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2017 SPEAKERS

Alan Mulally

The Ford Motor Company (2006-2014)

Alan Mulally served as president and chief executive officer of The Ford Motor Company and as a member of Ford's board of directors from September 2006-June 2014. Mulally led Ford's transformation into one of the world's leading automobile companies and the #1 automobile brand in the United States. He guided Ford in working together on a compelling vision, comprehensive strategy and implementation of the One Ford plan to deliver profitable growth for all of the company's stakeholders.

 

Prior to joining Ford, Mulally served as executive vice president of The Boeing Company, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and president of Boeing Information, Space, and Defense Systems.

 

Throughout his career, Mulally has been recognized for his contributions, industry leadership, and service, including being named #3 on FORTUNE's "World's Greatest Leaders", one of the 30 "World's Best CEO's" by Barrons' magazine, one of "The World's Most Influential People" by TIME magazine and "Chief Executive of the Year" by Chief Executive magazine. He was also honored with the American Society for Quality's medal for excellence in executive leadership, the “Automotive Executive of the Year”, and the “Thomas Edison Achievement Award”. In 2016, Mulally was inducted into The Automotive Hall of Fame.

 

Mulally previously served on President Obama's United States Export Council. He served as co-chairman of the Washington Competitiveness Council, and has served on the advisory boards of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the University of Washington, the University of Kansas, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the United States Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. Mulally has also served as president of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and as chairman of the Board of Governors of the Aerospace Industries Association.

 

Mulally currently serves on the board of directors of Google, Carbon 3D, and the Mayo Clinic.

Daymond John

Shark Tank

Daymond John is a New York Times Bestselling author and the CEO and founder of FUBU, the iconic global lifestyle brand that went on to have more than $6 billion in sales. Resolved to expand his own brand, Daymond joined ABC’s iconic series, Shark Tank as one of their original cast members. Now in their seventh season, “The Peoples Shark” remains a staple on the three-time Emmy Award winning show that airs on Friday nights.

 

His commitment to entrepreneurship goes beyond his work with FUBU and television and 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 the President and his staff at the Global Entrepreneur Summit in Kenya.

 

One of Daymond’s greatest accomplishments is his continued fight against dyslexia where he sits on the advisory board of Understood.org and works closely with the Yale Center for Dyslexia. Daymond has embraced his affliction allowing it to be a catalyst for his career as an author. This past January, his book The Power of Broke (Crown Publishing) was released and became an instant New York Times Bestseller. Designed to inspire men and women of all ages and circumstances, The Power of Broke takes readers behind the scenes with country’s most celebrated entrepreneurs to show how starting a business from broke forces you to think more creatively, use your resources more efficiently, connect with your customers more authentically and market your ideas more imaginatively. His two previous books, Display of Power and The Brand Within were National Bestsellers.

 

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 marketing firm Shark Branding which specializes in brand strategies, brand development, artist relations and marketing. Under Daymond’s leadership, Shark Branding has perfected the methods for ingraining companies, brands and products into the social consciousness including Capital One, Miller Lite, Gillette, Shopify and Infusionsoft. Additionally, he continues to anchor the company’s celebrity brand management division where he has worked with superstars such as Muhammad Ali, the Kardashians, Pitbull, Idris Elba, Lennox Lewis, Stan Lee and more.

Brené Brown

Researcher and Author

Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation – Brené Brown Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work.

 

She has spent the past sixteen years studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of four #1 New York Times bestsellers – The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, and her latest release, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and The Courage to Stand Alone.

 

Brown’s TED talk – The Power of Vulnerability – is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world with over 30 million views.

 

In addition to her research and writing, Brown is the Founder of BRAVE LEADERS INC - an organization that brings empirically based courage building programs to teams, leaders, entrepreneurs, change makers, and culture shifters.

 

Brené Brown lives in Houston, Texas with her husband, Steve, and their children Ellen and Charlie.

Alice Bowman

Michael Dubin

Dollar Shave Club

Michael Dubin is a passionate, creative entrepreneur, executive and trailblazing brand-builder with a unique style and an engaging voice that clearly resonates with male consumers. Under his leadership, DSC now boasts over 3 million active members with revenues that exceeded $200M in 2016.

Terry Warner

Les McKeown

Predictable Success

Les McKeown advises CEOs and senior leaders of organizations on how to achieve scalable, sustainable growth and speaks to Fortune 500 companies about his breakthrough strategies. Prior to founding Predictable Success LLC, Les established himself as a serial founder/owner in the global business spectrum, starting more than 40 companies, in addition to being the founding partner of an incubation consulting company that advised on the creation and growth of hundreds more organizations worldwide. It is through this experience that he aids businesses in different size and scope as an in-demand speaker, sought-after advisor and bestselling author.

