Speakers

Chris Adams | Global Head of Research and Insights | Miles Partnership

Chris Adams has worldwide experience in tourism, new technology and new media. Chris is Head of Research and Insights at Miles Partnership, a marketing agency focused 100% on travel and tourism with 150+ state, city, and national tourism clients in North America, Asia/Pacific and Middle East. Chris has also served as CEO of a New Zealand Convention and Visitor Bureau (Destination Coromandel), worked at Newmans Tours (one of the largest inbound tour operators in Asia – Pacific) and as Assistant to the General Manager at Sky TV in London, UK during the launch of satellite television across Europe.

 

Chris has helped lead and facilitate a wide range of leading tourism research and analysis including ‘Funding Futures’  options & opportunities in tourism taxation & funding, ‘Clarity in a Time of Change’  how to build back better from COVID-19 and Global All Stars — sharing global best practices.

 

Chris is also co-Founder and Board Member of the ‘Travel Care Code’ a not for profit focused on educating visitors to travel responsibly. He is also serves on the Global Advisory Board for Destinations International and the Research Advisory Board for the US Travel Association. Chris is a passionate traveler and outdoor adventurer – often on trips with his two daughters to distant parts of the world.

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Anirban Basu | Chairman & CEO | Sage Policy Group

Anirban Basu is Chairman & CEO of Sage Policy Group, Inc., an economic and policy consulting firm headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland with an office in Indonesia. The firm provides strategic analytical services to energy suppliers, law firms, medical systems, government agencies, and real estate developers among others. In 2014, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan appointed him Chair of the Maryland Economic Development Commission (2014-2021). He also serves as chairman of the Baltimore County Economic Advisory Committee. He is also the Chief Economist to Associated Builders and Contractors and Chief Economic Advisor to the Construction Financial Management Association. He serves or has served similar functions for Visit Baltimore, Maryland Realtors, and Marcum, LLC. He has lectured at Johns Hopkins University, most recently in Global Strategy, and has also taught international economics, urban economics, micro- and macroeconomics at Hopkins. His radio show can be heard weekdays on 88.1FM, WYPR, Baltimore. 

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John Brown | CEO | Brown Golf Management

John has overseen continued expansion of Brown Golf to nineteen facilities and twenty-five golf courses in seven states. John’s background in golf is extensive and he has held roles of Golf Group Sales Manager, Membership Director, Sales Director, General Manager, COO, and CEO. John continues to build a systematic platform that any golf course owner can tap into to increase efficiencies, drive profitability, and increase club awareness.

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Brandel Chamblee | Lead Analyst | Golf Channel

Brandel Chamblee was born in St. Louis, Mo. but raised in Irving, TX. He went to The University of Texas on a golf scholarship and while he was there his team was ranked number #1 in the nation. Chamblee was a three time All-American and won multiple college and amateur events including the 1983 Southwest Conference Championship. After graduating with a degree in communications he turned professional and played on the PGA Tour for 15 years. He won four times as a professional including the 1998 Greater Vancouver Open. 

 

In 1999 he was the first-round leader of the Masters before eventually finishing tied for 18th. During his career as a professional golfer Chamblee served on the player advisory council, ran a charity for the Phoenix Children’s Hospital and for underprivileged children in Irving Texas and wrote columns for Golf World and Sports Illustrated which opened the door for TV requests and in 2004 he transitioned full time to golf commentating. Since then, he has been at Golf Channel working as their lead analyst on Golf Central and Live From for major championships. During that time, he has been called the best analyst in golf and in all of sports and is known for his ability to parse vast amounts of data and share that in a compelling way with the audience. In 2016 he published his book on the commonalities of the greatest golf swings in history “The Anatomy of Greatness” and it rose to be on the NYTs best sellers list. In 2021, Chamblee joined long-time award-winning golf course architect Agustín Pizá forming Pizá Chamblee Golf design and they currently have projects in both Mexico and the United States.

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Dan Cortese | Senior Vice President | Supreme Golf

Dan boasts over 30 years of golf industry experience, ranging from GM to VP of Operations. He developed the retail concept used by over 300 courses today, and worked on the team that created a new occupancy and revenue model for Daily Fee and Private Clubs.

