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TEDxPeachtree Presents First Ever TEDxPeachtreeSalon Poetry Slam!

TEDxPeachtree Presents First Ever TEDxPeachtreeSalon Poetry Slam!

Retro microphone on stage

The slam will take place on Friday, September 25th at Manuel’s Tavern, starting at 8pm.

The event will kick off with a TED talk, and then lead to a high-stakes poetry competition showcasing ten of Atlanta’s most talented spoken word performers. Over the course of the evening, these poets will compete in front of a panel of judges for the opportunity to perform at TEDxPeachtree’s main stage event in November!

Get your tickets now for this exciting event!

Photo Credit: 

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Enjoy the Ripple Effect! Get TEDxPeachtree Tickets Today

Enjoy the Ripple Effect! Get TEDxPeachtree Tickets Today


September is officially here and with it comes everything that is great about fall in Atlanta. Cooler temperatures, college football, and our favorite thing: TEDxPeachtree!  This year the gathering for all things new and innovative will be held where many future leaders in innovation hone their skills – Georgia Institute of Technology, also known as Georgia Tech.  We are excited to announce that the 7th Annual TEDxPeachtree will take place at the Ferst Center for the Arts on Friday, November 13th and early bird ticket sales have begun! 

This year’s theme of “Ripple” will be explored through the work of 14 visionaries many who call Atlanta home. You will see how their work in human studies, technology, and the arts brings positive change to so many lives. A few of the speakers who are scheduled to appear include but are not limited to:

  •     Alistair Dove, Director of Research and Conservation at Georgia Aquarium
  •   Brian Magerko, Associate Professor of Digital Media at Georgia Tech and head of the Adaptive Digital Media Lab
  •   Chris McCord, Director of Men in Motion at Moving in the Spirit
  •      Jennice Vilhauer, Director of the Outpatient Psychotherapy Program at Emory Clinic

In addition to the brilliant speakers who will be inside the theatre, TEDxPeachtree 2015 will also bring you the Experience Zone outside of the theatre. Take your eyes, ears, nose and taste buds on a journey with interactive experiences, food and beverage tastings, and art installations.  With so much to offer it is easy to see why this year’s TEDxPeachtree will be an event you will not want to miss.

Make sure you get your ticket by taking advantage of early bird pricing being offered now.  Individual as well as small group ticket packets are currently at great low rates until September 24th so get yours now. For those who are looking to be more involved themselves or to have their company be more involved this is also to the time to become a member of the Patron or Supporter Circles. Get the details and price points for all of these opportunities on our Eventbrite page. Looking for more company recognition through in-kind or financial support of the event? Learn more about how to support the ripple effect by become a supporting partner on our TEDxPeachtree support page. 

However you choose to participate we welcome you to join the wave and be a part of Atlanta’s brain spa – TEDxPeachtree 2015!


Photo is courtesy of Gian Luigi Perrella at Flickr Commons


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Stress Is Your Friend

Stress Is Your Friend

I recently watched a brilliant TED talk by Kelly McGonigal, a popular health psychologist. What I learned has largely changed the way I think, not only about stress, but also about my everyday worries and habits.

One of Kelly’s points is related to a recent stress study conducted by the University of Wisconsin that tracked 30,000 adults in the US over a period of 8 years. Researchers asked how much stress people perceived in their lives, and whether or not they thought that experiencing stress was harmful for their health.

“Here’s the bad news”, McGonigal says “people who experienced a lot of stress had a 43% increased risk of dying…but that was only true for the people who also believed that stress was harmful to their health. People who experienced stress, but did not believe that it was bad for their health, did not have any increased risk of death. In fact, their risk of death was lower than those who had little to no stress in their lives.”

The rest of the talk was also brilliant, and you should certainly take 15 minutes today to watch it. This particular point, though, is the one that stuck with me.

What we believe dictates what our body does.

What we believe impacts our daily thoughts and actions in a very practical way.

What we believe can be the difference between life and death.

This makes me rethink the actions, thoughts, and beliefs that I carry around every day. What do my daily reactions to stress and circumstance tell me about what I believe?

Watch the full talk below:

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TED Gets Personal

TED Gets Personal

About a month ago, my boyfriend suffered a stroke. Strokes are normally caused by either clotting or hemorrhaging, but in his case, he had both. This complicated the decisions the doctors needed to make about how to help him, but in the end they removed the clot, and then removed more clots and even put in a stent, all the while monitoring the hemorrhage to make sure the blood thinners they gave him didn’t make it worse. And that was all on the first day.

All told, Lawrence spent over two weeks in the hospital including about a week in the ICU. He’s since been moved to a rehab center for about three weeks. He’s there now, as I write this.

In the days after he had his stroke, I recalled Jill Bolte Taylor’s powerful TED talk and rewatched it. She is a neuroscientist who viewed her own massive stroke as an opportunity to do research. I remembered that from when it was screened at a TEDxPeachtree a number of years ago. But what I had forgotten was that it took her eight years to recover. Eight.

Lawrence’s was called a moderate stroke. His damage was all on the right side of the brain, affecting the left side of his body to varying degrees. It also led to different cognitive issues than he would’ve experienced had the damage been on the left side of his brain. Lawrence’s speech was initially difficult to understand and he was very sleepy, but neither impacted his ability to connect meaning and language. In fact, when I pulled out a pad and pen and asked him – while still in the ICU – if he thought he could write, he did — “I haven’t had any problems organizing thoughts or writing messages.”

But at the same time, as I’ve alluded to in the daily blog I’ve been keeping on his progress, he’s had moments of confusion. Truth is, he is sometimes convinced he is at home, and when I show him he is not, he understands logically, but…

I wanted to find other TED or TEDx talks that could help explain. And what I found was interesting. But it also pointed out how much more there is to learn.

In Vilayanur Ramachandran’s talk on three clues on understanding your brain he gives examples of what we’ve learned from specific kinds of damage. What he found out about phantom limbs (that they’re actually learned paralysis following the period of time of non-movement before the limb is removed) and that visual input has a critical role, actually has an application for stroke, and I’m wondering how I can apply his findings to my boyfriend’s as yet unresponsive left arm, that magically moves whenever he yawns.

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 8.55.38 PM


In Iain McGilchrist’s presentation on the divided brain, (above) he dispels the myth of reason vs emotion residing in different halves of the brain, but makes the point that the left brain is more connected to the concrete and specific and the right to relationships and how we fit into the world. I am not clear on how what is happening to Lawrence works with this, but found it fascinating nonetheless.

I understand that the moments Lawrence is experiencing should go away within a few months as the brain “rewires” itself, but I had no idea how amazingly adaptable the brain is. Michael Merzenich’s talk on the growing evidence of brain plasticity spends most of the time explaining how the brain adapts for each of the specific skills we gain and how that makes us unique, but also shows how damage and natural age-related deterioration can be staved off by exercising our brain more. Hmmm…that got me thinking…just how much we could all gain by watching more TED talks and by attending this year’s TEDxPeachtree.


Wendy Kalman attended the 2009 TEDxPeachtree event and became hooked, volunteering each year ever since. By day, she works as a Proposal Manager, and by night, her alter ego as involved parent, engaged volunteer, music lover, and Facebook addict emerges.

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