This independent TEDx event is operated under license from TED.


Confirmed speakers for TEDxTheWoodlands 2012:

Marlo Cobb Saucedo (title of talk: Play.Wonder.Joy.Art.Writing)

Marlo Saucedo spent four childhood years discovering art in the coveted scholarship class at the MFAH’s Glassell Junior School. She then received a B.A. from Davidson College, an M.B.A. from U.T. Austin, and held various non-art-related professional positions in Washington D.C., Houston, and New York. She was a music journalist for the Houston Press and Cover in NYC, and continues to write for Houston’s CultureMap on a variety of topics. 

Since she began painting (or, returned to art) in 1999, Marlo’s work has been actively commissioned. Her labor-intensive drawings, paintings and mixed media pieces are done entirely of text, or in pointillism with over 1,000 bright squares of paper or paint forming photo-realistic images when seen from a distance – or a combination of the two styles.  Her pieces have been shown in Houston at 34 venues including Diverse Works Art Space, Lawndale Art Center, and in Art League Houston’s Open Show. Marlo was awarded a grant from the Houston Arts Alliance in 2005.  In 2007 she was awarded a scholarship for Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. One of Marlo’s pointillistic skylines, Downtown Rising, was displayed in Mayor White’s conference room during the 2008-2009 Vibrant: Houston Artists in City Halls show.  The interview-based piece Mounted II was installed at the facility for Houston Police Department’s Mounted Patrol Detail in spring 2009. Recent work done for St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School was an ornate drawing of a cross containing the names of every student and faculty member at the school as well as inspirational verses and the school’s history.  Marlo’s pieces are viewable under “art” at http://www.marlosaucedo.com, and also on Facebook

Marlo, her husband Alex and their two boys have found balance living in The Woodlands since returning to Texas from life in the wild and beautiful Ozarks. Aside from art and writing – and combining the two – interests include reading, running, yoga – and chocolate.

Ray Anthony (title of talk: Brainbox… Understanding It, Improving it!)

Ray Anthony, the President of the Anthony Innovation Group in The Woodlands, Texas, is an author, keynote speaker, consultant and corporate trainer. His primary focus is to help individuals and organizations improve their operational performance through applied creativity and widespread innovation.  His latest (6th) book is F-A-S-T Forward… and Step on It!  Innovation and Change in a World Desperate for It.  He also created a unique series of competitive, fun events called the “Innovation Olympics.”  Ray’s clients have included many Fortune 500 companies such as IBM, Apple, PG&E, KPMG, ExxonMobil, Harcourt and also the CIA and NASA.  Ray earlier career included working for Burroughs Corporation and Digital Equipment Corporation where he successfully sold large-scale computer and check processing systems to International Banks in New York City.  Ray has a BS and MA in Economics with a focus on strategies for increasing national productivity.

Timothy Michael Patrick Cowan (title of talk: The Path of Wonder; The Road to Joy)

Tim Cowan is Professor of Philosophy at Lone Star College Montgomery.  He is an experienced instructor and advocate of uneducating his students.  Taking his cue from former philosophy instructors at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, where he earned his B.A. in Philosophy, and Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo where he earned his M.A. in Philosophy, Tim takes pride in the great confusion that philosophy has to offer.

Tim has been awarded Outstanding Adjunct of the Year at Oakland Community College in 2008.  Two years later he was selected as the student nominated Shining Star recipient at Lone Star College Montgomery.  Tim has also been awarded Lone Star College Montgomery’s Advisor of the year in 2010 and 2012 for his work mentoring honors students in Phi Theta Kappa, and philosophy students in ‘The Academy’.

As a student advocate Tim maintains that the primary goal of higher education ought to be the education as opposed to the degree.  With an emphasis on ancient philosophy, this goal is shown to have both practical as well as philosophical value.  With passion and vigor Tim tries to relate the great questions of the past to the students of the modern era.  In addition to ancient philosophy, Tim also has a strong interest in Philosophy of Love, Epistemology, and Philosophy of Mind.

