It’s just one syllable.

But it’s also a sound, a taste, a moment, a movement, a cultural phenomenon. 

POP is the space between before and after. It’s that startling, intense explosion of inspiration that leaves something new and momentous in its wake.  POP is a virtual playground of heightened senses and saturated colors, sizzling with sudden insight.

It’s that electric moment the blinders fall and you can see the light and promise and energy and potential of something about to be made manifest.

POP is the birthplace of ideas.

POP is what comes next, so be ready for it.



Got questions? We’ve got answers.


Ticket types and prices:

Advance tickets (with discount), until August 31 — $89 plus fees.
General admission tickets, after August 31 — $99 plus fees.
Session Three tickets — $30 plus fees.
Student tickets — $38 plus fees.


REGISTRATION: 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Linda ArgilaWhy We Need Prison Reform • Brandon GriggsThe Illiteracy-to-Prison Connection • Mal JonesPerformance • Husain Abbas | Robots and Artificial Intelligence in the Operating Room 

LUNCH: 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Douglas Anderson | Performance • Tammy Hodo | Deconstructing Race Thomas HargroveGetting Away With Murder • Daron BabcockPlanting Hope • Phillip Singleton | Taking Your Seat at the Table

BREAK: 3:15 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

4:00 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.
Michael PlattBaking a Better Society • Joy YoungE Pluribus Art • Jeff SheffieldBig Data and the Future of Our Cities  Rawan Al-kharboosh | Engineering Stem Cells • Jacksonville University Vocalists | Performance

AFTERGLOW PARTY: 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. The Jessie Ball duPont Center


Attendees always ask, “Will there be food?” Yes! We’ll have pastries, coffee, juices, and water available during registration. Lunch will be provided at 12:30 p.m.  We’re excited to once again be partnering with local downtown restaurants. We’ll also have an afternoon break with fresh fruit, snacks, soda and coffee.  Finally, the Afterglow party features heavy hors d’ouevres and an open bar.

This year’s luncheon venues and dining options include:

Bellwether | Burrito Gallery | Casa Dora Italian Cafe | D&G Deli & Grill | Indochine | Olio | Super Food & Brew | Biscottis | Holy Smokes BBQ


TEDxJacksonville will be held at The Florida Theatre for the fourth year in a row and will host interactive experiential activities with Forsyth Street closed in front of the historic venue. The magnificently restored Florida Theatre is recognized as one of the finest concert venues in the Southeast. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. From the Vaudeville acts and silent films of its earliest days to today’s blend of performances of all kinds, The Florida Theatre has served as Jacksonville’s premier entertainment center since 1927.


New this year, the Afterglow party will be held at the beautiful Jessie Ball DuPont Center, which is a brief walk from The Florida Theatre.


What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?

Conference participants are invited to park in the Yates Garage ($5 cash), which is located at 231 East Adams Street. There also is ample free street parking. The cost of parking is your responsiblity. We highly encourage carpooling and arriving early to ease congestion.

What we do ... PLAY VIDEO
Joy Young
E Pluribus Art

The more diverse Jacksonville becomes, the harder we must work to achieve trust and unity. As a city with a wealth of history and people who are migrants and immigrants, citizens, nationals and multi-nationals, Jacksonville has before it an opportunity to embrace the natural assets found in its resident arts and culture. There is tremendous potential for employing basic ideas from cultural nationalism to a contemporary community-based frame that harnesses the restorative potential of arts and culture for people and in communities. 

Whereas cultural nationalism of the past set out to provide a singular vision of America’s identity and history, today we can utilize the arts and culture as tools for inclusion, equity, education, and empowerment. This new frame does not nullify the significance of arts and culture; rather it highlights their intrinsic and instrumental value. Arts and culture are unique because they are both a strategy and tactic for facilitating a common culture of community unity, not uniformity, to shape Jacksonville’s identity and future. 

As executive director of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, Joy Young is committed to shaping strategy, as well as developing and executing proactive and quantifiable arts and cultural-based initiatives that address priority issues such as economic and community development. She advocates for arts funding, policy development and reform, and implements initiatives and programs that support the vision that the arts and culture are recognized by all as essential for quality of life in Northeast Florida. 

In addition to giving back to her community as an AmeriCorps Promise Fellow, Joy has more than 25 years of experience in the arts as a vocalist, arts administrator, and an academic. She is a recitalist, sanctuary soloist, and studio background vocalist. Her work in academia includes adjunct teaching at Benedict College, the University of South Carolina, and Winthrop University; guest lecturer at Coastal Carolina University and College of Charleston; and a contributor to research and textbook development. 

