The Sweeney Agency will help you find the best Inspirational Speaker for your event by providing you with all the information you need to make the right decision. We take into account your event objectives, audience dynamics and expected outcomes. We provide you with top Inspirational Speaker bios, video clips, topic outlines, and independent perspectives on the best speakers on Inspiration available. Working closely with the Inspirational Speaker you choose, we will ensure he or she delivers a customized presentation that informs, inspires and entertains.
Former Major League Baseball Pitcher & Gold Medal Winner in the 1988 Olympics
Jim talks about how individuals must adapt and mold themselves to meet the obstacles of change.
Audiences leave inspired by Jim's story of how he used his ADAPT framework to become a professional athlete.
Born without a right hand, Jim Abbott is a former MLB pitcher who led Team USA to a Gold Medal in the 1988 Olympics.
Past clients include: Toshiba, Lucent Technologies, Fosters Freeze, Lason Inc., and Prudential.
Born without a right hand, Jim Abbott is a former MLB pitcher who led Team USA to a Gold Medal in the 1988 Olympics. He was an All-America hurler at Michigan and won the Sullivan Award in 1987. Jim threw a 4-0 no-hitter for the New York Yankees versus Cleveland on September 4, 1993. He played for 10 seasons on 4 different teams and ended his big league playing career in 1999.
Abbott has worked with The Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) on several initiatives encouraging businesses to hire people with disabilities.
Today, in addition to often being a Guest Pitching Instructor during Spring Training for the Los Angeles Angels, Jim Abbott is a motivational speaker who shares his incredible story of overcoming adversity and achieving ultimate goal.
Inspiring Story of Leadership from Former Commander of USS Benfold
Real-life Leadership advice from the former captain of the best ship in the U.S. Navy—the U.S.S. Benfold
First book, It’s Your Ship, has sold over 1.1 million copies to date
Fresh ways to build trust, harness people’s passion and achieve extraordinary results; common-sense ideas to stay focused only on the things you can control/influence
Past clients include: Cox Communications, Disney, Exxon Mobil, JP Morgan, Microsoft, Starwood Hotels, Toyota
Mike Abrashoff was the most-junior officer in the Pacific Fleet when he took command of the near-worst performing ship. Twelve months later, the USS Benfold was the best ship in the entire Navy –using the same crew. The story of that stunning transformation has lessons for every organization: leadership matters –and culture is everything. Mike’s written three books –his first, It’s Your Ship, has sold over 1.3million copies. His Leadership Roadmap offers clear, battle-tested, and actionable steps. Mike shows people at every level of the organization how to engage and take incremental steps toward change that can make a dramatic difference at work. Mike is clear, “I didn’t turn the ship around –my crew did that. What I did was to create an environment where they feltsafe, empowered and supported. When you do that, anything is possible.”
In many ways, what Mike was able to do with the USS Benfold was an extreme example of the same problems facing many organizations today. That’s why dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, and Fast Company have cited Mike’s story as an inspiring lesson for business. Leaders especially identify with Mike’s being accountable for the results in an environment where he couldn’t make the rules.
“When my crew came to me with a problem, I’d say ‘It’s your ship –how would you fix it?’.” Mike focused on the one thing he could influence: his crew’s attitude, because culture is the ultimate competitive weapon for any organization.
Mike’s established a set of management principles that he calls The Leadership Roadmap. At the core of his leadership approach on Benfoldwas a process of replacing command and control with commitment and cohesion, and engaging the hearts, minds, and loyalties of workers with conviction and humility. “The most important thing that a captain can do is to see the ship through the eyes of the crew. The idea is to empower every individual to share the responsibility of achieving excellence.”
By every measure, these principles achieved breakthrough results: turnover decreased to an unprecedented 1%; the rate of promotions tripled; and the crew slashed operating expenses by 25%. Regarded as the finest ship in the Pacific Fleet, Benfoldwon the prestigious Spokane Trophy for havingthe highest degree of combat readiness. This remarkable turnaround was accomplished by the very same crew that had performed so poorly just months before.
Mike is author of three books. His first, It’s Your Ship, has a timeless message: don’t use outside forces that stand in your way as excuses –control the things you can influence and amazing results will happen. His next books, It’s Our Ship and Get Your Ship Together, showed how these principles have been put into action by business leaders in their own organizations.
A popular keynote speaker for audiences looking to ramp up organizational performance, Mike has spoken to every industry and kind of audience –from board retreats to front line personnel; from sales groups to universities; from Fortune 500s to startups. He inspires audiences to rethink their beliefs about leadership and organizational culture and tailors the message to focus on engagement, execution, change, safety, diversity, leadership, teamwork, innovation, accountability and more. Prior to commanding USS Benfold, Mike served as the Military Assistant to Secretary of Defense William J. Perry. He also helped draft the air defense plan for naval forces in the Persian Gulf in 1990, coinciding with Iraq's invasion of Kuwait; and served as the executive officer of the Cruiser Shiloh, where he deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of United Nations sanctions against Iraq.
Mike Abrashoff is the founder of Aegis Performance Group, a consulting firm which works with and supports leaders as they address leadership, talent and performance challenges within their organizations. Mike and his team prompt leaders at all levels to re-imagine their leadership thinking and create new ways to elevate individual,team and organizational performance.
