All eyes on them

Your keynote speakers at AICPA ENGAGE 2018

“I never thought about it that way.”

If that doesn’t cross your mind at least once during keynote sessions — well, we haven’t done our job. AICPA ENGAGE brings together 290 technical experts, thought leaders and the best minds in accounting and leadership. Meet some of the inspirational voices now.

Maria Contreras-Sweet

Why you recognize Maria

Maria Contreras-Sweet is internationally acclaimed for her tactical insights on economic growth, job creation, competitiveness and innovation for American businesses. We are proud to present Maria during International Women’s Month!

Her bona fides

She was widely praised for doing this on a national level when she served in President Barack Obama's Cabinet as Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

A longtime advocate for America’s business owners and entrepreneurs, and respected champion for diversity and inclusion, job creation, economic innovation, and equal opportunity, Maria’s achievements in bringing efficiencies and modernization to organizations have earned her international acclaim.

An entrepreneur and business executive herself, her extensive career includes serving as Secretary of the California Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency, the founding chairwoman of ProAmérica Bank, and vice president, public affairs for Westinghouse’s 7-Up / RC Bottling Company.

David Gergen

Why you may recognize David

David Gergen is a professor of public service and co-director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, positions he has held for over a decade.

In addition, he serves as a senior political analyst for CNN and works actively with a rising generation of new leaders. In the past, he has served as a White House adviser to four U.S. presidents of both parties: Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton.

He wrote about those experiences in his New York Times best seller, Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership, Nixon to Clinton (Simon & Schuster, 2001).

Previously in his career

In the 1980s, he began a career in journalism. Starting with The MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour in 1984, he has been a regular commentator on public affairs for some 30 years.

Twice he has been a member of election coverage teams that won Peabody awards, and he has contributed to two Emmy award-winning political analysis teams.

In the late 1980s, he was chief editor of U.S. News & World Report, working with publisher Mort Zuckerman to achieve record gains in circulation and advertising.

Over the years, he has been active on many not-for-profit boards, serving in the past on the boards of Yale and Duke universities. Among his current boards are Teach for America, The Mission Continues, The Trilateral Commission and Elon University School of Law.

David’s personal roots

A native of North Carolina, David is a member of the D.C. Bar, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the U.S. executive committee for the Trilateral Commission. He is an honors graduate of Yale and the Harvard Law School. He has been awarded 27 honorary degrees.

He has been married since 1967 to Anne Elizabeth Gergen of England, a family therapist. They have two children and five grandchildren.

Adam Grant

Why you recognize Adam

Adam’s TED talks on original thinkers and givers and takers have been viewed more than 11 million times.

He received a standing ovation at TED in 2016 and was voted the audience's favorite speaker at The Nantucket Project.

His bona fides

He has been Wharton’s top-rated professor for five straight years. As an organizational psychologist, he studies how we can find motivation and meaning, and live more generous and creative lives. He has been recognized as one of the world's 10 most influential management thinkers and Fortune's 40 under 40.

His speaking and consulting clients include Facebook and Google, the NBA, the Gates Foundation the U.S. Army and Navy, and the World Economic Forum, where he has been honored as a Young Global Leader.

He writes on work and psychology for the New York Times, and has more than 2 million followers on social media.

He's the author of three best-selling books, which have sold over a million copies and been translated into 35 languages.

Adam’s personal roots

Adam earned his master’s degree and doctorate in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan and his bachelor’s degree from Harvard.

He is a former magician and Junior Olympic springboard diver, and lives in Philadelphia with his wife, two daughters and son.

Eric Hansen

Eric L. Hansen, CPA, CGMA, is serving as Chair of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

Hansen has been an active volunteer with the AICPA, including serving as chair of the Finance Committee and a member of the Compensation and Audit Committees. He was part of the Task Force on the Future of Learning and served as a member of AICPA’s Major Firms Group. He has been a member of the Board of Directors and AICPA’s governing Council.

Hansen has also been active as a member of the Missouri Society of CPAs, serving as an ex-officio member of the Board of Directors.

Hansen is currently the Chief Operation Officer of BKD, one of the largest accounting firms in the US. In this capacity, he oversees firm-wide operations and acts as a liaison between the National Office and BKD’s four regions. He previously served as the Managing Partner of the firm’s Oklahoma offices in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Enid. Throughout his career, Hansen has provided audit, tax and consulting services to public and private companies in the manufacturing, health care, construction, transportation and financial services industries.

Hansen received his bachelor's degree in accounting from Evangel University. He completed business and leadership training at the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Education program and a dynamic leadership development program sponsored by Harvard University.

He currently resides in Springfield, Missouri.

Barry Melancon

Barry C. Melancon is the President and Chief Executive Officer at the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), the national professional association of CPAs, with more than 400,000 members worldwide. He directs the Institute’s operations in New York; Durham, NC; Washington, DC and New Jersey.

As head of the largest body of CPAs in the world, Melancon is called upon to represent the Institute with state, national and international organizations and is sought after by key opinion leaders for his expertise.

Under Melancon, the Institute has spearheaded a number of initiatives designed to benefit not only the profession, but also investors, business owners, lenders and the general public. These include audit quality centers; private company reporting standards; eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL); the computerized CPA exam; and two consumer financial literacy education programs.

Under Melancon’s leadership, the AICPA and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) developed a joint venture to establish the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation to elevate management accounting globally. Approximately 150,000 management accountants now hold the CGMA designation worldwide. Melancon also serves as the CEO and a board member of the Joint Venture, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, which oversees all CGMA activities internationally.

In addition to serving as President and CEO of the AICPA, Melancon is a member of the AICPA's delegation to the International Federation of Accountants, whose broad objective is the development and enhancement of a coordinated worldwide accountancy profession with harmonized standards. He is a member of the board and Chairman of XBRL-US and a founding board member of the Center for Audit Quality, and of the Global Accounting Alliance. He serves on the board of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, and during 2007-2008, served on the U.S. Department of the Treasury Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession.

He is also a founder of the Government Transformation Initiative and serves on its Board, a founder and current Chair of XBRL-US, a founder and board member of the Global Accounting Alliance (GAA) and a board member of the New York Society of Association Executives.

In 1995, at only 37 years old, Melancon was named the CEO of AICPA and is now the longest serving CEO in the organization’s 127 year history. He implemented a major reorganization of the AICPA in his first four months as CEO, focusing on positioning the AICPA to be more nimble and leading edge while also reducing its employment base by more than 20 percent. Today the AICPA has a record number of members and revenue. He also directed a move of the majority of AICPA operations from the New York metro area to Durham, NC saving the organization more than $11 million per year.

He has testified for the profession before Congress numerous times, was the 2011 National Association Executive of the Year and has been honored with numerous other awards.

Prior to joining the AICPA, Melancon served for eight years as Executive Director of the Society of Louisiana CPAs. He began his accounting career in 1979 at a small CPA firm in Louisiana. In 1984, he was elected a firm partner. Melancon graduated in 1978 from Nicholls State University in Louisiana, majoring in accounting with a minor in government. He also earned an MBA in 1983 from Nicholls State University and subsequently served as an adjunct professor of accounting at his alma mater for four years. He was also awarded his alma mater’s first and only Honorary Doctorate of Commerce in 2008.