TEDxLander 2021 Speakers

La Rhea Pepper

 La Rhea Pepper is the Managing Director and a co-founder of Textile Exchange. A fifthgeneration farmer and the co-founder of two successful organic cotton businesses, Ms. Pepper’s unique perspective helps her lead Textile Exchange along with its pioneering Members to create preferred fiber and material strategies, strengthen integrity in the market place through the adoption of standards and promoting deeper engagement within the supply network. Prior to Textile Exchange, Ms. Pepper and her late husband, Terry, were founding members of the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative (TOCMC) in 1993. Today, TOCMC is the largest organic cotton cooperative in the United States. Together, they built and demonstrated a sustainable business model for farmers creating strategic partnerships with various manufacturers and “value-added” programs including Cotton Plus (organic fabric) and Organic Essentials (organic personal care products). In 1995, La Rhea served on the Administrative Council for Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) and two years later was elected to the Organic Trade Association’s Fiber Council Steering Committee. She joined the Organic Trade Association’s Board of Directors in 1998 where she supported the creation organic fiber processing standards and chain of custody for the industry. Continuing to serve and support advocacy for family farms in the US, she has also served as a board member for RAFI – the Rural Advancement Foundation International (2013-2017). Known for her passionate and inspirational presentations at various conventions and conferences, La Rhea is often invited to write and speak on issues related to organic cotton farming, organic cotton fiber use, and industry standards. Impassioned about organics and stewardship for the land, La Rhea holds strong family, community and religious values and has dedicated her life to making a positive difference in the world. Ms. Pepper holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Abilene Christian University and a Masters of Science in Organizational Leadership from Lubbock Christian University.


Brandt Tobler

Originally from Cheyenne Wyoming, Brandt Tobler is a stand up comedian, author, and actor. Currently living in Denver, Brandt has toured overseas performing for our troops, and has been featured on Comedy Central, Fox, and ESPN. He has recorded two CD’s “Token White Boy” and “Ramblin’ and Gamblin” and is currently the host of the award winning podcast “The 31". Brandt’s best selling memoir "Free Roll" was released in the summer of 2017.


Arlen "GRIFF" Griffin

Orator, US Army Military Intelligence Veteran and Nationally Syndicated On-Air Personality “GRIFF” is the founder of the Process Success Foundation an organization that teaches young people steps to be great. With an unforgiving wanderlust spirit “GRIFF” became the first American to tape Comedy Central Africa and recently celebrated 25 years of Stand up Comedy. This author of 'Cats and Puppies' (a book for moms raising sons from the perspective of a boy raised by his 15 year old mother) and father of five has forged his career at the intersection of faith, philanthropy, and humor. With an infectious energy and unmistakable voice, “GRIFF” contributes laughter, sincerity, and a real world approach to living inspiration out loud.

Oakley Boycott

Oakley Boycott is not a pseudonym.
Born and raised in Lander, WY she spent her childhood touring the country with her parents, the performing arts duo; ‘The Grizzlies”.
Over the past decade she has cultivated her career in the performing arts, working and residing primarily in New York City. She is fortunate to have worked on stage at the Metropolitan Opera, Town Hall Theatre NYC, Off-Braodway and an array performing arts venues across the country. The body of her work spans a variety of musicals, cabarets, Shakespeare, concerts, benefits, festivals, films, national tours, television shows, commercials, workshops, comedies and tragedies. She has worked in association with the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame, helping to document and preserve the lives and history of some of our greatest national treasures.
November of 2019 marked her first foray into performance/endurance art with the piece SILENCE which premiered in New York City.
SILENCE is presented without breaks from 8am-8pm over the course of three days. The piece consists of sitting in complete silence and as close to complete stillness as possible across from an empty chair. Anyone and everyone is welcome to come and sit in silence across from her for as long as they want or need and leave whenever they are moved. All donations made during the duration of SILENCE go directly to the organization “Not Our Native Daughters”.
The revival of SILENCE at Sinks Canyon State Park in July 2020, maintains her passion for maintaining and cultivating connection of her work between Wyoming and New York City. It is her hope to continue to present SILENCE on a global scale. She is a proud member of the Screen Actors Guild and Actors Equity Association. For a composite of complete credits feel free to request an autographed resume or visit www.oakleyboycott.com

Ben Evans

 Born and raised in the inland Pacific Northwest, Ben Evans' early experiences set the stage for engagement with ideas and culture. His childhood centered around the value of wilderness, the consciousness of Native America, the significance of the History of the American West, and the spirit of education--as his dad is a professor of Western U.S. and Native American history who has authored two books on Nez Perce tribal history, and his mom is an elementary school teacher, pianist, and singer.  Ben's love of language and music originated in early childhood where he learned to associate words with songs from his mother's piano playing and singing.  Early Beatles' vinyl, along with The Righteous Brothers, Johnny Rivers, Sergei Prokofiev, and Gordon Lightfoot all became habituated involvements during the first five years of Ben's life.  During this period Ben's parents also first started to take him to the wilderness, including a 27 mile backpack trip down the Selway river in Idaho's Selway-Bitteroot wilderness area, from which he can't remember much except crying in the rain while adults bribed him to keep hiking with promises of more jerky and "Space Food Sticks"--the wonderful and largely forgotten candy from the 70s.  As Ben grew older he became more creative and weird--although most said it was a "good weird." His parents' divorce seemed to push him further toward Kasey Kasem's Top Forty as a trustworthy representation of how fun it might still be to continue to live and grow. However, it was an ongoing relationship between music and wilderness that fully forged Ben's self-concept and notions of meaningful activity, as his dad always made sure Ben was hunting, fishing, backpacking, rock climbing, rafting, Huckleberry picking, horseback riding and river-tripping on Idaho's excellent wilderness rivers.  The dissolution of the family combined with this ongoing "wilderness experience" and love of music sent Ben roaring shamelessly into elementary and Jr. High with terrible grades, relatively serious discipline problems, and an ever-growing adoration of music as the "inner frontier" to compliment the outer values of Pacific Northwest wilderness experience. Finally Ben surprised all family and friends by actually attending college and, unbelievably, becoming a Bachelor in English, Master of Arts in English, and an Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.  Currently Ben is professor of English at Central Wyoming College.  He also writes songs, records, and performs solo or with his group--Ben Evans and Crazy Honey.  Ben also shares, with friends and family, spiritual practices including tribal ceremonies, Tibetan Buddhist practices and events, self-made mysticisms, so-called "Alternative Healing" modalities, and certain liberal versions of Christian devotion.