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Keynote Speakers

We have the people to help you thrive in the face of any business challenge.

Harkcon Academy's speakers include experienced business leaders and retired military officials who are eager to share their unique experiences and insights on topics ranging from leadership and critical decision making, to managing complex organizations and difficult situations.

Whether it’s a keynote speech, executive offsite, one-on-one coaching session, or a roundtable discussion, our speakers are ready and willing to speak with you.

To request one of the following speakers, please contact us.

Tom Atkin

Founder & Managing Partner of The Atkin Group

Tom Atkin is Founder and Managing Principal of The Atkin Group, a firm that provides strategic and operational advice to senior government and corporate executives. Tom mentors, coaches and conducts leadership development training for individuals, teams and organizations.  Prior to founding The Atkin Group, Tom served as the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security.  Tom retired from the Coast Guard as a Rear Admiral in June 2012, after more than 30 years of service in various operational and strategic roles. He has significant government experience, including serving on the White House National Security Council.

Keynote Speaker Sweet Spots:

  • Leading multi-organization teams in complex environments and crisis situations

  • Building individual and team leadership skills

  • Effective use of red teams and exercises to evaluate plans and opportunities 

  • Developing interpersonal relationships and strong work values

  • Evaluating and understanding risk

Tom Atkin

William Dewilde

Independent Executive Leadership Advisor & Business Development Professional

Command Master Chief William Dewilde retired from the United States Navy in 2017 after serving more than 30 years in various operational and strategic leadership roles. He has garnered vast experience in leading SEALs and other Special Operations units worldwide, having completed 17 overseas deployments, 9 of those in direct combat operations. As a strategic advisor to senior Special Operations executives, he has planned and led numerous sensitive national combat and crisis response missions worldwide. His diverse military career gives him keen insights into the leadership and leadership dynamics of individuals in small and large teams operating in high stress zero failure environments.

Keynote Speaker Sweet Spots:

  • Getting comfortable in, and leading in, volatile, uncomfortable, chaotic and ambiguous (VUCA) environments 

  • Selecting and assessing your team

  • Leading in crisis, zero failure environments

  • Preparing for and leading your team through obstacles

  • The power of after action forums and learning from failures 

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Martha LaGuardia-Kotite

Speaker, Leader, Award-winning Author & Captain U.S. Coast Guard (Retired)

Martha LaGuardia-Kotite’s bold leadership style empowered her to be one of the first female officers to serve aboard two Coast Guard cutters with all male crews.  Patrolling the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans as well as the Caribbean Sea, Martha remained true to herself while changing the rules of engagement.  Today, an experienced inspirational TEDx and keynote speaker, making a difference using her own “sea stories” and her profiles of top-leaders, she believes that no matter your age or experience, you can be bold, you can achieve your daring dreams and you can enjoy the journey of life!  A graduate of the Coast Guard Academy with a masters from Harvard University, Martha rose to the senior rank of captain and is an award-winning author of five books. Her inspirational leadership presentations are influenced by her 29-year career serving at sea and ashore and the courageous trailblazers she has profiled in her books  A senior leader, Martha earned numerous personal and team awards for her mobilizations during national disasters, missions saving lives at sea and work as a public relations spokesperson for the Service, the Commandant’s Press Secretary and a New York City public relations firm’s account director for IBM.

Keynote Speaker Sweet Spots:

  • Creates a Culture of Empowerment: Be Bold, Be First, Be You: Learn how these differentiating factors attract top talent, build trust, help businesses succeed and leaders inspire.

  • Changing the Rules of Engagement: Building A High Performance Team.  As a master story teller, delivers fascinating leadership stories and empowering discussions from the military to the boardroom to motivate both teams and individuals.

  • Leading Your Crew Through Calm and Turbulent Seas.  Encourages audience participation. Engages participants to face complex challenges, to rise and realize success, giving them actionable solutions.

Barbara Golden

Former Special Agent, U. S. Secret Service

Barbara Golden spent 37 years with the U. S. Secret Service, serving in various positions in the agency. Noteworthy assignments included being assigned to President and Mrs. Carter’s Protective Detail in Plains, GA, for 3 years; serving as the senior planner for the World Trade Organization’s Conference in Seattle, WA; coordinating and serving on numerous Protective Details for dignitaries from the White House, the Capitol, and foreign Heads of State; and overseeing the 365 24/7 security posture at Camp David, the Presidential retreat. In 2013, Barbara retired from the US Secret Service and has become a Corporate Security Consultant.

Gerhard Gschwandtner

Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Selling Power

Gerhard is the founder and CEO of Selling Power, a multi-channel media company that produces the award-winning Selling Power magazine and Selling Power TV, a daily video interview series on sales success. Over the course of three decades, he has interviewed some of the most successful leaders and experts in sales, business, sports, entertainment, and politics, and is the author of 17 books on the subject of sales, management, and motivation.  Gerhard has created over 500 video interviews with sales and marketing leaders like Seth Godin, and his YouTube channel has attracted over 1,6 million views.

Keynote Speaker Sweet Spots:

  • Creating a Peak Performance Mindset

  • Helping people develop the best version of themselves

  • Get 10X ROI from your Inner CEO 

  • Helping salespeople break records

Kevin Harkins, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer, Harkcon, Inc.

