TEDx Frisco 2024

By Yvonne Brown

2024 is kicking off with a bang and the return of a popular event on many a local calendar: TEDx Frisco. It takes place January 20th, at the Black Box Theater, at the Frisco Discovery Center.  
 
 TEDx is a spin-off, like the younger sibling, of the iconic TED Talk with the ‘x’ standing for independently organized. These local events are gatherings featuring live TED-style talks and performances that cover a wide range of subjects and are independently planned and coordinated by each community. Organizing teams create unique content and design for each event with the intention of sparking deep discussion and connection. 
 
The first ever TEDx Frisco was founded and launched in 2019 by Dr. Trillion Small with a clear mission to touch the lives of those in this city and around the world through sharing stories and ideas. 
 
 This year’s theme is ‘Imagine That,’ and Azia Whitted has taken over the reins as lead organizer of the event. A self-proclaimed TEDx junkie, Ms. Whitted has spoken on the TEDx stage and has worked with TEDx Frisco since 2019, first as a volunteer and then she moved into planning and production. As she carries on the mission, she aspires to uplift the voices of local heroes in the Frisco and DFW areas while building community through service, events, and education with the organization. 
 
Azia is a peace pusher working to inspire others to create space for calm in their life. She is a mindfulness coach and the founder of Pause with Azia Ranea (previously Power 2 Pause), where she partners with women to provide tools to promote mindful living during periods of high demand. Through coaching programs, workshops, and speaking she shares her experience of overcoming overwhelm with a pause. 
 
 Over the years, TEDx Frisco has attracted speaker application submissions from all over the United States. The final speakers were chosen from over 400 applications, using a selection process based on applicants’ work within the community and their passion for serving others. 
“I believe being a TEDx speaker provides you with a social profit and trust in whatever industry you are in. It also allows you to be a thought leader in your industry if you choose to leverage the opportunity. And it is amazing to see. I am excited for all the speakers…previous, current, and future,” Ms. Whitted shares. 
 
Ms. Whitted and the 2024 TEDx Frisco speakers have worked hard to make this year’s event a fantastic community opportunity that provides a place where people can come together and be inspired and motivated by local thought leaders.
 
 TEDx Frisco 2024 will be held at the Black Box Theater inside the Frisco Discovery Center at 8004 Dallas Pkwy, Ste 100, Frisco TX on January 20, 2024, at 3:00 PM CST. For more information on the event and ticket information for this year’s event visit
tedxfriscotexas.org.
Let’s take a closer look at these everyday people in the community with ideas to share, discuss, and inspire.

 Brian Wysong

CEO & Co-Founder of Tumbleweed TexStyles

Brian has always been fascinated by TED Talks. As a former teacher, he utilized many of the relevant presentations in his classroom and has been encouraged and motivated by many talks in both his personal life and business career. 
 
“I feel like I have many unique experiences from serving in the ministry to being a high school teacher, and now a business owner. TEDx is a wonderful way to challenge myself to get my story out there and to hopefully be a blessing or even an inspiration to others in our community,” he says. 
 
He admits to being shocked when chosen but humbled and honored to have the opportunity to take the stage alongside a host of talented communicators and leaders in Frisco. 
 
“I value people and specifically helping others become who they are called to be. I hope that this amazing opportunity is a catalyst for future engagements. I want to motivate, educate, and inspire through sharing about my life’s journey and specifically utilizing my unique experiences, including all my failures and successes, as teachable moments to help students, leaders, and aspiring business owners to go to the next level in their journey,” Wysong explains.
 
Brian serves on the Board of Directors for the Frisco Chamber of Commerce & Melody of Hope. A former FISD teacher, he also serves on the Advisory Council for the National Breast Cancer Foundation and Visit Frisco’s Music Friendly Committee. Recently, he was recognized by the Dallas Business Journal as a 40 Under 40 honoree. Brian’s entrepreneurial spirit is fueled by faith, people, and growing his business.

 Sherry Sutton

Founder and Principal at Sherry Sutton Coaching

Sherry Sutton is a business growth mentor. She focuses on equipping small business owners with the strategy, tools, and techniques they need to consistently attract new customers, increase profit margins, and feel confident.
 
As an international bestselling author, speaker, podcaster, award-winning photographer, and recovery warrior, she knows how to captivate a crowd and is proud to share her stories of overcoming addiction, codependency, and a debilitating autoimmune disease. Her life experience led her to serve other women and help them find their voice and power through entrepreneurship. 
 
As a huge fan of the TEDx platform, part of her mission is to publicly share more of her story in hopes that it will inspire others who may be struggling with similar situations. She truly believes the world would be a better place if everyone stopped trying to meet the societal idea of perfection that doesn’t exist. 
 
Sutton shares, “Inspired by Brene Brown’s talk on vulnerability, last year I realized that TEDx was the perfect place to tell my story. I put it on my vision board in January, and it happened! Dreams do come true!”
 
Sherry believes this is a chance to practice what she is preaching in her coaching business and on her podcast. “Only by putting down the masks we wear can we truly connect and find happiness. My quest to be what I thought I was supposed to be, nearly killed me,” she explains.
 
