2019 Keynote Speakers
Former executive at Tesla Motors, Apple Computer and GAP Inc., George Blankenship brings 30 years of international strategy, retail and real estate experience to his audiences. In his executive capacities at Tesla Motors, Blankenship successively served as vice president of design and store development, vice president of worldwide sales and ownership experience, and vice president of worldwide retail. In these roles, he redefined the car-buying experience, and in turn revolutionized the auto industry. Tesla's Model S was named the Motor Trend "Car of the Year" in 2013, only a year after its introduction. It was the first electric car to ever receive this recognition.
Prior to his achievements at Tesla, Blankenship served as the senior executive of real estate at Apple. Recognized as the architect of Apple's brand-building retail methodology, he formulated and executed one of the most successful retail growth strategies in history. His international "Smart Growth Hit List" encompassed major cities throughout Asia, Europe and North America. Apple also saw a material, sustained increase in sales, profit and consumer loyalty following Blankenship's focus on reformulation of the consumer experience, the building of brand awareness, and ongoing accessibility to customers.
Blankenship has also functioned as a real estate consultant for Microsoft and served as a senior executive for real estate strategy at GAP Inc. At GAP, Blankenship managed the growth of over 250 stores per year while establishing an energy-efficient, environmentally forward-thinking retail growth practice. His uniquely innovative processes have transformed secure, status quo organizations into forward-thinking and dynamic players of the future.
Blankenship has also meaningfully redefined the purpose and importance of a superior customer experience in contemporary markets, honed and refined corporate values, and deeply strengthened customer loyalty. As an expert of the industry, he offers audiences unmatched insight on the building and creating of brand loyalty and awareness, competitive positioning in the market, and what it takes to deliver superior customer care.
As a CEO, hedge fund manager, designer, entrepreneur, educator, mentor and consultant Jeff has a diverse and unique career spanning more than 25 years of executive leadership. During his time as an executive and business consultant he has developed significant expertise in a broad range of operational disciplines and industries including: technology, design and construction, finance, hospitality and professional services.
In his capacity as an executive and business strategist, Jeff has helped organizations from start-ups to established middle-market companies and government agencies create operational strategies and business ecologies aimed at inspiring knowledge worker performance. His diverse background and experience has helped companies create everything from new office environments and online offerings to completely new innovative business models.
As a thought leader in the areas of stakeholder management and the emerging discipline of Conscious Capitalism®, Jeff had the honor of consulting with authors David Wolfe and Raj Sisodia on their book Firms of Endearment, How World Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose, which was published in 2007. Jeff later expanded on the ideas of Conscious Capitalism® to form Concinnity Advisors, a hedge fund focused on identifying and investing in companies operating from a more holistic, long-term value mindset.
Prior to forming Concinnity Advisors Jeff was the co-head of research for Multi stakeholder investment strategies for a multi-billion dollar hedge fund based in Stamford, CT. Immediately before that Jeff spent 20 years as founder and CEO of Lloyd Lamont Design, Inc. a multifaceted management, architecture and technology consulting firm, which, after being named as one of the fastest growing privately held companies by Inc. Magazine was acquired by a strategic investor in 2006.
Jeff received his Bachelors of Architecture and Masters of Science in Architecture from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He also completed extended executive study courses at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Program for Growing Companies. Jeff is currently a member of the Society of Human Resources Management, ANSI Investor Metrics Workgroup as well as the Industry Working Groups (IWG) for the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB).
He was recently a guest class speaker on the issues of sustainability and investing at the Columbia University, Earth Institute Center for Environmental Research and Conservation. And was a panelist at the Partnership for a Healthier America Summit discussing issues of how corporations could use a conscious capitalist mindset to help solve the childhood obesity epidemic.
Liz Wiseman is a researcher and executive advisor who teaches leadership to executives around the world. She is the author of New York Times bestseller Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, The Multiplier Effect: Tapping the Genius Inside Our Schools, and Wall Street Journal bestseller Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work.
She is the CEO of the Wiseman Group, a leadership research and development firm headquartered in Silicon Valley, California. Some of her recent clients include: Apple, AT&T, Disney, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Nike, Salesforce, Tesla, and Twitter. Liz has been listed on the Thinkers50 ranking and named one of the top 10 leadership thinkers in the world.
She has conducted significant research in the field of leadership and collective intelligence and writes for Harvard Business Review, Fortune, and a variety of other business and leadership journals. A former executive at Oracle Corporation, she worked over the course of 17 years as the Vice President of Oracle University and as the global leader for Human Resource Development.
She is a frequent guest lecturer at BYU and Stanford University. Liz holds a bachelors degree in Business Management and a Masters of Organizational Behavior from Brigham Young University.
One of the country's most informed economists, Brian Beaulieu (bo-lee-o) is a principle of ITR Economics where he serves as CEO and Chief Economist. He has been with ITR since 1982 and it's CEO since 1987. He is also Chief Economist for Vistage International and TEC, global organizations comprised of over 13,000 CEO's. At ITR, Brian has been engaged in applied research regarding business cycle trend analysis and the utilization of that research at a practical business level.
For the past 25 years, he has been giving workshops and seminars across the US and Canada to thousands of business owners and executives. Prior to joining the Institute, Brian was an economist in Washington, DC for the US Department of Labor where he worked on the health care component of the Consumer Price Index. Brian is co-author of two best sellers, Make Your Move and Prosperity in the Age of Decline and children's book But I Want It.
James Chen is the third generation and Chairman of his family's enterprise Wahum Group Holdings. He pioneered the single-family office concept in Asia with Legacy Advisors Ltd. (est 1994) and was an early adopter of venture philanthropy with the Chen Yet-Sen Family Foundation (est 2003). The Foundation's strategic focus is on early childhood literacy, library development and education enhancement, and has supported close to 200 initiatives in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Western Africa.
As an innovative blended value investor, James co-founded the variable power lens technology company Adlens (est 2005), and he is Founder and a Trustee of Vision for a Nation (est 2008), an award-winning sight charity, working to make eye care accessible across the globe. In just five years Vision for a Nation have transformed eye care in Rwanda, building a sustainable eye care service that is accessible to all 12 million Rwandans – a first in the developing world. This year, Vision for a Nation is launching an ambitious new program in Ghana.
James is also the Founder of Clearly (est 2016), a global campaign which aims to bring clear vision to 2.5 billion people denied it as quickly as possible. His new book "Clearly: How a 700 Year Old Invention Can Change the World Forever" explains his mission to help the whole world see clearly, and identifies the barriers to delivering access to glasses for all.
James and his wife, Su Hwei Lee, founded Bring Me a Book Hong Kong (est 2006), an NGO promoting family literacy, and the Feng ZiKai Chinese Children's Picture Book Award (est 2008), the first globally recognized national award for original Chinese language children's picture books.