About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a conference in California 1984, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with many initiatives.

At a TED conference, the world’s leading thinkers and doers are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less. TED speakers have included Roger Ebert, Sheryl Sandberg, Bill Gates, Elizabeth Gilbert, Benoit Mandelbrot, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Brian Greene, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

On TED.com, talks from TED conferences are shared with the world for free as TED Talks videos. A new TED Talk is posted every weekday. Through the Open Translation Project, TED Talks are subtitled by volunteers worldwide. Through our distribution networks, TED Talks are shared on TV, radio, Netflix and many websites.

The TEDx initiative grants free licenses to people around the world to organize TED-style events in their communities with TED Talks and live speakers. Selected talks from these events are also turned into TED Talks videos.

The annual TED Prize grants $1 million to an exceptional individual with a wish to change the world. The TED Fellows program helps world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities. TED-Ed creates short video lessons by pairing master teachers with animators, for use in classroom instruction or independent learning.

For information about TED’s upcoming conferences, visit http://www.ted.com/registration

What is TEDx?

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.) Find out more HERE.


Bringing together ideas and interesting people from around the world and around the corner. TEDxSMU and TEDxKids@SMU are single-day conferences in Dallas, TX. In it’ seventh year, 2015 events will take place at Dallas City Performance Hall in Downtown Dallas Arts District.

TEDxSMU is an all- day event for preregistered participants, and the program ranges from personal discussions of physical and mental journeys to demonstrations of high-tech gadgetry. More than 550 attendees gather in the largest urban arts district to hear these TEDx Talks.

TEDxKids@SMU is a half-day program designed for 450 middle school students plus 100 high school host who hear incredible speakers, experience hands-on demos and learn during interactive breaks. In exchange for free admission, TEDxKids@SMU, student attendees are required to complete a service project. Through projects at SMU, at school, and with local nonprofits, students who attend TEDxKids@SMU have contributed more than 3000 service hours to the community.

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Leadership Team

Heather Hankamer

Heather Hankamer - Executive Director

A native of Dallas, Texas, Heather Hankamer grew up in the film business. For over 20 years Heather was the Managing Partner and Buyer for Dallas’ oldest and most successful independent movie rental store, Premiere Video.From 2002 until 2003 she was on the Board of Directors for Women in Film.Dallas as Membership Chair and Topaz Coordinator. Heather Hankamer was also a founding Board Member of AFI DALLAS International Film Festival, which she served on from 2006 until 2009. Heather served for two years on the Festival’s Education Committee and one year as the Chair of the Programming Committee. In the third year of the Festival, Heather was named Chief Operating Officer for AFI DALLAS.

In December of 2009 Heather came to SMU as a consultant for the Hunt Institute of Engineering and Humanity which is housed in the Bobby B. Lyle Engineering School. Her role included coordinating several events for the Institute including the first Engineering and Humanity Week in April of 2011.

In the fall of 2011 she joined TEDxSMU as an Assistant Director. Since then her role has evolved and grown and in 2013 she was named Director. Heather has also been the Assistant Director for Special Programs for the Lyle School since 2012.

Heather is passionate about Dallas, reading and inspiring the next generation of thinkers and leaders.

Contact Heather @: hhankamer@lyle.smu.edu

Christie Pearson - Community Engagement Coordinator

Christie Pearson is a native Dallasite, who graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2011 with three Bachelor of Arts degrees in International Studies, French and Political Science. During her four years at SMU, Christie traveled throughout Europe and spent a semester in Washington D.C. where she interned for the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights in 2010.

Upon graduation, Christie was accepted into the Teaching Assistantship Program in France by the French Embassy in Washington D.C. Christie was assigned to a French high school in Châlons-en-Champagne, a small town in the Champagne Region of France, just outside Reims.

Christie returned state-side to begin her professional career and in 2013 joined TEDxSMU as the Program Coordinator. Christie has also been the Program Coordinator for the Lyle School of Engineering’s Special Programing since 2013.

Christie is passionate about finding ways to be creative whether that be through fashion, social media or graphic design. Her favorite part of her job is working with college students.

Contact Christie @: cmpearson@smu.edu

Steering Committee

Steering Committee at TEDxSMU 2015

Marc Christensen- Dean, SMU Lyle School of Engineering

Jim Young- Executive Coach and Consultant, The Margate Group

Carole Young- Community Advocate

Ann Fielder- Assistant Dean of Development and Communications, SMU Lyle

Kate Canales- Director of Design & Innovation Programs, SMU Lyle

Krista Nightengale-Higbee- Managing Director of Better Block Foundation