Wilmington 2013  

Thank you to everyone who attended, spoke, volunteered, donated, and made TEDxWilmington 2013 a possibility!


Kathleen Koch
Award-winning journalist

Ms. Kathleen Koch is an award-winning broadcast journalist and former longtime CNN correspondent based in Washington, D.C. Her book Rising from Katrina: How My Mississippi Hometown Lost It All and Found What Mattered won the 2011 Gold Award from Independent Publishers for Best Nonfiction in the Southeast Region. Her two documentaries on Bay St. Louis's recovery received a New York Festivals Gold Medal. She also shared in the Peabody Award CNN won for coverage of Hurricane Katrina.
Koch began her television career as a reporter and weekend anchor for the ABC affiliate WLOX-TV in Biloxi, Miss. She spent 18 years at CNN covering beats including the White House, the Pentagon, Capitol Hill and aviation. Koch currently serves on the USM School of Mass Communications and Journalism Advisory Board.

Visit her personal website to learn more

Joseph B. Geraci Ph.D.

Dr. Geraci is a former police officer and retired public school system administrator. In his retirement he has served as an adjunct faculty professor of psychology and thanatology and a disaster psychology instructor for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

Dr. Geraci earned a Ph.D. in Educational Studies at the University of Connecticut, a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies at the University of Hartford and a MS in psychology at Central Connecticut State University. He is best known as a speaker and researcher on the Near-Death-Experience. He has had such an experience and will discuss the phenomenon from his perspective.

Dr. Geraci is the author of The Four Moments after Death: When Moments Pass and Fade Forever, Wednesday’s Cop: Streets of Woe and Students’ Post Near-Death Experience: Attitudes and Behavior toward Education and Learning. He is also a published poet and recently completed a music album with Daniel Cavanaugh and Heather Huddleston based on his poetry.

In his first year as a United States Senator, Chris Coons worked hard and has earned a reputation as a principled, pragmatic legislator eager to find bipartisan solutions to the issues confronting Delaware and the nation. He has emerged as a strong voice for job creation and the innovation economy, responsible deficit reduction, progressive social justice, and forward-looking foreign policy.
Serving on the Foreign Relations, Judiciary, Energy & Natural Resources, and Budget committees, Senator Coons is uniquely positioned to nurture American innovation and make the United States more competitive in the global market. He is the only freshman to serve as a subcommittee chair, leading the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs and emerging as an important voice on the security challenges and economic opportunities offered by the continent.Chris’ election to the Senate in 2010 capped a decade of successful service in New Castle County government. In four years as New Castle County Council President and six years as New Castle County Executive, Chris earned a reputation for delivering real results on behalf of Delawareans and protecting the county during the least stable national economic climate in decades. Chris balanced

six budgets by eliminating wasteful spending and created jobs through innovative public/private partnerships. His Safe Streets partnership removed dangerous parole violators from our neighborhoods and cleaned up dozens of the worst county properties. He also preserved hundreds of acres of open space and fought for an independent ethics commission to make county government more transparent in its business dealings.

A longtime New Castle County resident, Chris grew up in the Pike Creek and Hockessin areas and lives in Wilmington with his wife, Annie, and their three children, Michael, Jack, and Maggie. 

Debra Laino
Sex Therapist

Dr. Debra Laino, our fourteenth speaker at TEDxWilmington, is Delaware's Premiere Sex Therapist. 

She is in private practice, a Professor at Philadelphia University and Wilmington University. She is the author of several books; Eleven Reasons Why Women Cheat being her latest and has been featured in books on Healthy Marriages and Male Orgasms.

She is also an International author with a co-written book titled The Madonna Complex. Dr. Laino has appeared on radio and television across the country and has been in magazines such as Cosmopolitan and More.

Steve Boyden
Financial Services Executive

Steve Boyden enjoyed a successful career as an executive in the financial services industry. In 2005 he retired from MBNA Corporation, which at the time was the world’s largest independent credit card company, where as head of Corporate Communications, helped shape the company's customers, community, and national and local media. Steve particularly enjoyed his role as the "voice" of MBNA, with the challenges of portraying to customers and the public, the human side of an international corporation employing 30,000 people in offices around the globe. 

He has both Master of Arts and Master of Business Administration degrees from Columbia University.

In retirement, he has written and photographed several magazine articles about adventure travel and its role in strengthening bonds among family members. Steve serves as a Trustee of the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware with oversight of the endowment funds and properties of the diocese, developed a Transition Management consulting practice assisting Episcopal congregations in their search for new Rectors, and is pleased that his landscape photographs are being acquired by a growing number of healthcare practices and personal collectors.

