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As a junior officer taking command of the ‘worst-performing ship in the Pacific Fleet’ Mike faced a daunting challenge and a test of his leadership. From his first day he looked at the ship from the crew’s point of view, empowering them, opening up lines of communication, and putting them at the core of the ship’s values. A year from him taking over the ship was rated as the best in the Navy. His lessons in culture, motivation and unity have spread beyond the military and into business, helping all organisations to be the best and prepare for the future.

Lucy led BBC HR during a turbulent period. She was responsible for employee relations, reward, training, development and redundancies. During her time the corporation adjusted to four new Directors General, the move to Salford, 30% reduction in management and the Savile scandal. Lucy’s decisions were exposed to frequent media and political scrutiny. In speeches she considers how to instil resilient leadership, break down silos and manage resistance to change.

When Apollo 11 touched down in 1969, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong became the first humans to set foot on the moon. After a worldwide goodwill tour Buzz was asked to lead NASA’s school for test pilots. He is now circling the globe encouraging scientists, politicians and businesspeople to collaborate in the quest to create a permanent colony on Mars: “It will be built by robots controlled from satellites. Every 26 months, new pioneers will take a one-way trip!”

As Zopa co-Founder and CEO, James was a pioneer in peer-to-peer lending. Putting those with a small amount to invest in front of reliable borrowers has proved a successful business model, creating what is now globally £100bn sector. James is now helping organisation make more informed strategic choices as part of FutureAgenda.org, the world’s largest open foresight programme. In presentations he examines disruption across a range of industries and considers how long-established organisations can drive innovation and be better prepared for the future.

The Chelsea and England striker is noted as a natural goalscorer and a leading talent in the women’s game. She’s won Premier League and FA Cups and played over 100 internationals. Off the pitch she’s a lawyer, having qualified in the US and working the City. She also hit the headlines with her stand against the discrimination, outdated behaviour and damaging culture within the England women’s coaching set up. As well as examining the lessons any organisation can learn from the failures within the FA, she also looks at the nature of a winning team and a winning mindset, and what good leadership looks like.

John was the first Brit to play at the top level of US basketball, once declining a $17m transfer fee. He’s now a respected cognitive psychologist and founder of a major community sport initiative in Manchester. John brings his research and competitive experience to bear on the management challenges: how do you improve resilience, reduce stress and turn managers into coaches? And how do you distinguish between effective and ineffective motivational tactics?

Having organised security for big national and royal events, Andrew was an obvious choice to take on the security of the London 2012 Olympics. Covering everything from on-site petty criminality to terrorism and large-scale cyber attacks, Andrew looks at the threats any organisation might now face and how they dealt with them during the ‘greatest show on Earth’.

Kate provides trend forecasts for retailers, products and brands. She analyses the key shifts in consumer expectations, retail and technology – tapping into a vast network of designers, architects, technologists, academics and strategists. Her findings show where to adapt, innovate and invest resources. In speeches Kate explores the behaviour of online shoppers, the use of café culture, the latest developments in GPS and the rise of ‘on-demand’ operators.

After spells at BA and Thomas Cook, Tony was the third employee to join easyJet. He was central in steering it from ambitious start-up to the biggest single airline in Europe. It now flies twice as many passengers as BA. Tony still works with Stelios on projects like peer-to-peer car rental. In speeches he tells the inside story, including brand extensions that didn’t quite go to plan: “It certainly helps to be in the right place at the right time, but anything is possible providing you avoid complacency.”

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