The Sweeney Agency can help you find the right Speaker on DEIB for your event. Please tell us about your event objectives, your audience dynamics, and your expected outcomes. We can then use your input to do the research to provide you with list of great Speaker ideas that meet your criteria. We will work closely with the DEIB speaker you choose, to make sure they deliver a customized presentation that informs, inspires, and entertains.
America’s First Black Female Combat Pilot, Former Marine & Cop, Author and Consultant to Business
America’s First Black Female Combat Pilot, Former Marine & Cop
Created a “Zero to Breakthrough Mentality” to ensure success in business and in life
Frequently featured on Oprah Winfrey, CNN, Tavis Smiley, and NPR among others
Motivates, inspires, and energizes audiences to see obstacles as opportunities and conquer them at full speed
Past clients include: Accenture, American Airlines, IBM, Lockheed Martin, NASCAR, Oracle, Walmart
Combat tests you. Being a beat cop tests you. Life tests you. Three brothers and being the only girl...tests you. Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour has been tested her whole life. A gutsy trailblazer, her resume is an impressive collection of “firsts” including America’s first Black female combat pilot. She served two tours of duty in Iraq as a Marine. She was also a diversity liaison officer to the Pentagon for Headquarters Marine Corps. After her military service, FlyGirl revved up her career in the private sector as an entrepreneur, consultant to business, and author of Zero to Breakthrough, The 7-Step, Battle-Tested Method for Accomplishing Goals that Matter. As a speaker, FlyGirl unleashes hard-hitting advice and amazing anecdotes from her adventures on the battlefield and in business. She helps individuals and organizations Get Gutsy and build a sustainable inner force and conviction, that results in accomplishing significant goals.
In 2007, FlyGirl launched VAI Consulting & Training, LLC. Through that work, she helps individuals and organizations make gutsy moves and create breakthrough results by applying her “Zero to Breakthrough TM” Success Model –a mindset that helped to propel her career and kept her safe in air combat. FlyGirl regularly takes her message to premier meetings and conferences worldwide and is a Gutsy Confidence Mentor for elite senior executive Women in Tech.
As a Black gay woman and single mom, FlyGirl brings vital experience to her role as a member of the Forbes School of Business & Technology Board of Advisors and COMCAST/NBCUniversal Joint Diversity Council.
FlyGirl has two honorary doctorates and has received numerous awards as a pioneering pilot, including honors for her commanding role in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour’s story has been featured in the media including on CNN, MSNBC, The View, FOX News, Oprah Winfrey and many more, along with being a running back for the San Diego Sunfire professional women’s football team and two-time title holder of Camp Pendleton’s Strongest Warrior Competition.
She is currently working on her next book, The Gutsy Move.
VERNICE “FLYGIRL” ARMOUR –HISTORICAL FLIGHT PATH
How did it all start? Vernice was born in Chicago, IL in 1973, and moved to Memphis, TN after her parents divorced when she was three. By the age of four, she knew she wanted to be a police officer that rode a horse downtown. She received her first pony as a gift on the Christmas day following her fourth birthday and her dream quickly started to have afoundation in reality. In 1991, she graduated from John Overton High School for Creative and Performing Arts where she was very active in the music program, class vice president, a member of Mu Alpha Theta (mathematics honor society), and The National Honor Society.
In 1993, the future combat pilot enlisted in the Army Reserves and joined the Army ROTC program while at Middle Tennessee State University. During an Army ROTC career day, the seed of becoming a pilot was planted when Vernice saw the image of a young Black female in an Army flight suit. “Now why didn’t I think of that!” was her first thought!
In June of 1996, after a brief stint as a Nashville Sheriff’s Department correctional officer, Vernice took a break from college to accept an invitation to the Nashville Police Academy. She graduated in December 1996 –and later became the first woman of color on the Nashville Police Department’s motorcycle squad. She graduated from MTSU in December of 1997 with her B.S. in Physical Education: Emphasis in Exercise Science.
With the aviation seed in full bloom, Vernice was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps on December 12, 1998 and on her way to flight school. When Vernice finally earned her wings in July 2001, the ambitious pilot ranked No. 1 out of both her class of 12 and of the last 200 to graduate. She made the Naval Air Station’s prestigious Commodore’s List, received the Academic Achievement Award, was the top graduate in her class, and went on to make history as the Marine Corps’ first African American female pilot.
After flight school, Vernice was stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton near San Diego, CA, piloting the AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter. While there she was Camp Pendleton's “Female Athlete of the Year” and two-time titleholder in their “Strongest Warrior” Competition.
Deployed as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, Vernice was recognized by the Department of Defense as America’s first African American female combat pilot. Vernice flew above the deserts of Iraq in her missile-equipped attack helicopter, engaging the enemy and scouting the roads from her cockpit, making sure they were safe for her fellow Marines and soldiers on the ground.
Upon leaving the military after the completion of two tours in Iraq, Vernice launched VAI Consulting and Training, LLC. She now resides in Atlanta, GA with her daughter Noah...her gutsiest move yet.
Global Trainer & Speaker on Psychological Safety, Agile and Resilience
His full name is Mehmet Baha and everyone calls him Baha. Since childhood, he has been fascinated by the question: “How can I make a difference in the lives of people?” His interest leads him to win a scholarship from Fulbright and finish his master’s in the USA on Conflict Resolution. He has lived and worked in Germany, Turkey, Ireland, Guatemala, and the USA, with over 20 years of work experience.
Baha was one of the first employees of Facebook in Europe. Throughout his life, he has realized the importance of having psychological safety to create high-performing teams. So far, he has delivered training and talks in more than 28 countries across five continents. Recently, he completed Harvard Business School’s Online Executive Education Programme “Organizational Leadership”. He is fluent in English, Spanish, Turkish, and German.
In his free time, he loves to play percussion, travel with his family, and play soccer with his 6-year-old daughter. His first book, “Playbook for Engaged Employees", was released in April 2021 and already purchased in the US, Canada, Germany, the UK, Australia, and Switzerland. His second book, "Playbook to Create Psychological Safety", will be published in September 2024.
National Geographic Explorer who pulls from experiences in 40 countries to inspire a practical and powerful message of Human Connection
Arab-American from Brooklyn, New York who uses the relatable metaphor of the “Stoop” to empower Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Passionate Mental Wellness advocate with more than a decade of in depth Meditation and Mindfulness studies
“We need more people like Chris in the World,” says Dr. Jane Goodall. National Geographic Explorer Chris Bashinelli pulls from real life experiences in over 40 countries to empower organizations to create a culture of true human connection. He helps companies reignite employee inspiration, foster a culture of trust and empathy and tap into the power of their greatest asset – their people.
Chris Bashinelli, better known as “Bash”, was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York to Lebanese and Italian-American parents. After a decade-long acting career including an appearance on the HBO hit television show, The Sopranos, Bash decided to follow his real passion – using media to build bridges between cultures. He now traverses the globe from Uganda to Haiti as Host of Bridge the Gap, a television series featured on PBS and the National Geographic Channel, where he experience’s life in countless cultures around the world.
A celebrated Diversity, Equity & Inclusion speaker, Bash brings to life an inspiring message of empathy and connection that has birthed lifelong friendships around the world. His world-view was shaped on his childhood “Stoop” where his friends shared a combined total of over thirteen nationalities. His ancestors immigrated to the United States from Lebanon, through Ellis Island and his great-grandmother was onboard the Titanic. Bash helps companies understand in engaging, humorous and practical ways how to create a culture of trust, belonging and empathy in the workplace.
A passionate Mental Wellness advocate, Bash has studied meditation & mindfulness for more than a decade. After studying Anthropology in East Africa at 20 years old, he returned home to discover his father had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The death of Chris’s father propelled him on an international quest to better understand the human condition and the universal qualities that lead to a happy, meaningful life. Today, he brings to life the powerful lessons he’s learned to overcome depression, increase productivity and reignite employee inspiration.
