Meet the 2022 Small Giants Summit Speakers!

Rich Armstrong

Senior Coach | Great Game of Business

Rich has more than 30 years of experience in improving business performance and employee engagement through open-book management and employee ownership, as a consultant and as an executive at SRC Holdings Corporation, a 38-year employee owned company and one of America’s top 100 largest majority employee-owned companies. Rich also served as the President of The Great Game of Business for 16 years, where he co-authored the update to The Great Game of Business 20th Anniversary Edition and his new book Get in the Game: Creating Rapid Financial Results and Lasting Cultural Change with Steve Baker.

Rich has been instrumental in the ongoing development of SRC Holdings Open-Book Management and Employee Ownership practices by leading several of SRC’s business units. This experience has enabled him to successfully apply the practices of OBM and Employee Ownership in both small and large-scale company implementations around the world. Rich is a passionate advocate for employee ownership and its unique and proven approach to bridging the gap between the “haves and the have-nots”. 

Andrew Barry

Founder | Curious Lion

Andrew Barry is the founder of Curious Lion, a training design firm reimagining the way companies like PagerDuty, Pinterest, and KPMG transform their people. He is the creator of Course of Action, a self-paced program and community for aspiring course creators working towards making Andrew’s vision that “everyone has an online course in them” a reality. He is also the co-founder of the Course Creators Collective, or C3, a 12-month accelerator and online home for turning Experts into Superstar Teachers.

Previously, Andrew was the Program Director for the first and only On Deck Course Creator Fellowship in early 2021. Prior to that, he was Head of Learning at Lobster Ink, a video-based training provider in hospitality, later acquired by Ecolab. He was also in charge of content for KPMG’s Executive Education business.

Andrew is originally from South Africa and now lives in New Jersey with his wife and son.

Heidi Baumgart

VP of Marketing and Team Development | Arborwear

Heidi is a better-maker gifted at building brands, teams, culture and community by leading, coaching, and managing change. As VP of Marketing and Team Development of Arborwear, she oversees the development of brand and product marketing, e-commerce, and customer experience. She supports on-brand and on-culture recruiting, hiring, and team member development. 

Heidi finds great joy mentoring high schoolers, college students, and emerging leaders. In 2021, she launched an experiential learning program that hires cohorts of college students and recent grads. She is a proud Kent State University alum (#FlashesForever), and returned to her alma mater as a part time instructor of “Advertising Copywriting and Storytelling” in 2019.  

Outside of professional work, you’ll find Heidi planning adventures with her two small humans or taking long road trips in search of excellent meals with her husband.

Kuda Biza

Co-Founder & CMO | Nunbelievable

Kuda Biza is a serial entrepreneur who started his first company when he was 9 years old in Zimbabwe. He is the Co-Founder & CMO of Nunbelievable, a mission-based baked goods company that donates a meal for every cookie sold. They have donated over 1 million meals to people in need in less than 2 years.

Prior to joining Nunbelievable, he spent over a decade in various innovation & e-commerce roles at Newell Brands, a Fortune 500 firm and home to iconic brands like: Calphalon, Yankee Candle, Crock-Pot, Graco, Mr. Coffee & Sharpie.

He is the author of the book: The S.P.E.A.R. Method – 5 Simple Steps to Balanced Success & Fulfillment, and also founded the Amani Hope Foundation, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization with a mission to empower underprivileged children in Africa by providing scholarships.

Kuda is happily married to Ruth and is a proud Chelsea F.C. fan.

Bo Burlingham

Author of Small Giants, Co-Founder | Small Giants Community

Bo Burlingham is the author of Small Giants: Companies That Choose To Be Great Instead of Big, Finish Big: How Great Entrepreneurs Exit Their Companies on Top, and co-founder of the Small Giants Community.

