Speakers

TEDx Raleigh 2020’s amazing speakers represent a cross-section of our city’s creativity. Sharing their take on the event motto “CARPE DIEM – Seize the Day”, each speaker brings their expertise and knowledge to bear on this challenging year, coming together into one space to collaborate on crucial questions facing the city and the globe.


Brad Bongiovanni

Experiential wellbeing, the sly new driver of performance.

Dr. Brad Bongiovanni is Chief Wellbeing Officer for Wellbeing Science, LLC where he is responsible for research and education on the science of wellbeing. His work helps to set, support, and drive strategy with executives, professionals and entrepreneurs who want to cause the experience of wellbeing, drive performance and win at the game of business and life. Dr. Bongiovanni is an award-winning professional and corporate speaker as well as media contributor to ABC, NBC, and FOX affiliates on his expertise of the science and implementation of wellbeing.

Joshua Esnard

Turning a complaint into millions. A journey of a kid who had a problem and chose to solve it.

Joshua Esnard is a Saint Lucian born inventor who has been featured on Shark Tank, Forbes, GQ, HDTV and NPR. Joshua currently owns The Cut Buddy and lives on a small truffle farm named Truffletopia.

Johnny Hackett

You must set out to tangibly make a difference in your community.

Johnny Hackett operates a Black-Owned Business directory for the state of North Carolina titled #BlackDollarNC and is an alliance member for businesses with the City of Raleigh’s Office of Economic Development and Innovation, helping to take care of the needs of small business owners in the area.

Jessica McDonald

Stepping out from the underdog mentality.

Jessica is an American professional soccer player for the North Carolina Courage of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), the highest division of women’s professional soccer in the United States, and the US women’s national soccer team. She previously played for the Australian W-League team Melbourne Victory as well as the Western New York Flash, Chicago Red Stars, Seattle Reign FC, Portland Thorns FC and Houston Dash. Jessica represented the United States at the FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament in 2019.

Patrick K. Porter, PhD, Chief BrainTap Officer

Brain Tap: Dissociating the survival brain and activating the healing brain.

Patrick K. Porter, Ph.D. is the founder and Chief BrainTap Officer at BrainTap™, which was created with a singular mission in mind: to better a billion brains. Dr. Porter has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, People, Entrepreneur and INC magazines and on ABC, NBC, CBS and the Discovery Channel. He is head of mind-based studies at Quantum University and is a licensed trainer of NLP. He is the author of six books including his popular Thrive in Overdrive: How to Navigate Your Overloaded Lifestyle.

Rodney Smith

The Power of Communication and Body Language

Rodney is a body language expert with more than 18 years of law enforcement experience.  He holds a BA in Criminal Justice and an MS in Criminal Justice Administration and has extensive training in body language, interview and interrogation, statement analysis, and micro expressions. His extensive training, education, and practice of nonverbal communication has made him an expert and consultant to his fellow law enforcement colleagues as well as entrepreneurs and others interested in learning about micro expressions and body language. 

Billy Warden

How do you change a culture? How do you foster harmony where there is conflict? How do you remain an individual while working within a massive, sometimes oppressive system? Joe Winters’ life is a story of contradictions, bright-burning personal passion and humble public service that has much to teach us about our turbulent times.  

Billy Warden is a writer and TV producer as well as the lead singer with the alt-glam band The Floating Children and co-founder of the strategic communications firm GBW Strategies. His journalism and multimedia projects often focus on “underdogs, iconoclasts and oddballs; people who blaze their own trails, challenge conventionality and sometimes move the culture.”

Larisa Zhukova

How to stand out in a world of keywords, recruiters, and gatekeepers – especially during a critical time. 

Larisa is an Experienced Senior Recruiter with a demonstrated history of working in the pharmaceutical, CRO and tech industries. Strong human resources professional with a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies focused in Global Studies from University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her focus on the “personal relationships” in recruiting is what makes her approach different. “Let’s connect you to someone that is able to help is” a motto she strongly believes in, and does her best to implement in daily life.


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