Meet the Speakers



photo-tom-alexander-1871Tom Alexander is chief operating officer for 1871, one of the largest technology incubators in the United States. His role includes operation of a facility that houses hundreds of startups, business development efforts focused on integrating 1871 into the Chicago technology economy, and external relations efforts with government and media partners. Previously, Tom served as deputy communications director for Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Prior to his time in the Mayor’s office, Tom served as a senior communications director at the University of Chicago, a policy and communications projects director in the Office of the Governor of Illinois, and a senior disaster analyst for the U.S. Small Business Administration in Washington, DC. He has also worked as a newspaper reporter, editor of an online business publication, adjunct professor of journalism, and was founder of a small sports newspaper. Tom has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Chicago and a master’s in public policy administration from Northwestern University.

photo-avrin-davidOne of the most in-demand business marketing and branding speakers in the world today, David Avrin, CSP has shared his content-rich, entertaining, hard-hitting, hilarious and memorable presentations to enthusiastic audiences across North America and in over 20 countries around the world, including recent presentations in Singapore, Bangkok, Melbourne, Brisbane, Antwerp, Buenos Aires, Sri Lanka, Manila, Glasgow, Rotterdam, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, London, Johannesburg and Dubai. David Avrin shows business owners and leaders, sales professionals, HR audiences and entrepreneurs how to ferret-out, recognize, craft and promote compelling competitive advantages. A former CEO group-leader and business marketing firm owner, David's business insights have been featured on hundreds of broadcast media outlets and thousands of online and print publications around the world.

photo-begehrJudy Begehr is senior vice president, strategy at gyro where she mines insights, inspires creative excellence and defines the strategic foundation for impactful programs.  Her career in advertising has been focused on the intersection between business strategy, the psychology of decision-making and creative business communications.  Judy has 18 years’ experience in the field, working with clients including, GE, Kellogg, and Tyco, among others.



photo-rich-catizoneWith 20 years of product and business development experience, Rich Catizone leads Morey’s business development, product sales, customer service and marketing teams. His combined engineering and management expertise empower him to contribute to the firm’s aggressive growth initiatives focused on serving mission-critical markets such as healthcare and defense, and expanding its expertise in the fast-moving telematics space. Most recently, Catizone was the general manager of North America for information technology firm BIOS IT; the majority of his career was spent in various sales and management roles with Altera Corporation. Catizone holds a master’s degree in business administration from the Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University and a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Electrical Engineering from Purdue University.

John Denslinger is a 40-year veteran of the electronic component industry, most recently retiring from Murata as president of SyChip, LLC, Murata’s wireless solutions business, and before that executive vice president of Murata’s sales and marketing. Since the mid-90s, John has actively served in leadership positions on a number of industry trade association boards of directors: EIA, ECA, EDS, NEDA and ECIA. John was a principal agent in the formation of the ECIA from the two associations, ECA and NEDA, and served as the new association’s first elected chairperson. In January 2013, ECIA’s Board of Directors named John the Association’s president and CEO.


Richard Dphotodixonrichardixon, PhD is a principal analyst for MEMS and sensors for IHS Markit. He is the author of more than 50 MEMS-related consulting and market research studies and a world-renowned expert on automotive MEMS and magnetic sensors used in safety, powertrain and body applications. Along with supporting the overall activities of the MEMS and sensors group, his responsibilities include the development of databases that forecast the markets for more than 20 types of silicon-based sensors in more than 100 automotive applications. In addition, he has supported organizations with future scenarios for sensors in cars and has supported many custom projects for companies in the automotive supply chain.

