Keynote Speakers

James P. Owen


James P. Owen is Founder and Chief Inspiration Officer of the Center for Cowboy Ethics and Leadership, the foundation he created to help spread the message that “we can all be heroes in our own lives.” He is also an inspirational speaker, author, and social entrepreneur. Jim’s book credits include the best-selling first edition of Cowboy Ethics (2004), Cowboy Values (2008), and The Try (2010), a collection of profiles highlighting the character qualities that enable ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

It was not until later in life that Jim found his “true purpose.” After more than thirty-five years in business, he was so dismayed by the country’s spreading epidemic of corporate scandals and social discord that he felt compelled to speak out, urging a return to the basic core values that all Americans can share. Ever since, he has dedicated his time to projects offering inspiration to those who want to be their best selves, with a special focus on young people and those in business. He also logs thousands of miles each year as he travels the country, speaking to groups of all kinds.

Jim is a summa cum laude graduate of Regis University. He and his wife, Stanya, have two grown children and reside in Austin, Texas.

Jessica Buchanan


Jessica Buchanan was born in Portland, Oregon, but spent her formative years growing up outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2003, Buchanan moved to the greater Philadelphia area to pursue a degree in education and subsequently began to travel during her summer months, teaching and volunteering in Honduras, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda. She secured a student teaching position at an international school based in Nairobi, Kenya, and later began teaching full time. After a few years in the classroom, she later moved to Hargeisa, Somaliland, where she worked as a consultant for the United Nations Educational branch, and then later took on the role as Education Advisor for the Danish Demining Group, the Mine Action unit of the Danish Refugee Council. Together with her colleagues, Jessica worked in South Sudan, Somaliland, Somalia and Ugandan communities teaching them the basics of Mine Risk Education, Firearm Safety Education and Conflict Management Education, a job she was doing when she was kidnapped in Galkayo, Somalia, on October 25, 2011.

Erik Landemalm was born outside of Stockholm, Sweden and did military service in a special unit of the Swedish Navy as a Conscript Sergeant. He attended the University of Örebro in Sweden and the University of Newcastle in Australia. In early 2006, after having already worked with Somalia issues for various Swedish government agencies, Landemalm moved to Somalia to manage a program working with prison reforms and to set up Human Rights standards for the judiciary sector in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland. While working in Somalia, he also spent time working on programs in Zimbabwe and Kenya for the Swedish NGO, Diakonia. In 2008, Landemalm started managing projects for AWEPA, a European Parliamentary association with a focus on helping the legislative institutions in Somalia, Puntland and the unrecognized self-declared state of Somaliland build up their capacity and infrastructural needs. For his projects achievements in Somaliland, the President of Somaliland, on behalf of their Parliament, gave his project a certificate of appreciation in June 2011.

Landemalm and Buchanan have since relocated to the United States and are now living in the Washington DC area where they continue to consult and conduct trainings in areas of International Development, and security related issues. Buchanan also works actively as an ambassador for the Navy SEAL Foundation, a group that aims to support the families of active duty SEALs, as well as provide continued support for the families of SEALs that have died in the line of duty.