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TEDxWilmette 2024 Speakers

The pace of change in our world brings what once felt futuristic into the present.

The Future Is Now

We are thrilled to announce our speaker line-up for TEDxWilmette 2024.

Meet the women who bring the future into the present at the intersection of humanity and technology. 


Save the date for April 20, 2024 at Baker Demonstration School, where we will gather for the talks and explore the future of education, workplace culture, innovation, AI, and our own incredible potential.

TEDxWilmette 2024 Speaker Bios

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Tayyaba Ali

Tayyaba Ali is the 24-year-old CEO and co-founder of Tikal Industries, a Chicago-based hardtech startup focused on creating an industrial water IoT platform to help manufacturers and energy plants tap into the blue economy. The goal of her current work is to create the market’s first IoT-supported water trading platform to achieve water neutrality for industrial usage. Tayyaba has been fortunate to see all faces of the innovation spectra from being a founder, researcher, advisor, investor, and consultant. As a product development engineer, she has previously worked in medtech, energy, robotics, and sustainability.

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Lizzie Docel

Lizzie Docel is a Learning Specialist and Facilitator at Google, an English Language Coach at Northwestern University, and the Founder of Unscripted Speech, a public speaking and communication coaching practice. She started her career with Google in 2017. Building on her experience across acting, improvisation, speech-language pathology, and business, she has broken down what makes effective communication and how we can prepare for it in the future. In the last 7 years, she has spoken for large global audiences, delivered app demonstrations at industry conferences, hosted trade show booths, facilitated trainings, and given keynote talks.

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AJ Goehle

AJ Goehle has spent close to twenty years working across a diverse range of nationally renowned cultural spaces to push the boundaries of experience design and museum planning. Recently, AJ was named one of 2023’s top 50 museum influencers in the world by industry-leading publication Blooloop. Her company, Luci Creative, has grown to more than 40 employees, with offices in Chicago, Boston, and Seattle; clients include the Adams Presidential Center, Boston Holocaust Museum, the National Music Museum, Harley-Davidson, McDonald's, John Deere, Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, Kohl Children's Museum, and more. She believes that experiential storytelling should be both inspiring and captivating, acting as a catalyst for new and significant ideas.

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Lisa Rachelle Owens

Lisa Rachelle Owens is the host of "The Unapologetic Third Act" podcast, where she champions the idea that age should not be a limitation but a gateway to profound personal growth, reinvention, and social impact. Lisa is a seasoned Global Digital Marketing Program/Project Manager in digital, financial services, government, and retail. She holds the honorable title of post-9/11 Afghanistan Combat Veteran and Military Intelligence Officer, having served eleven years as a later-in-life female citizen soldier in the Illinois Army National Guard. Lisa is also a breast cancer survivor.

IDEA: Embrace Your Unapologetic Third Act

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Charlie Saffro

Charlie Saffro is CEO and Founder of CS Recruiting, a multimillion-dollar organization, and leads a team of over 40 talented recruiters. She is a recognized expert in the logistics industry, and her firm has worked with a diverse range of clients nationwide, including Fortune 50 companies and small to medium-sized businesses. Charlie is an entrepreneur and conscious leader who advocates for human-centric workplaces. She champions connection, purpose, empathy, and employee engagement as key workplace cultural components for employee happiness, productivity, and organizational success.

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Rachel Douglas Swanson

Rachel Douglas Swanson has over 18 years of experience in education, a master's degree in curriculum design, and currently works as a Samsung Educational Coach. She has worked as a Chicago Public Schools elementary teacher and instructional coach, Director of Instructional Technology with the Lutheran Schools of Chicago, and Director of Academics with the Chicagoland Lutheran Educational Foundation. Rachel is a former Teach Plus Policy Fellow, Gates Foundation Redesign Challenge Innovator, and a Google for Education Educator, Innovator, Trainer, and Coach. She is the Co-Founder of TechKnow Coach and Co-Creator of the Create Brave card deck.

At TEDxWilmette, we’re shining a spotlight on dazzling ideas delivered by inspiring speakers - from extraordinary risk-takers and innovators to pioneers and brilliant people who are just getting started.

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