This years event brings together presenters and performers whose life’s work, stories, research, talent, insight and experience throw into sharp relief this year’s TEDxMonterey theme: Edges.

More updates to come!

  • Katrina ALCORN

    Katrina ALCORN

    Katrina Alcorn is an author and consultant who has spent more than a decade leading strategic design projects with Fortune 500 companies in many industries including financial services, health care, and high-tech. Katrina is also a writer and expert on why women burn out at work. Her first book, MAXED OUT: American Moms on the Brink, (Seal Press, Sept. 2013) is a brave memoir about her own experience burning out as a working mom. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times (Motherlode),, The Huffington Post, and The Daily Beast. Katrina is a frequent commentator on topics related to working motherhood, and has been featured in dozens of media outlets including MSNBC’s “The Cycle,” The Washington Post, The Globe & Mail,, C-SPAN BookTV, and The Sunday Times (London). She lives in Oakland, CA, with her husband and three children. Full Bio »
  • Amy BENSON

    Amy BENSON

    Amy Benson left an ultra-rewarding 10-year teaching career, when she fell even more in love with documentary. Amy is co-owner of Nonfiction Media, a production company in Seattle, with her storytelling husband, Scott Squire. She has shot and edited over 25 films telling the stories of nonprofits in the Pacific Northwest, Africa and Asia. She is passionate about telling the stories of girls and women around the world. Her documentary— Three: Impressions from the Struggle for Girls’ Education was the centerpiece of the UNIFEM Singapore film festival. Her film, Called to Shine about Clarksdale, Mississippi’s only female preacher premiered at the Langston Hughes film festival. Her very first short about the life in a local homeless encampment won awards from SIFF and The Seattle Times. Amy is currently directing and producing, The Girl Who Knew Too Much, a feature length documentary film. It will be released early 2015. Website: Full Bio »
  • Laura BURIAN & Barry OLSEN

    Laura BURIAN & Barry OLSEN

    Laura Burian is Associate Professor of simultaneous and consecutive interpretation of Chinese and English at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.  She has worked as an in-house translator, interpreter, and legal assistant in the Beijing office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, and freelanced as both a translator and interpreter in the US, mainland China, and Taiwan. Laura has worked behind the scenes as an interpreter for a number of high-level meetings between the US and People’s Republic of China. Her most recent assignment to be caught on camera was in March 2014, when she served as interpreter for First Lady Michele Obama for a 6-day state visit to China. Barry Olsen is Assistant Professor of simultaneous and consecutive interpretation of Spanish and Russian at the Monterey Institute and has been working as a conference interpreter and translator since 1993. He has taught various courses on simultaneous and consecutive interpreting in the United States, Latin America and Europe. Over the years he has interpreted for the U.S. State Department, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Organization of American States, National Geographic Society, C-SPAN Television, and many other public and private sector clients. Barry is an active member of the International Association of Conference… Full Bio »


    These four wandering minstrels have come together as a four piece band who love to créate foot-stomping jams and heart-tugging melodies. Reese Hodges (lead guitar/banjo/vocals) and Alex Land (fiddle/vocals/guitar), originally formed a bluegrass band called Finger Folk in Santa Barbara. After a successful run of shows and critical acclaim in the área, the couple met up with Trent Hodges (cello/guitar/vocals) in Mexico to travel, surf, and play music. It was here that Chapulines Picantes (Spicy Grasshoppers) was chosen as the name of the band named after a local Oaxacan delicacy. The trio then moved to Monterey where Reese and Trent began their graduate degrees at the Monterey Institute and Alex continued her studies at Monterey Peninsula College. On a chance day out in the surf, the crucial missing piece of the band was found, Justin Wright (percussion/vocals). With his natural musical prowess and rhythmic walk of life, Justin cemented the foot-stomping magic of the band. Playing upon their love for ancient cookware and homesteading, the Chapulines Picantes became Cast Iron Collaboration. Full Bio »
  • Laura DARE

