2014 Presenters

“Unzipped” was an event like no other in Upstate South Carolina!

Friday, April 11th — a day devoted to nudging your intellect, creativity, and heart in directions you may never have imagined. To learn more about each presenter, hover over their picture. For more info about the conference itself, click here. Individual talks and performances are available in our video library.

Chauncey unveils daughtering — a poetic, illuminating twist on family relationships.

Chauncey Beaty

An award winning speaker, trainer, performance poet, and certified life coach, Chauncey is most known for her ability to perform “hard work and heart work.” (CLICK PIC FOR MORE)

A woman with a mission, Caroline shows us what second chances really, truly mean.

Caroline Caldwell

A 2013 YWCA Woman of Achievement Dream Achiever, Caroline volunteers for multiple Upstate organizations while running her own non-profit, New Mind Health and Care... (CLICK PIC FOR MORE)

A bioengineering expert shows us the next step toward the future of medical implants.

John DesJardins

A leader and educator in design innovation of biomedical devices, John is an assistant professor in Bioengineering at Clemson and the director of the Frank H. Stelling and C. Dayton Riddle Orthopaedic... (CLICK PIC FOR MORE)

A physician and mother of three shares a somewhat startling vision of that oft-dreaded “talk.”

Melisa Holmes

Melisa is a mom of three, an OB/GYN physician, and the founder of Girlology & Guyology, a company that offers parent-child educational programs, a series of books for adolescents, and a web community... (CLICK PIC FOR MORE)

A writer grasps for knowledge of her past… and learns something about letting go.

Heather Marshall

Originally from Kilmarnock, Scotland, Heather is an author and writing and yoga teacher based in Greenville, where she lives with two of her three children, a pair of Labrador-mix dogs, a set of bagpipes... (CLICK PIC FOR MORE)

The inventor of touch screen technology explores human/computer interface.

Paul McAvinney

Paul began working with computers in the late '60s. In the early 80's he was a co-founder of the computer music laboratory in the computer science department at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Recently he... (CLICK PIC FOR MORE)

Happiness often seems fleeting, but you know what? It doesn’t have to be.

Gen Kelsang Nyema

An American Buddhist nun and the Resident Teacher of Ganden Kadampa Buddhist Center in Columbia, SC, Nyema is a long-time student of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. She teaches... (CLICK PIC FOR MORE)

You might be blinded by the light… and not even know it. Find out why.

Joey Obermann

Joey is an electrical design engineer with a passion for new innovation. Familiar with electricity since childhood, his father was an electrical contractor and often asked little Joey to tag along to pull wires and hook... (CLICK PIC FOR MORE)

A Greenville native helps us open our hearts to break down the stereotypes in our minds.


For over a decade, Roxy has delighted audiences across the globe with a winning combination of wit, comedic timing, celebrity illusion, and live vocals. A female impersonator and entertainer based in Charlotte... (CLICK PIC FOR MORE)

An artist with unique mediums shows us a new way to connect meaningfully.

Jody Servon

Jody’s art projects include installations, drawings, photographs, sculptures, video and social experiments. Her work has appeared in exhibitions, screenings, and as public projects in the US, Canada, and China... (CLICK PIC FOR MORE)

Hang on to your seat for a surprising, emotional glimpse into human rights violations.

Marie Majarais Smith

Marie works for the SC Victim Assistance Network and is the Program Manager and Bilingual Victim Advocate for the Immigrant Victim Program. In this role, she is actively engaged... (CLICK PIC FOR MORE)

A performance artist with a powerful presence “speaks life” through her poetry.

Chiccy Baritone

Charlene Evans, a.k.a. Chiccy Baritone, has multiple magazine, newspaper, tv, blogtalk, and local radio poetic features and projects to her credit. She's found a way to capture... (CLICK PIC FOR MORE)

This mandolin master pushes boundaries by blending tradition and innovation.

David Benedict

At an early age, mandolinist David Benedict was intrigued by the distinct sound of the instrument, fell in love with its rich aural music traditions, and seemed destined... (CLICK PIC FOR MORE)

Ella Mae is a gifted teen with a beautiful blend of bold soul and human fragility.

Ella Mae Bowen

Ella Mae Bowen is a powerful new voice in the world of country music. Although just 18, Entertainment Weekly described Ella Mae’s voice as having “an urgency beyond her years.” (CLICK PIC FOR MORE)

You may think you know ballet… but you may have to think again.

Carolina Ballet Theatre

The Upstate’s resident professional ballet company, Carolina Ballet Theatre performs a wide array of dance, ranging from classical to contemporary. Founded in 1972, CBT... (CLICK PIC FOR MORE)

Blurring the lines of genres, this guitarist crafts a ‘neo-acoustic folk/funk’ vibe.

Jacob Johnson

This energetic performer from SC has shared stages with songwriting masters and hangs out with guitar heroes. While it’s his flashy guitar pyrotechnics that might grab your attention... (CLICK PIC FOR MORE)

A young beatbox and sound-effect pro brings a little hip, edgy fun to the stage.

Conrad Ma

Conrad was drawn to beatboxing from the very first moment he encountered it at age eleven. Since then, he has been both an avid fan and practitioner, dedicating all of his free time... (CLICK PIC FOR MORE INFO)

This duo unzips modern music with soulful, lighthearted timbres of guitar and cello.


WireWood is Laura Koelle Pyle and Keith Groover, a cello/guitar duo from Greenville, specializing in instrumental versions of rock and pop songs. Their shows are light-hearted... (CLICK PIC FOR MORE INFO)