TOTALLY Clinical psychologist Jonah Pacquette described the experience of awe as a central element of emotional fitness, at the 2023 TEDx Sonoma County.

The Big Brains are coming back to Sonoma Country Day School, and we’re not talking about the senior class. TEDx Sonoma County returns to the spacious, comfortable Jackson Theater on Saturday, March 2, for a lively afternoon of intellectual stimulation and life-changing inspiration from a dozen speakers who have something to say.

This year’s theme, “Reimagine, Reconfigure, Reconnect,” is a classic TED sentiment: brief, open-ended and alliterative.

TEDx SISTERS Organizers of the March 2 Sonoma County TEDx event are MarilynNagel (left) and Anisya Fritz, who also serves as emcee.

“We’ve entered a cycle of seismic change and are challenged to keep pace with the political, economic and social consequences of new technologies and an accelerated world,” said Anisya Fritz, proprietor of Lynmar Estate and master of ceremonies of the local TEDx talks.

Fritz said that this year’s list of presenters “inspires us to lean into big questions with curiosity and courage, and to participate in the shaping of a better future.”

It will mark the 12th local year of the independent community offshoot of the celebrated TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conferences. Along with producer Marilyn Nagel, Fritz is a primary license holder for TEDx Sonoma County, a qualifying conference of the 40-year-old national organization whose motto is, “Ideas worth spreading.”

MUSIC MAN Sonoma educator and musician Steve Pile will join Ghana’s Jali Bakary at TEDx Sonoma County on May 2.

The Saturday event begins at 1:30pm and runs through 12 presentations expressing a variety of voices and perspectives. The standard duration for a TED-style talk is 18 minutes or less; most have a series or “deck” presentation of images or short video, but it’s the speaker who drives the show.

The short-form structure allows for a sometimes dizzying assault of inspiration that rarely allows time for boredom (or a bathroom break). This year’s roster of speakers begins and ends with musicians—recording artist and textile entrepreneur Lawrence Beamen to start, and Gambia’s Jali Bakary Konteh and Sonoma’s Steve Pile on the Griot Music of West Africa to finish.

In between, the speakers uniformly work on issues with both local and national impact. These include environmentalist Daniela Fernandez, who created the global organization Sustainable Ocean Alliance at the age of 19 in her college dorm; journalist Carl Fussman of The New York Times and Esquire magazine, on the value of a good question; and Dawn Gross, a hospice and palliative care medicine physician who promotes changing the way we think and talk about death.

APPLE MAN Guy Kawasaki, Apple Computer’s first tech evangelist, will speak March 2 at TEDx Sonoma County.

Apple’s first “chief evangelist,” Guy Kawasaki, a notable speaker in the tech world for decades, will expound on “How to Murder Your Mediocrity”; Jess Nichol will argue against the three strikes laws that were passed following the murder of her sister, Polly Klass; and filmmaker Quinn Halleck will propose using Artificial Intelligence to empower creative artists rather than replace them.

Other speakers include behavioral psychologist Brooke Deterline, local first-generation college grad Luz Hernandez, venture capitalist Alex Lazarow and Dr. Mark Shapiro on healthcare.

Snacks and other refreshments will be available. There is one 20-minute intermission, and a short reception at 5:30pm following the event is planned.

Complete speaker information and reservation links at 

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