Conceived in 1970 by Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin Group has gone on to grow successful businesses in sectors including mobile telephony, travel and transportation, financial services, leisure and entertainment and health and wellness. Virgin is a leading international investment group and one of the world's most recognized and respected brands. Since starting the youth culture magazine Student at age 16, Richard has found entrepreneurial ways to drive positive change in the world.
In 2004 he established Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group, which unites people and entrepreneurial ideas to create opportunities for a better world.
Most of his time is now spent building businesses that will make a positive difference in the world and working with Virgin Unite and organizations it has incubated, such as The Elders, The Carbon War Room, The B Team and Ocean Unite. Branson serves on the Global Commission on Drug Policy and supports ocean conservation with the Ocean Elders. Richard's new biography, Finding My Virginity, is available now.
Day 2 Keynote Speaker
Leslie Jones is one of the stars of Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters reboot for Sony Studios, opposite Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon – the film was released in theatres worldwide July 2016. In 2014, Leslie was hired by SNL as a writer and quickly gained popularity after a memorable on-air appearance during the show's "Weekend Update" segment. Jones officially joined the cast during the show’s 40th season. Returning for her second season, The New Yorker profiled Jones and Vulture has cited her as an "‘SNL’ standout due to her brash sensibility, humor, and forceful presence." Slate praised Jones as “smart, talented, and utterly hilarious” and noted, “Jones is a fiercely independent performer who’s brash and unapologetic riffs can ruffle feathers – a welcome risk.”
Jones’ film credits include Chris Rock's Top Five and Judd Apatow's Trainwreck. She voiced an animated character in the studio feature Sing, for Illumination Entertainment, opposite Matthew McConaughey and John C. Reilly. Jones joined Tracy Morgan, Chris Rock and Whoopi Goldberg in an epic 2016 Oscars sketch, reimagining an Oscars montage starring black actors.
Dream Big Work Hard. Those four simple words have helped to transform Pewaukee native JJ Watt from small-town Wisconsin boy to being selected #11 Overall Pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. Watt won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year three times in his first five seasons. The journey from backyard football to the big stage of the NFL was not always smooth or easy and filled with adversity, but with unbelievable support from his friends and family, JJ turned his childhood dreams into reality.
Since joining the Texans, Watt has been selected to the Pro-Bowl Team three times and won the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year award twice in his first four seasons. He is the first player in NFL history to record two 20+ sack seasons in a career. He also occasionally shifts to defensive tackle and has also taken snaps as a tight end. He was voted #1 on the 2014 – 2015 NFL Top 100 list, which is voted on by fellow NFL players.
Watt is the president and founder of the Justin J. Watt Foundation, which provides after school opportunities for children in various communities encouraging them to get involved in athletics in a safe environment.
In the aftermath of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey, Watt organized a crowdfunding campaign to help Houston recover. His campaign raised more than $37 million through over 209,000 donations, nearly doubling his initial $20 million goal.
Day 2 Keynote Speaker