Educational Sessions

Independent Operators Symposium

Rich Bracken

Rich Bracken is a global keynote speaker, marketing executive, & media personality. He routinely works with associations, companies and individuals around the globe looking to establish sustainable change and improvement in their approach to achieving their goals. Rich is a frequent speaker and writer on topics such as emotional intelligence, leadership, goal setting and achievement, change management, and communication. From Fortune 10 companies to global organizations, he works with clients to understand their specific needs, culture and presents at a level of familiarity that feels as if he’s a member of the company.

As an author, professor of leadership and speaker, he has used his energetic, insightful and often comedic approach to influence leaders and organizations through features such with Fox News, CBS News, Thrive Global, Vice, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Million Dollar Roundtable and Reader’s Digest.

He also is the host of the uplifting “EnRich Your Soul” podcast where he shares insight on motivation through his own experience as well as interviews with celebrities and thought leaders.

Rich is a proud graduate of the University of Memphis where he earned undergraduate and graduate degrees. He has also enjoyed a full, action-packed life as a global touring house music DJ, television host, national game show contestant and musician. He is a music and movie junkie who loves to cook, be active and play golf. Rich calls Minneapolis home where he spends his free time with his wife, Caryn and their two sons, Beau and Taylor.

Transformative Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence

While most “leaders” will hang their hats on accolades, success metrics, knowledge, and experience, they are often missing a key element that can transform a high-performing team into an unstoppable juggernaut.

Emotional intelligence has risen to the top of necessary leadership skill competencies and provides nearly 60% of an individual’s actual performance. With 90% of top performers exhibiting high levels of emotional intelligence, executives and companies can ill-afford to not have this as a critical focus of their entire organization.

In this action-packed presentation, leaders of all levels will learn how the core fundamentals of emotional intelligence can increase their impact to their company, how to improve situational awareness, and ways that emotional intelligence can level up the effectiveness of their teams and themselves. 

Key Takeaways Include:

  • Establish a fundamental understanding of emotional intelligence.
  • Learn how anyone can improve their leadership skills through emotional intelligence.
  • Enhance your team/organization’s engagement, communication, and productivity.
  • Discover how to prevent burnout as a leader and take back control of your happiness, impact, and success.

Mike Maddock

CEO and Founding Partner, Maddock Douglas

Mike Maddock is an entrepreneur, a keynote speaker, an executive coach and a writer. He calls himself an Idea Monkey because he loves to solve problems with disruptive ideas. This passion for problem solving led him to establish Maddock Douglas, Inc. in 1991. Maddock Douglas has become an internationally recognized innovation consultancy that has helped more than 25% of the Fortune 100 create and launch new products, services and business models.

Mike has launched seven successful businesses – most recently Flourish Forums. Flourish Forums is an invite-only growth advisory board engineered to help company leaders respond to quickly changing business environments.

A doodler, turned cartoonist, turned author, Mike has been using words and pictures to get laughs and build ideas his entire life. Today, Mike is a contributor to Forbes and author of four bestselling books: “Free the Idea Monkey…to focus on what matters most!,” “Solving the Innovation Paradox and Flirting With the Uninterested, Innovating in a Sold, Not Bought Category.” and finally, ”Plan D” his latest book about disruptors.

He also co-chairs the Gathering of Titans Entrepreneurial Conclave at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and he is past Chapter president of Entrepreneurs’ Organization and Young Presidents’ Organization, located in Chicago.

Balancing Imagination & Execution

Is your team better at creating big ideas or masterful execution? This fun and interactive keynote speech is based on Mike’s bestselling book Free the Idea Monkey to focus on what matters most. Your team will see how the most successful companies manage the healthy and essential tension between the divergent and convergent thinkers on your team; The Idea Monkeys and the Ringleaders. In the end, they will realize that everyone is a hero in this story.

Key Takeaways Include:

  • How to identify the ideas that will create the biggest impact
  • Simple processes to maintain the proper balance between ideas and execution
  • Why Idea Monkeys and Ringleaders are both essential to create disruption
  • The innovation portfolio model that leading companies use to maintain balance
  • Techniques to get the most out of your visionaries and operators


For our third educational session, Symposium attendees will be going “into the field” to learn about sustainable agricultural practices and explore first-hand, the role food can play in supporting communities in need.

Our group will travel to Kahumana Farm, one of O’ahu’s largest sustainable farming operations for a private farm to table tour. We will meet the farmers behind their organic produce growing operation that produces 100,000 pounds of organic produce each year using regenerative agricultural practices.

  • Taste exotic fruits
  • Learn about indigenous crops (‘ulu, kalo)
  • Feed the farm animals (sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks, bees)
  • Harvest and learn about their crops

Following our tour, we will enjoy a 3-course meal from the on-site café and learn about their mission to celebrate the bounty of Hawaii’s natural and cultural environment while also helping to address some of her most pressing needs. Kahumana 501(c)3 nonprofit that has a mission to co-create a healthy, inclusive and productive farm-based community with homeless families, people with disabilities and youth.