So far, the following speakers have been confirmed for our TEDxNJLibraries Event on May 7th, 2010 in Princeton, NJ.


Salman Ahmad

Salman Ahmad

Salman Ahmad is a rock star and founder of the hugely successful band Junoon. He has sold over 25 million albums and is one of the most popular and exciting musicians in the world. Salman is also a humanitarian, bridge-builder, and social activist. His real “junoon” (passion) is using his music to bring people together and raise awareness of some of the most important social and political issues of our time: bridging the divide between Islam and the West, promoting peace between Pakistan and India, HIV/AIDS, and global health and poverty.

After 9/11, Salman spoke out in the media about Islam and his identity as a Pakistani-American Muslim. He continues to be actively involved in bridging cultures – through his participation in forums, such as the Brookings Institution and the Search for Common Ground; through his writing, for Newsweek’s “On Faith” column and op-eds in the Washington Post and other publications; through his speaking, at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2006, at university campuses around the country, and at Queens College where he currently teaches; through his documentaries, including the 2003 PBS documentary, “The Rock Star and the Mullahs” and the 2005 BBC film about Muslims in America called “It’s My Country Too”; and of course, through his music. He just released a song with Melissa Etheridge called “Ring the Bells”, a call for peace, performed at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo in 2007 and at the UN General Assembly in 2001, the first band ever invited to perform there.

As UN Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/AIDS, and through his music video Al-Vida, Salman has brought urgent attention and resources to this issue throughout South Asia. He has raised thousands of dollars for social causes and for those in need, including earthquake victims in Pakistan and hurricane survivors in the United States. His commitment to bringing India and Pakistan closer together reached monumental heights last year when he performed the first-ever concert in Kashmir, with thousands of young Kashmiris singing “sayonee” (soulmates).


Steven J. Bell

Steven J. Bell

Steven J. Bell (our Emcee for TEDx NJ Libraries) is Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services at Temple University. Previously he was Director of the Library at Philadelphia University  and Assistant Director at Penn’s Wharton School Library, where he also earned his Ed.D.  He writes and speaks about academic librarianship, learning technologies and library management. An Adjunct Professor at Drexel University’s College of Information Science and Technology, he teaches the academic librarianship course. His website and blog, “Steven Bell’s Keeping Up Web Site” and “The Kept-Up Academic Librarian” promote current awareness skills and resources. Steven is a co-founder of the Blended Librarian’s Online Learning Community on the Learning Times Network and has participated in numerous virtual presentations. He blogs for ACRLog, ACRL’s official Weblog, and Designing Better Libraries, a blog about design thinking and library user experiences,and authors the “From the Bell Tower” column for Library Journal’s Academic Newswire. He is co-author of the book “Academic Librarianship by Design”. For additional information about Steven J. Bell or links to his projects, point your browser to http://stevenbell.info


Leslie Burger

Leslie Burger

Leslie Burger is the Executive Director of the Princeton Public Library and a past-president of the American Library Association.  While ALA president, she launched a variety of initiatives to help librarians transform their communities.

Leslie has been a devotee of change and innovation since she began her career in the mid-70’s, always focusing her attention on how libraries can changes lives and amaze and delight their customers.

As director of the Princeton Public Library she builds partnerships with civic and community leaders to foster the library’s role as the community’s living room.  She has convinced donors to give more than $20 million to support the library’s capital and endowment campaigns.  She continues to  challenge the community’s ideas about the role of the public library. The Princeton Public Library is now one of the top destinations in town attracting more than 850,000 visitors each year.

Before joining the Princeton Public Library, Leslie served as a development consultant at the New Jersey State Library where she worked on leadership and marketing initiatives on behalf of the state’s libraries. She served as Executive Director of the Central Jersey Regional Library Cooperative, a multi-type library cooperative serving a three county area. She also worked at the Connecticut State Library as the LSTA Coordinator, Director of Planning and Research, and Director of Network Services. Her library career began at the Bridgeport (Ct.) Public Library when she was hired to develop a community information and referral service.  Recently she was named the Distinguished Visiting Librarian for the American Library in Paris, carrying the message of transformation across the Atlantic several times a year.


Sam Daley-Harris

Sam Daley-Harris

Sam Daley-Harris is founder of RESULTS, an international citizens’ lobby dedicated to creating the political will to end poverty.  Daley-Harris is also founder of the Microcredit Summit Campaign which surpassed its initial goal of reaching 100 million of the world’s poorest families in 2007. That same year Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus said: “….no other organization has been as critical a partner in seeing to it that microcredit is used as a tool to eradicate poverty and empower women than RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund’s Microcredit Summit Campaign.” Daley-Harris is author of Reclaiming Our Democracy: Healing the Break Between People and Government, about which Jimmy Carter said, “[Daley-Harris] provides a road map for global involvement in planning a better future.” In 2010, Ashoka founder Bill Drayton wrote, “Sam Daley-Harris is one of the certified great social entrepreneurs of the last decades.  After building RESULTS, he is the person more than anyone else who has brought microcredit into focus across the world and precipitated action.  One of his mechanisms has been a series of global microcredit summits.  I think these are the first such UN-like events not run by the UN, or by any government for that matter.”


Alfa Demmellash

Alfa Demmellash

Alfa Demmellash – Since 2004, Alfa has been the Chief Executive Officer of Rising Tide Capital, headquartered on Martin Luther King Dr., in Jersey City. The organization runs the Community Business Academy – an intensive business training session coupled with year-round coaching and mentorship that equips marginalized entrepreneurs to better operate their small businesses. Many of these individuals use the increased earnings from their business to supplement their low-wages, allowing them to better provide for their families and transform the face of their communities. This year, Rising Tide Capital is actively working with over 250 high potential entrepreneurs to help them define and pursue a path for business success.