Talks about making and celebrating incredible moments comes from facing failure and adapting to change
Audiences are inspired by Jeff's story of becoming a Paralympian and entrepreneur despite facing numerous hurdles
Jeff is a gold medal winning Paralympian, as well as being the co-founder of design, engineering and manufacturing company focused on Category II medical devices, and most recently a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School.
Jeff is a member of the Order of Ontario, and has been inducted into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, the Athletics Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, and the Brampton Sports Hall of Fame.
Jeff Adams is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School, a Paralympian, and six-time world champion in wheelchair racing. After a distinguished athletic career that included winning three Paralympic gold medals, he retired from competition in 2008 and was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.
In 2010, Jeff co-founded a design, engineering and manufacturing company focused on Category II medical devices. After seven years as President and CEO, and managing the acquisition of the intellectual property by a US company, Jeff decided to pursue a life-long dream of a career in law.
Jeff’s work experience includes serving as the Executive Director for the International Arts Games Foundation where he instructed counsel on the incorporation of a federal not-for-profit corporation, established an inaugural board of directors and created the charter and by-laws. He was also the President, CEO and Founding Partner of Icon Wheelchairs Inc. and President of Marvel Wheelchairs Inc.
At Osgoode Hall Law School, Jeff worked at the Business Clinic and interned at ARCH legal clinic.
Jeff is a member of the Order of Ontario, and has been inducted into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, the Athletics Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, and the Brampton Sports Hall of Fame.
First American Woman to Climb Mt. Everest, Author and Inspirational Speaker.
Stacy talks about how mountains are more than just symbols of upward endeavors, mountains are high-altitude crucibles for leadership, team dynamics, risk-taking, vision, and change.
Audiences are inspired by Stacy's story of summiting Mt. Everest in this highly customized presentation, that weaves the skills required for high altitude mountaineering into the boardroom, helping organizations achieve their summit goals.
Stacy is best known as the First American woman to summit Mt. Everest. She is also president of Stacy Allison General Contracting, a residential building company, a best-selling author, and renowned keynote speaker.
Past clients include: SKF USA, Optima Health, Pfizer, Coca Cola, HBC and the University of Virginia.
Stacy Allison has climbed the world's most famous mountain. Now she's helping organizations across the globe scale their own monumental challenges. She combines her business acumen and her spirit for adventure to show her audiences how to thrive in their organizations through courage, leadership, vision, teamwork, risk taking, and personal accountability. Stacy's high content, tailored, dynamic presentations will encourage and inspire you to take a visionary look at opportunities and move beyond your limits. The future will never look the same!
Stacy brings a vast range of experiences and knowledge to her energetic and dynamic presentations. She is best known as the First American woman to summit Mt. Everest. She is also president of Stacy Allison General Contracting, a residential building company. She and her team of builders specialize in high end restorations, where they steadfastly preserve the charm and integrity of classic old homes, while achieving financial success.
At the age of 21, Stacy began major alpine climbing in earnest and achieved rapid success. Within a year, Stacy reached the top of Alaska's Mt. McKinley, the highest point in North America, and was part of the first successful women's ascent of Ama Dablam, the 22,495 foot peak known as Nepal's Matterhorn. These accomplishments provided the groundwork for much greater accomplishments.
Stacy was the first American woman to top Pik Communism (now known as Ismoil Somoni Peak), at 24,600 feet, the tallest peak in the Russian Pamir Range. On her first attempt on Mt Everest, Stacy did not summit, but she returned to Mt. Everest with the Northwest American Everest Expedition. On September 29, 1988, after twenty-nine days on the mountain, Stacy became the first American woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, the world's highest mountain at 29,028 feet. Stacy then went on to become the leader of a successful K2 expedition, the world's second highest mountain, considered to be the most difficult peak on Earth to climb. Three of the team of seven made it to the top; after an accident to the third, in keeping with her view of teamwork and leadership, Stacy and the others descended. “In any endeavor, leaders should inspire members of the team with a passion for success,” Stacy says, “but within the framework of team effort. One of the most crucial things to realize, feel and remember is that when one team member succeeds, the entire team succeeds.”
Stacy's first book, Beyond the Limits: a Woman's Triumph on Everest, is a suspenseful, triumphant adventure story. Her second, Many Mountains to Climb: Reflections on Competence, Courage and Commitment, is an exciting anecdotal account of climbing challenges practically applied to help you plot your way more surely to professional and personal success. Stacy also contributed a chapter on Leadership in the book, Upward Bound.
Stacy serves on the Board of Trustees of National University and is the Chairperson for The American Lung Associations fundraiser - Climb for Clean Air. Remarkably, among all of her accomplishments, she proudly is a committed mother of two.
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.
Peabody Award-winning Journalist, Bestselling Author, Entrepreneur, Inspiring Storyteller, and Host/Moderator
Mariana Atencio is on a mission to help people supercharge their careers, their workplace cultures, and their happiness by embracing the power of authenticity. Coming to America from Venezuela as a young girl, Mariana learned first-hand how feeling self-conscious about being different kept her from engaging. After graduating Columbia University, Mariana wanted to take that experience into her journalism career and tell stories that build bridges and foster understanding.
She became a national news anchor and correspondent, earning a Peabody Award for reporting which took her from Haiti to Hong Kong to the Syrian border. The success of her TEDx talk, “What Makes YOU Special?”, viewed over 23 million times, catapulted Mariana into a new storytelling outlet: speaking.
Her first book, Perfectly You: Embracing the Power of Being Real, is a bestselling call to action to unleash the magic of personal and professional authenticity to find purpose and break barriers. Currently head of her own media production company, Mariana pursues stories that capture her curiosity. She also continues to deliver inspiring keynotes and moderate/host at major events.
Best-selling Author & Inspiring Speaker on Leadership, Creativity and Diversity
John talks about how great leaders listen, communicate, and make decisions, through stories from his decades long career as an award winning sports journalist and best selling author.
Audiences leave inspired by John's funny and fast paced presentation about lessons from the best leaders in sports history.
John U. Bacon is the New York Times best-selling author of ten books on sports, business leadership, health, and history.
Past clients include: Ford Motor Company, Medtronic, Menlo Innovations, Insight Global and Sports Illustrated.
John U. Bacon is the New York Times best-selling author of ten books on sports, business leadership, health, and history. He free-lances for The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo, and others, appears often on TV, including HBO, ESPN, Fox Business, MSNBC, and the Big Ten Network, and delivers weekly essays for Michigan Radio and occasionally NPR, which awarded him the PRNDI prize for the Nation's Best Commentary in 2014.
His books include Walgreens: America’s Corner Store, Cirque du Soleil: The Spark, Bo’s Lasting Lessons: The Legendary Coach Teaches the Timeless Fundamentals of Leadership, which hit the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal’s Business Best-Seller lists. He then researched and wrote a trio of books covering big time college football from the inside out: Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football, Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football, Endzone: The Rise, Fall, and Return of Michigan Football. All three were New York Times best-sellers.
His book, Playing Hurt: My Journey from Despair to Hope, co-authored with ESPN’s John Saunders, tells Saunders’ life story in dramatic detail.
John delivers speeches on the themes in his books -- including leadership, creativity, and diversity -- to corporations, universities and other groups around the country and the world. In 2011, the Michigan Chapter of Meeting Planners International (MMPI) named him “Speaker of the Year.” In addition to writing and speaking, he teaches at the University of Michigan, where students awarded him the Golden Apple in 2009.
John is also a decent Spanish speaker, an average hockey player, and a poor piano player, but he still enjoys all three! He lives in Ann Arbor with his wife and son.
Inspiring adventure speaker, deep sea explorer who discovered the RMS Titanic.
Best known for his 1985 discovery of the TITANIC, Dr. Robert Ballard has succeeded in tracking down numerous other significant shipwrecks, including the German battleship BISMARCK, the lost fleet of Guadalcanal, the U.S. aircraft carrier YORKTOWN (sunk in the World War II Battle of Midway), and John F. Kennedy boat, PT-109.
While those discoveries have captured the imagination of the public, Dr. Ballard believes his most important discoveries were of hydrothermal vents and black smokers in the Galapagos Rift and East Pacific Rise in 1977 and 1979 along with their exotic life forms living off the energy of the Earth through a process now called chemosynthesis.
In addition to being a National Geographic Society Explorer-In-Residence and a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, Dr. Ballard is the president of the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET).
Ballard was born June 30, 1942, in Wichita, KS but moved to California at a very young age and grew up exploring the shore in San Diego. Dr. Ballard has a Ph.D. in marine geology and geophysics from the University of Rhode Island. He spent 30 years at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where he helped develop telecommunications technology to create "tele-presence" for his education initiative, which allows hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren to accompany him from afar on undersea explorations around the globe each year. In 2001, he returned to the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island where he is presently a tenured Professor of Oceanography and Director of the Center for Ocean Exploration.
Dr. Ballard has 21 honorary degrees and six military awards. He was also a Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve, serving in the Navy from 1967 to 1997. He received the National Geographic Society's prestigious Hubbard Medal in 1996 for extraordinary accomplishments in coaxing secrets from the world's oceans and engaging students in the wonder of science. In 2014, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Ballard has published numerous books, scientific papers, and a dozen articles in National Geographic magazine. Dr. Ballard also has been featured in several National Geographic television programs, including the record-breaking Secrets of the TITANIC.
His discoveries also include sunken remains of ships along ancient trade routes in the Mediterranean Sea; two ancient Phoenician ships off Israel, the oldest shipwrecks ever found in deep water; and four 1,500-year-old wooden ships, one almost perfectly preserved in the Black Sea. Dr. Ballard's Black Sea project seeks evidence of a great flood that may have struck the region thousands of years ago.
His 1997 best-selling book, Lost Liners, tells the story of the great transatlantic liners through memorable wrecks he has visited. Dr. Ballard was also a special advisor on Steven Spielberg's futuristic Sea Quest, DSV television show.
An explorer, discoverer and historian, Dr. Ballard's fascinating journeys can teach us a great deal about our past, and they have encouraged others to take tremendous strides in the survey of the undiscovered mysteries of the deep sea.
Founder and Creator of Shazam, Entrepreneur, Inventor, and Tech Investor
Spend time with inventor Chris Barton and you’ll be inspired to believe anything is possible. His positive energy to make seemingly impossible ideas come to life is absolutely contagious. Chris’s latest venture, Guard, uses AI to detect drowning in swimming pools – a never-before accomplished effort. Chris’s best-known creation is Shazam, the app that changed the way the world discovers music and laid the groundwork for the consumer AI industry we know today. With over 2 billion downloads, Shazam is a global phenomenon and Apple's sixth-largest acquisition. The app lets people identify songs out of thin air from anywhere they are, making it nothing short of pure magic. Chris holds 12 patents and played key roles in the early days of Google and Dropbox. He believes his dyslexia helps him uncover novel solutions to obstacles and to achieving audacious goals. In his speeches, Chris shares his Start From Zero thinking method of questioning assumptions and challenging conventional wisdom. His amazing story and storytelling completely captivate audiences and inspires them to make big things happen in their organizations – to create magic in defiance of the obstacles.
Chris grew up with a French mother and British father – both of whom were university professors. However, academics were a struggle for Chris. Chris would come to learn he had undiagnosed dyslexia. Over the years, Chris learned to embrace what he now calls his superpower. Chris believes that dyslexia has allowed him to overcome barriers to achieve his many accomplishments.
Shazam is a great example. Though Chris does not position himself as an expert on the broader future of A.I., his journey as a true A.I. pioneer started when Chris had the idea to identify music using a mobile phone, as no technology existed to achieve his goal. In addition, he was told by Professors at MIT and Stanford that this application of pattern recognition was impossible.
Besides inventing a new technology that didn’t yet exist, he had to build a search engine supercomputer from scratch, create the world’s largest music database, and create a user experience on very basic mobile phones. Did Chris ever think maybe the experts were right? “No,” he says.
When Shazam was founded in 2000, it was far ahead of its time. It was three years before iTunes, seven years before the iPhone, and eight years before the App Store. The nascent Shazam struggled in the early days, teetering near bankruptcy for six years waiting for key digital advancements to arrive, allowing Shazam to unleash its full potential on the world.
In 2018, Shazam, and its 200 employees, was acquired by Apple in Apple’s 6th largest acquisition of all-time. Today, Shazam has been downloaded over two billion times and is considered one of the world's most popular apps. It has become an integral part of our everyday lives, with its ability to instantly identify songs and provide information about the music such as lyrics.
Shazam has even become a verb, as in "Can you Shazam this song for me?" In addition to its widespread usage, Shazam has also been the inspiration for a popular game show hosted by Jamie Foxx called "Beat Shazam," which has aired for four seasons on the Fox Network challenging contestants to recognize songs faster than the Shazam app.
Chris has also played a key role in tech history as a founding member of Google’s Android Partnerships team where he created Android's mobile operator partnership framework. He also spent four years at Dropbox where he led carrier partnerships and was one of the first 100 people at the company.
Holding 12 patents, including one found within the Google search algorithm that billions of people use, Chris has made significant contributions to the tech industry. He also invests in a wide range of start-ups, including artificial intelligence for heart health and inflammatory disease therapeutics.
Today, Chris spends much of his time building his third startup company, Guard, a system that detects drowning in swimming pools using artificial intelligence.
When he has the time, Chris enjoys speaking at events and sharing lessons learned from his experiences achieving the impossible. He inspires people with stories of the unexpected mindsets that are necessary to overcome challenges and achieve success. Chris gives audiences a new framework for thinking about the obstacles they face and motivates them to take action.
Prior to his audacious technology career, Chris was a strategy consultant and earned two master’s degrees from UC Berkeley and Cambridge University.
When he isn’t working or speaking, you can find Chris enjoying the outdoors and spending time with his son, Jude.
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.
Decorated U.S. Navy Fighter Pilot, Founder & CEO, Flight Level Solutions, Inc., Leadership, Teamwork, Safety, and Peak Human Performance Expert
Renowned as one of the most dynamic keynote speakers in the industry, Jack Becker speaks to the the highest-performing organizations in the world including General Electric, Allied Transportation, the American Heart Association, and SunTrust Bank. His keynotes deliver action-packed lessons of fighter pilot combat missions to instill a culture of continual process improvement. Regardless of your business, Jack’s keynotes simply reduce human error. Your team will make fewer mistakes! For the seven N. American regions of GE Power and Water alone, Jack’s program reduced OSHA recordable mishaps over 60%.
Jack is a leadership, teamwork, human performance, safety, and process improvement professional whose years of expertise inspired him to found Flight Level Solutions, Inc. Now Jack has successfully adapted the same peak human performance skills that made him successful flying combat missions in the F/A-18 Hornet, to training companies striving to perform at Top Gun levels. He served as a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier-based F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet fighter pilot, instructor pilot, landing signal officer, quality assurance officer, and crew resource management instructor. Jack has over 2,000 hours flying supersonic fighter jets and brings the same passion and excitement to each keynote speech he delivers. He is a decorated combat veteran having flown numerous strike missions in the Middle East.
As one of the Navy’s most highly decorated Landing Signals Officers (LSO), Jack was instrumental in incorporating the process improvement model of C.R.M. to help pilots improve quickly while landing supersonic fighter jets on nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. He was responsible for over 21,000 mishap-free carrier landings. Jack’s unique experience as both an LSO and as the Navy’s top C.R.M. instructor, he saw an opportunity to relay the same skills of Brief-Execute-Debrief-Perfect to the American workplace. From healthcare groups to manufacturing, construction, sales teams, and insurance firms, Jack’s dynamic keynotes, and seminars leave a lasting impression.
Jack earned a B.S. in Political Science with an emphasis on organizational leadership from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Currently, he serves part-time as an F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet instructor pilot in the U.S. Naval Reserve.
Ross talks about why certain teams are SUCCESSFUL whereas others aren’t, based on his research of over 1,000 professional athletes and coaches in this highly personalized presentation.
Audiences leave motivated by the 100 unique characteristics and traits that are common among champions, told through poignant life lessons and inspirational stories.
Ross Bernstein is a best-selling author of nearly 50 sports books, and an award-winning business speaker.
Past clients include: Tempurpedic, Anytime Fitness, Chatham Steel, Milk Specialties Industries, Allianz Life Financial Services and Levi Strauss & Co.
Ever wonder why certain teams win consistently, whereas others come up short? Ross Bernstein explains why - in an engaging and visually entertaining style that's designed to improve your organization's productivity, morale and bottom-line profitability...
The best-selling author of nearly 50 sports books, Ross Bernstein is an award-winning business speaker who helps companies and organizations perform more like champions. Ross and his books have been featured on thousands of television and radio programs over the past 20 years, including CNN, MSNBC, CBS This Morning, FOX News, Bloomberg, ESPN, Sports Illustrated and the CBC, as well as in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, USA Today, and Maxim Magazine.
Ross' signature program,
The Champion's Code: Life Lessons of Ethics & Accountability from the Sports World to the Business World, is based on more than six years of research that resulted in two critically acclaimed series of sports-business books. The first examines how and why certain teams win world championships; while the other chronicles the unwritten and unspoken rules in the world of sports, or
codes as they are known, which explores the fine line between cheating and gamesmanship - and the consequences involved when that line is crossed.
Ross interviewed more than 1,000 professional athletes and coaches for the six books and along the way he saw some fascinating patterns, metrics and trends develop among certain individuals who possessed a very unique DNA. For these unique individuals, or
champions, it wasn't always about winning, it was about following their moral compass in order to play the game the right way - with respect and integrity - in order to achieve success. In his presentation, Ross identifies upwards of 100 unique characteristics and traits that are common among champions, which he then ties into poignant life lessons and inspirational stories that relate back to his client's event theme and desired learner outcomes.
Based largely on the
Good to Great ideology of how the best companies are able to separate them- selves from the rest of the pack through dynamic leadership and extraordinary customer service, Ross' program reinforces the concept that individuals win games, but TEAMS win championships. Momentum, roles, buy-in, motivation, consistency, sacrifice, trust, chemistry, work-ethic, innovation, karma, and being humble - they're all a part of what it takes to become the best of the best - a champion both on and off the field.
So... who are the champions in your organization? Ross speaks about 100 dates a year and he'd love to customize a keynote (from one to six hours) for your next annual conference, corporate event, or sales meeting - his passion and energy is contagious and he'd be honored to be a member of YOUR team for the day!
About Molly Bloom – Inspirational Keynote Speaker, Entrepreneur, and Bestselling Author
Inspirational Keynote Speaker, Entrepreneur & Bestselling Author
Talks about: Molly's Game: The True Story of the Woman Behind the Most Exclusive, High Stakes Underground Poker Game in the World, Overcoming Setbacks & Building your Brand
Molly’s Game was adapted into an award-winning film of the same name by renowned director, Aaron Sorkin.
Appeared on numerous shows and in media outlets such as Ellen, Vice, The Los Angeles Times, NPR, Vulture, and has been asked to speak at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women, for companies like Blackrock Financial, SiriusXM Radio, and delivered the 2018 commencement speech at Colorado State University
Molly Bloom is an inspirational keynote speaker, entrepreneur, and bestselling author of Molly’s Game. She is best known for her memoir, Molly’s Game, which was adapted into an award-winning film of the same name by Aaron Sorkin. Bloom’s memoir chronicles her journey from college student to LA waitress to building and operating the largest and most notorious private poker game in the world. Her games featured hundreds of millions of dollars and players like Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, A-Rod, and Ben Affleck.
Bloom began her career as a world-class skier. While training as a pre-teen she was diagnosed with severe scoliosis and had to undergo surgery that the doctors said would end her athletic career. A year later, fully recovered, she was back on the slopes. She later joined the U.S. Ski Team and at 21 years old was ranked No. 3 in North America in moguls, but her Olympic dreams would go unrealized as she left the team to pursue other projects. This led her to what she thought would be a year sabbatical in LA.
Bloom was finishing her degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado – Boulder, and was in the process of applying to top tier Law Schools, when her assistant job turned her into an accidental entrepreneur, running one of the most exclusive, high-stakes underground poker games in the world, pulling in as much as $4 million per year. What happened next is where her story truly begins.
The film Molly’s Game, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, stars Jessica Chastain (as Molly), Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Brian d’Arcy James, and Chris O’Dowd. Bloom has appeared on numerous shows and in media outlets such as Ellen, Vice, The Los Angeles Times, NPR, Vulture, and has been asked to speak at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women, for companies like Blackrock Financial, SiriusXM Radio, and delivered the 2018 commencement speech at Colorado State University.
Founder & CEO of Socially Conscious Fashion Brand Sseko Designs, Bestselling Author
Liz Bohannon is the Founder and CEO of socially conscious fashion brand Sseko Designs, which she founded in 2008 as a way to provide educational and economic opportunities for women in East Africa. Liz shares the lessons learned from her 10-year journey growing Sseko from three women under a mango tree, into a successful international fashion brand that provides employment, educational and entrepreneurial opportunities to thousands of women across the globe.
Her story is filled with lessons for success that are grounded in the principle of having a beginner’s mind, which Liz sums up in her new book, Beginner’s Pluck: Build Your Life of Purpose and Impact Now. In it, as in her presentations, she shares uncommon ideas toward success like, Own Your Average, Stop Trying to Find Your Passion…Create It, and Dream Small so you can do big things. Liz continues to channel her inner beginner as she manages 100s of employees across multiple continents, and her mindset sets her apart as a courageous, creative and effective leader.
The Sseko story has been featured in dozens of publications including, Vogue Magazine, Redbook Magazine, O Magazine, Inc., Fortune and others. Sseko has appeared on national broadcasts including ABC's Shark Tank and Good Morning America.
Among other notable honors, Liz was named a Top Three Transformation Leader by John Maxwell, Forbes listed her as a top 20 public speaker in the U.S. and Bloomberg Businessweek named Sseko as a top social enterprise to watch.
Liz now splits her time between Uganda and Portland, Oregon, where she and her husband Ben run Sseko Designs and raise their two young sons.
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.
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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.
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As a renowned author, speaker, television and radio personality, Les Brown has risen to national prominence by inspiring others to shake off mediocrity and live up to their full potential. With no formal education beyond high school, Les has distinguished himself as an international authority on harnessing human potential.
Born a twin in low-income Liberty City in Miami, Florida, Les and his twin brother were adopted when they were six weeks old by Miss Mamie Brown. As a single woman with a big heart, Miss Brown had very little education or financial means. With young Les' inattention to school work, his restless energy, and the failure of his teachers to recognize his potential, Les was misdiagnosed as educable mentally retarded. Suffering for years by the label and the stigma, Les was nevertheless driven by his passion to learn and his hunger to achieve his goal as a radio disc jockey.
In a humorous twist of fate and cunning, Les rose from a hip-talkin' morning DJ to a broadcast manager; from voracious reader to author; from community activist to community leader; from political commentator to three-term state legislator; from a banquet and nightclub emcee to a premier keynote speaker for Fortune 100 companies.
In 1986, Les entered the public speaking arena on a full-time basis and formed his own company, Les Brown Enterprises Inc., aimed at individuals and organizations, the company provides motivational products, personal development programs, speaker development workshops, keynote presentations and interactive business trainings.
In 1989, Les received the National Speakers Association's highest honor: The Council of Peers Award for Excellence (CPAE). In addition, he was selected one of the World's Top Five Speakers in 1992 by Toastmasters International and became the recipient of the Golden Gavel Award.
Commencing in 1990 and recording the first in a series of six PBS specials, Les launched You Deserve which was awarded a Chicago-area Emmy. It became the leading fundraiser for pledges to PBS stations nationwide.
In 1993, Les became the host of his own nationally syndicated daily television talk show, The Les Brown Show, in which he focused on solutions to the day's challenges rather than the problems.
Recognized internationally, Les is the author of three bestselling books: Up Thoughts for Down Times, Live Your Dreams, and It's Not Over Until You Win. With his Sunday morning radio talk show, Chicago Speaks with Les Brown, Les' outreach embraces the homeless and the world's most powerful leaders.
A leading authority in understanding and stimulating human potential, Les' electric and powerful delivery, stage presence and personal insights have built his international brand of "What's Possible". Les' customized presentation is driven by his approach to each unique audience. Before he gives a speech, he builds a speech. The end result is that Les teaches and inspires each audience to new levels of awareness and achievement.
Inspiring story of adventure from Captain of the Coast Guard ship that performed two dramatic rescues during the real Perfect Storm
Captain Larry Brudnicki is the Captain of the Coast Guard ship that performed two dramatic rescues during the real Perfect Storm. These unbelievable rescues are a small part of a thirty-year career assessing risks, making decisions and inspiring teamwork.
Captain Brudnicki retired from the Coast Guard in March 2002 after thirty years of active duty. He reported to his last assignment as the Chief of Operations, 11th Coast Guard District, Alameda, CA in August 1997 where he supervised more than 15,000 Search and Rescue cases, which saved 1,600 lives. He also supervised the search for survivors of the Alaska Air Flight #261 tragedy. He had tactical control of ships and aircraft that seized more than 150 tons of cocaine, including the ten largest cocaine seizures in the year 2000 and again in 2001.
Using experience gained from leading successful high-risk missions with international visibility to deliver messages of leadership, teamwork and risk management, Captain Brudnicki shows how to achieve success. Looking at what he learned investigating accidents of others who were not so successful, he also demonstrated how to avoid pitfalls.
Brudnicki has been featured as commentator on CNN and Fox Business News, and guest expert on ABC, the History Channel, National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, and a myriad of other programs. As a contributor to Real World Management Strategies That Work, he details the 7 Steps to Making the Right Decision Every Time.
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.
Internationally Recognized Researcher, Explorer, National Geographic Fellow, and New York Times Best-selling Author on Longevity
Dan Buettner is a National Geographic Fellow, an inspirational speaker, and multiple New York Times best-selling author. He has discovered, through multiple expeditions with teams of research scientists specializing in population studies, the five places in the world - dubbed Blue Zones - where people live the longest, and are healthiest and happiest. His New York Times Sunday Magazine article about these places, “The Island Where People Forget to Die,” was one of the Times’ most popular - as was his National Geographic cover story on longevity, “The Secrets of Living Longer.” A chord was struck, and thus subsequent books and a company which seeks to share the distilled wisdom of Blue Zones cultures with American cities and corporations were born.
Blue Zones, LLC, puts the world’s best practices of longevity and well-being to work in people’s lives at the community level. Buettner works in partnership with Healthways, municipal governments, and various insurance companies to implement the program in more than 20 cities so far - and has dramatically improved the health of more than 5 million Americans to date. Their strategy focuses on optimizing the local environment: walkability for citizens and kids, availability of healthy food options, social connectivity, pursuit of life purpose - and ongoing coaching and support for creating homes which effortlessly bring forth wellness and happiness.
Writing in Newsweek, Harvard University’s Walter Willet called the results “stunning.” In one project alone, Buettner and his then partner, AARP - applied principles of Blue Zones to Albert Lea, Minnesota, and lowered health care costs by 40%.
His books The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest and Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way - have remained best-sellers, along with The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People. Be sure to mark 03-December on your calendars - the release date of Dan's latest book The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Reach 100. Likely to be his next best-seller, The Blue Zones Kitchen fuses scientific reporting, National Geographic photography and 100 recipes that may help you live to 100. It captures the way of eating that yielded the statistically longest-lived people - and explains, in some detail, why that food has enabled populations to elude the chronic disease scourge that has befallen Americans.
Dan has appeared on The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, Dr. Oz, NPR, and Oprah. Voted a Top 50 Influencer in Aging by PBS, Dan also holds three Guinness Book of world records in distance cycling (and is possibly the only person to have cycled through the Sahara desert without sunscreen!) - and has won an Emmy Award for television production. He resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is particularly proud to be the father of three (nearly) grown children.
Uses his Powerful Success Formula: Vision, Mindset and Grit to Inspire and Motivate Audiences
Scott Burrows is a powerful, engaging and thought-provoking motivational keynote speaker who can set the tone for your entire conference and challenge your audience while adding takeaway value with high energy, humour and substance - or a closing speaker who can inspire and move your conference attendees into action.
Scott's story is the hero's journey. By the age of 19, he played college football at Florida State University as a walk-on wide receiver for legendary coach Bobby Bowden - and was a top-ranked kick-boxing Black Belt champion whose last fight was broadcast by ESPN. During that time, Scott's life changed dramatically on November 3, 1984, he survived a horrendous automobile accident as a passenger in a friend's car and broke cervical 6 and 7 vertebrae in his neck that left him paralyzed from the chest down - and diagnosed a quadriplegic. Told he would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, Scott realized his split-second decision to not wear a seat belt altered his course forever.
Despite his grim diagnosis, Scott refused to be sidelined. After graduating from college, Scott's first career was as a Financial Advisor in the Insurance and Financial Industry for Northwestern Mutual. He specialized in life and disability insurance planning - as well as retirement, estate and wealth planning. In his 5th year, he hit a huge goal and qualified for the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) - the Premiere Association of Financial Professionals, which is a 100% commission-driven sales production award that fewer than 8% of his peers qualify for annually from more than 500 companies in 70 countries.
At the pinnacle of that career, Scott experienced yet another setback - a second automobile accident. Although he was buckled in this time, new injuries forced him to RE-evaluate, RE-invent - and once again RE-ignite his life by practicing and executing what he preaches. During his recovery, Scott reminisced about the overcoming adversity speakers he heard at sales and leadership conferences. Their life-changing stories inspire you to chase your dreams regardless of obstacles or barriers. That's when Scott decided he would make the tough decision to leave an industry he had so much passion for to pursue a speaking career that has taken him around the world. He also took advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help expand his brother's multimillion-dollar golf course fertilizer, chemical and equipment business into Southeast Asia.
Scott is also the author of Vision Mindset Grit! In the Foreword, Scott's father defined those three empowering words: Vision - refers to your goals and aspirations, the endpoint you are seeking. Mindset - is the continual mental preparation and adjustment needed to meet oncoming challenges. Grit - is the day-to-day determination to persevere when you are too tired, too sore or too beleaguered to continue on.
Scott has delivered his story in 45 states and in such countries as Australia, Spain, India, Thailand, Bermuda, Costa Rica, Mexico, the Czech Republic and Canada - as well as to our soldiers at the Minot Air Force Base.
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.
Iconic Winter Olympic goaltender, and inspirational speaker on Teamwork & Leadership
Jim Craig is best known as the backbone of the 1980 Olympic Gold Medal Hockey Team, whose ‘Miracle’ win was voted by Sports Illustrated as the greatest moment in sports history of the 21st century. Craig, who started every game in goal, was a leading figure in the team’s success. One of the enduring images of the 1980 Games was of Craig, wrapped in an American flag, searching the stands for his widowed father in order to share the gold-medal-winning victory.
Before the Olympics, Jim was an All-American goalie at Boston University, leading his team to a NCAA national championship. After the ‘Miracle’ game, Jim went on to play professionally for three NHL teams, where he sustained a career-ending injury while playing for the Minnesota North Stars. He is enshrined in the Boston University Hall of Fame, the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame, the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, and the United States Olympic Hall of Fame and is a co-recipient of both the Lester Patrick award and the Sports Illustrated "Sportsman of the Year" award. He is also a graduate of Boston University and earned his doctorate in humane letters from Mercy College.
Following Jim’s professional hockey career, he transitioned his success into the corporate world as a motivational speaker, powerful salesman and corporate consultant. He has been inducted into the Sales Halls of Fame for two different companies, having increased a sales territory from $300,000 to $50 million in annual sales. Following this role, Jim moved on to become the Vice President of a promotional marketing agency. Under his guidance, the agency increased annual dollar sales by 80 percent and its number of clients by 30 percent in just two short years.
For more than 35 years, Jim has inspired, instructed and provided strategic and winning direction to some of the most prestigious companies across the world, including Kellogg's, Bayer, Deloitte, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, and Disney, as the successful owner and president of his company, Gold Medal Strategies. Jim has been selected three times as one of the top five speakers on team building in the United States, and has evolved to not only deliver motivational speeches, but host immersive corporate training programs that teach participants how to think differently and believe in their possibilities. Jim is the co-author of the highly acclaimed business book, Gold Medal Strategies: Business Lessons from America's Miracle Team and recently released his newest book and legacy piece, We Win! Lessons on Life, Business & Building Your Own Miracle Team. In addition to his role with Gold Medal Strategies, Jim serves as a board member of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, and he has a passion for leveraging his athletic and business success to help others achieve their full potential and lives in integrity with his mission every day!
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.
Founder of the XPrize Foundation, Inspiring Speaker and Expert in Incentivized Innovation.
Talks about how to drive and incentivize breakthrough thinking within organizations in order to achieve clear, measurable and objective results.
- Audiences leave with an understanding of how to create a culture of innovation and how to incentivize the outside world to help solve an organization's biggest challenges.
- Dr. Diamandis is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, and with Dr. Ray Kurzweil, co-Founder of the Singularity University.
Past clients include: Google, Microsoft, the United Nations, Facebook, TED, PhRMAs CEO Conference, Autodesk and Activision-Blizzard.
Named by Fortune as one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders,” Peter Diamandis is the Founder and Executive Chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation, which leads the world in designing and operating large-scale incentive competitions. He is also the Executive Founder of Singularity University.
As an entrepreneur, Diamandis has started over 25 companies in the areas of health- tech, space, venture capital and education. He is Co-founder and Vice-Chairman of two public companies, Celularity and Vaxxinity. Dr. Diamandis is Co-founder & Chairman of Fountain Life, a fully-integrated platform delivering predictive, preventative, personalized and data-driven health. Finally, he also serves as Co-founder of BOLD Capital Partners, a venture fund with a half-billion dollars under management investing in exponential technologies and longevity companies.
Diamandis is a New York Times Bestselling author of four books: Abundance – The Future Is Better Than You Think, BOLD – How to go Big, Create Wealth & Impact the World and The Future is Faster Than You Think. Most recently he co-Authored the #1 best seller LIFE FORCE with Tony Robbins which chronicles the extraordinary healthcare and biotech revolution unfolding before our eyes.
He earned degrees in molecular genetics and aerospace engineering from MIT and holds an M.D. from Harvard Medical School. Diamandis’ favorite saying is “The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.”
Founder and CEO of Not Impossible Labs, Top 50 World’s Most Creative People, Speaker on Innovation
Named by Fortune Magazine as one of the Top 50 World’s Greatest Leaders, a recipient of the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award and listed as one of the world’s most influential creative people by The Creativity 50’s, Mick Ebeling is a maker, hacker and inventor who has sparked a movement of pragmatic, inspirational innovation. As a career producer and filmmaker and now founder and CEO of Not Impossible, Ebeling consistently speaks to companies and audiences all over the world inspiring them to change their world, and the world.
Ebeling founded Not Impossible, a multiple award-winning social innovation lab and production company, on the premise that nothing is impossible. His mantra of “Commit, Then Figure it out” allows him to convene a brilliant teams of hackers, doers, makers and thinkers to create inventions and creations that better the world by bringing accessibility for all.
Called the “Elon Musk of Good," Ebeling is only person to ever be honored 2x as a TIME Magazine Top Invention of the Year recipient, a 2x Tribeca Disruptor innovation winner, a 2x SXSW innovation of the year award winner, as a WIRED Agent of Change, a fellow with The Nantucket Project, and a recipient of every major creative and advertising award, Ebeling is on a mission to change the world by creating “Technology for the Sake of Humanity.”
Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Speaker, and the inspiration for the film The Pursuit of Happyness
Chris Gardner is an Entrepreneur, Author, Philanthropist, and single parent whose work has been recognized by many esteemed organization.
Gardner is the author of the 2006 autobiography, The Pursuit of Happyness, a New York Times and Washington Post #1 bestseller that has been translated into over forty languages. Gardner is also the inspiration for the acclaimed movie The Pursuit of Happyness for which Will Smith, starring as Gardner, received Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award nominations for his performance. Gardner’s second bestselling book, Start Where You Are: Life Lessons in Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, was published in May 2009.
In the fall of 2010, Gardner was named the Ambassador of Pursuit and Happyness for AARP, which has nearly 40 million members worldwide. Always hard working and tenacious, a series of adverse circumstances in the early 1980’s left Gardner homeless in San Francisco and the sole guardian of his toddler son. Unwilling to give up Chris Jr. or his dreams of success, Gardner climbed the financial industry ladder from the very bottom. He worked at Dean Witter Reynolds and Bear Stearns & Co before founding the brokerage firm Gardner Rich in Chicago in 1987.
Chris Gardner’s aim, through his speaking engagements and media projects, is to help others achieve their full potential. He is a passionate philanthropist committed to organizations combating violence against women, homelessness, financial illiteracy and providing access to medical care and treatment; issues of the utmost importance to Gardner.
Chris Gardner resides in Chicago.