Mel loves coming up with new ideas, connecting people and putting on a good show - which is probably why she has taken on curating TEDxBristol with relish!

Mel thinks Bristol is the kind of place where creativity and collaboration feels so possible you can almost taste it in the air – and this year will lead the TEDxBristol team to produce their biggest and most ambitious event yet - she has a few secret plans for the event that she can’t wait to share with Bristol.

By day Mel is a Producer at BBC Bristol, where she produces a variety of factual films and inspirational events. Her passion for this city began in the late 90’s when she moved here to study at Bristol University. She happily returned to Bristol five years ago after working on media projects in London, Cardiff and Melbourne and also for an international charity in Zambia, Tanzania and Ethiopia!

When she’s not racing around with a camera and a deadline, she enjoys the brilliant countryside walks that the Bristol region has to offer, as well as the quality of the cider in the more traditional Somerset watering holes!

I dare to disrupt because ...

Every day we make assumptions and rely on received wisdom - I like challenging unhelpful 'best practice' and finding 'better practice'! There's always room for challenge, improvement and break-through thinking - and I hope that's what this year's speakers will demonstrate by the bucket-load!

Daniel Edmund is a speaker, entrepreneur and TEDx Bristol alumnus. Born to a British father and American mother, Daniel is now living back in Bristol where he was born after growing up outside of Washington D.C. He currently runs his own company Milk for Tea which is an events based business that helps men become more emotionally articulate while doing things they're interested in. One of his biggest aims is to help combat the male suicide rate in the UK which continues to be the leading cause of death for men under 50.

Since speaking on the main TEDxBristol stage in 2015, Daniel has gone on to meet HRH The Prince of Wales at his summer home at Highgrove, speak at Kensington Palace and join the L'Oreal and Princes Trust #AllWorthIt campaign alongside Dame Helen Mirren, amongst other things.

A lover of running, good conversation and Jean-Luc Godard films, Daniel aims to bring his experience and passion for people to the dynamic TEDx team this year.

As one of TEDxBristol 2015's most inspiring speakers - receiving a standing ovation despite never speaking in public before - now he's helping the class of '17 overcome their nerves and prepare for the TEDx stage. He'll be compering on the day, and has also been pioneering TEDxBristol's Facebook live chats with our new speakers. He is, undoubtably, Mr TEDxBristol! And he does it all in his spare time too. Thanks Dan!

Watch his talk about modern men and mental health:

Life Doesn't Have To Be Short


Nat has worked on the TEDxBristol core team since the event began in 2011, attended TED 2012 and curated TEDxBristol 2013. This year she’s using her eye for detail and encyclopaedic knowledge of all things TED to oversee the event as Executive Editor for the second year running.

By day Nat is a freelance designer, using a multidisciplinary skillset to work with a wide range of clients, from Disney and CBBC to the London School of Economics and the Academy of Medical Sciences. When she’s not having very serious conversations with adults about the best way to draw fart clouds, she can be found in the gym picking heavy things up and putting them back down.

Nat believes that the best ideas happen when people cross industry lines, and conversations happen between people with wildly different experiences and skillsets.

Dana brings her technology project management, energy and expertise in New York City and Silicon Valley to TEDxBristol.

Working on TEDxBristol only solidifies her decision to live in Bristol! She thinks there's such an amazing blend of creative and smart people supported by a wonderfully diverse population. A single mother to two wonderful and creative teenage kids, she looks forward to hearing and integrating into her life the advice the amazing speakers have to offer. Another benefit: Her "coolness" credibility was dramatically increased when her children found out she was working on the TEDxBristol team in 2015 and now they are a part of the "junior" team!

When not working on speaker selection and managing the venue activities for the event, she's working with another cool set of people at ALD Automotive in the Bristol Business Park.

I dare to disrupt because ...

I choose to become a single mom in my late 30's. I've disrupted the idea that the "traditional" way of building a family is the only successful approach.

Clare is Bristol born and bred, and is proud to have worked here in the creative industries for 19 years. She’s a powerhouse of the production world, having managed a huge range of television, live events and graphic design projects. No budget is too big or too scary, and her spreadsheets make sense of madness.

