These speakers are the most recent additions to our Speakers Bureau roster. Browse this page to view our newest selection of professional conference speakers. The Sweeney Agency makes booking speakers a simple process. We help you find the best speaker for your event by providing you with all the information you need to make the right decision, taking into account your event objectives, audience dynamics and expected outcomes. We provide you with professional business and motivational speaker bios, video clips, and topic outlines, as well as independent perspectives on the best speakers available. Working closely with the speaker you choose, we will ensure he or she delivers a customized presentation that informs, inspires and entertains.
About Dirk Ahlborn – Entrepreneur and Innovation Speaker, CEO of Hyperloop Technologies, Founder of JumpStarter
Dirk Ahlborn is an entrepreneur keynote speaker and the founder and CEO of JumpStarter Inc. JumpStarter is a web portal that creates smarter and more successful companies by using crowdsourcing to fund ideas from initial conception to final product. Dirk is also CEO and Co-Founder of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies. It is JumpStartFund’s well-known undertaking to make the Hyperloop become reality, by using its crowd collaboration concept.
Dirk started his career in 1993 as an investment specialist in Berlin, Germany. After moving to Italy in 1997, he founded several companies in the alternative energy and interior design space. In 2006, he successfully sold one of these companies to a global alternative energy conglomerate.
He is a serial entrepreneur with experience in almost every element of business. His careers have taken him through management, product design, development, manufacturing, production facility design and set up, production cost control, marketing, product distribution, customer service, and sales.
Before co-founding Jumpstarter, he was at the Girvan Institute of Technology, an incubator-accelerator for early-stage high-tech companies. At Girvan, beginning in 2009, he was instrumental in the development of several startup companies, most notably Advanced Turbine Designs, a developer of natural-gas-fueled gas turbine generators for combined heat and power. In the course of his multi-faceted activities at Girvan he also managed mobile and web application developments as well as search engine optimization and online marketing.
Prior to 2009, his activities were centered in Germany and Italy. Dirk is fluent in German and Italian and proficient in conversational Spanish. He holds the credential in banking and insurance from the Organization of German Industry and Commerce.
Your mindset is your greatest asset.
This belief is at the core of Karen Allen’s message, one that she is sharing with as many people as possible.
A growth mindset guru, Karen’s work as a keynote speaker, author, coach, and thought leader has helped thousands of people and organizations - including the likes of Google, Experian, and YouTube - improve their lives by implementing various practical, simple techniques that incorporate mindfulness, positive psychology, neuroplasticity, and mental strength training.
If you think of your mind as a muscle, Karen is the personal trainer who helps it to become stronger, healthier, and more efficient.
She knows her techniques work because she’s trained her own mind to overcome the unthinkable. At just 29 years old, Karen lost her husband suddenly and tragically, and she found herself struggling to move forward. That is, until she realized that it was up to her to make the conscious choice to let go of the negative thoughts and energy and turn them into positive, productive action— her life, and the life of her then two-year-old son, depended on it.
This was the catalyst to creating her proprietary Stop & Shift method and launching 100% Human™, a platform where she shares her wisdom, tools, and techniques geared toward mindset training and sustainable joy.
She has given TED Talks and has been featured in Forbes, MSNBC, as well as other global media outlets.
Now with a book, also titled Stop & Shift, Karen continues to spread her message far and wide in hopes of maximizing her impact—and with her mindset, there is no stopping her.
Karen’s talent lies in showing people that change doesn’t have to be daunting. Her unique keynotes and programs are delivered in bite-sized insights designed to be put into immediate practice. She refrains from toxic positivity at all costs and teaches her audiences how to embrace moments of stress, sadness, or setback, and turn them into personal momentum toward something greater.
Hearing Karen speak is like receiving a warm hug. A student of life and as authentic as you can get, she draws from her real life experiences (along with sprinkles of science) to move audiences on multiple levels.
Life is full of twists and turns. Navigating them with intention is the key to building a life you love
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.
Sarah Aviram is a former Fortune 500 Human Resources and Talent Development leader. After working remotely from 12 countries in 12 months in 2019, researching the future of work, she published the best-selling book,"Remotivation: The Remote Worker's Ultimate Guide to Life-Changing Fulfillment". She was named one of the top 25 innovators of remote work in 2021 by the leading company in the space, Remote.
