Meet the 2024 Innovate Speakers
Troy Sandidge, MC
Troy Sandidge is an award-winning growth strategist, author, serial entrepreneur, 4x agency builder, keynote speaker, Webby-nominated podcaster, startup advisor, and angel investor who has launched over 35 brands and generated over $175 million in revenue for clients worldwide.
Known as the Strategy Hacker®, Troy specializes in building strategies, systems, and solutions for world-class brands to become more sustainable, scalable, and profitable. He is the author of Strategize Up, the founder of Strategy Hackers, and the host of the iDigress Podcast, which has amassed over half a million downloads and is a Top 0.5% ranked podcast. The podcast is part of the HubSpot Podcast Network and has achieved a multitude of awards. Multiple media outlets named him a Top 100 Marketing Business Leader, and he’s listed in Los Angeles Wire’s 2020 30 Under 30. He is also the President and Co-founder of No Middle, a premiere creative marketing and growth consultancy firm for multi-million and multi-billion Tech, B2B, and SaaS brands.
An international speaker at over 600 events on five continents, Troy has shared stages featuring Oprah Winfrey, President Barack Obama, Viola Davis, Daymond John, Emma Grede, Russel Brunson, and Gary Vaynerchuk, to name a few.
Brian Wallace, Event Organizer
Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry-leading content marketing agency that makes the world’s ideas simple, visual, and influential. Brian has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-present, joined the SXSW Advisory Board in 2019-present and became an SMB Advisor for Lexmark in 2023.
Margaret Bedilion, Lead Event Planner
Margaret Bedilion is one of the founding members of Innovate. She has been in the hospitality world for nearly 20 years where she has focused most of her time on event planning and sales. She was on the Grand Opening team at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, OH and was on a team that planned events attended by Oprah Winfrey, Barbara Bush and Colin Powell. She has planned hundreds of weddings and social events and led a sales team at the Newport Aquarium, which is owned by Herschend Family Entertainment. She also worked at a Convention and Visitors Bureau where her focus was spent on promoting group tours and events. Margaret has worked on several events where 3,000+ were in attendance and was the lead event director for an event that brought in over 10,000 people from 33 different countries in 2018. Margaret started her own company, Mac & Bella Consulting, so that she could have work-life balance and focus on the events that are most important to her. She lives in Cincinnati with her two daughters, husband and loyal yellow lab.
Herb “Flight Time” Lang
An active speaker, actor, entrepreneur, motivator, and author, Herb “Flight Time” Lang is an 18-year former player and coach with the World-Famous Harlem Globetrotters. He is originally from Brinkley, Arkansas, where he was a former All-State standout student-athlete graduating at the top of his class while serving as senior class president. Herb later obtained his degree in Education from Centenary College of Louisiana in Shreveport. During his tenure there, he led the Trans-America Athletic Conference in scoring and won the National Association of Basketball Coaches Slam Dunk Contest on ESPN.
Throughout his travels, to nearly 90 countries while entertaining as “Flight Time,” some of Herb’s most memorable moments include meeting Pope Francis, President Obama, and appearing on numerous national television commercials and reality TV shows—most notably CBS’s “The Amazing Race.” He currently resides in Ruskin Florida with his wife Elena. Herb is the proud father of three Antonio, Nicholas, and Reya Lang, and continues to make a difference through kindness and his life experiences, which he believes are the keys to maximizing what we get out of life. He is a true believer in that we are all rich with love and kindness. #kindnessisfree
Tim Salau, Mr. Future of Work
Tim Salau, Mr. Future of Work is a Nigerian-American experiential artist based out of Houston, Texas. Born in 1993 to Racheal & Tayo, his Nigerian-American parents, October's Very Own (OVO) Bush boi, Tim Salau, Mr. Future of Work was always destined for greatness.
When he was 8, he got his start in music singing for his local church choir and elementary school. During middle school and high school, he pursued performance theatre for a few years until deciding he was more fascinated by human behavior, psychology, technology, and computers.