Reading articles about the mysterious worldwide disappearance of the honeybee prompted Steve to help locally, and since 2008 he has kept beehives in a meadow beside his home. He finds it incomprehensible that last year three of his four hives failed to survive even our mild Delaware winter, and seeks ways to help these delightful creatures.

Christopher Largent
Author, Professor

Christopher Largent has taught university-level philosophy and comparative religion for more than 30 years and has lecture internationally, including talks at the New York Open Center, New York’s School for Practical Philosophy, Chicago’s Crossroads Center, the World Business Academy, the Global Structures Convocation in Washington DC and the Omega Institute.
Chris is co-author of The Soul of Economies: Spiritual Evolution Goes to the Marketplace (Idea House, 1991), The Paradigm Conspiracy: Why Our Social Systems Violate Our Human Potential and How We Can Change Them (Hazelden, 1996), and Love, Soul, and Freedom: Dancing with Rumi on the Mystic Path (Hazelden, 1998) — books praised by many thinkers, including the Dalai Lama, Stephen Covey, Willis Harman, Huston Smith, Ravi Batra, Charles Tart, Marianne Williamson, and famed Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko. 
He was chosen to contribute to the millennium book, Imagine, and to the 9/11 book, From the Ashes—A Spiritual Response to the Attack on America: Experience, Strength, and Hope from Spiritual Leaders and Extraordinary Citizens.

Robert Lhulier
Executive Chef
Topic "Culinary Collaboration: Getting the Most Creativity Out of Cooks Through Kitchen Alliances" 

Chef Robert Lhulier is currently executive chef of the venerable University and Whist Club of Wilmington.  His early career, “path less traveled” approach to becoming a chef fortified him with a fully-integrated lifestyle approach to cooking and hospitality, through his experiences as a musician, artist, educator, entrepreneur, writer, and dj; the common thread being the love of the arts. 

He began working at the top; the historic Hotel duPont was the start of his distinguished career in classic, front-of-house training and operations that spans 10 years, canvassing premier restaurants of Wilmington and the award-winning, Ebbitt Room at the Virginia Hotel in Cape May, New Jersey.  In a career about-face, he enrolled in The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY in 1997, and instantl knew he had found his path.  A distinguished graduate, he spent his externship in Biarritz, France working under Michelin-starred Chef Didier Oudill. Since his graduation, Robert has brought his distinct style of culinary artistry to Wilmington’s finest eateries.  During that time he spent a life-altering stage at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, (2000), prepared a meal to a sold-out crowd at the revered, James Beard Foundation, (2003) and opened and operated his own restaurant, The Chef’s Table at the David Finney Inn, (2005). 

Throughout all his years of service, Robert has been a dedicated and fierce volunteer to various causes supporting his home state of Delaware.  He relishes the synergy generated from collaborating with local and visiting chefs, wine makers and wine professionals, restaurateurs, and of course, other passionate, dedicated volunteers.  He has traveled the world and experienced the unique and vibrant cultures of culinary capitals, yet it is Wilmington he calls home and here that he sees the potential for a thriving collaborative between chefs, artists, entrepreneurs and a discerning public.

Robert is a founding charter member of The First State Bailliage of the Confrerie de la Chaine de Rotisseurs, the oldest and most prestigious food and wine society in the world.

Rob Prestowitz
Director, UrbanPromise Wilmington

A Delaware native, Rob Prestowitz graduated from the Tatnall School, and earned a BS in Organic Chemistry from the University of Delaware. 

After a distinguished 20-year career with Hercules Incorporated, Rob left the corporate world to become the founder and Executive Director of UrbanPromise Wilmington, a nonsectarian faith-based nonprofit. 

Founded in 1998, UrbanPromise takes a holistic approach in serving hundreds of urban youth and their families each year in high risk neighborhoods throughout the city with a powerful record of longitudinal success and mutual transformation. Rob and his wife Monica have 3 children and live in Pike Creek.

New Sweden
Topic "The Complexities of Writing and Performing Music in Real Time"

New Sweden has been sharing their unique flavor of Americana, Folk, and Indie Rock with the greater Philadelphia region since forming in late 2009. The 6-piece outfit molds their sound using a blend of traditional folk instruments with a modern twist, all backed by energetic live performances. The lyrics are powerful and sure to speak to any listener willing to lend an ear.

