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19th Annual Leader-to-Leader Forum

June 26 & 27 | San Diego, CA

2017 Forum Speakers

Each year, the Leader-to-Leader Forum is led by some of the most influential thinkers in business. We're pleased to share our high caliber speakers, listed below alphabetically by last name.



Jessica Buchanan, Author & Humanitarian Aid Worker

On October 25, 2011, while on a routine field mission in Somalia, Jessica, along with a colleague, were abducted at gunpoint and held for ransom by a group of Somali land pirates for 93 days. Jessica was held outdoors in deplorable conditions, starved, and terrorized by more than two dozen gangsters. As her health steadily deteriorated and ransom negotiations dragged on, her captors grew increasingly impatient. Her liberation came on January 25, 2012, when the Navy’s elite SEAL Team Six heroically parachuted into the desert and successfully rescued her, along with her colleague. The ordeal is detailed through the perspective of Jessica, and her husband, Erik in their New York Times bestselling book, Impossible Odds: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six.


James Chung, President, Reach Advisors

James Chung is President of Reach Advisors, a strategy, research and predictive analytics firm. The firm works with organizations making strategy and capital expenditure bets to outperform their market as the future unfolds differently than their industry has seen up to this point. Given that focus, the work clusters in industries making major long-term bets, including large-scale real estate development, REITs, economic development, tourism and resorts, museums and cultural institutions, and the healthy living category. The firm is recognized as one of the only advisors serving the real estate industry that was warning clients in 2005 to exit the market, and giving clients notice back in 2003 of the need to accelerate and exit within five years.


John Ellis, Managing Director, Ellis and Associates

With over 25 years of experience in telecommunications, automotive, connected devices, ecosystems, embedded products, open source and product management, John’s clients range from promising startups to Fortune 500 international corporations as well as government agencies. Mr. Ellis is Founder and Principal of a management consulting practice and University adjunct professor at Notre Dame teaching financial math to Executive MBA Students. As former Global Technologist and Head of the Ford Developer Program with Ford Motor Company, John was tasked with expanding Ford's "brought-in" strategy of integrating mobile technology into the vehicle. He oversaw a team of developers and engineers responsible for creating the "connected car" and striking the right balance between embedded and off-board technology so that drivers can seamlessly extend their mobile lives into their vehicles.


Jay Rogers, CEO, Local Motors

Welcome to the world of Local Motors - a technology company that designs, builds and sells vehicles. A car guy through-and-through, Jay grew up a student of the industry. His grandfather owned the legendary Indian Motorcycle Company and was the first Cummins Engine Distributor in the United States. It was Jay’s family and personal passions that inspired the most ambitious plan behind Local Motors: To create an open source community that works together to design and develop exciting, efficient vehicles and builds them locally in a sustainable manner with customer participation. Rogers is a graduate of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School (Baker Scholar). He was elected as a Young Global Leader by The World Economic Forum in 2014. His career has taken him from a startup in China to Ewing & Partners where he became a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), to McKinsey & Co and the US Marine Corps where he served for 6 years as an Infantry Company Commander.


Ken Rosen, Chairman of the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics and Professor Emeritus at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley

Ken Rosen is Chairman of Rosen Consulting Group, a real estate market research firm, Chairman of the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics and Professor Emeritus at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. Mr. Rosen is also a trustee of the Urban Land Institute and a member of the board of directors of several non-profit and for-profit entities that deal with real estate finance and development. He has authored over 100 articles and four books on real estate and real estate finance.


Karl Rove, Former Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior, Advisor to President George W. Bush

Karl Rove served as Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush from 2000–2007 and Deputy Chief of Staff from 2004–2007. At the White House he oversaw the Offices of Strategic Initiatives, Political Affairs, Public Liaison, and Intergovernmental Affairs and was Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, coordinating the White House policy-making process.


Robert Sarver, CEO, Western Alliance Bancorporation and Managing Partner Phoenix Suns

Robert Gary Sarver is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Western Alliance Bancorporation (NYSE:WAL), one of the fastest-growing bank holding companies in the U.S. with more than $17 billion in assets. Western Alliance Bank operates full-service banking divisions in Arizona, California and Nevada. Mr. Sarver has been the managing partner of the Phoenix Suns for the last 11 years. During his tenure, the team has produced the fifth-best winning percentage in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Mr. Sarver also serves on the boards of directors of Meritage Corporation, the NBA, the Weil Foundation, and the Sarver Heart Center at the University of Arizona.


Adam Steltzner, Team Leader & Chief Engineer EDL, NASA Mars Rover Curiosity & Author

With a rock star's presence, a storyteller's gift and a PhD in engineering physics, award-winning rocket scientist, Adam Steltzner is simultaneously recognized as one of NASA’s most brilliant engineers and most unique individuals. For 10 years, Steltzner led a team of engineers inventing, designing, testing and retesting the revolutionary “sky crane” landing system that successfully placed the Mars rover, Curiosity on the Martian surface in 2012.

Tim Sullivan150

Tim Sullivan, Practice Leader, Meyers Research, LLC

Tim oversees the Meyers Research national advisory team and has more than 33 years of experience analyzing and valuing real estate development opportunities. He has developed the ability to interpret diverse statistics and trends and translate them into actionable plans. Tim’s personal commitment to his clients is to constantly assess the economy, real estate market and consumer trends to identify the newest and best ways to profitably invest and develop. Tim has been working in Hawaii for more than 15 years, analyzing all types of real estate around the four primary islands. During his career, Tim was senior manager with KPMG Peat Marwick’s National Real Estate Consulting Group before serving as principal of Hanley Wood Market Intelligence’s (formerly The Meyers Group) Real Estate Consulting Practice and his own firm. He earned an MBA with a concentration in marketing and finance from San Diego State University, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from University of California, San Diego. He is past chair of ULI’s National Residential Council and also past chair of ULI San Diego’s District Council. He also holds a MIRM (Member of the Institute of Residential Marketing) from the National Association of Homebuilders.

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