    Laura DARE

    Laura Dare grew up in New York, where she was one of many girls strumming a guitar through teenage angst. Her love of performing led her to pursue a B.A. in Theater and an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts. She received her M.A. at Columbia College in Chicago where being with painters, sculptors, filmmakers, dancers, singers, performance artists, and writers helped her appreciate, develop and integrate her love of all the arts. She especially enjoyed hanging with the envelope pushers —they made her feel downright normal. Making her way to the Central California Coast in the late 90s, Laura found her true home. Her place. She is a Californian, a partner, a mother, a singer/songwriter, an activist for children’s rights, a collaborator, and a friend to some truly authentic human beings. Laura has been writing songs for about 20 years. She has always been enthralled by the combination of melody and storytelling, and continuously strives to improve upon her versions of that magical combination. Wherever You Go, Laura’s full-length CD, features original songs in a style she calls bluesy pop. Laura composed and performed the original soundtrack for "Boyhood Shadows" an award-winning feature documentary chronicling the journey of five men whose… Full Bio »
  • Asha DE VOS

    Asha DE VOS

    Fueled by curiosity, driven by nature, Asha de Vos is a marine biologist with a strong affinity for marine mammals. Armed with degrees from the Universities of St. Andrews, Oxford and Western Australia she founded The Sri Lankan Blue Whale Project, the first long-term study on an unusual population of blue whales within the Northern Indian Ocean. Asha has played a pivotal role in conducting research, introducing and creating awareness about this unusual population – that she calls ‘The Unorthodox Whales’. To this end, her work has been featured by Channel 7 Australia, BBC, the New York Times, CNN and National Geographic online and globally in the print media. Asha is currently a TED Senior Fellow and a Duke University Global Fellow in Marine Conservation alumnus. In 2013 she also became an invited member on IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Cetacean Specialist Group. Asha has engaged in research and presented her work in the Maldives, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the US. Her commitment to ocean conservation and awareness creation saw her selected as a panelist for the Oceans themed Sustainable Development Dialogue at the UN organized Rio+20 summit in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012. She won a Zonta woman of… Full Bio »
  • Christoph DRESSEL

    Christoph DRESSEL

    Christoph Dressel is a partner in a global innovation agency and incubation fund — Kwamecorp, best known for developing socially conscious innovation. Christoph started his own web agency in the late 90’s and has been working with web and mobile ever since, usually consulting for large corporations all over the world. His work has been mostly focused on operating systems for mobility. Chris’s upcoming book — Design for Happiness, mixes yoga and wellbeing best practices with a structured vision for how technology should best enable our lives. Chris’ work with reveals a profound involvement in transparent and open supply chains as the necessary language for a sustainable future. Website: Full Bio »
  • Anne FERNALD

    Anne FERNALD

    Anne Fernald is the Josephine Knotts Knowles Professor of Human Biology at Stanford University. As director of the Language Learning Lab in the Department of Psychology, she conducts experimental studies of language processing by infants and young children, as well as observational studies of parent-infant interaction. Fernald and her research team have developed sensitive measures of the time course of infants’ understanding as they learn to interpret language from moment to moment. In longitudinal studies with English- and Spanish-learning children from advantaged and disadvantaged families, this research reveals the vital role of early language experience in strengthening speech processing efficiency, which in turn facilitates language learning. Fernald is also conducting research in West Africa, examining speech to children in relation to language learning in rural villages in Senegal. A central goal of this research is to help parents understand that they play a crucial role in supporting children’s language growth - providing their infant with early linguistic nutrition and language exercise. Website: Full Bio »
  • Mikey FRIAS

    Mikey FRIAS

    Poet 18 year old Mikey Frias is the first Youth Poet Laureate of Salinas, California, a city known more for producing gang members than poets. A philosopher at heart, the themes of his poetry reflect a life of abandonment, drug addicted parents and his desire to make a positive difference in the world. Chosen by a panel that included the California State Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, his poetry explodes with truth, and the magic of genius. He is currently working on the manuscript for his first book and CD of poetry which will be published in late 2014. Full Bio »
  • Brad HERZOG

