Subir Chowdhury

Subir Chowdhury is one of the “50 Most Influential Management Thinkers in the World” by Thinkers 50 of London, UK. He has been a pioneer in championing the Quality movement across the globe through his thought provoking ideas, unique methods, pedagogy and passion. Leading Institutions, companies, societies and individuals across the globe have benefited from his expertise, knowledge and experience. Hailed by the New York Times as a “leading quality expert” and by Business Week as “The Quality Prophet,” Subir is the author of fifteen books, including several international bestsellers, The Ice Cream Maker (Doubleday Random House, 2005), The Power of Six Sigma (Dearborn Trade, 2001), and Management 21C (Financial Times, 1999). His latest book The Difference (Penguin Random House 2017) made to the USA Today National Bestseller as well as a National Bestseller in India. His books have sold more than a million copies and have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Subir is chairman and CEO of ASI Consulting Group, LLC, a global leader on strategic initiatives, quality consulting, and training. Under Subir’s leadership, ASI Consulting Group has helped hundreds of clients around the world save billions of dollars and increase revenues. Subir has worked with many organizations, large and small, across diverse industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, food, government, and nonprofit organizations. His client list includes global Fortune 100 corporations and industrial leaders such as American Axle, Berger Health Systems, Bosch, Caterpillar, Daewoo, Delphi, Fiat-Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Hyundai Motor Company, ITT Industries, Johns Manville, Kaplan Professional, Kia Motors, Leader Dogs for the Blind, Loral Space Systems, Make It Right Foundation, Mark IV Automotive, Procter & Gamble, the State of Michigan, Thomson Multimedia, TRW, Xerox, and more.

Subir is an honorary member of the World Innovation Foundation (WIF) and has been inducted into the Engineering, Science and Technology Hall of Fame and honored by the Automotive Hall of Fame. He is a recipient of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ Gold Medal, the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) Henry Ford II Distinguished Award for Excellence in Automotive Engineering, and the American Society of Quality’s first Philip Crosby Medal for authoring the most influential book on quality. The Society of Automotive Engineers established the Subir Chowdhury Medal of Quality Leadership, an annual award that recognizes those individuals who promote innovation and expand the impact of quality in mobility engineering, design, and manufacturing. The United States Department of Homeland Security presented the “Outstanding American by Choice Award” to Subir for his contributions to the field of quality and management.

In 2017, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur established the Subir Chowdhury School of Quality and Reliability— the first of its kind in the world to promote the education and research on quality that will transform society. This newly established school shall address the trinity of Process, Planet and People (PPP or 3P’s), targeting Engineered Systems, Natural Systems and Human Systems to cover the gamut of Quality across all domains and shall work to establish standards for quality and reliability of these systems.

In 2014, University of California at Berkeley established the Subir & Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies— the first of its kind in any academic institution in the United States. The center awards graduate fellowships, scholarships, and research grants that focus on ways to improve the quality of life for the people of Bangladesh. Each year, the Subir Chowdhury Fellowship on Quality and Economics is awarded by both Harvard University and the London School of Economics and Political Science to a doctoral and postdoctoral student, respectively, to research and study the impact of quality in the economic advancement of a nation.

The Subir & Malini Chowdhury Foundation focuses on the education of those less fortunate in the world. Since its inception in 2006, his non-profit foundation donated millions of dollars to educational institutions. Subir received his undergraduate degree in aeronautical engineering from the IIT, Kharagpur and his graduate degree in industrial management from Central Michigan University, in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. He has received distinguished alumnus awards from both institutions, as well as an honorary doctorate of engineering from the Michigan Technological University. He is a heritage collector of rare Indian art works by eminent Indian artists like Rabindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Jamini Roy, Ramkinkor Baij, Abanindranath Tagore as well as western artists like Monet, Rodin, Renoir. He lives with his family in Los Angeles, California.

Ishan Gupta

Ishan Gupta is the Managing Director, Udacity, India. Udacity is democratizing education to make it affordable and accessible for people around the world. Headquartered in Silicon Valley with operations in China, Germany, India, and the UK, Udacity provides online education to millions of students in collaboration with top employers including Google, Facebook, AT&T, IBM Watson, Amazon Alexa, Mercedes, Didi Chuxing, FlipKart and more. Ishan’s role in Udacity as the Managing Director for India is to build a strong team, launch more India-focused courses and take the Indian business to new heights.

Ishan was until end of 2016, the Vice President (Business) at Paytm (India's largest mobile commerce company, valued at $6Bn). Before that, he was running EduKart in India, which he had founded in 2011. The company went on to become the largest education marketplace of India.

Ishan has earlier worked at Facebook as a growth manager for India and established a corporate development division for a telco services company.

With a philosophy, ‘good is the enemy of great’; Ishan’s passion about democratisation of education has allowed him to lead and contribute to various initiatives which have resulted in education being an equaliser.

