This year, TEDxHSG is taking a step back - back to our true selfs.
Whilst rapid changes and new technologies take place, it’s easy to neglect one very important aspect of life: self-reflection and personal perception. With this development, society is experiencing a shift towards the individual itself, rather than society as a whole.
With such a shift in mindset, we have chosen this year’s theme to be „Note To Self”. Our event will be fully dedicated to speakers from all around the world, with a variety of different backgrounds, coming together and expanding our attendee’s horizons. By sharing their personal thoughts and stories on pivotal moments, our 12 speakers will shed some insight into the changes that have impacted their personal development and how they dealt with them. Whether it be social critique, technological breakthroughs or even philosophical commentaries, the speeches will be enhanced with an added personal note.
Erik Kessels is a Dutch artist, designer and curator and is since 1996 the Creative Director of international communications agency KesselsKramer. He worked for clients such as Nike, Diesel, The Standard, J&B, Oxfam, Ben, Vitra, Citizen M and The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel. As an artist and photography curator Kessels has published over 50 books of his “re-appropriated” images, is editor of the alternative photography magazine Useful Photography and has written the international bestseller “Failed It!“. In 2010 Kessels was awarded with the Amsterdam Prize of the Arts, in 2016 nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize.
Melanie is the founder and CEO of Master21, the first company to offer coding bootcamps in Switzerland in 2016. Master21’s purpose is to empower people to speak tech and shape the (digital) world. So far, 250+ people have attended their courses. Prior to Master21, Melanie worked as a client partner at the digital agency Ginetta where she felt the need to better communicate with software developers and decided to learn to code. Melanie holds degrees in International Management and Requirements Engineering. In 2018, she made it onto the the Forbes 30 under 30 DACH list and won the Female Innovation Recognition Award. Besides Master21, she is on the board of the Impact Hub Zürich Association and WE SHAPE TECH.
Damian Browne is an Irish adventurer and traveler who started his career as a professional rugby player. Since his retirement from professional sports, he has visited more than 50 countries on six continents, joined numerous expeditions, completed the 257 km long "Marathon des Sables", known as the toughest footrace on earth, and has solo rowed across the Atlantic ocean in 63 days. Damian strives to constantly push himself both mentally and physically and is out to live an extra-ordinary life, filled with challenges, risk and growth.
Nadia Damaso is twenty-two years old and a 2x No.1 bestselling author. After her big success with „Eat Better Not Less“, she quickly realizes that what she does is not only a diet, it’s a whole lifestyle. A lifestyle that its not only about food, but about connection and bringing people together. In her second cookbook she goes on a culinary journey around the globe and shares stunning photos, short stories and personal experiences about her travels. With her boundless creativity and sense for new taste combinations, Nadia created & photographed over 100 new recipes for her last book and proves once again how delicious and varied healthy food can be.
The night before Dr. Denholm Aspy began his Ph.D in psychology, he had a spontaneous lucid dream! Struck by inspiration, he changed his proposed research topic the very next day to focus on techniques for teaching others how they too can experience this fascinating state of consciousness. He went on to conduct the world’s most in-depth field study of lucid dream induction techniques to date. Dr. Denholm Aspy has also conducted research on meditation and has a keen interest in naturalistic perspectives on spirituality and counselling psychology.
Adam Neely is a bassist, and music educator and YouTuber with an engaged subscriber base of 500,000, 2 million monthly views, and 42 million lifetime views. His video essays, gig vlogs and educational content explore what music means, and what it means to be a musician. Sometimes called the "VSauce of music," Adam engages a wide popular audience with esoteric and obscure subjects in music, tying them to other subjects in neuroscience, acoustics, aesthetics, history and art. As a bass player, he also shares his experiences as a working professional session musician in New York City.
André Hoffmann is the Vice-Chairman of Roche, a pharmaceuticals group created by his grandfather in 1896, considered as the world’s largest biotech company and the global leader in cancer treatments. Alumni of the University of St Gallen, former Vice President of the WWF and recently awarded of the Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Medal, André combines a passion for the natural world and a strong understanding of the responsibilities as a business owner. He advocates for a humanity that lives in harmony with nature and emphasises that the one planet reality does not correspond to short term profit maximisation. He aims to show that business, especially family business, is part of the solution to a sustainable future.
