TEDx speaker series hosts entrepreneurs, company representatives

Executive+Director+of+Education+at+Anchor+Distilling+Co.+and+founder+of+beverage+magazine+Mutineer+Magazine+Alan+Kropf+addresses+the+importance+of+finding+happiness+in+one%27s+career.+Kropf+was+one+of+five+featured+speakers+at+today%27s+TEDx+event.

Ashley Jiang

Executive Director of Education at Anchor Distilling Co. and founder of beverage magazine Mutineer Magazine Alan Kropf addresses the importance of finding happiness in one's career. Kropf was one of five featured speakers at today's TEDx event.

by Varsha Rammohan, Reporter

Several entrepreneurs and businesses presented at the annual TEDx speaker series today in Nichols Auditorium.

The speakers featured at the event were Ray Wang, Ryan Evans, Julie Campistron, Alan Kropf and Andrew Semenza (12). Bay Area companies, which included Giacomo ONO 3D Printer, Serafim Keybo, Inboard, Sesame, Nomiku, Specdrums and Conduit Sports, set up booths around the atrium.

The speakers featured a wide array of topics, from Kropf describing his journey as a budding musician to the president of a prestigious beverage magazine to Andrew’s talk about evolutionary biology and overspecialization.

“I think [my favorite part] so far is getting to talk to all the presenters and getting one-on-one advice from all of them,” Emily Zhou (10) said.

Evans, the CEO of skateboard manufacturer Inboard Technologies and a Shark Tank entrepreneur of the electric skateboard M1, talked about shifts in production costs and prices for many types of vehicles, from cars to smaller portable devices.

“My younger sister was in a wheelchair and getting around the city—it’s terrible, it’s a horrible experience,” he said. “We started to realize with battery technology, reducing costs, motors improving with controllers and electronics, there’s opportunities to take things like electric wheelchairs that cost $25,000 and now you can [sell] it for $2000. Our big thing was answering the question of how to give mobility to everyone, and I think that was the big inspiration why.”

Ashley Jiang
CEO of skateboard manufacturer Inboard Technologies and featured speaker Ryan Evans guides Christina Bettink (10) as she tries out his company’s M1 electric skateboard. “We started to realize with battery technology, reducing costs, motors improving with controllers and electronics, there’s opportunities to take things like electric wheelchairs that cost $25,000 and now you can [sell] it for $2000. Our big thing was answering the question of how to give mobility to everyone, and I think that was the big inspiration why,” Evans said during his speech.

Wang presented on disruptive technology and digital privacy, while Campistron detailed her path towards achieving mindfulness and peace.

“I lost my father to cancer when I was 21 and at the time of his death, I did what I knew best at the time; I put up my armor, I got real tough and I just plowed through. I just thought I’d be real strong and everything would be okay. Well, a year later, nothing was okay. The armor had cracked, the grief was still there and I fell into a depression.” Campistron said. “Thankfully, I was able to get help through therapy. That not only changed my life but also allowed me to reflect back on past experiences and understand how I could have handled them better with the help of mindfulness.”

After the speakers presented and audience members had an opportunity to check out the different booths, a mentor luncheon was held in the auxiliary gym. Multiple Bay Area professionals talked to interested individuals about business and entrepreneurship and shared stories about their own experiences working in Silicon Valley.

“We would like to remind you that in life, your best resource is yourself, and your second best resource is the people around you,” co-curator of the TEDxHarkerSchool team Anooshree Sengupta (12) said. “Engage the world, innovate, challenge social norms and make a difference.”

Tickets cost $20 per person and covered attendees’ lunch and swag bags. For more information on future events and the TEDx team, visit tedxharker.org.