On October 26, 2018, we will unveil our 10th annual TEDxToronto conference: IDENTITY. In selecting this year’s speakers, we sought out individuals from a diverse range of industries, each with their own unique idea that actively challenges conventions and creates positive change. Here’s a look at the identities of our first round of speakers:
Filmmaker and Director
Director X is a recognized and sought-after music video, film and commercial director. He moved to New York City to explore a career in film and became the protégé of pioneering director Hype Williams. Noted for directing visually distinctive videos for popular artists, including Drake, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj and Rihanna, Director X’s work has been recognized by Much Music Video Awards and the MTV Music Video Awards.
Host of Future History on APTN, RISE on VICELAND and Anishinaabekwe Activist, Performer and Dancer
Of Anishinaabe lineage, Sarain Fox is a dancer, choreographer, activist and television host. A storyteller at heart, Sarain combines these various mediums to amplify the voices of her people in hopes of creating meaningful dialogue between her indigenous community and settler communities. Sarain’s screen highlights include Rise (Viceland), Cut-Off (Viceland) and APTN’s Future History.
15-year-old Virtual and Augmented Reality Developer
Sabarish Gnanamoorthy is a 15-year-old virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) developer. He is the youngest AR developer in the world to be sponsored by Microsoft to develop for the Microsoft HoloLens. He is also supported and sponsored by the Thiel Foundation for his venture, WaypointAR. Sabarish has been awarded a scholarship from Udacity for their VR Developer Nanodegree program and he’s one of the youngest people to have built several applications for VR and AR.
Opioid Crisis Activist, Writer and Widow
In 2016, Sarah Keast, the mother of two young daughters, lost her husband Kevin to an accidental overdose. Faced with a seemingly insurmountable task of dealing with her loss while raising two young daughters on her own, Sarah chose to use her experience as a platform to help others. Now an activist, she looks to raise awareness around addiction and mental health through speaking engagements and through her blog Adventures in Widowed Parenting.
MA, PhD, Assistant Professor, Sociology at the U of T
Akwasi Owusu-Bempah is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. His work focuses on the intersections of race, crime and criminal justice, with a particular interest in the area of policing. Akwasi is now studying various aspects of cannabis legalization in Canada. His current projects include a study of Black males’ perceptions of and experiences with the police in Greater Toronto Area.
Adjunct Professor, Rotman School of Management at the U of T
Jennifer Riel is an Adjunct Professor, Faculty-at-large at the Rotman School of Management as well as the Managing Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute’s Knowledge Infrastructure Project. She is the co-author of Creating Great Choices: A Leader’s Guide to Integrative Thinking and has published articles in the Globe and Mail, Businessweek, Strategy Magazine and Rotman Magazine, as well as Fortune.com and the Daily Beast.
The list doesn’t stop here! Stay tuned for more exciting announcements about this year’s roster of speakers and performers in the weeks to come.