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2019 Speakers | TEDxHuntsville
Natalie Alexander

Natalie Alexander

Mental Health Professional

I remember a moment in my life when my younger brother was in the thick of his drug addiction. I was wondering why he chooses drugs? I came to the conclusion that he needed his father. Ironically, our father lived with us (my sibling’s mother, and I). He and our mother provided a lifestyle that was exponentially more abundant that what they were raised with. However, he was emotionally absent. My passion for father-child relationships did not materialize until 2010 during my psychology and counseling practicum at a residential facility for adolescent boys who came from fatherless homes and were accustomed to answering to female authority. My client population presented emotional distress that mostly was rooted in broken father relationships. Many engaged me in their healing process. My hope is that this talk will ignite a flame that will spread nationwide to fathers and children to facilitate and heal father-child relationships.

Tiril Benton

Tiril Benton

Visual Artist

After the sudden death of my mother in 2000, I was called to paint. This has continued for the last 19 years. At no time in my life had the aspiration to be an artist arisen. I am giving this talk as I was asked to. My understanding is that at every moment of every day we have the choice to follow fear or love. I choose love.

Josh Johnston

Josh Johnston

Creativity Cultivator

Looking at Josh, and maybe even speaking with Josh, may not give you the impression that he is the eccentric, artsy type, but once you get him talking about creativity, it’s difficult to get him to stop. Josh attended Bradshaw High School and following that he began working in various industries. After years of working for other companies, owning and selling a few businesses, and moving to Atlanta, Josh returned to Florence, Alabama and started an audio/video company that eventually merged into PartyPros, the company he is a current partner in. In 2005, he attended Burning Man for the first time.“Before Burning Man, I felt trapped. Once I was there and had my first experience with unforgettable, big art. It encouraged me to embrace my inner creativity and take the next steps in becoming part of it and creating my own,” Josh says. Since then, Josh has been creating and inventing and working to channel the same inspiration he felt to others. Along with several other collaborative projects, he has created a 9 ½ foot steel guitar that blew fire out of the top, a “Be the Art” photo frame sculpture, and an interactive heart-shaped sculpture for people to leave locks on. “I don’t care what you do, it’s about knowing you can do it. I want to get the gears turning and show people they can think creatively and get out and start making something.” To do this, he builds meaningful relationships with people and connects them to the resources and tools they need to do great things. My mantra is, “cultivate creativity to fuel the future” and that means developing communities that are appealing and accepting to all people to encourage them to stay and build places that are exciting and innovating for generations to come. Josh currently lives in Florence, Alabama along with his wife, Stephanie. He is a board member for NextGen Shoals and has received two full scholarships from the Esalen Institute to study under the Director of Education for Burning Man and Creative community Building. He continues to work toward his life goal of being a philanthropist for the art community to start others on their creative journey.

Leon Logothetis

Leon Logothetis

Author, Traveler

Leon Logothetis is a global adventurer, motivational speaker, and philanthropist. He’s visited nearly 100 countries and traveled to every continent. Leon is the star of The Kindness Diaries which is now streaming on Netflix and Amazon. On the show, he circumnavigates the globe, giving life-changing gifts to unsuspecting good Samaritans. He was also the host of Amazing Adventures of a Nobody on National Geographic International and is the bestselling author of GO BE KIND: 28 1⁄2 Adventures Guaranteed to Make You Happier, Amazing Adventures of a Nobody, The Kindness Diaries: One Man’s Quest to Ignite Goodwill and Transform Lives Around the World, and Live, Love, Explore: Discover the Way of the Traveler, a Roadmap to the Life You Were Meant to Live.

Chris Newlin

Chris Newlin

Executive Director, NCAC

Chris Newlin, MS LPC, is the Executive Director of the National Children’s Advocacy Center where he is responsible for providing leadership and management of the NCAC and participating in national and international training and leadership activities regarding the protection of children.  The NCAC was the first Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) in the world and provides child abuse prevention and intervention services in Huntsville/Madison County; and also houses the NCAC Training Center, the Southern Regional Children’s Advocacy Center, the NCAC Virtual Training Center, and the Child Abuse Library Online (CALiO™). The NCAC is a past multi-year winner of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Workplace Ethics; 2012 Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce Non-Profit of the Year; 2016 Federal Bureau of Investigation Director’s Community Leadership Award recipient; (multi-year finalist), winner in 2016 and 2019 of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce Best Places to Work; and a Private Sector Member of the Virtual Global Taskforce.

Dr. Guangsheng Zhang

Dr. Guangsheng Zhang

Assistant Professor, UAH

Nearly 30 years ago, as a child, I was fascinated by how a battery turned a wire-wound nail into an electromagnet. Today, as a researcher I am fascinated by how a nail kindles fire in a battery. As a teacher, I am even more fascinated by how I can kindle fires for research in young minds.

Jordan McFarlen

Jordan McFarlen

Aerial Acrobat

Remy Neal

Remy Neal

Musical Artist

​”Breath of fresh air!”
-Chattanooga Fun

Armed with a soulfully fluid voice, one-man-band Remy Neal brings forth expressive melodies backed by piano-pop rhythms, weaving a music listening experience that uplifts the spirit and leaves an impression. Before arriving to Huntsville, Remy performed in New York City working in musicals, tv, and film. Remy brings forth his own flavor of New York theatrics with whimsy and charm when performing for his live audiences. While his singing voice alone is a character of its own, his unique looping style and presence on stage embodies the true life of his sound.