Brain Matters 2015 Conference: Speakers

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Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Marshall Goldsmith,
Member “Most Influential” Thinkers in Business


Dr. Marshall Goldsmith has developed a reputation as a practical, insightful and inspirational thought leader and executive coach. He will be our keynote speaker at Brain Matters 2015 where he will show you how to achieve positive, lasting change in behavior: for yourself, your family and your teams using triggers to program your brain for success.

Dr. Goldsmith‘s latest book, Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts–Becoming the Person You Want to Be, is available now. After I devoured my copy, I wrote this review and reached out to see if Marshall would join us online in November. I’m thrilled and honored that he accepted.

Brain Matters 2015 Speakers List

Patricia Marx

Humorist Patricia Marx, author of Let’s Be Less Stupid: An Attempt to Maintain My Mental Faculties, is a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Vogue, The Atlantic Monthly and other magazines. You may have also seen her work as a comedy writer on Saturday Night Live or read one of her many books for children and adults. Earlier this year, she started worrying about aging her brain, so she set off on a hilarious course of self-discovery, testing out most of the do-it-yourself brain training and brain enhancing options available. Did she bring out her inner genius? Find out at Brain Matters 2015. Ms. Marx kicks off our conference with some selections and insights from her books. You can find more of her work at Hachette Book Group and on

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Trudi Baldwin (Drake)

As manager of Learning, Performance, and Organizational Effectiveness Teams in three Fortune 250 companies, Trudi Baldwin (Drake) leads global initiatives in multiple languages, delivering training to thousands of people. This training is designed to achieve one and only one objective: change human performance in measurable ways. Trudi has a long and successful track record leading teams of learning professionals to generate this kind of game-changing performance: where the dollars earned post-training exceed pre-training, often translating into millions in increased revenue and/or savings—all by changing behaviors and skills from the inside out—the way all human performance transforms. Trudi is the author of three books: a newly released non-fiction book entitled “How to Peak at 70 and Beyond: A Mindset to Thrive” and two fiction books, “Baby Brother Blues” and “Acid Test for Yellow Flower.”

Unlock Your Genius as You Age

Many of us fear a loss of mental power and competency as we age. Fueling these fears, our youth-centric culture tends to depict mental and performance decline beginning as early as the ages of 30 or 40. My desire to make sense of this extraordinary transition into the second half of life has caused me to conduct my own research, and what I’ve found is truly eye-opening, remarkable, and game changing! I think you’ll find it to be so too. You’ll leave this session with a renewed respect for your own mental powers, genius, and competence in the second half of life. By exploring and reversing “The Seven False Beliefs about Aging” that may be holding you back, the years ahead of you unfold, more alive and attractive than any you’ve ever experienced. In this session, you’ll gain the skills and knowledge to unlock your innate genius and convert the gifts you’ve earned throughout your unique lifetime into peak performance. Are you ready to unlock your genius and reach higher goals, in a more vitalized state of mind, than ever before? Why would you settle for anything less?

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Jay Cross, a friend and colleague to many of us, passed away unexpectedly over the weekend. Jay was an innovator, a mentor and a friend. He was really excited about this conference and was one of the first people to sign on, giving the conference credibility and momentum. I know we’ll all be thinking of him whenever we talk about informal learning – just one of his many innovations in the learning profession. We are dedicating the Brain Matters conference to his memory. Please remember Jay and his family in  your thoughts and prayers.

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Stephen Haskin

Stephen Haskin, Chief Creator at Industrial Strength Learning, directs and consults for eLearning projects and video and is the author of several books about media and learning. He has worked with digital video and eLearning since the late 1980s, and he has been at the forefront of streaming media.

Steve has embraced the digital world of audio/video and the equipment we trainers and teachers use. He is a firm believer in the value of humor to enhance learning, drawing his comic inspiration from a combination of Monty Python, Mad Magazine, The Firesign Theater and others. He’s won numerous awards and recognition for his work, including Telly Awards, Addies, regional Emmys and Aurora Awards as well as recognition from many corporate clients.

In keeping with the conference theme “How to Bring Out the Genius in You” Steve will talk about how video engages the brain and how the practical application of neuroscience can enhance any learning experience. It sounds more complex than it is! But you’ll have to come to the conference to find out.

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Bill Jensen

Bill Jensen makes it easier to do great work.

He helps companies and teams double their efficiency – by helping each individual be the best version of themselves. He has spent the past 25 years studying how work gets done. He is an internationally-acclaimed thought leader who is known for extremely useful content, and his passion for making it easier for everyone to work smarter, not harder.

His first book, Simplicity, was the Number 5 Leadership/ Management book on Amazon in 2000. In Disrupt! Think Epic, Be Epic, Bill challenges everyone to challenge status quo thinking.

