Talks + Performances = Wonder

The verde valley ideas stage bursts with inspiration. enjoy a range of talks and performances all united under the theme, “ever wonder?” Learn from a range of leaders in their fields as they consider what else might be possible for our world.




Learn from











Aerial artists.

slam poets.


wondering requires art.

Be moved.


2019 lineup

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Dave mochel

leader in mindfulness movement

As a well-being coach and consultant, Dave has had the opportunity to work with leaders, executives, educators, and athletes all over the world. Using principles drawn from modern scientific research and enduring wisdom, he helps individuals and organizations focus their attention and energy where it will make the greatest positive difference. He is also a lecturer at Stanford University in the Division of Health & Human Performance in the Department of Medicine and the author of Good Life Practice: A Quick Start Guide to Mindful Self-Regulation. He has degrees in biology & geology from Williams College, a Master’s in Humanistic & Multicultural Education from SUNY New Paltz, & a clinical internship in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. 

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Bret Stephens

pulitzer prize winning journalist

Bret Stephens is an op-ed columnist for The New York Times and a senior political analyst for MSNBC. He has previously worked as the foreign-affairs columnist for the Wall Street Journal and editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post. His numerous distinctions include the Pulitzer Prize, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and three honorary doctorates. He was raised in Mexico D.F., lives in New York City, and is the father of Noah Stephens, VVS '23


CHrissie Monaghan

educator & human rights activist

Chrissie Monaghan is a human rights researcher and advocate. As the UN Advocacy and Campaigns Manager for Crisis Action, she serves as the co-lead on a global campaign to better protect civilians and end the war in Yemen. She has previously conducted research attacks on schools and hospitals and denial of humanitarian access in Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Yemen, and on education programming for refugees in East Africa. Since 2015 she has taught in the International Education program at New York University. She previously led outdoor and experiential education trips for teenagers.


Michelle edwards

Educational Activist

Michelle Edwards is a native Chicagoan who found her way to Live It Learn It by serving as the principal of Orr Elementary for almost a decade. Michelle has also served on the board of Live It Learn It for over five years. She received a B.S. in Elementary Education from Northern Illinois University and Master’s degrees from Loyola University Chicago and Trinity University, Washington, DC. Michelle participated in New Leaders, Inc. as a resident principal during its inaugural year in Washington DC and 10 years later served as the Director of the Emerging Leaders Program. She recently earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Organizational Management from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Bill Barclay

composer & director

Bill Barclay, director, composer, writer and producer, is the Director of Music at Shakespeare’s Globe, where he has produced music for over 120 productions and 150 concerts since 2011.  Bill has written and directed new works of concert theatre for the LA Philharmonic at The Hollywood Bowl, The Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood and Symphony Hall, among others.  Bill is the founder of the new label Globe Music recognised widely by the BBC, the Royal Philharmonic Society, and Songlines Magazine.  His original music has been performed in 197 countries, 42 US states, for President Obama, the English Royal Family, the Olympic Torch, at the UN, in Buckingham Palace and in refugee camps in Jordan and Calais.  His MFA in devising is from Boston University. He trained at the National Theatre Institute and abroad in Bali.


Pete Ward


 Pete loves complicated challenges: getting a new venture off the ground, evolving an existing business to meet a new challenge, creating a culture of innovation, or bringing a brand to life. His path has been about following  passions and finding elegant business solutions that communicate purpose through action.  Based in New York City, Pete serves on the Board of Directors of the American Alpine Club, sitting on several committees including the Policy Committee which focuses on issues of conservation and of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.  Pete will come to Valley Verde Ideas directly from Washington DC and the annual Climb the Hill event where members of the Outdoor Community lobby Congress for access to public land. 


KC Baker

Women’s Empowerment Coach

Founder of WomanSpeak, Inc & GirlSpeak, KC Baker is devoted to unleashing the brilliance of women’s voices worldwide and has received international recognition for her unorthodox yet highly effective body of work.

