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Elevate Sales Conference
Sales Innovation Program

2021 Elevate Virtual Sales Conference Speakers

Raj Agnihotri

Raj Agnihotri, Ph.D., serves as the Dean's Fellow and Director of Professional Sales Forum. Previously, Agnihotri held the John Merrill Endowed Professorship in Consultative Sales at University of Texas-Arlington. He had served as Freeman Professor of Sales Leadership and Chair of the Marketing Department at Ohio University. At Ohio, he also conceived and launched Consumer Research Center.

Having published over 50 articles in leading scholarly journals, Agnihotri serves on the editorial review boards of several reputed journals. The ongoing impact of his research is evident as the number of Google Citations, just in the last 5 years, is over 2800 cites (overall h-index = 24; i10 = 34). A recent IMM publication examining the research impact of 254 authors (119 articles) places Agnihotri in the Top-10 list in three categories: weighted - number of articles, total citation, and citations/year.

Before entering academia, Agnihotri held a number of sales and marketing positions with startup ventures to major corporations and currently serves on the advisory boards of startups based in the US, Europe, and India. Agnihotri served on the faculty of the prestigious Samson Global Leadership Program at Cleveland Clinic from 2014 to 2017. He has given sales seminars to industry professionals from North America, Brazil, Europe and India.

Agnihotri is a co-author of ABCs of Relationship Selling (McGraw Hill, 13 ed.), a market leader in sales classes globally, and its contents can be found in four international versions. Numerous sales trainers around the world use its selling process to prepare their salespeople.

Michael Ahearne

Michael Ahearne is Professor of Marketing and C.T. Bauer Chair in Marketing at the University of Houston. He is also the Research Director of the Sales Excellence Institute.

Ahearne's research has primarily focused on improving the performance of salespeople and sales organizations. He has published over 50 articles in leading journals such as Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Management Science, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. Ahearne was recently recognized by the American Marketing Association as one of the 10 most research-productive scholars in the field of marketing. His research has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal, Business 2.0, Business Investors Daily, Forbes, Fortune, INC Magazine and many other news outlets.

Ahearne's book "Selling Today: Partnering to Create Customer Value" is the highest-grossing professional selling textbook in the world with copies being distributed in over forty countries. Paired with the many teaching awards he has won at the MBA and undergraduate levels in Sales, Sales Management and Key Account Management, Ahearne has a proven track record of excellence when it comes to disseminating knowledge in his field. He has consulted with over 200 companies in industries such as insurance, health care, consumer packaged goods, technology and transportation. Ahearne was recently honored as the inaugural winner of the Sales Education Foundation Research Dissemination Award for the impact of his research on business practice.

Before entering academia, Ahearne played professional baseball for the Montreal Expos and worked in marketing research and sales operations for Eli Lilly and PCS Healthcare. He actively consults in many industries including insurance, health care, consumer packaged goods, energy, technology and transportation.

Tajh Boyd

Tajh Boyd grew up in the Hampton Roads part of Virginia where he was the son of a sailor. The disciplines and principles he learned early on helped propel him forward on the football field. He attended Phoebus High School in Hampton, Va, and finished his career as a two-time State Champ with a record of 43-2. With All American accolades in high school, Boyd chose to attend Clemson University where he was a part of head coach Dabo Swinney's inaugural class dubbed "The Dandy Dozen." Success ensued after some growing pains, and a new era was born at Clemson. For him, stats didn't mean as much as leaving the environment better than he found it. After Clemson, Boyd founded a nonprofit organization dedicated to youth through sports, mentorship and community outreach. From time to time, you'll see him on ESPN talking ball. He created The Tajh Boyd Podcast that you can find on all platforms. He's in real estate full time and enjoys hunting and hiking. Boyd is a reader, writer, life learner, earner (never given), speaker (if there's value to be added) and a leader (a servant never expecting more than he's willing to give).

