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CEO Summit: Where the Industry’s Top Influencers Gather

CEO Summit Sessions and Speakers


Session Descriptions

Opening Keynote: Enchanting Secrets to Creative Storytelling

Bobby Lehew, CCO, commonsku 


Storytelling is the magic by which we move people: prospects, buyers, employees, colleagues. Behind any successful sale, behind every successful business, there is a story. Learn to tell this story effectively and you'll learn how to enchant your audience and attract more of the right kinds of customers. In this session on storytelling, we’ll take successful sales experiences and learn how to translate them into stories that are compelling. Bobby's session will help you:

  • Learn how to take your unique value proposition and shape it into a story worth telling
  • Learn to unpack an ordinary transaction and turn it into a compelling story
  • Understand the arc of a story so that the most salient points are remembered
  • Learn what portions of a story audiences actually retain
  • Learn how to translate boring case histories into stories worth remembering
  • Learn how this method will begin to shape and change the future direction of your business

Non-Compete Agreements

Ann Maher, Partner, Husch Blackwell
Ms. Maher will discuss the use of, and differences between, non-compete, non-disclosure (confidentiality) and non-solicit agreements to attempt to restrict the activities of employees during and after their employment.  She will also address the challenges to enforcing non-compete agreements in some states, the risks of using “confidential” information belonging to a former employer and provide some practical advice on how best to avoid lawsuits when hiring employees subject to such agreements.


Employee Retention in a Tight Labor Market Update

Claudia St. John, President, Affinity HR Group, Inc.

Employee Engagement and Retention in a Tight Labor Market -- Now more than ever employers are finding it difficult to attract and retain qualified workers. Among the top priorities are to keep the qualified talent that they already have, but how to do that on a tight budget? This session discusses the key components to employee engagement and retention and provides ideas and cost-effective techniques for improving employee satisfaction and longevity.


Work Culture, Climate and Engagement - What are They and Why You Should Care.

Kevin Wachtel, Principal, The W Group Consulting, LLC

The Entrepreneur Magazine process focuses on rating Alignment, Effectiveness, Connection, Management, Engagement, Leadership and Basics.  These are not measures of culture, they are measures of climate.


Culture is measured by the strength of norms like Achievement, Dependent, Achievement, Conventional, Power, Perfectionistic, Avoidance - which are oriented into three organizational culture styles. 


Culture represents shared philosophies, norms, ideologies, beliefs, expectations, attitudes, values and feelings.  It describes for a company "the way we are expected to do things around here" or "the way we SHOULD be expected to do things around here".  These are definitions established by Edgar Schein, who is the grandfather of organizational culture understanding.

  • Values and Beliefs
  • What is important
  • What works
  • Norms
  • How we should think
  • How we should behave
  • What we shouldn't do

Culture and climate are inter-related, they have to be studied together.  Levers for changing culture come from understanding climate in the context of whether the culture is constructive, passive-defensive or aggressive-defensive.


Business Optimization - Pre-Succession Planning

Gary L. Bozza, President & Managing Partner, WorldBridge Partners Chicago NW 
Is your Business Optimized and Performing at its Peak?
Gary Bozza opened the doors of WorldBridge Partners Chicago NW, in 1997, following a highly successful 18-year career as VP of National Accounts & Director of Midwest Sales, primarily at MOORE (now RR Donnelley). He was especially skilled at hiring and managing professionals, and his teams consistently performed among the company’s best. Recognized for his ability to get results, he has been building world class leadership teams for four decades, on both sides of the hiring process.

Gary’s practice is dedicated to helping CEOs and Owners enhance culture, attract and retain top talent, while maximizing enterprise value. Based on his copious exposure to hundreds of CEO’s & companies, and placing thousands of individuals, he can easily differentiate a great company from a poor one.

Whether you want to “tune up” your business for peak performance or you want to maximize the sellability of your company someday; Gary will share the 8 key value drivers necessary to optimize your company, as a Value Builder Advisor. In addition, you will learn the top 10 attributes that buyers look for when evaluating a company.


Interactive Session

This attendee-led session is engaging and informative. Members select the topics they wish to participate in and take part in a medley of mini-discussions. This format will give you the opportunity to connect with your colleagues in a small group setting to ask questions, share experiences, and obtain solutions. You'll have the freedom to join or leave conversations as you please. This interactive session will allow you the opportunity to network with other participants on the most pressing industry related topics.


