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TEDxBigSky 2020: Connection

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What began in 1984 as a conference to share new ideas surrounding technology, entertainment and design has become the most renowned speaker series in the world. TED Talks now encompass nearly any conceivable topic, and occur around the globe in more than 100 different languages.

On Jan. 25, 2020 and for the fourth year in a row, the independently organized version of TED called TEDx is bringing a fascinating group of speakers to tell their unique and groundbreaking stories related to the 2020 event’s theme: “Connection.”

Outlaw Partners—the media, marketing and events company that also publishes this newspaper—launched the idea in 2017 to bring a TEDx event to Big Sky when its Media and Events Director Ersin Ozer reflected on journalism and the stories coming out of the region.

“I was inspired by our magazine, Mountain Outlaw, to put on this event on a live platform,” said Ozer, who chose a group of Big Sky community members to help bring the concept to fruition. “Outlaw has mastered the art of storytelling … so producing TEDxBigSky brings it all full circle.”

Please allow us to introduce your 2020 TEDxBigSky speakers:

Kate Atwood

Kate Atwood is an entrepreneur, executive and community leader whose career spans creating and growing impact initiatives in all business sectors. At 23, she founded Kate’s Club, an organization that provides support to children and teens facing life after the death of a parent or sibling. Having lost her mother at 12, Atwood recognized first-hand the importance of community and support after such a life-changing event. Kate’s Club serves thousands of children and families each year through direct services, strategic outreach partnerships, and national advocacy efforts. Today, Atwood is the CEO of THEA, the first city-based, video-on-demand streaming platform, and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.


Chris Adams

Chris Adams has been living with Crohn’s disease for more than 33 years and has endured countless surgeries and complications. His unique outlook on life has enabled him to persevere, overcome and connect with a world that he could have never imagined. Adams is now the Board President for the Northwest Chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and works closely with Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready (also a Crohn’s patient) on raising awareness and finding a cure for those affected by IBD.


Michael Peterson and Steven Hawley

Photographer/Filmmaker Michael is the founder and creative force behind Peterson Pro Media and partner with Steven Hawley in Peterson Hawley Productions. Peterson is a lifestyle photographer and filmmaker who captures environmental portraits and expansive landscapes. His love of the outdoors and passion for the preservation of the land, animals and those who live in it lends the imagery he captures to be timeless and relevant. In 2005, Peterson returned home to the Pacific Northwest after nearly 20 years working in Hollywood. His film credits include “Independence Day,” “Contact,” “Armageddon” and “Star Trek First Contact.” Recently Peterson directed the award winning documentary film “Dammed to Extinction.”

Steven Hawley is a writer from Hood River, Oregon. He is the writer and co-producer of the documentary film “Dammed to Extinction,” and author of the book “Recovering a Lost River.” His work has appeared in Outside, High Country News, and The Drake Magazine. In spring of 2020, Patagonia Books will publish Steve’s next book on the worldwide movement to prevent and remove dams.


Christine Baker

Christine Baker started skiing Big Sky with her family in 1981. She fell in love with the mountain, the town, the people, the skiing and everything that came with it. In 1982 (at age 6), she told her parents she was going to stay and she’d see them next year. “What are you going to do?” her parents asked. “Be a ski instructor,” Baker replied. It didn’t happen that year, but eventually it did.


Bobby Gill

Bobby Gill leads development and communications for the Savory Institute, a nonprofit that teaches farmers, ranchers and pastoralist communities across the globe to regenerate the world’s grasslands with Holistic Management. Whether it be the Maasai in Kenya, gauchos in Patagonia, sheepherders in Norway or cowboys in the American West, the Savory Global Network has trained land managers of all types to utilize the land-regenerating potential of Holistic Management within their cultural and ecological context. Since 2009, Savory has begun regenerating over 25 million acres of desertifying grasslands to address the root cause of food, water and climate security.


Riley Becker

Riley Becker is a senior at Big Sky Discovery Academy who fell in love with being outside from the very start, and by growing up in Big Sky, Montana, it isn’t hard to imagine how she cultivated a love and appreciation for the environment. As an outdoor enthusiast, Becker’s learned that nothing brings more joy and tranquility than indulging in nature. She’s been fortunate enough to see different parts of our world and quickly grew to understand the importance of the environment and how it connects people around the globe. She loves doing nothing more than skiing, and can’t imagine the following generations experiencing life without the presence of a healthy ecosystem.


Bob Hall

Bob Hall has worn many hats over the years: Wall Street executive, fashion industry investor, philanthropist, outdoorsman and dad, all while skiing 100 days a year. He lost his father at a young age and has always had more ambition than brains leading to a full life of challenges. Hall has filled several accidental chairman roles in public companies, independent schools and even the U.S. Biathlon board.


Eric and Amanda Stevens

Eric Stevens was born and raised in San Pedro, California. He played college football at the University of California-Berkeley and went on to play in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams in 2013. After realizing that football wasn’t the career path for him, Eric became a Los Angeles City firefighter. On Aug. 27, 2019, just one month after marrying his college sweetheart Amanda, Eric was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). After learning that there are treatments to help stop the progression of the disease but patients are unable to access them, Eric is fighting for hope for the ALS community. #axeALS


Molly Sides and Whitney Petty

Molly Sides and Whitney Petty are founding members of Seattle based all-female rock n’ roll band, Thunderpussy. Since the band’s formation in 2015, they have toured extensively throughout the U.S., U.K., Canada and Europe. In 2017, the band signed with Stardog/Republic records and the following year released their eponymous debut followed by the extended play, “Milk It,” in 2019. Thunderpussy is dedicated to sparking conversation, connectivity and building community through shared experience wherever they go.


Bode Miller

Bode Miller is an American Alpine skier who won six Olympic medals—more than any other American male skier. Born in the heart of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, Miller grew up at the Cannon Mountain Ski Area. He became known for his fearless, unorthodox and fast skills and stated that his basic goal as a skier was not to win medals but rather to ski “as fast as the natural universe will allow.” In 2017, Miller officially retired from competitive skiing to spend more time with his family, to act as an on-air ski-racing analyst for NBC, and to focus on his newfound passion of horse training.


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