André Gandin (title of talk: From Erector Sets To American Industrial Folk Artist, A Journey of Play, Wonder and Joy)

André has been creating his art for nearly 25-years. He originally found a niche in resurrecting old industrial equipment and finding a new home for discarded metals of all types. He began building unusual sand writers and his art grew from that experience. Since then, André has broadened his interests to include flowers and birds and even the most bizarre figures. His garden art can be found in luxurous garden estates and even hotel grand rooms. Many of his creations are just as at home on a Hill Country ranch as in a modest suburban backyard. Since he decided to become a full time artist, he looked for a medium that was plentiful and easy to work. Over twenty years ago, he discovered that welding was his choice. Steel is plentiful, it has properties that lends itself to beauty and can be manipulated rather easily. Polished steel has a look that no other metal possesses. And it seems few metal artists are willing to take the trouble to go through the process of sandblasting and polishing with rotary wire brushes. To André, it is the defining moment when you see something that came out of the scrap heap heading for the living room.  When steel is polished and detailed with melted brass, and lacquered, there is no richer look!  

The considerable body of work by this Texas artist is displayed in gardens, hotels, estates and elsewhere all throughout America. Be sure to explore the photo galleries and take a peek at André at work in his studio and many of his wonderful creations. Found objects, metal sculpting and a physics presentation – André designs the most interesting, animated art pieces. 

Tiffany McElmeel (title of talk: Play.Wonder.Joy = Yoga)

Tiffany has been in the fitness industry for over 16 years. Active in various sports and activities in her youth, Tiffany went on to earn a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Family Social Services and Family and Consumer Science Education at Northern Illinois University. Upon graduation, she taught high school and became a nationally certified Fitness Instructor with AFAA (American Fitness Association of America). After teaching high school for three years in Chicago, Tiffany left teaching both high school and fitness to attend the Jane Addams School of Social work at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Working with men whom were convicted of domestic violence and co-facilitating psycho-educational groups for three years was very rewarding, but change was on the horizon. 

After moving to Texas in 2001, Tiffany obtained a teaching certificate in Texas and returned to teaching both high school and group fitness. For six years it was high school during the day and group fitness classes in the evening.  After getting married and starting a family, Tiffany found herself at a cross roads – should she stay home to raise Olivia or continue working? This is when yoga found Tiffany.  Not realizing that yoga was what she needed in her life at the time, she began exploring different styles and decided to train through an organization called YogaFit. Tiffany enjoys the challenge of bringing yoga into a gym setting.  

Now as a mother of two beautiful girls, Olivia and Aria, Tiffany has made Yoga a major part of her personal and family life. She teaches free classes for Lululemon of the Woodlands and also serves as their Yoga Ambassador. Tiffany is also employed by VillaSport Athletic Club and Spa and 24 Hour Fitness. Tiffany finds the experience of interacting with amazing people to bring change in their lives as rewarding as watching her two girls grow and experience life.  

Thi Vu (title of talk: The Fullfillment of Emptiness”)

Second youngest in a supportive family of 4 brothers and 3 sisters, Thi Vu used to wander curiously the streets of his neighborhood in Saigon, Vietnam and find amazing creations all around him. After a sudden awakening in the night to roaring waves of a massive ocean storm and after 18 months at a refugee camp in Malaysia, Thi’s family finally immigrated to America, settling in Houston in 1980.

Although it was a constant struggle to discover his soul path in life, it was through the curiosity of survival creations, carried over from his youth, that Thi found his calling. In 2012, Thi earned a B.A in the Industrial Design Program at the University of Houston – Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture. His philosophy is that to achieve good design, one should understand the origin of one’s intent.  No new ideas emerge without the trace of a pre-existing inspiration. Thi believes that a well thought-out design that is infused with passion and honesty is everlasting. Such a design is genuinely embraced by the world. With model construction being one of his strongest and favorite skills among the design process, Thi has received numerous recognitions for his projects. Some of these projects include: “Latch” at the University of Houston Industrial Design Award Exhibition in 2010; “Viera” at the Lawndale Art Center Design Fair in 2011; “Flip-Flop” at the University of Houston Industrial Design Award Exhibition in 2011; and “Curve” (Out of Sight) at the Washington D.C. Safety Design Conference in 2011.

