Speakers for 2019:
VP of Marketing for Coors Light, Quiznos and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers
Gerry O’Brion is a marketing keynote speaker and author who translates big brand strategies into knowledge that any business can use to win in the marketplace. Gerry’s presentations drive growth with companies of all sizes from small businesses to billion dollar brands. Gerry built his career growing big brands and distills that experience into creating strategies and real ideas that are actionable immediately.
After earning his MBA at the University of Michigan, he worked with Procter & Gamble on brands such as Crisco, Tide, Mr. Clean, and Spic & Span. Next, at Coors Brewing Company he managed Coors Light, a $2 billion business. He was then VP of Marketing for the $1.5 billion Quiznos restaurant chain. Gerry was most recently VP of Marketing for Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, a $1 billon brand.
Gerry works to first understand your unique goals and challenges, and then to deliver a presentation that delivers maximum impact for every dollar you invest.
Speakers for 2018:
Jeff Hoffman is a successful entrepreneur, proven CEO, worldwide motivational speaker, published author, Hollywood film producer, and a producer of a Grammy winning jazz album. In his career, he has been the founder of multiple startups, he has been the CEO of both public and private companies, and he has served as a senior executive in many capacities. Jeff has been part of a number of well-known companies, including Priceline.com. uBid.com, CTI, ColorJar, and more.
Today Jeff serves on the boards of companies in the US, Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia. He supports entrepreneurs and small businesses on a worldwide basis, serving on the boards of The Unreasonable Group, the global board of directors of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (supporting entrepreneurship in over 170 countries), the US State Department’s GIST program (Global Innovation through Science and Technology, working in 49 emerging nations), the APEC Startup Initiative (the Asia Pacific Economic Council’s 21-member nation association), and many others. He supports the White House, the State Department, the United Nations, and similar organizations internationally on economic growth initiatives and entrepreneurship programs.
Jeff is a frequent keynote speaker, having been invited to speak in over 50 countries. He speaks on the topics of innovation, entrepreneurship, and business leadership, and is the author of the book SCALE, a how-to guide for growing your business. Jeff also teaches innovation workshops to major corporations on a regular basis.
Jeff is a featured business expert seen on Fox News, Fox Business, CNN, CNN International, Bloomberg News, CNBC, ABC, and NPR, and in publications including Forbes, Inc., Time, Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, and more.
In 2015 Jeff was honored with the Best of the Best Award from the national CEO association (Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization) as well as receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award and being inducted into the Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame for his contributions to the field of entrepreneurship. He also received the Champion of Entrepreneurship Award from JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, and Rising Tide Capital, as well as receiving the George Brown Award for International Cooperation.
Outside of the world of technology, Jeff has produced movies in Hollywood, has produced musical events including concerts, tours, and charity events with such artists as Elton John, Britney Spears, NSYNC, and others, and serves on numerous charity and non-profit boards.
Serial Entrepreneur, Co-Founder / Chief Inventor of THINX
Miki Agrawal (www.mikiagrawal.com) is a serial social entrepreneur. She was the recipient of The Tribeca Film Festival’s “Disruptive Innovation Award”, she was named “2017 Young Global Leader by World Economic Forum”, “Social Entrepreneur of the Year” by the World Technology Summit, she was one of INC Magazine’s “Most Impressive Women Entrepreneurs of 2016”, Forbes’ “Top 20 Millennials on a Mission”, and made the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine in 2016.
She is the founder of the acclaimed farm-to-table, alternative pizza concept called WILD (www.eatdrinkwild.com) with 3 locations in New York City, one in Guatemala and more on the way.
She co-founded THINX (www.shethinx.com), a high-tech, period-proof underwear brand and led the company as CEO to Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies of 2017, helping tens of millions of women period better. She also co-founded Icon, a high-tech pee-proof underwear brand that helps women manage light bladder leakage.
She most recently founded TUSHY (www.hellotushy.com), a company that is revolutionizing the American toilet category with a modern, affordable, designer bidet attachment that both upgrades human health & hygiene as well as the environment from wasteful toilet paper consumption. She and her team are also helping fight the global sanitation crisis by bringing clean latrines to underserved communities in India through their partnership with Samagra.