Michael Neill is an internationally renowned transformative coach and the best-selling author of six books including Creating the Impossible, The Inside-Out Revolution and The Space Within. Michael is often described as the ‘coach’s coach,’ and commands extraordinary respect within his field for unleashing the human potential with intelligence, humor, and heart.
As a result of her extensive research and field experience in developing countries, Adina Rom stands at the forefront of impact analysis. She recently founded Policy Analytics Switzerland, an ETH-Spin-Off, which uses novel data, methods and insights from economics and other behavioral sciences to help organizations to analyze and increase their social and environmental impact. Previously she studied development economics at Harvard, Berkeley and ETH Zurich and served as Director of Operations for Innovations for Poverty Action in Kenya, where, together with local partners and some of the world’s leading economists, she oversaw and evaluated the effectiveness of different large scale poverty reduction programs. Adina can provide valuable insights on evidence-informed decision making as well as the effectiveness of interventions aiming to reduce poverty and achieve environmental sustainability.
Simone Askew is a recent graduate from the United States Military Academy where she served as the first African American female First Captain in the school’s 200-year history. This role is the highest-ranking cadet position and has been held by many distinguished leaders, including General MacArthur and General Pershing. Simone was the first African American female Rhodes Scholar to be awarded the Rhodes Scholarship from her university. She now studies Refugee and Forced Migration Studies at Magdalen College and plays for the Oxford University Volleyball Team.
Jeffrey Franks is the Director of the IMF Office in Europe and the Senior Representative to the European Union. Boasting degrees from an impressive list of alma maters—Oxford, Harvard and Princeton—Jeffrey has been working at the International Monetary Fund for 25 years, including as resident representative in Ecuador and Ukraine, and mission chief for Belgium, France, Pakistan, Paraguay, and Romania. Such broad experience has allowed Jeff to gain an invaluable and unique perspective on how economic policy can impact the welfare of the individual and society as a whole.
Deyshawn Moser is an Ecological Economist who is interested in factors that promote a sustainable wellbeing economy: linking business sustainability to environmental and human wellbeing. He has travelled extensively, graduated from top Universities in different continents, and has also pursued a competitive swimming career in the Florida Keys. Having to deal with many goals reached and not reached, he has become aware of the thrill but also the dangerous traps of reaching for the stars. As winner of the 2018 “Bring your Voice” contest, he will share his experience and claims that the secret lies in developing a habit of being journey orientated rather than just being fixed on set goals.
Xenia Tchoumi is a digital fashion entrepreneur with a degree in economics. Through her speaking engagements, including a UN speech and two TEDx talks on women’s empowerment and how to overcome prejudice through the internet, she has highlighted the importance of advocacy for women’s rights. Xenia has seven million followers on social media. The Londoner is one of the leading digital influencers in Europe and USA, and constantly works with numerous fashion brands. She's also a writer and a digital branding consultant.
Dr. Luka Müller-Studer, is co-founder of MME in Zug. He has been at the forefront of the blockchain revolution, helping numerous start-ups build their legal foundations in Switzerland. Currently he is working on creating a universal denotation system for cryptocurrencies to help lawmakers around the world make informed and accurate legislation regarding the future of Blockchain based technologies and financial instruments.
Mel Wells is Hay House's youngest published author, and wrote the Bestselling Book 'The Goddess Revolution: Make Peace With Food, Love Your Body and Reclaim Your Life', hailed by OK magazine, 'the new body bible for women'. She is the UK's leading Eating Psychology Coach, helping women to dig deep to the bottom of what they are really hungry for, beneath our cravings or any emotional or dysfunctional patterns surrounding food and weight, so they can radically transform not just their habits, but their lives. Mel works with women via her online programs and on her hugely popular retreats in Bali twice a year. Her second book, 'Hungry For More', will be released worldwide in April 2018.