In his spare time, Thi enjoys learning various new craft skills from various cultures. Because he had left his country at such a young age, Thi loves spending time with family to absorb as much rooted culture and values as he can to form the basis for his inspirations. He dreams of bringing to the world a strong sense of design which preserves ideas of the old and connects them with the advancing visions of the new. Thi truly believes that life is but a memory when all is said and done… but some memories, particularly ones of selflessness, never truly die.

Javier Fadul (title of talk: Live.Work.Play)

The relationship between Culture and Technology has shaped and driven Javier’s perspective for years. His curious mind and autodidactic philosophy has led him to explore creativity in many different mediums. During college he studied Philosophy and Psychology with a focus on Perception and Cognitive Science at the University of Houston Honors College. During summer months he worked at a local multimedia studio which handled many brands for the Hollywood entertainment industry. 
After college he discovered the home-cooked creative design of Culture Pilot and started leading the interactive front of their projects. Now a partner at Culture Pilot and lead Experience Coordinator, he continues to explore the boundaries of creativity. He is particularly passionate about discovering what is possible in interaction design through the perspective of cognitive and behavioral psychology and with an eye on the future of technology. 
His passion for life-long learning and the mission of Culture Pilot of “Accelerating Design and Marketing Culture” has lead to their leadership of the TEDxHouston community organized event, now in it’s third year.  The city of Houston has recognized Javier and Culture Pilot for their creative contributions to the local community through their active involvement in numerous art and culture organizations.
Libbie Masterson (title of talk: A Guide to Having a Mid-life Crisis)

Libbie Masterson earned a BFA from the California College of Arts. Landscapes have been a prevalent theme throughout her work, taking her through Europe, Norway, Iceland, Alaska, and Antarctica.  Inspired by these travels, Masterson began a series of photographs illuminated with light panels with light designer Nic Phillips, leading installations scaling up to 70 feet, taking place at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (2006), the Barbara Davis Gallery, Houston (2007), and the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, in 2008.   In 2008 she created a stage set, commissioned by the Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre and the Sarasota Ballet. The Mozart Trilogy has been performed with the in Houston, Dallas, New York and Tokyo. With Masterson Design, she created a glass mosaic window for the chapel of the Amazing Place, Houston.

In 2009, Masterson was awarded an Individual Artists Grant from the Houston Arts Alliance for the creation of a photographic installation of evenings in Texas, exhibited during the winter 2009-10. She continued to develop this evening series, focusing on the landscapes of Provence, serving a residency awarded by the MFAH  at the Dora Maar House, in the South of France. This series NUIT, exhibited at Wade Wilson Art as a part of the Fotofest Biennial 2012.  Masterson also created a second set design for Dominic Walsh for the premiere of his ballet Claudel.  On a larger scale, she created a photographic image for a public installation of a tree canopy in downtown Houston, to be installed this summer. Masterson also works as the Curator at the Houston Center for Photography and as a Designer for Masterson Design. 

Gika Rector (title of talk: Play Wonder Joy—Reclaiming Your Birthright)

A fiber artist for more than 20 years, Gika Rector combines creativity and an education in psychology in her role as a personal coach to facilitate transformation in individuals and organizations. Once described as “the quietest storm that ever blew through town,” Gika is passionate about inviting people to come out and play—to be who they were meant to be and do what they were meant to do. Imagine what the world would be like if we were all following our best and brightest ideas and intuitions!

