Sam is an active mentor, thought leader, and sought after speaker focusing on the human element of digital and banking innovation. He has over twenty-five years of experience working in the payments, mobile, and banking space across North America and Europe for both global banking and technology companies, and in the start-up community.
He was the Managing Partner at 11:FS, co-host of FinTechInsider podcast. and recurring host of Breaking Banks podcast. He has presented for such places as the Thailand Stock Exchange, FinTechStage Luxembourg, FinnoSummit Bogota, Money2020 US and Europe, SAMA Saudi Arabia, SIBOS Singapore, Seoul’s AI Conference, American Banker’s Conference, and CUNA.
Christie Hefner is a seasoned professional with expertise in strategy, brand building and managing in disruptive times. She served as Chairman, CEO of Playboy Enterprises for twenty years, making her the longest serving female CEO of a publicly traded company. She was widely credited with developing and leading the execution of strategies that repositioned the company from its legacy domestic magazine business to a global, multi-media, brand driven company. She extended its magazine franchise to twenty-five localized foreign editions, and developed the company’s profitable pay television business—the first time a magazine successfully leveraged its brand into a television network. In 1994 she launched Playboy.com, the first national magazine to launch a website, and built a profitable, multi-revenue stream digital business that included e-commerce, advertising, premium content and gaming. She repositioned the Playboy brand and leverage it via licensing, building a $1 billion business, 80% of the sales to women. She was named to the Fortune Most Powerful Women in the World list.
She went on to work with Canyon Ranch, developing and heading up a new entity to leverage their brand and content. And she now works with a number of companies, as either a director or strategic advisor, helping them drive growth and differentiate themselves. These include an AI driven digital platform that allows brands to engage with the consumer, a company that has patented a new material called Air Carbon, that extracts methane from the environment and converts into ocean biodegradable plastic, the actor Jim Belushi’s cannabis company, a 5th generation family owned newspaper and television station company, and a SPAC targeting technology enabled healthcare businesses.
She is also Chairman of the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation which presents the HMH First Amendment Awards and partners with organizations to protect civil rights and civil liberties; and is on the board of Springboard Enterprises which is incubator for women tech entrepreneurs.
She has been featured on “60 Minutes,” appeared a number of times on “Squawk Box” and “Morning Joe,” and received numerous awards.
Jim combines business strategy and organizational development theory with extensive industry experience. His expertise is in working with senior management on strategic planning, organizational change, strategy execution and new business growth.
As a faculty member for Duke CE, Jim delivered senior level seminars on Strategy, Strategic Execution Innovation and Decision-making for a range of clients including Sprint, BBA Aviation, Roche China and JP Morgan Chase. Jim is also a lecturer at the Aresty Institute of Executive Education, Wharton Business School, where he tailored and delivered senior-level seminars on Strategy, Strategic Execution, Scenario Planning and Critical Thinking at a number of leading companies including Boston Scientific, Coca-Cola. Lincoln Financial, GE, Boston Scientific and Hitachi. In 2013, Brown University appointed Jim a Senior Lecturer of Healthcare Leadership where he heads a graduate Marketing & Management seminar. Jim is a Business Management Professor at the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management where he received the “Most Distinguished Corporate Education Faculty Member” (2009-10) and the “Learning Excellence” (2012) awards. He is also an Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Health Systems Management, College of Health Sciences, Rush University, where he teaches a graduate seminar on Healthcare Ethics.
Steve Rick is the chief economist for CUNA Mutual Group. Rick’s forecasts are the starting point for the strategic planning process and help create a clear understanding of the underlying trends and links between the general economy and the financial services industry. Rick was previously the senior economist for CUNA’s Economics & Statistics Department for 22 years.
In addition to his work at CUNA Mutual Group, he serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the University Of Wisconsin Credit Union (UWCU), a $4 billion financial institution. Rick also holds a senior lecturer position with the Economics Department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison where he teaches banking and macroeconomics courses.