The recording and release of their first studio record, The Mountain (Recording Engineer Nick DiDia, Producer Ritchie Rubini) stands out as an exciting milestone and success to date. Not to be overlooked is sharing the stage with The Felice Brothers, Kevin Devine, James McMurty, and all artists at NON-COMM 2011, competing with local Philadelphia bands, and ultimately winning the Beta-Hi-Fi Emerging Artist Competition, two TriState Indie Awards for Best Delaware Band, and a whole slew of other shows and competitions along the away.

New Sweden has built a strong, loyal fan base in the Philadelphia/Wilmington region through relentless live performances and an undeniable connection with all types of audiences. Over 1,000 albums sold independently, packing World Cafe Live at The Queen for The Mountain record release party, and consistent growth of followers through Facebook, Twitter, and newswedenmusic.com.

New Sweden will continue to support their new release, The Mountain through East Coast U.S. tours, local performances, and radio appearances. A new batch of recordings is in the works, and fans can keep an eye out for new online video content and raw New Sweden-produced home studio recordings.

Jim Kelly
EVP, Capital One Direct

Jim Kelly is Executive Vice President for Capital One’s Direct businesses. Jim is responsible for the strategic direction for Capital One 360 and ShareBuilder, and provides leadership to more than 1,200 associates nationwide. He reports to Jon Witter, Capital One’s President of Retail and Direct Banking. He also serves as Market President forDelaware.

Jim is a veteran financial services executive with more than 25 years of banking experience at large and small banks in the United States and Canada.

Prior to Capital One, Jim directed the Deposit, Investment and Lending Groups of ING DIRECT Banking. He was also responsible for Human Resources and Public Relations, and was a member of ING DIRECT’s Executive Committee. Prior to this role, he led the marketing team at ING DIRECT Canada, drawing in more than 500,000 clients for the pilot project in its first three years.

His diverse background also includes senior management roles in Sales, Marketing, Operations, and Information Technology.

He is active in a number of community service groups serving the needs of children with a special interest in improving financial literacy. He is on the Board of Directors for the Wilmington Grand Opera House. Jim has previously served on the boards for Junior Achievement, Ronald McDonald House, and the Delaware Bankers Associations.

Teresa Rodriguez


With her bestselling travel guide FLY SOLO: The 50 Best Places on Earth For a Girl to Travel Alone now in four languages, Teresa Rodriguez sets out to inspire others who want to take the leap of doing things alone in BODY, MIND, & SOLO.

In this clever book, Teresa uses travel as the metaphor for change and courage. Teresa gives simple steps to build the confidence you need to do things on your own – be it travel the world, leave a bad relationship, or start your own business. Within these pages you will discover the hope and inspiration you need to follow your dreams.

Powerful, uplifting, and encouraging BODY, MIND, & SOLO gives you the tools to become the mighty person you were meant to be. By following these 7 easy steps, you will find strength and knowledge to conquer your fears. This book is a guide and manifesto for readers who are ready to step out into the world with enthusiasm and joy.

Neil Izenberg, MD

Pediatrician, Entrepreneur


Topic "Stories We Tell Ourselves"

You may never have heard of him, but in the digital health world Neil Izenberg, MD is widely-known as a pioneer and innovator. A pediatrician and nonprofit entrepreneur, Dr. Izenberg founded and is the chief executive of the Nemours Foundation’s Center for Children’s Health Media – based at the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE. 

The Center’s family-friendly website, KidsHealth.org, is a 4 time Webby Award winner and receives about 1 million visits per day. Dr. Izenberg served on the advisory board for Sesame Workshop's Healthy Habits for Life, and a recipient of the American Academy of Pediatrics prestigious Education Award. He is editor-in-chief of Human Diseases and Conditions (Charles Scribner's Sons); co-author of Fit Kids (DK Publishing) and KidsHealth Guide for Parents: Pregnancy to Age 5 (McGraw-Hill); and co-creator of Not So Scary Thing," a board game for children ages 4 to 8 years. 

Dr Izenberg received his BA from Columbia University, his MD from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Izenberg’s interests span game-making, film production, writing, bike riding, and, of course, like any good pediatrician, story-telling. 

Jordana Wright

Jordana Wright has spent many years behind a camera, creating images featuring the dynamic beauty of the world around her. Her love of making images has carried her around the world, granted her access to exciting and rarely photographed locations, and shaped her into a social media powerhouse and rising star on Google+. Since being invited to Google+ as an early adopter in 2011, Jordana has been empowered by the influence of social media on the photographic community.

