Relationships are the foundation of our existence. Our minds try to make sense of an infinitely complex universe by connecting to thoughts, motivations, emotions, culture, nature, risk, music and rhythm, and each other. How we relate to each of these defines who we are and how we behave within our world.


Our Event

TEDxTahoeCity aims to provide the Tahoe and global community an opportunity to dig deeper into the internal and external factors that shape our relationships. We will explore the concept of RELATIONSHIPS and our connections and responses we have to things we come in contact with every day, including our children, our sports, our media devices, our environment, and our culture.

TEDxTahoeCity will tap into insights derived from Tahoe’s unique culture which has grown out of one of the most beautiful mountain regions on Earth. While many of our speakers live in the North Tahoe region, we will also have the opportunity to listen to experts who, while they live elsewhere, live inside the very same ideas, thoughts and emotions that are so integral to our way of life. This will help bring a global perspective to us while we universalize our message to others.

Ultimately, TEDxTahoeCity hopes to create a better understanding of the human condition so we can approach our sports, careers, home life and our relationships with all the elements around us in a way that promotes longer, healthier, and happier lives.

TEDxTahoeCity will be a 4-hour discussion with up to 15 engaging speakers at the Tahoe Art Haus & Cinema. This year, the audience will be limited to 100 people. However, it’s our hope that the conversation extends well beyond this day and these four walls to a much larger audience, thanks to the distribution channel of

TEDxTahoeCity is grateful to for this opportunity, as well as to our sponsors.

Saturday, September 17th, 2016

Talks from 1:00 – 5:30pm

(doors open at 12:30)

Cocktail Reception 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Tahoe Art Haus and Cinema

Tahoe City, CA 96145

Tickets now on sale at

You can stream TEDxTahoeCity LIVE on the day of the event by clicking the below link.

What is TEDx?

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxTahoeCity, where x = independently organized TED event.



Renee Koijane

Renee Koijane moved to Tahoe City from San Francisco more than 15 years ago after working as the Director of Communications for and at Ketchum Communications, where she served both Fortune 500 and start-up companies. In Tahoe, Renee has continued consulting and volunteering. She served two years advising for Placer County and two more years as the Executive Director of the Squaw Valley Institute, bringing speakers such as Sir Ken Robinson, surfer Bethany Hamilton, Kiva’s Julie Hanna, and Food Inc’s Joel Salatin to North Tahoe. Recently she helped form the Go Bigger Coalition, a grassroots committee of people dedicated to helping parents and children discover healthier pathways to leading longer lives, using engagement in sports as a central focus. She now focuses on making art. She is married to Andrew Koijane and has two sons who serve as her inspiration for organizing TEDxTahoeCity.


Carolyn Hamilton

Carolyn Hamilton jumps at the chance to work with kids, words, and the growing of ideas.  Since she received her MA in the Teaching of Writing, she married Jeff Hamilton, set off on a fantastic homeschooling journey alongside two daughters, created and directed the Squaw Valley Kids’ Institute, led writers’ workshops for the young, as well as college-bound, and serves as a member of the Go Bigger Coalition. She adores fundraising for Moody’s Jazz Camp, a week-long dazzle of Jazz that inspires kids to express themselves through musical ideas; traveling with her family, where they can get insular in far-flung places; and spending as much time as she can backpacking, hiking and trail running, where wild spaces become grounds for connecting.


Slate headshot

Steven Slate: Our Relationship to Addiction

Steven Slate is a Research Associate with the Baldwin Research Institute, a not-for-profit that has pioneered educational approaches to substance use problems since 1989 at the Saint Jude Retreats. Their Freedom Model program and Cognitive Behavioral Learning (CBL) method of non-judgmental presentation has been recognized as the only true non-disease, non-treatment form of help available for substance use problems. Steven is co-author of BRI’s The Saint Jude Program 13th Edition; has provided chapters for college textbooks on addiction and abnormal psychology; and is author of The Clean Slate Addiction Site.  He came to this field as many do, with a history of substance use problems. After many bouts of treatment, he solved his problem by rejecting what he’d been taught in treatment (the disease model, powerlessness, loss of control, and addict identity), and embracing a choice based approach. He lives in Queens New York with his partner and cat, and spends his spare time performing in the city’s vibrant comedic theater scene.


Andrew Todhunter: A Writer's Relationship to his Subject

An award-winning writer, filmmaker, and lecturer at Stanford, Andrew Todhunter is the author of three books, including the PEN USA Literary Award-winning A Meal Observed, and dozens of articles for national publications including National Geographic, The Atlantic and The Wall Street Journal, among others. He has worked on numerous film projects, including productions for Lucasfilm and National Geographic Television. Todhunter teaches writing and interdisciplinary creativity as a Resident Fellow at Stanford, where he co-founded The Senior Reflection, a creative capstone program in Biology, and Stanford’s LifeWorks program. An avid diver, climber and sea kayaker, he has served as a volunteer firefighter and EMT. He is currently based in Northern California with his wife and three children.


