Speakers & Advisory Board
We have curated some of the best thinkers in creative leadership who will share their experiences, ideas and methodologies which have enabled them to effectively lead their organizations or community.
Check back regularly for speaker announcements. Sign up for our mailing list for the most up-to-date information.
“Leadership is about creating change that you believe in”
– Seth Godin
Eddie Opara - Speaker
Eddie Opara was born in Wandsworth, London in 1972. He studied graphic design at the London College of Printing and Yale University, where he received his MFA in 1997. He began his career as a designer at ATG and Imaginary Forces and worked as a
senior designer/art director at 2×4 before establishing his own studio, The Map Office, in 2005. He joined Pentagram’s New York office as partner in 2010.
Opara is a multi-faceted designer whose work encompasses strategy, design and
technology. His projects have included the design of brand identity, publications,
packaging, environments, exhibitions, interactive installations, websites, user interfaces and software, with many of his projects ranging across multiple media.
His clients have included Samsung, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, Nike,
Grace Farms, the Menil Foundation, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Queens Museum, Santander Bank, St. Regis Hotels, the Corcoran Group, Morgan Stanley, New York University, UCLA Architecture and Urban Design, Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM), David Adjaye Associates, Grimshaw Architects, (ARO) Architecture Research Office, Harry N. Abrams and Princeton Architectural Press.
Opara has won numerous awards including a Gold Cube from the Art Directors Club
and honors from D&AD, the Society for Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD), Type
Directors Club, Tokyo Type Directors Club, the American Institute of Graphic Arts
(AIGA) and Communication Arts. His work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and has appeared in publications such as Wired, Fast Company, Creative Review, Archis, Surface and Graphis.
Opara is a senior critic at the Yale University School of Art. He has taught at the Rhode
Island School of Design, the Columbia University School of Architecture and the
University of the Arts, Philadelphia. He is a member of the distinguished design society,
Alliance Graphique Internationale. Opara recently authored a book, Color Works,
published by Rockport. He was named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative
People in Business in 2012 and 2014, and was featured in Ebony Magazine’s Power
Moira Cullen - Speaker
An internationally recognized design strategist, writer and educator, named “one of the most creative people in business (Fast Company) and among the “most influential designers in the past 50 years” (Graphic Design USA), Moira has built a career leading global business solutions that effectively honor the essence and heritage of organizations, institutions and brands.
She has worked as a senior executive for multiple Fortune 500 companies including PepsiCo, The Hershey Company and The Coca-Cola Company where she led development of the acclaimed redesign of the Coca-Cola visual identity system that won the first Grand Prix for Design and Golden Lion for packaging at the 2008 Cannes Awards. At Hallmark Cards, she built and led the corporate design group and leveraged design as a corporate asset. She was Chair of the Communication Arts department at Otis College of Art and Design; strategic design manager at international design consultancy Pentagram; and creative director for leading Japanese fashion retailer Taka-Q.
She speaks frequently on design, design thinking and design’s strategic role in business at conferences around the world. Her essays and criticism have been published in leading design publications and anthologies. She was past president of The Professional Association for Design AIGA’s Center for Brand Experience; president of AIGA’s Los Angeles and Kansas City Chapters; served as a director on AIGA’s national board; and is an AIGA Fellow.
Mike Rigby - Speaker
Mike is a designer, Vice President and ECD at R/GA. He leads creative for R/GA Consulting, a capability that creates new-to-world brands by fusing together business strategy, design and technology. Mike believes that design is a transformational force, driving businesses, changing lives, and ultimately making the world a better, more connected place.
Mike has been fortunate to win countless international awards for brand identity, animation, packaging, direct mail, advertising, writing, marketing and design effectiveness. Beyond awards success, Mike’s work has helped to transform many significant businesses, cultural institutions and charities. His proudest moment is helping to raise over $350 million dollars for age related diseases, through his work for Alzheimer’s Australia. He is also very proud to teach Advanced Design at the School for Visual Arts in NYC.
