDx Asheville speakers.[/expand]
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Joyce Roush
“The Power of One”
[expand title=”more info”]In her 37 years as a registered nurse, Joyce has been present at over 1000 patient deaths.  Having worked in the area of trauma, hospice and organ donation, Joyce knows the power of each person’s life and death. Her familiarity with the dying has inspired her to commit her life to the living. In 1998, while working a coordinator for the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization, Joyce made the decision to donate one of her own kidneys to a complete stranger, not realizing, at the time that she would be the first person in America to become a “Good Samaritan Organ Donor.”  The news of Joyce’s donation, performed at John Hopkins Medical Center traveled throughout the United States and the world. Her story was featured in People Magazine, The New York Times, and hundreds of newspapers and other magazine as well as being interviewed on such programs as the Today Show and The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather.  Joyce believed that if she had been called to share the gift of life that others would also, once they were aware that it was possible. To spread the word of her donation, she traveled throughout North America speaking at medical conferences, giving commencement speeches, and talking to thousands of people about the life-saving surgery. Despite being called crazy, she always believed in the goodness of the human spirit.  A true visionary of compassion, she foresaw a time when thousand of lives could be saved by the generosity of a stranger.  She was the recipient of numerous awards including the Indiana Governor’s Award for Heroism, joint Senatorial and House of Representative Proclamations, named Transplant Coordinator of North America, carrier of the Olympic Torch, and was the 2011 Athena winner. A decade later, altruistic kidney donation is medically accepted and common in the field of organ transplantation. For help and guidance, potential donors can turn to websites such as: www.matchingdonors.comwww.kidney.org,  www.kidneyregistry.org   Joyce currently lives in Hendersonville, NC and is the coordinator of the Community Wellness programs at Park Ridge Health. She believes in the “Power of One,” knowing it only takes a single individual to change the world..[/expand]
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Justin M. Purnell
“Using Skype to Teach the World English”
[expand title=”more info”]Purnell is the CEO of Teach The World Online, a charitable organization that offers free education via Skype to students around the world who benefit from English language lessons taught by American volunteer teachers. Purnell travels regularly between Haiti and other countries where he trains indigenous teachers and set up new internet schools. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Christopher Purnell Foundation, which performs a variety of charitable endeavors in the Himalayan region of Nepal. He is a graduate of Appalachian State University in Boone, and has worked as director of
student programs at Christ School, a preparatory boys school, in Asheville. Website: www.teachtheworldonline.org[/expand]
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Chris Yura
“Wear a Better Story”
[expand title=”more info”]As CEO, Chris is responsible for leading the company and overseeing all aspects of its business development initiatives designed to achieve long term growth. Prior to launching SustainU, he gathered and developed his experience in the fashion and entertainment industry while based in New York City, while maintaining his interest and involvement in social and environmental-related issues. Previously, he served in managerial roles within the customer service field, developing marketing strategies and strategic business initiatives to attract prospective clients.
Chris attended the University of Notre Dame where he was a four-year letterman and stand-out fullback for the Fighting Irish football team, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Computer Applications.Based in Morgantown, West Virginia, SustainU is an American clothing company focused on changing the way clothes are made to improve the environment, reinvigorate America’s manufacturing sector, and educate the world about how clothing can positively impact people’s lives. By creating 100% recycled apparel that’s made in the USA, we want people to change the way they think about their clothing, and how they live their lives. Wear a better story.[/expand]
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Adam Baker
“Sell your crap. Pay off your debt. Do what you love.”
