SPEAKERS

Speaker line-up developing daily; visit often for updates.

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Christina Adams | Partner | McKinsey & Company

Christina Adams is a Partner, based out of McKinsey’s Dallas Office. She has more than 15 years of commercial consumer packaged goods experience and does extensive work on marketing and sales optimization, portfolio growth, insights, and capability building. She is a leader of McKinsey’s ConsumerWise team that brings consumer insights to clients. She has led extensive work supporting portfolio optimization, innovation, and growth strategy work across a range of consumer industries anchored on understanding of consumer sentiment and trends.

Prior to joining McKinsey, Christina — a Harvard College and Harvard Business School graduate — was a Brand Manager at Procter & Gamble.

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Emily Decker | Chief Legal Officer | Invited

Emily Decker has served as Invited’s Chief Legal Officer since May 2019. Prior to that, Ms. Decker served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. from 2011 to 2018, providing departmental oversight for Legal, Enterprise Risk Services, Government Relations, Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy. While at Buffalo Wild Wings, she also helped create and implement strategies to grow the company and provided legal counsel in developing brand strategy. She holds a J.D. from University of Michigan Law School and a B.A. from Duke University.

Bo Finneman | Senior Partner | McKinsey & Company

Bo Finneman is a Senior Partner in McKinsey’s Miami office. He is a member of McKinsey’s Consumer Retail and Marketing & Sales Practices. As a leader in the Retail Growth, Digital and Analytics Guild, he works with retailers looking to build their growth plans across key areas like marketing, e-commerce, store experience, merchandising, and pricing — to drive profitable revenue expansion.

Bo leads McKinsey’s Marketing and Sales People programs across North America. Bo holds a B.S. in Finance and Marketing from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He also serves on the board of the Finneman Scholarship Foundation in California’s Central Valley.

Joe Guerra, CEO, Turf Star Western | Owner, Fripp Island Golf & Beach Resort (SC)

Joe entered the golf industry in 1986, holding various positions of leadership at American Golf Corporation where he was the co-president and CEO with Dave Pillsbury in an operation of over 300 golf courses. Joe went on to found Sequoia Golf Holdings where he executed a number of profitable acquisitions before selling Sequoia in 2014. Joe is currently the CEO of Turf Star Western (TSW), the largest Toro commercial equipment and irrigation channel in the world, comprising the entire western US territory including Alaska down to Baja Mexico. Joe also recently acquired Fripp Island Resort in Beaufort County, South Carolina in 2023, a full-service resort with approximately 6-8 thousand visitors weekly in season that includes 2,400 homes, 1,900 members, 800 vacation rental, 2 golf courses, a racquet club, a deep-sea marina, various developable pods of developable real estate, 7 restaurants, 9 pools, an equestrian center, and a variety of specialty retail outlets.

A keen humanitarian and philanthropist, Joe served as the past president of the Flint River council of the Boy Scouts of America, the past finance chair of the Atlanta Metro YMCA, and is the current Vice Chair of First Step Staffing, a non-profit that puts homeless people to work throughout the US.

Joe has a range of golf industry affiliations, including serving as past chair of the Georgia Golf Course Owners Association, and as a board member on the Georgia Golf Foundation. And Joe was a founder of the NGCOA’s MCO retreat. Joe holds a BS in finance, insurance and real estate from the California Polytechnic University at Pomona and an MBA from the Marshall School at the University of Southern California.