He did his engineering from University of Delhi and MBA from Stanford University, California, USA. Besides that, Ishan has published a book on entrepreneurship titled “Make the Move- Demystifying Entrepreneurship” and has been invited to speak on topics of leadership, entrepreneurship and ed-tech at various prestigious venues in India and outside including TEDx, Stanford Graduate Business School, IITs (Delhi, Mumbai), IIM - Bangalore, ISB, India Conference at Harvard and many more.

Ishan frequently writes on topics pertaining to education, technology, entrepreneurship and business management for leading Indian publications like The Times of India, India Today, YourStory, Indian Express and more. Ishan has also been featured on prestigious global and Indian platforms like TechCrunch and The Economic Times among others.

For his contribution to education technology, Ishan has been featured twice on CNBC Young Turks in 2006 and 2018. Young Turks is one of CNBC - TV 18’s longest running shows for young entrepreneurs in India. He has also served as the chairperson of Education Technology Committee of Internet & Mobile Association of India.  

 

Arnaud Bonzom

Arnaud Bonzom is a former Venture Partner at 500 Startups where he was focusing on helping Southeast Asian entrepreneurs to succeed. He is a frequent speaker at several international conferences including Slush, Tech in Asia, Rise and Web Summit.

Arnaud is active as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at INSEAD and has co-authored a report with INSEAD on how the largest organizations are engaging with startups which achieved press coverage across 28 countries and generated more than 120 speaking engagement invitations.

He has been invited by Accenture, Airbus, Allianz, Amazon Web Services, BMW, Deloitte, INSEAD, MERCER, NUS, Standard Chartered, as well as the Estonian, German and the Singaporean Governments, among others to share his input on Corporate Innovation and Startup Ecosystem.

His extensive work in the startup ecosystem received more than 160 citations in prominent media such as Forbes, Bloomberg TV, and Les Echos. His research is also quoted by leading organizations including Bain, SAP, BNP Paribas, and Orange.

His main research interest is in Startups and Innovation.

He is also the co-founder of Map the Money, an organization that helps entrepreneurs to raise funds in Southeast Asia. As well as the author of The Asia Funding / M&A Newsletter and the Singapore startup ecosystem and entrepreneur toolbox.

Earlier in his career, Arnaud was involved in setting up and growing new businesses including for INSEAD as Assistant Director of Corporate Partnership Development. Prior to that, he worked at Business France as Trade Advisor in New Technologies, Innovation and Services.

Arnaud holds a Masters Degree in International Marketing and Business Development at SKEMA Business School as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Mathematics at the University of Versailles.

Earvin Magic Johnson

Basketball legend turned business mogul Earvin “Magic” Johnson is widely recognized as one of the most influential African-American figures in the world.

Johnson is an all-time NBA great, President of Basketball Operations for the LA Lakers, part owner of the LA Dodgers and LA Sparks, Chairman, and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, investor, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, philanthropist, and outspoken advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.

Johnson's career on the Los Angeles Lakers where he played as the point guard for 13 seasons is the stuff of legends. His basketball achievements include three NBA MVP Awards, nine NBA Finals appearances, twelve All-Star games, and ten All-NBA First and Second Team nominations. Magic led the league in regular-season assists four times, is the NBA's all-time leader in average assists per game, and a two-time inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame. He was also a member of the 1992 U.S. Men’s Olympic “Dream Team” which took home the gold medal.

Doing what few others could, Johnson successfully parlayed his skills and tenacity on the court into the business world and created Magic Johnson Enterprises (MJE), a $700 million conglomerate company that holds the status of #1 brand in urban America. MJE provides high-quality products and services that focus primarily on ethnically diverse and underserved urban communities through strategic alliances, investments, consulting, and endorsements. The conglomerate is comprised of multiple business entities and partnerships that include Canyon Johnson, a $1 billion dollar real estate fund, Yucaipa Johnson, a $500 million dollar private equity fund, ASPIRE, a new African-American television network, SodexoMAGIC, Magic Airport Holdings, Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academies, and Vibe Holdings, LLC - Johnson is the Chairman of the multi-cultural media company that houses the Vibe, Uptown, and Soul Train brands.

One of Johnson's most notable business accomplishments was his unprecedented partnership with Starbucks, which served as the catalyst for redevelopment in urban communities and is literally the blueprint for Corporate America’s engagement and success with urban consumers. In 2010, the savvy businessman divested his Starbucks and Los Angeles Lakers shares in excess of $100 million dollars. However, he continues to assist Starbucks with their community development initiatives and has transitioned into the role of President of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Together with Guggenheim Partners, Johnson is also a co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Sparks, and has plans to own a Los Angeles Major League Soccer team.

Johnson also serves as Chairman and Founder of the Magic Johnson Foundation, where his unwavering commitment to transform Urban America continues through HIV/AIDS Awareness & Prevention Programs, Community Empowerment Centers, and the Taylor Michaels Scholarship Program. Celebrating over 20 years of success, the Magic Johnson Foundation has become one of the most recognizable philanthropic organizations around the world.

Italo Cardoza

Italo Cardoza, is a free thinker, iconoclastic and specialist of human potential, driven and seduced by the many in-situ experiences about how in a hypercompetitive era, talents and its attributes manage to seduce, astonish and attract in an exceptional way.

