A Technology Visionary, Entrepreneur and Leading Speaker on Innovation & The Global Strengths Movement
Paul Allen is a mission-driven entrepreneur, tech visionary, and lecturer on entrepreneurship and innovation, technology, strengths psychology, workplace culture, and human potential. Paul has founded 8 companies in his 29-year career in tech.
He is best known for co-founding Ancestry.com in 1997. He was its original CEO and created the content subscription business model and marketing strategies. He served in many executive roles as Ancestry became the leading genealogy company in the world.
From 2012-2017 Paul was Global Strengths Evangelist for Gallup, helping lead a worldwide movement to bring strengths psychology into schools and workplaces. The StrengthsFinder 2.0 customer base grew from 7 million to 16 million during that time.
Paul taught entrepreneurship and marketing at the university level for 4 years. He serves on the National Advisory Board for the Utah Valley University School of Business. He is a director of the Human Justice Foundation, which aims to change the emphasis in the criminal justice system from punishment and retribution to compassion and rehabilitation.
Paul has travelled extensively and has spoken around the world about how to unlock potential in individuals and build positive, strengths-based cultures. From Canada to China, Hong Kong to Hawaii, and in Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia, Paul has spoken to CEOs, global HRDs, entrepreneurs, educators, managers, and students.
Paul was the keynote speaker for Gallup at the inaugural CliftonStrengths Summit in Omaha, Nebraska in July 2016. In 2017, he was a main stage presenter at the CliftonStrengths Summit, along with keynote speakers Deepak Chopra and best-selling author Tom Rath.
While growing up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, James Benham began writing code at the age of 11 and by 14 had developed his first application. Three years later, he co-managed an internet services provider (ISP), providing dial-up Internet to over 4,000 users. James went on to complete a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and a Master of Science in Information Systems while in the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M University. During his final year at Texas A&M in 2001, James established his second company, JBKnowledge, Inc. He has continued to stay involved with his alma mater by joining the university faculty as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Construction Science at Texas A&M.
James is now the Chief Executive Officer of JBKnowledge, and host of The ConTechCrew podcast. James has led JBKnowledge to become a premier provider of technology solutions for the construction and insurance industries, with clients across North America, the Caribbean and the Middle East. As a rapidly growing business year after year, JBKnowledge is a seven-time recipient of the Aggie 100 award, six-time Newman 10 recipient, and was recently named to the LSU One Hundred for the second time. The company, and James, are headquartered in Bryan/College Station, TX with offices in North America and South America.
With extensive experience in the design, development and use of technology to improve efficiency, James is a sought-after speaker across the United States, Canada and abroad - on business information technology, data security and innovative technology solutions. James’ dynamic speaking style allows him to share his vast technical knowledge in a down-to-earth, engaging manner. In 2015, James presented at a variety of national events including: Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) IT Forum, CONEXPO, Construction Financial Management Association Annual (CFMA) Conference, Construct Canada, BIMForum, Augmented World Expo (AWE), Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) Annual Convention, and more. In addition, he was recognized among ENR Texas & Louisiana’s 2014 Top 20 Under 40 for his advancements in construction technology and is a founding member of the Construction Open Standards Alliance.
Expert on Marketing, Branding, Trends & Disruption, Innovation, Storytelling
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 Wall Street Journal best-selling author of six books on topics as wide ranging as the future of business and building a brand with personality - and has delivered sold out keynote presentations and workshops to business leaders in 32 countries. His hallmark book Non Obvious is updated annually with 15 new trend predictions, has been read and shared by more than 1 million readers - and is translated in ten languages. His new updated version slated for release on 07-January-2020 is Non Obvious Megatrends: How to See What Others Miss, Predict Trends and Win the Future. Rohit has been invited to share his insights at some of the most forward-looking organizations in the world including Intel, NASA, Disney, JP Morgan Chase, LinkedIn, Microsoft, American Express, BP, the World Bank, Coca-Cola and hundreds of others.
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 14 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 young 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!), actively avoids anything having to do with cauliflower (yuck!) - and believes 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.
Recognized Thought Leader on Startups & Innovation, Known as the Father of Modern Entrepreneurship
Steve Blank has led one heck of an interesting life. He’s had 3 careers: First, in the U.S. Air Force for 4 years during the Vietnam War. Next, as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur in 8 start-ups in 2 decades (with 4 IPOs). Currently as an academic, teaching at Stanford, Berkeley, Columbia, and NYU.
Steve, the Father of Modern Entrepreneurship, has changed how startups are built; how entrepreneurship is taught worldwide; how science is commercialized in the U.S., and how companies and the government innovate.
He is the author of The Four Steps to the Epiphany, credited with launching the Lean Startup movement and the bestselling Startup Owner’s Manual. His May 2013 Harvard Business Review cover story on the Lean Startup defined the Lean Startup movement.
Steve is widely recognized as a thought leader on startups and innovation. Named to the Thinkers50 list of top management thinkers and recognized by the Harvard Business Review as one of 12 Masters of Innovation, Steve is also Senior Fellow for Entrepreneurship at Columbia University.
His Lean LaunchPad class at Stanford, Berkeley, and Columbia is taught in more than 75 universities around the globe. More than 300,000 people have signed up for a free version of the class, offered through Udacity.com.
The Innovation Corps class Steve created for the National Science Foundation is the standard for science commercialization in the U.S. And his Hacking for Defense class at Stanford is revolutionizing how the U.S. defense and intelligence community can deploy innovation with speed and urgency. Its sister class, Hacking for Diplomacy, is doing the same for foreign affairs challenges managed by the U.S. State Department.
A prolific writer, speaker and teacher, Steve blogs at www.steveblank.com and his articles regularly appear in Forbes, Fortune, The Atlantic and Huffington Post.
His talk “The Secret History of Silicon Valley” has become the standard history of why entrepreneurship blossomed in Silicon Valley while stillborn elsewhere. It has made him an unofficial expert and frequent speaker on the rise of entrepreneurial clusters as well as the role of the U.S. government and military’s influence on entrepreneurship.
From 2006-2013 Steve served as a public official in California as Commissioner on the California Coastal Commission, the public body that regulates land use and public access on the California coast. He is on the board of the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV); is a past board member of Audubon California, the Peninsula Open Space Land Trust (POST); and was a trustee of U.C. Santa Cruz.
Steve is a frequent commencement speaker. National Public Radio listed his speech at Philadelphia University as "one of the best commencement speeches, ever".
Award-winning Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist, Author and Speaker on Talent Management & Innovation
Ben Casnocha is an award-winning entrepreneur, author, and executive in Silicon Valley. He is co-author (with LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman) of the New York Times best-seller The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age, which has become one of the most sought-after management frameworks on how to recruit, manage and retain entrepreneurial employees. He is also co-author (again with Reid) of The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career, the best-selling guide to the new world of work.
