TEDxClayton Speakers


Brandon Dempsey

Husband, Father, Adventurer, Entrepreneur, Global Non-Profit Leader

Brandon spends as much time exploring the world with his family while/or riding a BMW motorcycle as he can. When he’s not adventuring he’s collaborating with the owners of $25-250 million companies to help them re-position their company to unlock growth.  A serial entrepreneur, Brandon is the co-owner of a marketing firm goBRANDgo!, and a real estate developer. He is also the author of Shut Up And Go!- A Millennial’s Guide to Figuring Out What You Want And How To Get It.  And as the Global Membership Chair of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), Brandon works to bring entrepreneurial tools, community, and support to entrepreneurs all over the world. He’s also actively engaged in several youth business programs.

Brandon lives in St. Louis, MO with his wife, daughter, and 2 dogs. They adventure every weekend: hiking, rock climbing, dirt bike riding, exploring, or playing at a local park.



Sam Caucci

Founder & CEO, 1Huddle

The game platform for employee training.

Today, companies struggle to get their people ready to work. And with a workforce that is changing rapidly (50% will be a Millennial by 2020), we must find better ways to deploy training that helps onboard employees faster and up-skills them more effectively.

So we built 1HUDDLE. This powerful, easy-to-use game platform helps managers to more easily create and deliver engaging training their team members love and that ultimately gets them ready to work.

We are the fastest way to onboard, up-skill and fire up your workforce.


Curtis Martin

Curtis began his NFL career with the New England Patriots, earning the honor of Rookie of the Year in 1995. He then joined the New York Jets in 1998 where he played for 8 years and was a 5 time pro bowler. He finished his career as the 4th leading rusher of all-time and in 2012 was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

 Driven to give his best while helping others, he founded the Curtis Martin Job Foundation. A non-profit organization that continuously provides financial support to single mothers, children charities, individuals with disabilities, low income housing providers and financial support to Surgicorps International. In addition, Curtis is the foundation’s sole financial supporter and is committed to funding the foundation’s endeavors.

 In May 2019, Curtis received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, accredited for his work and support of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai’s efforts to develop a safe, non-addictive, non-opioid pain medication, in addition to the philanthropic work that he is committed to through his foundation.

Utilizing football as his vehicle to impact others, he is renowned as a businessman, role model, philanthropist and is living proof that, “Life is what you make it!”


Brigadier General (Ret) John E. Michel

Gen. Michel is an award-winning author, lifelong learner, and sought-after speaker who is passionate about leadership and people. His innovative and unconventional approach to promoting positive change has been featured in a wide variety of articles, journals, and periodicals, including the Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, CEO Magazine, Investor’s Business Daily, Huffington Post, National Geographic, Joint Forces Quarterly, and the Washington Post.

During his over 26 years of military service, General Michel held a series of key leadership positions in transportation, logistics, and operations. In addition to leading NATO’s unprecedented 14-nation effort in Afghanistan to build the $6.7 Billion Afghan Air Force, he was the only senior military leader in the Department of Defense to successfully develop and personally lead three large-scale, multi-billion dollar global transformation efforts

 General Michel is a member of the U.S. Council for Competitiveness and serves on various Boards and national councils. He is a staunch advocate for improving access to care for our nation’s most vulnerable population, particularly the disabled and the elderly, and is committed to helping fellow veterans embrace entrepreneurism.


Charlotte Blank

chief behavioral officer, Maritz

Charlotte leads the company’s practice of behavioral science and innovation, through expert applications of social psychology and behavioral economics. In this effort, Charlotte is striving to forge the connection between academic theory and applied business practice, elevating the use of field research to better make sense of human behavior in the evolving marketplace. Incentive Magazine named Charlotte a Visionary and one of 2016’s 25 Most Influential in the Incentive Industry. In 2018, St. Louis Business Journal named Charlotte one of the city’s Most Influential Business Women.

Charlotte has led programs in consumer psychology, social media, and global branding during her ten years in the media and automotive industries, in which she worked in Innovation for Turner Broadcasting, and various marketing roles for General Motors. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology from Emory University, and a Master’s in Business Administration from Harvard Business School. Charlotte is obsessed with experiments, ever-curious about what “makes us work,” and a frequent contributor to PeopleScience.com.


Art McCoy, Ph.D.

Dr. McCoy is a 2017 America Graduate Champion of Children, 2019 National WE Day Educator, noted trailblazer, and school superintendent who has served over 1 million children across America. 

