HWA New Speakers

HWA connects you with people who are actively engaged in changing the world.  These fresh voices add new perspective and insight to today's most important conversations.  

Give us a call to chat about these HWA New Speakers for a timely, buzz-worthy, straight-from-the-headlines event.

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News about our New Speakers

<p><strong>Jeff Flake is in-demand by top outlets and organizations </strong></p>

Jeff Flake is in-demand by top outlets and organizations

With nearly two decades of experience on Capitol Hill in both the Senate and House of Representatives, JEFF FLAKE (R-AZ) (2013-18) is able to candidly decode what to expect from the current administration and what is and isn't achievable in a newly-divided Congress. Sought-out to speak everywhere from the Forbes Under 30 Conference to Harvard Law School, and recently in-demand for engaging and refreshingly open in-depth interviews on CNNThe View, and 60 Minutes, Flake provides shrewd analysis on the current political environment, foreign affairs, trade and the economy, and more. Just following the midterm elections, he penned a widely-shared and insightful Washington Post op-ed on the future of the GOP. Currently making a principled stand by refusing to vote on judicial nominations until the Senate agrees to vote on protections for Robert Mueller, Flake has been making headlines in virtually every major outlet. His recently-published New York Times bestselling book Conscience of a Conservative was described in The Washington Post as "the single largest act of political bravery in the Trump era," and his, eloquent, impassioned and headline-making retirement speech, delivered from the Senate floor, condemned the "new normal" in politics with remarkable honesty. A candid and eloquent speaker with true insider knowledge, Flake offers audiences engaging, no-holds-barred analysis on politics today.   

<p>President Juan Manuel Santos is the subject of a powerful documentary </p>

President Juan Manuel Santos is the subject of a powerful documentary 

A new documentary Port of Destiny: Peace tells the powerful and inspirational story of Colombian President and Nobel Peace Prize winner JUAN MANUEL SANTOS' pursuit of peace in Colombia after five decades of civil war. The film reveals how Santos' persistence and dedication to peace transformed a country that was once the murder capital of the world into a global destination for investment and tourism. Directed by Emmy Award-winner Robert Abbot, Port of Destiny features interviews with former President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Tony Blair-- who offer intimate perspectives of their friend-- and draws on deep access to its Colombian subjects to tell the story of how Santos, a former military hawk, risked his career and his legacy to bring peace to his people. The documentary title, "Port of Destiny," is taken from one of Santos' signature maxims: that if you have a port of destiny, a true passion or calling, it is possible to surmount any obstacle and even the most unfavorable winds can help you reach your destination. Santos has shared his insights on global affairs, and empowering lessons peace and achieving the impossible with audiences around the world, from the World Economic Forum to We Day

Watch the trailer for Port of Destiny: Peace
<p>Cecile Richards' new book is an instant New York Times bestseller</p>

Cecile Richards' new book is an instant New York Times bestseller

CECILE RICHARDS' new book Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead, is an instant New York Times and Amazon Bestseller earning stellar reviews. A powerful story about learning to lead and making change, Make Trouble draws on Richards' decade of experience at the helm of Planned Parenthood, work as "heroine of the resistance" (Vogue), and lifetime dedication to fighting for women's rights and social justice. The book's reviews speak for themselves: “Cecile Richards’s story is powerful and infinitely readable. Whether you are newly ‘woke,’ a longtime activist, or just a caring citizen wondering how to advance democracy in hard times, Make Trouble has the answers... She is the best teacher on earth—someone you trust” (Women's Rights Icon Gloria Steinem);"With insight and humor, Cecile Richards offers a call to action for aspiring organizers and leaders. A must-read for anyone hoping to make a difference and trying to figure out where to start" (Senator Kamala Harris). In the wake of the book's release, Richards is making headlines and in-demand by major media outlets such as CBS’ This Morning, NPR, MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show and Morning Joe, Business Insider’s podcast, and more, for her insights and sharp commentary on leadership, women’s rights and politics. 

<p><strong>Ronan Farrow wins the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service</strong></p>

Ronan Farrow wins the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service

Investigative reporter RONAN FARROW was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for his culture-shifting reporting for The New Yorker on Harvey Weinstein, sexual harassment, and abuse of power. Awarded along with Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor of The New York Times, the Pulitzer Prize committee recognized the journalists’, “explosive, impactful journalism that exposed powerful and wealthy sexual predators, including allegations against one of Hollywood’s most influential producers, bringing them to account for long-suppressed allegations of coercion, brutality and victim silencing, thus spurring a worldwide reckoning about sexual abuse of women.” Farrow’s first article for The New Yorker, a seven-thousand-word investigation, shared the stories of multiple women who were assaulted by the film executive and served as a lightning rod for the important conversation surrounding workplace harassment and abuse of power. Farrow’s initial article was followed up with several subsequent New Yorker pieces, and Farrow has spoken up and shed light on the sobering details surrounding his investigations on NPRRachel MaddowABC This Week, and more, providing powerful commentary on his reporting and its implications.

<p><strong>Penny Prtizker is the co-chair of an independent task force on the future of work </strong></p>

Penny Prtizker is the co-chair of an independent task force on the future of work

Former Secretary of Commerce PENNY PRITZKER is the co-chair of the Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) independent task force on the future of work, which just published a groundbreaking report “The Work Ahead: Machines, Skills, and U.S. Leadership in the 21st Century”. Diving into the impacts of phenomenon like automation, artificial intelligence, and globalization, the report focuses on how to rebuild the links among work, opportunity, and economic security for all Americans in the face of accelerating change and offers recommendations for government, business, educators and nongovernmental institutions. Pritzker has been in-demand to decode the implications of the task force’s findings, making headlines for informative interviews in both Wired and Marketplace. A leading voice on the future of work and the skills needed to thrive in a 21st century, digitized economy, Pritzker currently serves on the Board of Directors of Microsoft and Measure, a drone service company, is on the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, is a member of the Aspen Economic Strategy Group, and serves as co-chair of the Cyber Readiness Institute.

<p><strong>Maria Shriver’s new book offers meaningful wisdom and guidance                          </strong></p>

Maria Shriver’s new book offers meaningful wisdom and guidance                         

New York Times Bestselling Author MARIA SHRIVER’s new book I’ve Been Thinking…, is a refreshingly honest and powerful source of wisdom, guidance and encouragement for those seeking a meaningful life. Already selected as one of Barnes & Noble's Books to Watch in 2018 and by Hoda Kotb for her "Favorite Things of the Week" on The Today ShowI’ve Been Thinking… draws on Maria's own experiences as a prominent woman juggling myriad professional and personal roles, revealing a roadmap for how to move forward in life in a positive and purpose-driven direction, I’ve Been Thinking… is one of those books people will turn to again and again, and is already receiving praise for its inspiration and tangible takeaways. “Maria Shriver is a beacon of compassion and understanding—a life force” (Journalist Tom Brokaw); “Maria Shriver is a person of unusual compassion, intelligence, and honor. If you want to feel uplifted, inspired, and comforted, read it. This book, like its author, is a precious gift to the world” (Bestselling Author Martha Beck). 

<p>Liza Donnelly’s creative use of technology results in one-of-a-kind presentations  </p>

Liza Donnelly’s creative use of technology results in one-of-a-kind presentations  

Award-winning New Yorker cartoonist LIZA DONNELLY adds an unforgettable element to every keynote through her multimedia, "live drawing" presentations, in which she draws on her iPad live on stage as she speaks, and has the images projected on the screen behind her. The approach makes for incredibly dynamic, captivating keynotes, that engage audiences on a visual and auditory level. At a recent event, tweets of praise from audience-members included: “@lizadonnelly keynote + live drawing + tips = inspired ”; “@lizadonnelly Yes. This. 100% So grateful to have the chance to listen to you”; “Gotta love technology --watching @lizadonnelly live draw on screen :)” Full of fresh ideas on how to strategically tap into the power of tech to spur creativity and create dialogue, Donnelly is frequently sought-out for her insights. She delivered a keynote on "Drawing Disruption" at the esteemed SXSW Festival about the power of digital storytelling, and has been a smash hit at major events from TED to InspireFestAs the InspireFest event-planner raved: "A unique and thought-provoking speaker, Liza Donnelly had the theatre in the palm of her hand... Liza's live drawing added a whole new layer of creativity to our event. Liza's thoughtful and smart interpretation of happenings and on-stage content brought a warmth and humanity to proceedings, and her ability to capture tone is unrivaled. Our community is full of passionate social media users, and Liza's drawing created a remarkable buzz around the event worldwide. What can we say? Liza is simply the best."

Watch some of LIZA DONNELLY's talks here  > >

Our New Speakers

HWA NEW

BAN KI-MOON

  • Secretary-General of the United Nations (2007-2016)
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Ban Ki-moon was the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 2007 to December 2016. Before becoming Secretary-General, Ban was a career diplomat in South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the United Nations.

Ban was the foreign minister of South Korea from January 2004 to November 2006. In February 2006 he began to campaign for the office of Secretary-General. As foreign minister of South Korea he was able to travel to all the countries on the United Nations Security Council, a maneuver that turned him into the campaign's front runner.

On 13 October 2006, he was elected to be the eighth Secretary-General by the United Nations General Assembly. On 1 January 2007, he succeeded Kofi Annan. As Secretary-General, he was responsible for several major reforms on peacekeeping and UN employment practices. Diplomatically, Ban has taken particularly strong views on global warming, pressing the issue repeatedly with U.S. President George W. Bush, and on the Darfur conflict, where he helped persuade Sudanese president to allow peacekeeping troops to enter Sudan.

Ban was named the world's 32nd most powerful person by the Forbes list of The World's Most Powerful People in 2013, the highest among South Koreans. In 2016, Foreign Policy named Ban one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers for his achievement of making the Paris Agreement a legally binding treaty less than a year after it was adopted.

HWA NEW

GARY COHN

  • Director, National Economic Council (2017-18)
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Gary D. Cohn is an American business leader, philanthropist and the former Director of the United States National Economic Council.

Mr. Cohn served as Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council from January 2017 through April 2018. As President Donald J. Trump’s chief economic advisor, Mr. Cohn managed the coordination of the President’s domestic and global economic policy agenda and led the Administration-wide effort to successfully pass the historic Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Mr. Cohn began a distinguished career in finance at The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. in 1990. He held a variety of leadership positions in the firm’s Securities Division in both New York and London, including Global Co-Head of the Equities and Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Divisions. He served as President and Chief Operating Officer from 2006-2016 and was a member of the firm’s Board of Directors and Chairman of the Firmwide Client and Business Standards Committee. Mr. Cohn is now Chairman of the Board at Pallas Advisors.

HWA NEW

TINA BROWN

  • Award-Winning Journalist, Author and Editor
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From editor to CEO, Tina Brown’s legendary career has been propelled by her talent for re-invention and leading organizations through extreme disruption. Her track record includes transforming Vanity Fair (increasing sales from 200,000 to 1.2 million), reinventing the New Yorker (increasing circulation by 30% and more than doubling newsstand sales), pioneering online journalism as the founder and editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast, and founding the global Women in the World Summit. 

With hard-won wisdom gained as a leader in one of the most disrupted industries of our time, Brown shares stories of radical reinvention in the face of shifting tastes, technologies, business models, customers and market conditions—including invaluable insights on what it takes to come out on top. Tina Brown is now CEO of Tina Brown Live Media and the visionary force behind Women in the World, a global platform dedicated to building a better life for women and girls. By convening inspirational activists, political change-makers and extraordinary leaders, Women in the World has also drawn luminaries such as Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Meryl Streep, Stacey Abrams, Brie Larson, Anna Wintour and Christine Lagarde. Under Brown’s leadership, Women in the World has become a platform for advocacy, awareness and connection. It has also showcased Tina Brown’s wit, intellect and talent for engaging audiences with her powerful storytelling and sharp moderation. 

Brown also hosts the podcast, “TBD with Tina Brown”, where she talks with entertaining candor to writers, actors, politicians, journalists, activists, thought leaders and news makers of tomorrow's social debates.  

Brown's storytelling, the early years of her celebrated career and the roaring ‘80s are showcased in her latest book, The Vanity Fair Diaries: 1983 – 1992. Selected as one of Time Magazine's top ten books of 2017, this funny, celebrity-studded account tells how she survived back-stabbing rivalries and rampant skepticism to turn around Conde Nast’s failing magazine. Behind the celebrated scoops and iconic magazine covers, Vanity Fair Diaries also tells an unforgettable account of radical reinvention, with valuable lessons for today’s climate of constant competition, change and disruption. In 2007 her biography of the Princess of Wales The Diana Chronicles was #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

Whether she’s sharing stories of triumphant turnarounds, speaking about the challenges of women leaders or advocating to improve the lives of women and girls, Tina Brown brings audiences into the influential circle, inspiring experiences and passionate mission of one of the most remarkable women in our world today.

HWA NEW

INDRA NOOYI

  • Chairman & CEO of PepsiCo (2006-2018)
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Former Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of PepsiCo Indra Nooyi is a business powerhouse, globally renowned for leading the company through a decade of tremendous growth and change. Praised for her prescient and strategic thinking, she was responsible for growing PepsiCo's revenues from $35 billion when she became CEO, to $63.5 billion in 2017. She oversaw a portfolio of global brands and diversified products enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. As PepsiCo’s director of global strategy for over a decade, Nooyi led the company's restructuring, including the divestiture of its restaurants into the successful YUM! Brands, Inc; the acquisition of Tropicana and merger with Quaker Oats; the merger with PepsiCo’s anchor bottlers; and the acquisition of Wimm-Bill-Dann, the largest international acquisition in PepsiCo’s history.

Celebrated for her hallmark motto of "do well by doing good," Nooyi was chief architect of Performance with Purpose, PepsiCo’s pledge to do what’s right for the business by being responsive to the needs of the world through sustainable growth initiatives such as making healthier and more nutritious products, limiting the company's environmental footprint, and empowering associates and people in the communities PepsiCo serves. Consistently ranked in Forbes' "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women," Fortune's "Most Powerful Women," and TIME's "100 Most Influential People in The World," Nooyi has been sought-out for her unparalleled business insights and empowering messages on leadership, inclusivity and change everywhere from The World Economic Forum to The Aspen Institute. 

HWA NEW

VENUS WILLIAMS

  • Iconic Tennis Champion, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist
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With 7 Grand Slam titles, 5 Wimbledon championships and 4 Olympic gold medals, tennis legend Venus Williams is arguably one of the most accomplished and inspiring women in the history of sports.

Beginning her rise to the top at the age of 14, Williams quickly took the world of tennis by storm rising to the top-ranked position, breaking countless records, and winning numerous championships.

Not only is Williams a force on the court, the fashion community has taken notice of her bold sense of style with numerous recognitions, including landing on Vogue ’s ‘Top 10 Best Dressed‘ list and Sports Illustrated’s ‘Fashionable 50.’

Encouraged by her mother at an early age to explore her creative side, Williams enrolled in fashion school where she was instantly drawn into the world of fashion and interior design. True to her bold spirit, Williams parlayed her fine-tuned business acumen with her healthy competitive spirit into two successful design ventures.

In 2002, after obtaining an Interior Decorator certification, Williams founded V Starr Interiors, a full-service commercial and residential interior design firm, which recently announced their partnership with Airbnb partner, Niido to design their first-ever apartment complex.

Continuing with her love for design, Williams obtained an Associate of Science in Fashion Design and in 2007 she launched the activewear brand, EleVen, the largest apparel line ever launched by a female athlete.

Sticking to her entrepreneurial spirit, in 2009 Williams along with her sister, Serena became the first female African-Americans to have a stake in an NFL franchise after joining the ownership group of the Miami Dolphins. The following year, Venus published her motivational book, "Come to Win" which reached No. 5 on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

Throughout her career, Williams has been a steadfast advocate for equality. In 2006 UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural organization titled her as the first “Promoter of Gender Equality.’ In 2007 it was her unwavering fight, which led Wimbledon to award women players the same pay as their male counterparts and in September 2009, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) honored Williams with the Americanism Award for publicly speaking up for Israeli player Shahar Pe'er who was barred from the Dubai tennis tournament.

Williams' achievements throughout her legendary career have merited her a plethora of additional accolades, including being honored as Glamour Magazine’s ‘Woman of the Year,’ ESPN’s ‘WTA Player of the Year,’ and Forbes’ ‘Celebrity 100’ among others. Williams holds Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Indiana University East and an Associate of Science in Fashion Design from The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.

HWA NEW

SERENA WILLIAMS

  • Iconic Tennis Champion, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist
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Serena Williams exemplifies courage, beauty, power and style. Currently ranked no. 1 in the world, Serena has overcome insurmountable odds to win 23 career Grand Slams. Her remarkable tennis achievements combined with her off-court success in film, television, fashion and philanthropy makes her one of the most recognizable global icons in the world.

Serena was born in Saginaw, Michigan to Richard Williams and Oracene Price. While still an infant, the family moved to Compton, California where she began playing tennis at the age of four. At nine, Serena and her family moved to Florida. Since that time, she has become one of the most dominant figures in tennis.

Serena has won the most Grand Slam singles titles in history, with her most recent win at the 2017 Australian Open. In the summer of 2016, Serena won the Wimbledon Championship in both singles and doubles alongside her sister Venus.

In 2015, Serena won four grand slams: Wimbledon, the French Open, the Australian Open, and the 2014 US Open, a feat affectionately known as the “Serena Slam” and ended the year on the cover of Sports Illustrated as their “Sportsperson of the Year.”

Overall, Serena has 23 Grand Slam singles titles and 14 Grand Slam doubles titles. She’s won 783 Professional singles matches, 185 doubles professional matches, 72 WTA singles titles, 23 WTA doubles titles, Gold Medal in Doubles in 2000 (Sydney), 2008 (Beijing), 2012 (London), and Gold Medal in Singles in 2012 (London).

Off the court, fashion, acting and dancing are Serena's passions. Named a “Fashion Trendsetter” by VOGUE , Serena used her passion to create her HSN Signature Statement collection and her most recent line premiered at New York Fashion Week in September 2016. In 2016 alone, Serena was featured on the covers of Self , Glamour , WSJ Magazine and FADER.

Serena is a dedicated philanthropist. She started the Serena Williams Fund, is a global Goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, and in the fall of 2016, she joined philanthropic forces with her sister Venus to establish the Williams Sister Fund where they launched their first endeavor in their hometown of Compton: the Yetunde Price Resource Center. Named after their eldest sister who was killed by senseless gun violence, the Resource Center conducts community asset inventory and develops a comprehensive resource network designed to connect residents affected by violence with service providers. In February 2016, Serena partnered with the Helping Hands Jamaica Foundation to build a school in Jamaica and has funded and opened two schools in Africa that are currently in operation.

Serena splits her time between Palm Beach, Florida and Los Angeles, California with her husband Alexis Ohanian and her newborn first child.

HWA NEW

TINA FEY

  • Award-winning Producer, Writer and Actress
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Tina Fey continues to be applauded for the iconic and groundbreaking seven-season run as the Executive Producer, head writer, and star of NBC's three-time (2007, 2008, 2009) Emmy Award-winning, one-of-a-kind comedy series, 30 Rock. Her performances as 'Liz Lemon' earned Fey an Emmy, two Golden Globes, four SAG Awards, and a People's Choice Award. In 2009, 30 Rock was nominated for a record 22 Emmy Awards, the most ever of any comedy series on television in a single season. From 2012 to 2013, 30 Rock received a total of 13 nominations for its final season, six of which were individual nominations for Fey.

Prior to creating 30 Rock, Fey completed nine seasons as head writer, cast member, and co-anchor of the "Weekend Update" segment on Saturday Night Live. Fey is an Emmy winner and two-time Writers Guild Award winner for her writing on Saturday Night Live and won an Emmy in 2009 for Guest Appearance by an Actress in a Comedy Series for her portrayal of Sarah Palin on the 2008-2009 season of SNL. Fey also made Emmy history in 2016 when she and Amy Poehler became the first joint winners of “Best Comedy Series Guest Actress” for their SNL co-hosting appearance.

Fey expanded to feature films in spring 2004 as both a screenwriter and an actress in the hit comedy, Mean Girls, which earned her a nomination for a Writers Guild Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. On the big screen, Fey starred opposite Amy Poehler in the film, Baby Mama, for Universal Pictures, which exceeded the $50 million dollar mark at the U.S. box office. In 2010, Fey starred in 20th Century Fox's film, Date Night, opposite Steve Carell and was a featured voice in the Dreamworks animated film, Megamind.

In April 2011, Fey released her first book entitled Bossypants, which topped the New York Times best seller list and remained for 39 consecutive weeks, and received a Grammy nomination for “Best Spoken Word Album”. Bossypants was released in paperback in January 2012 and has sold over 3.75 million copies thus far.

