Volunteer Spotlight: Chris Wilson

Chris WilsonChristopher T. Wilson, Esq. dreams of starting his own country where he can banish political parties and stop the incessant arguing in which they engage. Until he can establish his own brand of Libertarianism in this utopian land, he’s perfectly content to help share “ideas worth spreading” as legal counsel and Board of Directors member at TEDxPeachtree.

A corporate lawyer and Atlanta managing partner with the worldwide law firm FisherBroyles, LLC by day, Chris joined the TEDxPeachtree team several years ago after reading about TED and becoming intrigued by the concept. “I thought the sharing of ideas and the coming together of so many talented individuals was a place I wanted to be,” he said.

Fortunately, Chris didn’t have to look very far for a local TEDx group, as his firm had been providing legal services as a TEDxPeachtree sponsor since 2009. “I started assisting TEDxPeachtree founder Al Meyers as part of our sponsorship, and my role just grew from there,” Chris said. “I’ve always enjoyed the TEDxPeachtree experience, so when the opportunity arose to help out in the board member capacity, I jumped at the chance.”

Chris, who stays busy providing quality legal service to his clients and caring for his two daughters as a single dad, said his most favorite thing about volunteering with the TEDxPeachtree team is meeting such talented and creative people and watching them create the experience for attendees each year. “The volunteers here at TEDxPeachtree are some of the best I’ve ever witnessed,” he said. “It’s simply amazing.” And, he said, he’s looking forward to continuing his work with TEDxPeachtree as long as he can.

When he’s not dedicating his time and know how to FisherBroyles and TEDxPeachtree or having some fun with his children, Chris also finds time to volunteer on the board of directors for the Southeastern Railway Museum and One World Adoption, as well as on the advisory board for the Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia. Miraculously, he also manages to squeeze in some time to play tennis and hit the links with friends.

With seemingly endless energy and always quick with a joke, Chris embodies the thesis of his favorite TED talk: Steve Jobs: How to Live Before You Die (originally delivered at a Stanford University commencement in 2005), and we’re so happy he does!

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If you’d like to find out for yourself how hardworking and hilarious Chris really is, you can find him at TEDxPeachtree 2013 on November 8 at the Buckhead Theatre.

meredithprudenAtlanta native, freelance writer and interactive marketing consultant, Meredith Pruden is the TEDxPeachtree MarComm director. She is also a ravenous technophile, social media fanatic, word nerd, finicky foodie, landlocked surfer and scuba diver and avid traveler raising a cheeky, soccer playing teenage son.  

Posted in General, TED, TEDx, Volunteers0 Comments

2013 Speaker Spotlight: Jeff Shinabarger

Jeff Shinabarger

Jeff Shinabarger

Jeff Shinabarger‘s motto in life is “we will be known by the problems we solve,” and one problem Jeff, a social entrepreneur, founder of Plywood People, GiftCardGiver.com, and author of More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity is trying to solve is poverty.

His work at Plywood People helps support charitable organizations to provide relief to the poor, distressed and underprivileged. Plywood does so by education through events and conferences, and implementation through Gift Card Giver and Billboard Bags.

He will be giving his first TEDx talk next month with us and is humbled at the opportunity to share his ideas. “Some of my greatest living heroes have graced the stage of TED and my life has been shaped by their thoughts,” he said. “I hope to have something to share that resonates with others.”

One way that Jeff is shaping the lives of others is through his book. In his book, he questions readers to determine what “enough” means. He put that question to the test and started an experiment. Jeff wondered if he had enough food in his pantry to survive for a month. It turns out, he had enough food to last him two.

“More often than ever, we eat through every ounce of food that we have,” he said. “We have changed many habits. We love food, but we have found that we do better eating fresh food and clear our shelves more often.”

Jeff credits the people in his life for giving him rarely deserved catalytic moments. “Without people around me that have given me opportunities, I would never have the influence I have today. When I think about that, it inspires me to platform others and give them opportunities to dream and share their dreams with others.” He adds. “I hope I can play a role like this in other people’s developing stories.”

As a social entrepreneur, Jeff is paving the way for others with the same passion and drive. He is a mentor to many social innovators and he enjoys seeing them succeed. “Digging into their projects and finding opportunities to do things differently fuels me with energy. Ultimately, there are people in our society that have great needs and if we can create new ideas that address simple needs, it is a life giving.”

One of the greatest moments in his life was going through the adoption process for his daughter, which changed his life changed forever. In fact, he and his wife quickly became advocates and educators for adoption after their own success. Jeff is a man who is passionate about his family. If he were to change the world and lose his family, he’d equate that as a loss. He has dreams of seeing Atlanta as a center for social innovation, but doesn’t want to succeed at the cost of negatively influencing his family.

“I hope to raise kids that are changing the world and that, takes time, energy and creativity.”

Let Jeff Shinabarger inspire you at TEDxPeachtree on November 8. Purchase your tickets here today!

Emily Yang is the communications coordinator for Leadership DeKalb and is looking forward to her first TEDxPeachtree event on November 8.

Posted in General, Speakers, TED, TEDx1 Comment

Volunteer Spotlight: Bill Schnitzer

bill_-schnitzerProducer extraordinaire, Bill Schnitzer, has been a volunteer with TEDxPeachtree for four years and has no plans to quit any time soon! As producer of the conference, Bill runs the show. Organizing and overseeing everything from the logistics of the performances to the smallest details surrounding the event, including the live stream production, presentations in the theater, managing attendees, and even lunch.

When I last spoke with Bill, he was traveling in Vermont for his day job. He is the owner of Quality Fabricators, a manufacturing company that makes rolling garment bags for the fashion industry. Seven years ago Bill decided to leave Corporate America and forge his own path as a small business owner. It is this curiosity, sense of adventure, and entrepreneurial spirit that makes Bill a perfect fit for the TEDx family.

He was introduced to TEDxPeachtree through a colleague and former TEDxPeachtree Board Member, Richard Laber. Once Bill came to the event, he was blown away. When the call for volunteers went out, Bill answered. He began as assistant stage manager which he did for two years before taking over as producer last year. Bill credits his team of co-producers, video production designers and a host of stage managers for the success of the event. When asked about his favorite part of volunteering, Bill says “the event itself is inspiring, but it’s the enthusiasm of the group that keeps me involved.” Bill has big plans for the future of TEDxPeachtree too. His goal is “to see over 1000 attendees attend our event and be THE recognized event for sharing ideas while being supportive and collaborative with other TEDx organizers in the area.”

Bill was familiar with the TED Talks program before his introduction to TEDxPeachtree. He recommends two speakers as “must see” viewing. One is creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson whose 2009 and 2013 TED Talks focus on the crucial role of creativity in learning, education and the economy. And the other is MIT researcher Deb Roy, whose quest to understand how his newborn son learned language led to a massive project of over 90,000 hours of home video, captured and tracked how children learn languages.

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A husband, father of two, and a small business owner, Bill doesn’t have a problem filling his days. And yet he somehow manages to find the time to volunteer with the Georgia Aquarium and various community outreach groups. In his spare time, Bill is a foodie, a practitioner of yoga, and an avid bike rider.

Lauren Lynn is a new arrival to Atlanta. She moved from Charleston, SC where she worked in arts management. Lauren lives in Lake Claire and enjoys exploring the neighborhood parks with her dog and children.

Posted in General, TED, TEDx, Volunteers0 Comments

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