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Frank ODea Speaker

Frank ODea

Inspiring Speaker on Leadership, Entrepreneurship & Visionary Thinking and Co-Founder of The Second Cup.

 About

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”.

The Passing Zone Speaker

The Passing Zone

Award-winning Entertaining and Inspirational Duo with a Focus on Performance, Teamwork & the Power of Partnership

 About

The Passing Zone, Jon Wee and Owen Morse, know that you put on a great meeting last time, but now you have to top it. You need something unexpected, unique, fresh, not just the same old speaker, comedian, magician or band. Look to The Passing Zone and you will find two grown men who demonstrate teamwork by leaping around the stage in fuchsia leotards, with rapid-fire banter, throwing sickles around the body of someone from the audience (or your CEO) - as they receive a standing ovation. The audience will cheer on in delight - as they witness roaring chainsaws, flaming torches and knives flying through the air! You found an inspirational and unforgettable experience. You found a surprise. You found genuine laughter, the kind that makes your face hurt.

Jon and Owen have been educating and entertaining audiences together for over 20 years; they have one of the longest standing partnerships in corporate entertainment - a true demonstration of The Power of Partnership. They met in 1986 at a juggling convention and instantly knew they were destined to be a team. But they decided to graduate from college first, which they both did. Rather than pursue careers in Economics and Psychology, they lit some torches, and started throwing stuff into the air. Two weeks after their first performance together they won the Silver Medal at the International Juggler's Association teams competition. The next year they won Gold.

They have appeared on The Tonight Show, The Today Show and were finalists on America's Got Talent. They are at the top of their craft, with performances at the White House and in London for Prince Charles. Their first feature film was The Addams Family Movie, where Jon and Owen doubled for Gomez (Raul Julia) and Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd) in the climactic Mamushka dagger-passing scene. More recently, they appeared in the award-winning comedy documentary, The Aristocrats.

Add the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, MADtv, AOL's TV's Top 5, The Wall Street Journal, the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, four Guinness World Records, their own theater show, Gravity Attacks! and you have one of today's top comedy acts in the world.

Chantal Petitclerc Speaker

Chantal Petitclerc

Canadian Paralympic champion and inspirational speaker.

 About

At the age of 13, Chantal Petitclerc
lost the use of her legs following an accident. Convincing her to take up swimming in order to develop
her strength and stamina, her high school physical education teacher, Gaston Jacques, would have a
decisive impact on her life. For Chantal, that was her first contact with sport and training. Four years
later, she would discover wheelchair athletics, paving the way for a long and very successful career
which would take her to the Barcelona Games in 1992, and ultimately, to the Beijing Games in 2008.

Chantal Petitclerc returned from the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games with 5 gold medals, 2 new world
records and 1 new Paralympic record, making her the most celebrated track athlete in history as well
as the only Canadian athlete to have won gold medals at the Olympics, Paralympics and
Commonwealth Games.

Her career in numbers:

  • Five Paralympic Games (Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing)
  • 21 Paralympic medals (including 14 gold medals)
  • 3 world records (200m, 400m and 800m)
  • Paralympic records (200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m)
  • 1 Olympic gold medal in the 800m (demonstration sport)

Chantal has received several recognitions for her sporting career, including being appointed Chevalier
de l'Ordre du Quebec (2005), being named Personality of the Year by La Presse newspaper (2004)
and receiving the Laureus international award (2005). Other recognition:

  • Companion of the Order of Canada
  • Lou Marsh Trophy as Canadian athlete of the year
  • Star on Canada's Walk of Fame
  • International Paralympic Committee Female athlete of the year
  • La Presse Sports personality of the year
  • Honorary Doctorate, University of Ottawa
  • 2010 United States Sports Academy's (USSA) Juan Antonio Samaranch IOC Disabled Athlete
    Award.

While the Beijing Games would be the last time she would be participating in track competitions,
Chantal Petitclerc nevertheless continues to train as she intends to take part in road marathons over
the next few years. In 2012, she tried for the first time what could be a new career path as coach and
mentor of the UK track and field team at the London Paralympic Games. After her return to Canada,
she was named Chef de Mission for the Glascow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Chantal Petitclerc is a highly sought after speaker, and shares her story with dozens of groups each
year, both throughout Canada and abroad. She participates in projects by various Paralympic athletics
and sports organizations, in addition to working as a spokesperson for Défi Sportif in Montréal and as
an ambassador for the international Right to Play organization.

Captain Charlie Plumb Speaker

Captain Charlie Plumb

Inspiring Story of Survival from a Vietnam P.O.W.

 About

Captain Charlie Plumb has lived what he believes to be the American Dream. As a farm kid from Kansas, he fantasized about airplanes although he felt certain he would never have the opportunity to pilot one. It would be the United States Navy who afforded Plumb the opportunity to live out that dream.

Captain Plumb personalizes for each audience a highly motivational message of overcoming adversity - his and yours. Having emerged as a Prisoner of War after almost 6 years, Plumb tells a tale of inspiring self-reliance. In an upbeat, humorous, and dynamic style he draws upon this experience to demonstrate how to turn adversities, the hard times each one of us faces, into assets in today's market place and in daily living. The focus of his presentations center on Choice, Adversity, Teamwork, Empowerment and Change.

After graduating from the Naval Academy, Plumb completed Navy Flight Training and reported to Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego where he flew the first adversarial flights in the development of what would be called The Navy Fighter Weapons School, currently known as TOP GUN. The next year, Plumb's squadron the Aardvarks launched on the Aircraft Carrier USS Kitty Hawk with Fighter Squadron 114 to fly the Navy's hottest airplane, the F-4 Phantom Jet. Code named Plumber - Charlie Plumb flew 74 successful combat missions over North Viet Nam and made over 100 carrier landings. On his 75th mission, just five days before the end of his tour, Plumb was shot down over Hanoi, taken prisoner, tortured, and spent the next 2,103 days as a Prisoner Of War.

An expert at incorporating company jargon and industry buzzwords to reach the hearts and minds of each audience, Captain Plumb shares his insights on coping with the challenges of every day life, and business competition, in the 21st century. He helps audiences break free of their own self-constructed prisons of doubt. He helps them uncover a new sense of purpose and potential. He gives each participant the strength to rise above the daily challenges of work and home - and to recognize the opportunities that surround them. He leaves his listeners wanting to achieve and excel, no matter what the obstacles.

Following his repatriation, Plumb continued his Navy flying career in Reserve Squadrons where he flew A-4 Sky Hawks, A-7 Corsairs and FA-18 Hornets. His last two commands as a Naval Reservist were the on the Aircraft Carrier Corral Sea, and at a Fighter Air Wing in California. He retired from the United States Navy after 28 years of service.

