2023 TEDxBILLINGS SPEAKER LINEUP
These are the speakers from our upcoming TEDxBillings event.
After overcoming homelessness and serious drug addiction in 2017, Adam set out to help as many people overcome similar circumstances as possible. His mission is to equip and empower addicts in recovery. He teaches them to powerfully share their stories with the world and encourage other addicts to find hope through recovery. Recovered on Purpose also doubles as a relapse prevention program by adding incredible purpose, mission and passion to their lives in recovery.
Adam will share the deep and powerful connection of people giving their story of recovery a voice as they face the challenges of overcoming addiction with their life’s purpose.
Adam has reached millions of people around the world with his story and helping thousands of suffering addicts find recovery. He also coaches and trains recovered addicts to write books, speak, and share their stories in the same way. His most exciting accomplishments to this point are all the stories his students share and tell him of the addicts who have found recovery through his program. Recovered On Purpose is growing rapidly and the impact this movement is making is beyond anything one person could do alone.
Adam Vibe Gunton is the bestselling author of “From Chains To Saved,” founder of Recovered On Purpose, and host of The Recovered On Purpose Show.
Andrew's success in life hasn't always happened according to plan. Having his first child, Isaiah, when he was just 18 quickly changed his chosen career path that would have led him to the US Army. Instead, the start of a much different path began without a firm destination. That lifelong experience of embracing whatever comes next has helped shape his philosophy on life and the ideas that he has to share with the world.
Andrew will share how the value of aiming high and how to navigate failure well ensures future success.
Andrew Lindley's vast professional career spans industries from mining and technology education to executive leadership. Technology training that he created for Microsoft was internationally recognized in the early 2000s and jump started his career in Portland, OR after growing up in and around the Billings area. Andrew also developed and presented technical training to some of the Pacific Northwest's largest organizations while in Portland. After returning to Billings, Andrew served as IT Director for EBMS for several years.
Currently Andrew is serving as Chief Information Officer for Vensure Employer Services and regularly travels to the company's offices in Phoenix, Atlanta, and Medellin, Colombia. Beyond his profession, Andrew is driven by a passion for music, learning, running, and the pursuit of a more perfect life through self knowledge and reflection. In the summer he's usually enjoying trail running or listening to live music under the Big Sky somewhere in Montana.
Now married to his dynamic wife Clementine, they have two more children, Aidrian and Tessa along with their first child, Isaiah; and in 2022 they welcomed their first grandchild, Odette, into the family.
A self-proclaimed perfectionist, Ashlynn has come to understand how perfectionism can get in the way of making good things happen. She has learned a greater appreciation for trial and error, taking a risk, and just doing it.
Ashlynn will share how mediocrity is not good enough, but sometimes our best might be mediocre as well as the benefits and challenges of living in mediocrity.
Ashlynn has been awarded various grants from Humanities Montana and Rocky Mountain College. She invests those funds directly into the learning experiences of students—generally through active and engaged learning and/or collaborative service projects. Ashlynn is a board member of the Burton K. Wheeler Center and is a guest writer for Simply Local Magazine-Billings.
Most importantly, Ashlynn is the proud mother of three school-age children. She was born and raised in Dillon, MT where she developed a love of the rural outdoor life through camping, dirt biking, skiing, fishing, and hunting. She also enjoys writing, speaking, designing, and creating because of the freedom that comes with them.
As an Assistant Professor of Rhetorical Studies at Rocky Mountain College, Dr. Reynolds-Dyk teaches courses in writing, rhetoric, communication, and media. She is a member of various committees that serve the college. Recognized by her students, colleagues, and local community for her emphasis on service learning and civic engagement (as well as being an unapologetic libertarian), Ashlynn is a recipient of the University of Montana’s Grizzly of the Decade award and The Billings Gazette’s Forty Under 40 award. Ashlynn earned her Ph.D. in Communication and Rhetoric from Texas Tech University, an M.A. in Communication Studies from The University of Montana, and B.A.s in Political Science, Communication Studies, and Sociology from The University of Montana.
Casey Craig is passionate about financial literacy, fintech and helping her students to achieve the three freedoms in their lives: financial freedom, location freedom and time freedom. She is also passionate about teaching emerging technologies such as cryptocurrency, blockchain and decentralized finance. Within 9 months of learning decentralized finance, Casey was able to leave her career with Fortune 200 commercial real estate firm, JLL, after creating a 6 figure passive income.
