Keynote Speakers


Opening Speaker - Sunday, August 24

Dan Thurmon
How to Be your Best when it Matters Most

Dan Thurmon is the author of two books, a renowned speaker, and a recognized expert in delivering peak  performances. Dan’s company, Motivation Works, Inc., helps organizations and individuals implement action plans and move confidently through transitions.

He began his performance career at eleven years old, crafting a one-man-show incorporating comedy, juggling and acrobatics. This enabled him to, at a very early age, develop a strong work ethic and learn fundamental lessons about performance excellence.

Dan’s philosophy can be summarized by the title of his recent book, Off Balance On Purpose. He believes that we will never achieve “perfect balance” and should learn to embrace uncertainty and initiate positive changes that lead to growth as well as go beyond the pursuit of “success” and enhance our life experiences and professional endeavors with purposeful, positive contributions.

In his keynote on Sunday morning, Dan will explain why some individuals are excellent in practice yet fail under pressure and why others seem to naturally rise to handle critical moments with ease and excellence.  He will help us understand the key to being able to perform when it matters most, and to understand the mindset and methods of top performers.

Plenary Session Speaker - Monday, August 25

Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell
Can America Stay on Top? The Challenge to American Competitiveness

After 34 years of public service, Governor Rendell continues to pursue many of the same issues he was passionate about while serving. His commitment to making America a cleaner, more efficient place and to fostering investment in our nation`s crumbling infrastructure is as strong as it ever was. Rendell has become a champion for progress in the area of alternative energy, and now serves as a consultant or board member for several green and alternative energy firms, including Own Energy, Element Partners and Ocean Thermal Energy. He has also remained heavily involved in the campaign for government efficiency and strategic cost cutting through his work with entities such as Government Sourcing Solutions, Public Financial Management and Greenhill Advisors. 

Perhaps no other issue has been and continues to be as important to Governor Rendell as America`s dire need to rebuild and reinvest in its infrastructure. As Governor, Rendell worked with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to create an organization called "Building America`s Future." The organization focuses on the need for a more significant investment in American infrastructure projects to ensure that America maintains its place as a global economic power. Governor Rendell currently serves as Co-Chair of the organization and travels throughout the country speaking about this issue. 

Rendell served two terms as Governor of Pennsylvania (2003-2011).  During this time he successfully cut wasteful spending and improved efficiency leading to savings of over $1 billion.  In addition, while serving as Mayor of Philadelphia (1992-2000), Rendell eliminated a crippling deficit, balanced the City`s budget, and generated five consecutive budget surpluses. Philadelphia`s renaissance, which The New York Times called "the most stunning turnaround in recent urban history," is largely attributed to his determination, inspiration, and energy. 

Plenary Session Speakers - Wednesday, August 27

Wednesday morning features three short presentations by three speakers. Deep dive sessions immediately follow each of these presentations. Choose the session that peaks your interest.

Frank Bucaro

Taking the High Road: How to Succeed Ethically When Others Bend the Rules

Frank Bucaro is an ethics expert who is a leading advocate – speaking, training and writing – on the benefits of ethics and values.  His career path, from the classroom to the boardroom, began a number of years ago when a succession of high profile media reports on ethics problems captured his attention. While still a teacher, he became increasingly aware that problems relating to unethical practices in the marketplace seemed to be on the increase.  Believing that ethics and values had the power to contribute to business success rather than impede it, Frank left teaching and began offering keynotes and seminars on ethics and values- based leadership.  

Frank will teach us how to foster an environment where ethical behavior is valued, considered the norm, and ethical decisions help to contribute to long-term success.  His program features easy to understand definitions of ethics, guidelines for tackling difficult decisions, practical examples and a generous amount of humor.

Jeff Havens

Uncrapify Your Life!

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Vanderbilt University, Jeff began his career as a high school English teacher before following his father Rex Havens into the world of stand-up comedy, where he worked with some of the brightest lights in American comedy and honed the art of engaging audiences through laughter. But his impulse to teach never faded, and soon he began looking for an avenue to combine both of his passions into entertaining and meaningful presentations.

Original, informative, hilarious and powerful, Jeff’s speeches have transformed the way businesspeople approach the idea of personal and professional growth. You’ll laugh harder than you thought possible at a conference keynote before Uncrapify Your Life! brings it all home with a poignant and powerful discussion about how small changes in our communication strategies can often be the most important (and least expensive) way to strengthen relationships, increase loyalty, and create a unbreakable culture of teamwork and mutual respect.

Andrea Mitnick
Hey Dude!  Understanding Generational Differences in the Workplace

Dr. Mitnick is an experienced trainer in platform presentation skills, interpersonal communication skills, team skills, leadership development, and gender communication. She is an Associate Professor at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania teaching presentation skills, Public Relations Techniques, and Crisis Communication, as well as Leadership Communication. Previously an Assistant Professor of Communication at Penn State University, she won the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award in 1995. She received her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Communication from Temple University, and her research on a wide range of topics has been published in both journals and textbooks.  Most recently she has been writing about generational differences in the construction trades.  She has presented more than twenty-one juried papers at national and international conferences since arriving at Kutztown University in 1995.

Dr. Mitnick’s session will focus on understanding that today there are four distinct generations represented in almost any workforce: The Matures (born prior to 1946), The Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980), and the infamous Millenials (born between 1981 and 1999).  The fact is that each of these generations has been shaped by forces such as technology, economic realities and historical events.

Closing Speaker - Wednesday, August 27

Connie Podesta
Life Would Be Easy If It Weren’t for Other People
The Power of Relationships and Communication

Connie Podesta is a game-changing, money-making, sales-generating, idea innovator whose rare blend of laugh-out-loud humor, out-of-the-box strategies and signature, tell-it-like-it-is delivery style has made her one of the most talked about entertaining business motivational speakers in the marketplace today.

To sum her up is like capturing a tornado!  But here goes:  Two million+ people worldwide. 1000+ organizations. Every major industry. Two- time award-winning  author.  Seven books. Radio/TV personality. Comedienne. Playwright.  Organizational Therapist. International speaker on: Change. Leadership. Sales.  Branding.  Diversity.  Master of Ceremonies.  Bottom line: Get ready!  Connie is a whirlwind of energy and ideas that will definitely help you GET WHAT YOU WANT out of life!

Don’t miss our closing session!  Connie will entertain us with laugh-out-loud humor, provide killer take-away strategies, and with her tell-it-like-it-is delivery, will take you right inside the minds and personalities of the PEOPLE you deal with every day – bosses, colleagues, partners, customers, friends, and family –  so YOU can ACT, rather than REACT to whatever life throws your way. Get ready for less stress and more success!