To this day, Captain Plumb continues to fly left-seat at every opportunity. He has personally owned 8 airplanes, the most treasured being a World War II PT-19 Open-Cockpit Antique. He currently owns a Rutan-designed experimental single-engine Long-Eze.

Michelle Poler Speaker

Michelle Poler

Branding Strategist & Social Entrepreneur

 About

  • Michelle talks about her journey towards overcoming her fears over the course of 100 days and challenges audience members to do the same by stepping outside of their comfort zones to tap into their true potential.
  • Audiences leave inspired by Michelle's story of dealing with the unknown, seeking growth, embracing authenticity and daring to fail.
  • Michelle 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.
  • Past clients include: Netflix, Amazon, Coca Cola, Whirlpool, YouTube, P&G and Yum!

Born and raised in Caracas-Venezuela, Michelle Poler is a creative and passionate social entrepreneur, keynote speaker, fear facer, and branding strategist.

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.

Cheryl Pounder Speaker

Cheryl Pounder

2 x Olympic Gold Medalist, Motivational Speaker, Broadcaster

 About

Cheryl Pounder brings her high energy and effervescent personality to each and every event, large or small. With her warmth and friendliness, Cheryl immediately makes guests feel like they have a new friend. For fundraising events, Cheryl encourages giving and supports the cause with inspirational personal stories. With galas and award presentations, Cheryl is professional, yet down to earth. There’s never a dull moment with Cheryl. With her experience as a sports commentator, radio host and motivational keynote speaker, Cheryl keeps the energy moving while focusing on the goal of the event she’s at.

Success in one field doesn’t necessarily translate to another area. In the case of former Canadian Women’s hockey player, Cheryl Pounder, who has made the transition from ice to stage, the move has been a triumph.

In the sports world where accomplishments are measured by medals and titles, there aren’t many who can claim a list of achievements as glowing as Cheryl’s.

Her run of success began early in the 1990s when her ice hockey team won the Under-18 Canadian National championship. In 1994, she won Gold for the first time at the 1994 IIHF World Women’s Hockey Championship, and during her illustrious career with the National Women’s team, Cheryl won two Olympic Gold medals (2002 and 2006) and was crowned IIHF World Champion six times.

The shining on-ice achievements aside, it’s been Cheryl’s varied experiences on international stages that have made her an in-demand speaker, with keynote clients such as Tim Hortons, Maple Leaf Foods, CIBC, TD Bank, Manulife, Women in Leadership Groups, Girl Guides of Canada, Western-Ivey-Executive MBA and the City of Toronto, to name a few. She believes that her approach, one that is interactive, passionate and positive, has a lot to do with her ability to cross over to diverse audiences.

“When I speak to people, I want them to connect with material that they can identify with, that stimulates a thought process,” she says.

For Cheryl, everything is rooted in self-confidence, something that was instilled in her as a child. ”My family had a huge impact on my personal goals as an athlete. My grandfather was the GM of the Montreal Junior Canadiens and my grandmother was a prominent softball player in the 1940’s. Along with my parents, they taught me to ‘believe’, ‘finish something you start’, and persevere through adversity.” Adversity can be a learning experience and according to Cheryl, “It is important that we learn not only from our successes but also from our failures. Change is the key to ultimately staying on the path toward excellence.”

It is all part of a journey that we must be willing to take – a journey that must be inspired to take for ourselves and those we work with...our TEAM. To this point, she adds, “When the team goal is met, the individual goals take care of themselves. Seize the opportunities, get outside your comfort zone, trust yourself, and engage in your life, don’t just participate. Most importantly, listen to your strong side, even when your weak side is louder.”

The journey continues for Cheryl – her varied background and knowledge were major factors for TSN & CBC choosing her as a colour commentator for the coverage of the women's hockey tournament at the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics. In her sporting life and in her life off the ice, Cheryl continues to motivate with a passion that comes across in all her worlds.

Cheryl’s keynotes are perfect for: non-profits, corporations, youth, women.

Lewis Pugh Speaker

Lewis Pugh

Endurance Swimmer, UN Patron of the Oceans, Author and Inspirational Speaker

 About

Lewis Pugh is an extreme adventurer by any definition, an endurance swimmer and the UN Patron of the Oceans. As a maritime lawyer, an ocean advocate and pioneer swimmer - Lewis puts his hard learned lessons into the context of a corporate environment. Sharing his expertise with global leaders and audiences - his message is highly relevant, inspirational and, most importantly actionable. A number of favorite quotes from Lewis include:

  • “Impossible is NOT a fact - it’s an opinion”
  • “There is nothing more powerful than the made up mind”
  • “If we pass on an unsustainable environment to our children we have failed them”
  • “If you choose the right team members, you don’t have to lead them - you only need to point them in the right direction”

Lewis talks about the methods he uses: a clear vision, the right mind-set, choosing a strong team, meticulous preparation, never quitting - and having the flexibility to change when circumstances dictate. TED describes him as a “master story-teller.”

Lewis pioneers swims in the most vulnerable ecosystems on Earth to campaign for their protection. He was the first person to swim across the North Pole, and the first to swim the full length of the English Channel. He was also the first to complete a long distance swim in every ocean of the world. Lewis has been instrumental in protecting over 2 million km2 of vulnerable ocean - an area larger than Western Europe. His dream is to fully protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.

Lewis has received many awards for his work. He was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum; he was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame; and was awarded South Africa’s highest honour - the Order of Ikhamanga (Gold Class).

Lewis read law at Cambridge University.

Howard D. Putnam Speaker

Howard D. Putnam

Former CEO of Southwest Airlines. Inspirational leadership speaker.

 About

Howard Putnam led the visioning process at Southwest as well as further developing the fun culture and excellent customer service that Southwest is still known for today. Southwest has been profitable every year for over thirty years, a record unsurpassed by any other airline.

Howard was raised on an Iowa farm and learned to fly out of a pasture in his Father's J-3 Piper Cub. He entered the airline business as a baggage handler at Midway Airport in Chicago for Capital Airlines at age 17. Capital was soon merged into United and Howard held thirteen different positions in sales, services and staff assignments in several cities, before being named Group Vice President of Marketing for United Airlines, the world's largest airline, in 1976.

In 1978 he was recruited to become President and CEO of fledgling Southwest Airlines in Dallas, TX. While at Southwest Howard and his team tripled the revenues and tripled profitability in three years. They also successfully guided Southwest through airline deregulation and Southwest was the first air carrier to order the Boeing 737-300, which later became the largest selling aircraft ever for Boeing.

