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Top Tweets of TEDxPeachtree 2015

When you have a very short amount of time to discuss the thing that you are the most passionate about, your word choice is critical. When you have the opportunity to have this talk in front of more than 500 people and countless more via the world wide web – you make every sentence more powerful than the last. This kind of verbal artistry lends itself to many quotable phrases and the TEDxPeachtree audience was there, technology in hand, to capture every inspiring syllable.  Last Thursday, #TEDxPT was a trending topic in Atlanta for eight hours. Here are a few of the top tweets:

@hypepotamus Beatboxing to neuroscience and robots – @TEDxPeachtree kicked off the afternoon with a bang! #TEDxPT

@JudithMontier #TEDxPT So glad dance saved Chris McCord’s life! He BROUGHT IT! Possibility of life when we choose to #BeARipple

‏@steffanpedersen Sweden leads in lowest amount of cash transactions, even the homeless accept donations via credit card #TEDxPT

@GumboShowJoe Finally Rosie from the Jetsons made an appearance at #TEDxPT!

@TEDxPeachtree “Expectations of the future is what limits you most.” – @JenniceVilhauer at #TEDxPT

@keithmcgreggor Invest in relationships, not ideas. #TEDxPT

@slmteched @ericdozier schooling audience in how black music has united world w/ examples by Marvin Gaye, The O’Jays, #TEDxPT

@jen_bonnett Robots, hip-hop, cashless society, saving the oceans, dance & mentorship, neuroscience, like-like, laughter, movement, creativity #TEDxPT

@ChandraFarley “I like LIKE!” @piraterockstar #iknowthatfeeling #TEDxPT

@SandboxATL “Next time you call a meeting to solve a problem, invite a virtual stranger and empower them to ask questions.” – Jill Perrey-Smith #TEDxPT

@silvercords Galo Alfredo Naranjo: “Tired, uninspired, and disconnected.” Time to move. #TEDxPT

@wendybritt “Movement is food for thought.” @FirstName_Galo “The opposite of play isn’t work; it’s depression.” #tedxpt #bearipple

@BMMatsBronsworld A Key pivot point is #robotics for an aging population via #jenaybeer engineering psychologist @TEDxPeachtree #betheripple

@ClintMayhue Andrea Thomaz (1 of Popular Science Brilliant 10) demo’d an interactive bot for the home/kitchen. Umm yes! #TEDxPT

@TEDxPeachtree Classical is meeting hip hop with @heavenbeatbox & The Atlanta Celli at #TEDxPT

@RequirementsPro Brain to Brain Interfaces are a reality! “Where this is going. We don’t know. We are just scientists” #TEDxPT

@MillenniumGate “We are living at the cusp of a golden age in neuroscience” @AmadioMD #TEDxPT

@EcoEventPro Want to help the ocean? Cut down on plastic! @AlistairDove #TEDxPT

@RequirementsPro #TEDxPT #TEDxPeachtree ended with Arrested Development…we are ready to go disrupt the world #fullSTEAMahead

@AlistairDove The vibe on stage at the end of #TEDxPT felt like what I always imagined the end of #SNL is like for the cast.

Were you inspired by the sights and sounds of TEDxPeachtree 2015? Make your own ripple by sharing your thoughts on Twitter. Be sure to hashtag #TEDxPT and #BeARipple


M.PinkeltonPhotoMaria Pinkelton is a writer and communications strategist. She lives in Decatur with her husband and son, along with a fine collection of books, craft beers and size 11 shoes.

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Speaker Spotlight: Stephen HeaveN Cantor

Speaker Spotlight: Stephen HeaveN Cantor

Who knew that a TV cartoon would help lead to a career in beatboxing?

“I was obsessed with cartoons when I was a kid,” says beatbox champion Steven HeaveN Cantor. I remember watching ‘Doug” and the opening theme song had a very beatbox feel to it. That was an early inspiration.”

Alternative rock from “Matchbox 20” and “Third Eye Blind” were other early influences as Cantor hung out with his older brother who listened to those bands.

Later, playing alto sax in school bands he learned to read music, which he says is definitely an asset.

“Beatboxing is an art form that encompasses more than just the sounds of drums. You have melodies and you can mimic anything in beatbox. After all, what is music but not a composition of sounds?”

He didn’t try to beatbox, however, until his freshman year in high school when listening to pioneers like Dougie Fresh, The Fat Boys and Biz Markie.

“For the longest time I walked around trying to do it and all I heard was ‘shut up.’ I even wrote a song about how my mother would come into my room late at night and tell me to be quiet. Finally, one day a friend said, ‘Hey, can you do that again?’ That’s when realized I was good at it. People stopped telling me I was annoying them.”

Cantor believes beatboxing is an art form not determined by culture. “It compliments the person to bring out their own culture no matter where they live and no matter what kind of music they’re used to.”

Cantor’s 2011 nationwide tour in India with hip-hop dancers HaviKoro solidified his belief.

“When we went to the slums they brushed the street with brooms to clear an area for us to perform. We had no instruments, but kids crowded around and started dancing. It was all about being creative with who you are rather than what you have.”

Cantor’s creativity spills over into film, which he has always loved. With a B.A. in Film and a minor in Performance Theater from Georgia State University he’s combined his two loves to grow his artistry.