Bash has spoken around the world, from Abu Dhabi to Azerbaijan, and at 24 years old, became the youngest male to ever moderate the UN International Day of Peace. He has shared the stage with Stevie Wonder, the UN Secretary General, and his mentor, Dr. Jane Goodall. He is a National Geographic Explorer, an Eagle Scout and has interviewed some of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People on the Planet.
Bash has lived as a nomad in Mongolia, worked with suicide prevention activists in Pine Ridge and Sumo wrestled the heaviest Japanese human being in recorded history. Through one of a kind stories of adventure and authentic moments of human connection, he truly bridges the gap between self and other, helping us recognize our shared humanity. Bash takes audiences on an inspirational journey, coupled with stunning video footage and thought provoking exercises.
Whether he’s embarking on yet another jaw-dropping adventure for National Geographic, or interviewing his mentor, Dr. Jane Goodall, for PBS – Chris Bashinelli leaves audiences inspired, empowered, and connected, reminding us of our greatest asset – our people.
A Small Man in a Big Man’s Game
To appreciate the Hero’s Journey that is JJ Birden’s life, you must first know a few important facts:
- Less than 6% of high school seniors go on to play college football
- Of the 150,000 draft-eligible college football players, only 253 (less than 1%) are selected in the NFL draft
- The average NFL career is less than 2 years
- The average NFL player is 6’2, 245 lbs.
The odds of making it to the NFL are staggering. The odds of staying in the NFL are even more amazing. The odds of doing both are the most astronomical of all when you’re undersized and play one of the sport’s most physical positions. Good thing JJ Birden never cared about the odds of success.
Despite being the #1 high school wide receiver in Oregon, JJ didn’t receive a single D1 scholarship offer. He was fast enough for sure, but at 5’9 and 133 lbs., JJ was just too small to play with the big boys. At least that’s what the naysayers thought; JJ knew he was good enough, and he set his mind to achieving the impossible. All he needed was an opportunity, no matter how small, even if it meant making his own.
After receiving a scholarship to the University of Oregon for track & field, JJ earned a walk-on spot with the football team his sophomore year. He was at the bottom of the depth chart and nowhere near seeing actual playing time on the field, but his coaches and teammates didn’t know how hard he was willing to work. It didn’t take long for them to find out: JJ became a starter the next season, his junior year.
But like all long-shot stories and underdog tales, JJ’s trials were just beginning. The remainder of his college career was plagued with injuries and unimpressive stats. Still, JJ’s speed and toughness were enough to earn him an invite to the NFL Combine, a yearly gathering of the top 300 college prospects in the nation. Unsurprising to his teammates, coaches, and fans, JJ dominated the Combine. His performance earned him the 216th pick in the 8th round of the 1988 NFL Draft. That’s when the going got really tough.
A series of injuries and failed physicals culminated in one of the darkest moments in JJ’s early career, and one of the hardest weeks imaginable for anyone: JJ was rejected by 4 NFL teams in 5 days. He could have walked away from the game and given up hope in spite of what seemed like insurmountable odds, but JJ didn’t even flinch. Instead, he did what he’s always done when faced with adversity—he found a way to win.
JJ would go on to play 9 seasons in the NFL (remember, the average career is less than a quarter of that) despite never being the biggest, strongest or most physical guy on the field. What kept JJ on the field for almost a decade wasn’t just how he played the game but rather how he approached every day like it was game day. JJ was willing to put in the work and do whatever it took to improve.
Now a motivational speaker and performance coach, JJ shares lessons from his life that help audiences of all ages, backgrounds, and professions realize the most important thing about success—it is never given, but always earned. JJ’s inspiring keynote presentations outline the principles and strategies that helped an undersized wide receiver overcome spectacular odds; the same principles and strategies that can help anyone perform at the highest levels in all walks of life.
JJ is a best-selling author, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, husband and father. He has been married to his college sweetheart, Raina, for 30+ years and has 8 children (3 biological and 5 adopted nieces and nephews). He and his family reside in the Phoenix area.
JJ Birden is an engaging communicator, passionate presenter, and a leading authority on helping individuals seize their opportunities in life.
Consultant and Speaker on Leadership, Peak Performance, and Change Management
Speaker on Leadership and Peak Performance
Talks about: Leading Change in the New Reality & Moving to Great
Former NFL Widereceiver for the New York Jets & Green Bay Packers
Past clients include: Dunkin’ Donuts, Nationwide Insurance, AVIVA Insurance, Alaska Airlines, State Farm Insurance, Starbucks Coffee, USAA, MetLife, Novo Nordisk
Eric Boles is the president of The Game Changers Inc., a training and development company dedicated to maximizing the human asset. Through assessment, consulting, coaching and corporate training, The Game Changers Inc. has set the standard for helping organizations enhance their culture and develop greater levels of commitment and performance.
Eric Boles is also a highly acclaimed keynote speaker and consultant for some of the most recognized and respected organizations in the world. His insights on Leadership, Peak Performance, Team Dynamics, and Managing Change has been shared with clients such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Nationwide Insurance, AVIVA Insurance, Alaska Airlines, State Farm Insurance, Starbucks Coffee, USAA, MetLife, and Novo Nordisk . Eric also speaks to a variety of organizations and associations, including those in sales, education, government, healthcare, manufacturing and financial services.
Prior to becoming an authority on high performance, Eric learned many principles of team dynamics and leadership from his experience playing in the National Football League (NFL) with the New York Jets and the Green Bay Packers. While in the NFL, he had the privilege of being coached and mentored by some of the finest coaches and players in the game.
Eric is an avid sports fan, golfer and reader. He is married to his wife Cindy, and they have two daughters, Taylor and Madison.
Former NBA Athlete, Author and Speaker on Mentorship, Leadership, Teamwork & Motivation
Speaker on Mentorship, Leadership, Teamwork & Motivation
Talks about: No One Can Stop You & The Best Team Always Wins
NBA shooting guard for the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, and the Detroit Pistons & Host of Food Network’s Giving You the Business
Past clients include: Accenture, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, The Dwyer Group, Allianz, Amway, GNC, Hilton, Medtronic, UPS Store, Radio Shack, Red Robin
Walter Bond is recognized as one of the world's preeminent experts on sales, motivation, high performing teams, and leadership - and has been helping people turn self-limiting beliefs into self-empowering strategies for more than a decade. Like many young men growing up in Chicago, Walter dreamed of becoming an NBA athlete. Facing injuries and other challenges with unusual determination, he rose from being a reserve player coming off the bench - to become the first rookie free agent to start for the Dallas Mavericks. This astonishing journey provides the foundation for the powerful principles Walter teaches today. Walter's stories give listeners a roadmap they can follow to reinvent themselves - and recover the confidence they need to level up in their professional lives. Drawing on lessons learned in the trenches both in sales and as an entrepreneur, Walter's presentations open up new ways of looking not only at business challenges - but also the world.
Walter's stories are rich with humour, emotions, and authentic breakthroughs. His inventive phrasing, mannerisms, body language, pacing, and wisdom exert a powerful effect on his audiences - making his message memorable for months and years to come.
Walter has impacted hundreds of thousands of people in his rapid rise to the top of the speaking industry. Through his keynotes, workshops, books and CDs - Walter teaches that when you learn to eliminate excuses, understand the power of mentorship and control your mindset - that confidence and success are possible for all who desire it.
Walter creates an experience that audiences have enjoyed worldwide - and never forget. His dynamic and compelling programs provide both the motivation and the strategies to excel in business and in life.
5 Tips to Book your Next Great Speaker
Did last year's speaker knock your socks off? Not sure where to go next? Let our team of experienced professionals help you find your next great speaker.
Here's a quick guide to help you get started:
Decide on a theme or topic for your event.
Going through a period of transition? Looking to shake up your creative? Building trust within your teams? We have great speakers on all of those topics.
Having trouble? Check out our IDEA GENERATOR for inspiration.
Get in touch with your Event Date & Theme.
We will ask you some key questions to find the perfect speaker for your live or virtual event.
