2024 TEDxBILLINGS SPEAKER LINEUP

These are the speakers from our upcoming TEDxBillings event.

Alina Trigub

Alina Trigub's 2024 TEDxBillings Talk
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Alina Trigub's Bio

Alina Trigub, the founder of SAMO Financial LLC, is dedicated to making a positive impact by teaching individuals to achieve their financial goals. With a passion for promoting the advantages of passive real estate investing, she diligently educates her students about optimizing their portfolios. Alina places a strong emphasis on clearly explaining the benefits of passive investing and providing insights into tax advantages.

Her overarching objective is to empower individuals to build wealth for themselves and their families, a philosophy aligned with the wisdom of Warren Buffett, who once noted, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

Alina holds an MBA in Finance and Management from Rutgers, complemented by a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accountancy from the City University of New York. Her professional journey includes roles as a Tax Accountant at Ernst & Young, private accounting sector engagements, and over two decades of successful experience in the information technology industry. Subsequently, she led investor relations at a private equity firm for several years before pursuing her entrepreneurial and investment aspirations full-time.

As a distinguished speaker, Alina has presented at prestigious events such as the IMN conference in NYC, the Private Wealth Management Summit, the Raising Money Summit, the Multifamily Foundation Workshop, and various academic institutions including Hunter College (CUNY), Stockton University, and Felician University.

Alina’s expertise has been recognized in major publications, including Forbes, GoBankingRates, MSNMoney, BankRate, and IdeaMensch, among others. She has also been featured in notable books like “The 60 Minute Startup” and “Immigrant Hustle”.

Continuing her commitment to investor education, Alina shares her wealth of experience through articles, an animated video series, and presentations at prominent real estate events. Residing in New Jersey with her supportive husband and two children, Alina Trigub epitomizes the successful integration of entrepreneurship and investment into a fulfilling life.

Brandon Scala's 2024 TEDxBillings Talk
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Brandon Scala's Bio

Brandon is a happy husband to wife Cori and blessed father of Spencer and Tristan.  He also has 2 amazing grandkids Mason and Lily.  Brandon has done many things in his life. From bartending to owning his own retail business, worked in the IT space and is now in the Credit Union world.  Through his career he has had the support of his mom and dad.  They have taught him to go after whatever you want, and you will get it with some hard work and perseverance.  Brandon believes in doing things in your career that you have never done and not being afraid to fail.  In his spare time Brandon is an avid pool player and has had the opportunity to play in the BCA World Championships in Las Vegas on a few different occasions.  Brandon lives by the statement, “Success is not final, and failure is not fatal”.

Brandon Scala

Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith's 2024 TEDxBillings Talk
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Brandon Smith's Bio
Please update Brandon Smith’s bio with the information below:

Brandon Smith is an award-winning public speaker, entrepreneur, and author. He hosts “The Missoula Podcast” and co-authored with his wife the best-selling children’s book “Happy as a Hippo.” He is a sought-after speaker, known for his ability to motivate and inspire audiences to think differently and reach their full potential. With 20 years of experience in the insurance industry, Brandon currently serves as the EVP of Development & Strategy for Glidewell, a Montana-based insurance and investment firm. He is also the founder of the Producer Development Program, a marketing and development program for independent insurance agents.

In 2019, Brandon’s innovative approach to business led to his receipt of the inaugural Liberty Mutual Agent for The Future Award. This prestigious award celebrates the most innovative, forward-thinking, and digitally savvy agents and agencies. In addition, Brandon’s outstanding contributions to entrepreneurship recently earned him the prestigious Presidential Ambassador of Global Entrepreneurship award, presented by Shark Tank’s Daymond John, and former President Obama.

He attended Southwestern University on a basketball scholarship. He is a die-hard Red Sox fan, loves coffee, Wi-Fi, down comforters, and was once a line leader in second grade. Brandon resides in Missoula, Montana with his wife Joy and their three children Avery, Boston, and Harper.