In 2015 Fey and writing partner, Robert Carlock, co-executive produced and created the hit Netflix original comedy, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, starring Ellie Kemper.  The series was nominated in the “Best Comedy” category for the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards, boasting four nominations for the talented cast, including a guest actress nod for Fey. After four successful seasons, the show wrapped the first ever comedy interactive special for Netflix, an exciting conclusion to the series.

In 2018, Fey's Broadway adaptation of Mean Girls opened at the August Wilson Theater. Directed by Casey Nicholaw, and with music written by her husband Jeff Richmond, the show received 12 Tony Award nominations, including best book by Tina Fey. 

Fey lives in New York with her husband, Jeff Richmond, and their two daughters.

 

HWA NEW

KOBE BRYANT

  • Five-time NBA Champion and Chief Executive Officer of Kobe, Inc.
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Kobe Bryant is a five-time NBA Champion, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, NBA MVP, two-time NBA Finals MVP and a 15-time All-NBA player. He has appeared in 17 NBA All Star Games, earning three NBA All Star MVP recognitions. He became the League’s youngest player ever to be named to the NBA’s All Defensive Team, to start an All-Star Game, and to earn All-Rookie honors. In December 2014, Bryant became the League’s 3rd all-time leading scorer, surpassing his basketball muse, Michael Jordan.

Bryant was selected with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets and was later acquired by the Los Angeles Lakers. Now in his 20th season, Kobe will be the first, and potentially only, NBA player to play all 20 seasons with the same team.

Throughout his career, Kobe has dedicated his philanthropic passion to a variety of causes benefitting children in need. He has served as the ambassador for After-School All-Stars and the United Way of Greater Los Angeles HomeWalk. He has partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help fulfill hundreds of wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.

In 2006, he launched the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation to improve the lives of young people though access to sports, mentorship and economic empowerment. In 2009, Bryant partnered with the Soong Ching Ling Foundation to create the Kobe China Fund dedicated to the welfare and education of youth in China. Since 2007, Bryant hosts the Kobe Academy camp to teach children fundamental basketball skills and life lessons to be successful.

Through his investment entity, Bryant has invested in several entrepreneurial companies who share in his vision to build athletic excellence. Most notably, Bryant has invested in Body Armor sports drink and the Players Tribune media platform.

To start building his post-basketball career, Bryant formed Kobe Inc. in 2013. Kobe Inc. is a multi-media content creation company focused on helping athletes learn the process of excellence and maximizing potential. Kobe Inc.’s first project, Kobe Bryant’s Muse , debuted on Showtime in February 2015 and in China in August 2015 via a partnership with the Alibaba Group. Bryant executive produced the first-of-its-kind documentary, which earned a Clio Award in May 2015. Other athletes have now adopted the Muse documentary format as the gold standard for storytelling. Kobe Inc. is headquartered in Newport Beach, CA.

In 2018, Bryant released his first book, The Mamba Mentality, revealing his detailed approach to excelling at basketball. 

HWA NEW

LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA

  • Award-Winning Composer, Lyricist, and Performer
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Lin-Manuel Miranda is an award-winning composer, lyricist, and performer, as well as a 2015 MacArthur Foundation Award recipient. His most recent musical, Hamilton - with book, music and lyrics by Mr. Miranda, in addition to him playing the title role - opened on Broadway in 2015. Hamilton was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Drama and received a record-breaking 16 Tony nominations - including 3 nominations for Lin-Manuel for Book, Score and Leading Actor in a Musical. The Original Broadway Cast Recording of Hamilton won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. Both Mr. Miranda and Hamilton won the 2016 Drama League Awards for Distinguished Performance and Outstanding Production of a Musical, respectively. For its Off-Broadway sold-out run at the Public Theater, Hamilton received a record-breaking 10 Lortel Awards, as well as 3 Outer Critic Circle Awards, 8 Drama Desk Awards, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best New Musical, and an OBIE for Best New American Play. Hamilton is the 2015 recipient of the the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History. Material from the show was previewed at the White House during its first-ever Evening of Poetry & Spoken Word in 2009, in Lincoln Center Theater’s 2012 American Songbook Series and at New York Stage and Film’s 2013 Powerhouse Theatre Season at Vassar College.

Mr. Miranda’s first Broadway musical, In the Heights , received four 2008 Tony Awards (including Best Orchestrations, Best Choreography and Best Musical), with Miranda receiving a Tony Award for Best Score, as well as a nomination for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. Off-Broadway ,In the Heights received 9 Drama Desk Nominations (including Best Music, Best Lyrics) and an award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance. In the Heights also won the Lucille Lortel Award and Outer Critic's Circle Award for Best Musical. Additionally, Mr. Miranda received an Obie Award for Outstanding Music and Lyrics for the show. In the Heights also took home a 2009 Grammy Award for its Original Broadway Cast Album and was recognized as a Finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in Drama. In 2016, Miranda received the Oliver Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music for the Original London production of In The Heights.

Mr. Miranda is the co-composer (with Tom Kitt), and co-lyricist (with Amanda Green) of Broadway’s Bring it On: The Musical (2013 Tony Nom., Best Musical, 2013 Drama Desk Nom., Best Lyrics in a Musical). The original Broadway cast recording was released by Sh-K-Boom Records in 2012. Additionally, he contributed new songs to the revival of Stephen Schwartz' Working and worked with Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim on Spanish translations for the 2009 Broadway Revival of West Side Story. In 2014, Mr. Miranda received an Emmy Award with Tom Kitt for their song, “Bigger” from the 67th Annual Tony Awards telecast.

As an actor, Mr. Miranda received a 2007 Theater World Award for Outstanding Debut Performance, and the 2007 Clarence Derwent Award for Most Promising Male Performance courtesy of Actor's Equity Foundation for In The Heights. Mr. Miranda also received the ASCAP Foundation's Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award. Lin-Manuel appeared as Charley Kringas in the 2012 City Center Encores! production of Merrily We Roll Along directed by James Lapine, and can be heard on the 2012 Cast Recording released by PS Classics. He also appeared in the 2014 City Center Encores! Off-Center production of tick, tick… BOOM! in the role of Jonathan.

In May of 2009, Mr. Miranda received the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from Yeshiva University, the youngest recipient of such an honor in the University’s 123-year history. He is a National Arts Club Medal of Honor recipient. Mr. Miranda serves as a Council Member of The Dramatists Guild, board member of Young Playwrights Inc. and was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio to New York City’s Theater Subdistrict Council in 2015.

Mr. Miranda is a co-founder and member of Freestyle Love Supreme, a popular hip-hop improv group that performs regularly in New York City. The group has toured the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as well as the Aspen, Melbourne and Montreal Comedy Festivals. The group’s eponymous television series premiered on Pivot TV in 2014.

Mr. Miranda has lent his voice to the audiobook recordings of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saen. He provided the voice of Zak in Coca Cola’s 2013 Polar Bears animated short film. TV/Film credits include The Electric Company , Sesame Street , The Sopranos , House , Modern Family, Do No Harm, Smash , How I Met Your Mother, The Sex and the City Movie, The Odd Life of Timothy Green and 200 Cartas. He received his B.A. from Wesleyan University in 2002. He lives in NYC with his wife, son and dog.

HWA NEW

AMY POEHLER

  • Award-Winning Comedian, Actress and Producer
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Amy Poehler is one of Hollywood’s most versatile and sought-after talents with credits including that of actress, writer, executive producer, and best-selling author. She currently appears as co-host (alongside Nick Offerman) and executive producer of the hit crafting competition series, Making It, which is currently in production on its second season. She also recently produced, starred in, and made her directorial debut in the much-buzzed-about Netflix comedy film, Wine Country. She also continues to produce the award-winning online website, “Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls,” which showcases real girls who are changing the world by being themselves.

Off-screen, Poehler has multiple projects in development and/or production as part of her successful production company, Paper Kite Productions. She serves as executive producer of the Emmy-nominated Netflix series, Russian Doll, starring Natasha Lyonne. She is also co-creator, executive producer, and will lend her voice to FOX’s upcoming animated series, Duncanville, which centers on the life of Duncan (voiced by Poehler), a spectacularly average 15 year old boy, his family, and friends. Forthcoming projects include Adult Swim’s half-hour comedy pilot, Three Busy Debras; the film adaptations of the feminist young adult novel, Moxie, the children’s fiction book, The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, and the Rebecca Makkai-authored The Great Believers; the forthcoming Riki Lindhome comedy, Tails; and an untitled basketball comedy feature for Universal that she will also star in.

Poehler is perhaps best known for her starring role on the Emmy-nominated NBC comedy series, Parks and Recreation, which completed its seventh and final season in February 2015. Her portrayal of Leslie Knope earned her a 2014 Golden Globe award for “Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical, or Comedy,” the award for “Best Actress in a TV Comedy” at the 2014 American Comedy Awards, and a 2013 Gracie Award. For her work on the show, Poehler also received six consecutive Emmy nominations, two additional Golden Globe nominations, and three Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations.

In the film world, Poehler co-starred opposite Will Ferrell in The House and opposite Tina Fey in Sisters. She also lent her voice as the character “Joy” in Disney Pixar’s Oscar-winning smash hit, Inside Out. Her additional film credits include Wet Hot American Summer, They Came Together, A.C.O.D., Free Birds, Are You Here, Baby Mama, Blades of Glory, and Mean Girls. Her voice has also been heard in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, Monsters vs. Aliens, Horton Hears a Who!, and box office hit, Shrek the Third.

Poehler’s first book, Yes Please, was released in October 2014 and debuted at #1 on the New York Times Best Sellers list. The book went on to spend over 23 weeks on the list.

After her much buzzed about portrayal of Senator Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Presidential Election, Poehler completed her eighth and final season of Saturday Night Live (and her fifth as the co-anchor of “Weekend Update”). That year she received her first Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series” for her work on Saturday Night Live. This was an unprecedented nomination, making her the first performer in SNL history to land a spot in this category. She went on to receive a second nomination for her work on her final season the following year. In December 2015, Poehler returned to the SNL stage to co-host the show alongside Tina Fey. The duo’s performance led them to win the 2016 Emmy Award for “Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.”

Poehler joined the SNL cast from the Upright Citizens Brigade, a sketch/improv troupe that she co-founded and continues to be heavily involved in. The group has opened theaters which are regarded as the premiere sketch/improv comedy venues in New York City and Los Angeles.

Poehler co-hosted the Golden Globe Awards alongside Tina Fey for three consecutive years from 2013-2015, a role that was consistently met with much critical acclaim. She has also made memorable appearances on television ranging from Arrested Development and Wonder Showzen, and she was also a voice on The Simpsons.

She currently splits her time between New York and Los Angeles.

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WHOOPI GOLDBERG

  • Award-Winning Actress and Comedian
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In 2002, Whoopi Goldberg became one of a very elite group of artists who have won the Grammy (Whoopi Goldberg, 1985), the Academy Award (Ghost, 1991), the Golden Globe (The Color Purple, 1985 and Ghost, 1991), the Emmy (as host of AMC’s Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel, 2002 and a Daytime Emmy for The View in 2009) and a Tony (Producer of Thoroughly Modern Millie, 2002). She is equally well-known for her humanitarian efforts on behalf of children, the homeless, human rights, education, substance abuse and the battle against AIDS, as well as many other causes and charities. Among her many charitable activities, Whoopi is a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations.

Whoopi has appeared in many films such as Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Sister Act, Corrina, Corrina, Boys on the Side, Eddie, The Associate, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Girl, Interrupted, and Rat Race. She has voiced characters in such animated features as The Lion King, Racing Stripes, Doogal, and Everyone’s Hero. She was part of Tyler Perry’s all-star film adaption of For Colored Girls… a Lifetime Original Movie, A Day Late and a Dollar Short, which she also executive produced, as well as Paramount/Nickelodeon Movies’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the upcoming feature film Big Stone Gap. She produced the documentary short, Coach, about legendary coach C. Vivian Stringer, for ESPN’s Nine for IX series. She produced and made her directorial debut with the documentary, Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley, which premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival and premiered on HBO in November 2013.

On television she has appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation, hosted her own syndicated late-night talk show, starred in the NBC sitcom, Whoopi, which she executive produced, as well as the television movies, It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie and Showtime’s Good Fences, which she co-produced with co-star Danny Glover. She produced and appeared on Nick Jr’s Whoopi’s Littleburg and guest starred opposite Benjamin Bratt in A&E’s The Cleaner. Whoopi most recently had recurring roles on ABC’s 666 Park Avenue, and in the FOX comedy series Glee. She currently appears on ABC’s Emmy Award-winning The View, for which she has won a Daytime Emmy Award.

As she has in every other facet of her career, Whoopi has made her mark as a producer on television and on Broadway including SISTER ACT, which is currently playing throughout the world.

In 1992, Whoopi made her debut as an author with her first children’s book, Alice. Her second literary endeavor, simply entitled Book, became a bestseller in the U.S. and around the world. Hyperion Books published Whoopi’s Big Book of Manners in 2006 and launched the Sugar Plum Ballerinas book series for young readers in 2008 with Plum Fantastic, followed by Toeshoe Trouble, Perfectly Prima, Terrible Terrel, Sugar Plums to the Rescue!, and Dancing Diva. Is It Just Me? and If Someone Says ‘You Complete Me,’ RUN! are her most recent books for adults.

Among her many awards and honors, Whoopi has placed prints of her hands, feet and braids in the forecourt of the famed Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of the Kodak Theatre.

HWA NEW

ALEX RODRIGUEZ

  • Iconic Athlete, 3x MVP, and World Baseball Champion
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Over the course of his iconic baseball career, Mr. Rodriguez also built a tremendously successful investment firm with the purchase of a single duplex in 2003. Mr. Rodriguez subsequently founded A-Rod Corp, and created a fully-integrated real estate investment and development firm, while managing a record-breaking baseball career. Following the company’s success in real estate, A-Rod Corp broadened its investment mandate to encompass assets across a wider array of industries, including sports and wellness, media, and entertainment. With a flexible and opportunistic investment mandate, the firm focuses on long-term ownership opportunities, where it can add value and deliver superior, risk-adjusted returns. Today, A-Rod Corp is a fully integrated investment firm, led by Alex Rodriguez and a team of seasoned investment professionals, that manages both internal and external capital and employs more than 500 people.

 

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JEFF FLAKE

  • U.S. Senator (R-AZ) (2013-2018)
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Jeff Flake has nearly two decades of experience on Capitol Hill in both the Senate and House of Representatives. Heralded as an "ideal public servant" in The New York Times, Flake is renowned for his bravery in speaking out against the current administration, his principled stands on spending and free trade, and his shrewd negotiations and bipartisanship on complicated issues such as immigration. 

A traditionally conservative Republican, Flake defended the core values and principles of his party-- and revealed how they are currently under threat-- in his New York Times bestselling book Conscience of a Conservative, which was described in The Washington Post as, "the single largest act of political bravery in the Trump era." His eloquent, impassioned and headline-making retirement speech, delivered from the Senate floor, further condemned the "new normal" in politics. He is a current contributor for CBS News where he will be launching a new series called Common Ground, which focuses on opposing groups coming together. 

A passionate and principled defender of "country over party," Flake famously invited Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich on a six-day survival adventure on an island in Micronesia to develop an idea to end partisan gridlock. Their experiences were featured on a Discovery Channel reality TV show, Rival Survival.

Sought-out to speak everywhere from the Forbes Under 30 Conference to Harvard Law School, Flake shares substantive, candid insights on the current political environment and what is and isn't achievable in Washington, as well as shrewd analysis on foreign affairs, trade and the economy, and more. 

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STACEY ABRAMS

  • Political Leader, Non-Profit CEO & Serial Entrepreneur
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Political leader, nonprofit CEO, author, and serial entrepreneur Stacey Abrams made history and captured the nation's attention as the first Black woman to become the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in any state, going on to win more votes than any other Democrat in Georgia's history. After eleven years in the Georgia House of Representatives, seven as Minority Leader, Abrams became the 2018 Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia in what was one of the most-watched and closest elections of the year. After witnessing the election’s mismanagement by the Secretary of State’s office, Abrams launched Fair Fight to ensure free and fair elections. 

Sought-out to speak everywhere from TED, where her talk has racked up over a million views and counting, to college campuses, to the Commonwealth Club, Abrams is a powerful and passionate speaker heralded for her candid insights on politics, leadership, entrepreneurship, social justice, and being a true force for change. As TIME wrote of her, "People tend to remember the first time they heard Stacey Abrams speak, and it’s easy to see why." Abrams'  New York Times bestselling book Lead from the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change, is a personal and empowering blueprint for outsiders who seek to become the ones in charge. From her experiences launching a company, to starting a day care center for homeless teen moms, to running a successful political campaign, Abrams illuminates that finding what you want to fight for is as critical as knowing how to turn thought into action.

Dedicated to civic engagement, Abrams has founded multiple organizations devoted to voting rights, training and hiring young people of color, and tackling social issues at both the state and national levels. A recipient of Harvard's Institute of Politic's John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award, Abrams has also been named a "Public Official of the Year" by Governing Magazine. 

 

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JUAN MANUEL SANTOS

  • President of Colombia (2010-2018)
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Juan Manuel Santos is the two-term President of Colombia (2010-2014 / 2014-2018). Recognized as one of the most influential leaders in the world, President Santos ushered in a new era of prosperity, peace, equity, and education throughout Colombia during his tenure. 

Due to his tenacity and determination to achieve peace and reconciliation in Colombia, in 2016 the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded President Santos the Nobel Peace Prize "for his resolute efforts to bring the country's more than 50-year-long civil war to an end." Santos has also been twice-named to TIME’s "100 Most Influential People" and was honored with the World Economic Forum’s Global Statesman Award.

During his administration, Colombia became the region´s leader in economic growth, job creation, reduction of poverty and extreme poverty, sustainable development and the enhancement of Information and Communications Technology. In addition, his administration reduced the housing deficit by half and launched the most ambitious infrastructure plan in Colombia's history.  He also published several books, including The Third Way, which he wrote with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Jaque al Terror (Checkmate to Terror), in which he describes how he successfully fought the FARC.

Sought-out to speak everywhere from Harvard University to the World Economic Forum, in his compelling keynotes Santos shares his reflections on the challenges of leadership, revealing what allowed him to change Colombia's history and make the impossible, possible. He delivers a message of unity and humanity that is inspiring, refreshing and necessary amid these turbulent political times. Santos also offers shrewd insights and analysis on issues such as the global economic outlook, global security, and foreign affairs.

HWA NEW

H.R. MCMASTER

  • National Security Advisor to President Trump (2017-18)
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Former National Security Advisor, Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster is a preeminent voice on leadership, global security and international affairs, recognized for his leadership in the Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Named one of TIME's "100 Most Influential People in the World" and Fortune's "50 World's Greatest Leaders", McMaster is renowned as a "warrior-intellectual" who not only excelled in combat but also wrote an award-winning and New York Times bestselling book, Dereliction of Duty.

McMaster was commissioned in the United States Army upon graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1984.  His command assignments in the United States Army include: Commanding General, Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning; Commander, Combined Joint Inter-Agency Task Force Shafafiyat (Transparency) in Kabul, Afghanistan; and Commander, Third Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Carson, Colorado and Iraq.  He also served as Special Assistant to Commander, Multinational Force Iraq, and as an Assistant Professor of History at West Point. He was a research fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace, and a Senior Consulting Fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. McMaster has published scores of essays, articles, and book reviews on leadership, history, and the future of warfare in many publications including Foreign Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times.  He was a contributing editor for Survival magazine from 2010-2017, and is currently a Senior Fellow at The Hoover Institution. 

HWA NEW

ROBERT GIBBS

  • Executive Vice President & Global Chief Communications Officer, McDonalds (2015-19)
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A top advisor to President Obama for nearly a decade and the former Executive Vice President and Global Chief Communications Officer of McDonald's (2015-19), Robert Gibbs is a communication expert who offers audiences a unique perspective on today's political, business and media environment. Drawing on his experience as both a Washington insider and executive at one of the most recognizable companies in the world, Gibbs provides robust insights into everything from the economy and regulatory environment, to healthcare reform, to the 2020 election. 

 

HWA NEW

TARANA BURKE

  • Founder of the Me Too Movement
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Tarana Burke is best known for founding the 'me too' Movement and has dedicated her life to social justice work and giving strength to those who experienced sexual trauma or harassment. Honored as one of The Silence Breakers named TIME's 2017 Person of the Year, and named to TIME's "100 Most Influential People of 2018"  Years before 'me too' became a viral hashtag, Burke founded Just Be Inc., a non-profit that helps victims. 

The simple yet courageous #metoo hashtag campaign has generated over 13 million Facebook posts and Tweets, emerging as a rallying cry for people everywhere who have survived sexual assault and sexual harassment. Tarana’s powerful, poignant story as creator of what is now an international movement that supports survivors will move, uplift, and inspire you.

