Point of Departure

Welcome to Point of Departure, July 7-8 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. Get ready to be inspired by ideas and experiences with the power to alter the course of your life. General Admission, VIP, and All-Access tickets for the event are sold out. Only Hero and Superhero ticket packages are available at this point.

Hero Package $250:

TEDxMileHigh is a non-profit organization, and Hero ticket sales provide funding for our youth initiatives. Your Hero ticket grants you one All-Access ticket, plus:

  • Recognition of your support during the main event
  • You’ll cover costs for 10 students to participate in our year-round youth programming

SuperHero Package $500:

TEDxMileHigh is a non-profit organization, and Superhero ticket sales provide funding for our youth initiatives. Your Superhero ticket grants you two All-Access tickets, plus:

  • Recognition of your support during the main event
  • A behind-the-scenes tour of the event led by members of our staff
  • You’ll cover costs for 20 students to participate in our year-round youth programming

Speakers and Performers

Alejandro Jimenez is a poet, educator, and long-distance runner from Colima, Mexico. In 2011 he became the first Latino to win the Su Barrio Slam Poetry Competition. The following year he was a member of the SlamNUBA poetry team that placed 5th at the National Poetry Slam Competition in 2012. Alejandro works with youth in Denver and tries to laugh with them as much as possible. Read Alejandro’s Q&A.

Alexander McCoy is a Marine Corps veteran, political strategist, and progressive grassroots organizer. In 2016, he helped craft the legislative strategy to successfully pass the Fairness for Veterans Act through a gridlocked Congress. He currently serves as the Communications Director for Common Defense, a PAC dedicated to mobilizing veterans and military families across the nation. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Policy, Reuters, and Huffington Post.

Amanda Copple is a freelance ballerina and lifestyle coach. Originally from Fort Collins, she grew up in the countryside chasing bugs and taking dance class. Amanda graduated from Alonzo King LINES Ballet in San Francisco with a BFA in Dance and a Business Minor. After college she moved back to Denver and accepted a position as a ballerina for Wonderbound Dance Company. Since then she has become an Integral Coach through New Ventures West coaching school.

Arielle Hein is an artist, technologist, and educator who explores the imaginative use of emerging technologies, drawing from an interdisciplinary background and a research-based creative practice. Arielle is an instructor in the ATLAS Institute and the Technology, Arts, and Media program in the College of Engineering & Applied Sciences at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Read Arielle’s Q&A.

This is Assetou Xango’s (AH-say-too SHA-ngo) second time performing with TEDxMileHigh. Since her last talk in October 2016, she has become the Poet Laureate of Aurora and also begun collaborating with Flobots to offer immersive creative writing workshops to youth. She represented Denver in the 2017 International Women of the World Poetry Slam (WOWPS). She was recently featured in Westword’s 100 Denver Artists. Xango is a profound poet, community activist, documentary filmmaker, teacher and mentor.

An injured survivor of the Columbine shooting, Austin Eubanks’ traumatic experience as a teen was the catalyst to his painful journey through addiction. Now in long-term recovery, he is a nationally recognized speaker on addiction recovery and the Chief Operations Officer of The Foundry Treatment Center, a 30-bed treatment program in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Read Austin’s Q&A.

Blake Scholl is the Founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic, a Denver startup that is building supersonic passenger aircraft capable of flying from San Francisco to Tokyo in under six hours. Previously, Blake held leadership roles at Amazon.com and was the co-founder and CEO at Kima Labs (acquired by Groupon). Blake is an avid pilot who holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University.

Dr. Brandon Mathews is a passionate criminal justice professional with expertise in the development and implementation of innovative evidence-based correctional treatment and supervision programs. Brandon is an active researcher with the Alliance for Criminal Justice Innovation, publishing on topics like recidivism reduction, structured decision-making, risk assessment, and criminal justice education. Read Brandon’s Q&A.

Brittni Darras is an English teacher at Rampart High School in Colorado Springs. Following the attempted suicide of one of Rampart’s students, Brittni wrote each of her 130 students personalized cards, earning her worldwide attention, the AspenPointe Hero of Mental Health Award, and the Mayor’s Young Leader Award in the category of Innovation in Education. Brittni continues to advocate for suicide prevention and mental health awareness. Read Brittni’s Q&A.

