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First TEDx in the Mountains

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Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2019 9:00 am

A lot of people around the world have an “idea worth sharing,” which is the TED talk motto. Many people have heard of or watched a TED talk at some point. According to, these talks are powerful and take less than 20 minutes to listen to. The talks began in 1984, but have grown exponentially in the past decade with the help of the internet.

Part of the reason these talks grow is because of the introduction of TEDx events. These are licensed by TED, but independently run and organized by communities around the world to share live with their community and then be hosted on

On Sunday, Aug. 18, the first TEDx event on the mountain, TEDx Skyforest, was held at SkyPark at Santa’s Village and featured 11 speakers. The theme around the event was “Smaller Towns, Bigger Thinking,” which is the concept of thinking big while living in and loving small towns.

The host of the event, Alyona Minkovski, introduced each speaker and spoke with them briefly before they left the stage after their speech.


Aaron Michael Pyne

Aaron is a business mentor and healer. According to information from the organizers, “Aaron’s mission is to help others to live more conscious, creative, and connected lives in contribution to a larger scale evolutionary healing. He carries a gift for bridging spirituality, meditation, healing, digital design, and business to assist individuals and organizations to discover their unrealized potential.” 

Aaron’s talk was on how important trees have been in mythology around the world, his personal life and humanity’s survival. His talk also included a brief guided meditation!


Gabriel Santos

Gabriel is a paleontologist and cosplayer. During his talk, Gabriel described cosplay as the art of dressing as a character from pop culture, whether it be from shows, movies, video games, comics, or anime.

Gabriel and other scientists and professors like him have discovered they can use cosplay and pop culture to help others become more interested in science. According to information provided by the organizers, Gabriel is the co-founder of the Cosplay for Science Initiative, “a STEAM-powered science education initiative that uses pop-culture narratives and cosplay to teach science and change people’s perceptions of scientists.”

Gabriel’s talk revolved around how the Cosplay for Science Initiave works and its impact so far.


Jared Stephens

Jared is a community builder and entrepreneur. “Jared is a firm believer in a better future of our earth,” according to information provided by the organizers.

Jared’s talk tells his story of entrepreneurship as he has moved around the world and found seeks a “connection that will bring harmony to humans, nature, and technology.”


Jehan Izhar

Jehan is a kinesiologist and performance coach. According to information provided by the organisers, he’s also “an internationally recognized aerial circus performer, movement coach, and business owner” with “degrees in both theater and exercise science...” who “uses community theater to empower, inspire, support and connect people around the production of original performing arts shows.” 

Jehan’s talk is about how community theatre can be used to empower people and bring communities together.


Mandy Krzeminski

Mandy is an occupational therapist (OT) and child advocate who said she “wants to heal the world through OT.”

At her “private pediatric occupational therapy practice, The Silly Room, she focuses on helping children… develop and maintain the skills necessary to thrive socially, emotionally, and academically” and she “utilizes her credentials… to impact students in local schools and communities,” according to information provided by organizers.

Mandy’s talk discusses how she has been forced to innovate to make her dream begin to come true and work around her constraints. 


Michelle Markel

Michelle is a long-distance hiker and public lands advocate who, according to information provided by organizers, “launched in 2017 to encourage recreational usage of and advocacy for public lands. She is an avid hiker with more than 6,000 miles of experience, and is on track to be the first Polynesian American to complete the Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Pacific Crest Trail.”

Michelle’s talk is about how she, and many others, have benefitted from putting down their cell phone to get all their information and ask strangers instead.


Natasha Gordon

Natasha is a community advocate and researcher. “She is passionate about mental health and community wellness. Natasha presented her research on resilience to the Western Psychological Association earlier this year,” according to information provided by organizers.

Natasha’s talk discusses her own struggle with mental illness and trauma and how no one should someone else write their story for them.


Nathan Hidajat

Nathan is a 16-year-old student at Rim who started his own podcast about health tips he has learned. According to information provided by organizers, Nathan’s “ambition is to help educate people on how to be happier and healthier; both physically and mentally!”

Nathan’s talk revolves around how color can help both people’s mental and physical health, a practice called aromatherapy.


Rico Tarver

Rico is an entrepreneur and community advocate who now works in the cannabis industry. With a  background in corporate finance, Rico “is a founding member of National Diversity and Inclusion Cannabis Alliance (NDICA) and was named among High Times’ 100 Most Influential People of 2018,” according to information provided by organizers.


Rico’s talk is about not wearing a “mask” to be accepted and instead pursuing a lifestyle that will make you happy, using his own life as an example of wearing masks for too long before abandoning them.


Ryan Matthews

Ryan is a dog lover and business coach who started as an elite Army canine handler.

According to information from the organizers, “Ryan’s mission in life is to share his gifts and talents to positively transform the lives of others, including dogs.”

Ryan’s talk centers on what people can learn from dogs, especially when it comes to showing love and affection to those we care about.


Steven Rubio

Steven is a musician, producer and drum instructor, who “was heavily influenced by his family of musicians and their passion for music,” according to information provided by the organizers.

Steven’s talk is about why the music standard for tuning should be changed from A440 to A432 and the benefits of doing so. It also includes wavelengths that should he said everyone should minimize exposure to, including Bluetooth, routers, cell phones, and smart meters.

At the event, there was also a pop-up museum from the Cosplay for Science Initiative, Antique Trivia with Richard Teachout, and a photo booth.

After the talks were over the head organizer, Aminah Teachout, said the experience was surreal for her and said there will be more TEDx Skyforest talks in the future. Aminah and other members of the TEDx organization team thanked their sponsors numerous times, particularly SkyPark and Creative Culture Media Company.

We will update this story once the full talks have been posted online.

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