#metoo is not just an overnight hashtag sensation; Tarana has dedicated more than 25 years of her life to social justice and to laying the groundwork for a movement that was initially created to help young women of color who survived sexual abuse and assault. The movement now inspires solidarity, amplifies the voices thousands of victims of sexual abuse, and puts the focus back on survivors.

A sexual assault survivor herself, Tarana is now Executive Director of the 'me too' organization. On stage, Tarana provides insight into the current state of affairs and outpouring of sexual assault and harassment allegations, addresses pressing issues of respect, dignity and power dynamics in schools, workplaces and politics, and shines a light on the stories of survivors and voices that continue to be marginalized. 

HWA NEW

KEVIN HASSETT

  • Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers (2017-19)
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Dr. Kevin Hassett is among the world's leading economists, and served as the 29th Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers from 2017 through 2019.

While working in the Trump White House, Hassett was a key force driving internal and external debate on virtually every economic topic, from taxes and trade, to substance abuse and deregulation. While at the White House, Hassett was the top public spokesperson for the White House on economic policy and the state of economy, appearing regularly on Fox, Fox Business, CNBC, MSNBC, Bloomberg, CNN, and more.  Hassett was even drawn upon at times to run the televised White House press briefings. 

Sought-out by numerous presidential candidates, Hassett served as John McCain's chief economic adviser in the 2000 presidential primaries and an economic adviser to the campaigns of George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election and McCain in the presidential election of 2008. 

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RAHM EMANUEL

  • 55th Mayor of Chicago
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Rahm Emanuel was the 55th mayor of the City of Chicago.

Following his election in 2011, Mayor Emanuel led major investments across education, youth programming, neighborhood development, transportation, infrastructure, public health, and public safety.

Over Mayor Emanuel’s tenure, Chicago’s students experienced record education gains, while the city led the nation in corporate relocations for five consecutive years and led the nation in foreign direct-investment for six consecutive years.

Mayor Emanuel has also marked record progress in reducing Chicago’s structural deficit from $635.6 million in 2012 to $97.9 million for 2019 – the lowest it has been since 2007.

Previously, Mayor Emanuel served as White House Chief of Staff for President Barack Obama, three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Illinois’ 5th District, and was a key member of the Clinton White House.

He is married to Amy Rule, and they have three children.

 

HWA NEW

CHRIS CHRISTIE

  • Former Governor of New Jersey (2010-2018)
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Chris Christie was inaugurated as the 55th Governor of the State of New Jersey on January 19, 2010. He was re-elected with 60% of the vote in November of 2013 and served two terms as Governor. He left office in January of 2018. 

During his time in office, Governor Christie emphasized the issues of fiscal responsibility, pension and health benefit reform, education reform and the opioid crisis gripping his state and the nation. His March 2017 law restricting opioid prescriptions led to a 26% reduction in those prescriptions in its first year. He also devised the state’s groundbreaking response to Superstorm Sandy, leading the rebuilding of the state’s housing, infrastructure and public schools and setting a bi-partisan example for storm recovery.

Governor Christie was a leader among his colleagues as Governor. He was elected Chairman of the Republican Governors Association in 2014, leading the organization to a record fundraising effort and the election of 31 Republican Governors. This was after he served as Vice-Chairman of the RGA in 2012. He also was elected to the Executive Committee of the National Governors Association and served from 2010-2013.

On March 29, 2017, President Donald J. Trump appointed Governor Christie as Chairman of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. Governor Christie led the Commission on a seven-month investigation of this issue, holding hearings around the country. The Commission issued an interim report on July 31, 2017 and a final report on November 1, 2017. The reports contained more than 65 substantive recommendations, all of which were adopted by President Trump.

Prior to his service as Governor, he served as the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey from January 2002 to December 2008. He was nominated by President George W. Bush on December 7, 2001 and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on December 20, 2001. As the chief federal law enforcement officer in New Jersey for seven years, he led the fight on terrorism in the post-9/11 period, increased resources to fight gang violence, gun crimes and political corruption. His office brought 130 cases prosecuting political corruption at all levels of New Jersey government and never lost a case. He served as one of seventeen U.S. Attorneys on the Attorney Generals Advisory Council in Washington, DC.

He was in the private practice of law from 1987-2001 specializing in corporate law, securities matters and appellate advocacy. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a B.A. in Political Science in 1984. He was awarded a Juris Doctor degree by Seton Hall University School of Law in 1987. He is admitted to the Bar of the State of New Jersey, the U.S. District Court of New Jersey and the United States Supreme Court.

He is now a Senior Legal and Political Commentator for ABC News and the Managing Member of the Christie Law Firm and Christie 55 Solutions, LLC in Morristown, NJ.

In 2019, Christie released Let Me Finish, a no-holds-barred account of his rise to power. In the book, Christie details what really happened on the 2016 campaign trail, sets the record straight about his time as a corruption-fighting prosecutor and more. 

Governor Christie married his wife Mary Pat in 1986. They have four children: Andrew, Sarah, Patrick and Bridget. They currently reside in Mendham and Bay Head, New Jersey.

HWA NEW

KEN LANGONE

  • Co-Founder, The Home Depot
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Iconoclastic entrepreneur and business legend Ken Langone is renowned as the co-founder of The Home Depot, where he was lead director and a member of the executive committee of its board since the company's founding, helping it expand to a national chain with over 2,000 locations and 400,000 employees. A pillar of corporate America for decades, Langone is the Founder and CEO of investment banking firm Invemed Associates LLC, served as CEO and President of Geeknet, Inc. (2011-2013), and was a director of the New York Stock Exchange. 

Langone's recently released New York Times bestseller, I Love Capitalism!: An American Story, tells his compelling personal story rising up from a low-income family to becoming one of America's most successful businessmen. A passionate defender of the American Dream, Langone demonstrates that everyone is entitled to dream big and reach their maximum potential. Langone provides on-the-nose business insights, sharp analysis on the current political and economic climate, and real-life, empowering, inspiration on success and leadership. 

A world-class philanthropist, Langone's many contributions include a major gift to NYU's Medical Center, resulting in its renaming as the NYU Langone Medical Center. He also serves on the boards of Unifi, Inc., Micell Technologies, Relationship Sciences and Juice Press. 

HWA NEW

JACK LEW

  • Secretary of the Treasury (2013-2016)
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Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew (2013- 2017) has served as the most senior economic official in the U.S. government, helping to shape policies that drove the longest economic recovery in American history.  At Treasury, he oversaw all aspects of international and domestic fiscal policy, including issues related to financial regulation, global sanctions regimes, tax policy, debt management, and trade.  As a speaker, he brings the freshest insights and an insider's knowledge of the individual people and policies affecting the direction of the global economy.  Secretary Lew addresses these issues both from an historical perspective -- given his over 30 years of government experience -- and by looking forward to how the new Administration and Congress may tackle the many challenges they face.  With his unique perspective, Secretary Lew presents an engaging view of how complex financial and geopolitical forces are shaping our economy, both domestically and overseas.

HWA NEW

ERIN BROCKOVICH

  • Iconic environmental activist and consumer advocate
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Say the name Erin Brockovich and you think, strong, tough and stubborn. Erin is all that and definitely more. She is a modern-day “David” who loves a good brawl with today’s “Goliaths”.  She thrives on being the voice for those who don’t know how to yell.  She is a rebel. She is a fighter. She is a mother. She is a woman. She is you and me.

It’s been over 15 years since Julia Roberts starred in the Oscar-winning tour de force, Erin Brockovich. The film turned an unknown legal researcher into a 20th century icon by showcasing how her dogged persistence was the impelling force behind the largest medical settlement lawsuit in history. Since then, Erin hasn’t been resting on her laurels…she continues to fight hard and win big!

This gutsy broad doesn’t apologize for who she is. She has always loved going head to head with the big boys and was never intimated by their bravado. She learned how to come out on top from her tight-knit mid-western family in Lawrence, Kansas. Erin was the youngest child of an industrial engineer father and journalist mother. Her parents always believed that she could do anything she set her mind to if she learned to focus her amazing energy.

After a few years roaming around at various colleges, Erin decided that she wanted to be a California girl. She first landed a job as a management trainee for K-Mart, but when that didn’t make her swagger, she decided to study electrical engineering. But that wasn’t enough for the Kansas beauty.  On a fluke, she entered the Miss Pacific Coast beauty pageant, and, not surprisingly, won the title.  When she realized that beauty pageants weren’t her thing, Erin, her husband, and her two children settled in Reno, Nevada. After divorcing, the single mother became a secretary at a brokerage firm where she met and married her second husband. But that marriage was short lived, and the now mother of three was solo again.

Up until this point, Erin was the average divorced single mother trying to make a living, until she crossed paths with lawyer, Ed Masry, and this meeting changed the course of both of their lives.

After being seriously injured in a traffic accident in Reno, Erin moved back to California’s San Fernando Valley and hired Masry & Vititoe to represent her. They won a small settlement, but she still needed work, so she got a job at the law firm as a file clerk.  It was while organizing papers on a pro bono real estate case that Erin first found medical records that would explode into the largest direct action lawsuit in US history.

Erin’s exhaustive investigation uncovered that Pacific Gas & Electric had been poisoning the small town of Hinkley’s Water for over 30 years. It was because of Erin’s unwavering tenacity that PG&E had now been exposed for leaking toxic Chromium 6 into the ground water. This poison affected the health of the population of Hinkley. In 1996, as a result of the largest direct action lawsuit of its kind, spearheaded by Erin and Ed Masry, the utility giant was forced to pay out the largest toxic tort injury settlement in US history: $333 million in damages to more than 600 Hinkley residents.

The story and eventual film made “Erin Brockovich” a household name. Over time, Erin realized that she could use her notoriety to spread positive messages of personal empowerment and to encourage others to stand up and make a difference.

Erin Brockovich has conquered all forms of media.  Her first TV project was ABC’s 2001 Special, Challenge America With Erin Brockovich, where she helped motivate and organize the rebuilding of a dilapidated park in downtown Manhattan. This show is best described as “Extreme Make-Over Home Edition on steroids”. For three seasons, Erin hosted the Lifetime series, Final Justice With Erin Brockovich. The show celebrated everyday women who triumphed when faced with overwhelming adversity.

Erin then dominated the world of publishing with her New York Times Business Bestseller, Take It From Me: Life’s A Struggle, But You Can Win.  She has also written two fiction novels, Rock Bottom and Hot Water.

Because of her fighting spirit, Erin has become the champion of countless women and men. She is this generation’s “Dear Abby”, and in fact receives thousands of “Dear Erin” letters and emails each year from people who are begging for help and support in their own personal struggles. Erin proudly answers every one of them.

As President of Brockovich Research & Consulting, she is currently involved in numerous environmental projects worldwide.  She has requests for her help in ground water contamination complaints in every state of the US, Australia, and other international hot spots. She is currently working on cases in California, Texas, Florida, Michigan, Illinois, and Missouri.

Erin is one of the most requested speakers on the international lecture circuit and travels the world for personal appearances.  She is a true American hero whose icon status and “stick-to-it-iveness” only fuels her determination to expose injustice and lend her voice to those who do not have one.

HWA NEW

LISA LING

  • Emmy Award-Winning Journalist
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Lisa Ling is the executive producer and host of This is Life with Lisa Ling   on CNN. Lisa explores the scourge prescription pill addiction in Utah, the recent influx of women in North Dakota’s boomtown and a town in the rural Midwest where young men aspire to be priests.

For five seasons prior, Ling executive produced and hosted Our America   on OWN: the Oprah Winfrey Network. Lisa embedded in a Midwest town ravaged by an onslaught of heroin, got exclusive access inside an anti-gay religious movement, witnessed the manifestation of PTSD in returning veterans of war and went undercover to investigate the under-age sex trafficking of minors in the nation’s capitol. She has also profiled Americans living beneath the poverty line for the first time and people serving unimaginably lengthy prison sentences for crimes they did not commit.

As the former field correspondent for The Oprah Winfrey Show  and contributor to ABC News' Nightline  and National Geographic's Explorer ,  Lisa Ling has reported from dozens of countries, covering stories about gang rape in the Congo, bride burning in India, the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda and the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang in Central America, among other issues that are too often ignored.

Lisa got her start in journalism as a correspondent for Channel One News, where she covered the civil war in Afghanistan at 21 years of age as well as stories in dozens of countries around the world. She later went on to become a co-host of ABC Daytime's hit show The View , which won its first daytime Emmy during her time at the show.

Lisa is the co-author of Mother, Daughter, Sister, Bride: Rituals of Womanhood   and Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home ,  which she penned with her sister, Laura. She is also a co-founder of SecretSocietyofWomen.com, and a contributor to ivolunteer.org.

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SUNNY HOSTIN

  • Co-Host, The View and Senior Legal Correspondent, ABC News
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Attorney and multi-platform journalist Sunny Hostin is the Senior Legal Correspondent & Analyst for ABC News and co-host of ABC Daytime’s morning show The View.

Previously, Sunny was a legal analyst and host for CNN, regularly appearing on morning show New Day, Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin, AC360, AC360 Later, and American Morning, where she became known for her in depth analysis of social justice and legal issues. She created, wrote and co-produced her popular weekly segment, Sunny’s Law, which answered viewer questions on various topics including homeowner’s rights when faced with foreclosure, how to survive a police encounter, and who gets the ring after a broken engagement.

As a Department of Justice alum, her deep knowledge of the Justice Department and its inner workings made her an invaluable part of the CNN morning team during and after the historic election of President Barack Obama. Sunny reported on potential cabinet picks including correctly predicting that Eric Holder would be selected as the next Attorney General.

Before joining CNN, Hostin was an ABC News anchor and appeared on the Fox News Channel, where she was seen weekly on the Is It Legal segment on The O'Reilly Factor, sparring with Megan Kelly and Bill O’Reilly on various provocative issues and high-profile cases.

Sunny Hostin has covered many of the major legal and political stories of today, including the George Zimmerman, Casey Anthony and Conrad Murray trials, Bernie Madoff, Elliot Spitzer, the FLDS polygamy case, the Michael Vick dog fighting ring, OJ Simpson’s civil trial, Brittney Spears’ custody and mental illness battles, the Duke rape scandal, and many more.

 

 

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SIR KEN ROBINSON

  • Internationally Renowned Expert on Innovation, Creativity, Education & Business
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Sir Ken Robinson works with governments, education systems, international agencies, global corporations and some of the world’s leading cultural organizations to unlock the creative energy of people and organizations. He has led national and international projects on creative and cultural education in the UK, Europe, Asia and the United States. The most watched speaker in TED’s history, Sir Ken Robinson offer inspiring and eye-opening speeches on topics ranging from leadership and innovation, to technology and human advantage, to education, creativity and finding your element.

Named as one of Time/Fortune/CNN’s ‘Principal Voices,’ Sir Robinson was acclaimed by Fast Company magazine as one of “the world’s elite thinkers on creativity and innovation” and was ranked in the Thinkers50 list of the world’s top business thinkers.  

Sir Robinson's book The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything is a New York Times bestseller, has been translated into 23 languages, and has sold over a million copies worldwide.

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PEGGY NOONAN

  • Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist for The Wall Street Journal
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Peggy Noonan is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Wall Street Journal and bestselling author of nine books on American politics, history and culture. Her Wall Street Journal column, Declarations, has run each week since 2000, garnering millions of readers. In 2017 when she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary, the prize committee cited her, "For rising to the moment with beautifully rendered columns that connected readers to the shared virtues of Americans during one of the nation's most divisive political campaigns." Forbes Magazine has also hailed her column as “principled, perceptive, persuasive, and patriotic.”

A current political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, Noonan also served as a Special Assistant and speechwriter to President Ronald Reagan. In the Reagan White House, she worked alongside the President on speeches that span the 40th anniversary of D-Day, the Challenger disaster, and his Farewell Address.

Peggy Noonan provides unique and thoughtful analysis of our nation and its leaders. Her speeches are filled with humorous anecdotes and political insight, making them as entertaining as they are thought-provoking. 

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TYLER PERRY

  • World-Renowned Actor, Producer, Writer, and Entrepreneur
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Tyler Perry's inspirational journey from the hard streets of New Orleans to the heights of Hollywood's A-list is the stuff of American legend. Born into poverty and raised in a household scarred by abuse, Tyler fought from a young age to find the strength, faith and perseverance that would later form the foundations of his much-acclaimed plays, films, books and shows. 

It was a simple piece of advice from Oprah Winfrey that set Tyler's career in motion. Encouraged to keep a diary of his daily thoughts and experiences, he began writing a series of soul-searching letters to himself. The letters, full of pain and in time, forgiveness, became a healing catharsis. His writing inspired a musical, I Know I've Been Changed, and in 1992, Tyler gathered his life's savings in hopes of staging it for sold out crowds. He spent all the money but the people never came, and Tyler once again came face to face with the poverty that had plagued his youth. He spent months sleeping in seedy motels and his car but his faith - in God and, in turn, himself - only got stronger. He forged a powerful relationship with the church, and kept writing. In 1998 his perseverance paid off and a promoter booked I Know I've Been Changed for a limited run at a local church-turned-theatre. This time, the community came out in droves, and soon the musical moved to Atlanta's prestigious Fox Theatre. Tyler Perry never looked back. 

And so began an incredible run of 13 plays in as many years, including Woman Thou Art Loosed!, a celebrated collaboration with the prominent Dallas pastor T.D. Jakes. In the year 2000, I Can Do Bad All By Myself marked the first appearance of the now-legendary Madea. The God-fearing, gun-toting, pot-smoking, loud-mouthed grandmother, Madea, was played by Perry himself. Madea was such a resounding success, she soon spawned a series of plays - Madea's Family Reunion (2002), Madea's Class Reunion (2003), Madea Goes To Jail (2005) - and set the stage for Tyler's jump to the big screen. In 2015 Perry returned to the stage, performing his new original play, Madea on the Run , to sold out audiences across the United States. 

In early 2005, Tyler's first feature film, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, debuted at number one nationwide. His ensuing films, Madea's Family Reunion, Daddy's Little Girls, Why Did I Get Married?, Meet The Browns, The Family That Preys, I Can Do Bad All by Myself, Why Did I Get Married Too?, For Colored Girls, Madea's Big, Happy Family, Good Deeds and Madea's Witness Protection have all been met with massive commercial success, delighting audiences across America and around the world. He also starred in the Rob Cohen directed Alex Cross and helped release Academy Award-nominated Precious, a movie based on the novel Push by Sapphire, in conjunction with his 34th Street Films banner, Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Films and Lionsgate. 

2006 saw the publication of Tyler's first book, Don't Make A Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings: Madea's Uninhibited Commentaries On Life And Love, which shot to the top of the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list and remained there for eight weeks. It went on to claim Quill Book Awards for both "Humor" and "Book of the Year" (an unheard-of feat for a first-time author), and spread Tyler Perry's unique brand of inspirational entertainment to a devoted new audience. It is a brand that quickly became an empire. In 2007, Tyler expanded his reach to television with the TBS series House of Payne, the highest-rated first-run syndicated cable show of all time, which went into syndication after only a year. His follow up effort, Meet the Browns , was the second highest debut ever on cable - after House of Payne. In late 2012, Tyler teamed up with Oprah Winfrey in an exclusive deal to bring scripted programming to her cable network, OWN, and launched with the half hour sitcom, Love Thy Neighbor , and the hour-long drama, The Haves and The Have Nots , which made its debut in 2013 and has continued to break ratings on the network. This past summer, Tyler debuted a new drama series called Too Close to Home on TLC, the network’s first scripted series.

In the fall of 2008, Perry opened his 200,000 square foot Studio in Atlanta, situated on the former Delta Airlines campus in the Greenbriar area of southwest Atlanta. During the course of its operation, the space was home to production of over 15 films and over 800 episodes of Perry’s five television series. In 2015 TPS expanded operations with the acquisition of Fort McPherson, which sits on over 330 acres. 

Not one to rest on success, Tyler Perry and his 400 Atlanta-based employees remain hard at work. His latest films include Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor , released in March 2013 and his 34th Street Films banner , Peeples , released in May 2013. In late 2013, Tyler starred in A Madea Christmas , adapted from his stage play by the same name. In 2014 he was seen in 34th Street Film’s production that he also directed, Single Mom’s Club. A show for OWN entitled If Loving You Is Wrong , based on the film, premiered in 2014. That year, Tyler also garnered rave reviews for his role opposite Ben Affleck in David Fincher’s critically acclaimed box office hit, Gone Girl. He was most recently seen on the big screen in 2016 for Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of The Shadows as the villain “Baxter Stockman.” In 2016 his ninth Madea film, Boo! A Madea Halloween was released, followed by the sequel Boo 2! A Madea Halloween in October 2017. He also lends his voice (alongside Oprah Winfrey) to the first computer-animated film The Star , based on the Nativity of Jesus (released November 2017.)

His last book, Higher Is Waiting (Random House) was released in November 2017. In it, Perry shares how his faith has sustained him in hard times, centered him in good times, and enriched his life.

