Broward College’s TEDx event back for Year Two to ignite and inspire

Stephanie Sylvester 

Copy Editor 


Broward College south campus was presented the honor to host the second annual TEDx event in the PCAT. Eight intellectual speakers with a variety of topics, discussions, and questions made the experience one to be ignited and inspired by. 

Management professor Natalie Butto kicks off her talk with a provoking question: “What’s your problem?” Professor Butto emphasizes the importance of problems in innovation and creativity. For example, she brings up the invention of the wheel as something that was produced to supply the need to move easier and faster. “Necessity is the mother of invention and we are the fortunate offspring,” said Butto. 

Cooper City High School and Broward College student, Joseph Loffredo, gave his talk about the extensive benefits of debate. These benefits included, but not limited to increased attitude and confidence, decision making, problem solving, communication skills, and critical thinking skills. Loffredo began his journey pursuing debate joining the Broward County Debate Initiative in 2012. Since then, he won third place in the FCSAA State Forensics Tournament in Parliamentary Debate as well as the champion speaker in Lincoln Douglas Debate. 

“The thing that separates established debaters from novices is the lesson that what people are thinking about is in no way related to your speech,” said Loffredo about public speaking jitters. He assured the audience that public speaking and debating can be challenging, but with practice comes perfection.

“I got fired that morning and I was inspired that morning.” Chris Palermo begins his talk with a story about him getting fired from his corporate America job as a newlywed and new homeowner. Founder and CEO of Global Communication Networks (GCN), a fast-growing service provider, Palermo highlighted the significance of entrepreneurship in today’s world. He brings up the fact that younger people are now turning to the task-oriented workforce over working for a company for several years. 

“All business starts and ends with the customer experience,” said Palermo. He emphasized how the longevity of a company largely depends on the feelings of the consumers rather than the product itself. He encouraged everyone, especially the younger generation, to make strides towards entrepreneurship and be in business for one’s self rather than just the money. 

“It took everything I had to create my individual self. To leave all I knew behind,” said Kai Zwiebel. She shared her life story of being in an arranged marriage. Her talk titled “We Need More Boundaries, Less Walls” elaborated on the counterproductivity walls produce (figuratively and non-figuratively) in contrast to the numerous benefits boundaries constitute. She highlights how walls are destructive in the fact that it makes one closed off and nonreceptive to the world and one’s self. Whereas boundaries make room for opportunity to see beyond walls and understand other people’s perspectives. 

Zwiebel is an anthropology student at Broward College graduating this semester. She plans to later pursue a Doctorate in Anthropology. 

Mark Alfieri is a successful business owner and CEO of marketing agency, Brandstar. Since he was a kid, Alfieri possessed a true passion for entrepreneurship. Brandstar became a huge success for a reason bigger than his dedication to entrepreneurship. Alfieri took a different approach in how he served his employees as well as his customers by incorporating culture into the work environment. His definition of culture in the workplace is encompassed in three principles: open and honest conversation, responsibility and accountability, and mutual respect. 

“I want you to control the controllables. Be on your best day each and every day,” said Alfieri. He emphasizes how you can ever go wrong throwing out yearly and quarterly goals for a culturally healthy work environment. 

Assessing a problem, debating issues, the importance of customer experience, establishing healthy boundaries, and incorporating culture into the workplace are all elements immensely significant to innovation in the medical field. Influential surgeon, world-renowned public speaker, and author, Dr. John Malloy, gave his talk on the developments of minimally-invasive spinal surgery.

“You have to realize that not everything can be fixed with just one tool,” said Dr. Malloy. When it comes to the spinal surgery cases Dr. Malloy and many other surgeons face around the world, experiences and issues vary with every patient. Different measures and procedures must be taken into consideration before surgery to ensure a positive patient experience. Like Dr. Malloy said, the most rewarding part of his career is making the patient feel better. 

“When you allow the values of the business to be the drivers of success, you prosper,” said Broward College’s Greatness in the Making (G.I.M.) President, Brandon Gibson. Gibson like, Chris Palermo and Mark Alfieri, has a true passion for entrepreneurship. From his snack selling business in school to his pressure cleaning business back when he lived in Virginia, entrepreneurship and elements of business have played a huge role in his life. 

Through his explorations in business, Gibson learned a valuable lesson: longevity is promised in the motivation behind the product. The right ideas and passion to make life easier in some aspect is the reason why 85% of businesses saw an increase in revenue over the span of just one year. Gibson emphasizes the importance of going into business with the passion to solve a problem with intentions to make life easier for others. 

“Radical love wins.” Founder and CEO of BrownSchooling, Traci Baxley gives a talk on the importance of using radical love in social justice parenting. Baxley’s goals in her teachings of social justice parenting is to get parents to exhibit patience and compassion for their children to motivate young ones to explore their curiosities and relinquish fear. “Home should be a safe place. A place where every child is heard and valued and unconditionally loved.” 

Baxley shares her reason for advocating and practicing social justice parenting is that she initially was parenting from fear. Fear that the world was going to harm or interrupt the success of her babies beyond her control. However, through teaching and expression kindness, compassion, and radical love to her children she can remove those fears from her parenting to reach her children in ways she couldn’t before.

The TEDx series is a forum where people from different walks of life share their knowledge and experiences to aid others in their pursuit to success. As people go through life and find their purpose, they can use their voice to project hope onto others. Like TedTalk speaker and philosopher, Daniel C. Dennett said, “Find something more important than you are and dedicate your life to it.”


Photo: From left to right: Brandon Gibson, Dr. John Malloy, Joseph Loffredo, Kai Zwiebel, Natalie Butto, Traci Baxley, Mark Alfieri and Chris Palermo. Daniela Jaramillo/The Observer

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