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Keynote Speakers

Scott A. Vowels, PhD

Scott A. Vowels, PhD is recognized as a leading expert in the field of Supplier Diversity and is a frequent speaker and panelist on industry issues. Dr. Vowels currently manages the Supplier Diversity Program for major Fortune 50 Technology company and is widely known within the supplier diversity network for successfully leading both the Northern California and Alabama Minority Supplier Development Councils to national prominence as President & CEO. While leading the Alabama Council, Vowels also simultaneously operated a federal Minority Business Opportunity Center for the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency.

Early in his career, Vowels managed procurement and sourcing processes for manufacturing environments within General Motors and has over 20 years of procurement and supplier diversity experience. Before entering the corporate workforce, Vowels was on an entirely different career path and traveled extensively as a world-ranked professional tennis player. He still counts travel among his greatest passions, but when he’s not on the road, Scott resides in Oakland, California.

His latest book, Don’t Be Afraid to Call the Baby Ugly reached #1 on Amazon in both ‘Supplier Diversity’ and ‘Minority Business’ categories.

Lynn Tilton

Lynn Tilton is the Founder and CEO of Patriarch Partners LLC, a family office/private investment firm. Since 2000, through affiliated investment funds, Tilton has held ownership in and restructured more than 240 companies with combined revenues in excess of $100 billion, representing 700,000 jobs. Patriarch focuses on the acquisition and invigoration of undervalued iconic American brands where time, capital and sound strategy can rescue a business and restore value, creating and preserving jobs in America and across the globe.

The firm is devoted to rebuilding America one company at a time, one job at a time. Current investments include Dura Automotive, Performance Designed Products, Universal Instruments, Spiegel Catalogs, MD Helicopters, Rand McNally, and Stila Cosmetics. Ms. Tilton serves as sole director, chair of the board, or the equivalent at all of her portfolio companies and currently serves as the CEO of Dura Automotive, MD Helicopters and Stila Cosmetics, Jane Cosmetics and Ken Paves You Are Beautiful Hair Care.

Automotive News has named Ms. Tilton one of 100 Leading Women in the automotive industry. She was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by the Living Legends of Aviation, the first female in history to receive such distinction and was inducted into the Living Legends of Aviation Hall of Fame. She was also honored with the Luminary Award presented by Womensphere, an award given to “the woman whose leadership, innovation, and personal commitment has illuminated and inspired the lives of millions, and positively transformed the world.” Ms. Tilton was the subject of a Barbara Walters’ 20/20 special discussing her mission of saving American jobs, and a special Made in America segment with Diane Sawyer on ABC’s World News Tonight. She recently received top honors at XPrize’s Visioneering event for conceiving ‘X2­The Mother of All Prizes’, a prize created by Tilton that enhances the purse for any XPrize team that is comprised of at least 50% women. In 2014, Tilton won the inaugural Business Pioneer Award at the first Women’s Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations which celebrated her leadership in the global movement to empower and support women­owned businesses worldwide. She was also selected by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association as the recipient of the 2014 ITA Achievement Award – the organization’s highest honor presented at the U.S. Open for her business success and humanitarian efforts. CNBC and its viewers recently named Tilton one of the 100 Most Influential Names in Business over the last 25 years.