Catch the Inspiration
Thursday, June 20
12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group
Attend the 2013 NAA Education Conference & Exposition June 19–22 and see Sir Richard Branson, international business magnate and founder of one of the world’s most recognized and respected brands, Virgin Group, deliver the keynote speech to NAA attendees.
A challenging and complex environment calls for leadership with a vision—creating, communicating, and guiding others towards unseen possibilities that will strengthen market position or create new opportunities. Sir Richard Branson is a flamboyant British entrepreneur with a seemingly insatiable appetite for starting new businesses. His internationally recognized brand "Virgin" is splashed across everything from credit cards, to airlines, to mobile phones and gyms. Sir Richard, known for his Virgin Money subsidiary and his innovative award-winning airline Virgin America, recently bought Northern Rock PLC, which had been nationalized by the U.K. government in 2008, and now adds 75 branches and 4 million customers across the U.K. to his organization.
Much can be learned from this business icon and his leadership approach. He'll share insights into how he's identified new markets, engaged stakeholders and inspired them to come along with him, and how he's challenged legacy dominant players to win market share.
Moderating this Keynote session is Bill Rancic, successful entrepreneur, author, TV host and winner of Donald Trump's first Apprentice season. Read more about Bill Rancic.
Sir Richard has set a record on LinkedIn, becoming the first “LinkedIn Influencer” to have more than 1 million followers—twice as many as his closest competitor—Barack Obama. Follow Sir Richard on LinkedIn.
Sir Richard Branson Biography
In 1970 at age 20, Sir Richard Branson founded Virgin as a mail order record retailer and then as a record shop, recording studio, and music label. Since then, Virgin has become one of the world's most recognized and respected brands, expanding into air and rail travel, leisure and hospitality, telecommunications, media, health and wellness, space tourism, and clean energy through more than 400 branded companies in 30 countries with global branded revenues of $21B.
Sir Richard has long been involved with financial services through his Virgin Money subsidiary and his innovative Virgin One mortgage product and more recently his purchase of Northern Rock plc in January 2012. This acquisition brought 75 branches and 4 million customers across the U.K. to his organization. One innovation introduced this year for improved service is Virgin Lounge, a high-end branch concept that is a radical approach to banking in Britain.
A leader in product innovation and customer service, the Virgin family of airlines includes the US domestic Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic, and Virgin Australia. In December 1999, Sir Richard was awarded a knighthood in the Queen's Millennium New Year's honors list for "services to entrepreneurship."
Sir Richard has been involved in a number of world record-breaking attempts since 1985. In 1986 his boat, Virgin Atlantic Challenger II, crossed the Atlantic Ocean in the fastest ever recorded time. This was followed a year later by a hot air balloon crossing of the same ocean in Virgin Atlantic Flyer. In 1991, Sir Richard crossed the Pacific Ocean from Japan to Arctic Canada. In June 2004, he set the record for the fastest crossing of the English Channel by an amphibious vehicle to mark the 20th anniversary of Virgin Atlantic.
Sir Richard's dream of opening the world's first commercial space tourism business was realized with the launch of Virgin Galactic. Based on the proven technology of Burt Rutan's SpaceShipOne, Virgin Galactic will take passengers to suborbital space.
In 2004, Sir Richard launched Virgin Unite to pull together the resources of Virgin Group internationally and, most importantly, Virgin's best asset—its people—to tackle tough challenges facing the world. In 2007, he joined Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel and Desmond Tutu to form The Elders, a group of independent leaders that seeks sustainable solutions to global humanitarian issues. In 2010, he launched the Carbon War Room to mobilize capital, innovation, expertise, and entrepreneurs to advance climate change efforts. He has established Branson Centers of Entrepreneurship in South Africa and Jamaica.
Sir Richard serves on the Global Commission on Drugs Policy, together with former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, and 15 other global leaders. In June 2011, the Commission published a groundbreaking report on the failures of the war on drugs and called on states to open a sensible debate on drug policy reform and to take steps to decriminalize drug use by individuals who do no harm to others. Sir Richard has also joined the Honorary Board of the Drug Policy Alliance.
Sir Richard is the author of Losing My Virginity: How I've Survived, Had Fun and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way (Crown Business, 1998), Screw It, Let's Do It: Lessons in Life (Virgin Books, 2006), Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur (Virgin Books, 2008), and his most recent title, Screw Business as Usual (Penguin/Portfolio, 2011), and Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School (Penguin/Portfolio, 2012). In 2012, he was named Britain's most influential person on Twitter.