CarlosAlexis Cruz is currently an assistant professor of voice and movement at UNC Charlotte and a recent winner of the McColl Award for the project “Nouveau Sud, Nouveau Cirque,” which translates to “New South, New Circus.”   He holds an MFA from the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre where he studied a range of movement techniques. For his thesis project, Carlos developed a study on the convergence of circus and theater, during which he trained under the tutelage of Master Coach Lu Yi at the San Francisco Circus Center, specializing in the disciplines of aerial straps and acrobatic rope. He was a full-timeRead More →

Robin Emmons starts her afternoon talk at TEDxCharlotte with a personal story. She quit her Corporate America job in 2008 so she could take care of her homeless older brother. He had been living on the streets for a decade. Emmons decided to follow her brother through the prison and mental health system until the court granted her guardenship of her brother. The one thing she wanted most for her brother was for him to stop eating what she calls “fringe and frankenfoods.” “I can’t tell you what it’s like to drive to a corporate tower and seeing your loved one with a Hefty trashRead More →

“I think this was a setup,” began Karla Williams, addressing the emerging theme of this year’s TEDxCharlotte. “Holy cow! If I were your age, and I was sitting in this audience, whatever age you are, I’d be thinking ‘This is a very big world, how am I going to find that place, if I haven’t found it by now?’” The theme is action for social change. And for Williams, the big idea is higher civic engagement in the non-profit sector of the Charlotte community. Williams is a passionate champion for the non-profit world. According to Williams, there are 1.5 million non-profits in the United States,Read More →

Molly Barker gets out of the “leader box” and discovers that she is a leader in her letter to Congress. Read it here.   Molly Barker Veteran TEDxCharlotte speaker Molly Barker is the founder of Girls on the Run. Through the organization, Molly has helped girls all over North America understand that it’s OK if they don’t fit into the “Girl Box.” Most recently The Naked Face Project has helped Molly broaden her reach to both girls and women helping liberate them from the pressures of society. Read her books Girls on Track, A Parent’s Guide to Inspiring our Daughters to Achieve Self-Esteem and RespectRead More →

Dear Congress: I’ve been wanting to write you for awhile. I need to come clean with you.  I haven’t liked the way you seem to communicate with each other.   There appears to be a lot of name-calling, bullying and downright mean-spiritedness. If we can’t respect each other within our own house, how can we possible work together to find the solutions our country needs so desperately right now. But the truth is, I don’t know you.  I’m a busy woman.  I work full time, am the single mother to two teenagers…I, like so many Americans, don’t have the time or resources to really know youRead More →

The theme of big ideas and big dreams continued with Dale Mullennix, from Urban Ministry Center of Charlotte, who described his dream to end homelessness. But Mullennix decided to take it one step further: “How about how to end homelessness and heal your own soul at the same time.” Most people don’t want to talk about homelessness or do anything about it, Mullennix said, because they just can’t imagine how what they have to offer intersects with this tremendous social problem. Apathy combined with the feeling of being overwhelmed is a deadly combination. But Mullennix crafted his talk around author Frederick Buechner’s famous quote, “VocationRead More →

Chad Henderson told the audience at TEDxCharlotte about his typical work day. He starts at 4 a.m. and by 4:30 a.m. he’s already sweating, running numbers in his head about temperature and ingredients while carrying heavy bags and hops.  The man is non-stop, and all before 6 a.m. But all Henderson can think is, “God, I’m living the dream.” His passion for craft beer became his career and never feels like a job. “When you’re a kid, you dream about things that don’t make sense,” said Henderson. “That wonderment comes with a blind hope and faith.  You don’t know how you’re going to get there.”Read More →

Emcee Mike Watson asked the audience, “If it’s simple, it can’t be right. Right?” But in reality, the simplest of things are the right things to do, and the solutions are often right in front of us. Cassie started her talk with a promise to “zip right through” because she knew we were all hungry. Hungry to eat the lunch provided by her restaurant, Harvest Moon Grille, to the attendees of TEDxCharlotte. (It was worth the wait, read about the menu.) She started out by saying that she was nervous but not because she was afraid, because of the energy and synergy she felt inRead More →

Emcee Mike Watson introduced Valaida Fullwood and Charles Thomas by saying, “They are both just gifts to our community.” “Reframing Portraits of Philanthropy — that was my big idea six years ago,” began Valaida. The book, published in October 2011, shares the stories and profiles of 200 black philanthropists. As Valaida explained, “For some time, I’ve been unsettled by prevailing stories of philanthropy and who’s qualified to be a philanthropist. The conventional frame is narrowly set.” The literal translation of philanthropy from the Greek is “love of humankind” or “love of humanity.” And Valaida said, “When love enters the picture, everything changes. And that shiftRead More →

  Patricia Shafer is the founder and “Chief Catalyst” of Mothering Across Continents, a nonprofit organization where volunteer catalysts — people who work together to create change in the world — receive consulting, coaching and mentoring to make dream ventures a reality. Projects have been launched on four continents.   “We’re all on this planet together,” said Shafer. “We need to help our tribe.”   The former corporate strategist sees numerous opportunities for people to be engaged with global issues, one being service to orphans and vulnerable children. In late 2005, she wrote an op-ed piece for The Charlotte Observer encouraging metro Charlotte residents andRead More →