We pride ourselves on our personal touch. We are small team of dedicated professionals with over 20 years experience. When you call us, you speak to us directly... and quickly.
By now, we have a great idea of what you are looking for and will send you a shortlist of exceptional speakers.
Each speaker will be vetted with YOUR event in mind, along with our personal thoughts on how that speaker can inspire your attendees.
From the shortlist, you've narrowed it down to two great speakers. Let's discuss your needs to help make the final decision.
With over 20 years experience, you can trust us to provide all of the information you need to choose the right speaker.
We work with you to find the best format for your presentation, including live streams, Q&A sessions and even follow up programs to ensure maximum engagement for your key stakeholders.
We will facilitate a call with your leadership team & our speaker to do a deep dive into your business to make sure their presentation really hits home.
As trusted experts, you can rest easy knowing our experience will guide you every step of the way.
get in touch
Hearing-impaired Comedienne, Inspiring and Entertaining Speaker and author.
Kathy Buckley is a gifted comedienne, award-winning actress, accomplished author and renowned inspirational speaker - who is a force like no other. Billed as 'America's First Hearing Impaired Comedienne', Kathy is also a five-time American Comedy Award Nominee as Best Stand-Up Female Comedienne. As an actress, she is known for her guest starring roles on shows such as Touched by an Angel, and for her critically acclaimed one woman Off-Broadway show, Don't Buck with Me/Now Hear This!. As a motivational speaker, she inspires hundreds of thousands of people around the world, sharing her story of overcoming some of the most difficult obstacles one can imagine in life - and how she met those challenges with dignity, courage, and laughter.
Kathy's book If You Could Hear What I See will have you laughing and crying as you experience the amazing story of her life. She has received thousands of letters and emails of thanks and praise, regarding both her book and her original PBS special, No Labels, No Limits! She was awarded the CINE Golden Eagle Award as the writer and executive producer of the special, and the Media Access Award for Outstanding Television Special. Her highly acclaimed autobiographical theater play, Now Hear This! had its Off-Broadway premiere at New York's Lamb's Theater - and not only brought the comic actress a legion of faithful new fans, but a wealth of critical praise from New York media.
In record time, she became one of the most popular comediennes in the country with material based on, among others things, her hearing loss. That impairment, however, is only one of the many hurdles Kathy has encountered in her life. Her poor performance in second grade landed her in a school for mentally and physically impaired children. It took school administrators, psychologists, and audiologists nearly a year to discover it was just a hearing loss - and not a lack of mental acuity that was impeding her speech and language development. Today, Kathy shakes her head as she quips to amazed audiences, '... and they called me slow?'
She was featured in the HBO Television Special, 'Women of the Night', shot on location at the U.S. Comedy Festival in Aspen, Colorado. She was included in the E! Entertainment Television Special, The World's Most Intriguing Women. Kathy was also the focus of I Can Hear the Laughter, an Emmy award-winning documentary.
A pioneer in the frontier of commercial space sector, former astronaut and International Space Station commander Leroy Chiao captivates audience with his amazing stories on space exploration and brings unparalleled insights on leadership, innovation and technology trends .
A veteran of four space missions and a fifteen-year career with NASA, Dr. Chiao most recently served as Commander and NASA Science Officer of Expedition 10 aboard the International Space Station. He has logged over 229 days in space – over 36 hours of which were spent in Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA, or spacewalks). From June through September 2009, he served as a member of the White House appointed Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee, and currently serves on the NASA Advisory Council.
Leroy holds appointments at Rice University and the Baylor College of Medicine, and is the special advisor for human spaceflight to the Space Foundation. He has worked extensively in both government and commercial space programs, and has held leadership positions in commercial ventures and NASA. Chiao has extensive experience as a NASA Astronaut and prior to that, as a Research Engineer. Dr. Chiao is a fellow of the Explorers Club, and a member of the International Academy of Astronautics and the Committee of 100. Chiao also serves in various capacities to further space education,
A native English speaker, Dr. Chiao also speaks Mandarin Chinese and Russian. He has flown space missions and worked closely with Russian, Japanese and European Astronauts and their affiliated space agencies. Dr. Chiao is uniquely qualified to speak about the United States, Russian, Japanese, European and Chinese Space Programs. A Space Station Commander and Space Shuttle Mission Specialist, Dr. Chiao was also a certified Co-Pilot of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. He is an expert in all facets of U.S. and Russian EVA hardware and operations and is EVA certified in U.S. and Russian spacesuits, tools, and training programs. In September 2006, Chiao became the first American to visit the Astronaut Research and Training Center of China. There, he met the first two national Chinese astronauts, Yang Liwei and Fei Junlong.
Dr. Chiao studied Chemical Engineering, earning a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1983. He continued his studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, earning his Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in 1985 and 1987. Prior to joining NASA in 1990, he worked as a Research Engineer at Hexcel Corporation. and then at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Virtual Events can:
- Reach a wider audience
- Offer a great experience at a much lower cost
- Create long term impact with recorded elements that allow for content to be watched over a period of time
- Have an increased impact over time, as viewers re-watch, discuss and connect over social media and other channels
And, most importantly: offer the ability for inspiring and impactful presentations to connect in a one-on-one way, directly to the attendee.
WHO is your audience?
Who are your virtual event attendees? Are they across a specific group within your organization, or are you serving clients across a wide range of levels? Determining who you are speaking to will help you determine a format for your event that will captivate your audience.
WHAT is your key message?
Are you focusing on change? Innovation? Leadership?
Creating a single focus or mission will allow you to hone in on the type of speaker(s) you need to engage your audience and help event producers to format the event into a dynamic program that balances inspiration with information and audience interaction.
WHAT type of event suits your audience?
- Virtual Conference
- Hybrid Event
Virtual event technology has come a long way over the last few months, offering a huge range of different options from pre-recorded webinars, to multi-day virtual conferences, to hybrid events with some attendees in the audience while the event is live streamed.
A COMBINATION of live and pre-recorded elements will allow your virtual event to run smoothly and stay on time.
Many of our clients are also opting for multi-day virtual conferences with shorter segments spaced over a few days.
This allows some flexibility for attendees in different time zones and accommodates different teleworking situations for attendees, allowing them to tune in when it is convenient.
WHERE? It’s all about Tech.
Virtual meeting technology has exploded over the last few months as teleworking became the norm.
Consider your needs:
- Interactive elements like breakout rooms, polls & Q&A
- Seamless blend of live & pre-recorded elements
- Ability to replay segments
- Live tech support
If you plan for rain, it’s likely the sun will shine…
Tech isn’t perfect so don’t forget to test, rehearse and have a back up plan ready to go for your virtual event.
Pro Tip: Think of a virtual presentation like a podcast. Viewers can view the content multiple times and refer back to it.
WHEN? A Date… or Dates?
As we have all noticed, our attention spans for meeting in real life versus meeting online are a lot longer.
When deciding on a date, consider spreading your virtual event out over a few days, with a variety of speakers, interactive elements and information.
The benefits of a multi-day format:
- Viewers watch content fresh for a short period every day
- Allows attendees in different time zones to stay on top of the content
- Attendees can review & re-engage with content
Virtual Event Checklist:
Is your event?
- Able to be rewatched?
WHY? Pandemic 2020
Just because you are online instead of in person, it doesn’t mean you are missing out on connection.
Using the technology that we have become so accustomed to over the last few months, our keynote speakers have the ability to connect to your viewers one-on-one, in a way that was impossible in live events.
FIND YOUR WHY…
What do you want the audience to leave thinking at the end of the presentation?
Apply this question to all the presentations and segments in your event to create a cohesive, impactful virtual event.
HOW? Virtual Event Checklist
To wrap it all up
- TECH: Find the right tech platform & don’t forget to test drive before your event
- AGENDA: Use a mix of live and pre-recorded segments, mixed with interactive elements, to ensure a smooth flow of events & audience engagement
- ANTICIPATION: Build up your event with emails, teasers and sneak peeks into what content will be offered
- NETWORKING: Create and encourage online chat functions, an event specific hashtag or even a dedicated event page to allow attendees to network virtually. Maximize the networking opportunities offered by your tech platform.