In 1981, Howard was recruited by the board of directors of Braniff International to come aboard as CEO and save and/or restructure the financially failing airline. He was the first airline CEO to successfully take a major carrier into, through and out of chapter 11. Braniff flew again in 1984.

He is the author of The Winds of Turbulence on leadership and ethics. Harvard University wrote a case study on his experiences at Braniff, The Ethics of Bankruptcy as a model as to how to handle stakeholders in crisis.

Johnny Quinn Speaker

Johnny Quinn

Former Pro Football Wide Receiver, U.S. Bobsled Olympian, and Inspirational Speaker on Change

 About

Click Here to Watch Johnny's Virtual Presentation

Johnny Quinn is a professional speaker who travels the globe to inspire audiences by delivering thought-provoking and action-packed messages to businesses, teams and organizations. He digs-in deep on the lessons learned in pro football and what it took to become a U.S. Olympian. He dives-in to the knowledge shared by mentors of uber successful businesses and the daily decision making of leaders and winners. Johnny equips us to embrace change, accept risk to live life on purpose.

Johnny has an athletic background which opened the door to many opportunities. He is a U.S. Olympian in the sport of bobsled and competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He traveled the world with Team USA and competition took him to Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Switzerland. Competing, living and interacting within different cultures around the world has provided a unique perspective, and ability, to connect with today’s diverse workforce.

Johnny declared for the NFL Draft in 2007 and was ranked in the Top 10 at the wide receiver position in career receptions, career yards and career touchdowns at the collegiate level. Thirty-five wide receivers went on to be selected in the 2007 NFL Draft, and Johnny was not one of them. Shortly after the draft concluded, he signed his first free-agent contract with the Buffalo Bills. In 2008 he signed his second free-agent contract with the Green Bay Packers. After bouncing around the NFL for two years, Johnny went on to play in the Canadian Football League (CFL) in 2009 as a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He played the Montreal Alouettes in the 97th Grey Cup and lost 28-27 on a 33-yard field goal as time ran out.

Johnny was cut three times, lost $2.6 million in NFL contracts and blew out his knee. He then became a U.S. Olympian. From an NFL failure to a U.S. Olympian, his “what’s next” attitude led to success he never imagined.

It was a long-time goal of Johnny's to write and publish a book. His dream came true as his first book was released in February 2018, PUSH: Breaking through the Barriers. After the first 12 hours on Amazon.com, the book was temporarily out of stock which was a pleasant surprise to see as a first time author.

He has been featured on ABC, CNN, CBS, Good Morning America, NBC Olympics, Fox Sports, TIME, USA Today and many other media and news outlets around the world. He even earned a spot to compete on the popular TV show, American Ninja Warrior!

Johnny graduated with a Pre-Law degree in 2006. In 2011, he was inducted into the University of North Texas Hall of Fame as a first ballot candidate. In 2013, he was selected as one of two receivers to the University of North Texas All-Century Team. When not globe-trotting for speaking engagements, he lives north of Dallas with his lovely wife Amanda and beautiful baby daughter Amelia Rose.

Dr. Howard Rocket Speaker

Dr. Howard Rocket

Inspiring speaker with remarkable story of overcoming adversity. Author of A Stroke of Luck.

 About

In the last 2 years Dr. Howard Rocket has started four new businesses. That is an amazing accomplishment in itself but even more amazing when you realize that a few years ago a stroke nearly killed him. For Dr. Rocket passionately believes that your attitude is everything especially in these challenging times. Howard was a successful dentist-turned-entrepreneur when he suffered a massive stroke on the morning of October 27, 1995. By that evening Howard was a dying man, a blood clot lodged deep in his brain, his body barely responding to medical intervention. There had been warning signs for days prior, but he did not understand their cause, nor the crisis that they foreshadowed.

With valiant medical attention and good fortune Howard survived and made a stunning recovery, but the experience changed his life forever both in body and in attitude. He has since co-authored A Stroke of Luck, his personal story of how recovery from a stroke changed his life and his outlook. A powerful speaker, Dr. Rocket helps people understand that they can overcome any obstacle.

Debra Searle Speaker

Debra Searle

British Adventurer, Television Presenter, Author and Motivational Speaker

 About

Click Here to Watch Debra's Virtual Presentation

  • Debra's inspiring presentation helps audiences understand how mindset can shift your momentum through even the most challenging experiences
  • Audiences leave feeling inspired and with specific tools to build a resilient mindset to help leaders and teams move through change
  • After 3 1/2 months spent at sea, single-handedly rowing from Tenerife to Barbados, Debra is ranked as one of the Top 30 Motivational Speakers in the world, alongside Simon Sinek & Tony Robbins, and has founded 5 companies and authored 3 books.
  • Past clients include: UBS, Nike, IBM, Nestle, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Bausch & Lomb, phd.

Debra Searle first hit the headlines when she set out to row across the Atlantic with her husband. Unfortunately, he had to be rescued so Debra, a novice rower, continued alone without a support boat and rowed 3000 miles from Tenerife to Barbados. It should have taken them six weeks, but Debra ended up spending 3 ½ months at sea alone, encountering 30' waves, sharks, and force 8 squalls in her 23-foot plywood boat. Since returning from this adventure, Debra has undertaken solo & team expeditions across the globe. She has also represented Great Britain at European and World Championship level in Dragon Boat Racing winning bronze, silver and gold medals.

Yet Debra is more than your usual sports speaker. Debra has founded 5 companies including MIX Diversity Developers, a D&I consultancy and training company. She has presented 40 programmes for the BBC and had 3 books published, most recently The Choose Your Attitude Journal. Her spirit of adventure gained her an MBE from Her Majesty The Queen and she was delighted to be appointed a Trustee of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, spending a decade working alongside His Royal Highness Prince Philip and His Royal Highness Prince Edward. Debra has been appointed a Member of the Victorian Order (MVO) for her services to the Royal Family. 

In 2020 Debra was ranked in the Top 30 Motivational Speakers in the world, alongside the likes of Jack Canfield, Simon Sinek and Tony Robbins and the World’s #1 Female Motivational Speaker outside the US. The movie of Debra’s solo Atlantic row is currently in development in Hollywood.

