Brandon Farbstein

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Erin Merryn

Cedric King

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Marilyn Van Derbur

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Willie Jolley

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Robyn Benincasa

Two time World Champion Eco-Challenge Adventure Racer and San Diego Firefighter Robyn Benincasa knows a thing or two about creating Human Synergy, or as Robyn puts it, “that magic that allows groups of ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things together.” For the past 15 years, she and her teammates have studied Extreme Teamwork in the most unique and compelling classroom on earth: the jungles of Borneo, the Himalayan peaks of Tibet, the rivers of Fiji, the rain forests of Ecuador and the epic brush fires of Southern California. It is through these harrowing, life affirming and often hilarious experiences in the world’s most grueling challenges that she has emerged with her refreshing and truly unique perspective on what it takes to build the kind of world class teams that succeed against all odds, that triumph in the face of adversity and that go the distance in any endeavor. In her 15-year career as a professional adventure racer, Benincasa has competed in close to 40 expedition-length events – multi-day, multi-sport killers such as Primal Quest and Eco-Challenge. She has biked through jungles in Borneo, climbed Himalayan giants in Nepal, trekked across lava fields in Fiji, rafted rapids in Chile – and racked up multiple world championship titles along the way. In her spare time, Robyn Benincasa, is a full-time firefighter in San Diego, on the nation’s first all-female crew.

TOPICS

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Results: The 8 Essential Elements of Human Synergy
What do the world’s most successful teams have in common? The ability to upgrade their “teamwork” to Human Synergy! Through her Ordinary People, Extraordinary Results keynote, Eco-Challenge Adventure Racing World Champion and San Diego Firefighter Robyn Benincasa imparts the attitude and mindset that allows groups of ordinary people to accomplish truly extraordinary things together. Attendees will not only walk away completely thrilled with this unique visually and viscerally entertaining look into the world’s most amazing extreme teams, they will also leave with some simple and easily applied skills that will allow them to create Human Synergy with all of the teammates in their lives, from colleagues to spouses and family.

The 8 Essential Elements of Human Synergy: Total Commitment, Empathy and Awareness, Adversity, Management, Mutual Respect, ‘We’ Thinking, Ownership of the Project, Relinquishment of Ego, Kinetic Leadership

Lead Like Gumby: Flexible Leadership That Gets Results
According to research from the Harvard Business Review, a company’s profitability increases by up to 1/3 when managers create a more positive corporate climate through Flexible Leadership. In Robyn’s Lead Like Gumby: Flexible Leadership that Gets Results keynote, she combines well-respected academic research with amazing Adventure Racing and firefighting footage that illustrates great (and not so great) leaders in action in the most extreme challenges on earth. The result is an in depth and powerful look into six distinct leadership styles that, when utilized interchangeably and judiciously, are proven to have a positive effect on the corporate climate–the simplest way to increase the bottom-line. Your leaders will emerge with a deep understanding of the most effective way to engage and motivate their team.

Extreme Performance: Why Winners Win
What are the 5 most common attributes of people who make a lifelong habit of winning? In her Extreme Performance: Why Winners Win keynote, World Champion Eco-Challenge Racer and Firefighter Robyn Benincasa uses the model of Adventure Racing to highlight the mindset and common attributes of world-class athletes, teams and leaders in their quest for victory—and provides some real world guidelines and principles for reaching the top of the podium in any endeavor.

Teambuilding Events
Put “The 8 Essential Elements of Human Synergy” into practice in an outdoor adventure-based teambuilding event! Each program is customized for the particular teambuilding goals of our clients and includes a compelling combination of both strategic problem solving exercises and team-based adventure sports.

 

Full Biography

World Champion Adventure Racer, San Diego City Firefighter, Founder of World Class Teams, Flashover Seminars, and Project Athena Foundation, Motivation/Leadership/Teamwork Speaker

Robyn Benincasa accepts full blame for inspiring people to do insane things like climb Mount Kilimanjaro, run their first triathlon, start their own adventure racing teams, or start their own businesses. This is, after all, who she is and what she does: Robyn Benincasa inspires people to do amazing things.

Benincasa has made an art form of extreme performance by competing and winning at the highest levels of sport and business. Revered as one of “California‟s Fittest Women”, she spent her youth competing at the state and national level in gymnastics, diving, cross country, and judo in which she became a national champion. Soon after earning a Marketing degree from Arizona State University, Robyn „started at the top‟ Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company where she earned the prestigious “Rookie of the Year” award. While consistently achieving top sales in her day job, Robyn completed six Ironman races, with two podium finishes. Then the adventure race bug bit.

In her 15-year career as a professional adventure racer, Robyn Benincasa has competed in close to 40 expedition-length events – gnarly, multiday, multisport killers such as Primal Quest and Eco- Challenge. She has biked through jungles in Borneo, climbed Himalayan giants in Nepal, trekked across lava fields in Fiji, rafted rapids in Chile – and racked up multiple world championship titles along the way. In her spare time, Robyn, is a full-time firefighter in San Diego, on the nation’s first all-female crew. “The brightest stars don‟t create the greatest teams. The greatest teammates create the greatest teams.”

