Keynote and featured speakers for the 2005 Connections conference

Cary Mullen
March 9, 2005
  • Opening Keynote Speaker - Megacenter - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - The Champion Within
  • Theater - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - On-Track Strategies: Maintaining Focus at 97 miles per hour.

About Cary Mullen: From Worst to First

Cary Mullen currently holds the World Downhill Speed Record for skiing 97 miles per hour down the worlds most famous ski course in Kitzbuhel, Austria. Cary was a non-prodigy - an underdog - who placed last in his first World Cup race. He followed a Process for Success to go from worst to first and to ultimately become an Olympian and World Cup Champion.

An accomplished athlete and entrepreneur, Cary has spent more than 20 years studying the success strategies of high performers. On his way to becoming a multiple world record holder, two-time Olympian and World Cup Champion, Cary experienced the upper echelon of success, and what it takes to climb out of the depths of adversity. In his 11 years as a leader on the National Ski Team, Cary persevered through 3 near fatal crashes that left him with double vision and memory loss, to finally regain 100% health. Beyond his athletic accomplishments, Cary has a successful business background as a former Sales and General Manager for Dale Carnegie Training and is currently the President of a real estate investment company. As a community leader, Cary has founded two Charitable Foundations and is on the Board of Directors for the national Olympic Development Association and the National High Performance Advisory Committee.

Cary passionately shares his champion insights around the world taking his audiences on an incredible run that leaves them energized and provides them with a Process for Success!

Emory Austin
March 10, 2005
  • Closing Keynote Speaker - Main Ballroom - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - Close Encounters Of The Crucial Kind
  • Theater - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - My Map Must Be Upside Down
  • Theater - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 p.m. - My Map Must Be Upside Down

Emory Austin is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wake Forest University with a major in writing and psychology. She is fascinated by how people think, by why they do what they do, neglect what they neglect; by the patterns they develop in the process, and by all the individual ways they deal with opportunities for leadership, professional and personal change, their customer base, and relationships of all types!

She is also an internationally sought-after expert and speaker with "a brand new way to deliver a message." Her extraordinary gifts as a storyteller/strategist open a path for connecting life lessons to practical insights. Emory's presentations are unforgettable, growth-focused, and delightfully humorous. Clients line up to hear and to use her well-defined approaches to leadership, change, balance, customer service and teamwork. It's all about subjective, human attitudes and action choices in an objective electronic world, and Emory builds a strong bridge between the two that is unifying and exciting.

Kevin Burr
March 10, 2005
  • Salon VI - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Implementing in Your State the High Schools That Work 10 Key Practices
  • Salon VI - 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - Implementing in Your State the High Schools That Work 10 Key Practices

Kevin Burr travels throughout the United States assisting teachers and administrators in how to improve student achievement in their schools through comprehensive school reform. Coming from a background that includes 23 years as an English teacher and high school principal, Kevin entered the world of full-time consulting earlier this year when he joined High Schools That Work and SREB; the nations leading school reform model. Kevin has a Masters Degree in Educational Administration from Fort Hays State University (Hays, Kansas) and is currently a fulltime consultant with the CSR project with HSTW and SREB. During his tenure at Garden City High School, the school was named a BEST school by the Foundation for Excellent Schools one of twelve schools nationally to receive the recognition (2500 applicants) in 1998. Kevin was named the Kansas Association Secondary School Regional Principal of the Year in 1994. He was awarded the 1999 Milken National Educator Award. In 2000 he received the Kansas Principal of the Year and was a national finalist. Kevin believes that all children can and will meet whatever expectations we (as educators) have for them. Why not create the highest and expect everyone to meet them?

Rita Emmett
March 9, 2005
  • Theater - 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Blast Away PROCRASTINATION
  • Theater - 2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. - Blast Away PROCRASTINATION
  • Theater - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - Are We Having Fun Yet? Secrets To Avoid Burnout

Rita Emmett is a published author, speaker, trainer and professional educator. She designs her presentations with two objectives that people will learn some nitty-gritty ideas which they can use right now and that learning can be fun. People love her humor and story telling, and after attending her up-beat presentations, participants agree that they actually enjoy the process of learning and experience positive, life-changing results.

Dave Shepard
March 10, 2005
  • Preservation Hall A - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 p.m. - Cultural Revolution: The Foundation Of School Reform
  • Preservation Hall A - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Rules Of Engagement - Winning The War Against Student Apathy, Part II
  • Preservation Hall A - 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - Rules Of Engagement - Winning The War Against Student Apathy, Part I

A native of rural North Carolina and a product of public education in four states, Dave Shepard brings experience, common sense, and practicality to any educational gathering. Having dealt with middle and high school students for over thirty years, his experience includes teaching, coaching, curriculum writing, program design, and administration. Since his retirement in 1999, he has devoted his time and energy to helping schools become safer, more efficient, and more successful for all students. Dave currently manages his own educational consulting firm, The Middle Matters and More, in Lexington, Kentucky. He works actively with SREB, NMSA and is involved with the Kentucky Middle School Association; currently serving as its Vice President. Since the passage of the Kentucky Educational Reform Act in 1990, Dave has also worked with the Kentucky Department of Education, the University of Kentucky and over thirty Kentucky school districts to help implement this reform. Known primarily as a practitioner, he has presented at over thirtyfive state and national conferences. He has also assisted school districts in over twenty states develop and refine their educational programs by providing quality professional development and teacher in-services.

Laura Stack
March 10, 2005
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Maximizing Your Productivity With Technology: How To Use The Latest Tools, Templates, And Tricks
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - Laughing Your Way To Success

Laura Stack is a personal productivity expert who helps people leave the office earlier, with less stress, and more to show for it. Laura is the president of The Productivity Pro , a training company that caters to high-stress industries. Laura offers wit, interaction, and content-rich presentations. She delivers programs that entertain, educate, and motivate people to improve. She will engage your mind and touch your heart with practical, real-life information. Laura is the recipient of the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation, the National Speakers Association's highest earned designation. She holds an MBA in Organizational Management and is a fellow of the Cora Foundation's Women in Leadership program.

Joel Zeff
March 9, 2005
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - Team Building For People Who Hate Team Building
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - The Strength Of Laughter: Energizing Your Spirit With Humor

Joel Zeff creates energy. His spontaneous humor and vital messages have thrilled audiences for years. As a national speaker and humorist, Joel captivates audiences with a unique blend of hilarious improvisational comedy and essential ideas on work and life. Corporations and organizations nationwide seek him out to motivate and energize their employees on such topics as creativity, communication, teamwork, passion and fun. Joel fuses his knowledge of improvisation and his experience with the corporate world to create presentations that make a difference. Joel makes audiences laugh, but he also makes them think. Participants discover for themselves how to apply his messages to become better people and better employees.