Adriana is a noted business efficiency and productivity specialist. She is known for her passion, charisma, humor, and vision. Her engaging personality, combined with years of efficiency experience improving how companies and people work have made her one of Canada’s top productivity experts. Adriana is President of CornerStone Dynamics, a prominent business productivity consulting firm — helping both individuals and businesses do what they do, only better. Her clients include Microsoft, LinkedIn, Sleeman, Shell and many more leading organizations. Adriana is a certified lean six sigma master black belt. She also holds PMP (project management professional) and CET (certified engineering technologist) designations, along with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Adriana is a regular Huff Post contributor, and is regularly featured in national and local media. She’s a speaker and author of eight books. Adriana loves what she does and is passionate about improvement and productivity in both people and organizations. Connect with her on Twitter @AdrianaGirdler or visit CornerStoneDynamics.com to learn more.
Being born and raised in Catawba County, Cedric Clyburn cherishes the community, the people, and the lifestyle that Hickory has to offer. Currently a High School student attending Catawba Valley Community College, he is a prominent student leader within the SkillsUSA Organization and local Entrepreneurship community. With experience in digital marketing and online commerce, he helps connect customers to the local brands they love. Cedric is also a Co-Founder of FarmToHome, which some describe as the communities’ “farmer’s market on wheels.” Life is all about moderation, and Cedric believes a bit of nature can cure anything! He enjoys the local Blue Ridge activities such as hiking and mountain biking in the Pisgah National Forest. His quote to live by is “All they can tell you is ‘no’.”
Fox Beyer is a teacher, speaker, author, coach, and songwriter who released a book of poetry in January 2015 entitled, Letter Kindling; Igniting, Inspiring, and Evoking the Fire Within. Since the release of the book, he has launched a speaking career, giving candid accounts of what it has been like living and working with cerebral palsy. Growing up with three siblings, Fox acquired a love for baseball. In 1997, after pitching for Chatham High School (N.J.), he was invited by the New York Yankees to throw out a ceremonial first pitch before a game that July. From 1997 to 2002, Fox studied at the University of South Carolina, where he served two years as a manager and three years as a student coach for the Gamecock baseball program. In 2002, the team advanced to the College World Series, and became national runners-up. Currently, Fox is in his twelfth year as a Spanish teacher at Whippany Park High School (N.J.), where he has served as freshman baseball coach (2005-2012) and girls’ jayvee volleyball coach (2005-2011). He has also spent the last eleven years as a coach for the Somerset Patriots, an independent baseball team part of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB).
As an award-winning speaker, Jarrod Haning trains companies in the psychology of music. When you know how music creates inspiration in you, then you know how to create inspiration in other people. By revealing the subconscious mechanism that drives our emotional response to music and language, Jarrod is able to give his audiences some very unique tools for getting what they want. He is the principal violist for the South Carolina Philharmonic. He has been called the “Seth Godin of music” and the “golden boy for music.” With performing experience in 14 professional orchestras and over 20,000 hours of practice he is able to deliver some powerful secrets on performance, productivity, and persuasion. As an expert in music, he has helped doctors, lawyers, nurses, clergy, managers, HR professionals, teachers, non-profits, CEOs, entrepreneurs, sales reps, realtors, pilots, and more impact their world with breakthrough results.
Jesse Itzler only eats fruit until noon, loves Run-D.M.C., and enjoys living life “out of the box,” actually, he doesn’t even have a box. He cofounded Marquis Jet, the world’s largest prepaid private jet card company in 2001, which he and his partner sold to Berkshire Hathaway/NetJets. He then partnered with Zico coconut water, which they sold to The Coca-Cola Company in 2013. He is a former rapper on MTV and he produced and sang both the NBA’s Emmy Award-winning “I Love This Game” music campaign and the popular New York Knicks anthem “Go NY Go.” Itzler is also the author of the New York Time’s Best-Selling book “Living With A SEAL.” When he is not out training for his next 100 mile run or being a dad to his four kids, Jesse can be found at the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks games, where he is an owner of the team. He is married to Spanx founder Sara Blakely and the couple and their 4 children live in Atlanta, Georgia.
Jodi O’Donnell-Ames is a certified teacher, writer, massage therapist, member of Union Fire Co. and Rescue Squad and tireless advocate for Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). She is also the founder and president of Hope Loves Company, a non-profit organization committed to helping the children and grandchildren of ALS patients. She has authored two books, Someone I Love Has ALS and The Stars that Shine. She has been a People Magazine “Hero Among Us” and was recently featured on the cover of Real Woman magazine. She lives a simple, but philanthropically hectic life with her husband Benton in N.J. and has three amazing young adult children.
Jon Carfagno joined the Hickory Museum of Art as the institution's fifth Executive Director in April 2017. Prior to that he served as the Director of Learning and Audience Engagement at the Grand Rapids Art Museum where he led numerous initiatives that brought local, statewide and national recognition to the museum. Jon recently served as the Vice President of the Board for the Museum Education Roundtable. A frequent speaker on the topics of human centered design, methods of innovation, and organizational theory, Mr. Carfagno is most actively concerned about diversity, museum futures, and sustainability. His recent book chapter titled, “Adopting Empathy: Why Empathy Should be a Core Value for All Museums,” has contributed to international movements focused on social connectedness in museums. He holds the M.A. in Art History from the University of Massachusetts and completed Kendall College of Art and Design’s MBA Certificate Program in Design and Innovation Management.
Mitchell Gold is the co-founder and Chair-man of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. Founded in 1989, the company based its manufacturing in rural Taylorsville, NC, and remains there today with a modern factory, warehouse and distribution center with close to one million square feet of space to support the brand’s growing retail, wholesale and contract/hospitality sectors. In addition to running a multi-million-dollar company, Mitchell co-founded Faith in America; a nonprofit that educates people about the harm religious intolerance causes LGBT Americans, especially vulnerable teens. In addition to serving on the Board of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) for seven years, he currently serves on the Board of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to end online and offline bullying in schools, workplaces and faith communities in the United States.
Mitchell Levy is “The AHA Guy” at AHAthat who is a people publisher that empowers thought leaders to share their genius. He’s an accomplished Silicon Valley Entrepreneur that has created 20 businesses including 4 publishing companies that have published over 800 books and is an international bestselling author with fifty eight business books. Mitchell has provided strategic consulting to over 100 companies, has advised over 500 CEOs on critical business issues, and has been chairman of the board of a NASDAQ-listed company. In addition to these accomplishments, he’s been happily married for twenty-eight years and regularly spends four to five weeks annually in a European country with his family and friends. Mitchell is committed to aliveness, joy, and AHA moments.
Uwe Kaspers' ideas are driven by the development of technology and economy though he decided to work in a field that couldn't be farer away from that. He took a profession as a social worker taking care of homeless men or ex convicts in Germany. He integrated information
technology into social services as the founder of SOLEX - the first database of social legislation in the country back in 1988. Integration of economics into social services started after further studies of social economy and social management. His company extended the range of products providing software tools for cost management in social services in 1997. Today, as a successful consultant, he advises social enterprises mostly on how to control their costs and negotiate their prices. As a professor at the Lutheran University of Bavaria in Nuremberg he teaches accounting, controlling, service design and social entrepreneurship. He likes to recover from his job riding his bike along rivers and sometimes across mountains or making music with friends.