As a co-creator and designer of the very first Google Photowalk, Jordana has had unique access to beta programs, technology like Google Glass, and other emerging advancements that continue to shape the world of interactive sharing. She continues to build the photography community on Google+ by sharing her abilities and her knowledge both online, and by hosting dozens of photowalks every year.

Over 100 Google+ photographers, scattered across the country, rallied around the American By Rail project to join Jordana and participate in photowalks to build friendships, and grow as photographers. This is when Jordana first realized the extent of social media's potential to shape the future of photography.

Jordana Wright Photography is in its 7th successful season, and is expanding its services to include vineyard, resort, and luxury lifestyle photography, along with its current offerings of fine art, food photography, the occasional wedding, and portraiture.

H. Raye Avery Jones
Executive Director, Christina Cultural Arts Center
H. Raye Jones Avery has held her post as Executive Director of Christina Cultural Arts Center Inc. since 1991 and has accumulated 32 years of service in the field of community development with organizations such as Community Action of Greater Wilmington, Delaware League for Planned Parenthood, Henrietta Johnson Medical Center and the United Way of Delaware.

Currently, Raye serves on the governance boards of Kuumba Academy Charter School, Wilmington Renaissance Development Corporation, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Delaware Chapter, Vision 2015, and the Rodel Foundation.  Kuumba Academy, a Vision Network school is in its 11th year of operation having recently been identified as one of the top three highest performing elementary schools in the state of Delaware. The Kuumba Model proves the achievement gap between African American students and their White peers can indeed be eliminated. The Kuumba Board under the leadership of Dr. Joan Coker and Sally Maldonado, Head of School are in the process of planning an expansion to add grades 6-8.

In 2001, Raye was appointed chair of the Wilmington Neighborhood Schools Committee. The Wilmington Neighborhood Schools Committee issued a widely read report titled, “They Matter Most” which predicted the devastating effect of creating high poverty schools in the City of Wilmington. In 2013 Raye was appointed to lead a Strategic Task Force on Youth, Education and Citizenship for Mayor Dennis P. Williams. Raye is a steadfast advocate for equitable and effective learning opportunities for urban children.

Raye is a socially conscious Artist Activist, a writer and vocalist with Fruits of the Spirit, a touring chorale having most recently toured throughout the Tuscany region of Italy and Puerto Rico. Raye’s debut CD, “Sistah Girl’s Lament” produced by Dennis Fortune received rave reviews in European and Japanese jazz markets. Her upcoming project, “Every Good-Bye Ain’t Gone” was supported in part by a Delaware Individual Artist Fellowship and includes a spoken word tribute to Coretta Scott King. 

Raye is the daughter of educators Valley & Lillian J. Rice, the proud mother of Bankole & Brandy Osimokun (engineer and attorney ) living in Washington, DC;  Brandon, an actor living in Los Angeles, Shayna Street,  a Mental Health professional in Maryland, Xavier & Fela, her grandsons and Ara Bailey Raye her grandaughter.

“Strive for an open heart, be open to loving, open to forgiving, open to adventure, and open to fully living the possibilities of you. Open hearts and giving hands make our communities and the world a more sane place in which to live.”  Raye Jones Avery

Phil Spampinato
Director, Technology Development Partnerships

Phil Spampinato, Director, Technology Development Partnerships, Innovation, Ideation, Collaboration at ILC Dover will be our 21st speaker at the 2013 TEDxWilmington.

Spampinato grew up in Western Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. He received a teaching degree from Slippery Rock State College and after some years of teaching and work as an Ironworker, received an engineering degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Mr. Spampinato started working for ILC Dover in 1984 and has worked there continuously in various capacities related to space. He is currently Director, Technology Development Partnerships.

Phil lives in Dover, Delaware with his wife, Connie. They have three children and three grandchildren.

Ganesh Vaidyanathan, Ph.D. 
Chief Scientist, Quantum Leap Innovations

Dr. Vaidyanathan, SVP and Chief Scientist of 
Quantum Leap Innovations, has a successful track record and significant experience in delivering innovative
solutions to solve complex problems using technology, data and multi-disciplinary concepts. Formerly a Senior Research Associate with DuPont, he is the inventor of the proprietary InfoEvolve™ suite of data mining tools based on the marriage of information theory with genetic algorithms and has developed a significant patent estate around signal processing, multi-variate data fusion and analysis, pattern discovery and adaptive image analysis, with 18 patents awarded to date.
 In his research, he has extended Shannon’s original ideas on information theory as applied to electronic signals to multi-dimensional data sources for informative data reduction leading to improved analysis.
At Quantum Leap, he is leading the development of the Quantum Leap Analyst Pattern-Based Analytics platform that can identify, analyze and understand information-rich data within a big data environment, perform scalable predictive analysis on big data and generate and test hypotheses on big data using automatically discovered patterns. Dr. Vaidyanathan earned his PhD in Physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his BA in Physics from Princeton University.

