Leadership Team

Emilia Hojel

Lead Organizer

I believe in the power of taking risks, of stepping out of your comfort zone. It’s not easy to share your ideas, passions or who you are with the world. But what if we broke down those barriers that are formed from fear? The barriers that stop us from pursuing our dreams and changing the world. I want to inspire my community to celebrate the passions that make us unique, the ideas that fuel change and the emotions that connect us.

Alejandra Díaz-Pizarro


We’re a generation of idealists. We talk about changing the world all the time, about making things better, about shifting the balance toward good. But we seldom talk about where that all starts: from ideas. And it’s these world-saving ideas, precisely, that TEDx seeks to give a platform to.

Gilberto Perezalonso

Sponsorship and Budget Manager

This life is for the fearless, the open-minded, the skeptical, the people who are willing to step up and tell the world who they are. It’s time to forget about our comfort zones and seek to inspire. Pursue a life a little less ordinary, a little more daring, focus on the details and you’ll realize it was never meant to be the way it was. Get busy living!

Samantha Swerdlin

Director of Creativity

the world needs more of this... more empathy, more trust, more love—love for each other and love for ourselves. What if this were the case? There wouldn’t be anything that we couldn’t do.

Majo Gutiérrez

Communications, Editorial and Marketing Director

The world is ending, people are dying, chaos surrounds us. We all wish to help, yet we encounter ourselves minimizing our efforts to save our world. I have confidence in the small things, I trust every single one of us holds a spark that can ignite change. We all have the building blocks for change so...will you build a wall...or a castle with us?

Santiago Castillo

Speech Coach

We, the young people of today have SO much to say yet the society that we live in continues to demerit our opinions and discredit our knowledge. For me, the purpose of this event is to pass the baton to youth who have something to say and ideas to spread.

Manuel Ponce

Video and Production Lead

I think trying something new is the best thing you can ever do. I recently came to ASF and to begin this new chapter in my life, I decided to get involved in my community. This brought me to take a risk and become the video production lead for the first ever TEDx@ASF conference. Being on the leadership team has given me the opportunity to not only meet amazing students and staff, but to feature them for the whole world to see what they have to say. In our modern world, everything seems to be going the wrong way. It is up to us to make our future the best it can be.

Arianne Ohara

Speech Coach

Incite change. Understand the world through others’ eyes. Rethink your ways and your routines; it is the only way to let righteousness rule our lives. I believe in a space where inspiring individuals can share their theories and beliefs and provoke that “spark” everyone wishes to have.

Dr. E Adam Smith

Faculty Advisor

As an educator, I love to give young people the opportunity to fulfill their potential and make a positive difference in their world. TEDxYouth@ASF presents an amazing opportunity for our students to create an event that will making a lasting, positive impact on ASF, as well as give them the skills and knowledge to host and execute large events in the future.