The entire TEDxOlympia 2015 playlist is now available online. Take a look!

MAX BROWN | What are you willing to give up?
In cities as with life, if you aren't willing to give some things up, you might lose everything. Olympia will grow by an estimated 20,000 people in the next 20 years. How we plan, and more importantly what we give up for growth will determine the kind of city we experience.

Max was born and raised in Olympia and currently serves on the Olympia Planning Commission. At 24, he was elected the youngest known chair of the commission. Max cares about creating dense and walkable communities in Olympia with an eye for thoughtful design. He joined the commission to give back to his community and help shape the city that he wants future generations to enjoy. Max lives in Olympia with his wife Shannon, daughter Maddox, and twin boys Ryder and Rowan.


DANIEL CHERNISKE | Aquaponics: Maintaining our Ecosystems and
Inspiring Change

Aquaponics is a low environmental impact, inspiring, and adaptable way to grow food. The applications are exciting and promising. We can adapt and change, while providing hope and help to our communities.

Daniel is an aquaponic food systems designer, teacher, and consultant living, learning, and working in the greater South Sound area. He operates the aquaponic program at the Organic Farm at the Evergreen State College, where he teaches and facilitates education for students and the public. He serves as co-owner of Symbiotic Cycles, an aquaponic design and building company based out of Olympia, WA. Daniel has a passion for accessible and integrated food security approaches which is guided by his strong drive for humans rights, social justice, and vision for a resilient, diverse, and equitable society and quality of life for our world’s communities.


Legally blind at 35, Keith discovered that his life expanded as his sight dimmed.

Keith is a father of 2 daughters, a step dad, husband, waterman, singer/songwriter, drummer, and lacrosse coach. Keith feels most comfortable in the natural world. He is sharing his journey as a legally blind man on his blog.


STACY FLYNN | Clothing Will Save Us
It is undisputed that the textile and apparel industry is one of the most environmentally damaging industries on the planet and most people aren’t aware of exactly how their clothing contributes to water, air and soil damage around the world. Clothing is as important as the food we eat and the water we drink. The time is now to leverage the best of what we already do in the apparel industry and convert this massive issue in to one of the greatest opportunities of our century.

Stacy is a textile and apparel specialist with a BS in Textile Development and Marketing from the Fashion Institute of Technology and an MBA in Sustainable Systems from Bainbridge Graduate Institute at Pinchot University. She is actively reinventing the textile and apparel business model to preserve the future of apparel. After a diverse background working with both start-ups and large multi-national corporations like DuPont, Target, Eddie Bauer, and Rethink Fabric, Stacy launched Future Resource Collective (FRC), a collaboration hub and incubator for sustainable innovations in the apparel and textile industry. In 2014, FRC launched its first social purpose corporation, Evrnu, which uses a patent-pending technology that recycles cotton garment waste to create premium, renewable fiber. Learn more about her work at


RUSSELL KOLTS | Anger, Compassion, and What It Means To Be Strong
While anger can feel powerful in our bodies, many of us use angry behavior to avoid dealing with things that make us uncomfortable. Compassion gives us a way to be strong that helps us courageously face the things that scare us—about the world, and about ourselves—and help make them better.

Russell is a licensed clinical psychologist and Professor of Psychology at Eastern Washington University, where he has taught for the past 16 years and has received numerous honors including twice being named the associated student body’s Faculty of the Year. Dr. Kolts has authored and coauthored numerous books and scholarly articles, including The Compassionate Mind Guide to Managing Your Anger, An Open Hearted Life: Transformative Lessons for Compassionate Living from a Clinical Psychologist and a Buddhist Nun (with Thubten Chodron), and the forthcoming Buddhist Psychology and CBT: A Practitioner’s Guide (with Dennis Tirch and Laura Silberstein). Dr. Kolts has pioneered the application of Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) to the treatment of problematic anger and regularly conducts trainings and workshops on CFT.


DEBBIE LACY | In Search of Purpose and Lunch
To create meaning and fulfillment in life, you need to know what you want. Using the decision about what to have for lunch as both a practice and metaphor for pursuing bigger desires, life coach Debbie Lacy invites us to take the Three Day Lunch Challenge.

Debbie is a Certified Life Coach with a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Maryland. Debbie is the author of Ready, Set, Manifest! A Handbook for the In-Betweens and Leaps in Life. After a career that spanned social psychology research, clinical social work, and nonprofit management, Debbie launched her full-time coaching and consulting practice in 2003. She is a practitioner at Higher Wellness in Bellevue, WA where she provides individual coaching sessions and workshops. She and her husband live in Kirkland, WA with their son and two dogs. Debbie enjoys monthly meetings with her book group and providing "quality control" services at Auclair Winery, her husband’s labor of love. Learn more about Debbie and her work at


MICHAEL B. MAINE | Between the Frames
Socially engaged artist, Michael B. Maine, shares his story of learning how some of the most important moments occur when he puts down the camera. His process of working with clients and subjects is a slow one intended to build strong relationships based on trust and mutual respect and appreciation. His goal is to bring people together with shared experiences that allow each person to not only recognize the humanity in “the other” but to love and celebrate our differences.

