Heather Caro is a nurse, freelance writer and reluctant member of the club nobody wants to join - breast cancer. In 2012, at the age of 32 she was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and eventually endured an aggressive treatment plan including surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and a year of targeted therapies. Along the way, Heather lost a great deal - her curves, her hair, her job. But she also gained a unique perspective of the medical system as seen from both sides of the hospital bed.
Since completing treatment, Heather has dedicated herself to speaking out about advocacy related issues and sharing her story on her blog (www.mylifedistilled.blogspot.com). Recently she was nominated as a Young Survival Coalition Western State Leader and in July 2014 served as a DOD Breast Cancer Research Program Consumer Reviewer.
Heather has a diverse medical background with experience in nursing specialties ranging from Oncology to Intensive Care. Today she works as an RN Research Coordinator for Heart Clinics Northwest.
Heather resides in Coeur d' Alene with her husband Chris, their two young children and Finnigan, the World’s greatest dog.
Meet TEDxSpokane speaker Sonya Elliott. Sonya is a writer, a basketball coach, a fashion model, a wife and a mom. Her memoir, Back on the Court: A Young Woman’s Triumphant Return to Life, Love and Basketball, is her story of surviving and thriving after tragedy. In 1991, just days before her wedding, Sonya and her fiancé were hit by a train. Sonya survived. Her fiancé did not. Sonya’s book is about her return to the basketball court, to her career as a fashion model and to a life filled with happiness.
Sonya’s experience gives her rare insight into survival and healing, and since her accident Sonya has reached out to local grief support groups and spoken with youth, high school and college athletic teams to share her story and inspire others with her “never give up” attitude.
Sonya blogs about writing, basketball and life at www.sonyaelliott.com, and is currently working on a young adult novel and a book about coaching basketball. She and her husband Jason have been married since 1994. They live in Seattle with their daughter Charli, son Cass and their boxer dogs, Sassy and Bruno.
Meet TEDxSpokane speaker Samuel Mahaffy. Samuel Mahaffy, PhD is a management consultant, workshop leader, and facilitator who has assisted more than five hundred nonprofit organizations and NGOs around the world. He has worked with institutions of higher learning, community and faith-based organizations, and public and private agencies. As a specialist in conflict transformation, he seeks integral, collaborative, and relational perspectives on human engagement. He earned his Ph.D. from Tilburg University in the Netherlands through The Taos Institute of which he is now an Associate. Born and raised in Eritrea, East Africa, Samuel Mahaffy brings a perspective that is enriched by his encounter with the wisdom of indigenous cultures, relational approaches and the sacred texts of the major religions of the world. Mahaffy is also a consultant to nonprofits and NGOs worldwide and a Saint George’s parent speaking on the intersection of peacemaking and placemaking; "Peacemaking is more than an idea, it is a place. Creating vital community spaces that are safe is an essential aspect of transforming conflicts both locally and globally."
Matt Miller has more than 31 years experience in education. He currently serves as the Human Interaction Strategist with PRIDE Preparatory School of Science and Technology design team. A co-founder of the Riverpoint Academy, district administrator, technologist, and a teacher in public school systems and private universities, Matt now focuses his professional energy on creating the future of education.
Meet TEDxSpokane speaker Juan Muñoz Oca. Juan is the head winemaker at Columbia Crest Winery in Paterson, Washington. Columbia Crest is recognized as the leading producer of acclaimed, high-quality wines from Washington state. As winemaker, Muñoz Oca is responsible for producing the winery’s portfolio of Reserve, H3, and Grand Estates wines.
Raised in Mendoza, Argentina, Juan came under the tutelage of his grandfather, cellar master at Bodegas Toso winery, at a young age. The older man instilled in him a love and respect for wine, as well as his family’s Spanish culture, that was to become the root of a lifelong passion for winemaking. He has continued to develop his craft during stints at wineries in Argentina, Spain, and Australia.
Although his winemaking experience stretches across the globe, it is his time in Washington that has been most meaningful. Muñoz Oca says, “Washington state is a very special place for winemaking. We have high quality fruit, ideal growing conditions, and the best viticultural practices. I fell in love with the wine, and the people, and that’s why I’ve been here since.”
Meet TEDxSpokane Speaker Rachel Phillips. Rachel is a global citizen with roots stretching from Spokane, Washington to Accra, Ghana. Growing up in a family that gave new meaning to the word “diaspora,” she became fascinated by the idea of building communities that transcend geographical and cultural differences. Rachel currently serves as the Communications Coordinator for ScrumPoint, LLC, a software development firm and tech incubator based in Redmond, WA. She is passionate about exploring the ways in which technology can help us to access extraordinary knowledge and develop human connections that extend far beyond the virtual. She also enjoys playing with robots.
One of the musical performers at TEDxSpokane will be Hailey Poutiatine, a 9th grader at Saint George's School. She writes and sings her own compositions in the style of modern folk music.
