Speakers 2017


Lode Dewulf

The Elephant in the Room: We Avoid Pain and Why We Should Not

Click here to watch Lode’s talk!

Lode Dewulf is a physician with a passion for patient perspectives and understanding.

When he studied and practiced medicine in Belgium and South Africa, he quickly realized that good education about health and disease was at least as important as good medicines to help patients achieve the best outcomes. To have a broader impact he then joined the pharmaceutical industry in 1989 to create and provide good education around certain diseases and new treatment options.

Ten years later, when the internet opened new possibilities to provide quality medical information, he took a one-year sabbatical leave to co-found PlanetMedica, the first Healthcare internet portal in Europe.

He then returned to the pharmaceutical industry and acquired about 25 years of Medical Affairs experience in a wide variety of settings. In recent years he worked as Chief Patient Affairs Officer at UCB, Belgium, an executive role he piloted in the industry. He led the development of the first industry guidance on patient engagement and is considered an expert in this field. In December 2016 he joined Doctors Of The World as medical coordinator and consulting physician for the Winter Plan.

Lode considers the internet, social media and true stakeholder partnering as very important ways to improve education and awareness on health and disease. Lode also advocates that a true understanding of the patient experience is the foundational key to improve health care for all, and that patient engagement is a requirement for true patient understanding.


Marianna Fotaki

The Elephant in the Room: Immigration, Turning Fear into Purpose

Click here to watch Marianna’s talk!

Marianna Fotaki is Professor of Business Ethics at Warwick Business School. She has a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science and was also an Edmond J. Safra Network Fellow at Harvard University, 2014–2015. Before joining academia Marianna has worked as a medical doctor for humanitarian organizations Médecins Sans Frontières and Médecins Du Monde and as the EU resident senior adviser to the governments in transition for 10 years in Armenia, Georgia and Russia. Marianna has published over 40 papers on the marketization of public services, health inequalities, gender and otherness in organizations, and business in society in leading international journals. Her recent books include The Psychosocial and Organization Studies: Affect at Work (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, with Kate Kenny) and Gender and the Organization (Routledge, with Nancy Harding to be published in 2017). Currently she works on ESRC funded projects on whistleblowing, British Academy funded project on corruption in Mexican public service and conducts pilot projects on solidarity responses and forced migration in Greece. Marianna served as co-director and executive team member pro bono, for an online charity Centre for Health and the Public Interest – http://chpi.org.uk for the last four years and acts currently as Senior Editor for Organization Studies.



Sony Kapoor

The Elephant in the Room: A Dystopian Financial Future

Click here to watch Sony’s talk!

Sony Kapoor is an influential economist, financial sector expert and development practitioner. As Director of the international think tank Re-Define, Sony advises multilateral organisations, investors, central banks, as well as European and emerging economies on economic and financial policy. As CEO of the boutique Court Jesters Consulting, Mr Kapoor advises several large long-term investors on investment strategy. 

Until recently, he also had a multidisciplinary role at the London School of Economics (LSE) as a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Development and Government Departments and a Strategy Advisor to its Systemic Risk Centre. He was also Special Advisor to the UN Environment Programme on green finance and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Asset Management and Insurance. 

An ex-investment banker, Sony has contributed substantially to improving public policy, promoting international development and reforming finance. His achievements have been widely recognised; he has been elected a Young European Leader by Friends of Europe, a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Sony is an alumnus of the London School of Economics, the University of Delhi and the Indian Institute of Technology.



Dietmar & Edward

The Elephant in the Room: When Rhetoric Trumps Content

Click here to watch Dietmar & Edward’s talk!

With “Rhetoric Trumps Content”, Dietmar Hertsen and Edward De Vooght will talk about how words are the most powerful tool we have… more powerful, than even facts. In an age of alternative facts, D&E draw our attention to the importance of HOW we say what we do.

Dietmar Hertsen

A failed suburban rap artist, kicked out of school at sixteen, Dietmar Hertsen has spent his teenage years listening to foul ganster rap. After a short stint as a butcher, he eventually went to university and became a chemical engineer. He fared so well in this habitat that he decided to obtain a PhD in quantum chemistry, which he will defend this summer.

