Life Is Beautiful announces speakers for this year's festival

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Life Is Beautiful announces speakers for this year's festival

By Joyce Lupiani. CREATED Aug 5, 2014

The Life Is Beautiful Festival has announced the speakers for its Learning Program and speaker series during this year's festival in downtown Las Vegas.

Life Is Beautiful isn't just about music. In addition to the dozens of entertainers scheduled to perform, the festival also showcases art, food and speakers on a variety of subjects.

“One of the cornerstones of Life is Beautiful is to give festival goers an opportunity to be inspired,” said Rehan Choudhry, Life is Beautiful founder. “Our speaker series is built on that same concept and by bringing together so many noteworthy speakers, we hope to give people the chance to be moved and challenged into thinking about the world in a different way.”

RELATED: Founder of Life Is Beautiful discusses upcoming music festival

This year, the talks will be grouped into themed sessions.

-- THE FUTURE: How tech is changing our food, our stores, our music and even the weather.
-- POWER: What happens when we give power and choice directly to those who need it?
-- LEADERSHIP: New leadership models that are transforming the workplace.
-- THE WORLD: Rethinking the developing world through socially conscious economic models.
-- PURPOSE: Finding it, losing it, and everything in between.
-- TRUTH: It’s harder and harder to tell the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong.
-- YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL: Anti-bullying and finding your inner superhero.
-- IMAGINE THIS:  When technology eliminates the gap between what you can imagine and what you can do.

Some of the most recognizable names of speakers this year are John Rennie from the Weather Channel, actress Ricki Lake, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, Banana Republic founders Mel and Patricia Ziegler, Chef Jose Andres, basketball player Isaiah Austin, pilot Amelia Rose Earhart, former Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman, and Life Is Beautiful founder Rehan Choudhry.
Speakers will present their talks individually but on-topic within their 90-minute moderated, themed sessions. Current speakers and their themes (subject to change) include:


Dr. Gabor Forgacs is a theoretical physicist- turned-bioengineer who founded Organovo, Inc. and Modern Meadow, Inc

Andrew Hessel is a microbiologist and cancer researcher at AutoDesk Research, and the Co-Chair of Bioinformatics and Biotechnolgy of Singularity University.

John Rennie is the co-creator and host of Hacking The Planet, an original series for The Weather Channel.


Ricki Lake is an actress, TV host, and Emmy award winning producer.

Zubin Damania (a.k.a. ZDoggMD) received the Russell Lee Award for Clinical Teaching while simultaneously maintaining a shadow career performing stand-up comedy for medical audiences worldwide.


Tony Hsieh joined Zappos as an advisor and investor, and eventually became CEO.

Fred Mossler founded the Merchandising Team at Beyond Zappos, Fred is also focused on the revitalization efforts of downtown Las Vegas.

Marie Forleo is an award winning life coach, best-selling author, and CEO of "The B-School," a virtual, women-owned and run, socially-conscious company that focuses on small business and personal development training for female entrepreneurs.

Mel and Patricia Ziegler are both former journalists in San Francisco who, with $1,500 and without any business experience, turned a wild idea into a company that would become the international retail colossus, Banana Republic.


José Andrés is an internationally-recognized culinary innovator, passionate advocate for food and hunger issues, author, educator, television personality, chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup, and founder of the World Central Kitchen.

Kavita Shukla is the inventor and Founder/CEO of Fenugreen, a pioneer in the movement towards sustainable, active, natural food packaging.

Adam Braun, Founder of Pencils of Promise, an award-winning "for-purpose" organization that has built more than 150 schools across Africa, Asia, and Latin America since 2008.


Isaiah Austin is an American basketball player who was considered a first-round prospect in the 2014 NBA draft until he was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome. H

Giles Duley spent 10 years as an editorial photographer in the fashion and music industries in both the US and Europe. In 2011, whilst on patrol with the United States Army in Afghanistan, Duley stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED).


Oscar Goodman is the former mayor of Las Vegas and defense attorney who spent more than 35 years representing some of the most notorious alleged mob figures.

Ed Gavagan is a sculptor, architect, storyteller and designer who has built furniture on four continents. Once the victim of random gang violence and left for dead, his stories have been featured on and NPR’s The Moth.

Sekeena Gavagan is the wife of Ed Gavagan, and also a speaker. After the attack on her husband she became a public defender.


Sue Bryce is an award-winning Australian portrait photographer. She aims to help women find their inner confidence through the power of photography.

Rehan Choudhry is the Founder of Life is Beautiful and a highly sought-after inspirational speaker.

Lizzie Velasquez has a medical condition that is so rare that there are only two other known cases of it in the world. She became a motivational speaker, and developed a passion for redefining beauty after she discovered at 16 years old a video of herself labeled "World's Ugliest Woman."

Jill Vialet is the CEO and founder of Playworks.


Dave Audé is a Grammy-nominated producer, house DJ, and remixer with 97 #1 hits on the Billboard charts.

Adam Pesapane (a.k.a. PES) is an award-winning director and stop-motion animator of numerous short films and commercials. His film "Fresh Guacamole" is the shortest film ever nominated for an Academy Award.

David J. Peterson is a writer and language creator who created the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for HBO's Game of Thrones, and helped to found the Language Creation Society.

Louie Schwarzberg has long been considered the world’s foremost time-lapse cinematographer.

The Learning Program and speaker series is included in the price of the festival ticket. The festival is taking place from 2 to 7 p.m. Oct. 24-26. Click here for more information.

Joyce Lupiani

Joyce Lupiani

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Joyce Lupiani is the Digital Executive Producer for and writes for Now Trending.