Mel has been featured in Forbes Under 30, Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, and has been voted No. 1 Young Female Entrepreneur to Watch in the UK by About Time Magazine. She is a huge TED fan, and is beyond excited to be making her TEDx debut in Switzerland this year.
Bejay Mulenga is an award winning entrepreneur aged 21, who just recently won an award from Her Majesty the Queen for Enterprise Promotion and became the youngest person to do so in the process.
He founded Supa Tuck at 14 years old, a franchise of student run tuck shops in schools, which taught students how to run and operate their own tuck shops in school whilst studying for their GCSE Business studies as a form of work based training. Over four years years, Supa Tuck had grown to over 100 schools and 5,000 students. Aged 18, Bejay decided to remodel and evolve Supa Tuck into Supa Academy as as response to wanting to go more direct to young people outside of school and in the early years of their careers across the UK with solutions to their problems. Supa Academy is a training provider for humans that make, hack, do and sell. Focusing on human acceleration - delivering cross-sector, practice-based learning experiences -
providing unparalleled access and enterprise opportunity. Clients and corporate backers of Supa
Academy have included brands such as Facebook, Barclays, River Island, Pepsi Max and EE.
Away from Supa brand Bejay has consulted on for Google, Nike, UBER and Disney both direct
and with larger media agencies. Talent scouted for Syco Music, managed musicians and influencers.
Contracted as an Investment Advisor for a large VC firm.
Jacques Pitteloud was born 1962 in Zürich. He holds a PhD in Law from the University of Zürich and a Postgraduate in Security Policy from ITC Geneva. He is currently the Director General of the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has held various jobs in the Swiss Civil Service for the past 30 years, notably as an Intelligence Coordinator for the Federal Council, as an Ambassador for Security Policy and Disarmament and as a Swiss Ambassador to Kenya. Jacques Pitteloud is married with one daughter.
Valentine is a trained lawyer in Canada and worked in finance in London for 6 years. Freediving Instructor with PADI, professional traveller, accomplished chef, advocate of sustainable eating, she quit her well-paid job in London to travel the world to fish and hunt with locals in order to eat the best food, caught by herself, looking at her deepest fears in the eyes.
Brendan Alper is Founder and CEO of Hater, a hybrid between a dating app and a social network that connects people based on their mutual dislikes. Hater went viral internationally when it launched in February 2017. Prior to founding Hater, Brendan spent six years as an operational risk manager at Goldman Sachs and Nomura. He originally quit finance to become a comedy writer, which is where the idea for Hater originated from. Alper graduated from Brown University in 2009, where he studied mathematical economics. He resides in Brooklyn, New York, where Hater is also based.
Hosam Katan (born in Aleppo 1994) started working as a photojournalist for Aleppo Media Center from October 2012. Between 2013 and 2015, he covered the conflict in Aleppo as a freelance photographer for Reuters as well. His pictures have been published in numerous international magazines. He is currently studying photojournalism at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hannover. Hosam has received eight international awards for photography, including the grand prize at the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award 2015 and the PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris 2017. With his in-depth experience, Hosam aims to give you a unique perspective on the conflict in Syria. Sharing his story with you, he will open up a wide spectrum of conflicting and contrasting emotions and experiences of what life has been like for people in their hometown of Eastern Aleppo since the beginning of war.
Loulou Van Ravensteijn is a versatile entrepreneur who has worked in startup businesses related to artificial intelligence, big data, bioinformatics, air quality improvements and various sustainable processes. The diversity of her work stems from her lifelong passion for impactful technologies of the future, which has taken her from bachelor degrees in political science and future planet studies to masters degrees in urban environmental management and in business administration. Loulou is dedicated to rigorously exploring the best application of innovation for improving living conditions. Her aim in the matter is to function as a bridge between technological experts and the general public.
Rosanne Stuart is one determined fighter. She’s had to be – ever since her only child Madeline was born 21 years ago with Down syndrome, she has faced prejudice and many battles to raise her daughter to be the best version of herself. Now Madeline is the world’s only successful professional model with Down syndrome, running for several brands at different occasions such as New York Fashion Week.
