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  • General Session

    Friday's General Session with be packed with humor from the always entertaining and often lacerating writer Carl Hiaasen; intrigue from cyber security expert Major General Brett Williams (Ret.); and inspiration from honored guest Robert J. O’Neill, the highly decorated Navy SEAL whose past missions are literally the stuff movies are made of. Vocal Flash, a high energy singing group, opens General Session. 

    Rob O'Neill headshot 
    Major Gen Brett Williams headshot 
    Carl Hiaasen headshot 

    Honored Guest, Robert J. O'Neill

    O’Neill is one of the most highly-decorated combat veterans of our time, yet you may not know his name because he spent most of his remarkable Naval career in the shadows. A highly-trained Navy SEAL, he quietly performed the most difficult tasks in the most difficult circumstances to keep America safe. 

    Now retired, he was deployed more than a dozen times and held leadership roles in more than 400 combat missions in four different theaters of war. Many of his missions have been made into Hollywood films, such as The Lone Survivor, Captain Phillips, and Zero Dark Thirty.

    O’Neill will translate his elite SEAL team training into high-impact, actionable insights on leadership, decision-making, and operating in uncertain environments.

    Sponsored by UPC Insurance. 

    Major General Brett Williams (Ret)

    Williams is co-founder and president of Operations and Training at IronNet Cybersecurity, a company that creates and uses technology, predictive analytics, behavior modeling, and training programs to prevent and protect against cyber-security threats. 

    Before coming to IronNet, Williams was director of Operations at U.S. Cyber Command. In this role, he was responsible for worldwide, full-spectrum cyberspace operations in support of national strategic objectives. In addition, he was directly responsible for the operations and defense of Department of Defense networks. 

    He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Duke University and three graduate degrees in management and national security studies.

    Sponsored by Zenith.  

    Carl Hiaasen

    Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida. He is a journalist and the author of numerous well-received novels, including the best sellers Razor Girl, Bad Monkey, Star Island, Nature Girl, Skinny Dip, Sick Puppy, and Lucky You, and five best-selling children’s books, Hoot, Flush, Scat, Chomp, and Skink. His most recent work of nonfiction is Dance of the Reptiles, a collection of his columns from The Miami Herald.

    FAIA President & CEO Jeff Grady

    Jeff GradyHas association advocacy grown out of fashion? FAIA's leader will discuss the relevance of advocacy today, and why independent agency members still need FAIA as much as they ever did.