ideas worth spreading

Meet the speakers, performers, and exhibitors who light up TEDxDetroit in 2023.

TEDxDetroit 2023 on Thursday, September 28th will feature some of the best and brightest minds sharing their passion, insights, and ideas worth spreading.

Our speaker roster balances left brain and right brain – academics, artists, investors, entrepreneurs, and innovators.  Each speaker only has a short block of time to share their positive idea for the world.

The main stage isn’t the only place to experience big ideas at TEDxDetroit. TEDxLabs and TEDxMarketplace showcase homegrown tech, art, and small businesses right outside the theatre. It’s part business expo, part art gallery, and part science fair. You can demo new tech, sample local cuisine, buy from local artisans, and meet the speakers in between sessions during TEDxDetroit.

Marques McCammon

Karma Automotive

Marques McCammon combines nearly 30 years of auto industry general management, product development, manufacturing, brand leadership and marketing experience with software-based automotive product advancement. Career highlights include: Creating the Dodge SRT-4, GM/Car & Truck Division, Saleen Performance Vehicles, GM/West Coast Operations, American Specialty Cars, CMO/Aptera Motors, GM/VP/Wind River, and Global Managing Director/Ricardo, Inc.

All this previous work led to McCammon being named president of ultra-luxury electric car manufacturer Karma in April 2023, where the automaker is at a crucial juncture. His task: reinvigorate the brand and implement alternate paths to revenue.

Quiana Broden

Founder of The Kitchen
by Cooking with Que

Quiana “Que” Broden is the Founder of Detroit’s only demonstration kitchen and restaurant, The Kitchen by Cooking with Que that serves as a cafe experience by day & event space by night serving healthy and happy dining options for vegans and meat eaters to dine under one roof.

Honing in on her mission to teach people how to “Eat to Live”, her efforts have contributed to a greater awareness of plant-based eating throughout the country while increasing Black representation in the world of veganism.

Jason Bressler

United Wholesale Mortgage

With more than 26 years of IT experience in the mortgage banking industry, Bressler excels in leadership development, team dynamics and building, application development and enterprise implementation.  He is constantly developing intuitive technology platforms that help independent mortgage brokers grow their businesses. Under Bressler’s leadership, UWM has set the tone for the entire mortgage industry by reacting to clients quickly, efficiently, and with scale. Jason currently leads a team of more than 1400 focused on delivering stellar client service through cutting-edge proprietary tools.

David Medina Alvarez

Founder & CEO,

Hola, I’m David Medina Alvarez from Mexico. Inheriting my family’s entrepreneurial spirit, my childhood dream was creating a vehicle company. That dream took form in 2020, fast forward to today, Livaq is a fusion of heartfelt community, innovation, and a tight-knit global team. We’ve learned, grown, and navigated the ups and downs together, all while keeping our roots grounded. I’m excited to share our journey, our lessons, and the thrilling road ahead.

Staci Russell

Cowgirl Barrel Racer &
Instructional Technology Coach

Staci Russell is a first-generation rodeo athlete born and raised in the Detroit metro area. She never imagined herself being a “cowgirl”, but she is glad the world of rodeo found her. Growing up, Staci played basketball and softball. She went to Tuskegee University on an academic and athletic scholarship. She made the 2005 SIAC Softball All-Conference team and had the highest GPA on the team. After graduating, Staci continued her education earning three Master’s degrees from Hampton University, University of Phoenix, and Wayne State University. Currently, Staci is an Instructional Technology Coach for Van Buren Public Schools.

Anthony Grupido

Keynote Speaker
& Magician

Anthony Grupido is a man of many talents.

As a speaker, he produces about 200 presentations a year talking about Mental Health, Resiliency, and Suicide Prevention. His presentation The Magic of Hope uses magic, humor, and personal stories about overcoming suicidal ideation and coping with depression/anxiety in a way that is healthy, relatable, and practical.

As a magician… Anthony has opened for some of the ‘biggest names in the industry’ like Jim Gaffigan, The Impractical Jokers, and the Winner of America’s Got Talent! He’s performed magic all over the world and recently became the most viral pickpocket online today with over 200 million views.

Tina-Marie Wohlfield

Chief People Strategist,

Tina Marie Wohlfield is the Chief People Strategist at TIMAWO (pronounced tee-ma-woe) and founder of the HRUnite! community. She is an active member of the HR community and dedicated advocate for advancing the HR profession through collaboration, partnerships and mentorship. In 2018 she co-founded HRUnite! a professional networking and advocacy group to support and advance the HR profession through impactful professional relationships.

