The second annual EMUTenTalks during Eastern Mennonite University’s Homecoming and Family Weekend this fall will showcase restorative justice practitioner and slam poet Jodie Geddes MA ‘16, entrepreneur Anxo Pérez ‘97 and musician Trent Wagler ‘02. Each will give a 10-minute talk and then answer questions, a format based on the popular TED Talks.
EMUTenTalks will be at 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 14, 2017, in the MainStage Theater in the University Commons.
EMUTenTalks returns after a successful inaugural event. “Our first ever EMUTenTalks was a huge success at last year’s Homecoming and Family Weekend, with standing room only in our MainStage Theater,” said Jeff Shank, director of alumni and parent engagement. “We are really excited to welcome three new talented people to this year’s event. The format for the EMUTenTalks creates an inspiring environment for all who attend.”
Slam poet for a cultural shift
Geddes graduated from EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding with an MA in conflict transformation in 2016. A Jamaican native who grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and now lives in Oakland, California, Geddes uses her story as a catalyst for transforming systems. She is the community organizing coordinator at Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth, where she works with CJP adjunct instructor and social activist Fania Davis. She is also vice president of the board of managers for Coming to the Table, and has received numerous awards for her activism and organizing.
’88 Steps to Success’
Pérez has been named EMU’s 2017 Alumnus of the Year for accomplishments in his profession. Pérez founded and runs 8Belts.com, an internet-based language-learning program. The author of Los 88 peldaos del xito (88 Steps to Success) and a popular speaker with the message “Don’t admire success, admire effort,” Pérez has given some 400 keynotes on five continents, including a TEDx Talk, and was honored with a “European Citizen” award from Foro Europea 2001 in 2014 and recognition by the magazine Emprendedores in 2015 as “the entrepreneur whose trajectory has been especially outstanding in recent months.” Pérez earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts with minors in music and English as a second language.
One-of-a-kind lead vocal
Wagler is a professional touring musician with Americana roots band The Steel Wheels, which since 2010 has released five studio albums and toured internationally and across the United States, building a community of fans and partners everywhere they go. Wagler plays guitar and banjo and writes songs that have earned the band numerous awards and placements on best-of lists. In 2013, The Steel Wheels helped found the Red Wing Roots Music Festival in Mt. Solon, Virginia, to cultivate and celebrate great music in the Shenandoah Valley. Wagler majored in theater and justice, peace, and conflict studies at EMU.