World Class Speakers


Ani Liu

Design Director, WeWork 

Ani Liu is an experimental designer and artist working at the intersection of art & science. A speculative technologist, she creates research-based art that explores the social, cultural & emotional implications of emerging technologies. Sliding back and forth between making data visceral and the unknowable quantifiable, her work links technological innovation with emotional tangibility.

She taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and has served on numerous design panels including Dartmouth College, MIT, University of Pennsylvania, New York University, UNC Charlotte, Syracuse University, and Harvard University. At MIT, she is on the committee of Art Scholars.  

Ani continually seeks to discover the unexpected, through playful experimentation, intuition, and speculative storytelling.  Her studio is based in New York City.


David Schwarz

CEO and Co-Founder, HUSH

HeyHush  •  LinkedIn

David Schwarz is not only an award-winning creative leader, he is also the CEO and Founder of HUSH – one of Americas leading concept-driven design firm that integrates digital technology and physical environments to help clients deliver powerful brand experiences and David is one of the visionaries of experiential design in the U.S., having worked with Nike, Sonos, Google and UBER.

Schwarz has been featured in numerous publications including Creativity, “Fast Company,” “Inc.” magazine, “Communication Arts,” and has spoken at conferences for AIGA, The One Show, SEGD, SXSW, “Adweek,” Cannes Lions, and several others. He is also a mentor at NEW INC, the New Museum’s incubator program for art, technology, and design.

team-MickMcConnell @2x.png

Mick McConnell 

Head of Concept Studio, WeWork

LinkedIn •  Twitter

Mick is a multi-disciplinary executive focused on design. Strategy, digital, graphic, retail design, creative direction in marketing, product development, store development and project development are his areas of specialty. His management experience in hospitality, corporate, retail, architecture, environmental graphics, brand strategy, interactive design, graphic design, and advertising spans over 24 years.

− VP, Head of Concept Studio, WeWork
− Vice President of Design, Samsung Electronics America
− Head of Product Development, WeWork
− Global Director Architecture and Design, Chipotle
− Creative Director, R/GA
− Design Director North America, Starbucks


Sam Parr

Founder, The Hustle & HustleCon

Sam Parr is a Change Maker and Entrepreneur and the founder of The Hustle, one of America's fastest growing media companies. Each morning over 1 million young people read The Hustle to get the business news they need. He is also the founder of Hustle Con, a 3,000 person startup conference where non-technical startup founders tell the tactics and tips they used to grow their startup.

He is also the owner of The Anti-MBA, which is a badass book club. They read a book a month and host weekly meetings led by experts on that book's topic.

For example, when they read Influence, by Robert Ciadini they had the founder of Klout lead the discussion. And when they read The Art of Learning they had David Torrence, an Olympic track and field runner (his mile time is 3:52!).

And he said as owner of Southern Sam’s: “This was my second profitable company. There were many, many failures before this. It convinced me to leave college and move to San Francisco to try the big leagues.”


Nancy King

Global Brand Director, Airbnb 

LinkedIn • Twitter

Nancy brings over 20 years of experience in marketing and brand building, particularly within the intersection of technology, creativity and insights. In her current role as global director brand strategy and insights at Airbnb, Nancy defines the Airbnb brand and communication strategies for the global marketing organization. She previously worked at R/GA NY, Naked Communications and Goodby, Silverstein and Partners on clients including: Nike, MasterCard, Comcast, Coca Cola and many, many more. In 2008, she founded a consultancy called PreOccupy that provides go-to-market strategies for early stage start-ups. Nancy now lives in SF with her husband and two sons and together they travel to lots of Airbnbs.


Gilbert Schibranji

Director Product & Innovation D/A/CH

Gilbert is a force of nature when it comes to brand talk and advertising. As a lecturer at the University of Applied Science in Vienna, as well as a background in Master’s programs of Art & Economy and Business Psychology, he has built up a reputation as a voice of the next gen in advertising.

Over the past years he walked the talk with companies such as Heineken, Renault, Merck, Coca Cola, ING-DiBa and others.

In charge of “Product & Innovation” for the advertising agency VIRTUE - the agency born from VICE - he is exploring and defining “creative solutions” that result in more meaningful, more valuable and resonating brand communication.


World class sprint ambassadors


Prof. Dr. Björn Bloching

Head of Digital, Roland Berger

Prof. Dr. Björn Bloching is a Senior Partner with Roland Berger and heads the Global Competence Center Digital as well as "Spielfeld", the Roland Berger Digital Hub in Berlin. Roland Berger Digital supports clients with regard to digitization and digital transformation throughout the whole supply chain. Björn Bloching is author of the books "In Data We Trust" and "Smart Data" as well as of several publications and studies.


Anja Bünning de Bedon

Head of Innovation for FIVESTAR Group

Anja is working as a TopTen coach & trainer at OTTO Group, where she is specialized in culture change, consciousness training and mentoring. She is Head of Innovation for FIVESTAR Group & COI Club Hamburg.

