2019 TEDx Oneonta Speakers

Phoebe Schreiner

(Oneonta, NY), "Why America needs a new foodshed"​

Phoebe Schreiner is Executive Director of the Center for Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship (Oneonta NY) dedicated to building a vibrant food system in which locally owned agricultural businesses thrive and consumers are nourished by healthy sustainably produced food.

Schreiner brings 20 years experience leading social and economic development programs around the world--from the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, Asia, to NY.

Schreiner is 8th generation on her family’s homestead in Schoharie County, NY.

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Getrude Matshe

(Wellington, New Zealand), "Ubuntu 2.0: Humanity's Operating System"​

Getrude Matshe is an inspirational speaker who has been described as a vibrant bundle of African energy whose zest and passion for life inspires everyone she meets. She is passionate about helping people achieve their full potential and find their individual life purpose. She is passionate about individuals’ success. This makes her an energetic, inspirational and enlightening speaker. Her speaking career started in Norway in 1989 and for 12 years she has worked in the IT industry.

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Cait Scudder

(Scarborough, ME), "Rising is a Risk. Do it Anyway."


Cait Scudder is an international speaker, business coach, and success catalyst for entrepreneurs. She moved to Bali and built a multiple six-figure business in under two years empowering women to lead powerful lives and create impact-driven, profitable businesses. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, Influencing Entrepreneur Magazine, and Thrive Global.

Raised in Glens Falls, New York, Cait holds a Bachelor’s from Amherst College and a Master’s in Teaching from Smith College.

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Matt Episcopo

(Cohoes, NY), "Personal Power: Establishing Connections For Success"

Matt Episcopo knows that the real way to become effective is to build credibility, trust and relationships while retaining your personal power.
Matt is widely recognized as an energizing and engaging presenter. He is author of the book "How To Gain The Upper Hand, P.O.W.E.R. Tactics That Get Leaders Results".
A Medal of Honor recipient with more than 21 years of law enforcement experience, Matt will teach you how to engage with virtually anyone.

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Abby Medcalf

(Berkeley, CA), "The Real Reason Relationships Fail"

Abby Medcalf is a psychologist, author, and speaker. She has spent the last 30 years helping thousands of people create lasting change in their relationships, in a short amount of time, by applying her background in business and psychology. She is also the Best Selling Author of “Be Happily Married, Even if Your Partner Won’t Do A Thing” and host of the 5-star rated “Relationships Made Easy” Podcast.”

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2018 TEDx Oneonta Speakers

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Lauren Parsons

Talk Title: Snack on Exercise- Boost Your Brain, Body & Mood

Lauren Parsons grew up in New Zealand as the non-sporty kid who lacked all confidence in herself physically. Then as an adult, went from being a workaholic gym manager with 'no time to train' to completely shifting her paradigms around exercise. She is passionate about helping others discover the easiest and most fun way to fit exercise into their own lives.

Lauren is an award-winning Wellbeing Specialist, with 18 years’ experience in health and wellbeing. Founder of Get Fit Feel Fabulous, the Snack on Exercise movement and author of Real Food Less Fuss, and 7 Health and Fitness Myths To Overcome. Lauren is a sought-after keynote speaker and thought leader who helps people and organizations boost their health, energy, and productivity. ​

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Ricardo Sierra

Talk Title: Saving the iGen Children: Why Grandparents Might Be Our Best Chance to Solve the Digital Age Crisis

Ricardo founded the Hawk Circle Wilderness Education Summer Camp Program in 1989, then formed the nonprofit Earth Mentoring Institute in 1999, to give children and teens the benefits of a deep connection to nature. His work has included professional trainings and program development for the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council of Delaware County, the Creating Rural Opportunities Partnership After School Program, the Chatt Hill Charter School, Madrone Audubon Society, Waldorf School of Baltimore, The Berkshire Mountain Search and Rescue and many others.

His wilderness skills training and youth mentoring experience has included The Tom Brown Jr Tracking and Wilderness Survival School, John Stokes Tracking Project, The California Conservation Corps, Backcountry Trails and American Red Cross. He also has spent extensive time in wilderness and natural areas across the country, where he put the skills he teaches to the test. He lives in Cherry Valley, NY.

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Maja Kazazic

Talk Title: Genocide and Happiness: The Power of You

Maja (My-a) Kazazic is an internationally recognized motivational speaker.


Originally from former Yugoslavia, Maja’s home was destroyed by genocide that killed 250,000 people and injured millions. When she was only 16 years old, while sitting with 5 of her friends a rocket propelled grenade exploded killing all 5 of her friends. Maja was severely injured.

This event set off decades-long journey filled with obstacles Maja had to face on a daily basis. From having her leg amputated without anesthesia and surviving without food or running water to re-learning how to walk and run, and learning English by watching TV. And even though she left her home without her parents to get medical treatment, with only a teddy bear, t-shirt and rock, Maja was able to build a new life. She finished high school and college and eventually started a very successful software company whose regular clients were Fortune 500 companies. The systems, strategies, and innovative action plans she developed have helped companies significantly increase profitability and productivity.

She has taken the lessons of a life forever altered by what could have been catastrophic wounds of war and parlayed them into a vision and passion for providing the solutions and insights people and organizations need to create positive, inspired change in their personal and professional lives.

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Laverne Berry and Steve Miller

Talk Title: How to Effect Change With A Couple of Friends

Laverne Berry and Steve Miller have worked as volunteer Voter Protection lawyers in each of the past three presidential elections (2008 and 2016 in North Carolina, 2012 in Virginia). Laverne is an entertainment attorney representing independent film and TV creators, distribution companies, authors and media companies. Steve is an international business executive, based in the US and Europe, with over 25 years of experience developing and managing a broad range of businesses and educational and social justice projects.


Deborah Koetzle

Talk Title: What works? Addressing crime and drug use through community-based interventions

Deborah Koetzle is an Associate Professor and the Executive Officer of the Doctoral Program in Criminal Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice/The Graduate Center, CUNY and a fellow with the University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute.  

Her research centers around correctional rehabilitation with a focus on identifying effective interventions for offenders, problem-solving courts, risk/need assessment, and cross-cultural comparisons of prison-based programs and practices. Current projects include evaluating a specialized probation unit for the supervision of 16-24 year-olds, examining access to medically assisted treatment for criminal justice involved individuals, and providing assistance aimed at reducing prison crowding in El Salvador.  

She has served as a consultant to local, state, and federal agencies on the topic of assessment, treatment, and program fidelity within both institutional and community-based programs, and helped to develop the National Association of Drug Court Professionals’ Adult Drug Court Best Practice Standards.

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Dawn Herscher

Talk Title: Words Wisely--Move them or lose them

Dawn is an award-winning speechwriter, speaker and communications director with 15 years experience supporting CEO’s, C-level executives, and Fortune 100 companies. She provides speechwriting, thought leadership, and coaching services to high profile clients, companies, foundations, and associations. Dawn specializes in helping senior executives become recognized as Thought Leaders who are influential in their industries.

Born in Los Angeles, California, Dawn was known for her creative writing talent, and attended UCLA where she earned her degree in Psychology. Dawn has written for some of the world’s most influential venues including TEDx, the Council for the Homeless, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.