NextGen Speaker Series2019-09-13T21:25:15+00:00

The NextGen Speaker Series

Brings together business and community professionals to encourage Leadership, Mentorship, Empowerment and Philanthropy. Connect with business leaders in the community and hear inspirational stories of achievement from world-renowned entrepreneurs and CEOs.

About the NEXTGENTM Speaker Series

The prestigious NextGen Speaker Series is a gathering of America’s most distinguished business leaders, right here in Naples, Florida. Keynote speakers are world-renowned entrepreneurs and CEOs who share their extraordinary life journeys with an exclusive invitation-only audience.

The NEXTGENTM Speaker Series started with a simple question. Michael Benson, CEO of Benson Blackburn, asked industry leaders to visit his office for a mentorship session with his team. His team was so fascinated by what they heard, they decided this information and these life journeys should be shared with the community. This led to the establishment of the NextGen Speaker Series, held two to three times per year at a private venue by invitation only.

To date, Benson Blackburn has hosted 15 NextGen Speaker Series events, with over 2,500 attendees. The speaker series was established to encourage Leadership, Mentorship, Empowerment and Philanthropy.

As part of a community outreach and mentorship process, the NextGen Speaker Series partnered with FGCU, Hodges University, Florida SouthWestern State College, The Immokalee Foundation, Imagine Solutions, Leadership Collier Foundation, Community Foundation of Collier County and Champions for Learning, to encourage deans and students to attend and learn from these industry leaders.

Each session, Benson Blackburn nominates a “focused charitable organization” in honor of the featured speaker. Focused charities have included The Shelter for Abused Women and Children, The First Tee of Naples, The Immokalee Foundation, American Cancer Society, NCH Healthcare System, the Naples Children & Education Foundation and Leadership Collier Foundation.

Join us for the next Speaker Series event featuring:

Jim McDermott NextGen Speaker Series Headshot

Jim McDermott

Friday, December 6, 2019 – Grey Oaks Country Club – 8:00 AM to 10:30 AM

Imagine disrupting the US Postal Service! As an investor and entrepreneur, Mr. McDermott has started, run and invested in over 25 companies. Examples include:, Inc. (NASDAQ: STMP)(Founder & CEO), NanoH2O, Inc. – acquired by LG Chem (Founder & Board Member), Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc. (Founder, Executive and Chairman), Moleaer, Inc. (Founder & Board Member) and Carbon Engineering (Board Member).

Ian C. Read NextGen Speaker Series Headshot

Ian Read

Friday, February 28, 2020 – Grey Oaks Country Club – 8:00 AM to 10:30 AM

In his previous role, Mr. Read served as Pfizer’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer beginning in December 2011, having been named President and Chief Executive Officer in December 2010. He previously served as Senior Vice President and Group President of Pfizer’s Worldwide Biopharmaceutical Businesses, overseeing five global business units: Primary Care, Specialty Care, Oncology, Established Products and Emerging Markets.

Michael Siegal NextGen Speaker Series Headshot

Michael Siegal

Thursday, March 26, 2020 – Grey Oaks Country Club – 8:00 AM to 10:30 AM

Mr. Siegal’s career at Olympic Steel is one of Corporate America’s success stories. After accepting an entry-level position at his family’s business in 1974, Michael progressed through the ranks to CEO over the next 20 years, being named President in 1984. Under his leadership, the company experienced consistent growth and has been transformed from a family-owned steel distributor to a publicly traded, fully integrated, value-added processor and supply chain manager serving the outsourcing needs of America’s largest manufacturers. All totaled, Olympic Steel has grown from $35 Million to more than a $1.7 Billion in revenues and seen marked improvement in its key performance and financial metrics under Mr. Siegal’s leadership.

Thank you to our Sponsors!

Sponsored by

Benson Balckburn Logo

Michael D. Benson

Visionary Sponsors

Arthrex Logo

Dennis O’Keefe

Conroy, Conroy, & Durant, P.A

J. Thomas Conroy, III

Cohen & Grigsby Logo

Michael G. Dana

eBella Magazine Logo

Sharon Hood

FineMark Bank Logo

Adria D. Starkey

Germain Lexus of Naples Logo

Zach Germain

Henderson Franklin Logo

Russell P. Schropp, Esquire

John R. Wood Properties

Phillip Wood

Lurie Logo

Farley S. Kaufmann, CPA, CVA, CEPA

Marsh Private Client Services Logo

Patrick M. Trittler

Meristem Family Wealth Logo

David J. Legus

Morgan Stanley Logo

Kevin Johnson

Pure Insurance Logo

Robin Minch

Quarles & Brady Logo

T. Robert Bulloch

Unity Jets Logo

Kevin Diemar

Our Community Partners

Florida Gulf Coast University Logo
Hodges University Logo
Florida SouthWestern State College Logo
Imagine Solutions Logo
Leadership Collier Foundation Logo
The Immokalee Foundation Logo
Community Foundation of Collier County Logo
Champions for Learning Logo