Living in Spain and Colombia for over 16 years and connecting
with people from all nationalities and lifelines, from CEOs to ZEN-monks, princesses to yogis, Ted-Talkers and SiliconValley Rockstars sharpened her holistic skills, intuition and her capacity to navigate complex projects.

She studied the art and science of Design Thinking at Stanford D-School and is collaborating in international projects at Google, Mindvalley, Passion for People, Second Muse, Conscious Business Institute.


Dirk Kröger

CEO & Founder of FIVESTAR GROUP & COI Club

He creates and realizes outstanding real estate projects with interdisciplinary teams. He is a mindful entrepreneur, dedicated father, supportive partner and two-times ironman. He understands how to connect the dots between business, family, life-and mind style, spirit and influence 

He is a thought leader and initiator for the new generation of man, a game changer and A-player with his visionary and innovative projects and events filling arenas with up to 10.000 students and young talents ready to learn from the best entrepreneurs, speakers &  mindful leaders how to realize and live their full potential. Dirk loves to create a safe space to experience and experiment and  enable breakthroughs and insights. He is member of the future circle of the Zukunftsinstitut.


Helge Hellberg

Helge Hellberg is a blessed husband, professional coach, initiated teacher of Buddhism, Executive Producer and host of the international radio program “An Organic Conversation,” and author.

As a coach, it is all about creating tangible results for his clients. To achieve that, he combines deep intuitive listening with a multitude of methodologies and research-based systems. He is well-versed in various psychological, spiritual, and physiological studies and concepts; from Buddhism to Carl Jung, from Landmark to the Hoffman Process, from Native American Shamanism to holistic nutrition. He is a Co-Active Coach, lay-ordained Buddhist teacher, and Certified Holistic Nutrition Counselor.

His contributions and projects have been featured in articles and TV segments on CNN, ABC, and CBS, the Huffington Post, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Mother Earth Magazine, as well as local SF Bay Area television stations, magazines, and newspapers.

After 20 years in San Francisco, the German-American has relocated back to Hamburg where he lives happily with his wife Alexandra Verena and their dog Koukla.


York Hovest 

York is an investigative Photographer, speaker and bestselling author who puts his focus on our worlds social and ecological problems. With his 100-Days-projects he raises awareness and creates positive movements into a better future for those who need our help. His outstanding adventures are the frame for his messages of finding sustainable solutions to save our natural and cultural heritage for future generations. Compassion and Empathy are the base that he combines with knowledge and Sympathy. This remarkable mixture brought him onto international stages like the Bundestag, the DLD Conference or the World Economic Forum. Under the quality seal of National Geographic his third project and documetary "100 Days of oceans - Heroes of the Sea" will be released in 2019. York lives in Munich together with his family which he describes as the anchor in life.


Johann von Georg

Senior Project Manager Kregel & Plietsch

Johann is Senior Project Manager with Kregel & Plietsch, a consulting firm active in the field of digital and cultural transformation. Before that he worked for Roland Berger for seven years with a core consulting focus on digitization within the automotive industry. Moreover, he was Executive Assistant to the company’s founder Prof. Roland Berger for two years.

Johann studied Business Administration and lives in Hamburg.


Torsten Koerting

Project Management and Innovation Expert

Torsten is a subject matter expert in the area of project management.  He specializes in projects that are in crisis—especially those considered challenging ‘Turnaround’ projects. He is the author of several books, and is a regular speaker at  conferences on the subject.  A strategic thinker, visionary, and trusted advisor, Torsten lectures regularly to MBA students at business schools across the globe.  

Together with his wife Birgit he realized projects with and for Sir Richard Branson. He has a passion for facilitating strategic- and innovative-processes, while helping people develop and recognize their personal brand and stand out in today’s noisy world.  His goal is to help people achieve their objectives, get results, and provide support in taking them to the next step and reaching the next level.

Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his family, paragliding, trail-running, and long distance hiking.


Dr. Thomas Middelhoff

Dr. Thomas Middelhoff was chairman of the Bertelsmann Media AG. He also served as a board member for multiple international corporations and holdings, including chairman of the advisory board of Investcorp, chairman of Arcandor AG, and chairman of the advisory board of the Tomas Cook Group, which grew under his reign to the second largest tourism holding worldwide. He was a leader at the cusp of technology, often pushing and enabling the next digital frontier.

Upon his entry into the Karstadt Quelle AG, which was later renamed Arcandor AG, the business already experienced existential threaths. At the height of the financial crisis with the stocks plummeting, Dr. Thomas Middelhoff was replaced as chairman. His successor cashing in with a a huge settlement, applied for bankruptcy of the Arcandor AG.  Since then, Dr. Thomas Middelhoff defended himself of the accusation that he lead Arcandor AG to bankruptcy. He had served on release of the JVA Bielefeld, working for the Bodelschwinghsche Fund Bethel, helping sick and handicapped people.

Dr. Thomas Middelhoff can say that he has seen it all, he now lives in Hamburg and writes books.