NEW DETAILS: TEDxDayton announces schedule of speakers for free virtual event

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

The lineup for TEDxDayton 2020 — a free, virtual event this year — has been announced.

Over four days, the 16 local speakers will give “talks to share the TEDx spirit of ideas worth spreading,” according to a news release. The dates of the virtual event are Nov. 10, Nov. 12, Nov. 17 and Nov. 19. The events will be live-streamed on YouTube and at at 7 p.m. each day.

“Dayton has always been the home of ingenuity, innovation, and ideas worth spreading. This year our speakers have prevailed over the challenges of the pandemic and are ready to enlighten not only the people of Dayton, but all peoples of the world,” said Julie Servaites, speakers committee co-chair. “This will truly be an event to watch!”

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

The TedxDayton events will be hosted by Neal Gittleman, music director of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra; Lisa Wagner, executive director of the Levitt Pavilion Dayton; Dr. Karen Townsend, a diversity and inclusion professional from Dayton; and Joshua Stucky, co-CEO of Square One Salons in Dayton and a co-founder of the famous Rubi Girls.

“What is the same this year, despite the online format, is that our talks, hosts and performers have deep Dayton-area connections and each, in their own way, show anew how this is such a wonderful place to live and work," said Ron Rollins, the third co-chair of this year’s event. “Our speakers have worked as hard as ever to give the talk of their lives, in the TED spirit of presenting us with Ideas Worth Spreading.”Here is the lineup for each date:

Tuesday, Nov. 10, 7 p.m.

Host: Lisa Wagner


Daj’za Demmings, discussing intergenerational mentorship.

Anne Marie Romer and Conor Crippen, discussing Conor’s traumatic brain injury and giving up the burden of trauma.

Subhashini Ganapathy, sharing how industrial systems engineering is actually fun and improves our world.

Timothy Nevius, discussing the exploitation of college athletes.

• Performance by Ted Yoder. The evening will include a Q&A session between Wagner and Demmings about her talk.

Thursday, Nov. 12, 7 p.m.

Host: Joshua Stucky


Dr. Ronald Fletcher, former health director for the state of Ohio, on how the AIDS crisis taught us lessons about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kathleen Wiant, discussing the dangers of hazing and bullying, and how it affected her family.

Ann Puckett, sharing how DIY isn’t about doing it yourself and actually builds community.

Amy Riegel, discussing affordable housing and how our zip codes define our opportunities.

• Performance by Rodney Veal and Brianna Rhodes. The evening will include a Q&A session between Stucky and Fletcher about his talk.

Tuesday, Nov. 17, 7 p.m.

Host: Karen Townsend


Jacquelyn Wright Palmer, discussing genealogy and her family’s history of enslavement.

Shomari Payne, discussing the inheritance of poverty.

Christopher Wyatt, discussing how opioids, overdoses and breathing are connected.

• TEDxYouth@Dayton speakers Dana Clark and Ryann Mescher talk about the non-profit they created to address “period poverty.”

• The evening will include a Q&A session between Townsend and Palmer to discuss her talk.

Thursday, Nov. 19, 7 p.m.

Host: Neal Gittleman


Jodie Mader, talking about how it feels to be a Luddite in a high-tech world.

Elijah Muhammad, sharing his personal experience with labor trafficking.

Joshua Montgomery, discussing how building “Star Wars” droids made him a better teacher.

Charlie Campbell, sharing his personal experience with downsizing and saying goodbye.

• Performance by Jim McCutcheon. The evening will include a Q&A session between Gittleman and Mader about her talk.

“Launching TEDxDayton 2020 as a virtual event provides exciting new avenues for our speakers and performers to explore. This year’s speakers are brave, passionate, thoughtful people whose talks may have even more profound impact due to the intimacy of being presented right there in our audience’s homes,” said Bridget S. Hutt, signature event co-chair. “A virtual event also allows us to expand TEDxDayton’s reach beyond the Dayton area, and to share the strength and resilience that make our city strong.”

The virtual event will also feature new performances by Dayton guitarist Jim McCutcheon, the popular longtime host of Discover Classical’s “The Intimate Guitar," and Ted Yoder, a nationally-renowned hammered dulcimer player who will share how this folk instrument has helped make him a rock star. Local choreographer Rodney Veal (also a former TEDxDayton speaker) will be showcasing a new dance featuring Dayton Contemporary Dance Company member Brianna Rhodes, with music by Josh Strange.

“It was very important to us to keep TEDxDayton going this year,” Hutt said. “So many events have been canceled or postponed; knowing how important the ideas and stories of TEDxDayton are to our audience, we wanted to present TEDxDayton 2020 as our gift to the community during this challenging year.”

These talks and performances were recorded before small, socially-distanced and masked groups of family and friends in October at the Creative Arts Center at Wright State University. The TEDxDayton event was made possible with support from title partner Wright-Patt Credit Union and their creative partner, Wright State College of Liberal Arts, with special thanks to the Theater, Dance, and Motion Pictures Department. The program partners are Synchrony Financial, Morris Furniture, McGowan Brabender and SOCHE, the Southwest Ohio Council of Higher Education. CareSource is the performance partner this year.

More information about the speakers, updates about the event, and access to previous event speaker’s talks are available at

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