Harper Collins published her first book entitled “DO COOL SH*T” on entrepreneurship and lifestyle design and Hay House is publishing her second book “Disrupt-Her” coming out in the fall of 2018.
Miki is an identical twin, half-Japanese, half-Indian French Canadian, former professional soccer player, graduate of Cornell University and proud new mama of Hiro Happy.
Founder of ShankMinds Breakthrough
Peter is the founder of ShankMinds: Breakthrough, an online community of business professionals from around the world who come together to give and get advice, increase their business, and improve their lives.
Additionally, Peter is also the founder and CEO of The Geek Factory, Inc., a boutique Social Media, Marketing and PR Strategy firm located in New York City, with clients worldwide. His blog, which he launched in 1995 at https://www.shankman.com, both comments on and generates news and conversation.
Peter’s Customer Service and Social Media clients have included American Express, Sprint, SAP, The US Department of Defense, Royal Bank of Canada, Snapple Beverage Group, Saudi Aramco, Foley Hoag LLP, NASA, Haworth, Sheraton, Walt Disney World, Abercrombie and Kent, The Ad Council, Discovery Networks, New Frontier Media, Napster, Juno, Dream Catcher Destinations Club, Harrah’s Hotels, and many, many others.
Co-founder of and Chief Marketing Office of Flywheel
Rick Knudtson is a designer, self-taught digital marketer and serial entrepreneur. He is currently co-founder and CMO at Flywheel in Omaha. Over the last five years, Rick has helped Flywheel grow into an international brand with a team of 100+ Flywheelers, thousands of customers across the globe and multiple award-winning products.
Rick has a passion for sales and marketing strategy, simple business models and building highly functioning teams. As an entrepreneur, he has a long list of not-so-successful projects. Each experience has shaped his perspective on what it takes to build high-growth, world-class organizations.
Outside of Flywheel, Rick writes about sales and marketing strategy on his blog More Up, Less Right, spends time with his family and continues to explore new things in his hometown Omaha.
Co-Founder and CEO of Marijuana Business Daily
Cassandra heads up the cannabis industry’s leading daily news website, Marijuana Business Daily and its family of content resources for the B2B cannabis marketplace, including two national conferences.
A former VP at Citi, Cassandra considers herself a fugitive from Corporate America. She and co-founder, Anne Holland, saw a nascent industry that lacked reliable, unbiased news coverage, was underserved with regard to opportunities for professionals to forge connections between the professionals building an industry, and needed a repository for industry-wide business data.
Cassandra earned her MBA from the University of Texas, McCombs School of Business.
Their trade show, The Marijuana Business Conference & Expo (MJBizCon) was named the fastest growing trade show in the U.S. by Trade Show Executive Magazine in 2015. In 2016, both the Spring and the Fall Marijuana Business Conference & Expo received high placements in the The Fastest 50 as well. [The 2017 MjBizCon is hoping to achieve top rankings again as they move to a bigger space in the Las Vegas convention center.]
Author & Copywriter
“Dana Derricks (A.K.A. “The Copywriting Professor”) is a brilliant marketer and one of the highest-paid copywriters on the planet. A major portion of his success is credited to implementing the “Dream 100 Strategy” to find partners, negotiate deals, and dramatically grow his business.
Having authored four books by the age of 26, one being the “Dream 100 Book), he’s ready to share some of his best-kept secrets with you…including how he created a deep sense of fulfillment in his work, because EVERY person that he worked with is someone that he deeply respects, and inspires him to serve his audience and create change in their lives.
Founded Fabulous Coach Lines
Ray Land is a memorable personality with tales of terror, ambition, and optimism through it all. The hardest worker you’ll meet- who’s never held an actual job… Entrepreneur is a new word for it but, Ray Land’s been doing his thing since he could walk & talk- starting with the roadside watermelon stand at 7 years old. To date Ray has founded more than ten businesses, recipient of the INC 30 under 30, Business 25 under 25, featured in the Wall Street Journal, FOX Business and has been invited to the White House three times.