But listen to Tyler Perry and you'll hear a man who hasn't forgotten about the people that have helped him reach the top of a mountain he could once only dream of climbing. He has been intimately involved and donated generously to civil rights causes through work with the NAACP and NAN. He also strongly supports charities that focus on helping the homeless, such as Feeding America, Covenant House, Hosea Feed the Hungry, Project Adventure, and Perry Place - a 20-home community that Tyler built for survivors of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. In January 2010, Perry pledged $1,000,000 via The Tyler Perry Foundation to help rebuild the lives of those affected by the earthquakes in Haiti. 

Tyler Perry practices what he preaches, and what he preaches has endeared him to millions of fans drawn by that unique blend of spiritual hope and down-home humor that continues to shape his inspiring life story and extraordinary body of work.

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ERIC WHITACRE

  • Grammy-Award Winning Composer and Conductor
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Grammy-winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre is known for working at the nexus of art and technology. In this intensely humanistic — yet highly code-dependent — space, he finds profound, universal wisdom about leadership, collaboration, community building, and nurturing the creative process. Charismatic and captivating, Eric has brought his unforgettable combination of speaking and music to the TED conference-- where his talk went viral and racked up over 3.8 million views-- and at events for Google, UNICEF and the United Nations. Drawing on his experience as a conductor and composer, Whitacre illuminates the creative process and reveals how to bring disparate groups together to blend and perform as one.

His musical works have been programmed worldwide by millions of amateur and professional performers, while his ground-breaking Virtual Choirs have united singers from over 120 different countries. Beautifully composed, gorgeously performed, and imaginatively wrought, Eric’s haunting, complex works exemplify his message that technology can be used to foster connections and help broaden the reach of art and human expression.

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MARK WAHLBERG

  • Award-winning actor and producer
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Mark Wahlberg earned both Academy Award® and Golden Globe® nominations for his standout work in the family boxing film, The Fighter, and Martin Scorsese’s acclaimed drama, The Departed. He has played diverse characters for visionary filmmakers such as David O. Russell, Tim Burton, and Paul Thomas Anderson. His breakout role in Boogie Nights established Wahlberg as one of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents.

Wahlberg’s remarkable film career began with Renaissance Man, directed by Penny Marshall, and The Basketball Diaries with Leonardo DiCaprio, followed by a star turn opposite Reese Witherspoon in the thriller, Fear. He later headlined Three Kings and The Perfect Storm with George Clooney and The Italian Job with Charlize Theron. Wahlberg then starred in the football biopic, Invincible, and Shooter, based on Stephen Hunter’s best-selling novel, Point of Impact. Wahlberg reunited with The Yards director James Gray and co-star Joaquin Phoenix for We Own the Night, which he also produced. In 2013, he teamed with director Peter Berg on military drama, Lone Survivor, and 2 Guns with Denzel Washington. The following year, he starred in Ted 2 with Seth MacFarlane and Daddy’s Home opposite Will Ferrell. Wahlberg’s additional credits include The Gambler, The Lovely Bones, The Other Guys, Pain & Gain, Contraband, Ted, and Transformers: Age of Extinction. Also recently, he starred in Deepwater Horizon, Patriots Day, Transformers: The Last Night, Daddy's Home 2, All the Money in the World, Mile 22, and Instant Family. He will soon star in the Netflix film, Wonderland.

An accomplished film and television producer, Wahlberg has produced Instant Family, Mile 22, Daddy's Home 2, Patriots Day, Deepwater Horizon, Entourage, The Gambler, Lone Survivor, Broken City, Contraband, The Fighter (for which Wahlberg was nominated for an Oscar® for Best Picture), and We Own the Night. For television, Wahlberg is executive producer of Emmy-nominated Wahlburgers on A&E and hit comedy Ballers on HBO. He executive produced HBO’s Entourage through its impressive eight-season run as well as Boardwalk Empire, How to Make It in America, and In Treatment. He recently executive produced three seasons of Shooter for USA Network. For his work in television, Wahlberg has received a BAFTA, a Peabody, seven Emmy nominations, six Golden Globe® nominations, and a Golden Globe® Award for Boardwalk Empire in 2011.

A committed philanthropist, Wahlberg founded The Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation in 2001 to benefit inner-city children and teens. He was inducted into the Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s Alumni Hall of Fame in 2012. Additionally, he is the recipient of the Bob Hope Award from the Medal of Honor Society for his work to support our military.

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ASHLEY JUDD

  • Award-Winning Actress
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Ashley Judd is well known for dexterously starring in both box office hits and for turning in unforgettable performances in fine independent films. From her debut in Sundance Film Festival grand jury prize winner, Ruby In Paradise, to Where the Heart Is , Simon Burch, Helen, De-Lovely and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, her films tell very personal stories-- which is exactly what Judd does when she is not making movies. But the stories she tells are not about being a Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated actress or about making People magazine's “50 Most Beautiful People” list three times.

Ashley Judd is a feminist and social justice humanitarian. She has been working internationally, with NGO’S, grass roots organizations, governments, and supranational bodies since 2004. Presently, she serves as Global Goodwill Ambassador for UNFPA, is the Global Ambassador for Population Services International, and also for Polaris Project. She serves on the Advisory Boards of International Center for Research on Women, Apne Aap Worldwide, and Demand Abolition. She is Chairperson of the Women’s Media Center Speech Project: Curbing Abuse, Expanding Freedom. She has also served as a board member for Population Services International (PSI) and as Global Ambassador for YouthAIDS.

She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, and in 2010, earned a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Her paper, Gender Violence, Law and Social Justice won the Dean’s Scholar Award at Harvard Law School.

Ms. Judd speaks on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.

Judd has traveled the world to do international public health work on all fronts– maternal health, child survival, human rights, family planning, STD and HIV prevention and malaria prevention and treatment. She has experienced firsthand the connection between poverty, illness and gender inequality and how that sets up the pain and degradation that is sex and labor slavery (on which she testified before the General Assembly of the United Nations). Judd says, "The more we hear their stories, the more motivated we are to heal them and the social systems that victimized them in the first place. I believe with all my soul that the art of compassionate witnessing is at the core of global change and peace building."

She has spoken at many prestigious conferences around the world, including the London School of Economics' Family Planning Summit, sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She also hosted a talk with President Clinton on the work of the Clinton Foundation for the London School of Economics. In 2012, she spoke on the floor of the Democratic National Convention as the delegate from Tennessee asked to cast the ballots for the party's nominee for president and vice president. She is also passionate about the environment. An eighth generation Kentuckian, she is an outspoken critic of mountaintop removal coal mining. A proponent of a "green collar" economy, Judd is committed to helping find innovative renewable energy solutions.

She frequently serves as an expert panelist at international conferences, is a sought after public speaker and is a widely published OpEd author, with a diverse and unique social media presence. Her book, All That Is Bitter and Sweet, detailing her visits to grassroots programs in 13 countries, was a New York Times bestseller.

She is well recognized for her work on behalf others. In 2017, she was the recipient of the Muhammad Ali Kentucky Humanitarian Award, and her alma mater, University of Kentucky, established the Ashley T. Judd Distinguished Graduate Fellowship in the Office for Policy Studies on Violence Against Women. She was also featured on the cover of TIME Magazine’s 2017 Person of the Year issue honoring the “The Silence Breakers, “ the thousands of people across the world who have come forward with their experiences of sexual harassment and assault.

Whether it's on behalf of a patient dying from a preventable illness a world away or on behalf a woman struggling with mental illness and abuse, Judd is telling the stories of the vulnerable and the at-risk.

Judd says, "I don't do it because I'm an actor. I do it because I'm a human being."

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MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY

  • Academy Award-Winning Actor
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Texas native Matthew McConaughey is an actor, writer, philanthropist, husband, and father of three. He has won an Academy Award for Best Actor, appeared in over 40 feature films that have grossed over $1 billion dollars, and his just keep livin Foundation presently serves 37 schools in 11 states. McConaughey also serves as creative director for Wild Turkey, has co-created his own bourbon, “Longbranch,” and serves as the Minister of Culture/M.O.C for the upcoming UT sports arena.

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BILLIE JEAN KING

  • Sports Icon and Equality Pioneer
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As one of the 20th century's most respected and influential people, Billie Jean King has long been a champion for social justice and equality. She has created new inroads for both genders in and out of sports during her legendary career and she continues to make her mark today.

King, who won an astounding 39 Grand Slam titles during her career, blazed trails for women everywhere in 1970 when she became one of nine players to break away from the tennis establishment and accept a one dollar contract from tennis promoter Gladys Heldman to compete in the newly created Virginia Slims Series. The revolt led to the birth of women's pro tennis and the formation of the Women's Tennis Association.

In 1973, King produced one of the greatest moments in sports history when she defeated Bobby Riggs in the famous match dubbed “The Battle of the Sexes.”

The Riggs-King match took place at the Houston Astrodome, and garnered huge publicity. In front of more than 30,000 spectators and a worldwide television audience estimated at 50 million people in 37 countries, 29-year-old King beat the 55-year-old Riggs 6–4, 6–3, 6–3. It still remains one of the most viewed sports events of all time, and the story is now a major motion picture starring Emma Stone as Billie, and Steve Carell as Bobby Riggs.

In 1974, King co-founded World TeamTennis, a mixed-gender professional tennis league, and remained heavily involved with the league for over 40 years, selling her majority ownership stake in 2017.

She currently owns the Philadelphia Freedoms and heads up the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative. She also serves on the executive boards of the Women's Sports Foundation (which she founded) and Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF).

Named one of the "100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century" by Life and a 2009 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, King was honored on August 28, 2006, when the National Tennis Center, home of the US Open, was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

She is also the author of Pressure is a Privilege: Lessons I've Learned from Life and the Battle of the Sexes to commemorate the 35th anniversary of that historic match.

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LINDSEY VONN

  • Olympic Gold and Bronze Medalist and Most Successful Female Skier of All Time
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Lindsey Vonn is a recently retired Olympic gold and bronze medal‐winning alpine ski racer for the U.S. Ski Team as well as a New York Times bestselling author. She is the most successful female skier of all time and holds four World Cup titles, making her one of only 6 women to win World Cup races in all five disciplines of Alpine skiing.

Lindsey served as an International Games Ambassador in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Lindsey is also the founder of the Lindsey Vonn Foundation, established to empower young girls. She splits her time between Nashville, Tennessee, and Los Angeles, California with her 3 dogs.

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DALE EARNHARDT JR.

  • NASCAR Champion
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Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a third-generation driver in a family forever connected to the sport of stock-car racing, and while his innate ability behind the wheel comes from Earnhardt DNA, his competitive driving style and business savvy are all his own. His common-sense charisma and flair for originality have helped propel him to become one of the most popular figures in sports. Race fans have selected him a record 14 consecutive times as NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver. Earnhardt tops all NASCAR and IndyCar drivers on MVPindex’s social media power rankings. His appeal is not limited to loyal race fans, as Earnhardt has appeared on Harris Interactive’s annual survey of America’s Top 10 Favorite Athletes, frequenting the list with such names as LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning and Derek Jeter.

In April, Earnhardt announced that 2017 would be his final full-time season of NASCAR Cup Series competition. Beginning in 2018, the native of Kannapolis, North Carolina, will join NBC Sports Group’s NASCAR coverage. Earnhardt’s role with NBCUniversal will allow him a wide range of opportunities in the company’s media businesses, including movies, television, podcasts, and other areas.

Through 2016, Earnhardt has amassed 26 career victories, including the 2004 and 2014 Daytona 500s. His 26 victories tie him for 29th on NASCAR’s all-time race winners list. He also has 13 pole positions and eight non-points wins (five in the Daytona 500 qualifying Duel, two in the Clash and one All-Star Race victory). Even though he was sidelined for the second half of the 2016 season with a concussion, Earnhardt still managed to find success, scoring a victory in his preseason Daytona 500 qualifying Duel and earning four runner-up finishes through the first 18 races. Overall, Earnhardt has qualified for the NASCAR playoffs eight times (2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015).

Earnhardt is the only third-generation NASCAR champion, achieved when he won the 1998 and 1999 NASCAR XFINITY Series titles. He follows his legendary father Dale Earnhardt Sr., a seven-time Cup champion and winner of 76 races, and his grandfather, Ralph Earnhardt, the 1956 NASCAR Sportsman champion. In October 2009, Earnhardt Sr. was selected as a posthumous inductee in the inaugural 2010 class for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. In 2007, Ralph Earnhardt was inducted posthumously into the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame. Both his father and grandfather were selected among NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers of all time in 1999. The three Earnhardts combine for 10 NASCAR championships.

Until 2008, Earnhardt Jr.’s career as a full-time driver was solely within the confines of the family-owned business, Dale Earnhardt Inc., where he accumulated 39 victories in the XFINITY and Cup Series from 1998-2007. But the 2008 season marked one of significant change, as Earnhardt made the boldest decision of his young career by signing with NASCAR Hall of Fame team owner Rick Hendrick to drive the No. 88 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports.

Earnhardt’s role as a team owner and businessman continues to enjoy its own ascent separate from his driving career. JR Motorsports employs more than 140 people and fields four full-time entries in the XFINITY Series, in addition to two late model stock cars competing regionally in the Southeast. From its inception in 2006, JR Motorsports has scored 31 XFINITY Series wins after adding five in 2016. Chase Elliott earned the company’s first XFINITY Series championship in 2014 with teammate Regan Smith completing a one-two sweep of the top spots in the driver standings. Josh Berry secured track championship honors for the JRM late model program racing at Motor Mile Speedway (2012) and Hickory Motor Speedway (2014).

Earnhardt’s first turn at ownership began with Chance 2, a team started in 2002 and jointly operated with Dale Earnhardt Inc. With that team, Earnhardt was co-owner of the 2004 and 2005 XFINITY Series championship teams with driver Martin Truex Jr. 

Earnhardt’s business sense extends beyond the track. In 2006, he started Hammerhead Entertainment, a one-stop-shop production company that produces shows for multiple national television networks. In April 2008, Earnhardt extended his entrepreneurship into the Charlotte, North Carolina, entertainment scene, as he opened Whisky River, an uptown bar and nightclub located in the EpiCentre. In May 2015, Whisky River expanded to include a location at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Earnhardt launched Dirty Mo Radio, a podcast network, in February 2013, which features race recaps as well as behind-the-scenes insight from Earnhardt, team members, family members and others. The free podcasts can be found on dalejr.com and other outlets such as iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher.

While the obligations of being a driver and team owner occupy much of his time, Earnhardt is active in charities and non-profit organizations. In 2007, he launched The Dale Jr. Foundation, a charity dedicated to giving underprivileged individuals, with a focus on youth, the resources to improve their confidence, education and the opportunity to achieve extraordinary goals.

The Dale Jr. Foundation has contributed to more than 400 local and national organizations. He is also involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In May 2010, Make-A Wish recognized Earnhardt as one of only a handful of athletes who has facilitated more than 200 “wishes” for kids battling terminal or life-threatening illnesses. The occasion was documented by ESPN SportsCenter’s My Wish series. In recognition of his career achievements as a champion driver, team owner and philanthropist, Earnhardt was named the recipient of the 2014 NMPA Myers Brothers Award, a prestigious accolade recognizing those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing.

 

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CECILE RICHARDS

  • Co-Founder, Supermajority
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Cecile Richards, Co-Founder of Supermajority and Former President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund (2006-2018), is a globally respected activist and social justice leader. Named to TIME’s “100 Most Influential People in the World”, Richards is celebrated for her vocal, dedicated and strategic leadership as well as her extensive advocacy experience at grassroots organizations, in the non-profit sector and in Washington. The author of a new book, and instant New York Times Bestseller, Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead, Richards offers powerful insights and sharp commentary on leadership, women’s rights, social justice, and politics. A dynamic and empowering speaker who has addressed audiences everywhere from Talks at Google to Harvard University, Richard motivates audiences to action.

In 2019, Richards launched Supermajority, a new home for women’s activism, training, and the mobilization of a multiracial, intergenerational community to fight for gender equality. While at the helm of Planned Parenthood, Richards led a federation of more than 600 health centers, providing high-quality health care to millions of people each year, and directed a staff of more than 500 in the national offices. Under Richard's leadership, Planned Parenthood expanded advocacy efforts to include fighting for access to health care, and she leaves Planned Parenthood with 12 million supporters and counting, four times more than when she joined.

Before joining Planned Parenthood, Richards served as deputy chief of staff for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.  In 2004, she founded and served as president of America Votes, a coalition of 42 national grassroots organizations working to maximize registration, education, and voter participation.  She began her career organizing low-wage workers in the hotel, health care, and janitorial industries throughout California, Louisiana, and Texas.

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BOZOMA SAINT JOHN

  • Trailblazing brand marketing executive and change agent
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Over the course of her career, Bozoma “Boz” Saint John has earned a formidable reputation as a trail blazing brand marketing executive and change agent. With almost 20 years of experience that spans multiple industries including digital music/entertainment, consumer packaged goods, fashion, sports and automotive, Boz is uniquely qualified for her current role as the Chief Marketing Officer at Endeavor. 

Prior to Endeavor, Boz was appointed into the newly established role of Chief Brand Officer at Uber in June 2017 to utilize her years of expertise in combining her pop culture savvy, analytical consumer insights, and the ever changing media landscape to build a deeper, more meaningful connection between Uber and its drivers and riders.

Boz rose to fame in tech circles during her role as the Head of Global Consumer Marketing for Apple Music and iTunes (including iTunes movies, iBooks and Apple News) where she spearheaded campaigns geared towards growing consumer brand recognition, loyalty and equity around the world.  Boz even stepped in front of the camera to represent the brand in a memorable commercial for Apple Music featuring James Corden, alongside Apple executives Eddy Cue and Jimmy Iovine which premiered on the 2016 Emmy Awards. However, her most electrifying moment at Apple was when Boz stole the show at Apple’s keynote World Wide Developers Conference when she introduced the new user interface for Apple Music. Following her presentation, Buzzfeed called her the "coolest person to ever go on stage at an Apple event" and Wired Magazine reminded the world "she was a bad ass long before she was at Apple."

Before Apple Music and iTunes, Boz was head of the Music and Entertainment Marketing Group at Pepsi-Cola North America, where she drove breakthrough, integrated & sustained consumer engagement plans for brands across the soda giant’s beverages portfolio (Pepsi, Mountain Dew and Aquafina) by engaging tastemaker-consumers using various channels in print, online, grassroots, events, and retail vehicles. She aligned teams internally and externally to create a formidable center of excellence which created partnerships with film studios for authentic product placement, record labels for breakthrough commercial deals, and the sports industry for live brand experiences. During her tenure, she developed programs with some of the world's biggest stars like Kanye West, Tom Brady, Kerry Washington, Nicki Minaj, Eminem, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Drake, & Mary J Blige and of course her idol, THE Michael Jackson.  It also during this time, that Boz worked on the highest profiled sports  event with the NFL for the Super Bowl Halftime Show (featuring Beyonce in 2013, Bruno Mars in 2014, and Katy Perry in 2015).

Prior to Pepsi, Boz served as Vice President of Marketing for Ashley Stewart (a women’s fashion brand) as well as managed accounts at advertising agencies Arnold Worldwide and Spike Lee's SpikeDDB. 

Boz has been recognized for her breakthrough work by both the industry and her peers, having been inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Achievement in 2014. She currently sits on its Executive Committee.  She was named 2016’s Executive of the Year by Billboard Magazine, featured in Fortune Magazine’s Disruptors, Innovators & Stars 40 Under 40 feature, Billboard ’s Top Executives 40 Under 40 and Power 100 lists, Fast Company ’s 100 Most Creative People, Ad Age ’s 50 Most Creative People, Ebony Magazine’s 100 Powerful Executives, Black Enterprise ’s Most Powerful Women in Business, and made the cover of AdWeek as one of the most exciting personalities in Advertising, and the cover of Working Mother magazine. Additionally, Boz has been awarded African Health Now’s Inaugural Gift of Life Leadership Award as well as BET’s Leading Women Defined Butterfly Award. In March, 2017, she was named as a Henry Crown Fellow by the Aspen Institute. 

In spite of all of her professional accomplishments, Boz recognizes her greatest job is as mother to her 9 year old daughter, Lael.  After the death of her husband Peter to cancer in 2013, Boz also took on the efforts of raising funding for cancer research, and was recognized by the TJ Martell Foundation at their Women of Influence gala for her devotion to the cause.  Boz’s other philanthropic efforts include serving on the Leadership Council for the United Nation’s partnership with the PVBLIC Foundation, serving on the board of Girls Who Code, and Vital Voices; as well as an executive mentor for the Levo League.

Boz was born in Middletown, CT, but spent her early childhood in Nairobi Kenya, Washington DC, and Accra Ghana, before immigrating to Colorado Springs CO when she was 12 years old.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in English and African American Studies from Wesleyan University (at which she currently sits on the President’s Advisory Council).  After becoming an adopted daughter of Harlem NYC for over a decade, she now resides in Los Angeles, CA with offices in LA and San Francisco.

