Former White House Chief of Staff, Headlines Speaker Roster for 2020 NaplesNEXT Ideas Festival

Former White House Chief of Staff and Marine four-star Gen. John F. Kelly, USMC (Ret.) will be the keynote speaker at the 2020 NaplesNEXT Ideas Festival, which will take place March 2-3 at the Naples Grande Beach Resort.

The second annual event elevates traditional thought leadership gatherings by bringing together world-renowned innovators, policy makers, trendsetters, influencers and philanthropists. By integrating luxury hospitality, culinary and cultural experiences against the backdrop of the exclusive Naples Grande Beach Resort, the event will once again offer “Big Thinking. Big Fun.” to attendees in Southwest Florida.

Registration for NaplesNEXT 2020 is now open at Each registrant receives access to both days of the festival including a midday luncheon and opening eveningreception with fellow attendees and speakers on March 2, and breakfast on March 3. A portion of each registration fee is tax-deductible and benefits the Community Foundation of Collier County and Naples Children & Education Foundation, which is partnering with the festival to present the State of the Community Summit on March 3.

General Kelly is among a group of global and national experts that will deliver their expertise and insights at the festival. David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group; Nick Schifrin, foreign affairs and defense correspondent for PBS Newshour;Maye Musk, model and dietician;Allan Golston, President, U.S. Program for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and Susan Goldberg, Editor in Chief of National Geographicare just a few of the many influential thought leaders that will share their perspectives on relevant issues impacting society today.

“Building off a successful first year, the 2020 NaplesNEXT Ideas Festival will again feature an incredibly diverse schedule of programming that will resonate with festival-goers and inspire them to innovate in their own lives and communities,” said NaplesNEXT executive director Stacey Vollman Warwick. “The assembled speakers have such impressive backgrounds, making them highly respected global, national and local experts and trendsetters in their fields. Their wealth of knowledge across private, public, military and non-profit sectors will be invaluable to the Southwest Florida community as they share “What’s NEXT?” at this year’s festival.”

A highly decorated officer with nearly 50 years of service in the United States military and government administration, General Kelly will deliver Tuesday morning’s keynote address that will focus on government, geopolitics and his real-world perspective on the current global landscape. Prior to his role as White House Chief of Staff, General Kelly served as Secretary of Homeland Security (Jan.-July, 2017) and Commander of the United States Southern Command (2012-2016) among many other distinguished roles in the Marine Corps.

Other festival highlights include:

  • NASA astronaut and photographer Terry Virts shares his experiences and photographs from his travels during the space program.
  • Bridgeway Foundation CEO and author Shannon Sedgwick Davis provides the inside story of her mission to end a murderous warlord who terrorized countries across Central and East Africa in her highly-acclaimed book “To Stop a Warlord.”
  • An exclusive evening reception with conference attendees and speakers, featuring a menu developed by Top Chef Star and James Beard Award Nominee Chef Lindsay Autry (The Regional Kitchen & Public House City Place) and a wine tasting menu curated by Jon McDaniel, named Food + Wine Magazine’s 2018 Sommelier of the Year. Other local chefs to offer their culinary expertise include Jason Goddard (Sea Salt), Vincenzo Betulla (The French) and Asif Syed (21 Spices).
  • Christine Brennan, sports columnist and commentator with ABC News, CNN, PBS Newshour, NPR and USA Today, will serve as the event’s Master of Ceremonies.

For more information on NaplesNEXT 2020 and to register for this year’s event, please visit or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn at @NaplesNEXT.NaplesNEXT is produced by the Leadership division of Intersport, a 20-time Emmy Award-winning innovator and event producer.

The current panel and speaker schedule can be found below:

Monday, March 2

Session and Speakers

Global Foreign Policy and Markets: 2020 and Beyond

About the Session: An unplugged discussion about the factors influencing market valuations, consumer sentiment and financial stability.

Speaker: David Rubenstein, Co-Founder & Co-Executive Chairman, The Carlyle Group

Speaker: Nick Schifrin, Foreign Affairs and Defense Correspondent, PBS Newshour

A Celebration of Women: 100 Years Since the 19th Amendment

About the Session: Susan Goldberg will review a special exhibit of the National Geographic WOMEN Image Collection followed by in-depth discussions with female leaders who are blazing trails in various industries.

Moderator: Susan Goldberg, Editor-in-Chief, National Geographic

Speaker: Maye Musk, model and dietitian

Speaker: Olasimbo Sojinrin, Nigeria Country Director, Solar Sister

Healthcare Innovation: Scientific Advances Enabling A Longer & Better Life

About the Session: Experts and innovators share new technologies, improvements and longevity wisdom for our bodies, minds and lifestyles.

Panelist: S. Jay Olshansky, Professor, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago

Panelist: Dr. Malú Tansey, Director, Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease, University of Florida

Panelist: Dr. Nir Barzilai, Director, Institute for Aging Research, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

 Author Showcase: To Stop a Warlord

About the Session: An intimate discussion with the author who helped mastermind an unconventional collaboration between private, public, military and humanitarian organizations to pilot a new way of trying to stop mass atrocities.