Bo joined Inc. Magazine in January 1983 as a senior editor and became executive editor six months later, a position he held for the next seven years or so. In 1990 he became editor-at-large. Alongside Jack Stack, he co-wrote The Great Game of Business

Before joining Inc., Bo freelanced for various publications, including Esquire, Harper’s, Boston Magazine, and Mother Jones. Bo was also managing editor of Ramparts magazine. In 1982, he joined Fidelity Investments. From 1992 to 1997, he served on the board of The Body Shop Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of the international cosmetics company. He was also a founder, with Tom Peters, of PAC World, a weird international networking group that gave him a chance to meet a lot of zany—and brilliant—people from around the globe.

John Burns

Founder | John Burns Real Estate Consulting

John founded John Burns Real Estate Consulting in 2001 to help business executives make the most informed housing industry investment decisions possible.  His team of PALS (Passionate, Articulate, Likable and Smart people) in locations all over the country help the company’s research subscribers and consulting clients understand demand, supply, affordability, building materials and design trends.  

The firm has developed a number of proprietary tools, including risk and valuation indices, DesignLens™, the New Home Trends Institute, and even trademarked the term surban™ upon release of their best-selling demographics book, Big Shifts Ahead: Demographic Clarity for Businesses

John has a Bachelor’s in Economics from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA.  He has served on numerous industry boards and more than 750,000 people follow him on LinkedIn, and 23,000 subscribe to his free weekly emails.  He has attended home games for all 30 major league baseball teams, and enjoys running in the hills in Southern California.

Elaine Ezekiel

Director of Marketing | Atomic Object

Elaine Ezekiel is the Director of Marketing at Atomic Object. Atomic is a 20-year-old employee-owned Small Giants alumnus that builds custom software. She spends her days connecting teams of software craftsfolk in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, and Chicago with clients fixing the future.

Elaine borrows from her training in journalism and nonprofit development to shape a marketing ethos of transparency, curiosity, and long-term thinking. She’s shared Atomic with a national audience, grown a small-but-mighty team of inbound marketers, and fostered a network of Atomic fans.

Elaine is an audiobook fiend and an aspiring bikepacker. 

Bill Flynn

Founder | Catalyst Growth Advisors

Bill Flynn is founder of Catalyst Growth Advisors, where he works with leaders to take the guesswork out of growth. Bill has accomplished much, failed often, and learned many useful lessons from thirty years of studying the science of success. He is best described as a pragmatic Simon Sinek; an optimist and an operator. Bill embodies his core purpose — simplified servanthood — by spending each working moment to help create a compassionately productive society by enabling enlightened leaders to focus on the few things that truly matter to their teams and key stakeholders.

He has worked for and advised hundreds of companies, including startups, where he has a long track record of success spanning multiple industries. Bill has been a VP of Sales eight times, twice a CMO and once a GM of a division of a $100MM IT services company. 

Bill Golder

Chief Revenue Officer | Service Express

Bill Golder joined Service Express in 2019, bringing over 25 years of strategic growth and leadership experience with him. As Chief Revenue Officer, Bill leads the strategic direction and development for all revenue-generating teams including inside and outside sales, channel partnerships, internal accounts, hardware sales, and managed services.

Prior to joining Service Express, Bill was CEO and co-founder of Slingshot Growth Partners, where he consulted with B2B CEOs on implementing growth strategies to help generate healthy, sustainable revenue development. 

Bill has also held senior executive sales and operations roles at Miller Heiman Group, Office Depot and FedEx Kinko’s.

When Bill isn’t working up a sweat running or playing soccer, you can find this antiquity aficionado studying up on military history. A Detroit-area native, Bill is an avid Red Wings fan and has suffered for many years as a loyal Lions fan.

Mel Gravely

CEO | TriVersity Construction

Mel is an active community leader and the CEO of TriVersity Construction. His latest book, Dear White Friend, takes a personal approach to race in today’s America and looks at how we can all work towards a more inclusive business community. Dear White Friend was inspired by his desire to provide an onramp of understanding for his friends and a roadmap to talk productively about race.

Gravely has served on the boards of the local United Way, economic development organizations, chambers of commerce and has been active with Artswave, the largest community arts fund in the nation. He co-chairs the Cincinnati Regional Business Committee, a group of 100 middle market CEOs working collectively toward meaningful civic action. 