The Southwest Way—Successful Practices of a Market Leader

Jason Young, Former Senior Executive at Southwest Airlines & Renowned Training & Development Expert
Southwest Airlines has given the business world a textbook example that providing fabulous customer service and maintaining high employee morale in a low-cost environment is possible and profitable. A key developer of Southwest Airlines’ legendary customer service and leadership training programs, Young shares the inside story behind the success and how to apply these proven organizational principles to your team or company.


"Mentorship vs. Management"

Clint Pulver, President, The Center for Employee Retention

How great leaders inspire, retain and engage the younger generation

Now more than ever, employees are looking for leadership that supports, encourages, and gives them the tools they need to create an environment that allows them to grow and make an impact. In this unforgettable customized presentation that is designed to inspire management and Corporate leadership, Clint demonstrates the “WHY” of mentorship in the workplace, and that every employee is just one success story away from a caring somebody. In his role as a Corporate Keynote Speaker from the millennial generation, Clint offers an engaging and fresh insight supporting your corporate leadership while giving them solid insights on how to inspire themselves and the people they lead. Clint delivers an actionable narrative of how one teacher by the name of Mr. Jensen changed his life with a small and simple gift that brought about lasting change and purpose. It is a message on the power of Mentorship vs Management and the lasting impact it creates in an ever-changing corporate culture. The presentation reaffirms, validates, and inspires today’s CEO’s and Management Teams that a simple belief in others can make all the difference. As a result of this program, audience members will be able to:

  • See more of who they are, as well as what the people they lead can become

  • Understand the four keys to mentorship within the role of leadership

  • Create actionable goals that make a lasting difference

  • Develop a greater understanding of their purpose as a leader and mentor

  • Understand their “WHY” as a mentor

  • Create a method of accountability for themselves and those they lead

  • Adopt implementation strategies of how to create cultural change

  • Commit to ongoing learning/disciplines to aid their efforts

Speaker Biographies 

Bobby Lehew, CCO, commonsku

Bobby Lehew is the Chief Content Officer at commonsku. A 25-year industry veteran, Bobby was formerly the CEO at Robyn, a branded products fulfillment company that specialized in private-label, e-commerce company stores. A founding chef at Promokitchen, a PPAI Gold Pyramid Award winner, a PPAI Silver Technology recipient, an Addy Award recipient, and recognized (in his work with Robyn) three years in a row by Inc. Magazine as one of the 5,000 fastest growing private companies in the U.S., Bobby is a national speaker on topics related to B2B marketing and storyselling. Featured in ASI’s Counselor magazine as one of “41 people who are shaking up the market with new and innovative approaches,” Bobby is an ardent bibliophile and loves working at the intersection of art and commerce.



Ann Maher, Partner, Husch Blackwell 

When commercial disputes heat up, Ann works to cool things down so her clients can get back to taking care of business. An award-winning litigator, Ann calls upon her years of experience to quickly assess the situation and offer workable solutions. Ann understands that litigation is expensive and distracting for clients— whether it involves contract disputes, dealership termination, lease quarrels, contested noncompete agreements or intellectual property issues. She looks to resolve disputes in a practical way to keep the wheels of commerce turning smoothly for her technology, manufacturing and transportation clients. More than a litigator, Ann also advises general counsel, company presidents and other organizational leaders on a variety of business and legal issues



Claudia St. John, President, Affinity HR Group, Inc.

Claudia St. John is founder and President of Affinity HR Group, Inc., a national human resources and management consulting firm specializing in hiring and recruiting, HR compliance and employee engagement.   Affinity HR Group is PSDA’s endorsed HR partner and resource.  As a consultant and frequent speaker, Claudia has given hundreds of presentations and workshops on such topics as how to recruit like a pro, common management mistakes, employee engagement, and multi-generational workplace challenges.  She is the author of the bestselling book Transforming Teams – tips for improving collaboration and building trust.  Her weekly HR Minute e-mails and monthly articles are followed by thousands of business leaders nationwide. 



Kevin Wachtel, Principal, The W Group Consulting, LLC

Kevin Wachtel is on a mission to help companies develop strong and constructive work cultures, develop leaders and managers and strengthen employee and client engagement practices and results.  The ROI can be significant.

He spent 19 years as an SVP and GM with Fiserv Output Solutions (Personix), running a transaction mail and credit card production operation generating 400 million units of production per year as well as operations roles at First Data and Shell Oil Company.  He was involved in a culture improvement initiative that resulted in reduced costs, increased revenue growth, reduced turnover and improved client retention and satisfaction among other positive results.  Output Solutions was regularly named the #1 inbound/outbound print communications operation in the Madison Advisors Best Practices Assessment.   

Kevin will share definition and meaning around work culture, climate and engagement – what they are, how they can be measured and how action can be taken to improve the function and results of your company.