Joy holds a Bachelors of Arts in music, a Master of Arts in voice performance, and has completed coursework for a Ph.D. in organizational leadership. Joy’s combination of education and experience provides both strength of practice and application that are critically important to Jacksonville’s key public sector arts and culture position.

Phillip A. Singleton
Real Change Comes Through Policy, Not Protest

Throughout American history, our state and federal laws have controlled the physical, ideological and socioeconomic conditions of black lives in America. For generations, they have determined how blacks could marry, where they could live, if they were able to get a quality education and if it was illegal for them to know how to read. Those laws were implemented because there was no black voice at the table. 

As a political strategist working at the highest levels of state government, Phillip Singleton knows these historical issues underpin much of what he advocates for in terms of positive change for black lives in America. But it’s his familiarity with the political system that has taught him how to work within its constraints to push the needle forward. He believes real change only comes through negotiating policy decisions, not protesting a perceived injustice.  His talk will focus on how the black community—without sacrificing its unique identity and perspective—can become fluent in the rules and language of state politics and effect positive change.

Phillip A. Singleton is a best-selling author, political strategist, and influencer known as the Hip Hop Lobbyist. In 2014, he founded the full-service governmental affairs and multicultural outreach firm Singleton Consulting. Phillip previously served as Legislative Director for a law firm, providing clients with legislative guidance, culturally targeted messaging and strategic campaign outreach.

In 2010, at the age of 24, he became the youngest African-American lobbyist in Florida’s history.

During his time working in Florida’s political process, Phillip has played an instrumental role in passing legislation regarding the expansion of Major League Soccer in Florida; securing resources for top 50 and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs); campaign and election reform; along with securing millions in state resources for various local government and economic development projects.

Since opening his firm in 2014, Phillip Singleton has given underserved communities, nonprofits, and institutions of higher education a seat at the political table. He has secured millions in resources for at-risk youth programs and economic development initiatives in urban communities throughout Florida. He has been recognized by many governmental and media entities for his work with millennials and in bridging the gap between politics and urban culture. He was proud in 2018 to serve U.S. Congressman Al Lawson (FL) as his Senior Advisor in his successful reelection campaign. He is married to Jalencia A. Singleton of Delray Beach, Florida.

Jeff Sheffield
The Pulse Behind a Smart City

Jeff Sheffield is obsessed with the future of cities. He wants to ensure Jacksonville is positioned to be a “smart” city that uses tech solutions to confront city planning challenges. He believes that by embracing smart technology in all sectors of our region—health and human services, transportation, public safety, energy, etc.—we can apply what we learn to solve problems and improve our quality of life. By eliminating the traditional silos that prevent collaboration between government agencies and private sector partners, we can create a Jacksonville that is safer, more efficient, more sustainable, economically competitive, and that provides multi-modal transportation options that are accessible, reliable, affordable, and encourage commerce.

Today, he’s challenging tech professionals, entrepreneurs, and investors to commit to collaborating and innovating right here in North Florida: recognize a community problem you want to solve and apply emerging technologies to solve it using the data available in the public space.

Jeff Sheffield, a 27-year transportation professional, is the executive director of the independent four-county North Florida Transportation Planning Organization (North Florida TPO) handling transportation planning and prioritizing in the region. He has a Master of Science in urban planning from Florida State University.

In his role, Mr. Sheffield leads regional coordination and policy development and oversees project management for the many short and long-term programs and studies prescribed by federal law. 

Working with partner agencies, he has championed results-oriented investment in intelligent transportation systems (ITS), traffic incident management, safety, bicycle and pedestrian planning, freight and logistics planning, Clean Fuels Coalition, and multi-modal mobility improvements. Most recently, Sheffield has focused on implementing North Florida TPO’s Smart Region Master Plan that uses innovative and emerging technologies to collect, analyze and apply data from many sources to enhance the region’s economic vitality and quality of life. This includes developing an integrated data exchange (IDE) and the Bay JAX Innovation Corridor. The Florida Transportation Commission has cited the North Florida TPO as the model for regional transportation planning organizations.

Sheffield is also a frequent speaker and panel moderator on infrastructure and other transportation topics. 

Michael Platt
Kids Can Solve Big Problems

Michael Platt believes you’re never too young to solve a big problem. In fact, he insists that kids are uniquely suited to dreaming big about how to make society better. They just need a little help from adults to make it happen.