Gika is also known for her nonjudgmental and supportive approach to hearing the truth, eliciting clarity, and opening up new possibilities. She teaches Awareness Through Movement® as well as felt-making; she serves on the boards of directors of the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft and The Woodlands Waterway Arts Council, and is the former board president of the Dispute Resolution Center of Montgomery County.  Gika Rector, 713-213-7643, www.gikarector.com


Charlie Lindahl (title of talk – Internet Memes: Cross-Cultural Online Play)

Middle-aged lifelong white-hat “hactivist” (goodguy hacker/programmer + activist) with an abiding interest in social work including permaculture (community gardens) and local community building.  
He has a fascination with All Things Tech (hardware gizmos + programming) as well tech history in which he has participated since the mid 1970’s (example: he had an official Arpanet EMAIL account in 1982). 
He lives with his family (wife, stepson, and parents) in North Houston and works at the Texas A&M Health Science Center as a Senior Systems Analyst.
Khoren and Samara Ouzounian and Children 
Khoren is a nationally recognized educator, composer, conductor, organist, pianist and entrepreneur. As founder of the Musicians Academy International of The Woodlands, his students have successfully enrolled in conservatory and college music programs throughout the United States and he is well recognized for his work as a teacher-trainer and master-class presenter. His philosophy and methodology in teaching has garnered international recognition and acclaim at such events as the World Piano Pedagogy Conference. His compositions and arrangements have been published and presented by Celebration USA™, Faiths United of the Woodlands, and in LDS church services throughout the U.S. Khoren is also an active soloist and chamber musician, most recently presenting a Beethoven and Grieg concert with violinist, Thomas McClung. Khoren also has a passion for business and finance.
From 1995 to 2000, Khoren worked as the General Manager of Operations at Opal Concepts Inc. where his unique talents set him apart as a valued trainer and made him a part of the business development team. While at Opal Concepts, Khoren was twice invited to present seminars at the Fantastic Sams International Convention. Khoren is currently an independent financial advisor and wealth consultant with LPL Financial. While living in Las Vegas, Khoren also sat on the board of the Las Vegas Performing Arts Center. Khoren and his wife Samara live in The Woodlands area of northern Houston with their six children. His piano teachers have included JoLane Laycock Jolley, Dr. Douglas Humpherys, Robert Smith, Lillian Bauer Cox and Mykola Suk. >
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Robin Browning (title of talk: Wonder What Choice You’ll Make)

Robin is the owner of RB Services, a personal assistant company for the busy executive, or small business owner.  Her company offers a wide variety of services that include (but are not limited to) bookkeeping, website administration, social media marketing, office organization, event planning, property management, project coordination, editing, and more. RB Services is just the extra set of hands needed, when there isn’t enough of you to go around.  Being born and raised in Texas has enabled Robin to understand what true Southern hospitality means and it shows in her can-do attitude. 

Robin’s unique journey in life has motivated her to help others along their paths.  She will share her story of strength and survival, and finding wonder and joy through it all.  Her refusal to allow circumstances to define her is shown by her courage to face life head-on and by her determination to never give up. In her personal life, Robin is a mother of two fabulous teenage children.  She’s a foodie in her spare time and has catered events, complete with all the Martha Stewart touches.  Robin loves photography, travel, biking and gardening.  Her bucket list is filled with adventure — sky diving, bungee jumping, climbing and more.  Carpe diem is definitely a motto Robin lives by!  RobinLeann.2011@gmail.com or via Linked In