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ALEXIS OHANIAN

  • Co-Founder & Executive Chairman, Reddit, 6th largest website in the world
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Alexis Ohanian is the co-founder of Reddit, Initialized Capital, and a bestselling author based in San Francisco, CA.

After graduating from UVA in 2005, Alexis and his co-founder Steve Huffman started Reddit. The site quickly took off, and in 2006, they sold it to Conde Nast. In 2015, he returned to executive chair a newly-independent Reddit and helped lead a turnaround—it’s now the 3rd largest US website, 6th largest in the world. Today, he serves on the board of directors as an advisor to the firm.

In 2016, he and Garry Tan co-founded Initialized Capital, an early stage venture capital firm that has over $500M under management and a portfolio with $36B in market value so far.

Alexis helped launch hipmunk (acquired by Concur in 2016) and ran marketing/pr/community for the platform before becoming an advisor and joining the fight against SOPA & PIPA. He's invested in and advised over two hundred tech startups and was a partner at Y Combinator; created & hosted a show called Small Empires (2 seasons!) about tech startups & their communities; and in 2013 wrote a national bestselling book, Without Their Permission. 

Along the way, Alexis spoke at TED, volunteered in Armenia as a Kiva Fellow, and was named on Forbes 30 Under 30 list two years in a row. He’s a vocal advocate and fundraiser for STEM education, the open internet, and paid family leave.

He also proudly designed the mascots for every company he's started. He and his wife are the new and thrilled parents of an awesome daughter, who will be learning to program as soon as she masters eating with a fork and knife.

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RICHARD THALER

  • Winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences
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Nobel Prize-Winner Richard H. Thaler studies behavioral economics and finance as well as the psychology of decision-making which lies in the gap between economics and psychology. He investigates the implications of relaxing the standard economic assumption that everyone in the economy is rational and selfish, instead entertaining the possibility that some of the agents in the economy are sometimes human.

Thaler is the co-author (with Cass R. Sunstein) of the global best seller Nudge (2008) in which the concepts of behavioral economics are used to tackle many of society’s major problems. In 2015 he published Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics. He has also published numerous articles in prominent journals such as the American Economics Review, the Journal of Finance, the Journal of Political Economy, and is a regular contributor to the New York Times Economic View column. In 2018, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. 

Thaler is a Founding Principal at Fuller and Thaler Asset Management where they manage about $10 billion in U.S. equities.  He was an informal advisor to the coalition government led by David Cameron, the Obama administration, and several professional sports teams.  

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BEN RHODES

  • Political Contributor, NBC News & MSNBC
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Ben Rhodes is the author of the New York Times bestseller The World As It Is; a contributor for NBC News, MSNBC and Crooked Media; the co-chair of National Security Action; and an advisor to former President Barack Obama. From 2009-2017, Rhodes  served as a Deputy National Security Advisor to President Obama. In that capacity, he participated in nearly all of President Obama’s key decisions, and oversaw the President’s national security communications, speechwriting, public diplomacy and global engagement programming. He also led the secret negotiations with the Cuban government which resulted in the effort to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba, and supported the negotiations to conclude the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran. Prior to joining the Administration, he was a Senior Speechwriter and foreign policy advisor to the Obama campaign. From 2002-2007, he worked for former Congressman Lee Hamilton, supporting his work on the 9/11 Commission and Iraq Study Group.

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WENDY DAVIS

  • Founder, Deeds Not Words
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Former Texas State Senator and Founder of the non-profit, Deeds Not Words, Wendy Davis is renowned as a passionate advocate for women in social, economic and political spheres. After skyrocketing to near celebrity status through her historic 13-hour filibuster in the Texas Senate to stop a legislative effort that would have dramatically reduced women’s access to healthcare, Davis emerged as a leader in the national conversation surrounding women’s leadership and issues which threaten our individual opportunities. Through Davis’ work at Deeds Not Words, for which she earned a spot on Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business”, she is shaping the next generation of leaders and directly working to foster diversity, inclusivity, and change at the highest levels of business and government. Long before she was a Texas State Senator and Texas’ Democratic nominee for Governor in 2014, Davis struggled with the same obstacles faced by women around the country. Determined to break the cycle of poverty she’d been born into, Davis fought to juggle school, career and single motherhood and uses those experiences to connect with others in order to shape perspective.

At the podium, Davis combines the power of personal storytelling with her deep policy understanding to explain why equitable policies matter in the lives of women as well as the overall health and vibrancy of our economy, guiding organizations across industries toward a better understanding of the institutional value in creating diverse work environments, and key issues such as pay equity, family leave, and harassment policies. A living testament to the ability we each possess to rise above challenges and succeed, Davis demonstrates the power of each of our unique voices, and the value in raising them for what we believe in. Audiences are left inspired to utilize their individual strengths into meaningful contributions, and organizations are left with the tools and insights needed to advance positive change.

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LORI GREINER

  • Shark on ABC’s Shark Tank
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Lori Greiner started with one idea and turned it into a multi-million dollar international brand. She is now regarded as one of the most prolific inventors of retail products, having created over 600 products and secured over 120 U.S. and international patents. Lori is known as the star "warm-blooded" Shark on Shark Tank, the four-time Emmy-winning entrepreneurial business show on ABC, where she invests in companies and turns dreams into reality. Lori's QVC-TV show Clever & Unique Creations by Lori Greiner has been on the air for the past 16 years.  Lori says she can instantly tell if a product is a “hero or a zero,” and this is clearly shown through her many thriving investments and a 90% success rate on new items launched. Lori's international bestseller Invent It, Sell It, Bank It! is a step-by-step guide on how to turn an idea into a million-dollar reality.

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TAN FRANCE

  • Star of Emmy-winning Netflix hit Queer Eye
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Successful fashion designer Tan France is renowned as the witty wardrobe wiz leading the charge in the fashion department on the Emmy-winning makeover hit and Netflix re-boot, Queer Eye. Ready to make America fabulous again, one makeover at a time, France showcases how the experience is so much more than just new clothes; it’s about real-life issues, changes, and acceptance on all sides.

Following the global success of Queer Eye, Tan released his New York Times bestselling memoir, Naturally Tan, which reveals what it was like to grow up gay in a traditional South Asian family, as one of the few people of color in South Yorkshire, England. Tan also released the 1st season of his viral YouTube series, Dressing Funny, which features him making over his celebrity friends, including Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Nick Kroll, Miranda Sings, Pete Davidson, and John Mulaney. 

With his trademark wit, humor, and radical compassion, Tan shares empowering lessons on creativity and innovation, diversity and inclusion, and what it takes to break down barriers to foster human connection and acceptance. He provides a unique perspective on the happiness found in being yourself. 

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JOSEPH LUBIN

  • Founder and CEO, ConsenSys, blockchain venture studio
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Joseph Lubin is a Co-Founder of Ethereum—the most superior advanced blockchain platform by size, functionality and applicationand founder of ConsenSys, one of the largest and fastest-growing blockchain companies in the world.

Named to CoinDesk’s “Most Influential in Blockchain,” Joseph co-founded the Ethereum Project and founded ConsenSys as a venture production studio focused on building developer tools and decentralized applications on the Ethereum platform. Prior to working on Ethereum, Lubin’s career focused on the intersection of cryptography, engineering, and finance, including his role as VP of Technology in Private Wealth Management at Goldman Sachs.  

Sought-out to speak at events ranging from The World Economic Forum to SXSW, in his compelling keynotes Joseph reveals the transformative power of blockchain technology and his vision for a decentralized future. Equal parts informative and inspiring, he sheds light on how new technologies have the power to transform industries, and how organizations can reap the benefits. 

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MICHAEL NUTTER

  • 98th Mayor of Philadelphia
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Michael Nutter served as the 98th Mayor of the City of Philadelphia, his hometown. He served 22.5 years as an elected official in Philadelphia, serving 14.5 years as a City Council member, and then 2 four year terms as Mayor, leaving office on January 4, 2016 due to term limits.

Mayor Nutter was considered one of the foremost leaders in innovation, tackling challenges of public safety, increasing funding for educating children, revitalizing the economy and spurring economic growth, restoring ethics and integrity to city government, ensuring fiscal discipline and making Philadelphia one of the great green and sustainable cities in America.

Known for keeping an active and engaged schedule as Mayor, Michael Nutter is doing the same as a private citizen. He's a Professor at Columbia University, a Senior Fellow with Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works Cities Program, Chair of the Mayors Advisory Board for Airbnb, and holds numerous Fellowships and Advisory positions in academic, political, non-profit and corporate entities. Mayor Nutter is actively engaged in the work of cities and trying to make them work better on behalf of their citizens.

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PENNY PRITZKER

  • U.S. Secretary of Commerce (2013-2017)
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Penny Pritzker is an entrepreneur, civic leader and philanthropist with more than 30 years of experience in numerous industries. Named by Forbes as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world, Pritzker is the founder and Chairman of PSP Capital Partners and Pritzker Realty Group, a global private investment firm that takes a long-term, fundamental approach to investing in and building market-leading businesses in sectors such as professional services, real estate, technology, agriculture, industrial services and consumer products. 

From June 2013 through January 2017, Pritzker served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce in the Obama Administration. Pritzker was a core member of President Obama’s economic team and served as the country’s chief commercial advocate, leading the Administration’s trade and investment promotion efforts. During her tenure, she launched SelectUSA, the first federal initiative aimed at attracting foreign direct investment to the United States, which facilitated $23 billion in investment to date and created or retained tens of thousands of good paying American jobs. Pritzker also developed the agency’s first comprehensive digital and data agenda, chaired the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) program and served as the Administration’s point person on manufacturing. 

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TAMRON HALL

  • Award-Winning Journalist and Host, Tamron Hall and Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall
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Television host, award-winning journalist, and philanthropist Tamron Hall takes on the most captivating and thought-provoking issues facing the world every day as the host of The Tamron Hall Show in national syndication. She is also the host of Investigation Discovery’s Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall, where she goes beyond the headlines to explore the nature and effect of crime on victims and communities, a subject that is very personal for her. Previously, Tamron was the first African American female co-host of TODAY and served as the anchor for MSNBC Live with Tamron Hall. 

A Variety “Power of Women” honoree and an active member of the National Association of Black Journalists, Tamron empowers and inspires audiences with conversations about overcoming obstacles in the workplace and at home; domestic violence, homelessness, and literacy; her storied career; journalism and the media; and much more.

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LAWRENCE O'DONNELL

  • Host, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC
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Lawrence O'Donnell is an Emmy-winning producer and the host of MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. Bringing his extraordinary background in politics, entertainment and news to the nightly program, O'Donnell provides the last word on the important issues and most compelling stories of the day. 

A sought-after speaker for his straight talking political commentary, O'Donnell has an uncanny ability to go beyond the headlines to provide audiences with prescient analysis.

Prior to his time as a political analyst, O'Donnell served as an executive producer for the acclaimed series The West Wing, a senior advisor on Capitol Hill, and a political columnist and writer.

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DAVID ROWAN

  • Editor-at-Large and Founding Editor-in-Chief of WIRED UK
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“You can’t really ignore the new rules of business,” says David Rowan. As founding editor-in-chief of WIRED UK and a renowned technology columnist who has written for The Times, GQ, Conde Nast Traveller, and the Sunday Times, Rowan deconstructs tech trends in real time, unpacking how major innovations like the Internet of Things, 3D printing, big data, artificial intelligence, and more, are changing businesses and consumers. Rowan travels excessively to meet crazy-driven startup entrepreneurs who are reinventing every industry in fascinating ways. Fortune 100 companies regularly seek out his insights on how these startups are thinking and scaling.

Author of Non-Bullshit Innovation: Radical Ideas from the World’s Smartest Minds, Rowan shares game-changing tips for anyone looking for radical ways to adapt and thrive in the digital age. He offers fully customized keynotes that reveal the future of your industry, how companies can transform their values, and ideas for creating genuine innovation.

 

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CLARENCE PAGE

  • Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist
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Pulitzer Prize winner Clarence Page is one of the most nationally recognized and highly regarded syndicated columnists in the country. A member of the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board, Page is also a regular contributor of essays to The News Hour with Jim Lehrer and has been a regular on The McLaughlin Group, The Chris Matthews Show, Nightline and Lead Story news panel programs. 

A go-to voice on American culture and politics thanks to his sharp, thoughtful and moving analysis, Page has received lifetime achievement awards from the Chicago Headline Club, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the National Association of Black Journalists. In his speeches, he decodes top political issues with clarity, balance and humor. 

 

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GREG NORMAN

  • Golf’s “Great White Shark”
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Arguably the most successful athlete-turned-businessman in the world, Greg Norman is known as much for his entrepreneurial spirit in the boardroom as his dominance on the golf course. The internationally renowned “Great White Shark” won more than 90 tournaments worldwide, including two Open Championships, and he holds the distinction of defending his No. 1 position in the world golf rankings for 331 weeks, the second-longest reign in history. As one of the most prolific players in the game’s history, his career culminated in 2001 when he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame with a higher percentage of votes than any other inductee in history.

Greg Norman now transcends the game of golf, with over a dozen companies around the world bearing his name and the iconic shark logo as part of the Greg Norman Company, which he leads as Chairman & CEO. His internationally recognized brand boasts more than 100 golf course designs across six continents, a global real estate collection, award-winning wine, golf-inspired lifestyle apparel and a diverse investment division. Across all facets of business, the Greg Norman brand consistently delivers the quality that his name is synonymous with and continues to inspire people to attack life.

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TROY AIKMAN

  • 3-Time Super Bowl-Winning Quarterback
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Troy Aikman has harnessed the drive and dedication that formed the foundation of his Hall of Fame football career with the Dallas Cowboys into numerous successful business ventures since retiring from the game. Through broadcasting, real estate, and The Troy Aikman Foundation, Aikman has quickly discovered numerous ways to keep himself occupied in “retirement.” 

After leaving the playing field, Aikman joined the NFL on FOX full-time as a game analyst. He quickly displayed the accuracy and work ethic that marked his playing career and moved up to FOX’s No. 1 broadcast crew. Aikman has impressed both critics and fans with the consistently entertaining and informative brand of coverage.

During Aikman’s 12-year playing career, he set 45 Cowboys’ passing records, including the club’s career record for completions (2,898), passing yards (32,942), touchdowns (165), and completion percentage (61.3).  Aikman is one of only four quarterbacks to guide his team to victory in three Super Bowls (XXVII, XXVIII, and XXX), and became just the sixth player in Cowboys history to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

 

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APRIL RINNE

  • Global Authority on the New Economy, Disruptive Innovation and the Future of Work
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The sharing economy, collaborative economy, on-demand economy, freelance economy, gig economy, access economy, trust economy -- or even just the “new economy”: what is going on? From Airbnb to TaskRabbit and Uber, hundreds of sharing and on-demand platforms are transforming industries and causing us to rethink almost every aspect of our lives. Anyone with a spare room, a car or even a little free time can become a mini-entrepreneur. What is the future evolution of these businesses? Who are the next disruptors on the horizon? What -- and where -- are the real opportunities and obstacles? Sharing Economy expert April Rinne has the answers. Advisor of choice for a range of private and public sector organizations, from Airbnb to the World Economic Forum and  governments worldwide, a graduate of Harvard Law and an inveterate traveler, Rinne can help you see the shifts underway through a practical, helpful lens and bring new insights to light for you and your organization.

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ABIGAIL POSNER

  • Head of Strategy, Google's Brand Unit
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Abigail shines a unique, humanistic lens on culture, business and technology that brings fresh perspective to corporate culture, product development, branding and marketing.  Her quest is to spark novel thinking and lead people to take action.  Abigail is the Head of Strategy at the Brand Unit, Google’s creative think tank for agencies and brands. At Google, she helps advertisers and marketers make sense of human beings’ deep, emotional relationship to the digital space and convert those insights into strategic and creative efforts. She has spent her life catalyzing change and ensuring impact.

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MOHAMED EL-ERIAN

  • Chief Economic Advisor at Allianz
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Dr. Mohamed A. El-Erian is an internationally respected economist and financier with experience at the highest level of business and government.  Markets hang on his analysis and insight, and audiences interested in issues of finance and global markets buzz when El-Erian comes to the podium.  Meeting planners share their praise for his ability to connect with audiences through a humorous laid-back style, and to clearly explain the complex issues of the global economy.

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ROBIN SHARMA

  • Globally Respected Leadership Expert
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Robin Sharma is one of the world's premier speakers on Leadership and Personal Mastery, recently named one of the World's Top Leadership Gurus. As a presenter, Sharma has the rare ability to electrify an audience yet deliver uncommonly original and useful insights that lead to individuals doing their best work, teams providing superb results and organizations becoming unbeatable.

For nearly 20 years, many of the most well-known organizations on the planet, ranging from Nike, GE, Microsoft, FedEx, PwC, HP and Oracle to NASA, Yale University and YPO have chosen Robin Sharma for their most important events, when nothing less than a world-class speaker will do.

Sharma's books such as The Leader Who Had No Title have topped bestseller lists internationally and his social media posts reach over six hundred million people a year, making him a true global phenomenon for helping people do brilliant work, thrive amid change and realize their highest leadership capacities within the organization so that personal responsibility, productivity, ingenuity and mastery soars.

Sharma has been ranked as one of the Top 5 Leadership Gurus in the World in an independent survey of over 22,000 businesspeople and appears on platforms with other luminaries such as Richard Branson, Bill Clinton, Jack Welch and Shaquille O'Neill.

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DANIEL SHAPIRO

  • U.S. Ambassador to Israel (2011-2017)
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Appointed by President Barack Obama, Daniel Shapiro served as the United States Ambassador to Israel from July 2011 until the end of the Obama Administration. As Ambassador, Shapiro won praise from leaders of both countries for his deft management of the U.S.-Israel relationship during Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, the Iran nuclear agreement, regional instability, and periods of significant bilateral tension and disagreement. Among Shapiro's major contributions were negotiating the $38 billion Memorandum of Understanding for U.S. military aid to Israel, unprecedented public outreach in fluent Hebrew to Israel’s diverse communities, and 40 percent growth in U.S.-Israel trade.

Shapiro's time as the Ambassador to Israel followed a diverse career of over 20 years in senior foreign policy and national security positions in the United States government, including as the Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa at the National Security Council.

Currently, Shapiro is the Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Tel Aviv University’s Institute of National Security Studies. His remarkable breadth of insights have been featured across the major media networks, and his writing has appeared in Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Washington PostCNN, MSNBC, Israeli Channel 2, and more. 

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RONAN FARROW

  • Pulitzer Prize-Winning Investigative Reporter
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Ronan Farrow is an investigative reporter and a contributing writer to The New Yorker. He is also currently producing documentaries for HBO. His stories for The New Yorker exposed the first sexual-assault allegations against the movie producer Harvey Weinstein and the first misconduct allegations against CBS executives, including then C.E.O. Leslie Moonves. He was also responsible for the first detailed accounts of payments made by the National Enquirer’s parent company in order to suppress stories about Donald Trump during the 2016 Presidential campaign. Farrow has won the Pulitzer Prize for public service, the National Magazine Award, and the George Polk Award, among other honors. He has been named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People, one of the Hollywood Reporter's Most Powerful People in Entertainment, and one of GQ's Men of the Year. He previously worked as an anchor and investigative reporter at MSNBC and NBC News, with his print commentary and reporting appearing in publications including the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. Farrow is the author of the New York Times bestseller War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence, and the forthcoming Catch and Kill. He is a graduate of Yale Law School and a member of the New York Bar. He recently completed a Ph.D. in political science at Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. Prior to his career in journalism, he served as a State Department official, working in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East. He lives in New York. His speeches have been selected among NPR’s “Greatest Commencement Speeches Ever” and Huffington Post’s Top 10 Speeches of the Year.

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BEN SHERWOOD

  • Former Co-Chairman of Disney Media Networks
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A master storyteller and one of the top media executives in the world, Ben Sherwood served as Co-Chairman of Disney Media Networks and President of Disney|ABC Television Group from 2014 to 2019.  An award-winning journalist and best-selling novelist, Sherwood also served as president of ABC News from 2010 to 2014.

Consistently ranked in The Hollywood Reporter's annual list of the "Most Powerful People in Entertainment," Sherwood offers game-changing insights on bold leadership in times of disruption, the art of the turnaround, the secrets of unleashing creativity and innovation, and the inside story of the tumultuous worlds of entertainment and news.

At Disney|ABC, Sherwood managed a twelve billion dollar business with 12,000 employees responsible for the creation of more than 25,000 hours of original content every year. Leading the organization through a period of rapid disruption, with new streaming services and technology upending business models and consumer behavior, Sherwood and his team consistently delivered outstanding results measured in profitability, cultural relevance and creative excellence.

