Tag Archives: tedxtalks

Inspiration from TedxMaui

Watching Kamea Hadar the lead director of Pow Wow Hawaii, an annual gathering of artists from all over the world was amazing.  They are transforming warehouse spaces in Honolulu by painting murals, and even creating classrooms, darkrooms, housing artists in un-seaworthy boats on his family land, when they come to paint.  He and another guy painted the entire mural of Daniel Inouye during the lunch break.
I will not say I don’t have time to paint anymore. It was such an exciting day! Lia Krieg and Kainoa Horcajo were excellent Masters of ceremonies. Quayle Hodek stands out in my mind. He is called one of the “7 hottest CEOs” by Treehugger.com and he is a visionary for Renewable Energy. He is the CEO of Renewable Choice Energy. He’s helping Third World Countries now by providing electricity via mini solar panels that can give light to families who once had only candles to use for the entire night with their families. He has us imagine spending the whole night in darkness, doing homework by candle light, cooking, caring for a baby, not being able to see the faces of your family  when the lights went out. One of his clients is Whole Foods who are using Windpower 100% nationwide. Wow, I was impressed.

The first speaker, Poet, Kim Rosen, was raised to be a lawyer and spoke like one ever since childhood. She really knew since she was two years old that she wanted to be a poet. Something that came from deep inside of her. She had us laughing and then in tears as she told the story of speaking to Masai girls and being terrified of them. Shy girls had been rescued from their tribes to end the forced marriages at eight years old and genitalia mutilation. She was working with a woman named Eve of V-day “stopping violence against women” who was helping to change their lives. She didn’t know what to say. When one of the young girls asked Kim, “What is my name?” Kim said a name and all the girls shrieked with laughter pointing to another girl with that name. Then they asked her to sing a song, and she said she really didn’t sing but she could recite a poem. So then she tried to think of a poem appropriate for these girls out of the hundreds she had memorized in her lifetime. The poem was “The Journey” by Mary Oliver and it had many of us shed tears.

Archie Kalepa now elected in the Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame thrilled us with his journeys on the ocean from Big Wave surfing to stand up paddling across the channel to Molokai and down the Colorado River teaching Indians and bringing awareness about the need for water in those regions. He told us the story of meeting Eddie Aikau when someone was caught in a rip tide and Eddie was lifeguard on Oahu.

I was excited to see and hear Makana who showed his genius and humor while playing guitar for us.

At lunch I got to meet Mick Fleetwood, yes of Fleetwood Mac! He was very gracious.

mick fleetwood

There were a thousand people at TedxMaui. It was much bigger than last year. I loved both events and I’m thankful I got to attend. I saw that Steven Tyler was there for the after party and what an amazing island we live on in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Visionaries, entrepreneurs, leaders of Hawaiian Culture, young scientists, all coming together to make this world a better place… See the #tedxmaui2013 hashtag to view all the photos by the social media crew. Thanks again to Katie MacMillan and Sara Tekula as well as their entire crew of TedXMaui for another life changing event.





Jen Russo @MauiTime


Tommy Russo



Looking forward to seeing more and more dreams become real!


Toby Neal

Maui Author
Toby Neal

Aloha everyone…
















































TedxMaui January 13, 2013

It’s time for TedxMaui 2013. When I first heard of Tedxtalks I hadn’t a clue. I’d heard they were going on all over the United States and the world. People were giving the twenty minute talk of their life about technology, education and design. They were meant to inspire, enlighten and make this world a better place. I watched a few talks, one about vulnerability, how it was okay to be vulnerable human beings, others by inventors and designers of amazing sculptures that intrigue and shock one to move and rescue as it appears to fall and then rights itself. A twelve year old talked of sustainability and neighborhood gardens in New York City. Award winning journalist Amy Cortese spoke about Locavesting and how a community could be transformed by investing in the local businesses within a fifty mile radius. All this inspired me to support and  bring attention to local farmers on Maui and to dream of ways to grow food on our island by representing Ag Tourism and sharing Maui’s Agricultural Beauty. Dr. Arthur Medeiros taught us about Auwahi: Hope on a Hawaiian Volcano.  Together with Ulupalakua Ranch owner Pardee Erdman, he is doing a restoration project of our native Hawaiian plants. We can do our part to continue the restoration project. It’s a ten year old forest that is truly inspiring and hopeful.
The opening act TedxMaui2012  TAIKO DRUMMERS took the stage.
I was blown away. It was exciting and beautiful. We took our seats in the lovely Castle Theater at the Maui Arts and Culture Center with all our friends from Social media. The word had spread through Twitter and Facebook.

The very first speaker Dr. Elizabeth Lindsey was captivating and beautiful. Her talk “Ancient Wisdom For A Modern World” made us realize that in our busy, rushing about world we miss so much. It is important to slow down and feel and just be.

When I arrived at Tedxmaui2012 it was with eager anticipation to hear two of my favorite ladies, Lani and Pomai Weigert, speak. Lani is Co-Founder of the Ali`i Kula Lavender Farm and Pomai is her daughter who practically grew up on the farm. She had turned in her glamorous life of travel and tourism for the country chic life of the Lavender Farm. Together they coined the phrase “Sustainable Aloha” and with Ali`i Chang, who passed away in 2011, they created the renowned farm in Up-Country Maui. Nothing like it had ever been done. By partnering with local product makers of jellys, jams, gelato, scones, chocolates, coffees, teas, they enhanced our community and with Lani’s marketing genius they put Ali`i Kula Lavender on the map all over the world. Ag-Tourism has become a new phenomenon and they became my inspiration to become a part of the farm to table movement on Maui.

These are the three talks that stand out in my mind. The amazing Paula Fuga, singer, songwriter and once the face of homelessness told her story of being a young girl living with her parents on the beach at Sand Island in Honolulu with nothing…nothing but a tarp to cover themselves with when it rained. I was moved to tears. She was asked once “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and she saw herself on a stage performing for a crowd with a blue light shining on her as she sang, but she replied “A teacher.” She kept her dream to herself so no one would try to destroy it. She knew the importance of keeping negativity out of her life. Even though it appeared to be a hopeless situation she knew somewhere deep inside herself there was hope and she must believe that she was here for a much bigger purpose. There was a dream and to achieve that dream one must have a plan, and pursue it with all their heart.  Then she sang and played ukulele for us and again at the after party for TedxMaui 2012. I downloaded her CD “Lilikoi” and fell in love with her music. She is such a talented writer with soul and feeling. Her voice is deep and moody and jazzy with a melancholy that can’t be denied but still so beautiful.   The mood was hopeful, exciting and happy for Katie Mac and Sara Tekula the producers of TedxMaui 2012. The after party which was included in the ticket was fantastic. Catering was by Dana Pastula of Cafe o’ Lei. The music, dancing and mingling in the afterglow of all the inspiration is difficult to describe. I can only say I was changed and I know everyone was.


Google TedxMaui to see all the amazing speakers and get your tickets for January 13, 2013