Tim Strandquist is an Executive Benefit Consultant at OM Financial Group and an advisor at the Center for Wealth Preservation(CWP) in Syosset, New York. Tim’s background in the credit union industry allows him to provide a broad range of services and unique consulting expertise to his clients. He works alongside an experienced team of planners in estate, business, investment, retirement planning and executive compensation.
Working with credit unions, business owners and professionals, he provides exceptional service, recommends innovative ideas &concepts and utilizes blue chip quality products, to address the unique needs of each client.
Tim began his financial services career in 2006 as an Executive Recruiter with D. Hilton & Associates in The Woodlands, TX. Prior to joining OM Financial, he was the Vice President of Projects for JMFA in Houston, TX, where he consulted with credit union professionals and boards while conducting executive searches and implementing strategies to attract and retain executives.
As an undergraduate, Tim studied both Business and Music and earned his Bachelor of Science from North Central University in 2004. Tim is active in his local church and volunteers in the local community. He now resides in the Houston area.
Bruce Smith is a Senior Benefit Consultant and Partner at OM Financial Group, specialists in Credit Union Executive Compensation, headquartered in Syosset, NY. Utilizing over thirty years of experience in financial services and digital media, Bruce works with an experienced team of specialist in executive compensation. Working with Credit Unions and Non-Profits, he provides exceptional service, recommends innovative ideas & concepts and utilizes blue chip quality products, to address the unique needs of each client.
Previously, Bruce was Chief Strategic Officer of Answers.com, establishing the successful content strategy of the company, leading the acquisition of WikiAnswers, handling investor relations with institutional and retail investors and building and managing the Community Development team. Answers.com was sold for $130 million in April 2011. Prior to joining Answers.com, Bruce was Managing Director of Archery Capital, a New York based investment and venture capital firm, managing the venture capital fund, which included such investments as OpenTable. In addition, Mr. Smith was Senior Internet Analyst at Jefferies & Company and Merrill Lynch, where he was responsible for public coverage of the industry as well as individual companies. Additionally, Mr. Smith was a Senior Technology Analyst at Morgan Stanley Asset Management. He has appeared on CNBC and 60 Minutes and been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times as well as numerous trade publications.
Mr. Smith has a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Finance, Magna Cum Laude, from Bernard M. Baruch College of the City University of New York. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and member of the New York Society of Security Analysts. Mr. Smith currently resides in Bellmore with his wife Linda and has four children.
Jesse McGannon is the Vice President of Advisory Services at SRM (Strategic Resource Management), an independent firm that advises financial institutions in building and executing business strategies and strategic sourcing initiatives.
McGannon works with financial institution clients to provide a range of management and organizational guidance. His technical experience in payments, program management, and organizational change management works to create a comprehensive range in advisory and managerial abilities. He has worked in all stages of project oversight, from development, to effectiveness assessments, and on through to future roadmaps to assure client success.
McGannon has more than 13 years of experience in financial services and payments strategy consulting. Throughout his career, McGannon developed an impressive range of programs and infrastructural plans for clients. Prior to coming to SRM, McGannon was employed at Accenture and has performing project work for a large Canadian bank, a Big 4 US bank, a Big 4 credit card company, and a mid-sized holding company.
McGannon attended University of Notre Dame, where he obtained a degree in Management Information Systems. Originally from Chicago, he currently lives in San Francisco, California.
Gabriel Krajicek empowers community financial institutions with disruptive innovations and champions them in their fight for market dominance against megabanks and new industry players.
Gabe is captain of Kasasa®. CEO since 2005, he has provided more than 900 community banks and credit unions with banking technology and marketing services, including the nationally-branded Kasasa product suite. If all Kasasa financial institutions were a single bank, they’d be the fourth largest bank in the country, based on number of branches.
