PechaKucha San Antonio will host its 20th event on Tuesday, Dec. 1 and organizers have partnered with SA2020 for an evening that will also recognize the halfway point in the nonprofit “community visioning” organization’s mission to bring about positive social and physical change to San Antonio.

For the first time, the Majestic Theatre will host the event – the largest venue yet since its start in 2011. PechaKucha drew more than 600 people to previous events at the smaller Empire Theatre next door and organizers are expecting the next installment to at least double in size.

This year, the price of tickets will be decided by attendees, sort of. Proceeds, anything after the $5 base that goes to PeckaKucha, will go to SA2020 as it participates in the national philanthropic #GivingTuesday campaign. “Name your own price” tickets are available online here.

Artist Cruz Ortiz and Snake Hawk Press will be on site, screen printing flat items that attendees bring with them.

The pre-show happy hour with drinks and snacks starts at 6 p.m. Presentations, which will be emceed by WOAI-TV Anchor Randy Beamer, start at 7:30 p.m. After the show, The Last Word will host an after party at 10:30 p.m.

“In many ways, the Dec. 1 line up is business as usual: eight individuals who are passionate about their work, their craft, and the city they call home,” said Nicolette Good, PechaKucha San Antonio spokesperson. “In other ways, these speakers are examples of the great work San Antonio is doing in civic engagement, the environment and education, etc.”

SA2020 curated the speaker list “through a lens that captures the spirit of both organizations,” Good said.

Some speakers have official ties to SA2020, others do not, but their lives and stories represent the”random greatness” that is required of San Antonio to become a “world-class city” by the year 2020, said SA2020 President and CEO Molly Cox.

Molly Cox poses for a photo. Photo by Scott Ball.
SA2020 President and CEO Molly Cox. Photo by Scott Ball.

Speakers include some of the top City and community leaders including Mayor Ivy Taylor, Eastside Promise Neighborhood Director Tony Leverett, the City’s Chief Sustainability Officer Douglas Melnick, and Tech Bloc founding member David Heard. And it wouldn’t be a PechaKucha night if cultural leaders weren’t in the mix as well: San Antonio’s Poet Laureate Laurie Ann Guerrero, Chef Steve McHugh, and restaurateur Jody Bailey Newman. (See speaker bios below.)

The star of the show, however, may end up being Kylie Helterbrand, an eighth-grader attending school in Northside Independent School District. She’s a member of the National Junior Honor Society, the first female quarterback at her school, the youngest local PechaKucha presenter to date, and she just so happens to be graduating high school in 2020.

“She’s an interesting soul in an eighth-grader body. Super wise for her years,” Cox said. She met Kylie at a recent TEDx San Antonio salon event. When people talk about how “children are our future – this is who I’m talking about.”

She’s not the director or owner of anything, but she wields an influence all her own.

“We need to actually listen to young people and not just (say) ‘Oh, you’re so cute.’ … They have some brilliant ideas,” she added. “I think Kylie is going to to rock our world.”

SA2020 started out as a strategic planning process initiated by then-Mayor Julián Castro in 2011 and became a nonprofit in 2012. It has been working with fellow nonprofits, private companies, the City, and Bexar County to move the needle on 56 indicators from air quality to downtown housing stock.

The results of the mid-point progress report will be out before Dec. 1, Cox said. “There is amazing movement in some areas and other ares are going to take longer. … But one thing we’ve found already is that (San Antonio has a) more holistic collaborative community than I think even we (SA2020) though it could be.”

Each presenter gets 20 PowerPoint slides, for 20 seconds, just under seven minutes, to show/tell their story – and the subject is often not what you’d expect.

“There will be some surprises,” Cox said. “You’ve got an opportunity to impart upon people an idea or thought or notion to make them want to go do something. … They won’t all be talking about their day jobs.”

Full Disclosure: The Rivard Report is a media sponsor of PechaKucha San Antonio.

See below for information about this round’s eight speakers (in no particular order), provided by organizers.

Mayor Ivy Taylor
Mayor Ivy Taylor

Ivy Taylor, San Antonio Mayor

Ivy R. Taylor was elected Mayor on June 13, 2015, after fulfilling an unexpired term for 11 months. She had served as the District 2 City Council representative since June, 2009. Mayor Taylor worked at the departments of Housing & Community Development and Neighborhood Action, Merced Housing Texas and UTSA. She holds degrees from Yale University and the University of North Carolina and is a devoted wife and mother. 

Douglas Melnick, Chief Sustainability Officer

The City's Chief Sustainability Officer Douglas Melnick. Photo by Josh Huskin, courtesy of PechaKucha San Antonio.
The City’s Chief Sustainability Officer Douglas Melnick. Photo by Josh Huskin.

Douglas Melnick is the City’s first Chief Sustainability Officer. He leads San Antonio’s sustainability efforts and policies in the areas of sustainable transportation, municipal sustainability, and energy management. His current focus is on the development of the SA Tomorrow Sustainability Plan, which serves as a data-driven and measurable plan for social, environmental, and economic sustainability, with a focus on resilience. He also coordinates the City of San Antonio’s air quality efforts and provides key support and oversight to San Antonio B-Cycle.