Ben is also a technology entrepreneur and executive. He founded Comcate, Inc., a leading e-government software company, at age 14 and incubates startups at Wasabi Ventures. He recently served as Chief of Staff to the Chairman at LinkedIn. Business Week named Ben “one of America’s top young entrepreneurs.” He’s been featured on CNN, Charlie Rose, CNBC, and in The Economist. Human Resources Magazine named Ben "one of the top trendsetters in the talent industry" for 2015.
Ben has led inspiring conversations about the future of work, innovation, and entrepreneurial thinking with large audiences in more than a dozen countries around the world.
Speaker and Author on Entrepreneurship and Finance, Author of Best-selling book The Wealthy Barber
Whether it’s helping millions of Canadians achieve personal financial success or investing in low-fat cookbooks, David Chilton has always had a knack for recognizing great ventures - a skill he leveraged as a “dragon” on CBC television’s #1 hit show, Dragons’ Den. Called “charming, unpretentious, and funny,” by The Chicago Sun-Times, David puts his business expertise and life experience to work in his informative and inspiring talks.
David began his career by self-publishing his book The Wealthy Barber in 1989. It was written in 26 months, and was specifically targeted toward those with little investment experience - in order to help them develop positive personal-finance habits. The book has become one of the most popular Canadian books of all time, selling over two million copies since its release.
His second book, also self-published, is The Wealthy Barber Returns, and is yet another runaway Canadian best-seller. David is also the publisher of the best-selling cookbooks Looneyspoons, Crazy Plates and Eat, Shrink & Be Merry! (working with authors Janet and Greta Podleski).
David is an economics graduate from Wilfrid Laurier University, where he won the award for the highest mark in the country on the Canadian Securities Course. He is a frequent guest on national television and radio shows.
Inspiring Speaker on Leadership, Business Development, and Peak Performance
Molly Fletcher is a trailblazer in every sense of the word -- a rare talent of business wisdom, relationship brilliance and unwavering optimism. A popular keynote speaker, she shares the unconventional techniques that helped her thrive as one of the first female sports agents in the high stakes, big ego world of professional sports and is now a successful entrepreneur.
Formerly, as president of client representation for sports and entertainment agency CSE, Molly spent two decades as one of the world’s only female sports agents. She was hailed as the “female Jerry Maguire” by CNN as she recruited and represented hundreds of sport’s biggest names, including Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz, PGA TOUR golfer Matt Kuchar, broadcaster Erin Andrews, and basketball championship coaches Tom Izzo and Doc Rivers.
As she successfully negotiated over $500 million in contracts and built lasting relationships, she also observed and adopted the traits of those at the top of their game. Molly shares her proven approach to negotiating in her company’s Game Changer Negotiation Training workshops, teaching people how to close more deals faster, while strengthening the relationship.
Molly has been featured in ESPN, Fast Company, Forbes and Sports Illustrated. A sought after motivational speaker, she delivers game changing peak performance messages to top companies, trade associations, and teams worldwide.
Molly is the author of four books: Fearless At Work; A Winner’s Guide to Negotiating; The Business of Being the Best; and The 5 Best Tools to Find Your Dream Career.
Molly currently serves as a National Trustee member for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and on the board of directors for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), and the national advisory board for the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA).
Molly earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Michigan State University while captaining the women’s tennis team. Molly’s energy and passion for life shines through everything she does. She finds her greatest joy at home in Atlanta with her husband Fred and their three daughters.
Former Solo Blue Angels Pilot, Entrepreneur and Speaker on Leadership & Teamwork
John Foley is a former lead solo pilot of the Blue Angels, a Sloan Fellow at Stanford School of Business, a gratitude guru and an expert in the "how" of high performance teams. His exciting, rare journey inspires awe, triggering audiences to take action and rethink what they believe is possible. John employs those intense realities as a metaphor to motivate teams and individuals to reach their highest potential while empowering organizations to sustain excellence under dynamic change.
John consistently performed in an extreme, high-stakes environment, flying at speeds of more than 500 miles per hour and in formations as close as 18 inches apart. To survive in those circumstances, he relied on a culture of high trust and leadership that turns inherently unforgiving flight into extraordinary experiences.
John’s post-Naval experiences as an entrepreneur and a Sloan Fellow at the Stanford Graduate School of Business put him in a unique position to reverse-engineer the culture of excellence and teamwork found in the Blue Angels. He has created a framework and a mythology that inspires greatness while propelling others on their own journey toward higher performance. To further engage on this, John's recent book Fearless Success - Beyond High Performance was released March 2019.
In 2015, John "Gucci" Foley was recognized as one of the top 10 most in demand speakers. John has spoken to some of the highest performing organizations such as, Microsoft, Hitachi, Intel, Cisco, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Goodyear, Chevron, Lowe’s, Marriott, Wyndham Hotels, Hilton, Penske Racing, Rawlings, LA Kings, Sprint, Motorola, Merrill Lynch, Mass Mutual, Capital Group, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, GE Capital, American Hospital Association, Merck, Reach Air, Adecco, Gillette, McDonalds, and Million Dollar Round Table.
John graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in mechanical engineering. He also was a defensive back for the Midshipmen, playing in two bowl games and helping the Navy to one of the best four-year records in its football history. As a pilot, John was a “Top Ten Carrier Pilot” six times before becoming a Marine instructor pilot and a Blue Angel. He holds master’s degrees in business management, from the Stanford Graduate School of Business (as a Sloan Fellow); in international policy studies, from Stanford University; and in strategic studies, from the Naval War College.
With only 6 months to graduate, Vinh Giang left his degree in commerce and law to become an online magic teacher - ultimately building a hugely successful online business, 52kards, which now serves over 800,000 students around the globe. This earned him the award of Top Young Entrepreneur in Australia.
Vinh Giang’s real magic journey began when he finally understood what Robert Houdin (an amazing magician) meant when he said: “A magician is an actor playing the part of the magician.” Once Vinh understood the meaning behind this quote, he focused all his energy on studying the art of performance and not the art of presentation. He has spent the last 15 years mastering the art of performance-enhanced communication - helping thousands of professionals worldwide to learn these skills.
Vinh is also the CEO of Luminary Productions which produces exceptional video for individuals and companies all around the globe.