Casey will demystify digital currencies and blockchain technology as well as how they broaden access to financial products and services through democratizing finance.
Casey is quickly making a name for herself in the industry. She was nominated for Wirex and The Cryptonomist’s Rising Women in Crypto Power List 2022 and won a “Shark Tank style” venture capital pitch competition for startups at the Web3 Expo in Las Vegas. Casey is the Director of Education and a partner at ARCrypto, a leading cryptocurrency and alternative wealth building education company.
Casey’s peers describe her as a life enthusiast, traveler and adventurer. When she’s not educating you can find her on the ski slopes, hiking trails or jumping from airplanes!
Born and raised surrounded by the rugged beauty of Big Sky Country, Billings-based artist Elyssa Leininger creates vivid and dramatic paintings inspired by the American West. While she primarily creates fine art on canvas, Elyssa has painted more than 12,000 square feet of murals in public spaces in Billings, including the 6th Street West and North 13th Street underpasses, making her one of the largest creators of public art in Montana.
Elyssa will share the power of public art and its impact on the quality of life in communities.
Elyssa Leininger is passionate about bettering her community and sharing her love for art with others. Through her work, Elyssa seeks to convey her love for the American West and its wildlife to the viewers so they may experience her passions. She volunteers hundreds of hours to give back to communities, educates people on art’s inclusivity, and creates beauty everywhere.
Elyssa is a member of the Western Heritage Artists Association, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame. She graduated with honors from Rocky Mountain College in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in art, a Bachelor of Science in biology, a minor in psychology, and the Rocky Mountain College Art Award.
Goldstein Little Eagle shares his own experiences with others with good displays that there is hope for all people to find their own recovery. He believes that in people there is medicine. He has come from feeling helpless with his own substance use addictions and then overweight to running full marathons and ultra-marathons. He is a father and husband at home and a hope dealer in between.
A full circle of helping others find their healing journey is what Goldstein promotes. Under his own acronym for his support groups: MAGPIES (Mindful Aspiring Grounded People Intentionally Embracing Serenity), he shows that people truly are medicine. He witnessed the power of the hope in people uplift his own sanity and empowerment. Goldstein knows that there is good medicine out there in our communities that so much is unseen. He believes that peer support is the medicine that so many have not been able to receive and use. Goldstein believes that people are the purest form of medicine. His goal is to continue proving that.
Goldstein is a Recovery Coach for One Health. He is a Certified Behavioral Health Peer Support Specialist (CBHPSS). He has lived back and forth from Billings, MT and Lame Deer, MT since 1995 and is currently a Billings resident. He had years of work experience in the IT Field, but as time went by through his own recovery journey, his heart work moved toward helping others with their own recovery from addictions or mental health care. He is the president of Food For The Soul – a non-profit organization that opens up a lunch for the people of Billings once a week with the goal of just asking people how they are doing. Goldstein facilitates several support groups, such as wellbriety talking circles, grief support talking circles and codependency talking circles. He does a walk and recovery talk once per week as well as a bootcamp class to help promote healthy living. He offers parenting classes, suicide safe care training and Narcan training.
Goldstein Little Eagle
Jess Allestad is a strong willed, passionate, horse-loving singer-songwriter who grew up in Stillwater County, Montana.
Jess is taking an unconventional approach to country music that doesn’t revolve around booze, bars, and breakups. Instead, her songs carry messages of hope, healing, and redemption. She doesn't shy away from addressing struggles like PTSD, depression, and divorce in ways that open the door for discussion and connection. Her intention is not only to encourage awareness of difficult topics, but also to deliver hope and healing from hardship.
Feeling heard, seen, and understood is what fuels Jess in her performances and her songwriting - not just for herself, but to give her listeners the same rejuvenating experience.
In her early teens, Jess found herself being drawn into country music and discovering inspiration in artists such as Carrie Underwood, Shania Twain, and a little bit of Taylor Swift. Her current influences have expanded to include Chris Stapleton’s story telling, the crisp vocals of Colbie Caillat, live looping done by Ed Sheeran, and Adele’s expressive performances.
In Billings, Jess has established a monthly Songwriter Showcase which has attracted a loyal and steadily growing following. These Nashville-style shows bring people together for an intimate story-telling event where listeners get a chance to deeply connect with the artists and the songs that they create.
Jess also recently won a trip to Nashville to attend New Roots, an organization which exists to empower female artists to build their music business.
