January 5, 2018


To TEDxEustis


The speakers and performers for this first year event include: (Click a name to expand.)

Andrew Bennett
Andrew Bennett, Owner & Designer, Trekker Trailers
People Changer

Tiny Houses Make for an Extraordinary Life

A believer in thinking outside of the box to experience life and make a difference in our world, Bennett is a leader in the raging Tiny House movement, has headed up disaster relief efforts, and taken teams into 3rd world countries for missions and leadership training. Brought up in a poverty mindset with only a high school education, Andrew found a different way to live life. Traveling around the world including places like South Africa, Zambia, Scotland, England, Canada, he has been able to share encouragement globally. Andrew believes that anyone can live a life of availability for adventure. "We all have something to contribute to humanity" says Andrew, "... and the world is counting on us to share it."

Chantel Buck
Chantel Buck, President/CEO, New Vision for Independence
Accessibility Advocate

Re-Thinking Disabilities in the Workplace

Chantel Buck serves as the President/CEO of New Vision for Independence, the Leesburg-based non-profit organization serving the visually impaired and blind in Lake and Sumter counties. She believes that blindness does not have to be a barrier to independence, and leverages her Bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of South Florida and MBA from Western Governors University to empower visually impaired individuals of all ages to be successful. A member of Mensa, Chantel’s mission in life is to always be learning; from braille to budgets, Photoshop to FLSA, technology to tofu, Chantel is a self-proclaimed “human sponge.” She is a Florida native and loves her three kids, chocolate, and Harry Potter.

Fred Sommer
Fred Sommer, President/Founder, Sommer Sports
Community Shaper

How a Triathlon Turned One City into the Choice of Champions

Heather Elmatti
Heather Elmatti, Professor, Lake Sumter State College
Educator & Empowerer

Deeper Learning Needs Community

Heather Elmatti has worked over 20 years in the area of experiential education. She completed her BA at Spring Arbor University in Communications and International Studies and has MTh from the University of Edinburgh in the Theology and Ethics of Communications. She has a varied background as an outdoor educator in Michigan and Scotland, a freelance journalist in Washington, DC, and working with college students in New Zealand, Fiji, and now Florida. Currently she is an Assistant Professor in the Communications Department at Lake-Sumter State College. When she is not teaching, Heather enjoys international travel and missions work with her kids and husband, as well as backpacking, spelunking and dabbles in theatre. Her heart is to help others achieve their potential and overcome fears through harnessing the power of experiential learning and faith.

Jennifer Dempsey
Jennifer Dempsey, Coordinator, Lake County Children’s Memorial Garden
Compassion Advocate

Hemispherectomy: When The Half is Greater Than The Whole

Jennifer is a public school educator in Lake County, Florida, specializing in exceptional student education. A graduate of Full Sail University, Jennifer is passionate about using technology in the classroom to give her students a voice and help unlock their learning potential.

Kellie Morgan
Kellie Morgan, CEO, Home Companions Senior Care and founder, Business with Friends
Resilient Flame

Resilience: Life's Code of Armor

A Florida native, award-winning entrepreneur Kellie Morgan is CEO of Home Companions of Lake County, founder of The Wedding Notary, and creator of the dynamic networking group, Business with Friends. Kellie has served the healthcare community for over 25 years and holds numerous credentials in Aging Sciences and undergraduate education from University of South Florida Geriatric Care Management Program and through the Training Academy on Aging School of Aging Studies at the University of South Florida. A seasoned presenter, trainer and speaker, Kellie enjoys helping others leverage their strengths to build skills necessary to be resilient. Through her own efforts to attain emotional wellness, Kellie knows what it takes to overcome a challenge. She built her own success through hard earned life experience and has turned tragedy and a broken marriage into gifts that she uses to bring peace of mind to everyday life.

Kim van der Sanden
Kim van der Sanden
Miracle Manifestor

The Business of Giving

Kim van der Sanden began a paper-crafting company, My Favorite Things, in 2006 with a dream to offer the best products and the best service to every customer. Created from love and the desire to give, the Company quickly began to flourish.

As the company grew, Kim approached each achievement as an avenue through which to give. The hiring of a new team member was an opportunity to change their lives for the better; increased revenue meant more support for the community.

