Erika Anderson

Erika is the founding partner of Proteus, a coaching, consulting and training firm that focuses on leader readiness. She and her colleagues at Proteus support leaders at all levels to get ready and stay ready to meet whatever the future might bring.

Erika advises leading executives in companies like NBCUniversal, Tory Burch, GE, Madison Square Garden, HULU and Viacom, focusing with them on organizational visioning and strategy, team development, and their own management and leadership evolution.

She also shares her insights about leading people, staying ready for the future, and creating successful businesses through her books and speaking engagements, and via social media. Erika is one of the most popular leadership bloggers at, and is the author of Leading So People Will Follow, Being Strategic, and Growing Great Employees, and the author and host of the Proteus Leader Show, a regular podcast that offers quick, practical support for leaders and managers.

In her latest book, Be Bad First: Get Good At Things Fast to Stay Ready for the Future, Erika explores what she calls the “key skill for the 21st century”: the ability to acquire new skills and knowledge continuously and well. Want to see how you stack up? Take the quiz here.

Connect with Erika on Twitter, Facebook, on her own blog, or at Forbes.

Federico Pistono is social entrepreneur, computer scientist, award-winning journalist, author, scientific educator, activist, and public speaker. He holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Verona, and in 2012 he graduated from Singularity University, NASA Ames Research Park.

His research has been utilized by major economic institutions, universities, and think tanks, such as the Society for Human Resource Management in collaboration with The Economist Intelligence Unit, and the Future of Jobs Summit in California.  He has ten years of professional experience in a variety of difference fields—IT Management, System Administration with Unix and Linux systems, Web Development, Product Management, UX design, Human Machine Interaction, Journalism and Science Reporting, Editing, Screenwriting, and Directing.

He’s Founder and CEO of Konoz, a website where one can learn anything for free and support their favorite YouTube creators. He’s author of the Amazon best-selling book “Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That’s OK: How to Survive the Economic Collapse and be Happy” and the Sci-Fi Novel “A Tale of Two Futures”.

Federico has extensive experience with grassroots activism since the age of 19, having founded and coordinated social movements and non-profits to promote sustainability around the world. He’s member of the Science Advisory Board of TEDxBologna, Founder and Honorary President of “Association Sustainable Society”, Founder of TEDxVerona, Founder of Axelera, and Founder of The Zeitgeist Movement (TZM) Italy — TZM has half a million activists in more than 100 countries.

He routinely tours around the world, lecturing on exponential technologies at Fortune 500 companies, conferences, universities, and symposia; such as Qualcomm, Telenor, the University of San Paolo, the University of Oslo, the International Education and Resource Network Summit, TEDxVienna, and Singularity University. He was interviewed by several newspapers, radios, TVs, and magazines, among which are The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Vice Magazine, Folha de S. Paulo, Italian National TV; while he wrote for the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, The Work Foundation, Il Corriere della Sera, and Forbes Magazine.



Floyd’s early career was as a soldier in the Parachute Regiment. He spent four years with the 1st Battalion before joining the Special Air Service at the age of 22.

He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his work in Iraq and an MBE for his work in Afghanistan.

During his time in the military Floyd studied law and psychology and wrote his first book “Learning to Learn”. Since leaving the military Floyd established his consultancy business alongside his commercial business ventures and became a director of a number of companies in the oil and gas industry, technology and finance.

Floyd regularly lectures on leadership all over the world, recently winning a prestigious award as a high-performing speaker.

Joshua Spodek hosts the Leadership and the Environment podcast and is an Adjunct Professor at NYU, leadership coach and workshop leader for Columbia Business School, columnist for Inc., founder of, and author.

He has led seminars in leadership, entrepreneurship, creativity, and sales at Harvard, Princeton, MIT, INSEAD (Singapore), the New York Academy of Science, and in private corporations. He holds five Ivy League degrees, including a PhD in Astrophysics and an MBA, and studied under a Nobel laureate. He helped build an X-ray observational satellite for NASA, co-founded and led as CEO or COO several ventures, and holds six patents.

He earned praise as “Best and Brightest” (Esquire Magazine’s Genius Issue), “Astrophysicist turned new media whiz” (NBC), and “Rocket Scientist” (ABC News and Forbes) and has been quoted and profiled by ABC, CBS, NBC, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He has visited North Korea twice, swam across the Hudson River, and has done burpees every day for six years and counting. He lives in Greenwich Village and blogs daily at www.joshuaspodek.

A seasoned businesswoman, educator, author, and consultant, Ms. Zuker has held executive positions in publishing, higher education and communications.  As a keynote speaker, she has addressed meetings and conferences in the industry, government and professional associations.

“The Seven Secrets of Influence” by Elaina Zuker is an international best-seller, has been translated into 6 languages, and has sold more than 150,000 copies worldwide. It was the Main Selection for the Business Week Book Club and the Newbridge Book Club.

Rave Reviews from Readers Representing All Walks of Business Life . . . “Elaina Zuker has always been able to influence me to act on her suggestions. Now I know why! A must-read for anyone in sales.”

As the college’s director of graduate programs and the director of supply chain outreach, I get to bring students and our business partners together to see great things happen.

Whether that is through an industry site-visit, a case competition, or a career development event – I see our industry participants get excited about the students we are preparing and I get to see my students connect their education and their future career.