Vinh’s presentations will bring out the magic in you! Prepare to be captivated by Vinh - as he:
- unlocks your mindsets - by presenting innovating concepts that produce deliberate and definitive action
- is an Entrepreneur who knows what it takes to lead and sell ideas
- is a Young Entrepreneur of the Year and award winning magician
- shares 3 key business ideas - and demonstrates them using the art of magic with on-stage audience participation
- creates a fun and highly entertaining atmosphere of illusion - where each key business concept is driven home in a truly profound and creative manner
- carefully crafts each performance creating the most powerful emotional experience for attendees - making the conference theme stick in their minds long after the event
“I believe that magicians are salespeople; they sell one of the most difficult products in the world. They sell magic - they sell the illusion. The way they’re able to sell magic is by working ridiculously hard. It takes thousands and thousands of hours to be able to sell the illusion, to be able to really sell the magic. Imagine if you applied the same mindset to your company - imagine if you applied the same dedication to your business - think about what you could achieve.” – Vinh Giang
World-renowned expert on strategy, globalization, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Dr. Anil K. Gupta is the Michael D. Dingman Chair in Strategy, Globalization and Entrepreneurship and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher at the Smith School of Business, The University of Maryland at College Park. Anil also serves as chairman, The China India Institute, a Washington DC-based research and consulting organization. He has earlier served as the INSEAD Chaired Professor in Strategy at INSEAD and a visiting professor at Stanford University as well as Dartmouth College. He received a doctorate from the Harvard Business School, an M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad, and a B.Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur.
Anil is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading experts on strategy, globalization and entrepreneurship. Ranked by Thinkers50 as one of the world’s “most influential living management thinkers,” he has also been named by The Economist as one of the world’s “superstars” in a cover story on “Innovation in Emerging Economies.” He is one of only 3 professors in the world to have been elected by his peers as a Lifetime Fellow of all three of the most prestigious bodies in the field – Academy of Management, Strategic Management Society, and Academy of International Business, with a combined membership of over 25,000 scholars worldwide.
Anil’s other honors include the “Best Professor in Strategic Management” award from CMO Asia, recognition by BusinessWeek as an Outstanding Faculty in its Guide to the Best B-Schools, induction into the Academy of Management Journals’ Hall of Fame, and listing by Management International Review as a “North American Superstar” for research in strategy and organization. He is also a regular participant at the World Economic Forum summits including the annual meeting in Davos and the regional meetings in China, India, and the Middle East. He is also a member of the Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Emerging Multinationals.
Anil’s newest book – The Silk Road Rediscovered: How Indian and Chinese Companies are Becoming Globally Stronger by Competing in Each Other’s Markets – was released by Wiley in April 2014. His earlier book – Getting China and India Right (Wiley, 2009) – received the 2009 Axiom Book Awards’ Silver Prize as one of the world’s two best books on globalization/international business and was short-listed for the Asia Society’s Annual Bernard Schwartz Book Award. Anil is also the author, coauthor, or coeditor of Global Strategies for Emerging Asia (Wiley, 2012), The Quest for Global Dominance (Wiley, 2008), Smart Globalization (Wiley, 2003), and Global Strategy and Organization (Wiley, 2003) as well as over 70 papers in leading academic journals.
Anil serves as a columnist for Bloomberg BusinessWeek, as a Contributing Editor for Chief Executive magazine, and as a contributor to HBR.org. His opinion pieces have also been published in The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Chief Executive Magazine, Daily Telegraph, China Daily, Economic Times, and other outlets. He has been interviewed by Harvard Business Review, Economist, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, BusinessWeek, Forbes, BBC, CNBC, Bloomberg TV, Reuters TV, New Delhi TV, CCTV China as well as other top-tier global media.
Anil serves regularly as a keynote speaker at major conferences and corporate forums in the US, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa – including the World Economic Forum, Economist conferences, Chief Executive magazine’s CEO2CEO Summits, and the Yale CEO Summit. He has also served as a consultant, keynote speaker and/or executive education faculty with some of the largest corporations in the world including GE, Wal-Mart, IBM, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, H-P, SAP, Microsoft, Schneider Electric, TOTAL, PPG Industries, MTN Group (South Africa), Accenture, Astra Zeneca, Marriott, First Data, Jacobs, Monsanto, ABB, Lockheed Martin, McGraw-Hill, Indian Oil, Steel Authority of India, Huawei Technologies (China), TeliaSonera, Metso, UPM-Kymmene, Finnair, Cemex, and Penoles.
Anil is an elected member of the board of directors of Origene Technologies (a gene cloning company). He has earlier served on the boards of directors of Omega Worldwide (NASDAQ), Vitalink Pharmaceutical Services (NYSE), NeoMagic Corporation (NASDAQ), and TiE-DC, the premier organization of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region. He also serves on the advisory boards of Asia Silicon Valley Connection and India Globalization Capital. He has also served as an advisor to the US-India Business Council.
Troy Hazard is a best-selling author, business strategist and serial entrepreneur, who has founded and nurtured twelve businesses over two decades, and has consulted to countless successful companies over the last 25 years.
Through his business career he has owned a diverse range of businesses including a recording studio, an advertising agency, a pizza outlet, pool service, real estate brokerage, property development company, leading franchise-consulting business, and a technology business.
These business management talents earned him international respect, so much so that he was elected by the world's foremost business leaders for the role of Global President of the Entrepreneurs' Organization.
He is also one of the few Australians to crack the USA market with his own TV talk show. "Gettin' Down 2 Business" airs in the USA on the BizTV Cable Network into 20 million homes each week 9pm EST. And he is a regular Co-Host on "The Big Biz Show" on the CBS Talk Radio Network and the Business Talk Radio Network broadcasting to 1.5 million radio listeners, and simulcast on the BizTV Network in the United States.
Troy's lessons from-the-edge provide businesses with potent and refined tools, a collection of which you will find in his Amazon best-selling business book, Future-Proofing Your Business - Real Life Strategies to Prepare Your Business for Tomorrow, Today!
Former COO of 1-800-Got-Junk?, Speaks on Leadership, Business Strategy
For over 20 years Cameron Herold has been coaching, speaking to, or helping entrepreneurs build companies on five continents. He launched BackPocket COO to coach & mentor young, fun, entrepreneurial, growth companies and help make their dreams happen. He is one of the country's most innovative business leaders and strategists, and was a leading force behind one of the most successful businesses of the decade, 1-800-GOTJUNK?. He is currently mentoring companies based in Switzerland, Germany, the UK, USA & Canada.
He was Chief Operating Officer of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? for just under 7 years and his innovative business leadership helped enable them to build a presence in 46 states, 9 provinces, and 4 countries while being ranked the
2nd Best Company to Work for in Canada by Canadian Business Magazine and
the #1 Company in BC to Work for twice by BC Business Magazine. During his tenure the company was studied by numerous MBA programs including Queen's University in Canada & Harvard.
