Conceived in 1970 by Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin Group has gone on to grow successful businesses in sectors including mobile telephony, travel and transportation, financial services, leisure and entertainment and health and wellness. Virgin is a leading international investment group and one of the world's most recognized and respected brands. Since starting the youth culture magazine Student at age 16, Richard has found entrepreneurial ways to drive positive change in the world.
In 2004 he established Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group, which unites people and entrepreneurial ideas to create opportunities for a better world.
Most of his time is now spent building businesses that will make a positive difference in the world and working with Virgin Unite and organizations it has incubated, such as The Elders, The Carbon War Room, The B Team and Ocean Unite. Branson serves on the Global Commission on Drug Policy and supports ocean conservation with the Ocean Elders. Richard's new biography, Finding My Virginity, is available now.
Day 2 Keynote Speaker
Leslie Jones is one of the stars of Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters reboot for Sony Studios, opposite Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon – the film was released in theatres worldwide July 2016. In 2014, Leslie was hired by SNL as a writer and quickly gained popularity after a memorable on-air appearance during the show's "Weekend Update" segment. Jones officially joined the cast during the show’s 40th season. Returning for her second season, The New Yorker profiled Jones and Vulture has cited her as an "‘SNL’ standout due to her brash sensibility, humor, and forceful presence." Slate praised Jones as “smart, talented, and utterly hilarious” and noted, “Jones is a fiercely independent performer who’s brash and unapologetic riffs can ruffle feathers – a welcome risk.”
Jones’ film credits include Chris Rock's Top Five and Judd Apatow's Trainwreck. She voiced an animated character in the studio feature Sing, for Illumination Entertainment, opposite Matthew McConaughey and John C. Reilly. Jones joined Tracy Morgan, Chris Rock and Whoopi Goldberg in an epic 2016 Oscars sketch, reimagining an Oscars montage starring black actors.
Dream Big Work Hard. Those four simple words have helped to transform Pewaukee native JJ Watt from small-town Wisconsin boy to being selected #11 Overall Pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. Watt won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year three times in his first five seasons. The journey from backyard football to the big stage of the NFL was not always smooth or easy and filled with adversity, but with unbelievable support from his friends and family, JJ turned his childhood dreams into reality.
Since joining the Texans, Watt has been selected to the Pro-Bowl Team three times and won the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year award twice in his first four seasons. He is the first player in NFL history to record two 20+ sack seasons in a career. He also occasionally shifts to defensive tackle and has also taken snaps as a tight end. He was voted #1 on the 2014 – 2015 NFL Top 100 list, which is voted on by fellow NFL players.
Watt is the president and founder of the Justin J. Watt Foundation, which provides after school opportunities for children in various communities encouraging them to get involved in athletics in a safe environment.
In the aftermath of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey, Watt organized a crowdfunding campaign to help Houston recover. His campaign raised more than $37 million through over 209,000 donations, nearly doubling his initial $20 million goal.
Day 2 Keynote Speaker
David Godsman joined The Coca-Cola Company as the Chief Digital Officer in December, 2016. In his role, he is responsible for developing and leading the digital transformation strategy for Coca-Cola to deliver new products, operational efficiencies and break through sales and marketing effectiveness. Godsman works closely with the global network of business units and system partners to shape the vision for future consumer and customer experiences that can most effectively leverage digital technologies to create value beyond the beverage.
Prior to joining Coca–Cola, Godsman served as SVP, Digital Banking and Emerging Payments for Bank of America. In his role, He worked closely with the Retail, Preferred and Small Business teams to accelerate the development and delivery of future online and mobile capabilities to meet customers’ needs, while ensuring the delivery of an engaging, intuitive and secure online experience that customers expect. Godsman was instrumental in driving the digital transformation for Bank of America by creating a holistic consumer experience strategy designed to move high cost transactions from physical branches to Bank of America’s industry leading digital platforms. These platforms served 35 million online and 22 million mobile consumers more than 120million times per week.
Prior to joining Bank of America, Godsman served as Global Vice President of Digital at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. He was responsible for the execution of Starwood’s global digital strategy for nine global brands and the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program. In this capacity, Godsman oversaw all global digital marketing and merchandising strategy development, ecommerce platforms and capabilities, mobile application and platform development, global social media strategy, product development and global content management. In addition, Godsman was responsible for establishing Starwood’s digital partnerships focused on identifying best-in-class media, content and technology partners to drive innovation and higher forms of guest digital experiences.
Prior to Starwood, Godsman served as Chief Executive Officer and founder of Leading Interactive Reservations, LLC, a five-star online travel company and joint venture partner of The Leading Hotels of the World. Under his leadership, Godsman transformed an 80 year old Hospitality brand into an industry leading digital travel company, successfully launching six luxury-centric travel sites, a global vacation packaging tour operator business and global net rate distribution business.
Before joining The Leading Hotels of The World, Godsman was the Vice President of Business Development for Citigroup’s online and banking division, Citi f/i, as well as Vice President of Marketing for Traveler's Group. Prior to that, he served as director of New Business Development for Grey Advertising.
Jensen Huang founded NVIDIA in 1993 and has served since its inception as president, chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors.
