An insightful and eclectic mix of intelligent individuals will be speaking at The Royal Conservatory of Music’s Koerner Hall this Thursday Sept 26th, 2013 for the fifth annual TEDxToronto Conference. This year’s theme will resonate with many individuals as it pertains to The Choices We Make…

It is always so interesting to gather a diverse set of minds under one roof to a receptive forum and hear their interpretations on any given theme. I had an opportunity to speak with a few of the twelve speakers at this year’s TEDxToronto Conference to get their thoughts on the event.

When I inquired the reasons for their participation, the general consensus cited was that TED Talks – and the TEDx derivatives – is a fantastic organization which they believe carries the positive mandate to spread and share ideas. Also, because the audience is so diverse, it presents an opportunity for speakers to address individuals who they typically wouldn’t have a chance to engage with in their field of study or line of work.

Steph Guthrie
Self-described feminist and social activist Steph Guthrie mentioned to me that she was excited to engage the audience with her talk and proud to increase the TEDx representation of women speakers. The objective of her talk within the framework of the theme is to reach and inspire those individuals on the ‘sidelines’ with regards to issues of social justice, gender, and equity. To her, it is not about preaching but rather ‘planting seeds’ and presenting people with ideas she cares about and giving them a lens through which to form their own opinions and perhaps even inspire action.
Fun Fact About Steph: She’s a rockin’ backup singer for a group called Patti Cake. The sound they produce is ’60s soul (think: The Supremes) meets the ’90s riot girl (think: Hole).

Mark Bowden
As a behavioural and body language guru, Mark Bowden will have a talk focused on how our interactions with others is influenced by our environment. However, by gaining insights into cognitive neuroscience, we can alter how we speak to one another to achieve more efficient means of dialogue. It comes as no surprise that Bowden studied performance arts, visual theatre, and moving pictures; he then transitioned into the more scienctific aspects of behaviour and conversation with people in various social contexts.
Fun Fact About Mark: As a bit of a free spirit, he streaked at a football (soccer) game in 1997; his field antic footage was used in a Nike Shox commercial.

Darrell Bricker
A numbers game is something Darrell Bricker would play and win at. Other people may see a string of digits, but for him, he sees stories that concern the better part of our society. Although it may appear that he is channeling something out of The Matrix, like the protagonist Neo from the popular film, Bricker endeavours to share his valuable insights in an understandable manner to the general populace. He is able to take data, make it more digestible, and paint a picture of how our real world operates. In doing so, he allows people to make more informed decisions about how to attain a better quality of life.
Fun Fact About Darrell: It’s double the fun! Darrell has an identical twin brother named Cal who is 15 minutes older than him. Next to his wife and daughter, Cal is one of Darrell’s biggest fans and supporters.

Joel MacCharles
When you’re Joel MacCharles, who grew up in the country and learned to skin rabbits by the time he was five, where do you go from there? For one, you think about food and the thousands of choices we all make about it everyday. Belief systems are ever evolving, and like the rest of us, MacCharles has a relationship with food and an active desire to eat with a conscience. He is passionate about sharing his ideas about canning, preserving, and showing us different ways of engaging with food in a healthy manner. From his role as a hunter to eating less meat overall, there is no universal truth he prescribes; rather, he hopes to present ideas and challenge rigid social constructs and allow people to draw their own conclusions about our food systems and eating culture.
Fun Fact About Joel: ‘Blue Suede Shoes’? Joel was a competitive jazz dancer and won a 3rd place trophy at 13-years-old.

TEDxToronto will be streamed live at, and After Party tickets for the big event are still available. Snatch yours here!