He eventually went on to graduate from Texas Tech University and University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Psychology and Information Studies. Today, Tim is the Co-Founder, Executive Creative Chairman, & CEO of a lifestyle brand called Guide with 300,000+ member community following him online.
He's been featured in Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Forbes, Millennial Mogul, and recognized by Google, Linkedin, Millennial Mogul, and other publications.
Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang
Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang is the CEO and founder of Classroom Without Walls. She is an award-winning educator, consultant, and coach. She received her MA from Syracuse University and PhD from the University of Maryland. Dr. Ai serves as an Adobe Education Leader, Adobe Insider, and HubSpot Academy Instructor. Dr. Ai’s work has been featured in Glamour Magazine, Forbes, Katie Couric Media, Inside Higher Education, Pearson Education, Entrepreneur, The Today Show, & others. Dr. Ai is a highly sought-after speaker, having spoken at TEDx, Inbound, Adobe Education Summit, and VidCon, among numerous other flagship conferences in academia and the industry. Known as an education disruptor, Dr. Ai enjoys sharing her thought leadership on education and entrepreneurship on LinkedIn.
Food is a part of our daily lives, but not all of us are lucky to have also been immersed in agriculture. Janice Person grew up in the city, Memphis to be exact, and never knew what laid down the road when she took an internship with a farm magazine. That's when she discovered the amazing impact agriculture offers in solving so many of the world's problems from hunger to environmental challenges like climate change.
A professional communicator, Janice has decades of experience working with some of the world's most innovative companies and still discovers new ideas after visiting farms across the US and abroad. She shares that knowledge on the podcast Grounded by the Farm, is a sought-after public speaker, and works with a range of clients on outreach and communications projects. Her career contributions were recognized with her recent induction into the Ag Relations Hall of Fame. She currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri but finds herself equally at home driving down a backroad in farm country.
Shorty Award winner, Webby nominated and named Business Insider's #1 Ad Executive, Jeff Barrett works with major influencers and brands like Adobe, Experian, Oracle, FIS and more on communications and influencer strategy. He spent three years traveling to almost every state in the country writing about startup ecosystems for Inc and Entrepreneur. Currently he is the host of the Shorty Awards' podcast, It's No Fluke.
Jason Falls is a no-nonsense, straight-shooter who tells the truth about digital marketing and calls B.S. where it happens. Sure, he is a well-respected influence strategist and industry thought leader, but when Falls talks, people listen. He hosts the popular podcast Winfluence, which digs into the nuances of influence marketing. Unabashed, unafraid and unfiltered, Falls leaves audiences thinking, laughing and wanting more. Aside from his engaging talks, he is a well-respected social industry analyst, oft-interviewed and quoted by the likes of the BBC, NPR, Forbes and more. Falls contributes to Entrepreneur.com, hosts one of the top influence marketing podcasts in the world, and is the executive producer of the Marketing Podcast Network. He has authored three books, none of which are about his favorite topic (bourbon) and is an unabashed fan, resident and advocate for the Kick-Ass State of Kentucky.
Evan White is a highly seasoned Consigliere to the C-Suite, boasting two decades of expertise in PR, Communications, and Marketing. His illustrious career includes founding and expanding a successful marketing and PR firm, where he has played a pivotal role in assisting startups secure tens of millions in investment and achieving billions of impressions across diverse markets.
Among Evan's notable achievements is steering the Viddy app to #1 listings on the App Store, and contributing to the success of Netflix's Sweet Magnolias. His projects have consistently garnered recognition in esteemed outlets such as People Magazine, Fortune, Good Housekeeping, The Today Show, and more.
Beyond his professional accomplishments, Evan is actively involved in philanthropy, dedicating his time to community organizations and contributing to the vibrant life of Mt Olive Lutheran Church in Santa Monica, where he resides with his family.
Evan's expertise extends to event programming and activation, where he has successfully captivated audiences at prominent events like SXSW, CES, RecFest, Unleash, and more. His adept leadership in this domain has further solidified his reputation as a dynamic force in strategic communication and audience engagement.
In addition to his professional endeavors, Evan is a committed community member and family man, embodying a holistic approach to success. With a passion for driving impactful narratives and elevating brands, Evan White remains a prominent figure in the intersection of PR, Events, and Marketing.
Jeremy Knauff ran a successful digital marketing agency for nearly two decades until a health crisis nearly killed him and destroyed his business.
He rebuilt from that devastating loss by developing a process that his agency now uses to help clients get featured in the media so they can become a recognized authority in their industry, attract more clients, and earn more money.
He is a speaker, author, founder of the digital marketing agency Spartan Media, and a Marine Corps veteran.
For over two decades, Rachael Schwartz has been leading strategy, innovation, and product
management in consumer products and electronics with a focus on driving personalization and
intuitiveness of physical products through digital technology, voice, and AI.
Rachael currently is the Digital Strategy Leader across all of cooking at GE Appliances as well as the
Executive Director, Product for Built-in cooking. In those roles, she is responsible, not only for the end-
to-end revenue and profitability for the built-in cooking category (wall oven and cooktops) but also for
envisioning and driving digital technology across GEA’s cooking appliances.
Under Rachael’s direction, GE Appliances has launched a “better with time” strategy in which the
company is selling ovens and ranges with the promise of new capabilities over time through over-the-air
updates. New capabilities to existing units already in homes have included a launch of Airfry to units
built before Airfry was the hot feature, screen upgrades including adding dynamic wallpaper content
that reflects the seasons or holidays, weather widgets, and fun facts, a 1-step Turkey Mode for
Thanksgiving (that also included thanksgiving images, fun facts, and a “gobble gobble sound” in place of
the timer sound), and a Steakhouse mode that makes a perfect steak in the oven using Reverse Sear
methodology. GE Appliances is also expanding its App functionality to making cooking easier and more
convenient including remote control capabilities (preheat oven from app), remote monitoring (view in-
oven camera from app), and generative AI features like a recipe generator and a chatbot that answers
owner’s appliance questions.
Prior to GE Appliances, Rachael led strategy for Bose's consumer electronics division where she
supported overall division strategy as well as strategy related to Bose's new big endeavors including
augmented reality ("Bose AR"), IoT/ smart home, and Bose Frames ("Sunglasses with a soundtrack").
Before Bose, Rachael was General Manager of Keurig Connect and VP Product Management, at Keurig,
the leading single serve coffee brewing system, and numerous beverage brands including Green
Mountain Coffee, Tully’s, and Timothy’s. Keurig Connect is Keurig’s Internet of Things program,
providing consumers with enhanced beverage experiences enabled by a smart personal brewing system.
She also started Keurig’s innovation program and its strategy group where she launched Keurig Kold
beverage system and Campbell’s Soup k-cups.
Rachael’s early career including working for several strategy consulting firms for 12 years, providing
strategy consulting to innovation and R&D teams at large consumer products, foods and beverage, and
financial services clients. She holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business in Strategic
Management and Marketing and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania in Design of the Environment
(architecture and design). She is based in Louisville, KY, where she lives with her husband and 2 teenage
Known as the Queen of Relationship Marketing, Jessika is on a mission to redefine corporate America and create something she wanted to be part of. Jessika founded NOW Marketing Group in 2010 with only a laptop and a vision to give people with heart an upper hand. NOW Marketing Group was recognized as Inc. Best places to work 2022, is a Forbes recognized Agency Partner, Partnered with Facebook, Google and and a certified inbound partner with Hubspot.
NOW Marketing Group works with more than 100 clients across the United States and beyond, choosing to serve – not sell. Jessika lives by a personal mission of helping inspire people to love more, give more and be more through authentic relating and proving doing what’s right, not what’s easy can turn a vision to a profitable agency that produces results.
Navin Goyal, MD
Navin Goyal, M.D. is a physician and entrepreneur who serves as Founding and Managing Partner of LOUD Capital. Bringing his physician training to do good for people, Navin strives to make venture capital more purpose-driven, inclusive, and accessible. Outside of being an angel investor in over a dozen companies, he has invested in over 80 companies with LOUD Capital since 2015. Navin is a frequent speaker at medical schools, hospitals, and businesses worldwide, sharing his perspective on how physicians can bring their ethical code to influence and impact the world more fully. His story, his experience, and what he sees as an opportunity for physicians to have a broader impact on themselves and society is the focus of his book, Physician Underdog. Before co-founding LOUD Capital, Navin practiced anesthesiology in a large hospital-based setting and was the Medical Director of a community hospital for several years. The beginning of his entrepreneurial journey was co-founding OFFOR Health (formerly SmileMD), a venture-backed mobile healthcare company that expands access to care across the United States with a dedicated focus on lower-income and rural communities. The company is currently in 5 states and services over 10,000 children a year. Navin received his M.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and trained in anesthesiology at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Goyal, M.D.
Meet Phil Gerbyshak, the high-octane VP of Growth at SpeakerFlow. With more than 20 years of sales and marketing wizardry under his belt, he's a juggernaut in the world of business. From Wall Street's bustling avenues to Main Street's cozy corners, Phil's charisma and savvy have left a mark. He's not just a salesman; he's a relationship guru, tech-whisperer, and a downright sales superhero! Penning books like "Zero Dollar Consultancy," he's a wordsmith who knows his trade. If you hear applause at conferences, that might be Phil rocking the stage with one of his keynote speeches. A cocktail of wisdom, fun, and creativity, Phil Gerbyshak's approach to sales is a thrilling ride that turns business into an exciting adventure. Jump on board, and let's grow with Phil!
Writer, scientist, professor, and practitioner of search optimization, Steve Wiideman lives, breathes, and eats SEO, SEM, and inbound marketing. He is the author of SEO Strategy & Skills, a college textbook through Stukent. When he's not leading his team of SEO consultants for franchise, multi-location, and e-commerce brands, he's a cheeseball romantic, entertaining dad, and world traveler with a passion for life; embracing culture and diversity.
While serving as an adjunct professor at UCSD and CSUF, Steve’s also building the Academy of Search, while volunteering time to help improve transparency and industry standards as an agency trainer.
Adam Torkildson lives and works in Utah. He owns Tork Media; a PR, Content, Domain Development, and Small Business consulting company. He is open to partnerships, equity, and creative opportunities at just about any level of business or startup.
He has invested in or co-founded over a dozen companies ranging from hair salons to sports card authentication.
Also, he was quoted in NBC News about the topic of men's health in a very unique way https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/dude-wheres-my-junk-crude-test-may-help-men-trim-flna1c6866894
Spencer Hulse is the Editorial Director at Grit Daily News, where he plays an integral role in driving the vision of the platform. A proud alumnus of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, he holds a degree in Psychology, an academic foundation that uniquely positions him to understand and present stories with depth and nuance.
Also an established freelance editor, Spencer's expertise extends beyond the confines of daily news. He also ventures into the realms of research-based projects and novels, bringing his ability to articulate with clarity and authenticity wherever it's needed.
In the rapidly evolving landscape of digital media, Spencer's toolkit includes skills like Digital Marketing, SEO, and Computer Programming, which allows him to adapt and thrive as new technology continues to make waves.
Joseph Lewin is a marketing and sales strategist. Over the last ten years, he’s helped companies create marketing systems that scale business growth. He focuses on using podcasts, live stream events, and personal brand building to establish credibility and build relationships for clients. He hosts The Strategic Marketer, OUTBOUND, and Relationship-Led Growth Live.
Matt Strippelhoff is the founder and CEO at Red Hawk Technologies, a custom software development, support and maintenance provider focused on serving the mid-market. The Circuit, a nonprofit information technology association for Greater Cincinnati, awarded Matt with the 2022 Visionary Leader Award for his reimagining of the software and application development process. Red Hawk is ranked in the top 1000 companies globally, among the top application development, maintenance and support companies in the United States and among the top software developers in Kentucky in 2023 by Clutch, a business platform helping corporate buyers connect with the solution providers they need to improve effectiveness and increase productivity. The ratings and reviews platform publishes the most extensive and referenced client reviews in the B2B services market.