rgo 2015



July 23, 2015

Fargo Civic Center

1,500 Attendees

TEDxFargo serves as a catalyst for spreading ideas that can enhance, enrich, and transform our area. With the theme “Wonder” in 2015, the TEDxFargo team seeks to inspire people to make a difference. Help our community take discussions and connections to the next level. Provide a place to find the courage and commitment to take action. Overall, TEDxFargo believes that the power of ideas can make our city and our world better places in which to live, thrive, and love.


Megan Orcholski

No Apology Living

Megan Orcholski has been a faculty member at Concordia College for the last five years in the Communication Studies Theater Arts Department specializing in the areas of public speaking, performance, and gender. As an instructor, Megan focuses on developing confidence, voice and power through public speaking. She is passionate about people and how they perform and communicate. Megan publishes articles and occasionally blogs about issues effecting gender, race, class, LGBTQ rights, and education. Additionally, Megan has been an Assistant Director of Forensics for Concordia’s nationally ranked competitive speech team, traveling across the country coaching interpretation events, teaching presentation skills and judging at tournaments. Megan has a BA in Communication Studies/Theater Arts from North Central College and a Master’s Degree in Communication Studies emphasizing performance studies from Minnesota State University – Mankato.

Ted Dintersmith

Preparing Our Kids for Life, Not Standardized Tests

After a twenty-five year career in venture capital, Ted Dintersmith is now focused on issues at the intersection of innovation and education. In the fall of 2012, Ted served as part of the delegation representing the United States at the United Nations General Assembly, where he focused on global education and entrepreneurship. The first two films he executive produced – Most Likely To Succeed and The Hunting Ground – premiered at Sundance, 2015. His website http://www.edu21c.com describes his initiatives and he can be followed @dintersmith.

Ted is a Partner Emeritus with Charles River Ventures, a leading early-stage venture capital firm. Independent industry analysts ranked Ted as the top-performing venture capitalist in the United States for the 1995-99 period. Ted earned a Ph.D. in Engineering from Stanford University, and his undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary, where he earned High Honors in Physics and English.

Starla Fitch

Connect or Die: The Suprising Power of Human Relationships

Starla Fitch, MD, is The Connection Doctor and an ophthalmologist who’s made it her life’s mission to help people see more clearly — both literally and figuratively. An eternal optimist, her popular international community began for burned out physicians and medical staff and has expanded into a global network guiding others to connect better — with their families, their co-workers, and themselves at StarlaFitchMD.com. Her infectious spirit lifts up those around her. Dr. Fitch is a board-certified ophthalmologist, and a senior partner in a large group practice in Atlanta. Starla has received the Patients’ Choice Award and the Most Compassionate Doctor Award, received by less than 3% of physicians in the U.S.
Dr. Fitch is the author of #1 international best-seller, Remedy for Burnout, and is regularly featured on national and local media outlets, including CBS, NBC, FOX and NPR discussing the doctor-patient relationship, the power of connection, and career burnout.

Paul Shoemaker

Connecting the Right People, in the Right Ways

Paul Shoemaker is Social Venture Partners Seattle’s Executive Connector. He is the Founding President of SVP International and currently sits on their Board of Directors, as well as the Board of Partners for Our Children.

Shoemaker is published his first book in August 2015, Can’t Not Do, that shares what he’s learned over the last 17 years. In 2011 and 2012, Paul was named one of the “Top 50 Most Influential People in the Non-Profit Sector” by The NonProfit Times. in 2013 he received the Red Winged Leadership Award from Seattle University’s Albers School of Business and Economics, and the Philanthropist of the Year Award from Future in Review.

Paul holds an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the University of Texas and a BBA in Accounting form Iowa State University. Paul enjoys life with his wife and three sons, and is an avid sports fan, especially of his own kids’ teams, and “enjoys” his hobby as a high school basketball referee.

Nathan Clark

Love and Marshmallows

Nathan is Wondermade’s Chief Marshmallow Agent, spreading the joy of love and marshmallows all over the world. Since founding Wondermade in 2011 with his wife, Jenn, they’ve been featured in dozens of magazines and countless websites talking about marshmallows, love and family.