Founder and Executive Director of ZONBI Activation Agency, agency for activating and discovering talents for differentiation, based on talent and passion as a mantra and business philosophy. Technically connected with Marketing to position people, products and cultures. With transformative focus towards students, professionals in and out company, executives, entrepreneurs, Change Makers, and culture redesigns from the base of talent.

Italo has given in 10 years, conferences to more than 20,000 students in Latin America, training teachers, deans, entrepreneurs, companies, his social spirit leads him to train young people in high school, unemployed people, in order to reach their opportunities.  He is Business administrator and Commercial Engineer with specialties in Marketing, human talent,  International Trade and Emotional Intelligence for labor management, Coach for the discovery of talent, Marketing coach, Marketing and entrepreneurship teacher and human capital. International speaker for corporate and educational entities in Latin America, with 10 years of experience for multinational companies of the customer experience, retail and Human Capital.

In his presentations to the world of entrepreneurship and corporate and invitation to the educational world evokes the message: "In everything you do, design, communicate, create, position, Is there something of you in everything you do? Are you in what you really are passionate about? ", The differentiation in its various definitions begins when you PASS your PASSION on whatever you do, this bases the attraction at all levels. This led him to create the path, "Talent, Passion and Market", irreverent and high impact theme for the educational and corporate world.

Nell Watson

Nell Watson is an engineer, entrepreneur, and futurist thinker who grew up in Northern Ireland. She has a longstanding interest in the philosophy of technology, and how extensions of human capacity drive emerging social trends.
Nell lectures globally on Machine Intelligence, AI philosophy, Human-Machine relations, and the Future of Human Society, serving as Associate Faculty at Singularity University and a member of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.
She has had an unusual career, including teaching post-grad Computer Science at the age of 24, and later co-founding a successful Graffiti arts company. Her ability to bridge the world of technology and the Humanities makes it easy for her to translate complex subjects so that they can be clearly understood.
In 2010 Nell founded Poikos, a machine learning-driven ‘AI for for body measurement’. Nell’s patented technology ‘dematerialises’ the 3D body scanner, by providing accurate 3D scans of the body with only 2D camera hardware, such as that found within smartphones, or laptops. This may then be applied to a range of markets, such as mass customisation, and health.
She is also Co-Founder of OpenEth.org, a machine ethics research company. OpenEth have a vision of building a safer and more just world, by enabling humans and machines to make better decisions.
In her spare time Nell enjoys coding games, such as her startup life simulator, Founder Life. Founder Life attempts to teach the mindfulness and psychological habits necessary for entrepreneurs to consistently execute under pressure.
Possessing a long-term mindset, Nell serves as Senior Advisor to The Future Society at Harvard, as well as serving as an advisory technologist to several startups, accelerators, and venture capital funds.

Brad Templeton

Brad Templeton is a developer of and commentator on self-driving cars, software architect, board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, internet entrepreneur, futurist lecturer, writer and observer of cyberspace issues, hobby photographer, and an artist. Templeton has been a consultant on Google’s team designing a driverless car and lectures and blogs about the emerging technology of automated transportation. He is also noted as a speaker and writer covering copyright law and political and social issues related to computing and networks. He is a director of the futurist Foresight Nanotech Institute, a think tank and public interest organization focused on transformative future technologies.
Templeton was founder, publisher and software architect at ClariNet Communications Corp., which in the 1990s became the first internet-based business, creating an electronic newspaper. He has been active in the computer network community since 1979, participated in the building and growth of USENET from its earliest days, and in 1987 founded and edited a special USENET conference devoted to comedy.
Templeton has been involved in the development of important pieces of software including VisiCalc, the world’s first computer spreadsheet, and Stuffit for archiving and compressing computer files. In 1996, ClariNet joined the ACLU and others in opposing the Communications Decency Act, part of the Telecom bill passed during Clinton Administration. The U.S. Supreme Court sided with the plaintiffs and ruled that the Act violated the First Amendment in seeking to impose anti-indecency standards on the internet.
Professional Activities: - Founder of ClariNet, the world’s first internet-based business (first dot-com) - Director and chairman for 10 years of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an organization created to “confront cutting-edge issues defending free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights today.” - Developer of many packaged software products in the microcomputer era. - Published first large e-book anthology of current fiction. - Leader of internet/USENET community, creating rec.humor.funny which was the most widely read publication on the internet from 1988 to 1995.

Gonzalo Martin-Villa

With a particular passion for technology and innovation, Gonzalo serves as CEO of Wayra, Telefónica’s start-up accelerator, from its birth in 2011.

In less than three years, he helped Wayra become one of the largest technology accelerators, opening operations in 12 countries across Latin America and Europe (Colombia, México, Spain, Venezuela, Perú, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, UK, Germany, Ireland and the Czech Republic).