She has spoken and taught at The United Nations, Women@Microsoft, and TEDxWomen, among others. She was an Advisor on Authentic Communication for Secretary Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential Campaign.

KC has been hailed as “One of the Top Planetary Changemakers” by Origin Magazine and has supported thousands of women around the world in finding the freedom, confidence and clarity to speak up and create change.

Her website is


Dave Len Scott

Jazz Musician

Dave Len Scott studied classical trumpet with Armando Ghitalla at the University of Michigan before becoming a professional jazz musician. Dave spent 25 years in the San Francisco Bay Area working as a pianist and as a jazz and classical trumpeter, as well as serving as lecturer of Jazz History, History of American Music, and Music Aesthetics at San Francisco State University, Sonoma State University, and The California Jazz Conservatory. From 1999-2001 Dave recorded and toured with Rosemary Clooney, and 2004-2008 with Boz Scaggs as trumpeter and keyboardist.


Nick Reber

data science entrepreneur

Nick Reber has over 13 years of experience in technology, data science and investment management. Recently, Nick was a member of the leadership committee at Oscar Health, overseeing the firm's growth to over $1bln in revenue and managing all provider facing operations, data science and technology product. Prior to Oscar, Nick spent ten years at Bridgewater Associates, where he was co-head of Research Analytics, the group responsible for inventing and implementing the firm's new investment strategies. Nick holds a BA in Mathematics and Theater from Brown University.


Logan Phillips

slam poet & author

Logan Phillips works to create new opportunities for the intersection of poetry and social justice in wider society. As a bilingual poet, performance artist and DJ he tours his art throughout the US, Latin America and beyond. Born and raised in Cochise County, Arizona to a family of Irish-Slavic ancestry, Phillips lived in and around Mexico City 2006-2011, where he contributed to organizing and hosting the country's first regular poetry slam series. He the author of the full-length book of poems Sonoran Strange, (West End Press, Albuquerque, 2015), named a “Top Pick” for Southwest Book of the Year by the region’s librarians. Working under the alias DJ Dirtyverbs, Phillips has been a resident DJ at Tucson’s historic Hotel Congress since 2012 and is founder of El Tambó (“Best Danceparty,” Tucson Weekly). A seasoned arts educator, Phillips also co-directed the youth-centered arts and social justice organization Spoken Futures, Inc., 2013-2018 whose programs include the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam. He is currently an MFA candidate and teaches writing at the University of Arizona.

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Scott Snyder

professor & researcher

Scott Snyder is Professor and Associate Chair of Chemistry at the University of Chicago, where he and his research group seek to develop new chemical reactions and reagents using molecules from nature as their key source of inspiration. To date, he has trained more than 100 scientists in his laboratory from the high school through postdoctoral levels and has delivered more than 200 lectures on his research in nearly 20 countries. Scott is also deeply dedicated to chemical education, having co-authored several textbooks used worldwide to teach organic chemistry at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Selected honors include an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, a Cottrell Scholar Award, the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society, a Swiss Chemical Society Lectureship, and the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.



Aerial Silks Performer

Ingrid fell in love with aerial arts five years ago, and has been training aerial fabric, lyra, and pole ever since. Attracted to the challenging and unique creative aspects that aerial dance offers, she seeks to stir up complex emotion in her audience through slow, intimate, and expressive movement. Ingrid is a youth and adult lyra instructor at Momentum Aerial in Flagstaff, AZ and performs with Dark Sky Aerial, a site-specific ambulatory aerial theater company based in the Western US. Through teaching and performing, she finds creative freedom, passion, and beauty in movement, viewing the art form as a unifying human experience.


join us


Verde Valley Ideas on Stage

2:00 pm

Saturday, September 19th - 2020

Brady Hall

Verde Valley School

Tickets go on Sale Summer, 2020


Interested in becoming a speaker?

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