Meet your TedxWilsonPark Speakers
LeRon L. Barton is a writer from Kansas City, MO currently living in San Francisco, Ca. A graduate of Paseo Academy of Fine Arts, LeRon is the author of two books, “Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American Drug Culture” and “All We Really Need Is Love: Stories of Dating, Relationships, Heartbreak, and Marriage.” In addition to the books, LeRon is an essayist; whose topics cover racism, mass incarceration, politics, gender, and dating. These works have appeared in Salon, The Good Men Project, Elephant Journal, East Bay Times, and MoAD.
As a young man, LeRon has had to live with a stutter. At times it was debilitating and confidence hindering, but he has learned to manage the stutter and not let it stop him taking on another passion: public speaking. LeRon has given talks and speeches at University of San Francisco, Glide Methodist Church, been a guest of Al Jazeera’s The Stream, Story Corp, Dr. Vibe’s Do You Know What Time It Is podcast, and has participated in panel discussions on race and prison recidivism. In his spare time LeRon mentors young men in San Francisco and loves to backpack around the world.
April Clark is the co-founder of Reach and Teach, an innovative, educational program that allows high school students to gain industry experience while exploring various career paths and building self-confidence. The birth of Reach and Teach stemmed from an unlikely partnership between herself and a rock star, both of which share a passion and desire to impact the lives of young people struggling to find their way in life.
Beginning her professional career in the business industry, April Clark holds a Bachelor's degree in Accounting and industry experience in marketing, sales and business administration. Unable to fulfill her calling in the burrows of an office building, Clark returned to the University of North Alabama to obtain a Master's degree in Secondary Education, with a focus on business and marketing. Clark’s current role as a Commerce and Information Technology Instructor at Colbert County High School gives her the platform to provide opportunities and guidance for students to find their passion and purpose in this journey we call life.
Raising her two children with her husband, David to love the Lord and smile every day is her greatest blessing. Each day is a choice and she chooses happy as often as possible.
A diverse background in architecture, landscape, environmental, and industrial design has afforded me the opportunity to work on an extensive array of projects ranging from small consumer products to complete green environments for several municipalities around the world. I have held positions such as: design director for multiple product design and manufacturing companies with high-profile clients, co-founder of Fulcrum Collaborative, and East Coast landscape architect representative for Monrovia Nurseries.
Though very successful in those endeavors, becoming an educator and mentor seemed to be my calling. I started this career with professorships at Auburn University and University of Louisiana-Lafayette in the field of industrial design. Recently I held the positions of ID Group Department chair (industrial design, design management, service design, design for sustainability, business of design, interaction design, and marine design) and professor at SCAD. Under my leadership tenure, SCAD industrial design was ranked in the top 10 by DesignIntelligence each year, top by Red Dot World Ranking, while earning awards from world-renowned competitions.
In my most recent venture, I am a co-founder, director, and overall ‘Troublemaker’ of Aether Global Learning and SHiFT Design Camp. With an amazing team, we look to create freethinking empathetic practitioners who will passionately lead their local and global communities through logical discourse, impeccable craft, and sound strategic direction. I want to provide a world-class educational experience through platforms for discovery, creation and reflection for the global community of makers, thinkers, changers, givers and leaders.
Jay has been programming professionally for over 10 years. Half of that time has been completely remote. Over the years, he has developed a deep interest in software design, testing, and teaching.
Jay currently works at home for Stitch Fix, a personal style service. Remote is a perfect working situation as it allows him to do what he loves while being close to the people he loves, his beautiful wife and baby boys.
Scott has studied and practiced strategy and collaboration since 1992. His focus is on designing and guiding collaborative approaches to strategy in complex systems and he has applied his work in diverse settings like economic development, innovation, business growth, and social change.
Scott has been engaged by nearly 400 industry, public sector, higher education, and nonprofit clients in 30 U.S. states and internationally and he has worked with the White House, Department of Commerce, National Science Foundation, and other federal agencies in the design and execution of strategies to support economic development and innovation in the U.S. economy.
He teaches for Purdue University's Polytechnic Institute and Krannert School of Management and is a frequent guest lecturer at other universities both in the U.S. and abroad. He is also Associate Director of the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab.
Prior to his career in academia, Scott worked in both corporate and social change strategy with American Airlines and United Way. He has a Ph.D. in public policy, a masters in public administration, and an undergraduate degree in theatre.