Today, Wayra has a portfolio of more than 300 innovative companies in 20 different digital industries. Prior to join Wayra, Gonzalo spent five years as Director of the Secretaría General Técnica (Head of the Chairman’s Office) of Telefónica Latinoamérica, leading projects and initiatives at a regional level. He joined Telefónica in 1997, when he started working in the legal department of Telefónica Internacional, the entity that managed Telefónica´s international operations.
In 1999 he was appointed as Legal Manager of Telefónica Móviles, the holding company that managed all the mobile operations worldwide, and in 2002 became Legal Director of Telefónica Móviles México, where he worked for almost three years before returning to Spain.

Gonzalo has a degree in Law by the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, an LLM by Georgetown University and also holds an MBA from IESE Business School – University of Navarra. He currently divides his time between Madrid, Latin America and the rest of Europe. Gonzalo is also a passionate marathon runner.

Christopher Gardner

Chris Gardner is an Entrepreneur, Author, Philanthropist, and single parent whose work has been recognized by many esteemed organizations.

Always hard working and tenacious, a series of adverse circumstances in the early 1980’s left Chris Gardner homeless in San Francisco, the sole guardian of his toddler son. Unwilling to give up Chris Jr. or his dreams of success, Gardner climbed the financial industry ladder from the very bottom. He worked at Dean Witter Reynolds and Bear Stearns & Co before founding his own brokerage firm in Chicago in 1987.

The amazing story of Christopher Gardner’s life was first published as an autobiography, The Pursuit of Happyness, in 2006, and became a New York Times and Washington Post #1 bestseller. The book spent over twenty weeks on the bestseller list and has been translated into more than forty languages. Chris Gardner was also the inspiration for the movie The Pursuit of Happyness.

The film starred Will Smith as Gardner and he received Academy Award, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations for his performance. Gardner was also an associate producer on the film. In his second New York Times bestselling book, Start Where You Are: Life Lessons in Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, published in 2009, Gardner shared his philosophies and crucial steps behind creating a fulfilling, successful life. Since Chris Gardner's remarkable transformation from homeless single father to millionaire, he has been inundated with two questions: "How did you do it?" and "How can I do it too?" Chris Gardner’s aim, through his speaking engagements and media projects, is to help others achieve their full potential.

His practical guidance and inspirational story have made him a frequent guest on CNN, CNBC and the Fox News Channel. He has also been featured on The CBS Evening News, 20/20, Oprah, Today Show, The View, Entertainment Tonight, as well as in People, USA Today, Fortune, Entrepreneur, Jet, Reader’s Digest, Trader Monthly, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Post and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, amongst other publications. Christopher Gardner’s childhood was marked by poverty, domestic violence, alcoholism, sexual abuse and family illiteracy. Gardner published his autobiography out of a desire to shed light on these universal issues and show they do not have to define a person. Gardner never knew his father, and lived with his beloved mother when not in foster homes. Gardner joined the Navy out of high school and after discharge, moved to San Francisco where he worked as a medical research associate and scientific supply distributor.

In 1981, as a new father to son Christopher Gardner Jr., he was determined to find a career that would be both lucrative and fulfilling. Fascinated by finance, but without connections, an MBA or even a college degree, Gardner applied for training programs at brokerages, willing to live on next to nothing while he learned a new trade. Chris Jr.’s mother left and Gardner, despite his circumstances, fought to keep his son because, as he says, “I made up my mind as a young kid that when I had children they were going to know who their father was and that he wasn’t going anywhere.” Gardner earned a spot in the Dean Witter Reynolds training program but became homeless when he could not make ends meet on his meager trainee salary. Today, Gardner is involved with homelessness initiatives assisting families to stay intact, and assisting homeless men and women who are employed but still cannot get by. As a single parent for 25 years, Chris Gardner has demonstrated his concern for the well-being of children through his work with and on behalf of organizations such as the National Fatherhood Initiative, the National Education Association Foundation and the International Rescue Committee. Gardner is still very committed to Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, where he and his son received assistance in the early 1980’s. Gardner has also been honored by the NAACP Image Awards; Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women, The Continental Africa Chamber of Commerce, The Glaucoma Foundation, The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), Covenant House, Common Ground and other organizations committed to combating violence against women, homelessness, and financial illiteracy – issues of the utmost importance to Gardner.

Chris Gardner resides in Chicago.

Karen Post

A branding enthusiast, serial entrepreneur, and resilient businesswoman.

Karen Post loves to present high-energy programs on branding, entrepreneurship and personal power. She shares knowledge, delivers meaningful content and inspires action. If you need a power-house speaker for your next event, Karen is your perfect choice. For more than 30 years, Karen Post has been developing solutions and implementing methods that make things happen.

She started her first business at the age of 22, and built two successful companies: an award-winning ad agency and a legal communication firm specializing in high-stakes litigation that she led for over twenty years. Her life and business journey has included ups and downs, victories and defeats all adding to her success and unique experience-rich perspective. Since 2000, she has led Brain Tattoo Branding, a firm that provides creative and strategic services to start, grow, and manage brands.

Karen is a sought after speaker, who addresses global audiences, and is proud to have been the first female American speaker to address the Saudi Arabian Airlines national conference in 2011.