Sarah is an international keynote speaker and workshop facilitator for organizations globally on the topics of remote work, hybrid teams, and change reslience. She’s created and delivered leadership development programs and processes to over 50,000 people at the companies like Google, American Express, Bank of America, and her alma mater, New York University Stern School of Business.
Nikolas Badminton is a global futurist speaker and Chief Futurist that mentors top executives and the highest levels of government to explore desirable futures, anticipate unforeseen risks, and strengthen strategic planning.
He has spent 30+ years working with leadership at over 400 leading organizations at the frontline of foresight, strategy and disruption - including NASA, United Nations, Google, Microsoft, Intel, IBM, WM, JP Morgan CHASE, VISA, TD Bank, American Express, BISCI, ISACA, Rolls Royce, Procter & Gamble, US Department of State, UK Home Office and many more.
Facing Our Futures: How foresight, futures design and strategy creates prosperity and growth - is Nikolas’ number one best selling book and has been selected for the Next Big Idea Club and as JP Morgan Private bank’s ‘Next Gen Pick’ for their prestige 2023 Summer Reading List to guide new leaders to ignite curiosity and embrace futures thinking.
Nikolas’ essential research has been featured by the BBC, VICE, The Atlantic, Fast Company, Business Insider, Forbes, Sunday Telegraph and many others. He appears on SIRIUSXM and CTV regularly, was a key advisor to the ‘Age of AI’ series with Robert Downey Jr, and appears in the Franklin Institute's series ‘2050’.
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.
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.
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.
About Greg Bennick – Interactive & Funny Motivational Speaker and Event Emcee
Greg integrates award-winning comedy, audience interaction, incredible juggling, powerful magic effects, and unbelievable mind reading into his presentations to create a visual display which helps the ideas really sink in.
Audiences leave with ideas on how to build community and navigate change using creativity and humor.
Greg is an award winning speaker who uses humor to share his ideas on how to build strong teams across organizations from Seattle to Singapore.
Past clients include: Aegis, AAGL, The Seattle Times, Safeco.
Greg Bennick can be the after-dinner comedic act that makes the conference memorable for years, or he can be the keynote speaker who drives your points home with his own unique style. Greg Bennick works with you to deliver impact! He uses clean comedy and explores new ideas around community and creativity.
He integrates award-winning comedy, audience interaction, incredible juggling, powerful magic effects, and unbelievable mind reading into his presentations to create a visual display which helps the ideas really sink in.
A two-time humorous speaking champion, Greg engages and inspires your audience while making them laugh. He has spent over thirty years on stage and has connected with audiences live in over twenty-five countries in the last decade, and of course virtual presentations are available via Zoom, Skype, Facebook live, telepathy, and any other mode you can imagine.
His topics range from new angles on team building and the psychology of how to manage crisis and conflict, leadership, and communication…and how self-doubt limits wide-ranging expansion. Based in Seattle, he’s been flown everywhere from Syracuse to Singapore to share his unique brand of engaging ideas.
Innovation Speaker, Former Head of Creative Development & VP Marketing EMEA at Warner Bros. Studios
Jason talks about how our brains get creative and explains how we can rocketfuel our own ability to get out of the world of the plain and ordinary to create bold new ideas that have the real potential to change and transform.
Audiences leave with ten simple practical tips to help identify your own creative triggers and maximise creativity and ideation: both personally and within your organization.
Jason Bevan was responsible for the innovation and creativity process at Warner Bros. Studios, marketing some of the world’s best loved films in EMEA and creating new ideas that were often used globally. Jason is also a TED circuit speaker and as an expert speaker for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity
Past clients include: KFC, BT, Netflix.
Jason Bevan was responsible for the innovation and creativity process at Warner Bros. Studios, marketing some of the world’s best loved films in EMEA and creating new ideas that were often used globally. Jason worked with legendary film-makers and actors on massive movies for 16 years and reveals how a number of iconic film ideas came to be and how we can all powerfully employ the same techniques used to create them.