Starting out in PC graphics, NVIDIA helped build the gaming market into the largest entertainment industry in the world today. Its invention of the GPU in 1999 made possible real-time programmable shading, which defines modern computer graphics, and later revolutionized parallel computing. More recently, GPU deep learning ignited modern AI — the next era of computing — with the GPU acting as the brain of computers, robots and self-driving cars that can perceive and understand the world.
Huang is a recipient of the Dr. Morris Chang Exemplary Leadership Award from the Global Semiconductor Association in recognition of his exceptional contributions to driving the development, innovation, growth and long-term opportunities of the fabless semiconductor industry. He has received the Daniel J. Epstein Engineering Management Award from the University of Southern California, an honorary doctorate from Taiwan’s National Chiao Tung University, and the EB Lemon Distinguished Alumni Award and an honorary doctorate from Oregon State University. He was named to the U.S. Immigrant Entrepreneur Hall of Fame when it was established in 2012. In 2017, he was named Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year and Harvard Business Review ranked him No. 3 on its list of the world’s 100 best-performing CEOs over the lifetime of their tenure.
Prior to founding NVIDIA, Huang worked at LSI Logic and Advanced Micro Devices. He holds a BSEE degree from Oregon State University and an MSEE degree from Stanford University.
As Managing Director of the nation’s global tourism marketing agency, John is responsible for driving Tourism Australia’s strategies to increase demand for Australia’s tourism experiences and help to grow the sector to more than $115 billion by the end of the decade as part of the Tourism 2020 strategy.
John joined Tourism Australia in March 2014. He was previously Chief Operating Officer of Fox Sports. John has also held executive positions with Events Queensland (Chief Executive) and Football Federation Australia (Chief Commercial Officer), as well as with the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Organising Committee. John has over 20 years’ experience in sports marketing, event management and media across Australia, the UK and the Middle East.
Gene Alston is the Vice President of Marketing Partnerships at Facebook, where he leads the global strategy, programs & partnerships across all of our strategic technology partners for Facebook. Gene oversees a team of regional leaders and teams focused on growing marketing and advertising solutions from Facebook's third-party ecosystems.
Before joining Facebook, Gene was the Head of Corporate & Business Development at Pinterest. Gene led the strategy, M&A, and business development for the company. There he built the global product partnerships team, drove the international growth strategy, and executed a number of acquisitions.
Prior to digital advertising, Gene spent over 10 years in the commerce and payments industry with Groupon, PayPal and Concentric Networks. Gene was a Vice President and General Manager at Groupon and oversaw several product areas including Groupon’s point of sale, mobile payments and coupon redemption products. As Senior Director at PayPal, Gene oversaw corporate and business development and was part of the founding team for PayPal merchant services. While at Concentric Networks Gene was responsible for the small business web hosting line of business which included one of the first cloud- based retail eCommerce and private label offerings in the industry.
A Husky by heart, Gene holds a Bachelor's in Science in biology from the University of Washington. He also obtained a joint juris doctorate and master's in business degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. Gene lives in the Bay Area, California with his family. Gene is an advisor and investor of Bay Area startups, former Navy Lieutenant, and an avid runner.
Kay Madati is Vice President and Global Head of Content Partnerships at Twitter, overseeing the company’s worldwide efforts to engage with media and content publishers across the categories of TV, film, music, sports, news, lifestyle, influencers, and creators. He is responsible for leading the teams that develop the executional strategies for how partners can extend, scale, market, and monetize their content and programming initiatives across Twitter.
Prior to joining Twitter, Kay was Executive Vice President and Chief Digital Officer at BET Networks, a unit of Viacom Inc., where he led the teams responsible for all aspects of digital, social and mobile strategy. Before BET Networks, he was the Head of Entertainment and Media at Facebook, Inc, charged with the growth and monetization of Facebook’s Entertainment and Media business.
Earlier in his career, Kay also held a variety of leadership roles in content development, operations, sales and marketing at both CNN Worldwide and BMW of North America, working on projects that highlighted innovation and creativity with leveraging technology and media to engage consumers.
Kay has a BA from Georgetown University, where he majored in American Studies with a concentration in Philosophy, and an Executive Management Leadership Certificate from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. He is a founding Board Member and Chairman Emeritus of both Brooklyn Excelsior and Atlanta Heights Charter Schools. Kay is also a Board Member of CoachArt, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for chronically ill children.
Melissa (Mel) Selcher is the Vice President of Brand Marketing and Corporate Communications at LinkedIn, where she has responsibility for LinkedIn’s global brand and reputation, advertising and creative, events and customer engagement, communications and consumer marketing, and LinkedIn’s social impact work around the world.
Prior to LinkedIn, Melissa was the Chief Communications Officer at Cisco, overseeing all communications and investor relations globally. Earlier in her career, Mel held technology marketing and communications roles at Sun Microsystems, Matrix Semiconductor (acquired by SanDisk), Continental Airlines, and Trilogy Development Group.
Mel earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Princeton University. In 2017, she was named one of PR News' Top Women in PR. Mel is on the Board of Directors of LifeMoves, the leading provider of homeless services in Silicon Valley, and is a volunteer lacrosse coach. She lives in Burlingame, California with her husband and two children.