Putting more diversity in stock photography

How do images in advertising – or the lack of them – influence our perceptions of diversity? In this revelatory talk, Karen Okonkwo shows us the hidden power of stock photography to shape culture. She explains why seeing people who look like us is critically important to engendering inclusivity and greater empathy in our world.

Karen is a first-generation Nigerian-American who was an avid blogger in college. She struggled to find stock photos that represented the diversity she saw in everyday life. In 2016, she co-founded TONL, a stock photography company, to provide access to beautiful, real-world images of individuals of diverse ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, body types, sexual orientations, genders, and ages. The company complements some of the images with personal narratives of the subjects. Their goal is to create a deeper understanding of the cultural context for people choosing pictures.

Karen has founded various companies and continues to support and encourage inclusive diversity through her businesses and volunteer efforts. She’s passionate about being a voice for the voiceless.

Karen Okonkwo is a Nigerian-American social entrepreneur based in Seattle. She became an avid blogger in 2013 while in college. However, she struggled to find photos that represented the existing diversity she saw in real life around her. Her experience and concern with the disparity of image diversity in the online world impassioned her to provide what the web has been missing. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx


Why You Should Talk Regularly with Strangers

Since 2006, Traca Savadogo has met an average of three new people every day and heard their stories, resulting in 90 conversations a month. Sharing regularly on social medial and in speaking engagements, Traca discusses what drove her to launch her “Curiosity Conversations” and how her interactions often develop into surprising insights, unexpected opportunities, and treasured friendships. She recalls numerous examples of life-changing conversations that began with just one curious moment. Traca wants to show us that amazing stories are happening all around us and that we just need to “show up and get curious” She leaves us with a list of tips for what it takes to delve into a Curiosity Conversation and a reminder that in a world when many of us stay buried in our phones, human connection is truly what we crave. Traca Savadogo is a professional social butterfly. She has a passion for driving big ideas and conversation, and her approach is simple: ask questions, be curious. Savadogo is constantly looking for beautiful moments with strangers. She’ll ask people, ”What’s your story?” or “How do you want to be remembered?” and watch their narratives unfold.

Originally from the Midwest, where having conversations with strangers is commonplace and part of the fabric of society, Savadogo strives to give individuals actionable steps they can use to start having interactions of their own. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx


The power of embodying new personas

barry johnson believes that when you fully immerse yourself in a new persona, you grow into a richer, better version of yourself. As a teenager inspired by superheroes, johnson embraced a new persona to help him confront a family tragedy. Today, he continues to embody new versions of himself to take on challenges and make drastic career shifts -– and encourages us to do the same. barry johnson is multidisciplinary artist whose work, which ranges from painting to filmmaking to installations, has appeared in more than 70 shows around the world. He is also a children’s book author and illustrator and in his free time he volunteers teaching art to all ages. He is known for constantly shifting the nature of his work. A self-taught artist, he grew up in Kansas and, after graduating with a Business Marketing degree, relocated to Seattle. He moved into the tech and consulting industries but became disillusioned with the lack of imagination in tech design requests. Johnson left the tech world to become a full time artist and has been making art for six years. Currently, he is working on opening a new show featuring a few temporary murals and has just finished writing a film that will begin shooting the summer of 2019. He is the recipient of an Edwin T. Pratt Scholarship for 2018-2019. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.


Setting scientific research free

The results from taxpayer-funded, scientific research are often locked behind a paywall.

Jennifer Hansen, a senior officer in Knowledge and Research at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, says the cost of accessing that data is too high. Limiting access to the research results in social inequity and puts human lives at risk. She argues that the current model of research distribution is overdue for disruption. Hansen says it’s time to foster a scientific revolution through open access to data. Jennifer Hansen is an equity advocate with a fierce dedication to ensuring information and scientific knowledge is free and available to all. Her professional career has revolved around closing the digital divide and inspiring others to believe in the power of knowledge to shape their world. Ms. Hansen currently works at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as the Senior Officer for Knowledge & Research. She drives the strategy development and management of the foundation’s research outputs and is an influencer in shaping the future of scholarly communication. She championed and led the implementation of the Foundation’s groundbreaking Open Access Policy – a policy requiring that all its funded published research be immediately available to everyone, everywhere without barrier or restriction. Nature called the bold action to open up scholarly research the”world’s strongest policy on open access research.” And, The Economist described it as “something that may help to change the practice of science.”


Everyone has a song - welcoming refugees through music

What started as a place to sing became a refuge.

Founded by Erin Guinup, just as the U.S. was closing its borders to citizens from select countries, the Tacoma Refugee Choir was determined to turn its musical practice into a celebration of human connection by welcoming voices from around the world. The Choir has created an original song to showcase the idea that it takes diversity to create true harmony. Featuring vocals by Wanz, QDot and Stephanie Anne Johnson.


Northwest Tap Connection on the TEDxSeattle 2017 stage

Dance as protest; say their names see their names feel their names

Using a combination of live performance and their viral-sensation video of the protest dance “Hell You Talmbout”, these Northwest Tap Connection students work to heighten awareness about black individuals killed by police.  Movement is power and these young people have the power to move us all.


A powerful strategy for disrupting child trafficking

Patty Haven Fleischmann is successfully combating child trafficking in Seattle and catalyzing similar nationwide efforts.

As a therapist, child of a Holocaust survivor, and “kid advocate,” Fleischmann uses her ability to hold two opposing truths to attract a diverse and committed community and disrupt a seemingly insurmountable problem. Launching a Seattle-based non-profit which has raised $4.5 million to fund local organizations that combat both supply and demand, Fleischmann is galvanizing the community and driving a national conversation.   A licensed marriage and family therapist of 25+ years, Patty is the co-founder and President of the StolenYouth board. StolenYouth’s mission is to support the rescue and recovery of our community’s sexually exploited youth. Patty and StolenYouth have worked tirelessly to build a unique coalition of organizations fighting trafficking on all fronts. Since then, these organizations have pioneered new ways to disrupt the scope and nature of child trafficking. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.


Use the power of your diversity

As Vice President of Marketing for Boeing, Fariba Alamdari is the picture of success.

But the hurdles to achieve this have been many: being raised in a culture that prizes males, being an Iranian in Western society, and one of few women in the aerospace field. Despite the naysayers, Alamdari has continued to believe that being a woman and immigrant makes her a major asset — a belief affirmed when Boeing promoted her twice before she had even accepted their offer. For Alamdari, success starts with embracing your own diversity, and knowing the value you bring to your organization and community. Fariba Alamdari is Vice president, Marketing at the Boeing Commercial Airplanes. She joined Boeing from Cranfield University in the United Kingdom, where she served as chair of the university’s Department of Air Transport, and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Manufacturing and Science. She has published extensively on aviation-related issues. Fariba is a strong advocate of diversity and is a speaker at diversity forums. She believes in a compassionate leadership style focused on achieving results based on trust and respect for all. She is the recipient of several awards including: “Woman of the Year” by Air Transport News in 2016, “Ellis Island Medal of Honor” from The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) in 2016, “Leadership Award” from the Centre for Women & Democracy in 2015, the “Professional Award” from Career Communication Group, Inc in 2011. She is married, and has a son and a daughter. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.