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Meet the 12 who’ll talk at next TEDxSurrey, including 2 students from Fraser Heights

‘Expect to be engaged, entertained, and to have your thinking shifted on today’s most important topics’
Dr. Petra Zebroff speaks during the TEDxSurrey event last February at Bell Performing Arts Centre. (Photo:

Tickets for the 2023 TEDxSurrey event are now available for the Jan. 21 date at Bell Performing Arts Centre.

“We are emphasizing the ‘E’ in TED (Entertainment) and have some excellent musical and dance performances along with 12 compelling speakers,” explained Alan Warburton, event curator and licensee.

For a fifth year TEDx returns to Surrey as a forum for Technology, Entertainment and Design and talks delivered in 18 minutes or less. Prior to 2021, the event was known as TEDxBearCreekPark.

This time around, a partnership with Surrey School District involves having students among the 12 featured speakers. “This year we have two exceptional students (Muhaddisa Sarwari and Finn Liu) who have been selected and will be on the stage on Jan. 21,” Warburton noted. “They are both from Fraser Heights Secondary.”

The 10 other speakers are Dr. Stefanie Green, Carla Guerrera, Dr. Kai Chan, Kal Dosanjh, Kelsey Carignan, Linda Fawcus, Marilyn Norry, Dr. Tanya Gee, Derek Strokon and Kai Scott.

All 12 bios are posted below, at story’s end.

Musical performers will include Victoria-based band Shale, White Rock singer-songwriter Richard Tichelman and the Screaming Eagles Marching Band from Abbotsford.

Event tickets are sold online at, for either $79 (regular rows) or $99 (premium). In an “early bird” offer, premium seats are $79 until Nov. 15 (click on the “Save $20 on Tickets” button).

“Experience 12 ideas from your own community with the power to make a global impact, accompanied by Energizers and Entertainers, all within a fast-moving, 10 a.m.-to-4 p.m. program,” the website outlines. “Lunch is even included. Expect to be engaged, entertained, and to have your thinking shifted on today’s most important topics.”

This week, on Nov. 9 at Surrey Pentecostal church (16870 80 Ave.), TEDxSurreySalon is a smaller event that focuses on one topic and Q&A with the speakers. The evening’s theme is “Our Overdose Crisis is Closer Than You Think,” with guest speakers Kathleen Radu (Mom’s Stop the Harm network) and Guy Felicella (drug policy reform advocate).

Last February, several talks from TEDxSurrey took off on YouTube. The international TED organization recognized five of the event’s 12 speakers for the outstanding quality of their talks. Video of one, Dr. Riley Moynes’ “Four phases of retirement,” has 1.3 million views online.

• READ MORE: 5 Surrey talks in TED’s global video spotlight as TEDxSurrey looks for more ‘valuable and timely ideas’

Posted below are bios for the 12 speakers at the next TEDxSurrey event, at Bell Performing Arts Centre on Jan. 21, 2023:

Dr. Stefanie Green: “After 20 years working in maternity care, Dr. Stefanie Green is now a leader in the practice of assisted dying. A pioneering clinician, innovative educator, and author of a bestselling memoir, when Stefanie pulls back the curtain on assisted dying, it will leave you with a new perspective on life.”

Carla Guerrera: “As CEO of Purpose Driven Development, Carla is a globally recognized real estate developer and thought leader who has delivered over $1B in mixed-use real estate development. Combining urban planning, sustainability, and real estate development her team unlocks complex redevelopment to transform the way we live, work and thrive.”

Finn Liu: “Finn is an openly transgender high school student, award-winning public speaker, and neurodiversity advocate. While proud of his surrounding Asian community, he recognizes the negative cultural ties perpetuating stigma and discrimination against trans-identifying Asian individuals. Finn strongly believes in the importance of communication to address the root of queer issues.”

Dr. Kai Chan: “Kai is a sustainability scientist who studies the many and intimate relationships people have as components of nature. He is a Professor at UBC and Canada Research Chair committed to social and ecological justice, and to instigating bold changes to make our planet both better and wilder.”

Kal Dosanjh: “Kal is currently a Police Detective. He is also the CEO and Founder of KidsPlay Youth Foundation. The Foundation stretches across Canada, and internationally in Colombia and India. Over 100,000 youth have participated in free programs provided by the organization as a means of deterring youth from drugs and gangs.”

Kelsey Carignan: “As a wellness practitioner and yoga instructor, Kelsey Carignan is on a mission to promote mindfulness and movement as transformative tools for improving every facet of our lives. She is the founder of Vibrant Yogi, an online yoga and wellbeing community, and co-founder of the Yoga for Hockey app.”

Linda Fawcus: “Founder of Gluu Society, a Canadian nonprofit that helps older adults use technology to stay happy, healthy, and connected. Linda has been a technology entrepreneur for over 28 years and is also the creator and host of the ‘How To Be Unscammable’ TV show.”

Marilyn Norry: “Through her work as an actor, author, teacher, and editor of plays and screenplays, Marilyn has investigated the myriad of ways humans live and interact. Since 2004 she’s empowered people to write their family stories, so the stories of all people – especially women – are remembered and told.”

Muhaddisa Sarwari: “A Grade 12 student who is originally a Hazara refugee from Afghanistan. She has spent all of her life as a refugee with no access to formal education. As a young girl who was deprived of her basic human rights, she is passionate about advocating for the rights of refugees.”

Dr. Tanya Gee: “Dr. Tanya is a veteran Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine who values compassion, empathy and loving kindness. Living with her aging mother has taught her invaluable lessons on love and service and the many benefits of intergenerational cohabitation. Humour is their glue to learning to live harmoniously together.”

Derek Strokon: “Derek is an International Best-Selling Author, Leader and Business Consultant whose practice focuses on resilience development and process implementation. His award-winning approach to sales excellence is driven by a team-centered approach of ‘Strength Through Vulnerability’. His relentless passion for evangelizing the ‘Human Journey’, is both inspiring and contagious.”

Kai Scott: “A social scientist whose 15-year career has focused on solving complex social issues, including those faced by transgender people. He has conducted research and delivered education on gender diversity to over 35,000 people across Canada. As such, he has deep insights into the state of gender in our society.”

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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