K. Killian Noe

Meet K. Killian Noe: author, pastor, community builder, and co-founder of the Recovery Café. Get to know her and you’ll get the sense that she thinks you’re an amazing person. She will see the best in you. She sees the best in everyone.

Killian co-founded the Recovery Café in 2002 to serve those experiencing trauma, homelessness, addiction, and other mental health challenges. The Café helps those suffering in these ways transform their lives through the power of authentic community. At their ninth cohort launch on Oct 25, 2021, there will be 37 cafes across the United States and Vancouver, B.C., making up the Recovery Cafe Network.

Killan has been inspired by communities she has spent time with all over the world, including Mother Theresa’s sisters in Calcutta and the Joweto community in South Africa, who are committed to racial reconciliation. She has since spent most of her adult life connecting people who have been disconnected and conjuring communities where there are none. She co-founded Samaritan Inns, a network of transitional and long-term healing communities, and has built and led faith communities that cross racial, socio-economic, religious and political barriers.

Killian’s work has come with ups, downs and losses, but it’s the shared experience of community that she’s helped build, coupled with lots of joy and laughter that keep her going. As we all grapple with loss, disconnection, and isolation, Killian offers a refreshing antidote: We humans are all connected to each other. What affects one of us, affects us all—and we all deserve to be known and loved.

James Whitfield

Meet James Whitfield: a pickleball obsessed, husband/father/son, culture strategist, and community leader advancing justice and reconciliation by building Beloved Community.

As the Co-Founder of Be Culture, James equips leaders to reimagine 'equity', setting tables for people of differing and sometimes polarized perspectives to find shared purpose and be the culture they wish to see.

Working alongside Kristen - his business partner, favorite human, and wife of 29 years - James mobilizes Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in companies and communities - deepening personal, professional, and societal bonds by advocating a higher standard of love and loyalty.

James Whitfield has received numerous accolades for his public speaking, training, and civic engagement. He is noted for employing a decidedly multi-disciplinary approach based on his broad experience as an executive in business, non-profit, and government - including having been appointed by the White House to oversee the Pacific Northwest Region of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Grab your favorite person and join James Whitfield at this year’s TEDxSeattle. See how you can build a more loving community through a better understanding of equity in DEI and your personal relationships.

Brian Hastert

Meet Brian Hastert: a storyteller, educator, actor, and podcaster urging us to use our imagination to solve the biggest issues in society. He’s challenging us to build a narrative that focuses on the best future we can imagine, and then vote locally to make it our reality.

An avid advocate for democracy, Brian spent part of the 2020 pandemic lockdown hosting a live streamed event called #HoldTheFloor, in which he led a community filibuster for 24 hours and 19 minutes and broke the record for the longest filibuster in US Senate history, held by Strom Thurmond, who, in a monument to white supremacy, attempted to block passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1958.

Out of that event grew the podcast Local Selection, in which Brian interviews state and local level officials about who is and who is not being heard in their communities. He highlights the awesome power of these often overlooked offices and the personalities that are drawn to use them to ensure that everyone is given the dignity of a voice in the democratic process.

As an actor with an MFA from the Yale School of Drama, Brian has worked on television and stages around the world, and co-founded Brooklyn-based ensemble theater company The TEAM, who The Guardian describes as “theatrical excavators of American culture, American dreams, and the American psyche.” As an educator, Brian was an assistant professor of acting and the founding program head of Pace University’s BFA in Acting for Film, Television, Voice Over, and Commercials.

As a podcaster, Brian hopes to inspire and empower people to vote locally and to understand that their voice is important and their vote can quite literally save lives.

Benicio Bryant

Meet Benicio: teenager, musician, performer, and one of this year’s TEDxSeattle entertainers! Just like his passion for music, Benicio holds authenticity close to his heart. “I feel like this is really it. That this is what I was put on this Earth to do.”

The 16-year-old Seattle native performed at his first talent show when he was just eight, and then, anywhere he could — at coffee shops, at farmer’s markets, and on YouTube. It was there he was scouted to compete on The Voice Kids in Germany and later, grew to prominence when he was a finalist on Season 14 of America’s Got Talent. After the show, he signed to Simon Cowell’s record label and jumped headfirst into making music. His confidence grew, his talent only shined brighter, and he threw himself into writing his own music more than ever.

When the pandemic hit, he invested in a home studio and continued to collaborate via zoom with writers and producers to work on his craft. His recent single “Sorry” is one he’s most proud of — having written and produced it solely on his own. When creating he’s constantly reminding himself to “just be yourself.” He said, “I’ve kinda given up on what people think about what I wear or what I do with my hair.” “You have one life.” He continued. “Does it really matter what random strangers think about you?” Wise words from a teenager that we could all use in an age ‘where we are’ constantly comparing and concerned about what others think.

Benicio is excited to take the TEDxSeattle stage as an entertainer at this year’s event. His favorite thing about music is its ability to inspire connection, kindness, and simply make people happy. “It’s not even tangible.” He said. “It’s just sounds that bring out all these raw emotions and bring people together.” And we all could use more of that.

