speaker bios

Keynote Speakers

Connie Podesta, Author of 10 Ways to Stand Out from the Crowd

Connie Podesta's a game‑changing, revenue‑building, idea‑generating speaker whose blend of humor, substance and style have made her one of the most in‑demand speakers in the world today. She has 25 years of speaking experience, has worked as a therapist for 30 years, written seven books and is a former radio and television personality. Connie’s an expert on leadership, change, life balance and getting your act together! She'll show you how to dig deeper, laugh harder and learn how TO GET WHAT YOU WANT out of life more than you ever thought possible!

Jim Olson, Former Chief Counterintelligence of the CIA

Our closing keynote Jim Olson served for over 25 years in the Directorate of Operations of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), mostly overseas in secret operations. In addition to several foreign assignments, he was Chief of Counterintelligence at CIA headquarters in Langley, VA. Highly decorated, Olson has been awarded the Intelligence Medal of Merit, the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal, the Donovan Award and several Distinguished Service Citations. He's currently a professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, where he teaches courses on intelligence, national security and international crisis management.

General Speakers

Liz Little, Fraud Consultant

For more than 17 years, Liz has researched industry fraud trends and provided fraud prevention tips to SHAZAM participants. As an expert in fraud prevention, Liz writes informative and helpful fraud-related articles for Spotlight on Service (SHAZAM’s operational newsletter), Fraud Watch (a section of SHAZAM Access with current fraud information) and travels throughout the United States presenting fraud education to various financial groups. Additionally, she’s a liaison for distributing compromised card notices to financial institutions.

Manish Nathwani, Senior Vice President Product Development

Manish is a key contributor to the vision of SHAZAM's electronic payments business. He and his team develop and enhance products and services to help our clients succeed. In his 13 years at SHAZAM, Manish has worked as a senior engineer / consultant, information technology technical lead, enterprise architect, chief architect and director. He was promoted to his current post in 2016.

Manish has more than 25 years of experience in the electronic payments industry, primarily building enterprise-strength, high-performance online authorization systems. He has experience in POS, ATM, acquirer and issuer processing and worked for companies such as CAP U.K., Tandem Computers, ACI U.K. and HP.

Dan Heimann, Head of Enterprise Brand Strategy

Speaker bio coming soon...

Bruce Hopkins, Head of Processing Brand Strategy

Speaker bio coming soon...

Patrick Dix, Vice President, Public Relations

Patrick Dix manages the SHAZAM Network’s public relations efforts. Patrick serves as the company spokesman and uses his expertise to lead all social media channels, write articles for trade associations, create press releases for the network and provide media training to financial institutions.

Patrick joined the SHAZAM Network in 2015 after a 25–year career as a broadcast journalist, 16 of which was served as the senior news anchor on the No. 1–rated network morning newscast in Des Moines, Iowa. Patrick has been recognized for outstanding reporting with awards from The Society of Professional Journalists, The William Randolph Hearst Foundation and the Midwest Broadcast News Association.

Steve Heston, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing Officer

As a 23–year veteran of financial services technology, Steve has served in a variety of sales and marketing leadership roles with Fiserv, Metavante / FIS and Acxiom Corp., among others. At SHAZAM, he’s responsible for setting strategies and leading SHAZAM’s sales, client engagement, marketing and public relations functions.

Prior to joining SHAZAM, Steve was the chief revenue officer at BancVue / Kasasa in Austin, Texas. He’s also the founding principal of The Heston Group, LLC, a strategic consulting firm specializing in strategy, leadership development and recruitment. In addition, Steve has served on a number of private company boards, as well as on charitable / not–for–profit boards and advisory panels.

Breakout Speakers

Mike Burke, Robbery and Crisis Management Consultant

In 2016, Mike joined the SHAZAM Network with more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement, criminal justice instruction and homeland security. While in law enforcement, Mike served as a detective investigating crimes such as bank robberies, embezzlement, homicides and narcotics violations. Later in his career, Mike developed, implemented and taught a thriving criminal justice program at Iowa Central Community College, where he was recognized as a master presenter by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development.

After 9/11, Mike was asked to serve as founding director of the Iowa Central Homeland Security Training Center. He developed, implemented and delivered critical homeland security curriculum, training more than 40,000 first responders. He also conducted threat assessments for government facilities and was recognized for his initiative and implementation of Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training active‑shooter training in Iowa.

Diana Kern, Senior Trainer

Diana joined SHAZAM in 1995 and is responsible for training new and existing SHAZAM participants on products and services, including ATMs, ATM cards, SHAZAM®Chek cards, merchant services and ACH services.

She leads more than 100 training sessions throughout the year, including those for individual financial institutions, both by telephone and on-site; regional seminars; webinars and special engagements, such as user groups and industry conferences. Diana also serves as an ACH expert for SHAZAM and earned her Accredited ACH Professional certification in 1998.

Kevin Christensen, Senior Vice President of Market Intelligence and Data Analytics

As senior vice president of market intelligence and data analytics, Kevin leads the company’s enterprise–wide governance and utilization of information. He is responsible for providing insights that aids in the development and execution of the company’s strategic goals.

Kevin joined SHAZAM in 2004 as the senior internal audit manager. He became vice president of audit in 2008 and was promoted to vice president of risk and financial services in 2015. He transitioned to his current role in 2016. Prior to joining SHAZAM, Kevin worked for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for 10 years. He also currently serves on the board of directors for NACHA — The Electronic Payments Association®. He helps provide guidance and assists in addressing issues of strategic significance to the ACH network and the national association.

Liz Little, Fraud Consultant

Liz is also a General Session Speaker. Read her bio here.