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‘Flash Boys’ Subject, Brad Katsuyama, Tells of His Revolt Against Wall Street

President and CEO of IEX and former Head of Electronic Sales and Trading at The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Brad Katsuyama spent Wednesday presenting to students and area executives at events sponsored by Belmont’s Center for Executive Education and Edward C. Kennedy Center for Business Ethics.brad katsyuama-103

The subject of Michael Lewis’s international best-seller “Flash Boys,” Katsuyama is most known for his refusal to adopt Wall Street’s practices of high frequency trading and dark pools, and instead, create his own transparent market to conduct trading in the way he believes the stock market was originally intended.

Although leaving his job at RBC was a challenge, Katsuyama knew he was in a position of power and if he saw things he didn’t agree with, it was time to make a change. “I felt this compelling purpose to say, ‘I’m probably in this position for a reason, and I have to do something about it,’” he said. For Katsuyama that meant quitting his job and structuring a team to create a new exchange built around innovation, transparency and fairness.

Since IEX launched in October 2013, the organization has seen rapid growth, but it wasn’t immediate. It took the team many months to raise the required funds and because of that, employees, including Katsuyama, weren’t paid what they were making in previous positions.

With a family and young children, this posed a challenge for Katsuyama, who says he learned that money isn’t as important as he initially thought. “Money becomes so much less meaningful, but it’s only until you don’t have it that you realize how unimportant it really is,” he said.

Now that Katsuyama is finding himself at the heart of the high frequency trading controversy, he continues to be committed to his belief in what the stock market was created to be – a transparent, open exchange for consumers. IEX utilizes technology to ensure they are able to access information at the same speed as high frequency trading firms. Although some organizations have used technology to create an information sharing asymmetry, giving an advantage to one party over another, IEX and Katsuyama are committed to utilizing technology for the advantages it provides all parties.

“Technology is a great amplifier,” Kaysyama said. “We are using [it] to create fairness, as opposed to skirting around it or even distorting it.”

When asked about values that contribute to his commitment to best practices and information transparency, Katsuyama said, “I view myself as someone lucky enough to have found the right people and make some good choices.” At the end of the day, Katsuyama believes the market should operate on fairness, and he is willing to fight for it – even if it means going up against some of Wall Street’s biggest players.

Executive Learning Networks Announce Fall Leadership Breakfast Speaker

KotlerSteven Kotler, New York Times best-selling author, innovation leader, Peak Performance Expert and co-founder and director of research for the Flow Genome Project, is set to speak at the Center for Executive Education’s annual Fall Leadership Breakfast Dec. 4 in Belmont’s Curb Event Center. Following a time of networking and breakfast, Kotler’s program will begin at 7:30 a.m. and be followed at 9 a.m. by a book signing. The $45 admission includes breakfast, the program and Kotler’s most recent book, The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance.

An award-winning journalist, Kotler also was co-author of Abundance, which was released by Simon and Schuster in 2012. Abundance received international praise and was named by CNBC as one of the Top 12 Business Books of 2012 and by Fortune as Top 5 Must-Read Business Books of 2012. Kotler is also the author of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated A Small Furry Prayer, the Pen-West finalist West of Jesus and the best-selling novel and winner of the 2000 William L. Crawford IAFA Fantasy Award, The Angle Quickest for Flight.

His articles have appeared internationally in more than 70 publications, and he writes “Far Frontiers,” a blog about innovation and entrepreneurship for, and “The Playing Field,” a blog about the science of sport and culture, for

Kotler is also the co-founder of Rancho de Chihuahua dog sanctuary, which has been nationally recognized for pioneering new methodologies in both hospice care for elderly animals and long term rehabilitation for special needs animals. Prior to this work, and alongside the LA Lakers and 826 LA, Steven was co-founder of the nonprofit, The Reporter’s Gym, a sports-writing camp for inner city high school students.

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and EO Nashville are Belmont’s community partners for this event. For more information and to register, visit here.


Author Malcolm Gladwell Reminds Executives, Students Importance of Legitimacy

malcolm gladwell-123-XLWhen not legitimized by authority, anger transforms underdogs into radicals, bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell told business executives and students on Friday morning as he captivated their attention with his narratives.