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CHARLES BLOW

  • Visual Op-Ed Columnist for The New York Times
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Charles M. Blow is an Op-Ed columnist at The New York Times, where his column appears on Mondays and Thursdays. Mr. Blow’s columns tackle hot-button issues such as social justice, racial equality, presidential politics, police violence, gun control, and the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Mr. Blow is also a CNN commentator and was a Presidential Visiting Professor at Yale, where he taught a seminar on media and politics.

Mr. Blow is the author of the critically acclaimed New York Times best-selling memoir, Fire Shut Up in My Bones. The book won a Lambda Literary Award and the Sperber Prize and made multiple prominent lists of best books published in 2014. People Magazine called it “searing and unforgettable.”

Mr. Blow joined The New York Times in 1994 as a graphics editor and quickly became the paper’s graphics director, a position he held for nine years. In that role, he led The Times to a best of show award from the Society for News Design for The Times’  information graphics coverage of 9/11, the first time the award had been given for graphics coverage.  He also led the paper to its first two best of show awards from the Malofiej Infographics World Summit for work that included coverage of the Iraq war.  He then went on to become the paper’s design director for news before leaving in 2006 to become the art director of National Geographic Magazine. Before coming to The Times, Mr. Blow had worked at The Detroit News.

He graduated magna cum laude from Grambling State University in Louisiana, where he received a B.A. in mass communications, and he holds an honorary doctorate from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. He lives in Brooklyn and has three children. 

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CODY KEENAN

  • White House Director of Speechwriting for President Barack Obama (2013-2017)
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Cody Keenan has been a speechwriter for President Barack Obama for nearly a decade, rising from a campaign intern in Chicago to Director of Speechwriting at the White House. Through times of challenge and change, Keenan has helped President Obama craft remarks on every topic for every audience – from tiny backyards in Iowa to the biggest stadiums in the country; from sermons on the National Mall to the State of the Union Address.  Over eight years in the White House, their collaborations were compared to the works of Abraham Lincoln, described as the “‘I Have a Dream’ speech for the 21st Century,” and categorized even by prominent Republicans as “speeches that every child should read in school.” 

Together, Keenan and Obama's efforts resulted in some of the most unforgettable addresses of our time.  From Tucson to Newtown to Charleston, Keenan helped President Obama fill his role as Consoler-in-Chief.  From commencement addresses to Selma to Obama’s Farewell Address, they redefined the essence of the American creed and charted an inspiring, optimistic course for a new generation’s active citizenship.  In 2017, Obama asked Keenan to continue their partnership, and today, Keenan serves as Obama’s collaborator on his upcoming book, and as his post-presidential speechwriter.

Described as the "Springsteen" of Obama's White House and included in British GQ's "35 Coolest Men Under 38 (And a Half)", when it comes to finding a message that resonates, Keenan is truly in a league of his own. As Obama said of Keenan, "I rely on Cody not just to share my vision, but to help tell America’s story.  He’s a brilliant writer.  He’s relentless.” 

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CHARLES DUHIGG

  • New York Times Bestselling Author of "The Power of Habit" and "Smarter Faster Better"
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Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit has spent three years on the New York Times Bestseller list. His latest bestselling book, Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business (2016) is a fascinating exploration of the science of productivity, and why, in today’s world, managing how you think—rather than what you think—can transform your life. Duhigg's journalistic accomplishments have made him an in-demand speaker for organizations from the UCLA School of Management to Fortune 500 companies and The Johnson Foundation to the National Association of Science Teachers. His presentations are both descriptive and prescriptive, and speak to a wide range of groups from the fields of business, science, medicine, and education. He is a Pulitzer prize-winning investigative reporter , and writes for The New York Times Magazine and other publications. 

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STEVEN KOTLER

  • New York Times Bestselling Author of Stealing Fire, The Rise of Superman, Abundance & Bold
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Steven Kotler is a New York Times Bestselling Author, award-winning journalist and Executive Director of the Flow Research Collective.  The author of Stealing Fire, The Rise of Superman, Abundance, Bold, and the upcoming The Future is Faster Than You Think, Kotler shows companies how to unlock their potential and level up their game like never before. His bestselling books and research decode how scientific and technological breakthroughs are radically changing the world for both businesses and individuals, and how to stay ahead of the curve. Whether it’s an optimistic view of how technology and innovation can help us solve life’ s greatest challenges;  or how bold thinking can transform the way your organization problem solves;  or how science can help your team send performance through the roof; Kotler is a master storyteller who decodes our new world with enthusiasm and optimism to provide what the Wall Street Journal called “a manifesto for the future that is grounded in practical solutions addressing the world’s most pressing concerns."

An international pioneer in the fields of innovation, technology and human performance, Kotler has spoken to and consulted with everyone from Fortune 100 companies to the US Special Forces. He explores the mental tactics utilized by high performing organizations like Google and the Navy Seals, and details how today’s top entrepreneurs—Larry Page, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and Elon Musk—have learned to think at scale and perform at speed—the core requirements for creative disruption.

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JANE LUTE

  • Former Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security (2009-2013)
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Jane Holl Lute has dedicated her career to preventing terrorism, enhancing global stabilty and security, and helping those in crisis.  It says something about the times in which we live that Ms. Lute now focuses on cyberterrorism, the source of today's most menacing threats to nations, businesses and individuals.  Audiences praise Ms. Lute for grounding her remarks about cybersecurity in her roots as a United Nations Peace builder and Assistant Secretary-General of the U.N. responsible for comprehensive on-the-ground support for humanitarian operations in crises.  She has also served as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security where she was responsible for the day-to-day management of the Department's efforts to prevent terrorism and enhance security, secure and manage the nation's borders, administer and enforce U.S. immigration laws, strengthen national resilience in the face of disasters, and ensure the nation's cybersecurity.

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ADAM BRAUN

  • New York Times & Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, The Promise of a Pencil
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Coca-Cola, Kraft, and Great-West Life have all hosted New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author Adam Braun and praised him as “The best speaker I’ve ever seen in the history of our company’s offsite events.” (Coca-Cola HBC); “The feeling was unanimous, the best speaker we’ve ever had at an offsite.” (Kraft Brands); “We all agreed that he is someone to watch over the next few years.” (Great-West Life)

Adam Braun knows how to motivate people to powerful action and organizations who bring Adam to their event are seeing the difference.

The Founder of Pencils Of Promise, Adam Braun’s story is how one young man turned $25 into nearly 500 schools, serving 100,000 students around the world, and built a global community which is well on its way to achieving its goal of making a quality education a possibility for everyone. His story proves that anyone can take small steps to lead a successful and significant life. 

Adam's book, The Promise of a Pencil, did not become a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller just because it was a great story; it became a sought-after guide for achieving goals and dreams and in the book Adam outlines chapters that provide actionable steps toward success. Adam empowers audiences to discover their next big idea, and he gives them guideposts for a path forward. Watch him in action in this inspiring presentation:  Creating Extraordinary Change in Life & Business

Adam went on to co-found MissionU, where he also served as CEO. A 21st century alternative to the traditional college experience, MissionU was named to Fast Company's "Most Innovative Companies" and received 10,000 applications for its first 50 slots. In 2018, MissionU was acquired by WeWork.

By the age of 31 Adam was already named to Business Insider’s 40 Under 40, Wired magazine‘s 50 People Who Are Changing the World, and was selected as one of the World Economic Forum’s first ten Global Shapers. Braun was previously nominated for the TED Prize and has received the nation's oldest and most prestigious award for public service, the Jefferson Award. 

 

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DOLLY PARTON

  • Country Music Superstar and Actress
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Dolly Parton is the most honored female country performer of all-time and, according to Nielsen, is country music’s #1 most marketable, recognizable and beloved artist in the world. Additionally, Parton’s coveted Q Score ranking—which measures public appeal and branding affinity—lists the superstar among the highest-ranked celebrities across the entire entertainment industry.

An international icon, Parton has made countless contributions to the music industry. Achieving 25 RIAA certified gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards, she has had 25 songs reach number 1 on the Billboard Country charts, a record for a female artist. She has 41 career top 10 country albums and 110 career charted singles. She has won 7 Grammy Awards, 10 Country Music Association Awards, 5 Academy of Country Music Awards, 3 American Music Awards and is one of only five female artists to win the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award.

In 1999, Parton was inducted as a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, and in 2001 she was inducted into the National Academy of Popular Music Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001. Broadcast Music, Inc. honored Dolly with their Icon Award in 2003, and in 2004, the U.S. Library of Congress presented her with their Living Legend Award for her contribution to the cultural heritage of the United States. This was followed in 2005 with the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor given by the U.S. government for excellence in the arts. In 2006 Dolly was honored by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for her lifetime of contributions to the arts. In 2007, Dolly was named the recipient of the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. She has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Parton opened her own theme park, Dollywood, in 1986. Dollywood would go on to become the state’s number one tourist attraction. In 1988, Dolly founded a group of dinner attractions called Dolly Parton’s Stampede. In 2001, she built Dollywood’s Splash Country, which is Tennessee’s largest water park.

Dolly Parton’s entertainment businesses attract 4.5 million visitors annually and employ more than 3,000 people. In 1988, she began the Dollywood Foundation. Currently the foundation funds the Dolly Parton Imagination Library which gives every preschool child a book each month from the time he or she is born until the child reaches kindergarten. With the help of local sponsors, this program has expanded to over 800 communities in 41 states. In 2016, Parton announced her My People Fund, to help victims of the wildfires in Sevier County, Tennessee. In 2017, she created the Mountain Tough organization to provide continued support to fire victims, and pledged over $3 million to this cause.

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MARGARET TRUDEAU

  • Mental Health Advocate
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Margaret Trudeau is celebrated for her role as a respected mental-health issues advocate and proponent of living a vibrant, joyful life especially as we age. From becoming the Canadian prime minister’s wife at a young age, to the loss of both her son and her former husband, to living with bi-polar disorder, Margaret shares her personal stories to remind others of the importance of nurturing the body, mind, and spirit.

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CASEY NEISTAT

  • YouTube personality, filmmaker and digital creator
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YouTube personality, filmmaker, producer and digital creator Casey Neistat has redefined brand content on the internet, setting a new standard for the way brands interact with digital creators. 

Casey, who got his start working as a dishwasher, is a self-taught filmmaker who discovered his passion for making movies with a friend. After attaining commercial success with the HBO series The Neistat Brothers and indie film Daddy Longlegs, Casey founded the social media app Beme, which was purchased by CNN for $25M. With ten years of experience in creating TV commercials, Neistat took his story-telling ability and married it with his commercial experience to revolutionize brand content for companies such as Mercedes and Nike.

Beyond YouTube-- where Casey reaches over 11 million subscribers--  Casey’s audience has followed him to Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat to hear his honest narrative and get a glimpse into the creator lifestyle. In keynotes that are as engaging and humorous as they are informative, Neistat shares actionable lessons on innovation and creativity, as well as cutting-edge insight into how to level-up your organization’s brand and content strategy. Heralded for his motto of “Do What You Can’t,” Casey empowers audiences to think outside the box and redefine their creative potential.

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LIZA DONNELLY

  • Award-Winning Cartoonist, The New Yorker
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With award-winning cartoons covering a gamut of topics from global politics, to pop culture, to gender equality, New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly proves that pen and ink are a powerful catalyst for engaging conversation about political and social issues. Donnelly's TEDTalk on how humor and art can empower has racked up over 1,200,000 views, and her work appears in The New York Times, Forbes, Medium, Politico, Huffington Post, Daily Beast, Salon, CNN, The Nation, National Lampoon, GlamourGood Housekeeping, and most recently as Contributing Cartoonist on CBS This Morning. Donnelly's "Live Drawing"where equipped with nothing more than an iPad and her quick hand she is able to bring high-profile moments to life—has allowed audiences to engage with major events including the Women's March on Washington, The Olympics, The Oscars, the 2017 Presidential Inauguration, and more.  

Donnelly is also a Cultural Envoy for the US State Department and a member of the United Nations initiative "Cartooning for Peace," which has brought her to the global stage to speak about freedom of speech, world peace, women's rights and other world issues. She is the author of 15 books, numerous essays and her spot-on ability to observe the world with a thought-provoking and humorous lens is resonating with audiences around the world!

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ERICA KESWIN

  • Author, Bring Your Human to Work
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Erica Keswin is a workplace strategist who has worked for the past twenty years with some of the most iconic brands in the world as a consultant, speaker, writer and professional dot-connector. Her book Bring Your Human to Work: Ten Sure-Fire Ways to Design a Workplace That is Good for People, Great for Business, and Just Might Change the World, a Wall Street Journal bestseller in its first week, serves as a powerful guide to a workplace revolution that honors relationships and puts people first.

In Erica's game-changing keynotes, she highlights how relationships are the most powerful driver of success for individuals and companies striving to attract and retain talent and loyal customers. Leaving audiences deeply informed and engaged, she reveals her tried-and-true, human roadmap for people seeking a more meaningful and connected work life, and provides actionable insights on everything from how to cultivate a work culture of diversity and inclusion, to how to connect with customers in an authentic way. 

Erica’s work and insights can be seen in varied media outlets, including Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Huffington Post, O Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, Mogul, and Conscious Company. She is also the founder of the Spaghetti Project, a platform devoted to sharing the science and stories of relationships at work.

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MICHAEL MOSS

  • #1 New York Times Bestselling Author, "Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us"
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Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Salt Sugar Fat, Michael Moss is a leading expert on the food industry, health and wellness, and marketing. Taking audiences on an eye-opening journey deep inside some of the world's biggest and most successful companies, he offers audiences an illuminating and surprising look at the researchers, marketers, strategists, and CEOs who seduce us with their products. Moss brings to vivid life the creative ways food manufacturers use the science of human behavior, biology and marketing to hook us. Using humor, case studies, and insight gleaned from investigative reporting that won him a Pulitzer Prize, he shows how companies get consumers to buy, often at the expense of their health.

Informative, engaging and often hilarious, Moss also offers lessons on the new world of health food, smart marketing strategies regardless of industry, and the state of journalism today. Hailed as "extraordinary" (University of the Sciences), "powerful" (Epicure) and "riveting" (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), Moss tailors his remarks to every audience, ensuring they leave deeply informed and with actionable takeaways. 

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MARCUS SAMUELSSON

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Marcus Samuelsson is the acclaimed chef behind many restaurants worldwide including Red Rooster Harlem, Red Rooster Shoreditch, and Marcus B&P. Samuelsson was the youngest person to ever receive a three-star review from The New York Times and has won multiple James Beard Foundation Awards including Best Chef: New York City.  He was tasked with planning and executing the Obama Administration’s first State dinner honoring Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. 

Samuelsson was also crowned champion of television shows Top Chef Masters and Chopped All Stars , and served as a mentor on ABC’s The Taste. A committed philanthropist, Samuelsson co-produces the annual week-long festival Harlem EatUp!, which celebrates the food, art, and culture of Harlem. Samuelsson is co-chair of the board of directors for Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP). In May 2016, he was inducted into the James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America. He is the author of multiple books including The New York Times bestselling memoir Yes, Chef, the young adult version-- Make It Messy, Marcus Off Duty cookbook, and his latest book-- The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem. In addition, he is one of the founders of the website Food Republic. 

Recent restaurant openings include: Red Rooster Shoreditch in East London; Marcus B&P in Newark, New Jersey; and Streetbird Express at the world-famous Madison Square Garden.  He most recently announced the opening of his newest restaurant, Marcus, coming to Montreal in Spring 2019. 

Samuelsson’s new TV series titled No Passport Required with VOX/Eater and PBS debuted summer of 2018.  He most recently joined Buzzfeed's Tasty as Executive Chef-in-Residence of their newly launched talent program

HWA NEW

GUY FIERI

  • Award-Winning Chef and Restaurateur
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Guy Fieri, chef, restaurateur, New York Times bestselling author, and Emmy Award-winning host, began his love affair with food at the age of ten, selling soft pretzels from a three-wheeled bicycle cart he built with his father called “The Awesome Pretzel Cart”. After selling pretzels and washing dishes for six years, Guy earned enough money to pursue his dream of studying abroad as an exchange student in Chantilly, France. There he gained a profound appreciation for international cuisine that further strengthened his passion for food. He returned to the U.S. and graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a degree in Hospitality Management.

In 2006, Guy won the second season of Food Network Star and was awarded a six-episode commitment for his own show, Guy’s Big Bite. Since that time, Guy has created a thriving culinary empire as the host of top-rated TV shows, including the Emmy-nominated Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Guy’s Grocery Games, Guy’s Family Road Trip , and most recently, Guy’s Big Project and Guy’s Ranch Kitchen. In addition, he has opened over 63 restaurants around the world and at sea, from the Las Vegas strip and the Atlantic City boardwalk to South Africa and Dubai. He has also authored six bestselling cookbooks.

In 2013, Guy fulfilled a personal passion with the launch of Hunt & Ryde Winery in Sonoma County, named for his two sons, Hunter and Ryder. He continues to support numerous charities, including his own, Cooking with Kids, as well as The Make-A-Wish Foundation and Best Buddies International. 

HWA NEW

ELIZABETH SHERWOOD-RANDALL

  • Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy (2014-2017)
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Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall has spent 35 years addressing the world’s most pressing global and domestic challenges. Serving in top public sector positions, including as Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Energy (2014-2017), White House Coordinator for Defense Policy, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Arms Control (2013-2014), Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs (2009-2013), and at the Pentagon as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia (1994-1996), Sherwood-Randall has chosen to engage in the most complex and consequential global challenges, participating in the highest levels of international decision-making. Offering unique insights and unparalleled expertise across a spectrum of issues from energy security to national security, Sherwood-Randall presents the threats and opportunities that lie ahead through a compelling insider’s lens. With first-hand experience as a defense and energy policy leader, global crisis manager, and female executive, Sherwood-Randall has inspired diverse teams to achieve ambitious goals, using innovative approaches in complex and uncertain times.

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FRED HOCHBERG

  • Longest-serving Chairman in Export-Import Bank history
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Fred P. Hochberg is the longest-serving chairman in the history of the Export-Import Bank of the United States and was one of the highest-ranking business leaders in the Obama Administration. Throughout nearly eight years of his leadership, EXIM Bank supported more than 1.4 million American jobs and financed exports with a value exceeding $240 billion. The Bank also generated $3.8 billion in surplus revenue for U.S. taxpayers during that time and Hochberg reduced internal costs by nearly 30 percent. Hochberg increased the Bank's focus on its customers, cutting transaction times and introducing new products. He also put America’s small business exporters at the top of the Bank's agenda and, as a result, nearly 90 percent of EXIM Bank authorizations directly supported small businesses on his watch. 

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TINA TCHEN

  • President & CEO, Time's Up
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Tina Tchen shares hope, ideas and strategies that inspire others to recognize the power of diverse teams and keep equality on the forefront of the global agenda.

A high-powered lawyer, Tina’s career accomplishments have established her as a powerful advocate for gender equality. As President and CEO of TIME’S UP Now and the TIME’S UP Foundation, Tina oversees the organizations’ efforts to change culture, companies, and laws in order to make work safe, fair, and dignified for women of all kinds. In 2017, Tina co-founded the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund, which has connected more than 3,600 people to legal or PR support for sexual harassment across dozens of different industries.

During her eight years at the White House, Tina served as chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, special assistant to President Barack Obama, and the executive director of the Council on Women and Girls, leading the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families and the first-ever United State of Women Summit. 

A passionate champion for women’s and children’s issues, including women in positions of leadership, Tina shares her unique perspective and insights on workforce diversity and inclusion, breaking through male-dominated industries, and ending campus assault. Energetic, authentic and engaging on stage, she empowers the next generation to raise their voices and take action now to secure a better tomorrow for women and minorities across the country and world.

 

HWA NEW

ERTHARIN COUSIN

  • Executive Director, World Food Programme (2009-2017)
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Ertharin Cousin possesses more than thirty years of national and international non-profit, government, and corporate leadership experience focusing on food, hunger, humanitarian operations, political organizing, community development and resilience strategies.

From 2009 until 2017 Cousin led the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) as the twelfth Executive Director (ED). As WFP ED Cousin guided the world’s largest humanitarian organization with 14,000 staff serving 80 million beneficiaries in 75 countries meeting urgent food needs; while, championing and serving as a global advocate for longer-term solutions to food insecurity and hunger. 

Cousin has been listed numerous times on the Forbes "100 Most Powerful Women" list, as the Fortune "Most Powerful Woman in Food and Drink", on Time’s "100 Most Influential People" list, and as one of the "500 Most Powerful People on the Planet" by Foreign Policy magazine. 

Cousin has an international reputation as a leader, with an emphasis on visionary thinking, practical problem solving, and the capacity to articulate clearly an important perspective on the global political and social situation. 