In 2006, she launched Brain Tattoo Publishing, an online enterprise for creatively-charged entrepreneurs, business professionals and marketers that now produces digital learning tools in niche markets. Throughout her career, her work has benefited diverse industries, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies including: ACNielsen, Celanese, Choice International, Cox Cable and Media, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Chevron, Johnson & Johnson, Bank of America, Xerox, Sara Lee, Pepsi, and Procter & Gamble along with many emerging businesses, trade associations, professional athletes, entertainers, and politicians. Karen makes people confront comfort zones in a healthy way.

She challenges conventional thinking and opens minds to new possibilities. “Can’t be done” is not in her vocabulary. She gets excited about what does not work and lives by the mantra “No risk. No nothing.” Karen has been a regular contributor to Fastcompany.com and has been featured branding expert in over 300 business and marketing print, broadcast, and online media outlets. Her writing about small business, branding, advertising, marketing and social media is published internationally. Karen has authored two marketing and branding books, her latest is Brand Turnaround: How Brands Gone Bad Returned to Glory… and the 7 Game Changers that Made the Difference (McGraw-Hill). Her first book Brain Tattoos: Creating Unique Brands That Stick in Your Customers’ Minds (AMACOM) was published in the United States and in Korea.

Karen helps organizations excel through distinct brands and personal power. Her keynotes inspire, her workshops empower, and her facilitation sessions stimulate innovation and release bottled-up ideas for action.

Ulrich Dietz

Ulrich Dietz, born in 1958, founded the internationally leading IT service provider GFT in 1987 and has been Chairman of the Executive Board of GFT Technologies AG since its IPO in 1999.

The GFT Group currently employs around 1,200 full-time and around 1,500 freelance employees at 20 locations in seven countries.

In 2009, GFT’s turnover totaled approx. € 220 million.

Ulrich Dietz studied mechanical engineering and product engineering at the university of Reutlingen and Furtwangen and graduated as a certified engineer.

He is the co-founder of the Transfer Centre for Information Technology (TZI) at the Steinbeis Foundation for business development. Apart from his function as CEO of GFT Technologies AG, Ulrich Dietz is active as a member in international boards.

In 2003, Ulrich Dietz became a member of the Presiding Committee of BITKOM (the German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media).

In this role, he is particularly committed to the promotion and the expansion of international relations in the German IT industry. Furthermore, he is a member of the task force which represents “ICT country Germany and innovative business applications” within the scope of the federal government’s National IT Summit.

Within the framework of his activities it is Mr Dietz’s main aim to improve Germany’s position as an innovative country, as well as to promote entrepreneurship in the area of ICT.

Seth Godin

Seth Godin is the author of 18 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything.

"Seth Godin may be the ultimate entrepreneur for the Information Age," Mary Kuntz has written in Business Week nearly a decade ago. "Instead of widgets or car parts, he specializes in ideas—usually, but not always, his own." In fact, he's as focused on spreading ideas as he is on the ideas themselves.

After working as a software brand manager in the mid-1980s, Godin started Yoyodyne, which Yahoo! acquired in late 1998, one of the first Internet-based direct-marketing firms, with the notion that companies needed to rethink how they reached customers. His efforts caught the attention of Yahoo!, which bought the company in 1998 and kept Godin on as a vice president of permission marketing. Godin has produced several critically acclaimed and attention-grabbing books, including Permission Marketing, All Marketers Are Liars, and Purple Cow (which was distributed in a milk carton).

In 2005, Godin founded Squidoo.com, a Web site where users can share links and information about an idea or topic important to them. Seth Godin is the author of fourteen books translated into more than 35 languages. All bestsellers. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, spreading ideas, marketing, quitting, leadership and most importantly, moving ahead and changing. American Way Magazine calls him, "America's Greatest Marketer," and his blog is perhaps the most popular in whole world written by only an individual.

In one of his latest books, "We Are All Weird", writes about ending the usual mass and bringing people more choices, more interests and more space to control and reflect their own unique values, and once again Seth breaks the usual model of publishing by releasing it through The Domino Project.

His recent Kickstarter for The Icarus Deception, published in January 2013, broke records for its size and the speed that it reached its goal. As an entrepreneur, he has founded a lot of companies, most of which failed. Squidoo.com,was ranked among the top 125 sites in the US (by traffic) by Quantcast. It allows anyone to build a webpage in any topic of your passion. In 2014 Squidoo was acquired byHubPages.

Seth is a renowned speaker, who is consistently rated among the very best speakers by the audiences he addresses. He holds an MBA from Stanford.

Pau Garcia-Milà Pujol

Pau García-Milà is the founder of eyeOS which he founded at the age of 17. The company was founded at the start of the Cloud Computing and Social Networking era. Pau is also the founder of Bananity, a social networking company.

As an entrepreneur, Pau has achieved significant recognition and won several awards as the Innovator of the Year for 2011 by MIT (TR-35), the Prince of Asturias & Girona award "IMPULSA Empresa 2010" and the National Communications Award 2009 (Spain).