Benincasa launched World Class Teams and its sister company Flashover Seminars to bring her unique and inspiring perspective on teamwork to the corporate world via keynotes, seminars and teambuilding programs. Starbucks, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Aramark, Honda/Acura, Tony Robbins, Allianz, Wal-Mart, Timberland, Napster, AT&T and Earthlink rely on Robyn‟s “Extreme Performance: Why Winners Win”, “High Performance Leadership” and her signature program “The 8 Essential Elements of Human Synergy”. Her unforgettable presentations have taught countless high-performance leaders all over the world about “Building World Class Teams” and the „followership‟ skills necessary for dynamic role shifting and true teamwork.

Robyn Benincasa founded the Project Athena Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping women who’ve endured medical setbacks achieve their athletic dreams, whether it means climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or running a local 10K. The goal? To encourage survivors not just to survive – but to thrive in the wake of their diagnoses.

“The biggest, strongest, and fastest competitors are not guaranteed a successful finish. It‟s the teams that truly understand interdependence, have empathy for one another, share common ideals, manage adversity well, and check their egos at the start line that win these races. In my experience, the same is true in the corporate world.”

Ben Stein

Ben Stein is either the world’s funniest economist, or the most economically well-trained funny man… and he’s definitely one of the busiest, most well-received speakers in the world. Ben Stein knows markets and theories and keeps totally up-to-date, hour by hour. He speaks to colleges and universities, businesses, private organizations, and at special events—even parties. Ben can talk about economics, finance, current events and, of course, Hollywood and his experiences there. And any size group is the perfect size.

In May 2009, Ben spoke to an audience of 23,000 at a university commencement, and one week later spoke to a gathering of 35 private-equity players. Ben’s speeches are always funny, insightful, and loaded with lessons everyone needs to know, and he always leaves audiences deeply thoughtful. Most of all Ben loves people. He stays with the group for a long time after his speeches… and he’s there before for them, too.

TOPICS

Ben Stein on Life
Ben Stein is a profoundly unique individual who has had the good fortune to have “been there and done that” in a myriad of professions that many of us only dream about, see on television, or read about in the news. Always entertaining, always informative and possessing expertise in everything from law to laughs, Ben Stein will leave your audience with useful insight (if you want it!) or simply great memories of a fun time had by all.

Ben Stein on the Economy
In election after election there is endless complaining about waste, fraud and abuse in Washington. Each batch of candidates promises to clean it up, but somehow it never happens. With the latest economic debacle in full tilt, one thing is for certain — you and I will pick up the monster-sized bill in many different ways. What is missing is more regulation from Washington and more prosecution, not less. Ben Stein shares these insights and more regarding the current economy, what prompted this fiasco and what must be done to dig us out.

Ben Stein on the Economic Crisis
What is needed–a positive policy for moral and economic recovery. How we got into this mess, how bad is it, and how are we going to get out-and make sure it never happens again

Ben Stein at Universities and Colleges
His topics include, What Does It All Mean for You? The Economic Meltdown: How It Happened and How You Can Survive It and Thrive

Ben Stein for Humorous Events
How to ruin your life. Updated for all occasions.

Full Biography

Complete Biography

Economist; Longtime Columnist for The Wall Street Journal, Barrons and The New York Times; Speech Writer and Aide for Presidents Nixon and Ford; Emmy-winning Television Gameshow Host; Commentator for CBS News, Fox News and CNN and Award-winning Commentator on Finance.

Ben Stein (Benjamin J. Stein) was born November 25, 1944 in Washington, D.C., (He is the son of the economist and writer Herbert Stein) grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland and attended Montgomery Blair High School.

He graduated from Columbia University in 1966 with honors in economics. He graduated from Yale Law School in 1970 as valedictorian of his class by election of his classmates. He also studied in the graduate school of economics at Yale.

He has worked as an economist at The Department of Commerce, a poverty lawyer in New Haven and Washington, D.C., a trial lawyer in the field of trade regulation at the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C., a university adjunct at American University in Washington, D.C., at the University of California at Santa Cruz and at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA.

At American University, he taught about the political and social content of mass culture. He taught the same subject at UCSC, as well as about political and civil rights under the Constitution. At Pepperdine, he has taught about libel law and about securities law and ethical issues since 1986.

In 1973 and 1974, he was a speech writer and lawyer for Richard Nixon at The White House and then for Gerald Ford. (He did NOT write the line, “I am not a crook.”)

He has been a columnist and editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal, a syndicated columnist for The Los Angeles Herald Examiner (R.I.P.) and King Features Syndicate, and a frequent contributor to Barrons, where his articles about the ethics of management buyouts and issues of fraud in the Milken Drexel junk bond scheme drew major national attention.

He has been a regular columnist for Los Angeles Magazine, New York Magazine, E! Online, and most of all, has written a lengthy diary for twenty years for The American Spectator.

He currently writes a column for The New york Times Sunday Business Section and has for many years, a column about personal finance for Yahoo!, is a commentator for CBS Sunday Morning and for Fox News.

