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TEDxColumbus Honor Roll 

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In addition to our amazing organizational sponsors (see a whole page here for their listing), every year it takes literally dozens of individuals and in-kind partners to make TEDxColumbus a true success. Below is but one small way for them to be recognized.


Event Experience

Event Coordination – Jen Kerns, Kim Goldsmith

Event Experience – Tanya Irelan

Registration Software and TroubleshootingPrevedere Software

Registration Volunteers – From TEDxCardinalHealth, the TEDx club at East High School and TEDxOhioStateUniversity organizing team

Event Ambassador – Morgan Howard

Disruption Gift Shoppers – Melissa Crum and Bill Litfin

Painting those X’s! – Jim Stillwell and Dave Daiber

Happy Hour Food SponsorFUSIAN Sushi

Break Food Sponsor KIND Bars

Coffee and Tea SponsorCrimson Cup

Sponsor and Ticket Coordination – Kim Goldsmith



Marketing / Digital Assets

BrandingFort Design (Drue Dixon)

WebsiteBonFire Red

Mobile SitePrevedere

Social Media Team – Allyson Kuentz, Sarah Takieddine, Jay Donovan and Christian Long

Marketing Coordinator – Jen Kerns

Online Story SharingCAPSTORY



Speaker Curation – Judi Stillwell, David Staley, Julia Applegate, Mike Bills, Nancy Kramer, Ruth Milligan

Speaker Coaches – Meagan Buren, Angie Santo-Walter, Ruth Milligan

Speaker Hosting – Mike Bills, Nancy Kramer, Ruth Milligan

Speaker Hospitality – Judi Stilwell



CAPA Production Staff – Lead by Chris Skinner and Derek Warner

Video Capture, Post-Production Team – Lead by John Prosek at WOSU Public Media

Stage Manager – Donna Raque

Visual (Slides) Coordinator – Jane Lewis

Livestream Host – Ty Debevoise and Whitehall City Schools

Sponsor Thank you Video – LaChandra Baker, Aujie Baker, Maggie Daiber, Langston Crum, Sophia and Luke Barnes (and their moms, Melissa and Amy who drove them!)

Photographers – Meghan Brouillette, Tammy Criner and Molly Valdiviez, Shelagh Conley



TEDxColumbus is tackling STEAM this year. For our 6th annual event on November 7, 2014 (noon-6pm) at the Capitol Theatre at the Riffe Center, speakers and performers will be invited to tease out the spokes of STEAM: education, energy, food, and emotion as fuel for creativity and innovation. As is tradition, speakers and performers will present inspiring, mind-grabbing, and sometimes heart-tugging talks and performances around these themes in 18 minutes or less.

“We’ve been blessed with a passionate collection of curious learners that has taken TEDxColumbus from a modest gathering of conversation seekers to a highly anticipated and celebrated event for our community,” said Ruth Milligan, Founder and Co-Organizer, TEDxColumbus. “The impact of giving a TEDx talk is indeed powerful for that individual, but the collective experience from 900 attendees hearing the ideas together from local thinkers, researchers, designers and creators has unparalleled ripple effects throughout our community.”

TEDxColumbus will return to a half-day event of speakers and performers on the stage, while curating optional “TEDxColumbus Experiences” for the participants in the morning. Details will be announced this summer, but they expect to include a tech-adventure, community service project and live-art installation.

“What happens off the stage is as important as on,” said Milligan. “Our desire is to enhance the shared experiential moments. What could be better than taking some of our collective, creative, innovative steam into the community?”

 Speaker nominations are now open until June 1; details and the nomination form can be found here. The best ideas will play on the theme, not repeat ideas presented in past events, and bring deep passion and experience / data to make a strong talk.

An open call for speakers will be held on June 3 at MindMarket at CCAD from 7pm-9pm. Prospective speakers and performers will be given three minutes to make their pitch to a panel of judges. No pre-registration is required. Additional details can be found here. 

Also new this year will be a WOSU TV special on TEDxColumbus set to air June 25 at 10pm.  WOSU TV viewers will be able to watch in this hour special four talks from the 2013 TEDxColumbus stage: Gabrielle Burton on gender fluidity; Dax Blake on smells in the city; Mohamed Ali, on entrepreneurship as a strategy for peace in Somalia; and Austin Channel, on how taking choir prevented him from being a valedictorian at his high school. The ability to broadcast talks is new to TEDxColumbus and is a result of a new license allowed only to a highly-vetted group of experienced TEDx organizers.

“We are constantly inspired by the provocative ideas of those in the Columbus community, which is why we are so excited to partner with TEDxColumbus, to further illuminate them through this local special,” said Tom Rieland, General Manager, WOSU Public Media. “This show was a natural extension of our growing local relationship with TEDxColumbus to create more conversation and dialogue across the community.” 89.7 FM NPR News also airs the national broadcast of The TED Radio Hour every Saturday at 3pm.

TEDxColumbus was founded in 2009, since organized by Ruth Milligan and Nancy Kramer, and is one of longest-continuously running TEDx programs in the world. The TEDx program was founded by TED, the worldwide conference where riveting and provocative ideas are shared, and features over 30,000 talks from 10,000 events in 150 languages and 800 cities.  TEDxColumbus has featured over 100 local speakers and performers to date; all of their videos can be found at


A limited number of partnership opportunities are available, click here for details.

Summary Event Details:

TEDxColumbus 2014: STEAM

November 7, 2014

Capitol Theatre, Riffe Center (77 South High St)

Noon – 6pm


New this year!

