June 11, 2011 • Cabrillo College Music Recital Hall • Santa Cruz

More than 25 extraordinary presenters shared their passionate views on a variety of subjects at the TEDxSantaCruz: Engage! event on June 11, 2011. TEDxSantaCruz brought together these creative thinkers and innovators to share the amazing talent, creativity, and innovation happening in Santa Cruz County every day.

We hope our speakers inspire others and help shape a better world through sharing their stories, passions, discoveries, or personal journey. We aspire to establish, fresh, new conversations and perspectives, exposure to different ideas from Santa Cruz and the world beyond.

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Speakers & Performers

Nancy Abrams & Joel Primack

Nancy Ellen Abrams is a lawyer (J.D., U. of Michigan) with a B.A. from the University of Chicago in the history and philosophy of science. She specializes in the role of science in a new politics and is an award-winning writer and lecturer at UCSC. Joel R. Primack is Distinguished Professor of Physics at UCSC. He received his A.B. in Physics from Princeton and Ph.D. in Physics from Stanford. He is one of the creators of the theory of Cold Dark Matter, the accepted theory of the formation and evolution of galaxies and the nature of the dark matter that makes up most of the mass in the universe. Nancy and Joel co-authored The New Universe and the Human Future: How a Shared Cosmology Could Transform the World and The View from the Center of the Universe: Discovering Our Extraordinary Place in the Universe.

Lori Butterworth

founder, Jacob’s Heart

Lori has founded two award-winning, nationally recognized non-profit organizations, which have dramatically improved care for thousands of children with life-threatening conditions. As the founder and former Executive Director of Jacob’s Heart, Lori designed, implemented, and secured sustainable funding for innovative programs that provide emotional, financial and practical support to families of children with cancer. Lori also co-founded the Children’s Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition (CHPCC), spearheading healthcare policy initiatives including the enactment of the Nick Snow Children’s Hospice and Palliative Care Act of 2006. Now she is mentoring the next generation of nonprofit leaders through the Boomerang Foundation and is passing on her own positive, life-affirming experiences while providing support and guidance to young people about “living life on purpose.” Among Lori’s awards for her contribution to the nonprofit sector are Oprah Winfrey’s Use Your Life Award and the California Association of Nonprofits Award for Achievement in Innovation.

Rachel Abrams

doctor, author

Rachel Carlton Abrams, MD, MHS opened the award-winning Santa Cruz Integrative Medicine & Chi Center in 2008 where she manages and works with 15 practitioners and 10 instructors to provide the highest level of care from conventional and holistic medicine. She is a graduate of Stanford University with a medical degree from the University of California San Francisco and a masters degree from the University of California Berkeley. She is Board Certified in both Family Medicine and Integrative and Holistic Medicine and uses treatments from both conventional and holistic medicine to help create ideal health for her patients. Dr. Abrams is the author of two books and teaches workshops and classes regularly in Santa Cruz and throughout the country.

Rebecca Costa


Rebecca Costa is a sociobiologist who offers a genetic explanation for current events, emerging trends and individual behavior. A thought-leader and provocative new voice, Costa examines “the big picture”– tracing everything from terrorism, crime on Wall Street, epidemic obesity and upheaval in the Middle East to its evolutionary origins. Retiring at the zenith of her executive career in Silicon Valley, Costa spent six years researching and writing The Watchman’s Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction. The success of Costa’s book led to a syndicated weekly radio program in 2010 called The Costa Report. A former CEO and founder of one of the largest marketing firms in Silicon Valley, Costa developed an extensive track record of introducing new technologies.

Jeff Traugott

While studying music and getting his BA at Evergreen State College, WA, Jeff became fascinated with the art of luthiery. During a one-year apprenticeship in Santa Cruz, he knew he was hooked, and decided to pursue of career in guitar repair and construction. In a nine-year period, Jeff cofounded a local music store, did guitar repair, and worked for a local guitar company; this gave him the foundation to open Jeff Traugott Guitars in 1991. Jeff’s work has given him the opportunity to become part of a larger community of musicians and instrument makers worldwide. His customers span the globe from Egypt and Romania to Indonesia and Japan. He loves the idea that at any given moment one of his guitars is being played on stage at a jazz club in Tokyo or is part of a father daughter duet in a living room in Arizona.

Bruce Lee

After graduating Augusta State University, with highest honors, Bruce picked up and moved directly to Santa Cruz where he began a decades-long career creating paintings, sculpture, and performance art in Santa Cruz and the surrounding Bay Area. Having abandoned painting in the 80s and 90s for the immediacy of the moment in dance and theater works, Bruce has discovered the equally mesmerizing dance of immediacy: trying to capture a changing landscape on canvas. He was one of the first recipients of the Gail Rich award in 1998. In addition to painting, his media include projection design, set design, and dance theater. His work has been exhibited and honored in many venues in the bay area, including SF MOMA, Cabrillo College, UCSC, Henry Mello Center, Santa Clara University, Laney College, Santa Cruz Art League, The Bulkhead Gallery, Dancing Man Gallery, Davenport Gallery, and more.