“I knew the direction I wanted to take. I knew the image I wanted. I feel more of a complete artist when I can create visuals of what I’m doing. I have more control.”

This fall Cantor performed live with the Atlanta Pops Orchestra in what he describes as a rare and magical experience of “two worlds colliding.”

“It was bringing the classical and hip hop worlds together and it brought a whole new excitement to my future. I want to push the art in ways I haven’t in the past. I will do it again, one way or the other.”

Ironically, cartoons will come full circle in Cantor’s life when he makes his film debut this Christmas in “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip.”

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Rosemary Taylor, APR, is a writer and digital content strategist at PR Focus.

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Speaker Spotlight:  M. Ayodele Heath

Speaker Spotlight: M. Ayodele Heath

As a kid, M. Ayodele Heath didn’t like to read. He was good at math and science but could care less about literature. Much less poetry, which he thought was corny.

In his teens, however, the geek discovered two things that had a profound effect on his life: the lyrics of hip-hop and the writings of Richard Wright.

“There was something in “Black Boy” that made me connect with literature like never before. For the first time I saw my own personal story as a black Southern boy as something that might be worthy of literature. And then I made parallels between rap lyrics and books I had to read for school. I realized that my story mattered.”

But the geek ruled out and that Atlanta native enrolled at Georgia Tech in the 90s to study computer engineering. It was only when he needed an “easy class” to fill out his schedule that he registered for a poetry workshop.

“That class absolutely changed my life. It was the most magical experience I had ever had. Our teacher told us that he had gotten a poem published in The New Yorker magazine and had earned $400. It gave me some sense of motivation, as well as my passion for writing.”

One night, Ayodele went with some classmates to a poetry reading. He was just going to check it out. But after much convincing, he finally got up on stage, sat on a stool, and fought through an intense case of stage fright to deliver a four-minute poem he had memorized.

“It was horrifying. Like jumping off the Empire State Building. I couldn’t bear to look at the audience. I closed my eyes and just dove in. My hands started moving in rhythm with the poem. I was completely lost in the performance. Then it was over and I opened my eyes. I could see the audience was enthralled and applauding. It was magical and a very transformative moment.”

Since then he has become socially committed to poetry that forces us to examine the stereotypes and cultural expectations humans create about one another.

“My goal in my art is to get us to examine the assumptions that we make about each other because they are just social constructs which get in the way of us seeing that we’re all really here on earth trying to do the same thing: to be happy and do good in the world.”

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Rosemary Taylor, APR, is a writer and digital content strategist at PR Focus.

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2015 Speaker Spotlight – Jill Perry-Smith

2015 Speaker Spotlight – Jill Perry-Smith

How would your level of creativity differ if you had different friends? How would your critical thinking skills be different if you had different co-workers? Dr. Jill Perry-Smith’s work in organizational psychology and informal social networks delves into the possibility that who you know directly influences your ability to achieve creative and innovative success.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering she went to work for Exxon, managing refinery projects. While working for the energy company she began the part-time MBA program at Pepperdine University. The combination of working with traditionally introverted engineers and taking organizational psychology courses led her to thinking more about the power of social networks for critical thinking and creative skills in the work place. Perry-Smith states, “I found the topic to be fascinating given my work as an engineer. I consider engineers to be creative problem solvers but are not generally considered to be very social.” It would seem that these highly lauded job skills are not determined by the size of your social network, but by who you select as its members.

The idea of using your social network as a muse might sound like an odd one. The theory does not mean that growing your list of Facebook friends will make you the next Monet. In fact, that type if social network isn’t what the Emory University professor means at all. She believes that while we are more connected than we have ever been before because of the reach of the World Wide Web, these relationships don’t always create the quality connections that we need to get our creative juices flowing.

On the concept of “social,” Perry-Smith believes:

Being social can mean many things. My focus is on relationships and social interactions and which ones boost our creativity. As someone who doesn’t consider herself to be highly social, I cringe at the idea that we need to talk to many people and flow in and out of various receptions and gatherings with many people I do not know. So, my work reveals that this is really not necessary to boost creativity.”

TEDxPeachtree 2015 will explore the theme of “Ripple” and examine examples of ripple effects. Perry-Smith comments, “I think of a ripple as an effect that spans out widely beyond the initial force that started the ripple in the first place. I hope that my work will cause that type of carryover effect beyond the conference. I hope that as we think about our interactions going forward, my work may prompt a slight adjustment that may yield important new outcomes – like creativity.”

She describes her upcoming November TEDxPeachtree appearance as, “Interesting, novel and research based.” This will be her first TED talk and she looks forward to sharing her ideas with the audience and the opportunity to discuss those concepts with them afterwards. No doubt quite a few conversations will be had that will inspire creativity and innovation for both attendees and speakers alike.

Buy your tickets for TEDxPeachtree 2015 today by clicking here. View one of Dr. Perry-Smith’s favorite TED talks by Susan Cain on the power of introverts by clicking here.


Maria Pinkelton is the Senior Communication Specialist for Cox Media Group – Technology. She lives in Decatur with her husband and son, along with a fine collection of craft beer and size 11 shoes. 

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