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  2020 Event I TEDxNatick

TEDxNatick 2020 Speakers

TEDxNatick 2020 brought 11 fantastic speakers to the stage on January 25, 2020. Their talks can be enjoyed here. 


Andy and his team are using Artificial Intelligence to provide mental health care for tens of thousands of patients with compelling results. He shares their approach as well as a vision for treating mental health conditions, which underpins his “Eight Billion Minds” project. Andy is Group Chief Science and Strategy Officer at IESO Digital Health in Cambridge, UK. His career has focused on developing innovative technologies that can improve the lives of those with mental health challenges. Previously he was CSO at Cambridge Cognition. He trained as a clinical psychologist at the University of St. Andrews and the University of Cambridge.

Andy Blackwell, Ph.D.
Healthcare and AI Entrepreneur



Rick’s projects combine research, craftsmanship, and imagination to recreate lost pieces of history. In his talk, he shares how he and his project teams built a replica of the first ever submarine, recreated the wooden crane used to construct the Louvre, replicated a lost Polish Synagogue, and designed toys for elephants. Rick and his wife Laura are Co-Founders of Handshouse Studio. He is also a Professor of Sculpture at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Rick is a visionary, artist and educator who has received numerous awards and grants for his innovative and wide-ranging work. He has appeared on Nova and Discovery Channel and exhibited in many venues including the International Spy Museum.



Cheryl shares how “Suitcase Stories” told by immigrants can breakdown social barriers and prejudices in unexpected ways. Cheryl has devoted her career to advancing immigrant integration and storytelling. She currently works at the International Institute of New England as Director of “Suitcase Stories”, a program that raises the profile of refugee and immigrant experiences. Cheryl wrote and acted in the one woman show, Checkered Floors, documenting her experience with 2,500 Somali refugees in Maine.


Don is the Founding Director of the Wyss Institute at Harvard University, as well as a professor in its Medical and Engineering Schools, where he leads a multifaceted effort to develop breakthrough bioinspired technologies to advance healthcare and improve sustainability. His scientific contributions have been exhibited in museums around the world, and one creation was named Design of the Year in 2015 and is included in MoMA’s permanent collection. Don’s work breaks down boundaries between science, art and design.


The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was an unprecedented viral event that enabled John and other scientists to vastly accelerate the pace of research in the causes and potential treatments for ALS. With respect and humor, John shares his first-hand experience with the Bucket Challenge phenomenon. John is a Professor of Neurology at UMASS Medical School who has focused on using innovative technologies to identify genes contributing to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). He is a key member of an international consortium that is sequencing the genomes of over 20,000 people to find novel genes contributing to ALS. John has received several million dollars from the ALS Association that was raised through the 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.


At age 23, Gretchen was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (formerly Asperger Syndrome) which motivated her to find her own voice and spark hope in those who feel alone. Gretchen shares personal and often witty stories of her travails and achievements. She is a children’s book author under the pen name Gretchen Leary, a speaker, and the Executive Director of a nonprofit called BostonCalm that serves those with Autism and Tourette syndrome.


Hank is an on-air investigative reporter for Boston's WHDH-TV, winning 36 Emmy and 14 Edward R. Murrow awards. A nationally bestselling author of 11 mysteries, Hank also won five Agathas, three Anthonys, and the Mary Higgins Clark Award. Hank’s 2018 Trust Me is an Agatha Nominee and her newest novel is titled The Murder List. Critics call her “a master of suspense”.


Matthew views being blind as an opportunity to change the world for himself and others. With humor, he shares his adventures converting Lego instructions for blind children, working with MIT scientists to bring a full, immersive experience of superhero comics to visually-impaired readers, and traveling overseas alone. Matthew is a singer, accordionist, composer, entrepreneur, and Lego enthusiast, studying at the New England Conservatory of Music. He loves comic books and shares his solo travel experiences on his podcast entitled, Blind Guy Travels.

Trish Wesley Umbrell
Writer, Photographer, Natick Community Organic Farm

Trish humorously tells stories about how young volunteers can learn life lessons on a farm through failure. This suburban community farm invites volunteers to try their hand at growing crops, feeding livestock, and overcoming unexpected challenges, often with comical consequences. Trish is Director of Operations at the Natick Community Organic Farm and an award-winning author, editor, lecturer, and photographer. She grew up working at the Natick Community Organic Farm, a nonprofit, certified-organic farm providing productive open space, farm products, and year-round hands-on education for people of all ages, which instilled in her a deep love of plants, farming, and community.

See inspiring talks from previous TEDxNatick events.

2016 Speakers

2017 Speakers

2018 Speakers

2019 Speakers

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