Recent Event: EnlightenUP
April 13th, 2019
UWM Campus, Zelazo Center Theater
TEDxUWMilwaukee recently hosted its 5th annual conference to contemplate how the challenges that tumultuous times pose may bring out our most innovative, passionate, and empathetic selves. We sold out with a generous and supportive audience of 500 people!
Thank to everyone who attended the event! Our videography team is still working very hard to edit the talk recordings, and we will upload them to our website and social media as soon as they are ready! We appreciate your patience. In the meantime, feel free to read the bios for our phenomenal speakers below. They are talented, innovative, and kind people who brought their passion to the TEDx stage!
TEDxUWMilwaukee's 2019 Conference Speakers
Isioma Nwabuzor is a skilled corporate attorney employed with Baird, an international financial services firm headquartered in downtown Milwaukee. With a strong dedication to her profession, Attorney Nwabuzor presently serves as a Board Member for both the Sports & Entertainment Law and IP & Technology Law Sections of the State Bar of Wisconsin. She is an alumnus of the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Leadership Development Summit and a member of the Association of Corporate Counsel, the American Bar Association, and the Wisconsin Association of African American Lawyers.
As a representative of several minority groups and demographics, Attorney Nwabuzor has a profound passion for social progress and global synergy. This passion translates into Attorney Nwabuzor’s unwavering commitment to a life of servant leadership. Attorney Nwabuzor is a former Board Member for the National Black Law Students Association. She currently serves as an Adult Achiever with the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, as Sergeant-At-Arms and PR Chairman for Rotary Club of Mequon-Milwaukee Afterhours, and as a Committee Chairman for the Epsilon Kappa Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. She is also a trained facilitator with the Frank Zeidler Center for Public Discussion. As evidence of her commitment to service and the community, Isioma was recognized as the 2017 recipient of her sorority’s “Edith N. Finlayson Volunteer of the Year Award.”
Attorney Nwabuzor is regularly tapped to provide her professional and personal insight and has spoken at various events and for various organizations including, the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center, Marquette University Law School’s Black Law Students Association, and Marquette’s BSC. Attorney Nwabuzor earned her Bachelor of Arts with double majors in Political Science and Psychology and her Juris Doctorate from Marquette University Law School. Attorney Nwabuzor currently resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Heidi Edwards is a high school English teacher with 18 years of experience. Heidi was called to teaching from a young age, a calling that several transformative educators in her life fostered. She has taught in almost every school setting: public, private, urban, suburban, rural, as well as working with students ranging from early childhood to high school seniors. Her students have come from all walks of life, cultures, backgrounds, races, and faiths. She is currently employed in the Muskego-Norway school district as an instructor of Accelerated English 10 and English 11.
Heidi has served as a presenter for Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English for 4 years, presenting on topics tied to learning, diversity, gender, technology, and pedagogy. In addition, she has presented for the Illinois Association of Teachers of English regarding the confluence of modern culture with classical texts for the high school classroom. She served as participant and presenter for Milwaukee Area Student Affiliate of National Council of English Teachers and presented on race in the secondary English classroom.
If you asked Heidi’s students about her, they would share with you her penchant to book-end all learning with personal stories and anecdotes; her passion for all things regarding her students and her classroom; and her teaching of values and practices that transcend reading, writing, and grammar and that extend to students’ lives beyond the classroom. Also, they would tell you she loves cats.
Heidi is an alumna of Marquette University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English and Secondary Education and Concordia University Chicago where she earned her master’s degree in Administrative Leadership. Heidi is originally from Illinois but now calls the Milwaukee area home along with her husband, 2 children, and a cat.
Ilian Iliev is currently a project coordinator for the University of Information Technology & Services Department, where he coordinates internal resources to ensure that projects are completed and delivered on time, within scope, and within budget.
He is also a member of Student Affairs I.T. and is involved in the Strategic Innovation Management team where, through a collaborative relationship with campus partners, he moves projects forward in a variety of fields by helping execute their intended outcomes, meeting individual and organizational goals.
One such partnership was with Islands of Brilliance. Ilian designed a WordPress website for 7 students on the spectrum of autism to provide exposure to the field of web development by composing WordPress tutorials to meet the needs of those students.
You can see which projects he’s been a part of by visiting www.pantherhacks.net. Ilian is on numerous committees: The Advisory Committee on Educational Technology (ACET), in which he is responsible for evaluating, recommending, monitoring, and annually assessing allocation of funds up to $3.5 million collected from student tuition fee that support access to educational technologies on the UWM campus, and The Information Technology Policy Committee (ITPC), where he has made recommendations to the faculty and campus administration regarding policy on information technology.
He is the co-author of “Radical Innovation: Blue Ocean Entrepreneurs, Skunk Works, & Beyond” and was involved in Operation Enduring Freedom by completing a tour of duty in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where he received an Army Achievement Medal for his high degree of professionalism and ability to motivate others to excel.