My classes integrate hands-on experience and industry guest speakers. Outside the classroom, I encourage my students to engage with industry through site-visits, professional groups, research projects and case competitions.

My research keeps me engaged with business technology and analytics in practice as well as the more applied world of logistics and supply chain management.

Michael J. Gelb is the world’s leading authority on the application of genius thinking to personal and organizational development. He is a pioneer in the fields of creative thinking, accelerated learning, and innovative leadership. Gelb leads seminars for organizations such as DuPont, Merck, Microsoft, Nike, Roche and YPO. He brings more than 35 years of experience as a professional speaker, seminar leader and organizational consultant to his diverse, international clientele.

Michael Gelb is the author of 14 books on creativity and innovation including the international best seller How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day. (1998) How to Think Like Leonardo has been translated into 25 languages and has appeared on the Washington Post, Amazon, and the New York Times best seller lists.

In 2007 Gelb released Innovate Like Edison: The Five Step System for Breakthrough Business Success, co-authored with Sarah Miller Caldicott, the great grand niece of Thomas Edison. As Professor Vijay Govindarajan, author of Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators noted, “This book is a must have for anyone who wants to turn creative ideas into profitable reality.”

In 1999, Michael Gelb won the Brain Trust Charity’s “Brain of the Year” award; other honorees include Prof. Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, Garry Kasparov and Gene Rodenberry. In 2003, Michael was awarded a Batten Fellowship by the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business. Michael co-directs the acclaimed Leading Innovation Seminar at Darden with Professor James Clawson. From 2008 to 2012, Michael Gelb also served as the Director of Creativity and Innovation Leadership for the Conscious Capitalism Institute.

A former professional juggler who once performed with the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, Gelb introduced the idea of teaching juggling as a means to promote accelerated learning and team-building.

He is the author of The 5 Keys to High Performance: Juggling Your Way to Success. A fifth degree black belt in the Japanese martial art of Aikido, Gelb is co-author with International Grandmaster Raymond Keene, of Samurai Chess: Mastering Strategic Thinking Through the Martial Art of the Mind. Michael Gelb is also a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, (the method taught at The Juilliard School for cultivating commanding stage presence), and the author of the classic work: Body Learning: An Introduction to the Alexander Technique. Michael’s 1988 release Present Yourself! Captivate Your Audience with Great Presentation Skills guides readers to develop the communication strategies they need to generate support for their innovative ideas.



Mary Abbajay is an acclaimed and sought-after public speaker, organizational consultant, facilitator, and trainer. She is the president and founder of Careerstone Group, LLC, a professional development consultancy that delivers leading-edge talent and organizational development solutions.

Mary helps clients develop the strategies, skills, and sensibilities needed for success in the 21st century. Her expertise lies in helping clients create dynamic and productive workplaces that foster professional and personal excellence and growth. In short, she is committed to creating workplaces where both the organization and the individual can flourish.

Mary Abbajay brings 20 years of experience in leadership positions, a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management, and post-graduate certificates from Georgetown University and the Coaches Training Institute. In addition to being an entrepreneur and consultant, Mary has served as adjunct faculty at George Mason University’s School of Management and has taught at both Montgomery College and the Georgetown University Center for Professional Development.

Her experience and business savvy has led her to serve as a frequent expert contributor for television, radio and print publications in the greater Washington, DC area.

Author and small talk guru Debra Fine began her career as an engineer, an occupation that allowed her to maintain her natural shyness and avoid situations that required social interactions.

But, after the birth of her two children, Debra took time off from her career and observed those around her who seemed to be natural small talkers. Seeing how others’ speaking abilities allowed them to flourish, Debra decided she was tired of being shy. Around the same time, she lost 65 pounds. This transformation gave Debra all the more confidence. And, after Debra and her husband divorced, she was further compelled to initiate friendships and hone her mingling skills.

Debra researched and studied strategies for starting conversations, keeping them going, remembering names, “actively” listening, exiting with grace and generally making a positive impression on those with whom she struck up conversation. The result is THE FINE ART OF SMALL TALK—a book handy for anyone from business executive to PTA parents, students facing post-college interviews to singles trying to make love connections.

Matt Zinman is a difference-maker devoted to personally enrich the lives of at least 100 million people by 2025. His book, Z-isms: Insights to Live By, is based on his varied experiences as an entrepreneur, athlete, single parent, caregiver, consultant and nonprofit founder. Matt is also the host of “Insights to Live By,” a podcast that invites guests to share their own pearls of wisdom.

In addition to his earned insights about self-discovery, relationships, heightening awareness and life enrichment, Matt is CEO of The Internship Institute, which he established in 2007 to bridge the gap between education and employment while cultivating opportunity for students, veterans, businesses, nonprofits and communities.

Matt also partners with his wife Erica to help others improve their physical health and financial well-being with Isagenix nutrition and wellness solutions.

He began his career in marketing communications working for some of Philadelphia’s most prominent agencies where he assisted nearly 100 companies, including through his own firm, Z Communication, Inc., which he started in 2002.

Matt earned his B.A. in Journalism from Temple University in 1989. He and Erica reside in Bucks County, Pennsylvania with their savvy teenagers, Jake and Greta.