 

Dr. Rhea Seddon Speaker

Dr. Rhea Seddon

NASA Astronaut, Doctor, Author and Speaker on Leadership & Teamwork

 About

Dr. Rhea Seddon is a woman of many firsts, was one of only six women in a class of 100 in medical school - and the first woman ever accepted to her General Surgery Residency Program. As one of the first six women accepted into the Astronaut Corps, her marriage to fellow Astronaut Capt. Robert “Hoot” Gibson produced the first astronaut couple - and the two of them produced the first official “astrotots.” She was the eighth woman accepted to the Astronaut Hall of Fame. Besides her space career, Rhea’s life experiences have led her from surgeon to licensed private pilot, to healthcare executive, entrepreneur, business owner, author and now inspirational public speaker.

Dr. Seddon spent 19 years with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In 1978 she was selected as one of the first Astronaut classes to include women. She served as a Mission Specialist on Space Shuttle flights in 1985 and 1991 - and as Payload Commander in charge of all science activities on her final flight in 1993. This brought her total time in space to 30 days.

After leaving NASA in 1997, Dr. Seddon was the Assistant Chief Medical Officer of the Vanderbilt Medical Group in Nashville for 11 years. There she led an initiative to improve patient safety, quality of care, and team effectiveness by the use of an aviation-based model of Crew Resource Management. She then helped to found LifeWings Partners, LLC which teaches this concept to healthcare institutions across the United States.

A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in physiology - Dr. Seddon received her M.D. degree from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis, where she completed her residency in General Surgery.

She was inducted into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame in 2005, the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2015 and the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame in 2015. In 2016 she was awarded the National Football Foundation Nashville Chapter’s Fred Russell Distinguished American Award, the Independent Book Publishers Association Ben Franklin Gold Award for Best Autobiography/Memoir Go For Orbit: One of America's First Women Astronauts Finds Her Space and the Athena International Leadership Award (Rutherford County) and a University of Tennessee Centennial Top 100 Alumni Award. She was the co-recipient of the Great American Leadership award - which was presented to her along with her husband Capt. Robert “Hoot” Gibson at Awakening 2017.

Rhea and her husband currently reside near Nashville, TN. They have four children and three grandchildren.

Alex Sheen Speaker

Alex Sheen

Founder of ‘because I said I would’, a Humanitarian, Social Entrepreneur, Leader and TEDx Speaker

 About

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.

Jay Shetty Speaker

Jay Shetty

Former Monk & Award-winning Digital Strategist

 About

Meet Jay Shetty the British-born, former monk & award-winning digital strategist turned captivating host, storyteller and viral trend content creator. Since launching his video channel in 2016, Jay’s viral wisdom videos have garnered over 4 billion views and he has gained over 25 million social media followers globally.

Jay was named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Class of 2017 for being a game-changer and influencer in the world of Media. Jay aims to deliver educational and insightful content in an entertaining, uplifting format -- with the mission of making wisdom go viral. His inspirational video reach is known to skyrocket upwards of 100 million views within days of launch. He has created content for and partnered with the likes of Snapchat & Facebook and serves on the National Geographic Chasing Genius Council.

After meeting a monk at the age of 18, Jay sought to redefine personal success. He was inspired by a life of service, impact and passion as opposed to money, fame and power. After graduating with a first-class BSc (Hons) Degree in Behavioral Science from Cass Business School, he turned down lucrative job offers from prestigious companies, moved to India and lived as a monk. He traded his suits for robes, shaved his head, slept on the floor and lived out of a gym locker. Jay meditated for 4-8 hours a day and studied ancient philosophy. Half the day was spent on personal growth and the other on helping others. This included everything from personal and collective meditation, study and reflection to teaching and philanthropy. For three years, Jay helped build sustainable villages, food programs distributing over one million meals per day and coached Millennials throughout India and Europe.

Jay received a proposal from his guru who believed he could share what he had learnt if he left the path. Jay moved back to London with his parents, in massive debt with no recognizable skills on his resume. Fortunately, his friends, now working for the largest organizations in the world yet experiencing tremendous stress and pressure, invited Jay to coach them on well-being, purpose and mindfulness. Jay began sharing his experiences as a monk in the world's largest corporations including EY and Nasdaq.

Driven by a desire to share his learnings with as many people as possible, he re-engaged with the world and dove head first into learning about the tools and techniques that might allow knowledge to spread as fast as entertainment. He joined Accenture, helping them build their digital division while learning about the forces shaping the new digital landscape. He quickly became their #1 social media influencer, having advised over 150 executives on their personal brands, which provided a very broad base with which to test theories. He leveraged his findings to launch his own Facebook page in 2016.

Jay’s videos were spotted by Arianna Huffington, who asked him to create a series for HuffPost. His first four videos hit over 50 million views -- the highest HuffPost had ever received. Arianna invited Jay to New York to be a Senior Host & Producer for HuffPost Live where he created #FollowTheReader. The Facebook Live Daily Talk Show, featuring authors and life changing ideas, became #1 for audience engagement -- with themes that include passion, purpose, mindfulness, resilience, failure and communication.

These days, Jay continues to expand his brand through his viral video agency, group coaching & workshops. He's also been diligently working on his forthcoming book Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day (Simon & Schuster) to be released on 14-April-2020. Mark your calendars for this highly anticipated work.

Laurie Skreslet Speaker

Laurie Skreslet

First Canadian to climb Everest, inspirational and motivating speaker on commitment and teamwork.

 About

Laurie Skreslet captivates, inspires, and entertains as he imparts his remarkable wisdom, gained from a lifetime of adventure and achievement. Enhanced with spectacular multimedia visuals, his presentations convey the importance of personal commitment, teamwork, preparation, and dedication to excellence -- keys to success on Mount Everest, and keys to success in business.

On October 5, 1982, Laurie Skreslet became the first Canadian to ever reach the summit of Mount Everest. Since then, he has revisited the challenge again and again, continuing to climb from various directions and with alternate equipment. Building upon his life as an adventurer, he has also become renowned for his spectacular presentations to corporate and professional groups. Helping individuals and organizations to uncover and explore the parallels between their business environment and that of high-risk adventure and exploration comes naturally to Laurie.

In order to attempt climbing Everest, Laurie and his team spent over five years planning and raised more than three million dollars. Still dealing with the horror of four team members deaths in the infamous Khumbu Icefall, Laurie personally had to recover from three cracked ribs incurred in a fall early in the climb. Despite these and countless other adversities he had accomplished mountaineering's ultimate achievement - and made history in the process.

Laurie brings to life the principles of personal best and beating fear of failure that enabled him to reach his Everest goals, and which can be applied by anyone trying to achieve difficult goals of their own. Participants learn that achievement is not a matter of luck or destiny, but a philosophy and a process that can be applied to any situation.

