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3 More Speakers Revealed

Community builder, Civinomics cofounder, musician/storyteller


With just a little over two weeks to go before TEDxSantaCruz: Radical Collaboration, the organizers have released the names of three more speakers who will grace the stage on April 24.

They are Cecile Andrews, community builder; Robert Singleton, cofounder of Civinomics; and Benjamin Doerr, musician and storyteller. The three are part of the group of two dozen who have been chosen as presenters for the day-long conference.

• Cecile Andrews is a former community college administrator with a doctorate in education from Stanford University. She is a community educator, giving classes, workshops, and forming study circles on the subject of Community Building. She is the author of Circle of Simplicity, Slow is Beautiful, Less is More, and the recent Living Room Revolution: A Handbook for Conversation, Community, and the Common Good.

During the civil rights movement Andrews visited Highlander, the educational center in Tennessee where Rosa Parks was trained. She said Highlander’s approach to education — helping people work together and believe in themselves — changed her life. For many years she has facilitated study circles around topics of sustainability.

Andrews has spoken widely, including the Green Festival, both in Seattle and San Francisco, and she gives workshops on community for Stanford’s Health Improvement Program. She is a member of Walnut Commons Cohousing in Santa Cruz and lives in Seattle in the summer.

“It’s clear that if we’re going to survive, we have to turn away from our competitive, cutthroat culture and create one that is more caring, cooperative, and collaborative,” she says. “But how? We can’t just shake our fingers at people. We can learn from the author of the Little Prince, Saint-Exupery, who said, ‘If you want someone to build you a boat, you don’t just give them some wood, the plans, and some tools. No, you teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.’

“This means we have to create a vision and give people a taste of it, a vision that involves collaboration. That vision needs to be one of joyful community — people coming together, working together, enjoying life together, supporting each other.”


• Robert Singleton is the youngest of the group, having co-founded Civinomics the year before he graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2012 with a degree in politics and environmental studies. Civinomics is an online platform that allows people to submit, vote on, and fund ideas for improving their community, and then hand-delivers the highest voted ideas to community leaders, elected officials, and people of interest.

Singleton is chief marketing officer for the startup, and his talk is called, “Civic Tech and Community Self-Determination.” Civinomics’ focus on civic engagement, he says, is a study in radical collaboration with its crowdsourcing platform and iPad application.

“Radical collaboration implies a unique process for making decisions, and given our current state of political affairs, we can use all the novel approaches we can get.”

Singleton works as policy analyst for the Santa Cruz County Business Council, with a focus on affordable housing, water, and regional economic development. He is also the content manager for the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, a regional business development and retention organization, and serves on the board of the Inspiring Enterprise, a Santa Cruz-based nonprofit and social venture accelerator program.


• Benjamin Doerr is a musician, recording artist, and teacher who leads a band inspired by songs with a deep connection to the past.

His grandfather, Fortune Jean Giordano, grew up under Nazi occupation in Southern France during World War II, then eventually went on to fight the Axis powers with the Free French Forces under Charles de Gaulle. Decades later, after moving to the United States to farm and raise a family, he shared the memories of his wartime experiences with his grandson, who transcribed them into lyrical representations.

It is these historical tales of war and love that resonate with Doerr and his listeners and have become the basis of an expansive musical catalog. Doerr’s band’s name, St Paul de Vence, is also the name of the French town in which his grandfather was stationed during the war.

“I want to share how my grandfather and I came to collaborate in telling his story and giving me song,” Doerr says. “It’s a path of inter-generational trust and a natural, organic — but radical — way of sharing the past into the future.”

Singleton, Andrews, and Boerr will join Newton and Helen Mayer Harrison, Dan Costa, Barry Sinervo, Christy Hutton, Matt Beaudreau, David Dennis, Bez Maxwell, Ed Reed, Bruce Damer, David Haussler, Barbara Rogoff, and Flora Lu, at this year’s TEDxSantaCruz. More speakers will be confirmed in the next two weeks.

Tickets for the all-day TEDxSantaCruz 2015: Radical Collaboration event are still available online. The 2015 theme is Radical Collaboration, and this fourth-annual local conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. April 24 at the Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz.