Conversations & Speakers

May 9-11, 2017  |  Georgia World Congress Center  |  Atlanta, US

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Hear insights from Sage experts

We’ve invited a few of our most accomplished leaders to join the Sage Summit as keynote speakers. There’s nothing like hearing from the experts live and in person.

Stephen Kelly, CEO

Stephen Kelly

CEO, Sage

With more than 30 years of leadership experience in international businesses and government operations, Stephen was appointed as Sage’s CEO in November, 2014. With more than 30 years of leadership experience in international businesses and government operations, Stephen was appointed as Sage’s CEO in November, 2014.

Before arriving at Sage, he served as the UK government’s Chief Operating Officer, leading its Efficiency and Reform agenda. In 2015, to help increase support for the country’s small and medium businesses, he was appointed as a Business Ambassador to the British Prime Minister.

Stephen has also been CEO at Chordiant Software and Micro Focus International. He spent the first part of his career at Oracle.

Passionate about supporting entrepreneurs, Stephen has been an angel investor in several high-growth startups.

Connie Certusi

Connie Certusi

EVP, Managing Director, Sage USA

Connie Certusi is the EVP and Managing Director for Sage in the USA. As Managing Director, she has overall commercial responsibility for Sage’s performance in the accounting, ERP and HR/Payroll US market with a focus on delivering strong revenue growth driven by exceptional customer engagement and innovative technology solutions. Connie is the EVP and managing director for Sage in the USA. As managing director, she has overall commercial responsibility for Sage’s performance in the accounting, ERP and HR/Payroll US market with a laser focus on delivering strong revenue growth driven by exceptional customer engagement and innovative technology solutions.

Connie has been in the business management software market for more than 30 years with the last 20 spent at Sage. Prior to Sage, Connie was at MSA (Management Science America) for 10 years holding various positions within R&D, product management, marketing, and sales.

Blair Crump

President, Sage

Blair is responsible for sales and customer service. Blair is focused on new customer acquisition and quality growth, with improved customer experience for the existing three million businesses using its software. Blair is responsible for sales and customer service. Blair is focused on new customer acquisition and quality growth, with improved customer experience for the existing three million businesses using its software.

Previously, Blair was COO for PROS Holdings. Before that, he led Salesforce.com’s Global Enterprise business, reporting to CEO and co-founder Marc Benioff. Prior to that, he was Group President at Verizon Business, responsible for Worldwide Sales & Consulting.

Scott Ehmen

VP, Partner Strategy and Sales, Sage

Scott Ehmen is responsible for partner strategy, programs, enablement, management, and channels sales for Sage in North America. He is an accomplished channel, alliances, and strategic partnerships professional with extensive expertise establishing profitable relationships between partners and sales teams. His experience creating partnering strategies and programs that deliver leveraged sales growth, profitability, and customer satisfaction is what brought him to Sage. Scott Ehmen is responsible for partner strategy, programs, enablement, management, and channels sales for Sage in North America.

He is an accomplished channel, alliances, and strategic partnerships professional with extensive expertise establishing profitable relationships between partners and sales teams. His experience creating partnering strategies and programs that deliver leveraged sales growth, profitability, and customer satisfaction is what brought him to Sage.

Scott most recently was Senior Vice President Global Partner Ecosystems & Channels for Informatica. Previously, he was at SAP where he was Global Vice President, Strategic Business Development (2014-2016). Before that he held three other executive level positions as SAP and spent four years at Salesforce as Global Director-Partner Programs & Enablement.

Nick Goode

Nick Goode

EVP, Product Management, Sage

Nick Goode leads product management for Sage. He's been in the software industry for over 20 years, working globally on bots, cloud, mobile, and enterprise B2B products. He's passionate about leadership, digital engagement, innovation and customer success. Outside work, Nick is crazy about sports and healthy living. He lives on a farm in Cheshire with his wife, children, and horses. Nick Goode leads product management for Sage. He's been in the software industry for over 20 years, working globally on bots, cloud, mobile, and enterprise B2B products. He's passionate about leadership, digital engagement, innovation and customer success. Outside work, Nick is crazy about sports and healthy living. He lives on a farm in Cheshire with his wife, children, and horses.

Nancy Harris

Nancy Harris

EVP, Sage North America

Nancy Harris is Executive Vice President at Sage North America, responsible for driving strategy and realizing growth ambitions for Sage in Canada.

Nancy joined Sage in 2011 as Vice President and General Manager of Sage 50 Accounting (formerly Simply Accounting), driving the strategic and product direction for Sage 50 and overseeing key functional areas including sales and marketing as well as research and development.
Nancy Harris is Executive Vice President at Sage North America, responsible for driving strategy and realizing growth ambitions for Sage in Canada.

Nancy joined Sage in 2011 as Vice President and General Manager of Sage 50 Accounting (formerly Simply Accounting), driving the strategic and product direction for Sage 50 and overseeing key functional areas including sales and marketing as well as research and development.

She has been instrumental in working with the Canadian team to advance the company’s presence in Canada, strengthening relationships with and cultivating an exceptional customer experience for theSage partner channels, accountants, bookkeepers, and small business customers.

Before joining Sage, Harris Nancy was Chief Operating Officer at ESO Solutions, a private, SaaS-based software solutions company servicing the emergency management services market. There, she was responsible for the company’s day-to- day operations, specifically in the areas of client services, marketing, product management, and product development.

Previously, Nancy spent nearly a decade with Asure Software in progressively senior marketing, strategic planning, and general management roles, culminating in her appointment as COO. Under her leadership, Asure executed a strategic acquisition that doubled the company’s revenue in the first year.