Inc. Magazine heralded the company’s advances under Gabe’s guidance, naming it the 23rd fastest-growing private company in America in 2009. That year, Gabe unveiled Kasasa, a national brand of highly profitable consumer-centric financial products offered exclusively at select community financial institutions. In 2018 Gabe was named to Glassdoor’s Employee’s Choice List of the Top CEOs at Small and Medium Companies. Kasasa’s accolades include two American Banker Best Places to Work in Fintech awards, three “Best of Show” Finovate awards, seven Austin Business Journal Best Places to Work awards, a FinTech Breakthrough Award for Best Consumer Lending Platform, and a FinTech Breakthrough “Banking Innovation” award for ORB Marketing.
Gabe won the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Central Texas 2011 Award in his third consecutive year nominated as a finalist. In 2019, he was invited to join the elite Young Entrepreneur Council. He also serves as a Community Board Member at the Center for Child Protection.
Prior to Kasasa, Gabe was President and CEO of DealerSkins, an automotive web solutions provider that served 1,200 auto dealers. Gabe took the helm in 2001, spearheading a five-year plan to drive the company into profitable territory. In 2005, Trader Publishing (parent company of Auto Trader magazine) acquired DealerSkins.
Gabe earned his MBA from Vanderbilt’s Owens Graduate School of Management and his BS from Louisiana State University. He graduated both as valedictorian.
Jeffrey Disterhoft has served in the position of CEO at GreenState Credit Union since October 1999.
Mr. Disterhoft received a Bachelor of Arts in 1990 from Buena Vista College in Storm Lake, Iowa. He is a Certified Public Accountant and earned his Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Iowa Henry B. Tippie School of Management in 2003.
Mr. Disterhoft’s work experience includes tenure at KPMG Peat Marwick as well as RSM (McGladrey & Pullen) specializing in financial institution’s audit work spanning from September 1990 until hired by the credit union in May 1995 for the role of Vice-President of Finance. He was promoted to President / CEO four years later.
Since filling the CEO role, the credit union has averaged 19% per year in growth, growing from just under $200 million in assets to $7.5 billion today. New services have been provided for the membership during this time, including Wealth Management, Trust, Brokerage, Insurance, and Commercial Services.
As Iowa’s largest financial institution, GreenState Credit Union is proud to serve over 275,000 members with 26 office locations across the state.
Jeff and his wife Missy live in North Liberty, Iowa and have two adult children who work in New York.
Chris is General Manager of the Americas organization, and is responsible for leading the development and execution of the go‐to‐market strategy for lines of business located in the Americas region. An inspiring and passionate leader with a solutions‐based sales methodology to help create cross‐functional alignment, capacity development and obsessing about a better end‐user experience for customers. Chris is a strong leader with a focus on leveraging his 20 years of experience leading global sales teams for financial software and sales strategies. He has a keen vision to expand sales capacity by developing, implementing and managing infrastructures with solutions driven by financial operating needs. Prior to joining Finastra, previously a Fundtech company, he was Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at Calypso Technology and had previously held positions with Super Derivatives and Thomson Reuters.
Josh Cook, CEO- Community Choice Credit Union is considered a visionary leader and creative thinker. Josh started with Community Choice CU (CCCU) in 2002 as the Marketing Manager and has expanded his role to include everything from marketing to branch operations with plenty in between. During his twenty years at CCCU he has gained considerable attention for his creative work amassing over forty national marketing awards. Josh’s marketing success is attributable to his ability to view challenges and opportunities with consumer behavior in mind. This success led to his creation of Choice Creative Solutions (CCS) in 2012. CCS is a credit union service organization operating under CCCU specializing in marketing. Under Josh’s leadership and vision, CCS has expanded its capabilities and grown sales year over year utilizing tactics uncommon within the industry. Perception thinking is cornerstone to Josh’s approach to sales success no matter the organization he’s serving. Josh believes that successful product sales most often exist due to perception not reality. This lead importance approach led to the development of a software as a service (SaaS) product created by Josh and developed by CCS in 2014.
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