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2019 Speakers

Michael Ahearne
Professor of Marketing and C.T. Bauer Chair in Marketing, University of Houston
Executive Director of the Sales, Excellence Institute

Michael Ahearne is Professor of Marketing and C.T. Bauer Chair in Marketing at the University of Houston. He is also Executive Director of the Sales Excellence Institute.

Mike's research has primarily focused on improving the performance of salespeople and sales organizations. He has published over 50 articles in leading journals such as Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Management Science, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. He was recently recognized by the American Marketing Association as one of the 10 most research productive scholars in the field of marketing. His research has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal, Business 2.0, Business Investors Daily, Fox Business, INC Magazine and many other news outlets.

Mike's textbook Selling Today: Partnering to Create Customer Value is the highest grossing professional selling textbook in the world, with copies being distributed in over forty countries. Paired with the many teaching awards he has won at the MBA and undergraduate levels in Sales, Sales Management, and Key Account Management, Mike has a proven track record of excellence when it comes to disseminating knowledge in his field. He has also had a significant impact outside of the classroom based on the reach of the Sales Excellence Institute, which is widely regarded as the worldwide leader in sales education and research. Mike was recently honored as the inaugural winner of the Neil Rackham Research Dissemination Award for the impact of his research on business practice.

Before entering academia, Mike played professional baseball for the Montreal Expos and worked in marketing research and sales operations for Eli Lilly and PCS Healthcare. He actively consults in many industries including insurance, health care, consumer packaged goods, technology and transportation.

Nancy Drapeau, PRC
Vice President of Research
CEIR

Nancy Drapeau, PRC. A 25-year market research veteran with over 18 years in the business-to-business exhibitions sector. As CEIR’s Senior Research Director, Ms. Drapeau conducts industry wide studies and reports on current trends in the exhibition industry. She holds a BA in Government from Georgetown University and a Master’s in Advanced European and International Studies from l’Institut Européen des Hautes Études Internationales. She is an AC Nielsen Burke Institute trained focus group moderator. She is a well-respected industry speaker and an active member of the Insights Association (formerly the Marketing Research Association) as well as a past participant of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) Future Trends Task Force and member of the Event Industry Council’s (EIC) Research Committee.

John Gerzema
CEO
Harris Insights & Analytics/The Harris Poll

John Gerzema is CEO of Harris Insights & Analytics/The Harris Poll, a leading public opinion, market research, corporate, brand and reputation strategy firm. John is a pioneer in the use of data to identify social change and help leaders and organizations anticipate and adapt to new trends and demands. An author, strategist, speaker and consultant, his books are on the bestseller and critics ‘best of’ lists of The New York Times, WSJ, Washington Post, Bloomberg and Fast Co and his writing and interviews have appeared in NYT, FT, Economist, NPR, Forbes, Quartz, McKinsey, HBR, WIRED among others. An expert in leadership and social change, John was named among the “Top Management Articles of the Decade” by Strategy & Business and his TED talks are widely viewed.

As a Distinguished Fellow with The Athena Center for Leadership at Barnard, he is an advocate for Women and Girls and serves as board advisor to The U.N Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign, University of The People and The National Kidney Foundation. John is among “The Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business” and “Must-Follow Marketing Minds on Twitter” by Forbes. He presented gender inequality findings in the media and workplace at The World Economic Forum in Davos and designed an analytic model with The Wharton School for U.S. News & World Report “Best Countries” rankings.

In 2015, John was named to The Medill Hall of Achievement at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. His latest book with Pulitzer-Prize winner Michael D’Antonio explores the rise of feminine values in leadership, policy and innovation. Tom Peters says, “The Athena Doctrine is a powerful book. Extraordinary research. Great storytelling. A message both timely and of monumental importance.”

John previously served as Global Chief Insights Officer at Young & Rubicam and CEO of WPP’s BAV Consulting.

Dr. Lindsey Piegza
Chief Economist
Stifel Fixed Income

Dr. Piegza specializes in research and analysis of economic trends and activity, world economies, financial markets and fiscal policies. Piegza joined Stifel in 2015 amid the merger with Sterne Agee where she was Chief Economist. Prior to her roles with Stifel and Sterne Agee, she was the Senior Economist for an investment bank for eight years in New York City.

In addition to more than 13 years of professional experience, Piegza has published academic papers in prestigious journals such as the Harvard Business Review and in textbooks from Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management.