Opening Ceremony Keynote
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Opening Ceremony Keynote
For five days in April 2009, the world was glued to their TV screens as Captain Richard Phillips became the center of an extraordinary international drama when he was captured by Somali pirates who hijacked his ship, the first hijacking of a U.S. ship in more than 200 years.
The hostage drama began on Wednesday, April 8, when a small band of pirates swung grappling hooks and climbed ropes from their skiff onto the Maersk Alabama, a container ship ferrying food aid to East Africa. Firing into the air as they leapt aboard the ship, many of the crew members scrambled into a designated safe room aboard the vessel.
On the bridge, the pirates held four sailors at gunpoint, but the crew of 20 outnumbered the four attackers. They managed to wound the apparent leader of the pirates in the hand with an ice pick and regain control. The crew demanded the other pirates leave the ship, but the pirates had scuttled their own small boat. They demanded an escape boat, fuel and food.
To protect his crew, Captain Phillips made a conscious decision to put himself directly in harm's way, knowing full well that he might pay the ultimate price for his decision. Amid the standoff, he offered himself as a hostage.
Once the pirates settled into one of the ship's covered lifeboats, the crew attempted to trade the pirate they had captured for Captain Phillips. After they released their captive, the pirates refused to honor the agreement and fled with nine days of food rations and Captain Phillips. Held hostage as a human shield in a small lifeboat with three pirates, he had little to hope for or cling to — except the knowledge that he had done absolutely everything he could to save the lives of the 20 sailors aboard his ship.
The U.S. Navy responded to the scene, and negotiations were ongoing between the pirates and the captain of the USS Bainbridge. On Friday April 10th, Captain Phillips jumped out of the lifeboat and managed to swim a few yards toward the nearby destroyer, but the pirates went in after him and managed to haul him back in. The standoff dragged on until April 12th, when Navy SEAL snipers saw one of the pirates aim his AK-47 machine gun at Capt. Richard Phillips's back and concluded he was in “imminent danger.”
President Barack Obama, who spoke with Captain Phillips by phone after he was freed, said, "I share the country's admiration for the bravery of Captain Phillips and his selfless concern for his crew. His courage is a model for all Americans."
Captain Richard Phillips is the author of A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea, about his experience and his remarkable rescue. This dramatic story was also transformed into an Academy-Award and Golden-Globe nominated film, Captain Phillips, which hit the big screens in fall of 2013.
Captain Phillips is a graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy a member of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots Union, and a licensed American merchant mariner. He became Captain of the MV Maersk Alabama in 2009. Captain Phillips married Andrea Coggio in 1987. They have two children, Mariah and Danny and reside in Underhill, Vermont.Keynote sponsored by Fidelity Investments
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Britt Berrett, Ph.D., FACHE, is the former president of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas and executive vice president of Texas Health Resources.
He is an Executive Coach with MEDI and has more than 25 years of experience as a hospital president and CEO. His background includes leadership in faith based, investor-owned and academic/teaching hospitals ranging from small to large. He brings strengths in building physician stakeholder relationships, organizational excellence, and driving clinical operations to achieve business results.
Dr. Berrett holds a doctorate from the School of Economics, Policy and Political Science at the University of Texas at Dallas. His dissertation, “Leadership Theory in Strategic Planning in Hospitals,” reflects his passion for advancing the business side of hospital operations to further advance the mission to improve patients’ lives.
He received a Master of Science degree in health administration from Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, and a bachelor’s degree in finance from Brigham Young University. He is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and has served as a Regent for six years.
In 2013, Dr. Berrett co-authored a New York Times Best Selling book on leadership in health care entitled, Patients Come Second – Leading Change by Changing How You Lead. Currently, Dr. Berrett is the program director and clinical faculty of Health Care Management at the University of Texas at Dallas in the Jindal School of Management. He lectures nationally and internationally and is a featured speaker at industry and professional events.
Fasten your seatbelt and enjoy the ride! Christine Cashen delivers a fast-paced, hilarious program with useful content that makes her a sought after speaker worldwide. For more than 20 years, she has jazzed an amazing variety of audiences throughout the United States, Canada, South Africa and Australia. Christine is an authority on sparking innovative ideas, handling conflict, reducing stress and energizing employees.
Before hitting the speaking scene, Christine was a university admissions officer, corporate trainer and broadcaster. Christine holds a Bachelors Degree in Communication and a Masters Degree in Adult Education. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP).
In 2014, Christine was inducted into the National Speakers Association, CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame®, Admission into the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame is a lifetime award for speaking excellence and professionalism. In 2016, she was received an honorary doctorate degree from Central Michigan University.
What makes her unique is the “real” factor. Whether talking about her “hottie engineer” husband, her pet peeves or growing up in an Italian/Irish household, audiences always relate to her experiences, struggles and lessons. She combines a down-to-earth attitude with a colorful artistic streak. Comments such as “I feel like I’ve known her forever,” “we must take her back to our workplace” and “it felt as if Christine was speaking directly to me,” are a testament to her effectiveness and style.
Her book, THE GOOD STUFF: Quips & Tips on Life, Love, Work and Happiness, was named motivational book of the year by the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. She has also been featured as a creativity expert in HOW Designs at Work magazine. Her learning resources also include: The Fun Factor DVD, The Good Stuff CD Audio Book and Why Can’t Everybody Just Get Along CD.
Christine resides in Dallas with her husband, their two children and Murphy, the chocolate lab.