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General Session Speakers

Salvatore Marranca  

Cattaraugus County Bank
Little Valley, NY


President & CEO
Independent Community Bankers of America
Washington, DC


Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Washington, DC

 Martin Gruenberg  

Acting Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Washington, DC

John Walsh  

Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Washington, DC


Ken Schmidt


Brand Visionary and Communications Strategist for Harley-Davidson Motor Company

Thrive Among Thorns: Untapped Growth Opportunities
View video (40 seconds)

With little differentiation among competitors and media-fueled erosion of trust in financial services providers, it’s no wonder potential clients opt to work with “whoever’s closest to my house,” instead of “whoever can best serve my needs.” Or stay away altogether. Where others see futility, Schmidt sees unprecedented opportunities for growth. He‘ll show you how to change the culture of your financial services business to stand out, create demand in your local markets, fuel client referrals and take advantage of the look-alike/act-alike competitive environment.

The longtime motorcycle enthusiast’s formal association with Harley-Davidson began in 1985. As a specialist in corporate positioning and media relations, he was asked to work with the then-struggling Harley-Davidson to help restore the company’s image and create demand for its motorcycles. Within a few short years, Harley-Davidson became one of the most visible and frequently reportedon companies in the world, while sales of its motorcycles rocketed upward.

Today, Schmidt shares his expertise with many of America’s leading brands, but happily states that he is “semi-retired,” which allows him to pursue his other passions. He calls working with the grandson of one of Harley-Davidson’s founders to create the book, 100 Years of Harley-Davidson, one of the greatest highs in his lifetime. After all he has accomplished, his philosophy of life and business hasn’t changed: “Never do what’s expected, make yourself as noticeably different as possible, and have a lot more fun than you’re supposed to.”

George F. Will  

America’s Foremost Political Columnist

George is today’s most widely read columnist. His newspaper column has been syndicated by The Washington Post since 1974. Today it appears twice weekly in approximately 400 newspapers in the United States and in Europe. In 1976, he became a regular contributing editor of Newsweek magazine, for which he provides a bimonthly essay.

In 1977, he won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary for his newspaper columns. In 1981, Will became a founding panel member on ABC television's This Week which he still appears on every Sunday morning. Will was born in Champaign, Illinois, educated at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, Oxford University and Princeton University, where he earned his Ph.D. He has taught political philosophy at Michigan State University, the University of Toronto and Harvard University. Will served as a staff member in the United States Senate from 1970 to 1972. From 1973 through 1976, he was the Washington editor of National Review magazine. Today, Will lives and works in Washington.

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