Speaker: Shannon Sedgwick Davis, Author& CEO, Bridgeway Foundation

Values-Based Leadership: A CEO Roundtable

About the Session: A thoughtful discussion about how values-based leaders from private, public and non-profit sectors must come together to solve our biggest challenges.

Moderator: David Rubenstein, Co-Founder & Co-Executive Director, The Carlyle Group

Panelist: Allan Golston, President, U.S. Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Panelist: Sarah Kauss, Founder & CEO, S’well

Earth Day Turns 50: The Past, Present and Future

About the Session: Panelists will take us behind the scenes of the progress we have made protecting our environment and the work still left to do.

Speaker: Susan Goldberg, Editor in Chief, National Geographic

Speaker: Solomon Goldstein-Rose, Climate Change Researcher and former Massachusetts State Rep.

Photography Showcase: View From Above

About the Session: A former International Space Station commander, Virts will share his fascinating stories and breathtaking images from his combined seven months spent in space.

Speaker: Colonel Terry Virts, NASA astronaut and photographer

Monday Night Reception

Attendees will enjoy a regionally curated menu developed in partnership with Lindsay Autry, Top Chef Star and James Beard Award nominee, and an exclusive wine tasting menu curated by Jon McDaniel, named Food + Wine Magazine’s 2018 Sommelier of the Year. Highly acclaimed local chefs Jason Goddard (Sea Salt, Barbatell, Dorona, Grappino), Vincenzo Betulla (Bar Tulia, Osteria Tulia, The French) and Asif Syed (21 Spices) will offer their inspired signature dishes during the evening.


Tuesday, March 3

Session and Speakers

Keynote Address: Gen. John F. Kelly, USMC (Ret.)

State of the Community Summit: Child Advocacy

About the Session: Speaking for and protecting our community’s most vulnerable children is a priority for communities across the country. Foster care, the dependency system and childhood hunger are important elements that impact our youth today and must be considered as part of childhood development.

Panelist: Christine Greider, Retired 20th Judicial Circuit Judge,Unified Family Court

Panelist: Richard LeBer, President and CEO, Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida

Panelist: Sheriff Kevin Rambosk, Collier County Sheriff’s Office

State of the Community Summit: Early Learning and Education

About the Session: High-quality educational programming provides children with the tools for academic and social success. It is incumbent on our leaders to guide our youth through the education process, from early learning to high school graduation and preparing students to be ready for the future.

Moderator: Elisa Villanueva Beard, CEO, Teach for America

Panelist: Susan Block, CEO, Early Leaning Coalition of SWFL

Panelist: Dr. Kamela Patton, Superintendent, Collier County Public School System

Panelist: Dr. Phil Poekert, Director, Lastinger Center for Learning, University of Florida

State of the Community Summit: Pediatric Healthcare

About the Session: Essential medical and healthcare services are vital for children to grow and thrive. The many facets of pediatric healthcare, ranging from primary care to specialties including mental health and ophthalmology, will be discussed among leading professionals.

Moderator: Dr. Thomas Shanley, President and CEO, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

Panelist: Dr. Eduardo Alfonso, Director, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute

Panelist: Scott Burgess, CEO, David Lawrence Center

Panelist: Armando Llechu, Chief Administrative Officer, Golisano Children’s Hospital

About NaplesNEXT Ideas Festival

The NaplesNEXT Ideas Festival, launched in 2019, is inspired to produce an unparalleled, engaging, interactive, cultural and social experience that features dozens of national experts and trendsetters discussing “What’s Next?” in our world. Each year, the festival creates meaningful programming aimed to educate, entertain and motivate attendees to help improve the lives of those in their communities through thought-provoking content from leading global business, medical, philanthropic, political, law and cultural experts. The festival is held in partnership with Flexjet, Lee Health, BMW, Arthrex, Community Foundation of Collier County, Naples Children and Education Foundation, Gulfshore Life Magazine and WGCU. For more information on the festival, please visit or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn at @NaplesNEXT.

 About Intersport

Intersport is an independent media and marketing agency, specializing in property creation, content production and robust marketing services that span digital, sponsorship experiential and hospitality. This Chicago-based agency has been creating innovative, world-class entertainment platforms centered on passion points for 33+ years using a distinctive model that powers BOLD marketing solutions from scratch. With expertise in culinary, esports, leadership, lifestyle and sports, Intersport partners with brands who want to connect with passionate audiences in original, lasting ways. To learn more about Intersport, visit, and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

As part of a sustained investment in Southwest Florida, the Sports Properties division of Intersport is producing the Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans Fort Myers Tip-Off early season college basketball tournament, which will air on FS1 and is played in November each year at Florida SouthWestern State College in Fort Myers.


Drew Russell, Intersport, (312) 661-0616,

Dan Mihalik, Intersport, (312) 883-3998,

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