Tina Marie is an HR Storyteller and frequent speaker on HR and leadership topics throughout the country. Her first book, STOP Collaborate and LISTEN – Developing Impactful HR Partnerships Through Collaboration was released in March 2019 and is available through Lulu Publishing.

Tray Little

Buy the Block

CEO of Buy The Block LLC, Tray Little is a leader and advocate for his Detroit community, with a vision of restoring the block he grew up in the now-abandoned neighborhood on the west-side of Detroit. What was once a dream in 2020 is now becoming reality, with the purchase of his first property and 4 lots on the Block this year. Whether it’s through his social media, which receives millions of views each month and has a following of over 2 million, his mentorship and motivational speaking to the youth in various public schools in Detroit, his music which he’s been writing and releasing since he was 13, or via real estate underneath Ellen Mahoney, Principal and Broker at RE/MAX Connection, Tray is continuously advocating for, educating, and inspiring his community. Ultimately, Tray hopes to use his influence and successes to make a positive impact and be a continued role model to the Detroit community.

Michael Spehn & Gina Kell Spehn

President, Co-Founders,
New Day Foundation for Families

New York Times Bestselling authors, co-founders of New Day Foundation for Families, parents to five grown children, Michael and Gina blended families after the death of their first spouses and created New Day, a state-wide cancer support organization partnered with 70 hospitals to provide financial assistance and emotional support to patients, caregivers, and families.

Al Bettis

Singer, Songwriter
& Speaker

At age 30, Al Bettis felt a calling and decided to answer. He picked up a guitar and a notepad and the rest is a beautiful melody. The self-trained guitarist has gained popularity for his smooth vocals and raw lyrics. Pulling from life experiences, his performances are journeys through love, heartbreak, and redemption. From opening for legends Michael McDonald and Dionne Warwick, to features on OWN, Animal Planet, CBS, and more, Al proves it is never too late to be what you might have been.

Ann Duke

Stand-up Comic &
Non-profit Executive

Ann Duke is a stand-up comic and non-profit executive. She is a favorite among “women of a certain age” who can relate to the trials and tribulations of navigating middle age. She has performed at comedy shows and festivals across the region and has appeared with national headliners including Tom Papa and Vic Dibitetto among others. She co-produces the wildly successful Traverse City Comedy Fest and runs comedy shows across the state with her partner Mike Geeter and their company SamRose Entertainment. By day, she is the Chief Development Officer for Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County.

Jay Johnson

Coeus Creative Group

Jay Johnson is an internationally renowned speaker, trainer, and organizational consultant specializing in behavior and performance. Jay works with people and organizations to empower teams, grow profits, and elevate leaders. He is a Co-Founder of Behavioral Elements and a designated Master Trainer by the Association for Talent Development. He has delivered transformational workshops to accelerate high-performance teams and cultures in more than 30 countries across 4 continents.

Mykolas Rambus

Co-Founder & CEO,

Mykolas Rambus is the CEO and Co-Founder of Hush, AI cybersecurity and privacy platform for companies and their employees. Before Hush, Mykolas was an executive at the credit bureau and data broker Equifax, co-founded Wealth-X, the world’s largest database of information on wealthy people, and led information technology at Forbes Magazine and the real estate firm W.P. Carey. He’s an award-winning technologist, having begun his career launching a tech startup from his dorm room at MIT.

Gabe Karp

Operating Partner,
Detroit Venture Partners

Gabe Karp, author of bestseller Don’t Get Mad at Penguins, spent the first 10 years of his career as a trial lawyer. He later joined a small tech startup and grew ePrize (now Merkle) into the world’s leading digital promotions company. Gabe then entered the world of venture capital and sits on the boards of several companies in the DVP and Lightbank portfolios. He has negotiated business and finance deals in the hundreds of millions of dollars and frequently speaks on embracing healthy conflict.

Cora Cowles

Founder & Owner,
The Kitchen Crew

Born and raised in Detroit, Cora Cowles has always had a connection to food. She began cooking in college as an escape from the cafeteria and quickly found that her food brought friends together with a sense of community. Now, as a mother of two, that passion has evolved into a love of teaching young people to cook. Beyond The Kitchen Crew, Cora has enjoyed a 17 year career in User Experience Design, and uses that knowledge to shape the TKC experience for students, parents, and the community.

Hajj Flemings

Rebrand Cities

Hajj Flemings is a serial entrepreneur, brand technologist and the CEO/Founder of Rebrand Cities, RapVS.AI, and Prompt Camp. He hosts a weekly CBS News Detroit – Tech Talk segment focused on AI and is a thought leader whose work intersects artificial intelligence (AI), branding and culture. His story was chronicled in CNN’s Black in America 4: The New Promised Land: Silicon Valley documentary hosted by Soledad O’Brien. He has raised over $1.5 million for his ventures.