Caitlin Quattromani is a Colorado native and mom to two elementary school-age boys. She graduated from the University of Denver with an international business degree and has been fortunate to travel the world as a marketing and product leader, including living abroad in Luxembourg. She currently leads multicultural marketing for a Fortune 50 company in the Denver area. Read Caitlin’s Q&A.

Cassie De Pecol is a world traveler, keynote speaker, brand ambassador, triathlete, activist, and entrepreneur. Born in 1989, she was raised and homeschooled in rural Connecticut. She enjoyed “out of the box” educational and multicultural experiences at various universities before deciding to begin her solo travels to 25 countries at the age of 21. In 2015, she started fresh, traveling alone to all 196 countries and securing two Guinness World Records. Read Cassie’s Q&A.

Chip Colwell is the Senior Curator of Anthropology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. He’s published 10 books, most recently Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits: Inside the Fight to Reclaim Native America’s Culture. His work has been featured in publications like The New York Times, The Guardian, Salon, and Slate. Chip is the founding Editor-in-Chief of sapiens.org, an online magazine about anthropological discoveries. Read Chip’s Q&A.

David Baron is a journalist, author, and broadcaster who has spent most of his thirty-year career in public radio, covering environment and science beats for various NPR outlets and programs. David’s work has been awarded on three occasions with the annual journalism prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His 2003 book, The Beast in the Garden, received the Colorado Book Award. Read David’s Q&A.

Esther Sullivan is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Colorado, Denver. Her research focuses on poverty, spatial inequality, legal regulation, housing, and the built environment, with a special interest in both forced and voluntary residential mobility. Esther holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from The University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in English from The University of Chicago. Read Esther’s Q&A.

Armed with musicianship, intelligence, and an ingrained sense of rebellion, Denver’s Flobots are an alternative hip-hop band formed in 2005. Flobots have been an integral part of the Denver’s music scene ever since storming the airwaves with their platinum single “Handlebars.” Their new album, NOENEMIES, is an appeal for forgiveness in a wounded nation.

Franklin is a latin queer Denver poet from an immigrant family. The shy kid who learned the power of his voice, he uses his poetry to inspire people to connect with their deeper narrative.

Lauran Arledge started her career as high school social studies teacher in Wilmington, North Carolina. In the past 15 years Lauran has worked in public health violence prevention, community organizing, coaching, and organizational development. She currently holds a leadership position in talent development for a Denver-based technology company. Read Lauran’s Q&A.

Madison A. Krall is a twentysomething student rhetorician of health and medicine based in Denver. In addition to academic writing and teaching, she loves finding ways to incorporate wine and cheese into every meal, discovering the love languages of strangers, and playing cribbage with her super cool family. As a proud Christian feminist, Madison adamantly believes we live in a world where people are inherently good and equality is possible. Read Madison’s Q&A.

Luke Kamppila, 19. Born and raised in Colorado Springs, CO. Discovered his love for dancing at the ripe age of 6. throughout his high school years he trained at a local studio in Denver, Colorado. Sense graduating Luke has set off to Los Angeles, California to follow his passion and advance his dance career.

A writer of Asian-American, Pacific-Islander descent, Meta Sarmiento won the Spoken Word for the World competition in 2015 and is a three-time TeamBackPack cypher audition semi-finalist. He recently earned a spot on SlamNUBA’s National Poetry Team. A graduate of the University of Guam (a U.S. accredited university serving Guam and Micronesia), Meta often writes about cultural identity, love, loss, and healing. Read Meta’s Q&A.

Kino” is addicted to expression and helping others find new ways to see the meaning in small things that are often overlooked. He’s been competing in poetry slams since he was in high school and has also created a name for himself in the dance community as a student and teacher. Currently, Kino is balancing work at the Denver School of Innovation and Sustainable Design with the lifestyle of a traveling DJ.

Since completing his residency training in 2001, Dr. Phil Mitchell has worked as an emergency physician in the Denver metro area. As the Medical Director of DispatchHealth, Phil created the parameters for the clinical capabilities of their mobile emergency and urgent care model. He is a husband and father of three teenagers.

Philip Fernbach is a cognitive scientist and professor in the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Co-author of The Knowledge Ilusion: Why We Never Think Alone, Philip’s research focuses on why we think we know more than we actually do and the implications this has on individuals and society. He lives in Boulder with his wife and two children. In his free time, he plays bluegrass music and ice hockey.

