Spotlight Series: Tony Longoria

September 24, 2020

Marketing and Strategic Communications

Since 2018, TEDxPaloAltoCollege has brought together inspiring and innovative minds to present new ideas and spark conversations. The annual event is an important community-building event, and this year it will be accessible online and free of charge.

With the desire to drive positive change in the midst of unprecedented challenges, Tony Longoria, speech instructor and lead organizer for the event, set the theme for this year’s event: “Hope Rising.”

“Everybody in the world is facing adversity in one way or another with the challenge of COVID-19,” said Longoria. “We want to inspire hope into our students, faculty, staff, and community.”

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. The College’s event is called TEDxPaloAltoCollge, where “x” indicates an independently organized TED event.

Unlike the in-person, day-long event, Longoria said this year’s event will be a two-hour program that will be livestreamed on TEDxPaloAltoCollege’s Facebook and YouTube channels.

The broadcast will feature powerful talks and performances from various activists, business leaders, artists, and athletes. Each speaker was carefully selected to present unique ideas covering a diverse list of topics aligned with the theme “Hope Rising.”

TEDxPaloAltoCollege 2020 speakers and performers include:

  • Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson, the first African American Poet Laureate of San Antonio (2020-2023), presenting “The Power of Your Voice”
  • Eliot Marshall, mixed martial artist and jiu-jitsu champion, presenting “Finding Your Power”
  • Erika Ball, founder and director of nonprofit organization “We Are Those People,” presenting “Removing the Stigma of Addictions and Mental Health”
  • Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, president and CEO of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, presenting “Turning Weakness into Strength”
  • Christina Olivarez, social media strategist and entrepreneur, presenting “Reimagining Social Media”

Palo Alto College’s core values stem from the belief that education is central to the continued growth of its community. Longoria first conceived the idea to bring a TEDx event to the Southside because he wanted to bring together students and the surrounding community to engage in meaningful conversations.

“I wondered if there was something that the speech communication department could produce that the community could be part of?” said Longoria. “Since we're in the area of public speaking, I started dreaming up this idea of a TED talk.”

After speaking to his colleagues and gaining support from the College administration, Longoria got the green light to go forward with the project and has been producing the event annually since 2018. With TEDxPaloAltoCollege in its third year, albeit virtually, he believes this event might be the best one yet.

Now with TEDxPaloAltoCollege in its third year, he believes this event might be the best one yet.

“I encourage everybody to tune in to this year’s virtual event,” said Longoria. “We are working diligently to make this a high-quality program, and we think that our community is going to love all the speakers and the ideas they present.”

To learn more about TEDxPaloAltoCollege, visit