Jason’s Innervation keynote talks and masterclasses show why creativity has become one of our most valuable skills in the post-pandemic world and demystifies how we generate ideas with simple logic. Clear, easy to follow steps and tasks show how we can take inspiration from iconic movies and their makers to tap into the creativity we already have, but often don’t use…including people that don’t think they are innovative! It’s fun, uplifting and inspiring.
Jason offers a peek behind the curtain of the world of film, explaining how Warner Bros. pushed the limits of creativity with brave, ambitious ideas with principles we can use in our own work. How the Dark Knight batmobile led to supercars all over the world becoming matt black. How they made creative magic on the Harry Potter film sets by making them the friendliest places in film. How Jason got teams from 37 markets to energise from these films that pervaded global culture to create incredible ideas and seismic events that were seen all over the world. Jason’s talk was developed with a clinical psychologist for scientific accuracy.
Jason was known for pushing creative boundaries on campaigns for the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films, DC movies like Joker, The Dark Knight and Aquaman films, the Lego movies, the Conjuring and IT horrorverse and the Christopher Nolan movies. Previously Jason worked for Disney in London and Paris and continues to work with top film and entertainment companies, as co-founder of Content Creator Studios.
In addition to speaking on the TED circuit and as an expert speaker for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Jason has been on the judging panel for various highly regarded awards in the creative industry and speaks for major brands and at a number of renown trade & industry events worldwide.
Expert on Marketing, Branding, Trends & Disruption, Innovation, Storytelling
Rohit talks about what it takes to bring more innovative thinking into your organization, and how leaders can harness the power of innovation to drive performance.
Audience participants will learn the five essential principles of leading transformation and building a team that sees the world differently.
Guest lecturer at Stanford and Wharton, Bestselling author of 6 books including, Non Obvious.
Past clients include: AT&T, Coca-Cola, Disney, Ford Motor Company, Prudential Financial, PwC, Under Armour
About Rohit Bhargava - Keynote Speaker on Trends, Innovation, Marketing, Storytelling and Diversity:
Rohit Bhargava is an innovation and marketing expert, skilled facilitator, and keynote speaker. After a successful 15-year career as a brand and marketing strategist at two of the largest agencies in the world (Ogilvy and Leo Burnett) - Rohit became an entrepreneur and has since started three companies. He is the 3-time Wall Street Journal bestselling author of nine books on topics as wide-ranging as the future of business, building a brand with personality, and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world and has delivered sold out keynote presentations and workshops to business leaders in 32 countries.
As a keynote speaker, Rohit has been invited to share his insights at some of the most forward-looking organizations and stages in the world including Intel, NASA, Disney, JP Morgan Chase, LinkedIn, Microsoft, American Express, CES, SXSW, the World Bank, Coca-Cola and hundreds of others. At SXSW in particular, the long lines outside his popular Featured Session talks have wrapped around the entire Austin Convention Center and down the stairs to the lower level. After his packed session one year, an attendee tweeted after his talk that "he's no Beyonce, but definitely worth standing in line for." It's one of Rohit's favorite after-talk endorsements. He is indeed no Beyonce, but his sessions are still pretty darn entertaining.
The Non-Obvious Trends series that he first started as an online trend report and then turned into a book in 2015 became his signature publication, with annual editions for the next five years, and culminating in the international bestseller Non-Obvious Megatrends, which hit #1 on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list and also the USA Today bestseller list. To date, the series has been read or shared by more than 1 million readers and won more than twenty international book awards including recognition by the Leonard L. Berry Marketing Book Award, the Eric Hoffer Business Book of the Year and a Gold Medal in the Axiom Awards. His latest book, The Future Normal, co-authored with Henry Coutinho-Mason was released in March, 2023.
Outside of his consulting work, Rohit also teaches his popular signature course on storytelling and marketing at Georgetown University in Washington DC and has been invited to deliver guest lectures at many other prestigious schools including Stanford and Wharton. For the past 17 years, Rohit has also been writing his personal “Influential Marketing Blog” which has been featured in global media and named one of the top 25 marketing blogs in the world by AdAge magazine. He is regularly interviewed and featured as an expert commentator in global media including Harvard Business Review, The Guardian, and NPR. Rohit also writes a monthly column for GQ magazine in Brazil on technology and trends.