Locally, Jess has become known as “The National Anthem Singer”. She regularly performs the anthem at a variety of events, including the Home of Champions Rodeo, Billings Outlaws football games, Billings Mustangs games, and Billings Livestock Sale’s monthly horse sale. She has also performed halftime shows for the Billings Outlaws at Montana's largest venue, MetraPark, and opened for Jordan Davis and The Young Dubliners.
If Jess isn’t writing or performing music, she’s likely on horseback somewhere in the mountains, or creating horse-centric art.
Kirk is the owner of ZATO, his micro-agency focused solely on PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Advertising, and has been knee-deep in advertising since 2009 when he needed a job (any job!) to get him through seminary.
Kirk will share his idea why being a small business is powerful and scaling isn’t always necessary for success.
He was named one of the Top 25 Most Influential PPCers in the world by PPC Hero each year from 2016 until they stopped making the list in 2021, and is known for his PPC articles across various industry publications including the Shopify retail blog, Microsoft blog, Moz, and MarketingLand. Kirk has published two books, Ponderings of a PPC Professional, and Stop the Scale, and is preparing for season two of his agency's podcast, "PPC Ponderings Podcast." He has published multiple courses privately and on Udemy and is currently working on becoming the world's foremost recognized authority on Google Merchant Center with his YouTube Channel "Merchant Center Mastery."
Kirk is an international conference speaker presenting on all things PPC (especially Google Shopping Ads), and has spoken in London, Dublin, Milan, Sydney, NYC, LA, Dallas, Austin, Minneapolis, and several other US cities (plus online). Kirk currently resides in Billings, MT with his wife, 6 children (yup 6), Trek bikes, Taylor guitar, books, and probably not as much sleep as he should be getting.
Leigh Schanfein, MS, is a dancer, choreographer, and teacher as well as an independent researcher in the fields of kinesiology and biomechanics. In October 2020, after 11 years in NYC, she relocated her home to Billings, Montana. In 2021, Leigh founded the Yellowstone Valley Creative Residency to help bring creative minds in dance to Billings. Her most recent collaboration was presented at the Berlin Music Video Awards 2021. In 2022, she co-founded School of Classical Ballet Company, in Billings, and she is working on a half-evening-length commission for Arc: a Montana Dance Collective, to premiere April 2023.
Leigh will be sharing how physical limitations can spark creative movement as well as giving a performance on stage.
Leigh received her M.S. degree in kinesiology with a specialization in biomechanics from Purdue University, and her B.S. degree in animal physiology and neuroscience with a minor in dance from the University of California San Diego. As a graduate student, she received multiple awards for her research with dancers including two awards through the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science. Her research has focused on the mechanisms by which humans control balance and how sensory feedback is integrated for the control of posture. For five years, Leigh worked as a research associate at the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries, part of NYU Langone Health. Her research there covered a wide range of topics concerning injury prevention among dancers, and her interns won several awards for their conference presentations. Leigh has taught courses in health, motor development, biomechanics lab, and stress at Purdue University, and anatomy at Peridance Capezio Center. From 2011 - 2019, she was a contributing journalist for Dance Informa Magazine, and from 2015 - 2020, she was adjunct lecturer of biomechanics at Barnard College in the department of dance.
Leigh has trained and performed across the USA and abroad in modern, ballet, and contemporary dance. She has performed with companies such as City Ballet of San Diego, Indelible Dance, Christopher Caines Dance Company, Yoo and Dancers, and the Park Avenue Armory, and has guested with Benjamin Briones Ballet, New American Youth Ballet, Lafayette Ballet, and CONNetic Dance. She has performed in commercial productions including on stage with comedian Hannibal Buress as part of the Oddball Comedy Tour, during Fashion Week NYC for designers such as Malan Breton, and for brands such as Xerox, Suave, Oreo, and Estee Lauder. Leigh is a former Director of Dance for Periapsis Music and Dance, where her choreography was described as "gorgeous and lush" (Dance Informa Magazine). She taught regularly with NYC Community Ballet (live and online), has subbed at the major NYC open studios, and has been a guest instructor and choreographer for pre-professional schools in Indiana, Montana, California, Idaho, Connecticut, and Ohio (online).
Nathan Blanding has been a lifelong lover of all things carpentry. From his first paying jobs in high school building tree houses and decks, building and designing sets for theater productions, designing and prototyping art and science exhibits for children’s museums, to working with carpenters building energy efficient homes 30 years ago, helping his father build a bed and breakfast on the highline in Montana, to now, building energy efficient homes for his family and clients that are as beautiful as they are efficient.
