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The bad news is that TEDx Raleigh sold out in minutes when ticket sales began last Friday. The good news is that the entrepreneurial community is well represented in the mix of 13 local speakers and performers who will present March 19. 

The theme for the event is “wonderlust”—organizers hope to inspire a new state of curiosity and awe in its attendees, in addition to letting speakers share “ideas worth spreading”. Kevin Snyder, a curator for the event, says attendees should “want to learn together.” 

The selection process for the speakers was intense, with its 250 applications temporarily crashing the TEDxRaleigh site. The team of volunteers required a talk outline, along with a video and interview for the top 24 finalists. Snyder says the organizers struggled to choose from many high-quality applications, but finally narrowed the lineup down to a group of “diverse, powerful” speakers that range from a high school student to a  magician. They wanted to be sure the chosen presenters each had something valuable that the attendees could apply in their own lives.

The full list of presenters is here, but we've got a deeper dive into the entrepreneurs and innovators in the bunch: 

  • Dr. Veena Misra is a professor at NC State University and director of its NSF ASSIST center (Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies), which works to invent robotic systems to monitor health. Dr, Misra will talk about medical devices that are not powered by traditional battery systems, but instead run off the body’s energy.
  • Ricky Hopper has dual roles as a developer at unmanned aerial vehicle startup PrecisionHawk and user experience designer and developer at DXLab Design, a downtown Raleigh design agency that works with startups and more established businesses to create new apps, products and services. He will discuss how the future of technology will be created by artists, whose goals will not only be to create products but experiences. 
  • A talk on valuing skills equally in education will be given by Peyton Holland, who believes that all students should be empowered may they wish to be a welder or a doctor. Holland is a public speaker and executive director of SkillsUSA North Carolina, a non-profit organization built on partnerships between industry, teachers and students to ensure that there is a skilled workforce in the United States. The group puts on leadership workshops and conferences, and hosts a variety of skills contests.
Peyton Holland, SkillsUSA - TEDx Raleigh
Peyton Holland, the executive director for SkillsUSA North Carolina will speak at TEDx Raleigh in March.
  • U.S. Marine Corps veteran Michael Penney has used his time after the military to study entrepreneurship (at Syracuse University) and provide professional development training and inspiration to other veterans after their service. He's a contributor to Bloodstripes.com and hosts a podcast called Cigars and Sea Stories, where he shares stories of veterans making a difference in the world. He'll talk about empowering people who want to make a positive difference in the world.
  • Larry Burke is a holistic radiologist and co-founder of the Duke Center for Integrative Medicine who practices hypnosis and acupuncture for treatment of a variety of ailments and health issues. Burke’s most recent study focuses on using warning dreams to diagnose breast cancer long before the patient receives the medical diagnosis. He will be giving a presentation about this research and the potential of returning dreams to higher importance in the medical field. 
  • An on-stage conversation about how individuals from various backgrounds can come together will be held by Bill Cummings and Darian Colbert. Cummings is the CEO of Lemonade International, a Raleigh nonprofit that works with educational partners in Guatemala City to teach kids holistic life skills and Christian faith and runs a business incubator that trains and gives support to small businesses in the area. Colbert is the founder and CEO of Cohesion, the organization behind the “Framing Young Individuals” (FYI) program, which provides leadership development workshops in local schools, helping to make students more successful in their lives, school and their community. This should incite some ideas around hot button startup community topics like inclusion and diversity.
Bill Cummings and Darian Colbert - TEDx talk Raleigh
Darian Colbert of Cohesion and Bill Cummings of Lemonade International.

Snyder hopes “that everyone leaves with something to make their lives better and the ability to apply it no matter their role or socioeconomic status.” 

Though tickets have sold out, Snyder says that individuals interested in the conference should keep an eye on the website for information on potential live stream or overflow strategies.