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April 6th, 2024

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TEDxApex Curator 

Eraina Ferguson MAR, M.Ed

Eraina Ferguson is a special needs advocate, journalist, and TEDx speaker. Along with her full time role as a Senior Product Marketing Manager, she enjoys building technology solutions for families of special needs children. Her company, My Good Life, enables families of children with special needs to live their best life despite their circumstances. Her recent monologue, Listen to Her, was read by actress Marla Gibbs and featured at the WACO Theatre’s 50in50 event. Her writing has been featured on NBC Universal, Red Tricycle, LA Parents Magazine, and the LA Times.

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About

What is a TEDx Event? 

Think of TEDx as hosting an awesome party, with great food, inspirational videos, brilliant speakers and mind-blowing conversation. By organizing a TEDx event, Eraina Ferguson, our curator, has an opportunity to create a truly unique event that will unleash new ideas, inspire and inform. 

A TEDx event is a local gathering where live TED-like talks and performances are shared with the community. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis. The content and design of each TEDx event is unique and developed independently, but all of them have features in common.

TED's Format

A suite of short, carefully prepared talks, demonstrations and performances that are idea-focused, and cover a wide range of subjects to foster learning, inspiration and wonder – and provoke conversations that matter.

Diversity of Topics

All TEDx events present multiple issues and a diversity of voices from many disciplines. After all, what’s the fun without a little variety?

Community-driven and bias-free content

A TEDx event is organized by volunteers from the local community, and just like TED events, it lacks any commercial, religious or political agenda. Its goal is to spark conversation, connection and community.

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TEDxApex Speakers 2024

Get to Know Us

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Sandy Joy Weston 

Sandy Joy Weston M.Ed. received her Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from Temple University, and achieved her Bachelor of Science in Dance from West Chester University. She began her journey as a health club owner when she opened an in-home private training company called Specialty Fit. She then proceeded to open the first Weston Fitness in Bala Cynwyd, PA with the help of her mentors. After much success, she continued to open two more health clubs including one in the heart of Center City Philadelphia, PA.

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Chenae Erkerd

Chenae Erkerd is originally from Camden, NJ. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Saint Augustine’s University and juris doctor degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law. After graduation, Chenae decided to pivot into human resources to become a recruiter. She landed her first recruiting role in higher education as a temp recruiter. While in higher education, she was able to successfully convert into a full-time recruiter in healthcare. During her time in healthcare, Chenae recruited entry, mid-career, and senior level roles. She later pivoted into technical recruiting where she specializes in software engineers, program/product managers and cybersecurity professionals. Along her journey, specifically in healthcare, she has picked up tips and tricks that will help jobseekers make their search easier. Chenae is committed to helping the community learn networking techniques to catch the eye of recruiters and hiring managers with her jobseeker resources, events, and individual sessions. Chenae has grossed 100K+ followers across all social media platforms, is respected within her community, and has helped 150+ people in just over a year get interviews and job offers ranging from $3K-$120K salary increases. Chenae currently resides in Durham, NC with her husband, Terrence Erkerd, and two dogs, Bane and Kodak. She believes her faith and spiritual maturity helps her speak life into her community.

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Prash Shenoy

Introducing Prash, the dynamic Vice President of Marketing at a leading
global marketing technology consulting firm and a true example of modern
leadership that skillfully blends sharp intellect with deep spiritual wisdom.
With an impressive background from top engineering and MBA programs,
Prash is known for his innovative approach in the complex world of
marketing technology, crafting cutting-edge strategies for giants like Google,
Indeed, EMC and Intel.

But Prash is more than just his two-decade-long career in the corporate
world. He's also a dedicated meditation practitioner, a part of his life that's
just as important as his professional achievements. His deep commitment to
living in harmony with nature, drawing from a rich tapestry of ancient
wisdom and disciplined practice, shines through in both his personal life and
professional projects. This commitment is the heartbeat of CEOyogi, his
passion project aimed at guiding people towards balanced, mindful
leadership in both personal and professional life.
What really sets Prash apart is how he brings together his keen mind and
peaceful heart. He sees ancient wisdom, meditation, and the modern science
and latest technology not just as ways to find personal peace, but as
essential strategies in the today demanding fast paced world.
As he steps onto the TEDx stage, his discourse, “Awakening Quantum
Brilliance: Be the CEO and Yogi of Your Life,” promises to be a transformative
odyssey. This presentation is not merely a dialogue but a transformative
expedition, guiding attendees to unlock their quantum potential and
harmonize the essence of fearless leadership with the tranquility of yogic
philosophy. Prepare to journey with Prash into a realm where each individual
becomes the architect of their brilliance, mastering the art of dynamic
balance and enlightened decision-making.

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Cameron Lee Cowan

Cameron Lee Cowan is originally from Denver via Northwest Arkansas. Cameron started writing in 2005, focusing on essays and short stories, and has since incorporated a vintage flair into much of their work. The twists and turns on Cameron's journey through music, fashion, theater, and writing have provided the background for their creative endeavors. Cameron has encountered exciting people and interesting things, and strives to find ways to narrate everyday stories, aiming to leave readers with something profound. Whether it's writing about the world around us at The Cameron Journal or crafting a novel, Cameron aims to make observations and leave the reader to decide for themselves how they think or feel about it.

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Manal El-Ramly

Manal El-Ramly, Transformational Life Coach and Founder of Mattain LLC, is also the author of Transcending Anxiety: From Fear to Freedom. A cherished teacher on InsightTimer, she is renowned for her empowering and contagious style. Her inspirational presence motivates many to align with their authentic selves, encouraging a journey toward purpose, freedom, and happiness.