- EXTEND YOUR IMPACT: A dedicated social media page is a great place for attendees to connect after an event to discuss ideas and implement some of the learnings from the event.
Offer a password protected, limited time recording of keynote presentations to continue the conversation long after the virtual event has ended.
Continue the conversation with post-event touch points like emails or questions based on the key presentations.
Mindful Leadership Expert, Motivational Speaker
Talks about: Creating a Mindful and Positive Workplace Culture
Author of the memoir, Urban Monk
Past clients include: Google, Citibank, IBM, State Farm, SAP, Intel, WeWork, Novartis, Comcast, JPMorgan Chase
Pandit Dasa is a keynote speaker on Workplace Culture, The Future of Work, Resilience, Mental Health and Mindfulness. He is an author and former monk who now speaks at many Fortune 500s and many of the world’s largest organizations such as Google, NASA, The London Stock Exchange, IBM, Chase, Royal Bank of Canada, Novartis, AT&T, Pfizer, Nationwide, Kellogg and many others.
His speeches and workshops aim to create a more mindful workplace culture which improves retention, addresses the challenges of “quiet quitting” and increases productivity.” He provides practical tips on how to maintain positive social connections with colleagues in a hybrid work environment.
He encourages leadership and co-workers to lead by example, prioritize self-care and appreciate the contributions of their colleagues. He provides methods by which we can enhance our communication and learn to listen to understand and not to respond. He concludes by teaching audiences breathing and focusing techniques for staying calm and managing stress in a rapidly changing world
Pandit captures the audience's attention by sharing his journey on why he spent 15 years living as a monk in New York City and why he's no longer a monk.
Inspirational Speaker, Emergency Medicine Physician, New York Times Best-selling Author, and Frequent Medical Expert on TODAY and CNN
Dr. Sampson Davis spends his time practicing medicine and traveling the country delivering inspirational keynote speeches with timely messages. Dr. Davis believes that it's important to give education a sense of style and fashion - to glorify and glamorize education is the key. A face must be present, a concrete image - that all individuals across America can draw inspiration from. Dr. Davis considers his 3 D’s: Dedication, Determination and Discipline - the necessary ingredients to success.
Dr. Davis was raised as the fifth of six children in Newark, one of New Jersey’s poorest cities. As a child - Dr. Davis grew up in cramped living quarters, surrounded by fragmented families, crime, and drugs. Still, he was a good student, able to strike the fragile balance between being smart - yet socially acceptable on the streets. It was this combination of skills, Dr. Davis says - that were most critical to his survival.
While attending University High School in Newark, Dr. Davis met Dr. Rameck Hunt and Dr. George Jenkins - two fellow students who together made a promise to become doctors. Dr. Davis and his two childhood friends each successfully fulfilled their pact - and today Dr. Davis is a board certified Emergency Medicine Physician.
In February 2013, Dr. Davis released his book Living & Dying in Brick City - An E.R. Doctor Returns Home. The book was reprinted in 2014 under the title Living and Dying in Brick City: Stories from the Front Lines of an Inner-City E.R. In addition to discussing Dr. Davis’ riveting experiences as an ER physician - the books also offers preventative guidance as a means of supporting healthier communities.
Dr. Davis has appeared on numerous talk and radio shows including Oprah, Dr. Oz, The Today Show, The View, PBS News Hour, Tavis Smiley and NPR - as well as print publications including but not limited to Readers Digest, O Magazine, People, Washington Post, NY Times, USA Today, Vibe and Black Enterprise.
Ms. Winfrey also delivered the highest honour - naming Dr. Davis “One of The Premiere Role Models of the World.”
Dr. Davis was honoured in 2000 with the Essence Lifetime Achievement Award - and also named one of their forty most inspirational African Americans in the country. He is the youngest physician to receive the National Medical Association’s highest honour The Scroll of Merit - and was previously honoured on the 2009 BET Awards.
Graduating with honours, Dr. Davis received his Bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall University, his medical degree from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School - and completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at the same hospital where he was born, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.
Today, Dr. Davis is a Board Certified Emergency Medicine Physician at St. Michaels Medical Center in Newark NJ. He has been a weekly correspondent on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and a frequent guest on CNN - where he focusses on prevalent and life-changing medical topics. Dr. Davis has also co-authored New York Times best-selling books: The Bond: Three Young Men Learn to Forgive and Reconnect with Their Fathers (2008); We Beat the Street: How a Friendship Pact Led to Success (2006); The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream (2003).
In 2000 during his residency, Dr. Davis along with his best friends felt the burning need to give back to communities in need - and together created The Three Doctors Foundation. This non-profit organization offers a series of free public programs focussed upon health, education, leadership and mentoring.
About Daryl Davis – Musician, Author, Compelling Unifier, Klan Whisperer, and Award-winning Conflict Navigator
Daryl Davis is committed to helping people ignite positive change –using conversation to build bridges. His jaw-dropping experiences speak for themselves. For nearly 40 years, he’s engaged leaders of the KKK and White supremacist groups face to face to find the answer to a question: “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?” That question stemmed from his first encounter with racism at age ten when he was pelted with rocks, bottles, and soda cans by a handful of White spectators while marching in aparade.
Seeking to understand, not to change minds, Daryl met their hatred with civility, patience, and listening. Those conversations spawned genuine and lasting friendships with many who changed their ownminds and disavowed hateful beliefs. Some even gave Daryl their robes and hoods when they did. As a speaker, Daryl is an extraordinary storyteller who inspires and empowers audiences with tools they can use to make better workplaces, communities, and relations with family and friends. Daryl’s work is chronicled in his book Klan-Destine Relationshipsand the documentary Accidental Courtesy. Daryl’s TEDx talk has over 12 million views.
Daryl graduated from Howard University with his Bachelor of Music Degree. He also holdsanHonorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Post University for the unique work he has done in the field of race relations. He has performed extensively with Chuck Berry, The Legendary Blues Band (formerly The Muddy Waters Blues Band), and many others. While music is his profession, improving race relations is his obsession. He is known to many as “The Rock'n'Roll Race Reconciliator.”
It started during a break between performances with a band at a bar one night. A man approached Daryl and remarked that this was the first time he had ever seen a Black man play piano like Jerry Lee Lewis. Daryl explained that both he and Lewis were influenced by Black Blues & Boogie-Woogie pianists, from which Rock'n'Roll and Rockabilly evolved. The man did not believe in the Black origin of Daryl’s piano style even after he said that Lewis was a friend who had shared this news with him. The man then shared news with Daryl –he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
This meeting, and those that followed, would lead Daryl on a journey all over America, meeting and interviewing leaders and members from KKK, neo-Nazi and Alt-Right groups at both his and their homes as well as their rallies. With his highly acclaimed, nonfiction book, Klan-Destine Relationships, Daryl become the first Black author to write a book on the Klan from in-person interviews. The award-winning documentary, Accidental Courtesy, details his journey and has been shown frequently on PBS. Daryl, who has been to 57 countries on 6 continents, is often selected by the U.S. State Department as a highly respected expert on race relations and conflict, to present programs in various countries around the world dealing with similar situations. His next book, The Klan Whisperer,is anticipated to be released in 2022.
Daryl has been doing this work since 1983 and has become the recipient of numerous Klan robes & hoods and other racist symbols, given to himby people who once hated him when they didn't even know him. Now many of them have become his friends and supporters of his work. On the other side of spectrum, for his work in bridging race relations he is the recipient of numerous awards such as the American Ethical Union's prestigious Elliott-Black Award, Carnegie-Mellon's Carl Sagan Award & Prize, Tribeca Disruption Innovation Award, MLK Award, Search for Common Ground Award, Washington Ethical Society Bridge-Builder Award, among many others. He is often sought for commentary by CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, People magazine, and many other media sources.
