Mar Brettmann, Executive Director, Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST), “Ending Sex Trafficking”
Mar Smith Brettmann, PhD, founded Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST). For ten years, Mar worked as a professor at universities in the United States, Malaysia, and the West Indies, where she taught courses in philosophy, ethics, and religion and published articles on human rights topics. In her research, she found herself increasingly concerned about the brutal exploitation of children, women, and impoverished laborers that takes place through human trafficking.
In 2011, Mar participated in a conversation of experts on human trafficking who were seeking to identify effective interventions to proactively prevent this victimization. The group recognized that businesses were absolutely key to prevention yet they were largely missing from the national response.
Shiv Batra has been a Bellevue Rotarian since 2000 and a resident of Washington State since 1979. Prior to coming to Washington, he and his wife attended the University of Nebraska. They have 2 children and 4 grandchildren, and they all live in the Seattle area.
In 1983 Shiv co‑founded an Engineering Company called INCA Engineers. Since the 1990’s, the Company has been heavily engaged in the planning and design of several locks and dams on the Columbia, Ohio, and Mississippi River systems, and also on the Panama Canal.
Phil Talmadge is a graduate of West Seattle High School, as a National Merit scholar. He has a B.A. (magna cum laude) from Yale and a J.D. from the University of Washington, where he was on the Law Review.
Phil served in the Washington State Senate from 1979 to 1995. He chaired the Judiciary and Health Care Committees in the Senate, where he was a leader in court reform, alternate dispute resolution, crime victims’ rights, domestic violence prevention, public health, mental health, and health care reform. He served on the Washington Supreme Court from 1995 to 2001. He promoted the judicial information system, privacy of court records, and court reform.
Patti Skelton-McGougan, Chief Executive Officer, Youth Eastside Services, “Supporting Young People in Turbulent Times”
Patti Skelton-McGougan has been the Chief Executive Officer of Youth Eastside Services since 1997. She holds a degree in Social Work/Sociology from Washington State University, and is a graduate of the University of Washington’s Cascade Public Executive Program and Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business’ Executive Program.
Officer Brad Knudtsen is a 20-year veteran with the Bellevue Police Department. He is the senior member of the K9 Unit and a SWAT Team Leader. Officer Knudtsen worked Police K9 Roc for 7 years, before retiring him and training his new partner.
Police K9 Tyr, a 3‑year‑old Belgian Malinois from Holland, has been with the Department since November 2016.
President of John Curley Auctions (J.C.A.), John Curley has singlehandedly raised $85,000,000 for charities — and he is on track to raise $100,000,000 for non‑profits within six years.
John is an Emmy® and Edward R. Murrow® Award-winning broadcaster, with a television and radio career spanning 30 years, with work in major markets on both the East and West Coasts. He has hosted KING TV’s Evening Magazine in Seattle for a record 16 years, and he is known as the most recognized local celebrity in the Emerald City.
Tony Softli, Owner/Managing Member, Softli Sports Consulting LLC & Cattleya Media LLC; NFL Analyst, I‑HeartMedia/Sports Radio 950 KJR, “NFL Draft Process is a True Projection”
Softli Sports Consulting LLC serves Student-Athletes and Parents in the Recruiting Process, Collegiate Football Players in Human Performance Mentoring, offers Leadership Consulting, Life Skills, NFL Combine Prep, and guides retired NFL Players in life after professional sports, in continued academic and career development. Other clients include Professional Sports Organizations, Sports Equipment Manufacture, Football Analytical Corporations, NFLP,A and NFLPI.
Softli previously worked in St. Louis, MO, for 101 ESPN flagship station for Rams Radio Network, where he served as the sideline reporter covering St. Louis Rams 2011-2014.
Donald P. Nielsen, Senior Fellow of Discovery Institute & Chair of the Institute’s American Center for Transforming Education, “Transforming Public Education”
Donald P. Nielsen chairs the Discovery Institute’s American Center for Transforming Education. He also serves as Chairman of Lumenal Lighting, LLC, a business he purchased in 2004. Lumenal Lighting is in the commercial lighting business and serves companies, schools, government facilities, and non-profit organizations in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii.
Since 1992, Mr. Nielsen has concentrated his activities in the field of public education. He traveled the country for two years studying America’s public education system and subsequently was elected to the Board of the Seattle Public Schools. He served on the board for eight years and was President of the Board in 2000‑01. During his tenure, Mr. Nielsen and his colleagues oversaw major reforms to the Seattle Public School System that greatly enhanced the educational experience — and heightened achievement — for students, administrators, teachers, and parents.
Born and raised in King County, Mitzi Johanknecht has served her community for 33 years and is an experienced, progressive law enforcement leader. She began her law enforcement career when she joined the King County Sheriff’s Office on January 8th, 1985. Through her history of dedication and hard work, along with a strong sense of honor and respect, she worked her way up through the ranks and was elected to the position of Sheriff on November 7, 2017.
Cascade Capital Group (CCG) is an investment banking firm that buys, sells, and restructure firms. CCG has six employees and an office in Seattle. Managing Director Mark Calvert will review two Ponzi cases and explain why fraud is a business risk, not just a finance issue, and why steps should be taken every year to review for fraud.
Richard J. Ellings, President, The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR), “The Difficult Truths for U.S. Policy in China”
Richard J. Ellings is President of The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) and Affiliate Professor of International Studies at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington. NBR is a nonprofit, nonpartisan institution whose mission is to inform and strengthen policy in the Asia-Pacific. Co‑founder of NBR, he has served as the institution’s Executive Director and sits on the Board of Directors.
Prior to serving with NBR, Dr. Ellings was Assistant Director and on the faculty of the Jackson School 1986 to 1989. In this capacity he was a member of the school’s Executive Committee and responsible for a wide range of administrative functions. He taught courses dealing with Asia, American foreign policy, and international relations (including foreign economic policy and international political economy), and was director of the George E. Taylor Foreign Affairs Institute.
John Connors is a managing partner at Ignition. He joined Ignition in 2005, after a distinguished career as a software industry executive.
John spent sixteen years at Microsoft in several high‑level, strategic roles. From January 2000 to April 2005 he was Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration, as well as the company’s Chief Financial Officer. He also served as Vice President of the Worldwide Enterprise Group and Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO).
Gary Guenther is a senior vice president, partner, and has served the board of directors at Kidder Mathews. Prior to joining Kidder Mathews, Gary worked with the real estate affiliate of the Government of Singapore. He is recognized as one of the most successful and trusted real estate advisors in the Puget Sound Region.
Judd H. Lees, Managing Partner, Sebris Busto James, “Dual Gates, Philadelphia Lawyers & Other Tales From the Picket Lines”
Judd Lees is the Managing Partner with Sebris Busto James LLC, located in Bellevue, Washington. He has been practicing management labor and employment law since 1979. Judd represents both unionized and non‑unionized employers in the private and public sector, including clients in the construction, manufacturing, and transportation industries, before federal and state agencies, including the Department of Labor, National Labor Relations Board, and the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.
Benedict Heywood, Executive Director & Chief Curator of the Bellevue Arts Museum, “New Directions for the Bellevue Arts Museum”
Before becoming the Executive Director & Chief Curator of the Bellevue Arts Museum, Benedict Heywood was Director of Pivot Art + Culture, a gallery and exhibition project of Seattle philanthropist Paul Allen. Prior to that, in Minneapolis, he was the founder of The Soap Factory, the largest space for emerging visual arts in the Midwest, a studio and laboratory for artistic experimentation across contemporary visual arts.
A native of Indianapolis, Rear Admiral Gary Mayes graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science in 1987 and received his commission from Aviation Officer Candidate School in 1988. He was designated a naval aviator in 1989. He also earned a Master of Military Studies from the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College in 1999 and graduated from the Joint Forces Staff College in 2002.
At sea, Mayes flew the SH‑60B/R during tours with Helicopter Anti‑Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 48 and 46. He served as the executive officer and commanding officer of HSL‑44.
Glen A. Curda, DPM, MS, Diplomate, American Board of Podiatric Surgery, Fellow, American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, “Footnotes: Debunking Some Myths About Common Foot Problems”
Glen is a foot and ankle specialist who has been in private practice in Bellevue for over 30 years. He treats all ages and all types of foot problems. If surgery is needed, he uses Overlake Hospital as well as a certified surgical suite in his office.
Dick Blumenthal began boating on the North shores of Lake Washington at age five. His “yacht” consisted of an eight foot homemade dingy and a pair of oars. He quickly learned how to row, spending many hours fishing and exploring the lake. By age seven, he graduated to a three-horse Evinrude, an engine that seemingly weighed as much as he did. Within a couple years, the family bought a small ski boat and Dick became proficient in that sport using bindings made from tennis shoes nailed to their homemade skis. From this early exposure to the water, Dick’s interests continued to grow. Throughout his childhood, and beyond, he cruised in the San Juans with family and friends, learning of the secrets held by the numerous islands.