A frequent speaker, Pau is also the youngest professor of ESADE (in Digital Business Master). In the audiovisual field, Pau has contributed to a number of radio programmes (Catalunya Radio, RAC1) and is the presenter of Empenta, the only radio program dedicated 100% to entrepreneurs.

On television, Pau appears on a weekly programme, Catalunya Divendres about entrepreneurship. Pau also codirected a mini-series in the summer of 2012 with Andreu Buenafuente called Verano Amarillo.

Derreck Kayongo

Fleeing the rule of Dictator Idi Amin as a child in Uganda…
Monitoring elections with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in Sierra Leone and Ethiopia...
Joining forces with the hospitality industry to create a sustainable, simple yet brilliant recycling solution to the growing problem of soap disposal…

Derreck Kayongo has some amazing stories to tell. Kayongo's journey from child refugee to fearless visionary is filled with moments of inspiration (along with the benefits of good, old-fashioned sweat equity) that make him one of the most popular - and authentic - speakers on the circuit today. From Africa to Atlanta with nothing but a dream and tenacity, Kayongo beat the odds, earned an education, and has served in leadership roles in some of the world's most respected NGOs since 1994.

Today, he shares his vivacious spirit and invaluable experience in the areas entrepreneurship, environmental sustainability, global health, social justice and professional engagement with audiences in both the corporate and not-for-profit worlds. Derreck Kayongo's ability to motivate others to understand the role their work and skills can play in problem solving is one of the many reasons he was a finalist for 2011 CNN'S Hero.

Add to that the mantra of being a voice for the voiceless through his noble work of giving back, including dedicating his life to improving the lives of marginalized and vulnerable people across the globe: he has worked with the American Friends Service Committee as Program Director for the Southeast Peace Education program; joined Amnesty International as the Director of the Southeast Region; and currently serves as Senior Advocacy Coordinator for the Southeast region with CARE International. In 2009, Kayongo and his wife Sarah embarked on a new journey pursuing their life-long passion of starting an NGO of their own. The Global Soap Project focuses on repurposing partially-used soap from hotels into new soap for needy populations, particularly in Africa.

To date, The Global Soap Project has been able to donate more than 300,000 bars of soap to over 22 countries around the world. In 2011, he was named one of the Top 10 CNN Heroes for his work. Since 1994, Kayongo has given more than 500 speeches on key issues related to poverty reduction in Africa; mainly on water and sanitation, soap, HIV/AIDS, Child Soldiers, Health and Sanitation, Impact of Landmines in Africa, Countries in Conflict and role of basic Education for Girls in Africa.

Gunter Pauli

Gunter Pauli was born in Antwerp, Belgium, in March 1956. In 1979 he graduated as “Licencié en Sciences Economiques” from Loyola's University (today University of Antwerp) in Belgium and obtained his masters in business administration from INSEAD in 1982 at Fontainebleau, France thanks to a scholarship from the Rotary International Foundation. During the time he was studying, he held the most diverse jobs in order “to sustain family, education and to save money, which permitted extensive traveling during the summer holidays". In 1978 he was elected as national president of the students’ union AIESEC.

He was the founder and Chairman of PPA Holding and of more than 10 other companies, founder and CEO of the European Service Industries Forum (ESIF),  Secretary General of the European Business Press Federation (UPEFE), founder and president of the Foundation “Mozarteum Belgicum“, Chairman and President of Ecover, and advisor to the Rector of the United Nations University in Tokyo (Japan).

His entrepreneurial activities span business, culture, science, politics and the environment. Under his leadership, Ecover pioneered an ecological factory in 1992, featured on CNN Prime Time News. He founded the "Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives" (ZERI) at the United Nations University in Tokyo, and subsequently established The Global ZERI Network as a foundation, redesigning production and consumption into clusters of industries inspired by natural systems.

He is dedicated to design and implement a society and industries, which respond to people’s needs using what is locally available. His visionary approach supported by dozens of projects on the ground landed him an invitation to present his cases at the World Expo 2000 in Germany. There he constructed the largest bamboo pavilion in modern days presenting 7 breakthrough initiatives. It became the most popular pavilion with 6.4 million visitors. Unfortunately, the pavilion was destroyed after the Expo. However the original built in Manizales, Colombia still stands as a symbol for the Coffee Region.

His latest initiatives include the design of a solution for the plastic soup floating in the oceans and the creation of a protective zone with islands to avert rising sea levels. He is actively involved to ensure that the largest herd of rhinos (2,400 in Kaziranga National Park in India) will be free of poachers thanks to an intensive economic and community development program in coordination with organic tea plantations.

He has been visiting lecturer and professor at universities in on all continents, and Member of the Board of NGOs and private companies in Asia, USA and Latin America. He has advised governments, entrepreneurs and industry leaders on how to implement breakthrough innovations that permits society to better respond to the basic needs of all, starting with water, food, housing, health and energy. He works with what is locally available, focuses on the generation of value.

