September 15, 2012 • Cabrillo College Crocker Theater • Aptos

More than 350 people joined us on September 15, 2012 for our second annual all-day TEDxSantaCruz conference at the beautiful performing arts center at Cabrillo College. We featured 17 speakers and performers whose experiences, projects, work, or creativity speak of openness, beginnings, transparency, radical availability, and open-source initiatives. It was an exhilarating day of talks, TED videos, a memorable picnic on the lawn at Cabrillo, and a relaxing after-party reception where the audience and speakers got to connect to share their experiences.

Watch Full Youtube Playlist

Speakers & Performers

Luc Reynaud


Social worker, teaching artist, musician and a lover of the earth, Luc was born and raised in a small mountain town in eastern Washington where he grew up humming in the background to the elegant voices of his father and eldest sister. Two years into his film direction studies at college, Luc took to hitchhiking across the western United States and along the way discovered his true passion: music. Since then he’s dedicated his life to music and social service. Luc is driven by the fundamental belief that we all have endless capabilities as long as we do not limit or judge ourselves.


Martha Mendoza

Associated Press Writer

Martha Mendoza is an Associated Press Writer whose reports have won numerous awards and prompted Congressional hearings, Pentagon investigations and White House responses. She won a 2000 Pulitzer Prize and George Polk Award for Investigative Reporting as part of a team that revealed, with extensive documentation, the decades-old secret of how American soldiers early in the Korean War killed hundreds of civilians at the No Gun Ri bridge. Mendoza is the recipient of numerous other state, regional, national and international journalism awards, including the Overseas Press Club's Madeline Dane Ross Award, the National Science Writers Association Award, California First Amendment Coalition Beacon Award for Freedom of Information, and repeated AP Managing Editors honors. She has reported for the AP since 1997, in Albuquerque, N.M., New York and Mexico City. She was a 2001 Knight Fellow at Stanford University and a 2007 Ferris Professor for Humanities at Princeton University. She lives in Santa Cruz, Calif. with her husband and four children.

Donnie Fowler

CEO and Founder, Dogpatch Strategies

Donnie Fowler has built a career in technology and politics through his work in the Clinton White House, at the Federal Communications Commission, as vice president at TechNet in Silicon Valley, and with political campaigns across the United States. Donnie earned a perfect 3-0 record leading presidential battleground states (Connecticut'96, Michigan'04, & Indiana'08). He was Al Gore's National Field Director in 2000 and General Wesley Clark's national campaign manager in 2004. Donnie finished second to Howard Dean in the contest for Democratic National Chairman after the 2004 presidential election. 

On the business side, Donnie's work has included business development and policy support for clients as varied as Facebook, Stanford University, PredPol, and the Solar Energy Industries Association. He represented the clean tech industry on the 2010 campaign to stop Prop 23, Big Oil's effort to overturn California's clean energy and climate laws. Donnie is a regular contributor to former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm's "The War Room" on CurrentTV. Originally from South Carolina, he now lives in San Francisco with his wife Heather Stephenson and their one-year-old daughter.

Zach Friend

Public Information Officer/Crime Analyst, Santa Cruz Police

Zach Friend is a policy, public affairs and communications expert who has worked for Barack Obama's presidential campaign, the White House Council of Economic Advisers and in both houses of Congress. For most of the last decade Zach has been the Press Information Officer and Crime Analyst for the Santa Cruz Police Department. In addition to directing communications strategy and acting as the department's spokesman, he analyzes crime statistics to help design more effective prevention and enforcement strategies. He has been published extensively on issues related to public management, law enforcement resource allocations and health and economic policy. Zach has a Masters degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University and a BA with Honors in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He was recently elected as County Supervisor for the 2nd District and begins his term in January 2013.

Danny Keith

President and Executive Director, Grind Out Hunger

Danny Keith is currently the President and Executive Director of Grind Out Hunger, and the Chief Development and Technology Officer for Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County. His accomplishments include the establishment of several successful business ventures, sports writing/blogging, an ongoing 5-plus year radio stint on 102.5 KDON FM, the founding of Grind Out Hunger an action sports and music non profit specializing in developing the leaders of tomorrow by empowering the youth. Community awards United Way Community Hero 2011, a 2010 NEXTie and a 2009 People Magazine All Stars Among us round out some of the accolades of Keith's career. A surfer for life, he is married to his wonderful wife of 6 years and cherishes his children. Keith has been a Santa Cruz Resident, business owner, community activist and philanthropist for more than 20 years.

