Texas Woman's University to Host Inaugural TEDx TWU Confrence

TED Talk enthusiasts, rejoice! TEDx is coming back to North Texas, this time - and for the first time - at Texas Woman’s University. The University of North Texas has held a handful of TEDx events in the past, including the last event that was this past October. The event will take place tomorrow Friday, March 4, 2016, at the Redbud Theatre.

This event was the brainchild of Dr. Carmen Cruz who is the Assistant Director of TWU and Director of Training for the TWU Counseling Center. Dr. Cruz took her idea to Garrett Isom, TWU’s Leadership Development Coordinator in the Center for Student Development, due to Isom’s previous experience in organizing TEDx events.

Everyone on the TEDxTWU Executive Committee works for TWU. “Other TED enthusiasts who work at TWU have also joined the effort to make this event a reality,” says Annie Phillips, the events Marketing Director. “It’s been a major undertaking, however, the process has been rewarding and the conference itself is going to be powerful.”

The events speaker are a mix of TWU professionals, students, alumni, and community members in addition to some who have no affiliation to TWU. “We are truly wanting to share ideas worth spreading,” Phillips says, “and are excited about our speaker line up.”

One of the speakers is local business, Soma Massage Therapy, owner Amber Briggle. “I didn't even know that there was a TEDx event at TWU,” Briggle says, “until one of the curators approached me about doing a talk on massage therapy. I was intrigued, and though I've never done anything like this before, I am not one to really shy away from a challenge, so I hesitantly accepted.”

After some more research, Briggle found that the theme of this particular TEDx conference was about Pioneering the Space Between - which sparked a flame inside her brain.

“It immediately spoke to me about my son's journey from female to male -- or rather, my own acceptance of his journey -- and so I called her back to see if this was a topic that they think they'd be interested in, instead of massage.”

After getting permission from her son and praying about the idea with husband, they eventually decided that this was the topic she needed to share with the community. Briggle applied along with dozens of other folks, and her topic was accepted.

The TEDx experience has been a great exercise for Briggle, she says. “Unfortunately, transgender issues aren't really something we ever talk about publicly,” Briggle shares. “This means that it's relegated to the shadows, and families like mine think that there's something "wrong" or "weird" about them. It's so easy to pass judgment on something and someone you know nothing about, and that judgment is based on misinformation and fear.”

“We hope to engage in a public dialogue about the passions that drive us and to challenge each other to examine the unexamined, “Phillips says. “When we do this, we become part of a ripple effect of progress and change.”

There will be three different blocks, time ranging from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Speakers from each block include:

Block One:
Katie Lane TWU - student
Amber Briggle - Community member
Carmen Cruz TWU - staff
Gretchen Busl TWU - faculty
Gray Scott TWU - faculty
Katie Kellett TWU - student
Prathiba Natesan Community - member

Block Two:
Edyka Chilomé TWU alumni
Jennifer Rulon Community member
Lucy Lawrence & James Lawrence Community members
Susan Cooley TWU alumni
Madelyn Blair TWU student
Salma Hooshmand TWU student
Connie Cornwell Community member  
Sarah Woods TWU faculty
Carissa Enright TWU faculty
Dianne Randolph TWU alumni

Block Three:
Miguel Roman TWU student
Neftali Gomez TWU student
Vanessa Mercado Taylor Community member
Sarah Kelsey Hall Community member
Pamela Wat Community member
Jamie Covey TWU student
Lauren Hoebee TWU alumni
Cortney Baker Community member