Kriti Sharma

VP of Bots and AI, Sage

Kriti leads mobile product management at Sage, building products that inspire millions of entrepreneurs, including Pegg, the world’s first accounting chatbot. In 2017, Kriti was named to Forbes’ exclusive ’30 Under 30’ list. Prior to Sage, Kriti was the Global Head of Product, Real-time Big Data Analytics at Barclays. She also led Product Management for the award winning Mobile Payments app Barclays Pingit. Kriti is a Fellow of the RSA, Google Grace Hopper Scholar and Govt. of India’s Young Leader in Science. Kriti leads mobile product management at Sage, building products that inspire millions of entrepreneurs, including Pegg, the world’s first accounting chatbot. In 2017, Kriti was named to Forbes’ exclusive ’30 Under 30’ list. Prior to Sage, Kriti was the Global Head of Product, Real-time Big Data Analytics at Barclays. She also led Product Management for the award winning Mobile Payments app Barclays Pingit. Kriti is a Fellow of the RSA, Google Grace Hopper Scholar and Govt. of India’s Young Leader in Science.

Jacqueline de Rojas

Jennifer Warawa

EVP, Product Marketing, Sage

Jennifer has been with Sage for over nine years and leads product marketing, based in Sage’s Atlanta, Georgia office in the US. Before working with Sage, Jennifer owned an accounting and consulting firm in Kelowna, Canada. She is passionate about helping others reach their full potential and outside of work, loves mentoring youth, and is an active foster parent. Jennifer has been with Sage for over nine years and leads product marketing, based in Sage’s Atlanta, Georgia office in the US. Before working with Sage, Jennifer owned an accounting and consulting firm in Kelowna, Canada. She is passionate about helping others reach their full potential and outside of work, loves mentoring youth, and is an active foster parent.

Thought leaders

Presented by leading authorities in their fields, our thought leader series is designed to provide the insight you need to conquer everyday business challenges and build a foundation for success. Session leaders include well-known authors, columnists, speakers, consultants, and more. Stay tuned as we continue to roll out even more deep thinkers!

Ronald J. Baker

Founder, VeraSage Institute

Ronald J. Baker started his CPA career in 1984 with KPMG’s Private Business Advisory Services in San Francisco and is the founder of VeraSage Institute—a leading think tank dedicated to educating professionals worldwide.

Host of “The Soul of Enterprise: Business in the Knowledge Economy,” a radio talk show on VoiceAmerica.com, Ron has been an instructor with the California CPA Education Foundation since 1995 and has authored 15 courses for them.

He is also the author of seven best-selling books, including “Mind Over Matter: Why Intellectual Capital is the Chief Source of Wealth.” His most recent book, co-authored with Ed Kless, is “The Soul of Enterprise: Dialogues on Business in the Knowledge Economy.”

Ron was appointed to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ think tank Group of One Hundred and was listed on the 100 Most Influential People in the Accounting Profession by “Accounting Today” 11 times.

Sessions

Alicia Bowens

Visionary Expert/Business Coach

Alicia Bowens is a visionary expert, an IT specialist, sought-after speaker, author, coach, business owner, and radio host. She specializes in helping teen and single mothers achieve their dreams via her coaching programs, books, and workshops.

aliciabowens.com

David Butler

Chief Growth Officer, Kids II

David Butler has helped startups scale and global companies grow for more than 25 years. His book (co-authored with Linda Tischler) “Design to Grow: How Coca-Cola Learned to Combine Scale and Agility (and How You Can Too),” explores the relationship between design, startup culture, and corporate growth. Currently, Butler helps the company Kids II scale globally as its Chief Growth Officer.

Before joining Coca-Cola, Butler led digital brand strategy for Sapient. He also was the CEO and co-founder of Process1234.com, where he designed CNN’s first streaming audio and video platform. Butler began his career designing large-scale brand identity systems for a several organizations including Delta, Cartoon Network, and the 1996 Olympic Games.

Butler was named “Master of Design” by Fast Company and to Forbes’ “Executive Dream Team.” In 2012, he was asked to co-chair the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Design and Innovation.

Angel Coleman

Communication Artist

International speaker, The Communication Artist™™, and founder of Confidently Brilliant™, Angel Coleman helps women entrepreneurs build confidence in their ability to create a thriving six-figure business. She does this through her Confidently Brilliant™ Academy that shows how to master the art of online presentations to market and sell their products or services.

angelcoleman.com/

Niquenya Collins

President and CEO of Building Bridges Consulting

Niquenya Collins, or "Coach Niquenya" as she is better known, is the President and CEO of Building Bridges Consulting, a small business consulting, executive coaching, and corporate training firm specializing in transforming dreamers into successful entrepreneurs. She has over 20 years; experience partnering with small business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, and other business professionals to bridge the gap between where they are now and where they need to be to build successful, sustainable, and profitable organizations. She deliberately seeks out entrepreneurs with bigger-than- life visions who want to stop wasting time, monetize their talents, and generate the revenue their business concepts truly deserve. Coach Niquenya's Jump$tart Business Basics Training Series™ arms small business owners with the knowledge and resources to improve business acumen and decision-making skills, integrate technology tools to automate critical business processes, and create customer loyalty by mastering marketing communications. In addition to her work with small businesses and entrepreneurs, Coach Niquenya delivers career coaching and transitional job training in partnership with workforce development programs and is the author of several professional development titles available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores.

