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One of the biggest draws of the EMEA Conference – scheduled 16, 17 October in London – is its keynoters, and this year is no different. Dex Torricke-Barton, who formerly held positions as head of communications at SpaceX, executive communications manager at Facebook and an executive at Google, will be speaking at the event alongside Margot James, Minister of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and Monty Halls, broadcaster and adventurer. Let’s learn a little more about our exciting keynoters!
Torricke-Barton has managed communications for some of the most influential and admired names in Silicon Valley and beyond. From 2012 to 2016, he led the executive communications team at Facebook and served as personal speechwriter for Mark Zuckerberg. He went on to join SpaceX as senior director of communications, a post he stepped down from earlier this year.
A natural storyteller, Torricke-Barton has an arsenal of anecdotes that he uses to illustrate moving to the middle of change to access opportunity, understanding connectivity as a universal force and embracing the emergence of a global generation.
On stage, Torricke-Barton combines his work experience with his passion for social innovation to help companies shift towards a 21st century business methodology. He takes audiences into Facebook’s boardroom, Elon Musk’s open-concept cubicle, the famed Googleplex and finally to the UN itself to share lessons on what it takes to build highly-effective internal teams and on what to make of the steady transition from local to global that’s unfolded over the past decade. Hear from Torricke-Barton about playing chess with Mark Zuckerberg in the middle of the night or the intimidating, singular question asked by Elon Musk in a job interview.
Torricke-Barton also formerly served as Google’s first executive speechwriter, supporting CEO Larry Page and Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. He began his career at the United Nations in 2008 as a speechwriter and spokesperson for the office of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
A former Royal Marine Officer and trained marine biologist, Monty Halls has led teams through some of the most demanding environments on land and at sea. His adventures include discovering prehistoric settlements amid great white sharks, avoiding the bullets of poachers, and photographing a dangerous and rare crocodile underwater for the first time.
Halls first came to prominence when he led a group of adventurers and scientists to a sunken city off coast of India that could prove to be the cradle of civilisation as we know it today. He has gone on to circle the globe three times through his many adventures – including the search for £2,000,000 in gold bullion on a sunken P&O liner.
Halls has documented his travels in the book Great Ocean Adventures and shown his knowledge of medieval warfare in the book The Perfect Weapon. On the TV show Great Escape on BBC2, he charted his experiences living in a remote area on the West Coast of Scotland. His adventures have also appeared on Channel 5’s Monty’s Diving Mysteries and the series Monty And... in which he took viewers around the world’s most fascinating underwater sites. Halls also took part in and won Channel 4’s Superhuman – competing in twelve tests that pushed participants to their mental and physical limits.
Using stunning footage and pictures from his expeditions, Halls is able to provide an incredible journey though some of the world’s most inaccessible environments. In his presentations, he demonstrates how we can learn from ecosystems and local communities. He reveals how other animals behave under stress, how we occupy niches within our own teams and how best to maintain objectives in an ever-changing environment.
Margot James was appointed Minister of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in January 2018. James was previously Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy from July 2016 to January 2018. She was elected Conservative MP for Stourbridge in May 2010 and was educated at Millfield School and studied economics and government at the London School of Economics. James served as Assistant Government Whip from May 2015 until July 2016. James was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Lord Green during his period as Minister for Trade and Investment. She served as a local councillor in Kensington and Chelsea from 2006 to 2008. She worked in sales and marketing for her father’s business, MJI based in Birmingham. In 1986 she co-founded Shire Health Group, a public relations and medical education business. It was sold in 2004.