In Daryl’s words,“Ever since I graduated from college in 1980 with my degree in music, I’ve been a full-time musician, traveling and performing all over America and around the world. What I’ve come to find to be the greatest, most effective, and successful weapon we can use to combat ignorance, racism, hatred, and violence, is also the least expensive weapon –and the one that is least used by Americans. That weapon is called communication. We can communicate with people in space but many of us have difficulty talking to the person who lives next door because of the color of their skin, their ethnicity, their religion, their orientation, their politics, etc. We are living with 21stcentury technology in Space Age times, but there are still too many of us with Stone Age minds.”
Daryl has come in closer contact with more members of the Ku Klux Klan than most White people, and certainly most Blacks, short of being on the wrong end of a rope. What's more surprising? He intentionally continues to do so because as he says, “Ignorance breeds fear. If you do not keep that fear in check, that fear will breed hatred. Becausewe hate those things that frighten us. If you do not keep that hatred in check, that hatred in turn will breed destruction because we want to destroy those things that we hate. Why? Because they frighten us.”
When he speaks, Daryl Davis’s impact on an audience is sobering yet inspirational. More than a few members in every audience remember and ask him about the fictional character in Dave Chappelle’s comedic skit in which he plays a blind Klansman who didn't know he was Black and attends Klan rallies. Daryl shares stories that would be comical, if he weren’t putting his life on the line for a purpose. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction might ever be in Daryl’s case. People will also point out how courageous Daryl was to actually turn up at Klan rallies himself. Inevitably they bring up Spike Lee’s film BlacKkKlansman. That film depicts a Black police officer who infiltrated the KKK over the telephone and would send a White subordinate officer to Klan rallies in his place to gather damning intelligence against the Klan. The difference is not lost on the audience. Daryl had his feet on the ground in the lion's den and tells the story first-hand.
Through his work, Daryl has discovered a successful method of transforming enemies into friends. His stories of his encounters with –and transformations of –White supremacists have inspired people all over the U.S. and abroad.
His audiences leave his presentations empowered to:
- Overcome Their Fears
- Confront Their Prejudices
- Recognize Similarities
- Appreciate Differences
- Navigate Diversity
- Improve Relationships with Others
- Better Their Lives While Creating a Positive Impact on Others
In addition to his career as a performing musician, Daryl is the owner of Lyrad Music, a music publishing and licensing business. He is also an actor of stage and screen and has appeared in HBO's highly acclaimed series The Wire.
Mark DeVolder is the Change Specialist and a pioneer in the field of transition management. Unique in the industry, DeVolder is one of the few speakers who teaches leaders how to change. He is a frequent presenter at top management meetings around the world, both live and virtual … from coaching NASA rocket scientists how to re-create themselves to the cultural transformation of a $42 billion merger; from pivoting to a safety-first culture in Qatar’s oil industry to preparing Egypt’s largest company to restructure itself. Mark teaches leaders about Perpetual Pivot, the process of adapting to continuous change through reinvention, innovation and anticipation.
In addition to cutting-edge content, Mark brings high-energy, humor and audience interaction to all his presentations. He uses his skill as a master storyteller to draw people into the essence of his message. Whether live or on a virtual stage, Mark has the ability to connect deeply with people: “Mark kept us glued to our screen” and “Mark was inspiring and kept the audience charged.”
Across five continents and in over 25 countries, Mark has worked with a myriad of impressive and diverse organizations, large and small, including NASA, McDonald’s, GE, Autodesk, Coca-Cola, Marriott, Siemens, Medtronic, PepsiCo, Bristol-Myers Squibb, PWC, HILTI, Verizon, Orascom Construction and Monsanto. Mark has engaged and delighted audiences from Monaco to Dubai, from Singapore to London and from Istanbul to Barcelona.
As a researcher, consultant and author, Mark has written the multi-disciplinary book on managing change, entitled, Perpetual Pivot: How the Best Leaders Adapt to Exponential Change. His second book, Get Engaged, is a practical guide for improving employee engagement. Mark’s first publication was his doctoral dissertation which studied the elements of diversity, inclusion and teambuilding, entitled Unity in Diversity Through Synergy.
Diversity & Inclusion Expert, Corporate BS Finder, International Speaker, Author and Consultant
An award-winning diversity consulting and communications speaker
Talks about: Diversity & Inclusion, Building an Inclusive Culture
Featured in Forbes, The Financial Times, Off Script, Bloomberg Media, Black Enterprise, Engage Magazine, Radioactive Radio, Take the Lead Radio
Past clients include: Discove, Samsung, Cox Communications, Wells Fargo, USAA Diversified Financial Group, Boy Scouts of America, U.S. Airforce, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, University of Oklahoma
Motivated by her passion to correct societal “isms” like racism, sexism, classism and plain old stupidism, it is Risha Grant’s personal mission to expose the subtleties and values of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion while shining a light on the impacts they create. From her race, gender and lifestyle choices, to growing a small business and tackling economic, moral, and business issues, every area of her life intersects diversity.
Founder & CEO of Risha Grant LLC, an award-winning diversity consulting, communications and speaking firm, as well as an edgy, educational and motivational speaker, author Risha Grant uses honest, humorous, and vulnerable storytelling to motivate audiences to embrace the inner tough work of Radical Acceptance while honoring diversity, equity, and inclusion without evoking feelings of judgement or assigning blame.
These audiences have included Google, Levi Strauss, Nestle Purina, Xerox, YouTube, Procter & Gamble, Discover Card Financial Services, Samsung Electronics America, U.S. Airforce, U.S. Navy, Intuit, and Harvard University, to name a few. She’s also been featured in Forbes, Harvard Business Review, HR News, The Financial Times, Glamour magazine UK, Bloomberg Media, and Black Enterprise among others.
Risha has received numerous honors such as being named one of the Top 10 Most Powerful Women Leaders in HR by PeopleHum in 2021, 40 Top Women Keynote Speakers by Real Leaders, the NBA OKC Thunder Changemaker Award in 2020 among others.
In her no-holds-barred style, renowned diversity and inclusion thought leader Risha Grant teaches and empowers attendees about unconscious bias, micro-aggressions and other actions that perpetuate discrimination and inequality. Audiences leave with easily applied principles for finding respect, understanding and inclusion both personally & professionally.
U.S. Air Force Officer Special Operations Pilot, U.S.A.F. Academy Instructor, Motivating Speaker on Leadership & Teamwork
Lieutenant Colonel Jason Harris is a highly sought-after keynote speaker, best-selling author, expert thought leader, and professional pilot. As a fourth-generation military member, Jason’s distinguished career in the US Air Force has spanned more than two decades. He has served (continuously) on active duty and currently as Squadron Commander in the Air Force Reserve Command. Since graduating from the United States Air Force Academy, he has flown multiple aircraft over the course of his career including 11 deployments with more than 2,000 combat hours and 470 combat sorties around the globe.
These high-risk combat experiences have all served as the launching point for his proprietary “No Fail Trust™” methodology. His proven methodology serves organizations and teams as a tool to empower executives and team members to foster an environment of mutual trust, responsibility, and productivity.
Lt. Col. Harris is an established, nationally recognized keynote speaker in the areas of Leadership, Corporate Culture, High Performance Teams and Psychological Safety. He has shared his expertise with numerous high-level associations and Fortune 500 companies including Cisco Systems, Caterpillar, Ford and Lockheed-Martin. Additionally, his insights have been featured in publications like Forbes magazine, multiple podcasts and, most recently, on a six (6) part docu-series airing on the History Channel.
While his impressive resume continues to grow with accolades, achievements and contributions, Jason Harris remains steadfast in his commitment to serve. Leveraging his experience and work alongside the most senior military leaders, Congressional Leaders and even the Vice President, Jason Harris’ mission is clear. To relentlessly dedicate himself and those he serves to develop a culture of commitment, accountability and trust.
Author of The Medici Effect, speaks on Diversity and Innovation.