Jeremy Corner

CEO Blue Eyed Sun

Jeremy Corner is a Sage business expert, writer, and international speaker. Passionate about small business and personal development, he is the CEO of Blue Eyed Sun and a winner of the prestigious Queen’s Award. He is also the Vice-Chairman of the Giftware Association and Treasurer of the Greeting Card Association, which supports small businesses in the UK. Jeremy blogs about business and retail at www.blueeyedsun.co.uk/blog.

Stefanie Diaz

Marketing Strategist, Radio Host

Stefanie Diaz is a successful marketing strategist, radio host, and brand guru who specializes in empowering entrepreneurs. Her company, Mastermind Your Launch, has helped multiple businesses put the right face, message, and systems behind their brand so that they can confidently and effectively enter the marketplace.

Tiffany Fulcher

Business Consultant

Tiffany Fulcher is a tech entrepreneur dedicated to helping women build profitable businesses and lead purposeful lives. She is CEO and Founder of Momspace, an online business community devoted to training and developing mom entrepreneurs. In addition to Momspace, Tiffany co-owns Marcole Software Development with her husband, Frederick Fulcher. She has been featured in several publications including Black Enterprise, The Huffington Post, Essence, and Rolling Out Magazine. She and her husband have three children: Sydnei, Symone, and Trey.

tiffanyfulcher.co

Russ Graf

Vice President of Sales, NETSTOCK

Russ Graf has more than 25 years of experience in all aspects of building and managing an application software VAR business, catering to small and medium businesses. He is a founding partner and sales and marketing executive for a Sage software partner in Arizona.

His specialities include sales, sales management, marketing, business development, and channel management.

Sessions

Rachel Green

Publicist and Brand Strategist

As CEO of A Brand Called U and founder of Leader Ship Box, Rachel Green has cultivated her passion for public relations and brand management into multifaceted award-winning businesses that operate successfully in competitive arenas such as sports, lifestyle, tech, non-profit, and subscription box services. Rachel's clients have been featured in outlets such as Forbes, Essence, Black Enterprise, CNN, Crain's Business, Inc. Magazine, Mix Mag, and more. Rachel holds a Master’s degree in Marketing and as an advocate for continued education, she teaches small business courses on public relations, marketing, and branding.

Gene Hammett

Strategic Coach, Speaker, Author

Gene Hammett turns everyday entrepreneurs into FORCES of nature in their market.  He sorts through the complexities of business strategies to help you ""be THE choice, not just a choice"" Gene has been a business leader for 20+ years. He started and ran multiple million dollar companies. He succeeded, failed, reinvented himself, and succeeded again. He can pass along to you the key lessons he’s learned in the process so you can have a business that is both successful and fulfilling.

On his podcast, Leaders in the Trenches, Gene has interviewed hundreds of world thought leaders and best-selling New York Times authors. Gene has been featured in Forbes, Success Magazine, Business Insider, and INC Magazine. Gene is also a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine.

Tom Hood

Executive director and CEO of the Maryland Association of CPAs

Tom Hood has been executive director and CEO of the Maryland Association of CPAs since 1997. Armed with a passion for the profession and the drive to move it forward, he manages a staff of more than 30, works closely with the Executive Committee and Board of Directors, and oversees the work of numerous committees to promote and protect the CPA brand in Maryland.

Since joining the MACPA, Tom has helped the association build and strengthen relationships at the state and national levels, develop a vision and strategy to advance the association and its members, and develop strategic alliances within the business, governmental, and educational communities.

He has been named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the Accounting Profession by “Accounting Today” for his profession-wide change-management efforts and his role in creating a national shared services model for the state and national CPA organizations.

Sessions

Ed Kless

Interim Vice President of Sage Accountant Solutions and host of the Sage Advice Podcast

Ed Kless joined Sage in July, of 2003 and is currently the interim Vice president of Sage Accountant Solutions. Ed is the host of the Sage Advice Podcast and co-host of the VoiceAmerica Network talk show "The Soul of Enterprise: Business in the Knowledge Economy with Ron Baker." Ed founded the VeraSage Institute and is chair of the Collin County (Texas) Libertarian Party. He lives north of Dallas with his wife and two children.

Sessions

Danielle Lee

Managing Editor, Accounting Today

Danielle Lee, managing editor of Accounting Today, previously served as technology editor of Accounting Today and editor-in- chief of AccountingTechnology.com. Prior to that, she held the role of senior editor. Before joining SourceMedia, Danielle covered the emerging corporate responsibility movement for CRO (Corporate Responsibility Officer, now CR) magazine as executive editor and worked for a range of entertainment and lifestyle publications in Los Angeles, including industry trade magazine TelevisionWeek. She holds a bachelor's degree in print journalism and a minor in cinema/television from the University of Southern California.

Sessions

Nakia Melecio

Founder, NKM Consulting Group, LLC

As founder of NKM Consulting Group, Nakia Melecio is dedicated to organizational development, leadership, human capital, and executive coaching. He consults with government and industry leaders to create high-performance environments that directly impact the mission of change, culture, and the bottom line. He shares in the thought leadership community through writing as well as speaking at conferences and community events.

Nakia has a master's degree in education, bachelor’s degrees in psychology and cognitive behavior, and is a doctoral candidate in psychology. He also completed in-depth training program to become a certified executive coach and life coach.

Known for his outgoing personality, impressive intuition, and positive attitude, Nakia is dedicated to building sustainable relationships with clients, partners, and vendors alike. A devout man of faith, he lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Sessions

Michael Michalowicz

Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker

A former columnist for The Wall Street Journal and MSNBC's “Your Business,” Mike Michalowicz is a popular keynote speaker who has written several books including “The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur,” which BusinessWeek called “an entrepreneur’s cult classic.”

