Theme for 2018

Awake & Aware


As we prepared to celebrate our eighth TEDxTraverseCity, we believed this year provided an excellent opportunity for our audience to be inspired and challenged. We are at a pivotal time when our culture and society are being tested as never before, in multiple ways.

So, we were questioning how, as a community, we could challenge ourselves to become more conscious and more awake to possibilities of change. Ideas spring from being aware—sufficiently aware for us to take notice and, we hope, to create an impact. Crossing the threshold of awareness, an idea can spread and be shared throughout our communities.


The simplest definition of awake is to cease sleeping—so have we been sleeping? Has our society become too complacent and comfortable?


We believe it is essential that each TEDxTraverseCity event makes a strong impact and even alters participants’ consciousness. The 2018 event was no different; however, at this time there seems to be a collective energy in our community to be engaged and to tune in to issues that matter. We first need to identify any blinders we may have on, then engage in positive change events.

We enjoyed a full day of examining what it is to be “awake and aware” in today’s world.


NEW For TEDxTraverseCity 2018

For 2018, we took everything that makes TEDxTraverseCity great - a conscious and curious community, a first-rate venue, the power of incredible TEDx talks - and boldly aspired to take it to a new level. To do this, we partnered with FLI, a leading facilitation firm that has helped transform the learning environment with communities around the world. 

New in 2018, was an infusion of experiential learning moments, intentionally spaced throughout the day, allowing participants to more deeply connect with the inspiration and information delivered through the power of TEDxTraverseCity talks, as well as with each other. These experiential learning moments were designed using the latest evidence-based approaches, grounded in neuroscience, positive psychology, and leading social learning techniques. 

Participants had opportunities to reflect on and capture meaningful ideas, connect with each other through purposeful conversations, as well as explore the possibilities of new visions for themselves and their communities… all inspired and fueled by the power of what lined up to be an awe-inspiring TEDxTraverseCity event.


Select Videos from Awake & Aware:

Peter Sneed | Chasing Health with a New Vital Sign in a Healthy City

Jay Papasan | It's All About Time—Connect Your Someday and Today

Joseph Sanok | Fostering Aha Moments Through Slowing Down


Sue Houghton | Shark Smart

Mohamed Hammoud | Reclaiming My Name

Michael Klaper | The Most Powerful Strategy for Healing People and the Planet


Paul Canaan | Broadway: A Labor of Love

Kristy McDonald | Time to Power Down our Phones and Power Up Our Presence


Awake & Aware Speakers:

Pitch Night Winners:

Facilitation Host (Milliken)

Jon Berghoff


Facilitation Host (State Theatre) 

Deanna Moffitt


Jeremy Reisig
"brotha James"


Seth Bernard



Sean Reisig

Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
Those who are awake live in a constant state of amazement.
— Jack Kornfield
Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.

Pitch Night Recap!

The event took place February 28, 2018.

Where: Milliken Auditorium at NMC. Doors opened at 5:00 PM and the event started promptly at 5:30 PM.

We would like to thank everyone who attended and participated in our 2018 Pitch Night! More than 300 people attended for a night of listening, learning, and engaging with eighteen movers and shakers in our community. We were excited and inspired by the Pitch Makers and their "ideas worth spreading." All pitches fell within 2018's theme, “Awake and Aware.” Please join us in congratulating our three winners who will speak at TEDxTraverseCity on May 16, 2018. Learn more about each Pitch Maker below. 

Congratulations to

Mohamed Hammoud

Kristy McDonald

Joseph Sanok


What is a Pitch: 

Pitches are up to, but do not exceed three minutes. Tell us your "idea worth spreading." Maybe not the whole thing—just enough to clearly connect with the theme and make us curious about hearing a full six-minute talk!

You are committing to showing up in-person at Pitch Night to deliver your Pitch. We get questions about video Pitches. We will accept a short video during the application process, but Pitch Nights are in-person experiences, in front of a live audience.


We welcome everyone to this free event. We do not issue tickets. Doors open at 5:00 PM and the event runs on a first-come, first seated basis. Attendees will have the opportunity to weigh in on their favorite speakers through ballot forms. These results will be taken into account, along with the judge panel’s evaluation.


Pitch Makers:

Pitch Night 2018 Winners Videos

Take a look at this year's Pitches for inspiration. 


PITCH by Mohamed Hammoud

How I reclaimed my name: Your name defines you and how the world sees you.

PITCH by Kristy McDonald

Consciously communicating will make us feel better about our lives and our world.

PITCH by Joseph Sanok

Fostering "Aha" moments through Slowing Down

PITCH by Ramona Pleva

Your brain is the most expensive real estate you own, wouldn't it make sense for you to keep yours functioning at its optimal level?