Three years ago, Michael saw a chance to connect his two passions, cupcakes and the social justice teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. He founded Michael’s Desserts, a bakery with the mission of fighting hunger and giving back. For every baked good he sells, he donates another one to someone in need at a domestic violence shelter, transitional housing center, or place of food insecurity. Each month, he creates a new “freedom fighter cupcake” inspired by leaders like Maya Angelou, Nelson Mandela, and Harriet Tubman; he hopes the cupcakes spread awareness of the past and inspire others to work for social justice. 

Michael’s TEDxJacksonville idea is to help kids between the ages of 10 and 18 find a problem they hate and want to solve, and then use their interests to start a business that helps fix it.

Michael Platt is a 14-year-old baker, business owner, social entrepreneur, and food justice advocate. Michael has been baking since he was 9 years old, but has been interested in the challenges of inequality since he learned about the historic March on Washington at age 6. Michael comes from a home of educators and advocates and began to ask questions early on about the challenges of inequity. Inspired by a pair of TOMS shoes he received as a present, Michael decided that he would begin a baking business with a one-for-one model. From the beginning of Michaels Desserts, he has donated a dessert to someone in need for every one dessert that he sells.  With this model Michael has served hundreds of people and provided over 12,000 meals.

Michael appeared with 11 of the best kid bakers in the country in season four of “Kids Baking Championship” on Food Network and has appeared on “Good Morning America” and “Access Hollywood” as well as CNN and CBS.

Tammy Hodo, Ph.D.
Race Isn't Real

Race is a social—not a biological—construct. There is no gene or cluster of genes common to all blacks or all whites. Nevertheless, the concept of race has been used to create statuses and stratification. Throughout history, perceptions of race have changed over time to justify who should have privilege and who should not. Like race, racial identity can also be fluid. But the social, political, and economic implications of race remain rigidly entrenched.

As a biracial woman, Dr. Tammy Hodo has experienced two different Americas: one for whites and one for blacks. As a Ph.D. social scientist who studies the impacts the variables of race, class, ethnicity, and sex have on life chances, she has incredible insight into how to start the difficult dialogue about the irrelevance of enduring racial constructs. We need to work toward a world that doesn’t put labels on people due to variables outside of their control.

Dr. Tammy L. Hodo is the President of All Things Diverse LLC, an educational consulting company working with organizations to optimize employee productivity through recognizing the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Tammy earned her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in urban studies, with a minor in sociology and specializations in race, class, gender, and ethnicity. Tammy has provided training to local and national organizations all under the umbrella of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  She has written course content on implicit biases and micro aggressions for a national educational vendor that is being used at hundreds of colleges and universities. She has worked in academia for over 10 years in a variety of positions, including faculty and university administrator. Her most recent administrative role was the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for a law school where she was responsible for policy development and overall institutional compliance for students, faculty, and staff related to discrimination and harassment.  Tammy recently completed a Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology position at the University of North Florida.

Thomas Hargrove
Reducing the Odds of Murder

Every year, at least 5,000 killers get away with murder. That’s because in a growing number of cities—including Jacksonville—most murders go unsolved. In 2015, Thomas Hargrove, an investigative journalist, founded the Murder Accountability Project (MAP), a nonprofit organization that has assembled the most complete public accounting of homicide available anywhere in the world. With these hundreds of thousands of murder records, MAP hopes to alert people to the failures of our governments to stop the cycle of violence. Because when murders aren’t cleared with the arrest of the killers, homicide rates quickly spiral out of control. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. Even in a land as violent as America, the power of information is transformative. When people learn the truth, they will demand change: more cops, better trained cops, more resources of every kind, and a cooperative relationship between police and the communities they serve. This isn’t just a theoretical exercise. We need to understand the implications of Hargrove’s data for our community: based on MAP’s algorithm that detects serial killers within a specific geographic area, Jacksonville’s unsolved murder cluster is the largest in the state. What are we going to do about it?

Thomas K. Hargrove is a retired Washington, D.C.-based investigative journalist and former White House correspondent. He founded the nonprofit Murder Accountability Project in 2015 to track unsolved homicides nationwide. 

While working as a national correspondent for the Scripps Howard News Service, Hargrove developed an algorithm that uses FBI homicide data to identify clusters of murders with an elevated probability of containing serial killings. Authorities in Youngstown, Ohio, and Gary, Indiana, opened new homicide investigations in 2010 as a result of Hargrove’s findings. The algorithm’s identification of 15 unsolved strangulations in Gary was corroborated in 2014 with the arrest of Darren Deon Vann, who confessed to killing women for decades. 

