TEDxAkron Executive Team

Sunny TEDx.jpg

Kenyona "Sunny" Matthews

Co-Organizer, 2018 TEDxAkron Alumni Speaker

Sunny is a community activist and motivational speaker, focusing on issues of diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism. She is a University of Akron School of Law graduate who focused civil liberties and earned her Bachelor's degree from Guilford College majoring in Political Science, Philosophy and African American Studies. After college, Sunny served as an AmeriCorps Vista North Carolina Campus Compact Multicultural Service Coordinator. In addition to her work as co-leader of TEDxAkron, Sunny is a co-founder of Dimensions of Isms, a nonprofit organization that works to bring awareness and spark progress regarding societal issues through corporate training, church workshops, speaking engagements, and other civil and social organizations.


Ben TEDxAkron.png

Ben Bisbee


With over 25 years of experience in the for-profit and nonprofit industries building successful and award winning community and development programs for organizations of all shapes and sizes, Ben is a nationally recognized author, speaker and problem-solver. His book with co-author Kathy Wisniewski, The Unashamed Guide to Virtual Management, from ATD Press is in pre-sale and will be available where all books are sold on September 17th, 2019. In addition to his work as co-leader of TEDxAkron, Ben is the the Chief Vision Officer for Rhinocorn, a design house for charitable sector innovation and advancement. Ben is also a proud husband, LGBTQ, Native American, special needs pet owner and animal advocate.


TEDx - Alexis Boyd.png

Alexis “Xposyur” Boyd

Co-Organizer, 2018 TEDxAkron Alumni Speaker

Xposyur is a spoken-word artist, emcee, MC, motivational speaker, and musician born and bred in the city of Akron. Traveling the world to share her gifts and talents with communities and colleges alike, Xposyur is also a proud 2018 TedxAkron Speaker Alum and a 2019 Pathfinders Award recipient. She is the owner of #BLOODBOUGHT, a clothing company and founder of #teamX, an empowerment organization. An influencer and inspiration to all ages but especially to the amazing and diverse youth in the city of Akron, Xposyur believes if she can change the narrative of one young life, it can cause a ripple effect on many.


TEDxAkron Leadership Team

TEDx - Amanda Hevener.jpg

Amanda Hevener | Fundraising + Partnerships Team

Amanda Sedlak-Hevener has an M.L.I.S. in Museum Studies from Kent State University and an M.A. in History from the University of Akron. She believes in the power of sharing ideas with the world.


TEDx - Kelly Gifford.jpg

Kelley Gifford | Event Programming Team

Kelley is a self-proclaimed social media geek who gets to teach communications to undergraduate students at the University of Akron and works as a social media specialist at a digital marketing agency. With a dual degree in marketing from the University of Akron, a MA in Journalism and Mass Communications in Kent, and experience in both the nonprofit sector, Kelley finds herself constantly keeping up on trends on how to bridge the gap between online/offline.


TEDx - Erin Cole.png

Erin Cole | Fundraising + Partnerships Team

Erin is the Director of Advancement at Victim Assistance Program in Akron and has worked in nonprofit management and fundraising for more than 15 years. She received dual BA degrees from Kent State University in Psychology and Criminal Justice and is currently pursuing her Masters in Management and Change Leadership at Antioch University Midwest. Erin believes “the personal is political” and the way to affect change starts within. She believes in the importance of integrity and compassion in building relationships and works to incorporate and share those values in her every day interactions.


TEDx - Farrel Helfer.jpg

Farrel Helfer | Event Programming Team

Farrel Helfer is excited about innovation and what the next generation will create. After 42 years in corporate life, in Akron, he is retired and looks forward to cycling, swimming and enjoying good company over excellent meals.


TEDx - Kathy.png

Kathy Wisniewski | Fundraising + Partnerships Team

Kathy is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and owner of True and Lasting Wellness, LLC where she focuses on primarily-virtual health coaching for busy professionals, helping them to discover and reach their health goals and find balance between their work and their wellness. She currently also serves as the Executive Board Administrator for the Histiocyte Society, a nonprofit membership group of physicians who try to find better treatments and a cure for the rare disease, histiocytosis. Additionally, she has a particular love for the international community as she scouts, plans, and executes the Society’s annual meeting in various locations all over the world.


TEDx - Sam Waller.jpg

Sammy Waller | Fundraising + Partnerships Team

Sammy is an Integrated Marketing Communications major at the University of Akron, choosing this field so one day he could eventually know how to run and market his own business. He enjoys hanging out with friends, hiking, and going to the gym in his free time.


TEDx - Amanda Shannon.jpg

Amanda Shannon | Marketing + Social Comms Team

Amanda is a long time Cleveland native, non-profit enthusiast, and active marathon runner. With a strong technical background, her passion is in community, volunteering and marketing relations. Amanda is currently pursuing her Masters in Marketing at Cleveland State University.


TEDx - Jake Waller.png

Jake Waller | Marketing + Social Comms Team

Jake is a senior at The University of Akron this coming academic year. He is majoring in Geology and is very excited to be a part of the TedxAkron team. Jake enjoys photography and watching movies with friends in his free time. He loves nature and finding new places to explore!


TEDx - Missy Williams.png

Missy Williams | Event Programming Team

Missy is a seasoned marketing professional, who has worked across various digital and traditional channels throughout her career including search engine optimization, social media, paid search, event planning, promotions and public relations. Currently, she holds the position as Senior SEO Strategist at Fathom with expertise in growing organic traffic and conversions on websites while leading overall digital strategy for her clients.


TEDx - Amanda Cole.jpg

Amanda Cole | Event Programming Team

Amanda’s name means full of love and she is full of love for life. What does life mean to her? Radical self-care, boundary pushing, empathy, funky earrings and queer people and politics. Professionally, her background includes running after school programs, leadership trainings, non-profit management and community development. Amanda is blessed to be the Executive Director of Plexus LGBT + Allied Chamber of Commerce and lives in Kent with her fantastic family.


TEDx - Fake Headshot.png

Trevor Sidewand | Fundraising + Partnerships Team

Bio coming soon!

TEDx - Fake Headshot.png

Beverly Dillon | Fundraising + Partnerships Team

Bio coming soon!

TEDxAkron Emeritus Mentorship Team

Sam Falletta | Chief Executive Officer of Incept
Ned Parks | Founder of Aegis 360 Consulting, Inc.