Elias Not Afraid's 2024 TEDxBillings Talk
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Elias Not Afraid's Bio

33, ENROLLED MEMBER OF THE APSAALOOKE (CROW) NATION, BORN AND RAISED ON THE CROW INDIAN RESERVATION, SELF TAUGHT BEAD ARTIST AT THE AGE OF 12, FULL TIME ARTIST SINCE 2015, collaborated with companies such as, Crate & Barrel, Wells Fargo bank, Teton trade, manatobah mukluks, Nordstrom , NFL 57 Super Bowl, etc. I been featured in multiple publication all over from the USA to Canada to Europe. I was a featured design in the United States of fashion issue of Vogue mag feb 2021 issue and later in the book Vogue the United States of fashion, along with multiple other vogue articles, recently my dentalium breast plate necklace was worn by thee Lily Gladstone on the COVER of British vogue magazine oct 2023 issue *was told by them that we were the first native Americans to be on the cover of vogue and thought that’s was cool. I been participating in native art markets since 2016 and nearly sold out at every one. but before any of these I developed an addiction to opiates when I was 15 years old and later progressed to shooting heroin then fetynal came and odd and got clean after and moved to az and was there for 10 years and got clean and stayed clean and quit smoking cigarettes * I was smoking 2packs a day a side effect of the opiate use, and stopped completely and never smoked a cigarette and I come from a family of HEAVY smokers so dismantling toxic family behaviors. was clean from 2011-2018 then relapsed and started doing fetynal then got clean again and currently 4 years sober in active outpatient treatment by personal choice. my beading and cultural arts saved me

Elias Not Afraid

Emily Petroff

Emily Petroff's 2024 TEDxBillings Talk
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Emily Petroff's Bio

Founder & CEO of Switch Society Inc.

Emily is a transformational leader focused on female empowerment, body confidence, inspiration, and challenging the traditional leadership hypotheses as well as societal conditioning; Emily Petroff has spent 13+ years working in a variety of industries.

Ms. Petroff, Founder & CEO of Switch Society Inc., has direct oversight operations, which is a membership based clothing swap located in Billings, Montana. Switch Society’s unique concept is a fresh new take on thrifting and Switch’s mission is to empower women to be conscious consumers, and look fabulous while also taking care of the planet. In 2023 Switch Society collected over 60K items to swap, upcycle and donate. Switch in turn gave away 10,114 items during their free family swap events.

Since founding Switch Society she’s been featured in local media stories on Hello Montana, KULR 8, Q2, Billings 365,  and Yellowstone Valley Woman’s Magazine and was a guest on 98.5 the Wolf “Kickin It with Leif”.  She is a season 10 cast member of  “The Blox”, the largest reality television show for startup businesses in the world, which will be airing on in 2024. Ms. Petroff ’s experience and educational background include strategic planning, organizational communication, change management, personal growth and development. She is no stranger to the pitfalls of life, relationships, and self-confidence. Her dedication to her own ongoing personal growth and development is a testament to her success and the success of her clients.

Jackson Collender's 2024 TEDxBillings Talk
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Jackson Collender's Bio

Some kids dream of being a kid forever, while others dream of being an adult. Rather than focusing on building blocks and legos, Jackson always wanted to be involved with the “adult projects.” As Jackson grew up, he strove to lead and serve. While being a highschool student at Veritas Scholars Academy, he became the president of VSATAD, an organization strategically supporting teachers and students, both financially and emotionally. Following this, he continued his love for nonprofits through consulting in messaging, fundraising, and organizational leadership.

He personally pursues growth and development of his own leadership, accompanied by the aid of his mentors, which is currently leading into his music career. By the age of nineteen, he has become the recipient of many collegiate scholarships while earning a B.A in Commercial Music, and is the Next Gen Worship Director at Harvest Church, Billings. Jackson could not be prouder of the Harvest Worship Team, counting himself lucky to be a part of such a great family.

Jackson Collender

Jessica Drain

Jessica Drain's 2024 TEDxBillings Talk
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Jessica Drain's Bio

A career marketer and graphic designer, Jessica has been helping businesses brand and market themselves for almost two decades.

In 2018, she and her sister invented an innovative new tool for the sewing world – SewTites® Magnetic Sewing Pins™ – and founded a company with the same name.Since then, Jessica has helped grow the company to a 7-figure annual business with over 25 products and growing – all in part-time hours with a small team of part-time employees.