Thanks to his many years of sharing insights, Rohit has been recognized alongside visionary business leaders like Sir Richard Branson and Tom Peters as a “Top 100 Thought Leader in Trustworthy Business Behavior” and was named by global recruiting firm Korn Ferry as one of the “Most Influential South Asians In Media and Entertainment.”
On a personal level, Rohit is married and lives with his wife and two boys in the Washington DC area. He is a lifelong fan of anything having to do with the Olympics (he’s been to five so far and is really looking forward to Paris 2024!) and actively avoids anything having to do with cauliflower (yuck!). Outside of work, Rohit believes that the most entertaining and impactful job he will ever have is being a great dad and teaching his sons to be kind when no one expects it, curious about the things others take for granted, and confident enough to change the world.
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.
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.
Kris talks about how when people feel good about coming to work, they show up not only as better workers but as better people for everyone in their lives.
Audiences learn how to renew their commitment to teamwork and one another by developing common ground and creating profound accountability and a strong sense of "our work" through a shared identity and vision.
Kris has been featured as a workplace culture expert in Inc., Entrepreneur and Forbes and was recently named one of the “Top 100 Leadership Speakers” in Inc.
Past clients include: Petsmart, SE Johnson, SHRM, PMI, IPMA and Magnolia.
Kris Boesch is the CEO and Founder of Choose People, a company that transforms company cultures, increases employee happiness and boosts the bottom-line. The Choose People 360° Culture Audit is based on over 1000 hours of research conducted with the Industrial Organizational Psychology Department at Colorado State University.
She is also the author of Culture Works: How to Create Happiness in the Workplace. Prior to Choose People, Boesch was the CEO of Exodus Moving & Storage.
Kris’ journey into workplace culture started when she became the CEO of Exodus Moving & Storage.
Where many saw just another moving company Kris recognized quickly that if her employees felt good about coming to work, they would take better care of customers. In turn, this meant the financial health of the company would prosper.
The catch was the deck was stacked against her. The company was struggling to cover payroll. Turnover was high and culture toxicity even higher. And on top of all of that she didn’t have industry experience nor earned respect to demand behavioral changes. In short, the common approach of a boss-centric leadership style wasn’t going to cut it. She knew she was going to have to earn every inch of authority and return every penny of respect she gained to breakthrough.
So, she went to work to find another way, a way that put the focus on the only real leverage she had – her team.
She discovered that when people feel good about coming to work, they show up not only as better workers but as better people for everyone in their lives. Step-by-step she cultivated ways to create a culture where her team did feel good about coming to work.
Under her leadership Exodus became the largest mover in Northern Colorado with a turnover rate of 40% less than the industry average and a bottom line twice that same average.
But most notable of all – the workplace experience of her team went from being one of misery to one of joy.
From there, Kris’ life work truly began.
Kris has been featured as a workplace culture expert in Inc., Entrepreneur and Forbes and was recently named one of the “Top 100 Leadership Speakers” in Inc. Kris's past clients include Petsmart, SE Johnson, SHRM, PMI, IPMA and Magnolia.
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.
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
After spending much of his early life growing up in Saudi Arabia, Sean Bott developed a scorching sense of humor. He began his journey into the delicious art of magic at the tender age of 12 by learning and then performing hypnosis, psychology, and stagecraft at his local library. One quirky magic shop, a degree or two, and more than three pounds later, he can now say he’s been blowing minds, making people gasp and laugh, all while eating curly fries, for over 15 years. Sprinkle on some pit stops at Second City in Chicago to keep his funny skills on point and you’re left with a one-of-a-kind mind reading experience. As you can imagine, all of that heat combined with some childhood trauma, a birth Mom still at large (maybe the rain forest?), and two really weird stepmoms, has given him some anxiety. He has studied cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and self-compassion, feeding his interest in the world of clinical mental health counseling. As that journey continues, Sean combines that knowledge, personal experience and mind-reading, to show us how to create warm connection with other humans quickly and authentically.
Whether building deeper relationships as a leader, working with clients, onboarding new employees, or retaining great talent, the tools he provides, creates spaces of belonging faster and easier than ever before. When Sean engages with your people, from start to finish, his focus is on understanding their pain points and working together towards your desired outcome.