Nina Sossamon-Pogue Speaker

Nina Sossamon-Pogue

Award-winning Television News Anchor, and Inspirational Speaker on Resilience, Overcoming Adversity & Dealing with Change

 About

  • Nina talks about creating success after change. recover quickly, learn – and ultimately grow stronger.
  • Audiences leave understanding their role in their own success and the corporations’ success with new strategies to keep going and not just survive change but thrive and find new levels of success.
  • Nina is a hyper-growth tech executive, USA Gymnast, and Emmy-winning television news anchor and keynote speaker- who expertly blends big data, current events and brain science research into an energetic multi-media stage performance.
  • Past clients include: GM, Benefitfocus, One Connection Management Group and Ellevate

Nina Sossamon-Pogue is a hyper-growth technology executive, Emmy-winning television news anchor, USA Gymnast, best-selling author and podcast host. Having navigated success, failure and change at the highest levels, she is a sought-after and respected keynote speaker on Resilience, Change, Adversity and Achievement. She expertly blends big data, current events and brain science research into an energetic multi-media stage performance.

Nina helps organizations strengthen their workforce in this fast-paced, uncertain time. Delivering a proven framework to conquer adversity, she teaches you how to overcome challenges of all sizes and inspires you to examine your future in a new way.

Nina brings passion to everything she does. Having enjoyed success at some of the highest levels of sport, television, and corporate America, she also endured painful public failures and devastating life events. Her message of finding new levels of success after change is derived from overcoming an injury that ended her athletic career, a very public lay off from her dream journalism job and a devastating car accident where she found herself at the center of a story gripping the headlines. Often asked how she managed to rebuild and reach even higher levels of success through the changes in her life, she developed a framework anyone can implement, to leverage adversity - and achieve success.

Her first endeavor into writing garnered best-selling status - This is Not 'The End': Strategies to Get Through the Worst Chapters of Your Life. Nina shares her proven approach to handling life’s hardships - so you can control your own destiny. While today may be miserable, This Is Not the End helps you see that your life is not ruined - you’re just in a horrible plot twist and better days are ahead.

Drawing on a dozen years as an executive in a high-growth software company, two decades in television news, and her early experiences as a world-class athlete - Nina is the ideal opening or closing keynote for your next corporate meeting or event.

Dr. Natalie Stavas Speaker

Dr. Natalie Stavas

Harvard Physician, Mentor, Runner, International Humanitarian; Runner Turned First Responder in the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing

 About

Dr. Natalie Stavas shares her inspiring story as she takes you back to April 15, 2013 - when approaching the finish line of her fifth Boston marathon - just blocks away heard explosions, and she ran towards them. Arriving at the scene she went to work administering CPR, applying tourniquets, and triaging the wounded.

What led her to make that fateful decision to run into a terrorist attack? An expert on chaos, Natalie Stavas attacks every obstacle with the same attitude: “You run towards that which you fear, that which challenges you, that which is oppositional.” Running toward chaos actually makes chaos more manageable.

Following these actions President Barack Obama, Katie Couric, and Anderson Cooper honored Natalie for her role as a first responder. Improper Bostonian magazine named Dr. Stavas one of “Boston’s Best" and The Boston Globe awarded her with “2013 Bostonian of the Year” - an honor bestowed upon those that shape the biggest story of the year in a remarkable way.

After the bombings Dr. Stavas was so motivated that she increased her efforts in preventing childhood violence and improving the health of urban communities. She is a mentor for Sole Train - a non-profit organization guiding inner-city youth on a path towards their full potential through running. She is also the Medical Advisor for the Appalachian Mountain Club, helping improve the health of children by getting them outside.

Dr. Stavas’ work goes beyond borders - traveling to Haiti throughout the year, she provides medical care to children and helps strengthen the fragile medical infrastructure. A documentary featuring this work as a medical pioneer premiered at the 2014 South by Southwest film festival.

Dr. Stavas has written for multiple outlets including the Huffington Post, the Center for Disease Control, Self Magazine and the Medical Bag.

She has been featured in Runners World, The New York Times, LA Times, The Boston Globe, The New Yorker, Time and People Magazine. Described as a healer, educator, and community leader she received the 2012 Change Maker award from The Boston Foundation.

Dr. Natalie Stavas is currently a physician at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Trained and educated at Harvard University, Natalie’s area of experience is in childhood trauma, decreasing youth violence and researching how we can better protect and serve high-risk children.

She is pursuing fellowship training in Child Protection pediatrics and obtaining a Masters in Health Science and Public Policy at The University of Pennsylvania. She was recently named The Wellbeing/Work-Life Integration Specialist for the Department of Pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Keep an eye out for her upcoming book, Sole to Soul, about the transformative power that running has on high-risk youth, a simple solution to the complicated problem of childhood poverty and violence.

Robert Swan Speaker

Robert Swan

Renowned Polar Explorer & Transformational Leader in Sustainability

 About

With his presence and integrity, accomplishments and reflections, Robert Swan has an extraordinary ability to inspire and motivate audiences worldwide. Having experienced leadership and team cooperation in some of the world’s most hostile environments, Robert applies the leadership lessons he has learned to inspire bold management practices and effective communication styles. Robert’s talks are thrilling, uplifting and stimulating – all while fostering courage, vision and teamwork. His core themes are inspiration, leadership and future thinking for business, society and the environment.

30 years ago, French ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau gave Robert Swan a 50-year mission to save Antarctica from the realities of climate change. The 2041 Foundation was founded and through perseverance and dedication, Robert has helped inspire the next generation of leaders to take responsibility for their life paths.

As the founder of the 2041 Foundation, Robert has dedicated his life to the preservation of Antarctica and the planet through promoting renewable energy and sustainability to combat the effects of climate change.

Robert Swan has been working side-by-side with his son Barney for the past 5 years. On January 15th 2018 at the South Geographic Pole, the baton was passed onto Barney Swan, who, on that day, became the first person in history to journey to the South Pole powered entirely by renewable energy. This incredible feat marked the launch of CLIMATEFORCE, a 7 year campaign to remove 326 million tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere through effective solutions and education to encourage personal leadership in our carbon neutral future. CLIMATEFORCE continues to build on the 2041 legacy through action and personal leadership today and in the future.

This is not only an incredible story about a father and son, it is a legacy story of Robert Swan and the 2041 Foundation and their unstoppable commitment and leadership to preserve this earth for generations to come.

Sebastian Terry Speaker

Sebastian Terry

About Sebastian Terry – Inspirational Keynote Speaker, Best Selling Author, TV Host, & Founder of the 100things Movement Driven by a passion to see others achieve, Sebastian Terry’s one-of-a-kind story has organically become a powerful catalyst for …

 About

Driven by a passion to see others achieve, Sebastian Terry’s one-of-a-kind story has organically become a powerful catalyst for personal growth and organizational transformation.