A single mom of two children – one of whom has required weekly therapies for much of his childhood – she is passionate about finding value in and creating work for people who don’t have the desire or ability to work full-time hours but still want and need to earn a living (which happens to be the topic of her TEDx talk).

During her work hours, Jessica spends most of her time designing and developing new products, as well as dreaming, strategizing, and leading the SewTites business. She admittedly (and surprisingly for some) doesn’t sew much but does sleep under a quilt she made with the help of her mom.


Hailing from just down the road in Columbus, Jessica lives with her kids in Billings. She enjoys hand lettering, is (very slowly) becoming a private pilot, and does her best to live a healthy, active life. She and her boys are often outside camping, skiing, boating, hiking, hunting, and doing all the Montana things.

 

Jordan White's 2024 TEDxBillings Talk
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Jordan White's Bio

Jordan White is the owner and chief pilot of Legacy Endeavors, a multi-faceted company that leverages helicopter operations to support and oversee the care and security of remote properties. He leverages his twenty-seven year career in public safety and business to offer an array of consultation and management. These services include the creation of safe, self-sustaining homes and bunkers, as well as personal and business coaching for living a thriving life no matter the circumstances.

Jordan’s wide range of life experiences has given him a unique perspective on the human capacity for survival, the gift of near-death experiences, and the will and ability to truly thrive. In his early years, Jordan survived a house fire, getting hit by a car while riding his bicycle, and living off grid on a mountain top. This led him to pursue his desire to help others in an emergency and see people live a life they love. After leaving home he became a horse wrangler, a boat captain, volunteer firefighter, and EMT before entered law enforcement where a long a diverse career would unfold.

As a deputy coroner, search and rescue coordinator, and undersheriff, Jordan repeatedly faced life and death moments involving himself and others. Many of these moments could have been avoided with the right mindset, training, and equipment. The anguish experienced by Jordan and his team over a particular night-long rescue in the mountains drove him to envision and cofound a helicopter rescue program that would expedite complicated rescues across Montana and Idaho. After his recent retirement as Chief of Police, he now continues his purpose in a whole new way.

 At forty-four years old Jordan became a father, returned to his passion of flying, and created a company where he could serve others. His mission is to help others embody their highest potential in this life. He appreciates the first human need for safety and survival that must be met before expanding into a whole-hearted, intentional, thriving life.

Jordan White

Justin Angle

Justin Angle's 2024 TEDxBillings Talk
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Justin Angle's Bio

Justin Angle is Professor of Marketing and the Poe Family Distinguished Faculty Fellow. He earned his Ph.D. and MBA from the Michael G. Foster School of Business at the University of Washington and did his undergraduate studies at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Justin’s academic research focuses on how people express their identities through their consumption behaviors. Justin’s research has recently been published in Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Research and Journal of Consumer Psychology. His work has been covered by media outlets such as The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, The Washington Post, Harvard Business Review, NPR, and The Wall Street Journal.  Justin is also creator and host of the College of Business podcast and Montana Public Radio program, A New Angle. In 2021 he released Fireline, a 6-part podcast about what wildfire means for the West, our planet and our way of life, which won a National Edward R. Murrow Award. In 2023, he co-authored the book This is Wildfire: How to Protect Your Home, Your Community, and Yourself in the Age of Heat with Nick Mott.

Prior to his doctoral studies, Justin worked as a bond trader with a specialty in hedging interest rate risk for mortgage banks. After leaving the trading floor, he worked as a collegiate rowing coach at both the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University.

When not teaching, doing research, or chasing his two daughters around, Justin is a competitive endurance athlete and product tester for Patagonia.