 At age 19, he began his career as a math teacher in the Rockwood School District after graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s of Science, reportedly as the youngest certified teacher in Missouri.  After obtaining a Master’s Degree, he was appointed Vice-Principal in the City of St. Charles School District at 22.  In 2002, after receiving a Doctor of Philosophy in Education, he became Pattonville’s K-12 Gifted Director. In December 2010, Dr. McCoy became the youngest and first African-American Superintendent/CEO of Ferguson-Florissant School District at age 33 and a leader for Harvard’s Pathways to Prosperity.  He was Superintendent-in-Residence at the MIND Research Institute and Base 11 in Irvine, California from 2014 to 2016.  In March 2016, he became superintendent in Jennings School District.  Under his leadership, the 2017 and 2018 graduating Jennings class achieved 100% graduation, career, and college placement among the seniors enrolled as featured on Fox 2 and CNN. 

 Dr. Art McCoy is a chief warrior in the war against ignorance.


Benjamin Ola. Akande, Ph.D

Dr. Akande is a Nigerian born American Economist.

He is Assistant Vice Chancellor of International Affairs- Africa and Associate Director of Global Health Center at Washington University in St Louis.

Dr. Akande is the former President of Westminster College and served as Professor of Economics and dean of the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology at Webster University.

Dr. Akande has served on private and publicly traded boards. He was a board member of the St. Louis Arts Museum and is currently on the board of the MUNY and Forest Park Forever.

He is a consultant to Fortune 500 companies in the areas of: Strategy, Leadership Development and M&A.

Dr. Akande and his wife Bola have three adult daughters. They reside in St Louis Missouri.


John Stroup

president, cEO, and a chairman of the Board, Belden Inc.

John’s corporate direction and strategic oversight of Belden’s operations helped grow the Company’s revenue from $1.2 billion in 2005 to $2.36 billion in 2015. Under his leadership, Belden has transformed from a provider of high quality cable products to a leading manufacturer of end-to-end networking and connectivity solutions.

John previously served at Danaher Corp., joining in 2000 as vice president, Business Development.  He was promoted to president of a division of Danaher’s Motion Group and later to group executive of the Motion Group. Earlier, he was vice president of Marketing and general manager with Scientific Technologies, Inc. 

Since 2008, John has served on the Board of Directors for privately-held Barry-Wehmiller and publicly-held Rexnord Corp. As part of Rexnord’s board, he serves on the Audit and Compensation committees. For his work with Barry-Wehmiller, John was awarded as one of St. Louis Business Journal’s Outstanding Directors in 2013.

He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Northwestern University and an M.B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley Haas School of Business.


Frederick G. Falker

President, Falker Consulting Group, Inc.

Falker Consulting Group, Inc. is a human resource development training and consulting firm. Frederick is also the Director of Workforce Development for the Saint Louis Zoo. He has worked as an organizational development consultant for more than 30 years, helping organizations with performance management, customer service and diversity issues. At the Saint Louis Zoo he has worked extensively on helping the organization’s efforts to establish itself as one of the best places to work, serve and volunteer in the country. He is currently working on a book detailing a fundamentally new approach to thinking about diversity entitled, Seeing the Box: Improving Interpersonal Effectiveness.


Maya Leibman

executive vice president and Chief Information Officer, American Airlines.

Maya is responsible for all technology efforts including software development, infrastructure, operations and security.  Maya led the systems integration of American Airlines and US Airways and now leads the organization’s next generation strategic initiatives including transitioning to the cloud, advanced analytics, machine learning and the advancement of DevOps tools and principles.

 Maya serves on the board of the Dallas Theater Center as well as TalkSTEM, a non-profit that seeks to connect STEM with the real world.  She also volunteers for a number of local organizations, including the So SMAART program, where she works with minority girls ages 9 to 12, teaching them about technology and life. She is the executive sponsor for Living Green —American’s Employee Business Resource Group that explores new ways for us all to ‘‘reduce, reuse and recycle.’’

 Maya earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from the University of Chicago and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of California, Berkeley.


Aimee Wehmeier

President and CEO of Paraquad

Paraquad is one of the first Centers for Independent Living (CIL) in the country, serving about 2,500 people with disabilities annually. Wehmeier earned a Bachelor of Educational Studies from the University of Missouri and a MBA from William Woods University. Community leadership includes the Missouri State Rehabilitation Council; St. Louis Regional Chamber Board; Diversity Awareness Partnership; Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council Board; Missouri Foundation for Health, Fontbonne University, Washington University, and MO Better Foundation Advisory Boards; and the President’s Council.

