This year at Sage Summit, a lot of big names will be on the main stage giving advice to business owners, executives and IT managers from across the world. These speakers have a wealth of knowledge on the business world and how you can continue to grow your business, whether it’s through hard work and perseverance or through reaching out to the community. So who are these speakers and why should you bother going? We’ve profiled the 7 keynote speakers at Sage Summit this year so you can see why it’s worth making the trip to Chicago.
Sir Richard Branson
Sir Richard Branson, the headlining keynote speaker at Sage Summit, is truly the definition of a “self-made man”. After dropping out of high school at the age of 16, Branson started Virgin Records, a mail-order record company that soon expanded to include a storefront and record studio. He sold the company in 1992 for $1 billion. The Virgin brand expanded to include mobile telephones, travel aircraft and financial services. The Virgin company employs over 60,000 people and operates in over 50 countries. Branson is also known for his adventurous side, most notably for breaking the record for crossing the Atlantic ocean and the first to cross the Atlantic and the Pacific in a hot air ballon. Sir Richard Branson was knighted in 1999 for his contributions to entrepreneurship.
Branson will be speaking at Sage Summit at 9 a.m. Tuesday July 26.
Sink or Swim
Most well known as a “shark” on ABC’s investment show Shark Tank, John is the founder and CEO of clothing brand FUBU. The brand was built in the 1990’s in his mother’s living room. Originally starting with only $40 and mortgaging his mother’s home at $100,000, John was able to build his FUBU brand into the $6 billion company that it is today. John joined Shark Tank in 2009, where he gained inspiration for his current business, Shark Branding. Through this company he helps small businesses learn to market, use social media, business development and legal issues.
Robert Herjavec moved to Canada in 1970 after escaping communism in former Yugoslavia, what is now Croatia. Herjavec had a difficult time growing up, having to learn English and his parents making a meager wage. In 1984, he graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in English literature and political science. Eventually, he landed a job selling IBM mainframes by offering to work for free for six months. From there, he moved up the ranks to general manager, until he was fired in 1990. This lead to Herjavec founding his own company, BRAK systems, selling Internet security software. He later sold the company to AT&T for $30.2 million. Currently, Herjavec is the founder and CEO of Herjavec Group, a tech company, and a “shark” on ABC’s Shark Tank.
John and Herjavec will be speaking at Sage Summit Wednesday July 27th at 2 p.m.
Most well-known as an Oscar winning actress, Gwyneth Paltrow is also the founder of goop. goop was launched in 2008 as an online newsletter which highlights health, wellness, fashion, food and travel.
Zooey Deschanel seems to have dipped her toes in every aspect of the entertainment world. Deschanel is known for her role on the popular T.V. show New Girl and in the movie (500) Days of Summer, as well as many other popular movies. Deschanel is also well known in the music scene in her work with M. Ward in the band She & Him. She is an Emmy, Golden Globe and Grammy nominee. Besides her work as an actress and singer/songwriter, Deschanel is the co-founder of HelloGiggles, which is an online publication dedicated as a positive outlet for women.
Paltrow and Deschanel will be speaking at Sage Summit Wednesday July 27th at 9:30 a.m.
Value over Valuation
One of the most well-known celebrities, Kutcher is an actor in popular T.V. shows and movies. He has also been the producer of many notorious films, such as “No Strings Attached”, “Killers” and “The Butterfly Effect”. Not as well-known about Kutcher, he cocreated two venture funds, A-Grade Investments and Sound Ventures which has been involved in big name tech companies like Uber, Airbnb and Spotify.
Yancey Strickler comes brand new onto the tech business scene. Originally, Strickler served as a music journalist with articles appearing in The Village Voice, New York magazine and Pitchfork. Now, Strickler is known for being the cofounder and CEO of Kickstarter. Kickstarter is an online crowdfunding resource for start-ups. Business owners can pitch their ideas on the website and let the investments come to them.
Kutcher and Strickler will be speaking at Sage Summit Thursday July 28th at 9:30 a.m