Working with over 1,500 associations, corporations, and universities worldwide including companies like Dell, Google, and Disney, Sean has brought curated content, mind-blowing moments, and bucketfuls of laughs (not chicken) to thousands.
“Through my study of empathy, psychology, mentalism, and comedy, I provide positive skills and awareness for others to create connection and belonging. I draw on best practices in cognitive behavioral therapy, self-compassion research and social psychology to create an applicable, cohesive tool-set that is actionable, and implementable."
At home, Sean is owned by two cats, two kids, and a spouse. He’ll walk on a treadmill - sometimes - and he eats hot soup in the summer.
Co-founder of Quiet Revolution, New York Times Best-selling Author and Speaker on Leadership
Susan Cain is the author of the best-sellers Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, which has been translated into 40 languages, is in its seventh year on the New York Times best- seller list, and was named the #1 best book of the year by Fast Company magazine, which also named Cain one of its Most Creative People in Business. LinkedIn named her the 6th Top Influencer in the world.
Susan has partnered with Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant and Dan Pink to launch the Next Big Idea Book Club; they donate all their proceeds to children’s literacy programs.
Her writing has appeared in the The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. Her record-smashing TED talk has been viewed over 30 million times on TED.com and YouTube combined, and was named by Bill Gates one of his all-time favorite talks.
Cain has also spoken at Microsoft, Google, the U.S. Treasury, the S.E.C., Harvard, Yale, West Point and the US Naval Academy.
She received Harvard Law School’s Celebration Award for Thought Leadership, the Toastmasters International Golden Gavel Award for Communication and Leadership, and was named one of the world’s top 50 Leadership and Management Experts by Inc. Magazine. She is an honours graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School.
She lives in the Hudson River Valley with her husband and two sons.
Author & Motivational Speaker on Human Behaviour and Communications
Motivational Speaker on Human Behaviour and Communications
Through real-world, highly-engaging, and laugh-out-loud funny keynotes, Colette teaches organizations how mindful communication creates powerful connections.
Master’s Degree in Human Behavior and more than 20 years of experience helping individuals change behaviors that impact their success.
Past clients include: Boeing, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Fidelity, Great Clips, Federal Express
At the heart of every sale, every interaction between a leader and a team member, every conversation with a customer… is a connection. How to make those connections effective, and leverage them for greater success, is the thread woven into every one of Colette Carlson’s presentations.
Colette teaches audiences how to transform relationships through the power of connected conversations. Her keynote programs are so personalized, attendees often assume Colette is one of them. She has the outstanding ability to connect through engaging content and laugh-out-loud humor.
With a Master’s Degree in Human Behavior, and more than 20 years of experience helping individuals change behaviors that impact their success, Colette understands the psychology, mindset, and skills required to make positive, long-lasting change.
Trusted clients include Boeing, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Federal Express, Fidelity, Domino’s Pizza, Great Clips, and the United States Government.
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.
Best-selling Author, Inspirational Speaker and Global Marketing Influencer
Andrew Davis is recognized as one of the industry's "Jaw-Dropping Marketing Speakers" - and is a mainstay on global marketing influencer lists. Wherever he goes, Andrew Davis puts his infectious enthusiasm and magnetic speaking style to good use teaching business leaders how to grow their sales and businesses, harness innovation, inspiration and performance, transform their cities - and leave their legacy.
Andrew is also best-selling author and internationally acclaimed keynote speaker. Before building and selling a thriving digital marketing agency, Andrew produced for NBC’s Today Show, worked for The Muppets in New York - and wrote for Charles Kuralt. He's appeared in the New York Times, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal - and on NBC and the BBC. He has crafted documentary films and award-winning content for tiny start-ups and Fortune 500 brands.
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.
Jeff DeGraff talks about creativity and innovation in the New World of Work
Audiences leave with an understanding of how to use a creative mindset to spot incongruities and anomalies that are happening today, and how they can help you recognize emerging opportunities and act upon them.
Jeff DeGraff is the Professor of Management and Organizations at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, and author of several best selling book on Innovation
Past clients include: General Electric, Coca-Cola, American College of Surgeons, and Google.
