2024 Speakers

The TEDxFargo If speaker lineup features thought leaders from the Fargo-Moorhead community and around the country that will share their ideas and perspectives on a variety of topics. Speakers and performers will continue to be added over the coming months.

TEDxFargo 2024 speaker Gabe Brown

Gabe Brown

Owner of Brown’s Ranch and pioneer of the soil-health movement

Gabe Brown is a pioneer of the soil-health movement and has been named one of the twenty-five most influential agricultural leaders in the United States. Brown, his wife, Shelly, and son, Paul, own Brown’s Ranch, a holistic, diversified 5,000-acre farm and ranch near Bismarck, North Dakota. The Browns integrate their grazing and no-till cropping systems, which include cash crops and multi-species cover crops along with all-natural, grass-finished beef and lamb, pastured pork, and laying hens. The Brown family has received a Growing Green Award from the Natural Resources Defense Council, an Environmental Stewardship Award from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and the USA Zero-Till Farmer of the Year Award.

TEDxFargo 2024 speaker Evelyn Chambers

Evelyn Chambers

High school is an exciting time that presents many new opportunities, and Evelyn is going through this process whilst watching the incredible evolution of Artificial Intelligence in real time. She is a three-time sweepstake science fair winner, has a passion for performing, and plays violin in the FM Area Youth Symphony. With an entrepreneurial drive and unwavering determination, she eagerly embraces the dynamic shifts shaping our world.

Evelyn is the youngest solo TEDxFargo speaker we’ve had on our stage.

TEDxFargo 2024 speaker Catherine Curry Willams

Catherine Curry-Williams

Co-Founder of the She Angels Foundation

As a dedicated advocate and co-founder of Shane’s Inspiration, established in 1997 in memory of her son Shane, Catherine has led Global initiatives to create inclusive sensory- and literacy-rich playgrounds throughout the world that unite children of all abilities.

In 2020, Catherine expanded her impact by co-founding the She Angels Foundation, which awards monthly grants to grassroots organizations supporting young women and girls. A fervent advocate for women’s empowerment, she shares her wisdom and passion through teaching and speaking.

Catherine’s journey has been marked by numerous honors and awards, reflecting her impactful contributions. Notably, she was chosen as one of L’Oreal Paris’ “Women of Worth.” She received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. Women’s Empowerment Network Award in 2022. She has been recognized as one of the “Women of the Year” for the state of California in 2018. Honored with the BRA Visionary Woman of the Year award in 2022. Her achievements have been acknowledged by esteemed institutions such as the March of Dimes, Good Housekeeping magazine, KCET-TV, The Today Show, and LA Lifestyle magazine, to name a few. Additionally, Catherine was featured in an article in Canvas Rebel in 2023 and Bold Journey in 2024

TEDxFargo 2024 speaker Eugene Daniels

Eugene Daniels

POLITICO Playbook co-author and White House correspondent.

Since joining POLITICO in 2018, he’s covered the midterms, the Democratic presidential primary and general election through print, video journalism and podcasts. Eugene will continue to leverage POLITICO’s many platforms as part of the Playbook team. During the country’s reckoning with race in 2020, Eugene moderated POLITICO’s Confronting Inequality Town Hall series that examined how inequities in policing, housing, healthcare, education and employment permeate and plague the United States.

Eugene is a senior “Morning Joe” contributor and MSNBC political analyst where he appears often sharing scoops, reporting and analysis of the biggest news in D.C. He is also on the board of the White House Correspondents’ Association and will be president of the organization beginning in June 2024 through June 2025.

Prior to POLITICO, Eugene covered the 2016 primary, general election and national politics as a political reporter at Newsy. He began his career in local television in Colorado Springs and graduated from Colorado State University in 2012.

TEDxFargo 2024 speaker Craig Dykers

Craig Dykers

Founding partner of the architecture firm, Snøhetta

TEDxFargo 2024 speaker Betsy Fore

Betsy Fore

Co-Founder and Board Member of Native Rising

Betsy is a serial venture-backed founder, product leader and operator with over two decades of experience. She is an Investment Partner at two firms. She is the first Native American – Turtle Mountain Chippewa – to raise a Series A for her company. Betsy is a three time founder of two multi-million dollar brands and a non-profit, Natives Rising. Natives Rising is one of the largest communities of Indigenous Technologists and Indigenous Founders with members representing over two hundred tribes. Betsy is the Managing Partner at Velveteen Ventures, investing in children and planet for the next seven generations. She is also a certified coach, NLP and flow states practitioner.

TEDxFargo 2024 speaker Arianna Genis

Arianna Genis

Organizer-In-Residence and Research Scholar at P3 Lat at John Hopkins University

Arianna Genis is an organizer and strategist with a decade of experience in movement building and politics. She has delivered expectation-defying wins locally and nationally that advance equity and systemic change at organizations like Mijente, re:power, and TakeAction Minnesota. Arianna was part of the campaign team that won paid sick time for thousands of workers in Minneapolis; she led campaigns to elect progressive candidates of color into public office; and she oversaw North Carolina’s largest Latino voter mobilization effort in 2020.

Her leadership is centered on building the political power of working-class communities via grassroots organizing, political campaigns, and compelling narrative strategies that spearhead community-driven change in politics and government. Currently, she serves as the Organizer-In-Residence and Research Scholar at the P3 Lab at John Hopkins University. In this role, she is designing a new initiative that she plans to launch soon, focused on elevating the power of Latinx participation in our political system as key to a more just, multiracial democracy.

