Our Team

We’re a team of talented individuals from Chicago connected by a noble purpose – to share ideas worth spreading, inspire creative thinking and expand minds.

Jessica Lederhausen

Executive Producer and Curator

Lived in Sweden before moving to Chicago with her husband and children. Played professional golf in Europe. Worked as a dentist in Stockholm. Founded retail store Stockholm Objects in Hinsdale. Passionate advocate for Sustainable Healthy Habits.

Rachel Axelrod

Executive Producer and Curator

Former commercial litigation attorney. Obsessed with to do lists and organizing everything. Connector of people from all walks of life. Overscheduled mom of two boys.  Almond milk latte and yoga lover.  Enthusiastic Executive Producer and Curator of TEDxChicago.

Linda Stehno

Design consultant

Emmy-nominated art director, digital and motion designer. Master professional working in high-pressure environments with limited budgets and tight deadlines. Best known for her 15 years of art direction, design and animation for The Oprah Winfrey show.

Teresa Aguilera

Stage Manager

Teresa Aguilera is owner and CEO of Standby and Go Productions, Inc. She is a Producer, Stage Manager/Show Caller and Assistant Stage/Deck Manager primarily for live corporate events, television and has over 13 years of television experience having worked at The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Suzanne Muchin


Suzanne is the co-founder of Mind and Matter Studio, a communication and strategy firm. She also teaches entrepreneurship and communicaiton at Kellogg School of Business, is a commentator on women and business on WGN, and is the co-host of The Big Payoff podcast.

Devin Soule

Digital SPonsor - Everest

Spent his career launching, advising and growing startups, designing technology, and building brands. Founder of Everest, a UX design agency. Most passionate about using design innovation and emerging technologies to create measurable social and political impact.

Andrea Sidorow

Volunteer Manager

Dynamic nonprofit professional with fundraising, event planning, data management, and special projects experience. Committed community leader, innovative program organizer, and effective volunteer coordinator.

Jon Milonas


Passionate about getting to know people, listening to their stories, and empowering them towards meaningful change.  Believes that people want to be heard and known.  Real estate advisor and consultant for some of Chicago’s fastest growing companies in the tech, media, consulting, and legal industries.

Mookie Lee


Korean born, Connecticut raised, Chicago is home. Mookie (yes, that's his actual name) is passionate about the limitless opportunities that life has to offer; whether it's being on reality TV, traveling the world or boxing in a ring.  This passion and drive translates to his love for entrepreneurship, which started early on in his career, and continues today with his restaurant group.

Richard Woo


Richard Woo is an individual who is driven by his mission statement: "My purpose is to love and serve God, family, friends, clients, community, and the multi generations of people I will never see or meet and thereby make profound impact on this world." He is passionate about his work as a wealth management advisor where he and his team manage the finances for some individuals and families in Chicago, LA, New York, and San Francisco.

Carissa Romain

Social Media

Senior Copywriter and brand-new Chicagoan. Coming from the Boston agency world, Carissa has worked on brands such as Dunkin' Donuts, John Hancock, Corona and Liberty Mutual Insurance. Despite working on some business-heavy brands, she's passionate about entertainment, story-telling and discovering Chicago's best taco (and accepts recommendations!)

Annika Valdiserri

Registration Manager

Calls Chicago home since first setting foot here from Goteborg, Sweden. Raised two kids with dogs and cats in Wilmette. Works 24/7 as a realtor with @Properties. Passionate about her job. Loves yoga, books and dark Netflix shows.

Kristina Taheri

Event Space Manager

Professional creator of amazingly fantastic special events and party goer! Individual melting pot of Texan, Persian, and Swedish heritage. Soccer and tennis competitor and fan. Family focus strategist.

Ryan McHenry


Driven young entrepreneur focused on the intersection of culture and technology.  Degree focuses in both Music and Computer Science.  Professional experience with developing software for music and film production.  TED experience with TEDxNorthwesternU and through other conferences around the globe.  Passionate ambassador for bold ideas.

Jenny Beightol


Jenny Beigthol is a storyteller. For the last 8 years, she's helped tech startups across Chicago create their brand voice, values and identity. She's passionate about words and driving social change.

Whittney L Smith


Neelima Joshi


Healthcare entrepreneur seeking ways to use innovation and technology to lower diabetes incidence rates.  Former mergers/acquisitions and corporate finance banker.  Loves to meet and connect people, create conversational communities to drive change, and seek ways to promote diversity.  Excited to work with this fabulous team to create TEDxChicago.

Trusted Advisors

Alicia Bassuk
Anthony Less
Carissa Romain
Dana Reinglass-Brooks
Jessica Droste-Yagan
Joshua Leavitt
Kareem Wells
Mats Lederhausen
Stan Sonu
Suzanne Muchin
Xavier Ramey

Attend TEDxChicago 2018

Attending a live TEDx event is an interactive, engaging, and exciting experience with other TED-loving people.

APPLY TO SPEAKApply to speak
VenueSIX10 @ Spertus Institute
Chicago, IL
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
2-6 PM