2014 Speakers


This year's event was an absolute success! Our eclectic group of speakers truly personified the TEDxChapmanU theme: Icons, Geniuses and Mavericks. Their talks stirred our minds with new thoughts, inspire deeper conversations, and elevatde us to look at ourselves, and others, through a new set of lenses.

Videos now available! Watch them here »


Eyal Aronoff

Eyal Aronoff was a co-founder of Quest Software, which was sold to Dell for $2.4 billion in 2012. After leaving Quest in 2003, Eyal has started several successful companies in a variety of industries. His current focus is energy, algorithmic trading and autism. Eyal is one of the largest funders of the effort to break the US oil addiction through the Fuel Freedom Foundation which he co-founded. Eyal is also one of the largest funders of clinical trials for treatments for autism and a supporter of the autism therapy portal Mendability.com.


Lee Cheng

Lee Cheng is the Chief Legal Officer, SVP of Corporate Development and Corporate Secretary at Newegg Inc., a $2.8B global (N. America and China) internet retailer that is the largest privately held e-commerce company in North America.  He oversees or has run Newegg’s Legal, Corporate Development, Compliance, Ethics, Human Resources, Government Relations and Risk Management functions, and created the Newegg Foundation to facilitate and encourage community and philanthropic activity at Newegg.  

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Stephanie Decker

In March of 2012, a tornado ripped through Stephanie's town of Henryville, Indiana. Stephanie, a 37-year-old mother, found herself in a life-altering moment. As her house began to disintegrate around her, she shielded her two young children with her body. Her dream home fell in, crushing her legs, but because of her heroic actions, Stephanie's children were amazingly unscathed. On top of that, it was a miracle that she even survived and made it to the hospital. At that point, doctors determined that parts of both legs would need to be amputated. Since the accident, Stephanie has inspired a nation. 

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Robin Follman

Internationally acclaimed soprano, Robin Follman has been described as “a singer-actress fully worthy of that dual distinction”. She has performed with the world’s leading opera houses and orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Opera, New York City Opera, Washington Opera, Singapore Lyric Opera, and Opera Lyra Ottawa.

She is CEO of The Follman-Young Foundation for the Arts and is head of Strategic Planning at her family’s manufacturing facilities, Markall, Inc. and R.A. Industries in Santa Ana, California.


Laura Glynn

Laura Glynn is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Chapman University.  She received undergraduate degrees in Economics and Psychology at U.C. Davis and her PhD in Experimental Psychology at U.C. San Diego.  Dr. Glynn has published extensively in the field of maternal-child health with a particular interest in the perinatal period. Her research focuses on questions such as: Why do women give birth to babies that are born early or small?; How does fetal experience shape the health and development of infants and children?; Does the prenatal period represent a critical period of neurological development, not only for the fetus, but for the mother too? 


Brian Kessler

Brian Kessler, Founder and President of Maui Toys, is a prolific inventor who applied for his first patent in high school and has designed and developed more than 2,600 toys, sporting goods and consumer products. 

As an inventor, marketer and creator of intellectual property, Brian is also a successful serial entrepreneur. He owns and operates six companies engaged in power generation, transportation, entertainment, product design and development. Brian founded Maui Toys in 1988 and sold it to Jakks Pacific, the third largest toy company in the world in 2012.


Iryna Krechkovsky

Iryna Krechkovsky is a prize-­winning violinist with an international career in solo, chamber and orchestral performances. Celebrated for her tone, emotionality and precision, she has been featured in concert venues from Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York, to The American Church, in Paris, France, also performing on National Public Radio, KABC-­TV Los Angeles, and the Public Broadcasting Service. 

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Michael Laskin

Michael Laskin has been a professional actor for thirty-five years, and an acting teacher and coach for the last five, since founding The Michael Laskin Studio. His film and television credits include dozens of feature films and guest-starring roles ranging from Seinfeld to Eight Men Out. He’s worked with Robert Duvall, Kevin Spacey, Alec Baldwin, Jeff Goldblum, James Caan, and done four films with writer/director John Sayles. 

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Jillian Lauren

Jillian Lauren is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, Some Girls: My Life in a Harem and the novel, PrettySome Girls has been translated into seventeen different languages and is currently being adapted into a Lifetime movie. Her next memoir, Everything You Ever Wanted, is coming out from Plume/Penguin in 2015. Jillian has an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review, Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Magazine, Salon, and The Moth Anthology, among others. She is a regular storyteller with The Moth. Jillian blogs about motherhood and writing at whatever else she feels like at her award-winning blog: www.jillianlauren.com/blog


Alyson Noël

Alyson Noël is the #1 NYT best-selling, award-winning, author of 21 novels, including THE IMMORTALS series, the RILEY BLOOM series, and THE SOUL SEEKERS series.

With 8 NYT bestsellers in 2 years, and over 7 million copies in print, her books have been translated into 36 languages, sold in over 50 countries, have made the NYT, USA Today, LA Times, Publisher’s Weekly, Wall Street Journal, NCIBA, and Walmart Bestsellers lists, as well as several international bestsellers lists in France (#1), Brazil, Germany, The UK, and Poland.

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Dileep Rao

Dileep Rao is an actor whose work has been seen on stage and screen. His work includes: Theatre: Indian Ink by Tom Stoppard, Fetes de la Nuit by Charles Mee and Making it by Joe Hortua. Film: James Cameron’s Avatar, Drag Me to Hell directed by Sam Raimi, and Christopher Nolan’s Inception. TV: Touch, Brothers and Sisters. He holds a BA in politics from UCSD and an MFA from the American Conservatory Theater. He lives in Santa Monica, California and plans to make his first film in the next year.


Trent Schlom

Trent Schlom is a sports reporter and broadcaster in Southern California who works for ESPN as a play-by-play announcer for coverage of the Big West Conference on ESPN3. Before joining ESPN, the Chapman University alumnus and Orange County native worked as a television broadcaster at Time Warner Cable Sports covering high school athletics primarily in the San Diego and Orange County. In 2012, Schlom was a national high school football analyst for iBN Sports and was a high school football contributor for AM 570 Fox Sports Radio in Los Angeles.


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Stacey Schuerman

Stacey Schuerman, E-RYT 500 (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher), is the Co-Owner of SunSpark Yoga, a family owned, community focused yoga studio in the heart of Old Towne Orange.  She has been practicing yoga since 2002 and teaching yoga to adults and kids of all ages since 2008.  Stacey’s personal yoga journey began after an injury, when she discovered it was the perfect exercise for strength development, balance, increased flexibility and stress reduction.  

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Frank Smith

Frank Smith is Chief Operating Officer of Anschutz Film Group (AFG) and Walden Media. Smith has been with AFG since 2003, but currently oversees all aspects of AFG’s operations (development, physical production, publishing, marketing and outreach, finance, legal and business affairs) and he also works directly with The Anschutz Corporation on strategic planning and general operational issues. During his tenure with AFG, Smith has been lead counsel overseeing large budget motion picture franchise projects, co-production finance and distribution deals with major studios, as well as structuring foreign corporations for multijurisdictional film production tax incentives. 

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Event Emcees


Lawrence “LB” Brown, PharmD, Ph.D., FAPhA

Associate Dean of Student and Academic Affairs, Professor of Pharmacoeconomics and Health Policy, School of Pharmacy, Chapman University

Jocelyn L. Buckner, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, College of Performing Arts, Department of Theatre, Chapman University


The joy of TEDx is experiencing new ideas from all walks of life.
To see what TEDxChapmanU is all about — view our 2014 speaker videos.