General Sessions Speakers

Alison Levin

On the Edge: The Art of High-Impact Leadership

Alison Levine has made a career of breaking boundaries and inspiring others to achieve more than they ever thought possible.

A history-making polar explorer and mountaineer, she served as team captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition, climbed the highest peak on each continent, and skied to both the North and South Poles—a feat known as the Adventure Grand Slam, which fewer than 40 people in the world have achieved.

In addition to climbing mountains, Levine has also spent time climbing the corporate ladder. She has worked for several Fortune 500 companies and spent three years at Goldman Sachs. She left Wall Street in 2003 to serve as deputy finance director for Arnold Schwarzenegger in his successful bid to become governor of California.

Levine currently serves on the board and faculty of the Thayer Leader Development Group at West Point—one of the nation’s premier executive leader development programs. She was a contributing author to the book Leadership in Dangerous Situations: A Handbook for the Armed Forces, Emergency Services and First Responders (Naval Institute Press). Having spent prolonged periods of time in some of the world's most dangerous and inhospitable places, she tackles the topics of creating cohesive teams, taking responsible risks and developing no-nonsense leaders that can succeed in times of uncertainty.

ON THE EDGE: THE ART OF HIGH-IMPACT LEADERSHIP

Imagine yourself on the highest mountain in the world. You have to deal with the physiological effects of extreme altitude along with bone-chilling temperatures, battering winds, and a climbing team that's counting on all of its members to make smart decisions.

There is no room for poor judgment. In a situation where lives are on the line and the stakes are exceptionally high, there's no better training ground for leaders than settings where people are pushed beyond their perceived limits.

Key Takeaways:

  • You can't control the environment, only the way you react to it
  • How to take risks, improve teamwork, and deal with changing environments
  • Willpower is the most essential piece of equipment



Kevin Brown

The Hero Effect: Being Your Best When It Matters Most

Kevin Brown knows firsthand how great brands think, feel, and act and what drives organizational excellence and customer loyalty.

Brown grew up in Muskegon, Mich., where his blue-collar roots taught him the value of hard work and determination, ultimately leading him to purchase a franchise at the age of 17.

With street smarts and a never-quit attitude, he worked his through the ranks to the executive boardroom. Brown spent nearly two decades as a sales and marketing executive, and he helped grow a little-known family business into an industry giant with annual revenues reaching $2 billion.

After a career in franchising spanning 30 years, Brown retired from corporate America to pursue his passion for bringing The HERO Effect® message to as many people and organizations as possible.

Today, Brown helps people and organizations embrace a simple philosophy that separates world-class organizations and high-performance people from everybody else. He is passionate about helping people expand their vision, develop their potential, and grow their results. And, as the father of an autistic child, he knows firsthand how the principles of true success reach beyond the boardroom and into the lives of real people facing the challenges of everyday life.

THE HERO EFFECT: BEING YOUR BEST WHEN IT MATTERS MOST

Kevin shares ideas, strategies, and principles that will inspire and equip you to show up every day ready to make a positive difference.

At the heart of Kevin's message is a simple yet powerful philosophy for life that drives every thought, every action, and ultimately every result we achieve both personally and professionally.

Key Takeaways:

  • Eliminate "ordinary" thinking
  • Own the moments that matter (and they all matter)
  • Deliver an extraordinary experience for every "customer" at work and at home
  • BONUS: Kevin's message has a direct connection to Walt Disney World!



Diana Kander

Increasing the Speed of Innovation

Diana Kander is is a New York Times bestselling author of All In Startup, entrepreneur, innovation consultant, and keynote speaker for Fortune 1000 companies who asks some big questions.

What causes big, household brands to lose relevance with their customers and go out of business? Can organizational decline be prevented?

What kind of culture needs to exist in an organization to ensure innovative ideas and practices, and what role does curiosity play in the process?

The pace of change in today's economy requires innovative, value-adding ideas to come from all parts of your organization—whether they are internal improvements or new sources of revenue.

Kander has spent her career challenging assumptions and asking thought-provoking questions. A serial entrepreneur who entered the United States as a refugee at the age of 8, she has launched and sold millions of dollars’ worth of products and services.

INCREASING THE SPEED OF INNOVATION

The pace of change in today's economy requires innovative, value-adding ideas to come from all parts of your organization—whether they are internal improvements or new sources of revenue. The way managers were traditionally trained stifles innovation and forces out-of-the-box thinkers out of the company. Diana outlines must-have skill sets to effectively lead your team.

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn new skill sets required of the innovative leader
  • Avoid common pitfalls of innovative leadership
  • Create an internal culture of innovation so that every employee is a resource to the effort
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