This story could be the plot for a subpar play, but the engineer missed the music. Most talks, speeches and keynote lectures lacked musicality and persuasion. Scientific conferences seemed to be temples of bad speech. Frustrated, embittered, convinced that public speaking was beyond broken, he almost gave up. Then Edward De Vooght stepped in.

Together, Dietmar and Edward founded De Redenaar (The Orator) in 2015 to revamp public speaking and rhetoric. They sought and found the perfect mix of theatre, motivational guru sessions and university lectures. Based on classical rhetoric and new insights, they playfully show what speech can do. This hobby project soon outgrew a small room filled with a couple of friends. By now, they have taught hundreds of students, coached CEOs and helped to write major political speeches, with music.

Edward De Vooght

Cicero, characteristic shirts and a glass of Verdicchio. As a student Latin and Italian Literature and Linguistics at the University of Ghent, Edward De Vooght is enchanted by Cicero, inspired by classical rhetoric and passionate about language. He enjoys reading verses of D’Annunzio at sunset with a glass of Verdicchio. Fired up by the lack of good rhetoric in modern society, he also battles for the revival of eloquence. His goal is to arm students with rhetorical bullets, reinforce debaters with deadly comebacks and sharpen the blades of political speeches. Moreover, before entering the rhetorical battlefield, appropriate rhetorical strategies are in order. Therefore, Edward aims to establish a new rhetorical science, which studies verbal persuasion in a cognitive way. Theory without practice, however, quickly becomes an ivory tower. And that is where Dietmar Hertsen stepped in. Together Edward and Dietmar founded De Redenaar (The Orator). They teach students to speak persuasively, counsel politicians effectively and train debaters meticulously. Public speaking is Edward’s passion and speaking in front of an audience, wearing one of his characteristic shirts, has even become an addiction of his.


Wendy Lampen

The Elephant in the Room: Mental Illness, A patient’s perspective

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Wendy Lampen works as a lecturer for a university of applied sciences. She got diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome herself. Trained as a teacher in English, History and Ethics she later on worked with adolescents with autism in a school setting.

Next to being an MA in autism, she extensively studied neurotypical (non-autistic) behaviour in order to understand people better. It gave her insight into what really set her apart from (most of the) others: sensory processing and its ongoing processes and the way the two braintypes give meaning to the world they experience.

This hightend awareness made her start her own company with her (neurotypical) partner. From her international experience in how different cultures look at autism or ‘disorders’ in general, Wendy is an advocate for a neuro-divers society. She focusses on the competences and the possibilities of the different braintypes and how they each can contribute to a richer life.



Bruce Douglas

The Elephant in the Room: The Carbon Elephant, How We Ignore Signs of Crisis and Avoid Taking Action

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Bruce Douglas has been working in, and passionate about, renewable energy for 20 years.

He is currently the Chief Operating Officer of SolarPower Europe, a member-led association based in Brussels representing over 200 organisations active along the whole solar value chain. He is also the elected Chairman of the Global Solar Council (GSC), the representative body for the entire global solar PV sector at an international level. Members include the national and regional solar industry associations, from both established and emerging markets, including the world largest markets of Europe, US, China, India, Australia and South America, representing over 2000 solar PV companies around the world.

Previously he was Chief Operating Officer at the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) for 10 years, founding Secretary General of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and Managing Director of FLiDAR, an offshore wind company. He has a Master degree in renewable energy systems technology and is fluent in English and French.

Gilles Ledure

The Elephant in the Room: All the Sounds You Cannot Hear

Click here to watch Gilles’ talk!

Gilles Ledure is the Managing Director of Flagey Institute, an iconic cultural center in Brussels. In Belgium and abroad he has facilitated a holistic approach for culture as being an integral part of the political and social agenda with a strong focus on youth empowerment.

“If you can’t talk about it, you can’t change it.” ― Matt L. Rawlins

These are times of incredible advancements but also undeniable disunion, but are we really addressing the issues that are most important? The TEDx Vlerick 2017 will bring you a line up of speakers talking about issues that are there, but are somewhat neglected by most: "“The Elephants in the Room”".

  • Date: 25/04/17
  • Location: Flagey, Brussels
  • Time: 19:00