A constant learner who doesn’t test well… Ray is a CEO, pilot, captain, motorcoach operator as well as wanderlust traveler and friend to everyone he meets. Ray’s attempts with a multitude of businesses frequently turn out a flop while some take off like rockets. Ray shares his story of a human on a mission to live life to the maximum with all the frustrations included. As a new friend with Ray, explore a world of new ideas, travel, motorcoaches, watermelons, vessels, manufacturing, software engineering, contracting, sales, leadership & inspiration!
Ray Land is based in Los Angeles, California with headquarters in Branford, Florida. At 30 years old, Ray’s early start as a business owner gives him the unique perspective on life, it’s meaning and the driving forces of human perseverance, creativity & leadership.
Always aspiring, Ray Land’s endeavor to impact your life in a positive way will be clear, and to the betterment of humanity by sharing his most valuable message with you.
As one of today’s ambitious and aspiring entrepreneurs, Kelsey Duffy founded and initially seed-funded Versakini, rolling up her sleeves and wore many hats as she filled the roles of designer, Creative Director, Sales Executive, and CEO!
Kelsey can motivate almost anyone with her personal story of entrepreneurship and how she learned how to turn failure into opportunity. The stories and experiences Kelsey shares has helped mold her into an executive in the fashion world. With little to no experience in manufacturing or design, Kelsey is a prime example that with a dream and a team, anything is truly possible.
Versakini is a rapidly growing startup fashion brand that is shaking up the beachwear category with a fun and dynamic approach, allowing girls to mix and match like never before! Versakini allows girls to interchange and reverse pieces of their collection, to provide a unique fashion freedom. Shark Tank Airing: Beyond The Tank Season 1, Episode 3.
Healthy Hip Hop, (Sharktank contestant with a twist!)
When a potentially life-altering business deal suddenly vanished, Roy Scott didn’t get mad — he got funded. “Disney thought they were going to snuff us out, but all they did was put gasoline on this fire,” said Scott, founder of Kansas City-based H3 Enterprises (Healthy Hip Hop).
Starting his company with a live performance-based business model in summer 2010, Scott — also known as Rappin’ Roy — had a simple goal for Healthy Hip Hop, he said. “Take that same urban hip hop beat, along with the pop culture sound, and marry it with a positive message that focuses on education, health and wellness,” Scott said. It quickly became clear, however, that relying on live shows with his performance partner, magician Reggie Gray, ultimately wouldn’t be sustainable nor would the brand reach its revenue goals, he said. Healthy Hip Hop had to evolve.
“We did a TV pilot for a show called ‘Keep it Moving,’ like a contemporary ‘Sesame Street,’” Scott said. “We had two puppets, Hip and Hop, kind of like Bert and Ernie. We created some curriculum around the music and did some merchandising.” It was a children’s media brand in the making.
“We knew during that process we were going to have to raise more money to really scale our offerings and take the business to the next level,” he said. That quest for capital led Scott and Healthy Hip Hop to a season 7 appearance on “Shark Tank,” successfully pitching a deal to entrepreneur-investor Kevin O’Leary, aka Mr. Wonderful, Scott said. It was going to be a game-changer, he said, with O’Leary committing $500,000 for a 50 percent stake in Healthy Hip Hop’s children’s TV show. “We knew that more importantly than the 50 percent in the kids TV programming, once the ‘Shark Tank’ episode airs, this is going to be our national exposure. It’s going to open lots of doors for us,” Scott said.
Healthy Hip Hop’s segment was filmed in September 2015. “Shark Tank” producers called in March 2016 to tell Scott his episode was amazing, but wouldn’t be airing, he said.
Founder, BCom Solutions, Principal at Change Ventures
Brent Comstock is an entrepreneur, rural economic developer, venture capitalist and keynote speaker. Brent’s passion for rural communities, technology and down-ballot campaigns and causeshave fueled his professional journey. Brent founded BCom Solutions at the age of 12 and the development of the Rural Impact Hub–a place for rural community organizations to partner together and collaborate on ways to support and strengthen rural America. More recently Brent serves as principal of the venture capital fund, Change Ventures, that invests in early stage Baltic-region start-ups.