Frans Johansson is the best-selling author of The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts and Cultures (Harvard Business Press, Republished 2017). Translated into 22 languages, The Medici Effect was named one of the top 10 best business books by Amazon.com. His acclaimed follow up, The Click Moment (Penguin Portfolio, 2012), obliterates the idea that in business we can plan and strategize our way to success. Known for his provocative, high-octane delivery style, Johansson is a widely sought-after leadership speaker. His presentations cover topics such as:
- how to successfully execute innovative ideas
- leverage different perspectives in an organization to create and execute new ideas
- how to apply ideas from other industries and cultures to drive innovation, growth and profit
- why and how diversity drives innovation
In his role as thought leader and CEO of The Medici Group, Frans has advised executive leadership at Fortune 500 companies such as Disney, IBM, Nike, and Synchrony (formerly GE Financial).
Johansson has lived all his life at the intersection where ideas from different fields and cultures meet and collide. He was raised in Sweden by his African- American-Cherokee mother and Swedish father. Johansson earned his B.S. in Environmental Science from Brown University and his MBA from Harvard Business School. He founded both a Boston-based software company and a medical device company operating out of Baltimore and Stockholm, Sweden. He has written articles on healthcare, information technology and the science of sport fishing and has been featured on CNN's AC360, ABC's Early Morning Show and CNBC's The Business of Innovation series along with Jack Welch and Muhammad Yunus. Frans currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the New York Hall of Science.
The Click of the Moment: Seizing Opportunity in an Unpredictable World is Johansson's latest book.
Culture, Diversity, Marketing and Branding Speaker, Former CMO at Beats by Dre, and Former VP of Marketing at Apple
Omar talks about how brands can use curiosity and creativity to create stand out brands that authentically connect with consumers.
Audiences leave inspired to think about branding from a new perspective that involves the consumer to drive exponential growth and sustainability.
Omar is the former Chief Marketing Officer at Beats by Dre and former VP of Marketing at Apple, and the creator of the Nike+ sports music platform, establishing Nike’s first revenue-generating relationship with record labels.
Past clients include: Nike, Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods and Campbell's Soup.
As the former Chief Marketing Officer at Beats by Dre and former VP of Marketing at Apple, Omar Johnson has created strong consumer connections with the brands he’s represented. He drove explosive growth at Beats, leading groundbreaking campaigns with celebrities such as LeBron James, Chris Rock, and Eminem – helping to take a $20 million company to a $1.1 billion dollar global icon and category leader.
Johnson drove explosive growth in the headphone category through groundbreaking campaigns including #ShowYourColor Solo Campaign, Powerbeats starring LeBron James and The Pills featuring Chris Rock and Eminem. He used “ambush marketing” and influencers to expand the brand—giving athletes and musicians free headphones at private company parties—which helped turn Beats into the headphone of choice for the best musicians and athletes in the world.
Previously, Johnson led innovative marketing programs for international brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, and Campbell Soup. As an advertising lead at Nike, Johnson produced some of Nike’s most memorable TV commercials including “Rise,” starring LeBron James, “All Together Now,” featuring Kobe Bryant, and “The Most Valuable Puppets”.
Johnson also built the Nike+ sports music platform, establishing Nike’s first revenue-generating relationship with record labels. Johnson and his team created an industry-first sports music program with Universal, Interscope, Sony, Capitol, Def Jam and more than 25 independent labels. This collaboration sold +5 Million tracks and deepened the connection between music and sports.
Johnson is from Brooklyn, NY. He received a BS in Biology and Chemistry from Georgia State University and an MBA from Goizueta Business School at Emory University.
World-renowned Leadership Expert & Keynote Speaker on Resilience, Grit & Building High Performance Teams
Dr. Ivan Joseph is an internationally renowned speaker, bestselling author, award-winning performance coach, in-demand consultant, prominent educator and accomplished leader. He has spent his career leading cultural transformation, inspiring people to believe in themselves, creating cohesive teams, and unlocking the secret to surpassing expectations. He has also shared his remarkable story as an immigrant who has excelled and led a shift to inclusivity wherever he has gone.
Ivan travels extensively, helping organizations and teams around the world harness the power of self-confidence and belonging in leadership, career and life. Ivan also contributes regularly to publications like University Affairs, The Huffington Post and The Globe and Mail.
From the beginning of his career, Ivan has focused on understanding how self-confidence and belonging drive performance. He also learned firsthand the nuances, challenges and complexities related to diversity and inclusivity. While serving as a professor and coach at Graceland University, Ivan developed the soccer program from the ground up, leading both the men’s and women’s teams to #1 national rankings. He also guided the men’s team to the first national championship in Graceland’s history—in just five years. For this accomplishment, he was chosen as National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Coach of the Year.
Beginning in 2008, Ivan spent a decade as Director of Athletics at Ryerson University in Toronto, where he helped lead his department—and the university—to national prominence.
Ivan later took up a new post as Vice-Provost, Student Affairs at Dalhousie University, a 200-year-old research institution in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In this senior role, he led the university’s effort to promote interconnectedness and belonging among a diverse student body drawn from across the country and around the globe. Ivan actualized this shift in culture by creating innovative programs including: Access & Pathways, Together at Dal, International Student Work Support Program and chairing the International Student Support Task Force.
Ivan is also regularly called on to support national team programs. Most recently, he was asked to serve as Head Coach for the Women’s National Soccer Team in his native Guyana. In 2017, he was the high-performance coach for the Canadian men’s basketball team that won the country’s first ever FIBA Under-19 Basketball World Cup.
Ivan grew has a bachelor’s in Physical Education and Health, a Master’s in Higher Education Administration, and a PhD in Sport Psychology.
Two-time Champion NASCAR Driver, Advocate for STEM Education and Inspiring Speaker on Women’s Empowerment
Julia Landauer is a NASCAR driver and two-time champion from New York City. Since making history as the first and youngest female champion in the Skip Barber Racing Series at age 14 - Julia has amassed dozens of wins in many different racing series. After becoming the first woman to win a NASCAR Track Championship at Motor Mile Speedway in her division in 2015, Julia graduated to the televised NASCAR K&N Pro Series West in 2016. In the K&N series, Julia finished 4th in the championship - becoming the highest finishing female in the series’ 64-year history. Julia shares an inspiring story of her experience and insights, that audiences admire.
In January of 2017, Julia was selected as an honoree for the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the Sports category. Julia was also the only female member of the highly selective NASCAR Next class of 2016-2017.
Julia graduated from Stanford University in 2014, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Science, Technology, and Society. Julia has since purposefully built her brand where technology, community and racing intersect and fuse. During college Julia was a contestant on season 26 of CBS’ reality TV show SURVIVOR. It was also in college that Julia started her motivational speaking career with a TEDx talk - and she is now a sought-after speaker for corporations, universities, and conferences, including Fortune’s Most Powerful Women. Julia also served as an external advisor to Hyundai Motor Corporation’s Center for Robotic-Augmented Design in Living Experience.
As she climbs the NASCAR ladder Julia uses her racing platform to continue advocating for STEM education and women’s empowerment.
First Female F-14 Tomcat Fighter Pilot, Author and Motivational Speaker on Leadership & Teamwork
Carey Lohrenz knows what it takes to win in one of the highest pressure, extreme environments imaginable: in the cockpit at Mach 2. The same challenges are found in business: markets change, customer needs evolve and if you do not adapt quickly your company is at risk.
Carey is a powerhouse in the field of delivering engaging leadership, high performing organizations and diversity training - that directly impacts a company’s ROI and bottom line. Her experience in the all-male environment of fighter aviation and her ability to pass on the lessons learned in her career allow her to deliver insight and guidance from a credible platform on women’s leadership issues.
Carey has been requested by name from some of the top Fortune 100 businesses. Her ability to connect with both an audience and on a one-on-one level, coupled with her knowledge and experience in leading high-performing, diverse teams, has made her highly sought after as a business consultant and speaker.
As the first female F-14 Tomcat Fighter Pilot in the U.S. Navy, having flown missions worldwide as a combat-mission-ready United States Navy pilot, Lohrenz is used to working in fast moving, dynamic environments, where inconsistent execution can generate catastrophic results.
