Opening Keynote   |   Closing Keynote


OPENING KEYNOTE


Erica Orange headshot

The Future Begins Now

Erica Orange
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
The Future Hunters


As Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of The Future Hunters, one of the world’s leading futurist consulting firms, Erica's expertise is to identify emerging trends that will be important to clients before they become part of the cultural and business vernacular. This includes explorations into the markets and products that provide future opportunities for clients, programs analyzing trends and their specific impacts on client organizations and multi-client programs.  

Erica evaluates emerging social, technological, economic, political, demographic and environmental trends – and identifies the strategic implications (the “so what?”) of those trends for several of the most influential Fortune 500 companies, trade associations and public sector clients. Erica’s ability to pinpoint and explore future possibilities, spot patterns, think critically and analytically, and translate that into actionable strategies is what has made her an invaluable asset to clients.

Erica frequently speaks to a wide range of global audiences about trends that are shaping the landscape today, including TEDxBYU, World Future Society Annual Conference and Navigant Annual Leadership Conference. She’s spoken on four continents, leading audiences in multiple cultures and industries to connect the dots and plot out game-winning strategies.

She has also authored numerous articles and industry white papers on cutting-edge, future-focused topics. Erica is recognized in the industry as having a unique, innovative and fresh perspective.

Erica Orange is sponsored by Tanium.


CLOSING KEYNOTE


Tommy Caldwell headshot

The Push

Tommy Caldwell
Professional Rock Climber and Best Selling Author of The Push

Tommy Caldwell is widely recognized as one of the best big-wall rock climbers in the world, known for his death-defying free ascents of some of the world’s hardest climbs.

After a seven-year quest to find a way to free climb the steepest, blankest face of Yosemite’s monolithic El Capitan, Tommy, along with partner Kevin Jorgeson, finally stood atop the Dawn Wall with the world watching.

To accomplish the seemingly impossible feat, Tommy and Kevin spent 19 days living on the side of the 3,000-foot cliff of El Capitan, slowly but surely making their way with nothing but their grit, determination and first-class skill keeping them moving upward. The story became a global inspiration, garnering over 34 billion media impressions and was covered by every major news outlet, including The New York Times, National Geographic, TIME, Vanity Fair, Good Morning America, CNN, ESPN and more.

On June 6, 2018, Tommy and his partner accomplished another seemingly impossible feat — climbing the 3,000-foot Nose route of El Capitan in 1 hour 58 minutes and 7 seconds.

Tommy’s father, a bodybuilding mountain guide, set out to show him the wonder of their backyard, the Colorado Rockies. By age 12, Tommy knew the pungent smell of a building electrical storm and the deep-down contentment felt after a twenty-hour day spent engaged in the grandeur of the mountains.

Tommy was establishing the hardest roped climbs in the United States as a teenager and quickly rose to the top of the competition circuit. His childhood in the mountains beckoned him to bigger climbing objectives. On an expedition to southwest Kyrgyzstan in 2000, Tommy and three other climbers were taken hostage. For six days, they survived on no food and little water and eventually escaped when Tommy pushed their remaining captor off of a cliff and they ran 10 miles to a military outpost.

“That experience completely changed my view of the world. I was given a glimpse into the power of the human will. I knew that we are capable of so much more than most of us can imagine.”

Tommy returned from Kyrgyzstan with a need to explore his perceived limits and found El Capitan to be the perfect canvas. Just one year after his hostage epic, Tommy had a home remodeling accident and cut off his index finger with a table saw. This only increased his resolve and pushed Tommy to become the world’s most proficient big-wall free climber.

After free climbing the most routes on El Capitan, including many first ever ascents, Tommy ultimately came to the seemingly impossible Dawn Wall, never yet dared to be free climbed. It was obvious this climb couldn’t be accomplished alone. Tommy knew the route required the strength of a partnership. Kevin Jorgeson joined the efforts and they started to tackle the project move by move.

“For years, we mostly failed, but occasionally we would make breakthroughs. As a team we became stronger than I ever could have been on my own.”

Tommy was named one of National Geographic’s “Adventurers of the Year” in 2014.

In 2017, Tommy penned the inspiring memoir, The Push: A Climber's Journey of Endurance, Risk, and Going Beyond Limits. Tommy's legendary climb of Yosemite's El Capitan was documented in the 2018 film The Dawn Wall.

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Alyssa Greiber

Questions about the conference? Contact UWEBC Member Services and Events Coordinator Alyssa Greiber at alyssa.greiber@wisc.edu or 608-262-1145.

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