Nathan’s passion is making the world more beautiful and efficient than he found it which is why he’s sharing his ideas for home building and planning carbon positive homes for diverse needs.
Nathan studied Architecture at Cornell University. He found joy working for A&E Architects working on such projects as the rebuild of the Rialto Theatre, Northern Hotel Renovation, Faith Chapel expansion and the Yellowstone General Stores and Lake Hotel improvements. The desire to keep building was very strong and so he opened his own Design and Build Firm, North-South Building, as a way to get energy efficient homes and retrofits available to more people. His design and technical know-how has led to another business venture, psapling, LLC that is architectural pole mounted solar design for mass production and distribution.
Nick Bravo is an American Rapper, Singer, Songwriter, Recording Artist, Director, Actor and Motivational Speaker. He expresses his faith through music and poetry. He is a multifaceted performer and has been doing music for over 15 years. His desire is to inspire, communicate truth and bring hope to any and all who will listen is manifesting in more opportunities in 2023 than ever before.
Nick will be sharing his experience with long haul COVID and how he has used this pain to help inspire, connect and support others.
Nick created, funded and worked on projects with local faith-based artists, rappers and poets in Southern California to provide inspirational concerts for over 1,200 locked up juveniles throughout L.A. County. He was given an award by the Mayor of Los Angeles and the White House for his work and impact in the local community.
Nick currently serves on the Board of Directors for New Day Inc. in Billings Montana which is a nonprofit that works with at-risk youth. He has performed and spoken on JUCE TV, has been a keynote speaker at premier leadership development companies like Klemmer and Associates. He currently works for Fishers Technology as a Technology Consultant.
Nick Enslow loves math. He loves math so much that he reads about it, practices it, and tutors students to excel at it. Nick developed this love of math growing up in Anchorage Alaska, where he played baseball, coached little league, and volunteered for youth development organizations.
Fifteen years ago, while attending Montana State University-Billings, he majored in Elementary Education and Mathematics, Nick took a job at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County, where he found his calling. Nick currently serves the club as an Area Director and has felt privileged to work with thousands of youth, from kindergarteners to high schoolers, and their families.
His life goal is to enrich the lives of the youth he works with, their families, and his peers. Drawing on his personal experience and the shared stories of those with whom he has built relationships, Nick will speak to the crisis that our youth are experiencing and the ways we can build generational wealth as a community.
His work at the Boys and Girls Club has given Nick the desire to help communities understand generational wealth and how to see its impact seven generations into the future. He does this through his work at the Club, with Cross Community Reconciliation, and by being the strongest father and role model possible for his son, Ezra, his friends, and their families.
In Alaska, Nick met and married his wife of 18 years, Liz. Together with Ezra, they embrace the great outdoors with hikes, SCUBA diving and other adventures. Nick is a marathon runner, who loves to read and create home brews.
Robert L. Doore ("Rides at the door"), is a BIPOC (Black Indigenous Person of Color) Business Executive, private business developer and owner. Mr. Doore is currently the Inclusive Community & Stakeholder Engagement Sr. Manager for Marathon Petroleum Corporation where he serves on the leadership teams for Environment, Sustainability and Governance (ESG) and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Marathon is ranked #19 on the Fortune 500 list. Robert is a Board Member for the Rocky Mountain Indian Chamber of Commerce and the Latino Leadership Institute both based out of Denver, Colorado. Robert is a proud member of the Blackfeet Nation and is also proud of his Hispanic heritage.
Prior to MPC, Mr. Doore is the highest ranking Native American in the National Football League since Jim Thorpe was the NFL President in 1920, as the former Director of Guest Experience at FedExField in the Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia area. In the summer of 2022, Robert was 1 of 8 Inductees for the 2022 Class of the Montana Pro Football Hall of Fame. His journey and story can be found on the Montana Sport Network and also MT Pro Football Hall of Fame. He will be sharing his journey from the reservation to the NFL and beyond.
Mr. Doore brings over 15 years of experience in the private and public business sectors. A former Public Affairs Director, Mr. Doore also is a former International Ambassador bringing a Native American perspective on issues facing indigenous people of the United States and throughout the world. Robert has worked with Tribal, local, state, and national government agencies. He has sat on National Boards for Minority Business, Children and Families, and International Youth Sports out of Haiti. Mr. Doore is an educated professional with a background that includes A.A. in Natural Resource Management from Blackfeet Community College, where he is a proud alumnus of a tribal college. Additionally, Robert holds a B.S. in Business Management from the University of Phoenix and has a Master’s degree in Business Administration and Project Management from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND. He is a proud father of 4, 1 grandbaby, and husband to Angelique. When not at a sporting event or working, you will find him coaching youth sports and actively engaged in community events.
