Keynote Speakers

Keynote Speakers 

Roy Spence Pete Smith Michelle Poler John Register Image Map
Kevin McCarthy Sara Ross Adam Image Map

Roy Spence

Sunday, August 25, 9:00 AM
The Power of Purpose in your Business, your Life and the Life of America

Roy Spence is cofounder and chairman of GSD&M, a leading marketing communications and advertising company. Under Roy's leadership, his agency has helped grow some of the world's most successful brands, including Don't Mess with Texas, Southwest Airlines, Walmart, and more. He is also cofounder and CEO of the Purpose Institute, a consulting firm that helps people and organizations discover and live their purpose. Spence is a Gallup Senior Adviser and works with their teams on global strategy and on the mission and purpose of the most important companies and institutions in the world. He is Gallup’s expert on purpose and a champion of Clifton’s Strengths Movement. He is a best-selling author and member of the board of directors of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation. Spence is a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin and a UT McCombs School of Business and American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame inductee.

Pete Smith

Monday, August 26, 8:00 AM
Dare to Matter: How Procurement Professionals Rise to Significance

Pete Smith is an international speaker and coach in the fields of leadership, management, personal growth and development. His energetic, edgy, and interactive style is complemented by his ability to provide practical takeaways that actually work, while having a little fun in the process.

He is the author of Dare to Matter, which hit the best seller list in the Business Motivation and Self-Improvement category in 2017.

Formerly, Pete was the Operations Executive at one of the largest non-profit, alternative schools in Northern Virginia. During his tenure, he helped increase the total income, employee base and client base by over 102%. Additionally, by focusing his efforts on developing an engaged and productive workforce, he helped increase the average employee tenure by 74%, while saving the organization $420,000 in turnover costs during that time.

Having a stroke at the age of 35, Pete has since used that experience to inspire, educate, and entertain audiences throughout the world on the importance of pursuing significance in their personal and professional lives. As he says, “If you relentlessly pursue success and happiness in your life, you are settling for far less than what you were created for.”

Michelle Poler

Tuesday, August 27, 8:00 AM

Fear Less, Do More: A talk that will change your perception on fear and inspire you to take action

Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela to a family of holocaust survivors, Michelle was accustomed to living with fear. But when she moved to New York to pursue a Masters in Branding at the School of Visual Arts, Michelle quickly realized that NYC was not for the fearful.

In efforts to re-write her definition of fear, Michelle set out to face 100 fears in 100 days. Half way into the journey, the project was discovered by the media, becoming an instant viral phenomenon.

Michelle completed her 100th challenge on a TEDx’s stage. This helped her turn a personal project into a global movement, allowing her to quit her job as an Art Director in advertising to pursue her passion.

Michelle discovered that inspiring others to go after their fears was her new calling. She is now touring the world speaking at companies, schools and organizations teaching audiences how to step outside their comfort zones as a way to tap into their full potential.She is also the Founder of Hello Fears, a platform aimed at making the world a braver place through a mix of live events, video series, podcast interviews, user-generated content, and daily inspirational posts.

John Register

Wednesday, August 28, 3:45 PM
Hurdling Adversity – Embracing Life’s New Normal

John Register is a modern-day renaissance man and one of the most authentic interactive keynote speakers of our time.

From four-time track and field all-American to Gulf War Army veteran to amputee to Paralympic silver medalist, John has never allowed adversity to hold him back. He continues to hurdle adversity and turn obstacles into opportunities and show others how to do the same.

During a training session in Hays, Kansas, Register, the 8th fastest 400m hurdler at the time, landed awkwardly dislocating his left knee. His artery behind the kneecap was blocked. A 11-hour vein graph surgery was conducted but was inadequate. 5 subsequent operations were not able fully save the limb. Register made the decision to amputate his leg, and his dreams.

With his dreams of Olympic glory dashed, John’s wife Alice told him they would come through this together, it was just their new normal. Armed with this new determination, John decided to take a new step every day.

It began with swimming. His steps to the pool each day resulted in making the Paralympic swim team. He then turned his attention back to running. He and his prosthetist crafted a running leg which took John to the Paralympic Games in Sydney, Australia, where he won the silver medal in the long jump.

With his previous goal now accomplished, John turned his sights on creating opportunities for people with disabilities by utilizing the lens of sport.

