Jim Mattis is an expert on national security issues, especially strategy, innovation, the effective use of military force, and the Middle East.

He was the commander of the US Central Command from 2010 to 2013, responsible for military operations involving more than 200,000 US soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines in Afghanistan, Iraq, and eighteen other countries in the Middle East and south-central Asia.

He commanded at multiple levels, from second lieutenant through four-star general, including Task Force 58 for the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and the First Marine Division in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He also served as a recruiter, commanded the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, and was the executive secretary to Secretary of Defense William Perry.

Les Denend

 Les Denend has served on over twenty public and private company boards, including Vice Chairman and lead director of USAA. He is the former president and CEO of Network General Corporation. He was also a partner at McKinsey and Company.

Les served as Special Assistant to the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs in the Carter Administration. He served as the deputy director of the Cabinet Council on Economic Affairs in the Reagan administration. He was also an advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

He graduated from the U. S. Air Force Academy and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship.  Les earned a PhD in Economics, Public Policy and Business and an M. B. A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.  He was selected as a White House Fellow in the Ford Administration.

Mr. Denend is a retired U. S. Air Force colonel who flew 194 combat missions in Southeast Asia. He is also the past Chair of the American Leadership Forum, Silicon Valley Chapter.


Charles A. O’Reilly III is the Frank E. Buck Professor of Management at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford. He began his education in 1965 at the University of El Paso Texas where he received his BS in Chemistry. In 1971 he received his MBA in Information Systems, from the University of California, Berkeley where he also received his PhD in Organizational Behavior in 1975. He began his teaching career as an assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, from 1976-80. He later became a professor at the University of California, Berkeley from 1980-92. In 1993 he joined Stanford University where he has been since, and has received many awards, including the MBA Distinguished Teaching Award in 2002. He was also the Henry Ford Carroll Professor at the Harvard Business School in 1999-2000.

Professor O’Reilly’s research interests are studies of leadership, organizational culture and demography, the management of human resources, and the impact of change and innovation on firms. His previous books include: Winning through Innovation: a Practical Guide to Leading Organizational Change and Renewal with Mike Tushman (Harvard Business School Press, 2002) and Hidden Value: Getting Extraordinary Results with Ordinary People with Jeff Pfeffer (Harvard Business School Press, 2000). This book shows how successful firms are able to win the war for talent – and why their competitors find it so difficult to replicate their success. He has authored more than 100 papers and is writing his next book, with Mike Tushman, Ambidextrous Organizations: Resolving the Innovator’s Dilemma which explores how managers can design organizations that can generate streams of innovation and deal with disruptive technological change.

Professor O’Reilly has consulted for a variety of public and private firms in the U.S., Europe, Africa, and Asia. He also has developed, directed, and taught in executive programs for senior managers in innovation, technology, leadership, change, and human resources.

Ana McCullough
Ana Rowena McCullough is Co-Founder and CEO of QuestBridge, a revenue-generating non-profit organization which connects America’s brightest low-income students to the nation’s best universities and opportunities. While an undergraduate at Stanford, Ana co-founded QuestBridge with Michael McCullough in 1994. QuestBridge now partners with 36 of the nation’s best colleges and universities. QuestBridge is working to revolutionize the way leading colleges and universities recruit talented low-income students, and the way that these students approach their educations and futures. For her work with QuestBridge, Ana received the prestigious Dinkelspiel Award for outstanding contributions to education at Stanford. Ana speaks nationally to academic, corporate, and student audiences on topics such as access to higher education, the abundance of untapped talent in America, and making the most of your teens and 20’s, including and especially the college years. 

Ana is Co-Founder and former VP of Content at, and is a former management consultant at McKinsey & Company. In addition, she worked for five years as a consulting scientist to the Environmental Defense Fund and served as a research associate for Stanford President emeritus Donald Kennedy. Ana holds a J.D. degree from Stanford Law School where she focused on youth and environmental law. Together with her husband Michael McCullough, Ana serves as Co-Founder of the Quest Scholars Program and QuestBridge.