In 2009, Alfa was selected and profiled as a CNN Hero. Alfa is a recent recipient of AVON’s Hello Tomorrow Fund Award for working with women entrepreneurs. In 2007, Alfa has been featured on the Suze Orman show and “O” The Oprah Magazine, and mentioned in Essence Magazine and Redbook Magazine for her work on entrepreneurship. She was also the 2007 recipient of the Redbook Strengths and Spirits Award. She is passionate about social entrepreneurship, education, conflict resolution, and increasingly the environment.


Alison Byrne Fields

Alison Byrne Fields

Alison Byrne Fields has spent her career — no, her life — mobilizing people to create social and political change. She’s like a superhero who uses her power for good, overcoming apathy, limited resources and social barriers in a single bound. Today Alison is the Senior Vice President and Managing Director of DDB Issues & Advocacy, working with nonprofits and foundations to change the way they communicate. In the past, she’s been the Creative Director and Chief Strategist for Rock the Vote, engaging young voters in the U.S. and, as a consultant, young civic leaders in Cambodia, Mexico, Eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. Alison believes the most effective form of communication is word of mouth — online and off — and knows how to make people talk, and to become evangelists for a cause. But she’s not going to talk to you about any of that at TEDxNJLibraries. She’s going to talk to you about the power of writing and listening and how a blog post brought people from around the world together one weekend around a common experience and changed everything.


Mimi Omiecinski

Mimi Omiecinski

Mimi Omiecinski moved to Princeton, New Jersey in June 2006, with absolutely no plans to start a small business. Before moving to Princeton, New Jersey, Mimi lived in Atlanta, Georgia working in senior marketing and sales positions including Kaiser Permanente, Aetna Healthcare System and United Healthcare Services. After the successful sale of Oral Health Services she took the unique opportunity to invest time to begin a family with her husband Steve, a global management executive in the medical device industry. The combination of a corporate vagabond lifestyle paired with a seven year career hiatus allowed for extensive travel as well as a longing for a stable sense of community.

Upon relocation to Princeton, she understood the potential for Princeton to grow within the global tourism market. She founded Princeton Tour Company with a mission far greater than commercializing the nation’s most beloved Ivy League town. Her small business is designed to sustain the community which provides the framework for the vital sense of belonging she and her family value so much.


Eric Mintel

Eric Mintel

Eric Mintel is the leader of one of the finest straight ahead jazz quartets in the country today, the Eric Mintel Quartet. Dave Brubeck says that “as long as the music attracts dedicated young musicians like Eric Mintel and the Eric Mintel Quartet, jazz will continue to thrive and progress as a voice of freedom.” Eric’s achievements include a performance, by invitation, at the White House, several performances at the Kennedy Center, collaborations with symphony orchestra and choral groups, outreach to students in elementary schools, performances in concert halls, cultural centers and jazz festivals throughout the country and educating the public on the importance of jazz music in our culture. Energetic, lyrical, swinging and always entertaining, Eric Mintel’s music touches the soul. The public has hailed Eric’s passionate piano style, his attention to melody, his catchy original compositions and his use of classical elements within a performance.


Mark Pascal and Francis Schott

Mark Pascal (standing) and Francis Schott

Mark Pascal and Francis Schott, aka “The Restaurant Guys“, have been in the restaurant and wine business on the high end for about 20 years each. They met in college and now own and operate Stage Left Restaurant in New Brunswick, NJ, one of the most highly regarded Contemporary American Restaurants on the East Coast. They own Catherine Lombardi Restaurant, which is regarded among the best Italian Restaurants in NJ. The bar there was ranked among the top 100 Cocktail Bars in the country.  They are consultants to the industry, spreading cocktail, food and wine culture wherever they go, and have been teaching a consumer class in wine (raved about in the New York Times) since 1990.

Mark and Francis enjoy being part of a unique community of passionate food and wine professionals, from farmers to importers to producers to restaurateurs to collectors to consumers to the guy they met last week who had his first glass of pinot noir at their bar and was astounded.  They share their stories and experiences in their “Restaurant Guys Radio” podcast, which has been called, “Car Talk for Food”

Mark and Francis always have time for a great meal, always have time to share a story, and always have time for a great glass of wine. They enjoy spreading the word about what’s really important: Breaking bread with friends and family and coming together over the communal table.


Merrick Rosenberg

Merrick Rosenberg

Merrick Rosenberg: As President & Chief Learning Officer of Team Builders Plus, Merrick is a sought after coach, trainer, and speaker who has worked with more than a third of the Fortune 100 companies in 33 states and around the world. He is a consummate reader, a prolific writer, and an engaging presenter who has spoken often for organizations such as: The American Society for Training & Development, the Society for Human Resource Management, and the International Society for Performance Improvement. Merrick received his MBA from Drexel University who recently selected him as the Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year.  Merrick has achieved a fourth degree black belt in karate and has been teaching martial arts with his wife for more than twenty years.


Lynette Young

Lynette Young

Lynette Young is VP of Creative Endeavors at Purple Stripe Productions, specializing in social technology strategies and implementation services. A true pioneer since she began blogging in 1997, she is the director of Social Media Club Princeton and an organizer for Podcamp Philadelphia. Lynette brings precision, detail and creative flair to helping organizations define their social media strategies, and serves as a strategic adviser to a number of companies.