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TEDxPortland announces 2023 speakers and performers

The names of this year's speakers and performers have been announced. TEDxPortland will be held at the Keller Auditorium on May 20.

PORTLAND, Ore. — TEDxPortland will return for its 11th year on May 20 at the Keller Auditorium in downtown Portland. The one-day event will feature 11 TED talks and four musical performances.

The speakers and performers were announced at midnight on Friday. From a mental health advocate, to a physician whose work revolutionized COVID-19 testing, to a finalist of NBC's 'The Voice' and an actress who exposed a cult — the lineup is made up of diverse people from a wide range of backgrounds.

This year's event "will embrace fluidity, strength and balance," according to the TEDxPortland website. "We will celebrate the contrarians, open-minded thinkers, and doers committed to creating a better tomorrow for our city and the world."

Tickets are on sale now and start at $79.

Below is a look at the speakers and performers who are slated to appear.


Kiauna "Kee" Nelson

Credit: TEDx Portland
TEDx Portland speaker Kiauna "Kee" Nelson

Kiauna "Kee" Nelson is a chef and owner of Northeast Portland's Kee's Loaded Kitchen, which was highlighted in Street Foods USA on Netflix. Nelson's Feed Black Portlanders initiative helps fight food insecurity.

Aarthi Ananthanarayanan

Credit: TEDx Portland
TEDx Portland speaker Aarthi Ananthanarayanan

Ocean advocate Aarthi Ananthanarayanan designs solutions to address climate change and plastic polition. She is the director of the Ocean Conservancy's Climate and Plastics Initiative.

Dr. Yuan-Po Tu

Credit: TEDx Portland
TEDx Portland speaker Dr. Yuan-Po Tu

Dr. Yuan Po Tu, a physician at The Everett Clinic, played a key role in the pandemic. His research on patient-collected nasal samples revolutionized COVID-19 testing.

Trevor Beaman

Credit: TEDx Portland
TEDx Portland speaker Trevor Beaman

Trevor Beaman is a husband, father and an active duty U.S. Army Special Forces soldier. He is also an advocate for mental health and trauma awareness.

Kim Scott

Credit: TEDx Portland
TEDx Portland speaker Kim Scott

Kim Scott is a New York Times bestselling author and a former CEO coach for Twitter, Dropbox and Qualtrics. She is also the co-founder of Radical Candor, a company that helps employers create respectful working environments.

Sam Diaz

Credit: TEDx Portland
TEDx Portland speaker Sam Diaz

Sam Diaz is an expert on Oregon's land use policies. He is the executive director of 1000 Friends of Oregon, a nonprofit that serves as a watchdog group for government agencies that oversee land use issues.

Sarah Edmondson

Credit: TEDx Portland
TEDx Portland speaker Sarah Edmondson

Actress and podcast host Sarah Edmondson is the author behind her memoir "Scarred: The True Story of How I Escaped NXIM, the Cult that Bound My Lift." Edmondson speaks around the world as a cult-recovery advocate.

David Lucas

Credit: TEDx Portland
TEDx Portland speaker David Lucas

David Lucas is a former professional basketball player and the founder of the Portland nonprofit the Maurice Lucas Foundation, which empowers youth through sports. The nonprofit is named after Lucas' father, Maurice Lucas, a former Portland Trail Blazer who died in 2010.

Toby Barnes

Credit: TEDx Portland
TEDx Portland speaker Toby Barnes

Toby Barnes is the principal designer at Amazon's Alexa, and he has worked with Amazon, Nike, Levi's and Microsoft. He also founded Mudlark, an award-winning digital innovation and gaming agency.

Emily Stutzman

Credit: TEDx Portland
TEDx Portland speaker Emily Stutzman

Emily Stutzman is the CEO of the Portland brand design agency Happylucky. She has worked with brands including Adidas, Stella McCartney and Zappos. Stutzman also co-founded the dating app Reco.

Kyle Thornton

Credit: TEDx Portland
TEDx Portland speaker Kyle Thornton

Software engineer Kyle Thornton has worked on solar tech at Tesla. He is currently with Ledger, a global platform for digital assets and Web3, according to the company's LinkedIn page. 


Reyna Tropical

Credit: TEDx Portland
TEDx Portland performer Fabiola Reyna of Reyna Tropical

Fabiola Reyna is the co-founder of Reyna Tropical, a musical project made up of musicians, DJs and producers who celebrate the tropical diaspora.

Thunderstorm Artis

Credit: TEDx Portland
TEDx Portland performer Thunderstorm Artis

Singer and songwriter Thunderstorm Artis was a finalist on NBC's 'The Voice' in 2020. He grew up in a musical family and has performed with Booker T. Jones and Jack Johnson.


Credit: TEDxPortland
TEDx Portland performer GZA

Pioneering rapper Gary Eldrige Grice, known by the stage names GZA or The Genius, is a founding member of legendary hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan. He created a program that uses hop hop to teach science in schools.

Megan Diana

Credit: TEDx Portland
TEDx Portland performer Megan Diana

Singer and songwriter Megan Diana founded an outreach project called Piano. Push. Play., through which she places newly refurbished pianos across Portland in the summer.

Watch previous TEDxPortland Talks:

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