In keeping with the Brain Matters 2015 conference theme, “Bring out the Genius in You,” Bill will present findings from his latest book, The Courage within Us, revealing the secrets of success through having the courage to have big, bold ideas and unleash your inner greatness by bringing these ideas to life.

Bill is the CEO of The Jensen Group. You can learn more about him at

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Karen Kilbane, Preschool and Adaptive Physical Education Expert

Karen Kilbane integrates dance and physical fitness with teaching young children how to learn. Neuroscience has recently discovered a direct link between music, physical activity and reading. Way ahead of the curve, Karen has been teaching preschool gymnastics, preschool creative movement, and parent/child movement classes for special needs children for 29 years. She has developed a neuroscience-based set of strategies for special and general education teachers of all grades. These strategies help children who are struggling tap into other parts of their brains to make sense of the sometimes scary and puzzling world of books, math and formal learning. Her programs also support the development of logic and independent decision-making. Karen has a master’s degree in Education with a focus on K-12 and early reading skills.

At Brain Matters 2015, Karen will tell us how to bring out the inner genius in young learners by sharing her insights into the connections between dancing, reading and the brain. Follow Karen on Twitter: @karenmkilbane and Google+

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Gerri Light

Gerri’s educational background includes degrees and certifications in technology and science with a focus on adult learning is virtual environments. Gerri has experience working in the fields of both information technology and education. An early acceptor of virtual education for adult learners, Gerri researches and advances best practices for successful online instruction working with leading theorists in the field of adult learning. Gerri delivers workshops and presents at conferences either virtually or traveling globally to collaborate on the topic distance education.

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Margie Meacham

Hi everyone, I’m Margie Meacham. I’m helping organizations and individuals enhance learning using Neuroscience. My first book, Brain Matters: How to help anyone learn anything using neuroscience, provided a general introduction to many practical ways to apply brain science as a learning professional.

At Brain Matters 2015, I’ll preview some of the findings in my latest book, Pushing the Genius Button: How to Awaken your Inner Genius using Neuroscience. I don’t profess to have all the answers, but I do believe that we can ask intelligent questions to separate the neurohype from the scientific evidence. That’s why I’m speaking at the Online Learning Conference on “All Tips, No Hype: The Neuroscience of Instructional Design.” I’m also delivering a workshop Training 2016 on How to Use Infographics in Learning.

I’m honored to be sharing the virtual stage with an impressive team of colleagues, all looking at genius through the lens of neuroscience. I don’t know what we’ll find out, but I’m sure we’re in for a few surprises and many, many “ahas.” I hope you join us!

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Dr. Nanette Miner

Dr. Nanette Miner is a nationally known author and consultant in the field of workplace learning. She has a doctorate in Adult Learning Theory and a passion for workplace learning – where time is of the essence and performance is a non-negotiable.

She is the President of, and Managing Consultant for, The Training Doctor, LLC.

A popular speaker at industry and trade conferences, Dr. Miner is the author of The Accidental Trainer (Pfeiffer, 2006), co-author of Tailored Learning: Designing the Blend That Fits (ASTD, 2009), contributor to the 2009 Pfeiffer Annual on Training, and has authored over 100 articles and blog pieces on various aspects of workplace learning.

Nanette collaborated with me on the creation of our free ebook, “Teaching Future Leaders to Think: Solving the Impending Leadership Crisis with Neuroscience.” This ebook is available as a free download to all subscribers.

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Johnny Ray

Johnny Ray is an excellent example of someone who engages his brain in a wide variety of pursuits. As an avid traveler and international businessman he has made many interesting contacts and received numerous awards for top sales production. He loves radio and TV talk shows, as well as speaking in front of diverse live audiences. He is currently exploring Charisma and how we can develop it by rewiring the brain. Johnny will be talking about his discoveries at Brain Matters 2015 November 10-11.

As a prolific and critically acclaimed author, Johnny Ray has won the Royal Palm Literary Award for best thriller, and he is often interviewed on various literary blogs, as well as TV and radio shows. His blog, located at, has a large following from around the world, and this is his central hub to his other social media activity. There you can find his links to other social media sites, such as twitter (@sirjohn_writer) where he has over 250,000 followers. He also would love for you to join Sir John’s Army, his fan club, which is located on his blog.

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Trish O’Connor

Neuroscience is beginning to understand the spiritual experience and how it affects the brain in powerful, transformative ways. One of the speakers who will delve into this topic at Brain Matters 2015 is Trish O’Connor. Trish is the founder of Epiclesis Consulting LLC, a company dedicated to enhancing communication about spirituality in the broadest possible sense as that which gives ultimate meaning to a person’s existence.

