Climbing New PeaksTaking Place October 28, 2017



Tickets On Sale Now!


The second annual TEDxSanLuisObispo Conference will take place on October 28th, 2017 in the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center on Cal Poly’s campus. This year, our event will be encompassing the theme “Climbing New Peaks.” As members of the San Luis Obispo community, we are proud to live among stunning peaks which characterize our landscape.

These peaks represent both challenges and opportunities that we encounter in our everyday lives. Our passionate speakers provide attendees with the courage to take the first step, and the motivation to take on these mountainous events. Through this difficult climb, we strive to grow as both individuals and a community, ready to inspire and transform the world around us.




Last year the TEDx team put on a spectacular TEDxCalPoly event, selling out the Performing Arts Center venue in just over two weeks. Almost 1,300 individuals attended the event, and a community united behind the TEDx mission was created. Attendees were presented with engaging, thought-provoking speeches challenging their ideas and stimulating discussions on key issues in our community and the world.

The event featured 10 speakers across different disciplines, including professors, Cal Poly students and influential community members, centered around the theme, “Plot Twist”. Speakers presented their “Ideas Worth Sharing” to the audience and told stories about how they created, reacted to, or learned from plot twists in their own lives.

The event was received with high praise and provided an unforgettable experience for everyone involved. Looking to build upon last year’s success, The TEDx team hopes to bring an even more exceptional TEDxSanLuisObispo event to the city this October. By expanding the event from TEDxCalPoly to TEDxSanLuisObispo, we hope to capture a larger audience and unite Cal Poly students and San Luis Obispo community members together through intellectual conversation.



11:00 am — Check In
12:00 pm — Session One
1:30 pm — Lunch
3:00 pm — Session Two
4:30 pm — Closing






Caroline Skae

Six-year-old Levi was born without the majority of his left palm, leaving him unable fulfill his dream of riding a bike. Traditional prosthetic devices were too expensive and since he was so young, he would need a new hand every few years as he outgrew old ones. Caroline Skae, a member of the Quality of Life Plus Lab on Cal Poly’s campus, which engineers prosthetic devices, has been an integral part of the building of multiple prosthetic hand devices costing only a few hundred dollars.

Chris Mann

Chris postulates that wealth and work have become a “proxy” for friends, family, and community, and that building a culture of shared connection will lead us toward not just a more sustainable society, but a much happier one. Chris will be sharing his ideas of how we can learn from the native cultures of Argentina and implement the ideas of mindfulness, building long-term social infrastructures, ritual, and play to evoke a more connected, aware, and empathetic business model.

Julie Garcia

The first call to action in creating a more diverse and accepting society is to recognize and acknowledge our individual biases. Julie Garcia examines studies done by Harvard called Implicit Association Testing, which are used to uncover and address biases we may be unaware of, as a tool to determine what underlying prejudices we may have.

Dan Faggella

In a world where nearly any request can be accomplished via a smartphone app and deliveries are being made by drones… can any idea, no matter how outlandish, become a reality? Dan Faggella, the founder of TechEmergence, allows us to see a future in which Artificial Intelligence can be the tool for both technological applications and investigating moral and ethical dilemmas, by providing the best possible solutions that we may not have otherwise known.

Zoe Rosenberg

Everyone has personal convictions, passions, and causes that we find particularly important, although many of us do not identify with the label “activists.” Zoe Rosenberg, a 15-year-old with her own non-profit, as well as the winner of the National Youth Activism Award, will walk the audience through her personal experiences as an activist for animal rights, and explain how each member of the audience can advocate for their own causes on any scale.

Todd Huston

How do we respond when tragedy strikes? Many respond with despair, grief, and uncertainty, but Todd Huston challenges us to respond with the power of love. Through his eloquent story of losing his leg, marriage, and home, Todd illustrates how this power guided him from the depths of extreme challenges to his world-record mountain climb throughout the US, and now a global vision to spread unconditional love throughout the world.

Sarah Crowell

The difference between destiny and fate is that fate is fixed and, despite our best efforts, unchangeable. Destiny is something that we choose. Destiny Arts teaches youths the importance of being present and comfortable in our own bodies. Through beautiful images and vulnerable narratives of her students, Sarah Crowell uses her experiences as an educator, producer, dancer, and mentor to show the power of movement and self-discovery in challenging injustice and creating a new vision of peace and equality.

Heidi Harmon

The best way to create a movement for change is to “show up, step up, and stand up.” SLO Mayor Harmon will talk about being an influential advocate for building community and causes that affect all of our lives, and how we can come together to be effective and responsible citizens and stewards of our local and global communities.