Mark Adams is Vice President and Head of Innovation at VICE, which has come from humble beginnings as a print magazine to digitally transform into a 5 billion dollar youth media empire. Mark's sessions are a raw, honest and often humorous look at the state of modern marketing. Mark argues passionately that we need to rediscover authentic brand strategy if we are to cut through and grow market share with the elusive millennial audience.
Victor is a student who spent his exchange semester in Brazil. During his backpacking trip he joined two dentists who installed dental prostheses for people in need. This project is called “Sonrisas sin Fronteras” (Smiles without Borders). While two dentists took care of the teeth, Victor drew homeless people he met on the road and collected their stories. His dream is to draw a 1000 goats for the people and set a world record. As a winner of the “Bring Your Voice” contest he hopes to see all of you on the 2nd of December and share his amazing experience.
Christopher Mbanefo is an entrepreneur, aerospace engineer and professional pilot, but prefers to describe himself as a humble seeker of wisdom and peace.
Having specialized and worked on various programs in advanced aerodynamics and flight testing, he started creating innovative business models in aviation as well as being one of the pioneers in renewable energy solutions in Africa. While his Swiss company YASAVA, is currently disrupting the aviation industry with innovative cabin designs and seating technologies, Christopher is developing radical new approaches and business models for sustainable human activities with the power to contribute to the reversal of climate change.
Jessica is passionate about social innovation, and how it could change the world for the better. A ferrywoman between those who care about doing good and those who care about doing well, she goes and unearths new ways to solve old social and environmental problems, and gathers more people and resources to spread them wider and faster. What she came to realize over the years is that – while the innovations exist, and they do change people’s lives, they spread nowhere as fast as they could or should. And the root cause for this does not lie in the lack of money or interest… it lies in human psychology and how we relate to each other. During her talk, she will show how the biggest bottleneck lies perhaps within us, making it both simple and challenging to solve.
Pete Blackshaw is the Vice President of Digital and Social Media at Nestlé, S.A. based in Switzerland. In addition to helping shape digital strategy for Nescafe, Kit Kat, Purina, and hundreds of other Nestle brands, Pete oversees Nestle’s industry-recognized Digital Acceleration Team (DAT) as well as the Silicon Valley Innovation Outpost (SVIO). He is author of a book by Doubleday entitled “Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3000: Running a Business in Today’s Consumer-Driven World,” and periodically authors columns in Advertising Age centered around the book’s themes. Pete founded PlanetFeedback.com, one of the web’s first consumer-feedback portals, and co-founded the Word-of-Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). He recently served as Chairman of the Board of the National Council of Better Business Bureaus and in that capacity sat on the National Advertising Review Council. He’s a 2015 Mediapost “Online All Star” Winner, a 2014 inductee of the World of Mouth Marketing Hall of Fame, and a 2010 Grand Prize winner of the “Great Minds” award from the Advertising Research Foundation.
We had the honor to invite a selection of exciting speakers that went beyond in every possible sense of the word….
Mary McCarthy is a leading Urban Contemporary Art specialist, spending the last twenty years following Street Art and forging contacts with artists, buyers, writers and followers within this counter culture movement.
Mary McCarthy previously worked with Getty, Christies Images, Bloomsbury and Dreweatts Auctions.
She set up MM Contemporary Arts Ltd in 2013 and has brokered some of the most high profile (and discreet) Urban Contemporary Art sales working both with private clients and auction houses. Most recently she has partnered with Paris based Digard Auctions to develop their biannual global sale of Urban Contemporary Art, achieving record sales in this sector of the market.
Laura Penn, PhD has had enough of watching good people deliver bad presentations. She lives to disrupt what she considers to be the broken and dysfunctional status quo for public speaking.Deeply alarmed by how her conservation biologist peers (she was a scientist before becoming a public speaking expert) were ineffectively delivering their messages, Laura decided to do something about it.
Six years ago, she founded ThePublicSpeakingSchool.com to provide state-of-the-art training in public speaking for clients in the not-for-profit, academic and private sectors. Today, Laura uses her eclectic background as a scientist and as a performing artist to transform the way that we speak in public.