Jeff DeGraff is the Professor of Management and Organizations at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He teaches MBA, EMBA, BBA, and Executive Education courses on leading creativity, innovation, and change. Jeff’s research and writing focuses on innovation strategy, change and innovation competency development, creativity and innovation practices and methods, create communities and innovation networks, and leadership development.
He is an author and co-author of the books Innovation You, Creativity at Work: Developing the Right Practices to Make Innovation Happen, Leading Innovation: How to Jumpstart Your Company’s Growth Engine and Competing Values Leadership: Creating Value in Organizations. His book, Making Stone Soup, was a finalist for several book awards. In his newest book Innovation Code: The Creative Power of Constructive Conflict, he argues that diversity of thought is essential to innovation. He urges everyone to practice constructive dialogue and work in diverse teams to find hybrid solutions and develop unique approaches to solve difficult problems.
Jeff’s mission is “the democratization of innovation.” He brings innovation to everyone, every day and everywhere through his books, his public television program (Innovation You), columns (Inc.) and radio program (The Next Idea).
His articles and thought leadership on contemporary business matters have been covered by Business Week, US News and World Report and the Wall Street Journal, to name a few.
His client list reads like a ‘who’s who’ within the world of innovators, including, among many others, General Electric, Coca-Cola, American College of Surgeons, and Google. In working with these prominent firms, he has developed a broad array of widely used change and innovation methodologies and tools. Jeff was a member of the executive team at Domino’s Pizza when it was one of the fastest growing businesses in the world in the 1980’s. Jeff’s creative and direct take on making innovation happen have made him a world-renowned thought leader and have prompted his clients and colleagues to dub him as “The Dean of Innovation.”
Jeff is a Managing Partner of Innovatrium, an innovation center and consulting practice that specializes in teaching companies how to grow and become more innovative. He serves as an advisor to think tanks and governments. Jeff has worked all over the world, with significant experience in Europe and Asia, and in most industry and market segments.
Erica talks about how to break team silos, drive exponential growth and innovate through teamwork.
Audiences leave her presentations with the tools to break down silos and keep teams aligned, accountable, and motivated both in-person and online, and how to create a culture of collaboration and innovation
Erica is the Founder & CEO of Cotential, co-author of the bestselling book Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence, and was named by Thinkers50 as “The Oprah of Management Ideas."
Past clients include: Coldwell Banker, McDonalds, World Economic Forum Annual Meeting at Davos, Google, The Walt Disney Company, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, The United States Army, Bank of America, The Miami Heat, The Association for Talent Development, and Lockheed Martin.
Erica Dhawan is the world’s leading authority on 21st-century Collaboration and Connectional Intelligence.
She challenges audiences and organizations to innovate faster and further, together. Her newest book – Digital Body Language – decodes the new signals and cues of effective collaboration and teamwork in a digital-first human workplace.
Erica Dhawan is the Founder & CEO of Cotential, a global organization that helps companies, leaders, and managers leverage 21st-century collaboration skills and behaviors to improve game-changing performance.
She is the also the co-author of the bestselling book Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence, named #1 on What Corporate America is Reading. Dhawan was named by Thinkers50 as “The Oprah of Management Ideas” and featured as one of the Top 20 Management Experts around the world by GlobalGurus. She hosts the award-winning podcast ‘Masters of Leadership.’ Erica speaks on global stages ranging from the World Economic Forum at Davos to TED and for companies such as Coca-Cola, FedEx, Goldman Sachs, Walmart, SAP, and Cisco. Erica writes for Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Fast Company. She has degrees from Harvard University, MIT Sloan, and The Wharton School.
Erica is based in Manhattan, where she lives with her husband and two children. She travels internationally for events and offers virtual keynotes and workshops.
Technology and Futurist Keynote Speaker, Author, Software Expert, and Former Head of the Ford Developer Program with Ford Motor Company
John was most recently Global Technologist and Head of the Ford Developer Program with Ford Motor Company. Under his leadership, John’s team delivered a number of automotive industry firsts including SmartDeviceLink, the open source version of Ford’s award-winning AppLink technology connecting brought-in devices to vehicles and the genesis of Google, Apple and MirrorLink technologies, developer.ford.com, Ford’s developer program with over 10,000 unique and global content providers all committed to developing for AppLink/SmartDeviceLink as well as a 2014 software developer conference attended by over 175 world-class developers from 15 countries. John’s team also delivered a ground-up design and development of a service delivery network that helped propel the MyFordMobile product to award-winning status.
