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

David Adelman, Principal & Director, Cornerstone Government Affairs

David Adelman joined Cornerstone Government Affairs in 2010, bringing over 10 years of substantial experience in grassroots advocacy, developing and implementing strategic legislative campaigns, drafting and analyzing legislative language and reports and establishing, administering and advising political action committees. Before joining Cornerstone, David worked for a law firm in West Des Moines where his practice focused on government relations, legislative law, PAC compliance and strategic advising, and election law.

Jimmy Centers, Vice President for Strategic Communications, Cornerstone Government Affairs

Jimmy Centers joined Cornerstone Public Affairs in March 2017 as Vice President for Strategic Communications. Jimmy has worked in Iowa politics for over a decade. He has worked on presidential, congressional, gubernatorial and legislative races, in addition to various other state-wide campaigns. Before joining Cornerstone, Jimmy founded and operated his own public relations company, Message Delivered, which offered clients full-scale public affairs and legislative communications campaigns and strategic message counsel.

Matt Hinch, Cornerstone Government Affairs Senior Vice President

Matt Hinch brings over a decade of experience in state and federal government and as a well-respected campaign and political strategist. Most recently, Matt served as chief of staff to Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, where he oversaw the day-to-day operations of the State of Iowa’s executive branch and the Governor's office. In addition, he served as the chief policy and political advisor to the Governor leading successful legislative efforts to strengthen Iowa's infrastructure, improve workforce training and reduce student debt.

Matt Paul, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs, Cornerstone Government Affairs

Matt Paul joined Cornerstone in 2017 as Senior Vice President for Public Affairs. Matt brings to the firm nearly 20 years of experience working in public affairs at the local, state and federal level. Matt began his career as a reporter in television and radio in Eastern Iowa. He entered politics at the local level, working for two mayors of his hometown of Cedar Rapids. He then served Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack in several positions over eight years including press secretary, communications director and senior advisor. Matt also has experience in state and national politics. He managed Senator Tom Harkin's final re-election campaign in 2008.

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

Dan Heimann joined SHAZAM in 2017 as the principal strategist for growing issuer and acquirer participation in the SHAZAM brand network. He works to ensure SHAZAM provides competitive and innovative services to create value for its participants. He also frequently consults with SHAZAM executives, financial institutions, merchant, processors, industry groups and payments innovators to create value and opportunities to compete.

Prior to joining SHAZAM, Dan spent more than 30 years in the payments industry with companies like ACI Worldwide and most recently Merchant Customer Exchange. He has a detailed understanding of how payments work and a deep knowledge of the economic, competitive and regulatory landscape of U.S. and global payments.

Bruce Hopkins, Head of Processing Brand Strategy

Bruce Hopkins joined SHAZAM in 2017 as the principal strategist for growing the organization’s processing business, which includes issuer, fraud, ATM, mobile, merchant, ACH and gateway solutions.

He’s an accomplished executive with almost 30 years of experience leading payments, operations and technology teams at top financial services and technology firms. His broad background across many aspects of the payments ecosystem uniquely positions him to create best‑in‑class processing services at SHAZAM in an evolving environment.

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.

Catherine Cluney, Senior Client Executive

Catherine joined SHAZAM in 2009 and has since devoted her role to understanding what her clients need and providing them with strategic products and services. Catherine has previous experience at multiple community financial institutions, holding various roles including cash management officer, assistant vice president and vice president.

Matt Dix, Senior Client Executive

Matt provides strategic guidance to help clients overcome business challenges, and exceed their goals. Prior to joining SHAZAM in 2016, Matt was an Education Technology Consultant with Tierney Brothers Inc. where he used his experience as an educator to create 21st century learning environments across Iowa. Over a 20+ year career, he has worked with leadership in a variety of industries to uncover the best solution for every unique environment.

Laura McBride, Senior Client Executive

Laura has over 10 years of experience in building strategic account relationships and technical project management. In her role as a senior client executive, Laura provides data to clients and explains insights that help them efficiently run their business. Laura received a bachelor of science in business administration, general business and marketing from Drake University.

Eric Westergaard, Senior Client Executive

Eric joined SHAZAM in April 2018, bringing over 20 years of strategic client relationship experience across multiple industries. One of Eric's primary areas of focus in his career has been using data to help clients' businesses through marketing promotion, financial analysis and using big data to connect clients with current and future accountholders. Eric majored in finance while earning his bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Iowa.

Tim White, Sales Engineer

Tim works closely with the SHAZAM sales team to demonstrate the full capabilities of SHAZAM’s Cardinal Core processing system and ancillary products to prospective clients. He also cultivates relationships with core banking consultants and prepares detailed product and pricing information in response to bank and consultant requests for proposals. Before joining SHAZAM in 2015, Tim served as executive vice president and chief operations officer for Bank of Houston, a bank with assets of $1.1 billion in Houston, Texas.

Liz Little, Fraud Consultant

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