He has written, co-written and published thirty books, including seven novels, largely about life in Los Angeles, and twenty-one nonfiction books, about finance and about ethical and social issue in finance, and also about the political and social content of mass culture. He has done pioneering work in uncovering the concealed messages of TV and in explaining how TV and movies get made. His titles include A License to Steal, Michael Milken and the Conspiracy to Bilk the Nation, The View From Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood Days, Hollywood Nights, DREEMZ,Financial Passages and Ludes. His most recent books are the best-selling humor self-help series, How To Ruin Your Life. He has also been a longtime screenwriter, writing, among many other scripts (most of which were unmade ) the first draft of The Boost, a movie based on Ludes, and the outlines of the lengthy miniseries Amerika and the acclaimed Murder in Mississippi. He was one of the creators of the well regarded comedy, Fernwood Tonight.

He is also an extremely well known actor in movies, TV and commercials. His part of the boring teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was recently ranked as one of the fifty most famous scenes in American film. From 1997 to 2002, he was the host of the Comedy Central quiz show, Win Ben Stein’s Money. The show has won seven Emmies. He was a judge on CBS’s Star Search and on VH-1’s America’s Most Smartest Model.

He lives with his wife, Alexandra Denman (former lawyer,) six cats and three large dogs in Beverly Hills. He is active in pro-animal and pro-life charitable events.

Bob Varsha

Bob Varsha is among the most recognized broadcast hosts and play-by-play announcers in the automotive world. Read more

Alex Sion

With over 18 years of experience in business, technology and marketing strategy for financial services firms, Alex Sion is poised to become one of the industry’s greatest disruptors.

As an advisor on digital strategory and disruption to global financial leaders such as HSBC, Citi, Bank of Montreal, Bank of Scotland and Barclays, Alex is one of the leading voices in the financial services industry.

Alex is a recognized thought leader, speaker and panelist in the financial services space. He has spoken at large financial services conferences such as American Banker, BAI, Finnovate, Forrester Customer Experience Form, and Association of Financial Technologies. He has also spoken at global leadership forums and executive summits for firms such as: Toronto Dominion, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Bank of Montreal, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Regions Bank, and BBVA.

Something You Can Bank On
5 Predictions for the Next Five Years in Retail Banking

The retail banking industry is at a key turning point. The cost of managing customers through massive branch networks is outstripping many banks’ ability to generate profits.

Meanwhile, a jaded consumer base increasingly interacts with their banks through virtual channels.

Ultimately, these two forces will lead to new distribution models, customer experience platforms, crowd-
sourced business models and other game-changing innovations that will redefine the banking industry.

In this session, Alex Sion, President of Movenbank, will share his predictions for the next five years in retail banking, and his recommendations for what financial institutions must do in order to stay ahead of the curve.

How to Gather $100B in assets over Twitter
Reaching the Next Gen Affluent

For the Baby Boomer generation, affluent service was a combination of high-touch & high class: a personal banker, exclusive events, mahogany furniture and plush carpets. For Generation X, the first group to grow up in the digital and internet age, affluent morphed to include some degree of empowered self-direction and access.
For generations growing up today where digital, internet, social and mobile are the norm…what will “affluent service” mean to them? What impact do these changing expectations have on the future of retail financial services: both banking and brokerage/wealth management?

In this session, Alex Sion, President of Movenbank, will share his perspective on the changing needs and perceptions of the affluent consumer. He’ll also explore the direct implications on the marketing, distribution, sales and service models for serving affluent customers. Answering questions like :

• Do mobile and social matter? How & Why?
• What does “financial planning” look like in a mobile and social world?
• What is the future role of the financial advisor?
• How to make money and win with the mass affluent customer?

Innovation: No Country for Old Men?

Who says that you have to be under the age of 30 and single to launch a start up? Who says that having 2 kids, a wife and a mortgage prohibits you from taking a hard left turn at the point in your career where you should begin to coast and rest on your laurels? Who says that disruption and innovation are the privileged territories of the young, brash and idealistic with little to loose?

In this session, Alex Sion, President of Movenbank, will share his experiences in launching one of the most innovative and disruptive firms in the U.S. start-up community. Movenbank is using mobile payments, social and big data to transform the way people think about money and everyday banking. But in order to launch Movenbank, Alex had to first transform his ideas about career, life, and the meaning of success. Learn about and be inspired by the story of the journey.

Why you can’t innovate your way out of a paper bag
What does it take to drive innovation in perhaps the most stubbornly conservative of all industries: Banking? First, you need a vision of the future. Second, you need the courage and confidence to re-write things that have been written in stone and to get those stones thrown at you. Third, you need to forget everything you know, then stop…look…and listen.
In this session, Alex Sion, President of Movenbank, will talk about the process of disruption and innovation within the context of the Movenbank journey. How did the idea of Movenbank “happen”? How did an idea become a concept? How did a concept organize into a team that embarked on a mission to re-invent perhaps the biggest industry of all? And how did that idea get “sold”? — to the market, to investors, to customers, and to the team itself?