Sara Kalick - Speaker
Sara spent her first 7+ years at SYPartners working with clients to define and enact bold visions and strategies. Leveraging what she learned about transforming companies and cultures, Sara currently heads up Leadfully, a new product from SYPartners that’s designed to help emerging leaders go beyond managing what is known to leading into the unknown. Sara holds a BA from the University of California at Berkeley and an MBA from ESADE Business
John Maeda - Speaker
John Maeda is an American executive spearheading a new convergence across the design + technology industries. He recently joined Automattic as Global Head of Computational Design + Inclusion and previously served as Design Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), a world-leading venture capital firm. An internationally recognized speaker and author, his books include The Laws of Simplicity, Creative Code and Redesigning Leadership. He holds degrees in Electrical Engineering + Computer Science from MIT, an MBA from Arizona State U, and a PhD from University of Tsukuba in Japan.
“Maeda is to design what Warren Buffet is to finance.” – Wired Magazine.
Maeda can be found on Twitter discussing technology, business and design at@johnmaeda, one of TIME Magazine’s 140 Best Twitter Feeds
Stephen Gates - Speaker
Stephen is a 2nd generation Creative Director with extensive experience building agency and client-side teams creating award-winning global advertising campaigns, multiple Fortune 100 brands and innovative digital experiences. His work has received over 150 international awards, named as one of the World’s 100 Greatest Apps and Apple has featured his work in 10 keynotes, 4 TV commercials as well as featuring it multiple times in Apple Stores, the App Store and Human Interface Guidelines. He shares what he has learned with the creative community through my his blog, speaking engagements and The Crazy One podcast which is an in-depth exploration of issues that matter to creatives including leadership, creativity, career development, innovation and more.
Gretchen Rubin - Keynote
Gretchen Rubin is the author of several books, including the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers, The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, and most recently, Better Than Before. She has an enormous readership, both in print and online, and her books have sold more than two million copies worldwide, in more than thirty languages. On her weekly podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin, she discusses good habits and happiness with her sister Elizabeth Craft. Rubin started her career in law and was clerking for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor when she realized she wanted to be a writer. She lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.
Jonathan Adler - Keynote
Jonathan Adler launched his namesake brand after leaving his day job to pursue his first love: pottery. In 1993, Barneys bought his collection, and five years later, he opened his first store in Soho.
Today his offerings span furniture, lighting, home décor, and more, plus countless iconic interior projects, and over 25 stores, all dedicated to bringing Modern American Glamour to your life.
Debbie Millman - Advisory Board Member
Named “one of the most influential designers working today” by Graphic Design USA, Debbie Millman is also an author, educator, brand strategist and host of the podcast Design Matters. Debbie’s written and visual essays have appeared in publications such as The New York Times, New York Magazine, Print Magazine, Design Observer and Fast Company. In 2009 Debbie co-founded with Steven Heller the world’s first graduate program in branding at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Now in its seventh year, the program has achieved international acclaim. Debbie was the President of the design group at Sterling Brands for twenty years, where she worked with over 200 of the world’s largest brands and is currently the Editorial and Creative Director of Print Magazine, the oldest magazine about design in the United States.
Ande La Monica - Advisory Board Member
Ande La Monica is an award-winning executive creative director and global brand strategist. He uses design to drive innovation and solve complex business problems. Recently, Ande was the Global Brand & Design Strategist for General Electric. His leadership increased brand value and accelerated positioning as a digital company.
Previously, Ande developed strategic creative solutions that elevated brands and grew equity across multiple verticals and platforms. His work has been honored for excellence by top industry organizations including CNBC, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, INC. Magazine, AIGA, Adobe, Print Magazine, & The National Design Archives.
Santiago Carrasquilla - Advisory Board Member
Santiago Carrasquilla is a designer, animator and filmmaker from Colombia. After graduating the School of Visual Arts he worked for the design studio Sagmeister & Walsh for 3 years. He now runs his own studio ‘Art Camp’ based in New York.