Speakers

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BREAKOUT KEYNOTES

Mike Walsh

Mike is the CEO of Tomorrow, a global consultancy on designing companies for the 21st century. He advises leaders on how to thrive in the current era of disruptive technological change. Mike’s bestselling books include ‘Futuretainment’ and ‘The Dictionary of Dangerous Ideas’. Each week he interviews provocative thinkers, innovators and troublemakers on his weekly podcast, ‘Between Worlds’. A true nomad, Mike travels over 300 days a year worldwide, researching trends, collecting innovation case studies and presenting on the future of business.

Thought Leader

Rather than focusing on the distant future, Mike takes an anthropological approach – scanning the near horizon for emerging technologies and disruptive shifts in human behavior, and then translating these into pragmatic plans for business transformation. A prolific writer and commentator, Mike’s views have appeared in a wide range of international publications including BusinessWeek, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal.

Global Nomad

Constantly traveling the world for the best ideas, Mike spends more than 300 days a year on the road interviewing innovators, entrepreneurs and corporate revolutionaries to provide his clients and audiences with a fresh and compelling vision of tomorrow’s opportunities.

Corporate Experience

Mike has been a pioneer in the digital space since the 1990s, running both successful start-up ventures as well as holding senior leadership positions in established media organizations. With a background in corporate law and management consulting, he began his career at XT3, a spin out from McKinsey and one of the first digital consulting firms created to help major companies embrace the embryonic Web. During the first dotcom boom, Mike launched the technology publishing group internet.com in Australia, which went on to become the leading local technology news and events platform in the country.

He also founded and ran Jupiter Research in the Asia Pacific, one of the first research agencies to track the early adoption of e-commerce and digital business models by online consumers. During this period, he was recognized as one of Australia’s “Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30.”

After his experiences in the Web space, Mike spent five years in senior strategy roles at News Corporation where he helped shape the digital strategy for both their Australian newspaper and Asian TV divisions. Directly engaged by the CEO of Star TV to provide the company with a digital roadmap for their operations, he began his in-depth research into the fast growth markets of Asia.

While in Hong Kong and inspired by the dramatic changes taking place in China and India, Mike founded his latest venture, Tomorrow – an innovation research lab focused on emerging technology and disruptive consumer behavior. Always in demand for his fresh insights and practical future-focused strategies, Mike has advised the CEOs and senior management teams at multinational companies including: the BBC, Fujifilm, Richemont, MSN, Star TV, Televisa, Philips, and HSBC.

In addition to his corporate profile, Mike is a published photographer and supporter of the Arts. His photographic images from his travels around the world helped his book, FUTURETAINMENT, win an Art Director’s Club award in NYC. He has also served on the Director’s Circle at the Australian Museum of Contemporary Art.

As a global nomad and consumer trend scout, Mike does live research, in the trenches, with big corporations and entrepreneurs all over the world bringing a truly global perspective to every event.

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Jennifer Fleiss

Jenny recently started Jetblack, the first portfolio company within Walmart’s startup incubator. As CEO and Co-Founder of Jetblack, she is disrupting traditional e-commerce with a personal shopping service over text message and voice to offer consumers highly-personalized, one-to-one shopping experiences. Jenny Co-Founded Rent the Runway, a business that has transformed the retail industry by making designer clothing rentals a convenient and accessible luxury experience for millions of women. During her time at Rent the Runway, Jenny wore many different hats, serving as President, Head of Logistics, Head of Business Development and Head of Special Projects. Jenny remains a Rent the Runway board member and adviser.

Jenny has been honored with numerous recognitions including: Inc. Magazine’s “30 Under 30”; Fortune Magazine’s “40 Under 40” and “Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs”; and Fast Company’s “Most Influential Women in Technology”. Prior to Rent the Runway, Jenny worked at Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley as part of their Strategic Planning Groups.

She earned her MBA from Harvard Business School and graduated Cum Laude from Yale University. She is Co-founder of the RTR Foundation, a proud advisor to several female-founded start-ups, serves on the advisory board of the HBS Startup Studio and is a guest lecturer at Yale, Princeton, NYU, Columbia and Harvard Business School. She currently resides in New York City with her husband and three children.