During most of his career, John worked for Motorola where he held key leadership positions in engineering, product management, software & services, and marketing and strategy. While there, John participated in developing, marketing and selling Motorola’s mobile software and services, their software developer ecosystem (developer.motorola.com), and their industry-leading Open Source Software program (opensource.motorola.com).
For the past 19 years, John has been the managing director of Ellis & Associates, the management consulting firm he founded in 1997. Originally established as a boutique training firm focused on international business and culture, the firm now serves clients in the world where automotive, consumer, connectivity and software intersect.
As a designer and lead instructor of the Connected Vehicle Professional certificate course for the Society of Automotive Engineers, John is frequently called upon as a software expert for interviews, keynotes and panels to discuss software security and the new business models traditional “ship and forget” companies like automotive companies need to adopt in order to be “ship and remember” companies and adequately address cybersecurity concerns and pending legislation.
John served as an adjunct professor at Notre Dame University teaching financial math to Executive MBA students from 2002-2010 as well as a translator in the 1992 Summer Olympics
Former Corporate Executive, Inspiring Keynote Speaker on Power of Choice, EI in Sales and Leadership
International keynote speaker, Sylvie di Giusto, brings her expertise from a successful corporate career in Europe to every presentation. Formerly the head of a management academy and innovation hub, she developed innovative programs for high-end education with never-before-used training methods. As the Chief of Staff for the Chief Human Resources Officer of Europe’s largest tourism and retail group, Sylvie also coordinated all group-wide human resources teams and activities. Prior to that, at a consultancy firm, she implemented online and in-person training and development initiatives for Fortune 100 companies. Well versed in the study of social and cultural norms, personal beliefs and values, as well as cognitive biases and thought patterns, her 20 years in learning and development leaves a deep understanding into how ‘The Power of Choice’ impacts an organization’s sales, leadership and growth.
Now, extraordinary leaders and professionals at many of the most respected organizations and associations in the world—from American Express to American Airlines, Hilton to Nespresso, Microsoft to Prudential, and even the US Air Force—trust Sylvie to help them make the right decisions that grow their brands and bottom lines. Building on her five cornerstones of Modern Emotional Intelligence—visual, behavioral, verbal, digital, and social intelligence—Sylvie gives her audiences ‘The Power of Choice’ a conscious decision-making framework that allows us to understand our perceptions, choose our behaviors, and determine our best outcomes.
She is the author of The Image of Leadership, Discover Your Fair Advantage and the upcoming Make Me Feel Important, in which she leads you deep into the customer experience and shows you how to make every interaction count. Sylvie takes your organization on an entertaining, spectacular, and thought-provoking journey through the brain, the mind, and from the unconscious to the conscious—and ultimately to the heights of personal, professional, and organizational success.
Leadership & Communication Keynote Speaker, CEO of Great on the Job, Bestselling Author
Jodi Glickman is passionate about developing leaders— both seasoned executives and next generation talent.
As the CEO and founder of Great on the Job, Jodi and her team have reached hundreds of thousands of the brightest minds across corporate America and academia—working with many of the most influential organizations and iconic brands—counting LinkedIn, JP Morgan, Abbott, and Harvard Business School among their longest standing clients.
Jodi has appeared on the TEDx stage (Why You Should Stop Looking for Work You Love), she is the author of the critically acclaimed book Great on the Job, What to Say, How to Say It, The Secrets of Getting Ahead (St. Martin’s Press), and she is a writer for the Harvard Business Review.
Jodi regularly contributes to media outlets and her career advice hasbeen featured in the New York Times, USA Today, US News & World Report, Business Week, Fortune, Forbes, WSJ finance, CNN Money, Glamour, Shape, Real Simple, Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, and many more.
Jodi is a former Peace Corps volunteer (Southern Chile) turned investment banker (Goldman Sachs) turned communication expert. She received her MBA from the Johnson School at Cornell where she was a Park Leadership Fellow and received a full-ride scholarship to business school.