Promise Neighborhood Director Tony Leverett. Photo by Josh Huskin, courtesy of PechaKucha San Antonio.
Eastside Promise Neighborhood Director Tony Leverett. Photo by Josh Huskin.

Tony Leverett, Director, Promise Neighborhood

Tony Leverett directs and coordinates the full implementation of the Department of Education’s Promise Neighborhood Grant. He’s responsible for fostering and managing relationships between the collaborating partners and the resident-led Advisory Council as well as the San Antonio community. His work with Promise Neighborhood unites institutional and residential stakeholders to leverage and strengthen community assets and resources so that children and families will be inspired to succeed.

Kylie Helterbrand, Class of 2020

Kylie Helterbrand.  Photo by Josh Huskin, courtesy of PechaKucha San Antonio.
Kylie Helterbrand. Photo by Josh Huskin.

Kylie Helterbrand is an eighth grader in the Northside Independent School District, class of 2020.

Early on, her parents learned the Kylie mantra: “Let me be me.” So far, it’s working. She is in the gifted and talented program, is a member of the National Junior Honor Society, and is the first female quarterback at her school.

When she’s not singing and dancing to music, she’s planning to change the world.

Steve McHugh, Chef/Owner

Chef Steve McHugh. Photo by Josh Huskin, courtesy of PechaKucha San Antonio.
Chef Steve McHugh. Photo by Josh Huskin.

Steve McHugh is a chef and restaurateur who grew up on a Wisconsin farm, where he formed his farm-fresh culinary approach. He made a name for himself in New Orleans as chef de cuisine for chef John Besh at August, then brought Lüke, Besh’s German-style brasserie, to San Antonio.

But his greatest achievement was beating cancer, after which he opened Cured at the Pearl Brewery. The restaurant’s name speaks both to Steve’s triumphant recovery and to the cured meats hanging in view. Cured was one of Bon Appétit’s top 50 in “America’s Best New Restaurants 2014” and one of Esquire’s six runners-up for the 2014 Food & Drink Awards.

Local restauranteur Jody Bailey Newman. Photo by Josh Huskin, courtesy of PechaKucha San Antonio.
Local restauranteur Jody Bailey Newman. Photo by Josh Huskin.

Jody Newman, Chief Friend

Jody Bailey Newman is the food entrepreneur and Chief Friend behind The Friendly Spot Ice House, Alamo Street Eat Bar food truck park, and B&D Ice House. And, she just added the iconic Hills & Dales Ice House to her “friendly family.” Jody often mentors future small business owners and female business owners through Café Commerce, and as an SA2020 Ambassador. As Fiesta Cornyation’s first-ever Queen Anchovy I, she raised a record-breaking amount for San Antonio’s AIDS-related charities. When she’s not at one of her own restaurants, you can find her in one of her many favorite downtown hangouts. She’s the one drinking the glass of Pinot Noir.

San Antonio Poet Laureate Laurie Ann Guerrero. Photo by Josh Huskin, courtesy of PechaKucha San Antonio.
San Antonio Poet Laureate Laurie Ann Guerrero. Photo by Josh Huskin.

Laurie Ann Guerrero, Poet Laureate

Current Poet Laureate of the city of San Antonio and recently appointed Poet Laureate of the state of Texas for 2016, Laurie Ann Guerrero is the author of three poetry collections, Babies under the Skin, A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying, and A Crown for Gumecindo. Guerrero is the recipient of the Academy of American Poets Prize from Smith College, the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Award, the Andres Montoya Poetry Prize, and an International Latino Book Award. She is the Writer-in-Residence & Literary Arts Director at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio and Director of the Macondo Writers’ Workshop, founded by Sandra Cisneros. She holds a B.A. in English from Smith College and an M.F.A. in poetry from Drew University.

Tech Bloc Founding Member David Heard. Photo by Josh Huskin, courtesy of PechaKucha San Antonio.
Tech Bloc founding member David Heard. Photo by Josh Huskin. Credit: Courtesy of Josh Huskin / PechaKucha San Antonio.

David Heard, Tech Bloc Co-Creator

David Heard is a corporate software executive and technology activist. He is Chief Marketing Officer for SecureLogix, a cyber-security product company based in San Antonio. Civically, David has been an active tech industry promoter for the past 15+ years. In late 2014, David teamed with Lew Moorman of Rackspace and Lorenzo Gomez of Geekdom to envision and create Tech Bloc, a grassroots, tech- and urban-centric movement that has rapidly grown since launch in May of this year.

Tech Bloc’s focus is to help build a San Antonio that can compete for the next generation of technology jobs and talent needed to grow a robust local economy in the coming decades. As a dad, David has a passion for a San Antonio where his and our children can build their lives while enjoying world-leading opportunities for careers as technology developers, innovators, and entrepreneurs.

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