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.

Leadership Through Engagement: Using Strengths to Fortify Your Workplace - General Session with #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Tom Rath

Sponsored by



Monday, September 30
9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.

Tom Rath
Senior Scientist and Advisor, Gallup
#1 New York Times Best Selling Author, How Full is Your Bucket?
#1 Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author, StrengthsFinder 2.0

Tom Rath is one of the most influential authors of the last decade. He studies the role of human behavior in health, business, and economics. Tom writes and speaks on a range of topics, from wellbeing to organizational leadership.

Tom has written several international bestsellers including How Full Is Your Bucket? His 2007 book, StrengthsFinder 2.0, was listed as the top selling business book worldwide by The Economist. Tom’s most recent New York Times bestsellers are Strengths-Based Leadership and Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements. In total, his books have sold more than 5 million copies and made over 250 appearances on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list.

Tom serves as a Senior Scientist and Advisor to Gallup, where he previously spent 13 years leading the organization’s work on employee engagement, strengths, and wellbeing. Tom also served as Vice Chairman of the VHL cancer research organization. He earned degrees from the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania, where he is now a guest lecturer.