Michael's work is intended to bring people together who might not normally share intimate time and space. His goal is to both illuminate the things we have in common and celebrate our differences while exploring issues of identity, belonging, isolation, deviance, kindness, and oppression. The medium he uses most is photography supplemented with interviews, community events, and transmedia storytelling, distribution, and collaboration. He describes himself as someone who newly identifies with being an artist. Although his path has taken several turns to find his passions, his set of experiences have positioned him to be able to serve as a bridge between several different communities. This informs much of his inspiration and the approaches he takes with his work. Learn more about Michael and his work at


MEG MARTIN | Screen Them In
The winter of 2012 brought about a call to action to defend the lives of vulnerable people living on the streets of Olympia. Meg and a small team created a concept for a shelter and urged the city to listen. They opened the shelter doors on November 1, 2014 in the center of downtown. When we are able to find the vulnerability within ourselves, the challenges others face become closer than we may think.

Meg is an outreach worker, advocate, social worker, musician, aunt, and Program Director of the Interfaith Works Emergency Overnight Shelter (IWEOS) in Olympia. Meg worked closely with the street community for 7 years in downtown Olympia as an outreach worker with the Emma Goldman Youth and Homeless Outreach Project and created, with two passionate friends, the concept for the IWEOS that opened November 1, 2014 at First Christian Church. The IWEOS is an overnight shelter for highly vulnerable single adults and couples without dependent children, operating 7 days a week, 365 days a year. IWEOS's mission is to advance the social inclusion and empowerment of the homeless community through innovative practices of sheltering, mental health and emergency basic needs coordination. In her free time Meg listens to records, plays in bands, dreams big about the possibilities, thinks about gardening—but never really gets to it—and eats tons of veggies.


CHRIS MAYNARD | A World in a Feather
An artist explores how setting personal limits can open up a world of possibilities.

Chris combines his scientific knowledge, artistic sense, and love of the natural world in a new art form. His medium is feathers, which represent flight, transformation, healing, and a bridge between our present lives and our dreams. Chris is grateful that his work with feathers has hit a soft-spot in the hearts of people around the world. Learn more about Chris and his work at


An inspiring duo featuring vocals, fiddle and guitar.

Maggie, sophomore at Olympia High School, is a fiddler, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist (her other instruments include cello, ukulele, and guitar). Maggie has been in a variety of bands including The Bowpullers, Jumping Off Place, and her family's band Fiddlie-I-Ay. She has played traditional music for over half of her life, and has recently immersed herself in playing swing jazz and writing original compositions. She is joined by guitarist Vince Brown, of the local jazz duo Red and Ruby (with LaVon Hardison), and the Greta Jane Quartet. Maggie and Vince enjoy creating innovative arrangements just as much as recreating fun old standards. They are delighted to participate in TEDxOlympia and hope you enjoy the show!


MADELINE POULTRIDGE | How to Talk to Your Dad: Turning Conflict
into Conversation

Using skills from mediation in everyday arguments and interactions.

Madeline is entering her senior year at Avanti High School in Olympia, WA. She began her work in conflict resolution at age 15 with the Dispute Resolution Center of Thurston County. She is thrilled to share ideas and stories with the community.


SARA SPARROW | Wee Small (An Excerpt)
A dazzling contemporary circus performance.

Sara came to circus through a background as a gymnast, an actor and performer in musical theater, and as a classically-trained singer and musician who holds a degree in visual art. She has a distinctive, awkward grace that permeates her solo aerial and acrobatic work. A malleable character actor with a wide range of interests, she is entranced by the collaborative effort of performer and audience, and the unparalleled possibility of modern circus. She is currently working on a full-length solo show, "Wee Small", that will be presented in 2016. Sara has been teaching and performing aerial and acrobatics in the Pacific Northwest for six years, and in the summer of 2015, she will be opening her own training and teaching studio in downtown Olympia, dedicated to the advancement of the art of circus. Learn more about Sara and her work at Sparrow Studios and


DIANE WHALEN | Stepping Forward into Priesthood
Institutional religion that denies women’s gifts for leadership is reaching a point of no return. Perhaps those who care about that need to take a step.

Diane, a life-long Catholic, was the first woman in Washington State to be ordained as a Roman Catholic Womanpriest in May of 2010. She serves Holy Wisdom Inclusive Catholic Community in Olympia and Lacey, WA.