 

Les delivers keynotes to various organizations and businesses around the world. He has presented his ‘Predictable Success’ and ‘Synergist’ model to the likes of Harvard University, Microsoft, United Technologies Corporation, Overture, Pella Corporation, the US Army and many more. In these engagements, he aims to empower every level of the workforce by educating every individual on the stages of the business lifecycle, their business’ current stance and steps leading to this outcome, and the adopted practices needed to prosper for the future of the company. Les has appeared on NBC, ABC, BBC, CNN, Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, USA Today and The New York Times.

Nina Vaca

Nina Vaca

Pinnacle Group

Nina Vaca is Pinnacle Group's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Her dynamic leadership over the past 19 years has propelled the company from a niche IT services firm to the workforce solutions powerhouse it is today, with a suite of business lines that address the range of human capital challenges companies face today.

 

Vaca's unwavering commitment to Pinnacle's success and growth has motivated her to make several bold decisions over the years that have changed the company's course and helped it become what it is today. Watershed moments came in 2001, when Vaca took full control of the company and re-engineered its service offerings in response to the changing landscape post-9/11, then again in 2007 when Vaca saw an opportunity to enter the managed services sector with an ambitious $100 million program. In 2009, Vaca diversified Pinnacle's business in response to the economic downturn by expanding into Canada and offering additional services. Then in 2011, Pinnacle expanded into the VMS space when it acquired Provade, Inc., which offers enterprise-class VMS (vendor management software) that enables clients to manage their contingent workforce spend. Pinnacle further broadened its managed service offerings in 2011-2012 by adding payrolling and IC compliance to its portfolio.

 

Pinnacle's evolution and astronomical growth is not only the result of Vaca's fearless approach to overcoming challenges the business has faced, but is due in equal measure to her intense focus on two core values – delivering impeccable service to clients and putting people at the heart of everything Pinnacle does. In Vaca's own words, "Our growth is rooted in our people. It is vital that they feel as empowered and impassioned as possible."

 

Because of her many successes with Pinnacle Group and the respect she has earned within the business community, Vaca has been elected to serve as a director of three publicly traded companies, and has won numerous awards both for the company and as an individual. She has been named one of the most influential Latinos in the United States for the past seven years, and has also been called one of the country's 100 most intriguing entrepreneurs by Goldman Sachs.

 

In addition to her varied business pursuits, Vaca is a committed civic leader and philanthropist. She is a passionate advocate for women and entrepreneurs, especially within the Hispanic and minority communities. In 2014, the Obama Administration appointed Vaca as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship. Vaca is also Chairman Emeritus of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and serves as Chairman of the USHCC Foundation. For the superb work she has done in the community as well as in business, she has been awarded three honorary doctorates and is the youngest graduate in her alma mater's history to be honored as a distinguished alumna.

Banjo Founder Damien Patton had a vision to create the world's first "Crystal Ball" - the ability to know what's happening anywhere in the world, right now. That vision has become a reality. Under Damien’s leadership, Banjo was named The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies and called the “Fastest Executing Startup,” among it’s numerous awards. In addition to being a successful entrepreneur, he is a military veteran having served two tours in Desert Storm, worked as Chief Mechanic for a top NASCAR team, and worked as a crime scene investigator while simultaneously working full-time as COO for a technology company. To keep his adrenaline pumping, you’ll find Damien down in Baja racing trophy trucks with his off-road racing team.

Sarah Kauss

Sarah Kauss

S'well

Sarah Kauss is the founder and CEO of S’well, the fashionable, reusable beverage bottle company that gives back. A former tax consultant and international real estate developer, Sarah married her passion for fashion, hydration and philanthropy when she launched S’well in 2010.

 

As an entrepreneur, retail expert and advocate for ridding the world of plastic bottles, Sarah is helping transform the drinking experience. She has been recognized as a Fortune’s “40 Under 40” honoree and EY Entrepreneurial Winning Woman, while S’well has been named #1 Fastest-Growing, Women-Led Company by The Women Presidents’ Organization and included on Crain’s New York Business’ 2016 “Fast 50” (#11).

 

Sarah earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS in Business from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Dan Price

Gravity Payments

Dan Price captured headlines around the world after implementing a $70,000 minimum wage at his company, Gravity Payments. This move has sparked a national debate on the purpose of business and leadership responsibility.

