TED Talks-style event aims to inspire teens


TED Talks for local teens — that’s the idea behind a new event.

The Encinitas Youth Commission spearheaded “Do life BIG — teen leader event,” featuring well-known locals talking about topics like leadership, government, sustainability and living life with purpose. This free event will be held from 5-7 p.m. on May 20 at the Encinitas Community Center.

“Our main goal was to inspire teens and show them different careers out there,” said Youth Commission Chair Delila Forrest over the phone this week. She added the event has been in the works for a couple years.

Mayor Kristin Gaspar will greet the crowd, followed by a video welcome from skateboarding icon Tony Hawk, and then the following local speakers will offer words of wisdom:

• Tom Jones, Nixon’s global vice president of marketing and creative

• Daron “Farmer D” Joffe, director of agricultural innovation and development of the Leichtag Foundation and Coastal Roots Farm

•Jonathan Hanwit, CEO of thinkPARALLAX

• CBS News 8 Reporter Angie Lee

• CW6 News Reporter Neda Iranpour

The event will also feature snacks, drinks and music from local singer-songwriter Kennady Tracy. And attendees will be entered into a contest for prizes.

Forrest said commissioners have enjoyed hearing from local leaders during their regular meetings, so the commission created the event to give more teens the same opportunity.

“We talked a lot about guest speakers that teens would be interested in,” she said.

Representing grades 7 through 12, the commission advises the Encinitas City Council on teen services and programs, develops an annual work plan and partners with public and private agencies on youth-related matters.