Belmont University’s Executive Learning Network and Parnassus Books brought the author and The New Yorker staff writer to the Curb Event Center on Friday for the Spring Leadership Breakfast.

Gladwell shared the story of New York socialite turned suffragist Alva Vanderbilt and her philanthropist daughter, Consuelo, intertwined with nuggets on Northern Ireland women who marched on armed British soldiers. His talk was pickled with modern day references to the Kardashians, Kanye West lyrics and the Sochi Winter Olympics.


Belmont, Parnassus Welcome Best-Selling Author Malcolm Gladwell for Leadership Breakfast

Malcolm Gladwell for Time Magazine by Bill Wadman, October 2008Belmont University’s Executive Learning Network, in joint partnership with Parnassus Books, will host bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell as the keynote speaker during its Leadership Breakfast on Feb. 21 in the Curb Event Center Arena. The Nashville Chamber of Commerce is a supporting sponsor of Gladwell’s appearance.

Gladwell is the author of five New York Times bestsellers including his latest, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants and a staff writer for The New Yorker. He has been named one of the 100 most influential people by TIME magazine and one of the Foreign Policy’s Top Global Thinkers. He explored how ideas spread in the Tipping Point, decision making in Blink, and the roots of success in Outliers. With his latest book, David and Goliath, he examines our understanding of the advantages of disadvantages, arguing that we have underestimated the value of adversity and over-estimated the value of privilege.

“As the Center for Executive Education’s Leadership Breakfast series continues to offer valuable professional development opportunities, we are glad to have such a renowned journalist and author share his insight on social sciences and translate his findings into applicable principles for Nashville business leaders,” said Center of Executive Education Director of Executive Learning and Marketing Jill Robinson.

The Spring Leadership Breakfast is open to the general public for $45 per ticket, which covers breakfast, entrance to the program and a complimentary copy of Gladwell’s book David and Goliath. Attendees may register online here. Parnassus Books will also have copies of Gladwell’s other titles available for purchase at the event.

Event Schedule
6:30 a.m.              Registration & Networking
7:30 a.m.              Keynote Address:  David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants
9 a.m.                    Book signing

About the Center for Executive Education
The Center for Executive Education at Belmont University has been a premier provider of leadership education for more than 25 years, existing to provide world-class learning to meet the needs of the Nashville community and beyond. The Center provides a full range of executive learning opportunities including its Executive Learning Networks, Executive Leadership Experience, certificate programs and customized solutions. ELN membership consists of senior leaders from over 50 Middle Tennessee companies who seek to learn from one another and national leaders through ongoing networking, speakers’ series and small group discussions.

About Parnassus Books
Parnassus Books, an independent bookstore for independent people, is located in Nashville, Tenn. Co-owned by bestselling author Ann Patchett and publishing veteran Karen Hayes, Parnassus stocks the best selections of literature, non-fiction, children’s, local interests, and the arts. With over 250 author events a year, Parnassus continues to help grow Nashville’s literary community.

Ariely Discusses Irrational Behavior During Leadership Breakfast

Fall leadership breakfast 2013-189-LThe Center for Executive Education hosted Dan Ariely as the keynote speaker during its Fall Leadership Breakfast on Dec. 5 in the Curb Event Center arena. Presented in partnership with the Nashville Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurs’ Organization Nashville, the event explored how irrational behavior is a part of human nature as well as how emotions, relativity and social norms influence economic behavior.

Ariely began his keynote address with the story of how an explosion while he served in the Israel Defense Forces burned 70 percent of his body and kept him in a hospital for three years. During that time, he debated with nurses how to change the bandages of burn patients. They insisted on swift removal, which caused intense pain for a short period. Ariely preferred a slow peeling of the bandages, which lessened the pain but increased its duration, he said. After recovering from his injuries and pursuing higher education, Ariel began studying decision making through experiments that pinched fingers, made annoying sounds, radiated electrical shocks and changed body temperatures through suits running with hot or cold water. This led him to conclusions on why humans make systematic, predictable mistakes.

“The environment in which you are being placed makes a lot of the decisions for you,” he said. For example, in Denmark where drivers must opt-in to an organ donation program, the country has only 4 percent participation. On the other hand, Poland uses an opt-out form for organ donation and has 100 percent participation, simply because people do not like to fill out forms.


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