Breaking the Mold — TEDx talks feature game changers


TED talk

TEDxUniversityofAkron members Kyle Flynn, president; Daniel Kosich, vice president; and Gregg Butala Jr., sponsorship director and treasurer, are preparing for the Sept. 29 event.

Pathfinders and game changers take that red stage at TEDxUniversityofAkron to talk about "Breaking the Mold.” Eight speakers will be donning the iconic wireless microphone headset to tell their stories about challenging social norms and having a healthy disregard for the impossible. This second annual event will take place from 4 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 29, in the Student Union Theatre on The University of Akron main campus, 303 Carroll St.

“While the majority of TED talks are viewed online, nothing can compare to being in the room when they actually happen. The atmosphere is absolutely electrifying,” says Kyle Flynn, a junior business major and the organization’s current president. “It’s something you won’t forget – being in that audience really allows you to get the best out of the entire TED experience.” 

Positive ripples

Speaker Troy Haslinger agrees. “What happens at TED stays with the world,” he says. His foundation, Life is Good No Matter What, provides escapes with loved ones for people with advanced cancer. In his TED talk, Haslinger will push the boundaries on society’s perceptions of a patient. “I want to challenge what is perceived as the only important goal or outcome of cancer, which is a cure. What is the power of escaping it?”

This year’s emcee is Jeff Hoffman, co-founder of and founding director of UA’s Center for Experiential Learning, Entrepreneurship, and Civic Engagement.

Speakers include (full profiles here):

  • Hugues Bastien, social change advocate, "Cultivating Hope in Haiti."
  • Hazel Barton, UA biologist, cave explorer, "The Life (and Death) of Exploration."
  • Troy Haslinger, nonprofit founder, "The Power of Escape."
  • Madison Hexter, STEM tutor, student, "Let’s Cross-Talk: The Dichotomy of Success."
  • Emily Kennedy, scientist, inventor, "Evolving the Enterprise: Biomimicry for Sustainable Innovation."
  •  Mark Krohn, lawyer, civic leader, "What if…."
  • Holly Pilcavage, life coach, storyteller, "Saving Lives Through Story"
  • Andrew Thomas, author, entrepreneur, UA professor, "Who Are You Innovating For?"

“TED events are known for their short talks, but they really are comprehensive events that engage an audience from start to finish,” says Kevin Smith, director of Institute for Leadership Advancement in UA’s College of Business Administration. “It’s an honor to be able to impact the community with this unique experience.”

General admission tickets are $50, which include parking. Student admission is $25 with a UA ID. VIP tickets are also available for $75 and include reserved seating and admittance to the after party. Tickets can also be purchased online.

TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events created by TEDa nonprofit organization devoted to "Ideas Worth Spreading."

The original TEDxUniversityofAkron event in 2014 was made possible as part of the Institute for Leadership Advancement, which was developed from a generous $1 million gift from The J.M. Smucker Company. The event remains a collaborative partnership between the students of TEDxUniversityofAkron and the institute.

Media contact: Lisa Craig, 330-972-7429 or