By his 35th birthday, Mike had founded and sold two multi-million dollar companies. Confident that he understood the formula to success, he became an angel investor—and proceeded to lose his entire fortune. Then he started all over again, driven to find better ways to grow healthy, strong companies.

Mike is now running his third million-dollar venture. He is also regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine and American Express's "Open Forum" series. Additionally, he was a recurring entrepreneurship expert for CNBC's “The Big Idea” with Donny Deutsch, and has appeared on the CES “Roadshow” series as well as on NBC, Fox News, ABC News Now, CNBC's “On the Money,” and Pat Croce's “Down To Business.”

Barry Moltz

Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker

Barry Moltz has decades of entrepreneurial experience in his own business ventures as well as consulting countless other entrepreneurs, applying simple, strategic steps to facilitate change.

Barry has founded an angel investor group, an angel fund, and is a former advisory member of the board of the Angel Capital Education Foundation. His first of five books, “You Need to Be A Little Crazy: The Truth about Starting and Growing Your Business,” describes the ups and downs and emotional trials of running a business.

A member of the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, Barry is an adjunct professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He has appeared on many TV and radio programs such as CNBC’s “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch,” MSNBC’s “Your Business” and NPR’s “The Tavis Smiley Show.” He hosts his own radio show, “Business Insanity Talk Radio,” and writes regularly for the American Express Open Forum and other online and offline periodicals.

Jody Padar

CEO and Principal of the New Vision CPA Group

Jody Padar is CEO and Principal of the New Vision CPA Group, a public accounting firm based in the Chicago area. As one of the profession’s emerging thought leaders, Jody has transitioned New Vision to a firm that adopts advanced technologies and best practices that support web-based client services.

Jody is a highly sought-after speaker in the tax and accounting profession. She is the author of “The Radical CPA: New Rules for the Future-Ready Firm,” a book that sparked a movement within the accounting profession focusing on four tenets: cloud technology, social business, value pricing, and process.

She is a regular contributor to several industry publications, including “CPA Trendlines” and “Accounting Today,” in which she has been named among the 100 Most Influential People in the Accounting Profession for the last five years. Jody was also named one of 2015's Top 10 Money & Finance Writers on LinkedIn’s inaugural Top Voices list.

Gail Perry

CPA, Editor in Chief, CPA Practice Advisor

Gail Perry maintains a small tax service and is the editor-in- chief of "CPA Practice Advisor." She also speaks at many accounting events, trade shows, and webinars and has written more than 30 books (including "Mint.com For Dummies" and "QuickBooks 2014 On Demand."

Gail is a graduate of Indiana University where she earned a bachelors degree in journalism. She returned to school to study accounting at Illinois State University, earned her CPA, and worked for Deloitte in the firm's Chicago tax department. She has taught college-level accounting principles and personal finance, and was on staff for 10 years at the Indiana CPA Society as a computer applications instructor. Gail was the publisher and editor-in-chief of AccountingWEB before joining the CPA Practice Advisor team.

Sessions

Buffie Purselle

Tax Heiress, Buffie the Tax Heiress, LLC

Buffie Purselle is the founder of Buffie the Tax Heiress, a chain of tax and accounting practices throughout Georgia; the Creative Artist Group, a business management and concierge service for film and TV executives; and Crawl Before You Ball, a personal and business financial management company. She also wrote “Crawl Before You Ball,” a personal finance self-help book to help individuals break the cycle of living from direct deposit to payday loan to direct deposit.

Buffie is also a highly sought after tax and personal finance expert seen weekly on local Atlanta and national media outlets. She recently made her cable television debut on the “The Partner” on CNBC after being chosen out of 20,000 applicants, and finished the competition in the top four. She and her husband, Dr. David Purselle, have a dog, Louie, and a cat, Leo.

Brooke Schnitker

Group Planning Director at Neo@Ogilvy

Brooke Schnitker has been working for 13 years in agency environments planning, managing, and directing marketing initiatives for B2B and B2C brands worldwide. She specializes in developing digital performance marketing programs consisting of SEM, programmatic, paid social, affiliate and CRO, including integrations with ad tech platforms.

In addition, Brooke has substantial experience managing multi-disciplined workforces ranging from strategy to media, analytics, creative, and development. She finds great satisfaction in mentoring, coaching, and developing direct report staff.

Sessions

Cameka Smith

CEO and Founder, The BOSS Network

Founder of The BOSS Network, a community of professional and entrepreneurial women, Cameka Smith’s work is dedicated to “Bringing Out Successful Sisters”—promoting and encouraging the small business spirit and professional development of women.

Under Cameka’s leadership, The BOSS Network has been named to the Top 50 Websites for Entrepreneurs (Inc. Magazine), 10 Best Career Sites for Women (Forbes.com), and one of nine Twitter Accounts to Enhance Your College Experience (BlackEnterprise.com). In recognition of her achievements, Cameka was listed in Jet Magazine as a 40 under 40 Entrepreneur.

As the author of “7 Steps to Grow Your Professional Network: A Guide for College Graduates” and “Professionals in a Tough Economy,” Cameka frequently travels to college campuses with her nonprofit group, BOSS On Campus, to speak or lead training workshops. Cameka lives in Chicago where she is involved with assisting community organizations and mentoring young women.

Sessions

Susan Solovic

The Small Business Expert

After starting her career as a news anchor and reporter, Susan Solovic is now an award-winning serial entrepreneur, best-selling author, popular keynote speaker, and attorney.

