Maj Odle             

Opening up the Conference is U.S. Air Force Major Michael Odle who will speak about risk and crisis management, and communications. 

It's PR not the ER, but just as important. Seize the opportunities to tell your story from the first 24 hours of an emergency to the recovery phase after the crisis is over. As an information officer for a small office to the senior press officer in Afghanistan, Major Odle will offer insight into responding to wildfires, floods and hurricanes to the national Veteran suicide epidemic. Take home hands-on approaches and tactics to risk and crisis management, communications, and how you too can seize opportunities to tell your story.

About Major Odle

Maj. Michael R. Odle is the executive director, Office of Communications, Veterans Health Administration and at times is called back to active military duty in the Pentagon.  Currently on active duty, he is the assistant director, Military Compensation for Strategic Communications, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower & Reserve Affairs), Pentagon.  In his position, he formulates, develops, establishes, and implements innovative communication programs and approaches to inform, educate and empower, service members in their compensation and retirement decisions.   

When at the Veterans Health Administration, he is responsible for executing the national policy, planning, management and evaluation of communications programs for the largest integrated health care system in the country, serving nearly nine million Veterans annually at over 1,700 health care sites.

Prior to his current position, Maj. Odle served as the Chief of Public Affairs, 113th Wing, District of Columbia Air National Guard, Joint Base Andrews, Md.  Maj. Odle received his commission in 2004 at the Air National Guard’s Academy of Military Science in Knoxville, Tenn. He has served in wing, numbered air force, command, and joint staff positions. Among his many assignments, Major Odle served as the Senior Press Officer, Headquarters, International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan where he was responsible for researching, writing and distributing the primary ISAF communication messaging guidance, used by the ISAF Commander and eight subordinate headquarters as well as synchronized complex communication plans on high-profile, country-sensitive issues that focused on operations, crisis communication and the historic Afghan presidential election. He also served as the Chief of the Media Operations Center in Louisiana during the critical phases of rescue and relief operations for Hurricane Katrina and Rita and spearheaded the Multinational Public Affairs Office in Dhaka, Bangladesh as part of a United Nations Peace Support Operation. Major Olde also served as the National Guard’s Media Relations Branch Chief during 56th Presidential Inauguration and as the Public Affairs planner and Deputy Chief of Public Affairs for the 57th Presidential Inauguration.



"Too much to do, too little time" seems to be the mantra of our times. Gary Ware, a Strategic Play Consultant from Breakthrough Play, will energize the audience when he shows us how to live a life of play amid all the pressures and responsibilities of life.   

The Art of Play: How to Utilize Play to Improve Creativity, Confidence, & Communication
In a world where we are busier than ever, and forced to do more with less how can professionals and teams continue to be creative while meeting the high demands of their dayto-day job? The answer…Play! Think about it when we were kids we were extremely creative, and had no problem collaborating with friends. The reason is that kids saw the world as a playground. As we got older life got serious, and we lost our drive to play. The result is overwork, and burnout. In this highly interactive presentation learn from veteran marketer –and professional improviser – on how you can utilize the tools that improvisers use to make up stories out of thin air to become more creative, a better collaborator, and more importantly less stressed. Learn why play is just as important as breathing and the Important tenets used in improvisation that when applied in everyday life will have dramatic results in creativity, communication, and confidence.  Remember - failure is just feedback!  What if your mistake is a gift?


About Gary Ware
Gary Ware, founder of a site that helps professionals level-up their confidence, creativity, and happiness using play. To do this Gary incorporates techniques that professional improvisers use to create amazing experiences with no script. Gary has over half a decade experience with improvisation, and over 14 years in the field of Digital Marketing. Gary has helped hundreds of companies and thousands of professionals like you make major breakthroughs in their life. If you are in the San Diego area you can find Gary performing improv regularly at Finest City Improv, located in North Park, CA.


JAMES LEE, FOUNDER AND CEO, THE LEE STRATEGY GROUP a Los Angeles-based communications consultancy

Political Correctness, Tweets and Memes - How to Survive the Crossfire
No one predicted this past election season and fewer predicted the kind of charged political climate we live in now where every single tweet, comment or statement can land you in hot water or worse yet as a viral meme. In this environment, how can you steer yourself, your organization and your colleagues through what is a minefield of political correctness, social media pitfalls and just plain ugly moods? Find out in this lively session with a communications strategist that is helping companies navigate these tricky waters right now and gain some insights on how to survive in the crossfire.

About James Lee
With a background that includes roles as deputy press secretary for Governor Pete Wilson and communications director for the California Environmental Protection Agency, Mr. Lee joins us as our final keynote speaker on Wednesday during lunch.  Mr. Lee is called upon as a frequent lecturer, seminar and panelist member on topics ranging from social media planning, crisis communications prep, branding, presentation and media training and roadshow facilitation.  He founded his firm in 1999 and has client relationships focused on government and Fortune 500 firms and industry verticals such as apparel, entertainment, extreme sports, biotech, VCs and gaming.