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Conference Speakers

Annual Conference Speakers

Competitive Edge: Innovation in the Connected Age

September 19–22, 2020 | Hilton New Orleans Riverside

Alexandra Watkins

Alexandra Watkins
Chief Executive Boss Lady, Eat My Words

Alexandra Watkins is a leading and outspoken authority on brand names. Her breakthrough book, Hello, My Name Is Awesome: How To Create Brand Names That Stick, was named a Top 10 Marketing Book by Inc. Magazine.

Alexandra is a go-to resource for product development professionals. Since 2005, she and her firm, Eat My Words, have created love-at-first sight brand names for clients from Amazon to Xerox. Her product name hall of fame includes the Neato robotic vacuum, Burger King’s Mac ‘n Cheetos, and a GPS for dogs named Retriever. Other all-time favorite names include Spanish language school Gringo Lingo, frozen yogurt franchise Spoon Me, and the Church of Cupcakes.

Alexandra first got hooked on naming in 2003 ago when Gap hired her to create names for their first line of body care products. Soon after, she broke into the business by talking her way into Landor via a date. With her fresh, unconventional naming style, Alexandra soon became a go-to resource for leading branding and naming firms around the country. And Landor sent her enough business to open her own firm. Since then, she’s generated thousands of names for snacks, software, sunscreen, sportswear, shoes, sugar scrubs, serums, and seafood. (And that’s just the S’s!)

Prior to Eat My Words, Alexandra was an advertising copywriter, working at leading West Coast ad agencies, including Ogilvy and Mather, where she worked for five years, helped launch Microsoft Windows and learned the language of Geek Speak. In the mid-nineties she jumped on the dot com gravy train and rode it until it crashed in her San Francisco backyard. Alexandra took the money and ran, spending an entire year in Australia, New Zealand, Bali and Fiji disguised as a 21-year old backpacker. Upon her return, she followed her passion for creating names and soon after started Eat My Words.

Alexandra gets her passport stamped as often as possible. She has eaten her way through 50 countries where she’s sunk her teeth into delicacies including barbecued squirrel in Tanzania, ostrich carpaccio in South Africa, stewed camel meat in Libya, and lobster marinara in Cuba. Her favorite food is JIF peanut butter (crunchy), which she once survived on for two days on the remote island of Amantani in Lake Titicaca, Peru.

In her free time, Alexandra creates imaginative succulent arrangements in tea pots, bird cages and other unexpected containers procured at the local flea market. She lives by the beach in San Diego in her Barbie Dream House.

Dr. Brad Shuck

Dr. Brad Shuck
Author, Associate Professor, Program Director, Assistant Chair

Dr. Brad Shuck is an internationally recognized scholar and business thought leader in the areas of employee engagement, leadership development, and organizational culture. He is the author of Employee Engagement: A Research Overview (Routledge, 2020), has published or presented more than 300 scholarly articles, books chapters, and presentations, and holds five US copyrights.

His work has been featured in US-based international media outlets including Forbes, The Washington Post, and TIME, as well as international outlets such as Business World Online, India’s Economic Times, and the Hindu Times.

Shuck is a tenured Associate Professor and Program Director of the Human Resource and Organizational Development program and Assistant Chair in the Department of Educational Leadership, Evaluation, Organizational Development both at the University of Louisville. He is a member of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels and holds advanced degrees in Counseling, Student Affairs, Human Resource Development, and Adult Education.

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