    Brad HERZOG

    Brad Herzog has a four-headed writing career. The Pacific Grove resident is the author of more than 30 books for children, including a new five-book nonfiction series about character in sports. He has also written a trilogy of travel memoirs, which that the American Book Review has deemed "the new classics of American travel writing." His latest book is the co-authored memoirs of civil rights icon Carolyn Goodman. As a freelance magazine writer, Brad written about everything from PEZ to Zen and has been honored several times by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), including a Grand Gold Medal for best feature article of the year. Finally, as a blogger, he chronicles his every-summer cross- country RV experiences and also posts periodic “rankings of everything literary”—from 98 words invented by Shakespeare to 42 freaky fictional presidents to 19 prescient science fiction predictions. website: Full Bio »


    Sheril Kirshenbaum works to enhance public understanding of science and improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. She is the Director of The Energy Poll at The University of Texas at Austin and the author of two books, Unscientific America (with Chris Mooney) and The Science of Kissing. Her writing regularly appears in magazines, newspapers, and scientific journals and she has been featured in the Best American Science Writing anthology series. Previously, Sheril worked with the Webber Energy Group and Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment. She has been a Marshall Memorial Fellow, a Next Generation Project Texas Fellow, and a legislative Knauss Science Fellow on Capitol Hill with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) where she was involved in energy, climate, and ocean policy. Website: Full Bio »


    Jack Jonathan Lissauer is a space scientist in the Space Science and Astrobiology Division, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. He is a science co-investigator on the Kepler space telescope mission. NASA's Kepler spacecraft will search for Earth-size planets orbiting distant stars following its scheduled 2009 launch. Lissauer is a Consulting Professor at Stanford, teaching advanced-level classes in planetary sciences and astrobiology. Lissauer's research interests include planetary astrophysics; planet and star formation; detection of extra-solar planets; assessing the abundance of habitable planets; rotation of planets and comets; craters on planets and moons; circumstellar disks (disks that revolve around stars); resonances and chaos (gravitational interactions among planets that can change their orbits); and planetary rings and moons. Full Bio »


    CAPT Porter holds two Masters of Science degrees and is completing doctoral work at Naval Postgraduate School. Military duty included Japan, England, Italy, the Balkans, Bahrain (Navy’s Director of Intelligence in the Persian Gulf/East Africa), and three tours on the personal staff of ADM Mike Mullen, including Special Assistant for Strategy to both the Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. In 2011, Secretary of Defense directed him to establish a Chair at Naval Postgraduate School. He is a “Walton Fellow” at Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability and is currently Chair, Systemic Strategy and Complexity at Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. Cited in Marquis’ Who’s Who in America, his civilian and military awards include the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Defense Superior Service Medal, three Legions of Merit, and the NATO Meritorious Service Medal. He co-authored, with Colonel Mark Mykleby, “A National Strategic Narrative,” published by the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars and subsequently cited in numerous journals, televised editorials and radio interviews ( His work has appeared in the Harvard Business Review, Journal of American Foreign Policy Interests, The HotSpring Quarterly, Washington Times, and Naval Institute Proceedings. Full Bio »
  • Debra RYLL

    Debra RYLL

    When she's not helping people plan their perfect vacation at, you can find Debra Ryll playing at Improv or working on her musical, RELIGOMANIA. The author of two children's books, she recently returned to California after twenty years on Kauai. Her TEDx talk is inspired by and dedicated to her daughter, Summer Rose. Full Bio »
  • Betty SPROULE

    Betty SPROULE

    Earning her Ph.D. in Computer Science from Ohio State University at the age of 23, Betty A. Sproule served on the staff of Bell Laboratories, the University of Texas, and Hewlett Packard. She is the recipient of U.S. Patent #3,982,229 for a combinational logic arrangement for computer processors. Dr. Sproule is a Senior Member of the Society of Women Engineers, recognized with Computerworld Honors for the use of Information Technology to benefit society, and listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World . Currently she is Director of Strategy Services at Chasm Institute in Palo Alto, California. The combination of career and raising two now-grown sons, gave Betty the opportunity to acquire so much stuff that she realized the time had come to unstuff her life. Betty and her husband of 41 years, J. Michael Sproule, promote sustainable living in their book, The Stuff Cure: How we lost 8,000 pounds of stuff for fun, profit, virtue and a better world. Full Bio »