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Curt Steinhorst

Curt Steinhorst is the bestselling author of Can I Have Your Attention? Inspiring Better Work Habits, Focusing Your Team, and Getting Stuff Done in the Constantly Connected Workplace. He is on a mission to rescue us from our distracted selves. After years studying the impact of tech on human behavior, Curt founded Focuswise, a consultancy that equips organizations to overcome the distinct challenges of the constantly connected workplace.

Diagnosed with ADD as a child, Curt knows intimately the challenges companies face to keep the attention of today’s distracted workforce and customer. He has coached executives, TV personalities, and well-known professional athletes on how to effectively communicate and create focus when they speak to audiences, lead their employees, and engage their customers.

Curt’s unique insight and entertaining speaking style has captured the attention of audiences worldwide. He speaks more than seventy-five times a year to organizations that include everyone from global leadership associations and nonprofits to Fortune 100 companies.

Curt’s speeches on the topics of generations and Millennials occur on behalf of the Center for Generational Kinetics. The Center studies generational trends to convert them into breakthrough business opportunities. The organization and its founder, Jason Dorsey, has been featured on 20/20, the Today Show, 60 Minutes, and the View. Curt’s personal experiences leading Gen Y and his direct work with business leaders and top performers make him a powerful voice for and to the emerging workforce.

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Andrea Gonzales

Meet Andrea Gonzales, a CS and Journalism double major at UNC.

As a high school student and a classically trained pianist, she never thought of computer science as a career path until she saw Atlantis: The Lost Empire. One of the film’s characters, Audrey, was an engineer. Andrea applied for Girls Who Code in her pursuit to follow in Audrey’s footsteps. Her final project during the Summer Immersion Program was a game called Tampon Run, which became an overnight hit with its mission to de-stigmatize menstruation. She and her co-designer Sophie developed the concept as a response to feeling like they couldn’t openly discuss menstruation and wanted to create a game which could have a social impact.

The success of Tampon Run led to the book “Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting it Done“. Andrea will intern for Turn 10 Studios at Microsoft, and is a recipient of a Webby Award, Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award, and Crain’s New York 20 Under 20.

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Judy Woodruff

Broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff is the anchor and managing editor of the PBS NewsHour. She has covered politics and other news for more than four decades at NBC, CNN and PBS.

At PBS from 1983 to 1993, she was the chief Washington correspondent for the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. From 1984 – 1990, she also anchored PBS’ award-winning documentary series, “Frontline with Judy Woodruff.” Moving to CNN in 1993, she served as anchor and senior correspondent for 12 years; among other duties, she anchored the weekday program “Inside Politics.” She returned to the NewsHour in 2007, and in 2013, she and the late Gwen Ifill were named the first two women to co-anchor a national news broadcast. After Ifill’s death, Woodruff was named sole anchor.

In 2011, Judy was the anchor and reporter for the PBS documentary “Nancy Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime.” And in 2007, she completed an extensive project on the views of young Americans, titled “Generation Next: Speak Up. Be Heard.” Two hour-long documentaries aired on PBS, along with a series of reports on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, NPR, in USA Today and on Yahoo News.

From 2006 – 2013, Judy anchored a monthly program for Bloomberg Television, “Conversations with Judy Woodruff.” In 2006, she was a visiting professor at Duke University’s Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy. In 2005, she was a visiting fellow at Harvard University’s Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.

At NBC News, Woodruff was White House correspondent from 1977 to 1982. For one year after that she served as NBC’s Today Show chief Washington correspondent. She wrote the book, This is Judy Woodruff at the White House, published in 1982 by Addison-Wesley. Her reporting career began in Atlanta, Georgia, where she covered state and local government.

Woodruff is a founding co-chair of the International Women’s Media Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting and encouraging women in journalism and communication industries worldwide. She serves on the boards of trustee of the Freedom Forum, The Duke Endowment and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and is a director of Public Radio International and the National Association to End Homelessness. She is a former member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, a former director of the National Museum of American History and a former trustee of the Urban Institute.

