Captain Gail Harris
Retired Highest Ranking African American Female in the U.S. Navy
Since she was five years old, Gail Harris knew she wanted to serve in the U.S. Navy. Unaware of the existing federal law prohibiting women from going into combat, Harris forged ahead, becoming the first woman in naval history to serve as an Intelligence Officer in a Navy aviation squadron. Having paved the way for generations of women, Harris was the highest ranking African American woman in the Navy at her retirement. Her hands-on leadership was instrumental during every major conflict from the Cold War and El Salvador to Desert Storm and Kosovo. Her hard work, ingenuity and outstanding performance made Harris a frequent traveler to the most challenging assignments around the globe.
A fearless trailblazer, Harris was a formidable force in the Navy. As the first female and first African American for every job assignment she accepted, she faced serious opposition from her superiors and peers. With her fierce intelligence and sense of humor, Harris quickly earned their respect. Her memoir, “A Woman's War: The Professional and Personal Journey of the Navy's First African American Female Intelligence Officer,” follows Harris’s inspirational career, sharing her unique perspective as she completed the complex task of providing intelligence support to military operations while also battling the status quo, office bullies and politics. She has been profiled by both the BBC and Fox News and honored for her work by the Spy Museum.
Harris knows how to turn a goal into reality. Her wisdom and strength shine through every presentation as she imparts valuable lessons in leadership and courage. She knows how to thrive in a hostile and harsh work environment, and her insight and advice can help anyone who needs to overcome a difficult challenge. With her signature charm and energy, Gail Harris inspires audiences from all walks of life to never stop fighting for their dreams.
Technology and Consumer Behavior Futurist
Tom Edwards is a dynamic speaker with a deep understanding of technical detail, but his message translates to all audiences. He speaks regularly on the convergence of technology and consumer behavior via artificial intelligence through his platform Innovation to Reality™.
Edwards has been recognized as a two-time winner of the OnCon Top 10 Global Marketer Award, recognized as one of the Top 50 Most Influential Business Leaders in Technology, and named the 2020 Professional of the Year for Marketing and Emerging Technology for the second straight year. In 2019, he was recognized as a two-time Professional of the Year in Marketing and Emerging Technology by Strathmore Worldwide, a Tech Titan Technology Advocate Award winner, and the OnCon Marketing Trailblazer and Marketing Contributor for Thought Leadership Award winner. He was recently named a Marketing Technology Trailblazer by Advertising Age as well.
Apple calls Tom “bold and fearless.” Nintendo states, “Tom has a level of expertise I’ve rarely seen in my career.” Hulu called him “a leader in the digital realm.” Southwest Airlines says Edwards is “a forward thinker who pushes the convention.” And c-Suite calls him “insightful in what leaders need to know so they stay ahead of the competition.”
Edwards regularly provides thought leadership and industry commentary across multiple topics, including trends, artificial intelligence, data, omnichannel, innovation, personal branding, leadership, Web 3.0, the metaverse, and digital transformation. His content has millions of views, and he has delivered futurist keynotes at leading forums, including TEDx, Ad Age Data, Mobile World Congress, and more.