Dr. Harkins is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Harkcon, Inc., a service-disabled veteran-owned business recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing businesses in America for seven consecutive years. Dr. Harkins is a subject matter expert in discerning the nature of work and creating an environment where people thrive.  This expertise is founded on knowledge of how the mind works, group dynamics and what leadership, cultural and job-related features that are necessary in the workplace to allow people to perform at their very best. 

Keynote Speaker Sweet Spots:

  • Building a business from start-up to maturity

  • Why and how leadership matters

  • Team and group dynamics

  • Growing and maintaining a Peak Performance Mindset

  • Leveraging a deep respect for the dignity of labor

Craig Henzel

C-Suite Advisory -- Fortune 100 / FTSE 50

Craig Henzel is a global business executive, entrepreneur and advisor to C-Suite Executives in the Global Fortune 100 / FTSE 50. Craig has led multi-billion dollar Business Transformations in large, multi-national organizations and drove enterprise-wide strategy development and execution.  Delivering a track record of consistent business success in the Management Consulting, Pharmaceutical, Healthcare, IT, and Consumer Products industries, Craig has broad business exposure in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific markets.

Keynote Speaker Sweet Spots:

  • First you succeed, then I succeed...in that order

  • Entrepreneur 2.0

  • Lead from the front...or the view is the same

  • Developing the new High Performing Team

  • Outcome-based value provider

Mary J.C. Hendrix, Ph.D.

President of Shepherd University

Dr. Hendrix is Shepherd University’s 16th president and is the first graduate to lead the school in its history. She also serves on the Board of Directors at the Annenberg Center for Health Sciences; chairs the National Disease Research Interchange Board; serves on the Board of Directors for Research!America; and serves on the Chicago Council for Science and Technology. Dr. Hendrix has written more than 270 publications on biomedical research and is the recipient of numerous national and international awards.


Mary Landry

Independent Corporate Director and United Services Automobile Association (USAA) Board Member

Ms. Landry serves on the Board of USAA, which serves over 11,000 military members and their families. She also serves on the Board of Directors for SCORE, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow, and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. After retiring from the U. S. Coast Guard as a Rear Admiral, Ms. Landry served in the Senior Executive Service, working at the White House from May 2013 - May 2014 as a Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Resilience Policy.

Keynote Speaker Sweet Spots:

  • The evolution of "all hazards" crisis preparedness and response (hurricanes, pandemic and disease outbreaks, major environmental incidents, security incidents, etc...) in the United States

  • How to leverage public and private sector capabilities in solving challenges in society

  • Regulating the right way


Dean Lee

Vice Admiral, United States Coast Guard (Retired)

William Dean Lee joined Harkcon Academy following a distinguished 35 year career in the US Coast Guard, rising to rank of Vice Admiral.  He retired from service in 2016 following his final assignment as Commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area, overseeing a force of 21,000 active duty personnel conducting all Coast Guard missions from the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf, spanning across 40 states, the Caribbean Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean. Dean now serves on the Board of Directors for HELINET, a privately held company in Van Nuys, California.  He also serves as an Honorary Professor of Military Science at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia.

Keynote Speaker Sweet Spots:

  • Climate control and the art of leadership

  • Building a culture of ethical conduct

  • Empower your workforce, and watch them grow

  • Trust, character, and the price of bad decisions  

  • The toughest leadership decisions (are not what you expect)

  • How to reshape your corporate culture in times of turmoil 


Roy Nash

President, Nash Maritime Consulting, LLC

Roy Nash, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral (retired), has over 36 years of experience in marine safety leadership. Roy served as Deputy Federal On-Scene Coordinator during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as co-led a 50-person team deployed to Haiti to re-open Port-au-Prince to aid in humanitarian earthquake response efforts.  As a consultant, Roy currently serves as a cruise line external safety board member, develops marine safety policy for emerging offshore drilling technologies, and is helping to prepare the U.S. towing industry to adapt to new federal regulations.

Keynote Speaker Sweet Spots:

  • Executive leadership & safety--you are the message

  • Leading through a crisis, from chaos to order

  • Battle rhythm, information flow & valuing face-to-face communication


Vincent W. Patton III, Ed.D.

8th Master Chief Petty Officer of the U.S. Coast Guard, Retired

Dr. Patton served as the 8th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard from May 1998 until his retirement from more than 30 years of active service in November 2002. His illustrious career included staff and operational assignments, both ashore and afloat, throughout the United States, along with a joint military service assignment in Cuba and Haiti.  Among his numerous military awards includes the Distinguished Service Medal, which is the nation’s highest military peacetime recognition for performance of duty.

Keynote Speaker Sweet Spots:

  • Defining and using core values

  • Personal and professional development

  • Diversity management

  • Philosophy of ethics

  • Interpersonal communications skills development

Kingsley "Midas" Vogan

Pilot, Royal Canadian Air Force

Kingsley Vogan, call sign Midas, was born in Ottawa, Canada, graduated from Carleton University, and then entered the Royal Canadian Air Force, where he served as a pilot and tactical airborne leader. Midas deployed in support of OPERATION ALLIED FORCE, where he flew predominantly Air Strike missions over Kosovo and Serbia and received 1 of the 59 Kosovo Campaign Stars awarded.  Following his deployment, Midas was subsequently selected to be an instructor pilot and then very proudly flew in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom as a Canadian F-18 Aerial Demonstration pilot.

Keynote Speaker Sweet Spots:

  • Upside down at 300 feet & 500 knots

  • Success through dedication and ethics

  • Collaborative leadership

  • Helping others to meet their objectives

  • Mentoring by leveraging experiences