Jean Case at TEDxMidAtlantic: Unlocking the American Dream

Case Foundation CEO Jean Case took the stage at TEDxMidAtlantic: New Rules—a gathering of 45 prestigious leaders who came together to discuss and think about what kind of society and future we want to build, and how we get there. Jean’s talk noted the importance innovators have played in the history of the United States, examined the state of entrepreneurship today and promoted a series of changes we could make to open the doors of entrepreneurship to everyone.

Jean shared the true but often surprising statistics that show that women and entrepreneurs of color are too-often being left on the sidelines, but contrasted them with her vision of a world where all innovators and change makers were on a level playing field. While she recognized that there are still many challenges facing women and entrepreneurs of color involving unconscious bias, she called on investors to take a hard look at their portfolios and the opportunities they were missing by not tapping into the rich talent of diverse entrepreneurs. Standing on the iconic red TED carpet, Jean set forward a clarion call for all to join in on building an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem that would give everyone an equal chance at unlocking the American Dream.

Watch Jean’s TEDx talk below to learn more about the realities for women and entrepreneurs of color today, and how we can help change the face of who is and can be an entrepreneur.


TedXMidAtlantic Challenges Us to Start Now

Merge supermodels, scientists, social innovators and Spanish culinary masters in one room and you have a recipe for success. Now, put these talented individuals with inspirational stories on stage at the 2013 TEDxMidAtlantic conference and you have more than 800 captivated attendees. Sponsored by the Case Foundation and PBS, TEDxMidAtlantic gave attendees insights on innovative solutions to societal problems and drove us to think about our world through the framework of this year’s theme—Start Now.

Highlights from the two-day event included: Sam Berns, a 17 year old diagnosed with Progeria, a rare genetic disease for which there is no cure that presents symptoms resembling premature aging; General Stanley McChrystal, a four-star general who emphasized the importance of face-to-face connectivity in a world with countless social tools; and Shiza Shahid, co-founder and director of the Malala Fund who showed us the power that fearlessness, determination and peace can make in the world.

Inspired by the 50 speakers who took the stage, the Case Foundation and its staff curated a collection of our favorite tweets, quotes and sayings from the event that challenged us to innovate and share ideas that can change the world. Tell us on Twitter (@casefoundation) how you plan to #StartNow!

TEDx (@TEDx) on Bayeté Ross Smith
“We’re all media makers. We all have the responsibility to create things that challenge us to evolve our thinking.” @BayeteKenan#TEDxMid

Doug Donovan (@DougDonovan) on Rep. Jim McGovern
@TEDx: “Nothing changes in this world unless good people come together to fight for it.” – Congressman Jim McGovern#TEDxMid @Philanthropy

Sarah Koch (@sarahtkoch) on Chef José Andrés
“The act of introducing clean cook stoves can spark an entire economy.” @chefjoseandres #TEDxMid

Oceana (@Oceana) on Jackie Savitz
“Biodiversity is not at odds with abundance; in fact, they’re aligned.” — Oceana’s @JackieSavitz at #TEDxMid:

The Case Foundation (@CaseFoundation) on Ben Miller
“What will you build [in your neighborhood]? 10 years from now people will build their own cities” @BenMillerise @fundrise#TEDxMid

Rita Pasi ‏(@ritapasi15h) on Chef José Andrés
“People of the world do not want your pity. They want your respect.” – Chef Jose Andres at #TedxMid

Brooke James (@BrookeLJames) on Angel Gil-Ordóñez + Post-Classical Ensemble
“We seek impact. That means engaging the audience in every possible way.” – Angel Gil-Ordóñez @postclassical #TEDxMid

Michael D. Smith (@msmithDC) on Liz Ogbu
“I’m an architect that doesn’t design buildings. I design opportunities for impact.” @LizOgbu #tedxmid

Brooke James (@BrookeLJames) on Jon Jarvis
“Nature is no longer natural because of climate change.” – Jon Jarvis of @NatlParkService #tedxmid

TEDx (@TEDx) on Jen Oxley
“Math is not just for boys or people who are born with innate math skills.” – Jen Oxley on teaching girls to love math #TEDxMid

TEDxMidAtlantic (@TEDxMidAtlantic) on Lale Labuko
@LabukoLale is speaking now at #TEDxMid. “We owe our generation love and care. We have to say, “This is bad” and change it.”

Elyse Greenberg (@elyseindc) on Henry Evans
“Your disability doesn’t make you any less of a person, and neither does mine.” – Henry Evans #TEDxMid

Allie Burns ‏(@AllieB) on Angel Gil-Ordóñez + Post-Classical Ensemble
Haunting, beautiful performance by @postclassical at #tedxmid

Jade Floyd (‏@DcThisWeek) on the Beat Making Lab
“What happens when you merge the works of art and activism? #Artivism @durhamite @applejuicekid @BeatMakingLab@TEDxMidAtlantic

NatGeo Explorers ‏(@NatGeoExplorers) on Labuko Lale
“We must speak out to make change” #Explorer @LabukoLale at #TEDxMid on ending child killings in Ethiopian tribes

The Case Foundation (@CaseFoundation) on Michael Smith
@msmithDC says “Don’t donate another dollar until you know the impact…Invest in results and research and development.”#TEDxMid

Dee Snow ‏(@DeexScience27) on Jen Oxley
“Know what you’re good at and go for it.” Filmmaker Jen Oxley #TEDxMid

Didn’t have the opportunity to attend TEDxMidAtlantic? Watch a replay of the livestream at

TEDxMidAtlantic videos: Reach Beyond Your Bubble and Be Fearless

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African proverb

Partnership, collective impact, shared value—no matter what you call it, collaboration is the key to reaching beyond your bubble, overcoming fear, and creating new possibilities. At TEDxMidAtlantic in October of 2012, more than 40 speakers from around the country came together to talk about what being fearless meant to them. They admitted that it can be scary to break away from the established path and start a new journey. It might feel like you have to rely on yourself (and no one else!) to achieve your dreams.

But speakers like Kakenya Ntaiya, Barbara van Dahlen, and Jessica Ladd told us that this isn’t true. Reaching beyond your bubble spreads knowledge and deepens impact. Watch the videos below and share them with people you know who are reaching beyond their bubble.

Kakenya Ntaiya (recently named a CNN Hero) reminds us that it’s okay to ask for help and when you accomplish your goals, you can change an entire community. Kakenya was the first girl in her small village in Kenya to attend college in the United States. Her entire village came together to help her take that leap, and today, her dream is to return home and give back.

Barbara van Dahlen, psychologist and founder of Give an Hour, further adds that being fearless can come from a sense of duty, like soldiers who fight because they believe in a shared mission of protecting their country. In the aftermath of military service, PTSD is a pervasive problem, and cultivating relationships with friends and family is pivotal for overcoming its challenges.

Jessica Ladd points out that the spread of sexually transmitted diseases can be eradicated when people are honest with each other. Jessica created a website to help individuals communicate with their previous sexual partners without dread or embarrassment. By tackling our fears one person at a time, entire communities can benefit.

Are you ready to be fearless? Take a pledge to reach beyond your bubble, collaborate with others, and start something new. To learn more about the amazing speakers at TEDxMidAtlantic Be Fearless, watch all of the presentations here.