 

Price’s 40-year goal is to be a small speck of sand in the revolution where business ceases to be about profit and greed to one that is about values and serving others. Today, more than 13,000 businesses across the country trust Gravity Payments to save them millions in fees and hours in frustration by making it easy to accept credit card payments.

Shama Hyder

The Marketing Zen Group

Shama Hyder is the CEO of the award-winning agency, The Marketing Zen Group, and best-selling author of two books, The Zen of Social Media Marketing and Momentum. She is an international keynote speaker and has been featured across all major media channels, including MSNBC, Fox Business, Forbes, Inc. and The Wall Street Journal.

She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Technology Titan Emerging Company CEO award as well one of the “Top 30 Under 30 Entrepreneurs” by both Inc. Magazine and Forbes. Additionally, Shama has been honored at both the White House and The United Nations as one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in the country.

Michael Lastoria is CEO & Co-Founder of &pizza, the first Washington D.C. based fast-casual pizza concept rapidly expanding in the Mid-Atlantic region. In 2012, Michael founded &pizza in D.C.’s historic H Street NE corridor. He set out to create a different kind of pizza shop - one where experience is the focal point, every shop reflects the culture and people of its neighborhood and where quality ingredients are combined in inventive ways. Evidence of their success can be found in the culture of its employees (the brand calls them Tribe Members), its rapid expansion, now up to 20 shops, and numerous recognitions, including Best Pizza and Best Vegetarian.

 

An entrepreneur at heart, Michael Lastoria began his career in 2002, founding Innovation Ads, a leading marketing and media services company. While acting as CEO, Michael oversaw the successful sale of the company to Seaport Capital, a New York based private equity firm, in 2006.

 

Since then, Michael has founded several other notable performance-based advertising and hospitality companies. His ventures have received national recognition including features in Entrepreneur Magazine and a variety of entertainment publications.

 

In addition to his role as CEO & Co-Founder of &pizza, Michael serves as President of JWALK, a New York based full service creative agency, leading the company in growth strategy.

 

Michael is a well-recognized leader in the startup world and speaks regularly on sales, marketing, branding and entrepreneurship. Michael holds a B.A. in Economics and Business from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California.

Alex Kenjeev

O'Leary Ventures

Alex Kenjeev is Kevin O’Leary’s right-hand man. As president of O'Leary Ventures, he negotiates with, oversees and mentors a portfolio of rapidly growing businesses across many industries. He also co-founded a software company that was acquired three years later for more than $100 million. Kenjeev is an investor on CNBC’s Make Me a Millionaire Inventor, a frequent contributor on CTV, and a bit of a weird dude.

Tom Gimbel

LaSalle Network

Tom Gimbel is the founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, a staffing, recruiting and culture company headquartered in Chicago. LaSalle has been named to the Inc. 500|5000 list of fastest growing companies for the last 10 years, as well as Glassdoor’s 2016 list of “Best Places to Work” and to Inc.’s 2016 “Best Workplaces” list in America. Gimbel is an expert on hiring, career management and company culture, contributing to Inc. and The Wall Street Journal. Gimbel appears frequently on Squawk BoxTODAY ShowFox & FriendsFox Business Network, and in The New York Times and Fast Company, among others.

Steve Baker

The Great Game of Business

Steve Baker is the Vice President of the Great Game of Business Inc., a division of employee-owned SRC Holdings Corporation. He also co-wrote the 20th anniversary edition of the best-selling book The Great Game of Business. Baker spent two decades struggling to help small-business owners reach their goals without access to key business metrics. Learning to play the Great Game of Business at SRC changed his life.  He also serves on the board of the National Center for Employee Ownership and on the steering committee of SRC’s Ownership Culture Initiative. Baker is a career marketing and branding professional and an award-winning designer.

Norm Brodsky

Entrepreneur and Inc. Columnist

Inc. columnist and senior contributing editor Norm Brodsky is a veteran entrepreneur who has founded and grown six businesses. In 2007 he sold CitiStorage, a document-archive business based in Brooklyn, New York, for $110 million.

 

His most recent venture is Black Gold Suites, an extended-stay hotel in Tioga, North Dakota. Brodsky chronicles his entrepreneurial journey in his Inc. “Street Smarts” column and in the book The Knack: How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up, both co-authored with Inc. editor-at-large Bo Burlingham.