Rick Walker

Composer, Multi-Instrumentalist, Inventor

Composer, Multi-Instrumentalist, Inventor, Rick Walker has been on the cutting edge of music for the last 30 years. A founding member of both the World Beat movement in the 80′s and the International Live Looping Movement in this past decade he has taught, lectured, performed, and recorded in 15 different countries as solo headlining artist. He’s collaborated with master musicians from African, Asian, Indonesian, Indian, Middle Eastern, the Americas, and Europe and plays a diverse collection of 1,000 percussion instruments including the drumset, his first musical love. Considered an expert in the fields of cross cultural rhythmic expression,odd time, and polyrhythms he’s also a multi-instrumentalist (keyboards, strings, wind brass , extended vocal techniques and found sound) He’s made his living as producer, studio musician, teacher, sound designer, author, band leader and live looper and has been making and designing new technology in the field of audio and video along with his interest in lo fi, toy video creation and photography.

Catherine Aurelio

User Experience and Creative Direction Lead

Catherine Aurelio is the User Experience and Creative Direction Lead at Bunchball. She has more than 15 years of experience in interactive media and print design creating award winning solutions for her clients in a variety of industries. In her current role, she provides program design solutions using her unique skillset as a graphic designer, gamification expert and user experience maven to create successful solutions for Bunchball’s clients.

Roger McNamee

Roger McNamee is a co-founder of Elevation Partners, an investment partnership focused on the intersection of media and entertainment content and consumer technology. Roger performs 100 shows a year in the band Moonalice, where he plays bass and guitar. Moonalice pioneered the use of social media in music, inventing such applications as Twittercast concerts, Moonalice radio on Twitter, live Mooncast (video) concerts, the Couch Tour. Moonalice’s single, “It’s 4:20 Somewhere” has been downloaded more than 845,000 times. Roger is the author of The New Normal and The Moonalice Legend: Posters and Words. Roger serves on board of directors of Wordnik and Move. In philanthropy, he serves on the boards of directors of National Geographic Ventures, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame Museum, and the Rex Foundation. Roger holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.B.A. from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

Jay Silver

PhD Researcher

Jay Silver is a PhD Researcher in the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT Media Lab, and he is currently working at Intel Research helping them develop a Maker Culture. He cofounded Joy Labs, Experiendipity, and Beginners’ Mind. Time named one of his inventions “Top 15 Toys for Young Geniuses,” and he has put out many creative platforms including Drawdio, Singing Fingers, and Scratch, collectively in the hands of millions. Jay studied electrical engineering at Georgia Tech where he was named Engineer of the Year. He was awarded a Gates Scholarship to earn a master’s in Internet Technology from Cambridge University. He also holds a master’s in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT Media Lab where he invented “Camera for the Invisible.” Jay has faith that being a romantic is of the utmost importance. Some other names for romance are: spontaneity, silliness, civil disobedience, oneness, empathy…

Kyle Theirmann

pro surfer

Kyle Theirmann, 21, is a pro surfer with a passion to systemically effect change. Combining surfing great waves around the world with making a series of short films about current issues, Thiermann focuses on the power we have to create a better world through everyday actions that we take. Through his Internet series, Surfing For Change, Kyle inspired viewers to move over 340 million dollars of lending power out of multi-national coal funding banks, and into local banks around the country. Kyle connects young people with the simple daily decisions they make that benefit their local economies and the world and leverages his exposure as a Pro Surfer to empower typically disengaged people to become part of the solution. Kyle was voted Best Inspiration in the Good Times News Awards and is the winner of the Peter Benchley Blue Vision Youth Award.

Joe Jordan

Joe Jordan worked at NASA Ames Research Center and the SETI Institute for more than 20 years, serving on various projects, including flying observatories for infrared astronomy, Hubble Space Telescope design, studies of stratospheric ozone depletion and global climate change, the search for planets around distant stars, image analysis from the first Mars rover, and investigations of Saturn’s rings and the atmosphere of its moon Titan. In the last few years he’s been teaching renewable energy at Cabrillo College and San Jose State University. He leads “physics-in-nature” hikes and astronomy/stargazing evenings for various organizations or events in this area and elsewhere. He’s on the Board of Directors of Ecology Action, and long ago helped steer them in the direction of their now primary work on modernizing energy infrastructure. He originated the very first public-facility solar-energy projects in Santa Cruz, including the large-scale deployment of solar-energy systems on several of our schools. Sky-power to the people!