 

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DANIEL HOFFMAN

  • Former Central Intelligence Agency Senior Executive Clandestine Service Officer
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Daniel Hoffman is a former Senior Executive Clandestine Service Officer with the Central Intelligence Agency. His combined 30 years of distinguished government service included high-level positions not only within the CIA, but also with the U.S. military, U.S. Department of State, and U.S. Department of Commerce. Assignments included tours of duty in the former Soviet Union, Europe, and war zones in both the Middle East and South Asia. During this time, Mr. Hoffman developed extensive, substantive expertise on geopolitical and transnational issues related to the Middle East, South Asia, Russia, counterterrorism, and cyber and counter-intelligence. Now in the private sector, Mr. Hoffman remains highly regarded for his policy experience and his work with foreign officials in the regions where he served.  He has been a Fox News contributor since April 2018, and serves on the advisory board of the Federal Enforcement Homeland Security Foundation.

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PHILIPPE REINES

  • Long-Term Senior Advisor to Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton (2002- present)
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Philippe Reines is one of Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton's longest serving communications advisors. He has worked with Secretary Clinton in the State Department, on her first presidential campaign, and in the U.S. Senate. Reines stood beside Secretary Clinton during some of the most important national security and policy decisions of the last decade and a half, and is an expert in strategic communications and public relations. Reines also serves as a Founder and Managing Director of Beacon Global Strategies LLC, a strategic advisory firm specializing in International Policy, Defense, Cyber, Intelligence and Homeland Security.

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ALEX BANAYAN

  • The Only Nationally Bestselling Business Author Under 30 in America
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Alex Banayan is the only nationally bestselling business author under 30 in America. His book The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World’s Most Successful People Launched Their Careers has been translated into more than a dozen languages.

An acclaimed keynote speaker, Banayan has presented the Third Door framework to business conferences and corporate leadership teams around the world, including Apple, Google, Nike, IBM, Snapchat, Salesforce, and Disney. Banayan’s keynotes have had far-reaching effects, acting as the catalyst for a new way of thinking. The Third Door framework has helped individuals discover unconventional routes to achieve their biggest dreams and has aided Fortune 500 companies to take new approaches to sales, marketing, and exponential growth.

Since the publication of The Third Door, Banayan has brought his message of possibility to millions of people in more than one hundred countries. At the core of Banayan’s mission is his belief that, “When you change what someone believes is possible, you change what becomes possible.”

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SETH MATTISON

  • Workforce Strategist and Management Trendspotter
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Seth Mattison is an internationally renowned expert and author on workforce trends, generational dynamics, and business strategy. As Co-Founder and Chief Movement Officer of Luminate Labs, Seth advises many of the world’s leading brand and organizations on the key shifts happening around talent management, change and innovation, leadership, and the future of work.

His ideas have been featured in such publications as The Wall St. Journal, Forbes, The Huffington Post, and The Globe and Mail and was named to the Editors’ Picks for Speakers to Watch by MeetingsNet.

For the past decade Seth has shared his insights with thousands of business leaders around the world and has received accolades from many of the worlds best brands including: MasterCard, Johnson and Johnson, Microsoft, Kraft Foods, AT&T, PepsiCo, GE Energy, Cisco, State Farm, Merrill Lynch, Dow, and Disney.

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MICHELLE STACY

  • President, Keurig Inc. (2008-2013)
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If you drank a cup of coffee, brushed your teeth or shaved this morning, your life has already been impacted by Michelle Stacy’s leadership.

For the last 35 years, Michelle Stacy has built a career that has culminated in leadership positions at Gillette, P&G, and most recently as President of Keurig. These companies have all benefited from her ability to develop and articulate a clear vision and strategy, build brands, and identify avenues for growth.

Michelle’s key to managing and driving exceptional growth has been her ability to create a positive and focused culture that generates high employee engagement, as well as talent for creating company-wide commitment to lead with a higher purpose.

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SHANE FELDMAN

  • Founder & CEO of Count Me In
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Shane Feldman helps audiences activate the leader within and connect more authentically with colleagues and customers to see greater engagement, satisfaction, and retention. As the Founder & CEO of Count Me In, which inspires youth to be positive change-agents in their community, Shane is the visionary behind the world's largest millennial-led movement. Over the past decade, Count Me In, has initiated tens of thousands of projects worldwide, contributing a value of over $2.6 billion to the global economy through service.

Shane's reputation as a speaker is built on his energetic approach, skilled storytelling, and his capacity to both inspire audiences and offer instantly implementable, tangible strategies on how to activate leadership and cultivate meaningful connections. Able to cut through the noise of this digital age of distraction and disconnection, Shane has been sought-out to work with some of the world's most dynamic companies including GoogleMicrosoft, and The Walt Disney Company, and has been recognized by The White HouseThe Prime Minister of Canada and The United Nations for his achievements in community leadership. His work has been featured by Larry King, Dr. Oz, Forbes, People Magazine, and he was the subject of a documentary TV series from A&E that followed his community building work.

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JULIE WILLIAMSON

  • Co-Author with Peter Sheahan of MATTER: Create more value, move beyond the competition, and become the obvious choice
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Dr. Williamson is a Vice President of Strategy and Research for Karrikins Group, where she has worked with some of the world's largest companies, helping them set and execute on strategy and transformation. She is a leading voice in how organizations link together communication, design, strategy, sales, marketing and service to deliver sustainable growth. She uses both traditional and forward looking resources in her strategy and transformation work, leveraging design thinking to help client arrive at solutions that are informed by data and inspired by creativity.

Her work with Peter Sheahan on the recently released book MATTER: Create more value, move beyond the competition, and become the obvious choice highlights Julie’s commitment to working with clients to find and deliver on opportunities for growth and development.

Julie is an educator and a professional, teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses on organizational strategy, behavior, and change, and helping students connect the theoretical concepts to real-world applications. Her work with knowledge management and leadership development has been put to the test with Fortune 100 companies and stands well outside of the classroom.

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CARLI LLOYD

  • Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist, World Cup Champion, and FIFA World Player of the Year
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Carli Lloyd is an American professional soccer player for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and the National Women’s Soccer League’s Sky Blue FC in NJ. A two-time Olympic Gold Medalist (2008 and 2012), Carli holds the unique distinction of scoring the game-winning goals in the finals at both the 2008 Games in Beijing and the 2012 Games in London. She also represented the United States at the past four Women’s World Cup tournaments (2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019) and is a two-time World Cup Champion (2015 and 2019). She has been awarded the most prestigious and highest award in soccer being named two-time FIFA World Player of the Year (2015 and 2016), only four other americans recieveing the award. She became the only American to score multiple goals in three separate Olympic Games (2008, 2012, 2016). Currently she has scored over 115 + goals, in almost 300 games played.

At the 2015 Women’s World Cup, Carli led the U.S. team in record-setting fashion, bringing the World Cup back to the U.S. for the first time since 1999. During the final match against Japan, Carli scored a historic hat trick, with all three goals occurring within the first 16 minutes of the game. Her third and final goal of the game scoring from midfield was widely described as one of the greatest goals of all time. Lloyd became the first player ever to score three goals in a FIFA Women's World Cup final and the second soccer player ever to score a hat-trick in a FIFA World Cup Final. For her performance in the tournament, Carli received the Golden Ball Trophy, awarded to the best player of the tournament, and the Silver Boot for her six tournament goals and one assist. Following her extraordinary achievements, noted media and soccer analysts around the world called Carli’s performance among the best-ever on a world stage.

In July 2019, the USWNT claimed its record fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup title, making Carli a two-time World Cup champion and she became the first player to score in six straight Women's World Cup games.

Off the field, Carli is a role model who empowers fans to never give up on achieving their goals. She almost gave up on her own soccer dream, but with the help and motivation from her coach/mentor James Galanis, Carli continued her journey and has never looked back!

Carli was raised in Delran, NJ and attended nearby Rutgers University, where she set records as the Scarlet Knights all-time leader in points, goals and shots. In 2013, Lloyd was inducted into the Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni. In 2017 she was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

She published a best-selling memoir in the fall of 2016 titled When Nobody Was Watching. Carli serves as mentor and mental toughness coach for her former youth club, the Medford Strikers.

She married her High School sweetheart, Brian in 2016 and still lives in NJ.

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JONATHAN NEMAN

  • Co-Founder and Co-CEO of sweetgreen
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Jonathan Neman is Co-Founder & Co-CEO of sweetgreen, the destination for simple, seasonal, healthy food. Jonathan and his co-founders, Nathaniel Ru and Nicolas Jammet, started sweetgreen in 2007, opening their first location in Georgetown, DC – just three months out of college. The brand’s strong food ethos, embrace of passion and purpose, and investment in local communities has enabled sweetgreen to grow into a national brand with more than 70 locations across the East Coast, Midwest and California.

Jonathan has been recognized as a key innovator in food and business, named to Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business,” Inc’s “30 Under 30,” Forbes’ “30 Under 30” and Food & Wine’s “40 Big Food Thinkers 40 and Under.” In 2016, sweetgreen was named one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies.”

Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Jonathan graduated from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, where he met Nathaniel and Nicolas.

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CHRISTOPHER WYLIE

  • Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower
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The New Yorker calls him “a pink-haired, nose-ringed oracle sent from the future”. Best known for his role in setting up – and then taking down – the cyberwarfare firm Cambridge Analytica, Chris has been listed in TIME 100 Most Influential People in the World, Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Politico ’s 50 Most Influential People in Politics and Business Insider ’s 100 Coolest People in Tech. 

Named as “the millennials’ first great whistleblower,” his revelations exposing the rampant misuse of data rocked Silicon Valley and forced numerous Fortune 500 companies to overhaul cybersecurity and user privacy practices. Congress held its first ever hearings on the impact of social media on democracy and Facebook experienced the largest single-day share value drop in American corporate history – twice. 

His evidence also exposed the deep links between the Alt-Right and Russian intelligence networks, leading to major ongoing FBI and NCA investigations in the US and UK. 

With his neon hair and brutally honest candour, Chris engages audiences around the world and makes AI understandable, disturbing – and yet somehow compelling. His mind-bending stories about the power of weaponised algorithms and information warfare have garnered audiences of over 15,000 people at some of the leading global events, including Web Summit, the Royal Institute for International Affairs (‘Chatham House’), the European Commission and Forbes 30 Under 30. 

When Chris speaks out about the future of technology, governments around the world take note – he has testified before the United States Congress five times, as well as at the parliaments of the European Union, United Kingdom and Canada. 

Splitting his time between London, New York, LA and Stockholm, Chris is currently the Director of Research for Hennes & Mauritz (‘H&M’), the largest global fashion brand. His work on quantifying fashion style with AI systems is already having a major impact on the fashion sector. A recognised expert in cultural trend forecasting, Chris also writes for the youth culture and fashion magazine Dazed and has been featured in Vogue, GQ, Esquire and PAPER.

 In a previous life, Chris worked inside the highest levels of the British government and is a graduate of the London School of Economics.

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JOANNE LIPMAN

  • Industry Leading Journalist
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Joanne Lipman is the bestselling author of That's What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together. One of the nation's leading journalists, she is a CNBC contributor and most recently was chief content officer of Gannett and editor-in-chief of USA TODAY and the USA TODAY NETWORK, comprising the flagship title and 109 other news organizations including the Detroit Free Press, the Cincinnati Enquirer, and the Arizona Republic. In that role, she oversaw more than 3,000 journalists and led the organization to three Pulitzer Prizes.

Ms. Lipman began her career as a reporter at The Wall Street Journal, ultimately rising to Deputy Managing Editor - the first woman to attain that post - and supervising coverage that earned three Pulitzer Prizes. While at the Journal, she created Weekend Journal and Personal Journal and oversaw creation of the paper's Saturday edition. She subsequently was founding Editor-in-Chief of Conde Nast Portfolio and Portfolio.com, which won National Magazine and Loeb Awards.

Lipman is a frequent television commentator, seen on ABC, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CNBC, and CBS, among others, and her work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, Time, Fortune, Newsweek, and Harvard Business Review. She is also co-author, with Melanie Kupchynsky, of the critically acclaimed musical memoir, Strings Attached. A winner of the Matrix Award for women in communications, Lipman is also a member of the Yale University Council, the Council on Foreign Relations, and is an International Media Leader for the World Economic Forum as well as a member of the Knight Foundation Commission on Truth, Media and Democracy. She sits on boards including the World Editors Forum and the Yale Daily News and on the advisory boards of Breastcancer.org and the Yale School of Music.

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ADAM SAVAGE

  • Co-Host, Mythbusters
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Adam Savage has spent his life gathering skills that allow him to take what's in his brain and make it real. He's built everything from giant Buddhas and futuristic weapons to fine-art sculptures and dancing vegetables.

The son of a filmmaker/painter and a psychotherapist, Adam’s previous positions include projectionist, animator, graphic designer, carpenter, interior and stage designer, toy designer, welder, and scenic painter. And he’s worked with every material and in every medium he could fathom — metal, paper, glass, plastic, rubber, foam, plaster, pneumatics, hydraulics, animatronics, neon, glassblowing, mold-making, and injection molding to name just a few.

In 1993, Adam began concentrating his career on the special-effects industry, honing his skills through more than 100 television commercials and a dozen feature films, including Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Galaxy Quest, and the Matrix sequels.

A decade later, Adam was chosen along with Jamie Hyneman to produce and host MythBusters, which premiered on Discovery Channel in January 2003. Fourteen years, 279 episodes, 1,015 myths, 2,950 experiments, eight Emmy nominations, and 83 miles of duct tape later, that version of the series ended in March 2016.

Today, Adam hosts and executive produces MythBusters Jr. as well as a brand-new series, Savage Builds, which premiered on Science Channel in June 2019. He also stars in and produces content for his website Tested.com, including behind-the-scenes deep dives into multiple blockbuster films (including Alien Covenant, Mortal Engines, and Blade Runner 2049 ).

In addition, after a lifetime of hunting for the perfect gear bag, Adam launched Savage Industries and began manufacturing his own along with MAFIA BAGS. Made in the United States and constructed primarily from recycled sailcloth, every bag is not only durable and lightweight but unique as well. The current line (available at AdamSavage.com) includes two sizes of the EDC (“Everyday Carry”) and an assortment of pouches, with more product both available on the site and on the way. 

Finally, in 2019 Adam finished his first book. Every Tool’s a Hammer  is “a chronicle of my life as a maker. It’s an exploration of making and of my own productive obsessions, but it’s also a permission slip of sorts from me to you. Permission to grab hold of the things you’re interested in, that fascinate you, and to dive deeper into them to see where they lead you.” 

Adam lives in the San Francisco Bay area with his wife and their two amazing dogs.

HWA NEW

JOHN DICKERSON

  • 60 Minutes Correspondent
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John Dickerson is a correspondent for 60 Minutes. Previously, Dickerson was a co-host of CBS This Morning. Prior to that, he was CBS News' chief Washington correspondent and anchor of Face The Nation. Dickerson is also a contributor to Slate 's "Political Gabfest" and a contributing editor to The Atlantic.

Dickerson joined CBS News in April 2009 as an analyst and contributor.  He worked as the network's political director and has been moderator of Face the Nation since June 2015. During the 2016 presidential campaign he moderated CBS News ' two presidential debates and as host of Face the Nation, interviewed each of the major candidates multiple times.

Dickerson has been a reporter in Washington since 1995, covering the White House, Congress and economics. Most recently he was Slate Magazine's chief political correspondent winning the Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency. A 2010 long-form series on risk profiled current Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Before Slate, Dickerson covered politics for 12 years for Time magazine. During his last four years, he was the magazine's White House correspondent, covering the presidency of George W. Bush. He has covered six presidential campaigns and hosts a twice-monthly podcast, "Whistlestop," which chronicles great moments in presidential history.

A native Washingtonian, he graduated with distinction from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor's degree in English and a specialty in American Studies. His mother, Nancy Dickerson, was CBS News' first female correspondent. Dickerson is the author of On Her Trail (Simon and Schuster), a book about his mother. He is also the author of the New York Times best-seller Whistlestop: My Favorite Stories from Presidential Campaign History (Twelve Books). Known for his active use of social media, Dickerson has more than 2.22 million Twitter followers. 

HWA NEW

JENNIFER PALMIERI

  • Communications Director, Clinton 2016 Presidential Campaign
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Jennifer Palmieri is one of the most accomplished communications advisors in politics today. Jennifer was White House Communications Director for President Obama and head of Communications for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. She has been on the frontlines of American politics for 20 years and one of a few people with a hands-on, working knowledge of the complex media environment operating in the U.S. today.

Having served in the West Wing for 12 years under President Obama and President Clinton she has an unparalleled level of knowledge and experience in understanding how US Presidents operate and there is no one working in politics today with more experience in managing crises. She has held the positions of White House Deputy Press Secretary for President Clinton, national press secretary for the Democratic Party and press secretary for the 2004 John Edwards presidential campaign. As someone who worked on the campaign of the first female Democratic nominee, and been a communications advisor to women in the national spotlight, she has a unique perspective on how media and voters treat women in powerful positions.

After losing her sister to early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2017, she has written and spoken about her family’s experience in an effort to aid other families facing the same disease.

She is a frequent contributor to the Washington Post and other national outlets and frequent guest commentator on MSNBC news shows.

HWA NEW

NICOLAS JAMMET

  • Co-Founder and Co-CEO of sweetgreen
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Nicolas Jammet is Co-Founder & Co-CEO of sweetgreen, a destination for simple, seasonal, healthy food. Nicolas and his co-founders, Nathaniel Ru and Jonathan Neman, launched sweetgreen in 2007, opening their first location in Georgetown, DC, just three months out of college. The brand’s strong food ethos, embrace of passion and purpose, and investment in local communities has enabled sweetgreen to grow into a national brand with more than 70 locations throughout the country.

In 2015, First Lady Michelle Obama selected Nicolas for the Presidential Delegation to EXPO 2015, an international summit to discuss global nutrition and health as well as sustainable food solutions. He has been recognized as a key innovator in food and business, named to Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business,” Inc’s “30 Under 30,” Forbes’ “30 Under 30” and Food & Wine’s “40 Big Food Thinkers 40 and Under.” In 2016, sweetgreen was named one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies.”

Born and raised in New York City, Nicolas grew up in a family of restaurateurs — the son of André and Rita Jammet, owners of NYC’s beloved La Caravelle. He graduated from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, where he met Nathaniel and Jonathan.

HWA NEW

ELIZA GRISWOLD

  • Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author, Poet and Journalist
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Eliza Griswold is a poet and journalist who works on issues of social justice, religion, politics and the environment abroad and at home in America. A contributing writer for The New Yorker since 2003, she has also written and translated four books of nonfiction and poetry.

Griswold was awarded the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction for her book Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America.

She was recently awarded a PEN prize for her 2014 book, I Am The Beggar of the World which traces the secret life of women and poetry in Afghanistan. Her 2011 non-fiction book, The Tenth Parallel, a New York Times Bestseller, was awarded the Lukas Prize. 

A graduate of Princeton, she has held fellowships at Harvard University, New America, and the Guggenheim Foundation, and was awarded the Rome Prize by the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2010. Her poems and reportage have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Atlantic, among many others. 

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RYAN COOGLER

  • Award-Winning Writer and Director
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Ryan Coogler was born in Oakland, CA. He was an avid student-athlete and earned a football scholarship to St. Mary's College and later transferred to California State University, Sacramento, where he graduated with a degree in Finance.

Having always harbored a talent for storytelling, Ryan discovered his own passion for filmmaking as a college freshman, and began shooting shorts with his teammates and friends. After being admitted into the USC School of Cinematic Arts, he went on to create his award winning shorts Locks, Fig and Gap. Locks was shown at Tribeca Film Festival and was winner of Dana and Albert Broccoli Award for Filmmaking Excellence, Gap received the Jack Nicholson Award for Achievement in Directing, and Fig won the HBO Short Filmmaking Award, DGA Student Filmmaker Award, and was nominated for the Black Reel Award for outstanding independent short film.

After receiving his M.F.A., he began to work as a juvenile hall counselor before creating his first feature film Fruitvale Station, which debuted at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. The film went on to win both the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for dramatic film and the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film, two of the festival’s top honors. Following its success at Sundance, Fruitvale Station competed at the 2013 Cannes International Film Festival and won the Cannes Prix L'avenir Award in Un Certain Regard. The film was produced by actor Forest Whitaker, stars Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer.

Later, Ryan went on to write and direct Creed for MGM starring Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone. Ryan’s latest film, Black Panther won three Oscars and was nominated for 6 Oscars including Best Picture.

Coogler still resides in the Bay Area with his wife Zinzi Evans.

HWA NEW

NATALY KOGAN

  • Founder of Happier, a global technology and learning platform enabling users to discover new methods of pursuing emotional wellbeing
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A successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Nataly found that after reaching the highest levels of corporate America, she still wasn’t happy. Nataly came to the United States as a refugee from Russia when she was 13 and overcame significant obstacles on her way to achieving career success. But while her achievements left her proud, she was unfulfilled, so she became inspired to figure out how to live a truly meaningful, happier life. In the process, she found the answers each person and organization needs to unlock their maximum potential, making them not just more productive and innovative, but helping them to find more joy in everyday moments and get through challenging ones with resilience.

