Chief Executive Officer, NTCA | The Rural Broadband Association
Tuesday, 7 February | 8:45 - 9:45 a.m. EST
Making the Most of
this Infrastructure Moment
The time is now to bridge the digital divide and connect all Americans with high-quality broadband service. NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association CEO Shirley Bloomfield will discuss the impact of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, ways the funding
will flow and how various industries can come together to overcome possible challenges such as workforce and supply chain issues.
About the Speaker:
Shirley Bloomfield is chief executive officer of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, the premier association representing nearly 850 independent telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. With
more than 30 years of experience representing the country’s smallest telecom operators, Bloomfield is an expert on the role of federal communications policies in sustaining the vitality of rural and remote communities and the benefits rural
broadband networks bring to millions of American families, businesses and the national economy. Bloomfield has a strong track record of leadership in aligning strategic partnerships among rural telecom companies, their larger counterparts, other rural
utilities and federal agencies, advancing digital equity and economic opportunities for rural Americans. Under her leadership, NTCA has promoted public-private partnerships among rural communications providers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture
and FCC, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars flowing to rural communities to advance broadband networks and help close the digital divide. Bloomfield is a strong supporter of national efforts to improve the resilience and reliability of critical
electric and telecommunications infrastructure and serves as a board member of the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative and the Southeast Reliability Corporation (SERC).
Midweek Keynote Speaker JJ Birden
Former NFL player
Wednesday, 8 February | 9:15 - 10:00 a.m. EST
A Small Man in a
Big Man’s Game
Like a fabled long-shot story and underdog tale, JJ Birden was The Small Man in the Big Man’s Game of Football.
After earning a scholarship to the University of Oregon for track and field (plus being the #1 high school wide receiver in Oregon), JJ also earned a walk-on spot with the football team his sophomore year. His trials were only just beginning though, and
he was faced with many naysayers, followed by a cycle of injuries, and unimpressive stats.
JJ’s hard work, grit, speed, and resiliency were enough to eventually earn him the invite to the NFL Combine, where he dominated. His performance earned him an NFL draft pick, and he was on his way, or so he thought. Another series of injuries and
failed physicals culminated in one of the darkest moments in JJ’s early career; JJ was rejected by 4 NFL teams in 5 days.
He could have walked away from the game and given up hope in spite of what seemed like insurmountable odds, but JJ didn’t even flinch. Instead, he did what he’s always done when faced with adversity—he found a way to win.
Closing Keynote Speaker Kai Kight
Thursday, 9 February | 10:45 - 11:45 a.m. EST
Compose Your World
Whether in education, business, healthcare, or government, the systems and routines we depended on for so long have disappeared. While this void has been devastating, it also leaves us with an incredible opportunity: a blank page on which we can compose our future. We will look back at this time as the moment we made leaps forward by creating more innovative technologies, more human-centric businesses, and more inclusive workplaces. As a violinist and keynote speaker, Kai Kight believes that music can be used not only as an escape during this difficult time, but as a guide for us to learn from as we look to redesign our lives and work.
About the speaker:
As a classical violinist turned innovative composer, Kai Kight uses music as a metaphor to inspire individuals and organizations across the world to compose paths of imagination and fulfillment. Inspired by his own mother who, when diagnosed with cancer, revealed regrets of not bringing her ideas to the world. Kai is on a mission to spark a global mindset shift in which ingenuity is the norm, not the exception.
Kai’s unique background is one of both art and science. As a musician, Kai has performed his original music for thousands in venues across the world, from the White House to the Great Wall of China. As a product of Stanford University’s design and engineering program, the d. School, and the Behavior Design Lab, Kai studied how to help people create healthy and transformative habits in life. On stage, Kai fuses these experiences to create presentations that are not only designed to stir the soul, but spark concrete action.