She embraces the opportunity to share her experience and help even one person towards a more authentic and happy life. The launch of her ‘Bosses with Baggage’ podcast in 2023 created a platform for entrepreneurs to share their dark night of the soul and how it led them to a life of authenticity and service through their business. She hopes the TEDx stage will give her the visibility to be of greater service to these entrepreneurs through marketing mentor programs, the podcast, and, eventually, a book. 
 
Sherry holds a master’s degree in Leadership and Communication from Seton Hall University, an executive MBA from Rutgers University, and a Digital Marketing Certification from Yale University. She also loves practicing yoga and adventuring with her family and is a regular fixture in the DFW 12-step scene.

 Elizabeth de Moraes

CEO and Executive Producer of E.L.I. Productionsbr

A speaker and stage presence coach, best-selling author, and TV show producer and host of UNLEASH with Elizabeth de Moraes, she’s also a former international dancer and choreographer. You can find her on various stages (both live and virtual), speaking, moderating panels, leading masterclasses, and emceeing events when not enjoying her family, coaching her private clients, indulging in the fashion and art scene, and traveling.
 
For many years, doing a TED or TEDx talk has been a dream of hers. She believes it offers a unique opportunity to share innovative ideas, influence public discourse, and connect with a global community of thinkers and leaders. She is also embracing the opportunity to challenge herself in something that will provide immense personal satisfaction after accomplishing it.
 
“When I was invited to participate in the TEDx Frisco event, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I am honored to give back to the community of Frisco and the greater north Texas area and am excited to share my story that I pray inspires others and makes an impact,” she shares.
 
Quoting Simon Sinek’s TED Talk ‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action’ as her favorite, Elizabeth describes the opportunity to speak at TEDx Frisco as a dream come true. It’s a launching pad not only for her career but also a chance to share her message with a national and international audience, in the hope it creates a long-term impact in helping people live richer lives as more fully expressed individuals.

 Toni Howard Lowe

Global Diversity Equity & Inclusion Executive and Workforce Strategist

With experience working across multiple industries, Toni is seen as an advisor to CEOs, executive teams, and boards of directors on workplace culture, diversity, organizational change, and talent strategies. She also challenges organizations to maximize their full potential, create value, and advocate for an inclusive employee experience. 
 
Toni highlights Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and her TED Talk, ‘The Danger of a Single Story’ as inspiration. In it, Adichie challenges everyone to consider the power of stories to influence identity, shape stereotypes, and build paths to empathy. 
 
“I like to say, Florida raised me, but Texas made me. Dallas is where my career accelerated and began to thrive. Moving here a decade ago has been the catalyst for many of the opportunities I’ve experienced and my growth as a leader in my field. I’m extremely proud to represent the north Texas community and hope my TEDx Talk further expands my mission to reshape how marginalized communities experience the workplace,” Lowe explains. 
 
Toni has been invited to contribute as a lecturer, panelist, instructor, and workshop facilitator on issues of equity, inclusion, and diversity at multiple institutions of higher education, corporations, and professional organizations.

 Ben Cross

Founder and CEO of GLOMO

Ben Cross is the founder and CEO of GLOMO, which is a recruitment and strategy firm specializing in the global mobility industry. His team leverages its global reach, relevancy, and relationships to connect established brands with talent and create well-deserved opportunities for minority entrepreneurs. He also hosts the daily live show LOVE + RELO on LinkedIn and YouTube.
 
Citing Drew Dudley as an inspiration with his ‘Everyday Leadership’ TED Talk, he garnered his advice and used the lessons and ideas to support his personal growth. Ben describes the opportunity to be a speaker as one that feels right. 
“This is a bucket list opportunity. Something about telling your talk on the TED stage says you’ve arrived. It’s probably going to be something that becomes part of my bio forever,” Cross admits.  
Though he’s not a big fan of putting expectations on things, in most cases, Cross says events are just stepping-stones in a journey, but being a 2024 TEDx Frisco speaker weirdly feels like a mini destination.

 Travis Simons; Emcee for TEDx Frisco

Founder and CEO of The Curtis Solution Group

Travis runs a consulting company designed to assist in leadership and business development, operational systems, creativity, and customer relations.  
 
A recent graduate of Leadership Frisco (Class 25), Simons also serves in a pastoral role in Frisco that allows him to provide oversight and pastoral care for members and the community through premarital, marital, and individual counseling, and leadership/entrepreneurship development. He is passionate about helping others discover their purpose, meaning, and significance in life.  
 
Of this year’s event, Simons shares, “I am thrilled at the opportunity to be the emcee for this event. I am a firm believer in the power of sharing your story. TEDx Frisco is a platform devoted to helping people share their own unique experiences and stories which is their contribution to the human experience, a singular blend of challenges, triumphs, and insights. Also, it’s a chance to share, to inspire, and to be inspired, reminding us that in the vastness of our diversity, we believe they are the connective tissue that unites us all. I can’t wait – we are in for a treat.”
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