Cameron Herold helped this leading edge company grow from $2 Million to $105 Million in revenue in six years with no debt or outside shareholders. Prior to 1-800-GOT-JUNK? he had two EO (Entrepreneurs Organization) qualifying companies. From 1998 through 2000 he was VP, Corporate Development at Ubarter.com a division of 900-person firm with a $900 Million market cap based in Seattle. He was also, President of Barter Business Exchange in Vancouver. From 1994 to 1998, Herold was VP, Franchise Development for Coast-to-Coast Franchise Services (Boyd Autobody & Glass).
Cameron has been the highest rated speaker 4 times at the EO/MIT Entrepreneurial Masters program held onsite at MIT’s Endicott House, and taught it 11 years in a row. He is also one of the highest rated speakers globally with YPO (Young Presidents Organization) and EO (Entrepreneurs Organization).
In these positions over 20 years since starting his first company at the age of 21, he has gained real world insight into tried-and-true systems from having been involved in the sale, branding and integration of 450+ franchise locations with 3 franchisors. He's worked on the development and deployment of e-commerce and Internet strategies, negotiation of corporate acquisitions and development of numerous strategic partnerships. He has a unique understanding of business and growing companies from having led business areas of Operations, Marketing, Public Relations, Strategic Alliances, Sales, Call Centers and
His work has helped companies be featured in the Associated Press, Bloomberg, USA Today, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, and Fortune, as well as TV shows like Donny Deutsch, Oprah, and Dr. Phil.
The author of five books, Cameron's latest is Double Double: How to Double Your Revenue and Profit in 3 Years or Less.
Serial Entrepreneur, Acclaimed Author and Sought-after Innovation & Technology Keynote Speaker
Peter Hinssen for 15+ years has led an entrepreneurial life immersed in technology start-ups. His first company e-COM was acquired by Alcatel-Lucent, his second, Streamcase, by Belgacom, and Across Technology by Delaware Consulting. His third venture (Porthus) was quoted on the stock exchange in 2006 and acquired by Descartes. Between start-ups, he has been an Entrepreneur in Residence with McKinsey & Company - with a focus on digital and technology strategy. Peter’s current company nexxworks helps organizations become fluid, innovate and thrive in The Day After Tomorrow.
Peter has presented innumerable keynote speeches around the world, among those for Google Think Performance, Nimbus Ninety, Gartner, NEXT Berlin, Tedx, PayPal, MasterCard, Microsoft, CIO City, SAS, Accenture and Apple. He lectures at renowned business schools such as the London Business School, the MIT Sloan School of Management and the Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine. He is also a multiple board advisor on subjects related to innovation and technology.
Peter is the author of four best-selling business books. ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ (June 2017) - about surviving in times of radical innovation. ‘The Network Always Wins’ (2014) - explains how and why companies have no choice but to become a network when the outside world has evolved into one. In ‘The New Normal’ (2010) - Peter writes about how companies should explore the limits of the digital world, and what happens when technology just becomes ‘normal’. ‘Business/IT Fusion’ (2008) - is a guide about how to solve the conflict between business and IT. Peter is frequently asked to contribute to (international) publications and is a Forbes contributor as well as a LinkedIn Influencer. Peter's forthcoming best-seller The Phoenix and The Unicorn -- is slated for release in March 2020.
Founder/CEO of FUBU, CEO of The Shark Group and Marketing & Branding Expert
Daymond John, from his wildly successful role on ABC’s smash hit, Shark Tank, to his distinguished status as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship, has become globally recognized for his relentless and commitment to promoting and supporting entrepreneurs.
Daymond initially made his mark as the entrepreneur and branding expert behind the groundbreaking lifestyle brand, FUBU, which eclipsed more than $6 billion in global retail sales. From the streets of Hollis, Queens, Daymond started a global movement from the basement of his mother’s house by capitalizing on the then fledgling hip-hop culture. Today, the streetwear market that FUBU pioneered is a $20 billion dollar industry.
Since then, Daymond has continued to challenge himself and the business world in which he operates. In 2009, Daymond was tapped by lauded television producer, Mark Burnett, to join the cast of a new business-reality concept, Shark Tank. After 8 seasons, 4 Emmy Awards, multiple Critic’s Choice Awards and millions of dollars in investments, the show has become the most watched program on Friday nights, and one of the most successful business reality series of all time. Over the course of the series, Daymond has been a mainstay of the cast of Sharks and is now affectionately referred to as, “The People’s Shark.”
Resolved to expand his own brand, Daymond has written three books, the most recent of which debuted at #2 on the New York Times best-seller list in January of 2016. The wildly successful release, The Power of Broke (Crown Publishing) takes an in-depth look at how successful entrepreneurs who started from broke were forced to think more creatively and to leverage their resources more efficiently, than their counterparts. While his previous books, Display of Power and The Brand Within were national best-sellers, The Power of Broke stands as the only New York Times best-selling book from any of the Sharks.
Beyond the brands, the television series and the books, Daymond’s commitment to entrepreneurship has been celebrated on a global level. In 2015, he was named a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship and was part of an exclusive group who joined President Obama at the Global Entrepreneur Summit in Kenya. In March, Daymond accompanied The President on his historic trip to Cuba, which represented the first time a sitting US president visited the island since Calvin Coolidge did in 1928.
One of Daymond’s greatest accomplishments is his continued fight against dyslexia. He has worked with the Yale Center for Dyslexia and he currently sits on the advisory board of Understood.org. Daymond has embraced his affliction allowing it to be a catalyst for his career as a highly sought after motivational public speaker and author.
As a dynamic speaker with more than twenty-five years of proven business experience, Daymond has become one of the most highly sought after speakers in the country. He regularly speaks at Fortune 100 companies, conferences, universities, and independent businesses alike. Daymond’s high energy presentations give audiences relatable advice and practical takeaways. His S.H.A.R.K. Points are actionable principles that bring long-term results. Entrepreneurship, marketing and branding, financial literacy and goal-setting are among his most popular topics. Daymond has delivered keynote speeches for organizations such as General Mills, Johnson & Johnson, Samsung, AT&T and dozens more.
A recipient of more than thirty-five awards, including the Brandweek Marketer of the Year and Ernst & Young’s Master Entrepreneur of the Year, Daymond serves as CEO of the brand consultancy, The Shark Group, which specializes in brand strategy and development, artist relations and talent development. Under Daymond’s leadership, The Shark Group has re-written the script on how companies, brands and products can seamlessly work together to yield a sum greater than its parts. The Shark Group works with a wide range of businesses and brands, including Capital One, HSN, Forbes, Miller Lite, Gillette, Shopify and Infusionsoft and superstars such as Muhammad Ali, the Kardashians, Pitbull, Stan Lee, Carlos Santana, Jillian Michaels and others.
Diana Kander's family escaped from the Soviet Union when she was 8-years-old. By the time she was an American citizen, she had perfected her skills as a capitalist – selling flea market goods to grade school classmates at a markup.