Shaun Attwood is a former stock-market millionaire and Ecstasy supplier turned public speaker, author and activist, who is banned from America for life. His story was featured worldwide on National Geographic Channel as an episode of Locked Up/Banged Up Abroad called Raving Arizona.Shaun’s writing – smuggled out of the jail with the highest death rate in America run by Sheriff Joe Arpaio – attracted international media attention to the human rights violations: murders by guards and gang members, dead rats in the food, cockroach infestations…
While incarcerated, Shaun was forced to reappraise his life. He read over 1,000 books in just under six years. By studying original texts in psychology and philosophy, he sought to better understand himself and his past behavior. He credits books as being the lifeblood of his rehabilitation. Shaun now tells his story to schools to put young people off drugs and crime. He campaigns against injustice via his books and blog, Jon’s Jail Journal. He has appeared on the BBC, Sky News and TV worldwide to talk about issues affecting prisoners’ rights.
Mischa Janiec is an Entrepreneur, Social Media Influencer, Personal Coach and Pro Natural Bodybuilder from Switzerland. He became the Swiss Natural Bodybuilding Federation Teen Class Champion in 2011 and won the Overall Title at the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation Muscle Mayhem 2016.
Apart from being a Pro Athlete, Mischa has become a famous European Social Media Influencer. He has thousands of followers on Facebook and Instagram and millions of views on his youtube channel. He is also the Co-founder of Profuel, a vegan supplement company, Chief Marketing Officer of a clothing company named ProBroWear and helps people get in shape with his Online Training Course “Lean Bulk System”. He also likes to travel around the world and giving his Internet Community insights of beautiful places like South America or Thailand.
Marcelo Bertorelli was born and raised in the streets of Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. In 2015, Caracas was ranked as the most dangerous city in the world. Marcelo was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome at a very young age, but trough his interest in communication and determination alongside with his family's support he is now able to live an unassisted life.
In 2014, at the age of 17, he actively participated in the Venezuelan student uprising against the government and military police. During the uprising, Marcelo was able to come in contact with a variety of young people, who all had their own reasons for revolting and breaking the law. Despite his young age, Marcelo sought to understand the conception behind such an uprising and he is now determined to share his thoughts and experiences with young people from around the world. In 2015, Marcelo was selected to attend the United World College (UWC) Adriatic in Trieste, Italy, where he will complete the International Baccalaureate (IB).
Gustav is the Cofounder and Head of Business Development of Sqore, a company that organizes large scale, global innovation, and recruitment competitions to identify talented people and match them with employers and scholarships. Gustav grew Sqore to thirty-five employees, with four million dollars in venture capital funding and 400,000 members worldwide. He advises global, corporate, university, and government clients on competition program design and has fostered relationships with clients such as The Economist and Google. Prior to founding Sqore, Gustav cofounded Filehill Media AB, Scandinavia’s largest marketplace for digital products, and various other startups such as EasyPR and Logotypia. Earlier, he also worked for the public relations agency Hill & Knowlton and with private equity firm Aronsson Group.
Gustav attended a graduate studies program in exponential technologies and future studies at Singularity University in Mountain View and received an MSc in Business Administration and Management from Stockholm School of Economics.
Phil Anthony is an award winning consultant and performance coach. His path has seen him go from collecting litter in London’s Hyde Park to engineering London’s 2012 Olympic Stadium, volunteering in rural Nigeria and consulting in Saudi Arabia.
He left the security of corporate life after being recognized as ‘Young Consultant of The Year’ and one of the ‘Top 10 Consultants of The Decade’. This was the Launchpad for Phil’s journey of self-discovery that saw him assume the role of director at one of Thailand’s leading health and fitness retreats.
Today, Phil consults businesses, entrepreneurs, CEOs, Olympians and anyone seeking to upgrade their performance and unleash their potential.
Hila Azadzoy is part of Kiron Open Higher Education founding team, which is an innovative social start up, with the mission to remove the barriers for refugees to higher education through a unique blended learning approach. As the Head of Academics Hila is responsible for the continous development of Kiron’s academic program, strategic partnerships and fundraising activities.