Having worked on some of the BBC Natural History Unit’s best love nature films, her colleagues would say she’s got a cool head but a quick reflex. She's the lady that makes sure Attenborough has a comfy bed for the night, and that the tent the crew are camping in is definitely bear-proof.

We’re not expecting any grizzlies at TEDxBristol this year, but she’s your lady if you have any queries or comfort requirements.

She’s looking forward to coming back to the TEDxBristol team having looked after the production, and managed the live stage in 2015. 

In her spare time she loves taking her dog and children for walks, and loves lounging in the Lido on her own.

Alana returns to TEDxBristol 2017 having joined us for the 2015 event, to direct and manage all operations, creative & staffing strategy, event design and generally keep the team on the straight and narrow!

Having graduated from Reading University with a history degree, Alana went on to develop her skills in the charity sector, spending years developing & implementing support strategies for highly vulnerable young people through partnerships, arts, education, therapeutic programmes and practical support at Kids Company.

Alana not only has vision, she is a born leader and doer with a creative flair, who knows exactly how to deploy her business development, strategy, creativity & dot connecting approaches, to achieve it.

So, it was fitting that Alana moved on to cut her teeth in the start up world, playing a major role in launching Room One, a space where artists & designers explore ideas that challenge the perception of how art & technology can be conceived, constructed and used. Following the success of the launch, Alana moved on to work on a variety of freelance & contracted projects within the public sector, CIC's and private business... so it was at this stage we were able to make the most of her experience and dynamic character. In 2015, Alana joined the TEDxBristol team as Event/Project Manager.

In the rest of her spare time, Alana supports small UK based charities through her applied knowledge in varying capacities. She also enjoys eating a lot (and cannot resist giving restaurants 'constructive criticism', much to friends & family disdain) renovates naff properties, and spends a lot of time (mainly eating) with her family.

Alana is most excited about working with Franco...this is an an ongoing theme.

Selina has been working in the event and marketing sector for 10+ years and is a creative, innovative and driven team player with lots of successful results in planning and delivering sustainable marketing, communication and event projects. So it´s not a surprise that Mel made a beeline for her at a networking event at BBC Bristol and put her on the Partnerships Team for the TEDxBristol 2017 event!

Selina has worked with partners from NGO to International Cooperation - offering sustainable, creative and empowering solutions with organisational and client needs at its core. From creative brainstorming’s and facilitation, planning events or worldwide conferences, to key marketing communication in a responsible way. 

As well as practical experience within the sector, she also has a theoretical background with a MSc in Business Psychology from the University of South Wales and a B.A. in Media, Social and Economic Communication from Universität der Künste Berlin. 

Selina believes that the best ideas happen when you get out of your comfort zone. She shares her time between Berlin and Bristol and always tries to incorporate the best of both worlds in her work. Being half German and half English she says "I sometimes don´t know which side is which!" 

I love being described as a positive role model. And was very excited when Mel invited me to join TEDxBristol 2017’s Partnership Team as a positive disruptor. What a privilege to be part of creating a fabulous 2 day event. My stuffed full time planner flipped on a sixpence as I can always factor in something that sparks joy for me.

Thinking not only that everyone can dream bigger than they ever imagine but that they can bring those dreams into reality IF they choose is at my core values. I know that once we get that by ‘getting over ourselves’ we shift from having our excuses constrain us to having them busted thus setting us free. How our body is determines what we think. What we think determines what we say. What we say determines the results we get. Once we take responsibility by changing how our body is and what we think the results we get change amazingly.

By day I work as an high end executive coach; workshop leader and deviser; writer; speaker; women in leadership researcher; Strategic Consultant and associate specialising in being an expert profiler. I co-ordinate a niche network for corporate women and women in big businesses in Bristol because I believe passionately in women being able to exceed their expectations and dramatically change culture sat the top.

