General sessions

At the APICS annual conference, business professionals, thought leaders and innovators will share their knowledge, skills and experiences. Learn from today’s top influencers as they educate and inspire you to advance your productivity and elevate your work performance.

APICS is proud to present the 2014 general session speakers!

Sunday, October 19, 9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Mike Walsh
CEO, Tomorrow
Author, Futuretainment
Sponsored by Oracle

Mike Walsh is globally renowned as an expert on future trends, innovation, business growth and organizational transformation. He takes an anthropological approach to the future, focusing on emerging technologies and disruptive shifts in human behavior and then translating these into pragmatic plans for better business productivity. As the CEO of Tomorrow, a consumer innovation lab, Walsh has worked with prominent corporations including Fujifilm, BBC Worldwide and HSBC.

Walsh engages a blend of firsthand stories, global case studies and cutting-edge research into consumer and technology trends. He distills relevant insights that enable his audiences to not only understand, but also influence the future direction of their organization.

Monday, October 20, 9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m. 
Peter Thum 
Founder, Ethos Water 
Cofounder and CEO, Fonderie 47
Sponsored by PwC

As the founder and former president of Ethos Water, Peter Thum transformed his desire to get clean water to families in third-world countries into a successful social venture that changed an industry, generated millions of dollars and improved the lives of thousands. Currently, Thum is CEO and cofounder of Founderie 47, an organization that manufacturers jewelry from assault rifles sourced in war zones. To date, the company has remanufactured jewelry from more than 34,000 rifles.

Thum’s story is one of passion, perseverance and success. He delivers lessons on the importance of corporate social responsibility and takes audiences on a tour of the world while sharing the importance of addressing global issues, how to build a brand from the ground up and the personal upside of working toward the common good.

World Café
Tuesday, October 21, 8:00−9:45 a.m.
Mike Wagner
Founder, White Rabbit Group


Mike Wagner is a skilled communicator, facilitator and business consultant who believes you must “keep creating” to be successful. He formed White Rabbit Group 10 years ago to inspire and assist organizational leaders in creating remarkable customer experiences that set them apart from their competition.

Wagner develops engaging presentations, trainings and facilitations for clients from his vast work experiences with small- and medium-sized enterprises, Fortune 500 companies and leading non-profit organizations. He brings ideas to life through compelling stories to help clients see their path to success.

Wagner speaks and trains across the nation on leadership, creativity and personal development, while also working on-site with organizational leaders to facilitate the creation of remarkable customer experiences.




Creating a Culture of Innovation and Customer Obsession - General Session with Innovation Expert Jeremy Gutsche

Sponsored by 




Sunday, September 29
9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.

Jeremy Gutsche 
Founder, Trendhunter.com
Author, Exploiting Chaos

In a world of increased competition, intensified customer demands, and shifting employee demographics, a culture of innovation is more important than ever. Jeremy Gutsche's Culture of Innovation framework shows you groundbreaking ideas related to perspective, customer obsession, tolerance for failure and creativity. He provides practical ideas that inspire companies to make their cultures revolutionary.

Gutsche is an innovation expert, the award-winning author of Exploiting Chaos and the founder of TrendHunter.com, the world's largest, most popular collection of cutting edge trends, attracting nearly one billion views.   Prior to Trend Hunter, he grew a $1 Billion portfolio of products at Capital One, as one of their youngest business directors. He studied innovation at Stanford, received his MBA from Queen's and graduated as a chancellor scholar in finance from University of Chicago, where he was later awarded Graduate of the Decade.   He is routinely sourced by the media, including The Economist, CNN, and The New York Times. He has been described as "a new breed of trend spotter" by The Guardian, "an eagle eye" by Global TV, and an "Oracle" by the Globe and Mail.


 QUICK LINKS