Nathan is also a pastor and the director of digital innovations at Northland Church. At last count he has been wearing red pants for more than 3 years. Nathan lives in Orlando with his wife and five children.

Dr. Anne Blackhurst


Dr. Anne Blackhurst became the 11th president of Minnesota State University Moorhead on July 1, 2014. She is known on and off campus as a leader, collaborator, connecter to the greater community, strategic thinker, marathon runner, and social media user (follow her @PrezBlackhurst).

Dr. Blackhurst has more than 30 years of higher education experience in small liberal arts colleges, mid-size comprehensive public universities, and a large research-intensive institution, including 10 years of successful experience in academic leadership roles. She served as provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at MSUM since 2011. As provost, she led a campus-wide strategic planning process that resulted in a new core values statement, a new strategic vision and five new strategic priorities designed to align with the strategic framework for the MnSCU system while capitalizing on MSUM’s unique strengths and attributes.

Diane Miller

Music Appreciation Can Increase Empathy

Diane Miller is the editor-in-chief of the High Plains Reader, Fargo’s alternative weekly newspaper, and a local multifaceted musician.

She leads her own 7-piece hip-hop band, D Mills & The Thrills, and folk-rock band Diane Miller and The Silver Daggers. She also performs with reggae band Heavy is the Head, punk rock group Panda Bandit and folk-rock group Haley E & The Rydells. She’s active in a total of five bands along with several other musical side projects, including a Rage Against the Machine tribute act.

Before becoming HPR’s editor, she served as music editor. Having no formal education or training in journalism, Miller’s passion for community, arts and creative writing are what led her to a leadership position in local media.

Her job at HPR has led her to team up with some of the brightest talent in the community to put on events such as the first ever Fargo DylanFest, a Bob Dylan tribute show that sold out at Fargo Theatre this past February.

Charles Miller

Design Shifts

Dr. Charles Miller is the Cofounder and Chief Design Officer of Vidku, Executive Director of the Institute for Design Innovation at the University of Minnesota (UMN), and an Associate Professor of Learning Technologies in the College of Education and Human Development at UMN. Miller’s research explores the transformation of education, communication, and collaboration through design, bridging the gap between aesthetic learning experiences and contemporary interaction design. Miller has received awards from organizations such as the Webbys, Yahoo!, AIGA, USA Today, The Washington Post, American Scientist, IBM, Adobe, SITE, and AECT for his work on projects ranging from environmental expeditions and political campaigns to information visualization platforms and mobile communication apps. Miller’s recent book The New Landscape of Mobile Learning was published by Routledge in early 2014.

Dr. Carol Gunn

Medical Errors: The Silent Killer in Medicine

Dr. Carol Gunn, an internist and occupational medicine physician, thrives on working with individuals and groups advocating for patient and employee safety.
She has been an agent of agent nearly her whole life. After completing her bachelor’s in chemistry and master’s of public health degrees, she was a safety engineer, during her first career. For twelve years, she focused on reducing workplace exposures to harmful chemicals.
With the goal of creating greater impact on others’ health, she then elected to attend medical school. She completed an internal medicine residency and a fellowship in occupational medicine, opening her own independent practice in 2007. She is boarded in internal medicine, occupational and environmental medicine, and industrial hygiene.
Outside of medicine, she lives with her wild Lab, and enjoys the varied activities of the Pacific Northwest. She valiantly attempts to balance her life of family, work, and play – but there never is enough play!

Nipun Mehta

Can We Create Social Change Without Money?

Nipun Mehta is the founder of ServiceSpace (formerly CharityFocus), an incubator of projects that works at the intersection of volunteerism, technology and gift-economy. What started as an experiment with four friends in the Silicon Valley has now grown to a global ecosystem of over 400,000 members that has delivered millions of dollars in service for free. Nipun has received many awards, including the Jefferson Award for Public Service, the President’s Volunteer Service Award and Wavy Gravy’s Humanitarian award. He is routinely invited to share his message of “giftivism” to wide ranging audiences and serves on the advisory boards of the Seva Foundation, the Dalai Lama Foundation, and Greater Good Science Center.

Jeff Volk

Water Wonders: Droughts, floods and managing for the inevitable

Few people know more about how water flows in the Red River Valley than Jeffry Volk, president and CEO of Moore Engineering. In 35 years at the employee-owned company, he has worked on the most significant water projects in the region, including the Sheyenne River Diversion, the Maple River Dam and the current Red River Diversion project.

