2018 Speakers

We seek to explore the questions of: How we cultivate the skills and mindsets necessary to see beyond the limits of our own egos and aspirations? How do we set aside the habits of mind and judgment long enough to see into the world beyond ourselves? How does the world beyond ourselves compel us to action for the common good?

We are excited to have a group of speakers who will share ideas on a variety of interesting topics. Our theme for 2018 is Beyond Ourselves, we will create a setting where ideas are re-examined and your current understanding may be challenged. TEDxSpokane has the same mission as TED and that is: “To spread ideas worth sharing.” We look forward to bringing people together from the Inland Empire to share ideas and generate new meaning and actions. Visit YouTube for a playlist.

L-R: Manning, Schluter, Power2Poetry (3), Oberest, Ho, Nzibarega, Davis, Sanders, Hippe, Swanson, Anthony

Kenzie Farmer


Kinzie Farmer is a curious soul with and gifted storyteller. Over the past two summers, she has “run away from home”, traveling abroad to live in three different countries (Mexico, Ireland and Spain). In her travels she has made it a habit to seek out cities and communities no one has ever heard of. Whether motivated by fear, or adventure, your borders are destroyed when you physically leave them behind because running away may be the best thing to bring you back to where you are meant to be.

Skyler Oberst


Skyler Oberst has a full-time job reminding people to love their neighbors, through his work with the Spokane Interfaith Council. Skyler seeks to do this by example all day and every day. Skyler’s work is to promote religious and cultural literacy using social and digital media. By using a series of “how to visit” videos and open houses, Skyler is breaking down ideological barriers and building community in a meaningful way.

Carrie Davis


Carrie Davis is Spokane native (born and raised) and a big fan of the Pacific Northwest. Carrie is a teacher, mom, daughter and partner, a surrogate mom for herfriends, and for the last nine years she has coordinated and built a nationwide peer support and mentorship program for amputees. Carrie currently works in Patient Experience and organizational transformation through empathy and servant-leadership. Leading a life of service and finding common ground with others allows us to see beyond the limits of our egos and make lasting impacts on each other and the world around us.

Jim Sheehan


Jim Sheehan has a deep thirst for justice, in all of its forms. Jim Sheehan spent his first 20-year career as a public defender where he witnessed society’s cast of “disposable characters” and understood how deeply the systems that are meant to protect people can fail them. He became frustrated by the way order was championed over justice, and this frustration re-oriented his approach to public service. Together with local citizens and community leaders, Jim has spent the last 20 years leveraging his community resources by creating flexible, affordable, and beautiful places that nurture creativity and authentic connection in the service of social justice. Through the mystical power of place that is rooted in the pursuit of justice, people can and will self-organize and innovate beyond anything a philanthropist, social-activist, developer, or city planner could have imagined.

Brook Swanson


Brook Swanson is a professor in Biology. He teaches a variety of courses in involving physiology, evolution, and marine biology. Through his research in evolutionary biology he explores the design of animals from an engineering and evolutionary perspectives. This work has brought Brook to an interest in collaboration and in communicating ideas in new ways and through interdisciplinary thinking. Brook will provide insights into the collaborative process and an idea he calls “radical collaboration”. Brook will provide examples of this radical collaboration with help from the dance program at Gonzaga University.

Kevin Sanders


Kevin Sanders has spent more than 25 years in marketing, including senior-level roles and consulting in financial services, hospitality, higher education, high tech, healthcare, and foodservice. He is currently the CMO for a technology startup. Kevin believes trust is the foundation of all great companies, organizations and institutions. However, he also believes that trust is at an all-time low in our culture, society and in our world. In this new world where skepticism is now the default, businesses need to prove trustworthiness if they want to attract clients and thrive in our current society.

Come Nzibarega


Come Nzibarega has a gift for languages; he speaks five—French, Swahili, Kirundi, Amharic and English. In 2005, languages helped him land a job as a translator for a United Nations peacekeeping force sent to Burundi, which for decades has been plagued by conflicts between the nation’s two largest ethnic groups. By assisting the peacekeeping force, Come became a target of a rebel group and was forced to flee, becoming a refugee in Ethiopia for 6 years – six years! Come believes refugee camps are the richest places in the world and wants to share that insight with the world in order to create more inclusive communities and societies.

Anna Ho


Anna Ho uncovers actionable insights for Fortune 500 companies. With a master’s in Technology, Innovation & Education from Harvard and a second master’s in Media Studies from Stanford, she has over a decade of experience in education (in the U.S. and South Korea). She believes in order to design meaningful experiences for people, we must first do two things: understand, then empathize. Behavioral Archetypes—an original concept from Smashing Ideas—are the best way to do this, helping you grasp the “who does what, when they do it, and why.”

Scott Hippe


Scott Hippe is a family physician completing residency training in Boise, Idaho. He is passionate about extending health services to rural and underserved areas. During medical training he has advocated for various health initiatives, most recently regarding improving accessibility of health insurance to citizens in Idaho. In the past he called Spokane home while attending Gonzaga University and as a medical student. Scott believes the notion that doctors “save lives” in hospitals is a misplaced glorification of a healthcare system that fails to prevent those lives from needing to be saved in the first place; both those in health-related and health-unrelated fields should redouble efforts at preventive health.

Power 2 Poetry


Bethany Montgomery is founder of a spoken word movement promoting freedom of expression and providing an advocacy platform to underrepresented demographics. Raising awareness to social, cultural, and political issues; she and her colleagues work by infiltrating consciousness and expressing truth. Bethany and her colleagues seek to shed light on experiences that expose social issues. Bethany is the spark that ignites the flame to stand up and be the change we want in our worlds. She believes in the power of words to motivate change through the use of poetry to express, expose, ignite and to instill culture, diversity, and inclusion in the community.

Robbi Anthony


Robbi Anthony is an entrepreneur, a transgender activist and a business owner. Robbi started her first business 10 years ago in Spokane while in high school and hasn’t looked back. Her focus is inclusivity; inclusivity requires discomfort, as that’s the heart of empathy. Through her insights about the nature of loss, pain, hope and empathy Robbi will present a call for deeper community and compassion in our world.

Adam Schluter


Adam Schluter, an award-winning, National Geographic published photographer, decided to put landscape and travel photography behind him and focus on trying to use a camera to connect with people all around him. In the last six months, he has been to over 16 countries and just walked up to strangers to ask them for their photograph. During the process, his life was changed from the spontaneous connections that happened by just interacting with the world around him. He will be sharing his encounters, and some of his most powerful moments from this project, during the speech.

Mandy Manning


Mandy Manning is the 2018 National Teacher of the Year. Mandy teaches in the Newcomer Center (English language development for brand new immigrant and refugee students) at Ferris High School in Spokane. She is a wife and mother. Mandy believes passionately in first understanding her students and their experiences. The first step to serving refugee and immigrant students and communities is to work to understand their experiences, their needs, hopes and dreams. By reaching across difference with understanding and compassion we can create stronger, safer, and more connected communities.

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