#ConnectDiversity

2018 Speakers

Subject to Change

Liz Caruso

Liz is an event planning superhero by day, closeted tech geek and introvert by night. Liz resolved to re-channel her organizational and tech-savvy superpowers and launched Liz King Events in 2010. Her hopes of being an incognito event superhero went down the drain as she started making cameos on lists like Successful Meetings' "25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry" for two years in a row and Connect Magazine's "40 Under 40 Up-and-Coming Event Planners in 2011."


Darrell Hammond, Sr.

Darrell’s 30 year career in human resources led to many years in increasingly responsible executive positions. He has over 15 years as a master trainer and executive coach. As an advisor and consultant to boards, executives, teams, corporations, numerous government agencies, elected officials and non-profit leadership teams, Darrell has expertise and passion for teambuilding, leadership and organizational effectiveness. He is known for his energy, humor, analogies and straight-talking style.


Austin Johnston

Born and raised in Southern California, Austin started an event lighting business at 14 years old. While working at Starbucks, he recognized his ability to quickly develop quality connections with customers, gaining his first clients and office when he was just 17. At 18, Austin embarked (alone) to New York City, then became a manager of a South American concert tour, thus kicking off his adult career. Today, the AKJOHNSTON Corporation produces over 600 international award-winning projects per year.


Tamara Kennedy-Hill

Tamara Kennedy-Hill, CMP, MBA is Vice President of Diversity and Community Relations for Travel Portland. In this role, Tamara seeks to bring the voice of the tourism/hospitality industry to a wide array of local community issues as well as advance the organization's work in building and strengthening relationships with diverse groups, organizations and communities.

Prior to joining Travel Portland, Tamara served as executive director for the Green Meeting Industry Council: an international nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting sustainability in the meetings and hospitality industry.

Tamara is a Certified Meeting Professional and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, along with a Certificate in Conflict Resolution and Mediation from Marylhurst University. In 2015, she received her MBA in Nonprofit Management from the University of Portland. Although raised in Anchorage, Alaska, Tamara is a native Oregonian. She is married and has one beautifully spirited daughter. In her free time she enjoys hiking, reading, traveling, and spending time with her family.


Kathleen Ronald

Kathleen is known as "Queen of Business Connecting." She is an unparalleled networker, internationally renowned speaker-trainer, business consultant, contributing bestselling author, award winning poet and the founder of Speaktacular. Kathleen has more than 30 years of experience providing custom inspirational keynotes, training seminars and consultations to Fortune 500 companies, direct sales organizations, small business and professional associations.

She is known for helping people leverage 10 hours of networking into tens of thousands of dollars' worth of business. As a highly sought-after business consultant, her involvement allows clients to experience first-year revenue increases of 20-50%.

She has founded successful networking groups, Fortune 10/10 (a women’s investment group), WOW (Women of Wealth) Ventures and Co-founded WIN (Women in Networking).

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