Dr. Robb Gaffney: Parent-Child Relationships

Dr. Robb Gaffney is a psychiatrist working in Tahoe City, CA who for the past 15 years has been has been sharing his passion for the outdoors with his two children. As an accomplished big mountain and backcountry skier, who has written a book on high level skiing and has been featured in over 10 ski films, Dr. Gaffney has a unique perspective on risk, sports, and what elements lead to good decisions in the outdoors. Driven by the increasing morbidity and mortality in action sports, he founded the company, Sportgevity, and helped create the grass roots, Tahoe based movement, the Go Bigger Coalition. Dr. Gaffney believes that connecting children to the outdoors effectively and safely begins with the parent-child relationship.


John Muir Laws: Building a Relationship to Nature

Naturalist, educator and artist John (Jack) Muir Laws is in love with the natural world and has lived his live sharing this passion with others. He is trained as a wildlife biologist and is a Research Associate of the California Academy of Sciences. Jack has taught nature education teacher since 1984 in California, Wyoming, and Alaska. He teaches the tools to help people develop as naturalists and stewards including, ways to improve your observation, memory and curiosity, conservation biology, natural history, scientific illustration, and field sketching all while having fun and falling more deeply in love with the world.


Meg Seifert: Our Relationship to Learning

Meg Seifert is the executive director of Headwaters Science Institute; a 501c3 non-profit that creates opportunities for students to conduct original scientific research and pursue answers through authentic field experiences. She holds a PhD in zoology from Washington State University and a BS from Davidson College in North Carolina. Meg has worked for nine years in the field of environmental education. She has a passion for science and the outdoors and hopes to bring real inquiry based science to students across the US.  In her free time Megan enjoys Nordic skiing, running, water, volunteering, and playing with her two kids Mari and Griffin in the Sierra.

Mark Bruce Photo

Mark Bruce: Our Relationship to Youth Mentorship

Mark Bruce is a lawyer. Alongside a comprehensive business law practice where he negotiates complex deals, he represents environmental sustainability and youth mentoring. He believes long term, meaningful outcomes are more in the art of the relationship, than the art of the deal. So he has settled into quiet, meaningful spaces like the Children’s Cabinet, The Desert Research Institute Foundation and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. Spaces he knows offer meaningful connectivity and progress. He knows that everyone has passion and purpose, sometimes hidden or restrained. So he craves to know who you are, what you want, what you feel and, most importantly, what you want to feel, to continuously increase the number of intersections where passion meets purpose. When he is not negotiating deals or encouraging the development of new social intersections, Mark writes music, runs in the Sierra and loves up his family – Lisa, Joe and Sarah.


Chris Denison: Young Men's Relationship to Culture

Charis Denison is a Youth Advocate and expert in, Human Development, Ethics, and Social Justice & Community Involvement. She has built her experience primarily partnering with schools and non-profits for the past 23 years. She has received national recognition for her work in several of these fields. Charis has been on the faculty of the Urban School of San Francisco, Branson School, and Marin Academy in San Rafael CA. Charis currently runs Prajna Consulting. Through Prajna, she partners with schools, teens, families, organizations, and communities around the issues of Human Development, Social Justice, and Ethics. Her work as a youth advocate emphasizes empowering young people to make choices that end in honor and joy rather than guilt, shame or regret.


Julian Vasquez: A Young Man's Personal Relationship to Culture

Julian Vasquez is a high school senior at Marin Academy in San Rafael, California. He is passionate about issues regarding social justice, and helping young people and adults reflect on and improve their humanity. Currently, Julian works with Charis Denison at Prajna Consulting as her lead teen facilitator. Through Prajna, he works with middle and high school students and parents around the issues of Human Development emphasizing gender roles, communication, social & emotional literacy, and education reform.

His main goal is to inspire others to find their own version of success… based on any life work that positively impacts the lives of others.


JJ Morgan: Our Relationship to "What's Cool"

JJ Morgan, Moody’s Bistro, Bar & Beats Managing Partner, has been the driving force behind Moody’s reputation as a venue for talented musicians for the last 14 years. Morgan’s passion for good music has transformed Truckee into a hot spot for some of the country’s top musicians. JJ began the annual Jazz Artists in Residency (JAIR), where jazz musicians spend a week teaching a kid’s camp (knowns as Moodys Jazz Camp) by day and performing at Moody’s by night. The jazz artists are inspired as they interact with their musical peers, providing an elevated level of passion and creativity.  At the age of 25, JJ founded the Up and Down Club in San Francisco, California. The Up and Down Club became known as one of the Bay Area’s hippest hangouts, and JJ’s private party clients included Quincy Jones, Giorgio Armani, Donna Karan, the San Francisco Giants, MGM Entertainment, San Francisco International Film Festival, Qwest Records and Sony Music.  JJ produced two albums recorded live at the club: Up and Down Club Sessions Volumes I & II. Both albums were nominated for BAMMIES in 1993 and 1994 and reached number 1 on (CMJ) College Music Journal Jazz Charts in 1994.

