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2014 TEDxGrandRapids speaker lineup is set

Michael Buckner, Getty Images

TEDxGrandRapids returns to Grand Rapids Civic Theatre on May 7.

The speaker lineup has been announced.

Earlier this week TEDxGrandRapids introduced this year’s speakers in a news release.

This year’s event will bring a diverse group of 15 speakers to share “ideas worth spreading”.

Meet this year’s speakers.

MARGARITA (MAGGIE) ANDERSON
FOUNDER, THE EMPOWERMENT EXPERIMENT
Margarita Anderson and her family were featured in national headlines as they lived exclusively off Black businesses, professionals and products for an entire year. Her experience, chronicled in her book, “Our Black Year,” was called The Empowerment Experiment. Now, she tours the country to increase awareness about economic inequalities that starve Black neighborhoods and deny Black businesses, and how proactive support of these businesses can create jobs and curb crime in America.

BOB BAIN
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Bob Bain is an award-winning associate professor at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor with joint appointments in the history, educational studies, and museum studies departments. Bain is also chair of the university’s secondary teacher education program and a faculty lead for the Big History Project, an international research and design group that has developed an online curriculum, assessments and professional development to enable high school students to study 13.82 billion years of cosmic history – from the Big Bang to the Future.

CLEMENT CHIWAYA
CHIEF WHIP, UNITED DEMOCRATIC FRONT
At the age of two, Clement Chiwaya contracted polio and lost the use of his legs. Through assistance, he moved from Malawi to Grand Rapids, Mich. where he graduated in 2002 from Aquinas College. He currently serves as a member of parliament in Malawi and chief whip of the United Democratic Front.

WAYNE CURTIS
FREELANCE JOURNALIST / CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC
Wayne Curtis writes the “Drinks” column for The Atlantic and the “Behind the Bar” column for Imbibe magazine. He’s also written about cocktails, spirits and bars for many other publications, including Men’s Journal, American Scholar, ForbesLife, Sunset, the Wall Street Journal and Liquor.com. Curtis is the author of “And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails” and the forthcoming book, “The Last Great Walk: The True Story of a 1909 Walk from New York to San Francisco and Why It Matters Today.”

MICHAEL DOWD
BIG HISTORY EVANGELIST
Michael Dowd returns to the TEDxGrandRapids stage after delivering his popular talk in 2012, “Why We Struggle Now.” He is a bestselling evolutionary theologian and evangelist for Big History and what he calls “an honorable relationship to the future,” known for his book, “Thank God for Evolution.”

DOUG FITCH
CO-FOUNDER, GIANTS ARE SMALL
Doug Fitch is a visual artist, designer, director and co-founder of Giants Are Small. He has received accolades and praise from prominent publications, such as The New York Times, New York Magazine and TimeOut New York for his 2010 Giants Are Small production of György Ligeti’s “Le Grand Macabre” for the New York Philharmonic.

SHARNITA JOHNSON
PROGRAM OFFICER, W.K. KELLOGG FOUNDATION
Sharnita C. Johnson is a program officer, co-leading the W. K. Kellogg Foundation’s Detroit grantmaking and partnerships.  She brings more than 20 years of experience as a nonprofit professional and funder, working with the Skillman Foundation, Ruth Mott Foundation, Detroit Public Television and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs among others.

JEFF KLEIN
FOUNDER, WORKING FOR GOOD / DIRECTOR, CONSCIOUS CAPITALISM
Jeff Klein believes in the power of business to elevate humanity. His work is centered on inspiring others about what is possible and aligning vision with action to make it happen. He supports organizations to create conscious cultures and to engage their stakeholders around shared purpose and values.

DAN KLYN
CO-FOUNDER, THE UNDERSTANDING GROUP
As co-founder of The Understanding Group (TUG), Dan Klyn leads a world-renown team of information architecture consultants in the making of places made of information. He began working as an information architect in 1997, and has worked in a variety sectors, including agency, e-commerce and non-profit for the past 17 years.

PAUL RINN
CAPTAIN, UNITED STATES NAVY (RET.)
An accomplished naval leader and successful businessman, Paul Rinn’s career in the U.S. Navy spanned almost three decades. He now speaks to corporate audiences in both the public and private sector, as well as universities such as MIT, Harvard, Yale, Boston College and the U.S. Naval Academy.

ROBERTO RIVERA
PRESIDENT/LEAD CHANGE AGENT, THE GOOD LIFE ALLIANCE PBC
Rivera leads The Good Life Alliance PBC, an organization that publishes multi-media educational tools and trains educators, youth workers, and parents to connect positive youth development to community development. Rivera’s community-based popular education experience has won him awards from former president Bill Clinton and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, and he was recently named one of the “Top Young Change Agents in America” by the Search for Common Ground Coalition.

RACHEL SEGAL
DIGITAL STRATEGIST
An accomplished digital strategist, Rachel Segal has spent more than a decade working with some of the largest brands in the world on their social media and content marketing programs. In 2012, Rachel and her partner Scott moved out of the city and onto a remote island homestead, where she continues to freelance for a number of agencies and companies…in between milking goats, feeding chickens and planting seeds.

JASON SOSA
FOUNDER/CEO, IMRSV
Jason Sosa is the founder and CEO of IMRSV, a computer vision and artificial intelligence company and was named one of “10 Startups to Watch in NYC” by Time Inc., and one of “25 Hot and New Startups to Watch in NYC” by Business Insider. He has been featured by Forbes, CNN, New York Times, Fast Company, Bloomberg and Business Insider, among others.

JULIANNE WURM
FOUNDER, R3
As founder of R3, Julianne Wurm leads a consulting firm that works to create digital content and live experiences. She received her doctorate in education from Columbia University and is the founder of TEDxEast, the first TEDx event in New York City.

RICHARD SAUL WURMAN
FAIA ARCHITECT / FOUNDER, TED
Richard Saul Wurman is the creator of the information architecture field. He has written, designed and published 83 books on topics from health care to cartography and received numerous awards for his work, including the Lifetime Achievement award by Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. He is also known as the creator/chairman of the TED conference, 1984 – 2002.

Here are highlights from 2013′s TEDxGrandRapids.

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