In her motivating and engaging keynote presentations, Carey shares her fascinating experiences operating in one of the world's most challenging environments - an aircraft carrier. She is uniquely qualified in the fundamentals of winning under pressure, reducing errors and overcoming obstacles. Her mastery of these fundamentals can help your team triumph in this high-risk, time crunched world.
Carey Lohrenz's timely message about high performing teams and developing a culture of learning is based on the best-practices of high reliability organizations. The process 'prepare, perform, prevail' helps businesses manage risk while becoming a high performing organization. This message resonates with diverse audiences at every level of the company.
Carey has delivered her leadership and strategy experience to such companies as Cisco, Dell, TEVA, Deloitte, Underwriters Laboratories, Verizon, AT&T, Kimberly Clark, State Farm Insurance and Sea Ray Boats, to name a few.
Carey graduated from the University of Wisconsin where she was a varsity rower, also training at the pre-Olympic level. After graduation, she attended the Navy’s Aviation Officer Candidate School before starting flight training and her naval career. She is currently working on her Master’s in Business Administration in Strategic Leadership.
As a leadership and inclusion expert, Melissa Majors uses her 25+ years of experience optimizing the business impact of education, innovation, inclusion, and leadership to deliver crowd-pleasing keynotes and workshops with brain-friendly content that engages her audiences and sparks not just inspiration but action. Melissa’s book The 7 Simple Habits of Inclusive Leaders focuses on how great leaders enjoy superior team performance and drive much higher profitability by incorporating inclusive practices.
Melissa started a few successful businesses including Community Keynotes® an inclusive process that draws out game-changing ideas a coaching program, in’klooded® an inclusive strategic planning method that ensures all voices get heard, and Melissa Majors Consulting which drives better strategic decision-making in leadership and inclusion, and works with organizations across the country to effectively measure their inclusion and diversity performance.
Melissa has been a force of change throughout her professional career. She has served on the board of The Propel Group DFW, as the Director of Global Education at Meeting Professionals International (MPI) where she used executive leadership to drive global education strategies and develop excellence in teams. She revamped the educational division to effectively serve 500k+ clients and strategic partners as the Director, Global Education Services at Ellucian. Her extensive experience at these organizations and other companies improved profitability, boosted organizational performance, and optimized inclusion strategies.
Melissa has been featured in publications such as Forbes Magazine, Smart Meetings, The Meeting Professional, NorthStar Meetings Group's Eventful Podcast, and The Event DR. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration and studied strategy and innovation at Harvard University.
Melissa is a crowd-pleasing speaker who masters brain-friendly talks that engage her audiences and spark not just inspiration but action.
While most speakers have a story to tell, there are a select few with one so impactful and poignant that the audience is forever changed. That is what happens when Allison Massari speaks. She has been named one of the Top Ten Best Motivational Speakers in North America by Meetings and Conventions Magazine and has forged her path to success with creativity, tenacity, and deep gratitude.
Having survived two devastating and near fatal car accidents, one where she burned alive and suffered severe burns on over 50% of her body, Allison views her experiences as a tremendous gift that allowed her to find strength and a fiery passion to reach pinnacle achievements both in business and personally.
Allison has dedicated her career to catapulting individuals and organizations toward total success, mastery, and fulfillment. As an international keynote speaker, executive coach, and interdisciplinary artist, Allison provides an exceptional blend of business acuity, clarity, creative perspective, and real understanding. Her highly effective methods have enabled her to form bonds as a trusted confidante to CEOs, executives and entrepreneurs.
As an international keynote speaker, executive coach, and award winning visual artist, Allison Massari ignites vitality, inspires confidence, and offers essential tools for self-mastery to audiences worldwide. Prepare to be inspired, moved, and energized. Prepare to be taken on a journey.
Internationally Acclaimed Best-selling Author, Motivational Speaker, Career Consultant, Founder of The Kaplan Mobray Leadership Institute
Kaplan talks about the ten principles for leadership excellence at all levels.
Teaches audiences ready-to-implement knowledge on how to become strategic thinkers, embrace accountability, leverage disruption and change for growth, and learn tools to drive operational excellence in how they engage with their team.
Kaplan is an internationally Acclaimed Best-selling Author, Motivational Speaker, Career Consultant, Founder of The Kaplan Mobray Leadership Institute.
Past clients include: Proctor & Gamble, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Shell, Xerox, Paypal, Qantas Airways, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Playboy Enterprises and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Kaplan Mobray was recognized by Meetings & Conventions Magazine as "one of the nation’s top business speakers.” He is one of the world’s most dynamic and inspirational speakers and best-selling author of The 10Ks of Personal Branding - (K)reate a Better You. An innovative mastermind, Kaplan has inspired and transformed countless lives through his insightful and groundbreaking approach to personal branding and leadership development. Kaplan inspires audiences with practical strategies, “ah-ha moments”, that powerfully create real results to immediately elevate one’s career and improve one’s life.
A highly sought after, vibrant and energetic business speaker, professional musician and entrepreneur - Kaplan Mobray learned early in his career that “to master quality of life you must first master quality of effort”. He uses this personal philosophy to develop his extraordinarily creative insights and unique presentation content. Wharton-educated, Kaplan draws from his over 15 years of corporate experience as a successful business executive - where he led corporate marketing, advertising, and brand development initiatives for Fortune 500 companies. Through his unconventional and innovative presentation style - he teaches organizations how to transform their business, increase their brand reputation and motivates individuals to become effective leaders at all levels.
Kaplan has received worldwide acclaim and numerous awards for his leadership and branding insights. He has been featured on CNN, FOX, Businessweek, The Wall Street Journal, Ad Age and shared his message to NFL players at Super Bowls forty-four and forty-five. Through his latest venture - Kaplan is revolutionizing high performance online learning with his virtual interactive Kaplan Mobray Leadership Institute. All of his innovative presentations have been described as life changing events.
Transformative Motivational Speaker, Triple Daytime EMMY-Winning Journalist, Bestselling Author & Entrepreneur
Every individual has an opportunity to break barriers and redefine what is possible, and triple Emmy-Winning Journalist and Bestselling Author Gaby Natale is on a mission to awaken the PIONEER spirit in each of us.
Gaby is among just a few women in the entertainment industry who not only owns the rights to her TV show, but also a television studio. This unique situation has allowed her to combine her passion for media and her entrepreneurial spirit, which continues to help her break barriers. In 2021, Gaby became the first Latina author to be published by the leadership division of HarperCollins.
Her first book, The Virtuous Circle, became an instant bestseller, topping Amazon’s New Releases charts in 3 different categories (Business, Inspiration and Self-Help). What has made the book so successful is that it offers readers actionable strategies on how to channel their innate strength and abilities to best work for them.
Gaby has been featured in Forbes, CNN, Buzzfeed, NBC News, Univision and Latino Leaders magazine. In 2018, People magazine named her one of the “25 Most Powerful Latinas,” highlighting the inspirational story of how she went from a local TV show that started out of a carpet warehouse to becoming the only Latina in US history to win triple back-to-back Daytime EMMYs. In the digital world, she has a thriving fan base with over 52 million views on YouTube and 250K+ followers on social media.
A consummate entrepreneur, Gaby is also the founder of AGANARmedia, a marketing company with a focus on Hispanic audiences that serves Fortune 500 companies such as Hilton Worldwide, Sprint, AT&T, eBay and Amazon. She holds a Bachelor’s in International Relations and a Master’s degree in Journalism from the University of San Andres and Columbia University. Prior to starting her career in television, Gaby taught Communication and Journalism courses at the University of Texas.
Celebrated Performer, International Expert and Keynote Speaker on Business & Communication
Freddie talks about how leaders can challenge and inspire organizations to discover their untapped potential through the power of Active Listening & The Music of Leadership, using music focused stories to help leaders build stronger teams.