Jim Hinckley | CEO | Century Golf Partners

Jim is one of the most experienced executives in the private club, resort and golf management industry, having been involved in the ownership & management of more than 500 golf courses during the course of his career. Jim worked his way into the golf shop and soon became the assistant golf professional and then head golf professional while he earned his college degree. He moved to ClubCorp’s corporate office in Dallas in 1977 and, under the direction of ClubCorp Founder Robert Dedman, Sr., he learned the business and continued to grow within the organization and became President. During Jim’s tenure, ClubCorp owned and managed over 300 country clubs, resorts, private city clubs, golf courses, and real estate developments; had $1.6 billion in assets; $925 million in annual revenues; and 22,000 employees. Upon leaving ClubCorp in 2002, Jim joined in the formation of WMC Management Company, LLC (WMC) with Olympus Real Estate Partners. WMC managed over $3.5 billion in assets, including golf courses, hotels, resorts, multi-family, and real estate investments. WMC’s holdings also included the Arnold Palmer Golf Management brand. In 2005, Jim acquired WMC and formed Century Golf Partners. Together with his partners, he continued to build the company’s golf portfolio by acquiring the Arnold Palmer Golf Management (APGM) brand, plus a total of 80 courses over several years. In 2014, Century Golf and Jim were selected to oversee the American Golf Corporation and Jim served as CEO of both companies. That assignment was completed in 2019 and today Jim oversees Century Golf and its wide range of golf, resort, entertainment and private club related assets. Jim serves on numerous industry boards, including the National Golf Course Owners Association; American Junior Golf Association; We are Golf; and he is a past member of the PGA.

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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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John R. Kasich | Two-term Ohio Governor | Author | Political Analyst & Commentator | Podcast Host

John Kasich served as a member of Congress from central Ohio for 18 years. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives at just 30 years old, after having become the youngest state senator in Ohio history. He went on to become the chairman of the House Budget Committee and balanced the Federal Budget four times — a feat not accomplished since. After leaving Congress in 2000, Kasich worked as a managing director in the Investment Banking Division of Lehman Brothers. He ran for President in 2016 was the final major challenger to Donald Trump for the Republican nomination.

Following his second term as Governor of Ohio, he became the founder and CEO of The Kasich Company, served as a FOX television commentator for two shows, and acted as a stand-in host for both Bill O’Reilly and Chris Matthews. In January of 2019, Kasich made his debut as a Senior Political Commentator for CNN, where he appeared across a variety of programs. In 2022, he and comedian Jordan Klepper launched the Kasich & Klepper podcast, and in 2023, Kasich joined MSNBC/ NBC News as a Political Analyst. He is also the author of four New York Times bestsellers including his latest book, entitled It’s Up To Us: Ten Little Ways We Can Bring About Big Change.

Kasich is a graduate of The Ohio State University, where he also served as a Presidential Fellow. No longer Ohio’s Governor, he continues his roles as husband, father and American Citizen, eager for the next chapter.

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Jordan Klein | Managing Director | Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated

Jordan Klein is a Managing Director and leads Baird’s Global Travel, Leisure & Hospitality advisory practice. Since joining Baird in 2012, Jordan has advised on over 40 transactions in the sector, including sellside, buyside and growth capital raises. Within the golf sector, Jordan led the sale of Concert Golf Partners to Clearlake Capital Group, GolfTEC’s acquisition of SkyTrak, the sale of Trip Logic (including ShipSticks) to a private investor group, on the buyside in the recent Troon transaction and the sale of Sequoia Golf to ClubCorp. Over his 22 years in investment banking, he has advised on ~$100 billion in transactions.

Jordan started his career as an Analyst and Associate for Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. and JP Morgan, and subsequently as a Vice President with Lazard, all based in New York. Jordan received his Bachelor of Science in Finance and International Business from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

Jim Koppenhaver | Founder & President | Pellucid Corp

Jim is the President, founder and principal owner of Pellucid Corp., a leading golf industry information and insights provider. His background includes a decade of Fortune 50 marketing and sales experience in Consumer Goods and 25+ years in data management, reporting, analytics and insights across multiple industries. Jim founded Pellucid in 2001 to address the golf industry’s need for accurate, unbiased information to support better business decisions for industry stakeholders. Since its inception, Pellucid & partner Edgehill Golf Advisors have pioneered nearly every industry information advancement including consumer-based facility price segmentation, quantifying annual supply/demand imbalance, quantifying weather impact (historical and, recently, forecasts), creating the first course Customer Franchise Analysis and developing the industry-standard, web-based Golf Local Market Analyzer tool. Their latest endeavor/challenge is to bring monthly industry performance tracking (Rounds, Revenue, Utilization & RevpAR) and local market benchmarking to fruition. At fruition, it will plug a gaping hole in the industry’s understanding of trends and causes and help stakeholders from facility owner/operators to major equipment manufacturers make better-informed decisions.