Working with fellow board member Prof. David J. Icove of the University of Tennessee, Hargrove developed another algorithm that can review the National Fire Incident Reporting System to identify undetected or unreported arsons. Working with Professor Guido H. Stempel III of Ohio University, Hargrove co-founded the Scripps Survey Research Center and co-edited a two-volume encyclopedia, The 21st Century Voter: Who Votes, How They Vote and Why They Vote, published by ABC-CLIO in late 2015.

Brandon Griggs
The Illiteracy-to-Prison Connection

Surveys conducted by the Department of Justice have found that 85% of incarcerated youth can’t read. This unsettling link between illiteracy—something that is determined as early as five years old—and one’s likelihood of arrest is shocking. Given the disproportionate representation of black youth in our juvenile justice system, it’s evident that the lack of good schools, adequate funding, and resources in minority communities are the mechanisms by which African-American students are flushed down the school-to-prison pipeline.

Brandon Griggs has witnessed firsthand the inequities that permeate our education system; he’s also proud that as a 4.0 student and EVAC movement member, he is redefining stereotypes and setting an example for other black teens. Juvenile justice reform, Brandon argues, begins in our kindergarten classrooms, because keeping kids out of prison starts with giving them basic literacy skills.

Brandon Griggs is a student activist and advocate for “at-risk” youth who, like him, have lived in the epicenter of gang and gun violence in Jacksonville and experienced its traumatic effects. As an advisor to Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, he represents Florida’s youth and brings attention to problems that students face, but that aren’t getting enough awareness. He was also elected to serve on the Jacksonville City Council Task Force on Safety and Crime Reduction, where he proposes further legislation on the violence that has so deeply impacted him. Brandon currently works as a national spokesperson for the Campaign for Youth Justice.

Daron Babcock
Planting Hope

Bonton Farms started small. At first, it was no more than a tiny vegetable patch on a vacant lot beside Daron Babcock’s Habitat for Humanity house, a small plot of green in a dangerous, run-down, historically disadvantaged South Dallas neighborhood full of society’s most marginalized people. There was no greater vision than to give the community’s residents, most of them former felons, something to do every day. A side benefit was providing food for them to take home every night, because Bonton was a food desert where getting to the closest grocery store involved a three-hour roundtrip bus ride.

Today, Bonton Farms consists of two fully functioning organic farms and a food market dedicated to growing the best-tasting, healthiest produce in the city. Its food is an intentional catalyst, nurturing bodies but also prompting far larger changes: restoring lives, creating jobs and igniting hope. Daron Babcock believes the parallels are profound: just like a seed, every human being has the potential to live a healthy, prosperous life if they are given the right nutrients and support.

Daron Babcock left a successful corporate career in private equity along with his comfortable home in Frisco, Texas to serve in the inner-city community of Bonton. Although Bonton is historically known for its high crime, poverty and violence, he believes another world is possible. Daron’s broad professional experience coupled with his heart for serving inner-city communities brings a fresh and innovative perspective to solving problems there. He founded Bonton Farms in 2014 where he currently serves as Executive Director. Daron and his wife Theda have lived and served in Bonton since 2012.

Linda Argila
Why We Need Prison Reform—an Insider's Perspective

Between 1980 and 2016, the number of women incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons increased by more than 700 percent. Roughly 17 years ago, Linda Argila became one of them. She was sentenced to a year and a day in Danbury Federal Correctional Facility for harboring a fugitive. At six months pregnant, young and in love, she discovered that the father of her unborn child was one of the biggest marijuana smugglers in the country. Because he was never captured, she faced a decade of federal interrogations, and was eventually torn from her 9-year-old daughter. 

Linda witnessed firsthand the way incarceration rips at the hearts of children and families, as well as the physical and mental injustices that women—the majority of them nonviolent, first-time offenders—face in prison. Today, she is an advocate for prison reform, proposing alternatives for nonviolent offenders, as well as new standards of dignity and respect for those behind bars.

Linda Argila is a professional writer, speaker, and advocate for people faced with life challenges, principally women and children impacted by incarceration. Licensed and bonded by the Attorney General of New York for Professional Fundraising, she is widely recognized as a leader in philanthropy. Her philanthropic career grew out of the life-shattering experience that led her to form Solutions from the Heart, an award-winning fundraising, event management, and consulting firm. Over the past decade, Linda has raised more than $30 million for charity. She has spearheaded countless groundbreaking events and fundraising campaigns, including the star-studded ARTrageous and Dream Extreme.