He has completed his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy at Marquette University.
Katie Mullen is a brand strategist, artist and writer born and raised in Milwaukee, WI. She co-owns BlackPaint Studios, an independent art and design company whose biggest clients are Planned Parenthood state affiliates across the country. Before starting BlackPaint in 2015, Katie spent more than a decade working on both the agency and client sides in Milwaukee and New York for brands like MillerCoors, The Nation Magazine and SC Johnson Family companies.
Also a longtime art activist and general troublemaker, Katie leads BlackPaint’s covert mission to challenge the creative industry’s old school power structure by working to increase the number of women and people of color in leadership roles and by educating students about their power as change makers as part of the studio’s college speaking series, Unspoken Truths About Working in the Creative Industry. She’s also the founder of FROM HERE TO HER Artist Collective, an alliance of community art activists best known for their public art projects that explore social norms impacting women and girls.
Hey, I’m Quentin Allums. I’m the Chief Executive Officer of Urban Misfit Ventures. We own IEEG which is a influencer/video marketing company; as well as MKE Misfits which is an events company. I was also one of the first video creators on LinkedIn and have since used the platform to launch my new venture, accumulate millions of views, and travel the world for speaking engagements such as VidCon 2018.
Fun Fact: I was a musician for 6 years and a collegiate athlete.
Michael Drescher (born July 14, 1954) is a media entrepreneur. In 1981 he co-founded with his brother JDTV, a multimedia and production company that built up the world’s largest database of interactive television and movie descriptions in 11 languages with an international distribution selling to The Tribune Company in 1999. In 1997, he established Drescher Holdings and in 2003, along with DHL, became co-founder, partner and director of global publishing for One World Yellow Pages. In 2010, he co-founded Okanjo’s ( okanjo.com ) SAAS marketplace and ad-tech platforms that transform content into commerce for publishers. For the last 7 years he has been funding deep research into female breast health, while developing a product line focusing on “Healthy Intimates” Vibrant Body Company officially launched in 2018. ( vibrantbodycompany.com ) Drescher has served on the board of directors for Newaukee, Okanjo Partners, Vibrant LLC, MiKE and International Film Finance.
Throughout her 30 years as a national speaker, award-winning storyteller, humor columnist, and author, Deb has created her own innovative concepts to propel people to think and act outside their comfort zones. Her humor column “Slightly Off” and her nationally known brand, Speak Up On Purpose are platforms to help business professionals reduce stress, boost emotional intelligence and embrace life's ups and downs with a sense of humor.
As a motivational speaker, Deb has inspired and empowered thousands of people to achieve their goals and dreams. She has been interviewed on many radio and television stations, including NBC and Fox-TV in Chicago. Her newspaper column appeared in the Milwaukee Journal, Sussex Sun, The Freeman, The Chicago area Daily Herald, in addition to publications in Writer’s Digest Magazine and Better Homes and Gardens She is the author of Tales of a Slightly Off Supermom: Fighting for Truth, Justice and Clean Underwear, Pelican Publishing, 2003
She has taught creative writing at the prestigious Erma Bombeck Writer’s Conference in Dayton, OH, and at many other universities and conferences.
As a participant and coach for the USA Storyteller Project, and with her own speaker training programs, Deb has coached business professionals to present with confidence on the stage. As a writing instructor Deb has helped many individuals achieve authorship, along with other personal and professional goals.
Deb lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and travels across the U.S. as a motivational speaker, presentation trainer and writing coach.
After 12+ years leading corporate social responsibility, philanthropy, D&I and branding efforts with Fortune 500 companies, I decided it was time for me to change the world with my own two hands. Ever the optimist and dreamer, I actually believe that is possible. Following my corporate exit in 2016, I immersed myself in global relief and empowerment work. That means I focused on helping people going through extreme trauma as well as worked with organizations looking to empower women and marginalized communities.
This work has taken me to all corners of the world. From refugee camps in Greece to orphanages in Haiti. Hurricane zones to public health crises. Along the way, I've learned a lot about people, community and what it takes to build a better world for everyone.
Armed with expertise and experience, I've now founded Just A Girl Media – the digital intersection of mental health and women’s empowerment globally. Just A Girl is a safe place where girls of all ages and backgrounds can come together to have honest conversations about stuff that matters. Conversations about what happens when we bump face-first into patriarchy and privilege. About what it means to raise your voice in a world that's asking you to sit down, be quiet and smile. About how it feels to be a warrior, a sister, a mother and a businesswoman often in the same moment. Or that sometimes you feel so small and powerless that you aren’t sure where to even begin.
It's these conversations that crack open compassion, break down silos, heal emotional wounds and build a global sisterhood of solutions and support. Because you are so much more than just a girl. It's about time we talk about how.