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Sandy Cross | Chief People Officer | PGA of America

Sandy Cross has built a solid reputation of developing, engaging, and leading a company’s greatest assets – its people – to create valuable, meaningful, and purpose-driven change. She cultivates inclusive cultures that challenge the status quo and move businesses forward. As Chief People Officer at the PGA of America, Sandy is a member of the C-suite leading organizational development, while continuing to pioneer Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives. Within two years of being in the role, she transformed the organization to a values-based, people-centric culture by instituting shared values at every stage of the employee experience. She also launched and continues to lead a strategy that embeds inclusion and diversity throughout all lines of the business. In her previous role as Senior Director, Inclusion & Diversity, Sandy established the department and laid the foundation for inclusion programming. In her role as Director, Women’s & New Market Initiatives, she spearheaded the groundbreaking strategic Initiative “Connecting with Her,” designed to attract and retain more women in the sport of golf.

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Alex Elmore | Executive Vice President, Owned-Leased Asset Group Division | Troon

Following Troon’s acquisition of Indigo Golf Partners in December 2020, Alex now serves as EVP of the Owned-Leased Asset Group for Troon, a division consisting of 5 owned golf courses and 50+ long term municipal leases. Promoting incomparable guest experiences and focused on building high-performing teams as business bedrocks, Alex directs Indigo Golf Partners’ growth trajectory. In this role, he leverages the company’s scale, significant commitments to technology, data-driven marketing and exceptional management teams at course and corporate levels. Alex held regional golf operations positions before ascending to Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer. He is a College of William and Mary alum and spent eight years in the pharmaceutical industry with GlaxoSmithKline where he served field-based sales and management positions and corporate training roles.

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John Foley | Former Blue Angels Lead Solo Pilot | US Navy

John Foley is a former Lead Solo Pilot of the Blue Angels, “Top Ten Carrier Pilot,” a best-selling author and an expert on high-performance teams. As a keynote speaker, John has inspired over 1,000 organizations to increase trust, elevate execution and build a culture of excellence. No other speaker in the world shares John’s life experiences. Through keynote presentations and hands-on workshops, John clearly applies his lifetime of discovery to real-world situations. He has delivered his extraordinary message at over 1,000 events, to over 1 million people worldwide. John’s keynotes, workshops, and programs inspire individuals, teams, and organizations to reach and operate at their highest potential. His high-performance framework is vital for leaders reaching for the next level of success, and his Glad to Be Here® Mindset is a fundamental tool for maximizing possibility and achieving goals.

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Allison George | Wizard of Fun | Toad Valley Golf Course

Allison George is the Wizard of Fun at her family’s golf course. Having grown up on the golf course, there aren’t many jobs that Allison hasn’t performed. From picking up garbage, mowing fairways to working the snack bar until her current role as General Manager. She has helped to grow her family’s business by introducing programs to the public and staying up to date with modern content marketing. Allison served on the NGCOA Board from 2007 – 2019. Over the last fifteen years, she has spoken all over the United States and Canada at various golf conferences sharing ideas and how-to plans to help golf courses grow their number of rounds, players, and revenue. Allison’s love for the business of golf shows in her drive to make a difference in the industry by bringing in new players and sharing her successes with her fellow golf operators.

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Jeff Hoag | Co-Owner | Scott Lake Golf & Practice Center

Jeff is the co-owner of Scott Lake Golf & Practice Center, a daily fee 33 hole golf course in Comstock Park, MI, a suburb of Grand Rapids. Since 1975, Jeff and his brother Paul have been the drivers to growing the business at Scott Lake. Scott Lake was the recipient of the 2011 Michigan Golf Course Association Course of the Year, and the 2012 NGCOA Course of the Year. Together they have expanded from 18 holes to 27 holes with a large practice facility and a six-hole short course. Jeff’s nearly four decades of building and growing the business, even in the face of a national recession, has led to some exciting and progressive programs for building customer loyalty. Jeff is a past president of both the NGCOA and the Michigan Golf Course Association.

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Kraig Kann | Managing Director | Kann Advisory Group

Kraig Kann founded Kann Advisory Group in 2016 and serves as Managing Director of the organization that provides strategic communications, marketing, branding and media consulting. His vast experience combining roles as network television personality, sports executive and business entrepreneur makes him an industry influencer, respected spokesperson and requested speaker. After a 25-year television career that included 17 at Golf Channel/NBC where he was an original on-air member, Kraig made a career pivot and joined the Ladies Professional Golf Association as its Chief Communications Officer from 2011-2016. He was a member of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games Communication Committee.

 

Kraig now conducts unique leadership workshops and seminars focused on message delivery and personal and professional brand development. His “Be a Brand-New Influencer” and “The Power of Presentation” have drawn rave reviews from corporate CEOs. In addition, he is a weekly host on SiriusXM PGATOUR Radio.

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Jay Karen | Chief Executive Officer | NGCOA

Jay Karen is the CEO of National Golf Course Owners Association, where he leads the golf industry’s trade association and initiatives to support the success of the golf course business. In his role at NGCOA, he has chaired the board of the industry-wide advocacy coalition, We Are Golf, and served on the Golf USA Tee Time Coalition board, a joint initiative with the PGA of America, and the advisory board of the World Golf Hall of Fame. The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, CBS Radio, New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, the Golf Channel, Golf Digest and many others call upon Jay for his insights on the golf industry. Jay has also served as CEO of two associations in the lodging and hospitality industry, and he is a certified association executive by the American Society of Association Executives. Jay currently serves on the board of directors of the US Travel Association and ASAE. Jay is an Honorary Commander for the Joint Military Base in Charleston and a mentor in the College of Charleston’s MBA program.

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Chris May | Senior Vice President | Supreme Golf

Chris joined the Supreme Golf Solutions team after almost 15 years at American Golf. In his role as Vice President of Revenue Management at AGC, Chris was responsible for formulating strategy and driving top-line results across the entire AGC portfolio.

Whitey O’Malley | Owner | Saddleback Golf Club

Whitey O’Malley has built 2 golf courses from scratch. He is the owner of Saddleback Golf Club in Firestone, Colorado, and also the owner of an underground utility business. Whitey has also been an airline pilot for 4 years. He currently sits on 3 different water/ditch boards as well as the board of the National Golf Course Owners Association.

Lonny Ostrander | CEO | PuzzleHR

Lonny began his career as the owner of a boutique consulting firm in Palm Beach, Florida before taking his talents to Paychex in 1991. During his 28 year career there, Lonny served Paychex in multiple capacities and was eventually named an officer of and served as the Executive Vice President of the Human Resource Services division. In 2019, while a partner in a boutique consulting firm, Lonny recognized that there was a widening gap in the Human Resource Services Market. The Human Resources field had become more and more specialized and companies around the country began to realize a need for the additional Human Resource support. Deploying that level of support in house was out of reach for most companies. That was until Lonny Co-Founded PuzzleHR. PuzzleHR closes the HR gap by providing businesses of all types with the tactical and strategic support they need to attract, retain and support employees at a fraction of the cost of hiring an entire HR Department in-house. An avid golfer, Lonny spearheaded the launch of PuzzleHR Fore!, a suite of services tailor made for the golf industry.

Jason Pearsall | CEO | Club Caddie

Jason Pearsall is CEO of Club Caddie and a serial golf entrepreneur. After selling an e-commerce company in 2010, Pearsall went on to invest in, and become managing partner of, Flushing Valley Golf and Country Club near Flint, Michigan. In 2015, Pearsall started Golfler, a mobile, and tee-sheet system for golf courses that was acquired by Supreme Golf in 2017. Pearsall went on to co-found Club Caddie – one of North America’s leading golf course management SaaS solutions. Club Caddie was acquired by vertical software giant Jonas Software in 2020, who retained Pearsall as CEO.

Agustin Pizá | Founder | Pizá Golf

Award winning architect Agustin Pizá has earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from ITESM and a Master’s Degree in Golf Course Architecture from Edinburgh University in Scotland. He is a proud member of both the European Institute and the American Society of Golf Course Architects. For 23 years, Pizá has worked with legends of the game and world class golf developments. His designs are known for delivering quality, aesthetic, and strategic golf courses.

 

Pizá Golf has been recognized with many international accolades and has garnered a reputation for “Re-defining Golf Facilities” with their concepts – Wellness Golf and Lounge Golf. Agustin Pizá was recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the top 100 creative minds from Mexico and Golf Inc. Magazine included him in their Power 2020 issue as an up-and-coming superstar. Pizá and the company have worked and have been involved in more than 70 projects on three continents. Most recently, Pizá joined forces with PGA TOUR Champion, television personality, and Golf Channel Analyst – Brandel Chamblee. The newly formed partnership will expand the Pizá Golf Branded Collection and their signature Pizá Chamblee golf designs will be made available on select projects.

Annika Sorenstam | LPGA Tour Champion Golfer

Annika is often regarded as the greatest female golfer of all-time. During her 15-year, Hall-of-Fame career, she rewrote the LPGA and Ladies European Tour record books, won countless awards, and changed the way women’s golf was played, viewed and covered.  

 

She has amassed over 90 worldwide victories, including 72 on the LPGA and 11 Major Championships. Annika holds a record number of Rolex Player of the Year awards (eight) and Vare Trophies for the lowest scoring average in a season (six). As the only female to break 60 in an official event, she has been nicknamed “Ms. 59.” Perhaps most notably, Annika received worldwide media attention when she became the first woman in 58 years to play in a PGA TOUR event at the 2003 Colonial Invitational. 

 

Annika stepped away from professional golf after the 2008 season to focus on her family and the ANNIKA brand of businesses, which include the ANNIKA Collection of high-end women’s golf apparel and ANNIKA Course Design. In 2007, she created the ANNIKA Foundation, which provides golf opportunities at the junior, collegiate and professional levels while teaching young people the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition. 

 

The Foundation annually conducts six tournaments in the USA, Sweden (2), China, Argentina and New Zealand for aspiring junior girls. Since 2014, it has also hosted the ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M, an NCAA tournament featuring 12 of the top Division I schools that annually enjoys the strongest field in all of college golf.  That same year with the support of Stifel and the Haskins Commission, the Foundation created the ANNIKA Award presented by Stifel. It is given annually to the best collegiate female golfer. Over 600 girls from 60 different countries compete annually in these tournaments along with the “Share My Passion” golf clinics for girls ages 6-12. 

 

Her global success in golf and knowledge of business have enabled her to create a successful brand of businesses, which was featured in Duane Knapp’s book BrandStrategy, Inc. Annika’s brand has also been featured in Brandweek, the New York Times, Fortune Magazine, SportsBusiness Journal, Success Magazine, USA Today, and Wine Spectator to name a few non-golf publications.

 

Annika still tops the LPGA’s All-Time Money List. In 2021 she made her first start in an official LPGA tournament since 2008, making the cut in the 2021 Gainbridge LPGA.  A few months later she captured the hearts of the golf world when she won the U.S. Senior Women’s Open by eight shots. It was her first United State Golf Association (USGA) event in 13 years and the victory gave her a fourth USGA title.  What made it even more special was that her husband, Mike McGee, was caddying for her and her kids, Ava (9/1/2009) and Will (3/21/2011), were in the gallery to see her win for the first time.

 

She represented Europe as a player in eight Solheim Cups, as a vice-captain three times and captained the European team in 2017. She will also captain the European Junior Solheim Cup team in 2021. Annika has received many accolades throughout her life. She was the recipient of the Patty Berg Award in 2003 for her contributions to women’s golf. She was the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year from 2003-2005, and the Golf Writers Association of America Female Athlete of the Year in 1995, 1997 and from 2000-2005. In 2008, Annika joined Arnold Palmer as only the second Ambassador of the United States Golf Association. She and Jack Nicklaus were named Global Ambassadors by the International Golf Federation to help with golf’s successful bid for inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games. Annika won the USGA’s prestigious Bob Jones Award in 2011, which is presented annually to someone with distinct character on and off the course. In 2013, she was named the First Lady of Golf by the PGA of America. 