Her topic at Brain Matters: Writing to find ultimate meaning: From Concept to Book. Writing has been an integral part of her own spirituality for most of her life, including “writer’s sketches,” short passages sparked by a simple word or phrase. She provides tips, templates and tools for writers and has edited such books as Alyson Quinn’s When the River Wakes Up and Charles O’Connor’s The Great War and the Death of God. She also leads spiritual retreats for adults, youth, and children.

Trish recently launched “The Seven-Minute Retreat,” a monthly YouTube series to help the busy person find room for spiritual refreshment in even the most hectic schedule. The series is available in English and Spanish.

You may contact Trish O’Connor on Facebook, LinkedIn or her website: www,

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Angel Ross

Angel Ross is the founder of Digi-Quest, a consulting, training and development firm that specializes in the creation, design and delivery of blended adult learning solutions, Learning Management System Integration and Virtual Collaboration. She is also our sponsor and a key member of the Brain Matters 2015 conference team. Angel is busy leading dry run meetings with all of our speakers this week and getting her own presentation ready for Brain Matters 2015. You won’t want to miss her engaging talk about bringing out the inner genius of your audience.


I urge all of you to check out her site and consider using her services. Angel is an ACI, Adobe Certified Instructor serving as a synchronous and asynchronous learning expert. An advocate for blending learning environments and solutions since the mid 90’s, she has facilitated and delivered live and online courses for many corporations and government agencies world-wide in various industries. Angel specializes in Blended Learning Solutions, Project, Asset/Content Learning Management Systems, Instructional Design, Workflow and Processes for Adult and K-12 while implementing various forms: Print, Multi-media, Web, Social Media and Virtual Collaboration. As the company tag lines states, Learning That Stays Pays®.

Her latest project is a work in progress of a virtual resource portal for business and consumers.

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Dr. Vanessa Singh

Dr. Singh completed her PhD in Psychology at the Brain and Creativity Institute, University of Southern California. Vanessa is interested in studying the brain, mind, emotions and behavior. Across these factors, she explores the connections between the neural bases of social emotions, learning and education. She investigates these relationships using methods of neuroimaging, psychophysiology and behavior. In keeping with our conference theme, she’ll be talking about how her work helps us identify ways to bring out your inner genius using learning and educational experiences.

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Miriam Soto

Miriam Soto is a certified Kundalini Yoga instructor. She is a passionate and motivated yoga instructor who enjoys sharing this sacred technology which is beyond transforming. Kundalini yoga derives its name through a focus on awakening kundalini energy through regular practice of meditation and other brain-aware techniques. As a certified instructor, Miriam aims “to cultivate the creative spiritual potential of a human to uphold values, speak truth, and focus on the compassion and consciousness needed to serve and heal others.”

She is also certified in BodyTalk Access through the International BodyTalk Association. BodyTalk Access is a practical modality for self-healing which helps to tune in to the intelligence of our own human body system. Miriam has completed a level one training in Ayurvedic healing for inner ecology and optimized health through the Florida School of Holistic Living. She currently teaches Kundalini yoga and conducts private consultations.

She will speak to us at Brain Matters 2015 on how we can use yoga and meditation to tap into our inner genius.

Miriam is a Human Resource Professional and a Training professional for over 18 years. She has conducted delivered numerous training sessions in different delivery mode including face to face and virtual instructor led through using different delivery platforms. She has completed a Leadership Training Certificate at Barry University in Miami Florida.

The combination of her corporate experience and her yoga expertise takes her to a frequency of protection projection and radiance. She loves to share her light so others can turn around and share their Light. Miriam is passionate to be a “Lighthouse” for others. Serve One, Serve All!

Wisdom is my essence, and Compassion is my substance.

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Dr. Soraya Vallés

Dr. Soraya L. Vallés graduated in Biological Science at the University of Valencia and remained there to undertake a PhD under the supervision of Consuelo Guerri at Research Institution (Instituto de Investigaciones Citológicas), which she completed in 1996. Her dissertation was “Changes of astroglia intermediate filaments gene expression during rat brain development: Effect of alcohol exposure.”

Today, she studies inflammation and oxidative stress mechanisms in Alzheimer’s disease. She is also studying the Central Nervous System and how it controls cancer by hormones. She is working on a grant to conduct a study about stem cells and brain.

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Dr. Lois Zachary

Dr. Lois Zachary is an internationally recognized expert in mentoring. Her best-selling books, The Mentor’s Guide, Creating a Mentoring Culture, and The Mentee’s Guide have become primary resources for Fortune 500 companies, government, education, technology, health-care and nonprofit organizations interested in promoting mentoring for leadership and learning.

Her latest book, Starting Strong, which she co-authored with Lory A. Fischler, is a hands-on and usable guide to making the first 90 days of your mentoring relationship a success.

In keeping with our conference theme, Dr. Zachary will be sharing techniques for mentors to help them bring out the genius in themselves and their mentees.

You can learn more about Lois at the Center for Mentoring Excellence website.

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