TEDxColumbus Experiences

Adventures, service projects and more

Locations to be announced

9am – noon



We get asked all the time by other TEDx organizers what our financial model is.  We’re thrilled to share it here as we’ve worked hard the last few years to figure what will work best.

We have a special fund at the Columbus Foundation, our community foundation, set up to receive contributions from individuals and corporations that want to support TEDxColumbus. COSI, our local center of science and industry (think children’s museum meets awesome science center) then acts as our fiscal agent, receiving the money from the TEDx Fund and also ticket sales. They in turn, pay all the expenses for the event.

We aim for our expenses for our event match our income. Our major line-items include technology and production; event staging, lighting and sound; food for attendees; parking and printing. We get a massive amount of goods and services donated – such as all of our creative, photography, web support, animation and mobile application.  We have a special grant that underwrites basic event coordination expenses which allows the event to be sustainable and is applied to web updates, speaker coordination, sponsorship fulfillment, ticket monitoring, volunteer oversight, vendor coordination and social media and community engagement. At the end of the event if we have overage (income exceeds expenses), we apply it to next year’s event and/or our minimal expenses on our viewing events (TEDGlobal, TEDxChange, TEDxWomen, TEDxKids) and our ongoing outreach efforts (Follow This, our blog, and Readers’ Roundtable, our book outreach series).

Many communities are still at a loss on how to organize with a fiscal agent. As COSI as our host, we are blessed with a symbiotic relationship which helps manage our back-office at no additional cost to us, while allowing us to focus on curating the best event possible.


Our friends at Studio 35 have generously opened up their theater to us on MLK day from 2pm – 5:00pm to view a great selection of TED and TEDx talks. Our goal is to reflect on some important messages by watching a series of inspired talks together. And also stay warm on what is usually a frigid January day!

This is not an officially licensed TEDx event, just a gathering put together by those who do organize TEDxColumbus.


MLK Day Viewing Event

Monday, January 16, 2012

Location:  Studio 35, 3055 Indianola

Time:  Set one:  2pm – 3:15pm,  Break: 3:15 – 3:45pm; Set two: 3:45pm – 5:00pm.  Conversation can take place until 6pm.

Admission: Free

Concessions:  Will be open. Pizza can be ordered. Beer, popcorn, candy for sale.

Registration: Not required. If you plan on bringing a big group of students, please let us know here so we can make sure to accomodate you.

Parking: Available on the Indianola until 4pm on both sides of the street. But at 4pm, parking is permitted on the east side of Indianola (read: you will be towed). Please plan accordingly.

Talks to be shown: (Listed as played on 1/16/12)

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

Derek Sivers: How to start a movement

Sheryl WuDunn: Our century’s greatest injustice

Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles”

Majora Carter: Greening the ghetto

Mallika Sarabhai: Dance to change the world

Michael Sandel: The lost art of democratic debate

Karen Tse: How to stop torture

Richard Wilkinson: How economic inequality harms societies

Natalie Warne: Being young and making an impact

Brene Brown: The Power of Vulernability 


In the last month, we’ve hosted a myriad of TEDx events in Columbus. Here’s a quick re-cap to summarize them – and showing what a vibrant, curious, inspired city we have that is supporting and growing each one.

Our signature event, TEDxColumbus, featured 18 speakers and performers (above: Susan Willeke, Jamie Greene and Rose Smith) on stage at COSI on 11.11.11.  You can watch all of the speaker’s videos here, or get a glimpse of the full day from still images here.  They all celebrated a “Moment in Time,” and did so beautifully.

We had a record turnout of nearly 600 attendees, that’s double where we started two years ago when we hosted the first event at the Wexner center with 300 attendees.  Check out this dynamic gallery at COSI!

We were supported these amazing corporate and community partners: resource interactive, The Columbus Foundation, Barnes and Thornburg, The Limited Brands, Alliance Data, The Ohio State University, and GSW Worldwide. Support from WOSU, COSI and a host of other in-kind donations made the event possible.










We had a unique and very special partnership with LOTH/ STEELCASE / TURNSTONE to outfit the event gallery for our two days of events (see TEDxYouth below). The feedback on our event was so spectacular in part thanks to the great furniture and environment they helped to build for us. We were delighted they could carry through our dream!

The day before TEDxColumbus, we hosted TEDxYouth@Columbus also at COSI, where 18 speakers and performers also took the stage and inspired an audience of nearly 150 high schoolers. Curators Andy Aichele and Christian Long were aided by community volunteers who were also mentors in the afternoon, the day-long event turned out to be a needed and inspired addition to our TEDx line-up. And the kids had a blast, too.


After we cleaned up from TEDxColumbus and TEDxYouth@Columbus, on December 1, for the second year in a row, The Columbus Foundation hosted a livestream of TEDxWomen, a national TEDx event that was broadcast from LA and NY. Over 60 women joined us for the viewing and lots of great conversation between riveting talks. See an additional story here from our live speakers Maryanna Klatt and Theresa Flores who joined us with their TEDxColumbus talks at lunch.

And for us, we closed out the month with a webinar featuring our own InsideOut Project along side TEDx organizers from Aviero, Portgual, Manchester, NH and Athens, Greece. I have been hosting  some of these  webinars for two years now – bringing together knowledge and experience for TEDx organizers around the world. This one was pretty special as we had JR, the artist and recipient of the TED Prize and Amy Novogratz, join us to discuss InsideOut. The webinar will be linked here when it’s live.


All in all, the community has had an exhilarating month – thanks to everyone who’s helped to make these great moments possible!