Today, Diana is a successful entrepreneur, having founded and sold a number of ventures, a Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Missouri and a Senior Fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the largest non-profit in the world dedicated to entrepreneurship and education. A Georgetown-educated attorney who left a successful practice to launch her first company, Diana draws on her experience as a founder, investor, and academic to train companies and non-profits how to be more innovative and how to get their employees to think like entrepreneurs.
Diana is the author of All In Startup, a New York Times best-selling novel outlining lessons for launching successful products through a story of a struggling entrepreneur making his way through the World Series of Poker.
Diana lives in Columbia, Missouri with her high school sweetheart/best friend/husband, Jason, and their awesome son, True.
As a leadership speaker and performance coach, Kevin Kruse has worked with Fortune 500 CEO's, entrepreneurial startup founders, US Marine Corps officers, non-profit leaders and even members of Congress.
In pursuit of the American Dream, Kevin started his first company when he was just 22 years old. He worked around the clock, literally living out of his one-room office and showering each day at the YMCA, before giving up a year later deeply in debt.
But after discovering the power of wholehearted leadership and employee engagement, Kevin went on to start or co-found several, multi-million dollar technology companies, winning both Inc 500 and Best Place to Work awards along the way.
Today, Kevin is a New York Times best-selling author of 6 books - including 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management and Employee Engagement 2.0 - and is one of the most read leadership columnists on Forbes. Trust Across America named Kevin to their Top 100 Business Thought Leaders list. Watch for Kevin's upcoming book Great Leaders Have No Rules - Contrarian Leadership Principles to Transform Your Team and Business - set to launch April, 2019 (Rodale, 2019).
Kevin also finds time to give back through the Kevin Kruse Foundation, which has supported The US Naval War College, Wreaths Across America, The Library Project, The Acumen Fund, Senior Adults for Greater Education, and the Bucks County Health Improvement Partnership.
When not writing or speaking, Kevin is busy juggling life as a single Dad with three kids, in Bucks County, PA.
Josh Linkner - who started his career as a jazz guitarist - personifies innovation, entrepreneurship, and breakthrough disruption. He has been the founder and CEO of five tech companies, which sold for a combined value of over $200 million, and helps leaders successfully address critical challenges.
Josh is a New York Times best-selling author, and an internationally recognized expert on innovation and applied creativity. His first book, Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity (2011), became one of the most definitive works on the topic of innovation, and has since been published in 13 languages. His other two books, The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation (2014), and Hacking Innovation: The New Growth Model from the Sinister World of Hackers (2017), have both received critical acclaim and have pushed the boundaries of business leaders worldwide.
Josh is also the Founding Partner of Detroit Venture Partners, investing in and/or mentoring over 100 startups. Today he serves as Chairman and co-founder of Platypus Labs, an innovation research, enablement and consulting firm.
Josh has twice been named the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year and is a President Barack Obama Champion of Change award recipient. He is a regular columnist for Forbes, The Detroit Free Press, and Inc. His work on innovation has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, CNN, and The New York Times.
He is the father of four, a passionate Detroiter, and yes, he still plays a mean jazz guitar.
New York Times Best-selling Author and Motivating Speaker on Sales
Weldon Long is a successful entrepreneur, sales expert and author of the New York Times Best-seller, The Power of Consistency - Prosperity Mindset Training for Sales and Business Professionals. He is one of the nation's most powerful speakers and a driven motivator who teaches the Sales and Prosperity Mindset philosophies that catapulted him from desperation and poverty to a life of wealth and prosperity.
At the age of 39, Weldon was living in a homeless shelter after having served 13 years in prison. A 9th-grade dropout and three-time convicted felon, he found himself broke and unable to find work. After 6 months of knocking on many doors, he landed a sales position and quickly became one of the industry's top sales leaders. In 2004, he opened his own company, and in 2009 that company was selected by Inc. Magazine as one of the nation's fastest-growing privately held companies.
Weldon currently lives in Colorado with his wife and their two children.
Inspiring Speaker on Leadership, Entrepreneurship & Visionary Thinking and Co-Founder of The Second Cup.
Frank O'Dea inspires people to achieve inspiring results. His story of triumph over adversity in business and his personal life inspires audiences around the world. Against all odds, O’Dea went from being a homeless panhandler to a successful international entrepreneur and humanitarian. He is a founder of The Second Cup chain of coffee stores and is the founder of an international document security service (now a division of Iron Mountain). He has also launched several other innovative and successful businesses and international not-for-profit organizations. His motivational message resonates with audiences who are looking for hope for a better future or want to learn from his experiences.
Along side the success of his businesses, Frank co-founded Street Kids International, helping homeless children in third world countries, and the Canadian Landmine Foundation, an organization that raises funds for the dismantling of minefields around the world. Together with the United Nations and world figures like Colin Powell and Sir Paul McCartney, he led the international fundraising event “Night of A Thousand Dinners” that was taken up in 29 countries around the world.
Currently, Frank is a member of the Advisory Committee of World Financial Group and is the Chair of Cuso International, an international development agency operating in 22 countries. He holds honorary degrees from two universities, and is an Officer of the Order of Canada. This incredibly inspiring story of resilience and triumph in the face of adversity is retold in his captivating autobiography, which is in its fifth printing by Penguin Books, “When All You Have Is Hope”.
Michael Parrish DuDell is an entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and the bestselling author of Shark Tank: Jump Start Your Business—the official book from ABC’s hit show Shark Tank on how to successfully launch and grow a company from concept to cash.
Recently ranked as one of the top three most popular business authors by Amazon.com, Michael is a recognized television pundit and business expert who is regularly featured across numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Bloomberg TV, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business, NBC News, Nightly Business Report, The New York Times, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, Business Insider, and many more.
An award-winning international speaker, Michael travels the globe delivering high-energy keynote presentations and breakthrough interactive workshops designed to help businesses and leaders build future-focused organizations and connect with a new generation of consumer.
Through his work as a consultant and advisor, Michael has collaborated with some of the world’s most innovative brands and influential thought leaders, including such well-known companies as American Express, Kraft, Ogilvy, Visa, Disney, L’Oreal, and many more.
Previously, he served as the editor of ecomagination.com —GE’s cleantech and sustainable innovation site—as well as the host of ecomagination.com’s web series Green Room Live. Prior to that, Michael was the managing editor of The Domino Project—a publishing company started by marketing guru Seth Godin and powered by Amazon.
Michael is the host and co-executive producer of The Next Crop—a web series that showcases the next generation of business and media influencers. Sponsored by Citrix GoToMeeting in partnership with Forbes Media, The Next Crop spotlights the people, projects, and ideas that are pushing boundaries, disrupting industries, and setting the tone for the future.