Audiences learn how to enhance interpersonal and professional leadership skills, amplify engagement and clarify their desired goals and outcomes.
Bilingual Speaker (English & Spanish) Freddie Ravel is a GRAMMY nominated maestro & performer, Founder of "Life in Tune," and Business Success Expert. His clients have described his keynotes & emcee services as the "ideal balance of entertainment and content."
Past clients include: IBM, Toyota, Red Bull, NASA, Apple, Blue Cross, Prudential, Google and Citi.
Freddie Ravel is the GRAMMY-nominated Keynote Maestro - who combines his expertise for business breakthroughs and virtuoso piano performances with a clear and concise application of music’s communicative and scientific powers to inspire, ignite and lift the minds, hearts and potential of audiences around the world.
Backed by number one hits and collaborative successes with Madonna, Earth, Wind and Fire, Prince and Carlos Santana to leading the teams of J Lo, Jimmy Kimmel and Lady Gaga - the #1 chart-topping composer is the Founder of “LIFE IN TUNE," a worldwide program that delivers customized peak performance experiences - to reveal how the structure of music enhances leadership, innovation and productivity for entrepreneurs to major corporations alike. Dubbed the “Keynote Maestro” by the City of Los Angeles, Ravel received the city’s Award of Recognition for creating a music-based system to “renew the national and international economy” - while his film, TV, radio and recording credits include CBS, FOX, CW, Universal, iHeart and XM Sirius. Straddling sectors across Media, Tech, Healthcare and Wellness, Diversity and Inclusion, Communications, Social Impact and Financial Services - clients refer to him as “The ideal balance of Entertainment and Content”.
These include IBM, Toyota, Red Bull, NASA, Apple, Blue Cross, Prudential, Google and Citi where he continues to serve as a captivating access point through which to transform corporations, education, entertainment and the human condition. Based on decades of entrepreneurial and corporate training, scientific research and directing and performing with many of the music legends of our time - conference planners often engage Freddie and his team in the program planning process to help design and incorporate their meeting objectives into a rich, harmonious and rewarding experience. Having performed in over eighty countries, Freddie is in tune with cultural nuances and sensitivities delivering the universal language in both English and Spanish - as well as collaborating with translators to uplift your audience to success.
About Shola Richards – Bestselling Author & Expert on Workplace Culture:
Shola talks about the challenges we faced this recent year--a deadly pandemic is barreling through the world, there are deep divisions that have been exposed within our country, parents are being asked to balance working and homeschooling their kids simultaneously, and according to recent studies, Americans are the unhappiest they have been in the past 50 years--and strategies to become more resilient in the face of it all.
Audiences learn how creating a resilient mindset, regardless of the circumstances using strategies to build unshakable strength within themselves and within their teams.
Founder & CEO, Go Together Global, Bestselling Author.
Past clients include: the GAP, Kaiser Permanente, Microsoft, SHRM
Most organizations have a version of "joyful peak performance" somewhere in their mission statement. But how many are actually achieving it? Across the US, 65M people are experiencing some form of toxicity at work every day. Many of these employees resign themselves to the pitiful fate of spending each day dodging the bullies, accepting deep-seated job dissatisfaction, fighting back clinical depression, or worse, succumbing to it.
Shola Richards was one of them. The workplace bullying he experienced, which went unaddressed even after he complained to HR, drove him into clinical depression, and the unimaginable. Shola intentionally swerved off the interstate in an attempt to take his own life. As his car clipped the guardrail on I-405, something changed...
This catalyst has since become Go Together™ Movement - a transformational roadmap of mindset, behaviors, and tools that transform workplace cultures. Sholas mission is to help every workplace in America become one where joyful peak performance is lived every day and where engagement and satisfaction become the new norm.
Shola Richards’ life’s mission is an ambitious one: To end generations of professional suffering, simply by changing how we treat each other at work.
Shola is an advocate, a one-man counsel, and a humanitarian hardwired for positivity, who (ironically) speaks, coaches, consults, and authors books on the shadowy, often underground, and underestimated subject of workplace bullying, a pernicious reality that, when overlooked, corrodes trust, distorts communication, and ultimately usurps equity from the bottom line by using up a company’s most valuable resource: its people.
His approach is to open eyes to the staggering price we pay for normalized, toxic behavior, because we can’t address what we don’t see. His result is people equipped with tangible, doable solutions because we can’t accomplish what we can’t make actionable. His conviction is that everyone deserves a healthy work environment because the quality and meaning of our work suffers when we do.
Through his books--Go Together and Making Work Work and featured articles that have reached readers in over 160 countries, and through his presentations with institutions that range from Silicon Valley businesses to the Department of Homeland Security, Shola is spearheading a timely revolution that teaches us how to protect the professionalism of our company cultures, the preciousness of our time, the strength of our talents, the dignity of ourselves, and the mutual respect of one another.
About Deborah Rosado Shaw – Leadership & Peak Performance Speaker
Deborah talks about shaping workplace cultures to elevate performance.
Audiences learn strategies to create vibrant and healthy workplaces where people think powerfully, act courageously and invent collaboratively, while offering mindset shifts to sustain a high performance culture.
Fortune 50 Trusted Advisor, Award-winning Entrepreneur, Author, Former SVP, Chief Global Diversity & Engagement, PepsiCo.
Past clients include: PepsiCo, ING, UPS, Microsoft, Texas Instruments, P&G, RiteAid and American Express.
Deborah Rosado Shaw is a leading and powerful voice, who founded and led PepsiCo’s transformational global leadership program that provided leaders with strategies to guide their people beyond limitations. Deborah’s New Realm of Mastery program helped employees see beyond their constraints in order to pave a path toward their best levels of performance.
This is an entirely new area of prowess that Fortune 50 leaders are seeking in this era of company culture that requires a focus on commitments, goals and personal values. When leaders focus on their people in this deeper way, they transform them into self-starters, risk-takers and people who know how to find their voice and path even in the most challenging times.
As Deborah shares with global leadership audiences, the best leaders help people learn how to motivate themselves in times of uncertainty and challenge. She helps leaders and organizations elevate to new heights by sharing the strategies of the New Realm of Mastery, which former Chairman of PepsiCo Indra Nooyi praised: “Deborah took our company-wide conversation about diversity from one focused on inclusion to a broader dialogue about the engagement of all employees with each other and with the diverse world around us.”
Founder of ‘because I said I would’, a Humanitarian, Social Entrepreneur, Leader and TEDx Speaker
Alex Sheen is the founder of because I said I would, an international social movement and non-profit dedicated to the betterment of humanity through promises made and kept. Sparked by a tragedy in his life, Alex created a concept called the Promise Card, and began mailing cards to anyone who requested them at no cost. Since 2012, over 9.81 MILLION Promise Cards have been distributed to over 153 countries. In 2013, Alex left his Corporate Strategy Lead position at a leading software company to dedicate himself entirely to the non-profit.
Alex authored his first book because I said I would (Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press), released in January 2019. Noted as an Amazon best-seller in Philanthropy & Charity.
Alex’s unique perspective on accountability, leadership, commitment, and self-control developed both from his responsibilities in leading a global effort about keeping promises -- and his personal experience fulfilling his own promises.
Alex’s personal promises include:
- Walking 245 miles across the entire state of Ohio in under 10 days to fulfill a promise to the three Cleveland women who were held captive for 10 years
- Volunteering at 52 different non-profit organizations in a single year
- Promising children with cancer trips to Disneyland and personally delivering 100 tickets
Alex’s work has been featured on CNN, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, TODAY Show, Good Morning America, NPR, Fox News, Los Angeles Times, CBS Nightly News, and many other programs. He has been featured on the cover of Spirit Magazine, and honoured as a Steve Harvey “Harvey’s Hero”. Alex’s efforts in social media have been featured in BuzzFeed’s annual “Most Important Viral Videos”, and his viral posts have made the #1 spot on the front page of Reddit.com over 10 times. As a nationally respected thought-leader who has been featured at multiple TEDx conferences, Alex has spoken at over 527 events since 2013.