His post athletic career accolades are equally impressive as he founded the United States Olympic Committees Paralympic Military sport program which assist wounded, ill, and injured service members in their recovery to a healthy and active lifestyle and serving in a variety of capacities to include special advisor to two U.S. Secretary of State on disability foreign policy and being a U.S. Sports Diplomacy Ambassador (Envoy). The latter attracted the attention of President Barack Obama and John was asked and served in the capacity of being one of 35 co-chairs for 44th Presidents’ re-election.

Kevin McCarthy

Wednesday, August 28, 9:30 AM & 12:45 PM
Welcome to the BlindSpot Zone

Kevin McCarthy is a full-time Keynote speaker, Trainer and Coach for Making Better Happen, LLC – a Portland, Oregon based company that “helps professionals create lasting authentic change”.

Kevin’s national recognition as the owner of the 13th largest Century 21 real estate franchise in the USA out of more than 6000 offices in 1994 launched his professional speaking career. While traveling throughout North America speaking to thousands of people on hundreds of stages, Kevin developed a web-based software solution that would position his real estate clients for optimum success. He eventually sold his tech company for a substantial sum during the craziness of the dot com era. His next opportunity blindsided him with a prison sentence he didn’t see coming.

Kevin works globally with industry leaders to uncover the blind spots that affect their behavior and decision-making abilities.

What are your potential blind spots? FREE assessment reveals all at

Adam “Smiley” Poswolsky

Wednesday, August 28, 9:30 AM & 12:45 PM
Creating a Purpose-Driven Workplace: How to Attract, Retain and Engage Your Employees

Adam Smiley Poswolsky is a millennial workplace expert, internationally renowned keynote speaker, and bestselling author of The Quarter-Life Breakthrough: Invent Your Own Path, Find Meaningful Work, and Build a Life That Matters (Penguin Random House, 2016). Smiley helps companies attract, retain, and empower millennial talent, and he's inspired thousands of professionals to be more engaged at work, through speaking at companies like Unilever, IDEO, Salesforce, Deloitte, SAP, and TEDx, and by collaborating with purpose-driven organizations like the Hive Global Leaders Program, the StartingBloc Institute for Social Innovation, Camp Grounded, The Passion Co., Esalen Institute, and General Assembly. His writing has been published in The Washington Post, Fast Company, Time, Quartz, Business Insider, and GOOD, and his work has been featured in USA Today, Mashable, Forbes, Inc., VICE, CNBC, MarketWatch, and the World Economic Forum, among others.

Sara Ross

Wednesday, August 28, 9:30 AM & 12:45 PM
Recovery Revolution

Sara Ross is a speaker, leadership strategist and researcher but is best described as a vitality advocate on a mission to redefine how we succeed at work and thrive in life; a pursuit earning her a reputation as a fresh and thought-provoking voice in the discussions of work-life balance, sustainable high performance and organizational health. To deliver on this mission, Sara expanded her coaching and strategy firm to include BrainAMPED, a research collaboration hub dedicated to sharing brain-based, vitality-enhancing strategies to create healthier, happier, high performing leaders and workplaces.

Before putting this work at the forefront of her focus, Sara spent a decade with the Institute for Health and Human Potential as the Vice President and Global Head of Leadership Innovation and Training, where she continues to serve as an Advisor Partner. At IHHP Sara led the development and delivery of leadership assessments and award-winning coaching and training programs grounded in the principles and practices of leadership and the neuroscience of emotional intelligence.

Sara has worked with Fortune 500 companies such as; UnitedHealth Group, Verizon and Allstate; tech companies such as Adobe and Salesforce; financial firms such as Scotiabank, BMO and PwC; educational institutes such as Smith College, and the leadership team of the NBA’s Orlando Magic. Her clients have ranged from surgeons, bankers, lawyers, air traffic controllers and engineers to government agencies, nurses, nonprofits, start-ups and entrepreneurs. This broad perspective and diverse experiences explains why she is often called on to work with some of the most senior, technically sophisticated and skeptical audiences.

Balancing relevance and practicality with a contagious energy, Sara integrates cutting-edge science with real-life stories of success and failures. Her approach is guaranteed to challenge the status quo, provide new insights, and most importantly, leave audiences with a blueprint of actionable strategies.

Sara has a Master of Science (MSc.) Graduate Degree from the University of Waterloo, Canada. Outside of work, Sara is a coffee loving, meditation rookie. Her husband describes her career as professional eavesdropping-people-watching. She argues that she is merely a dedicated street scientist doing her professional duty to better understand why people do what they do, and why they don’t do what they know they should!