Trevor Pawl

World Traveler,
On a Career Break

Trevor Pawl served as the State of Michigan’s first Chief Mobility Officer from 2020 to 2023, before stepping away for a year of travel with his wife and two kids. Previously, Pawl spent a decade in state government building bipartisan economic development programs. Pawl is also an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit Mercy.

De’Nisha "Dinah" Beasley

Restorative Counselor,
CR3 Restorative Services & Solutions

De’Nisha Beasley, MSW, MA, known as Dinah, is a native Detroiter and a multifaceted leader in community restoration. Holding Master’s degrees in Social Work and Theological Studies, Dinah is an expert in trauma-informed care and restorative practices. She founded CR3 Restorative Services and Solutions, focusing on enhancing mental health and wellness in the corporate sector. She is also co-owner of Ziva Therapeutic Spa, specializing in relationship wellness and healing. Dinah is the founder of SIS-HER, a nonprofit dedicated to combatting sex trafficking.

Lee Meadows

Professor & Consultant,
Meadows Consulting

Lee E. Meadows is an adjunct Professor of Management at Walsh College and a Consultant with over 30 years of experience working in, consulting for, writing about and presenting on Human Resource issues. He has a strong background in Human Resources and is on the forefront of identifying trends that will impact the profession and the workplace.

He is Co-founder and co-leader of the Walsh College Annual Human Resources Summit, HR Analytics Day, HR Leaders on Leaders Conference, HR Unite Conference and is the President of the State of Michigan Chapter of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR) and author of the business leadership fable: Take the Lull by the Horns: Closing the Leadership Gap.

Racquel Soledad x Team Sol

Recording &
Performing Artist

Racquel Soledad is an R&B/Pop singer, songwriter, and dancer influenced by all that life brings. Originating from Metro Detroit, Soledad expresses herself through recording, performing, and bringing her stories to life on stage with the movement of her, Team Sol. After the release of her debut album “True Colors”, Soledad has continued to release music and grow within the music scene by connecting with fellow artists and taking her sound and experiences
all around Michigan.

Paul Chambers

CEO & Co-Founder,

An entrepreneur since fifth grade, Paul Chambers is the Co-Founder and CEO of the Subscription Trade Association. Paul has extensive expertise in the subscription commerce economy, dating back more than two decades, and has been recognized by national and international publications and media outlets. In his spare time Paul is a firefighter in the City of Troy and loves to spend time with the world’s most amazing wife, twin daughters, and two sons.

Phillip Simpson

TEDx Artist in Residence
Artist/Muralist, The Smile Brand

Detroit muralist and artistic entrepreneur Phillip Simpson is on a mission to bring a smile to every face in the world. For the past decade, his boldly colored smile paintings have been lighting up streets, rec center, and even the face of a downtown high-rise. Using the power of positivity to give back to his community, he proposes that happiness is a choice, and that choice can change lives. After an emerging artists residency at The Heidelberg Project, which gave him greater confidence about putting his art forward to the public, he founded The Baltimore Gallery, a refuge for Black art and culture. Since then, he has launched many pop-ups displaying his “Smile Style” artwork and products, all made in Detroit, including recent collaborations with Neiman Marcus and Owens Corning.

House of Jit

Artistis, Dancers, &
Ambassadors of Detroit Jit

House of Jit is a collective group of artists specializing in Detroit’s footwork style known as Jit. The company was founded in 2019, by three dancers who share a passion for this unique style. Over the years, members have held Jit workshops nationally and internationally in France, Bolivia, Canada, Los Angeles, New York, and many more. They have also been featured on platforms such as Red Bull, Footlocker, Snipes, So You Think You Can Dance, the NBA, and Forbes Magazine. Our mission is to make Detroit Jit a style welcome to many homes and atmospheres and to spread the heart of the city with it. We welcome you to the House of Jit, where Jit Happens!

Arabia Simeon

Founder & CEO,
Politics on the Go

Arabia is a designer, creative, and entrepreneur with an engineering background. She’s passionate about designing impactful experiences using art and technology as vehicles for sustainable change. Her skillset spans from product development to creative direction with 6+ years of coding experience. Arabia is the Founder of civic tech startup, PoGo, where they’re simplifying the voter experience for Gen Z and Millennials with the goal of empowering the next gen to vote informed.

Terry White

Principal Director & Photography
Advocate, Adobe, Inc.

