Writer + Professional Athlete
Annie Pokorny is a writer, blogger, and former professional athlete living in Ketchum. She spent her life moving between Utah, Colorado, Washington, Vermont, and Idaho in search of cross-country ski glory, eventually making her home in the Wood River Valley. She graduated summa cum laude from Middlebury College, where she fostered her entrepreneurial spirit, love for philosophy, and affection for fermented beverages. In 2015, she became a grantee of the Women's Sports Foundation, whose mission of introducing healthy, active lifestyles to women has become a driving passion in her writing, travel, and speaking. In fact, she has just launched women's style and adventure web mag designed to do just that! Her big dreams include running a successful internet business and being able to comfortably afford organic strawberries. If you want to avoid an hours-long conversation, probably don't ask her about her truck.
Marksman, former police officer
I grew up in the Wood River Valley hunting and fishing with my dad. I struggled with school, and left in search of something more. I learned how to build guitars, got into competitive shooting, and at 21, started an ammunition business that failed. I joined the Army, then became a Police Officer. I spent most of my life trying to be a man. But the life I was pursuing just didn’t feel right anymore. It was not fulfilling-I was not happy, & I was full of anger and blame. Transitioning from the army & law enforcement, I was shocked to find I did not have a place or the skills to fit into civilian society. I was criticized for being too masculine, having too much testosterone. Over the past two years I’ve been exploring what it means to be a man in contemporary society & trying to find my appropriate masculine expression. I’m exploring a process to discover my own values, define my own meaning, & create my own purpose before I enter the next stage of life so I can share it with other men.
I grew up in a house with two high testosterone older brothers. I was the nerd. My entire life I avoided the company of men, at first because they bullied & scared me, later because they bored me. I’ve been an architect my whole life, in fact it was my whole life-from age 12. I didn’t want to do anything else. I also danced & taught dance, hardly a traditional masculine pursuit. When I retired, I took on one last project-a design build managing a crew of young guys doing man’s work in a remote harsh environment. Working alongside men for 3 long summers, I saw the challenges of being a young man in our society. As a retired man, suddenly looked on as the Old Guy, I faced the challenges of being an older man without a profession or daily purpose. Using systems thinking & holistic design that I honed as an architect & working with a young man in transition, we’ve created a map & compass that enables men to tap their masculine energy to build a purposeful, meaningful, and powerful life.
Professor of Biology, Virginia Tech + Consultant
Scientist, entrepreneur and thought-leader Deborah Brosnan works where humans and nature interact often during hazards and extreme events. Born in Ireland and living in the USA, where she received her Ph.D., she works internationally advising companies, CEOs, governments and communities on environmental risks and solutions. Her experience with resilience and disasters began with a narrow escape in the S. Soufriere volcanic eruption in Montserrat. She was diving underwater conducting research when the volcano erupted destroying the capital city and communities. Her ability to help with response and recovery solutions that included designing a new port and town and moving a coral reef, provided leadership and support to communities. After surviving a 747 plane crash in Asia that occurred during a typhoon, and for which she received a heroine award for saving lives, she returned to the region following the SE Asian tsunami to give back to those who had helped her...
Expedition kayaker, adventure traveler, filmmaker
A Scottish native, Gerry is an internationally-acclaimed expedition kayaker and has spent 35 years guiding in the Himalayas and around the world. National Geographic considers Gerry to be the “most experienced river guide in the Himalayas”. He is the first person to descend all the major rivers in Nepal and Bhutan. In addition to river-based explorations, the last three decades have taken Gerry to some of the world’s most remote places as a cameraman and on-camera personality for dozens of documentary films and television features for Atlantic Productions, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Outdoor TV, and the Travel Channel. As a professional cameraman, Gerry has summited Everest twice from the North and South Cols. As a professional athlete, Gerry’s been featured by Men’s Journal, National Geographic, Red Bull Media, Discovery Channel and Outside. He and his wife Pia Saengswang are the founders of Thunder Dragon Fund, a non-profit focused on promoting spiritual adventure...
