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The inventors, trailblazers and performers of TEDWomen 2013, “Invented Here”

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main2Invented here. There. And, well, everywhere. This year’s TEDWomen is dedicated to out-of-the-box thinking from women around the globe. TEDWomen 2013 will take place on December 4th through 6th in San Francisco — but the whole world will be watching. There are 220 TEDxWomen events being held in 58 countries, each tuning into the webcast of the anchor event while also celebrating girls, women and innovation locally. Find the TEDxWomen event nearest to you to watch along next week.

Below, a closer look at the lineup.

The Inventors:

Jessica Matthews, playful entrepreneur. Jessica Matthews and her partner, Julia Silverman, found a very fun solution to a very real social problem — the lack of electricity in small villages around the world. They created the Sockett Ball, a soccer ball which generates electricity simply by being kicked around.

Krista Donaldson, social-good engineer. Krista Donaldson and her comrades at D-Rev have a motto: “Design for the other 90%.” They are creating the next generation of prosthetic limbs by re-engineering the parts and looking to new materials.

Jane Chen: A warm embrace that saves lives Jane Chen: A warm embrace that saves lives Jane Chen, social entrepreneur. TED Fellow Jane Chen is the woman behind Embrace, a low-cost infant warmer that’s saving babies born prematurely or with low birth weight in the developing world. Chen is committed to finding solutions for the world’s most vulnerable populations.

Dava Newman, spacewear designer. MIT professor Dava J. Newman is an expert in biomechanics. She is the creator of the BioSuit, a new kind of spacesuit that fits close to the skin and still, you know, prevents bone and muscle atrophy in space.

Juliana Rotich: Meet BRCK, Internet access built for Africa Juliana Rotich: Meet BRCK, Internet access built for Africa Juliana Rotich, tech entrepreneur. TED Fellow Juliana Rotich and her compatriates at Ushahidi develop free and open-source software to meet the unique tech demands of their country, Kenya. Their latest: BRCK, which forges a reliable internet connection even when the power goes off.

Rupal Patel, speech scientist. A male, adult, computerized voice doesn’t make sense for every person who is voiceless. Rupal Patel has created VocaliD, which gives people who can’t speak the ability to communicate in a voice that embodies who they are.

Roshi Givechi, designer. Roshi Givechi is a Design Director at IDEO. She thinks deeply about how people interact with objects, spaces, services and one another, and builds into the small things that make a person feel at home.

Hunter Lee Soik, digital dreamer. Hunter Lee Soik’s app, Shadow, is for anyone who has trouble remembering their dreams: it wakes you up, asks you what you dreamed about, and notes connections to the larger population.

The Trailblazers: 

Dame Steve Shirley, entrepreneur and philanthropist. In post World War II England, Dame “Steve” Shirley had the audacity to found a company hiring mostly female employees. The key to the FI Group? Inspiring work and flexible schedules that allow employees to have lives outside the office.

Diana Nyad: Extreme swimming with the world's most dangerous jellyfish Diana Nyad: Extreme swimming with the world's most dangerous jellyfish Diana Nyad, journalist and swimmer. Diana Nyad swam 102.5 miles from the Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. Making the accomplishment all the sweeter — the fact that it’s been something she’s been trying to do since 1978.

Maya Penn, entrepreneur/animator/philanthroppist. Maya Penn started a business when she was 8-years-old, creating eco-friendly accessories. Next, she became a successful animator, then a philanthropist with Maya’s Ideas 4 The Planet. A 13-year-old CEO bursting with ideas.

Boyd Varty, environmental and literacy advocate.  Boyd Varty hopes to spark a movement by giving people a close connection with nature. At the Londolizi Game Reserve in South Africa, he not only creates those moments, but helps those who live and work on the reserve connect with the outside world through education.

Maggie Wilderotter, communications exec. In the 1970s, Maggie Wilderotter started in a new industry few people understood: cable. Now the chair and CEO of Frontier Communications and the chair of the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, she is a leading thinker on telecommunications.

Denise Morrison, food industry exec. Denise Morrison is the president and CEO of Campbell Soup — which is making a major drive toward healthy food that’s easy to make. Fun fact: her sister, Maggie Wildrotter (who you met above) is also speaking at TEDWomen.

Odile “Kiki” Gakire Katese, theater artist. Odile “Kiki” Gakire Katest founded Rwanda’s first all-female drumming group. (More on that below.) And also: its first professional contemporary dance company and co-op ice cream store.

Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook. At TEDWomen 2010, Sheryl Sandberg outlined why we have so few women leaders. It became the basis for her best-selling book, Lean In. The manager of Facebook’s sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy and communications, she excels at big thinking.

Dr. Paula Johnson, women’s health expert. Heart disease looks different in women than it traditionally does in men. Dr. Paula Johnson and her team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston are bringing together expertise in this field to form an alternate set of recommendations for optimum health.

Catalina Escobar, advocate for teenage moms. A tragedy led Catalina Escobar to change the direction of her life and devote herself to lowering the infant mortality rate in Colombia. Her Fundación Juan Felipe Gómez Escobar does this by providing job training, healthcare and education to teen moms.

Esta Soler, violence and abuse prevention expert. In 1994, Esta Soler convinced Congress to pass a law combating violence against women. Today, she’s moved her mission global with Futures Without Violence.

The performers:

Bora Yoon, experimental musician. Everyday, found objects create sounds that inspire Bora Yoon, be it the ring of a cell phone or the noise bacon makes while cooking. This TED Felllow creates beautiful, complex, multilayered soundscapes.

Azure Antoinette, spoken word artist. Azure Antoinette’s poetry explores gender, ambition, aging, technology, beauty, alienation, relationships and so much more. In 2010, she created STUDIO:alchemy, a program that empowers teenage girls through spoken word.

Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter ... Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter ... Sarah Kay, poet. Azure needs to meet Sarah Kay. Kay began performing spoken word poetry at age 14 and now, at 22, she is a TED favorite and the co-director of Project V.O.I.C.E., which encourages teenagers to parse their world through words.

Meklit Hadero, singer-songwriter. TED Fellow Meklit Hadero took a journey with the Nile Project, which connected the musical traditions of the countries in the Nile Basin. Her songs draw as much from her Ethiopian heritage as they do from jazz and hip hop, blending the old and new.

Ingoma Nshya, drummers. In Rwanda, men usually have the honor of drumming. So it’s significant that Ingoma Nshya, led by Odile “Kiki” Gakire Katese, is the nation’s first all-female drumming group. But the group has another purpose too — to unite victims and perpetrators of violence in the wake of the Rwandan genocide.

Maysoon Zayid, comedian and actor. The co-founder of the Arab-American Comedy Festival, Maysoon Zayid isn’t afraid of making light of her family, her Palestinian upbringing, or her life with cerebral palsy. When not on the stage, she is in the Palestinian Terrirotires, running art workshops for kids with disabilities or trauma.

Stay tuned to the TED Blog for coverage of TEDWomen »