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The Bend Magazine

TEDx Cole Park is Bringing “Connection” to the Coastal Bend

10/08/2020 03:57PM ● By Luis Arjona

By: Luis Arjona    Photos Courtesy of: Liza Wisner

The human connection is an intrinsic part of life that I may have taken for granted until March. With technology replacing old modes of work, planning, and interaction, maybe our work adjustments have reached a level of comfort. However, the question still stands if it is enough to nurture, create, and maintain relationships?

On October 17, 2020, Liza Wisner, Christopher Butler, and a team of TEDx volunteers are presenting TEDx Cole Park. TEDx is the local grassroots initiative led by volunteers geared towards the same ethos on which TED operates. This one-day event will be virtual, focusing on bringing "Connection" to the Coastal Bend. The theme of "connection" will be the theme of the evening featuring ten (10) excellent speakers who will deliver powerful talks that will answer questions such as:

  • How do we connect better to ourselves to lead happier and healthier lives in Corpus Christi?
  • How do we connect better with each other so that no one feels alone and isolated in Corpus Christi?
  • How do we connect the innovation we have in a globally competitive market to allow us to build a more robust and sustainable Corpus Christi?

Speaking to the co-founder of TEDx Cole Park, Liza Wisner, helped elucidate the event's importance. The last time a TEDx event was hosted in the Coastal Bend was back in 2013. Wisner took the initiative and accepted the responsibility to revitalize the event. She mentioned how she posted on Facebook to create a team of volunteers on the day she decided to take on this endeavor. The experience has been enjoyable since the entire event has been organized virtually. This mode of communication took some time to get used to. However, her positivity towards virtual planning allowed me to realize the benefits of virtual meetings and work planning. Requiring less time committed to meeting up and the flexibility of tuning in from anywhere allowed sessions to occur at a regular interval and provided more consistent communication. Another positive example from their experience was during the audition process. A speaker, Maria Perez, who I hear has an excellent presentation lined up (spoiler), applied and auditioned just twelve hours after giving birth to her child. She was still in the hospital during the speaker review session. The digital format allowed her to present and lock in a spot as a speaker for the upcoming event! How badass is that?!


Before ending our conversation, Wisner exemplifies her drive by discussing what she deems "the excuse zone." In short, she does not want people to be stifled by negative thoughts. The idea of not achieving your goals due to the feeling of not having resources, support, or motivation should be thrown out the window. Wisner executed the upcoming event all virtually with people she did not know other than Butler. All initiated by the simplicity of a Facebook post. Now we are being gifted with an exciting event.

"Whatever your idea or dream is, go do it. Find people to come help and cheer you on. Don't let the feeling of isolation or feeling alone stop you from doing what you want. Put your efforts out there, and people will come," says Wisner about getting out of the excuse zone. If this is just a skosh of what's to come from TEDx Cole Park, then I can give you my guarantee (which is huge, not to brag) that the event will be worth your time. 

TEDx Cole Park speakers include:

  • Belkis Clarke, Owner at Belkis Clarke LLC - S.O.S. Women Rescuing ThemselvesTammy Francis, Ph.D. - Educator, Strategist, and Consultant, Catalyst 4 Change Global - Connected to Your Purpose, on Purpose
  • Aislynn Campbell, Garden and Wellness Coach; Co-Founder of Grow Local South Texas - My Garden is a Sanctuary
  • Michelle Eccellente Stevenson, Founder, Cultivate Caring / Artist, MES Studio Art - How Caring Connects Us
  • Isaac Garza, Senior at Veterans Memorial High School - How True Sickness Fosters Deeper Connections
  • Diana Cordova Walker, Entrepreneur - Two are Better than One
  • Lorena Parada-Valdes, Chief Immersion Officer, Passport2Fluency - Increasing Cross-Cultural Connections
  • Tim Tate, Licensed Professional Counselor - Overcoming Depression Prepared Me for a Pandemic
  • Maria Perez, Community Relations Specialist at Council on Alcohol + Drug Abuse - Community of Dissonance
  • Rudy Garcia, Revolve One Podcast - Mindfulness over Mindlessness

TEDx Cole Park would also like to thank their sponsors: Nikki Riojas - Made in Corpus Christi,, Jonathan Swindle of HRMG, Lillian Jean Photography, Aurora Arts Theater, and South Texas Mental Health Associates.

Registration is currently open to the public. Community members can visit the TEDx Cole Park website at for more information and to register.