Sarah Brown, Ph.D.
Author, Talent Management Expert
Our 19th speaker is Sarah E. Brown, Ph.D. who will speak discuss what she has learned about what you need to be happy, successful, and understood.

For more than three decades, Sarah has brought empowerment and success to Fortune 500 companies and the individuals who have relied on her expertise. As a Talent Management Expert, she takes charge of learning projects that focus on creating positive change and personal growth. When it comes to innovation at a global level, Dr. Brown is a world leader. Currently, her training curriculum is being taught in over 100 countries and in over 15 languages.

Now, Dr. Brown makes her expertise available to you as you deal with important life-changing decisions. Aptly titled Know Thyself Guides™, her innovative book series is customized uniquely for you. With this guide that focuses on your career, you will find out exactly what you need to be happy, successful, and understood at work. The Know Thyself Guides™ are powered by the Birkman Method®. Dr. Brown is a certified Birkman Method® consultant.

Liane Hansen
Actor, Broadcaster


Topic "Reflections from a Functional Depressive"

Liane Hanson moved to her home in Bethany Beach, DE two years ago. An Emmy and Peabody Award winning broadcaster, she worked for Public Broadcasting for 40 years. She last served as host of NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday. She is currently an actor with Clear Space Theatre Company Rehoboth Beach, DE in the summer production of The Sound of Music, and an actor with the Bethany Area Repertory Theatre based at the Dicken Parlour Theatre in Millville, DE. 

Liane is on the board of WDDE 91.1 FM in Dover, Delaware as well as The National Music Festival in Chestertown, MD, where she is also a performer. 

Peter Atwater
President, Financial Insyghts

Called “one of the smartest guys you never heard of on anything financial,” by Herb Greenberg of CNBC, Peter is the president of Financial Insyghts, a consulting firm that advises institutional investors, corporations, and public policymakers on how social mood affects decision making and the markets.

After a successful career in financial services, including thirteen years with JPMorgan building the firm’s asset-backed securities, business, and executive leadership roles at First USA, Bank One and Juniper, Peter turned his attention to socionomics - how changes in social mood alter human behavior. Today, through his firm, Financial Insyghts, he brings a practical understanding of the world of finance, coupled with a keen awareness of human decision making, enabling his clients to easily see changing behavioral trends ahead of the market.

Peter teaches an honors colloquium at the University of Delaware, “Social Mood, Decision Making and the Markets” and he is the author of "Moods and Markets” (FTPress), which provides specific practical insights for investors on how changes in confidence drive the capital markets.  Peter's research on confidence-driven decision making has been profiled by Gillian Tett in the Financial Times and Rana Foroohar in Time Magazine.

Jamie Kleman
Writer, Playwright


Jamie Kleman dreamed of writing clever rhymes that would inspire readers. Jamie has been able to realize her dream through the books she has written for children, including It’s Not Mean to be Green – a story Kleman also adapted to the stage as a full length musical.

            The DuPont Theatre called Jamie with an opportunity for her story to come to life on stage.  After a year of tackling everything from song writing to set design, Jamie watched as her monsters educated and entertained thousands of children.  She gave these creepy characters that typically evoke chills and screams the chance to be positive and form a Green Team: Frankenstein, Greenella the Witch, Solar, Finn the Swamp Monster, and Trevor Evermore the Vampire.

            It’s Not Mean to be Green the Musical sold out for three consecutive days at The DuPont Theatre and continued to tour for two years. Learn about Jamie’s A Bigger Boat Foundation (Read More) - www.abiggerboat.org, a nonprofit that develops projects to inspire and educate children, and helps them become responsible stewards of environmental, personal, and social issues. Kleman has also signed on as a Channel Director and Correspondent for GreenTV.com, a premier platform that promotes awareness and provides dynamic updates on all green news.

Jim Lee
Author, Futurist

As Delaware’s only professional futurist, James H. Lee applies long-term foresight towards understanding shifts in the economic and cultural landscape.  He is the founder of Strategic Foresight Investments (StratFI). Over the course of his twenty-year investment career, he has advised both the very wealthy and middle-America.


