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We’ve invited our past TEDxColumbus speakers and other friends to give us their top five favorite talks to in turn, share with you, for our Friday Favorites blog series.

This week, Matt Slaybaugh (full bio below) who opened the first TEDxColumbus in 2009 and performed again in 2010 shares his favorite talks.

1. Brene Brown: Listening to Shame

2. Benjamin Zander: The transformative power of classical music

3. Barbara Fant

4. Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution!

5. Barry Schwartz: Our loss of wisdom


Slaybaugh is the Artistic Director of Available Light Theatre. His writing and directing of new plays and original works for Available Light and the BlueForms Theatre Group has been lauded by American Theatre magazine, New York Press,, the Central Ohio Theatre Critics Circle, the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards, and the Victoria BC Times Colonist. He serves on the Greater Columbus Creative Cultural Commission, teaches at Columbus College of Art & Design and the Columbus State Community College Life Long Learning Institute, and writes for the Agit Reader, and Matt was a TEDxColumbus 2009 & 2010 speaker.


Welcome to Friday Favorites, a new addition to the TEDxColumbus blog.
As we recognized (but not necessarily overtly celebrate) the fifth year of TEDxColumbus, we’ve invited our past TEDxColumbus speakers and other friends to give us their top five favorite talks to in turn, share with you.

We are starting with the favorites of Jordan Edelheit.  Her full bio is below, but suffice to say, she’s the gravity and force behind TEDxOhioStateUniversity and one of the co-organizers behind TEDxMarionCorrectional.   Enjoy her selections below.


1. Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story


2. Natalie Warne: Being young and making an impact


3. Neil Pasricha: The 3 A’s of awesome


4. Bryan Stevenson: We need to talk about an injustice


5. Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability


Jordan Edelheit is currently studying Public Affairs at The Ohio State University, but more importantly is a social entrepreneur. She is the founder of TEDxOhioStateUniversity which now includes an incredible team of passionate students and an advisory board. Since introducing TEDxOhioStateUniversity in the fall of 2011 she has also spent time co-organizing a TEDx event at a venue quite different than a university setting– prison. The past half year was spent journeying to and from Marion organizing TEDxMarionCorrectional, attempting to make a positive impact within the incarceration system. Her newest project, The Driven (, involved a seven week, 8,344 mile cross country road trip interviewing over 140 social entrepreneurs on what drives their passion. On campus she is involved with the service organization Ohio Staters, Inc which creates projects regarding the traditions of the university. She believes this university is a space of constant innovation and creativity and the intention of hosting a TEDx event is to create a platform to share ideas and let them continue to cultivate and grow!


I loved Niall Ferguson’s talk on The Great Divergence, which he titled, “The 6 Killer Apps of Prosperity.”

He posits what has led to Western prosperity and explains why those advantages have or are eroding. “It is our generation that is witnessing the end of Western predominance,” he says, and provides data to back it up.  It is a great, brief look at macro changes through the eyes of a historian.

John Lowe
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams


TED talks are nearly always inspiring, but it’s not often that you find one that makes you rethink the way you live at least three times a day, every day.

Mark Bittman’s talk did that for me. And even though I’ve read my Pollan and my Waters, there was a certain clarity to Bittman’s talk that seemed to focus all the politics of it down to YOU. Not just the food industry or government subsidies or whatever other faceless entity you can blame for the way we eat (though that’s in there too).

You might look at the title of the talk, “What’s wrong with what we eat”, and think you’ve heard it all before. But you haven’t. And you should watch.


Mike Beaumont
Creative Director


Jane Goodall is my hero. I love her compassion and dedication in working with chimpanzees in Tanzania. In this TED Talk, she describes how her team’s community projects for humans are helping the struggling people surrounding the chimpanzee’s habitat with clean water, farming techniques, and unexpectedly, a growing interest in conservation. Her commitment to both people and animals is creating an environment of peaceful coexistence for both.

Kate Storm
Director of Strategic Initiatives & Artist


Deciding on which TED speech is my favorite and why is tough because anybody invited to speak at a TED conference is already a great speaker and authority in their specific field. The thing that separates a TED conference is to learn about something you wouldn’t otherwise be taking the time to learn about. It is this gift of human imagination that TED celebrates and why I chose the speech that I did.  Sir Ken Robinson’s 2006 speech on how schools kill creativity, and the most downloaded TED video on YouTube, is at the core of everything I believe in as the son of a retired high school social studies teacher. It is subject matter that affects every single human being living on this planet today and in the very near future, yet most of us take for granted. “Everybody has an interest in education, and it goes deep with people like we do religion, and money. Creativity is important to everything we do. Education is meant to take us into this future that we can’t grasp.”


Christian Adams
Principal & Chief Creative Officer
Sigma Creative


Why do people vote against their own self-interests? Maybe we aren’t taking enough time to understand that other people’s interests are not always what WE think is best for them. Right and left have gotten farther and farther apart and dialog has gotten more and more disingenuous. Jonathan Haidt’s talk probably won’t cause any of us to change sides, but it may allow us to take a step back and begin asking better questions to engage in real debate.



Dave Ungar
Portfolio Operations Manager


I saw this talk in person, and it was one of those situations where I thought, is this for REAL? I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears!!! My brain could barely comprehend the presentation!! It was MIRACULOUS! Check out Anthony Atala printing a human kidney!

Guest blogger: Nancy Kramer
Founder and Chief Culture Officer
Resource Interactive


I use TED talks as teaching tools for my classes at Ohio State, as “intellectual background noise” when I am working in my office, and as food for my brain on a regular basis so choosing my favorite was tough.

Truth be told, the favorite I chose today would probably be different on another day, in another mood, with other things going on in my life, but that’s the beauty of TED. On this day, in this mood, and with what is going on in my life now, I chose Emily Pilloton’s talk Teaching Design for Change.

I totally love her story about how education is being used as “a vehicle for community change” in the small rural towns of Bertie County, North Carolina.  I love the systems thinking throughout this whole talk and I so agree with what she calls “the power of a small story.” I love how this talk gets my students, most of whom are planning to be teachers, excited about the possibilities of that profession. But mostly I love this talk because it gives me hope for a different kind of education system in this country, one that puts learning and children at the forefront instead of teaching and testing.


Guest blogger: Kimberlee L. Kiehl,  Ph.D.
Senior Vice President, Chief Strategy & Operations Officer