Atttendee speakers

Opening Keynote   |   Closing Keynote

Rich Karlgaard headshot

Opening Keynote: Four Superpowers and Three Best Practices That Will Shape Your Business Future

Rich Karlgaard,
Publisher and Futurist, Forbes Media

The business landscape has dramatically shifted. Today, digital transformation is everywhere on the agendas of corporate boards and has risen to the top of CEOs’ strategic plans. Even amidst a growing economy, businesses in every industry face accelerating threats from new competitors using new disruptive technologies, including big data, cheap scalable computing (the cloud), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and predictive analytics.

Greene, the CEO of Google Cloud, recently told Rich that AI is evolving 2x to 3x faster than it was just five years ago. This acceleration will lead to what one technology leader calls a “mass extinction event” at businesses that don’t move at the pace required by the underlying technology. The Boston Consulting Group projects that global IT spending will go from $2 trillion worldwide today to $8 trillion by 2030 and businesses move into the AI era.

At his keynote speech for the UW E-Business Consortium, Rich Karlgaard will talk about why the pace of technology has suddenly accelerated, why this trend will not slow down, and what business leaders in Wisconsin and across the region should be doing right now to thrive in the future.

About Rich »

One of the most influential figures in the technology, economic and business worlds, Rich Karlgaard forecasts how events and upcoming trends will affect business and the economy. His assessment of technology innovations, U.S. and global economic forces, and current business and political issues gives audiences solid insights they can use to make better business decisions.

Entrepreneur-turned-publisher, columnist, author, television commentator, private investor and board director, Rich Karlgaard offers a unique vantage point on the trends driving business. His insights help audiences see the global marketplace with new eyes, and he is the thought leader that Fortune 500 companies and national associations turn to for a reliable roadmap of what's to come.

As an expert in artificial intelligence, blockchain and the internet of things, Rich is also a regular panelist on one of cable news' most popular business shows, Forbes on FOX. He is a co-founder of Upside magazine, Garage Technology Partners (with Guy Kawasaki) and Silicon Valley’s premier public business forum, the 7,500-member Churchill Club. For the latter, he won an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Rich’s book on innovation culture, The Soft Edge: Where Great Companies Find Lasting Success, rapidly became Amazon’s top seller in the category of strategy and competition.  The Soft Edge made the lists of top business books of the year for Inc., Time.com, Value Walk, 800-CEO-READ, Huffington Post and Forbes India. His book, Team Genius: The New Science of High Performing Organizations, has been endorsed by Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft and Fred Smith, CEO of FedEx.

In his biweekly Forbes column, Innovation Rules, Rich provides an honest and incisive assessment on a broad range of emerging issues. He brings the same candor and vision to his bespoke and wildly thought-provoking presentations, as he reveals a prospective and comprehensive analysis of the disruptive forces that are reshaping your world. Rich equips today’s leaders with timely insights that help them adapt to the era of technological and political disruption and thrive in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.


Noelle Pikus Pace headshot

Closing Keynote: Where You Look is Where You'll Go

Noelle Pikus Pace,
2014 Olympic Silver Medalist and Author


As an Olympic medalist and the first American woman to win the overall World Cup title in skeleton, Noelle Pikus Pace knows the hard-work and perseverance it takes to make your dreams a reality. She has won 26 World Cup medals, is a two-time World Champion, competed in the 2010 Winter Olympics and won the silver medal in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Noelle is also the award-winning author of Focused: Keeping Your Life on Track, One Choice at a Time and a highly sought-after motivational speaker sharing her story of accomplishing an Olympic silver medal.

A standout high school track athlete, Noelle’s coach suggested she try bobsled. She did, but soon thereafter got on a skeleton sled and fell in love with the high speed, head-first, rocket-ride most certainly not for the faint of heart.

Noelle blossomed as a slider and years later became the best in the world. With the 2006 Olympics coming into focus on the horizon, she was the gold medal favorite. With just months to go, Noelle was severely injured in a training accident. Despite a valiant effort to return to sliding in time for the Olympics she was unable to make it back.

Noelle decided to step back from the sport and start a family with her husband, but as the 2010 Olympics approached, Pace got the itch to try again. By 2010, Noelle had returned to world class form, and she took one more shot at Olympic hardware. Heartbreakingly, she missed by one-tenth of one second finishing fourth. She smiled, as she always does, and retired from the sport.

However in spring 2012, Noelle decided to take one more shot at her place in Olympic history.

On February 15, 2014, Noelle crossed the finish line of the Sochi Olympic Games putting a dramatic ending, and an emphatic exclamation point, on a 15-year journey of chasing the Olympic podium. The Olympic medal that she and her family had chased around the world, for years, was finally theirs. Noelle leapt into the stands, into the arms of her husband, and into the hearts of America in one of the iconic, heartfelt moments of the XXII Olympic Winter Games.

Click here to watch Noelle's Olympic silver run and hear more about her journey.

Questions about the conference? Contact UWEBC Member Services and Events Director Jen Anderson at 608-890-1406 or jen.anderson@wisc.edu.

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