Chris Yonge

3D Designer and Founder, MakersFactory

Chris graduated as an architect in 1978 before becoming a furniture designer/maker and running a successful studio for ten years in Scotland. Moving to the US he became a product designer in North Carolina and California before becoming ever more fascinated by the potential of 3D digital modeling, animation, and production. He is now a partner in MakersFactory, a Santa Cruz company that uses 3D printing and visualization to help innovators and artists produce their ideas. Chris also teaches animation at the School of Engineering in UC Santa Cruz using the open source program Blender.

Allie Cooper

Allie Cooper began learning the fundamentals of aerial work in Santa Cruz, California in 2008. Her honest style has developed to utilize momentum and natural pathways and to embrace functionality. She has traveled extensively in Europe and has had the privilege to share and learn from the artists who inspire her most. Allie has performed and taught across the United States, Europe, Central America, and Asia. Most recently she performed at the Envision Festival in Costa Rica, Moisture Festival in Seattle, and Lucidity in Santa Barbara. She also taught workshops for La Petite Chouette In Santa Barbara, the Dia Mundial del Circo 2012 in Mexico City and was an Club Med Artist in Phuket, Thailand.


music producer

LoWGritt aka The Enthusiast is the musical alias of Logan Gritton, a dedicated electronic music producer based in Santa Cruz, Ca. His style is influenced by political trip-hop music, melodic dance-floor grooves, and experimental electronica. The outcome is a deep and juicy blend of Industrial Hip Hop that doesn’t settle to stay in one tempo range. It is suitable for dance floors as well as the ear-buds of more introverted listeners. He is Co-founder of electronic hip-hop group Vibrant Eyeris, a Central Coast 4 piece band consisting of Numerous/MC, LoWGritt/Producer, Rudeskool/DJ and Rhythm Fiend/Drums. The group has been active across California for the last 3 years performing at venues/festivals across the state, most notable would be Earth-dance 2010 and 2011, the group has opened for acts such as Beats Antique, Gaudi, RJD2, Vokab Kompany, ESKMO, Nappy Roots, love and light, Abstract Rude, Minnesota, and others.


Whitney Smith

CEO, Girls for a Change

e: CEO, Girls for a Change Speaker Bio: Whitney Smith is the visionary Founder of Girls For A Change (GFC). Her inspiration for GFC springs from over 20 years of experience in the leadership of innovative and progressive programs for girls and women. Her experience working with girls in juvenile detention and group homes has shaped her vision for a different world for girls and women. Envisioned as a highly collaborative and community-based model, GFC has evolved over the last ten years from a local organization serving 100 girls to an international organization serving thousands of girls across the globe. Together with her team of seven staff and hundreds of volunteers she is training thousands of young urban women to be change agents and leaders. Under her leadership GFC has served over 10,000 young urban women in the last ten years around the US and internationally. GFC is in 15 US states and 5 other countries.

Mark Nicolson

Business Leadership Consultant

Mark Nicolson has been consulting and teaching for the last two decades on transformative leadership in organizations. His clients include corporations, partnerships, VCs, and social change visionaries. He is a principal consultant of Ventana Group, and he has recently worked with IDEO, BALLE, Humanity United, and the Ella Baker Center, as well as with Desmond Tutu and his family foundation. Early in his career, he worked in investment banking in the UK and Hong Kong before becoming a partner in Alexander, the UK pioneer in executive coaching. His style is warm, insightful, and humorous. In his work with groups and individuals, he creates a foundation of trust that allows people to explore their desire to transform. He has taught in executive education at Harvard and teaches teaches regularly at Stanford and Esalen. He has an MBA from Stanford, and MA in Classical Literature from Oxford, and an MA in Psychology from Meridian University.

Cid Pearlman

Choreographer, Curator, Educator

Cid Pearlman's choreography subtly disrupts traditional notions of desire, gender, and friendship. Her work has been presented by numerous venues, including Joyce SoHo, Kanuti Gildi SAAL in Estonia, the Getty Center, Theater Artaud, and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. From 1991-99 Cid was the artistic director of San Francisco's Nesting Dolls. In 1999 she relocated to Los Angeles, establishing herself as an independent choreographer and curator. Recent collaborators include Joan Jeanrenaud, formerly of Kronos Quartet, and Jonathan Segel of Camper Van Beethoven. After receiving an MFA in Dance from UCLA (2006), Cid relocated to Santa Cruz, where she teaches at Cabrillo College and UCSC. During the 2009-10 academic year Cid was a Fulbright Scholar in Estonia, teaching and collaborating with Estonian dance artists. Her most recent work has been supported by CA$H, the U.S. Embassy/Estonia, the Djerassi Resident Artist Program, and the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County.

