Sharpen your business edge and pick up new insights at the 25th Annual USMA Educational Conference

2020 Featured Speakers

USMA has assembled a faculty of 52 speakers to celebrate 25 years of giving you something to “take home and use”.   Confirm your plans now to be a part of this special event.


Featured Speaker

Vivek Wadhwa

Futurist, Author, Emerging Technologies Expert

Called “Silicon Valley’s most provocative voice” for his ideas on technology trends, globalization, U.S. competitiveness, and the future, Vivek Wadhwa’s work puts him at the heart of innovation. From tech entrepreneur and business owner to accomplished academic and widely published author, he served as a Stanford University research fellow and the Director of Research at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering, where he taught courses on the impact of technology. Vivek Wadhwa now serves as a Distinguished Fellow and professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s engineering school in the heart of Silicon Valley. Formerly, he led research at Singularity University, an institution that educates a select group of leaders about the exponentially growing technologies that are soon going to change our world.

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 Vivek has also been a senior research associate at Harvard Law School, a visiting scholar at UC-Berkeley, and a distinguished visiting scholar at Emory University. He is the author of the 2018 book Your Happiness Was Hacked: Why Tech is Winning the Battle to Control Your Brain—and How to Fight Back. His 2017 book The Driver in the Driverless Car looks at the impact of automation and AI on business, and was recognized by Financial Times as one of the “Best Business Books of 2017” and listed as a contender for the Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year prize.

Known for pioneering change and innovation, Vivek Wadhwa’s speeches offer a look into how exponentially advancing technologies including robotics, AI, computing, synthetic biology, 3D printing, and nanomaterials will change our world, disrupt entire industries, and create new ones. As it is increasingly possible for small teams to complete work once reserved for governments and large corporations, Wadhwa also focuses on the keys to the U.S. remaining competitive and solving grand challenges in the face of the rapid transformation shaping business in India, China, and Latin America.

An advisor to governments and successful entrepreneurs alike, Vivek Wadhwa previously founded two influential software companies, prompting Forbes to name him a “Leader of Tomorrow” and Fortune to declare his start-up Relativity one of the “25 coolest companies in the world.” In addition to his media accolades, the US government awarded Wadhwa distinguished recognition as an “Outstanding American by Choice,” and he was named by Foreign Policy Magazine as a “Top 100 Global Thinker.” In 2013, TIME magazine listed him as one of the “40 Most Influential Minds in Tech.”

Vivek Wadhwa is also the author of The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent, which the Economist named as a “Book of the Year” in 2012, and Innovating Women: The Changing Face of Technology. He is a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, and VentureBeat. He has been featured in the Economist, Forbes, the New York Times, U.S. News and World Report, and Science Magazine, among others, and has appeared on U.S. and international TV stations, including CBS, PBS, CNN, ABC, NBC, CNBC, and BBC. In 2016, he accepted an honorary professorship at University Ricardo Palma of Lima in Peru, placing him closer to the booming entrepreneur community in Latin America. Wadhwa was also recently honored as a recipient of the “Visionary Awards” by the Silicon Valley Forum in 2018, alongside Black Girls Code founder Kimberly Bryant, Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake, Alphabet Inc.’s “Captain of Moonshots” Astro Teller.


Supply Chain Threats and Weaknesses: Geopolitical Strategies for Global Supply Chain Security

John Sitilides

Geopolitical Strategist

Geopolitical risk is powerfully impacting the critical decisions of corporate executives and supply chain managers more than at any other point in recent history. The global landscape has become among the most uncertain in recent memory, and this unstable risk environment is projected to endure well into the next decade. Against this backdrop, we now factor a U.S. administration that surprises and confounds allies and foes worldwide, impacting supply chain management and a broad range of industries across the spectrum of sectors. As a result, the international security environment focused on trade and supply chain management will remain fluid, dynamic, and in constant flux for the foreseeable future. It’s why supply chain executives need the surest insights and well-informed guidance to better understand and mitigate disruptive geopolitical risk, and build a sharper competitive edge to withstand international crosswinds.

Washington D.C.-based geopolitical strategist John Sitilides will deliver a dynamic presentation focused on U.S. management of real-time global disruption and geopolitical risk concerns, challenging the traditional analyst and media consensus on the world’s most powerful political leaders in Mexico, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, the basis for their decision-making, and the long-term political and economic ambitions that ultimately shape the international security agenda. His presentation – using a visually-compelling slide deck of maps, graphs and world leader portraits – will detail the most disruptive flashpoints on the world stage that generate the most significant business risk issues facing the supply chain industry, including the centrality of ensuring navigational freedom to global trade and the safe passage of natural resources, finished goods and energy resources worldwide.

Negotiation – the Swiss-Army Knife of Relationship Management

Alison Fragale

Professor, Speaker and Consultant

Negotiation – the process through which two or more people “give and take” in a relationship – is an unavoidable part of work and life, and thus negotiation skills are an essential part of any professional’s toolkit. This is particularly true for supply chain professionals who need to manage – and thus negotiate with – many stakeholders: from customers and vendors, to bosses and peers.

In this session, Alison discusses what the best (and worst) negotiators do, and the top strategies that enable successful leaders to solve everyday challenges, both big and small, through negotiation. Drawing on her expertise in psychology and organizational behavior research, Alison presents negotiation science from multiple domains, including real estate, professional athletics, law, and corporate boardrooms. Combining this research with stories from current events and politics, and interjecting humor, Alison delivers practical, actionable advice that will help supply chain leaders achieve their goals.

Alison Fragale is the Mary Farley Ames Lee Fellow and Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. An award-winning teacher, Alison has served more than fifteen years as a speaker, instructor, and consultant on leadership, psychology and negotiation for executives in numerous organizations. Her clients include ExxonMobil, Eastman Chemical, AvalonBay, Water & Wastewater Industry Leadership Academy, Navy Federal Credit Union, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy.

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Her instruction on the psychology of power and leadership is part of the required general officer curriculum in both the U.S. Army and Air Force.

Alison received her B.A. in Mathematics and Economics, magna cum laude, from Dartmouth College, where she recently concluded a nine-year term on the Board of Visitors of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences. She also holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Prior to pursuing her Ph.D., Alison worked as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company, Inc.  


Creating Highly Collaborative Relationships

Kate Vitasek

Author, educator and architect of the Vested business

Kate Vitasek is an international authority for her award-winning research and Vested® business model for highly collaborative relationships. She is a Faculty member at the University of Tennessee and has been lauded by World Trade Magazine as one of the “Fabulous 50+1” most influential people impacting global commerce.

Kate’s practical and research-based advice ignited a movement on how companies work together and five books, including Vested Outsourcing: Five Rules That Will Transform Outsourcing; Vested: How P&G, McDonald’s and Microsoft Are Redefining Winning in Business Relationships; Getting to We: Negotiating Agreements for Highly Collaborative Relationships and The Vested Way: How a “What’s in it for We” Mindset Revolutionizes Business Relationships

Passionate in her quest to help companies transform their business relationships, Kate inspires and motivates companies around the world through teaching, speaking and workshops on Vested’s five proven “rules” for achieving transformational results.

Inspired Leadership and Practical Management

Margaret Morford

CEO, The HR Edge, Inc.

Margaret Morford has proven her expertise as a workplace expert through her best-selling books, national seminars and television interviews. Her insight offers you an edge over other workers and managers in the areas of workplace communication and the critical role human factors will play in the future. She has practical, real world experience as a manager, as the VP of Human Resources at several companies, and as a lawyer with a JD Degree from the Vanderbilt University School of Law. She has a perspective few people have and an ability to help people not just prepare for, but thrive, in the future.


Third Party Risk Management: Driving Enterprise Value

Linda Tuck Chapman

Educator, Author, Consultant & Expert on Risk Management

In this landscape of rapidly evolving threats, uncharted technologies, and increasingly complex operational ecosystems, senior management and boards must rely on internal stakeholders to get ahead of the curve to strengthen third party risk management practices, with a sharp eye on “high water mark” risk domains.

Linda Tuck Chapman is a recognized subject matter expert, trusted advisor, author and popular speaker. She is pragmatic and strategic, continuously mining her deep expertise and broad experience to drive enterprise value.

Her career highlights include Chief Procurement Officer at Scotiabank Group, Fifth Third Bank and BMO Financial Group.  President and CEO of Ontario Education Collaborative Marketplace, and President of Ontala Performance Solutions, Inc.

 Linda is an ICB Fellow and Medalist and holds an MBA (Magna Cum Laude) from Dalhousie School of Business. She also completed the Advanced Leadership Program, Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto.

Past Featured Speakers

Robyn Beninicasa

Extreme Athlete, Author, CNN Hero, Fire Fighter

Jeff Civilico

Star of Comedy in Action

Theresa Payton

Former White House CIO, Cybersecurity Authority

Susan Story

Utility Executive

Jake Wood

CNN Hero, ESPN ESPY Winner, Team Rubicon Founder

Leigh Gallagher

Google Executive, Former Editor Fortune Magazine

Alison Levine

Mountain Climber, Author, Safety Expert

Oz Pearlman

Predictor of Human Behavior, Athlete, Speaker

James Carville & Mary Matalin

Political Consultants

Newt Gingrich

Former Speaker of the House, Congressman & Author

Herman Cain

CEO Godfather’s Pizza, Served on Federal Reserve, Author

Brian Shul

Pilot, Author, Photographer

Steve Ford

Actor, Speakekr & Son of President Ford

Captain Gerald Coffee

POW, Veteran

Margaret Morford

Business Executive, Author, Attorney

Andy Serwer

Journalist, editor at Yahoo Finance, Fortune Magazine, CNN Co-host