I love living on the harbourside in Bristol – such a privilege and delight. At the moment it seems as if I am living in a tree house. When the strong winds sweep up the river it feels like being on the high seas as the trees swoop around dramatically. Having been headhunted for a job in Bristol 30 years ago … the magic of this city has influenced her decision to stay. Diversity and inclusion have made it a great choice of home.

I dare to disrupt because ...

I dare to disrupt because it’s fun to explore, challenge and question what is to discover what might be and marvel in the journey of discovery. I dare to disrupt because by being a positive role model it gives permission for others to step into their star-filled selves.

Franco de la Croix-Vaubois has worked in VIP hospitality and events for the past 25 years. He spent 10 years on private yachts sailing around the globe working for royalty, celebrities and high net worth individuals, 10 years running venues in London and now he's keeping things a bit more local - happily running Walton Castle in Clevedon. Franco also has an event agency and founded the Event Organisers Network, bringing event professionals together from across the Bristol and Bath region.

Drawing on his passion for people, cultures and events, volunteering for TEDxBristol is a natural fit, encapsulating his skills set, along with the TED ethos of giving a little back and knowledge sharing across the globe and across cultures, a common thread throughout Franco’s life. He says the TEDxBristol team is great fun, working with amazing people across a huge breadth of topics, experience and skills set in hugely inspiring. Franco is married to Polly, together they have 2 kids as well as Charlie the chocolate lab, the two Siamese cats and Zara the goldfish! In his spare time, Franco enjoys the great outdoors, obstacle course races and sailing.

I dare to disrupt because ...

Every day we face challenges, big and small. Every day we are faced with a choice: Let it be or do something about it - challenge the status quo, dare to change things - what's the worst that can happen? Someone once said: Success comes after a string of failures and the ability to learn and move on from them.

Originally hailing from Yorkshire, Hannah has been dabbling in the Bristol scene for the last seven years and made the move permanent three years ago.

Coming from a career in publishing Hannah has always had her head in a book embracing great, interesting and challenging stories. Wanting to share her love of the written word Hannah set up a community book club for everyone to get together and discuss a selected book, over a pint at the pub.

Working at Aardman allows Hannah to be part of a creative hub at centre of Bristol where there are so many engaging people and places to be absorbed. The creativity of the city is infectious and inspired her to pursue her passion for jewellery making where she endeavours to pick up her tools whenever she has free moment.

Volunteering for TEDxBristol encapsulates Hannah’s interests as TED brings together a multitude of stories, ideas and experiences on one platform. Hannah feels privileged to be part of the team bringing the event to Bristol.

Paul arrived in Bristol as a student and like so many others, has fallen in love with the diverse, welcoming and inclusive vibe of the city.

He has an interest in sharing experiences between communities, recognising that TEDxBristol can be an amazing way to make the city a better and even more rewarding place to live, building upon the richness that already exists.

Having been introduced to TED by a colleague, this is the first TEDx event Paul has volunteered for, where he is enjoying every moment of the fast pace and energy of the team. He is particularly excited about this year’s theme, inspiring others to do things differently, to be disruptive to the status quo and to make a positive change. Paul is motivated to encourage others to be imaginative, to harness the uniquely diverse and creative edge that the city has.

Being in touch with nature and the environment are important elements of his life.

With a background in project and event management in the tech and creative sector, Ella hoped her skillset and experience could be put to good use when she volunteered to be part of the TEDxBristol team back in 2014. Since then she's continued to be involved, as has seen the event grow in scale and ambition.

Ella has lived and worked in a number of cities, but Bristol is the place that definitely now feels like home. She loves the unique energy, diversity, inclusiveness and creativity of her adopted city - all things perfectly encapuslated in the TEDx ethos.

Ferielle is the Events Manager for Bristol Student's Union. After watching (many) TEDx videos on YouTube she wanted to run a similar event in the SU for University of Bristol students.

In 2015 she reached out to Mel and the TEDxBristol team to partner on an event as part of the SU's Welcome Week programme. Not only did the team offer support and advice in putting on the event but also previewed some of the TEDxBristol 2015 talks. The event was a huge success for both the SU and the TEDxBristol team who gained a number of volunteers off the back of it.