River advocate and kayaker
Hayley developed a passion for rivers as a whitewater kayaker at the age of sixteen. Kayaking in three continents exposed her to the crushing realities of mega-hydroelectric projects and their impacts on people and ecosystems.
Inspired by the communities along Chile’s Maipo River, who campaigned against the Alto Maipo Hydroelectric Project, Hayley pursued studies in Environmental Science, Spanish and Anthropology at the University of Denver. In November 2016 she completed a dual major in Environmental Science and Spanish. Her thesis focused on the impact of social and environmental campaigns on Chile’s hydro-development.
Hayley has worked throughout Latin America with Quechua, Aymara, and Mapuche communities and environmental campaign leaders to address and document the threats posed by mega-dams in an increasingly globalized world.
Using film to create awareness, her videos are currently used in graduate and undergraduate Environmental Science classes at Denver University.
Doctor of Naturopathy and Diabetes Educator
Dr. Jody Stanislaw received her Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine in 2007. She is a Certified Diabetes Educator, Type 1 Diabetes Specialist, and a founding board member of the Low Carb Diabetes Association. Having lived with Type 1 Diabetes since the age of seven, she has dedicated her career to helping others with Type 1. From her 30+ years of experience, she teaches life-changing information about how to successfully manage Type 1 that most physicians have never learned, and the millions struggling with Type 1 desperately need to know.
Patients from over thirty states and ten countries have worked with her via her virtual practice. Yet there are millions around the world still struggling. To tackle this gap, she will soon be launching the first-ever, Type 1 diabetes virtual training course, with the goal of improving the lives of millions of Type 1’s around the world.
Kate Riley is a certified death midwife, minister, international story consultant, author and educator. She began her work in the field of death and dying after completing hospice training thirty years ago. Later she enrolled in advanced study and became a certified death midwife/doula through Final Passages.
Kate is the author of Launching Vee’s Chariot: An End-of- Life Tale. The book Launching chronicles the last nine months of Vee’s life and conscious dying process. Kate claims that her mother, Vee, rocked the boat on everything Kate thought she knew about the dying process.
Kate is in private practice, available for end-of- life consultations no matter the stage a person is entering. Kate serves as a liaison for individuals facing end-of- life decisions, working with their families and medical teams in providing a more person-centered approach. She encourages and supports those who want to take an active role in their own dying process. Kate lives in the hills of Hailey, Idaho.
Executive Director, The W. Edwards Deming Institute
Kevin Cahill volunteers full-time as the Executive Director of The W. Edwards Deming Institute®, a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching society through The Deming Philosophy. He also serves on the Board of Trustees as their President and is Dr. Deming’s grandson.
Kevin is responsible for guiding the global efforts of The Deming Institute. He travels, speaks, writes and presents on behalf of The Deming Institute and in support of his grandfather’s message.
Previously, Kevin was co-founder and CEO of ViewBridge, Inc. The company was founded in 1999 and provided large-scale web-based sales system applications for the broadcast industry. The technology and approach helped streamline existing industry business practices, communications and negotiations.
Kevin was born and raised in Washington DC and graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in history. He currently resides in Ketchum, Idaho with his wife Judy and dog Brooklyn.
Director of Shelter Outreach, Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley
Nadia Novik, Director of Shelter Outreach at the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley, has been involved in animal welfare in multiple roles over the past 15 years. Most recently, her passion has been focused on bringing services to underserved communities in Idaho, helping people and pets in the rural reaches of our state through the Pets for Life program, a partnership with the Humane Society of the United States. Nadia and the Animal Shelter are proud of the impact they are making in changing the animal welfare landscape in the West. Nadia has spoken at the national level about the work she does, as well as regionally with animal shelters in Idaho needing support.
Nadia moved to Idaho from New York eight years ago, after working at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Shelter Medicine program and serving as Shelter Manager at the SPCA of Tompkins County. Nadia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and is a licensed Veterinary Technician.
