PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On Saturday, May 20, a group of notable figures from in and out of Portland will gather in the Keller Auditorium to present at the 11th annual TEDxPortland conference.

Last year’s conference was held in Moda Center’s Theater of the Clouds, making it the largest indoor TEDx event in the world. With its new venue having a capacity just under 3000 people, TEDxPortland 2023 will be more intimate — and feature speakers and performers who match the new theme of “confluence.”

“Inspired by the confluence of water where the Willamette River meets the Columbia, purpose and persistence find their way to the sea,” the website states. “Year 11 will embrace fluidity, strength, and balance. We will celebrate the contrarians, open-minded thinkers, and doers committed to creating a better tomorrow for our city and the world.”

Here’s more on the Portland residents, and visitors, who will give 11 TED Talks and four musical performances next month.

Kiauna “Kee” Nelson

Kiauna “Kee” Nelson owns what is arguably the city’s leading soul food spot: Kee’s Loaded Kitchen, which can be spotted in an episode of Netflix’s Street Food USA. Nelson has also been known to fight hunger in the metro area by using her business to keep Black Portlanders fed.

Aarthi Ananthanarayanan

As the director of Ocean Conservancy’s Climate and Plastics Initiative, Aarthi Ananthanarayanan has worked to curb the climate change and plastic pollution affecting the ocean and surrounding communities.

Dr. Yuan-Po Tu

Infectious disease expert Dr. Yuan-Po Tu has nearly 30 years of experience at Washington’s The Everett Clinic behind him; and that experience includes a groundbreaking study that proved that self-tests for COVID-19 could be just as accurate as those given by medical professionals.

Trevor Beaman

U.S. Army Special Forces soldier Trevor Beaman will take the stage to share personal stories of mental health struggles and healing from trauma.

Kim Scott

Silicon Valley resident Kim Scott served as a CEO coach for tech giants like Dropbox, Qualtrics and Twitter before publishing her bestselling book Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss.

Sam Diaz

Sam Diaz worked as the senior policy advisor for Mayor Wheeler’s office prior to becoming the executive director for 1000 Friends of Oregon, an organization that aims to build healthy communities throughout the state.

Sarah Edmondson

Since publishing her memoir Scarred: The True Story of How I Escaped NXIVM, the Cult that Bound My Life, Canadian actress Sarah Edmondson has become a cult-recovery advocate. Now, she and her husband host a podcast named “A Little Bit Culty.”

David Lucas

Former professional basketball player David Lucas co-owns real estate company Lucas Design-Build, in addition to founding the Maurice Lucas Foundation that “empowers youth through education and sports. “

Toby Barnes

Toby Barnes has led design teams at big companies like Nike, Levi’s, Microsoft, and most recently, Amazon. His current role as the principal designer for Amazon’s Alexa focuses on understanding generative artificial intelligence.

Emily Stutzman

Emily Stutzman has worked in Portland’s advertising industry for over a decade. She’s now the CEO of brand design agency Happylucky and co-founder of Reco, a dating app that allows friends to set their other friends up on dates.

Kyle Thornton

Software engineer Kyle Thornton serves as the head of customer success for Ledger, a cryptocurrency security company.


Born as Gary Eldridge Grice, founding Wu-Tang Clan member GZA is recognized for being a hip-hop legend who has paved ways for others in the genre.

Reyna Tropical

Sumohair, one-half of musical duo Reyna Tropical, died last year after a tragic accident in Los Angeles — but his collaborator Fabiola Reyna has continued to make music and will share the band’s vision of “Queer Love and Afro-Mexico” at TEDxPortland.

Thunderstorm Artis

Singer-songwriter and Hawaii native Thunderstorm Artis earned his spot as a finalist on Season 18 of NBC’s competition show The Voice.

Megan Diana

Megan Diana leads non-profit Piano. Push. Play., which makes pianos more accessible to Portlanders who want to play the instrument. She also makes her own music, including the debut album Women in My Head.

Portland’5 Centers for the Arts is currently selling tickets for TEDxPortland 2023.

Prices range from $79 to $300.