Meet the speakers

Hear from thought leaders on how strategy and innovation can help move you to that next level. The complete 2019 speaker line-up will be announced later this year.

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Gen. Colin Powell, USA (Ret.)

Secretary of State (2001-2005)

For over 50 years, General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.) has devoted his life to public service. Having held senior military and diplomatic positions across four presidential administrations, Powell’s deep commitment to democratic values and freedom has been felt throughout the world.

The son of Jamaican immigrants, Powell was born in Harlem in April 1937 and was raised in the South Bronx. He was educated in the New York City public schools and attended the City College of New York where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology. It was not until he joined the Army ROTC program at CCNY that he discovered his calling and launched his military career. He received a commission as an Army second lieutenant upon graduation in 1958 and went on to serve in the United States Army for 35 years, rising to the rank of Four-Star General.

From 1987–1989 Powell served as President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Advisor. He served from 1989–1993 as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for both President George H.W. Bush and for President Bill Clinton, and was not only the youngest officer and first ROTC graduate to ever serve in the position, but also was the first African American to do so. During his time as chairman, he oversaw 28 crises to include the Panama intervention of 1989 and Operation Desert Storm in the victorious 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Under President George W. Bush, Powell was appointed the 65th Secretary of State and was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. As Secretary of State, he led the State Department in major efforts to address and solve regional and civil conflicts. He used the power of diplomacy to build trust, forge alliances and then help transform these unstable regions into areas where societies and cultures have the potential to prosper. He also worked at the forefront of American efforts to advance economic and social development worldwide.

Among the many U.S. Military awards and decorations Powell has received are the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Soldier’s Medal, Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart. His civil awards include two Presidential Medals of Freedom, the President’s Citizens Medal, the Congressional Gold Medal and the Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal. In addition, he has received awards from over two-dozen countries to include a French Legion of Honor and an honorary knighthood bestowed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Powell is the chair of the Board of Visitors of the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at his alma mater, the City College of New York (CCNY), which was inaugurated in May 2013. He also has nine elementary and middle schools named after him. He is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the America’s Promise Alliance, dedicated to forging a strong and effective partnership alliance committed to seeing that children have the fundamental resources they need to succeed. Powell is a strategic adviser at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the renowned Silicon Valley venture capital firm. He serves on the Board of Directors of Bloom Energy, an alternative energy company that provides unique on-site power generation systems utilizing an innovative new fuel cell technology. In March 2014, he joined the Board of Directors of Salesforce.com, the world’s largest provider of Cloudbased customer relationship management software.

He was previously on the boards of AOL, Gulfstream, Howard University, the United Negro College Fund, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Powell serves on the Museum Council of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. His autobiography, My American Journey, was a New York Times best seller and has been published in more than a dozen different languages. Powell's second book, It Worked for Me: In Life & Leadership (May 2012), was an instant New York Times best seller as well and reveals the lessons that shaped his life and career.

Powell is married to the former Alma Vivian Johnson of Birmingham, Alabama. They live in McLean, Virginia and have three children and four grandchildren.

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Adena T. Friedman

President and Chief Executive Officer - Nasdaq, Inc.

Adena Friedman assumed the role of President and Chief Executive Officer of Nasdaq on January 1, 2017 and is a member of the Board of Directors. Ms. Friedman brings more than 20 years of industry leadership and expertise and is credited with significant contributions that shaped Nasdaq’s strategic transformation to a leading global exchange and technology solutions company with operations on six continents.

Prior to her appointment as Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Friedman served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Nasdaq throughout 2016 and was responsible for overseeing all of the company’s business segments with a focus on driving efficiency, product development, growth and expansion.

Ms. Friedman rejoined Nasdaq in 2014 as President to oversee the technology, information, and corporate businesses that comprised over two-thirds of Nasdaq’s revenues. Prior to her return, she served as Chief Financial Officer and Managing Director of The Carlyle Group from March 2011 to June 2014, and played a significant role in taking the company public in May 2012.

Before Carlyle, Ms. Friedman was a key member of Nasdaq's management team for over a decade, serving in a variety of roles including head of the company's data products business, head of corporate strategy, as well its Chief Financial Officer. She played an instrumental role in the company's acquisition strategy, overseeing the acquisitions of INET, OMX, and the Philadelphia and Boston Exchanges. She originally joined Nasdaq in 1993.

Ms. Friedman earned an M.B.A. from Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tennessee. She holds a B.A. in political science from Williams College in Massachusetts.

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Michael E. Kitces

MSFS, MTAX, CFP®, CLU, ChFC, RHU, REBC, CASL

Michael Kitces is a Partner and the Director of Wealth Management for Pinnacle Advisory Group, a private wealth management firm located in Columbia, Maryland that oversees approximately $1.8 billion of client assets.

In addition, he is a co-founder of the XY Planning Network and New Planner Recruiting, the former Practitioner Editor of the Journal of Financial Planning, the host of the Financial Advisor Success podcast, and the publisher of the popular financial planning industry blog Nerd’s Eye View through his website Kitces.com, dedicated to advancing knowledge in financial planning. In 2010, Michael was recognized with one of the FPA’s “Heart of Financial Planning” awards for his dedication and work in advancing the profession.

Gary Gulman

Comedian

Originally from Boston, Gary Gulman has been a scholarship college football player, an accountant, and a high school teacher. Now he is one of the most popular touring comics and one of only a handful of comedians to perform on every single late-night talk show. Gary marked his 20-year anniversary in stand-up with the "It’s About Time Tour," selling out theaters throughout the country. It’s no wonder the New York Times wrote, "Gary is finally being recognized as one of the country’s strongest comedians."

Gary's TV credits include "Last Comic Standing," "Inside Amy Schumer," and currently on HBO's "Crashing" and HBO's new series "2 Dope Queens." His 3 stand-up specials are streaming now on Netflix and Amazon.

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