The Coaster: TEDxNavesink Announces 2014 Speakers

Source: The BPlot

Organizers of the phenomenal TEDx Navesink have announced 10 of the 24 confirmed speakers for the “Play to Learn” May 10, 2014 event at the Two River Theater in Red Bank.  And as is the motto of the internationally renowned TED conferences, these impressive speakers are prepared to give “the talk of their lives” in 20 minutes or less.

“Once in a lifetime experience” isn’t over-stating TEDx Navesink.  Where else would you get the opportunity to hear from so many innovative brains in the same day, in a succinct and accessible format?

“The conference will offer attendees two-dozen live talks and performances that explore the surprising ways play benefits our lives,” said Brian Smiga, executive director, TEDx Navesink, which launched in 2013.  “As a facilitator of greater openness, tolerance, creativity and curiosity, the act of play is a positive and resourceful force at any age.  For many, I’ve heard that last year’s conference was a life-changing experience and we expect the same to apply this year.”

TEDx Navesink 2014 Confirmed Speakers (as of February 8)

Poornima Vijayashanker is the founder of Femgineer an education startup that provides tech professionals and engineers with skills to better themselves in product development, communication and leading teams. Femgineer offers a range of speaking engagements, workshops and courses to help tech professionals and entrepreneurs, especially women, level up their careers. She is a visiting professor at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering and was as a founding engineer at She also founded BizeeBee a company that helps fitness businesses with customer management.  [more below]

Last year’s event featured several engaging speakers including Ben Kalina, who recently won the Sundance Sustainability Award for his film Shored Up: When human nature and the force of Nature Collide. Kalina described his experience at last year’s event as “powerful.” "Though I've watched dozens of Ted talks online and spent many hours prepping for my own talk at Navesink I didn't realize how powerful of an experience it would be until I'd stepped out on that stage and looked out at the audience,” Kalina said. “It's something everyone should do, at least once."

TEDx Navesink 2013 speaker Ben Kalina recently won the Sundance Film Festival’s Sustainability Award for his film “Shored Up: When human nature and the force of Nature Collide.”  Stage art in the background by Roddy Wildeman of Torche Gallerie in Belmar.

Mark Bekoff is professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, a former Guggenheim Fellow and the author of Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed. In 2005 Bekoff was awarded The Bank One Faculty Community Service Award for work with children, senior citizens, and prisoners as part of Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots program. He has published more than 800 scientific and popular essays and twenty-five books. His talk is entitled Fair Play: Learning Rules of Social Conduct.

Karl Kapp an expert in the convergence of learning, manufacturing and e-technology is the author of Gamification of Learning and Instruction and Winning E-Learning Proposals: The Art of Development and Delivery. He helps organizations transition into learning organizations through the effective application of technology.  His focus is in instructional design the systematic design, development, delivery, and evaluation of instruction in a corporate environment. He is assistant director of Bloomsburg University’s Institute for Interactive Technologies, where he is involved with interactive instruction, e-learning and evaluating corporate enterprise-wide learning strategies.   His talk is Playing to Learn.

James M. Giunta, a hypnotist from Red Bank, NJ, conducts individual and group hypnotic sessions to help clients improve thoughts, emotions and behaviors. As Founder of World Hypnotism Day, Giunta teaches and lectures about his favorite subject nationally. His talk, Musical Hypnosis will engage the playful mind to become more receptive to creativity, concentration and mastery through music.

Peter Gray, research professor of psychology at Boston College, has conducted and published research in neuroendocrinology, developmental psychology, anthropology and education. He is author of an internationally acclaimed introductory psychology textbook (Psychology, Worth Publishers, now in its 6th edition), which views all of psychology from an evolutionary perspective. His recent research focuses on the role of play in human evolution and how children educate themselves, through play and exploration, when they are free to do so.

Mark W. Moffett, an expert on tropical treetop exploration and the social behavior of ants and other animals, is a research associate at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. He is one of the few individuals to receive a doctorate from conservationist Edward O. Wilson. As Wilson has written, “Mark has the soul of a 19th-century explorer, a wandering naturalist in the tradition of Darwin.” By documenting new species and behavior from remote places and bringing his findings to the attention to the public, Mark’s efforts as an explorer span both science and journalism.

Stanton Green is Professor of Anthropology and Dean of the McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Monmouth University. His interests from Irish Prehistory to Baseball to Educational reform use the concept of culture to understand how communities adapt, change, function and dysfunction. He is the author of over 30 major publications, co- editor of two books and many presentations in the US, Europe including the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Little League Hall of Fame. Green’s talk is Play Ball: The Anthropology of Baseball.

Robyn Stratton-Berkessel specializes in participatory change methodologies in the field of organization and human development globally. Her strengths are designing and facilitating positive change across functional, cultural, and geographic boundaries, with a focus on creating cultures of ownership, empowerment and inclusion. Robyn is published in her field in both print and digital media: Appreciative Inquiry for Collaborative Solutions (2010); Embracing Change, iPad app achieving #2 ranking on iTunes in the Business category; and Appreciative Inquiry – an Introduction, a smart phone app.

Lois Holzman is the director of non-profit East Side Institute and lead organizer of the biennial performing the world conferences. She travels the world to help create and support a new generation of play revolutionaries and is a pioneer of the “psychology of becoming,” which incorporates play, performance and practical philosophy to inspire life-long human development through group creativity.

Pat Rumbaugh is the founder of Takoma Plays and Lets Play America, two groups that aim to help keep children physically active by organizing free events for children of all ages and helping communities develop play events, respectively. She is also published a children’s book, Let’s Play at the Playground, in 2013, and is a former physical education teacher and coach at Washington International School.

From the organizer:  In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, live speakers combine with TEDTalks video to spark deep discussion and connection. These local events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event.  TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a conference in California 26 years ago, TED has grown to support world-changing ideas with many initiatives. At a TED conference, the world’s leading thinkers and doers are asked to give the talk of their lives.

TEDxNavesink, Saturday, May 10, 2014.  Admission is $90 and includes reserved seating, swag bag, catered networking lunch and admission to an evening reception. Student discounts are available. Tickets are available for purchase at or at the Two River Theater box office.

To read about one of the Asbury Park stars of the first TEDx, click here.  Read The Coaster and TheBPlot’s coverage of the inaugural TEDx Navesink.  To view talks from 2013 visit

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