Judy is a graduate of Duke University, where she is a trustee emerita. She is also the recipient of more than 25 honorary degrees.

She is the recent recipient of the Radcliffe Medal, the Poynter Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism, the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism from Arizona State University. She received the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award in Television from Washington State University, the Gaylord Prize for Excellence in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Oklahoma and the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media from the University of South Dakota. She was inducted into the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and received the Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association and the Duke Distinguished Alumni Award, among others.

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For descriptions of the session topics our breakout keynotes will be presenting on, visit our agenda page.

Bree Groff

Bree Groff is a speaker, consultant, and serves as CEO of NOBL Collective. Fortune 500 companies as well as the world’s fastest growing startups trust NOBL to accelerate their organizations through change.

For more than a decade, Bree has been focused on innovation, transformation, and organizational design, advising leaders at companies including Calvin Klein, Intel, AARP, Capital One, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Google.

Previously, Bree founded and led an Innovation Department, advised leaders as a Service Design Consultant, and explored communication, decision-making, and interpersonal chemistry as a Psychology Researcher. In previous careers, she performed as a stage actress and taught high school physics. She holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MS in Organizational Learning and Change from Northwestern University. She continues to teach Cognitive Design and Decision-Making at Northwestern.

Bree lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and 3 year old daughter.

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Natalie Nixon

Natalie W. Nixon, PhD is a design strategist and a hybrid thinker. At Figure 8 Thinking, LLC she helps organizations accelerate innovation and growth by developing meaningful strategy through design thinking and ethnographic research. As a scholar-entrepreneur, she applies her diverse background in service design, anthropology and fashion, to help clients with culture transformation, leadership development, ideation sessions and envisioning labs.

Natalie is a Fellow at the Paris d.School, a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania in social innovation and design for social impact and a Senior Advisor at Econsult Solutions. She is the Founding Director of the Strategic Design MBA program at Philadelphia University where she was a professor in design strategy and fashion management.

Natalie is a published author: the editor of Strategic Design Thinking: Innovation in Products, Services, Experiences and Beyond and a regular contributor to INC.com online magazine on creativity and design thinking. She is a global speaker and is represented by the BigSpeak speakers bureau. Her public speaking invitations have included the Business Innovation Factory, 360 Possibles (Saint Malo, France), Creative Mornings, TEDx Philadelphia, The Copenhagen Institute for Interactive Design, The European Innovation Academy (Nice, France), SEB Bank (Tallinn,Estonia), FUSE and the Mayo Clinic’s Transform conference.

She serves on the boards of the Alumni Association of Vassar College, the Philadelphia Art Commission and Leadership+Design.

Natalie earned her BA (Honors: Cum Laude) from Vassar College with a double major in Anthropology and Africana Studies; an MS in Global Textile Marketing from Philadelphia University (USA), Shenkar College (Israel) & Reutlingen University (Germany); and a PhD in Design Management from the University of Westminster, London.

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Tricia Wang

Global technology ethnographer Dr. Tricia Wang, helps companies innovate and grow by integrating big data — all that you know about your customers and your market — with thick data, the human element that is invisible to quantitative data analysis.

Tricia is the cofounder of Sudden Compass, a firm that helps companies leverage data to move at the speed of their customers. Past clients they have worked with include Fortune 500 companies to tech start-ups such as Proctor and Gamble to Spotify. She also co-founded Magpie Kingdom, a consultancy that advises companies on how to build off of cultural innovation in China and publishing their popular newsletter on youth and internet culture. She is a recognized leading authority on digital transformation, operationalizing data science, customer experience, and ethics of personal data usage in artificial intelligence. In addition to her work in industry, Tricia has spent decades researching youth culture, social media, and Chinese internet culture.

On the platform, Tricia is a warm and natural speaker, a creative and expressive storyteller. Her work resonates with a wide audience, from C-Suite leaders to data scientists to designers to marketers and to university students.

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