Narda Pitkethly moved to Japan after college and discovered the Japanese had created a simple method of learning to read, called Hiragana. Through their method, Narda learned to read Japanese in a week. Within three months, her comprehension allowed her to communicate freely in her home city of Fukuoka.
In 1988 Narda moved from Japan to Sun Valley because the small community and year-round outdoor activities enticed her. An accomplished glassblower, she often travels to Boise to create works of art.
When her daughter was identified as a challenged reader in the first grade, Narda discovered that English is one of the hardest languages in the world to learn to read, even for native speakers. Narda analyzed the English alphabet to understand why it is so difficult (1 in 4 children grow up without learning to read). She organized the letters in the same way the Japanese organized their Hiragana characters. Narda reveals an approach to the English language you have never seen before.
Vice President of Policy, The Humane Society of the United States
Paul Shapiro serves as the vice president of policy for The Humane Society of the United States, the world’s largest animal protection organization. In 1995, Shapiro founded Compassion Over Killing as a high school club, building it into a national organization over the next decade. An inductee into the Animal Rights Hall of Fame, Shapiro has published dozens of articles about animal welfare in publications ranging from daily newspapers to academic journals. He’s also the author of a forthcoming book on the clean meat movement (Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books).
Storyteller and unique experiences producer
With over 20 years in front of the camera, Pirie Grossman now produces experiences including the Children’s Day of Compassion during the Dalai Lama’s visit in 2005, with 10,000 children sharing ideas about compassion with His Holiness.
From 2006-2009, Pirie Co-chaired the Special Olympics World Winter Games, in Idaho, welcoming 3,000 athletes from over 150 countries. Pirie founded Destiny Productions to create Wellness Festivals and is a Sun Valley Wellness Institute Advisory Board member.
In February 2017 Pirie produced “Love is Louder”, a Brain Health Summit, bringing Kevin Hines, noted suicide survivor, to Sun Valley to speak to school kids about suicide. Sun Valley is in the top 5% suicide rate in the Northwest, prompting a community initiative with St. Luke’s Hospital and other stakeholders to begin healing.
Pirie lives in Sun Valley with her two children, serves on the Board of Community School. She has her Master's in Spiritiual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica.
Adventurer altruist and doctor
Dr Terry O’Connor’s passion for outside adventures and commitment to a life of service has led to a diverse set of roles: Ski Patroller. Bike guide. Expedition Manager. National Park Service Climbing Ranger. Expedition Doctor. High Altitude Researcher. His contributions have been previously featured with National Geographic and the Discovery Channel.
Terry’s notable athletic accomplishments include racing the rigorous Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, riding the Leadville 100 MTB, and even setting foot upon the summit of Everest. His latest endeavors have paired athleticism and advocacy. In 2015 he ran 100 miles across Idaho to raise money for earthquake reconstruction efforts in Nepal. Recently, he raised money for Sherpa families suffering the loss of loved ones working in the climbing industry by running 6 day long ultra marathon along the spine of the Colorado Rockies.
In his professional life he is a staff Emergency Physician at the St Luke's Wood River Medical Center.
Entrepreneur, Disruptor, Author
Todd Mitchem guides audiences on the power of transformative change, collaboration and communication to solve the biggest challenges facing society today. Todd has guided some of the top brands in the area of innovation, collaboration and business development, including Microsoft, Apple, Starbucks, Anheuser-Busch, H&R Block, Purina and Yum Brands. Starting in 2013, he was also invited to guide companies in the emerging cannabis industry as they built hyper-fast moving start-up companies. His successes include guiding the largest brand in the space (over 1,600% growth in 12 months), building the world’s first global social network specific to the cannabis consumer, and being the first person to speak to Attorneys General on the need for standards in the industry.
When not speaking, Mitchem runs successful government affairs and community outreach initiatives. Todd also loves to write and published YOU, DISRUPTED:Seizing the life you want by shaking, breaking, and challenging everything.