VBK Speakers

Since 2013, Valley Business Keynote (VBK) has been committed to fostering growth and innovation in the Shenandoah Valley. Our journey is marked by the brilliant minds and insightful perspectives of the exceptional speakers who have graced our stage. From thought-provoking content to transformative ideas, each speaker has played a pivotal role in shaping the narrative of VBK. Reflecting on our history, we celebrate the legacy of ideas that have elevated leaders and propelled positive change in our community.

Past VBK Speakers

Carla Johnson

CEO, RE:Think Labs

Topic: REThink Innovation

Carla Johnson helps organizations that are constrained by old-school approaches when taking on new-world problems. As the world’s leading Innovation Architect and CEO of RE:Think Labs, Carla helps organizations design and build the ideal architecture to accelerate innovation, engagement, and growth. Having written 10 books and studied both innovation and architecture for the last 20 years, she’s developed specific frameworks to help leaders remodel their approaches in order to boost speed, reduce risk, and enjoy more predictable outcomes.

Find out more about Carla at carlajohnson.co. Follow her on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.

Seth Mattison

Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management

Senior Client Advisor, Morgan Stanley

Topic: The Human Connection

Seth Mattison is an internationally renowned expert on workforce trends and generational dynamics. As Founder and Chief Movement Officer of Luminate Labs, Seth advises many of the world’s leading brand and organizations on the key shifts happening around talent management, change and innovation, leadership, and the future of work. His ideas have been featured in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, and The Globe. He was named one of the “Editors’ Picks For Favorite Speakers for 2013,” by MeetingsNet and as been called one of the most dynamic young speakers on the circuit today.

Find out more about Seth at sethmattison.com. Follow him on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter.

carla harris
Carla Harris

Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management

Senior Client Advisor, Morgan Stanley

Topic: Relationship Currency

Performance currency, or working hard and getting results, is only part of the success formula. Carla, author of Expect to Win and Strategize to Win, argues how building and leveraging relationships is needed too. The right connections can help you tackle tough issues, and some of these connections may become your advocates who support your recognition and promotion. Carla provides practical tips for building your relationship currency.

Find out more about Carla at carlaspearls.com. Follow her on Twitter @carlaannharris.

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VBK Goes Virtual

Resilience in 2020

Topic: Resilience in 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic turned our world upside down. Businesses up and down the Shenandoah Valley had to adjust significantly to a new reality with varying degrees of success. As a community, VBK wanted to create an environment that pushed for innovation and creative ideas during unprecedented times. The fear of the unknown is great, but VBK wants to remind you of our budding business communities and that together, we can.

VBK Goes Virtual: Resilience in 2020
Hosted by none other than Kevin Gibson of VA Momentum & the WellMent Company, this event engaged four prominent Harrisonburg community leaders on what they’ve learned about leadership and resilience during the crisis.

Panelists included:

Pictured left-to-right, top-to-bottom: Laura Toni-Holsinger, Randy Harman, Eric Campbell, Kirsten Moore, and Kevin Gibson.

Daniel Pink

Author, To Sell Is Human

Topic: To Sell is Human

Daniel H. Pink is the author of six provocative books — including his newest, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, which spent four months on the New York Times bestseller list and was named a best book in 2018 by Amazon, iBooks, Goodreads, and several more outlets. His other books include the long-running New York Times bestseller A Whole New Mind and the #1 New York Times bestsellers Drive and To Sell is Human. His books have won multiple awards and have been translated into 39 languages. He lives in Washington, DC with his family.

Find out more about Daniel at danpink.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielPink.

2018 Featured Speaker
Kim Scott

Author, Radical Candor

Topic: Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss without Losing your Humanity

Kim Scott is the author of the NYT & WSJ bestseller Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss without Losing your Humanity. Kim led AdSense, YouTube, and Doubleclick Online Sales and Operations at Google and then joined Apple to develop and teach a leadership seminar. Kim has been a CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, Twitter, and several other tech companies. You can watch her speech here.

Find out more about Kim at radicalcandor.com. Follow her on Twitter @kimballscott.

2018 Opening Speaker
Dave Urso

Founder, Dynamic Consulting

Topic: Be the Catalyst for Change

Dave Urso has been teaching seminars and developing leaders for almost 20 years. In that time, he’s developed an approach that sets him apart. His naturally energetic and interactive style carries over into his sessions and makes listening to him a pleasure. No matter the context of your interaction, two things are pretty much guaranteed — he’s going to talk really fast and he’s going to do something unexpected!  His mission is to serve as a catalyst of change by engaging others in inspired leadership. You can watch his speech here.

Find out more about Dave at partnerwithdynamic.com. Follow him on Twitter @daveurso.

2017 Featured Speaker
Steve Rizzo

Author, Motivate This!

Topic: Motivate This!

One of the biggest challenges that people in business face today is staying optimistic and motivated to be at their best for more than just a few days.

“Nothing keeps people from being productive and achieving their goals more than harboring negative feelings or having a bad attitude during the process.” –Steve Rizzo

Steve is a personal development expert, comedian, motivational speaker and author.  His popular PBS special brought him into millions of homes.  It’s no surprise that he’s been inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed upon fewer than 200 speakers worldwide since 1977. You can watch his speech here.

Find out more about Steve at steverizzo.com.  Follow him on Twitter @RealSteveRizzo.

2017 Opening Speaker
Jennifer Owen-O’Quill

Principal, Director of Leadership & Strategy, Voltage Leadership Consulting

Topic: Creating Innovation Environments

Jennifer Owen-O’Quill is an executive coach, facilitator, organizational consultant, and leader. With over 20 years of experience, she has coached leaders and their teams to execute institutional culture change through effective organizational management and leadership development. Leveraging change and conflict to deliver creative, constructive results is both a passion and talent of Jennifer’s. You can watch her speech here.

Find out more about Jennifer at voltageleadershipconsulting.com.

2016 Featured Speaker
Dan Pallotta

Author, The Everyday Philanthropist: A Better Way to Make a Better World

Topic: Quality of Life and a Healthy Economy

In the last few years, Dan has given over 275 talks on philanthropy and innovation in 34 states and eight countries. He is a William J. Clinton Distinguished Lecturer, and has spoken twice at TED, and at and for Google, E-Bay, KPMG, UBS, Stanford, Wharton, Brown, Harvard Business School, Harvard’s Hauser Center for Nonprofits, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the Gates Foundation, and many others. Dan is a recipient of the Liberty Hill Foundation Creative Vision award, the Triangle Humanitarian of the Year award, the Albany State University International Citizen of the Year award, and the Seven Fund’s Morality of Profit Essay Prize.

Find out more about Dan at danpallotta.com. Follow him on Twitter @danpallotta.

2016 Opening Speaker
Raymond Brown

Manager, Talent Engagement, UVA HR

Topic: Grow to Great

Raymond is an organizational development consultant with experience in academic health care, higher education and non-profit organizations. He earned a master’s degree in human resource development from James Madison University and holds several professional certifications. As an experienced facilitator and consultant, Raymond specializes in the areas of employee engagement, change management, leadership development, team development and training delivery. Raymond also serves as a local community leader and a professional speaker. His passions outside of work include loving his family (wife Sarah and his children Makenzie, Roman, Briella and Zion) and serving at his local church mentoring men and married couples.


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Topic: Generational Experts: Helping People Understand One Another

Multigenerational team of experts bridging generational gaps in the workplace & marketplace. Think back to ‘98, the year the world first saw Google, portable MP3 players, and Furbys. That’s when their founders, Lynne Lancaster & David Stillman connected the dots: people were really struggling to understand one another even though most of the time they were saying the same thing. Why so much unnecessary friction in the workplace? They saw the problem and understood the solution.

Find out more about Bridgeworks at generations.com. Follow them on Twitter @TheGenPeople.

Mark Fernandes

CEO, Capitalism 2.0

Topic: Leadership and Your Future World of Work

He is CEO of Capitalism 2.0 and chairman of the Board of George Mason University’s Center for Advancement of Well-Being. As a human business champion, he’s fiercely committed to the future of leadership and business as driving forces for social, environmental and economic benefit.  He was recently selected as one of Inc. Magazine’s Top 50 Leadership Innovators Changing How We Lead.

Find out more about Mark at humanizingbusiness.com.  Follow him on Twitter @MarkSFernandes.

Dave Saunders

Chief Idea Officer, Founder,  Madison + Main

Topic: Marketing – Bold Brands Win

Dave is the Chief Idea Officer and founder of Madison + Main.  He is a nationally recognized brand and marketing expert who frequently speaks to businesses and civic organization about the power of social media, inbound marketing, and why “Bold Brands Win.”

Find out more about Dave at madisonmain.com. Follow him on Twitter @madmain.