Celebrity Speakers

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Celebrity Speakers

The event includes a panel discussion featuring successful women from entertainment, sports, media, and business sharing their stories, ideas and leadership tips. This inspirational and thought-provoking panel will take place on Sunday, September 5 on the Main Stage. Don’t miss it.

2020 Celebrity Speakers

Ally Brooke
Pop Star

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Ally Brooke

A member of the multi-platinum pop group, Fifth Harmony, Ally signed with Atlantic Records in 2018 and is now preparing to release her solo debut album. Raised in an intensely passionate and proud Latin community, Brooke gravitated early to mariachi music and Tejano artists like Selena Quintanilla as well as more mainstream Latin pop stars including Gloria Estefan and Jennifer Lopez. First finding her voice when singing in church, Ally’s knack for her craft quickly transformed into something more resembling a life’s true love and central passion. Following years ceding her individual creative spirit to a group’s collective mission, Ally is ecstatic to at last paint her own portrait: a rich tapestry decorated with history and culture, passion and commitment. For a lifelong singer like Ally, who by age 12 was already shuttling between her native San Antonio and Los Angeles to write and record music with some of the industry’s key players, arriving at this moment feels nothing short of a dream fulfilled. Many first met her as a solo contestant on “The X Factor”.

Katherine McNamara

Katherine McNamara is an actress and singer who is best known for her television roles in Freeform’s “Shadow Hunters” and the CW’s “Arrow.” McNamara is a champion for the United Nations Foundation’s girl empowerment campaign, Girl Up, a spokesperson for Stomp Out Bullying, a GLSEN partner and an avid supporter of the MS Society and the Lollipop Theater Network. Katherine will next be seen in CBS All Access’ new mini-series, “The Stand,” based on the Stephen King novel. Katherine stars alongside James Marsden, Whoopi Goldberg and Amber Heard. The highly anticipated series premiere is set for release on December 17th. McNamara’s notable film and television credits include, “The Maze Runner” trilogy, “CSI,” “Unforgettable,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Drop Dead Diva,” and “30 Rock.”

Katherine McNamara
Actress

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Summer Sanders
Olympic Gold Medalist & Media Personality

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Summer Sanders

At the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Summer Sanders emerged as the most decorated U.S. swimmer, winning four medals – two gold, a silver, and a bronze. Following retirement from swimming, Sanders pursued a career in television appearing on a multitude of programs as correspondent and host. Highlights include eight years co-hosting “NBA Inside Stuff”, the first female game-show host on Nickelodeon’s “Figure It Out”, Olympic analyst and host for NBC, Today Show special contributor, and hosting Fox’s hit show “The Sports List”. Sanders also worked as a sideline reporter for the NBA, WNBA, and US Open and has contributed to Good Morning America, The Rachael Ray Show, and NBC’s Universal Sports Network. She hosted Yahoo! Sports award winning web series Elite Athlete Workout and their 2012 Olympic Games swimming coverage. Currently, Sanders can be seen on CBS Sports Network’s all female roundtable sports show, “We Need To Talk.” Sanders is also a health and fitness advocate, producing articles, tips and workouts for various outlets; she is an active Right to Play Ambassador and she is currently filming new projects with her production company, Black Line Media. She is also volunteering her time as a spokesperson for John Wayne Cancer Foundation’s “Block The Blaze” campaign after surviving three melanomas. Summer loves the balancing act of athletics, carpool for her daughter & son, and being in front of the camera.

Allyson Witherspoon

Allyson Witherspoon is vice president and Chief Marketing Officer, Nissan U.S. She was appointed to this position in November 2020. In this role, Witherspoon is responsible for marketing communications and media, data innovation and customer experience, enhancing brand value, customer trust and insights, and brand and product marketing. Most recently, Witherspoon was vice president, Marketing Communications and Media. She was responsible for marketing communications and media, and model line/product marketing with a focus on revenue growth and profit generation for the Nissan brand and its dealer network. Witherspoon brings 20 years of automotive marketing experience working in a number of senior roles with, and on behalf of, automotive OEMs. Prior to her appointment with Nissan and INFINITI, Witherspoon served as the global business director for Volvo in Amsterdam, Netherlands, adding to her marketing agency experience that included leading accounts for BMW North America and Mercedes-Benz USA in New York City. Witherspoon holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Missouri-Columbia. In 2014, Automotive News named Witherspoon as one of the “40 Under 40” for automakers and suppliers. In 2020 she was recognized as a Female Frontier for breaking brand barriers by Campaign US and was also named one of the 100 Leading Women in North American Auto Industry by Automotive News.

Allyson Witherspoon
Business Leader

Allyson Witherspoon

Mari “Atomic Mari” Takahashi
Gaming Entrepreneur

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Mari "Atomic Mari" Takahashi

Atomic Mari is a gaming personality, nerd culture advocate, former prima ballerina, reality TV competitor, co-founder of premiere gaming brand SMOSH Games. She recently launched her newest venture NE6 (New Element Six), in which she is the founder, cast member, and executive producer. Mari is aForbes "Top Influencer in Gaming" entrepreneur and digital pioneer, who transitioned her love for video games, adventure and technology into being an advocate for young girls to pursue STEM careers in her philanthropic work with NASA and The Planetary Society.

Major Michelle Curran

Maj. Michelle Curran is the Lead Solo Pilot for the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, flying the No. 5 jet. She majored in Criminal Justice at the University of St. Thomas and earned her commission in 2009 through Air Force ROTC. Throughout school she participated in track and field and was a figure skater. She also enjoys mountaineering, rock climbing, hiking and spending time with family in her spare time. Prior to joining the Thunderbirds, she served as an F-16 instructor pilot at NAS JRB Fort Worth, Texas. She has logged more than 1,300 flight hours as an Air Force pilot, with more than 160 combat hours over Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and Operation Resolute Support. She is in her second season with the team and hails from Medford, WI.

Major Michelle Curran
Thunderbirds Lead Solo Pilot

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2019 Celebrity Speakers

Natasha Bedingfield
Pop Star

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Natasha Bedingfield

NATASHA BEDINGFIELD is a Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter. She is currently in the studio working on her highly-anticipated fourth studio album, which is expected to be released this year. Her widely-successful debut album, Unwritten, had international success selling more than 2.3 million albums worldwide. Bedingfield received a Grammy Award nomination for “Best Female Pop Vocal Performance” for the title track “Unwritten,” and at the 2005 and 2006 Brit Awards she was nominated for “Best British Female Artist.” Unwritten also produced her UK number one, “These Words.” “Unwritten” became synonymous with the groundbreaking hit MTV show “The Hills,” which will relaunch on MTV in late June 2019 and feature a new version of the song. Her second studio album in the U.S., Pocketful of Sunshine, featured the singles “Love Like This” and the worldwide hit title track song “Pocketful of Sunshine.” In December 2010, Bedingfield released her third album in North America, named Strip Me. Bedingfield has sold over 10 million albums and 10 million singles worldwide, totaling over 20 million records worldwide. In 2012, VH1 ranked Bedingfield number 66 on the list of 100 Greatest Women in Music.

Lindsey Jacobellis

Lindsey Jacobellis is a ten-time snowboardcross X Games Gold medalist, who holds the record for the most X Games Gold medals of any female snowboarder in history. She is also a 4-time member of the US Olympic team and an Olympic Silver medalist.

Lindsey Jacobellis
Snowboarding Legend

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Jeannie M. Leavitt
Brigadier General

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Brig. Gen. Jeannie M. Leavitt

Brig. Gen. Jeannie M. Leavitt is the Commander, Air Force Recruiting Service, Joint Base San Antonio­Randolph, Texas. The Air Force Recruiting Service comprises more than 2,470 Airmen and civilians in more than 1,200 recruiting offices across the U.S. and abroad. She is responsible for all enlisted accessions and a variety of officer accession programs. AFRS also manages all strategic marketing for the U.S. Air Force. General Leavitt entered the Air Force in 1992 after earning her bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas and her master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University. She earned her commission as a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program. Gen. Leavitt has served in a variety of flying, staff and command assignments and has commanded at the flight, squadron and wing level. She is a graduate and former instructor of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School and is a command pilot with more than 3,000 hours. Her operational experiences include Operations Southern Watch, Northern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Prior to her current assignment she served as the 57th Wing Commander, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., the Air Force’s most diverse flying wing comprised of 37 squadrons at 13 installations with a variety of more than 130 aircraft.

Stephanie Harvey AKA missharvey

Stephanie Harvey, also known as missharvey, is a Canadian video game developer and professional gamer. She is best known as a Counter-Strike and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) player, having won five world championships. She plays for Counter Logic Gaming Red.
Outside professional gaming, Harvey works as a designer at video game developer Ubisoft Montreal. She is also known for advocating against gender discrimination in professional gaming, co-founding the online community Missclicks to address the under-representation of women in geek and video game culture.

Stephanie Harvey AKA missharvey
Pro Gamer

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Jennifer Downes
Marketing Executive

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Jennifer Downes

Jennifer Downes has dedicated her career to the fast-paced, male-dominated and constantly changing environment of the technology industry, with success in establishing a vision and executing business strategies for multi-billion dollar businesses. As the Executive Director of North America, Jennifer oversees the marketing strategy and execution for Lenovo’s PCs and smart devices. During her nearly decade-long tenure at Lenovo, Jennifer has been at the helm of efforts that drive sustainable revenue and profitability. Leading with a customer-centric approach, Jennifer’s work focuses on building the Lenovo brand and driving growth – from ecommerce to retail and through their business partner network. With a passion for understanding consumer behavior, she is a catalyst for the use of customer insights to drive engagement throughout the customer journey. Prior to Lenovo, Jennifer worked at NXP Semiconductors for 13 years where she led the transformation of its demand generation activities to deliver a personalized, cross-channel approach. Jennifer holds a Master’s degree in Psychology and an MBA in Marketing. A native of Boston, Jennifer moved to the Raleigh area 11 years ago with her two daughters. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys exercising, gardening and spending time with her girls.

MissessMae

Mae is a full-time variety gaming broadcaster from Los Angeles, CA. Mainly focusing on FPS games, Mae is all about streaming with the community, having fun, and sharing a passion for gaming.

MissesMae
Gaming Personality

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Michelle Mitchell
Entrepreneur

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Michelle Mitchell

Michelle Mitchell is the co-founder of Humm Kombucha. Her passion for kombucha started over a decade ago and led to her founding Humm. She is the primary keeper and driver of Humm’s amazing culture and brand ethos within a staff-centric organization as well as ensuring that the taste profile of Humm’s kombucha is both excellent and consistent. She is instrumental in creating an air of positive energy and forging a culture of joy and freedom at Humm. Prior to Humm, Michelle was a top sales rep at Great American Opportunities and the Southwestern Company. She is fluent in Spanish and studied Arabic extensively while spending time in the Middle East. She has competed in three Ironman triathlons and spent three years traveling around the world before settling in Bend, OR.

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