SAVE THE DATE! Connect Sports 2020 Will Take Place in New Orleans on Aug. 17-19.


Connect Sports 2019 Speakers

Nicole Kidman

Academy Award-Winning Actress, Producer and Philanthropist


Academy Award-winning actress Nicole Kidman first came to the attention of American audiences with her critically-acclaimed performance in the psychological thriller, “Dead Calm.” Kidman has since become an internationally recognized, award-winning actress known for her range and versatility. She received the Academy Award in 2003 for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf in
“The Hours.”


Kidman’s most recent project includes the HBO series, “Big Little Lies,” for which she received an Emmy Award, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award. Her upcoming projects include “The Goldfinch,” a movie adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, and the HBO limited-series, “The Undoing,” which she will star in and executive produce.


In 2017, the Cannes Film Festival honored Kidman with a special award for her body of work and longstanding history with the festival. She is one of only eight people to ever receive this honor in the 70-year history of the festival.


Kidman serves as Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Development Fund for Women, whose goals are to foster women’s empowerment and gender equality, to raise awareness of the infringement on women’s human rights around the world and to end violence against women. Along with her husband, Keith Urban, she has helped raise millions over the years for the Women’s Cancer Program. ■

Emily Jaenson

General Manager, Reno Aces


Emily Jaenson cut her teeth in sports as an intern in the Chicago Bulls ticket department where she sold 2005-2006 season and group tickets. Hitting the phones for 80 calls a day to fill the United Center truly taught her that fans are the lifeblood of any sports organization. Leaving the Bulls, Jaenson went the nonprofit route, coordinating events and fundraising for Muscular Dystrophy Association Chicago and then Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada. Jaenson joined the Reno Aces in 2013, growing from sponsorship account executive to vice president in two years. In 2016, the Jaenson family relocated to Houston, where she volunteered for Super Bowl 51, and worked as sales director on the World Corporate Games Houston and the inaugural Houston Sports Awards Show (Houston’s “ESPYS”). She also managed business development through sports partnerships for Houston Methodist, the number one hospital in Texas. Jaenson returned to Reno in 2018 as general manager of the Reno Aces. She is currently the only female GM in Triple-A baseball and the first in almost two decades. ■

Michael Phelps

Record-setting Olympic Swimming Champion


Michael Phelps is widely regarded as one of the greatest athletes of all time. He captured 28 Olympic medals, including a record-setting 23 gold medals, and set 39 world records over the course of his career. Phelps utilized his performance bonus for winning eight gold medals in 2008 to establish the Michael Phelps Foundation, which promotes water safety, healthy living and the pursuit of dreams. The Foundation’s signature IM program is a learn-to-swim, healthy living and goal-setting curriculum based on the principles and tools Phelps utilized in his swimming career. It is available through the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Special Olympics International.


Phelps launched his competitive swimwear brand, MP, in partnership with Aqua Sphere in 2014. He has published two autobiographies, “No Limits: The Will to Success” and “Beneath the Surface” that were New York Times and USA Today best sellers. He also published one children’s book, “How to Train With a T-Rex and Win Eight Gold Medals.”

Bill Schlough

Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, San Francisco Giants


Bill Schlough currently serves as Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer of the San Francisco Giants and Chairman of the Board of the San Jose Giants.


Since Schlough's arrival in 1999, the Giants have been recognized as one of the most innovative teams in sports, playing a pioneering role in the world of HD video, mobile content, wireless connectivity, ticketing/payment systems, and numerous proprietary analytic tools that helped secure three World Series titles so far this decade.


An Olympic enthusiast, Schlough has served on the committees for San Francisco’s bids to host the 2012, 2016 and 2024 Olympic Games. His event experience includes assignments at the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, Torino, Salt Lake and Atlanta, along with World Cup USA 1994. More recently, Schlough served as Interim President of the Giants’ Class A San Jose affiliate and was appointed to the team’s board as chairman in 2012.


In addition to his Giants and Olympic activities, Schlough supports Bay Area causes with a focus on education and athletics, serving for over a decade as a board member of Junior Achievement of Northern California.  In his spare time he competes in Ironman triathlons, volunteers as a youth basketball coach with the El Camino YMCA and coaches baseball with Los Altos-Mountain View Pony Baseball.  He is also an avid supporter of the Giants Community Fund, raising over $150,000 through speaking appearances and other fundraisers. ■

Steven J. Hunter

Managing Director, TM Capital Corporation


Steve Hunter is a managing director headquartered in the Atlanta office of TM Capital Corp. During Steve’s 20+ year career, he has worked with clients in a broad range of industries, including industrial, business services and consumer.


