Keynote Speakers


George F. Will

George F. Will is today's most widely read columnist. His newspaper column has been syndicated by The Washington Post since 1974. Today, it appears twice weekly in approximately 500 newspapers in the United States and Europe. In addition, he currently serves as a contributor for MSNBC and NBC News. In 1976, he became a regular contributing editor of Newsweek magazine, for which he provided a bimonthly essay until 2011.


In 1977, he won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary for his newspaper columns. Altogether, eight collections of Will's Newsweek and Washington Post columns have been published, the most recent being “One Man's America.” For 32 years, beginning as a founding member in 1981, he was a panelist on ABC television's This Week with George Stephanopoulos.


In 1990, Will published Men At Work: The Craft of Baseball, which topped The New York Times best-seller list for two months and was most recently reissued on April 13, 2010, as a 20th anniversary special edition with a new introduction (paperback). In 1998, Scribner published Bunts: Curt Flood, Camden Yards, Pete Rose and Other Reflections on Baseball, a best-selling collection of new and previously published writings by Will on baseball. His newest book, A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred, was released March 25, 2014. Will was a member of Major League Baseball's Blue Ribbon Panel, which examined baseball economics.


Will was born in Champaign, Illinois, and educated at Trinity College (Hartford, Connecticut), Oxford University, and Princeton University, where he earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree. He has taught Political Philosophy at Michigan State University and the University of Toronto. Will served as a staff member in the United States Senate from 1970 to 1972. From 1973 through 1976, he was the Washington editor of National Review magazine. Today, Will lives and works in Washington, D.C.

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Dan Buettner

Dan Buettner is an explorer, National Geographic Fellow, award-winning journalist and producer, and New York Times bestselling author. He discovered the five places in the world—dubbed Blue Zones—where people live the longest, healthiest lives. His articles about these places in The New York Times Magazine and National Geographic are two of the most popular for both publications.

Buettner now works in partnership with municipal governments, large employers, and health insurance companies to implement Blue Zones Projects in communities, workplaces, and universities. Blue Zones Projects are well-being initiatives that apply lessons from the Blue Zones to entire communities by focusing on changes to the local environment, public policy, and social networks. The program has dramatically improved the health of more than 5 million Americans to date.

His books, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way, and The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People, were all national bestsellers. Buettner has appeared on The Today Show, Oprah, NBC Nightly News, and Good Morning America, and has keynoted speeches at the National Academies of the Sciences, World Economic Forum, Aspen Ideas Fest, Bill Clinton’s Health Matters Initiative, and Google Zeitgeist. His TED talk has garnered over 3 million views.

His newest book, Blue Zones of Happiness: Lessons From The World's Happiest People reveals the surprising secrets of the world's happiest places—and shows how we can all apply the lessons of true happiness to our lives.

Buettner also holds three Guinness World Records in distance cycling.

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Maria Contreras-Sweet

Maria Contreras-Sweet is an expert in economic growth, job creation, and competitiveness. Internationally acclaimed for her insights on growth and innovation, she is also sought after for her tactical insights for American businesses from a financial and economic standpoint. Maria was widely praised for doing this on a national level when she served in President Barack Obama's Cabinet as Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Recognized for her creative leadership and forward thinking economic solutions, Maria’s drive to bring the SBA into the digital age, and expand into broader domestic and global markets, yielded record results in lending and contracting for American businesses. A longtime advocate for America’s business owners and entrepreneurs, and respected champion for diversity and inclusion, job creation, economic innovation, and equal opportunity, Maria’s achievements in bringing efficiencies and modernization to organizations have earned her international acclaim.

An entrepreneur and business executive herself, her extensive career includes serving as Secretary of the California Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency, the founding chairwoman of ProAmérica Bank, and vice president, public affairs for Westinghouse’s 7-Up / RC Bottling Company.

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Kathy Antonello

Kathy Antonello is the chief actuary of NCCI and leads the Actuarial and Economic Services division. Her division contributes to maintaining a healthy workers compensation system through the design and delivery of all actuarial and economic work at NCCI, including rate/loss cost filings, legislative analyses, compilation and analysis of insurance industry results, residual market reserving, actuarial products, analytics, and research.