TEDxFargo speaker Stacy Huston

Stacy Huston

Executive Director at Six Degrees

Stacy Huston is the Executive Director of SixDegrees.Org, a nonprofit founded by actor and philanthropist Kevin Bacon that uses social networking to amplify the unsung heroes and causes in communities everywhere. With over seven years of experience in this role, she leads the organization’s mission to connect people to critical resources, share stories from changemakers, and leverage the power of celebrity to make a positive impact.

Stacy is also CEO of Entertain Change, a social impact agency and cohort, at the intersection of entertainment and philanthropy. She co-created and executive produced the #1 nonprofit podcast in the country, ‘Six Degrees with Kevin Bacon’, which features guests from different fields and backgrounds who are making a difference in the world, alongside the celebrities that champion them. She also co-founded and executive produced TEDxTysons, a platform that showcases more than 50 TED talks from innovators and leaders across various sectors.

TEDxFargo 2024 speaker Maddy Matson

Maddy Matson

Student at Swarthmore College

Maddy’s roots trace back to the town of Gettysburg, located in the heart of South Dakota. Maddy’s professional and academic endeavors are driven by a fervent commitment to fostering social infrastructural enhancements from both a top-down and bottom-up perspective. She holds a deep-seated passion for elevating social welfare universally, with a spotlight on the transformative potential within the rural education sector.

TEDxFargo 2024 speaker Amanda Schneider

Amanda Schneider

Founder and President of ThinkLab

Amanda Schneider, LEED AP, MBA, is a trailblazing entrepreneur and founder of ThinkLab, acquired by SANDOW Design Group in 2018, where she still serves as President. A dynamic force at the convergence of design and business, Amanda stands out as a captivating thought leader and accomplished author, spotlighted in prestigious publications ranging from Forbes, the Huffington Post, Interior Design Magazine, and many other publications and podcast. Recognized as the compelling host of the acclaimed podcast “Design Nerds Anonymous,” Amanda seamlessly weaves together creativity and data, offering unparalleled insights that captivate audiences worldwide. 

Amanda’s creative process stems from her education in Industrial Design from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, while her natural business sense is augmented by her MBA from the University of Iowa. While her work is founded upon the philosophy that it’s easy to be surrounded by data yet starved for insights, Amanda believes that true value emerges when insights empower actionable change. This philosophy permeates her work as she frequently takes the stage, reaching and inspiring audiences worldwide. 

When she’s not busy working in her suburban Chicago office or visiting clients, you can find her trail running at freakishly early hours of the morning, dreaming about that book she’ll write someday, or ambushing her secret stash of dark chocolate and red wine.

TEDxFargo 2024 speaker Eric Smith

Eric Smith

Tech Hubs Program Director and Director of the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration

Eric Smith designs and implements policies, programs, and services that enable inclusive, innovation-centric growth and facilitate the transition of research into the market, and believes that science, technology, and entrepreneurship can and should improve health, prosperity, and quality of life for all.

TEDxFargo 2024 speaker Nick Smoot

Nick Smoot

Chief Executive Officer, Aesop Industries

Nick is a globally respected culture first community and economic strategist. He is a 4x entrepreneur (3 exits), venture capital investor, real estate developer, and ecosystem builder. His work in startup ecosystems has been recognized by organizations like Google, Brookings, Milken Institute, and Bloomberg. He has been interviewed for Bloomberg West, BBC, USA Today, Entrepreneurship Magazine, and Fast Company.

He has developed national job strategies, award winning education/workforce training programs, and youth leadership development programs. Nick is a Milken Institute Young Leader and the founder/CEO of Innovation Collective. He has spent time in over 200 cities in the last decade working with government, education, industry, and in his words, most importantly the community as he focuses in on the reproducible art of community lead ecosystem development.

He is Puerto Rican-English, loves hiking deep in the woods of Idaho and can often be found camping in the woods with his two sons. Nick spends most of his time in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

TEDxFargo 2024 speaker Derek Tournear

Derek Tournear

Director of the Space Development Agency

Dr. Derek Tournear is the Director of the Space Development Agency (SDA). Established in March 2019, SDA is recognized as the Department of Defense’s constructive disruptor for space acquisition. SDA will quickly deliver much needed space-based capabilities to the joint warfighter to support terrestrial missions through development, fielding, and operation of the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture.

Before leading SDA, Dr. Tournear most recently served as Assistant Director of Research and Development for Space within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering where he was responsible for coordinating all DoD efforts in space and initiating programs to address critical gaps.

Dr. Tournear previously held leadership roles in industry, most recently the director for Harris Corporation Space & Intelligence research & development. Prior to industry, Dr. Tournear held program management positions at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He has professional experience at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) managing intelligence and defense programs.

Dr. Tournear has a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University and a B.S. from Purdue University. In 2010 he received an Outstanding Alumnus award from Purdue University and a 2008 DARPA award for Outstanding Accomplishments in a Systems Technology Area. Dr. Tournear is a 2011, and 2020 recipient of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service, and a 2012 recipient of the Office of Director of National Intelligence Award for Exceptional Public Service. Additionally, Dr. Tournear is the recipient of a 2021 Space News award, 2021 Theodore Roosevelt Government Leadership award, 2021 Wash 100 award, as well as the 2022 Aviation Week Laureate. He was selected for the Senior Executive Service in 2019.