Eleven years since its inception, My Favorite Things is now an industry leader, and continues to experience exceptional success.

A lover of all things metaphysical, Kim became a Certified Infinite Possibilities Trainer in 2011, offered by Hay House author, Mike Dooley and TUT. She has also attended many other self-empowerment events such as Hay House I Can Do It!, Playing the Matrix, Soulapalooza, and Oprah Winfrey’s Live Your Best Life Tour.

Kim most enjoys making memories with her husband, two beautiful daughters, son-in-law, and a houseful and farm full of fur babies.

Mark Johnson
Mark Johnson, Professional Speaker, Author and Founder, Life to the Brim
Life Transformer
The Golden Approach to Bullying

Mark A. Johnson is an author, certified Dream Coach, certified Bullies to Buddies Practitioner, and award-winning transformational speaker. His “High Impact Dramatization Experience,” (HIDE) is a unique and impactful anti-bullying presentation geared toward youth. A retired Department of Justice employee and disabled veteran, Mark currently works as a Career Development Coordinator at the Sumter Correctional Institution in Bushnell, Florida, providing reentry classes for youth, work camp and main institution inmates. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology, a Master’s in HR Development. He is a board member and mentor with The Micah Project of First Baptist Church, Police Athletic League, YMCA, Junior Achievement, Upward Bound, Children's Home Society and the Boys and Girls Club of Lake and Sumter Counties Florida. Mark is also the founder of Life to the Brim, Inc., a non-profit organization helping others achieve their dreams.

Nina & Bernie Vatter
Nina & Bernie Vatter, President, Volunteers and Stage Manager, Bay Street Players
Community Arts Advocates

Julia's Chairs

Nina Vatter holds a Bachelor’s in Education from UCF and retired with 30 years in public education. She is a member of the Bay Street Players Board of Directors and a regular volunteer and stage manager at both the Historic State Theatre and the Ice House Theatre. Bernie Vatter holds a Bachelor's in Business Management from the University of Phoenix. He is a Catastrophe Claims Adjuster for Hanover Insurance and is the current President of the Bay Street Players Board of Directors. Their daughter, Julia,was heavily involved in all aspects of the theatre from the age of 9. After losing her in a tragic car accident in 2009, they have dedicated their energies to the theatre she loved. Their hope is to use the passion for theatre that Julia showed to inspire others to be involved in the arts and community involvement. After graduation their son Joseph moved to New York City to attend Marymount Manhattan College and now enjoys a successful career in the Manhattan art gallery world.

Sean Jenness
Sean Jenness, Philanthropist, Anthropologist & Trails Expert
Anthropologist, Philanthropist, Hiker

How America's Trails Reflect America's Culture

When others are asked to describe Sean Jenness in one word, they respond with answers like 'Adventuresome, creative, organic, outgoing, caring, persistent and passionate about his cause'. Sean's interest include art, culture, gardening, design, conservation, preservation, environmentalism and nearly all things nature. A veteran hiker, Sean has just returned from a 3,100 mile journey tracing the Continental Divide Trail through the United States between Mexico and Canada.

Ze'Sheica Carter
Ze'Sheica Carter, noted Lake County Chef and Executive, Director, Kitch'n Lyfe Skills
Go Giver/ Food Insecurity Eradicator

Let Them Eat Cake: Teaching Whole Food Cooking to Alleviate Poverty

Through teaching and hands on instruction, Chef Ze’ has been on a mission to bring her passion to others. For over a decade people in Central Florida have sought her out for ways to enliven their culinary and eating experiences, and many of her dishes and desserts have won awards. In addition to her role as "food educator," she has been a weekly featured food columnist for the Daily Commercial for the past 11 years. Chef Ze’ is also the Founder and Director of Kitch’n Lyfe Skills, Inc. an organization that is dedicated to reducing the occurrences of food insecurity among youth who have aged out of foster care, at risk school aged children and the elderly. She says “I believe the best way to tackle many of the issues that we have today start with a conversation at a table over the things that are vital to life, love, understanding and food. One cannot survive without the other."

David Oliver Willis
David Oliver Willis, Singer & Musician
Musical Performer

2801 S. Bay Street, Eustis, FL 32726
Phone: 352-242-8111   ~   Send Email

This independent TEDx event is
operated under license from TED.

Hosting & Production by