Susan was the CEO and co-founder of one of the first video-based Internet sites, a company she grew from its infancy to a million-dollar-plus entity. She also served as a small-business contributor for ABC News and hosted a syndicated radio program, “It’s Your Biz.” Additionally, she appears regularly as a small-business expert on Fox Business, Fox News, The Wall Street Journal’s “Lunch Break,” CNN, CNBC, and many other stations across the country.

Susan is also a featured blogger on numerous sites, including Entrepreneur.com, Huffington Post, AT&T Business Circle, NewsMax TV, and FoxBusiness.com.

She is a past board member of the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard University, the Women Presidents’ Organization, Women Impacting Public Policy, and the Institute for the Economic Development of Women.

Brian Tankersley

CPA, CITP, Director of Strategic Relationships, K2 Enterprises

Brian Tankersley is a consultant who advises US firms and companies on accounting technology issues. With more than 20 years of professional accounting, auditing, technology, and education experience, Brian has been with K2 Enterprises since 2005.

Author of a nationally recognized blog on accounting and technology (cpatechblog.com), Brian co-writes the Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey, which has been published annually for the last three years. He has been recognized seven times as one of the Top 25 Thought Leaders in Public Accounting Technology by Cygnus Business Media and received the Outstanding Discussion Leader Award from the Tennessee Society of CPAs in 2009 and 2013.

Brian holds bachelor’s degrees in both accounting and finance, cum laude, from the University of Tennessee and is a member of the Tennessee Society of CPAs and the American Institute of CPAs.

He and his family make their home in Farragut, Tennessee.

Sessions

Geni Whitehouse

Owner, Even a Nerd

Geni Whitehouse is a CPA who divides her time between working as a winery consultant at Brotemarkle, Davis & Co in the Napa Valley, and writing, speaking, and tweeting about what some might consider nerdy subjects.

As a former partner in a CPA firm, two-time software company executive, and recent CMO of a tech startup, she has a passion for applying technology to solving business problems. Geni has been named a Top 100 Influencer by "Accounting Today," one of 25 Thought Leaders in Accounting, and one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Accounting by CPA Practice Advisor. She is a member of the TEDxNapaValley organizing committee and was the first speaker at their first TEDx event in 2011.

Geni is the author of “How to Make a Boring Subject Interesting: 52 Ways Even a Nerd Can be Heard” on Amazon.com and is a cofounder of Solve Services, which provides remote bookkeeping services to companies in the wine industry.

Sessions

Priscilla Q. Williams

Royal Life Catalyst & Life Coach

Priscilla Q. Williams is a registered nurse, global nurse educator, speaker, author, and certified overflow coach. She helps women see their brilliance and live the life they truly desire.

priscillaqwilliams.com

Visit the Mentor Lounge for expert advice

Schedule a consultation with leading business experts to receive private mentoring on one of five personalised topics. More than 20 business experts on hand to spark a-ha moments and inspire dreams.

Ronald J. Baker

Founder, VeraSage Institute

Ronald J. Baker started his CPA career in 1984 with KPMG’s Private Business Advisory Services in San Francisco and is the founder of VeraSage Institute—a leading think tank dedicated to educating professionals worldwide.

Host of “The Soul of Enterprise: Business in the Knowledge Economy,” a radio talk show on VoiceAmerica.com, Ron has been an instructor with the California CPA Education Foundation since 1995 and has authored 15 courses for them.

He is also the author of seven best-selling books, including “Mind Over Matter: Why Intellectual Capital is the Chief Source of Wealth.” His most recent book, co-authored with Ed Kless, is “The Soul of Enterprise: Dialogues on Business in the Knowledge Economy.”

Ron was appointed to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ think tank Group of One Hundred and was listed on the 100 Most Influential People in the Accounting Profession by “Accounting Today” 11 times.

Sessions

Becky Berry

Owner, Becky Berry Coaching

Becky Berry owns Becky Berry LLC, coaching women who are at a crossroads in their lives. Many of her clients have started their own small businesses. Becky’s rich background in startups and entrepreneurship allow her to provide distinctive insights and strategies to clients as they pursue their business and life goals.

In a wide-ranging and varied career, Becky has been a magazine publisher, software entrepreneur, stay-at-home mom for 12 years, and social entrepreneur. She helps women create rich, meaningful lives on their own terms. Becky also produces and cohosts the "Uniquely Brilliant" podcast.

David Butler

Chief Growth Officer, Kids II

David Butler has helped startups scale and global companies grow for more than 25 years. His book (co-authored with Linda Tischler) “Design to Grow: How Coca-Cola Learned to Combine Scale and Agility (and How You Can Too),” explores the relationship between design, startup culture, and corporate growth. Currently, Butler helps the company Kids II scale globally as its Chief Growth Officer.

Before joining Coca-Cola, Butler led digital brand strategy for Sapient. He also was the CEO and co-founder of Process1234.com, where he designed CNN’s first streaming audio and video platform. Butler began his career designing large-scale brand identity systems for a several organizations including Delta, Cartoon Network, and the 1996 Olympic Games.

Butler was named “Master of Design” by Fast Company and to Forbes’ “Executive Dream Team.” In 2012, he was asked to co-chair the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Design and Innovation.