Having a family history of migration from Afghanistan, Hila has developed a strong sense for the inequalities in access to education and the challenges of addressing these within education systems. Hila holds a M.Sc. in Politics, Economics and Philosophy from the University of Hamburg. Previously, Hila has launched her career at Human Rights Watch and has a profound experience as a professional translator, working extensively with refugees.
Fabian is CEO of Asgard, a family- owned Venture Capital firm based in Berlin. His passion lies in Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things. He has worked with, started and invested in over 30 companies such as DeliveryHero, Team Europe, Point Nine Capital, Soundbrenner or Wunsch-Brautkleid.de in the European digital ecosystem.
Fabian holds a Master degree in Strategic and International Management from the University of St. Gallen and a Bachelor degree in Business Administration from the University of Münster. He is a member of various Alumni associations such as the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Entrepreneurs Organization, SIM, BDSU, HSG and move.
Suzi LeVine took up her position as the United States Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein in June 2014. She and the Embassy team collaborated closely with their Swiss counterparts to drive outstanding economic results, increase a long-term focus on global security, and raise awareness and appreciation for the countries’ respective policies, values, and cultures. Twice during her career, she was a stay-at-home mom, during which time she co-founded two non-profit organizations.
Meanwhile her husband Eric LeVine has had a distinguished career as a leader at Microsoft, as founder/CEO of CellarTracker.com and, more recently, as a stay-at-home dad. He grew up in Boston and then, after graduating from Harvard University with an A.B. in History, pursued a technology career that took him from Lotus to Microsoft. In addition to his professional and family pursuits, Eric has focused his heart and time on social justice and social services.
Kilian Wagner, rethinks retail by holistically engaging with customers across online and offline worlds and bringing fashion to the optical industry. CEO of VIU, a Swiss eyewear startup shaking up the optical industry with a premium eyewear concept that breaks with norms through vertical integration and omnichannel retail. Seamlessly combining online and offline channels VIU is building holistic customer experiences, while offering premium and sustainable products at revolutionary prices. Founded in Switzerland in 2013 VIU is active in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, operating 17 own flagshipstores, proprietary online channels and more than 20 partnerstores.
Prior to VIU, Kilian worked 5 years as a strategy consultant at McKinsey & Company, leading projects in different industries (Telecoms, Banking, Media, Consumer Goods) with focus on growth strategy and market entry. He holds a M.A. in Business Administration from the University of St.Gallen (HSG).
Federico received his PhD from ETH Zurich in 2015. During his research he investigated algorithms that allow flying machines to cooperatively assembly rope bridges, and worked on the Flight Assembled Architecture installation, a 6-meter tall tower built by quadrocopters out of 1500 foam modules. He also developed tools to coordinate the motion of multiple vehicles, allowing for example the generation of choreographies featuring multiple flying machines.
Federico received the Willi Studer Award 2012 for the best master degree in Robotics, Systems and Control and the Hans-Eggenberger-Prize 2012 for his Master Thesis. He was among the finalists of the Georges Giralt PhD award 2016.
Pete Blackshaw is the Global Head of Digital and Social Media at Nestlé, S.A. based in Switzerland. In addition to helping shape digital strategy for Nescafe, Kit Kat, Purina, and hundreds of other Nestle brands, Pete oversees Nestle’s industry-recognized Digital Acceleration Team (DAT) as well as the Silicon Valley Innovation Outpost (SVIO).
He is author of a book by Doubleday entitled “Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3000: Running a Business in Today’s Consumer-Driven World,” and periodically authors columns in Advertising Age centered around the book’s themes. Pete founded PlanetFeedback.com, one of the web’s first consumer-feedback portals, and co-founded the Word-of-Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). He recently served as Chairman of the Board of the National Council of Better Business Bureaus and in that capacity sat on the National Advertising Review Council. He’s a 2015 Mediapost “Online All Star” Winner, a 2014 inductee of the World of Mouth Marketing Hall of Fame, and a 2010 Grand Prize winner of the “Great Minds” award from the Advertising Research Foundation. Pete is a graduate of Harvard Business School and the University of California, Santa Cruz.