Marcy Crouch's 2024 TEDxBillings Talk
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Marcy Crouch's Bio

Dr. Marcy Crouch received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California in 2010. She went on to complete a Women’s Health Residency program in Dallas, TX to obtain her WCS, becoming a Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Women’s Health Physical Therapy. She has taught pregnancy and sexual health courses at the University level, worked in private practice and hospital outpatient clinics, and owned a successful clinic. Known as @thedowntheredoc on social media, she has spoken at national events, contributed her expertise to popular blogs and magazines, and featured on mainstream TV shows to have candid and powerful conversations about women’s health. After a decade in the clinic, she decided to create an online program for women and birthing persons everywhere called TheDownThereDoc™ and DownThereDoneRight, the new standard for birth prep and recovery. Through this, she is working towards changing the way women are preparing for their births and elevating postpartum care.

Marcy Crouch

Penny Ronning

Penny Ronning's 2024 TEDxBillings Talk
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Penny Ronning's Bio

The daughter of a trafficking survivor, I learned early in life how trauma impacts families. In 2016, I co-founded the Yellowstone Human Trafficking Task Force, the largest such task force in Montana, and have helped to create four additional regional task forces in our state. I have co-authored state legislation strengthening laws against violent crimes, successfully increased state and municipal funding to enhance law enforcement investigation of sexual exploitation crimes and led on the creation and passage of a Billings, Montana, ordinance which effectively shut down the largest number of illicit massage businesses in Montana. Per capita, Billings had more illicit massage businesses than New York City.

 

Prior to the formation of the task force, Montana had one federal conviction on a human trafficking related charge. Since the formation of the task force, Montana has now had thirteen federal convictions on human trafficking and related crimes and more than thirty state convictions in Yellowstone County alone. In 2021, based on the model of the Yellowstone Human Trafficking Task Force, the FBI Child Sexual Exploitation & Human Trafficking Task Force was formed in Montana. Through the work of this FBI task force, to date, more than seventy online child predators have been arrested with a significant number now convicted and off the streets serving time in prison.

 

An expert in this field, I have trained more than twenty thousand people throughout the country on how to identify, report, and fight human trafficking. I work state and nationally to strengthen laws to prosecute buyers of commercial sex and online child sexual abuse material, to protect vulnerable populations from violent predators, and to increase services for victims of violent crimes. I represented Montana at the 2020 White House Summit on Human Trafficking, and, under my leadership, in 2022, the Yellowstone Human Trafficking Task Force was recognized nationally as a recipient of the prestigious FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award. Recipients of this award are personally selected by the Director of the FBI.

Sharla Shults' 2024 TEDxBillings Talk
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Sharla Shults' Bio

Sharla Lee Shults is a notable writer of inspirational, visionary poetry who transitioned through dual careers, education and the railroad industry, before becoming a full-time writer and poet. Sharla began her professional journey as a chemistry and mathematics teacher upon graduation from Troy University in Alabama. She presently provides professional development for educators throughout the state of FL as an Online Learning Specialist with Beacon Educator, Panama City, FL.

Sharla fully channeled her poetic prowess and published her first complete book of poetry in 2004, titled Echoes. Since her first release Sharla has put out notable poetry collections on various aspects of humanity and nature, including Remembering in 2009 and Awakenings in 2012.

Sharla’s latest collection, Catnip of Life (March 2023), is published under her maiden name, Sharla Lee, and is an Amazon #1 Bestseller. Using poetry as a tool to strengthen the interconnectedness of human nature to Mother Nature, the author is working on three sequels (smaller versions) titled Sensory Serenade, Nature’s Resonance, and “Humony” – Humor in the Harmony of Nature.  Sharla’s biggest venture, her very first children’s book, Buzzin’, opens the gateway as nature speaks — a child’s view.

Also on Sharla’s writing board are two books diversifying her writing. My America, Your America, OUR America — America as a historical, visionary journey from sea to shining sea. . . and Reminiscent of Chocolate — Nourishment for the Mind, Body and Soul with Whispers of Yesteryear.

In addition, she is also a contributing author of the INside effects – How The Body Heals Itself by Keith Leon S. This book reached #1 International Bestseller on July 5, 2023 with the documentary groundbreaking film by the same name being launched July 8, 2023. The documentary is the winner of the Award of Excellence at the 2023 Indie Fest Film Awards.

She has recently been featured on America Matters Media, Write Now, VoiceAmerica, Every Day is a New Day, Let’s Talk Fab (panelist), Walk With Me Podcast with Regeline (GiGi) Sabbat, Gratitude Summit with Rich Kozak, numerous podcasts, and interviewed on WJHG CH 7.