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Greg Nathan | President & Chief Operating Officer | National Golf Foundation

Greg Nathan became president and CEO of National Golf Foundation (NGF) on January 1st of this year. He’s in his 17th year at the NGF, the 88-year old association and trusted advisor for golf businesses. NGF is best known as the leading research, marketing and consulting firm in the golf industry.

Greg is one of the foremost experts on the state of the golf industry and works closely with the executive leadership of companies in every sector…helping them with strategies supported by data, broad and deep category knowledge, and the type of network that could challenge Kevin Bacon for degrees of separation. Prior to NGF, Greg was a marketing executive with GOLF Magazine/GOLF.com and a Madison Avenue ad agency. Competitive, genuine and humble, Greg doesn’t believe there is a golf business he cannot help.

Greg is crazy about the game and is a full-blown course design nerd who has played more than 80 of the Top 100 Courses in the U.S. Greg graduated from Lehigh University with a B.S. in Economics and lives in Palm Beach Gardens.

David Pillsbury | CEO | Invited

David Pillsbury was named CEO of Invited in June of 2018. He has held numerous leadership roles in the golf industry over the past 30 years, starting his golf career at American Golf Corporation (AGC). At AGC, Pillsbury led innovations including the formation of American Golf Country Clubs, the Private Club Member Platinum Program, the Nike Golf Learning Centers, centralized tee time reservations, and much more. After American Golf, Pillsbury became GM of Nike Golf, responsible for all U.S. operations, marketing and sales. Following Nike Golf, Pillsbury was President of PGA TOUR Golf Course Properties Tournament Players Clubs (TPC’s), and he was then promoted to President of PGA TOUR Championship Management including THE PLAYERS, and Executive Vice President of PGA TOUR Tournament Business Affairs. Most recently, he held CEO roles in the healthcare and consumer products industries. Pillsbury received his MBA from the USC and his BA from the University of California, Berkeley.

Loretta Raftery, Esq. | Founder & Managing Partner | Raftery Law Group and HR/Labor Solutions, Inc.

Loretta Raftery, Esq. is a Los Angeles-based attorney with over 40 years experience in the golf industry. She began her career as a civil litigator before spending 13 years as Corporate Counsel and Chief Human Resources officer for American Golf Corporation, after which she left her corporate role and launched a highly successful law practice and consulting firm that provides specialized legal and human resources expertise to the golf and hospitality industries.

With clients ranging from nationwide multi-course operators to independently owned and operated public and private courses and clubs, she is a nationally-known speaker and facilitator. Loretta is known for her proactive, practical approach to keeping up with the legal and operating challenges that golf course owners and operators face, from adapting policies to meet changing legal requirements, to managing threats of, or actual, litigation — and all manner of issues in between.

Tim Schantz | CEO | Troon

Tim Schantz has over thirty years’ experience specializing in corporate and real estate transactional matters, with the last twenty five plus years focused on the golf and leisure sector. Prior to joining Troon in 1998, Schantz spent five years in the California offices of the international law firm Latham & Watkins, followed by three years as Vice President, Senior Corporate Counsel for the Phoenix based lodging company, Doubletree Corporation. Schantz leads Troon’s senior executive team and has responsibility for helping to guide all aspects of their general matters and strategy.

A licensed attorney, Schantz received his B.A. from the University of Colorado and his J.D. from the University of Kansas. He currently serves on the Board of the following organizations: Troon Board of Directors, the Brophy Board of Trustees, the National Golf Foundation (NGF) and the Arizona Alliance for Golf. He is also a member of the Greater Phoenix Leadership Council, representing Troon.

Steve Skinner | CEO | KemperSports

Steve Skinner joined KemperSports in 1998 and has served in various roles with the company. In 2008, Mr. Skinner was named chief executive officer for KemperSports. He formerly was president and chief operating officer. Prior to joining KemperSports, Mr. Skinner served as vice president of the Michael Jordan Golf Company where he was responsible for all business operations and development activities of the golf development and specialty retail company. Before joining the golf industry, Mr. Skinner practiced law with Mayer, Brown & Platt in Chicago. He earned his law degree from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Lawrence University.

Michael Williams | Executive Director, Cyrano Communications | Contributor, Golf Business

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.