You Don't Want to Miss TEDxUW 2014!

by Matt Lawes on 2014-02-28
February's almost over, which means we're one step closer to 2014's TEDxUW!  With less than three weeks until the big event, it's time to dish the Truly Exciting Details on this year's TEDx talk.  

The Event TEDxUW will be held at the Tannery Event Centre in Downtown Kitchener on March 15, but don't be discouraged if you can't make it. The event will be livestreamed for those who want to watch online, and of course videos of the event will be available afterwards.  

The Theme
The theme of this year's event is Ideas worth spreading”, which probably sounds familiar to anyone who knows TED's general slogan. This year is all about staying true to what made TED such a successful phenomenon in the first place — taking great ideas and putting them out on a forum where people can listen to them, and be inspired.  

The Speakers
As usual, to present these wonderful ideas, TEDxUW has assembled an amazing group of speakers from all walks of life. Here's a rundown on the speakers you can look forward to this year:  

Paul Salvini:    To say that Dr. Salvini knows a thing or two about computer science would probably be an understatement. As the chief technological officer of Christie Digital Systems Canada and former CTO of Side Effects Software, as well as Adjunct Professor in the Graduate School of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, he has lots of experience in technology and successful business ventures. But before all his high-level positions, before he won the Top 40 Under 40 Canadian leadership award, before he received his MASc, MBA and Ph.D. Engineering degrees at the University of Toronto, he was getting his BMath in Computer Science here at UW, and he's the president of UW's own Alumni Council, making it all the more thrilling that he's speaking at this year's TEDxUW.  

Dave Wilkin:    If you want to talk serial entrepreneurship, Dave Wilkin is your man. With founder of Ten Thousand Coffees and co-chair of the Cannes Lions Young Marketers jury under his belt, among other accomplishments, Wilkin has his fair share of entrepreneurial experience and is always looking for new opportunities to change the way global organizations interact with the young minds of today.  

Frank Gu:      Dr. Gu has had quite a few prestigious names attached to his quest for knowledge. Getting his BSc at Trent University before getting his Ph.D. at Queen's, Gu received a NSERC postdoctoral fellowship which let him do research at MIT and Harvard. In 2008, he became an assistant professor in UW's Department of Chemical Engineering, and landed a position on the Canadian Research Chair in 2012 in his area of expertise, nanotechnology. Couple his vast knowledge with his work on over 100 scientific publications and 15 US and global patents, and you can be sure that he has a lot of wisdom to share.  

Mike Kirkup:    A man who needs little introduction, Mike Kirkup is the director of Velocity, UW's designated startup incubator. In his ten years of experience, Kirkup has been involved with startups like MappedIn and Thalmic Labs, among other successful businesses. On top of that, Kirkup has had plenty of experience at uWaterloo, completing his bachelor's degree and his Masters at the school.    

Ginny Dybenko:    The executive director of the UW Stratford Campus, Ginny Dybenko is known for looking at how interactive media, international commerce, and human culture interact. With prior work as a VP of Bell Canada and the founding president of Bell Advanced Communications, it's hardly surprising that she's made the Women's Executive Network's list of the top 100 women in Canada, and she is a fantastic addition to the TEDxUW roster.  

Rod Regier:    Regier's interest in planning has taken him all across Canada: from the University to Winnipeg, where he received his Honours bachelor's degree in Geography, to UW, where he earned his Masters in Regional Planning, to Newfoundland and Labrador, where he worked on many different areas of planning and development for over 15 years. Today, Regier is the executive director of economic development for the City of Kitchener, and is involved with projects like Start Up City, Cluster Development, and the Innovation District.  

Aaron Grant:    Aaron Grant is one of the co-founders of Thalmic Labs, a renowned K-W startup that's best known for creating the MYO digital controller. As a UW grad whose innovative tech company is located right in the Kitchener-Waterloo region, Grant is an excellent example of the brilliant minds on display at TEDxUW conferences.  

Christina Marchand:    The final speaker is Christina Marchand, who is actually an undergrad at the University of Waterloo right now! In her fourth year of UW's health sciences program, Marchand has still had a lot of experience through the university's co-op program, which has allowed her to work at places like St. Michael's hospital and with the Save the Mothers program situated in Uganda. Motivated by her experiences in Uganda, Marchand has also co-founded FullSoul Canada, a business that sells luxury items to raise money for medical supplies for Ugandan hospitals. For all her humanitarian efforts, she  was awarded the YMCA International Peace Medallion last fall — not bad for someone who hasn't even finished university yet.    

On top of all these fantastic speakers, the TEDxUW conference offers awesome activities, a unique atmosphere, and of course, great food. Sound good to you? Fortunately, it's not too late to apply for the TEDxUW conference and get it on all the fun! Applications can be submitted at