Prior to this position, Ms. Antonello was most recently vice president at Lumbermen’s Underwriting Alliance. She led the actuarial department and oversaw workers compensation claims, government affairs, policy issuance, audit, and financial call and unit statistical data reporting. Earlier in her career, she worked at Liberty National Life Insurance Company and Milliman & Robertson. She also worked at NCCI previously as an associate actuary.

Ms. Antonello earned her BS in mathematics from Birmingham-Southern College. She is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society, a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries. In addition, she currently serves on the board of directors of the Casualty Actuarial Society.

Ms. Antonello is a member of the Orange Bowl Committee, which promotes championship sporting events, related premier entertainment, and other year-round activities to inspire youth, engage our community, and enhance the South Florida economy. She also serves on the executive committee of the Boca Raton Bowl.

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Robert J. Barth, Ph.D.

The American Medical Association has repeatedly listed Dr. Barth among their “internationally recognized expert authors.” His work for the AMA has included contributing to the Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, and the Guides to the Evaluation of Disease and Injury Causation. He has also been asked to provide faculty, writing, and editorial duties for all of the following: National Association of Workers' Compensation Judiciary, International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions, ODG Treatment in Workers Compensation, The Workers Compensation Institute / WC360 Conference, Southern Association of Workers Compensation Administrators, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, North American Spine Society, American Academy of Neurology, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, American Society for Surgery of the Hand, American Bar Association, and several governments internationally. His work has addressed the standard method for addressing work-relatedness, the standard method for evaluating work ability, impairment rating, pain, mental illness, brain injury, etc. He has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Neuropsychology and the American Academy of Disability Evaluating Physicians. His full time education concluded with a Harvard Medical School fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.

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Matt Birk

Motivational Lunch Speaker

Matt Birk grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and attended Catholic elementary and high school. He was a Cub Scout, a member of the National Honor Society, and played “pretty much every sport there was to play.” After high school, Matt attended Harvard University and earned a degree in Economics. While playing for the Harvard Crimson, he received several football honors, including All-Ivy League and Division I-AA All-American.


Matt was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the sixth round of the 1998 draft. Appearing in 228 career games, including 18 playoff contests, Matt spent 11 seasons with Minnesota and 4 more with the Baltimore Ravens. He was named the 2011 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year for his off-the-field service, as well as his playing excellence.


Matt has a passion for children and education, and has focused a great deal of his energy on promoting literacy among the youth in his communities. In 2002, he created the H.I.K.E. Foundation (Hope, Inspiration, Knowledge, Education) in Minnesota. It has grown greatly since then and its initiatives reached over 100,000 children in the Baltimore area in 2012.


In February, 2013 after a 15 year career in the NFL and a Super Bowl XLVII win with the Baltimore Ravens, the six-time Pro Bowl Center announced his retirement from playing football. Since his retirement, Matt has served the NFL in a variety of capacities.  Currently a special advisor, he sits on the Board of Directors of USA Football, the sport’s governing body.  Much of Matt’s work focuses on growing and developing the game at all levels.


Today, in addition to his work for the NFL, Matt Birk is inspiring, teaching and motivating audiences across America as a national speaker. He speaks on the topics of Leadership, Teamwork, and Achievement.


Matt resides in Minnesota with his wife Adrianna and their 8 children.

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Ryan Hanley

As Chief Marketing Officer of Agency Nation, an insurance-centric digital media company, Ryan leverages his eight years as a retail insurance agent to educate and engage more than 300,000 insurance professionals annually. With more than a dozen Fortune 1000 insurance companies as clients, he uses social and content marketing to attract, nurture and deliver consumer attention to over 20,000 independent insurance agencies across the US, yielding millions in new business premium each year. Ryan shares his unique industry experience and expertise on YouTube, in "The Show."

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Håkan Skenhede

Håkan is an in-demand speaker known around the world for his innovative and inspirational presentations. Currently, a senior instructor and International Safe Patient Handling Advisor with HandiCare, Inc, Håkan is passionate about teaching safe manual handling techniques. Håkan’s passion began back in 1978 when he trained with Kurt Durewall, the highest ranked instructor in Jiu jitsu, a martial art. Part of the program included using the principles outside of self-defense to include proper ergonomics. After completion of his training, Håkan was offered a full-time position and has traveled the world teaching others the principles and techniques.

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