Michael is a One Young World Ambassador, a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council, and an advisor to numerous startups, including the New York Tech Meetup—the largest tech organization in New York.
Outside of the office, Michael works closely with an array of social organizations. He is an active participant in Big Brothers Big Sisters, an executive volunteer with Defy Ventures, and a member of UNICEF’s Next Generation—a group of young professionals dedicated to ending child mortality.
Acclaimed Author, Management Speaker and Advisor to Fortune 500 Companies
B. Joseph Pine II is an internationally acclaimed author, speaker, and management advisor to Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurial start-ups alike. He is co-founder of Strategic Horizons LLP - a thinking studio dedicated to helping businesses strategize, conceive and design new ways of adding value to their economic offerings.
In 1999 Mr. Pine and his partner James H. Gilmore wrote the best-selling book The Experience Economy: Work Is Theatre & Every Business a Stage, which demonstrates how goods and services are no longer enough; what companies must offer today are experiences - memorable events that engage each customer in an inherently personal way.
In the summer of 2011 Mr. Pine released Infinite Possibility: Creating Customer Value on the Digital Frontier, which showcases how to use digital technology to stage experiences that fuse the real and the virtual. At its core is a new framework called the Multiverse that builds on the fundamental nature of the created universe - time, space, and matter - by showing how digital technology flips each of these dimensions on their head to create new worlds, first in our imagination and then in our experience.
In 2007 Mr. Pine also wrote with Mr. Gilmore Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want, which recognizes that in a world of increasingly paid-for experiences - people no longer accept the fake from the phony, but want the real from the genuine. This book was named one of the top ten business books of the year by Amazon.com and featured in a cover story in TIME Magazine on
10 Ideas that are changing the world.
His first book was the award-winning Mass Customization: The New Frontier in Business Competition, which details the shift companies are making from mass producing standardized offerings - to mass customizing goods and services that efficiently fulfill the wants and needs of individual customers. The Financial Times chose it as one the seven best business books of 1993. He and his partner followed this up in 2000 by editing a collection of Harvard Business Review articles entitled Markets of One: Creating Customer-Unique Value through Mass Customization.
Mr. Pine has also written numerous articles for the Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, Chief Executive, Worldlink, CIO, Strategy & Leadership, and the IBM Systems Journal - among many others. Prior to beginning his writing and speaking activities, Mr. Pine held a number of technical and managerial positions with IBM. He is frequently quoted in such places as Forbes, The New York Times, Wired, USA TODAY, Investor's Business Daily, ABC News, Good Morning America, Fortune, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and Industry Week.
In his speaking and teaching activities, Mr. Pine has addressed both the World Economic Forum and TED - and is a Visiting Scholar with the MIT Design Lab. He has also taught at Penn State, Duke Corporate Education, the University of Minnesota, UCLA's Anderson Graduate School of Management, and the Harvard Design School. He serves on the editorial boards of Strategy & Leadership and Strategic Direction, is honorary editor of The International Journal of Mass Customization, and is a Senior Fellow with both the Design Futures Council and the European Centre for the Experience Economy, which he co-founded.
She is the Founder of Hello Fears, a social movement empowering millions to step outside of the comfort zone and tap into their full potential. She has spoken at TEDx, Google, INBOUND, Facebook, ESPN, Netflix, Procter and Gamble, Microsoft, Toyota, World Domination Summit, Festival of Media Global, and many more.
In April 2015, Michelle embarked on a 100-day project that would change the course of her life. Born to a family of Holocaust survivors, Michelle was accustomed to living with fear. But when she moved to New York, she quickly realized that the “big apple” was not for the fearful. In order to rewrite her definition of fear and change her approach to life, Michelle decided to face 100 of her fears in a period of 100 days, uploading every experience to Youtube sharing them with the world.
At around day 40, the project was discovered by the media, becoming a viral phenomenon. Her work has been featured on CBS, CNN, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Fox News, Telemundo, Glamour, Elle, The Rachael Ray Show, Refinery29, and Daily Mail among many others. Celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher, Sofia Vergara, Zoey Deschanel, Lil Wayne and George Takei also shared Michelle’s project, generating millions of views.
In 2017 Michelle started speaking to the younger generation. Since then, she has empowered over 20,000 students at schools and universities around the world to live with courage, find their authenticity and embrace their growth paths.
Nido Qubein is a proven business leader who's also an effective speaker - not a speaker who knows something about business! He serves on several boards, including a Fortune 500 company with $100 billion in assets.
Nido Qubein stands clearly above the crowd as a dynamic business resource, for corporations and associations. He combines the superb communication skills that have propelled him to the forefront of America's speakers with the solid business acumen that has made him a trusted source of management expertise. He not only shows people what to do; but also, more importantly, teaches them how to think.
His life is an amazing success story: Refugee comes to America with no English, no income, and no connections. Goes on to become successful, wealthy, and widely acclaimed for his many achievements including Ellis Island Medal of Honor and Doctorate of Laws.
Nido Qubein is president of High Point University, an accredited undergraduate and graduate institution with 3,000 students from 50 countries and 44 states. He has written numerous books and recorded scores of audio and video learning programs including a bestseller How to Communicate Like A Pro. He is an active speaker and consultant addressing more than 100 business and professional groups around the world each year.
Futurist, Technologist, Expert on Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and the Transformative Effect of Technology on the Workplace
Byron Reese is among those who reason the future will be better, while many others at most hope that the future will be better. Both a futurist and optimist, Byron believes we are approaching a Fourth Age for humanity that promises to be infinitely better than anything we have seen before.
Byron’s latest book, The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity was released by Atria, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, on April 24, 2018. He is also the author of the award-winning Infinite Progress: How Technology and the Internet Will End Ignorance, Disease, Hunger, Poverty, and War.
In addition, Byron is the CEO and Publisher of Gigaom, one of the world’s leading technology research companies, produces and hosts Gigaom’s podcasts Voices in AI and The AI Minute, and regularly contributes to Gigaom Publisher’s Corner. Byron leads the company in their mission to help business leaders understand the implications of emerging technologies and their impacts on business, media, and society.
Having served across a wide range of senior management roles, from CEO, to VP of Marketing, to Chief Innovation Officer at Demand Media, Byron possesses a diverse body of patented work, and enjoys talking about the intersection of technology, history and the future to both technical and non-technical audiences around the world. Byron brings his experience as a technologist, his passion for history, and his proven business acumen to illuminate how today’s technology can solve many of our biggest global challenges. As a lifelong entrepreneur with multiple IPOs and successful exits under his belt, Byron also frequently speaks to business audiences on how to excel in the world of tomorrow, and how to deploy technology successfully.
