Keynote Speakers

Kevin Caroll

Sponsored By:

Kevin Carroll

Best-Selling Author, Expert on Creativity and Innovation, Agent for Social Change

Kevin Carroll is the founder of Kevin Carroll Katalyst LLC and the author of three highly successful books: Rules of the Red Rubber Ball, What's Your Red Rubber Ball?!, and The Red Rubber Ball at Work. As an author, speaker, and agent for social change (a.k.a., the Katalyst), it is Kevin’s job to inspire businesses, organizations, and individuals—from CEOs and employees of Fortune 500 companies to schoolchildren—to embrace their spirit of play and creativity to maximize their human potential and sustain more meaningful business and personal growth.

With his consulting endeavors, Kevin has helped turn creative ideas into reality for organizations such as the National Hockey League, ESPN, Nike, Starbucks (his words appeared on 17 million grande cups), The National Basketball Association, Walt Disney Company, Mattel, Hasbro, Procter & Gamble, Discovery Channel, and Capital One.

Raised by his grandparents in Philadelphia, Kevin spent endless hours at the neighborhood playground, where he found his calling: a red rubber ball. His subsequent pursuit of play and his "red rubber ball" took him overseas with the U.S. Air Force, where he served as a language interpreter and translator, gaining fluency in Croatian, Czech, Serbian, and German.

After serving in the air force for 10 years and earning a college degree, Kevin became an athletic trainer at the high school and collegiate levels in Philadelphia. His expertise in sport performance was recognized by the 76ers organization and led to a job as the head athletic trainer for the team in 1995. While at the 76ers, Nike tapped Kevin for his unique experiences, directing him to create a position at the company that would add value to the brand’s overall mission. As a Katalyst (the K is for Kevin)—a creative change agent—he was instrumental in helping the company develop a deeper understanding of athletic product performance, team dynamics, and interpersonal communication. Kevin left Nike in 2004 to create his own company, Kevin Carroll Katalyst LLC, committed to elevating the power of sport and play around the world.

Kevin has dedicated his life to advancing sports and play as a vehicle for social change. He partners with nongovernmental organizations and businesses around the world that share his vision and goals. He was honored to address the United Nations as part of the UN Year of Sports for Development and Peace in 2005 and to serve as the host of the Beyond Sport Summit & Awards that featured Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 2009.

Kevin holds a master of science in health education from St. Joseph's University, a bachelor of arts in speech communication with a minor in physical education from Angelo State University, and an associate’s degree in interpreting and translating from the Community College of the Air Force. Kevin is a frequent visiting professor across the United States.

Play@Work: Unleashing Growth Through Creativity and Innovation

As children, our days were filled with productive play. What was entertaining was also instructive. Games of tag were exercises in planning, teamwork, strategy, design, decision making, creativity, interpersonal communication, and risk taking. Play was serious business in our youth—and it should be even more serious business in our professional lives if we hope to unleash the creative genius that spurs organizational growth. By cleverly drawing from childhood lessons, Kevin Carroll reveals the relevance of play and how we must continue to tap into those lessons for our future success. An innovator who is passionate about inspiring leaders to create sustainable change in their own organizations, Kevin will raise a variety of questions during this session, including:

  • Are you continuing to strengthen the creative genius of your organization?
  • Do you have the necessary passion and creative endurance to deliver consistent and amazing insight and business ingenuity?
  • Why should an organization’s business culture embrace the power of play even more so in the 21st century
  • How can a business culture that incorporates “purposeful play” affect leadership, employee quality of life, and retention, as well as attract new talent?

Additional Resources:

John Medina

John Medina

Developmental Molecular Biologist, Author of Brain Rules

Acknowledged as one of the most engaging and crowd-pleasing speakers in the world of neuroscience, John Medina is a developmental molecular biologist, a researcher, a professor, and the author of 10 books. His New York Times bestseller, Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving at Work, Home and School has been celebrated as the standard handbook on understanding the brain and optimizing its performance. Brain Rules has been translated into more than 20 languages and selected as a textbook at numerous universities. John’s focus is on the genes behind brain development and psychiatric conditions. He has spent most of his professional life as an analytical research consultant, working primarily in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries on research related to mental health. He also consults with hospitals and healthcare facilities on designing brain-healthy environments that reduce staff stress and improve patient outcomes. John is an affiliate professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He is also the founding director of the Talaris Research Institute, which studies how infants encode and process information at the cognitive, cellular, and molecular level. His extensive study of the developing brain resulted in his most recent book, Brain Rules for Baby. John’s upcoming books, The Teenaged Brain and Your Aging Brain, further explore the brain’s life stages.

John and his team work collaboratively with clients to understand his audiences and tailor his presentations to fit specific interests and challenges. His high-energy keynotes consistently receive high ratings and resounding applause. As one corporate event committee chair praised, “He was the talk of the conference—a rare combination of brilliance and engaging presentation style.”

The Learning Brain: The Power of Theory of Mind

The ability for one mind to understand the motivations, intentions, and abilities of another lies at the heart of talent development. Can the cognitive neurosciences be a friend to this world? This keynote answers that question with a hearty yes. Focusing on a cognitive gadget called Theory of Mind, this three-part session explains its definition, the brain science behind it, and how it can be practically applied—and even improved—in the workplace. Our understanding of how the brain processes information grows every week—data increasingly relevant to the world of business and education. This keynote underscores how sophisticated this relevance is becoming.

Additional Resources:

  • RME test
    Baron-Cohen, S., and et al. "The “Reading the Mind in the Eyes” Test Revised Version: A Study with Normal Adults, and Adults with Asperger Syndrome or High-Functioning Autism."
    J Child Psychol Psychiatry 42 (2001): 241-51
  • IRI test
    Davis, M.H. ""Measuring Individual Differences in Empathy: Evidence for a Multidimensional Approach.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44 (1983): 113-26.
  • Reading literary fiction
    Kidd DC and Castano E. 2013. Reading literary fiction improves theory of mind. Science. 342(6156):377-80.
  • Narcissism Data
    Hepper, E. G., Hart, C. M., & Sedikides, C. (2014). Moving Narcissus: Can narcissists be empathic? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40, 1079-7091. DOI: 10.1177/0146167214535812
Danielle Feinberg

Danielle Feinberg

Pixar Director of Photography For Lighting

Danielle Feinberg began her career at Pixar Animation Studios in February 1997, and has worked on films such as Toy Story 2; Monsters, Inc.; the Academy Award–winning Finding Nemo; and The Incredibles. Danielle was the director of photography-lighting for the Academy Award–winning features WALL•E and Brave. She also worked on Pixar’s fall 2017 film Coco.

At the age of 23, Danielle’s first role at Pixar was the lead render technical director on A Bug’s Life, where she in charge of a team of nine men, eight of whom were older than herself. She got her first taste of lighting on this film and quickly discovered her love of that unique combination of technology and art.

Danielle went on to work as a lighting artist on many of Pixar’s feature films, where she moved up the ranks—from master lighting artist on Toy Story 2 and Monsters, Inc. to lead lighting artist on The Incredibles. On Finding Nemo, Danielle took on the role of CG supervisor of the Ocean Unit, where she was responsible for the team that created the scenes in the depths of the ocean, the field of pink jellyfish, and the rollercoaster ride with the turtles. For WALL•E, she returned to her passion of lighting as the director of photography-lighting. In that role, she led a team of more than 35 lighting artists to design and execute the “filmic” look envisioned by the film’s director. Danielle was once again in a lead creative role as director of photography-lighting for Brave, which stars Pixar’s first female protagonist. While working on Brave, Marie Claire magazine named her the “top film techie” in their 2011 Women on Top Awards.

A native of Boulder, Colorado, Danielle’s love of combining computers and art began when she was eight years old, and first programmed a Logo turtle to create images. This eventually led her to a bachelor of arts in computer science from Harvard University. Now, in addition to her Pixar work, she works with teenage girls, encouraging them to pursue math, science, and code by demonstrating to them the same beautiful simplicity she found with the programmed art of the Logo turtle.

Creating Stories With Heart and Soul Using the Wonder of Math, Science, and Code

In this insightful talk, Pixar Director of Photography For Lighting Danielle Feinberg will show how the crews breathe life into worlds and characters to create their beloved films. With examples from movies like Finding Nemo, WALL-E, Brave, and the studio’s latest film, Coco, she will deliver a behind-the-scenes look at how math, science, and code have solved some of the biggest challenges Pixar has faced in bringing these imagined worlds to the big screen. Danielle will show how one guiding principle allows the complex process of creating a computer film to be boiled down to its essence, to focus on the best story, while harnessing the powerful combination of art and technology.