Speakers

Adrian Bica
Adrian Bica
Master of Architecture Student / Graduate TA at Ryerson University / Instructor at George Brown & Sheridan College
Think back to the last time you were completely immersed in an experience. Whatever the moment was, it managed to capture you. Buildings can operate in the same way, according to Adrian Bica. His TEDx talk will build on the idea of how we can use architecture to immerse people to that same level of experience. Over the course of his architectural education, he’s noticed that buildings have lost the emotional attraction that was once there. Now, in the last year of his Masters of Architecture, Adrian believes the relationship with people and architecture has diminished, and that the loss of intimacy have fueled a wave of stale and technological buildings. Buildings like the Colosseum are an example of structures that Adrian says invoke an emotional attachment. Instead of becoming technological tools in modern society, Adrian advocates the idea of how our overall attitude towards buildings can change our emotional experience with them. This change, says Adrian, is more obvious than we think.
Alex Gill
Alex Gill
Principal at Mendicant Group / Executive Director at Ontario Environment Industry Association (ONEIA)
Teacher, consultant, and social entrepreneur, Alex Gill has been working in social change for almost 20 years. In 2015, Gill was named one of Canada’s Social Justice All-Stars, and what drives him today is getting people enthusiastic about coming up with new ways to change their world for the better. In his mission to do the same, Alex has founded the Mendicant Group, an agency that helps organizations improve their community impact. Alex has also moderated the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance since 2010. It is his belief that if people can find ways to make cellphones faster, better and smarter, they can harness their energies into producing innovative solutions to the serious problems that face the world today.
Betty Chen
Betty Chen
Architectural Technologist at Quadrangle Architects / YouTube Art Blogger
Betty Chen knows art. As an interior design graduate from Ryerson University in 2012, gallery tour guide at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and content curator and presenter of an informational art show called Articulations on YouTube, Betty’s career is dedicated to getting people to care about art. During her time at Ryerson, she always kept herself busy, whether she was volunteering abroad, working, or planning the Ryerson School of Interior Design year-end show. Today, Betty focuses her efforts on making art accessible and understandable to everyone. She believes in removing the barriers that make the art world appear elite and alienating. This year at TEDxRyersonU, Betty will demystify the language of art to help people discover and understand the value artists and their work have in communities.
Hamza Khan
Hamza Khan
Digital Community Facilitator at Ryerson University / Instructor at Seneca College / Founder of Splash Effects
If you ask Hamza Khan about his role as a manager, he’ll tell you his approach to managing is to avoid it altogether. He applies his unconventional style of leadership to Splash Effect – the marketing agency he co-founded in 2012 to support his life mission to help “bring ideas to life”– and Year One, a series of mini biographies attributed to the lives of successful people. Before his success as an award-winning digital strategist and entrepreneur, Hamza was a student struggling to find a practical outlet for his creativity while pursuing a degree in business and political science at the University of Toronto Scarborough. In his third-year of university, Hamza switched his major and received a Bachelor of Arts to facilitate a future career in art and design. Since graduating, he has worked as a graphic designer and marketer, and today is a teacher in social media strategy at Seneca College. He is also credited with making Ryerson University Canada’s leading university in online student engagement.
Imogen Coe
Imogen Coe
Dean of the Faculty of Science at Ryerson University
Imogen Coe has worked extensively as an academic scientist and administrator, shattering stereotypes and breaking barriers for girls and women in her field. Her TEDx talk makes the case for why equity, diversity, and inclusivity is essentially a global issue. Imogen sees the presence of this problem in Ryerson University through her work as professor and dean of the faculty of science, in terms of the low numbers of young women in some disciplines and the underrepresentation of certain groups. She believes that there needs to be a voice to challenge these unfair practices. As someone who was raised to believe in fair and equal treatment of all, Imogen has taken these values into the field of biology, and works to apply them wherever she sees myths that need to be faced. Through her advocacy, she firmly believes that this is not just a woman’s rights issue, but a human rights issue.
Jeremy Joo
Jeremy Joo
Fashion Design Student
Some people use social media to craft an identity for themselves, but Jeremy Joo has always known who he is, intellectually and creatively. According to the first-year fashion design student at Ryerson University, he’s always had an eye for aesthetics. He values the time it takes to develop ideas, character, and creative work. Jeremy admires artists who push convention, like Kanye West for his out-of-the-box thinking, along with Japanese fashion designers whose works are unconventional, yet functional. In his TEDx talk, Jeremy hopes to plant seeds in the minds of the audience members to get them thinking about what they need to grow.
Joshna Maharaj
Joshna Maharaj
Assistant Director of Food Services and Executive Chef for Ryerson Food Services
As a chef for 10 years with deep involvement in community food work, Joshna Maharaj is a strong advocate for a just and equitable food system. Her current chapter as assistant director of food services and executive chef at Ryerson University led her to explore understanding change and where the resistance lies for her TEDx talk. Her talk aims to shed light on how our fear of change leads us to become numb and complacent to broken systems. If there is a system that doesn’t work, Joshna is compelled to change it, because she believes that we have the freedom and responsibility to make change. Joshna supports the idea that access to quality food should be a basic human right, and that the distance we have from our relationship to food is a real problem. This is a problem she aims to address, and will always continue to work on.
Kait Asquini
Kait Asquini
‎Leadership Development Facilitator at Ryerson University
You don’t need to be a leader on stage to make an impact in your community. This is an ideal that Kait Asquini has implemented in her work as leadership development facilitator for Ryerson University. At TEDxRyersonU 2015, Kait touches on what it means to lead in a community on a micro level. In a local sense, she believes leadership is accessible to everyone. There has been a shift in the definition and the concept of ‘one size fits all’ leadership is no longer accurate. She advocates the idea that leadership is something we all have inside us, but we must learn to foster it to become good leaders. As the assistant coach for the women’s basketball team, Kait feels that leadership in sports has helped her push others forward by providing them with the resources they need. She recalls the many coaches she’s had that have supported her path to understanding leadership. In this, she has developed her own definition of the word: creating opportunities for the people around us to be better, to get better, and to be the best person they can be.
Pascal Murphy
Pascal Murphy
Chang School Instructor / Co-Founder of Neighbours United for Inclusion / Co-Founder of Peace Flag House
In 2013 Pascal Murphy unwittingly started a movement for change. An idea that started as a backyard barbeque, grew to an event that unified not only his west-end community, but people from across Canada. The Neighbours United for Inclusion Community BBQ sent a message of inclusivity, and is one example of how Pascal spends his life promoting change. In his everyday life as an instructor on homelessness, disasters, and social and environmental justice at Ryerson University, Pascal tries to inspire those around him by encouraging others to do what they want to see more of. In response, Pascal has facilitated a number of initiatives and cross-cultural exchanges to raise awareness for the plight of people in the Toronto community and abroad.
Stéphanie Walsh Matthews
Stéphanie Walsh Matthews
Program Director of Arts & Contemporary Studies at Ryerson University
Nobody’s an expert in everything; and even though Stéphanie Walsh Matthews lauds a number of academic titles, including a PhD in French Studies from the University of Toronto, she believes anyone’s best work comes from collaboration. Stéphanie has always been interested in social-cultural reading and literature, and for years has worked in semiotics to understand how people interpret meaning from their environments. According to her, breaking disciplinary barriers can inspire, and give rise to new ideas worth spreading. In her talk for TEDxRyersonU 2015, she will touch on how we can create environments that encourage interdisciplinary collaboration, and how different areas of study like linguistics, robotics, and autism have the potential to help us better understand the world we live in today.