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Two More Awesome, Local Speakers Confirmed: David Dennis & Bez Maxwell

http://daviddennisphotos.comDavid Dennis’ working title for his upcoming TEDxSantaCruz talk is “Homelessness, Surfboards, and Living a Well-Rounded Life.” Bez Maxwell’s is “Using the Female Orgasm in Life.”

They are the latest confirmed speakers for TEDxSantaCruz: Radical Collaboration, which will take place April 24 at the Rio Theatre.

Dennis is a Microsoft product manager, co-founder of Ventana Surfboards & Supplies, and former public school teacher for at-risk kids, who is known locally for his philanthropic photography work. He’s working on a portrait exhibit and fundraiser for the Digital Nest in Watsonville. Last year, he raised nearly $10,000 for 180/180 Santa Cruz in an acclaimed photo exhibit called Faces of Santa Cruz County and another $10,000 for the Surfrider Foundation Santa Cruz Chapter through his portrait show, Board Makers of Santa Cruz.

“One my goals is to inspire people to use their skills and interests in collaboration with others to improve the community for all of us,” he said. “I care deeply about improving education, protecting the oceans, and ending homelessness. I also love photography, marketing, and connecting with interesting people. Combining all of that is both natural and fun. I get to do what I love, but in service of the greater good.”

And what about others? “Anyone can do the same with their own hobbies and passions,” he said, “There are countless people who care about the same causes but have skills that complement our weaknesses. That’s where collaboration is so critical.”

BezMaxwellMaxwell, a community organizer, lecturer, and teacher, describes herself as “funny, quick, entertaining, articulate, and shameless.” She approaches subjects most people shy away from — like female orgasm.

“Through the practice of Orgasmic Meditation, which I teach,” she said, “people can radically collaborate around sex, intimacy, and telling the truth in ways that are transforming relationships and feeding our very human need for intimate contact.”

In fact, she said, “In my line of work, it’s ONLY through radical collaboration that we get what we really want from each other — real connection, in the bedroom, and far beyond.”

A Stanford-educated writer and certified life and relationship coach, Maxwell is CEO of OneTaste SantaCruz, which teaches a partnered sexuality practice that is said to bridge the gap between mindfulness and sexuality. She’s also chief operating officer of The Relating Gym, “the first gym in Santa Cruz — for your relationships.”

Maxwell and Dennis will join other confirmed speakers, Ed Reed, Bruce Damer, David Haussler, Barbara Rogoff, and Flora Lu, at this year’s TEDxSantaCruz. More presenters will be confirmed every week between now and mid-April.

Tickets for the all-day TEDxSantaCruz 2015: Radical Collaboration event are 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.

Last year’s event sold out, so attendees are advised to buy their tickets early.

Here’s a recent Q&A with David Dennis for the Santa Cruz Tech Beat. Good Times wrote about Maxwell in “The Big OM.”

About TED

TED, which stands for technology, entertainment and design, is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a one-off conference on 1984, TED has grown to support world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. Talks are recorded and free for viewing at

Since 2009, the internationally renowned TED conference organization has grown to include TEDx events, which are local, self-organized events around the world. TED licenses independently organized TEDx programs. TEDxSantaCruz 2015: Radical Collaboration will be the fourth daylong local TEDx conference.

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