Jake Graham, Executive Director

Jake Graham is a Wake Forest senior from Toronto, Canada. He is majoring in communication, concentrating in media studies while minoring in entrepreneurship with hopes of one day starting his own company. Jake has agency experience in the field of advertising with john st. in Toronto and was able to effectively promote and build the name of TEDxWakeForestU in the community in the event’s inaugural year. This year as a senior, Jake has plans to continue building the TEDxWakeForestU event into a staple event on the calendar of many within both the Wake Forest and Winston-Salem communities. As a Canadian, it is only safe to assume that Jake’s spare time consists of building igloos, dogsledding and playing hockey. Despite these intersting, yet time-consuming hobbies, please do not discount the fact that he takes time to enjoy long walks on the beach and candlelit dinners.


Mari Ishibashi, Executive Director

One of the two Japanese undergraduate international students at Wake Forest University, Mari Ishibashi is in her third year, majoring in Economics with a minor in Chemistry. Born and raised in Japan, she was not familiar with the TED talks at first, but soon realized that this was going to be a pivotal moment in the Wake Forest history. Mari is proud to finally present the the TEDxWakeForestU. Along with her involvement with TEDx, Mari is also on the executive board of the International Student Advisory Board and has been working as one of the co-chairs of Project Pumpkin and the Volunteer Service Corps. She strives to spend her college life by the Wake Forest motto Pro Humanitate (for humanity) by looking to continue to make a difference in communities across the country and the world through serving and giving back.



Christina Oelsner, Executive Director

Christina Oelsner, a sophomore from Charleston, South Carolina, plans to major in Business and Enterprise Management and a minor in Entrepreneurship.  This year, she is excited to join both Mari and Jake as Head Executive Directors in hopes of strengthening students’ entrepreneurial awareness and outlook on the vast fields of technology and innovation. Christina’s on-campus involvements include an independent study running a virtual start-up company and being a member of the business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi.



Amy Xie, Director of Marketing

Amy is a freshman from Cary, NC (which colloquially stands for “Concentrated Area of Relocated Yankees”). She did spend much of her childhood up north, but has developed an appreciation for sweet tea. She initially fell in love with TED talks because the videos are the perfect length for guilt-free procrastination.





Lauren Williams, Director of Publicity & Communications

Lauren is a junior, Business and Enterprise Management major from Indialantic, Florida. She got her first taste of campus event planning through working with Student Union and is excited about bringing her ideas and passion to the TEDxWakeForestU team. Lauren is responsible for the event’s  communication platform and public relations efforts. She is also able to type 24616418 words a minute…with her thumbs…on her BlackBerry (yes, she still owns one of those).




Sydnee Alms, Director of Logistics

Sydnee Alms is a Wake Forest junior from Howard County, Maryland.  She is majoring in Business and Enterprise Management with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise.  She is excited to be involved in TEDxWakeForestU as the Director of Logistics because she wants to pursue a career in event planning.  As a passionate coordinator and organizer, she generates a lot of enthusiasm around various events and activities in all aspects of her life.  These include jewelry trunk shows for Stella & Dot, birthday parties, gatherings with friends, and many more.  She also loves photography and horseback riding.




Laura Kennedy, Director of Logistics

Laura Kennedy is a Wake Forest sophomore from Bethesda, Maryland. She intends on majoring in Political Science with a minor in Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise, and hopes to go into law. She is excited to become involved with the TEDxWakeForestU program, and hopes to gain experience in organizing events and learning about the realities of entrepreneurship. Her dad was an entrepreneur, and she really wants to better prepare herself to blow her dad’s accomplishments out of the water.



Sameep Girglani, Director of Programming

Sameep Girglani, from Bridgewater, New Jersey, is a Finance major at Wake Forest University.  He is a die-hard Yankees fan and enjoys playing basketball in his spare time.  He would like to attend Law School after he finishes his undergraduate degree and pursue a career as a Corporate Lawyer.  He is extremely excited to organize TEDxWakeForestU and yearns to make this event one of the best in the country.