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.
Matthew B. Hayes, President & CEO, Museum of Flight, “Project Welcome Home, the Museum of Flight’s Vietnam War Memorial Park & the B‑52 Restoration”
Matt Hayes joined the Museum of Flight in March 2006. Since then Hayes has held many posts, from B‑17 restoration volunteer, to Vice President of Finance and Administration, and Chief Financial Officer from 2006 to 2017. In his current role as President/CEO, Hayes is responsible for directing the Museum’s long‑term strategic planning process and ensuring that the Museum reaches its goal of becoming the foremost educational air and space museum in the world.
From 2002 to 2006, Hayes worked as the CFO for Alliance for Education in Seattle as an Audit Senior Manager, where he played a key role in driving the organization’s strategic planning process. Hayes introduced business modeling to the organization, which resulted in making operating processes more cohesive and effective.
Jacques White grew up in Olympia, Washington, near Puget Sound. He earned a Ph.D. in Marine, Estuarine, and Environmental Science from the University of Maryland, and has conducted estuarine and oceanographic research along three major U.S. coastlines.
Jacques is a catalyst for wild salmon recovery and sustainable fishing in the Pacific Northwest, serving as Executive Director of Long Live the Kings and providing support and guidance for the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council and Washington Sea Grant.
Dr. Ivan Duran joined the Bellevue School District as Superintendent in July 2017. Prior to his role in Bellevue, Duran was deputy superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District in Texas, a district serving approximately 160,000 students. Duran has also served as assistant superintendent for elementary education for Denver Public Schools in Colorado, and as principal supervisor, director of instructional technology, principal, assistant principal and teacher, all at public school districts in Colorado.
Jean Bartell Barber, Vice Chairman & Treasurer, Bartell Drugs, “Staying Relevant in a Fast Changing Retail Environment”
Granddaughter of the company’s founder, George H. Bartell, Sr., Jean Barber works alongside her older brother, George D. Bartell (Chairman), and together they represent the third generation of the Bartell family to actively run the 127‑year‑old business. Bartell Drugs is the nation’s oldest drugstore chain. Prior to the hiring of an outside CEO in 2015, Barber’s areas of responsibility included finance, risk management, administration, human resources, real estate, and strategic planning.
Jean Bartell Barber began her career as a teenager, as her brother and father did before her, learning about the family business by taking store inventories and working at the chain’s old Triangle store in Downtown Seattle as a cashier clerk. She also worked as a bookkeeper at the office during her college years.
Named the UW’s 15th Director of Athletics on May 24, 2016, Jennifer Cohen has been with the UW for 19 years and, for much of that time, has overseen the athletic department’s fundraising efforts. In recent years, the football and baseball programs also reported directly to her.
A native of Tacoma, Jennifer joined the Athletic Department staff in 1998 as an Assistant Director of Development, before moving to the University’s Central Development Office to focus on fundraising efforts on behalf of the Office of Undergraduate Education. She also spent time with the UW’s regional gifts program, before returning to athletics to oversee the department’s major gifts program.
John has been a Rotarian since 1988 and is a currently a member of the Rotary Club of Mercer Island. He served as District Governor for District 5030 in 2010‑11 and now serves as the Rotary International Director for Zones 25/26 for the years 2017‑19.
In addition to his work with Rotary, John has completed two successful careers: the first, with the U.S. Navy for 20 years, retiring as a Commander in the Supply Corps; the second, where he recently completed 25 years as a Senior Vice President with Costco Wholesale. Costco is a $110B company, with 180,000 employees worldwide. While with Costco, John had responsibilities for all of the Human Resource and Risk Management functions.
J. Michael Marsh, President & CEO, Overlake Medical Center, “Overlake Medical Center: Beyond the Numbers”
Overlake Medical Center is a regional medical center supporting the Eastside and greater Puget Sound region. Mike Marsh’s longtime passion for health care innovation, clinical excellence and culture of engagement among providers and staff has transformed the Eastside’s health landscape. Since 2014, under Mike’s leadership, as President and CEO, Overlake has achieved measurable results in patient safety and clinical quality. Overlake has brought to this community game-changing innovation across the healthcare continuum. Mike and his leadership team continue to shape Overlake’s strategic position in the region’s changing health environment, including the formation of partnerships that mean more and better health care services for patients on the Eastside.