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Speaker Spotlight: Ion Popian

Speaker Spotlight: Ion Popian

Art has always played a part in Ion Popian‘s life. And as a TEDxPeachtree 2014 speaker, he will bring his artful presentation to the stage at the Buckhead Theatre on October 17th. 

This year’s theme is “illuminate.” What does “illuminate” mean to you? What has been the illumination in your work that has brought you here today?

In this case, “illuminate” is definitely not taken in a literal sense, it is taken to mean an epiphany, or a new creative discovery that enhances the creative process. It is a new mode of “making.” Humans use tools as ways to articulate their ideas into the physical world and each tool is an illumination, a way to bring to light a final product through a sequential process.

mentalfabrications___LANDSCAPESAt the end of the day, what is it about your work that keeps you going? 

It’s seeing ideas you had and the unproven questions you answered in your own mind become reality. The sharing of the project with others in the form of art openings, shows, installations and the people there being completely confused about the spoken description and in disbelief when they experience it and see its end result.


What keeps you centered in this crazy world?

Being myself, motivation and being centered comes from yourself. It’s an internal force not an exterior one. The world is the byproduct of individual decisions and a reflection of a collective mindset.

What is one place you’ve visited that you’ll never forget?

As of now I have lived on three continents, and each has presented its own unforgettable experience. Europe for its historical and cultural aspect. Australia for its natural beauty, and America for its respect of the human fabric, its creative freedoms, and optimism.

What is your motto?

“Simplicity is complicated.” To achieve a simple streamlined idea, concept, or project is so difficult. The more you work on a project the more you can get lost down a rabbit hole of semantics and nuances. To create a project that has an innocence and freshness of idea that is maintained requires allot of focus and an expanded view of your idea.

What are three words to best describe you?

Inventive. Kind. Determined.


You’re not going to want to miss the art that Ian will create at this event. Come be a part of the process and get your ticket to TEDxPeachtree 2014!



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Speaker Alum On His Success Since 2012

2012 TEDx Peachtree speaker Tim Fox, Ph.D. recently sold his software platform, Velocity, to Varian Medical Systems. We asked Tim about how TEDx Peachtree affected him professionally, and this is his response.

1. What impact if any did giving the TEDxPeachtree talk have on you personally and professionally? 
TEDx Peachtree was a great experience for me, and looking back on it, I think the preparation for it was the most rewarding part.  Working with Jacqui, I was able to focus my talk on the challenge facing me and my colleagues today in cancer therapy.  After my TEDx presentation, I was invited to give other talks in Atlanta such as the Atlanta CEO Council and TIECON conference.  I also used the techniques from my TEDx talk in my invited lectures around the country to discuss our research work.  

2. How did Varian come to know of Velocity?

Varian is the world’s leading manufacturer of medical devices and software for treating cancer and other medical conditions with radiotherapy, radiosurgery, proton therapy and brachytherapy.   Varian and Velocity offer products in radiation oncology for cancer teams, and we had partnered on product development work in 2008.  During this time, Varian got to know Velocity and what products we developed.  In 2013, Varian came to understand why Velocity exists, and how Velocity’s product portfolio matched Varian’s roadmap.  The leadership teams at both companies realized the synergy that could be offered to cancer care teams.  For Velocity, we saw a partner that had a similar vision, and Varian wanted to continue our vision of transforming unconnected data into clinical knowledge.  

3. What does the acquisition mean to Velocity and to you?
The acquisition is an ideal fit for Velocity.  Varian is acquiring Velocity because of the success we have had in developing solutions that lead to better cancer care.  We both serve the same customer base and Velocity fits nicely within Varian’s portfolio.  Software represents one of Varian’s top strategic initiatives.  Velocity is viewed as a key investment in supporting this strategy.  Varian is equally excited by the possibilities this acquisition creates by combining Varian’s efforts to continue to develop the Velocity platform and to make the tools more widely available.  

For me, I will join the Varian team in Atlanta as Associate Vice President, Imaging Informatics.  I will help advance the team’s strategic ambitions, and Varian is committed to growing imaging informatics in the Atlanta location. 

4. What’s next on the horizon for you and the company?
Our goal is for cancer care providers to realize that 100% of patient’s treatments contribute to clinical knowledge and help the provider move closer to evidence-creating medicine. Health IT is the engine in oncology to help us get closer to evidence-creating medicine.  I have spent 20+ years working on the provider side, and I will now join industry side to work on the same goals. Velocity’s innovation was to create a clinical knowledgebase to seamlessly collect, integrate, apply and share the massive amount of diagnostic imaging and treatment information assembled to treat cancer patients. Using this knowledge base, population-based analytics can be performed to help oncologists understand how they are treating their patients for outcomes research and reporting.  The future is bright for both Velocity and Varian working together.  

Tim Fox, Ph.D. and Ian Crocker, MD, at the Department of Radiation Oncology at Emory University Hospital, founded Velocity in 2007. They were able to bootstrap the company to build the product and grow to 25 employees. Today, their software platform is used by over 200 cancer treatment centers worldwide.

Varian is a leading manufacturer of medical devices and software for treating cancer and other medical conditions. They supply informatics software for managing comprehensive cancer clinics, radiotherapy centers and medical oncology practices. Varian’s corporate headquarters are located in Palo Alto. They have decided to keep the Velocity team here in Atlanta given it’s ability to draw on the local talent and resources.

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Speaker Spotlight: Chantelle Rytter

Chantelle Rytter founded the Atlanta Beltline Lantern Parade in 2010, along with the Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons.

Is this your first time speaking at a TEDx event? What are your thoughts on presenting on October 17?
Yes, it is my first time! I think it is a terrific gift to speak at TEDx, and it happens to fall on my birthday.

August 2014 Lantern making workshop at Lantern House

August 2014 Lantern making workshop at Lantern House

Our theme this year implies the discovery of something that is before unseen. Tell us about a pure, unexpected change in your life that was the illumination of a revelation.
10,000 people showed up for the BeltLine Lantern Parade last year! Up from 1250! I didn’t believe that until I saw the video. I have always felt that there is a universal desire for creative play. I am now certain.

At the end of the day, what is it about your work that keeps you going?
I am honored to do my work. I love it. At the end of the day, I kick back in my hammock and beam gratitude. I wrote a little song I sing then:
When its 5:55, then you know you’ve arrived,
Your good work is done and it’s lookin’ so fine.
Time to crack a beer and look at the sky
Oh my, it’s 5:55!

(There’s 2:22, 3:33, and 4:44 verses, too. I don’t have a set schedule.)

What is your passion?
Art + civic kinship.

What keeps you centered in this crazy world?
Love. My friends, my family, my art, my bicycle, and my cat.

What is your motto?
To work is human, to play is divine.

What are three words to best describe you?
More Play Time

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Eventbrite - TEDxPeachtree 2014 "Illuminate!"

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