He states: “Technology multiplies human ability. That’s its trick. It magnifies us. We can move more bricks with a fork lift than we can on our back. Technological advancement is not to be feared, rather it should be welcomed, by enhancing human ability, we enhance our productivity and therefore our standard of living. This is the entire reason why we live so much more lavish and prosperous lives than did our great grandparents. An hour of our time is vastly more productive than was an hour of theirs.”
Bloomberg Businessweek credits Byron with having “quietly pioneered a new breed of media company.” The Financial Times of London reported that he “is typical of the new wave of internet entrepreneurs out to turn the economics of the media industry on its head.”
Byron and his work have been featured in hundreds of news outlets, including New York Times, Washington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, USA Today, Reader’s Digest, NPR, and the LA Times Magazine.
Specialties: Entrepreneurship, executive leadership, product conception and creation, and an optimistic can-do, scrappy, “anything is possible” attitude. As a public speaker, Byron has addressed hundreds of corporations and professional organizations on almost every continent and reports that he is open to traveling to Antarctica to round it all out.
CEO of Flywheel Sports, Former President of Equinox Fitness and Gatorade
Executive, activist and entrepreneur, Sarah Robb O’Hagan is described by the media as everything from “Superwoman undercover” to the “Queen of the Jocks” - to the ultimate example of where fierce business woman, mother and fitness fanatic combine. Named among Forbes “Most Powerful Women in Sports” and recognized as one of Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business” - Sarah is an internationally recognized re-inventor of brands, but if you ask Sarah, she’ll say she’s in business to help individuals and teams achieve their potential.
Sarah was born in New Zealand - the first country in the world to give women the vote and home to the first man to climb Mt Everest. The pioneering spirit of her country cultivated Sarah’s drive and imagination for “what’s possible” - enabling her to found a movement she currently leads called “Extreme Living” - helping individuals, teams and businesses unlock their potential by discovering their own uniquely exploitable traits. Her book Extreme You: Step Up. Stand Out. Kick Ass. Repeat. released in 2017 (HarperCollins) draws on her own life experiences to show how you can find success by becoming your best you. She’s full of inspiring advice about how to bounce back from failures and to speak your truth.
Sarah’s career includes leadership roles at some of the world’s most iconic brands - including Virgin, Nike, Gatorade, and Equinox the world’s premier fitness lifestyle company, where as President she led the transformation of the business from a bricks and mortar health club to an “always on” fitness lifestyle partner - heavily enabled by technology and proprietary content through the creation and launch of the editorial content platform “Furthermore from Equinox”.
Prior to Equinox, Sarah served as Global President of Gatorade where she was widely known for transforming the business from a declining sports drink into a sports performance innovation company serving nutrition solutions to athletes of all levels. As described by Fast Company magazine, Sarah inherited a “flaming mess” when she took over the legendary Sports Drink in 2008, but through a courageous transformation that involved flying in the face of a deeply ingrained PepsiCo culture that had watered down the brand’s true positioning - Sarah and her team took the Gatorade brand back to its roots, and then re-imagined its future for a new audience of young, digitally savvy athletic teens.
Sarah’s career in the sports industry began at Nike where she was a key member of the team that launched the game changing innovation called Nike Plus, in collaboration with Apple. This was the world’s first digital-tracking device for runners that created a global social collaboration platform for fitness enthusiasts - and in many ways birthed the fast-growing technology movement now known as the “Quantified Self.”
Sarah started her career in the airline industry as a marketing executive at her country’s national airline, Air New Zealand. In the early 90s she moved to Virgin Atlantic Airways where she became known for her breakthrough marketing campaign in collaboration with the Austin Powers movie - where she rebranded the airline “Virgin Shaglantic” for a number of weeks, launched the world’s largest internet “event” for its time, and turned a 747 into a flying showcase of the entire initiative.
Sarah is a passionate advocate for an active lifestyle and believes the lessons learned from sports and fitness can be applied to improve performance in the work place. She has served on Hillary Clinton’s U.S. State Department Council to Empower Women and Girls through Sports, and is a trustee of the Women’s Sports Foundation. She is also an active member of the World Class New Zealand Network - as she remains committed to helping the country’s development, international competitiveness and economic growth.
Throughout her career Sarah has been recognized for her many achievements. Recent honours include being named among Forbes magazine’s “Most Powerful Women in Sports” (2015 and 2009), being designated one of the “Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company (2012), and being named to the Top 40 Under 40 lists by the Sports Business Journal (2009, 2011, and 2012), Sports Goods Business (2010), and Crain’s Chicago Business (2010). and Ad Age magazine’s “Women to Watch” (2010). In 2014 Sarah was awarded the Sir Peter Blake Trust Award for outstanding leadership.
Critically Acclaimed Film Director and Producer, Author, Speaker and Storyteller
Eric Saperston is a critically acclaimed film director and producer, successful author, as well as an award-winning speaker and storyteller. A prolific public speaker, Eric has inspired people the world over.
Eric is Chief Creative Officer of Live In Wonder, a global lifestyle company on the cutting-edge of communication, film and interactive events designed to cause and create wonder in the world. Live In Wonder celebrates eco-friendly practices, social entrepreneurism and global citizenship.
Eric's audiences include Nike, Million Dollar Round Table, Coca-Cola, Wachovia, General Mills, Kaiser Permanente, Hilton, Toyota, as well as Harvard, MIT, Emory, Georgia Tech, Duke, Stanford, UCLA, Miami of Ohio, San Diego State and Notre Dame.
He has been a featured guest on The Today Show, CNN, CNN Headline News, PBS and has been interviewed and published in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Spin Magazine, Fast Company and National Geographic.
Creator of Rainforest Cafe & Speaker on Sales and Innovation.
Steven Schussler, well-known as the creator of the Rainforest Cafe®, is an innovator with the passion and artistic vision for conceiving concepts which appeals to the masses. Embracing imagination, Steven and his team create restaurants, retail stores, theatrical venues, attractions, and experiences unlike any other! A master at multi-juggling, Steven is a World’s Premiere Branding Expert™, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Restaurateur, Teacher, Motivational Speaker and National Best-selling Author of It’s A Jungle In There, Inspiring Lessons, Hard-won Insights and Other Acts of Entrepreneurial Daring.
Starting his entrepreneurial career early with a paper route at nine years old, Steven reinvented himself many times with more than a dozen jobs before his sixteenth birthday. As an executive in the television and broadcast industry, he learned to sell intangible concepts. His career in the restaurant industry began with Jukebox Saturday Night, a nostalgic restaurant and night club with 8 locations in Des Moines, IA; Springfield, MA; San Francisco, CA; Minneapolis, MN and (four in) Chicago, IL.