She received the Governor’s Council on Disability Inclusion Award in 2010 and was recognized by the St. Louis Business Journal as a 2015 Diverse Business Leader and 2018 Class of Most Influential Business Women. Aimee has been described as “the face of disability.”

Wehmeier has a passion for public policy, advocacy and increasing opportunities for people with disabilities. Employment and economic self-sufficiency are her highest priorities.


Gene Dobbs Bradford

President and CEO of Jazz St. Louis

Mr. Bradford has headed Jazz St. Louis since 1999. During that time, he has built the organization’s contributed and earned income from $375,000 to $3.5 million today and led the organization through a $8.5 million capital campaign to develop the Harold & Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz. He has overseen the expansion of Jazz St. Louis programming and education and outreach programs that have reached over 170,000 students. Mr. Bradford has received many honors, including the 2018 St. Louis Arts Award for Excellence in the Arts, St. Louis Business Journal’s “40 Under 40,” “Most Influential People,” and “Inclusive Leadership” awards as well as being named the “2014 Non-profit Executive of the Year” by the St. Louis American Foundation, he was given the “Excellence in Leadership and Civic Engagement” award from the Royal Vagabonds, and a Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award from the Webster Groves Arts Commission. Under his direction, Jazz St. Louis received the 2006 “Excellence in the Arts” award from the Arts and Education Council of St. Louis, the 2011 Missouri Arts Award, and a “What’s Right with the Region” award from Focus St. Louis. Mr. Bradford directs the Arts Management and Leadership Program at Webster University.


Ed Reggi

Ed is a lifelong storyteller who has the stories to prove it. Growing up in the Big Apple, Ed honed his acting by sneaking into the NBC studios located right across the street from his Brooklyn home. He later studied improv at Chicago’s historic The Second City which led him to apprentice with Paul Sills at Wisconsin Theater Game Center. While working as a professional actor, entertaining mostly corporate audiences, Ed soon recognized the interest of applying skills learned from improv–off the stage. His audiences craved the ability to tell authentic stories while being in the moment. Today, Reggi is a leader in Applied Improvisation. His clients vary from the Fortune 500 to small NGO’s. He teaches at Saint Louis University School of Business, Southern Illinois University Theater and Dance, Washington University School of Medicine and Center of Creative Arts (COCA). Upon moving to St. Louis, Ed managed to inaugurate a few successful local St. Louis events including the 48-Hour Film Project, St. Louis Improv and Fringe Festivals. 



Andrew Baughen

Andrew has worked as a management consultant in banking strategy and as the Vicar of Saint James Clerkenwell, a church in London’s design and tech district. He continues to work in the ‘theotech’ sector at the intersection of business and theology. He is developing Soulful Enterprise which measures the wide range of value generated by an organization that make it soul-full rather than soul-less.

Andrew is Programme Director of The School of Faith and an author and speaker on church strategy. He is an Honorary Visiting Fellow in the Faculty of Management, Cass Business School, City, University of London. 

Andrew is married to Rachel and they have two daughters. He enjoys cycling, photography and eating dessert.



Jayson Wells

Jayson Wells is a retired professional basketball player who has an incredible story to share with others. Jayson graduated from Indiana State University with a degree in Sport Management. He then went on to play professional basketball for 13 seasons. 
After retiring from basketball, he joined Nike Grassroots Basketball as a skills instructor.Showing his value and dedication for 4 years, he was then elevated to Director of Nike Elite100, developing the top rated high school players in the country. 
Now, he is fulfilling his PURPOSE by taking on the role as an Empowerment Leader to ‘DevelopExtraordinary Winners.’


Ehan Kamat

Founder and CEO, 321 Innovations

 Ehan is a maker by nature whose wide-ranging interests encompass sculpture, ceramics, 3D printing, hydroponic gardening, robotics, fine art sales, and French cuisine. At the age of twelve, Ehan invented the Solemender, a device for treating foot pain and a medical condition called plantar fasciitis.  He has been a chosen exhibitor and speaker at numerous regional and national business conferences. Ehan has placed and won in multiple nationwide teen pitching/entrepreneurial competitions. In 2016, he was named one of the top twenty-one inventors in the United States by Upstart Magazine. Ehan appeared on season nine of ABC’s Emmy Award winning Shark Tank where he pitched Solemender to the sharks including guest shark Alex Rodriguez. Currently he is a sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley planning a dual major in French and Business.


Marshall Davis Jones

Marshall Davis Jones listens. He keeps his ear to the ground and has written poetry that has flown into space.

He believes everyone in the world can have a more resonant voice. Thus, he created MindBodySpeak. A program designed to help you find it.