Leadership author and communicator
Andy Stanley is a sought-after leadership communicator, author, pastor, and the founder of North Point Ministries, Inc. (NPM). Since its inception in 1995, North Point Ministries has grown from one church to five in the Atlanta area and has helped plant over 30 strategic partner churches globally. Each Sunday, more than 30,000 attend worship services at one of NPM'S five churches. In addition, every month well over a million people from nearly every country in the world choose to tune in, download, and stream Stanley's teaching content via TV, radio, podcasts, and live streaming. Stanley's books include The Next Generation Leader, Visioneering, Enemies of the Heart, and The Principle of the Path.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Nobel laureate and human rights activist
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is a world-renowned human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient. Beginning with his opposition to apartheid in South Africa, he has worked tirelessly to spread peace, justice, and democracy and to end racial divisions throughout the world.
His faith in and commitment to the peaceful destiny of South Africa earned Archbishop Tutu the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize. He served for years as his country's voice of conscience during its long struggle against apartheid. When that battle was finally won, Archbishop Tutu took the lead in ministering to the nation's wounds. His findings as part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission marked a significant step in South Africa's healing process, as well as an international reminder of the commitment to the pursuit of freedom and justice. He is also Chairman of The Elders, a nonpartisan group of influential global statesmen, which speaks out against ongoing injustice and works for positive change.
In 2009, President Obama awarded Archbishop Tutu the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the highest civilian honor — for his significant contributions to the nation and the world. In 2013, he was awarded the Templeton Prize for his lifelong work in advancing spiritual principles. The Archbishop's great friend Nelson Mandela perfectly sums up his legacy: "Sometimes strident, often tender, never afraid, and seldom without humor."
Award-winning journalist and best-selling author
Malcolm Gladwell has been a staff writer with The New Yorker magazine since 1996. His 1999 profile of Ron Popeil won a National Magazine Award, and in 2005 he was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People. He is the author of The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference (2000), Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005), and Outliers: The Story of Success (2008), all of which were number one New York Times best-sellers. His book What the Dog Saw (2009) is a compilation of stories published in The New Yorker and his new book David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants will be published in October. From 1987 to 1996, he was a reporter with The Washington Post, where he covered business, science, and then served as the newspaper's New York City bureau chief. He graduated from the University of Toronto, Trinity College, with a degree in history. He was born in England, grew up in rural Ontario, and now lives in New York City.
Screenwriter, director, producer, and songwriter
Randall Wallace is an American screenwriter, director, producer, and songwriter who came to prominence by writing the screenplay for the 1995 film Braveheart. His work on the film earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay and a Writers Guild of America award for Best Screenplay Adapted Directly for the Screen. His other films include The Man in the Iron Mask, Pearl Harbor, We Were Soldiers, and Secretariat. Randall wrote the lyrics to the song Mansions of the Lord, which is featured in the movie We Were Soldiers and was sung at Ronald Reagan's funeral.
CEO of SAP AG
Bill McDermott was appointed co-CEO of SAP alongside Jim Hagemann Snabe on February 7, 2010. In this capacity, and also as a member of the Executive Board of SAP, he oversees SAP's strategic business activities relative to all customer operations, sales, marketing, communications, field services, consulting, corporate development, and ecosystem activities. McDermott will transition to sole CEO of SAP in the spring of 2014.
As the world's leading provider of business software, SAP is an over $80 billion company with more than $17 billion in revenue in 2011. SAP's more than 55,000 employees and its vast ecosystem enable 183,000 customers of all sizes in more than 25 industries and 130 countries worldwide. SAP AG is headquartered in Walldorf, Germany, and McDermott is based at the company's North American headquarters location in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. Since his arrival in 2002, the company has delivered unparalleled growth in market share, revenue, and customer satisfaction in key markets.