He has received several awards and distinctions, including the Larry Albice Entrepreneurship Award, Forty Under Forty Award, and the 2020 Carl H. Linder Award for Entrepreneurial and Civic Spirit.

Dave Haviland

Founder | Phimation Strategy Group

Dave Haviland is founder of Phimation Strategy Group, where he provides management consulting to leadership teams at second stage businesses. Phimation works with leaders to find and develop untapped potential in great businesses. Dave’s approach centers on “ROI with heart,” emphasizing good business decisions while honoring each company’s culture and relationships. His clients are often multi-generational family businesses, or businesses that operate in a similar fashion.

Dave graduated from Yale with an American Studies degree and spent a year after graduation biking around the country. Nowadays, his time outside work is filled with 3 teens, “beer league” hockey, and a blossoming karaoke career.

Karen Kromrei

General Manager | Motawi Tileworks

Karen Kromrei joined Motawi Tileworks as General Manager in 2018. She was formerly the vice president of operations for Plum Market of Illinois and has more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, 12 of which were spent pouring wine in Chicago restaurants Le Colonial and BIN 36.

In her free time, Karen is an avid hiker (she will settle for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore when she can’t make it to the Swiss Alps) and mediocre cyclist. She is a Germanophile and loves history, literature, art, film, and good espresso. While residing in Chicago, Karen enjoyed four years in a magical weasel palace, apartment #8 at renowned local artist Edgar Miller’s Burton Place — a treasure trove for fans of tile, stained glass and carved wood.

Jess Lilly

PCC | Jess Lilly Coaching 

Jess Lilly, PCC is a Leadership Coach on a mission to rebuild trust in the workplace. She works with clients to create teams full of empowered leaders – starting with themselves. She is the go-to champion for coaching, training groups on cultivating a coaching mindset and nurturing a coaching culture. Her bold, playful, and creative coaching style make her a powerful partner for transformation. In addition to her private coaching practice, Jess leads a team of coaches at Accomplishment Coaching and co-facilitates the Powerhouse Entrepreneur Program. She earned her credential from the International Coaching Federation.

Jess lives in northern VA with her partner David and her dog Aidan. Before starting her coaching practice, Jess worked in public education with high school and college students. Unconditional love, transparency, play, collaboration, integrity, and trust are the values that guide her leadership.

Gretchen Murphy

Chief Human Resources Officer | Service Express

Gretchen Murphy is Service Express’ Chief Human Resources Officer. Since 2012, Gretchen has helped  foster strong relationships throughout the organization and has transitioned Service Express’ HR  department from a small-company grassroots effort to a “Hire to Retire” talent management operation.  She leads the Talent Acquisition, Learning & Development and HR General teams which includes  Compensation/Payroll, Benefits, Employee Engagement and Employee Relations roles. 

Gretchen serves on the HR Advisory Committee at the YWCA, the HR Advisory Board for Grand Valley  State University’s Seidman College of Business and is an adjunct professor of HR at GVSU.

Hai Nguyen

Co-Founder and Head of Product | Text-Em-All

Hai Nguyen co-founded Text-Em-All, an automated calling and texting service, over 15 years ago. From the beginning, he and his co-founders have focused on building a company that’s in it for the long haul rather than selling out. In fact, they have an audacious goal of building a 100-year tech company.

Hai also serves as Text-Em-All’s Head of Product, where he focuses on creative ways to help customers through design, engineering, and user experience. An artist and a meditator, his interests outside of work have informed his leadership style as much as anything. He’s said that creating and leading a 200+ person guild in War of Warcraft was one of the most formative experiences of his leadership journey.

Hai values compassion and curiosity. He aspires to build meaningful relationships and do meaningful work well into his twilight years.

