First-Ever TEDxSiouxFalls to Feature 'Extra [Ordinary] Lives'

Eight South Dakotans will share their stories of triumph, tragedy and endurance at the first-ever TEDxSiouxFalls, a program designed to share ideas, rouse creativity and inspire good things. The event, sponsored by Storyline and Augustana College, will begin at 1 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 31, at Augustana’s Edith Mortensen Center Theatre. The attendance, which is limited to 100 people, will include individuals who were chosen from a pool of applicants. The speakers’ presentations will be recorded and the videos will be posted to the TEDx YouTube channel following the event.

Themed, “Extra[Ordinary] Lives," TEDxSiouxFalls will feature a series of speakers with South Dakota ties, each presenting, what the event hails as, “stories worth sharing.”

“When we hear inspiring stories, we become inspired to do good things; drive change; make a difference in the lives of others; and improve our community. At its core, inspiration is what this event is all about,” said Hugh Weber, curator and host of TEDxSiouxFalls and owner of Storyline and Work. Play. Do Good. “Our goal is to offer a series of thought-provoking presentations and discussions by some of South Dakota’s most interesting and intriguing voices. I’m certain audience members will indeed find themselves inspired, motivated and moved.”

“At Augustana, we work hard to instill in our students a responsibility to make the world a better place – it’s one lesson we hope all of our graduates will take away from their time here,” said Rob Oliver, president of Augustana. “By supporting TEDxSiouxFalls, we’re hopeful that others will be inspired to do their part to improve and change our world as well.”

TEDxSiouxFalls speakers include:

  • Mike Dunlap: After decades as a nationally competitive marathoner, Dunlap, a Sanford Health exercise physiologist, transitioned his competitive spirit to cycling. After years of competing in ultra cycling events (400+ miles), he decided to challenge himself and, in 2010, he entered the grueling 3,000-mile Race Across America (RAAM), dubbed "the toughest bike race in the world." He did not finish the race. In 2011, he will compete in the 860-mile Race Across the West (RAW). He plans to try the Race Across America again in 2012.
  • Jolene Loetscher: A lifetime learner, idea farmer and ‘DooGooder,’ Loetscher grew up among the farm fields of Nebraska and now calls South Dakota home. Starting at age 19, she worked as a television reporter before going to public relations and starting DooGooders. She received her bachelor's degree with a major in broadcast journalism from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and her MBA in Global Executive Leadership from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
  • Kendra Gottsleben: Her life is defined by her positive outlook and success in overcoming obstacles, not MPS — the rare genetic condition she was born with. A graduate of Augustana College, Gottsleben works in the Department of Pediatrics within the Center for Disabilities at the Sanford School of Medicine. She is working on her first book.
  • Susan Omanson: An American Baptist Pastor with a long history of serving at-risk women, Omanson is founder and director of Be Free 58 Ministries. Be Free 58 is a non-profit organization dedicated to the elimination of all forms of human bondage, slavery, exploitation, and trafficking locally and across the globe.
  • Dr. Kristi Egland: An associate scientist at the Sanford Research/USD Cancer Biology Research Center, Egland is a breast cancer survivor and researcher. She is leading research efforts to develop a blood test for breast cancer detection.
  • Larry and Elizabeth Smith: In the midst of a seven-year-long battle to prolong the effects of Parkinson’s disease, Larry Smith made the move from Connecticut to South Dakota along with his wife, Elizabeth (Betty). A retired police captain, Smith started Mr. Smith's Bakery Café, which provides artisan breads and other fare to the folks in Vermillion. Betty Smith teaches at the University of South Dakota.
  • John Beranek: A native of Miller, S.D., and a skilled presenter, teacher and motivator, Beranek utilizes story-telling, discussion, music and group interaction to promote awareness and change. He has nearly 15 years of experience in prevention initiatives and system change programs.
  • Waneen Polly: A 1970 graduate of Watertown High School and a 1974 SDSU grad, Polly spent years working internationally for the Peace Corps and as a consultant. She returned home and was named Executive Director of the Arrow Education Foundation in October 2005.

TEDxSiouxFalls performers include:

  • Toby Kane: A skilled musician and songwriter from Keldren, S.D., Kane has traveled the world — both as a roadie and as a performer, sharing a stage with the likes of Daughtry and David Cook.
  • Jami Lynn: Since debuting her first original song on a rural South Dakota high school stage, Lynn has continued to sing, play and write with increasing intensity and originality. As a sophomore at the University of South Dakota, she teamed up with bassist Josh Rieck. Her second album with Reick will be released in February.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The annual TED Conference invites the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes. Their talks are then made available, free, at TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The annual TED Conference takes place in Long Beach, California, with simulcast in Palm Springs; TEDGlobal is held each year in Oxford, UK. TED's media initiatives include, where new TEDTalks are posted daily, and the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as the ability for any TEDTalk to be translated by volunteers worldwide. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world are given the opportunity to put their wishes into action; TEDx, which offers individuals or groups a way to organize local, independent TED-like events around the world; and the TEDFellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

  • Follow TED on Twitter at, or on Facebook at
  • TED2011, "The Rediscovery of Wonder," will be held February 28-March 4, 2011, in Long Beach, California, with the TEDActive simulcast in Palm Springs, California.

Media Inquiries: Contact Jill Wilson, public relations and communications strategist.

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