Featured Speakers

Wednesday, April 13 (morning)

Ben Cook, program director, Performance Instruction and Training (PIT)

Ben Cook is program director, facilitator and keynote speaker for Performance Instruction and training (PIT), the award-winning corporate and pit crew training operation based in Mooresville, N.C. A former strength coach at the University of North Carolina, Cook later served as a pit crew coach and strength coach for Everham Motorsports, Red Bull Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing. Many marvel at the way pit crews operate. Cook helps organizations take those concepts to the business world.

Wednesday, April 13 (afternoon)

Billy Taylor, director, Commercial, Off-Highway, and Support Manufacturing, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

Billy Taylor is a respected, motivating and natural visionary leader with over 20 years of diverse experience in all phases of operations management. He took on the role of Director of Commercial, Off-Highway, and Support Manufacturing, North America, at Goodyear this year, after serving as Director of North American Commercial Manufacturing. Past roles at Goodyear include plant director and plant manager.

Taylor is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt business leader with a proven track record of accelerating revenue growth through strategic and tactical development and implementation of operational excellence systems and people engagement processes. He has his MBA from Baker University and a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Prairie View A&M University.

Thursday, April 14 (morning)

Francesca Gino, professor, business administration, Harvard Business School; author, Sidetracked

Francesca Gino is a professor of business administration in the Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit at Harvard Business School and the author of Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan. She is also formally affiliated with the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and with the Mind, Brain, Behavior Initiative at Harvard.

Gino’s research focuses on judgment and decision-making, negotiation, ethics, motivation, productivity, and creativity. Her work has been published in many academic journals and has been featured in The Economist, The New York Times, Newsweek, Scientific American, Psychology Today, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, and CBS Radio. She has received research awards from the National Science Foundation and the Academy of Management. In addition to teaching, she advises firms and not-for-profit organizations in the areas of negotiation, decision-making, and organizational behavior.

Thursday, April 14 (afternoon)

Todd Henry, author, The Accidental Creative, Die Empty, Louder Than Words

Todd Henry is the founder of Accidental Creative, a company that helps creative people and teams generate brilliant ideas. He regularly speaks and consults with companies about how to develop practices and systems that lead to everyday brilliance. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and he speaks internationally on creativity, productivity, leadership, and passion for work.

Todd’s first book, The Accidental Creative: How To Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice offers strategies for how to thrive in the creative marketplace and has been called “one of the best books to date on how to structure your ideas, and manage the creative process and work that comes out of it” by Jack Covert, author of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time and founder of 800­CEO­READ.

His second book, Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day, unlocks the forces that cause even the brightest, most skilled people to become stagnant in their life and career, and introduces practices that help them build a body of work they can be proud of. It was named by the editors at Amazon.com as one of the best books of 2013.

His latest book, Louder Than Words: Harness The Power Of Your Authentic Voice, teaches how to build a body of work that resonates deeply with your intended audience.