Before turning to the world of finance, Jodi was a policy analyst at the U.S. EPA and did stints at the White House and Governor’s Office of Illinois. She has a B.S. in Social Policy, Magna Cum Laude, from Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy. She is a former member of the Northwestern University Council of 100, and a former board member of Readworks.org and Trustee of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum.
Jodi lives in Chicago, IL with her husband and three children. She enjoys hiking, biking and eating hot fudge sundaes, not necessarily in that order.
Founder & CEO of Geolab, Keynote Speaker on Innovation, Disruptive Technologies, & The Future of Work
Kian Gohar is Founder & CEO of Geolab, an innovation research and leadership training firm. He is a master facilitator and has coached the CEO and leadership teams of over 50 companies in the Fortune 500 on innovation, disruptive technologies, moonshot thinking, leadership and the future of work.
He's co-author of the Wall Street Journal bestselling book Competing in the New World of Work, published by Harvard Business Review and with #1 NY Times bestselling author Keith Ferrazzi. This bestselling book explores the most important leadership behaviors and team skills necessary to succeed in the post-pandemic era, and outlines how to build a successful hybrid workplaces and workforces.
Previously, Kian was an executive director at the XPRIZE Foundation, where he founded the world's leading corporate innovation ecosystem, and was also an executive director of Singularity University in Silicon Valley. His 20-year innovation career spans venture capital, academia and startups around the world. Early in his career, he was a Luce Scholar in China.
A sought-after public speaker, Kian has been featured in global media like CNBC, Fortune, Fast Company, HBR, Axios, and NPR, and headlined marquee events like SXSW and the World Economic Forum. He speaks 5 languages, is a graduate of Harvard Business School, the London School of Economics, and Northwestern.
Gian Paul Gonzalez – Motivational Speaker Who Inspires Hope Through the Power of Commitment and Positivity
Inspired the 2011 New York Giants to their Super Bowl victory with famous “ALL IN” speech to the team which became a rally cry to win. Gian's message gained national attention, and was covered by ESPN, Fox News, and CNN.
Founder and Executive Director of Hope + Future with the mission to provide health and wellness programs for youth and give them hope in their academic, social and economic future.
Former NCAA First Team All-American forward for Montclair State University. Offered professional basketball contracts, but turned those down to continue his work with at-risk youth.
Gian Paul Gonzalez (pronounced John-Paul) is widely recognized for inspiring the New York Giants to their most recent Super Bowl victory with the phrase "ALL IN". He has been featured on ESPN as well as had notable appearances on Fox News & CNN.
Gonzalez, a high school teacher in Union City, N.J., was asked to lead a chapel service for members of the New York Giants team the night before the team’s Christmas Eve 2011 game against the New York Jets. There was little hope then that the team would make it to the playoffs.
To illustrate the concept of commitment, Gonzalez handed each football player a poker chip, instructing them to write their number on one side of the chip and write what they wanted to be committed to on the other side. He then shared with the team the meaning behind the poker phrase “All In”. He inspired them to be committed and put all their “chips” on the table.
"We are faced with decisions every day at which time we can decide to be fully committed, or all in," says Gonzalez, a former All-American forward, who passed up a professional basketball contract to continue his work with at-risk youth. "I said to the players, ‘I want you to fully commit to being all in on something.'" Gonzalez went on to urge players to fully commit to anything they take on, whether as a father, husband, son or even, a football player.
Next day after Gian Paul’s chapel message the Giants beat the Jets 29-14. In a post game interview, Giant’s Defensive End, Justin Tuck credited the chapel speaker’s (Gian Paul) message of being “All In” as the reason the Giants won that day. The team went on to win every game, up to and including Super Bowl XLVI, where they beat the New England Patriots 21-17.
An inspiring figure, Gian Paul was a former NCAA First Team All-American forward at Montclair State University scoring nearly 1,400 points in his 3-year tenure. He played in the NBA Summer League and was offered professional basketball contracts , yet turned them down to continue his work with at-risk youth.
Gian Paul is the founder and executive director of Hope & Future, an organization dedicated to using athletics and physical fitness to share a message of hope and excellence in inner-city public schools and juvenile jails.