Thought-provoking talks

OMED 2020 keynote speakers include world-class athletes and a renowned political analyst

This year’s speakers include record-breaking swimmer Diana Nyad and National Journal contributor Charlie Cook, founder of the Cook Political Report.

In 2013, at the age of 64, Diana Nyad achieved her lifelong dream of swimming from Cuba to Florida—an 110-mile journey that took 53 hours. She became the first person to swim from Havana to Key West without the aid of a shark cage.

The feat followed several prior attempts to swim the route since the 1980s and three attempts after she turned 60. Upon finishing, a breathless Nyad said, “I have three messages. One is we should never ever give up. Two is you are never too old to chase your dreams. And three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it takes a team.”

Diana Nyad

Nyad also broke records in the 1970s by swimming around Manhattan Island and crossing the 102.5 miles between the Bahamas and Florida. She in the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame.

In addition to her athletic accomplishments, Nyad is a powerful storyteller. She is the author of the memoir, Find A Way, and a sports broadcaster whose work has appeared on NPR, ABC, Fox Sports and in The New York Times.

On Oct. 15 at 8 a.m. CT, Nyad will be the headlining keynote speaker at OMED 2020, where she will share a detailed account of how she overcame challenges to become one of the most celebrated athletes in the world.

Three additional keynote speakers will also be addressing attendees at OMED 2020, a virtual conference which takes place Oct. 15-18 this year; their details are below, and more info about them is available here.

A renowned nonpartisan political analyst

Charlie Cook

Political analyst and National Journal contributor Charlie Cook founded the independent, nonpartisan Cook Political Report in 1984. Now with a staff of six, the publication has been praised by The New York Times as “a newsletter that both parties regard as authoritative” while CBS News’ Bob Schieffer has called it “the bible of the political community.” The publication provides analysis of elections and campaigns for the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate, governors and the presidency and also covers American political trends.

Cook has appeared on ABC World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News, the NBC Nightly News, and on ABC’s This Week. He has also appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press over a dozen times. Over the years, Cook has served as an election night analyst for several networks. Since 1996, he spends election nights on the NBC News Election Night Decision Desk.

Cook will speak to OMED attendees as a keynote speaker on Oct. 16 at 8 a.m. CT.

This keynote presentation is supported by OPAC.

An inspiring Paralympian

Bonnie St. John

After having her right leg amputated at age five, Bonnie St. John went on to become the first African-American to win medals at a Winter Olympics, taking home a silver and two bronze medals at the 1984 Winter Paralympics in Innsbruck, Austria.

Beyond athletics, St. John is also a Harvard graduate and former Rhodes Scholar and served as a director of the White House National Economic Council. She represented the U.S. in delegations to both the Winter Paralympics in Vancouver in 2010 and the Summer Paralympics in Rio in 2016.

Throughout her life, St. John has become an expert on achieving success in the face of adversity. She is the author of the book Micro-Resilience: Minor Shifts for Major Boosts in Focus, Drive and Energy, which provides tools and techniques for gaining a competitive edge in today’s world.

As an OMED keynote speaker, on Oct. 17 at 8 a.m. CT, St. John will provide advice on how leaders and their teams can constructively discuss sensitive subjects and topics to foster greater understanding and lead with resilience.

A five-time Olympian

Tony Azevedo

Following his near-death experience at the tender age of four, Tony Azevedo’s doctors believed his injuries meant he would never be able to play sports.

Unwilling to accept this prognosis, Azevedo persevered and ultimately became a five-time Olympic athlete with the U.S. men’s water polo team, which won a silver medal in Beijing in 2008. Azevedo also played water polo on professional teams abroad for over a decade, leading each team he played with to championship titles.

As an OMED keynote speaker, on Oct. 18 at 8 a.m. CT, Azevedo will talk about achieving success against stacked odds and his experience at the Olympics. Olympic team physician Naresh Rao, DO, will introduce Azevedo.

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