He is a Fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences (San Francisco, USA), a creative Member of the Club of Budapest (Hungary), Member of the Club of Rome, moderated the Roundtable of Nobel Science Laureates hosted by HM King of Jordan State and obtained a Doctorate from the Italian Government in systems design. He has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Pécs, Hungary.

Gunter has published 20 books (written 16 - edited 4), which have been printed in +30 languages and 365 fables bringing science and emotions to children. Over 17 million copies have been distributed worldwide. One of his fables “The Strongest Tree” is available in over 100 languages. His latest  book published in April 2015 "The Blue Economy 2.0: 200 projects implemented, $4 billion invested and 3 million jobs created" is the new reality inspired the vision of his Report to the Club of Rome presented on November 2, 2009.

His next book "From Deep Ecology to Blue Economy: 21 Principles of the New Business Model" will be forthcoming in the Fall of 2016. He is father of five sons, one daughter (Adopted) and married to Katherina Bach. Fluent in seven languages and having resided on 4 continents, he is a world citizen.

Peter Shankman

An author, entrepreneur, speaker, and worldwide connector, Peter is recognized worldwide for radically new ways of thinking about Customer Service, Social Media, PR, marketing and advertising.

PR Week Magazine has described Peter Shankman as “redefining the art of networking,” and Investor’s Business Daily has called him “crazy, but effective.” Peter Shankman is a spectacular example of what happens when you harness the power of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and put it to work for you. Peter Shankman is recognized nationally and globally for doing PR (and everything else) differently—not only to get attention, produce great results, and create great companies, but also to have a lot of fun while at it every day.

Peter Shankman is the founder and CEO of The Geek Factory, Inc., boutique marketing and PR Strategy firm located in New York City, with clients worldwide. His blog, PR Differently, which he launched in 2004, both comments on and generates industry-related news and conversation. Peter Shankman founded AirTroductions, the world’s first social network for business travelers after a particularly brutal inter-continental flight. Launched in 2005 to instant media attention and growth, AirTroductions was acquired in mid-2007 and relaunched in January of 2008 as TripLife, (www.triplife.com) the largest social networking and connections website for all travelers.

In 2008 Peter Shankman launched Help A Reporter Out (HARO) which connects journalists with the sources they require using a social media platform. HARO is already over 250,000 members. Peter Shankman‘s PR and Marketing clients have included the Snapple Beverage Group, Walt Disney World, Vantage Point Venture Partners, American Express, Discovery Networks, New Frontier Media, OpSec Security, Napster, Juno, GenuOne, Dream Catcher Destinations Club, Prstore, Weblo, and many others, and he sits on the board of both Scott-e-Vest, the world’s first technologically enabled clothing line, as well as TripLife.

Peter is the author of four books: Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans (2015) Nice Companies Finish First: Why Cutthroat Management is Over, and Collaboration is in, (2013,) Can We Do That?! Outrageous PR Stunts That Work--And Why Your Company Needs Them (2006,) and Customer Service: New Rules for a Social Media World (2010) and a frequent keynote speaker and workshop presenter at conferences, shows, marketing summits, corporate events, and public relations and marketing industry meetings, including Saatchi and Saatchi, Home Town Suites Hotels, NAB, Comdex, CTIA, CTAM, CES, PMA, The Next Gen Asia Advertising Conference, Mobile Marketing Asia 2007, Advertising Week, and the Direct Marketing Association.

Peter is an adjunct professor of Marketing at New York University, and sits on the advisory boards of several companies, all visible on the Advising/Investing page, and is honored to sit on the NASA Civilian Advisory Council, appointed to his position by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. He’s also an angel investor, specializing mostly in very early stage tech and social media companies.

To punctuate his full-throttle schedule, Peter Shankman is a marketing pundit for the Fox News Channel Program The O’Reilly Factor and he has been a guest on many other major US and International news channels. He was featured in Men’s Journal, MSNBC, and The New York Times, and he is frequently quoted in major media and trade publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, Associated Press, Reuters, CNN, and USA Today.

A proud Boston University graduate, Peter started his career at America Online as a Senior News Editor, helping found the AOL Newsroom and spearheading coverage of the Democratic and Republican 1996 conventions, which marked the first time an online news service covered any major political event.
Born and raised in New York City, Peter Shankman still lives there with his wife and daughter. In the few hours of spare time Peter Shankman has per month, he’s a frequent runner, with 13 completed marathons and an Olympic distance triathlon to his credit, an amateur boxer, and a “B” licensed skydiver.

Michelle Mone

Michelle Mone OBE, born 1971, is the co-owner of MJM International and founder of Ultimo, the UK’s leading designer lingerie brand. Honoured by the Queen with an OBE for her contribution to business, Michelle is regularly listed as one of the UK’s top female entrepreneurs and has built a hugely successful career on an incredibly simple concept: giving today’s women what they want.

Entrepreneurial spirit was prevalent from an early age in Michelle, who grew up in the east end of Glasgow. Michelle left school at 15 with no qualifications to find full-time employment, after her father was struck down by an illness leaving him confined to a wheelchair. To support her family Michelle took on a job at Labatt Brewers’ and quickly climbed the ranks from office junior; at just 22years old Michelle was appointed as Head of Sales and Marketing for Scotland.