Leveraging the power of goal setting & striving as a vehicle to maximize mental wellness, individual productivity and team engagement, Sebastian’s action-based keynote integrates individual evolution with professional development. Shocked by the death of a close friend in his mid-twenties, Sebastian experienced a moment in his life where he asked himself a simple question; ‘Am I happy?’. The answer was NO, and so, he created a list of 100things that he hoped would transform his life.

For over a decade Seb has been chasing down the goals on his list and teaching others how to do the same. From marrying a stranger in Vegas (Goal #2) and delivering a baby (#23), to living on a deserted island for 1 week (#63) and even helping a quadreplegic man complete a half marathon by pushing him (#26), Sebastian’s story has been turned into a best selling book, his own reality show and a renowned keynote that has inspired millions of people around the world.

The impact of time and experience has helped shape Seb’s journey from the pursuit of fun and exciting life goals to the realization that these strategies transfer to the mechanics of organizational health. Blending masterful storytelling with processes, research and data from the field, Sebastian’s keynote offers equal shots of inspiration, education, and entertainment, leaving his audience with a toolkit & mindset for ongoing growth..

Often noted as the highlight of any conference he presents at, Sebastian’s keynote is an experience that will make you audience laugh, think, cry and ultimately take action.

Bill Walton Speaker

Bill Walton

Basketball Legend, Broadcaster, Humanitarian, and Survivor

 About

  • Bill talks about how he overcame his personal challenges to become an NBA legend and award-winning sportscaster.
  • Audiences are inspired to rise to the challenge of seeing just how far they can go by Bill's incredible presentation.
  • Bill Walton was named as one of the "50 Greatest NBA Players of All Time," is an award winning sportscaster, humanitarian and author.
  • Past clients include: Hewlette Packard, Chase, A&E Television, Wells Fargo, Navistar, RockBridge Capital, Mold Rite, Irving Place Capital and Preston Estate Planning.

Click Here to Watch Bill's Virtual Presentation

Basketball legend Bill Walton is one of sports’ most recognizable and beloved figures. His success on the court is well-documented; the nation’s top college basketball star at UCLA under legendary coach John Wooden, he then played for two NBA Championship teams - the Portland Trail Blazers and Boston Celtics. But Bill’s nightmarish challenges off the court are less known. He stuttered so badly he couldn’t say a simple “thank you” until he was 28 years old. And a foot disorder led to 37 surgeries on his feet, legs, and back - keeping him sidelined over half of his NBA career. Armed with grit and a positive outlook, Bill improbably overcame it all. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and named to the “50 Greatest NBA Players of All-Time” list. After his playing career, Bill pursued broadcasting; he is currently covering Pac-12 games on ESPN. Bill Walton has led a life of humility in service of inspiring others. His autobiography, Back from the Dead, was a New York Times best-seller and he is perhaps the best-known Deadhead, having seen over 900 shows.

As entertaining as he is insightful, Bill is widely considered one of the best speakers from the world of sports. The lessons he learned on the basketball court became life lessons that served him well throughout his sports, broadcasting and business careers. No lesson was more important than the words from the legendary John Wooden, Bill’s basketball coach at UCLA, who simply said “Do your best.” Wooden never asked players to go out and win - simply to do their best and not beat themselves. Bill never forgot those words which helped him throughout his extraordinary career.

Following a celebrated college basketball career, Bill went on to have a Hall of Fame NBA career. After basketball, he pursued his dream job as a sports broadcaster - but first had to overcome the lifelong stuttering affliction. And then, in 2008, Bill endured risky back surgery to repair damage done early in his basketball career. Through it all, Bill’s determination and positive attitude carried him through.

Bill is an authentic and true original who personifies greatness - and is one of the most compassionate figures in sports with an extraordinary record of giving back through his work with numerous charities and non-profits.

Bill was the NBA's Most Valuable Player, 1978; All-NBA First Team, 1978; NBA All-Star Team, 1977 and 1978; NBA Playoff's MVP, 1977; All-NBA Second Team, 1977; winner of the NBA Sixth Man Award, 1986. Bill is one of only four players in the history of basketball to have won multiple NCAA and multiple NBA Championships. He is also the second of only five players in the history of the NBA to lead the league in both blocked shots and rebounding in the same season. In 1991, Bill received the NBPA’s Oscar Robertson Leadership Awards. In 1993, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1997, Bill was selected as one of the NBA’s Fifty Greatest Players of All Time. Also, in 1997 he was inducted into the National High School Sports Hall of Fame.

Bill is active with many organizations and charities. For his efforts, in 2002 he received the NBA Retired Players Association Humanitarian Award. He is executive chairman of Connect SD Sport Innovators (SDSI), a non-profit, business-accelerating, trade organization - that connects and drives the growth of Southern California's vibrant sports economy by offering innovative programs and services for startups, mature companies and service providers. Walton is also a board member for the Junior Seau Foundation. Bill is also involved in numerous Internet ventures, providing content and business acumen.

Bill Walton is author of Back from the Dead and Nothing but Net. He currently resides in his hometown of San Diego with his wife Lori. They are the proud parents of four sons: Adam, Nathan, Luke and Chris, and the lucky grandparents of Olivia, Chase, Parker, Avery, Patrick, Lawson, Wilhelmina, and Wolfgang.

Duncan Wardle Speaker

Duncan Wardle

Former Walt Disney Executive & Speaker on Innovation and Creativity

 About

  • Talks about creative techniques and behaviors to develop big, innovative ideas
  • Uses Disney’s iconic brand and characters to leave audiences with actionable takeaways about creative problem solving and out-of-the-box thinking
  • Disney’s Former Head of Innovation and Creativity
  • Past clients include: Apple, Coca-Cola, Ford Motor Corp., IBM, Johnson & Johnson, McKinsey, NBC Universal, Twitter

Click Here to Watch Duncan's Virtual Presentation

Duncan Wardle maintains that "we are all born creative - we are born with amazing imaginations, are full of curiosity, and carry this remarkable built-in tool known as intuition." Duncan spent 25+ years in leadership roles at Disney - where, when he was Head of Innovation and Creativity, he led the team that helped Imagineering, Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar and Disney Parks to innovate, creating magical new storylines and experiences for consumers around the globe. As founder of iD8 & innov8 he now brings his extensive Disney experience delivering keynotes, workshops and ideation forums, around the globe helping companies strategize and embed a culture of innovation into everyone’s DNA.

