Teen inventor Taj Pabari spoke at the city's first TEDx event.
Teen inventor Taj Pabari spoke at the city's first TEDx event.

9 people who inspired Ipswich in 2016

WHAT do a teen entrepreneur, cult survivor and a computer geek have in common?

They, along with six other inspiring individuals, spoke as part of Ipswich's first year of TEDx talks.

TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics from science to business to global issues in more than 100 languages.

The talks, held all over the globe, came to Ipswich in September and brought with it some impressive and diverse speakers.

The nine guests spoke for 18 minutes each at Fire Station 101.

Their topics ranged from surviving a cult and sustainable living to the power of riding a bike and the mental impact of recycling.

The guest speakers included Taj Pabari, a sixteen-year-old inventor, entrepreneur and educational pioneer passionate about inspiring children discover and embrace the world of entrepreneurship through technology and innovation.

Claire Ashman, who raised nine of her children in a cult, shared how the prevalence of cults and cult-like thinking affects everyday people - even your neighbours who may have just popped into a few personal development meet-ups.


Claire Ashman, who raised, and birthed nine children in a cult, shares how the prevalence of cults and cult-like thinking affects everyday people.
Claire Ashman spoke about her cult experience.

Her upcoming autobiography "A Phoenix Rising" focuses on her cult experiences. She shares awakening for cult-member's friends, colleagues and family members to recognise the signs and be present to support upon exiting.

Jenny Wynter shared her journey from her mother's early death, to developing the shield of an at-arms-length comedy persona on stage, to becoming a full time carer in her grandmother's final months. The comedian challenged the idea of self-preservation at all costs.

Russ L Wright started training as a volunteer youth worker at 16 with a promise to himself that he would find the answers to every problem that young people come up against. Now 40 years later, he spoke to TEDx about being a pioneer into training thousands of youth workers to help over 10,000 young people across Australia and in Singapore.

Roman Spur shared his sustainable living story at TEDx. He told of his journey of how he and his family transformed an inner city rented property into a productive food source delivering sustainable living and complete happiness.


Megan Bayliss is founder of The Junk Weavers Inc.
Megan Bayliss is founder of The Junk Weavers Inc.

Founder of The Junk Weavers Inc, Megan Bayliss, teaches women to weave plastics as a way to keep waste plastic out of ocean and landfill.


Renee Coffey spoke at TEDx Ipswich.
Renee Coffey spoke at TEDx Ipswich.

Ten years ago Renee Coffey left a career in government marketing and communications to work full-time for the cause she is most passionate about. She is now a senior leader with the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation - a not for profit organisation that empowers Indigenous children to build a brighter future.

Arabella Watson spoke about the joys of riding a bike after rediscovering a passion for riding at 42.


Computer geek Keran McKenzie.
Keran McKenzie presented at the TEDx talk.

Finally, Keran McKenzie - a self-confessed geek - spoke about technology and his children.

Organisers of TEDx Ipswich said that after the success of this year's event, they are planning to come back bigger and better in 2017.