By Virginie Boone

As many may remember, this very column was inspired by Sonoma County Winegrowers CEO & President Karissa Kruse’s 2022 TEDxSonomaCounty talk called, “Drink the Good Stuff.”

During that talk, Karissa discussed how, after losing her home in the 2017 fires, she reflected on the impermanence of stuff, prompting her to rethink the notion of waiting for a special occasion to bring out a good bottle of wine, wear a special outfit or spend time with friends. The talk also renewed and reignited her fierce commitment to sustainability in Sonoma County and compelled her to always be asking, “What’s Next?”

TEDxSonomaCounty returns this Saturday, March 2, 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm, around the theme, “Reimagine, Reconfigure, Reconnect.”

The theme’s description is inspiring and grand: “Climate change, generative artificial intelligence and unprecedented political polarization are reshaping our world. Organizations are responding by experimenting with four-day work weeks and increased remote work, changing the way we build social connections. As individuals we are more isolated with fewer bridges to community, which is so important to longevity and health. How do we cope? Think big!”

Likening these ideas to a kaleidoscope, an opportunity to see things in a new light, organizers are emphasizing how to reimagine our world, reconfigure our organizations and reconnect to ourselves and our communities.

Organizers include a few folks with a rich sense of the importance of winegrowing and winemaking within our community, a glue that keeps many of our institutions and population engaged and connected.

Anisya Fritz, PhD of Lynmar Estate, serves as emcee of the day’s event, and is an integral part of the planning committee. Dr. Fritz is proprietor and director of consumer experiences at Lynmar, in addition to serving as lead instructor for the Certificate in Wine Business Entrepreneurship at Sonoma State, and co-founder of the Fritz Institute, a not-for-profit organization that works on improving humanitarian aid and disaster relief systems around the world.

TEDxSonomaCounty’s executive producer is Marilyn Nagel, an internationally known expert on diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and leadership and co-founder of RISEQUITY, who curates the speakers each year.

In all, 12 speakers will take the stage this year, from Esquire Magazine’s Cal Fussman, who writes a popular column called “What Have I Learned?” and whose TED talk is titled, “The Heart of It,” to Mark Shapiro, MD, a practicing hospitalist who hosts a podcast called “Explore the Space” that brings those who provide healthcare and those who seek healthcare closer through conversation. His talk is on “Friendship 101.”

TED is a nonprofit that started as a four-day conference in 1984 bringing together the worlds of Technology, Entertainment and Design. The organization continues to hold an annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia with leading thinkers and doers from around the world who speak without notes for roughly 18 minutes (no longer), the standard for any TED-related talk.

It also runs the TED Fellows program, which in its time has included Fellows representing 14 countries from five continents who are leaders in their fields committed to community building. One fellow that stood out is Wiatta Thomas, an agribusiness entrepreneur in Guinea, Liberia and the U.S. considered an ag-tech pioneer.

TEDx was created to support local groups and individuals looking to host self-organized TED events in their own communities. TEDxSonomaCounty began in 2012, held always at the Jackson Theater at Sonoma Country Day School in Santa Rosa.

Other speakers and topics this year include:

Lawrence Beamen, a classical vocalist, songwriter, producer and composer on “Reclaiming the Power of ‘I’”

Brooke Deterline, founder & CEO of Courageous Leadership on “Talking Across the Divide”

Daniela Fernandez, founder of the Sustainable Ocean Alliance on “The Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Do”

Dawn Gross MD, PhD, a hospice and palliative medicine doctor, author, podcaster and magic wand bearer on “Ask: The Time is Now”

Quinn Halleck, a Hollywood director and thought-leader on “Does Film Survive AI?”

Luz Hernandez, a Santa Rosa local who benefited from the 10,000 Degrees program and is now a mentor for it, on “Paying It Forward and Back”

Guy Kawasaki, the chief evangelist for Canva who previously served in the same role for Apple on “How to Murder Your Mediocrity”

Alexandre Lazarow, a global venture capitalist author of “Out-Innovate: How Global Entrepreneurs – from Delhi to Detroit – Are Rewriting the Rules of Silicon Valley” on “The Great Diffusion”