CC17 Keynotes

Elevating humanity through business

David Rendall


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During the last fifteen years, David Rendall has spoken to audiences on every inhabited continent. His clients include the US Air Force and the Australian Government, as well as companies in the Fortune 500 including, AT&T, State Farm Insurance and Ralph Lauren.  

Prior to becoming a speaker, he was a management professor, stand-up comedian and endurance athlete. He also managed nonprofit enterprises that provided employment for people with disabilities. He has more than twenty years of experience leading people and organizations.

David has a doctor of management degree in organizational leadership, as well as a graduate degree in psychology. He is the author of three books:

  • The Four Factors of Effective Leadership
  • The Freak Factor
  • The Freak Factor for Kids

Nikhil Arora & Alejandro Velez


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Back to the Roots was founded in 2009 by college seniors Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora after discovering how to grow gourmet mushrooms on recycled coffee grounds. Since then, Back to the Roots has evolved from urban mushroom farming to a thriving business on a mission to Undo Food™ and reconnect families to it through fun, innovative, and delicious Ready to Grow and Ready to Eat products (Organic Mushroom Farm, Water Garden, Garden-in-a-Can, Garden-in-a-Jar, Organic Self-Watering Planter, and Organic Stoneground Flakes). Back to the Roots currently sells its products in over 14,000 stores worldwide, including Whole Foods Market, Target, Costco, The Home Depot, Nordstrom, Petco, Cost Plus World Market, Loblaw, Giant Eagle, Wegmans, The Fresh Market, Crate & Barrel, Urban Outfitters, Safeway, and Kroger.

Alejandro Velez was born in Medellin, Colombia and moved to the U.S. in 1998 at the age of 11 with his mom and older brother. Alejandro was just fifteen when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer but battled the disease which has now been in remission for twelve years.  Alejandro founded the Sage Mentorship Project during his sophomore year of college at UC Berkeley. Sage is a 1,000+ member non-profit that is the largest college mentoring program in California. The program matches student mentors with elementary school-aged mentees to foster life skills and personal growth. Alejandro graduated summa cum laude from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business with a degree in business administration and a minor in education.

Nikhil Arora grew up in Irvine, CA, and as a first generation Indian-American, spent significant time each year traveling back to India to visit family. He credits much of his interest in sustainability, environmentalism, and undoing food to his family and these childhood trips. During college at UC Berkeley, Nikhil spent six months in West Africa studying at the University of Ghana researching how to best implement a profitable on-campus recycling program. Nikhil graduated summa cum laude with degrees in political science and business administration from the UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Sage Mentorship Project, and the Diversity Council for the Specialty Food Association. Nikhil formerly served on the Board of Directors for the Social Venture Network.

Nikhil and Alejandro have been honored with several awards recognizing their efforts in sustainability and entrepreneurship including BusinessWeek’s “Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25,” Inc.’s “30 Under 30,” Inc. 500, Forbes’ “30 Under 30,” and CNN’s “10 Next Entrepreneurs to Watch.” In addition, Back to the Roots was named a 2013 Martha Stewart Top Ten American Made honoree and recognized by President Obama as Champions of Change.

Paul Zak


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Human connection. Paul’s two decades of research have taken him from the Pentagon to Fortune 50 boardrooms to the rain forest of Papua New Guinea.  All this in a quest to understand the neuroscience of human connection, human happiness, and effective teamwork. His academic lab and companies he has started develop and deploy neuroscience technologies to solve real problems faced by real people.

His latest book, Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High Performance Companies, uses neuroscience to measure and manage organizational cultures to inspire teamwork and accelerate business outcomes.  His 2012 book, The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity, recounted his unlikely discovery of the neurochemical oxytocin as the key driver of trust, love, and morality that distinguish our humanity.  

In another obsession, Paul’s group uses neuroscience to quantify the impact of movies, advertising, stories, and consumer experiences.  Along the way, he has help start several transdisciplinary fields, including neuroeconomics, neuromanagement, and neuromarketing.

Here are his specs: Paul is the founding Director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies and Professor of Economics, Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University. He has degrees in mathematics and economics from San Diego State University, a Ph.D. in economics from University of Pennsylvania, and post-doctoral training in neuroimaging from Harvard.  You can check out his academic lab, consumer neuroscience company, and neuromanagement company.

Paul’s research on oxytocin and relationships has earned him the nickname “Dr. Love.”   That’s cool.  He’s all about adding more love to the world.

Jerry Stritzke


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Jerry Stritzke joined specialty outdoor retailer REI in 2013 from Coach, Inc., where he served as president and COO. Coach, a leading American marketer of fine accessories for men and women, has global sales of $5.1 billion from retail, e-commerce and wholesale divisions.

Prior to Coach, Jerry had a nine-year career with Limited Brands, Inc., the parent company for retail units Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, La Senza and Henri Bendel. While with Limited Brands Jerry oversaw all aspects of operations for the Victoria’s Secret brand as its co-leader and COO. He ran the daily operations of more than 1,000 stores, ecommerce, product development, supply chain and more. During his career with Limited Brands Jerry also served as CEO of a subsidiary company, Mast Industries, which handled all aspects of apparel production and sourcing for both the Limited Brands companies and other leading specialty retail brands.

Earlier in his career, Stritzke was trained as an attorney and worked in private practice before transitioning to a consulting firm specializing in retail.  

An outdoor enthusiast, he enjoys hiking, skiing, fly fishing and rafting, and annually summits one of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountain peaks.

REI info:
REI is a $2.2 billion national multichannel retail co-op headquartered outside of Seattle. With more than 5.5 million active members, REI serves the needs of outdoor adventurers through innovative, quality products; inspiring classes and trips; and integrated customer service that allows shoppers to buy great gear and clothing in any way they want. REI has 149 stores in 35 states and REI.com and REI.com/outlet. Anyone may shop with REI, while members pay a one-time $20 fee to receive a share in the co-op’s profits through an annual member refund based on patronage. Membership in the co-op also includes special promotions and discounts on REI Adventures trips and REI Outdoor School classes.

Mike Brady


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Mike Brady, President and CEO of Greyston, is building on the organization’s 33 year heritage as a leading social enterprise. Greyston is best known for its practice of Open Hiring™ which embraces an individual’s potential by providing employment opportunities regardless of background or work history while bringing together the support and services needed to succeed in the workplace and to thrive in the community.

Mike led Greyston Bakery as President for four years, driving strategic business development with long-standing partner Ben & Jerry’s and with new partners such as Whole Foods Market. During this time, the Bakery realized nearly 100% revenue growth and became New York State’s first registered Benefit Corporation. Mike recently took responsibility for all Greyston’s programs and businesses including Workforce Development, Community Gardens, Housing, Health Services and Early Learning Center. Mike’s passion lie in the integration of business and social good, particularly through the scaling of Open Hiring™, which has the potential to support millions of individuals facing barriers to employment. 

Mike is a regularly featured speaker and mentor on social entrepreneurism and mindfulness in business, having presented at Ted @ Unilever, CGI America, the Ashoka Future Forum, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Wharton and Brown. 

Prior to joining Greyston, Mike was a partner with BAO Food and Drink, where he oversaw the development of the first incubator in the country dedicated to organic food production and distribution.  He has more than 20 years of experience in strategy and management positions, identifying business opportunities in high-growth and transitional industries. Mike serves as a business adviser to the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) and Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA) helping to promote policies for a sustainable economy. 

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Mike now lives outside of New York City with his wife and two sons. 

Greyston Info:
A pioneering social enterprise, Greyston practices Open Hiring™ in its world-class commercial bakery, advances the Open Hiring™ Model at the Center for Open Hiring™ at Greyston and supports its employees and neighbors with innovative community programs.

Founded in 1982, Greyston is New York State’s first registered benefit corporation. 

By filling jobs without judging applicants or asking them any questions, Open Hiring™ creates opportunities for people who have often been excluded.

Greyston manufactures more than 30,000 pounds of brownies every day for clients such as Ben & Jerry’s and Whole Foods Market.

Greyston’s community programs help more than 5,000 people annually in our community of Southwest Yonkers through Workforce Development, housing and healthcare, childcare, and community gardens.

The cornerstone of Greyston’s success is our team of bakers preparing more than 35,000 pounds of brownies every day in the world-class Greyston Bakery, for customers like Ben & Jerry’s and Whole Foods Market.  Since 1982, our team has been perfecting Open Hiring™: filling jobs without judging applicants or asking them any questions. Creating opportunities for people who have often been excluded, Greyston Open Hiring™ offers individuals a pathway forward regardless of past hardships and challenges.  A mission-driven food company and pioneering social enterprise, Greyston is developing workable solutions that businesses can embrace to help solve some of the nation’s most intractable, systemic problems such as entrenched poverty and recidivism.  We are “Bakers on a Mission.”

Tom Gardner


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Tom Gardner co-founded The Motley Fool with his brother David in 1993. He now serves as its Co-Chairman and CEO. In 2014 & 2015, Glassdoor ranked The Motley Fool the #1 place to work in the U.S. for companies with between 250-1000 employees. Tom serves as the lead adviser on Motley Fool One — the company’s all-access service. He manages The Everlasting Portfolio, committed to holding every investment for more than 5 years, and has beaten the market soundly since its inception. Tom is a graduate of Brown University.

Michael C. Bush


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Michael is responsible for the growth and management of the Great Place to Work global network of U.S. businesses. He joined GPTW at a time of rapid growth, and brings over 30 years of experience in growing consulting organizations and increasing efficiencies of innovative business units. Michael has served as President of 8 Factors, an online learning organization, CEO of Clark Sustainable Resource Developments, and CEO of Tetra Tech Communications which he grew from $40 million to $300 million in revenues.

Raj Sisodia


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Raj Sisodia is the FW Olin Distinguished Professor of Global Business and Whole Foods Market Research Scholar in Conscious Capitalism at Babson College in Wellesley, MA. He is also Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Conscious Capitalism Inc. He was previously Trustee Professor of Marketing, the Founding Director of the Center for Marketing Technology and Chairman of the Marketing Department at Bentley University. Raj has a Ph. D. in Marketing & Business Policy from Columbia University, where he was the Booz Allen Hamilton Fellow.

Raj has written ten books and over 100 academic articles. He is the co-author (with John Mackey, co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market) of Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business (Harvard Business Review Publishing, 2013), a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. He is also co-author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family (Penguin/Portfolio 2015), named as the Best Leadership and Management book of 2015 by 800-CEO-READ and one of 15 best books of 2015 by Forbes. His most recent book is Shakti Leadership: Embracing Feminine and Masculine Power in Business (Berrett-Koehler, 2016). His book Firms of Endearment: How World Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose is considered a foundational work in explaining the precepts and performance implications of pursuing a conscious approach to business. It was named one of the best business books of 2007 by several organizations, including Amazon.com. Raj’s next book The Conscious Capitalism Field Guide (with Timothy Henry and Thomas Eckschmidt) will be published by Harvard Business Review Publishing in 2018.

In 2003, Raj was cited as one of “50 Leading Marketing Thinkers” and named to the “Guru Gallery” by the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Bentley University honored him with the Award for Excellence in Scholarship in 2007 and the Innovation in Teaching Award in 2008. He was named one of “Ten Outstanding Trailblazers of 2010” by Good Business International, and one of the “Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior” by Trust Across America for 2010 and 2011. In 2013 and 2015, Raj as named to the Thinkers 50 list of business and management thinkers from India. Raj has published over one hundred articles in publications such as Harvard Business Review, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, Journal of Business Strategy, Journal of Business Research, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Marketing Management and California Management Review. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Fortune, Financial Times, The Washington Post, The Economic Times, and numerous other publications, along with radio shows and television networks such as CNN, CNBC and Fox. In 2016, Raj was awarded an honorary doctorate by Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI.

Raj serves on the Board of Directors of The Container Store.

Miki Agrawal


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Miki Agrawal (www.mikiagrawal.com) is a serial social entrepreneur.  She was the recipient of The Tribeca Film Festival’s “Disruptive Innovation Award”, she was named “2017 Young Global Leader by World Economic Forum”, “Social Entrepreneur of the Year” by the World Technology Summit, she was one of INC Magazine’s “Most Impressive Women Entrepreneurs of 2016”, Forbes’ “Top 20 Millennials on a Mission”, and made the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine in 2016.

She is the founder of the acclaimed farm-to-table, alternative pizza concept called WILD (www.eatdrinkwild.com) with 3 locations in New York City, one in Guatemala and more on the way.

She co-founded THINX (www.shethinx.com), a high-tech, period-proof underwear brand and led the company as CEO to Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies of 2017, helping tens of millions of women period better. She also co-founded Icon, a high-tech pee-proof underwear brand that helps women manage light bladder leakage.

She most recently founded TUSHY (www.hellotushy.com), a company that is revolutionizing the American toilet category with a modern, affordable, designer bidet attachment that both upgrades human health & hygiene as well as the environment from wasteful toilet paper consumption. She and her team are also helping fight the global sanitation crisis by bringing clean latrines to underserved communities in India through their partnership with Samagra.

Harper Collins published her first book entitled “DO COOL SH*T” on entrepreneurship and lifestyle design and Hay House is publishing her second book “Disrupt-Her” coming out in the fall of 2018.

Miki is an identical twin, half-Japanese, half-Indian French Canadian, former professional soccer player, graduate of Cornell University and proud new mama of Hiro Happy.