[expand title=”more info”]In 2008, after the birth of his first child, Baker and his wife decided to sell everything they owned, pay off their consumer debt, and spend a year traveling abroad as a family. They began sharing their journey in early 2009 on the blog Man vs. Debt, now 15000 subscribers strong. In sharing their ups and downs in the areas of personal finance, consumerism, clutter, travel, minimalism, and passionate entrepreneurship, they realized they aren’t alone in a desire to explore and grow.[/expand]
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Amie Tracey
“Ponderwell”
[expand title=”more info”]Amie is the Lead Designer at Ponderwell, an Asheville-based software and web development company. Her passion for community journalism began five years ago with writing news analysis for Newsvine.com, an early collaborative journalism website. Over the years she has written hundreds of articles on topics ranging from politics to the dynamics of online communities. In 2008 she met Martin Haywood (a computer programmer and fellow community journalism enthusiast from Australia), and together with her husband Michael Tracey (programmer and founder of the collaborative community photojournalism site ImageAsheville.com) they founded Ponderwell around the concept that their technology skills and experience could one day solve many of the issues plaguing community journalism. Recently, their ideas were the most highly rated proposal for the Community Media Development Initiative for the Asheville area, and they continue to pursue their dream at http://ponderwell.com.[/expand]
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Sam Haywood
“Musical Performance”
[expand title=”more info”]Sam Haywood has performed to critical acclaim all over the world as concerto soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. He performs regularly with Joshua Bell and Steven Isserlis and has recorded extensively for radio and CD. His latest release, recently chosen as ‘CD of the Week’ on Radio 3’s Sunday Morning programme, is the first recording to have ever been made on Chopin’s own Pleyel piano of 1846.[/expand]
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Mariam Matossian
“Musical Performance”
[expand title=”more info”]Nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award and two Canadian Folk Music Awards, Vancouver-born vocalist Matossian has collected traditional Armenian folk songs since she was a child. In 1998 and again in 2002 she traveled to her family’s homeland of Armenia, a mountainous country bordering Turkey, where she learned and added songs to a repertoire built on folk songs learned from her mother and grandmother. With over ten years of training in classical voice, she brings the range and control of a classical singer to the spontaneity and passion of the folk tradition, combining the two to produce a synthesis that shares the beauty and richness of her beloved culture with a world audience.[/expand]
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The Urban Arts Institute
“Musical Performance”
[expand title=”more info”]Founded in 2007, the UAI provides a safe place for the artistic self-expression of Asheville’s youth in under-served schools and communities. Director Michael Hayes and group members meet five times a week for marathon three-hour rehearsals at W.C. Reid Center in the Livingston Heights neighborhood, where the group creates original performances using dance, drama and music while receiving metorhip and supervision, and maintaining a requisite grade point average.[/expand]
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Emcees

Russ Bowen
“TEDxAVL 2011 Emcees”
[expand title=”more info”]Russ is a co-anchor for News 13 on My40 at 10pm and reports daily for News 13. Before that, he served as anchor for the Saturday and Sunday editions of News 13 at 6pm and 11pm. He started at WLOS as Bureau Chief of the Western Carolina News Center. Russ broke the story to the nation about a mountain preacher who told his congregation if they voted for John Kerry they needed to “come to the altar and repent or resign”. He was also the first reporter to ever step inside the controversial Washington DC townhouse where several members of congress live. It’s better known as C Street House. Russ is no stranger to the Tar Heel state. He grew up in Eastern North Carolina. He came to the mountains from WCTI-TV in New Bern. Russ is an 8 time Emmy Award Winner. He’s won four N.C. Associated Press Awards. He’s been honored by the North Carolina Chapter of Mother’s Against Drunk Drivers and Veteran’s of Foreign Wars. He has a BA from UNC-Wilmington in Mass Communication and a BA in Media Studies with a concentration in Journalism from UNC-Greensboro where he graduated Magna Cum Laude.
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George Fleming
“TEDxAVL 2011 Emcee”
[expand title=”more info”]George Fleming, M.A. is a professional speaker, seminar leader, executive coach and consultant. Known as “The Breakthrough Coach,” George specializes in helping individuals, leaders and organizational teams to experience game-changing breakthroughs in their leadership, teamwork and results. George began his career in technical sales and marketing at General Electric followed by several years of helping Fortune 500 clients, including Hewlett-Packard, Lucent Technologies, American Express, and Amazon.com while working for three of the world’s largest advertising agencies.In 2000 George founded InsightAction. His clients include Roche Pharmaceutical, Genentech, CHRISTUS Health, RE/MAX, Prudential, Square D and Volvo. George earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with honors from North Carolina State University and a Master’s degree in Psychology from the University of Santa Monica. George Fleming lives in North Carolina with his wife and two children.
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