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TEDx Tacoma speakers to tackle transformation

Local visionaries to expound upon whatever's on their mind at this very moment

TALKING HEADS: TEDX Tacoma participants, from left, Jean Brittingham, Scott Ercoliani, Janine Terrano, Susan Russell, Eric Van Alstine, Brian Nelson, Kathleen O'Brien, Kristin Lynett. PHOTO CREDIT: Dane Meyer

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TED is a nonprofit organization dedicated to sharing knowledge and ideas. Most people with an Internet connection probably know about the TED talks posted online, but now Tacoma will have its own TED event.

TEDx are locally organized versions of TED talks, and TEDx Tacoma is set to take place April 17, and the theme is Transformation. Speakers will range from artists to business owners to community movers and shakers.

"Our passion, our goal, is to bring a TEDx here where we can bring in some of the best transformers that we can find locally," says organizer Josh Dunn, president of Premier Media Group. "This is the first one, but we want to build it to an annual event."

Dunn and the newly formed TEDx Tacoma committee selected mostly local speakers for the event. More than 20 speakers will fill four 90-minute sessions. Talks will range from 3 to 18 minutes each. All speakers will address the theme of Transformation in one way or another, whether in their own lives or a transformation they wish for others.

One of the speakers, Susan Russell Hall, sketched open-heart surgeries for over two decades, and transformed her medical artwork into world-class fine art in just the last few years.

"I have carefully drawn more than 6,500 individual surgeries, more than anyone in the world," says Hall. "Because of this real-world, life-or-death experience, my current practice continues to relate directly and metaphorically to the heart. I work with layers of imagery and spatial planes, attempting to connect with people on a deep personal and emotional level."

Another speaker, Washington Army National Guard Major Brian Nelson, developed a language immersion program as well as a language-training program called LingFit. He is now working on a self-improvement program inspired by working out.

"What impressed me is that once a month, you add five pounds," says Nelson. "Then the thought occurred to me - that means today, I am one pound stronger than I was last week. Later on in the day, I thought, how are you becoming one pound kinder? How am I filled with one more pound of gratitude? How am I becoming a one pound better husband? What hit me was that I need a program - I'm not just going to wake up and be Ghandi. It's got to be a deliberate approach."

He is now working on a program to help people track many aspects of their lives as they strive to improve in any number of ways - just one pound each day.

Other speakers include Seattle-based author Erik Van Alstine, author of Breaking Free and creator of The Code. The Code is five universal laws that "govern all thought, emotion and behavior."

"It's more than a big book I've been writing," says Van Alstine. "It has become a transformation program for our personal lives, our businesses and our culture. It has tremendous power to help people solve problems and accelerate their lives in practical ways."

Some of the event sponsors will also speak, there will be a breakfast and lunch session and a network reception the night of the event so attendees can meet the speakers.

The main event will be held in the Museum of Glass Hot Shop (yet another clever nod to transformation), but a secondary location in MOG's theater will feature a live stream of the speakers. Hot Shop seats cost $100. Theater seats are $65.

"We're hoping that at least a couple of our speakers will be qualified to be uploaded to the TED Talks site," says Dunn. "That would be unbelievable!

TEDxTACOMA, TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 9:30 A.M. TO 5 P.M., 465-$100,

MUSEUM OF GLASS, 1801 DOCK ST., TACOMA, TEDXTACOMA.COM

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