Ami Kassar

MultiFunding

MultiFunding helps small business owners find the best business loan options. Within the company, Kassar, Founder and CEO, ensures small business owners have access to the capital needed to help grow and manage their businesses. He has been featured in the New York Times and The Huffington Post. Ami is the 2012, 2013 and 2014 recipient of the Small Business Advocate Award ans Thought Leader. He developed Banking Grades, a free tool that helps small business owners discover which banks are lending to small businesses.

Brian Smith

In 1978, Brian Smith came to California in search of the “next big thing” to bring back to Australia. As an avid surfer, Smith would pull on sheepskin boots after a good day of surfing the Australian coasts. In California, he observed there was no sheepskin footwear in the United States.

 

With only $500 in capital, he imported six pairs of sheepskin boots and went door to door until the UGG concept stuck—starting with the Southern California surfing community and ski slopes.

 

In 1995, Smith sold the UGG brand and it has continued to grow to exceed a billion dollars in annual sales. Smith is one of the most sought-after international business leaders in the country today. He is committed to teaching entrepreneurs how to leverage their most precious assets from within, and pursue their passions to create a fulfilling and successful life.  He is the author of The Birth of a Brand—Launching Your Entrepreneurial Passion and Soul.

Elaine Brodsky

CitiStorage

Cameron Cruse

Cameron Cruse

R. Riveter

Cameron Cruse is the COO and co-founder of R. Riveter. Cruse is dedicated to redefining what is means to manufacture by helping to pioneer a flexible, remote manufacturing network. Cruse is an optimist with southern roots and a passion for the creative. Cruse is a mother of two and a proud Military Spouse.

Lisa Bradley

Lisa Bradley

R. Riveter

Lisa Bradley grew up in Columbus, MT – a small Rocky Mountain town and took off for the “big city” lights of Bismarck, ND to study Business + Entrepreneurship. She met Jason Bradley during this time, and married into the Army in 2007. The two enjoyed four duty stations over six years.  From the very beginning in early 2011, Lisa and co-founder Cameron bonded over a frustration of employment struggles as Military Spouses and R. Riveter was launched in a mission to provide flexible, mobile income for others in the same position.  The company that started in an attic has become a national network of military spouses that have redefined American manufacturing.  In February 2016, Cameron and Bradley dove headfirst into the Shark Tank, sharing their mission to employ Military Spouses across the country. They walked away with a deal form Mark Cuban.

Jason Bass

Jason Bass

Harris Williams & Co.

Jason Bass is managing director in Harris Williams & Co.’s Transportation & Logistics Group.  Bass has 15+ years of middle market transaction experience including mergers and acquisitions, private placements, IPOs, and follow-on offerings. Having played a key role in over 125 transactions during his career, Bass has worked extensively with niche trucking, contract logistics, rail services, supply chain technology, transportation equipment, and marine transportation.

 

Prior to joining Harris Williams & Co., Bass was managing director and co-head of the Transportation & Logistics Investment Banking Group at BB&T Capital Markets. Mr. Bass also has previous experience with Janney Montgomery Scott LLC (now known as Janney Capital Markets).

 

Bass currently serves as an Advisory Board Member of The First Tee of Richmond and Chesterfield. He lives in Richmond with his wife and three children.

Amy Rosen

Amy Rosen

HowED

Amy Rosen is a results-driven entrepreneurial leader who has founded, led and advised organizations through transformational change in the education, workforce and transportation sectors.

 

An expert on global challenges facing youth education and employment, Amy has spent the past fifteen years leading change in our education systems and working to provide young people a path to successful futures. She spent nearly a decade teaching at Columbia Business School and as CEO of NFTE. More recently she has cofounded with Dov Seidman, howED, a new venture created to provide tools and support for young people in school and the workplace seeking to become moral leaders of the future.

 

Amy also spent nearly 20 years in the transportation field, gaining as a leader of urban transit systems and an advocate for national investment in transportation infrastructure. Managing a state transportation department and her tenures as a leader of NJ Transit’s Board and as a Presidential Appointee to the Amtrak Board earned her a national reputation in this field.

 

Amy has served as a Presidential appointee for three U.S. presidents and as an adviser to local and national leaders around the globe. She has been a contributor to Forbes and Entrepreneur magazines as well as CNBC and Bloomberg and has authored numerous books and articles.

Amy Rosen

Jerome Gonzales

J.G. Management Systems

Mr. Gonzales started J.G. Management Systems, Inc.(JGMS) in 2001 for the purpose of providing research, analysis, counsel and engineering support to federal government agencies and National Laboratories. JGMS currently provides technical management services to clients across the country in the form of program and project management, facility condition assessments, engineering design and analysis, and construction management.

