Speakers

Pamela Adams

Professor at Franklin University Switzerland & Researcher

Pamela Adams is a full-time academic with a PhD from Yale University. But her passion for research at the crossroads of marketing and innovation draws on her background as a manager and management consultant for companies in a wide range of industries in Europe and the United States. She is the former Director of the MBA program at Bocconi University, a member of the Board of Illycaffè, a consultant at Ambrosetti in Milan, and part of the founding team of two internet startups in Paris and Milan. This gives her a unique perspective on entrepreneurship and the potential value of customer and end-user experience with the products they use. She believes that we can unleash the potential of user know-how in the many different contexts in which we live and work. She is currently a Professor of Management at Franklin University Switzerland.

Shi Xing Mi (Walter Gjergja)

Shaolin Master, Trainer, Consultant & Writer

Walter Gjergja – Shaolin Temple secular monk Shi Xing Mi – is a Shaolin Master, trainer, consultant, speaker and writer.

Walter has been called a “cultural acrobat” and the “monk of strategy”. Born in Italy but with mixed European origins, Walter has combined lifelong studies in Shaolin culture – which eventually made him one of the first non-Chinese Shaolin 32nd generation Master – with a university education in economics, corporate strategy and philosophy.
His professional life has been just as uniquely diverse, becoming the youngest CEO of a listed company in Australia and then working as manager of leading consulting and investment firms in Europe and Asia, only to suddenly abandon at a very early age such a promising corporate career to share his unique blend of monastic wisdom and “modern life”
experience.
He has since authored two books – including the recent german management best seller ‘Gib Nicht Alles, Gib Das Richtige’ – and has been the protagonist of many magazine articles and of several documentaries (BBC, Discovery Channel, Italia1, CCTV).
Today, Shi Xing Mi conducts speeches, seminars and workshops at major events, universities, conferences and for the management of leading international companies in various sectors, as well as assisting professional athletes and international corporate executives and personalities. He also teaches in several European Shaolin Culture Centers, which he helped establish.

Daniel Jordi

Entrepreneur and Connector

Daniel Jordi is an entrepreneur and the creator of The ChangeMakers’ Hub. He is a member of the Steering Committee at the Trestle Group Foundation and very passionate about making positive change in the world through education and entrepreneurship. Daniel has a talent for challenging people to live up to their highest potential and connecting leaders who make positive influences in the world. He believes that by surrounding ourselves with the right people who challenge us to greatness, we can overcome any obstacle and achieve impossible things.

Martynas Kairys

Entrepreneur & Go-Getter

Martynas Kairys is a mix between a motivational speaker and a present-day superspy; fluent in five languages, the ability to command naval vessels, and happiness evangelist are but a few of the qualities that Martynas has. He went to two universities in two different countries at the same time while still finding time for social and business projects in order to push himself and everyone else around him to new limits. Since then he has made the leap from naval officer to investment banker and is now the Co-founder and CEO of IT companies: CreoFox and Whemsy that specialize in delivering tools for higher performance of companies, employees and individuals helping them to deal with daily habits, motivation and willpower.

Howard Leedham MBE

Senior Executive Officer

Howard is the CEO of Dalma Capital Management Limited, a hedge fund manager headquartered in he Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). He achieved UK FSA licensing for Argent and became the Dubai International Financial Centre’s first Category 3 license holder. Howard also established the first DIFC domiciled Hedge Fund and financial analysts platform in India.

Howard is a former Royal Navy Commando Pilot, Clearance Diver and UK Special Forces Officer; he twice won gallantry awards and was decorated by Her Majesty the Queen. In 2003 he was invited to accept a (post 9/11) senior advisory position constructing and commanding a night capable, heli-borne militia force on the Pakistan/Afghan border. He took a year out from the financial industry and became accredited by the Department of State as making the “single most important individual contribution” to border security in this infamous region. He has since published a book recounting these exploits.

Howard was educated in the UK and attained a Queen’s commission from Britannia Royal Naval College. He subsequently graduated from Camberley Army Command and Staff College, he served with the United States Marine Corps in the Gulf War and was the first British officer to take temporary command of a United States Marine Corps Squadron; he holds a UK Commercial Pilots License and US Air Transport Pilots License.

Dena Parsa

Freediver

Dena Parsa was born and raised in Iran until the age of 13, after which she moved to Denmark. Water has always been an important part of Dena’s life, with some people even referring to her as a modern-day mermaid due to her career as a successful freediver. In 2014, she achieved a new Danish National Depth Record in free immersion. Following her recent success, Dena was awarded a wild card for the World Cup in 2015.

Julian Pistone

Strategic Partner Manager

Julian works as a Strategic Partner Manager at Google. Half Austrian, half Italian, he grew up on the shores of Lake Maggiore. Today, Julian consults Swiss web publishers and app developers on their digital monetization strategies. He is also a guest lecturer on online advertising at Bocconi University and Grenoble Graduate School of Business, where he shares his passion for mobile technology and emerging markets. Julian has a particular affinity to Africa, a continent that he believes offers not only immense beauty, but tremendous potential for growth and creative innovation.

David Steinacker

Strategic Business Advisor

David works as a Strategist at Google, where he acts as a business advisor for large online publishers. Prior to joining Google, he served as a Product Development Manager for mobile banking in Kenya and as a consultant and researcher for inter alia Oxfam and the World Bank in South Africa, Nigeria, Mozambique and Uganda. David is a strong believer in the power of innovation and mobile technology and is certain that the next economic miracle is happening right now in Africa. He holds a MSc in Development Management from the London School of Economics (LSE).

Ryan Vannin

Lifehacker, Entrepreneur & Startup Advisor

Ryan Vannin has more than 15 years of experience in the field of communications, business strategy, design and development. He is the owner of Plastical, a communication and business strategy consultancy for startups and small businesses established in Ticino, where he advises entrepreneurs on ways to innovate and market their services and products efficiently. He is also the co-founder of Tipiù, an e-magazine about entrepreneurship, technology and innovation related to the Italian speaking region of Switzerland. Ryan is also partnering with the government’s agency of innovation (Agire) to manage the digital branch of Tecnopolo Ticino in Chiasso.
He holds a Master in communications from USI (Università della Svizzera Italiana) and is a PhD Informatics drop-out. He is now enrolled as a bachelor student in law.
He learned — the hard way — that talent and creativity are not enough to successfully achieve goals, but passion and constant improvements. As a lifehacker himself, he believes that lifehackers are those with the greatest potential to make it through life and push us as humans forward.