After running the event again in 2016 and playing an active role in supporting students in putting on TEDxUniversityofBristol, Ferielle decided it was time get more involved in the actual TEDxBristol event. She has lived in Bristol for three years and worked at the SU for most of that...

Taking inspiration from watching TED talks and attending one inspired Adrian to curate the first TEDx at his University (TEDxUWE). It was with TED he realised the power of conversations, breaking down barriers and working on things you believe in. Since leading his own TEDxUniversity, the legacy has continued as planned and more people at the university, Bristol and further have been inspired with fantastic stories! He takes great pride in continuing to build on the community of TEDx across Bristol and the world!

He spends most of the working week helping to build early stage tech startups, supporting meetups and some other exciting projects coming soon! In his spare time you would find him travelling, at music events and being immersed in f1 when it's on! Everything he lives by gaining new experiences or creating new experiences! By day or night he's either watching, thinking or working on TED. TEDx is a prime example of something which involves his passions, beliefs and values! TEDxBristol reinforces what he stands for around inspiring stories, great ideas and new experiences.

I dare to disrupt because ...

It all starts with our mindset and if we were all able to harness the power of unconventional thinking, we will be taking a step closer to solving the impossible. It means to be a bit inquisitive, question the norm and act on your creative ideas.

Tessa grew up in the South West but only arrived in Bristol in 2008. Prior to that she was living in different parts of the UK working and studying. Tessa is keenly interested in the natural world and also human nature.

Tessa enjoys spending time outdoors and is also involved in Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy as a way of using horses as part of the therapeutic process. Tessa has spent the last 25 years working with children, young people and families in a variety of different settings. Over the last decade her work has been as a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist.

As well as working clinically she is also offers supervision, consultation and teaches on the Tavistock and Portman courses based in Bristol. This work, from a psychoanalytic perspective, means that she is constantly privileged to be able to be curious about unconscious processes in individuals, systems and organisations. She has been inspired by many TED talks in the past and has got involved with TEDxBristol as a way of being involved in sharing more inspirational stories and to also experience working alongside people from a range of backgrounds and organisations.

Josh is a freelance photographer and student based mainly in the Bristol area. He is about to undertake his third year of study in the subject at the University of the West of England, and is relishing in the freedom of doing both client based and personal work. His contributions to TEDxBristol began this year, and he hopes this relationship will continue long into the future!

His most current personal project, which is about to be published in TRIP Magazine, centred around the inhabitants of Belfast and documented the social contrast and change still apparent in the East and West sides of the city.

Prior to making this exciting body of work, Josh was documenting the aging and dwindling Irish communities in the cultural quarter of Digbeth in Birmingham, and also in Cheltenham and Bristol. He was met with an incredible amount of warmth, friendless and a true sense of community.

When not doing what he loves the most, Josh can be found perusing record shops, cruising on a longboard along the many hills of Bristol or coated in chalk at the climbing wall. If he cannot be found doing these activities, then be sure to check the nearest charity shop as he will no doubt be purchasing a garish cravat or an outlandish shirt…

If you are interested, you can view Josh’s work on Instagram at @joshadamjonesphoto or on his website at

Samuel is indefatigable when it comes to celebrating the diversity of human creativity. He is driven to advocate and pioneer sustainable and contextual initiatives that work towards individual motivation, community transformation and product innovation.

This drive towards experiencing the richness of human expression has seen Samuel working amongst the rapids as a kayak instructor, the pigment as an artist, the dispossessed and disenfranchised as a youth worker in England and abroad; as a writer, academic, minister, mentor and Not for Profit advocate.

It wasn’t long before Samuel realised that he was in the business of story. Now as the founder and lead storyteller at Hodos Consultancy Co. Samuel works with SME’s, charities, groups and individuals, helping them to identify and then magnify their message.

Among other bits and pieces Samuel is focused towards working along side our TEDxBristol speakers. He says, “it is such a privilege, and humbling too, working with people of passion who are at the top of their game. I get one-to-one TED talks every presentation coaching session - I love my Job!"