Oh, and his favorite Seattle music venue you ask? The (iconic) Moore Theatre.

Andrew Himes

Meet Andrew Himes: advocate for social justice, co-founder of Microsoft Developer Network, and Director of Collective Impact at Carbon Leadership Forum. To tackle climate change, he wants us to dream big and embrace Goethe's words: "Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it."

With his passion for addressing climate change and demand for social responsibility, Andrew asserts that where we are now is one of the most dangerous and promising moments in all of human history. Andrew says that many of us may feel that the issue of climate change is massive and global, and that there’s nothing we can do to make a difference.

But our built environment -- the largest overall contributor to greenhouse gas emissions -- can be either an existential threat or the source of transformative solutions to climate change. We can radically reduce carbon pollution and even store large amounts of carbon in buildings and infrastructure -- permanently. But it will take millions of people demanding and creating solutions, working together in communities, simultaneously, toward one goal. We already have the innovative solutions we need. What happens next, he believes, is up to us.

Driven by his involvement in the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s and 70s, Andrew believes the number one social justice issue in the world is the climate, because the people most harmed by climate change will be those most marginalized and most deeply disempowered.

After an accomplished career in tech (Himes was the founding editor of leading Apple technology journal MacTech and co-founder of the Microsoft Developer Network) Andrew was founding director for Charter for Compassion International, then created Carbon Innovations LLC, a social impact consultancy focused on business-based solutions to climate change. In 2018, he was coordinator of Carbon Smart Building Day, a conference affiliated with the Global Climate Action Summit focused on transforming the global building industry to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. His current role at UW involves leading industry-wide initiatives to reduce embodied carbon emissions in built environments.

TEDxSeattle Salon: Practice Letting Joy in while Coping with Loss

As our community emerges from the grief of the pandemic, we confront new and familiar challenges. We invite you to take inspiration from Caroline Catlin’s talk - Why I Photograph the Quiet Moments of Grief. Learn how her own experience with illness inspired her to connect to others facing similar challenges. After a diagnosis of a rare form of brain cancer, Caroline Catlin was forced to confront her own mortality and come face to face with the complex emotions surrounding death and dying. Through photography and writing, she has learned to see the beauty in the end of life and reframed her perspective on her own cancer in the process.

Together, we’ll enjoy a glass of fine wine, watch Caroline’s talk (which has 1M+ views to date) and then engage in dialogue with Caroline and invited guests who will share their wisdom on the tough but universal experience of grief.

A limited number of in-person seats are available here for $10. Wine and food will be available before and after the panel. Audience members will be asked to wear masks during the panel.

Or you can reserve your free virtual spot instead!

A special thanks to Elsom Cellars for partnering to make this Salon possible.

Caroline Catlin

Caroline Catlin is a writer, photographer, and nap enthusiast. She exudes such a positive, bubbly personality that her desire to dive into intense and difficult topics may come as a surprise to some—but for Catlin, joy and loss feel deeply intertwined.

In January 2019, Catlin found out she had brain cancer. A long-time advocate for mental health, Catlin suddenly found herself dealing with trauma and devastating illness first hand. With the help of her “sunshine tornado” partner, she made it through multiple rounds of radiation and chemo that were followed by coffeehouse jaunts with her dog and close friends in tow. The road was long, but she made a point to, “practice letting joy in.” Through it all, Catlin found the strength to process her own journey through trauma and to look with an inquisitive and sensitive eye at how other people function through life’s most difficult moments.

This work has taken Catlin and her camera to the bedside of those breathing their last breath and into the lives of individuals dealing with intense grief and loss. Catlin’s research and work in behavioral health and developmental trauma have inspired her to reform the way health, illness, and disability are portrayed in the media. Through her lens we can discover the art within caregiving and therapy.

Lynette Huffman Johnson

Founder Lynette Huffman Johnson began photographing families and children in 1984, shortly after the birth of her first daughter, but in 1996 her sister-in-law asked her to take a different kind of picture: a picture of her niece, Lainie, who was stillborn. Another close friend’s baby had died over two decades prior, and it was the memory of these two children, Lainie and Janus, that inspired Lynette to form Soulumination.

Since its inception as a 501(c)(3) non-profit public organization in 2005, Soulumination has grown to over 60 professional photographers who volunteer their time and talents, and over 120 community volunteers who lovingly help us serve these families.

Caroline Wright

Caroline Wright is a cook, author, and terminal brain cancer patient. After her diagnosis, she focused her career on her two sons and the connection that comes from telling her story. She’s written four cookbooks and four children’s books. Caroline lives in Seattle, Washington with her family. www.carolinewrightbooks.com

Colleen Robertson (Moderator)

Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Colleen has been directly involved with grief work for nearly a decade through her board service with the Safe Crossings Foundation. Indirectly, Colleen has been involved with Safe Crossings Foundation and grief work since she was a little girl. Colleen's mother, Teresa Bigelow, co-founded Safe Crossings as a direct result of the death of Colleen's father when she was seven years old. Having experienced such intense loss at such a young age (and witnessing her two younger brothers and her mother experience their own grief), Colleen will be forever dedicated to the cause of helping kids and families grieve. As an Executive Board member and past President of the Board, Colleen has supported the creation of an annual conference for grief-related service providers and has helped expand the types and number of programs Safe Crossings Foundation funds by instituting an annual granting fund.