Jeff’s work has created opportunities for people and businesses, laying the foundation for the region’s historic economic and population growth. He is passionate about the power of human innovation to improve lives and build strong, lasting communities.

Kayla Delzer

Reimagining Classrooms: Teachers as Learners and Students as Leaders

Kayla Delzer is a 2nd grade teacher and Project Lead the Way Lead Teacher in West Fargo, North Dakota. In August, she will begin her 8th year of teaching 2nd grade and her second year with West Fargo Public Schools (WFPS). Teaching is her true passion in life, and she enjoys her job and helping children to love learning and become creative problem solvers. Her students are her focus in life; they are like family to her. In August 2014, she completed her master’s degree in Elementary Education.
She also serves on the Technology Task Force and Social Media Task Force for WFPS. Her classroom Twitter account, @tweetingtopdogs, has allowed her students to learn virtually with hundreds of classrooms and educational experts from all over the world.
Kayla has teamed up with several companies to improve the lives of students and teachers, and she works frequently with GoNoodle and Remind. She is highly sought after by educational and technology companies to preview and review their products.

Rebecca Meyer-Larson

Instigators: A Report Card

Rebecca Meyer-Larson has been an educator and a theater director for 23 years and is the artistic director and founder of ACT UP Theatre, a social justice theatre company based in Fargo-Moorhead.
Rebecca has collaborated with many theater organizations including: Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre, Trollwood Performing Arts School, Perpich Center for Arts Education, MN State Arts Board, Hennepin Theatre Trust, the American High School Theatre Festival, Minnesota State High School League, Music Theater Fargo-Moorhead, and Moorhead High School where she also teaches English and coaches the MHS Speech Team.
Rebecca’s programs have been recognized for excellence by USA Today, Young Arts, Theater Live!, the Spotlight Musical Theater Awards, the National Speech and Debate Association, and the Edinburgh (Scotland) Fringe Festival, where her productions have repeatedly received five-star reviews.

Tristan Pollock

Take Back the Street: Street art creates moments of wonder

Tristan is an Entrepreneur in Residence at 500 Startups, the world’s most active micro VC, and empowering the most creative people in the world as co-founder of Storefront. Called ‘Airbnb for Retail’ by The New York Times, Storefront helped open over 1,000 stores in 2014. His last startup, SocialEarth, the Huffington Post for social entrepreneurship, had over 200 contributors in 25 countries, and won multiple awards for impact journalism. SocialEarth was acquired by 3BL Media in 2012. Tristan has also been named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2015, been interviewed by NBC, Fox, and The Atlantic, and led national marketing campaigns at Best Buy, including crafting the most read email of all time reaching over 23 million customers. A Minnesota native from a family of makers, Tristan now lives and creates in San Francisco, California.

Gary Greff

Saving your community by thinking outside the box

From Regent, ND Gary Greff is the creator and owner of the Enchanted Highway and the Enchanted Castle. Gary took on the mission of saving his home town of Regent after retiring as a school teacher. He saw that each year more and more people were leaving his town and he envisioned that it was going to be a ghost town eventually. He has been working since 1989 to prevent this. He has created some of the largest scrap metal sculpture in the world in an attempt to draw tourist and residents to his community. His seven enormous sculptures call the stretch of road titled the Enchanted Highway home and at the very end of this highway is Gary’s Regent.

Dr. Chandra Krintz

Transforming Us into a Society of Food Producers

DescriptionChandra Krintz is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and co-founder and Chief Scientist of AppScale Systems, Inc. Chandra has led a number of different research projects that have advanced the state-of-the-art in programming systems in ways that improve performance and energy consumption, and that ease development and deployment of software. Recently, her work has focused on the intersection of IoT, cloud computing, and data analytics with applications in farming and ranching (SmartFarm) and health management (VIGILANCE). Chandra has advised over 60 undergraduate and graduate students, has published numerous research articles, participates in efforts to broaden participation in computing, and is the progenitor of AppScale. Chandra’s efforts have been recognized with a NSF CAREER award, the CRA-W Anita Borg Early Career Award (BECA), the UCSB Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award, and as the 2015 UCSB Sustainability Champion.