Niquenya Collins

President and CEO of Building Bridges Consulting

Niquenya Collins, or "Coach Niquenya" as she is better known, is the President and CEO of Building Bridges Consulting, a small business consulting, executive coaching, and corporate training firm specializing in transforming dreamers into successful entrepreneurs. She has over 20 years; experience partnering with small business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, and other business professionals to bridge the gap between where they are now and where they need to be to build successful, sustainable, and profitable organizations. She deliberately seeks out entrepreneurs with bigger-than- life visions who want to stop wasting time, monetize their talents, and generate the revenue their business concepts truly deserve. Coach Niquenya's Jump$tart Business Basics Training Series™ arms small business owners with the knowledge and resources to improve business acumen and decision-making skills, integrate technology tools to automate critical business processes, and create customer loyalty by mastering marketing communications. In addition to her work with small businesses and entrepreneurs, Coach Niquenya delivers career coaching and transitional job training in partnership with workforce development programs and is the author of several professional development titles available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores.

Jeremy Corner

CEO Blue Eyed Sun

Jeremy Corner is a Sage business expert, writer, and international speaker. Passionate about small business and personal development, he is the CEO of Blue Eyed Sun and a winner of the prestigious Queen’s Award. He is also the Vice-Chairman of the Giftware Association and Treasurer of the Greeting Card Association, which supports small businesses in the UK. Jeremy blogs about business and retail at www.blueeyedsun.co.uk/blog.

Tieshena Davis

CEO, Puposely Created Publishing

Tieshena Davis is the bestselling author of “Think Like a Bookpreneur,” creator of the Indie Author Legacy Awards (IALA), and the founder of Purposely Created Publishing Group, an international award-winning firm specializing in author branding and development. She appears widely at public events, training entrepreneurs on how to create, package and monetize their writing to accelerate their business. Her work in the publishing industry has led her to being recently honored as Prince George’s County Maryland Top Forty Under 40, recognized as one of DC’s 100 Metro Phenomenal Women, and voted “2015 Best of the Best in Publishing” by Examiner.com.

Stefanie Diaz

Marketing Strategist, Radio Host

Stefanie Diaz is a successful marketing strategist, radio host, and brand guru who specializes in empowering entrepreneurs. Her company, Mastermind Your Launch, has helped multiple businesses put the right face, message, and systems behind their brand so that they can confidently and effectively enter the marketplace.

Robert Digby

SVP, General Manager, Sage

An entrepreneur at heart, Robert Digby is the SVP and General Manager of the Sage Payroll Division. Prior to that role as CEO of PayChoice, Robert led the successful sale of PayChoice to Sage in October, 2014. He has been involved in start-up businesses and Fortune 1000 organizations ,leading over 30 sale/buy side transactions.

Larry Duff

Principal Application Development Manager, Microsoft

Larry Duff supports software development activities on customer’s products through both proactive and reactive engagements.  Throughout his 18-year career at Microsoft, he has held various leadership roles and been a business manager, engagement manager, and consultant.  Additionally, he completed a five-year assignment in Redmond, Washington, supporting the Product Server Product team.  Larry has also been a speaker at many Microsoft internal events and external events (TechEd, Professional Developers Conference, WW Partner Conference, and Project Conference).

With his current team, Larry helped build the business from a $30 million to over $150 million over the last five years. Some of his passions are learning the latest technologies, designing software solutions, delivering great customer service, and establishing pre-sales engagement.  Before joining Microsoft, Larry developed retail point-of sale systems and worked as an engineer for NASA.  He has a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering and a master of science degree in computer science, both from Florida Institute of Technology.

James Emerick

EVP Global Customer Services, Sage

As Global Executive Vice President of Customer Services for Sage, Jim Emerick is responsible for delivering a positive customer service experience across all servicing channels, products, and geographies. Before joining Sage, Jim worked in the financial services and aerospace industries with Bank of America, Honeywell International, and TRW. He has held executive roles spanning general management, sales, marketing, operations, services, transformation and acquisitions.

Jim has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Sonoma State University and an MBA from Pepperdine University. In addition to his professional career, he has been an adjunct faculty member in Pepperdine’s Executive MBA program for 15 years.

Jim holds a U.S. patent for an air quality product application for aircraft and is a certified Six Sigma Greenbelt. He has served on several boards of directors and steering committees for both profit and non-profit organizations.

Laura Fraser

VP Strategic Alliances, Sage

As Vice President of Strategic Alliances for Sage since September 2015, Laura Fraser is responsible for developing the ecosystem of strategic global partnerships with top technology and services companies such as Amazon, Deloitte, Microsoft, PwC, and Salesforce to amplify the Sage brand and increase market share. Previously, she was Director of Global Alliances and Alliance Manager at Microsoft for nine years, where she managed more than150 strategic application software companies.

Laura has received numerous awards for performance excellence in her nearly 30 years in the technology industry. She is most proud of exceeding personal revenue objectives consecutively for over 20 years in sales and sales management.

Laura earned a bachelor of arts in communications from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in business administration from Seattle University. She and her family live in Issaquah, Washington.

Nick Goode

Nick Goode

EVP, Product Management, Sage

Nick Goode leads product management for Sage. He's been in the software industry for over 20 years, working globally on bots, cloud, mobile, and enterprise B2B products. He's passionate about leadership, digital engagement, innovation and customer success. Outside work, Nick is crazy about sports and healthy living. He lives on a farm in Cheshire with his wife, children, and horses.

Amanda Hammett

The Millennial Translator

Amanda Hammett was hired out of college as one of the youngest Technical Recruiters for IBM.  After leaving IBM, she launched two separate multi-million dollar companies and, prior to her 26th birthday, led these companies to a large client base across 85 of the world’s 196 countries.

Over the past 6 years, millennials nicknamed Amanda the “Millennial Translator” as she barn-stormed the US (800 keynote speeches for 500 organizations across 25 states) and spoke to more than 100,000 millennials.  Hammett’s ability to grasp and articulate the millennials state of mind not only to millennials themselves, but to other corporate executives from other generations, continues to drive demand for consulting, workshops and speeches throughout the world.