But it was in 1996 when her idea for Ultimo was born. Whilst attending a dinner dance with her husband Michael, Michelle was wearing a very uncomfortable cleavage enhancing bra and, as a result, had a ‘light bulb’ moment; Michelle decided to invent a bra that was more comfortable, more innovative, more attractive and more cleavage enhancing than any other bra on the market. MJM International was set up in November 1996.

Since launching the business Michelle has established herself as one of Scotland’s biggest exports; in 2000 Ultimo was catapulted into the media limelight when Hollywood actress Julia Roberts wore an Ultimo plunge-bra to enhance her cleavage in Erin Brockovich. Later that year Michelle won the coveted ‘World Young Business Achiever Award’ at the Epcot Centre, Florida, and then ‘Business Woman of the Year’ at the Corporate Elite Awards in London.

In 2001 Prince Charles invited Michelle to join the Board of Directors for The Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust and more recently his Board of Main Council, confirming her status as one of the UK’s leading female entrepreneurs. Michelle also won ‘Best Newcomer’ at the British Apparel Export Awards, presented by HRH the Princess Royal, adding to her long list of awards, accolades and recognitions.

In October 2005 Michelle attended a speaking engagement with former US president Bill Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev, and went on to support the Sultan of Oman in setting up women’s enterprise in the Middle East. Michelle has since become a high-profile guest at speaking engagements and corporate events all over the world.

Over the years Michelle’s business has gone from strength-to-strength, developing beyond the original umbrella of Ultimo to encompass Ultimo D-G Cup, Ultimo Black Label, Ultimo Shapewear, Ultimo Swimwear and partner lines including Diamond Boutique for Tesco, Adore Moi for Debenhams.

As well as designing fashion lingerie, Ultimo boasts eight worldwide patented inventions including the Ultimo ‘Miracle’ backless body. In addition to its jointly owned brands, MJM International currently supplies Tesco, Debenhams, ASDA, Next, Figleaves and Asos.com, along with a number of independent lingerie stores throughout Europe.

In 2012, after 3 years of intensive research Michelle expanded her portfolio and launched into the world of beauty with a range of tanning products – Utan.

Michelle is divorced and lives on the outskirts of Glasgow with her three children. Michelle has achieved a remarkable level of success to date, juggling the demands of her business, together with motherhood, but – in her own words – ‘this is only the beginning’.

Sahar Hashemi

In 1995 Sahar Hashemi and her brother Bobby founded Coffee Republic, the UK’s first coffee bar chain. Within 5 years they built Coffee Republic into one of the UK’s most recognized high street brands with 110 bars and turnover of £30m.

Hashemi was a lawyer and her brother was an investment banker. They gave up their highly paid professional jobs and staked everything on a dream. They made Coffee Republic one of the main players in the ‘coffee revolution’ that transformed a nation of tea drinkers to one obsessed with ‘triple grande vanilla skinny lattes.’ How they came to build a nationwide coffee chain is a fascinating and inspirational tale of the ups and downs of following your dream.

Hashemi left the day-to-day management of Coffee Republic in 2001 and wrote a book about her journey of entrepreneurship, Anyone Can Do It - Building Coffee Republic from Our Kitchen Table. Anyone Can Do It has become the 2nd highest selling book ever published in the UK on entrepreneurship after Richard Branson’s book - according to Nielsen Bookscan. Hashemi believes that if she can make it as an entrepreneur, anyone can make it.

In 2005, she launched her new business Skinny Candy, a brand of sugar free confectionary, low-fat sweets and chocolates. Skinny Candy was sold to confectionery conglomerate Glisten PLC in 2007.

Her most recent book, Switched On, published in 2010, focuses on 8 habits that foster a more entrepreneurial mindset for employees.  It is based on her experience of the transformation in culture when a small entrepreneurial company becomes big and successful, when the obvious and easy entrepreneurial habits are often forgotten as bureaucracy take over.

In 2011 Sahar was nominated by Director magazine as one of its Top 10 Original Thinkers. The magazine praised her view that “Entrepreneurially minded talent shouldn’t have to leave large corporations in order to achieve fulfillment. Entrepreneurial behaviour, including ideas like bootstrapping, prototyping and celebrating failure, can help turn stuffy corporations into creative environments. They can also transform automatons into valued, engaged employees”.

In 2011 she was invited to join the Entrepreneurs Forum set up by UK Business Secretary Vince Cable to give informal personal advice to the government on enterprise policies.

In June 2012 Sahar was awarded an OBE for services to the UK economy and to charity.

She was also awarded: Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Top 10 original thinkers by Director Magazine, ‘Pioneer to the Life of the Nation’ by her Majesty The Queen, 100 most influential women in Britain by Daily Mail, one of the 35 top women in British business by Management Today and 20 most powerful women in Britain by Independent on Sunday, Top 5 in a Shell Livewire survey of inspirational role models.