The CEO and Founder of Happier—an award-winning global technology and learning platform—Nataly is a leading expert on how people and organizations can transform their individual and team culture so that they can thrive.  Having helped more than a million people and employees dramatically improve their emotional health and resilience by cultivating her Five Core Happier Skills, Nataly demonstrates that happiness is not just a feeling, but a skill that can be learned and improved through practice, and that in turn boosts creativity, productivity and profits.

Nataly’s received standing ovations from groups such as Million Dollar Roundtable, Fortune's Tech Brainstorm, SXSW, Harvard Women's Leadership Conference, Gillette, Pendulum Leadership Summit, Atrium Innocations, TEDx Boston, and many more, thanks to her instantly implementable takeaways that transform the way people work and live. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, New York Magazine, Time Magazine and more, and her new book Happier Now: How to Stop Striving For Perfection and Embrace Everyday Moments (Even the Difficult Ones) provides a roadmap for how to cultivate genuine, lasting happiness in every facet of our lives.

HWA NEW

DESHAUNA BARBER

  • Miss USA (2016)
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On Sunday, June 5th 2016, Deshauna was crowned the first Miss USA to currently serve in the United States military. She spent her year-long reign as Miss USA partnering with and lending her voice to the organizations such as the USO, Smile Train, Best Buddies, Operation Homefront and numerous others.

Deshauna has made it her life goal to encourage, inspire and strengthen the people around her. She is a survivor of child sexual abuse and wants to inspire other survivors to fight through the fears of their past. Deshauna has also overcome extreme bullying from a young age but after the recent loss of her mother to cancer, she wants to encourage people to focus on loving yourself and the people around you.

Deshauna has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Virginia State University and then went on to complete her Master of Science degree in Computer Information Systems and Services at the University of Maryland University College. She has worked as an IT Analyst in The United States Government for over 5 years being employed by agencies such as the Department of Defense, Department of Transportation, Department of The Navy and lastly the Department of Commerce. Captain Deshauna Barber is a logistics commander in the United States Army Reserve. She commissioned as a Quartermaster Officer in 2011 and has been serving her country ever since. Deshauna has a passion for our men and women in uniform and has spent much of her career focusing on advocating for soldiers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The 27-year-old was born in Columbus, Georgia however, as the daughter of an Army Master Sergeant who served in the United States Special Forces, Deshauna relocated multiple times growing up.

Deshauna has appeared on The Steve Harvey Show, The Rachael Ray Show, Fox and Friends, The Chelsea Show, Good Morning Washington, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The T.D. Jakes Show, The Nightly Show, The Source on Sirius XM, The Daily Show, Lunch Break, Live with Kelly, Good Morning America and in Glamour Magazine and Diversity Magazine.

HWA NEW

ROBIN ARZON

  • Vice President of Fitness Programming and Head Instructor, Peloton
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New York Times best-selling author of Shut Up And Run, Robin Arzón fearlessly left behind a successful law career to embark on new adventures in the health and wellness space. She soon discovered her passion for coaching athletes.

As Vice President of Fitness Programming and Head Instructor at Peloton, Robin believes that sweat transforms lives. When she’s not training for ultramarathons, she serves as a global brand ambassador for Adidas, and has successfully become a sought-after partner who connects brands directly to consumers via social media. Her life’s mission is to redefine, reform, and rethink possibility through movement.

 

HWA NEW

RICKI LAKE

  • Actress, Producer, Author, and Family Advocate
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Ricki Lake has managed to successfully reinvent herself at every stage of her career, always connecting with her audience through her talent and endearing spirit. As “Tracy Turnblad,” the zaftig heroine of the original John Waters’ film Hairspray,  Lake made an acting debut that positioned her an “entertainer to watch” in Hollywood. Later, with a surprise turn as a talk show host, she met with unprecedented success and earned her place as a pop culture icon whose voice has remained relevant and relatable for nearly two decades.

Her latest role – surprisingly, that of an independent filmmaker, family advocate and author – has kept her uniquely charming perspective firmly in the public’s consciousness. But, not one to forget her roots, Lake also continues to put her creative energy into all entertainment mediums, continuing her career as an actress in film and television. In 2007, Lake executive produced the critically acclaimed documentary The Business Of Being Born.  The film, which debuted at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival, examined natural childbirth in the U.S. and studied the high rate of medical interventions in low-risk pregnancies. Since the film’s theatrical and DVD releases, the project has generated a grassroots movement, encouraging many parents-to-be to consider natural and homebirths rather than popular hospital births. In May 2009, Lake and the director of The Business of Being Born,   Abby Epstein, released their first book, Your Best Birth.  The guide has proven to be an invaluable tool for expecting parents, designed to educate families about their birthing options.

In addition to her work on the book, Lake has become an integral figure in the birthing community. She was on the Board of the New Space for Women’s Health in New York City — a non-profit organization that until recently was scheduled to build a natural, free-standing birthing center in Manhattan, where presently none exists. Additionally, she has traveled tirelessly around the United States, England and Australia to discuss the state of the birthing “industry” in the United States in an effort to demonstrate how all parents-to-be can benefit from taking a more active role in their birth experiences.

Lake has never abandoned the acting career that captured the attention of moviegoers everywhere. At 18, she made her film debut in Hairspray, earning an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Actress. She later went on to star in John Waters’ Cry Baby opposite Johnny Depp and Serial Mom alongside Kathleen Turner. Other notable appearances include the contemporary classic Working Girl, the acclaimed drama Last Exit To Brooklyn,  the romantic comedy Mrs. Winterbourne opposite Shirley MacLaine and Brendan Fraser, Where The Day Takes You  opposite Dermot Mulroney and John Waters’ Cecil B. Demented .  She also starred in the CBS film Baby Cakes  and the beloved television drama series China Beach.  Lake also had a recurring role on the CBS hit comedy The King Of Queens.  Lake co-executive produced and co-starred in the Hallmark Hall of Fame film Loving Leah,  featuring Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under)  and Academy Award-winner Mercedes Ruehl.

Prior to her recent advocacy work on behalf of women and children across the world, Lake entered the living rooms of millions of television viewers with her daily talk show, Ricki Lake.  The show — which premiered in the fall of 1993 among talk show powerhouses The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Jenny Jones Show  and Donahue  — became an instant hit by appealing to a younger demographic with youth-centric topics such as dating, fashion makeovers, weight loss, etc. Over the course of the show, Lake received many honors and accolades both nationally and internationally, including a Daytime Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Talk Show Host” and Sweden’s Aftonbladet TV Prize for “Best Foreign TV Personality,”among others. As a producer, Lake was instrumental in ensuring that the show continued to appeal to its committed viewers and continued to grow with its audience. After 11 successful seasons, Ricki Lake wrapped in 2005, ultimately paving the way for today’s hit talk shows.

Ricki Lake continues to air in countries around the world, a testament to the global appeal and timelessness of the host’s one-of-a-kind style and sensibility.

HWA NEW

MARIA SHARAPOVA

  • International Tennis Icon
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International tennis sensation, Maria Sharapova, expanded her presence further in the sporting universe as she became an Olympic correspondent for NBC’s coverage of the 2014 Olympic Games. Sharapova holds hometown hero status in her native Sochi, and offered NBC viewers exclusive and personalized access to the Olympic Games in Russia.

Sharapova is the winner of multiple Grand Slams in her career; Wimbledon (2004), US Open (2006), the Australian Open (2008) and French Open (2012 & 2014). During the Summer 2012 Olympic Games in London, she was awarded the Silver Medal for Women’s Singles Tennis.

Sharapova holds a number of firsts for her native Russia. She is the first Russian to win the Australian Open and the only Russian to win multiple Grand Slams.

As an international icon, Sharapova garners worldwide press coverage - both on and off the court - with a dominating social media presence. She serves as an ambassador to many of the world’s top luxury brands and a number of Fortune 500 companies.

In 2012, Sharapova flexed her entrepreneurial muscles and debuted her eponymous couture candy collection, Sugarpova. A portion of Sugarpova’s proceeds go towards the Maria Sharapova Foundation, which helps children around the world achieve their dreams. In 2007, she became a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and has donated significant contributions to Chernobyl-related projects in her native country.

HWA NEW

HELENE COOPER

  • Pulitzer Prize-Winning New York Times Pentagon Correspondent
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Helene Cooper is a Pentagon correspondent for The New York Times. Prior to this assignment, she covered the White House and was The Times' diplomatic correspondent. She joined the newspaper in 2004 as the assistant editorial page editor, a position she held for two years before she ran out of opinions and returned to news. She has reported from 64 countries, from Pakistan to the Congo.

Previously, Helene worked for 12 years at The Wall Street Journal, where she was a foreign correspondent, reporter and editor, working in the London, Washington and Atlanta bureaus. She is the winner of the Raymond Clapper award for Washington reporting (2000), the Sandy Hume award for best reporter under the age of 35 (2001), the Missouri Lifestyle award for feature writing (2002), a National Association of Black Journalists award for feature writing (2004), and the Urbino Press Award for foreign reporting (2011). In 2015 she won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting, an Overseas Press Club Award for International Reporting, and a George Polk Award for Health Reporting, all three for her coverage of the Ebola crisis.

Born in Monrovia, Liberia, Helene is the author of The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood (Simon & Schuster), a New York Times bestseller and a National Book Critics Circle finalist in autobiography in 2009. In 2009 and 2010, she appeared on the TV quiz show, Jeopardy!, as a clue. She has also appeared on Meet the Press, Washington Week, The Tavis Smiley Show, The Chris Matthews Show, and This Week. Her latest book, Madame President, published by Simon & Schuster, is the harrowing, but triumphant story of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, leader of the Liberian women’s movement, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and the first democratically elected female president in African history.

HWA NEW

TIFFANY D. CROSS

  • Co-Founder & Managing Editor, The Beat DC
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A sought-after effervescent voice in the progressive discourse, Tiffany D. Cross is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of The Beat DC, a platform intersecting national politics, policy, business, media, and people of color. With a readership comprising influencers across the country, Tiffany makes the fast moving current affairs in today’s climate digestible for the political connoisseur or novice. 

Under Tiffany’s leadership, The Beat DC has quickly expanded its circulation, building a base of daily readers that includes Members of Congress and Capitol Hill staffers, current and previous administration officials, government relations professionals as well as influencers across the country from activists, state and local elected officials to CEOs and C-Suite executives. Founded in 2016, the platform represents the nexus of Tiffany’s unique ability to connect directly with audiences offering a thoughtful critique of policy and politics and unique insight on a myriad of issues through the lens of diversity and inclusion. Tiffany can be seen frequently on MSNBC offering critical analysis as well as occasionally appearing on CNN.

 

HWA NEW

AMARYLLIS FOX

  • Former CIA Clandestine Service Officer, Writer and Peace Activist
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Former CIA Clandestine Service Officer, writer, and peace activist Amaryllis Fox was born in New York City, the daughter of an English actress and American economist. Her father's work focused on the developing world, moving their family every year of her childhood, and giving her an early sense of being at home in the farthest corners of Africa, SE Asia, Europe, and the former Soviet Union.

Returning to the United States when she was 16, Amaryllis applied to two colleges -- the Naval Academy to study aerospace engineering and Oxford to study international law. Prior to making a decision, she traveled to the Thai-Burmese border to volunteer in the Mai Laa refugee camp and decided there to defer university and stay on, working with the Burmese democracy movement and eventually interviewing Aung San Suu Kyi for the BBC, which landed her a brief stint in Burmese prison at the age of 18, but also resulted in the first radio broadcast from Suu Kyi in almost a year.

Amaryllis matriculated at Oxford University in 1999 to study international law and spent much of the following three years in Dili, East Timor, working with Xanana Gusmao's team to settle IDPs in the world's newest country, and in Srebrenica, Bosnia, working on the reconciliation process to rebuild community trust in the wake of the 1995 massacre.

In 2002, Amaryllis graduated Oxford with an honors degree and started graduate work in international security at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. There she developed an algorithm to predict terrorist activity under thesis advisor Dan Byman, a leading thinker on terrorism and US security policy. Asked by the University's CIA Officer in Residence, Dallas Jones, to share the algorithm with the Agency, she soon began work as a political and terrorism analyst for SE Asia, commuting between Langley and Georgetown to finish her degree with honors in 2004. Following graduation, she moved into the operational training program and served as a Clandestine Service officer overseas until 2009.

Following government service, Amaryllis used her coding abilities and international experience to start Mulu, an e-commerce company supporting at-risk communities around the world. In 2014, Amaryllis was recruited by Twitter to run consumer products for their global e-commerce business. But as the lessons from her career in counterterrorism became ever more relevant to the national conversation, she left Twitter to focus on writing full-time.

HWA NEW

LUCY KALANITHI

  • Widow of the #1 New York Times Best-selling Author of When Breath Becomes Air, by neurosurgeon Dr. Paul Kalanithi
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HWA NEW

ALEXA VON TOBEL

  • Founder & CEO, LearnVest.com
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Alexa von Tobel, CFP is founder and managing partner of Inspired Capital and the New York Times bestselling author of Financially Fearless and Financially Forward.

Prior to Inspired Capital, Alexa founded LearnVest with the goal of helping people make progress on their money. After raising nearly $75 million in venture capital, LearnVest was acquired by Northwestern Mutual in one of the biggest fintech acquisitions of the decade. Following the acquisition, Alexa joined the management team of Northwestern Mutual as the company’s first-ever Chief Digital Officer, overseeing digital strategy. She later assumed the role of Chief Innovation Officer through which she oversaw Northwestern Mutual’s venture arm.

Alexa has appeared on the cover of Forbes Magazine, been interviewed on NPR’s "How I Built This" and been featured in a wide variety of publications from The New York Times to Vogue. She is a member of the 2016 Class of Henry Crown Fellows and an inaugural member of President Obama’s Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship. Alexa has been honored with numerous recognitions including: Fortune ’s "40 Under 40", Fortune 's "Most Powerful Women," Forbes ’ "30 Under 30", Inc. Magazine 's "30 Under 30" and World Economic Forum's Young Global Leader.

 

HWA NEW

GABRIELLE BERNSTEIN

  • #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Universe Has Your Back, International Speaker, and Spirit Junkie
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Gabrielle Bernstein is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Universe Has Your Back and has written six additional bestsellers, including her most recent book, the New York Times bestseller Super Attractor. She was featured on Oprah’s SuperSoul Sunday as a “next-generation thought leader,” and The Oprah Winfrey Network chose Gabby to be part of the “SuperSoul 100,” a dynamic group of 100 trailblazers whose vision and life’s work are bringing a higher level of consciousness to the world. The New York Times identified her as “a new role model.”

YouTube named Gabby one of 16 YouTube Next Video Bloggers, she was named one of Mashable’s "11 Must-Follow Twitter Accounts for Inspiration", and she’s featured on the Forbes list of "20 Best-Branded Women". She appears regularly as an expert on The Dr. Oz Show and co-hosted the Guinness World Record largest guided meditation with Deepak Chopra.

 

HWA NEW

LILLY SINGH

  • Award-Winning YouTube Personality and Comedian
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Lilly Singh is a Canadian actress, performer and comedian who was just named to Variety ’s "10 Comics To Watch List". Lilly recently appeared in the STX feature comedy Bad Moms alongside Mila Kunis, Christina Applegate, and Kristen Bell, Twentieth Century Fox’ Ice Age: Collision , and in CBS’ Life In Pieces.

Earlier this year, Lilly was named to Time Magazine’s "30 Most Influential People on the Internet", was featured in Forbes ’ 2016 "30 Under 30 List" in the Hollywood & Entertainment category, and named as one of Fast Company 's "2016 Most Creative People". With over 10 million subscribers and more than 1.5 billion views on her YouTube channel, Lilly has taken the world by storm. She has developed a large, engaged fan base thanks to her hilarious sketch videos, often inspired by her Indian heritage. She has collaborated on videos with James Franco, Seth Rogen, Selena Gomez, and Dwayne Johnson to name a few. YouTube Red released her documentary about her sold out world tour and life, A Trip To Unicorn Island. Lilly has also been featured as the face of YouTube, and her billboards can be seen across the United States and Australia. Additionally, Lilly has been featured in Entertainment Weekly, People Magazine, Seventeen Magazine, Vogue India, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times among others.

She has collaborated with brands including Bobbi Brown, Dell and Coca-Cola. Lilly recently released her own signature lipstick called BAWSE with Smashbox. Her book, How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life was a #1 New York Times bestseller. 

Lilly hosted NBC's A Little Late With Lilly Singh, making her the only female to host a late night show on one of the big 4 networks. 

HWA NEW

FELICIA DAY

  • Producer, Actress, TV writer, and Award-Winning Web Series Creator
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Actress and YouTube sensation Felicia Day is best known for her work in the web video world, behind and in front of the camera. She co-starred in Joss Whedon’s Emmy Award-winning Internet musical “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” and also created and starred in the seminal, award-winning web series “The Guild,” which ran for six seasons. Day expanded the Guild brand into numerous merchandizing opportunities, including a hit comic book series with Dark Horse Comics. Recently, costume and props from the show were admitted to the Smithsonian American History collection as examples of early web media pioneering

Day created a funded YouTube channel and production company called Geek & Sundry. Since launching, the channel has garnered over 1.7 million subscribers on YouTube, and over 30k on the livestreaming platform Twitch. In 2014, the company was sold to Legendary Entertainment.

She is the New York Times bestselling author of her memoir, You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), and Embrace Your Weird: Face Your Fears and Unleash Creativity, an empowering guide to expanding your creative passions, overcoming fear and criticism, and cultivating a creative community. 

Currently on the CW show "Supernatural", and the SyFy series "The Magicians," Day also works on her own creative projects for television and the web.

HWA NEW

CATHY O'NEIL

  • Data Scientist and New York Times Bestselling Author
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Cathy O’Neil is the author of the New York Times bestselling Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, which was also a semifinalist for the National Book Award. She is a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion and founded the company ORCAA, an algorithmic auditing company.

Starting as a professor at Barnard College, where she published a number of research papers in arithmetic algebraic geometry, Cathy later switched over to the private sector. She worked as a quantitative analyst for the hedge fund, D.E. Shaw, in the middle of the credit crisis, and then for RiskMetrics, a risk software company that assesses risk for the holdings of hedge funds and banks. She then left finance in and started working as a data scientist in the New York start-up scene, building models that predicted people’s purchases and clicks.

 

 

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MAYSOON ZAYID

  • Comedian, Writer and Disability Advocate
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Maysoon Zayid is an actress, comedian, writer and disability advocate. She is a graduate of and a Guest Comedian in Residence at Arizona State University. Maysoon is the co-founder/co-executive producer of the New York Arab American Comedy Festival and The Muslim Funny Fest. She was a full-time On Air Contributor to Countdown with Keith Olbermann and a columnist for The Daily Beast. She has most recently appeared on Oprah Winfrey Network’s In Deep Shift, 60 Minutes , and ABC News. Maysoon had the number one TED Talk of 2014 and was named 1 of 100 Women of 2015 by BBC.

As a professional comedian, Maysoon has performed in top New York clubs and has toured extensively at home and abroad. She was a headliner on the Arabs Gone Wild Comedy Tour and The Muslims Are Coming Tour. Maysoon appeared alongside Adam Sandler in Y ou Don’t Mess with the the Zohan and has written for VICE. She walked in New York Fashion Week and is proud to be an ambassador for the Cerebral Palsy Foundation. Maysoon is currently developing a comedy series with Hazy Mills Productions called If I Cancan.

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KAMAU BELL

  • Sociopolitical Comedian, Political Satirist & Host of CNN's United Shades of America
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W. Kamau Bell is a sociopolitical comedian who is the host and executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning CNN docu-series, United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell. He recently made his Netflix debut with a new stand-up comedy special, Private School Negro. Kamau has a book with the easy-to-remember title, The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4", African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian. He is the director of the critically-acclaimed documentary, Cultureshock: Chris Rock’s Bring the Pain.

Kamau has hosted three critically-acclaimed podcasts: Kamau Right Now!, Politically Re-Active, and Denzel Washington is The Greatest Actor of All Time Period. Kamau is on the advisory board of Hollaback! and Donors Choose and is the ACLU Celebrity Ambassador for Racial Justice. The New York Times called Kamau “the most promising new talent in political comedy in many years.” 

Kamau has been nominated for multiple NAACP Image Awards and a GLAAD award, and he was featured on Conde Nast’s ‘Daring 25’ list for 2016. The SF Weekly called Kamau “smart, stylish, and very much in the mold of politically outspoken comedians like Dave Chappelle,” though he was mostly just excited that they called him “handsome.” The New Yorker said, “Bell’s gimmick is intersectional progressivism: he treats racial, gay, and women’s issues as inseparable.” Kamau is also known for his criminally short-lived FX & FXX comedy series, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.