Terry has been with Adobe Systems, Inc. for 27 years and has extensive knowledge of Adobe’s Creative Cloud Professional product line. In his current position, he leads the charge of getting customers excited and educated about Adobe Creative Cloud products and services.

Terry has been active in the industry for over 30 years. He hosts the top-ranked award-winning Adobe Creative Cloud TV and has one of the most popular channels on YouTube.

Terry is also the author of Secrets of the Adobe Bridge and co-author of several editions of The iPhone Book, and InDesign CS/CS2 Killer Tips.

Terry is a key presenter at major industry shows around the world.

Tiffany T-Barb Barber

T.Barb Entertainment

Tiffany ‘T.Barb” Barber is a comedian, actress, chef, author, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and producer who quit a 14-year career in social work to pursue her dreams. As a first-generation college graduate, Tiffany broke the curse of incarceration in her family, never allowing the odds to beat her. Always known for being funny and keeping a smile, she discovered stand-up comedy & has been blazing stages since! Known for her hardworking nature, comedic versatility, sharp improv, unique style & likable personality, she is the next big comedic star.

Dr Eddie Connor

Author, Speaker, &
Conference Host

Empowering people to overcome obstacles is the real life message shared by Dr. Eddie Connor, who is a survivor of stage four cancer. He shares his story in The New York Times best-selling book REACH: 40 Black Men Speak on Living, Leading, and Succeeding.

Dr. Eddie is an international speaker, college professor, radio/TV correspondent, best-selling author of 16 books, and visionary of the Access Identity Conference which has attendees from 24 states and 13 countries.

Louie Lee

Recording Artist & Entertainer
The Louie Lee Show LLC

Native Detroit’s Louie Lee is changing the perception of country music. Growing up in a diverse trailer community exposed him to various musical styles, but it wasn’t until his grandfather’s passing that he found his voice in country music. Louie Lee music reflects diverse styles, subjects, and sounds not commonly heard in country music. His unique approach to the genre, which he calls “Country Hop & Roll,” has attracted a diverse audience new to country music.

Amber Osley

Poet, Chef, & Event Curator
Koffee Dark’N Sweet

Amber Osley BKA Koffee Dark’N Sweet would consider herself to be a poet first. Often saying that poetry is her first language. When she puts poetry on a canvas, she’s a painter, when she applies it to a plate, she is a chef, and when she applies it to responsibility, she is a mother. Her work in prose evokes clarifying and relatable emotion. Her goal being to initiate healing with her art forms and let people who can relate to her expression know that they are not alone. “I want people to look at me and think if she can do it, so can I.”

Tom Nardone

PriveCo Inc.

Tom Nardone is full of mischief, creative thoughts, and naughty words. He keeps busy as an entrepreneur, volunteer, father, and humorist.

Tom has founded 6 different multimillion-dollar companies. These companies sell weird things like toilet aids, embarrassing items, bachelorette party supplies, and bulletproof vests.

As a hobby, he carves pumpkins. He is a three-time best-selling author and world record-holding pumpkin carver. His fast and fun brand of carving has been featured on national TV 11 times. Tom also has a unique form of philanthropy, he tricks people into picking up trash and cutting grass.

Tom’s favorite principle is “To get 1 great idea, you need 36 ideas and a system to determine which one is the best.”

Cam Rowe

Stand Up Comedian
Corporate Sales Trainer & Coach

Cam Rowe is the biggest thing in comedy-Literally! At 6’9 inches tall, he has taken the comedy world by storm as a fresh new face! He was a regular on TRU TV’s Storage Hunters as the security guard known as “the green Mile.” He has also appeared on the hit show Comedy Bang Bang with Aziz Ansari! Cameron touches on real life stories that everyone can relate to. He is a world-renowned performer who has performed all over England and will be going to back to Europe early next year to entertain the troops! Cam recently headlined at the world Famous Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle in downtown Royal Oak captivating amazing audiences! Be sure to watch out for this big guy-he won’t be hard to miss!

Robin Shear

Joy Coach, International Keynote Speaker, Author

Joy coach Robin Shear helps depleted givers fill their joy buckets so they feel good again AND have something to give from. After founding Joy To The World Coaching just before the pandemic, she was featured in TIME Magazine, the Wall Street Journal and Psychology Today. Author of the best-selling book, Messy Joy, she ignites audience engagement, connecting quickly with people. Robin is an international keynote speaker and board member of the National Speakers Association of MI.

Gmac Cash


Rapper Gmac Cash is an artist who has not only proven he can rap, but he makes you laugh while doing it. He has numerous of viral hits from The Haircut, Lil Bro, Coronavirus and many more.