We are building an exciting educational program for 2015 that include three General Sessions and fourteen Breakout Sessions to choose from.
Tuesday, February 17
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Founding Executive Vice President of People, JetBlue Airways; President, People Ink and Best-selling Author
Ann Rhoades is a corporate executive with over 25 years experience in a variety of service-based industries and is president of People Ink, her consulting company that helps organizations create unique workplace cultures based on values and performance. She held the position of vice president of the People Department for Southwest Airlines and executive vice president of Team Services for Promus Hotel Corporation and most recently, the executive vice president of People for JetBlue Airways where she currently remains as a board member.
Rhoades has a respected reputation in the industry for her creative approach to creating customer-centric cultures. During her tenure with Doubletree Hotels, later Promus Hotel Corporation, she built a service culture focused on delivering outstanding service to guests. During the time Rhoades headed the People Department at Southwest Airlines, she solidified Southwest’s reputation of retaining and hiring the best people in the airline business despite Southwest’s rapid growth during that time.
As one of five founding executives, Rhoades took responsibility for the creation of JetBlue Airways Corporation’s People Team in New York. In her role as head of human resources, Rhoades has been a key member of the executive team, and is extremely successful in her role as internal counsel to executives in every discipline in the organization.
Rhoades is a popular speaker on the subject of customer service and how to build a strong high-performing culture.
Her community involvement includes director on the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center Board, University of New Mexico Alumni Association Board, University of New Mexico Presidential Award Advisory Committee, and chairman for Safer New Mexico Now and board member of New Mexico Appleseed. Rhoades has formerly served on the boards of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, HireVue, Inc., Restoration Hardware, Accion New Mexico, Albuquerque Community Foundation and the University of New Mexico-Robert O Anderson School of Business National Advisory Board.
Rhoades has a Master of Business Administration degree in Management from the University of New Mexico and her book “Built on Values” was released in January 2011.
Wednesday, February 18
9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
4:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Legendary Former Director of Communications Strategy at Harley-Davidson Motor Company
One of the most in-demand speakers and communications consultants in America, Ken Schmidt has lived a life that most can only dream about. He has toured the world on two wheels, met with presidents and royalty, partied with movie and music legends, and appeared numerous times on network news. As the former director of communications for Harley-Davidson Motor Company, he played an active role in one of the most celebrated turnarounds in corporate history – and got paid to ride motorcycles. He is widely known as one of the business world’s most outspoken and provocative thought leaders and has partnered with many of the world’s most successful brands. Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, he shares stories and insights on the road to building a fanatically vocal customer base, creating a passionately loyal corporate culture, and developing leaders who inspire and motivate.
Harley-Davidson. The longtime motorcycle enthusiast’s formal association with Harley-Davidson began in 1985. As a specialist in corporate positioning and media relations, Schmidt was asked to work with the then-struggling Harley-Davidson to help restore the company’s image and create demand for its motorcycles. Within a few short years, Harley-Davidson became one of the most visible and frequently reported-on companies in the world, while sales of its motorcycles rocketed upward. Schmidt became director of Harley-Davidson’s corporate and financial communications and served as its primary spokesperson to the media and the financial communities. He appeared numerous times on network news programs and was frequently called upon by business media to share his insights on non-traditional communications, customer attraction, and brand-building.
Life After Harley. Now, Schmidt is a frequent speaker to business groups and academic communities throughout the world. Few speakers generate more positive word-of-mouth and referrals. “I love to startle people by exposing them to proven ideas and concepts they’ve never imagined,” he said. Whether he’s talking about how to leverage basic needs to improve competitiveness, build an entirely new corporate culture, or reach out to new customers in completely untraditional ways, Schmidt never follows a predictable course. “Whether I’m talking about how perfectly average people can do extraordinary things or how to build an entirely new corporate culture, rekindle relationships with customers, or reach out to new ones in completely untraditional ways, I’m teaching people to throw conventional approaches out the window. I see opening hearts and minds as my life’s work.”
Today, Schmidt shares his expertise with many of America’s leading brands but happily states that he is “semi-retired,” which allows him to pursue his other passions. He calls working with the grandson of one of Harley-Davidson’s founders to create 100 Years of Harley-Davidson, the best-selling motor sports book of all time, one of the greatest highs in his life. After all he has accomplished his philosophy of life and business hasn’t changed: “Never do what’s expected, make yourself as noticeably different as possible, and have a lot more fun than you’re supposed to.”
Take advantage of thought-provoking sessions on important student housing issues and learn from dynamic business leaders and speakers. Check back to this site often for updates on sessions and speakers.