Khalilah “KO” Olokunola

Chief People Officer | TRU Colors

Born and raised in New York, Khalilah “KO” Olokunola spent much of her teen years on the streets in Brooklyn & Troy’s most notorious street gangs — Bloods, Crips, & Folks. She eventually lost her name for four years to a Department of Corrections number. Nevertheless, she remained adamant about the importance of education & making a positive impact. 

Today, KO is the Chief People Officer for TRU Colors, a company that hires active and rival gang members. In this position, she oversees developing a non traditional people strategy in support of the overall business plan and strategic direction of the organization. 

Khalilah attended college both in NYC & NC and has completed open coursework at M.I.T uLab & Harvard University on Entrepreneurship, Leading from the Emerging Future & Deliberations of Social Change. KO is an advocate for workplace diversity, inclusion, and second-chance hiring. She has been featured in spaces such as Forbes, Good Morning America, and Dr. Oz.

Drew Patrick

Owner and CEO | Skidmore Studio

As owner and CEO of Skidmore Studio, Drew is a thoughtful strategic partner, a relationship builder, and a fierce advocate for the Skidmore legacy. He earned a degree in economics from Albion College in 2000 and received the Crain’s Detroit Business CFO of the Year Award in 2013. Prior to joining the studio, Drew was a consultant, an auditor at EY, and a partner in a material handling business. In 2020, he also launched Michigan Fields, an online grocer that delivers the best of Michigan directly to Metro Detroit homes, and subsequently sold the business in 2021.

Committed to the Detroit community, Drew is a board member and Treasurer of the Eastern Market Partnership, a regional board member of Big Green, and an executive advisor to Winning Futures.

In off-hours, Drew enjoys anything outdoors, preferably in an interesting location, followed with amazing food. He’s run the original marathon course in Greece, dived the Great Barrier Reef, and toured the grocery stores of Nairobi. You’ll often find his sidekick, Stanley (a handsome boxer), hanging at the Studio throwing off some creative vibes.

Haley Rushing

Co-Founder and Chief Purposologist | The Purpose Institute

Haley Rushing is a pioneer in the field of purpose and the Co-Founder of the Purpose Institute. As an author, keynote speaker, strategic advisor, board member, marketing expert and consultant, she has dedicated over twenty-five years to helping visionary leaders from organizations such as Southwest Airlines, BMW, Walmart, Whole Foods Market, VF, Indeed and many others in their success through honing their purpose.

With her 20 years as a marketing strategist and brand builder for some of the most esteemed global brands, Haley’s process is built on a wealth of intel and experience.   

While she is delighted by the ascendance of Purpose in recent years, her twenty-five years in this arena has given her a depth and breadth of experience in bringing the Purpose of an organization to life that is unrivaled by firms and agencies just entering the arena in response to the rising tide of purposeful business. 

Beth Smith

CEO | StickerGiant

They/Them

Results through relationship is at the core of how Beth shows up at work and in life – because after all, if we work really hard to make amazing things happen together, yet when we reach our goal/destination/deliverable the journey didn’t enrich our relationships, then, we missed the whole point of “together.”  As a self-professed business geek with a deep understanding of human behavior, Beth is most at home working with teams and organizations experiencing hyper-growth, challenged to develop novel products/solutions, and undertaking the creative process of ever-evolving organizational design and culture evolution. As a mindful awareness and mediation practitioner and certified teacher, Beth is deeply committed to sharing these practices as a means for meeting the demands of work and life with inner resilience, curiosity and self-compassion. After all, it is our own personal inner work that expands our capability to work and be together in ways that hold the possibility that just might transform our world.   

Beth Spiegel

Integrator | 10 Disciplines of Managing & Maximizing Your Energy

Beth has spent her career helping organizations to be their most efficient and effective while keeping the focus on the client. In 2009, she and her young family decided to take their first big risk by selling all their belongings and moving sight unseen to Belize, Central America, where they not only founded 3 small businesses, but she also worked her way up in senior leadership positions at a digital search agency. After 7 years in Belize, the family relocated to Washington State, once again sight unseen, and continued on their path less traveled. 

In early 2021, Beth decided it was time to make a change not only for herself but also for her family, and decided to become part of The Great Resignation – without having another job lined up. Beth is currently the Integrator/President of The 10 Disciplines for Managing and Maximizing Your Energy, a start-up that guides people who want to become their best, most successful, fulfilled, and happy self by tapping into their soul. 

Paul Spiegelman

Co-Founder | Small Giants Community

Paul Spiegelman is the co-founder of the Small Giants Community. He is the former chief culture officer of Stericycle, the co-founder and former CEO of BerylHealth, and the founder of The Beryl Institute.

He is a New York Times best-selling author of books such as Why Is Everyone Smiling? and has been honored with the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. He has made many radio and TV appearances and his views have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, and Forbes.com.

Paul practiced law for two years prior to starting BerylHealth. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from UCLA and a law degree from Southwestern University. In his free time, you can find Paul spending time with his wife and two children, playing tennis, and mentoring emerging purpose-driven leaders.

Tom Walter

Chief Culture Officer | Tasty Catering

Tom Walter is a keynote speaker, author and award-winning entrepreneur. He is considered a practitioner-scientist in the area of employee engagement and company culture.

One of his companies, Tasty Catering, has been the subject of 6 doctoral dissertations. Tom co-authored the award-winning book on employee engagement that is part of the business curriculum in over 40 universities, Its My Company Too! He has also co-authored four academic journal articles on employee engagement and corporate culture.

Tom has founded or co-founded 40 companies in the past 40 plus years. His employees have co-founded 9 of those companies alongside Tom. Tasty Catering has twice been named the Psychologically Healthiest Workplace as per the American Psychological Association, the Best Small Company in America by Inc. Magazine, Forbes Magazine and the Wall Street Journal.

Lisa Whealon

Director of Marketing | Atomic Object

Lisa has spent 15+ years in various HR and leadership roles with a focus on curating powerful people first experiences. Lisa has spent time working in large companies, family owned, tech start-up, and nonprofit organizations. Lisa pulls from this diverse background to create compelling programs to help drive the business forward while supporting the culture . Lisa has served on the Forbes HR Council as well as served as the Human Resources Judging Committee Chair for the Stevies Awards, and won the 2017 HR Executive of the Year in the Best in Biz awards. Lisa serves as the Director of People & Culture for Deli Star, a 2nd generation family-owned business located in St. Louis. Lisa is married with 3 girls and when she is not playing chauffeur, she enjoys coaching volleyball, buying books and pretending she will be able to read them all, and discovering new coffee shops! 

Sabrina White

Head of People Experience | Text-Em-All

Sabrina White is a people-driven leader who cultivates strong teams by taking an individualized approach to employee relationships. Sabrina has dedicated 15+ years to people experience in a variety of industries spanning retail, hospitality, and technology. She has a knack for creating meaningful connections with individuals, and above all else, aims to be an advocate for people.

Sabrina is currently the Head of People Experience at Text-Em-All, a purpose-driven technology organization that strives to prioritize greatness over growth and people above profit. Text-Em-All delivers informational and emergency text messages and phone calls, but more than that, they aim to make a positive impact in both their community and their employees’ lives.

Sabrina is a proud female minority, leader, mother, and wife. Her diverse, personal experience guides her work and allows her to bring a unique perspective to Text-Em-All’s team. Sabrina is also a foodie and loves to escape a hard day’s work with a fiction novel.

Diana Wong

CEO & President | Sensei Change Associates

Diana J. Wong, PhD is CEO and President of Sensei Change Associates. Diana‘s expertise is in strategy and developing learning programs for improving organizational performance. She earned a PhD in organizational strategy from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and an MBA in Finance and International Business from Dalhouse University, Halifax.

With an extensive international background, Diana focuses on supporting leaders and management teams with strategic planning and meeting facilitation, organization development, leadership development, executive coaching, training and development, cross-cultural competency development and organizational learning systems. Diana is a certified coach in conducting 360 degree feedback with the HayGroup’s emotional competency inventory for leadership development to impact performance.