Gary Hernandez
Gary J. Hernandez is an internationally recognized, award winning artist. He was born in Victoria, Texas and currently resides in Spring, Texas.  He received training from the Houston Museum of Fine Arts School of Art. In 1986 he sold his graphics design firm to pursue a full-time career as a professional artist.
Exhibiting extensively in the Houston area, his art has also been showcased in SOHO, New York/ Santa Fe, New Mexico/ Chicago, Illinois/ Cape Cod, Massachusetts/ Scottsdale, Arizona/ Fairfield, Connecticut/ Topeka, Kansas/ Naples, Florida/ Springfield, Massachusetts as well as the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. He owns and operates the Gary J. Hernandez Studio and Gallery of Fine Art.  Additionally, he is the owner and Principle Instructor of The Gary J. Hernandez School of Fine Art.  He also teaches oil painting at Jerry’s Artarama in Houston, TX.  Other teaching positions include Adult level classes at the Art League of Houston, Grades 6-8 art classes at a private school and numerous workshops at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
He specializes in representational art with an emphasis on the human figure. He was a finalist in The Artist’s Magazine International Art Competition, an Award of Excellence winner in the Manhattan Arts Magazine Competition, awarded Honorable Mention for Artistic Excellence at Salon International 2006 & 2011 and Jury’s Top Fifty at Salon International 2008, 2009 & 2011.  Hernandez was profiled in the Manhattan Arts Magazine and his artwork has been published in North Light Books “The Best of Flower Painting” and “The Best of Portrait Painting“.  Most recently he was published inInternational Artist Magazine October/November 2010 Issue #75 and Southwest Art Magazine’s January 2012 issue “Artist To Watch / Editor’s Choice for Up-and-Coming Talent“.
Mike Devoley  (title of talk: This is Your Brain on Bubbles)
The name Mike Devoley might not ring a bell in most people’s mind, but if you had him as a psychology professor, you are sure to not forget him. As a psychology professor at Lone Star College-Montgomery, Devoley has made a name for himself with students and faculty alike. With an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 on ratemyprofessor.com, it would seem that students love taking his classes almost as much as he loves teaching them!  He credits this to his desire to make learning fun by using music, videos and engaging exercises and examples.  He has no problem with the term “edutainment”. 

A life-long lover of learning, for him there wasn’t an exact “ah ha!” moment when he realized he wanted to teach psychology, but he does recall watching The Brain series on PBS as a boy and learning about Phineas Gage and other interesting cases about the brain. During his time in at Arizona State University, Devoley didn’t quite know what he wanted to study. His ideas for a career ranged from law to meteorology until he took his first psychology class. Since then he’s never stopped studying psychology. After finishing up his Masters at Northern Arizona University, he was invited to continue teaching there, as well as at the local community college, until he made the move to Texas to his current position at our Lone Star campus. He loves his new-found home and community, which he finds fun, intimate, and engaging. 

Mike is also the leader for the Environmentally Conscious Organization of Students (the ECOS) at the Montgomery campus.  When not on campus, you can find him hiking, biking, camping or cleaning up in the great outdoors with wife and 2 year-old daughter. >

Ted Shaw (title of talk: It All Starts With Wonder)
Ted wears many hats – Certified Life Coach, Certified Clinical Hypnotist, International Painter of “Magic Mirrors”- visual symphonies of transformational art, Motivational Keynote Speaker, Certified Master Firewalking facilitator and Real Estate Investor.
He is passionate about helping people improve their lives. After leaving a record-breaking career in business ownership and corporate sales management, Ted embarked on a journey of self-discovery. His first firewalk was in 1999. Firewalking was a major turning point in his life, igniting his creativity and inspiring a new series of paintings. Ted’s ‘Magic Mirrors’ open a channel to energies that encourage and support transformational alignment of the mind, body and soul. Many of his paintings are on display in homes and businesses around the world. Major corporations, celebrities and a member of the Presidents’ family have commissioned his paintings.
Eric Yu (title of talk: The Magic of Mathematics)
Eric Yu, a 16 year old junior in the Academy of Science and Technology, is a devout mathematician. Ever since being introduced to the subject at a young age, Eric has spent increasing amounts of time studying, learning, and helping others understand the language of mathematics. He believes that his interest in mathematics stems from learning it in a playful and inquisitive way, rather than the military-like teaching methods practiced in many schools nowadays. As vice-president of his school’s local Mu Alpha Theta chapter, he not only tutors other students in math, but also helps organize for them math competitions which were heretofore inaccessible. Eric’s hard work and devotion to math has paid off in the form of an invitation to participate in the 2011 United States of America (Junior) Mathematical Olympiad, an honor bestowed to only the nation’s top 500 math students. Eric’s enduring passion is to explore the patterns, principles and inner nature of mathematics. His love for math drives him to attend the 2012 Stanford University Mathematics Camp, which will open many opportunities for him to share with youth the wonder and beauty in the language of mathematics.
Eric’s other interests include playing tennis and practicing piano. He is on his school’s varsity tennis team, and plays in many local and regional tournaments. Eric is also studying the programming language Java® to help him with his mathematical endeavors.
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