Steven created one of the most successful themed restaurants in the world, Rainforest Cafe®. Opening the first at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota in October 1994, Rainforest Cafe® became the first restaurant to go public with only one unit open. Steven and his public company built and operated 45 Rainforest Cafe® restaurants in seven years, on three continents and sold the chain to Landry’s Restaurants in 2000.
Steven Schussler’s Rainforest Cafe® received 40 awards in six years which include: Fortune Magazine’s Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies in the U.S.A. (for two consecutive years), Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 100 entrepreneurs in the country, and The National Retail Federation’s National Retailer of the Year.
Steven Schussler is the author of the national best-selling, It’s A Jungle In There, Inspiring Lessons, Hard-Won Insights, and Other Acts of Entrepreneurial Daring, published by Sterling Publishing, a Barnes & Noble company. As a columnist for Minnesota Business Magazine, Steven educates readers with new and fascinating stories, advice and experiences from nationally and internationally recognized business leaders. Steven has also taught an entrepreneurial class for the Carlson School of Business Management at the University of Minnesota.
Schussler donates 100% of his book profits to Smile Network International, an amazing organization that surgically repairs cleft lips and palates of impoverished young people around the world. He has been involved with charitable and civic organizations that include the Leukemia Society, American Lung Association, Minneapolis Youth Connection, Life Skills Center for Leadership, Special Olympics, Neighborhood House, and the Animal Humane Society.
As a founding member of Smile Network International, Steven continues to be a lifetime advisor of the Board of Directors. He is on the Board of Directors for Kona Grill, Inc. which owns and operates 27 upscale casual dining restaurants in 17 states, in the United States. Steven is also the Chairman of the Board of Schussler Creative, Inc.
Founder of ‘because I said I would’, a Humanitarian, Social Entrepreneur, Leader and TEDx Speaker
Alex Sheen is the founder of because I said I would, an international social movement and non-profit dedicated to the betterment of humanity through promises made and kept. Sparked by a tragedy in his life, Alex created a concept called the Promise Card, and began mailing cards to anyone who requested them at no cost. Since 2012, over 9.81 MILLION Promise Cards have been distributed to over 153 countries. In 2013, Alex left his Corporate Strategy Lead position at a leading software company to dedicate himself entirely to the non-profit.
Alex authored his first book because I said I would (Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press), released in January 2019. Noted as an Amazon best-seller in Philanthropy & Charity.
Alex’s unique perspective on accountability, leadership, commitment, and self-control developed both from his responsibilities in leading a global effort about keeping promises -- and his personal experience fulfilling his own promises.
Alex’s personal promises include:
- Walking 245 miles across the entire state of Ohio in under 10 days to fulfill a promise to the three Cleveland women who were held captive for 10 years
- Volunteering at 52 different non-profit organizations in a single year
- Promising children with cancer trips to Disneyland and personally delivering 100 tickets
Alex’s work has been featured on CNN, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, TODAY Show, Good Morning America, NPR, Fox News, Los Angeles Times, CBS Nightly News, and many other programs. He has been featured on the cover of Spirit Magazine, and honoured as a Steve Harvey “Harvey’s Hero”. Alex’s efforts in social media have been featured in BuzzFeed’s annual “Most Important Viral Videos”, and his viral posts have made the #1 spot on the front page of Reddit.com over 10 times. As a nationally respected thought-leader who has been featured at multiple TEDx conferences, Alex has spoken at over 527 events since 2013.
Bestselling Author of Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries, and Entrepreneur.
Peter Sims is a best-selling author and entrepreneur. His latest book is Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries, and he was the coauthor with Bill George of True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership, the Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek best-seller. He frequently speaks or advises at corporations, associations, and universities, including Google, Eli Lilly, Pixar, ConAgra, Gap Inc., Cisco Systems, Current TV, Amazon, and Stanford University. He speaks on leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship.
He has had a long collaboration with faculty at Stanford's Institute of Design (the d.school), a hub of creative thinking and doing, and received an M.B.A. from Stanford Business School where he established a popular class. Previously, he worked in venture capital with Summit Partners, where he had the opportunity to work with some of the world's most innovative entrepreneurs, including as part of the team that established Summit's European Office in London. He is a member of G.E.'s Innovation Advisory Panel, and is a Co-founder and Director of Fuse Corps, an innovative social venture that will enable America's most entrepreneurial leaders to work on year-long grassroots projects to tackle some of society's most pressing problems, such as within education, reporting directly to mayors, governors, and their senior staffs.
His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, Mashable, strategy+business, Tech Crunch, and as an Expert blogger for Fast Company.
A woman of many talents, Susan Wilson Solovic is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Amazon.com top 100 and USA Today best-selling author, media personality, sought-after keynote speaker and attorney.
An Internet pioneer, Solovic was the CEO and co-founder of one of the first video-based Internet sites, a company she grew from it’s infancy to a million dollar plus entity. In 2006, she accepted the Stevie Award (the Oscar’s of business) on behalf of the company for the Most Innovative Company under 100 employees; that same year the company was voted the Best Investment Opportunity at a Venture Forum in the Silicon Valley.
A media personality, Solovic is a former small business contributor for ABC News and hosted a syndicated radio program, It’s Your Biz. She appears regularly as a small business expert on Fox Business, Fox News, The Wall Street Journal’s “Lunch Break”, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC and many other stations across the country. She hosted her own PBS special called "Reinvent Yourself Now: Become Self-Reliant in an Unpredictable World." In addition to television and radio appearances, Solovic is a featured blogger on numerous sites, including Constant Contact, Entrepreneur, AT&T Business Circle and FoxBusiness.com.
Solovic was recently named in the Top 10 of both SAP’s “Top 51 Potential Human Influencers” and she consistently ranks in the top 5 of the “Top 100 Small Business Experts to Follow on Twitter.” She has written four best-selling books which have been translated into multiple languages.
Solovic received the Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship Leader of Distinction Award, and she was the first recipient of AT&T’s Innovator of the Year Award for being a pioneer in a new industry. Additionally, she has won numerous awards for small business journalism including recognition from the SBA.
Solovic is a member of the Advisory Board for the John Cook School of Entrepreneurship at Saint Louis University where she also served as an adjunct professor on entrepreneurship in the MBA program. She served on the National Women’s Business Council, which counsels the President, Congress, and the SBA on issues affecting women business owners. She is a past board member of the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard University, the Women Presidents’ Organization, Women Impacting Public Policy and the Institute for the Economic Development of Women. Currently, she is mentoring women entrepreneurs in Rwanda.
Solovic started her career as a news anchor and reporter. Her corporate career took her to the C-Suite level of a Fortune 100 company - becoming the first female executive in the company’s financial services division. She obtained a law degree from Saint Louis University and is Of Counsel with the firm Junge & Mele, LLP in New York City.