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Business Owners, Elected Official Among TEDxAirlie Speaker Lineup

By Johanna Cano, posted Feb 20, 2019
Speakers for the TEDxAirlie event have been posted online by event organizers showing a lineup ranging from an artist to business owners to an elected official.

This year’s talks will be on March 29 at Thalian Hall and will focus on the event’s theme: “The Bridge,” connecting people, places and things, according to a news release.

The roster for the second TEDxAirlie event, which was first held by different organizers in 2016, was selected from 80 speaker applications.

"Eighty is a lot of applications, and they were from all over the nation," said Ashley Garner, lead event organizer. "When those applications started rolling in we realized how important and exciting it was."

The speakers for the 2019 TEDxAirlie are:
  • Ben Knight, co-owner of restaurants Chef & the Farmer and the Boiler Room in Kinston, and Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria in Wilmington.
  • Ben David, New Hanover and Pender County district attorney. David is on his fourth term as DA., and he also teaches Crime and Community on the Cape Fear at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
  • Cedric Harrison, founder and executive director of Support the Port Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to connect the community through arts, philanthropy and scholarship.
  • Cliff Ray, founder of P2P Rescue, a Wilmington company that makes water and ocean rescue boards recognized as a Top New Exporter by the 2018 Governor’s Export Awards.
  • David Wise, founder and CEO of Catch Cloud Multimedia. Wise is a multimedia producer who has worked on advertising, corporate communications, SEO marketing and filmmaking.
  • Evan Folds, senior consultant at Be Agriculture and previous owner of retail garden store Progressive Gardens in Wilmington. Folds is also the supervisor at New Hanover Soil & Water Conservation District.
  • Jason Graham, poet, artist and rapper known as MOsley WOtta from Oregon. He was the first Creative Laureate chosen in Bend, Oregon.
  • Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock, associate professor of communication studies at UNCW who specializes in storytelling, performance and stigmatized identity.
  • Mona Badie, chief information and digital officer at GE Hitachi Nuclear. Badie also leads the “Girls in Technology” program.
  • Stephanie Lanier, co-founder of Lanier Property Group, a Wilmington real estate firm and the Inspiration Lab, a community for women to learn and make connections.
  • William "Skip" Johnstone, teaches obstetrics and gynecology to residents at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Johnstone started The Tides nonprofit, which provides care for pregnant women with opioid addiction in the area.
Ray said he decided to apply for the TEDxAirlie talk because he wanted to share the impact learning to listen had on his life and business.

"Having been designing rescue boards for lifesaving agencies around the country for the past three years I learned how to listen and take what I learned from working with first responders to build equipment that they use," Ray said. "I am really excited to share my story, especially because hopefully my insight might help someone else find a way to listen."

Speakers were selected by a seven-person committee through applications and in-person interviews, Garner said.

"We did not want to be generic and boring. We were in pursuit of the opposite of generic and boring, so unique and exciting," Garner said about the criteria they used to select speakers.

TEDxAirlie is co-organized by Ty Downing, CEO of SISDigital and Brandy Jones, lead project manager at KC Creative.

The event is limited to 100 attendees and as of Wednesday afternoon, 18 tickets were available.

TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events, TEDxAirlie is the locally-held event where each speaker’s presentation will be recorded for submission to TED.com.
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