Gina Castaneda

Coach and Organizer of Aztecas Soccer Program

As an adolescent, Gina Castaneda experienced intervals of homelessness and even lived in a car for a period of time with her mother. Despite the adversities of growing up in a violent neighborhood and a violent home, Gina avoided gang entrenchment. In April 2008, Gina founded the Aztecas Soccer Program for Latino juvenile probationers who affiliate with both Norteño and Sureño gangs. As the coach and organizer, Gina has successfully managed to assimilate these opposing gangs into teammates, on and off the field.

Riane Eisler

social scientist, attorney, and author

Riane Eisler is a social scientist, attorney, and author whose work on cultural transformation has inspired both scholars and social activists. Her research has impacted many fields, including history, economics, psychology, sociology, and education. She has been a leader in the movement for peace, sustainability, and economic equity, and her pioneering work in human rights has expanded the focus of international organizations to include the rights of women and children. Dr. Eisler is President of the Center for Partnership Studies and internationally known for her bestseller The Chalice and The Blade: Our History, Our Future, now in 25 languages. Her newest book, The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics proposes a new approach to economics that gives visibility and value to the most essential human work: the work of caring for people and nature.

Rev. Deborah L. Johnson

Rev. Deborah L. Johnson is the founder of Inner Light Ministries in Santa Cruz, and The Motivational Institute, an organizational development consulting firm specializing in cross-cultural relations. A dynamic speaker and trainer known for bringing clarity to complex issues, she is a popular facilitator for progressive think tanks working at the intersections of religion, sexuality, social justice, and public policy. Author of The Sacred Yes and Your Deepest Intent, Rev. Johnson is an inductee into the Board of Preachers of the Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel at Morehouse College honoring clergy for their lifetime social justice work She received the 2011 Tony Hill Award in Santa Cruz County for her efforts to build bridges across diverse communities. A faculty member of UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management’s Executive Leadership Diversity Institute, Rev. Johnson holds a BA from USC, an MBA from UCLA, and a ministerial degree from the Holmes Institute

Annie Morhauser

founder of Annieglass

Ann Morhauser is the founder of Annieglass, a highly successful line of glass tableware sold through the finest luxury stores and resorts in the nation. Handcrafting her products in Northern California since 1983, Ann developed her company throughout the years to become one of the largest and most successful American glass studios. Ann’s work is in the collections of such noted museums as the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Luce Foundation Center for American Art in Washington DC; the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow, Scotland; and the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York. She is an active fundraiser for hunger, children’s health, and art education. She mentors young women in business.

Rachel Pike

Rachel Pike works at venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, where she invests in clean technology and mobile companies. Prior to joining DFJ, Rachel completed her Ph.D. in atmospheric chemistry at the University of Cambridge. During her time there, Rachel served as President of the Gates Scholars community, worked on a field campaign in Malaysia, and gave a short TED University talk on the scale of scientific research behind climate headlines. Previously, Rachel earned a B.A. in chemistry and a minor in African studies at Northwestern University. As an undergraduate, Rachel co-founded Fusion dance company, which has since become the largest dance company on campus. She also spent a year in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where she gained experience working on a Bus Rapid Transit planning project as an assistant consultant.

David Wish

Founder and Executive Director of Little Kids Rock

Dave Wish is the Founder and Executive Director of Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit organization that funds and runs one of the largest, free instrumental music programs in the U.S. public schools. Little Kids Rock is also a leading provider of free instruments and curriculum. Mr. Wish has initiated and managed the launch of campaigns to restore and revitalize music education for over 150,000 low-income children in eleven states. His work has been highlighted by a number of national and local media outlets including CNN Headline News, Time Magazine, MTV, A&E, The Dr. Phil Show and National Public Radio. Mr. Wish is a recognized social entrepreneur and has been awarded numerous honors for his work in the field, including fellowships from Ashoka, the Draper Richards Foundation, The Goldhirsh Foundation and the Kenneth A. Picerne Foundation.

Howard Martin

Howard Martin is one of the original leaders who helped Doc Childre found HeartMath. In 1999 he co-authored The HeartMath Solution published by HarperSanFrancisco and he has been with HeartMath’s world-wide training and consulting team since its inception in 1991. In 2000 he authored The HeartMath Method, an audio learning program published by Nightingale Conant. He is also the producer of two award-winning musical recordings including Doc Childre’s Heart Zones which spent 50 consecutive weeks on Billboard Magazine’s music charts. Howard speaks internationally on developing new intelligence needed to navigate life during changing times.

