Speakers | Opening Night at the Conference | Oct. 23, 5-9 pm

A Special Conference Preview Evening
Oct. 23rd • 5:00-9:00 pm • Austin Convention Center


HOME   |   Registration Opens May 21

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

ELIZABETH GILBERT is the author of Eat Pray Love. Exploding onto the scene in 2006, the best-seller famously chronicled the year Gilbert spent traveling the world after a shattering divorce. Translated into more than thirty languages, Eat Pray Love has sold over thirteen million copies worldwide, and in 2010, was made into a feature film starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem. Her writing has been published in Harper’s BazaarSpin, and The New York Times Magazine. Gilbert was a finalist for the National Magazine Award, and her work was anthologized in Best American Writing 2001. Her first book, Pilgrims, was a New York Times Most Notable Book, and won a Ploughshares prize. Her first novel, Stern Men, won the Kate Chopin Award in 2001. The Last American Man, which compellingly explores America’s long-standing intrigue with the pioneer lifestyle, was a finalist for the National Book Award. In Committed: A Love Story, the anticipated follow-up to Eat Pray Love, Gilbert tells the story of her unexpected plunge into second marriage. The Signature of All Things, Gilbert’s first novel in over a decade, was named one of the Best Books of the Year by The New York TimesO, The Oprah Magazine, NPR, and Time.  Out of the period of introspection following Eat Pray Love, came Gilbert’s brilliant nonfiction treatise, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. In 2019, she’ll return to fiction with City of Girls, a love story set in the New York City theater world during the 1940s.  @gilbertliz

CARLY ZAKIN and DANIELLE WEISBERG are co-founders and co-CEOs of theSkimm, a membership company dedicated to helping female millennials live smarter lives. The two former news producers launched theSkimm from their couch in 2012, and have built a brand that continues to be a trusted source to their more than seven million daily subscribers. theSkimm is committed to helping its members tackle big decision-making moments in life by giving them the information they need to make informed and empowered choices whether that be in civic engagement, finance, career, health, and more. theSkimm’s flagship product, the Daily Skimm, is still the fastest growing newsletter on the market, and the company’s product suite has grown to engage with members at home, work, and on-the-go, including theSkimm app and Skimm Studios. Zakin and Weisberg have been featured on Forbes 30 Under 30 in Media, Vanity Fair’s The Next Establishment, Fortune’s 40 Under 40, and Adweek’s Young Influentials. You’ve also seen them in TIME’s Most Influential People, Marie Claire’s New Guard, and they were named one of the most 100 Intriguing Entrepreneurs by the Goldman Sachs Builders and Innovators Summit. They still prefer to work from a couch.
 

LIVE MUSICAL PERFORMANCE

JACKIE VENSON’s astonishing mix of raw soul, superb musicianship and laid back grace has been compared to the likes of Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse and fellow Austin native Gary Clark, Jr. Originally a classical pianist, she picked up the guitar, shortly after graduating from Berklee College of Music, and made the giant leap from the tradition of classical music to the raw and gritty blues and soul. Enthralled with music since the age of eight, this young singer, songwriter, and musician instantly captures your attention with a vibrant musical soul and passionate control of her instruments, that reach far beyond her age. She mindfully blends blues, rock, R&B, soul and more with her introspective lyrics. Her live performances revisit what makes music so powerful: emotion and passion. She thrives without the flash, instead favoring a clean sound, genuine soul, and meaningful connection with her audience. Music is not only what Venson does – it’s who she is. @jackievenson

 


More special guests to be announced!

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