Prior to joining TM, Steve was a managing director with Greene Holcomb Fisher, a Minneapolis-based M&A boutique, which was acquired by BMO Capital Markets in 2016.  While at GHF, Steve opened the Atlanta office and built and led the firm’s private equity coverage group. During more than four years at GHF, he was involved in more than 40 transactions.


Prior to joining Greene Holcomb Fisher, Steve was a managing director at Morgan Keegan, a middle-market investment banking firm, where he co-led the firm’s Industrial and Financial Sponsor Coverage efforts.  He has also worked at Robertson Stephens, Alex. Brown & Sons and The Robinson-Humphrey Company.


Mr. Hunter received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.A., magna cum laude with Honors in Economics, from Bucknell University.


Steve lives in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta with his wife, three kids and two dogs.  When not shuttling teenagers to tennis, baseball, soccer and basketball games on the weekends, Steve enjoys golf, skiing, coaching youth sports, Steelers football, Braves baseball and cooking on his Big Green Egg. ■

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Through groundbreaking non-profit documentary work in films featured on Hulu, Netflix and other first-tier streaming platforms, Brett Culp has pioneered the art of creating “mini-movements” that inspire the super-human spirit in us all.


He encourages audiences to find the superhero within and their own path to “everyday leadership.” His insights on connecting individuals to an organization's mission and goals resonate, help us realize our greatest personal and business potential, and renew our collective sense of hope for the future and belief that our efforts can make an impact. ■


Cara Brookins built her own 3,500 square foot house by using YouTube tutorials. After surviving domestic violence, she had to provide for her four children with no one to turn to but herself. In desperate need of a home—but without the means to buy one—she built one from scratch, while rebuilding her family.


Cara offers strategies that apply to every level of your organization and life. The author of eight books, including "Rise: How a House Built a Family," takes you behind the scenes of her inspiring story. Cara has made numerous TV appearances and had her story featured in
The New York Times, Good Housekeeping,
and Southern Living. Rise, a major motion picture based on her memoir, will be released in 2020.  ■

Session Topic:

Garner insights on connecting your brand

to a meaningful vision and realizing your

greatest personal and business potential.

Session Topic:

Learn to do hard things and  escape the procrastination loop. Hear real-life examples from Cara's unconventional construction site and  productivity methods to overcome uncertainty.

Brett Culp

Award-Winning Documentary Filmmaker

Cara Brookins

Best-Selling Author, DIY Homebuilder


During her pro career, Siri Lindley dominated the triathlon world, winning 13 World Cup races and the 2001 ITU World Championship, as well as the World Cup Series' #1 ranking in 2001 and 2002. As a coach, she helped numerous athletes win Olympic medals and World Championship crowns.


On stage, she illustrates why it's never too late to live the life you always dreamed, and shares emboldening strategies for realizing your ultimate potential, conquering self-doubt, and changing the thoughts, habits, and behaviors that keep you from taking your life and career to the next level. ■

Session Topic:

Cultivate the mindset of a champion and discover the winning formula for life and career success.

Siri Lindley

World Champion Triathlete, Author
and Coach

Jeff Henderson

Celebrity Chef and TV Star


From humble beginnings in South Central Los Angeles to life as a drug dealer, Jeff Henderson discovered a passion for food in the most unlikely place—prison. Now an award-winning celebrity chef, Food Network reality show host and best-selling author, Jeff Henderson is a role model for anyone who needs the encouragement to reinvent their life.


From overcoming hardship to identifying personal talents, Jeff reveals his transformative life lessons and the secrets to rising above and realizing your potential. His dynamic and engaging presentations help audiences discover their hidden business aptitudes, make life-changing decisions, and gain a new foothold on the ladder to success. ■

Session Topic:

Uncover your hidden business aptitudes,

make life-transforming decisions and gain a new foothold on the ladder to success.

Andy King

Industry Veteran and Creative Director


Andy King catered his first event at age 16 and went on to become a top event producer in New York City. He has spent the past 25 years helping top brands, foundations and individuals market themselves through live events and experiences.


Currently, his greatest passion is to inspire a new vision for the event industry: one focused on sustainability, zero waste and integrating environmental and social impact at every brand touchpoint. ■

Marc Weinstein

Principal at Wave Financial


Marc Weinstein is a serial entrepreneur, having founded multiple start-ups in the finance and media industries. He is currently a Principal at Wave Financial, where he leads Wave's venture investments into the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry.


Marc's second company, 90sFest, was featured in the New York Times and sold to Scopus Media in 2017. He is an angel investor and advisor to a number of projects spanning many industries, including tech, entertainment and consumer. ■

Session Topic:

Go behind the scenes of the infamous Fyre Festival to learn lessons about event planning, social media marketing and influence from people with firsthand involvement.

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