Sharla resides in Florida with her calico Norwegian Forest cat, Foxie. She enjoys playing golf, listening to music, and walking in nature. Her most enjoyable moments are spent with family and grandchildren in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

Sharla Shults

Lenore Lambert

Lenore Lamberts 2024 TEDxBillings Talk
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Lenore Lambert's Bio

I’m an entrepreneur, psychologist, secular (non-religious) Buddhist teacher, author, coach, and World Champion Masters track and field athlete.

My career was in Human Resources (consulting and in-house) and my last role as an ‘employee’ was HR Director for a publicly listed recruitment firm. I then created my own businesses, first in leadership development and then in outsourced HR services (Exit Interviews). I ran these concurrently until 2022. My most recent creation is Flourish Personal Growth which offers online tools, programs and community to flourish in life through personal growth.

A past President of Sydney Insight Meditators, I’ve been practising the Buddha’s teachings for over 20 years – an approach to life that infuses my work, home and sporting life. I’ve run a secular Buddhist meditation group on the northern beaches of Sydney, Australia since 2009 and have published a book called ‘The Buddha for modern minds: a non-religious guide to the Buddha and his teachings’.

 

I’m a multiple times World Champion Masters track and field athlete, holding Australian Records in hurdles and high jump and a World Record in the 4 x 100m relay. I love coaching others to enjoy and achieve in hurdles and sprints – and grow as people along the way.

Terri Todd's 2024 TEDxBillings Talk
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Terri Todd's Bio

Terri Todd epitomizes an extraordinary force for change and hope within the recovery community, steadfastly dedicated to equipping individuals with the necessary support and resources to triumph over addiction and homelessness. As the Co-Founder of Gratitude in Action, her influence permeates various facets of community development and support.

Entrepreneurship and Business Ventures:

Terri showcases her versatility as a business owner, spearheading ventures such as GIA Lawn Care, Rt’s Vision, and Dream Chaser’s Racing, exemplifying her dynamic approach to entrepreneurship.

Community Leadership:

Her leadership extends to community service, chairing the Yellowstone County Behavioral Health Local Advisory Committee and serving on the Board of Directors for the Yellowstone County Continuum of Care. In these roles, she leverages her expertise to bolster behavioral health initiatives and tackle homelessness issues within the community.

Recognition and Advocacy:

Terri’s advocacy was lauded in 2023 with the NextStar Media Remarkable Women for Montana award, underscoring her exceptional contributions to the state. She ardently champions recovery and homelessness issues, actively participating in initiatives aimed at effecting positive change.  She also received a 2023 International Stevie Award for innovation in non profit programming.

National Contributions:

As Secretary of the National Sober Living Association since 2019, Terri Todd plays a pivotal role in shaping the organization’s initiatives and standards.

Development and Vision:

In her capacity as Director of Development at Gratitude in Action, Terri spearheads public relations, community outreach, donor management, and fundraising efforts. Her contributions are integral to the organization’s mission of providing a secure, supportive environment for recovery.

Personal Journey:

Terri embarked on her own journey to recovery on March 17, 2011, fueling her resolve to aid others in finding their path to sobriety.

PROSPER Program Co-Creator:

She co-founded the PROSPER Program, which centers on recovery and addresses key life components: Health, Home, Work, and Life. This initiative reflects her dedication to holistic recovery support.

National Engagement:

Terri not only speaks at recovery events nationwide but also contributes to the National Sober Living Association by providing training and conducting inspections of homes across the country. Her unwavering commitment to setting high standards for recovery homes is evident.

Recovery Coach and Visionary:

As a Recovery Coach, Terri provides guidance and support to individuals on their recovery journeys. Her vision revolves around ensuring that everyone committed to sober living receives the necessary support, irrespective of financial constraints.

Terri Todd’s tireless dedication to recovery, community advocacy, and entrepreneurship underscores her commitment to effecting meaningful change in the lives of others. Her multifaceted contributions offer hope and support to those seeking recovery and stability.

Terri Todd