Sara Beth Wald was born and raised in Montana, took an eight-year detour to Michigan for graduate school and work, and returned to her home state to raise her family. Through her own journey of healing Sara created Redefining Love, a mindset framework based on the three pillars of boundaries, accountability, and grace. Through her books, blogs, and coaching, Sara teaches people how to set boundaries and hold themselves and others accountable with love and grace.
Sara will be sharing her Redefining Love framework and its foundational principles of boundaries, accountability, and grace.
Sara never lost her heart for service, and continued to work professionally with her passion causes or as a volunteer. As a trauma survivor, Sara is passionate about empowering others to overcome domestic violence, abuse, divorce, and other hardships, and believes in the healing power of truth telling. An eternal optimist, through all the highs and lows of life, Sara has never given up on the idea that every person is a gift. Through Redefining Love, Sara’s mission is to help heal our culture by healing our trauma, one individual at a time.
Sara holds a bachelor’s in social work from the University of Montana, and a master’s in Journalism from Michigan State University. As a prolific writer, she has authored books and screenplays, blogs, and was a newspaper columnist. In 2022, she finally decided to pursue publication. Her first published book, Redefining Love, is due to hit the shelves in February of 2023. She lives in Billings with her two sons, her firefighter husband Isaac, and a cat named Kitty Girl. You can learn more about Redefining Love at www.redefine-love.com.
Sara Beth Wald
Steve Arveschoug has been an executive leader for 26 years, serving boards of directors, leading professional teams, and executing strategic direction for business and community development. Steve is honored to lead Big Sky Economic Development as its Executive Director, now for 14 years. Additionally, Steve serves on the Montana Economic Developers Association (MEDA) Board of Directors and was presented for two terms, has been an active part of the Downtown Billings Partnership Board of Directors as well as the Billings Chamber Board throughout his tenure at Big Sky Economic Development. Steve has also been a featured speaker for many years at the Economic Outlook Forum for the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER).
Steve has taken a journey through overcoming cycles of anxiety and depression in his everyday life which have informed his idea he’ll share from the stage.
Steve is recognized for his passionate leadership and expertise in community and economic development, talent attraction, and building impactful organizations and future leaders. He has also shared his insights at numerous business, workforce development, healthcare, and quality of life focused events throughout Montana.
In addition to his work in economic development, Steve has experience in downtown redevelopment, water resources management, and public policy. Steve managed two of Colorado’s largest water conservancy districts and served two terms in the Colorado House of Representatives, and then led redevelopment efforts for the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo, Colorado before returning to Montana.
Steve first came to Montana in 1978 to attend Montana Tech on an athletic scholarship, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Policy and Technology. He later received his Masters in Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Steve is also proud to be a 2010 Leadership Montana Graduate.
Steve and his wife Christine have been married for 39 years. Christine is a registered nurse and a native of Anaconda, Montana. They have two children—a son Anthony (Tony) who is an orthopedic surgeon (5th-year resident) in Detroit, Michigan, and a daughter Alexandra (Alex) a clinical director and licensed mental health counselor in Hendersonville, North Carolina.
Wayne H. Burleson is on a mission to discover new ways to feed the world.
For the past 16 years, he has made 22 trips to 10 developing countries, teaching farmers and gardeners how they can grow their own healthy soils that produce abundant crops without spending a lot of money. With a master's degree in Rangeland Science and having become a Master Gardener, Wayne considers himself a compost evangelist.
Wayne will share about his food raising adaptation methods and solutions for combating climate change.
Wayne has a unique ability to test different ways to grow very healthy food. The number one adaptation he has tested is growing food in 100% GOOD compost. Wayne will share some of his findings which include his observations on how we can adapt by changing to crops that thrive in hotter weather. He will highlight why it is extremely important to stop OVER digging, plowing, and rototilling that destroy soil health while planting climate adaptive crops. Our world needs healthy, alive soils full of cycling carbon that will greatly reduce soil erosion, improve profits, and have the ability to fight off diseases.
You too can adapt to grow more food, spend less money, stimulate your immune system, and provide people with health and wellbeing. It is easier and simpler than you think!