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In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxIESEBarcelona, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDxIESEBarcelona event, TED Talks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.

The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.


TEDxIESEBarcelona was previously held in 2018 and is now being revived. The conference and its main theme are very much in line with the current new normal we are facing due to the COVID pandemic, as we move to an online format.


Our Speakers


Aakanksha Katihar


Aakanksha Katihar was born and brought up in a small Indian town. She completed her bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from MNIT Jaipur and moved to the US for her master’s in 2010. After graduation, she worked for seven years at Honeywell International Inc. in Product Development and Operations Management. In 2019, she joined IESE Business School for her MBA and moved to Barcelona, where she currently lives with her husband.

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Athena Lam


Athena Lam is the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants to Australia. Born and bred in Melbourne, Athena is an accomplished corporate lawyer who grew up with the challenges of being a young Asian female in the business world. Athena is passionate about using her voice and personal experience to promote diversity and inclusion, and challenge discrimination in the workplace environment.


Alexandra is a senior journalist, author, lecturer and media adviser. She supports media companies and media leaders in digital change and is passionate about quality journalism as a means to strengthening democracy. Alexandra is affiliated with the World Association of News Publishers, Hamburg Media School and the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford. As a visiting professor she teaches Journalism at the University of the Arts in Berlin and as a honorary professor Leadership and Strategy at TUM School of Management in Munich. She serves in the Council of Europe’s Expert Committee on Digital Technologies and Freedom of Expression and holds other international advisory roles. Before this she spent 25 years in German media companies, 15 of these in leadership roles.


Ambi Parameswaran is one of India’s most respected advertising and marketing professionals. Former CEO of FCB Ulka, one of India’s top ad agencies, an award-winning best-selling author of ten books on advertising, branding and consumer behavior, he is now a brand/executive coach []. He is a guest faculty at leading Indian B Schools including IIMA, IIMC, MICA and is an Adjunct Professo at SPJIMR. In a career spanning 40 years he has worked on brands from corporates such as Tata, SC Johnson, ITC, Wipro and J&J; he has conducted brand coaching sessions at companies including PepsiCo, GSK, Abbott and Nippon Paint. He has served as the President of Ad Industry bodies and on the Governing Board of his alma mater, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta. His latest book ‘Spring – Bouncing Back From Rejection’ explores ways to handle professional and business setbacks through a three step process.


After obtaining a Degree in Physics and a Master’s Degree in Renewable and Sustainable Energy, in 2014, Adrià joined the Electrophotincs Group at the University of Barcelona to study the interaction of light with humans. Since then, he has maintained an active scientific activity and recently he has been awarded with the best scientific paper of 2020 in the LpS Digital Conference for stablishing a link between the visual and non-visual properties of light. Adrià is currently a professor at the University of Barcelona and CTO at Kumux, a lighting software company.


Heather Kelly


Heather Kelly is the founder of Aura Wellbeing, a consultancy providing workplace wellness training, strategy and coaching services to employers in Europe & North America. She's also a global content specialist in the area of workplace mental health and wellbeing. Heather led the development and operation of the Workplace Wellbeing Index, during her time working for the UK’s largest mental health charity, Mind. In her earlier career in the US she worked as a photographer, a journalist and a senior manager in the insurance industry. Heather is passionate about infusing more empathy and awareness into workplaces to de-stigmatize mental health, and in her spare time she’s an avid runner and experimental chef for recipes promoting healthy minds.


Larry Hochman


Larry Hochman is one of the most popular keynote speakers in the world, having now done over 500 speeches in 72 countries. He is also a former European Business Speaker of the Year, and one of the world’s most influential advisors on building organisations that deliver an exceptional customer experience. Before beginning his speaking career, Larry held a number of senior positions at British Airways and the loyalty management company Air Miles in both New York and London. His roles included Director of Customer Service and separately Director of People and Culture- Larry being the very first person in Europe to ever have this role and title, which became a benchmark for re-inventing HR departments all over the world. He was also a pioneer of corporate mentoring in Europe and has been the personal mentor to many top executives. Originally from America, Larry has lived in Europe for the past 27 years and currently resides in both London and Venice.


Isabel Worch


Isabel is the founder of Zugvogl, a HR Tech company that matches candidates and companies based on cultural fit. The main goal is to help candidates choose the right work environment in order to thrive in. Isabel's mission is to redefine the recruiting industry by combining people, science and data.


Her insatiable curiosity for everything new leads her in all she does: from growing up in Brussels, studying in London and working in Brazil and Germany, to ultimately founding a company that deals with people, innovation and culture.


Before obtaining her MBA at IESE Business School, she worked for established businesses and pioneering institutions as an IT consultant and a business development executive. In these and other official functions, she contributes her experience with innovative HR processes in diverse companies and advocates for the interests of the German startup and entrepreneur scene. 

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Sanjali Nirwani


Sanjali Nirwani (IESE MBA '2014), is the Founder & CEO of Unlocked India. It's the first of its kind space with an international cuisine restaurant, an interactive cocktail bar, India's largest library of board games with 150+ titles and a real life Escape room. The ethos of the brand is build around the concept of EAT, DRINK & PLAY - a space to celebrate togetherness and bring you closer to the people you are with - be it friends, family, colleagues or even strangers. Sanjali has previously worked as a Strategy Consultant at Bain & Company in New Delhi and as a Business Architect at the Philips NV Headquarters in Amsterdam. Sanjali has a keen interest in social entrepreneurship, travel, food, board games and cultural exploration. Sanjali has been nominated for the Forbes 30 under 30 list 2019.



Ambi II Springing Back From Rejection in Three Simple Steps
Sanjali II Building Meaningful Relationships in a 'World of Strangers'
Athena II The Danger of Careless Words & Actions
Coffee Break & Creative Intermission
Larry II Without the Truth There is No Trust
Alexandra II Reinventing Education for A Connected Society
Isabel II Trust – My Secret Weapon 
Adrià II "The Hidden Power of Light"
Aakankshka II Does Marriage have to be a Compromise?
Heather II Empathy is the Super Power You Need
Break & Prizes
Mixology Workshop featuring Khalil (IESE MBA '21) & Carmelitano Bodegas

musical performances


Brumce Sheef
Sebastian Anastassiou
Hillary Doyle
Fernando Lapadula
Anna Lizaur
Gabriel Pegorelli
Agni Sikdar
Pieter Swart
Joey Upjohn
Jordan Bohinc
Patricia Royo
Abdel Hamed

A big thank you to our sponsor: