Gary Vaynerchuk, Cynthia Marshall, and More to Keynote at Talent Connect 2019

July 23, 2019

Talent Connect, Linkedin’s annual conference for talent and HR professionals, is right around the corner on September 25-27 in Dallas and we are thrilled to share more details about our incredible lineup of keynote speakers. 

While the breakout sessions at this year’s Talent Connect will change the way you work; the keynote addresses will change the way you think — and maybe even who you aspire to be.

As announced earlier this month, former First Lady Michelle Obama will be joining us for a fireside chat. But the goodness doesn’t stop there — Cynthia Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks; Dean Carter, CHRO of Patagonia; Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia; and NBC reporter Mariana Atencio will also be taking the main stage as keynote presenters. Read on to learn more about each speaker and what they will be talking about at Talent Connect. 

1. Gary Vaynerchuk, the serial entrepreneur, will explain how he has used empathy to scale multiple businesses

Who better to tell the improbable and uplifting story of Gary Vaynerchuk than Gary V himself, the social media pioneer, best-selling author, and serial entrepreneur?

Gary immigrated to the United States from the Soviet Union when he was 3. As a boy, he cut his teeth in the business world with a lemonade stand and a precocious weekend operation trading baseball cards. He is now chair of the New York City–based communications company VaynerX, which includes tech companies, media properties, and VaynerMedia, a social media–focused digital agency with numerous Fortune 500 clients.

How has he done all that?

“Empathy,” Gary writes on his blog. “It’s one of the biggest things to which I attribute my success.” Gary says empathy allows him to motivate employees, turn potential clients into actual clients, create products that customers want, and offer best-in-class customer service.

Gary will share why he thinks empathy is the ultimate win-win.

2. Journalist, author, and public speaker Mariana Atencio will talk about why the things that make us different are exactly what make us special

Mariana Atencio is a Peabody Award–winning TV journalist who currently works out of Miami for NBC News and MSNBC.

Her 2017 TED Talk “What Makes You Special?” has been viewed nearly 10 million times and translated into nine languages. In that talk, she shares her story of growing up in Caracas, Venezuela, and being sent to summer camp — in Brainerd, Minnesota. It was the first of many times that Mariana saw that “belonging takes work.”

But it was migrating to the United States due to the political unrest in her home country that finally made Mariana see the importance — and beauty — of embracing your otherness. Mariana’s journey took her from becoming one of the few Latina national correspondents on television to writing her first book, Perfectly You, in which she gives her audience the tools to embrace the power of being real. 

“While some things might drive us apart at times,” Mariana writes, “we must try to remember it’s our mess, our differences, our struggles large and small, that make us perfectly suited to become the change we want to see in the world.”

3. Cynthia Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks, will talk about why she came out of retirement to fix a toxic culture

When Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban lured Cynthia Marshall out of retirement early last year to lead his NBA franchise, he was looking for someone who could do more than ensure success on the court and at the box office. He desperately needed someone who could transform the culture of the team for the better.

After a 36-year career at AT&T, where she finished as the CHRO and head of diversity, Cynt arrived at the Mavs facing an explosive #MeToo moment and an industry that was completely new to her. She quickly developed a 100-day plan to heal the franchise’s self-inflicted wounds, ultimately proving that cultural change doesn’t have to happen slowly. The recommendations and processes that the Mavericks have put into play are now being adopted by teams around the NBA.

In her talk at Talent Connect, Cynt will show how her life’s journey uniquely prepared her for her current role. She was the first person in her family to go to college, attending UC-Berkeley on an academic scholarship. She became the first black cheerleader at Cal and graduated with degrees in business administration and human resources management. Now she is the first woman CEO in NBA history.

Mavs’ owner Mark Cuban understood that a veteran executive steeped in human resources might be the only person who could make his organization truly healthy. Come hear Cynthia Marshall’s story and find out why Cuban’s hunch was right.

4. Dean Carter, CHRO of Patagonia, will share the challenges — and payoffs — of building and sustaining a unique company culture

When Yvon Chouinard founded Patagonia, the iconoclastic outdoor apparel manufacturer, he wanted it to be an un-company, according to Dean Carter, the leader of HR, finance, and legal at the 46-year-old brand.

So, what does an un-company look like?

Well, this one has 3,000 employees around the globe and has been called “The Coolest Company on the Planet” by Fortune, one of the “World’s Most Innovative Companies” by Fast Company, and one of the “Most Influential and Interesting Companies of the Year” by Inc. Maybe it’s because it has a company handbook entitled “Let My People Go Surfing”; gave its $10 million in 2018 tax cuts to grassroots environmental organizations; and, according to Dean, “if you get arrested peacefully protesting in support of the environment, we pay for bail.”

“Patagonia,” Dean says, “is a cause disguised as a company.”

Patagonia contributes 1% of its total sales to environmental groups — and in 2018, gave 100% of sales on Black Friday. Dean says that the Patagonia model for corporate citizenship starts with asking “what decision would you make if you knew for certain that your company was going to be around in 100 years.”

This is a brand revered by climbers, surfers, skiers, trail runners, environmental activists, and, we’re guessing, by all the culture champions who have a chance to hear Dean speak at Talent Connect.

We hope you’ll join us in Dallas September 25 to 27 to be challenged, inspired, and delighted by Gary Vaynerchuk, Mariana Atencio, Cynthia Marshall, Dean Carter, and, of course, Michelle Obama at what promises to be the best Talent Connect yet.

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