Bill Svoboda

Custom T-Shirts!? The One Tip You Need To Think About When Ordering

In 2004 Bill Svoboda started Coed Monkey, an online custom t-shirt company out of his dorm room because of an order-gone-bad. Who knew that ten years later it would turn into a million dollar business with clients ranging from Silicon Valley startups to college residence halls, and everyone in between? But he’s not the normal t-shirt salesman peddling one-time use t-shirts that begin on your back and end in the trash can. Instead, he has created a company that is focused on two things… soft fabric and tailored fits.

Bill always says, “you don’t need to advertise a good party,” so he takes pride knowing that his company is helping canvas the world with custom printed shirts that people actually want to wear, sparking conversations. Beyond t-shirts, Bill is also passionate about coffee, supporting local businesses (especially restaurants), finding good deals on name brand clothes and late night trips to the salad bar at Whole Foods.

AJ Leon

This Is Not Your Practice Life

Since 2008, AJ has been nomading around the world and making things happen. He is an ex-banker turned writer, designer, entrepreneur, adventurer, photographer and humanitarian that has initiated social projects in South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi, Uganda, India and the Philippines. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of Misfit Incorporated, the Founder of Twitgift, the Executive Producer of Misfit Con, the Founder of the Misfit Foundation, the author of The Life and Times of a Remarkable Misfit, and an Honorary Fellow at The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. He also publishes essays on Pursuit of Everything about living with intention, doing work that actually matters and changing the world.

Rajiv Shah

The New “Disrupters” in Healthcare – Patients and Pharmacists

Dr. Shah is the CEO of MyMeds and a Board-certified nephrologist who practices in Minneapolis. Combining his front-line experience of understanding the multiple roles (patient, provider, entrepreneur) in a rapidly-changing health environment, and his dedication to implementing digital health IT to improve health outcomes, Dr. Shah provides a unique perspective on innovation in healthcare today. He received his M.D. from the University of Minnesota Medical School, and attended Boston University, from where he graduated with a B.A. in Cognitive Psychology with a focus on memory creation. This provided the foundation on which the MyMeds adherence platform was created to improve medication-taking behaviors. He has been recognized for his work in business, medicine and philanthropy with the Virginia McKnight Binger Award in Human Service, 40 Under 40, Ten Outstanding Young Minnesotans, and Real Power.

Shawn Muehler

Drones: The next advancement in human innovation

Shawn is the COO of drone software company, Botlink. He is an officer in the U.S. Air Force, has been serving our country and flying both manned and unmanned aircraft for over a decade. His love of flying model aircraft and Cessnas in his youth transpired into flying Learjets and military drones as a profession, and Shawn’s extensive aviation and technology background is the inspiration for Botlink.

Tim Brookins

Understanding data privacy with a tape recorder and a time machine

Tim has 25 years of experience in the enterprise software development space. He joined Microsoft in 2001 as part of the 1.1-Billion-dollar acquisition of Great Plains Software.
Since joining Microsoft, he has worked in several different divisions including Server & Tools, Windows Phone and Business Solutions. Tim worked in the Server & Tools division as part of the Visual Studio team researching CLR-based, model driven business frameworks. He also spent time working on the precursor to the ADO.NETEntity Framework as part of the SQL Server team. More recently Tim has worked on the Windows Phone team, helping to create and ship the Windows Phone 7.0 and Windows Phone 8.0 releases.
Tim was named a Microsoft Distinguished Engineer in 2007. He is based at the Microsoft facility in Fargo, North Dakota and holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering from North Dakota State University.

Leoncarlo Canlas

Musical Performance | Postcards: Violinist and composer

Hailing from Springfield, VA, Leoncarlo is a renowned musician located in Denton, TX, with twenty years of musical experience under his belt. Classically trained, Leoncarlo attended the University of North Texas for violin, and then went on to collaborate with a number of North Texas-based bands, namely Backwater Opera and Seryn. Leoncarlo’s career has sent him all over the world, including festivals such as South By Southwest and Telluride, and performances with Dave Brubeck, George Clinton, and many others. Leoncarlo is preparing to launch his first solo album via Kickstarter at the end of July 2015.