Doti PR PhotoJames Doti, PhD earned his B.S. degree in economics from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and his A.M. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago.  He has been president of Chapman University since 1991 and holds the Donald Bren Distinguished Chair in Business and Economics. Dr. Doti joined the Chapman faculty in 1974.  In 1978, he founded the A. Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research to encourage faculty and students to engage in economic and business research of high quality and to disseminate the results of this research to the business community. Under his leadership, the Anderson Center became nationally recognized, with its economic forecast and other research results cited in Business Week, The Christian Science Monitor, The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine and USA Today.

photo-jean-pierre-dubeJean-Pierre Dubé is the Sigmund E. Edelstone Professor of Marketing at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, director of the Kilts Center for Marketing at the Booth School and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. From 2008-2010, he was a research consultant for the Yahoo! Microeconomics Research group. His research interests include empirical quantitative marketing and empirical industrial organization, with specific interests in pricing, advertising, branding, digital marketing, retailing, and dynamic decision-making. Several of his recent research projects are in collaboration with companies in the US and in China. Dubé earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto in quantitative methods in economics in 1995, a master's degree in economics in 1996, and a PhD in 2000 from Northwestern University. He joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 2000.

photo-eric-eversoleEric Eversole is a vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and president of Hiring Our Heroes, a program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and a grassroots initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment in communities across America. Eversole strategically engages the program’s private- and public-sector partners in an effort to connect businesses to the talented men and women transitioning out of the military as well as their spouses. He first entered military service in 1994 as an enlisted security specialist in the Indiana Air National Guard. Eversole later accepted a commission in the United States Navy JAG Corps in 1998 and served on active duty until 2001. As an appellate attorney, he represented more than 250 sailors and Marines before the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals and the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. Eversole transferred to the Navy Reserve in 2001. He now serves with a Navy Reserve unit supporting the Navy's Appellate Review Activity and holds the rank of captain. Eversole holds a J.D. cum laude from Indiana University School of Law and a B.A. cum laude from Wabash College.

photo-james_bird_guess-cropJames Bird Guess is CEO and president of International Success Academy.  Homeless after high school, James built a quarter million dollar business from the trunk of his car, and is now a world-renowned management consultant and keynote speaker on employee engagement, strategic leadership, culture change, and talent retention. International Success Academy is a management
consulting firm that provides advisory services to mid-market and Fortune 1000
 companies including QuikTrip, Shiner Bock Brewery, Koch Industries, United
Surgical Partners, FirstGroup America, and National Oilwell Varco. James also provides board and advisory oversight to companies in health care, oil and energy, retail, aviation, government, and education industries. His vast amount of broad-based business experiences helping companies maximize organizational effectiveness, has honed his unique skillset for providing innovative ideas, insights, best practices and "next practices" to company leaders making decisions that positively impact shareholder value.

HawtreyNickAs chief financial officer for Allied Electronics, Nick Hawtrey is responsible for all the financial elements of the company, including tax, treasury, budgeting and reporting.  Prior to moving to Texas and taking the role at Allied, Nick worked for the sister company in the UK, RS Components, as global vice president of finance for corporate services. Nick has also held several positions at Toyota PLC in the UK as well as at various financial institutions in London.  Nick studied at Eton College and Durham University in the UK, before obtaining his chartered accountancy qualification at the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.


photo-dr-lynn-phillipsA former member of the faculty (and award-winning teacher and scholar) at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) for 12 years—in addition to having held faculty positions at Harvard, Northwestern, Rice, and UC Berkeley graduate schools of business administration—Lynn Phillips, PhD now devotes his full time to executive education and implementation guidance as the founder and principal of his firm, Reinventures. Dr. Phillips is a long-time member of the global faculty network of Duke Corporate Education, consistently ranked among the top three customer executive education providers by Financial Times for the last 15 years as the best custom executive education provider supporting strategy execution. He also is a member of the global faculty networks of Univentures and the Corporate Learning Alliance, the joint venture between Financial Times and IE Business School based in Madrid, Spain. His Ph.D. in Management and Business Administration is from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. His B.S.B.A. is from the University of Tulsa.

photo-youngbloodDave Youngblood is the Texas Instruments (TI) vice president of Demand Creation IT. In his current role, Youngblood is in charge of TI’s online strategy as well as the day-to-day performance management of TI’s web platforms and ―, the E2E forum, and eCommerce. Previously, he oversaw all marketing communications and media relations for analog products. Youngblood joined TI in 1999 as a launch marketing specialist for standard linear and logic products, and he later became an account manager in business marketing for this product line before moving into his role as worldwide analog marketing communications manager. He earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, followed by a master’s degree in communications from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.