Manal has over 20 years of experience as a professional and executive in business, consulting, and entrepreneurship. Her academic roots, with a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Mechanical Engineering, serve as the catalyst for her unique analytical approach on life. In addition to her coaching, Manal serves on the board of ZE PowerGroup, an energy and commodity data management company, Newsco Inc., digital signage software company, and Durham Nativity
School, a school providing education for youth from low-income families, as well as holding leadership roles in Young Men’s Service League, First in Flight Chapter. Raised in Vancouver,
British Columbia, she now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her three amazing children.

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Julia Korn

Julia Korn is the Founder + CEO of The Authenticity Guide, a career and executive coaching company focused on empowering emerging leaders to uplevel their careers. As a self-described recovering perfectionist, there’s nothing Julia loves more than helping professionals break up with “should” in their careers. She is a Business Insider Most Innovative Coach and a Contributor to Forbes. She has been featured on Fox Business News, BBC World News and more. She lives in Chapel Hill, NC with her husband, daughter and labradoodle.

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Dr. Rhea Watson

Dr. Rhea M. Watson, the Scholarship Doctor and Founder/CEO of Scholarship Solutions, a Premier Scholarship and College Consulting Firm, is dedicated to working with students worldwide ages 0 to 99.

As an international speaker, Rhea has presented to audiences from Egypt to Spain and all across the United States of America, teaching students of all ages how to have a debt free college experience. Furthermore, Rhea has assisted hundreds of students to enter college and win more than $200 Million Dollars in scholarships. She has received
numerous honors, including Community Partnership Award, HBCU for Life Award, Highest GPA Honor, and US-Africa International Women's Day Award. Rhea has been featured on the TODAY Show and Good Morning America and in Forbes and Black Enterprise Magazines. She is on a mission and has committed to helping l,000,000 students earn
debt free degrees.

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Hirbod Bigvand

Hirbod Bigvand, a resilient entrepreneur and creative force, immigrated to the USA from Iran at the age of 16. Starting with no connections, limited English, and zero financial resources, he defied the odds by building multimillion-dollar startups in Silicon Valley. Currently, Hirbod is leading Cassius, a groundbreaking lifestyle company poised to revolutionize the way people discover love and happiness. With a profound belief that addressing this fundamental human need can usher in a positive societal transformation, he is dedicated to creating a world where everyone has the opportunity to experience love and happiness.

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Peter Agiovlassitis

Peter Agiovlassitis grew up on the rough and tumble streets of Brooklyn, New York, which allowed him to hone his speaking and negotiating skills at an early age — or, as he puts it: “I learned to run very fast.” Peter has spent an entire career in advertising, holding leadership roles at top advertising agencies. He possesses experience with Fortune 500 brands and has negotiated over $1 billion with TV and Radio networks. Today, he is a marketer, speaker, writer, consultant, and volunteer. He is also a husband and father and loves to spend as much time as possible with his wife Jeanann, their daughter Morgan, and their son Tyler. But it’s hard to see Tyler as he lives halfway around the world in Auckland, New Zealand. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome…Peter Agiovlassitis.

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Briana Melissa Ford

Briana Ford has spent almost 15 years working with businesses on their social media presence and strategy. She has covered all aspects including content creation, community management, and paid advertising, making her a full-stack subject matter expert. Her intuitive ability to put herself in the end-user’s shoes is her best super power.

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Scott Mason

Scott Mason is the Myth Slayer: an attorney and executive leadership coach for stuck and unhappy lawyers looking to obliterate toxic personal myths -- so that they and their teams can become more engaged, creative, and resilient. His mission: to empower clients to magnetize and monetize professional freedom ... and have futures that are epic. After graduating from Columbia Law School, Scott worked for 20+ years as an attorney and senior executive in the government and non-profit sectors. Among other accomplishments, he led a division responsible for programmatic oversight of 300+ senior centers and home-delivered meal providers; was second-in-command of NYC's central administrative law court; and served as the General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer, and head of operations for the USA's largest provider of domestic violence shelters. As an entrepreneur, before founding his current business, Scott successfully grew and scaled a small manufacturing company into a two-city operation with clients that included some of the most recognized corporate names in the USA. He currently sits on the Career Advancement & Management and the Attorney Mindfulness and Well-Being Committees of the NYC Bar Association.

Scott's commitment to helping others find professional and personal freedom is furthered by his role as host of The Webdelics Podcast, the official show of the #1 Psychedelic Platform in the World (www.Webdelics.com).

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Sonal Mahapatra

Sonal Mahapatra is a high school junior at America’s #1 High School - NCSSM and an Amazon Best Selling Author. Her novel, “Aventurine: A Story of a Girl and a Crystal”. has been highly appreciated in the reader's community. As per her book reviewers, " Mahapatra has accomplished what the most experienced novelists can only hope to achieve; she has crafted a story that connects with the readers on a human level." A presidential gold award winner, Sonal believes in giving back to society in various ways while striving for excellence and pursuing her interest in data science, biology, and neuroscience. She has also been invited to Harvard University to participate in the HSRC- a platform for exceptional high school students across the world. As a varsity golfer, and varsity swim team, an avid vlogger, and a leadership board member of various clubs, Sonal gets appreciated in her peer group as a very committed individual and her vlogs have been liked by hundreds of viewers. "

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