Miami Keynote Speakers



Dan Pontefract
Author, Speaker, Thinker, Leadership Strategist

Dan is the founder and CEO of the Pontefract Group, a firm that improves the state of leadership and organizational culture. He is the bestselling author of three books: Open to Think, The Purpose Effect, and Flat Army. A renowned speaker, Dan has presented at four different TED events and writes for Forbes, Harvard Business Review, and The Huffington Post. Dan is an adjunct professor at the University of Victoria, Gustavson School of Business and has garnered more than 20 industry awards over his career.

Previously as chief envisioner and chief learning officer at TELUS—a Canadian telecommunications company with revenues of $14 billion and 50,000 global employees—he launched the Transformation Office, the TELUS MBA, and the TELUS Leadership Philosophy, all award-winning initiatives that dramatically helped to increase the company’s employee engagement to record levels of nearly 90 percent. Prior to TELUS, he held senior roles at SAP, Business Objects, and BCIT.

Dan and his wife, Denise, have three children (aka goats) and live in Victoria, Canada.

The Desperate Need for Open Thinking
Society has begun to lose its grip on what matters most: the ability to think. Though the root cause is by no means malicious, we have started to reward speed over quality, distractedness over focus, and action over reflection—and the negative effects suffered in people’s personal and professional lives are beginning to add up. This predicament ought to be a wake-up call for the learning profession and its effect on employees. A return to balance between three components of productive thought—creative thinking, critical thinking, and applied thinking—is needed. How can we ensure employees are practicing open thinking? Find out as a former chief learning officer discusses this important topic. Dream, decide, do, repeat.

Christie Ward, CSP
Principal of The Impact Institute

Christie Ward is a leader on and off the platform. In the 1990s, she coached and managed more than 200 of the best professional trainers around the world for CareerTrack, Inc. She coached the world champion of public speaking in 2000. Since 1999, as the principal in the Impact Institute, she has facilitated communication topics that make the difference for performance on teams in the United States and globally.

Christie is an avid supporter of ATD and its Rocky Mountain Chapter. She is the past president for the ATD Rocky Mountain Chapter, became part of the National Advisors for Chapters (NAC) for ATD in 2008, and was elected NAC Chair for 2011-2012. She served on ATD’s Board of Directors from 2011 to 2012 and was part of the ATD International Conference & Exposition Program Advisory Committee from 2013 to 2016, leading as chair in 2016 in her hometown of Denver, CO. Christie facilitates the Training Certificate, the Designing Learning Certificate, and the Master Trainer program for ATD and has given keynotes for ATD in Singapore, Taipei, Mumbai and Bangalore, China, and Brazil.

Christie is the past president for NSA (National Speaker’s Association) Colorado and volunteers for the Tennyson Center for abused children, where she judges a speech contest with her NSA colleagues yearly. She also conducts mock-scholarship interviews for inner-city youth in partnership with Goodwill and the Denver Chamber of Commerce, and at Strive Charter school as part of her commitment to the community. In 2017 she went to Myanmar with Together, We Can Change the World to work with impoverished women and girls. In 2020 she will join their board and help them create a strategy to meet the needs of more women in Southeast Asia.

Future-Proofing Your Organization by Creating a Learning Culture
How does the role of the learning professional evolve when much of our content can be taught and accessed through technology? We provide the context, scenarios, simulations, and experiences that help learners future-proof themselves, but change requires motivation. Creating a learning culture is not an accident; we must invite individuals and companies to engage with learning, which requires changing the way we design it so that it is more accelerated and more experiential. This means involving the learners from the beginning of the design and creating a new normal for training. Get the tools to help you start; if you have already begun this process, you will walk away with new perspectives and possibly some new methods. This session will help you create a road map to that learning culture, no matter where you are in your journey as a learning professional!

Galen Emanuele
Improvisor, Human Behavior Expert, Speaker

Galen Emanuele is an international speaker who works with teams and organizations, including Fortune 500s such as Microsoft, CBRE, Expedia, and Shell, to create a profound shift in how teams and leaders communicate and show up in business. His unique, interactive keynotes and programs teach organizations how to apply the improv concept of “Yes, And” to drive an exceptional team culture of high-level performance and engagement. An expert in business leadership, Emanuele is also a world-class improviser who has taught and performed for many years, including with the cast from “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”


Build a "Yes, And" Culture of High-Level Performance and Engagement
Galen Emanuele’s dynamic keynote will profoundly impact the way you communicate, show up, and lead your team. Through simple, skill-building activities, he will teach you how to create a cohesive “Yes, And” culture to skyrocket team performance and engagement. You will laugh, learn, and come away with new, powerful tools to enhance your leadership abilities, self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and capacity to drive exceptional culture within your organization.