Lee is also the author of Resilience and the Future of Everyday Life, which provides a comprehensive look at how several generations of Americans are successfully responding to an era of financial instability. 


In recognition of his expertise, Lee has been interviewed by The Wall Street JournalFinancial Planning, and Medical Economics. He has also written for The Futurist, the Journal of Futures Studies, and Technological Forecasting and Social Change.


Lee graduated from the College of William & Mary with a B.A. in Economics and received a Master’s degree in Studies of the Future from the University of Houston. He is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Chartered Market Technician (CMT), and a member of the Association of Professional Futurists (APF). 

Connect with James H. Lee on LinkedIn or through Twitter @jhlinde.

Chris Ungermann
CEO, Sanosil International LLC

Chris Ungermann is committed to innovation in disinfection and sustainable chemistry, a passion that led to his current role as CEO and investor in Sanosil International. Sansoil International is a privately held company that manufactures and markets patented, cutting edge, anti-microbial formulas, and equipment for creating a safe environment through surface disinfection and water treatment. Sanosil’s unique chemistry is based on a stabilization process that blends hydrogen peroxide and silver to create broad-spectrum, safe, and eco-friendly solutions for killing germs without creating antibiotic resistant pathogens, or undesirable environmental byproducts. Before Sanosil, Chris worked in the chemical industry with DuPont and other technology leaders for over 20 years in sales, marketing, product development, and manufacturing roles.  He was born and educated in Germany with a BS degree in Engineering and has travelled extensively. Chris has lived in Germany, Northern Ireland, Switzerland, and the United States. 

Andrew Gomory

Andrew Gomory is the Chief Executive Officer of Lingraphica, a leading provider of speech-generating devices and therapy, and practice apps aimed toward helping those who have lost their voice due to stroke, or other brain trauma reengage with families, friends, and communities. He leads all product development for the company, setting a long-term goal of making speech rehabilitation available to a broader audience than currently has access to it.

During his 10-year tenure as CEO of Lingraphica, Gomory’s leadership and entrepreneurial acumen moved the company from one with a single product to a cutting-edge organization that delivers industry-leading, multi-faceted solutions for people with aphasia, a condition defined as the loss of language due to stroke, or brain injury.

According to Gomory, “The fundamental thing a person with aphasia needs is a lifetime of inexpensive and continuous therapy. What they generally receive now is a few months of intensive speech therapy with clinicians. And then they are simply on their own. Our vision is to create tools people with aphasia can use to reengage with their families, friends, and communities. We won’t stop at simply helping people cope with aphasia; rather we want to help them improve and overcome throughout their lifetimes.”

Silvio Santini, the author of Wall Street Journeyman and winner of the gold medal at the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards is our 13th speaker at TEDxWilmington.

Mr. Santini graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and later earned an MBA with a specialization in finance from the University of Chicago. He worked on Wall Street in high profile management and trading positions for twenty seven years.

Mr. Santini has recently retired from the financial services industry to focus on his interests in literature and music.

Steven Grasse


CEO of Quaker City Mercantile

Steven Grasse started his advertising agency Quaker City Mercantile (formerly Gyro Worldwide) in 1988. QCM’s first client was MTV, which remained for eight years. Puma joined the roster in 1994.

From almost the beginning, QCM developed its own brands; the first was Highball Magazine, the definitive guide to girls, cars, and booze, which pre-dated Maxim by about five years. In 1999, Steven moved into the clothing business with the development of Sailor Jerry and g*mart lines. He grew the Sailor Jerry brand to a presence in 1600 stores worldwide.

Grasse's first book, Evil Empire:101 Ways England Ruined the World, was a smashing success in the UK, winning Grasse a coveted spot on the Richard & Judy Show and multiple BBC interviews. Recently, Grasse has won acclaim for his book, Virus: The Outrageous History of Gyro Worldwide.

In 2006 he developed the artist-driven clothing line Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction . The Philadelphia flagship store of Art in the Age has been featured in Lucky, Elle, Marie Claire, and The New York Times and recently  received a Best of Philly award from Philadelphia Magazine.

Grasse’s most recent project is ROOT, a new certified organic liquor that has earned a feature article in Vanity Fair, mentions in Men’s Journal, The New York Times and Uncrate.com.  Since then, Grasse’s Art in the Age brand has released three additional organic spirits: SNAP and RHUBARB tea, and most recently SAGE, to similar acclaim. In 2009, Grasse changed the name of his company to Quaker City Mercantile.

Subpages (1): 2013 Sponsors