Meet TEDxSpokane Speaker Ogie Shaw. Ogie is a native of Raleigh, NC. He is a veteran of the US Army and served in Vietnam. Afterwards, he graduated from UNC at Chapel Hill earning degrees in both Speech and Physical Education, later earning certification as a Health Promotion Director from the Cooper Institute® in Dallas, Texas. He served with the Portland Police Bureau and later joined a national network of medical and fitness leaders dedicated to teaching the health benefits of daily exercise. He has been an author, counselor, seminary graduate and pastor to Portland-area retirement homes. He has trained the Portland Trailblazers and Seattle Seahawks, and he has been asked to write a book on his work providing fitness training for paraplegics.
Ogie has had a passion for fitness, health, business, and music all of his life. His career goal is to establish a model for a fitness lifestyle for Americans that is sufficient to impact physical and mental health. He has given over 5000 speeches on fitness motivation.
Meet TEDxSpokane Speaker Sean Smith! Sean is an award winning conservationist and author, whose work has been seen on CNN and heard on NPR, and read in the New York Times and National Geographic.
Sean grew up in Spokane and is a former park ranger who worked at Yellowstone, the North Cascades, Glacier, and with the Forest Service at Mount St. Helens. He's also an accomplished artist, as well as a private pilot. Recently, Sean began writing political thrillers set in National Parks. Unleashing Colter’s Hell, his first novel, is an Amazon “Top 100 terrorism thriller.” His goal is to entertain his readers, but also educate them on the challenges park rangers face every day protecting America's heritage.
He currently lives in Western Washington with his wife and two children.
Meet speaker Simon Tam, Bassist for Asian-American Rock Band, "The Slants."
Portland's The Slants are the first and only all-Asian American dance rock band in the world. They offer up catchy dance beats, strong hooks, and a bombastic live show that is "not to be missed" (The Westword). The Willamette Week says "While the band may well be best experienced live, Slants releases always promise a few blistering, note-perfect singles." The music is the perfect combination of 80's driven synth pop with hard-hitting indie, floor-filling beats which fans affectionately dub as "Chinatown Dance Rock."
They've been featured on NPR's "All Things Considered," IFC TV, Huffington Post, MTV, and over 1500 radio stations, tv shows, magazines, and websites worldwide.
Seventeen international tours, including appearances in 46 of 50 U.S states, have led to headlining showcases at major festivals such as SXSW, MusicfestNW, San Diego Comic-Con, Dragon Con. The band has also tour/provided support for The Decemberists, Mindless Self Indulgence, Girl Talk, Apl.De.Ap (of Black Eyed Peas), Blindpilot and Shonen Knife. In 2011, The Slants worked with the Department of Defense for a series of shows at U.S and NATO bases in Eastern Europe, dubbed "Operation Gratitude."
During the past several years, The Slants had to balance a rigorous international touring schedule, a lineup change, writing songs for the album, keeping personal relationships from falling apart, fundraising for the tsunami relief effort in Japan, and a fight with the United States Patent and Trademark Office that made headlines across both legal blogs and Asian culture outlets.
Meet TEDxSpokane speaker Jeff Thomas, a highly experienced international executive. For the largest part of his career, he ran one of the largest international student travel companies in the world, Ambassador Programs, which had students from over 100 different countries participating on the programs. As CEO for Ambassador Programs, Jeff worked with a number of educational institutions to ensure that students were learning and developing personally while traveling around the world. Part of that work was developing and documenting “Cultural Intelligence.” Jeff is currently the Founder and CEO of Westminster Lane Capital, a small investment firm. Westminster Lane completed its first investment in July in two training companies that are working to expand from the United States into the Middle East.
Dr. Bryan Vila
Bryan Vila, PhD, is a professor of criminal justice and criminology at Washington State University. He pioneered the study of police fatigue, and currently directs the Simulated Hazardous Operational Tasks laboratory at WSU Spokane’s Sleep and Performance Research Center. His research focuses on the impact of sleep-related fatigue, shift work and long work hours on the safety, health and performance of police officers.
Since receiving his Ph.D. in 1990 from the University of California, Davis, Dr. Vila has held tenured faculty positions at WSU, the University of California, Irvine, and the University of Wyoming. Prior to joining WSU in 2005, he directed crime control and prevention research for the U.S. Department of Justice. Before he became an academic, Bryan served as a law enforcement officer for 17 years—including nine years as a street cop and supervisor with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, six years as a police chief helping the emerging nations of Micronesia develop stable and culturally-appropriate law enforcement agencies, and two years as a federal law enforcement officer in Washington, D.C. He has published more than 60 peer-reviewed articles based on his research, as well as 20 articles for lay audiences and four books, including Tired Cops: The Importance of Managing Police Fatigue (2000).
As seen on CNN: http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2014/08/28/preparing-police-for-confrontation/?hpt=ac_bn1 .