Former advertising sales executive and best-selling author
Laura Schroff’s book, An Invisible Thread, brings to life the inspiring true story of an 11-year-old panhandler, a busy sales executive, and their unlikely meeting with destiny in 1986. Since the launch in November 2011, An Invisible Thread has been on the New York Times best-seller list for a total of 36 weeks and is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including a Christopher Award, DreamCatcher Award, and the Local Hometown Hero Award presented by New York Congressman Steve Israel.
Laura is a former advertising executive who has worked with several major media companies, including Time Inc. and Condé Nast. Born and raised on Long Island, Laura was part of the advertising team that made USA Today a successful national newspaper. Before helping launch three of the most successful start-ups in Time Inc. history — InStyle, Teen PEOPLE, and PEOPLE StyleWatch — she was also the New York Division Manager at PEOPLE magazine. Laura has also been the New York Ad Manager at Ms. magazine and Associate Publisher at Brides. Laura loves spending time at her condo on Long Island and visiting with her family in New York and Florida. She lives in New York City with her feisty poodles, Coco and Emma.
Dr. Henry Cloud
Clinical psychologist and business consultant
Dr. Henry Cloud is a leadership consultant and coach who brings a unique perspective to his speaking and writing. His background as a clinical psychologist and business consultant bridges the gap between what a business needs and what leaders have to do to get results. He has extensive experience as a CEO and Executive Team coach, as well as an organizational consultant in a wide range of companies from Fortune 500 to family-held firms and many boards. He specializes in coaching leaders, building teams, and developing organizational cultures.
In addition to consulting, he built a health care company, which operated treatment centers in 40 markets in the Western U.S. and directed it for 10 years. This perspective of having created and led a company, as well as consulting with many businesses, gives his message a realistic and practical flavor with which people identify.
The author of over 20 books, including Necessary Endings, Integrity, and 9 Things A Leader Must Do, he has been featured and reviewed in many publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe.
Leadership expert and best-selling author
Simon Sinek is an optimist. He believes in a bright future and our ability to build it together.
A trained ethnographer and author of Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, Sinek has held a lifelong curiosity for why people and organizations do the things they do. Fascinated by the leaders and companies that make the greatest impact in the world — those with the capacity to inspire — he has discovered some remarkable patterns of how they think, act, and communicate. He has devoted his life to sharing his thinking in order to help other leaders and organizations inspire action.
Sinek shares his optimism with all who will listen. He speaks around the globe and has commented for local and national press, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, FastCompany, CMO Magazine, NPR, and BusinessWeek. Sinek is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, writes his own blog, simonsinek.com, and makes regular guest appearances on MSNBC’s Your Business, among others.
Sinek is an adjunct staff member of the RAND Corporation, one of the most highly regarded think tanks in the world. He is also active in the arts and not-for-profit world, working with Education for Employment Foundation to help create opportunities for young men and women in the Middle East region. When not in hotels, he lives in New York, where he teaches graduate-level strategic communications at Columbia University.
First Lady of the United States (2001-2009)
Via Exclusive Video Interview
One of the most beloved and admired American First Ladies, for decades Laura Bush has championed key issues in the fields of education, health care, and human rights. She has traveled to more than 76 countries, including two historic solo trips to Afghanistan, and has launched groundbreaking education and health care programs in the U.S. and abroad. The author of the best-selling memoir, Spoken From the Heart, Mrs. Bush also founded both the Texas Book Festival and the National Book Festival in Washington D.C. Today, as the Chair of the Woman’s Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute, Mrs. Bush continues her work on global health care innovations, empowering women in emerging democracies, education reform, and supporting the men and women who have served in America’s military.
Born in Midland, Texas, to Jenna and Harold Welch, Laura Bush holds a degree in education and a master’s degree in library science. She taught in public schools in Dallas, Houston, and Austin, and worked as a public school librarian. She was jokingly dubbed “the old maid of Midland” before her 1977 marriage to George W. Bush, “Midland’s most eligible bachelor.” The Bushes are the parents of twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna.