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Conclave 2016 Keynote Speakers

Colin Powell

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 after graduating from Morris High School 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.

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Shawn Achor

Shawn Achor is the New York Times best-selling author of The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness. He spent 12 years at Harvard, where he won over a dozen distinguished teaching awards, and delivered lectures on positive psychology in the most popular class at Harvard. Achor graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and earned a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School in Christian and Buddhist ethics.

Achor has since become one of the world's leading experts on the connection between happiness and success. He has now worked with over a third of the Fortune 100 companies, and with places like the NFL, the Pentagon and the U.S. Treasury. To do his work, Achor has traveled to 51 countries, speaking to farmers in Zimbabwe, CEOs in China, doctors in Dubai and schoolchildren in South Africa. Recently, Oprah Winfrey did a two hour interview with Achor on the science of happiness and meaning. His research on happiness made the cover of Harvard Business Review, his TED talk is one of the most popular of all time with over 10 million views, and his lecture airing on PBS has been seen by millions.

Marcus Luttrell

Marcus Luttrell’s 2007 #1 New York Times best-selling book, Lone Survivor, tells the harrowing story of four Navy SEALs who journeyed into the mountainous border of Afghanistan and Pakistan on Operation Redwing. An unparalleled motivational story of survival, the book is also a moving tribute to the friends and teammates who did not make it off the mountain. A powerful testament to the courage, integrity, patriotism and community that forged these American heroes, Lone Survivor is an incredible account of teamwork, fortitude and modern warfare. 

In January 2014, Luttrell’s amazing story made the leap to the big screen with the blockbuster film, Lone Survivor, directed by Peter Berg (Battleship, Hancock) and starring Mark Wahlberg (The Fighter, The Departed) as Luttrell. The film celebrated a historic open, earning the second biggest January debut of all time. 

Joel Zeff

It’s hard to have fun and stay passionate at work during stressful times. Your employees build stress after each media report about economic challenges. Business today means surviving and thriving during a merger, layoff, or the all-encompassing “restructuring.” How do managers continue to motivate and energize employees during difficult times? Managers must help employees stay in the game, work in the moment, and take ownership of their happiness.

Zeff leads the audience through a series of exercises that demonstrates how easy it is to continue working creatively, effectively, and productively while dealing with change. This interactive and hilarious presentation will teach managers the importance of creating opportunity and giving positive support to their employees. Just as important, managers must allow employees to create ownership. Ownership and responsibility will allow the employee to care. And once the employee starts to care, the next step is passion.

Joel uses humor and improvisation to teach his audiences how important these simple choices are to success. During this keynote, audience members will laugh, have fun, and be motivated, inspired, and energized.