Inbound 2017 Sneak Peak: 6 Sessions to Inspire You for the Year Ahead

Inbound 2017 Keynote speakers September 13th, 2017 Posted by Hubspot, Inbound For Everyone, Marketing News No Comment yet

Inbound 2017 is right around the corner, scheduled to run from Monday, September 25 to Thursday, September 28. If you’re as excited as we are, we don’t blame you: This is the single largest conference for inbound marketers that happens each year, and a time when HubSpot tends to make its big announcements for the coming year. What’s not to be excited about?

One of the other reasons that Inbound is such a big deal is that it’s typically a star-studded affair. Keynote speakers abound from all walks of life, including the entertainment industry, politics, tech, and of course, marketing and sales. Inbound 2016 featured speakers such as Gary Vaynerchuk, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Anna Kendrick, Serena Williams, Michael Strahan, Alec Baldwin, Reshma Saujani, and, as always, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.


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Notice a trend there? The vast majority of the keynote speakers at Inbound tend to not be directly from the world of sales and marketing. Yes, of course Halligan and Shah are the co-founders of HubSpot, but for the most part the others aren’t directly a part of our world. So why should we care? Why are these speakers here?

They’re there for the inspiration! If you’ve ever been to Inbound, then you know what I mean when I say: You leave the conference excited and energized for the year to come. There’s so much promise! There’s so much potential! There’s so much inspiration! And while the breakout sessions are great for learning things directly focused on sales and marketing, the inspiration comes from the keynote speakers.

So, without further ado, below is a list of the star-studded keynote speakers for Inbound 2017. If you need inspiration (and who doesn’t, every so often?), then these are the sessions you absolutely MUST attend.

Inbound 2017 Keynote Speakers who will fill you with inspiration

Brené Brown

When: Monday, September 25 from 6–7pm

Who she is: Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston, where she holds the Huffington Brené Brown Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work.

She has spent the past fifteen years studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of three #1 New York Times bestsellers–The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, and Rising Strong.

Her TED talk–The Power of Vulnerability–is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world with over 25 million views.

Brené is the Founder and CEO of Brave Leaders Inc.–an organization dedicated to delivering a research-based, courage-building program to help individuals, teams, and organizations answer a call to courage and develop brave leaders based on four teachable, observable, and measurable skills.

Brené lives in Houston, Texas with her husband, Steve, and their children Ellen and Charlie.

The session: At INBOUND 2017, Brené will be talking about her new book, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone. Brené will talk about how true belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are – it requires us to be who we are.

Piera Gelardi

When: Tuesday, September 26 from 9–10am

Who she is: Piera Gelardi is Executive Creative Director and co-founder of the award-winning digital media company, Refinery29. She leads a growing team of creatives who bring the brand to life online and IRL through diverse, original content, storytelling, and experiences meant to empower and inspire women. She and her team have won numerous awards and honors including CLIO Image, Webby’s, Digiday Publishing, and spots on both Inc 500 and Fast Company’s lists of most innovative companies. Piera was recently honored as one of Ad Age’s 50 Most Creative People of the year.

In 2014, Piera co-authored Refinery29’s first book, the New York Times best seller, Style Stalking. She is also a frequent public speaker, a jury member for the CLIO Image Awards, the Webby Awards, and the Art Director’s Club, and holds a seat on the AIGA/NY Board of Directors. Prior to the launch of Refinery29, Piera was Photo Director at CITY magazine, which won an ASME for Best Photography as well as numerous SPD awards under her direction.

When she’s not burning the midnight oil at Refinery29, she’s breaking it down on the dance floor, gallery hopping, religiously sending snail mail, or indulging her love of adventures in far-flung places. Piera lives in Brooklyn.

The session: Piera is recognized as one of the most creative people in the world of media and content. Whether you’re among Refinery29’s half billion global community-members or not, there’s a lot from Piera’s lessons on creativity that you’ll be able to apply to your own work and life.

Brian Halligan & Dharmesh Shah

When: Tuesday, September 26 from 2:15–3:45pm

Who they are: Dharmesh is co-founder and CTO of HubSpot. He is an active member of the Boston area entrepreneurial community, an angel investor in over 40 startups, and a frequent speaker on the topic of startups and inbound marketing. Dharmesh holds a BS in Computer Science from UAB and an MS in the Management of Technology from MIT.

Brian Halligan is CEO & Co-Founder of HubSpot. He is a Senior Lecturer at MIT where he teaches 15.S16 Entrepreneurial Product Development and Marketing. He is author of two books: Marketing Lessons From the Grateful Dead and Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs, which is in its seventh printing, has sold more than 50,000 copies, has been translated into nine languages, and peaked at #17 overall on the Amazon bestseller list. Brian was named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011 New England award recipient. In his spare time, he sits on a few boards of directors, follows his beloved Red Sox, goes to the gym, and is learning to play guitar.

