Project name:

TEDxLafayetteCollege 2014: Connecting-the-Dots

Project description:

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You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.

– Steve Jobs (Stanford commencement speech, June 2005)

Great ideas become more powerful when they are brought together. Our 2014 TEDxLafayetteCollege conference aims to connect the dots different backgrounds, experiences, and areas of expertise in the spirit of ideas worth spreading.

Our speakers

Erin Zaikis

One moment of meeting teenaged refugees in Thailand who didn’t know what soap was spurred Erin Zaikis to start a global movement to prioritize this simple product that so many of us take for granted. In a time of intense focus on clean water initiatives, activist and Sundara founder Erin Zaikis brings attention to the other side of the hygiene equation: soap. In this talk she explains one way to solve our world’s biggest hygiene crisis – by taking the gently used bars of soap from hotels that are usually discarded and teaching local women in these communities how to recycle them and distribute them amongst the world’s poor.

Isaiah Hankel

Doctor and Fortune 500 consultant Isaiah Hankel is an internationally recognized expert in the biotechnology industry who specializes in helping businesses transition into cutting-edge, entrepreneurship-driven markets. Long before getting his degree, Isaiah worked as a sheep farmer and lived in rural Idaho. In the last three years Isaiah formed three successful, multinational businesses and started managing a multimillion dollar product line. He’s given over 250 seminars in 22 different countries and is about to publish his first book, Black Hole Focus, with Wiley & Sons.

Jean Kilbourne

Pioneering activist and cultural theorist Jean Kilbourne has been studying the image of women in advertising for over 40 years. In this rapid-fire, passionate, and highly entertaining talk, she discusses the experiences that inspired her to create this new field and vividly illustrates how these images affect us all. You’ll never look at an ad in the same way again.

Matthew Trinetti

Upon hearing the news that his college friend was killed in a car accident, engineer and IBM consultant Matthew Trinetti booked a oneway ticket to Iceland and resolved to wander around Europe for the next seven months, led solely by intuition, curiosity, and love for the adventure. In this inspiring and poignant talk, Matthew Trinetti exposes the intangibles that cannot be learned in an engineer’s world of logic and reason alone: faith in ourselves, in our dreams, and in the magic that can occur when we decide to say a hearty ‘Yes’ to our adventure when it calls us.

Noorjahan Akbar

Noorjahan Akbar is a co-founder of Young Women for Change, an inspiring organization that works for gender equality in Afghanistan. She has just been chosen as one of the recipients of the 2012 Women of Distinction Award by the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders. After ending her work with YWC, Noorjahan Akbar is now the publisher of a collection of Afghan women’s writings and continues to write for Afghan and international media. Here, she shares her personal journey for getting an education and the impact that education has on empowering women around the world and in Afghanistan.

Heather Greer

Heather Greer is an award-winning filmmaker and media artist based in New York City. She has also been an adjunct professor at the Interactive Telecommunications Programs at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts for the past twelve years. She was cinematographer for The F Word, a feature documentary on freedom of speech that was an official selection at the Tribeca Film Festival and aired in 2006 and 2008 nationally and internationally on the Independent Film Channel (IFC). Most recently she co-directed and produced Esas Voces Que Curan, a documentary on the life of Herlinda Augustín, a renowned shaman and medicine woman from the Shipibo culture of Peru. The film screened as official selections at leading festivals around the world and received distribution in 2013. On a humanitarian and media education level, Heather has worked in several countries including Rwanda, Malawi, Mali and Bangladesh.


Soulfege is a Lafayette co-ed a capella group formed in 2002-2003 by Lisa Oliveri ’04, a transfer from Boston University, beginning with just ten members. Currently, Soulfege has fifteen members, spanning all different majors and class years at Lafayette. The group has performed at several on-campus events, hosts their own concerts throughout the year, and frequently collaborates with other university a cappella groups. Members: Will Rockafellow, Jessica Ross, Elizabeth Lucy, Joey Tumulty, Derek Vill, Joe Donatoni, Elisabeth Day, Mayci Shimon (President), Zack Benedetto, Natalie Cardenas, AJ Castellucci, Natalie Smith, Kok Thong Wong, Munyaradzi Mark Chifetete.


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