Gary L. Bozza, President & Managing Partner, WorldBridge Partners Chicago NW 

Gary Bozza opened the doors of WorldBridge Partners Chicago NW, in 1997, following a highly successful 18-year career as Vice President of National Accounts and Director of Midwest Sales primarily at MOORE (now RR Donnelley). He was especially skilled at hiring and managing professionals, and his teams consistently performed among the company’s best.  Recognized for his ability to get results, he has been building real world leadership teams for four decades on both sides of the hiring process.

Today, Gary’s practice is dedicated to helping CEOs, Presidents, Vice President of Human Resources, Owners and Private Equity Firms drive revenue, maximize the effectiveness of human capital resources, while building enterprise value.

Gary is a graduate of Miami University (Ohio) and holds a B.S. degree in Finance. He is the founder and chairperson for the Ireland Cancer Center/Gilmour Academy Scholarship Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio and a recent chairperson of St. Vincent DePaul & Sister House Charity in Northwest Chicago. 

Gary is also a certified Transition/Succession Plan Advisor (Successful Transition Planning Institute) and Value Builder Advisor. He provides the tools, training, and support you need to create a meaningful and purposeful succession & transition plan. 


Jason Young, Former Senior Executive at Southwest Airlines & Renowned Training & Development Expert

Jason Young has been called a “rare breed” when it comes to developing leaders and customer service initiatives. During his 10 years at Southwest Airlines, the airline consistently rated No. 1 in customer service and employee satisfaction, and the former senior executive was a key driver in creating and developing the company’s innovative training programs, successful leadership and customer service culture that have become renowned in the business world today.

Driven by the need to extend his unique insight in leadership development to others outside Southwest, Young separated from the pack in 1998, when he left the airline to launch his own consulting practice to focus on corporate training and development services, specializing in leadership, customer service and team building. Today, as president of LeadSmart, Inc., Young shares his vision in developing successful corporate cultures and workplace environments with forward-thinking companies, including Starbucks, Radio Shack, Coca Cola and Tyson Foods. He has captured his philosophy of creating high performance cultures in his recent book, The Culturetopia Effect.

Capturing the innovative strategies and tactics he created at Southwest Airlines, Young offers practical insights and strategies that can be implemented immediately. His keynote presentations and training programs are in demand for audiences ranging from senior level executives to frontline employees. Participants are treated to a compelling experience that will change the way they view themselves, their customers and the company for which they work.

Young’s keynote and workshop presentations inspire audiences while reinforcing the concepts and skills geared to increase learning and assist in the transition from the meeting room to the workplace.


Clint Pulver, President, The Center for Employee Retention

Clint is from Heber City Utah. He is a graduate of Utah’s premiere Flight Program, having received his pilot’s license from OK3air and Utah Valley University (UVU), where he also received his Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication with high distinction from UVU’s nationally ranked Leadership Program. Clint was very active in college as a Presidential Leader in the Center for the Advancement of Leadership, Orientation Director, UVU Ambassador, and former UVU Student Body Vice-President. 

He has been a Professional Drummer for over 20 years, having played for various professional musicians and in venues like the Vivint Arena, the Stadium of Fire, and the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. In 2010 he founded the UVU Drumline known as the Green Man Group, which he directed for 6 years. He then continued on to direct the Drumline for the NBA’s Utah Jazz until 2015. Clint was recently featured in Business Q Magazine as one of their “Top 40 under 40” as a premiere Corporate Keynote Speaker. He has appeared on America’s Got Talent and in several different Feature Films with actors like Jack Black (School of Rock) and John Heder (Napoleon Dynamite). 

Known as “The Millennial Speaker”, Clint Pulver helps organizations that want to retain, engage and inspire their people. As the president and founder of The Center for Employee Retention, Clint has transformed how corporations like Keller Williams, AT&T and Hewlett Packard create lasting loyalty through his work and research as “The Undercover Millennial”. For over a decade, he has been a self-motivated Entrepreneur who is well versed in business start-up, sales management, management training, and growing multi-million dollar accounts. Clint understands first hand that relationships are based on trust, service, support, connection and consistent follow-through. 

Clint strongly believes that a single moment in time can change a person’s life. He has traveled the world speaking to youth and adult audiences alike, challenging them to dream, excel, connect, and believe--both in themselves and in the power of others. For over a decade, Clint has dedicated his heart to helping organizations understand the younger generation and helping the younger generation understand themselves through living a life of significance, instead of just a life of success: “It’s not about being the best in the world…it's about being the best FOR the world”. 

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