Gonan & Johan Premfors

Gonan and Johan are the main drivers behind the coaching and human consciousness movement on the Arabian Peninsula. Both are faculty members of the Coaches Training Institute (San Rafael, Ca.) They are the founders of Parentology, a relationship philosophy and series of workshops, currently delivered on four continents. Johan and Gonan have worked with thousands of people including business leaders, families, professional athletes, and governments. Gonan is from Istanbul, Turkey but has lived in Dubai since 1988 where she enjoyed a long career in finance before embarking on the human development path in 2005 by bringing the Coaches Training Institute and professional coaching to the Arabian Peninsula. Johan is from Stockholm, Sweden but grew up in Pakistan, Kenya and Turkey. He is a former private banker turned telecommunications entrepreneur and later professional coach. They live in Dubai with their teenage daughter.

Jonathan Trent

NASA scientist and adjunct Professor at UCSC

Jonathan Trent, NASA scientist and adjunct Professor at UCSC, wanted to understand what politicians meant when they said: “We need an Apollo mission for energy” and he began “Global Research into Energy and the Environment at NASA (GREEN).” Leading an interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers, he investigated how tools developed for Apollo, and space exploration in general, could be applied to address some of the most pressing problems on “spaceship earth.” Inspired by closed life-support systems developed for long-duration space exploration, he invented OMEGA—a system to grow microalgae, produce sustainable biofuels, clean wastewater, sequester carbon, and produce food and fertilizer without competing with agriculture for freshwater or land. The OMEGA project, supported by NASA and the California Energy Commission, is an ecology of technologies in which wastes become resources. An optimistic glimpse at the future and a reminder that we are not passengers on spaceship earth, we are the crew!

David Merrill

co-founder and president of Sifteo

David Merrill is co-founder and president of Sifteo, a company based in San Francisco building the future of play. Sifteo’s first product is a tabletop user interface system made of wireless graphical tiles that enables unique intelligent play applications. David is a graduate of the Fluid Interfaces Group at the MIT Media Lab. His work explores how human interactions with computers can leave the limitations of the desktop interface behind, through the development of physical-digital tools that operate comfortably in our real-world environments. He has lectured in computer science at Stanford University and led music controller design workshops at the MIT Media Lab. David holds a MS in Computer Science and BS in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University, and a MS and Ph.D. from the MIT Media Lab.

Tess Dunn

Tess Dunn’s voice has been described as passionate, real and “gorgeously raspy.” Dubbed in the media as “the young and the fearless,” this sixteen-year-old singer-songwriter from Santa Cruz writes songs that “…delve into deeper and darker spaces than the pop stars of her time.” Diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF), diabetes and epilepsy, Tess faces issues of mortality that infuse her music and lyrics with richness and haunting depth. Pursuing her musical dreams at a dizzying pace, Tess performs throughout the Bay Area (including at the Vans Warped Tour shows at Shoreline Amphitheatre), and has opened for artists including Karla Bonoff, Iris DeMent and Nina Storey and released her first album, “Darling Just Walk,” in 2009. Tess says that living with CF is “…like having a clock ticking over your head, but it has a way of putting things in perspective,” and her music explores issues of love and trust. An affecting advocate for anyone battling life’s challenges, Tess encourages others to shake off self-pity and to live fully. To listen to Tess is to be inspired.

Terrie Williams

Director of the Marine Mammal Physiology Program

Terrie Williams, PhD is a Co-Founder of the Center of Ocean Health and Director of the Marine Mammal Physiology Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has spent her life studying how big animals survive on our changing planet, from Alaskan killer whales to African cheetahs. Her research expeditions have taken her to the wildest places on earth. During these expeditions she has witnessed marked human impacts on wild animals. In response she directed the rescue of oiled sea otters following the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill and has been recording the effects of climate change on Arctic and Antarctica marine mammals. Her most recent work involves working with the most endangered marine mammal in U.S. waters, the Hawaiian monk seal. By creating a new research facility that promotes integrative learning between humans and animals she hopes to revive the human-animal bond that is essential for our future survival.

Heidi Boynton

personal trainer

Heidi Boynton, personal trainer, co-founder of Finding Sophia, co-founder of Mini Mermaid Running club, and triathlon coach, has inspired women of all walks of life in achieving their personal goals. A cancer diagnosis in 2001 and an additional diagnosis in 2008 has been the stimulus for Heidi to share her story of living life fully through writing, speaking, coaching, and participating in endurance events. She has done multiple triathlons and marathons, ultimately completing Ironman distance triathlons. Through her unique personal experience she has helped women work through fitness and emotional blocks in training for races as well as for life. Heidi loves to help women reach their fullest potential by helping them to stay focused on their own individual abilities.