Terri Schneider

Coach, Consultant, Speaker, Writer

Terri Schneider's lifetime involvement in extreme endurance sports reflects her curiosity, zeal and insatiable appetite to experience new cultures and landscapes while pushing her physical and mental limits. Her passion is to share those experiences with others as a coach, consultant, writer and speaker. As a world-class professional triathlete for ten years then an adventure racer and ultra runner, she has raced, climbed and explored in over 70 countries—the more remote and challenging the location, the more enticing. Terri has her M.A. in Sports Psychology and, her B.S. in Exercise Physiology. She is author of Triathlon Revolution: Training, Technique and Inspiration, co-author of Triathlete's Guide to Mental Training, has contributed to two additional books and is now working on her next book. In the Fall of 2011 she lead 4-person Expedition Bhutan on a never-been-done crossing of the country of Bhutan trekking and mountain biking, while they shot a documentary film of their journey (thehappiestplacefilm.com). Terri returned to Bhutan in 2012 to live and volunteer with the Bhutan Olympic Committee and her work supporting Youth and Olympic Sports in Bhutan continues today.

G Craig Vachon

an angel investor, futurist and entrepreneur

Craig thinks he is the luckiest person he has ever met. As an angel investor, futurist and entrepreneur, Craig has helped small companies devise business plans and raise ~$1.1B from VCs to enable their growth, [and the creation of many worthwhile jobs]. He and his tolerant wife have lived and worked for more than 10 years outside of the US, in such diverse locales as Tokyo [twice], Hong Kong, Taipei, Pune India, Vancouver BC and London UK. His most-current role [and investment] is at AnchorFree, the world's most-popular consumer VPN. AnchorFree provides its users with security, privacy [do-not-track] and unfettered access to the World Wide Web from anywhere [even in places with government/other censorship]. Craig hopes to someday invest in truth and teleportation machines. He is a poorly-talented stone sculptor, water-color painter and classic convertible collector. Craig lovingly makes and drinks his great-grandmother's limoncello.

John Perry Barlow

Peripheral Visionary

John Perry Barlow has been a cattle rancher in Wyoming, has written songs for the Grateful Dead, co-founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and is currently working on a project to turn sewage into jetfuel. He likes open range, open doors, open season, open source, open standards, open government, open hearts, and open minds. He fears only fear and wants to be a good ancestor.

Terry Corwin

Executive Director, Land Trust of Santa Cruz County

As a child, Terry enjoyed family camping trips to Big Basin and Henry Cowell’s State Parks. These experiences developed in her a deep love of the natural lands of Santa Cruz County. After becoming a CPA, Terry spent most of her business career in corporate finance. Prior to her executive finance roles in technology start-ups, Terry was in charge of taxation, treasury and SEC reporting for Plantronics. She became Executive Director of the Land Trust in 2005. Since that time the Land Trust has protected 10,442 acres of high conservation value land in Santa Cruz County and raised $38 million toward land protection.

Nina Simon

Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH)

Simon teaches radical exhibition design in the University of Washington Museology graduate program and writes the popular blog Museum 2.0. Her 2010 book, The Participatory Museum, was named "a future classic of museology" and is used as a text in cultural organizations and graduate programs internationally. Previously, Simon worked as an independent consultant to over 100 museums and cultural centers around the world, focusing on participatory community engagement. She served as curator at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, Calif., and was the Experience Development Specialist at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.

Albert Flynn DeSilver

Poet, Author, Artist, Publisher

Albert Flynn DeSilver is an internationally published poet, author, artist, publisher, speaker, and writing coach. He served as Marin County's very first poet laureate from 2008-2010. Albert has published several books and hundreds of individual poems in literary journals worldwide. His work has been included in a number of anthologies including "Letters to Poets: Conversations about Poetics, Politics, and Community," which Cornel West called "a courageous and visionary book." His visual work has appeared at The Armand Hammer Museum, and a recent visual poem was included as part of a large public sculpture commissioned by the Freeport Water Authority and EBMUD, designed by the artist Paul Kos, and built on the banks of the Sacramento River in 2010. Albert has taught writing and poetry workshops everywhere from Spirit Rock Meditation Center to San Quentin State Prison, to the British Institute in Paris—and for more than ten years as a California Poet in the Schools. His latest book is "Beamish Boy: A Memoir" about his extraordinary journey toward an open poetic identity.