Duncan’s talks are anything but ordinary. Sharing real world stories and lessons learned from the innovation battlefield, Duncan leaves audiences inspired, motivated, and ready to innovate for their own organizations.

On a mission to eradicate the status quo - Duncan challenges everyone to claim their own creativity, thus creating a culture of innovation never possible before. Duncan is now one of the world’s most highly regarded innovation speakers and consultants, teaching companies, brands and individuals across the globe to overcome their own expertise and get out of their own way. To think differently and creatively.

In an age where meetings and projects and presentations have your employees feeling like they are “too busy to think,” Duncan teaches how to create an innovation “light switch.” A way to turn on their creative brain and access the ideas that turn ordinary companies into industry leaders.

It takes time and money to find, hire, and build your teams. So why not leverage the full potential of their creativity and harness the full spectrum of their innovation? Through his pioneering consulting services, Duncan teaches organizations how to do just that, maximizing the ROI they receive on their most valuable resource: their people.

Are you ready to see the ideas that are unleashed by fostering a culture of innovation and creativity within your organization? Duncan’s unique design thinking process will empower your entire organization to redefine how they think about problems and solutions. Teams leave with the tools they need to start innovating today and to immediately drive positive growth for your organization.

Duncan is a multiple TEDx speaker and contributor to Fast Company Magazine. He teaches Innovation and Creativity Masterclasses at Yale University, UNC and U.F. He also holds the American Citizen Award presented at the White House, an Hons. MBA and Hons. Doctorate from Edinburgh University and the Duke of Edinburgh Award, presented by her majesty, Queen Elizabeth.

Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser Speaker

Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser

Four-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Speaker on Change & Resilience

 About

Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser is considered one of the best female hockey players in the world. Seven world championships, six Olympic appearances, five Olympic medals — she is a titan of sport and a leader both on and off the ice. Wickenheiser now sits on the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Athletes Commission, is the Vice Chair of the Calgary 2026 Bid Committee, and is the Senior Director of Player Development for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Beyond sport, she is a community leader, doctor, and businesswoman who inspires audiences to give their best in everything they do.

In her 23 years as an Olympic athlete, Wickenheiser led her team to four gold medals and one silver medal, and served as Canada’s official flag bearer at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. She also won seven gold and four silver medals at Women’s World Hockey Championships as part of the Canadian Women’s National Team. Wickenheiser made hockey history as the first female player to notch a point in a men’s professional game, and as the first woman in history to have played in/coached at four NHL development camps with the Philadelphia Flyers, the Edmonton Oilers, and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In 2019, Wickenheiser was inducted into Canada’s Hockey Hall of Fame. She has also been named one of Sports Illustrated’s Top 25 Toughest Athletes in the World; has been twice-named to the “Power 50 in Sports”; was among the QMI Agency’s “Top 10 Greatest Female Athletes in the History of Sports”; and is a member of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, Canada’s Top 40 under 40, and Canada’s Walk of Fame. In 2014, she was awarded Canada’s highest honour when she was appointed to the Order of Canada for her achievements as an athlete and for her contributions to the growth of the women’s game.

Wickenheiser’s passion for sport is paralleled by her desire to give back to the community through her work with dozens of philanthropic organizations, including Lace ‘Em Up, Jumpstart, KidSport, Project North, and Right to Play. She is also the founder of the world-renowned personal and athletic development weekend, The Canadian Tire Wickenheiser World Female Hockey Festival, which provides mentoring and growth opportunities for young athletes around the world.

Wickenheiser holds several honourary degrees from institutions across Canada, as well as a Masters in Kinesiology from the University of Calgary, where she also studied medicine. In 2021, Wickenheiser completed her studies and became a medical doctor. She also published her first book Over the Board: Lessons from the Ice, available in October 2021.

Sharon Wood Speaker

Sharon Wood

Inspiring Speaker and Adventurer – the First Woman in North America to Summit Mount Everest

 About

  • Tells the inspiring story of how her small team climbed Mount Everest through commitment to a single vision, making her the first North American woman to reach the summit.
  • Audiences leave inspired by her incredible story of teamwork, resilience and risk taking.
  • Sharon Wood was the first North American woman to summit Mount Everest and remains a committed mountaineer, author and entrepreneur. 

Sharon Wood has never considered herself a hero. But in 1986, she became the first woman in North America to climb Mount Everest, the world's highest peak. It was an astonishing personal and team accomplishment under conditions of extreme physical and mental duress. It was an example of ordinary people achieving extraordinary results - audiences love Sharon's awesome story and always leave motivated to take on their own challenges. Her climb of Everest was only one facet of a more than 20 year experience being a professional and elite mountaineer, with numerous ascents of summits over 20,000 feet to her credit.

Sharon has shared her inspirational story of achievement with hundreds of organizations throughout North America. She skillfully connects the powerful metaphor of Mount Everest to the challenges faced by individuals and teams striving for excellence in their own endeavors. Sharon Wood has been to the top of the world and back. For anyone wanting to be more effective in their life, her powerful story will leave you exhilarated.

Founder and Chairperson of a private school in her community, President of her own company Adventure Dynamics Inc., the first North American woman to summit Mount Everest, a professional mountaineer and a mother of two sons - Sharon is leading a life rich with risk, challenge and change.

Sharon’s memoir, Rising - is part mountain adventure story, part meditation on finding and sustaining passion and purpose. Get your copy now, scheduled release date September, 2019 (Douglas McIntyre).

John Wood Speaker

John Wood

Inspirational speaker and founder of ‘Room to Read’.

 About

John Wood is the founder of Room to Read®, an organization that believes World Change Starts with Educated Children. From its humble origins as a cash strapped and unknown organization, Room to Read has now reached over 10 million children in developing countries with a focus on literacy and gender equality in education.

At age 35, John left an executive career track at Microsoft to follow his passion that “no child should ever again be told they were born in the wrong place at the wrong time and therefore will not get educated.” The business acumen honed in the fast paced world of technology, combined with his passion to change the world, makes John a unique and inspiring speaker with broad appeal.

John’s award-winning memoir, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World tells how he raised over $400 million from a “standing start” to develop one of the fastest growing nonprofits in history. The book was described by Publishers’ Weekly as “an infectiously inspiring read.” Translated into 23 languages, it is popular with entrepreneurs, philanthropists and educators. Amazon named it one of the Top Ten Business Narratives of 2006 and Hudson Booksellers voted it to their Top Ten Nonfiction list. John’s author interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show raised over $3 million from viewers.

John’s latest book is entitled Creating Room to Read: A Story of Hope in the Battle for Global Literacy. Kirkus Reviews called it “an absorbing personal account of a remarkable achievement”. It was endorsed by Bill Clinton, Melinda Gates and Sheryl Sandberg.

