TEDx bringing diverse speakers to Carson City

Corey Rich

Corey Rich

Editor’s note: This is the second in a three-part series introducing the speakers for the TEDx Carson City set for April 8 at the Brewery Arts Center, 449 W. King St.

TEDx Carson City is an all-day event in which speakers from a variety of disciplines share their life’s work, passions, and concepts through thought-provoking and entertaining talks that run between 10 to 15 minutes. The event combines live talks, TED Talk videos and opportunities to network.

The talks will be 9 a.m.-5 p.m. April 8 and will feature 15 speakers addressing ways people can make a difference in their community and in their own lives.

Tickets are $99 and limited to 100 people; lunch is included. The talks will also be live streamed at no cost into the Performance Hall of the Brewery Arts Center from the Black Box Theater. Participants must RSVP for those seats, and may purchase lunch onsite. All attendees will be able to mingle with speakers and one another.

Purchase tickets or RSVP for the free overflow seats, beginning 10 a.m. Monday, at tedxcarsoncity.com, 775-883-1976 or at the Brewery Arts Center, 449 W. King St.


Corey Rich, one of the world’s most recognized adventure and outdoor lifestyle visual storytellers, combines his creativity and athleticism to capture both still and motion content in some of the wildest places on the planet.

“There is an idea that before you can get creative, you have to be comfortable,” Rich said. “Yet, I’ve found the opposite is true. Discomfort can actually lead to creativity once you learn to embrace it. The best things in life are worth suffering for, and some of the best photos I’ve taken have always occurred during moments of discomfort.”

As an adventure photographer, he said, this reality becomes even more extreme.

“One photo that comes to mind is a picture I took during an ascent of Trango Tower in Pakistan with world-class climbers David Lama and Peter Ortner,” he recounted. “We built a snow cave halfway up the mountain. We’d been climbing all day. I was dehydrated and exhausted and cold. And all I wanted to do was join David and Peter in the snow cave for some tea, crawl up in my sleeping bag, and go to sleep. Yet I recognized this as an extraordinary opportunity to shoot video and a photo.”

He will share that message during the TEDx Carson City on April 8 at the Brewery Arts Center.

“Don’t shy away from the uncomfortable moments,” Rich said. “That’s actually the time to push yourself harder, because the results are always going to be more memorable, and more rewarding.”


As a successful executive recruiter in the software industry, Stephen Thompson is dedicated to finding and hiring some of the most unique and smartest people in the world.

He has worked with both private companies trying to go public and Fortune 10 companies people use every day. LinkedIn, Apple and Google are some of the most recognized names who have retained his services over the years.

But his life didn’t start out so promising.

Stephen is a survivor of poverty, homelessness and abuse. He was one of the 450,000 foster children every year in the United States who have no home once they reach the age of 18.

Most of these children who “age out” of the foster care system end up homeless, mentally ill, and/or in prison.

His story is about how one person, a family, or an entire community can make a life-changing difference in a young man or woman’s life.

He has cultivated a network of trusted, lifelong friends who have supported him through thick and thin. Thompson has been married for almost 15 years to a successful woman and together are raising two funny and talented boys.


Sandy James is passionate about sustainably smart walkable communities.

“I believe I know the factors to enhance walkability and change the way people relate to the place they live and work,” James said. “I can make towns and cities more productive, harmonious and prosperous and every resident healthier and happier.”

As a city planner for the City of Vancouver, James championed locally scaled neighborhood projects that virally became city policy in Vancouver and other cities. Working collaboratively with engineering staff, Sandy developed the innovative, 140-kilometer “green street” sustainable network of connected parks, streets and places where pedestrians have priority.

Known as the “pickpocket of city hall” for her ability to find financing, James was named Neighborhood Planner of the Year by the Vancouver Sun newspaper for her work with communities.

James believes promoting walkability is socially and morally the right thing to do, and chaired the international Walk 21 Conference in Vancouver in 2011. Sandy is a director of Walk Metro Vancouver, which encourages best practices for the development of walkable places and spaces, creating communities we want to live in.


Ananda Bena-Weber is one of three artists who will perform.

She’s a versatile artist who performs throughout the world in theater, dance, film, television and commercials.

Bena-Weber is an accomplished voice-over artist and creates her own finished-product spots in her home studio. She provides workshops and training, bringing dancers and actors together to create work that’s a conversation, exchange, and a synthesis of natures.

She’s currently working on a Master of Fine Arts in interdisciplinary arts at Goddard College toward a PH.D with an emphasis on Linklater voice technique.

Bena-Weber is also an adjunct professor of dance at Marymount Manhattan College and a teaching artist for the Dance Theater of Harlem.


Bryce O’Connor, a 16 year-old from Carson City, will talk about the need for our educational system to recognize skill beyond the standard subjects. His interests lie primarily in the arts, specifically filmmaking, performing and writing.

He has been in a variety of local theater productions, and has volunteered at Brewery Arts Center and Carson City Library, where he now works.


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