2022 Speakers

TEDxGramercy: Dare To Be Different seeks to highlight innovation through creativity, education, storytelling, truth-seeking, self-reflection, entertainment and growth with local and global communities. We proudly present the speakers for our big comeback on October 15, 2022. 


Jesse Haines

Director, Grow With Google

Jesse Haines created and leads Grow with Google, the tech company’s economic initiative to provide Americans with tools and resources to prepare for work, find jobs, and grow their business. Since launch in 2017, the effort has trained over 8 million Americans, built innovative pathways to jobs through the Google Career Certificate program and partnered with +800 local organizations to deliver digital skills training across all 50 states.

During her 16-year tenure at Google, Jesse has led marketing for several of the company’s emerging products and platforms including mobile ads, hardware, and YouTube. Prior to joining Google, Jesse was Vice President of Brand Development for Tommy Hilfiger's womenswear division. She also worked as a consultant at Bain & Company. Jesse holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree from Brown University. She serves on the board of directors of Literacy Partners and lives in Manhattan with her husband and two sons.


Hector Guadalupe

Social Entrepreneur and Personal Trainer at A Second U Foundation


After spending 10 years in federal prison, Hector Guadalupe came home with a passion for fitness, in shape, and hungry for work. Yet, he also came home to a lot of closed doors, and corporate health clubs not wanting to give him a chance at employment. Nevertheless, Hector persevered and built a successful personal training business (Unibody Fitness). He then founded the nonprofit organization A Second U Foundation, ultimately deciding to help people that came from the same situation, who needed an opportunity. 300 graduates later, 2.5% recidivism rate and 7% of graduates turned entrepreneurs, Hector’s vision is to create an ecosystem of for-profit social enterprises that train and employ formerly incarcerated people nationwide. The time is now to reimagine social entrepreneurship in a new America!


Katherine King

Corporate Anthropologist and Award Winning Filmmaker

Katherine King trains people how to work more effectively across national cultures in multinational corporations. She combines the perspective sciences to leverage data to illuminate how we are different across national and personal cultures. In her free time she is advocating for community-based programs or creating stories as a way of building cross-cultural bridges.

Katherine studied Political Science at Stony Brook University, received her Master’s in Organizational Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, and has various certifications in personality profiles, corporate coaching and cross-cultural dynamics. Because of her experience coaching people through serious transitions, her expertise on stress arcs and adaptation cycles are cited by various media. She has been a speaker at conferences and has sat on various panels. She is a member of The Anti-Bias Task Force of East Hampton, The Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research (SIETAR) and on the Advisory board of SUNY Stony Brook’s Staller Center. Katherine is fluent in English and Spanish, dabbles in French and studied Mandarin Chinese. She currently lives in New York City with her husband and three children.


Surinder Singh, Ph.D.

Vertical Farmer, Humanitarian

Surinder is a seasoned agricultural professional with a 550-year-old ancestry in farming, a vision and grit to address the present and future of the world’s food security. His foundational principle of feeding the hungry comes from his faith and belief that agriculture is a noble profession and everyone on this planet should contribute to growing food in an eco-friendly manner. His overarching life ambition is to work towards providing access to nutritious and adequate food for every living soul on earth; today and tomorrow.

Surinder believes that re-imaging agriculture by growing plants in a local vertical indoor farm with technology-driven controlled environment can address our food-production, food-accessibility, food-waste and environmental issues. He has meticulously designed and operated urban indoor farms across North America to sustainably support agriculture. Presently, he heads the agricultural operations of Bowery Farming Inc.: a vertical indoor farming company based out of New York. 


Rae Ceretto

Professional Photographer, Filmmaker

From a young age Rae was always politically active. Her father was a politician and mother a filmmaker, it felt natural to be engaged. She spent her time living with civil rights lawyers in Serbia and documenting political rallies and refugees. At the age of 16 Rae completed her first documentary short film based around the 1999 NATO bombings and death of former Yugoslavian dictator Slobodan Milosevic.

She graduated with honors from New York University and started her career as a photojournalist. She went on to collaborate with some of the biggest companies in the nonprofit and entertainment world. Her career centered around women, women’s rights, and advocating for refugee communities. Rae developed a raw unfiltered way of storytelling that benefited her documentary and commercial career.

In 2020 Rae co-founded an all female production company, Honeypot Productions and released her mini- doc, We Do Not Live Here, based on her work at the Migrant Caravan in Tijuana. We Do Not Live Here was released in April 2020 and featured in Rolling Stone Magazine. She was named by SHOOT 2021 New Director Showcase. Rae is currently directing her first feature length documentary, Seeking Asylum.


Sun Yi

Digital Branding and Storyteller  

Sun Yi is the Founder & Principal of Night Owls, an award-winning digital branding and marketing agency headquartered in NYC. With over 20 years of experience working in digital branding, Sun has helped build brands go from virtual zero revenue to $1 billion. Sun has a passion for personal brands and has worked with bestselling authors as well as world-renowned public speakers and entrepreneurs. He also loves to help personal brands grow by creating content on Instagram. In his personal time, Sun enjoys yoga, audiobooks, youtube, and motorcycles.


Nadia Jagessar

Entrepreneur, Dancer, Puppy Mom - Indian Matchmaking

Nadia Jagessar is an Indo-Caribbean Jersey girl who is most well known for being the breakout star of Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking. She is also a fragrance marketer, entrepreneur, professional dancer, puppy mom and an Oreo enthusiast. In her spare time Nadia loves to travel, try new restaurants, and take naps.


Kahlil Greene

Gen Z Historian, Tik Tok Influencer, Social Advocate
Kahlil Greene, also known as the “Gen Z Historian”, is a New York Times and Forbes Magazine recognized digital educator with over 20 million views across his Tiktok, Instagram, and LinkedIn profiles. He has authored op-eds about social advocacy in the Washington Post, LA Times, and Harvard Business Review. Kahlil also graduated from Yale with a degree in History and served as the college’s first Black student body president. Kahlil is now a full-time, self-employed speaker, influencer, and educator and is known for his TikTok series, Hidden History–which dives into stories of American injustice–and for his commentary about US politics. Throughout his nascent career, Kahlil has already worked with organizations like Meta, Microsoft, and the White House. Kahlil’s main goal is to share knowledge about history, culture, and politics from a youthful and engaging perspective.


 Glenn Petersen

Anthropology Professor, Book Author
Glenn Petersen is a professor at CUNY’s Baruch College and the Graduate Center, where he’s been teaching anthropology, international affairs, and geography for fifty years. He’s a combat veteran of the Vietnam War; has spent many years doing ethnographic research in the Micronesian islands of the South Pacific and represented them at the United Nations after they achieved independence; and he recently published War and the Arc of Human Experience, a book on the anthropology of war.


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