The session: Details are still to come—of all the keynotes, this is the one that HubSpot likes to hold out on the longest (to build suspense!). You can read Sean’s predictions about the big announcements he expects to come out of this keynote soon!

Michelle Obama

When: Wednesday, September 27 from 9–10am

Who she is: Mrs. Obama served as First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017, transforming the position and becoming a role model, champion and inspiration for women, families, and young people across America and around the world. As First Lady, Mrs. Obama launched and led four key initiatives: Let’s Move!, Joining Forces,  Reach Higher, and Let Girls Learn.

As part of her continued focus on community service and engagement, Mrs. Obama joined the University of Chicago in 1996 as its Associate Dean of Student Services focused on fostering connections between the campus and community. She also served as Vice President of Community and External Affairs for the University of Chicago Medical Center.

The session: Former First Lady Michelle Obama has been described as one of the greatest political communicators of our time, despite never running for elected office herself. During her time in the White House, Mrs. Obama approached the Office of the First Lady with a focus on connecting to the American public through digital and social platforms and she succeeded, not just in single-handedly making turnips cool again, but in becoming a cultural icon herself. As a world-class communicator, advocate for global education, and example of leading with openness and inclusivity, we think Mrs. Obama is the perfect person to inspire the inbound movement.

Ed Catmull

When: Thursday, September 28 9–10am

Who he is: Dr. Ed Catmull is co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and president of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Disneytoon Studios. For over twenty-five years, Pixar has dominated the world of animation, producing 18 feature films which have grossed more than $10billion at the worldwide box office to date, and won 32 Academy Awards.

His book Creativity, Inc.—co-written with journalist Amy Wallace and years in the making—is a distillation of the ideas and management principles Ed has used to develop a creative culture. A book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, it also grants readers an all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation Studios—into the meetings, post mortems, and “Braintrust” sessions where some of the most successful films in history have been made.

Dr. Catmull has been honored with five Academy Awards, including the Gordon E. Sawyer Award, for his lifetime of technical contributions and leadership in the field of computer graphics for the motion picture industry. Dr. Catmull earned B.S. degrees in computer science and physics and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Utah. In 2005, the University of Utah presented him with an Honorary Doctoral Degree in Engineering.

The Session: As president and co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios, Dr. Ed Catmull has been at the helm of some of the most successful films ever made and his book Creativity, Inc. shares everything he’s learned along the way about creating a creative culture, managing creative people, and harnessing your own creativity. Whatever your role, his talk is going to be massively inspirational (plus a trip behind the scenes of some of your favorite films).

John Cena

When: Thursday, September 28 from 2:15–3:15pm

Who he is: John Cena is an actor, producer, host, entrepreneur and WWE Superstar. Cena devotes much of his time working on behalf of numerous charitable causes.

He is Make-A-Wish’s most requested wish granter of all time and the only celebrity to grant 500 wishes. He is also committed to Susan G. Komen and has helped raise more than $1.6 million for breast cancer research and awareness. Cena is a longtime supporter of the U.S. military, recently recognized by USO Metro as the recipient of their 2016 Legacy of Achievement Award. He recently starred in Ad Council’s Love Has No Labels campaign, ‘We Are America’ to further the message of acceptance and love for all communities across the United States.

In addition to his work in the community, Cena is a powerhouse on social media with 44 million Facebook fans, making him the most popular active U.S. athlete on Facebook. He is also one of the most followed athletes on Twitter and Instagram with 9.5 and 6.8 million followers respectively.

Cena has proven himself to be a powerful marketing force. He is the face of Crocs’ “Come As You Are” campaign that celebrates the uniqueness of individuals of all ages around the world. He is the voice of “Ernie the Elephant” for Wonderful Pistachios’ biggest advertising campaign ever and last year he became an ambassador for Cricket Wireless. His video, The Unexpected John Cena Prank, has been viewed more than 17 million times. John is also in Hefty’s new national campaign alongside Rob Schneider. Post has featured Cena in a national ad and promotional campaign for the Pebbles brand. John is also a brand ambassador for Tapout, the official fitness and training partner of WWE.

The session: John Cena has taken his massive success as an actor and in the WWE and built upon it to become a marketing powerhouse and cultural icon. More importantly though, he’s used his privilege and fame for good: both through his charitable work with Make-A-Wish and many other causes, and also as a powerful advocate for acceptance and love that transcends identity lines. All of us have the opportunity to follow his example and use our positions as storytellers and business leaders for good.

So what do you think?

What do you think of this inspiring line-up of keynote speakers at Inbound 2017? Who are you most excited to see and hear speak? I, for one, am psyched for a chance to hear Michelle Obama, and Sean is giddy in anticipation over Halligan and Shah.
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Tim is an Inbound Marketing Consultant at Pepperland Marketing. Prior to joining the Pepperland team, Tim worked in the publishing industry, most recently as a book editor at The Taunton Press, where he sharpened his writing skills and learned to communicate complex ideas effectively. In addition to his work at Pepperland, he is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in many publications including Grow Magazine, The Huffington Post, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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