2024 Annual Conference

2024 Annual Conference: Keynotes

We are thrilled to welcome enlightening keynote speakers Elliott Parker, Christine Whelan, and Julia Hobsbawm to the stage for our 26th Annual Conference. Learn more about them below.

Morning Keynote

Elliott Parker

Elliott Parker

CEO of High Alpha Innovation, Author of The Illusion of Innovation

Elliott Parker is the founder and CEO of High Alpha Innovation, a venture builder that partners with corporations, universities, and entrepreneurs to co-create startups that solve compelling problems. He built his career in strategy consulting at Innosight, the firm founded by Clayton Christensen, in corporate venturing, and as an entrepreneur bringing new ideas to market. To date, he has launched over 50 venture-backed startups. Elliott earned a B.S. in Finance from BYU and an M.B.A. from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. 

Elliott is the author of The Illusion of Innovation: Escape “Efficiency” and Capture Radical Progress.

A California native, Elliott takes any opportunity he can to surf. In 2022 he competed in the Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim, where he placed in the top ten for his age group. Elliott resides in Carmel, Indiana, with his wife, five children, and two Australian Shepherds.

Luncheon Keynote

Dr. Christine B. Whelan

UW–Madison and Emory University, Author of The Big Picture: A Guide to Finding Your Purpose In Life

Dr. Christine B. Whelan is the Purpose Professor at Emory University and a fellow at the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She teaches classes on happiness and well-being, guides corporations, non-profits, and start-ups as they build purpose-focused tools, and co-creates internal metrics of meaningful success with executives and their teams.

Dr. Whelan is passionate about translating research into evidence-based strategies for daily thriving. She is the author of five books from Simon & Schuster and Templeton Press and the bestselling Audible Original lecture series Life on Purpose. She’s been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, among other national outlets, and serves on the board of several non-profits.

Dr. Whelan earned a masters and doctorate from the University of Oxford and graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University. She does her best to practice what she preaches, embracing Seneca’s motto, “Not for school, but for life, we learn.” She lives in Madison with her husband, their five children, and their bernadoodle, juggling the chaos (most days) with a sense of humor… on purpose.

Afternoon Keynote

Julia HobsbawmJulia Hobsbawm, described as ‘our foremost futurist of the workplace’ (Barbara Kellerman, Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University) is an award-winning writer, broadcaster, keynote speaker and consultant about the past, present and future of work. After her acclaimed 2022 book The Nowhere Office: Reinventing Work and the Workplace of the Future, Nicholas Bloom, William D.Eberle Professor of Economics, Stanford University said “Julia always seems to be three steps ahead.” She was a founder of the US-led Workforce Institute, and during the pandemic was launch Chair of the inaugural UK Demos Workshift Commission. She co-hosts the popular podcast The Nowhere Office and regularly appears in media including Bloomberg, Fortune, the BBC, Forbes and CNN. Julia regularly consults for and speaks to corporations, governments, nonprofits and changemakers around the world.

Julia’s latest book, Working Assumptions: What We Thought We Knew About Work Before Covid and Generative AI – And What We Know Now, has been called “a must-read for anybody concerned about the future of work.” Other books include The Simplicity Principle which won two awards for Best Business Book and Best General Self- Help book 2020 in the USA, and Fully Connected: Social Health in an Age of Overload, which was shortlisted for Management Book of the Year in the UK. An acclaimed entrepreneur Julia was awarded an OBE in the late Queen Elizabeth II’s Birthday Honours List in 2015 for Services to Business.

Master of Ceremonies

John StoffletJohn Stofflet, a seasoned journalist and storyteller, has an illustrious career highlighted by 25 Regional Emmy Awards and prestigious accolades from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, showcasing his unwavering commitment to broadcasting excellence. John’s relentless pursuit of stories has taken him across 40 countries and all seven continents, fueled by his genuine passion for adventure and profound curiosity. Along his journey, he had the privilege of interviewing renowned figures such as President Barack Obama, Julia Roberts, Robin Williams, Brad Pitt, and many others. After 16 years at KING-TV (NBC) in Seattle, he returned to Wisconsin to anchor for NBC 15 News, bringing his expertise home. Additionally, as a proud alum of UW-Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications, he contributes to his community by serving on the boards of the Badger Childhood Cancer Network and the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin. He inspires and enlightens audiences globally with an unwavering commitment to storytelling and advocacy.