 

In 2014 the LPGA, in partnership with Rolex, created the Rolex ANNIKA Major Award. It recognizes the player who, during a current LPGA Tour season, has the most outstanding record in all five major championships. In 2015, Annika was named the top female athlete of all-time in her home country of Sweden. In 2016 Annika received the KPMG Inspire Greatness Award from the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit advisory council, with the support of the PGA of America and the LPGA. In 2016 Annika received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the business of golf at the HSBC Golf Business Summit. 

 

In 2020, Annika was elected the President of the International Golf Federation which oversees golf in the Olympic Games. In 2021, Annika became the first female golfer and only the third female in sport to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

 

Annika is a very popular motivational speaker and many corporate executives, CEOs and meeting planners utilize her talents to entertain important clients, reward top performing employees, and build camaraderie amongst their teams. Annika is a driven leader with a vast network of contacts throughout the world of business, sports and entertainment.

 

Annika represents world-class companies like 3M, AHEAD, Callaway, Cutter & Buck, Cabot Saint Lucia, Diamond Resorts, Lexus, Mastercard, Rēvo, and Rolex. Her Twitter handle is @Annika59. For more information: www.annikafoundation.org.

Tim Ummel | Founder & CEO | IZON Technology

Tim is the Founder & CEO of IZON Technology and has over 25 years of experience in the technology, golf, sports, and development industries, including the launch of several golf related companies. Previously, Tim founded and served as a Managing Partner in Innovative Sports Ventures, a boutique venture capital company with an investment focus in the sports, lifestyle and luxury markets. In addition, he founded and ran The GOLF Tank, as an early stage investment and boutique incubator for all things golf, technology and sport. Tim has traveled extensively around the globe working on private club/golf developments and provided strategic leadership to top sports agencies, oversaw and assisted the portfolios of some of the biggest names in professional golf, baseball, instructors and commentators. Tim is well versed in concept, design, marketing, branding, public relations and the creation of B2B relationships which has proven to be a valuable resource throughout his career. Long-term established relationships with leading media channels, retail chains, big box stores, numerous advertising agencies, multiple golf associations and golf management companies provides IZON numerous outlets in which to leverage its network. Tim oversees the overall growth of IZON, its strategic direction and five key internal vertical focuses. Tim resides in Scottsdale, AZ with his wife, daughter & son.

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Michael Williams | Executive Director, Cyrano Communications | Contributor, Voice of America |
Member, USGA Golf Journal Editorial Board | Contributor, PGA.com

Michael has had success in industries ranging from High Tech companies to foreign exchange banking. But his life has been defined by his abilities in the media and communications, for his experience in world affairs and his passion for the game of golf.

 

Michael has established himself as a leading voice for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. His “Open Letter to the Golf Industry from a Black Man Who Loves the Game” became a template that inspired the leadership of the game to implement long-needed change. In addition, Michael’s article for ESPN about his handling of a PGA Tour professional who admitted to dressing up in blackface garnered praise from around the world and was recently recognized as one of the best articles of 2020 by the Golf Writers Association of America.

 

Michael is also known as one of the political world’s most astute commentators as the moderator of “Issues in the News”, the flagship political and current events program for Voice of America. A sought-after speaker and communications expert, Michael has counseled some of the most influential individuals and organizations in the world on topics including crisis management, corporate re-branding and diversity/inclusivity issues.

 

In 2005, Michael launched his first radio show on FOX News Radio, “Sticks and Stones”. Since that launch, Michael has established a reputation as a savvy broadcaster and as an incisive interviewer and writer. An avid golfer himself, Michael has covered the game of golf and the golf lifestyle including courses, restaurants, business, travel and sports marketing for publications all over the world.

 

In his first year as host of The 19th Hole Golf Radio Show on CBS Radio in Washington, D.C., Michael led the show to becoming the top-rated golf show in the 7th largest market in the United States and was named the recipient of the 2014 Middle Atlantic PGA Earle Hellen Award for the Outstanding Media Person of the Year. The 19th Hole with Michael Williams is now a podcast with 40 thousand listeners per week on GolfWRX.com.

 

Michael is a member of the United States Golf Association, the Golf Writers Association of America and the National Association of Black Journalists.