Rob Drabkin graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas with the intention of becoming a doctor. His focus quickly changed after a family trip to New York where he reconnected with his dad’s old musician friends. His newly released single, “Someday,” has landed on major international Spotify playlists and has accumulated over a million plays from listeners around the world. Read Rob’s Q&A.

Slam poet Theo E.J. Wilson, a.k.a Lucifury, is a founding member of Denver’s SlamNUBA team, which won the National Poetry Slam in 2011. He began his speaking career with the NAACP at the age of 15 and has always been passionate about social justice. Theo is currently the Executive Director of Shop Talk Live, an organization that uses the barbershop as a staging ground for community dialogue and healing. Read Theo’s Q&A.

Woody Roseland is a natural-born entertainer constantly socializing and telling jokes, much to the chagrin of virtually every teacher he ever had. Woody is a professional filmmaker, photographer, and comedy writer. On any given day you’ll find him with his head in the clouds at Cheeseman Park. He enjoys living out of his backpack in random corners of the world and likes bikes very, very much. Read Woody’s Q&A.










You may know us for our inspiring talks on the big stage, but we’ve also curated a salon of exhibits in the lobby and Galleria at the DPAC.

This year we’ll have over 30 innovative and interactive exhibits and experiences to capture the mind. Show up early to see everything we have put together including almost a dozen exhibits focused on the facets of environmental sustainability, ranging from solar power demonstrations to efforts to combat deforestation. We’re also featuring technology exhibits including Virtual Reality experiences, a homemade self-driving car, and an innovative photobooth from Creative Technologist and 2017 Speaker Arielle Hein.

Our event will make you hungry. Saturday afternoon, enjoy lunch from one of Denver’s finest food trucks, with a selection of menus that span the globe. Lunch is included with your ticket, and we’ll also have free snacks and samples to keep you charged throughout the day.

Ready to meet the region’s best and brightest? Hoping to find the perfect person to help with your big idea? We have you covered at our first-ever Speed Networking Experience on Saturday, July 8! Before each speaker session begins, join us as a hand-picked moderator will curate a fun, fast-paced, networking session. All you need to do is show up ready to shake some hands and meet some new faces. (Might not hurt to bring a few business cards.)

Enjoy a happy hour or brunch with some of TEDxMileHigh’s brilliant alumni speakers. A special event for our All-Access ticket holders, these are modeled off of a similar activity offered at the TED Conference. Attendees and speakers have the opportunity to sit and discuss the speaker’s TEDxMileHigh talk, developments that have come in the wake of the talk, and how the attendees can help support the speaker’s mission. This year we are offering two options: a happy hour on Friday afternoon before the first session of talks begins, and a brunch Session on Saturday morning to kick off the second day of the event. RSVP and an All Access ticket are required. All Access ticket holders will receive a direct email with instructions and links.

On Friday evening we will walk a block from the theater to the Skyline Park Beer Garden to celebrate the first day of the event with a Colorado craft brew and some lawn games, on a beautiful summer night! All of our attendees are invited! No RSVP required. Our volunteer team will be on hand to help everyone find their way!

Following the event on Saturday we will head to Edge Bar, up the street from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts in the Four Seasons Hotel Denver. This is a great opportunity to meet and chat with speakers and enjoy a drink with our team members, volunteers, interns, and fellow attendees.



Want a chance to help spread our great talks even further? This July, the TED Translators team is teaming up with TEDxMileHigh for an exciting TEDx/TED Translators workshop that will expand our TEDx event’s audience like nothing before. By participating in the TED Translators program, our videos become accessible to hearing-impaired and non-English speakers across the world.

TED’s Helene Batt will explain everything you need to know and TEDxMileHigh’s Helena Bowen will share her experience transcribing our talks. In breakout workshops, we’ll teach you to use Amara, the transcription and translation software. You don’t need to be fluent in a foreign language to participate in the workshop. In fact, the first step of each translation is an English transcription. If you want to take your TEDx game to the next level, this workshop is for you.


*Fees not included

**These events are only available for All Access ticket holders! Saturday, before the main event starts, you will have the opportunity to have brunch with a current or past TEDxMileHigh speaker to discuss their big ideas in greater detail. In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to sit in on a Speaker Rehearsal the day before the event and participate in an All-Access Adventure to see some big ideas come to life. (Registration required for these additional events.)