 

Mr. Gonzales has extensive experience in engineering design and project management, development and implementation of long-range site planning, construction programs, facility condition assessments, site maintenance programs, logistics, and resource loading. His comprehensive hands-on background in project management, facilities engineering, design, construction, and operation of large programs and projects has been utilized in the execution of multi-million dollar programs within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and private sector for facility operations, new construction projects, and environmental restoration projects.

Amy Rosen

Amy Friedrich

Principal Financial Group®

Amy C. Friedrich is president of U.S. Insurance Solutions with Principal Financial Group®.

 

Friedrich joined Principal® in 2000 in a performance improvement role for Corporate Strategic Development. Later, as a director in that division, she helped define a long-term strategy for the specialty benefits division and in 2004, she moved into that area. Since then, she’s held many leadership roles, including second vice president in 2006 and vice president of group benefits in 2008. She took on oversight of individual disability insurance in 2015 when she was named a senior vice president. She assumed her current position in 2017.

 

Prior to joining the company, she was a change management manager with Accenture.

 

Friedrich has served as a Trustee of Buena Vista University since 2015 and also serves on the Board of Directors of the Chrysalis Foundation. She’s a native of Van Meter, Iowa and earned her bachelor’s degree in mass communication and philosophy from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa and her master’s in organizational communication from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

Amy Rosen

Holly Wade

National Federation of Independent Business

Holly Wade is the director of the NFIB Research Center, where she provides in-depth analysis on public policy issues and economic trends affecting small business. She also produces the monthly Small Business Economic Trends survey with NFIB’s chief economist. She is a member of the National Association of Business Economics, National Economists Club, and the Department of Commerce’s Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Small and Minority Business. She has undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Washington and a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Denver.

Amy Rosen

Sara Whiffen

InnerVation Lab

Sara Whiffen is a renowned consultant, corporate trainer, and expert in entrepreneurial logic. As a former Managing Director with Toyota, she took several concepts from idea to market in the U.S. and around the world. Recognized for her pragmatic approach to innovation, she has successfully founded multiple ventures since leaving Toyota in 2008.

 

Many large organizations have benefitted from her insights, including American Express, General Mills, Nestle, Visa, the US Government and many others. Whiffen’s trademarked methodology, the Assets to ActionTM Model, is used worldwide.

 

In 2016, as a result of her work alongside Dr. Saras Sarasvathy, a globally recognized entrepreneurship scholar, Whiffen caught the eye of The Shark Group, a brand consultancy founded by Fubu founder and Shark Tank star Daymond John. She became the lead instructor for their entrepreneurial training program, InnerVation LabTM.  This program is based on “effectuation,” an entrepreneurial thought process discovered by Sarasvathy and researched, expanded, and applied by Whiffen.

 

Whiffen currently runs a startup and also serves as guest faculty at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. She has a BA from the University of Notre Dame and an MA from Johns Hopkins University.

Andrew Paradise

Andrew Paradise is the CEO and founder of Skillz, the worldwide leader in mobile eSports, which was recently named the fastest-growing company in America by Inc. Magazine. Paradise is a serial entrepreneur with a successful track record. Prior to Skillz, Andrew founded AisleBuyer, which was sold to Intuit in 2012 and Double Picture, sold in 2009 to MPA Inc. He has also worked in venture capital and private equity investing for Fort Washington Capital Partners and The Watermill Group. Paradise learned to program at age seven by hacking a video game with a hex editor and later wrote his first game in Pascal. Paradise founded Skillz because he believes in making mobile games more fun for players and game creation more lucrative for developers.

Andrew Paradise

David Glickman

Ultra Mobile

David Glickman is a telecom innovator, serial entrepreneur and visionary. Today, Glickman is co-founder and CEO of Ultra Mobile, a nationwide carrier that in 2015, was named Inc. magazine’s fastest-growing private company with a three-year growth of 100,000 percent and annual revenues of $118 million. Previous successes include TelePacific, which grew to $500 million in two years; Justice Technology, ranked number 1 of the Inc. 500, 1998; Hometown Telecom; and FreeConference.com. Glickman is a graduate of the Wharton School of Business, and earned a Master of Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Andrew Paradise

Joe Galvin

Vistage Worldwide

As Chief Research Officer for Vistage, Joe Galvin is responsible for providing Vistage members with the most current, compelling and actionable thought leadership on the strategic issues and decisions for small and midsized business leaders. Galvin is an established thought leader and analyst who has researched, published and presented to business leaders around the world for Gartner, SiriusDecisions and CSO Insights on customer management, world-class sales performance and CRM-SFA technology.