Judith Klein

Judy Klein: Our Relationship to Risk

Judy Klein is an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the UCSF-ZSFG Department of Emergency Medicine. She holds a BA and BS in American Studies and Biology from Stanford University and an MD from the University of California, San Francisco. She trained in both pediatrics and emergency medicine but her primary interest is in the importance of nature and risky play in nature to the physical and psychological health of children. She runs nature clubs for kids and teaches wilderness medicine and survival skills to people of all ages. She is an avid mountain biker, snowboarder, kitesurfer, mother to an energetic 8 year old, and lover of all things that happen deep in the wilderness.


Lily Bradley: Our Relationship to Consumption

Lily Bradley is a ninth grade student at North Tahoe School.  She has always had a passion for theater and the stage and has participated in many performances over the years.  Her discovery of spoken word and slam poetry has given her a creative outlet to help make changes in the community.  In particular, she hopes to use this passion to make people aware of the problems with mass consumption–with the dangers of fast fashion as one example.  Her involvement with Squaw Valley Institute for Kids gave her direct access to amazing speakers and innovative thinkers which has inspired her to not only make changes in her daily life, but to inspire others. Aside from theater and writing, Lily’s other interests include skiing, dance and mountain biking.

Roy Bio Photo 2: 7-18-16

Roy Remer: Our Relationship to Our Own Death (and Life)

Roy Remer is an End of Life caregiver and teacher discussing our relationship to death and impermanence.  He has been a hospice caregiver since 1997. In 2010, he joined the staff at Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco where he currently serves as the Director of Guest House Facility and Volunteer Program. He is the lead instructor of the Mindful Caregiver Education courses offered at Zen Hospice. Roy is a wilderness rites of passage guide with EarthWays LLC. In his free time, he can be found hiking the trails on Mt. Tamalpais, dancing, or meditating. Roy lives along the shores of the San Francisco bay with his wife Kristin and a white German Shepherd named Quinn.

Christin Hanna

Christin Hanna: A Dancer's Relationship to Creativity in Movement

Christin Hanna returned home to Lake Tahoe after a busy career as a
freelance artist and teacher. She has danced professionally with an array
of companies across the country, including Nevada Festival Ballet, Oakland
Ballet, Connecticut Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, and most prominently as a
founding member of New Chamber Ballet in New York City. During her time
there, she initiated a performance and summer workshop with local students
in Tahoe City. In continuation of that mission, she moved home to found
Tahoe Youth Ballet in 2008, and its evolution as the Lake Tahoe Dance
Collective, bringing a range of national caliber performances to Lake Tahoe
and offering the community’s young dancers the chance to work with
professional teachers, choreographers, and dancers. She and longtime friend
Constantine Baecher founded the Lake Tahoe Dance Festival in 2013.


Edie Thys Morgan: Our Relationship to Winning

Edie Thys Morgan is a freelance writer, author, two-time Olympian and mother of two teenage boys. She lives in Etna, New Hampshire, but at heart she is still a Squaw Valley Mighty Mite. She spent nine years as a member of the US Ski Team, primarily as a speed event skier. After retiring from competition in 1993, and graduating from Sierra Nevada College in 1995, she moved to New York City to work for SKI magazine. There she met and married Chan Morgan, a fellow ski racer from the other coast. Morgan writes freelance for many publications as well as her own blogs on skiing, sports, parenting, the outdoors and cooking, while coaching part time. Her experiences on the front lines and the sidelines of sports—from the recreational to the elite level—has given her a unique perspective on the rewards and challenges, opportunities and pitfalls of the sports experience. Most recently her writing has explored the unsung and unavoidable relationships with fear and failure, and how they can contribute to true success in sports and in life.


Special thanks for sponsoring our stage design goes to MENTORS (Mentors Foundation), dedicated to assisting people through transitions to self sufficiency.  Visit 



All press requests should be sent to Renee Koijane is the official spokesperson for TEDxTahoeCity.

Please note that TEDx event organizers are not able to speak for the TED Conference. Any inquiry regarding TED should be sent to:

Melody Serafino
TEDx Media Liaison

While we appreciate any coverage, we kindly ask that all journalists and/or bloggers be respectful of the difference between the TED and TEDx brands. The ‘x’ in ‘TEDx’ stands for “independently organized events.” Any headline or text which implies “TED” is coming to Tahoe City is misleading. For more information on TEDx, visit