2020 Speakers and Performers

TEDxHopeRising-SpeakersTheme: Hope Rising

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”

-Desmond Tutu.

The TEDxPaloAltoCollege team carefully selected speakers to create talks covering a diverse list of topics.



Andrea Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson is a San Antonio native who has been performing for over twenty years. She’s the co-host of the award winning 2nd Verse Open Mic. She has served as a Writer in Community for Gemini Ink since 2009. In March of 2018, Andrea assembled and produced an all-women’s cast for a sold-out theatre show, The Bad Mama Jama Mixtape: A Woman’s Soundtrack to Life, at the historic Little Carver. Sanderson is the winner of the 2019 People’s Choice Award, awarded by Luminaria Artist Foundation (formerly known as: Artist Foundation of San Antonio). Her debut book entitled: She Lives In Music, published on Flower Song Press, was released on Valentine’s Day 2020. Her album She Tastes Like Music, is available on all music streaming platforms. On April 1st 2020, Andrea became the first African American, Poet Laureate of San Antonio 2020-2023. In May of 2020 she was awarded Best Live Entertainment/Band Musician of the Year by the SEA Awards.

Christina Jovanna OlivarezChristina Jovanna Olivarez is an award-winning social media strategist, Founder & CEO of The Social Butterfly Gal and Co-Founder of Hustle + Socialize.
She was born and raised in Mission, Texas and currently resides in San Antonio. Christina works with brands to provide the strategy and solutions needed to amplify their message. She has achieved success with leading national events and brands such as Fiesta® San Antonio, City of San Antonio, Downtown San Antonio, Howl at The Moon, LLC, and San Antonio Start-Up Week. Her social media expertise has led her to speak at various conferences, summits, and appearances on business & social media podcasts. In addition to her social media business, Christina teamed up with her best friend to co-found Hustle + Socialize, which brings the diverse women’s business community of South Texas together and curates a powerful conference that features exclusive insights from amazing women leading in the community. Christina serves on the board for New Leaders Council- San Antonio.  She is certified in Social Media Marketing from HubSpot Academy. She is also a three-time nominee for NAWBO’s Women Business Owners Award, a nominee for Rising Tide Society’s 20 on the Rise, and a nominee for San Antonio Entrepreneurship Week – Community Developer of the Year Award. Christina was also crowned Princess of Downtown San Antonio by Fideo Loco Festival. 

EliotMarshallEliot Marshall started his martial arts training after seeing The Karate Kid for the first time. At the age of six he began training in Soo Bahk Do under the instruction of Grand Master Hwang Kee and Michael Garaguso. Eliot achieved the rank of 3rd Degree black belt and went on to win 2nd place at the national tournament in 1997. He began studying Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in October of 1999. After graduating college in 2002, he devoted himself full-time to Jiu Jitsu under the direct instruction of Professor Amal Easton. He lives with his wife Renee and their two sons Kannen and Simon. Eliot has competed at the highest levels of martial arts. He is a four-time Pan-American Jiu Jitsu champion, took home third place at the Jiu Jitsu World Championship as a brown belt, and is a six-time veteran of the UFC. He has since retired from professional fighting, and is now the co-owner of Easton Training Center. He now spends most of his time teaching, and managing the new facility. Eliot currently holds the rank of Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He has published a book and and produces a podcast, both titled “The Gospel of Fire.” When Eliot is not teaching, training, or podcasting he loves trying out new barbecuing techniques.

ErikaBallErika Ball is the Founder and Director of “We Are Those People” (WATP) a nonprofit organization, dedicated to changing the narrative of addiction recovery through storytelling and film. She and her husband, Frank Ball, Co-Founder are both in recovery and created WATP as a way to give back to the recovery community and help those who are still suffering as well as their families.  Erika is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor and received her Bachelor’s in Human Services Management and Leadership from UNT-Dallas.  She is an advocate for Mental health care reform and also serves the Spanish speaking community as she is a first generation Paraguayan-American.   

Jenna-Saucedo-HerreraJenna Saucedo-Herrera joined San Antonio Economic Development Foundation (SAEDF) as president and chief executive officer in 2016. In this role she works closely with San Antonio’s business community, and public partners to advance the diversification and growth of the San Antonio regional economy through domestic and global business development, workforce development, partnerships and market strategies. During her four-year tenure at the helm of San Antonio’s economic development team, SAEDF has secured over fifteen thousand jobs for our community through location and expansion projects that include: Ernst & Young, EY, Victory Capital, Navistar and Aisin. Saucedo-Herrera has received accolades including: the “2015 Women in Leadership Award” and the “2017 40 Under 40: Woman of the Year Award” from the San Antonio Business Journal, acknowledgement by the San Antonio Express News in their “2016 Women Who Run San Antonio” feature, and recognition in Culturemap’s “Top Texans Under 30”.


Photo of James Harris James Harris, a San Antonio native, is a professional speaker, writer, and event producer.  Currently, he produces motivational speech conferences and performances with Undefeated Speaker™️ to inspire the local communities.

Photo of Jose Ortiz José Antonio Guerrero Ortiz was born in 1979 in Corpus Christi, Texas, raised in Monterrey, N.L., Mexico. Guerrero Ortiz holds a Bachelor from Texas Lutheran Unviersity and a Masters from Texas State Univeristy. Having been a performer for thirty- years, five years of those have been devoted to the study of Flamenco guitar and its music with the Ballet Nacional Folklorico of Corpus Christi, Texas. As a composer Guerrero Ortiz has been honored to have three of his compositions for solo guitar, “Prelude, Nocturne, and Fantasia (Homenaje a Dimitri Fampas)”, premiered by the dedicatee and daughter of Maestro Fampas, Ms. Eva Fampas in Athens, Greece in the year 2009, as well as in Campo Grande, MS, Brazil, by Professor Cibele Pedroso Rodrigues and Viver Bem Ballet and Academy of Music.  And in April of 2017, the Norwegian Classical Guitarist, Tino Andersen, performed the world premiere of, ” Quatre Poèmes Romantiques (Dedicado a Angélique  Riviére)”, in San Marcos, Texas. “Fantasia Poetica y Apasionada”, is performed and dedicated to the Italian Classical Guitarist, Antonio Molfetta.

  Photo of Juan Ortiz Mr. Juan B. Ortiz has the distinction of being: the 1st mariachi class instructor, in the nation, for a University (University of Texas A & I Kingsville, TX-1977-1979), Co-founder of the 1st International Mariachi Festival in San Antonio, Texas 1979, 1st lead mariachi instructor for the San Antonio Independent School District (1980-1993), 1st mariachi Artist-in-Residence for the National Endowment for the Arts (Washington D.C 1985), Co-founder of Texas Association of Mariachi Educators (TAME) 2010, and Co-founder of Mariachi Campanas de America 1978-present. In 2014, Mr. Ortiz was awarded by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (the Grammys) in both the American and Latin Categories.

Ortiz had been a faculty member of the Fine, Performing, and Communication Arts Department at Palo Alto College from 1994-2020.