Colleen is the digital marketing director with local start-up, HeadLight and has previously worked for Expedia and Slalom. Additionally, she has freelanced as a marketing consultant for many Seattle-based SMBs and nonprofits. She started her career in direct service with nonprofits, first with YouthBuild via Americorps and later by launching and running the GED program for YouthCare's Orion Center.

Colleen is mother to a 1.5 year old human, as well as a middle-aged dog, and an elderly cat. She lives with her son/dog/cat and husband, Benjamin, in beautiful West Seattle.


4:30 Doors open for guests at Elsom Cellars
5:15 Virtual doors open for guests on live stream
5:30 Salon begins
6:30 Salon ends; wine and food available
7:00 Last call

TEDxSeattle Salon: Moving Race Conversations Forward

Join us on March 23, 2021, for our next empowering and thought-provoking virtual event!

In her 2020 TEDxSeattle talk, Dr. Caprice Hollins explained why we often fail to have productive conversations about race, race relations, and racism in this country. Her talk shed light on why People of Color and white people take different approaches to these conversations and what white people can do to move race conversations forward.

In the spirit of transforming ideas into action, we invite you to continue the discussion as we revisit Dr. Hollin’s empowering TEDxSeattle talk, What White People Can Do To Move The Race Conversation Forward, followed by a moderated panel with Dr. Hollins and featured guests.

Dr. Caprice Hollins:

With over twenty years of experience leading and facilitating conversations on race, Dr. Caprice Hollins’ success stems from one distinct attribute—the ability to embrace her own imperfections.

Dr. Hollins stresses how she has learned to step back and reassess the “why” behind her work. She feels a clear calling, “I have the opportunity to change how this country has always treated those on the margins. I am an instrument for change.”

Her work ranges from providing culturally relevant professional development to assisting organizations in improving cross-cultural relationships while working with diverse populations.

In an effort to effectively engage all cultures, Dr. Hollins co-founded Cultures Connecting, LLC, an organization providing culturally relevant professional development workshops, keynotes, leadership coaching, and consulting services. Prior to this, she opened and served as the first Director of Equity, Race & Learning Support for Seattle Public Schools, as well as co-authored Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Strategies for Facilitating Conversations on Race.


Dr. Estell Williams:

Dr. Williams is an Assistant Professor of Surgery and an Acute Care Surgeon at the University of Washington. She is the Executive Director of Doctor For A Day, an outreach program that introduces under-resourced students to health careers. She also serves on the Washington State Medical Association Foundation Board, working to advance efforts around healthcare equity. Dr. Williams is passionate about healthcare disparities, healthcare workforce diversity, and health justice—and in response to the 2020 murder of George Floyd, she organized a march of 10,000 healthcare workers from across Washington state to declare racism a public health emergency.


Jila Javdani:

Not only is Jila Javdani a strong female leader in the local business world, but she's also an architect of workplace change. Currently, Javdani is a general manager with Slalom, a Seattle-based consulting firm, where she's been instrumental in creating a positive and welcoming workplace for all. She's passionate about delivering meaningful outcomes for clients and helping team members achieve their full potential. Javdani founded the Slalom Women's Leadership Network and was on the founding committee of Slalom’s inclusion and diversity initiative. She believes that diversity, equity, and inclusion are crucial to growing people, transforming organizations, and achieving results.

Cami Blumenthal:

Cami Blumenthal works with organizational leaders to foster diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace cultures where employees can grow and thrive. She's known for delivering a competitive edge and increased value for organizations. As an HR leader at Blue Origin, she drives talent strategies that help advance company cultures and people-first objectives, as well as organizational and leadership goals. In her hometown, Blumenthal started Equity & Inclusion Community Group, a grassroots organization with a mission to bring impactful change by addressing local inequities. She is a board member of Roots Ethiopia, a local NGO that improves education and enables women in rural Ethiopia, and also serves on the 100 Women Who Care Committee supporting local non-profits. Blumenthal is unapologetically anti-racist, anti-sexist, and anti-exploitive. Her passion for meaningful and sustained social justice cuts across all aspects of her life.


Michaela Ayers (Host):

Michaela Ayers is the Founder and Principal of Nourish, a social impact organization that advances anti-racism within companies and communities. Drawing from human-centered design, action learning, and anti-racism principles, Nourish uproots the deep-seated biases and racist behaviors that block belonging. By leveraging the power of curiosity and vulnerability, Michaela is constantly exploring creative ways of thinking, speaking, and listening in order to advance the collective conversation about systemic racism.


Thank you to our event partner, WSECU!