Scott and his wife Lisa, and their sons Henry and Oliver, live near Indianapolis, Indiana where they are slowly restoring a 1932 Tudor Revival home.
Lisa Keys-Mathews, Ph.D., GISP
Lisa Keys-Mathews is a Geographer, a title gained not merely through education but also by virtue of her experience and passion. Keys-Mathews first went abroad when she was 8 years old, on a trip to Mexico that jump-started her love of all things geography - travel, culture, environment, and people. Since then, Keys-Mathews’ research on environmental disasters and hazards has led her to study an earthquake in Peru, a tsunami in Indonesia, a massive tornado in Hackleburg and Phil Campbell Alabama, and Hurricane Katrina on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Her passion to teach geography has taken her from the Philippines, where she taught teachers geography and geospatial technologies, to Costa Rica where she conducted urban fieldwork with college students, to Cuba where she traveled with geography and history teachers, and to China where she traveled with martial artists visiting the roots of their art. She currently works with teachers all over the state of Alabama to incorporate geography and geospatial technologies into their curricula.
Keys-Mathews believes in the power of exploration, whether it is in the far-reaches of Earth or in our neighborhoods and backyards. Exploration expands dreams, enhances our understanding of others, and enriches our love and concern for nature. Most importantly, exploration engages our curiosity and compassion to want to solve the world’s greatest problems.
Caroline Self, a Florence, Alabama native, is a television producer, editor and attorney. A graduate of Bradshaw High School in Florence, Caroline was 1995 Alabama’s Junior Miss and a United States Presidential Scholar. She earned her B.A. in Government from Harvard College and her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law. Caroline served in the Clinton White House as an intern in Oval Office Operations and as Special Assistant to the Director of Presidential Scheduling. In recent years, Caroline has worked as a television producer and editor for such networks as CBS, ABC, FOX, Lifetime, and Bravo. Her credits as an Executive Producer include: “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” “Blood, Sweat & Heels,” and “Manzo’d with Children.” Currently, Caroline is producing and editing the Facebook series “Returning the Favor” and is a candidate for Alabama State Senate District 1. Caroline is a member of the Alabama and California Bar Associations as well as the Writers Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America, and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
For over 40 years, Douglas Stevenson has been on the cutting edge of alternative lifestyle and technology. Douglas has been the principal spokesperson for The Farm, an intentional community located on 1750 acres in rural Tennessee, founded in 1971 on the principles on nonviolence and respect for the earth, known around the world as a living model for a sustainable lifestyle.
He is a photographer, videographer and producer, as well as an author, with 3 books and over 1000 published articles on subjects ranging from digital technology to spirituality.
Douglas has had the opportunity to travel and live in many parts of the world. Douglas, his wife, and their two young children, spent two years in Guatemala, serving as volunteers after a devastating earthquake. He’s installed satellite dishes in Africa, documented the inner workings of factories in Belarus, climbed a volcano in Bali, and did photography for UNICEF in Belize.
Serving as a board member, president and principle grassroots fundraiser for the nonprofit Swan Conservation Trust, he was instrumental in raising $1.5 million to establish a 1400 acre nature preserve that surrounds his home in Tennessee. As a founding member of PeaceRoots Alliance, he oversaw a billboard national campaign and helped establish the Farmer Veteran Coalition, a nonprofit which provides funding for veterans seeking education and employment in agriculture, and as a path for healing.
Douglas is also a singer/songwriter, performing professionally for over 45 years in many different genres, including folk, country, bluegrass and rock, using music to open the heart, spreading a message of hope, celebration, and as an essential tool for building the bonds of community.
Matt Thieleman was born in Detroit and lived a few places across the world before landing back in his home state of Michigan. He spent the first nine years of his career helping businesses and organizations communicate like humans in their marketing; and has worked with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies and world-renowned universities, to single-owner businesses. He’ll tell you he started meditating before he even knew what it was, and he thanks the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the inspiration.
Matt founded Golden Bristle in 2015 to help leaders and teams unleash their awesome on the world. He uses mindfulness tools, Jedi mind tricks, and other methods to help his clients do their best work and live their best lives. Sometimes he’s a speaker, sometimes a consultant, sometimes a coach. It's always a pretty fun job. Visit the Golden Bristle website (https://goldenbristle.com/) to learn more or check out all of Matt's career exploits on his LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattthieleman/.