Currently, Amanda is working with leaders of Fortune 500s as well as from one of the most venerated privately held conglomerations as they look towards the future of their companies and how to best develop leaders and plan the line of corporate succession.

Gene Hammett

Strategic Coach, Speaker, Author

Gene Hammett turns everyday entrepreneurs into FORCES of nature in their market.  He sorts through the complexities of business strategies to help you ""be THE choice, not just a choice"" Gene has been a business leader for 20+ years. He started and ran multiple million dollar companies. He succeeded, failed, reinvented himself, and succeeded again. He can pass along to you the key lessons he’s learned in the process so you can have a business that is both successful and fulfilling.

On his podcast, Leaders in the Trenches, Gene has interviewed hundreds of world thought leaders and best-selling New York Times authors. Gene has been featured in Forbes, Success Magazine, Business Insider, and INC Magazine. Gene is also a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine.

Belinda Landers Jackson

Professional Sales Coach

Conchetta Jones

Personal Development & Lifestyle Coach

Conchetta Jones is an author, model, speaker, and certified overflow coach. As founder/owner of She’s All That! Woman (a personal development and lifestyle xompany), she helps women to identify obstacles that are keeping them from living the life of their dreams.

satwoman.com

Ed Kless

Interim Vice President of Sage Accountant Solutions and host of the Sage Advice Podcast

Ed Kless joined Sage in July, of 2003 and is currently the interim Vice president of Sage Accountant Solutions. Ed is the host of the Sage Advice Podcast and co-host of the VoiceAmerica Network talk show "The Soul of Enterprise: Business in the Knowledge Economy with Ron Baker." Ed founded the VeraSage Institute and is chair of the Collin County (Texas) Libertarian Party. He lives north of Dallas with his wife and two children.

Sessions

Taunya A. Lowe, Ph.D.

Consultant, Trainer, Executive Coach

Author, Podcaster, Strategist, Consultant, Trainer! Dr. Taunya Lowe, ‘The Riot Starter’ is an innovative, insightful, change agent who understands the concept of adding value to others. As a trainer and presenter, she is witty and engaging while offering practical solutions, healing the pain points around team progression and productivity, succession planning, and professional development using DiSC and 360 assessments, customized training, and coaching in organizations. A national and international speaker, trainer, consultant and coach, Dr. Lowe has an impressive human services background which spans many disciplines. She is the founder and driving force behind the Riot Starter movement which consists of programs, products, retreats, and trainings. She is inspirational, transformational and your partner for individual and organizational success. For complete bio visit www.drtaunyalowe.com

Nakia Melecio

Founder, NKM Consulting Group, LLC

As founder of NKM Consulting Group, Nakia Melecio is dedicated to organizational development, leadership, human capital, and executive coaching. He consults with government and industry leaders to create high-performance environments that directly impact the mission of change, culture, and the bottom line. He shares in the thought leadership community through writing as well as speaking at conferences and community events.

Nakia has a master's degree in education, bachelor’s degrees in psychology and cognitive behavior, and is a doctoral candidate in psychology. He also completed in-depth training program to become a certified executive coach and life coach.

Known for his outgoing personality, impressive intuition, and positive attitude, Nakia is dedicated to building sustainable relationships with clients, partners, and vendors alike. A devout man of faith, he lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Sessions

Michael Michalowicz

Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker

A former columnist for The Wall Street Journal and MSNBC's “Your Business,” Mike Michalowicz is a popular keynote speaker who has written several books including “The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur,” which BusinessWeek called “an entrepreneur’s cult classic.”

By his 35th birthday, Mike had founded and sold two multi-million dollar companies. Confident that he understood the formula to success, he became an angel investor—and proceeded to lose his entire fortune. Then he started all over again, driven to find better ways to grow healthy, strong companies.

Mike is now running his third million-dollar venture. He is also regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine and American Express's "Open Forum" series. Additionally, he was a recurring entrepreneurship expert for CNBC's “The Big Idea” with Donny Deutsch, and has appeared on the CES “Roadshow” series as well as on NBC, Fox News, ABC News Now, CNBC's “On the Money,” and Pat Croce's “Down To Business.”

Barry Moltz

Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker

Barry Moltz has decades of entrepreneurial experience in his own business ventures as well as consulting countless other entrepreneurs, applying simple, strategic steps to facilitate change.

Barry has founded an angel investor group, an angel fund, and is a former advisory member of the board of the Angel Capital Education Foundation. His first of five books, “You Need to Be A Little Crazy: The Truth about Starting and Growing Your Business,” describes the ups and downs and emotional trials of running a business.

A member of the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, Barry is an adjunct professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He has appeared on many TV and radio programs such as CNBC’s “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch,” MSNBC’s “Your Business” and NPR’s “The Tavis Smiley Show.” He hosts his own radio show, “Business Insanity Talk Radio,” and writes regularly for the American Express Open Forum and other online and offline periodicals.

Corey Moore

Owner

Corey ‘NetworKing’ Moore is a networking advocate who passionately encourages entrepreneurs and sales professionals to increase their businesses through face-to- face networking. Corey attributes his accelerated success in business all from networking. He is a firm believer that it is not what you know, nor who you know, but who knows you.

Mr. Moore helps professionals locate local business events through his company ProNetworker, Atlanta’s largest resource center for business events, networking events, seminars, expos, and the like. Currently, ProNetworker produces/hosts 24+ events per year. They have produced networking events with over 200 attendees, expos with 120 exhibitors & 500+ attendees. ProNetworker has also hosted premier events with featured speakers, including Daymond John & Kevin Harrington, stars from ABC’s hit show Shark Tank.