Brenna Farahvashi

After graduating from Clemson University, Brenna Farahvashi joined SYNNEX in 2006 and started her career as a Product Manager in SYNNEX's software division managing vendor lines such as Trend Micro, Novell, as well as beginning the SYNNEX relationship with Red Hat. Shortly after, Farahvashi moved into a sales role working with enterprise-level resellers, eventually entering management where she currently leads SYNNEX's Enterprise team and finished at over $800M in Revenue in 2020. The Enterprise team manages some of the largest data centers focused on Value-Added Resellers (VARs) in the channel and has averaged double-digit growth each year under Farahvashi's leadership. Farahvashi holds a master's in Business Administration Degree from Clemson University, and in her spare time, she enjoys being a wife and mother to her two young children, William and Marilyn, riding her Peloton and watching college football - Go Tigers!

Jake Hampton

Jake Hampton is the Associate Director of Sales at Exact Sciences, where he leads an inside sales department of over 150 sales professionals. Exact Sciences is a global company that is a leading provider of cancer screening and diagnostic tests. Hampton is an accomplished sales leader with experiences in field sales, inside sales, sales training and leadership development across the pharmaceutical and molecular diagnostics industries. Hampton and his family reside in New York, NY & Madison, WI, and he is a graduate of Arkansas State University.

Harold Hughes

Harold Hughes is the founder & CEO of Bandwagon - a venture-backed identity infrastructure company that helps its customers transparently manage, aggregate and store valuable consumer identity data. A rising star in data, identity and experience space, Hughes has had his ideas validated as a graduate (and now mentor) of the Founder Institute Greenville chapter; graduate of Capital Factory - Austin, one of the inaugural companies in Google for Startups Black Founders Exchange Program and most recently, the inaugural cohort of the IBM Blockchain Accelerator in 2019.

A man of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Hughes is actively involved in his community participating on the Board of Directors for Rebuild Upstate and Visit Greenville. He also serves as a board member for Women@Austin, a non-profit that focuses on the advancement of women entrepreneurs as they grow their companies. To that end, Hughes is also an active angel investor, investing in women, people of color and Black founder-led companies. Most notably, he has invested in Partake Foods, the Jay-Z-backed CPG company making allergy-friendly, healthy snacks, and HireKanna, a marketplace and training platform for the gig economy in the cannabis industry. As a strong believer in mentorship, he makes time to speak with youth and his peers about his journey to entrepreneurship and how he has found success along the way.

Harold Hughes is a graduate of Clemson University where he received bachelor's degrees in both Economics (B.A.) and Political Science (B.A.). As a "Triple Tiger," he also completed his MBA at Clemson, before pursuing a graduate certificate in Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Stanford University.

Mark Lisi

Mark Lisi currently serves as the Senior Regional Manager, Northeast Distal Extremities for Arthrex. He is a 2001 graduate of Clemson University and a 3 time All-American in Men's Soccer. He won the ACC Title for Clemson Men's Soccer as a member of the 1998 team. He began his career in Sales and Management with Gotham Surgical.

Tarah Lovato

Tarah Lovato graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2013 and started her career at ALKU. Lovato started as a Life Sciences Recruiter and then started the Pharmaceutical division. She has been instrumental in the growth of the Pharmaceutical group from both a sales and recruiting perspective. Today, as the Director of Pharmaceutical Sales, Lovato manages the entire account management side of the Pharmaceutical brand. She leads the growth of three specialized divisions and is responsible for the development of the management team overseeing these groups as ALKU grows.

Ryan Mullins

Ryan Mullins, Ph.D., works on research related to salesforce strategy, sales teams and front-line performance. Mullins' work has appeared in the Journal of Marketing, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Service Research, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Business Research and the Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management.

Mullins also serves the field through his associations with marketing journals across domains. He actively serves on the editorial review boards at the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Service Research and the Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management. Mullins is also an ad-hoc reviewer for the Journal of Marketing, International Journal of Research in Marketing, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Business Research and several marketing-related conferences and peer-reviewed competitions. He is also co-editor of a special issue on 'Sales Team Theory and Practice' for Industrial Marketing Management.

As director of Clemson's Sales Innovation Program, Mullins also works closely with students and sales industry leaders on recruitment, training and performance challenges. Integrating his work into the classroom, Mullins teaches Introduction to Professional Selling, Applied Selling and Sales Management at the undergraduate level and also teaches Sales Leadership at the MBA level. He is also a co-author of the textbook "Professional Selling," which is used in curriculum across numerous sales programs around the country.