In addition to being honored with the Sara Curry Humanitarian Award, she has appeared on FOX, ABC, NBC’s “New York Nightly News,” and “CBS Morning News,” and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal. She holds the unique distinction of ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange as well as the NASDAQ opening and closing bells within the span of six months. Linda lives in New York City and has an incredible bond with her 28-year-old daughter Ashley.

Rawan Al-kharboosh
Engineering Stem Cells

Longevity has preoccupied human health since time immemorial. In 2006, researchers gave us what is arguably the most significant breakthrough in the emerging science of stem cells: the discovery of inducing pluripotency from just a simple skin cell residing on your arm. Pluripotent stem cells can propagate indefinitely, and be reprogrammed to make up cells of any organ in the body with the potential of repopulating what will age, and eventually die.

As a Ph.D. candidate at the Mayo Clinic, Rawan Al-Kharboosh’s research focuses on using nanoparticle-engineered fat stem cells to fight off the most fatal type of primary brain cancer. The promise of stem cell engineering to treat failing organs, like many other revolutionary scientific approaches, does not come without a cost. Efforts to engineer stem cells also come with safety concerns and unprecedented risks. Today, scientists and the public are confronting the dilemmas of a technology platform that is driven by hope, excitement and fear.

Rawan Al-kharboosh is a Ph.D. candidate with dual appointments in the Neurosciences and the Regenerative Sciences Training Programs at the Mayo Clinic. She graduated top of her class at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Cancer Center. In 2018, she was invited to speak at the 10th International Forum of NGOs with UNESCO. Her work helped acquire an Investigational New Drug (IND) from the FDA for a point-of-care device in clinical trials using stem cells for regeneration. Rawan is currently using nanoparticles to engineer novel adipose-derived cellular applications for the intraoperative treatment of brain cancer and other pathologies of the CNS.

Husain Abbas, M.D.
Robots and Artificial Intelligence in the Operating Room

Robotic technology is transforming America’s operating rooms. Robots go where traditional surgical tools can’t, and they perform tasks unimaginable without computer assistance, sophisticated algorithms, and advanced motion control technology. They give the surgeon unprecedented control in a minimally invasive environment, resulting in smaller incisions, shorter recovery time, less pain, and improved outcomes. Importantly, physicians are able to expand their services to sicker and more vulnerable patients because the procedures are less physically taxing, both for the patient and the surgeon. Dr. Husain Abbas, who this year completed his 200th da Vinci robotic surgical procedure, will discuss the significant impact of robotic technology on surgeons and medical care. 

Originally from the sunny Kingdom of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf, Dr. Husain Abbas attended the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and subsequently completed his surgical residency and fellowship in Minimally Invasive Surgery in the United States. His interests are in utilizing robotic technology to treat obesity and diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.

Dr. Abbas is currently the medical director of the bariatric program and the program director of robotic surgery at Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, where he also has a busy surgical practice. He focuses on cost-effective surgical treatments for complex gastrointestinal diseases, surgical treatment of obesity, reduction in opioid use, and the complex impact of robotic technology on patients and surgeons.

Douglas Anderson School of the Arts

DA’s Vocal Department provides the foundation needed for many graduates to pursue degrees in music at major universities throughout the country. All Vocal majors graduate with experiences that provide a lasting appreciation and awareness of the beauty and discipline within the vocal art form.

Jacksonville University Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts program performers

The Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts ensures that every student receives the instruction and guidance needed to realize his or her full artistic and intellectual potential.

Mal Jones

Mal Jones’s performance will detail how he turned his Jacksonville hip hop street cypher into hip hop education in the classroom. 

Mal Jones is a recording artist, founder of The Lyricist Live, emcee, award-winning Jacksonville hip-hop/folk artist, educator, and documentarian. He hosts The Lyricist Live at Downtown Vision’s monthly First Wednesday Artwalk. A Bronx-born, 23-year resident of Duval County, and pioneer of the Jacksonville indie hip-hop scene, he teaches youth using uses hip-hop culture as an educational tool with school programs based on hip-hop. In 2013, Mal Jones became the first hip hop artist in Florida history labeled a “folk artist” by The Florida Folklife Program-Division of Historical Resources for the traditional skill of improvisational freestyle rapping. Mal is also a public speaker, guest lecturer, and advocate for arts and education, hosting a number of hip hop workshops that focus on writing and literacy. In 2015, Mal also started the state-funded Folklife Apprenticeship Program that teaches the traditional skill of freestyle rapping as an official state folk art for the first time in history.