Kara has been part of the TEDxBristol Team since 2013. When she's not on her bike, sleeping under trees, underwater, or tending to her allotment, she works as an architect and masterplanner in Bristol and the Philippines. The past year of travel fed her growing interest in Permaculture Design and the plight of Indigenous Peoples around the world. This exposure opened her eyes to the importance of daring to question current development & design practices. She continues to seek solutions for self-reliance and sustainability. 
Kara also recently joined the organisation  Land is Life as a Board Director. Ultimately, she wants to share her passion about rekindling humanity’s connection with nature and one another; finding inspiration from Indigenous history and ways of life. She is the founder of the Coron EcoVillage, a community initiative that stemmed from a relief effort in the Philippines following the destruction wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013.

Originally from Wimbledon, Ian has had a love of Bristol since coming to study at the University of Bristol many years ago! Since then he made the move from London and has been enjoying life in the beautiful South West for 15 years.  His interest in TED came from watching talks like everyone else, and from there he had friends and colleagues involved in TEDxBristol, and was keen to learn more about the event.  Having been asked if he wanted to join the Partnership Team and after meeting the industrious people in it, he felt privileged to then be asked to lead the team.  As part of the role he has the pleasure of meeting many of the leading lights in Bristol business, and seeing how generous the Bristol business community is in supporting TEDxBristol. 

Outside of TEDxBristol, Ian has been in the field of IT and Business Change leadership in London and the South West for over 20 years, and takes an active interest in business and growth in the region through organisations such as Business West.  In his spare time he enjoys singing and playing league tennis, as well as volunteering at Glastonbury Festival and coaching kids' football. 

I dare to disrupt because ...

Change is a great thing! Although sometimes the route isn't comfortable, when we know something isn't right or can be better, we can only grow by challenging the here and now. For me, when you believe in something for the common good, and you're the only person saying it when the crowd is saying 'no', education and persistence can often win that crowd over.

New to the TEDx Team, Jo is passionate about people, breaking down barriers and helping TEDx Bristol be the most inclusive and disruptive TEDx event ever. 

Previously leading on BBC Bristol’s Outreach and Corporate Social Responsibility in the city, Jo loves the opportunity to give people a voice and create conversations that lead to action and change. 

Her work around diversity and inclusion at BBC Bristol, launched a five-year schools programme; Talent Ticket Roadshow. This school ‘takeover’ project worked with 6,000 local students, inspiring them to consider a career in the media.

When not trying to change the world, Jo likes to curl up with a good book or escape to her allotment and look at the weeds.

I dare to disrupt because ...

There are too many invisible barriers all over Bristol, where you live, where you work, your school, your race and your mindset. I want to disrupt Bristol in breaking down those barriers, to enable those conversations that open up people’s thinking and present new ideas and perspectives. I want to be disruptive in telling people they can achieve their dreams and that together we can make Bristol a more progressive, equal and connected city.
Sonia has started her adventure with TEDx as a speaker during TEDxMaastricht in Netherlands. Having titled her talk "How to fail a gap year gloriously", she soon became absolutely addicted to the idea of expanding horizons, jumping into deep waters, meeting inspiring people and travelling in order to learn more about the world we live in. She joined TEDxBristol in 2015 as a Bristol-based filmmaker, traveller and explorer.  
Having studied in India in international school with people from over 75 countries, Sonia celebrates diversity in every place she travels to. She currently works as Assistant Producer at Screenology, a very disruptive film school launched as a production company. Whether it's making a Bristol-based feature film on no budget in 100 days, producing Star Wars fan film featuring Bristol talent or following a Bristol quidditch team all the way to Italy for them to attend European Quidditch Cup, Sonia loves challenges and disruption in any shape or form. 

I dare to disrupt because ...

I can! Because I never believed we should follow certain paths and ways of doing things just because people before us did. We live in a crazy world and new standards keep coming up every day - let's make them high ones when it comes to love, science, social justice and the world around us.

Are you interested in joining our team?

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