In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 kids in the Greenville, SC, community where they live.

Vic Parker

Vic Parker graduated from Clemson University in 1992 with a BS in Science Education. He earned an MBA focused on Management from Emory University and joined Abbott Laboratories from 1995 to 2018. During his time at Abbott, Parker managed 300 people responsible for $6.9 billion in annual sales and expanded his sales force by 125% in 2 years. He joined Exact Sciences in October of 2018 as Head of Sales and is now Head of Health System and Specialty sales. Through COVID-19, Parker led his team to deliver 9% sales growth YOY in the final quarter of 2020. He now Manages 5 independent national sales teams with 750 salespeople in total. These specialty teams included Primary Care, Inside Sales, Gastroenterology Specialty, Women's Health Specialty and Health Systems. Parker is an experienced US sales organization leader with a winning track record working in pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, biotechnology and work experience that spans Sales, Marketing, Medical and Scientific Support and Training.

Adam Rapp

Adam Rapp, Ph.D., is currently the Executive Director and the Ralph and Luci Schey Professor of Sales at Ohio University. Prior to joining the faculty at Ohio, he was the D. Paul Jones and Charlene Jones Endowed Chair in Services Marketing at the University of Alabama. Previously, Rapp was an assistant professor at Clemson University and Kent State University. He has been invited to present at Harvard University and Columbia University, among others, to discuss his cutting-edge techniques and approach to sales management. His work on the Hybrid Manager and Managing Millennials is being taught at institutions around the world. Rapp is a visiting lecturer at the Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School in Belgium, University of Eastern Finland, and the Athens University of Economics and Business and the ALBA School in Greece. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut, an MBA from Villanova University and an undergraduate degree from Penn State. Rapp also spent two years as a doctoral fellow at the University of Houston where he researched and taught in the Sales Excellence Institute.

Rapp has won teaching awards at the University of Houston, University of Connecticut, the overall business school teaching award at Kent State and Clemson Universities, and most recently the Board of Trustees Award for Teaching and Research at Clemson University. He has published three books and over fifty peer-reviewed articles which examine factors influencing the performance of front-line service and sales personnel. He has presented at hundreds of conferences and events around the globe.

After earning his MBA, Rapp spent several years in the market research industry primarily responsible for selling market research products and services to premier companies around the world, including Mondelez, Georgia Pacific and the FOX News Network. He is the founder of the GATS Group Consulting focusing on leadership training, assessment and various market research activities and a principal at the Sales and Leadership Development Group. Rapp has engaged in training and consulting work across several industries which include companies such as Adidas, BASF, Ecolab, Verizon, Bayer, Berlex, Fraser Paper Mills, TEKlinks, Morgan Stanley, Vistakon, Eisai Pharmaceuticals, AchieveGlobal and Kimberly Clark, among others.

Rapp most recently won the 2019 Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management Top Reviewer Award, 2018 Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business Top Researcher Award, 2017 Ohio University Research Impact Award, the 2016 Citations of Excellence award for his publication, "Understanding social media effects across seller, retailer, and consumer interactions" - Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science and the Neil Rackham award for sales knowledge dissemination (2014) and the most impactful theory article in the JPSSM (2014).

Lee Small, CPWA®

Lee Small oversees the distribution of John Hancock Investments mutual funds, ETFs, 529 college savings plan and separate accounts through firms in the Central Division of the United States. He began his career in sales leadership positions with the Hartford Leaders Group and Market Investment Distributors and has also worked for AXA Distributors and Lincoln Financial Distributors, where he was the National Sales Manager of the Bank and Wirehouse/Regional Annuity Sales Team.

Lee, his wife and three daughters live in Franklin, TN. His interests include spending quality time with his family, traveling and all outdoor activities. Lee received a B.S. in Marketing from Clemson University and currently holds his Series 7, 24, 26 and 63 licenses.

J. Daniel and Nancy Garrison Sales Innovation Program
J. Daniel and Nancy Garrison Sales Innovation Program | Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business, 225 Walter T. Cox Blvd., Clemson, SC 29634