Some of the companies that have used his event platforms to feature their products/services include Atlanta Business Chronicle, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Microsoft, Sprint, InfusionSoft, BNI, Constant Contact, Fifth Third Bank, American Express, and Sage.

Danielle Pierce

Real Estate BOSS

Danielle Pierce is a speaker, author, business coach, and 10-uear real estate wealth strategist. She specializes in showing “mompreneurs” how to elevate their style of living and create generational wealth through real estate. Register for her next webinar at daniellepierce.com

Buffie Purselle

Tax Heiress, Buffie the Tax Heiress, LLC

Buffie Purselle is the founder of Buffie the Tax Heiress, a chain of tax and accounting practices throughout Georgia; the Creative Artist Group, a business management and concierge service for film and TV executives; and Crawl Before You Ball, a personal and business financial management company. She also wrote “Crawl Before You Ball,” a personal finance self-help book to help individuals break the cycle of living from direct deposit to payday loan to direct deposit.

Buffie is also a highly sought after tax and personal finance expert seen weekly on local Atlanta and national media outlets. She recently made her cable television debut on the “The Partner” on CNBC after being chosen out of 20,000 applicants, and finished the competition in the top four. She and her husband, Dr. David Purselle, have a dog, Louie, and a cat, Leo.

Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk

Founder and Owner, BBR Marketing

Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk (like rustic without the “t”) is the founder and owner of bbr marketing. More accurately, she is a client whisperer, marketing strategist, and business growth catalyst. Since the firm’s beginning in 2009, Bonnie has led the company to become widely recognized and respected within the professional services marketing niche, with award-winning client websites and an outstanding history of business success.

Bonnie is in great demand as a consultant, speaker and leader at various industry events and does not dislike traveling to cool places to contribute her experience and thought leadership.

Susan Solovic

The Small Business Expert

After starting her career as a news anchor and reporter, Susan Solovic is now an award-winning serial entrepreneur, best-selling author, popular keynote speaker, and attorney.

Susan was the CEO and co-founder of one of the first video-based Internet sites, a company she grew from its infancy to a million-dollar-plus entity. She also served as a small-business contributor for ABC News and hosted a syndicated radio program, “It’s Your Biz.” Additionally, she appears regularly as a small-business expert on Fox Business, Fox News, The Wall Street Journal’s “Lunch Break,” CNN, CNBC, and many other stations across the country.

Susan is also a featured blogger on numerous sites, including Entrepreneur.com, Huffington Post, AT&T Business Circle, NewsMax TV, and FoxBusiness.com.

She is a past board member of the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard University, the Women Presidents’ Organization, Women Impacting Public Policy, and the Institute for the Economic Development of Women.

Nicole Thomas

Puposeful Living Strategist

Nicole Thomas is an educator, motivator, and purposeful living enthusiast. She has 11 years of experience in leadership, healthcare management, and clinical knowledge. Her mission is to help empower female healthcare professionals through her brands Nicole Thomas INC & Going Beyond The Chart. She is currently working on her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and is the author of “In Health, On Purpose: Awakening  to Your True Calling in The Healthcare Profession."

nicolethomasinc.com

Jacqueline de Rojas

Jennifer Warawa

EVP, Product Marketing, Sage

Jennifer has been with Sage for over nine years and leads product marketing, based in Sage’s Atlanta, Georgia office in the US. Before working with Sage, Jennifer owned an accounting and consulting firm in Kelowna, Canada. She is passionate about helping others reach their full potential and outside of work, loves mentoring youth, and is an active foster parent.

C. Lynn Williams

Family Dynamic Strategist

Lynn Williams is an MBA graduate, author, speaker, and educator. Her passion is helping parents who seek better relationships with each other, as well as their tweens, teens, and adult children. To help working moms have better work-life balance, she created Finding Superwoman™. Her motto: Providing parenting solutions. Building solid foundations. Securing promising futures.

clynnwilliams.com

Joey Womack

Founder, Amplify 4 Good; Founder, Goodie Nation; Entrepreneur

Joey Womack is the founder and CEO of Amplify 4 Good, a social enterprise startup that uses rapid problem-solving to help organizations create positive social impact. He also co-founded and is the Executive Director of Goodie Nation, a nonprofit that empowers teams to solve some of society’s toughest problems.

Joey was bitten by entrepreneurial bug in 2002 when he launched digitalguestlist.com as a graduate student at Florida A&M University, where he earned a master’s degree in 2003. He grew the site to 80,000 subscribers/users, and advertised thousands of events for Fortune 500 companies, agencies, and high-profile promoters.

He has been named one of the Top 10 social entrepreneurs in Atlanta by Hypepotamus, featured in McDonald’s “Black Your Story” campaign, recognized by PepsiCo as a “Champion for Change,” and listed by Huffington Post as one of the Top 20 innovators in Atlanta’s tech startup scene.

Denise Zannu

Business owner, entrepreneur

Denise Zannu began as a “kitchen chemist,” using her knowledge of herbs and aromatherapy to make natural products such as soaps, candles, and oils for friends and family. She proceeded to launch Black Mermaid after co-workers started offering to pay for soaps that she had been giving away for years. That success led to her victory in the Gwinnett Chamber’s Amazing Entrepreneur Contest in 2014 after being featured in both the Atlanta Journal Constitution and the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Denise holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education and has worked in a range of positions from independent consultant to executive director in the non-profit, corporate, and educational fields.

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