John is a five time winner of Fast Company Magazine’s Social Capitalist Award and is one of Goldman Sachs’ 25 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs. He was named an Asian Hero by Time Magazine, selected as in the inaugural class of Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum and is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute. Bill and Melinda Gates presented him with the first ever Microsoft Alumnus of the Year medal. Barron’s twice named John to their list of the 25 Best Givers. In 2014, John was awarded by Queen Silvia of Sweden with the World’s Children’s Prize. The WCP is often called the Children’s Nobel Prize, and in the same year Malala Yousafzai was a fellow honoree. He has also won the Asia Society’s “Service to Society” award and was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Tribeca Film Festival.

Room to Read has been voted by the Young Presidents Association as their Social Enterprise of the Year, was awarded the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy, and was chosen as the inaugural winner of the Library of Congress David Rubenstein International Literacy Prize.

John holds a MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in finance from the University of Colorado, and honorary doctorates from McGill University, Westminster College, Wofford College and the University of San Francisco. At the invitation of former President Bill Clinton, he served three years on the Advisory Board of the Clinton Global Initiative. John is a frequent lecturer at Harvard Business School, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Policy. He is a former Board member of the College Advising Corps, Net Impact and the One Acre Fund, and serves on the Advisory Boards of Global Citizen Year, Possible Health, and the “Getting to Carnegie” competition.

Marc Woods Speaker

Marc Woods

Paralympian, Author and Cancer Ambassador

 About

Marc Woods competed internationally as a swimmer for 17 years; winning 12 Paralympic medals from 5

Games and a further 21 from either World or European Championships. In the past he has held world records

for 200m, 400m, 1500m Freestyle and as well as being part of the team that held the world record for 4 x

100m Freestyle. At the London 2012 Paralympic Games worked for the BBC as a commentator and presenter, as

well as performing in the opening ceremony.

Marc now spends his time presenting at business conference around the world. His speech takes you on an
inspirational journey - giving insights into personal

responsibility, leadership, teamwork and motivation. It is a journey that took him from cancer patient to multiple Gold

medallist. Along with some of the personnel now working with British Cycling he was a pioneer of the

notion of marginal gains.

Marc has written three books. Most notably Personal Best, a combination of his

inspirational life story and personal development advice, and more recently Beyond the Call, which

supported by research from New York University, looks at how to create conditions within an organisation

that make discretionary effort more likely.

Amongst other things he is an ambassador of Teenage Cancer Trust, a director of the Youth Sport Trust and

ambassador for CANSA (South Africa's Cancer Charity) and patron for Bone Cancer Research Trust.

His clients come from all business sectors and include IBM, Pfizer, Sainsbury, O2 and Santander.

Steve Wozniak Speaker

Steve Wozniak

“The Woz” – Co-Founder of Apple Computer, Inc., Chief Scientist at Primary Data

 About

A Silicon Valley icon and philanthropist for more than thirty years, Steve Wozniak has helped shape the computing industry with his design of Apple’s first line of products the Apple I and II and influenced the popular Macintosh. In 1976, Wozniak and Steve Jobs founded Apple Computer Inc. with Wozniak’s Apple I personal computer. The following year, he introduced his Apple II personal computer, featuring a central processing unit, a keyboard, color graphics, and a floppy disk drive. The Apple II was integral in launching the personal computer industry.

In 1981, he went back to UC Berkeley and finished his degree in electrical engineering/computer science. For his achievements at Apple, Wozniak was awarded the National Medal of Technology by the President of the United States in 1985, the highest honor bestowed on America’s leading innovators.

In 2000, he was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame and was awarded the prestigious Heinz Award for Technology, The Economy and Employment for single-handedly designing the first personal computer and for then redirecting his lifelong passion for mathematics and electronics toward lighting the fires of excitement for education in grade school students and their teachers.

Through the years, Wozniak has been involved in various business and philanthropic ventures, focusing primarily on computer capabilities in schools and stressing hands-on learning and encouraging creativity for students.  Making significant investments of both his time and resources in education, he adopted the Los Gatos School District, providing students and teachers with hands-on teaching and donations of state-of-the-art technology equipment. He founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and was the founding sponsor of the Tech Museum, Silicon Valley Ballet and Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose.

Wozniak is Chief Scientist at Primary Data and is a published author with the release of his New York Times best selling autobiography, iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon by Norton Publishing. His television appearances include reality shows Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and The Big Bang Theory.  In 2014, he was awarded the Hoover Medal, a prestigious honor given for “outstanding extra-career services by engineers to humanity,” and was inducted into the IndustryWeek Manufacturing Hall of Fame.

Heather R. Younger Speaker

Heather R. Younger

Inspiring Speaker on Diversity, Resilience & Overcoming Adversity

 About

  • Heather taps into her own personal and professional experiences as well as stories of strength and perseverance to share empowering proven tools for resetting the resilience of every attendee.
  • Audiences learn the three steps to strengthening resilience & reframe adversity to unlock new mindsets for empowerment and positive self-worth.
  • Heather is the founder and CEO of Employee Fanatix, an International TEDx speaker on Adversity, Leadership Podcast Host, Business Coach, Facilitator and Attorney, who has earned a reputation as “The Employee Whisperer”. She holds a law degree, is a regular contributor to "Forbes" and "LinkedIn" and is the best-selling author of The 7 Intuitive Laws of Employee Loyalty
  • Past clients include: Harvard Business Review Brasil, FirstBank, Salas O'Brien, Stark Aerospace, and Colorado Bankers Association.

Click Here to Watch Heather's Virtual Presentation

Heather R. Younger is the Founder and CEO of Employee Fanatix, a leading employee engagement and consulting firm. She is a sought-after keynote speaker who brings revealing insights to the stage from over 25,000 employee experiences. A diversity, equity and inclusion strategist, and the world’s leading expert on listening at work, she is the host of the Leadership with Heart Podcast. Heather is a regular contributor to Forbes and Fast Company and is the best-selling author of The 7 Intuitive Laws of Employee Loyalty, which hit the top of the "Forbes Must-Read List for HR Professionals." Her latest best-selling book, The Art of Caring Leadership, teaches the radical power of caring support in leadership and in the workplace.

A former attorney who worked for years in corporate America, what is most important to know about Heather is that she brings a breadth of experience - extensive quantitative and qualitative research - and a truly deep passion for advocacy, resilience, human relations, and connection - to every audience, every workshop, every consultation.

When not working, she is a mother of four and a self-proclaimed soccer mom who eats tons of chocolate for self-preservation.