It’s TEDxRVA time! Who! What! When! Where!

Go get inspired at the third annual TEDxRVA. Within, you shall find the list of speakers, logistical information, and, most importantly, what’s for lunch.

TEDxRVA is BACK for Year Three, with an Uncommon theme. That is, the theme itself is “Uncommon,” the theme itself is not uncommon. Or maybe it is. What am I even saying anymore?

I will personally guarantee that at TEDxRVA you will be inspired by a person who is much better at expressing their thoughts than I was about ten seconds ago. In case you’re unaware of the dealio, it’s a bunch of people (some famous, some famousish, some less famous, and some people chosen by the RVA people at an Open Mic Night a few weeks ago) talking in varying lengths and about varying topics.

Who or what is TED?

TED itself stands for “Technology, Entertainment, and Design” but, arguably, has expanded in scope since its inception in 1984 to include just about everything. People talk, you ooh and ahh, and you leave with some ideas and motivation. 

But what’s the diff between TED and TEDx and TEDxRVA?

The little “x” next to TED means that an independent organizer adopts the principles and runs with it in a town such as ours. Thus, TEDxRVA, which has been put on annually since 2013, is different than TEDxGraceStreet, which was a one-time event later in 2013. Theoretically, any one of us could start a TEDx event (through the proper channels and support, of course). Mine would be called TEDxTREME. What would yours be called?

In TEDxRVA’s words:

The day-long event will bring together personalities and speakers from a range of fields and social backgrounds: a writer drawn to explore and preserve the unique culture of Virginia’s Tangier Island; two photographers exploring self-expression through unconventional portraiture; a scientist working to make humankind’s dreams of living on Mars a reality; an artist whose interest in place, history and economy have led to a varied body of work; an arts educator who is pushing the boundaries of performance education programs; a photographer for National Geographic who is sending willing adventurers into the wild to collect scientific data; and the CEO for an environmental foundation that is putting Virginia on the world map of international architectural sustainable design standards.

Who will be present to give me said inspiration?

Scheduled speakers include:

  • Tim Hickey – Founder and Principal of the Tangier Island Oyster Co.
  • Gordon Stettinius and Terry Brown – Photographers
  • Will Baker – President and CEO of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation
  • Joel Levine – PhD Planetary Scientist
  • Emily Erb – Textile Artist
  • Lucinda Scala Quinn – Editorial Director of Food & Entertaining for Martha Stewart Living Magazine
  • Courtney Ferrell – Writer and Poet
  • Erin Thomas Foley – Director of Education Outreach, SPARC Live Art
  • Ryan Abrahamsen – Founder, Terrain 360
  • Trip Jennings – Photographer, National Geographic Adventurer
  • Brandon Farbstein – Diversity Advocate
  • John McAdorey and Brig White – Advertising Creatives, Foo Fighters CrowdTilt Project
  • Michael Bishop – PhD Ethnography and member of GWAR
  • Laura Akesson – Founder of Science Overdrive
  • Yewande Austin – Founder of Global Institute for Diversity and Change and Change Rock Foundation. 
  • David Bailey – Founder and Executive Director of Arrabon.
  • Dr. Ram Bhagat – Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Drums No Guns
  • Jeff Fernandez – Co-Founder and CEO of Grovo, a company that solves the digital skills gap in the workplace and promotes digital literacy
  • The Honorable Anne Holton – Virginia’s current Secretary of Education, and former First Lady of Virginia
  • Joi Marshall – Creative Consultant and a Founding member of musical group Jade
  • Jessica Rathbun-Cook – Richmond-based LGBTQ youth advocate and Presbyterian minister
  • Micah “Bam Bamm” White – Celebrated entertainer and Founder of Richmond Correctional Justice Center Has Talent

Also featured–some megacool spotlight features on Richmond-based pioneering enterprises:1

  • GWAR
  • Light Tape
  • Ravenchase Adventures


A special food menu rounded up by Apple Cart Company2 is included in the ticket!

  • Alchemy Coffee
  • Lamplighter Roasting Co.
  • Sub Rosa Bakery
  • Ginger Juice
  • Relay Foods
  • Ellwood Thompson’s
  • Goatocado
  • Pasture
  • Shoryuken Ramen
  • King of Pops
  • Pudding Please.


The main con to TEDxRVA is that it takes up an entire day of productivity. Depending on your work situation, you’d either have to get the day off work from your boss, or you will have to work over the weekend (say, if you work at a very small internet-based publication). Get your $50 tickets now. OR, watch on the live stream and miss out on the food part. Up to you.


  • Friday, April 10th • 7:30 AM
  • Carpenter Theater, 600 E. Grace Street
  • $50

  1. Disclosure: I worked on these spotlights. 
  2. Disclosure: Our very own Stephanie Ganz is co-owner of Apple Cart. But listen, if you live in Richmond, Virginia, you have a 50% chance of being asked to help out with TEDxRVA. 
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Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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