Published October 19, 2023

New York, New York—October 16, 2023—The International Trademark Association (INTA) has announced the keynote speakers for its 2023 Leadership Meeting, which will take place November 14 to November 17, 2023, in Houston, Texas, USA.

Each of the three keynote speakers—Janis Burke, CEO, Harris County-Houston Sports Authority (HCHSA) (USA); Jarvis Sam, President and CEO of The Rainbow Distribution (USA); and Edward Kwakwa, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Assistant Director General —offer a unique perspective across a range of issues facing the global intellectual property (IP) community today and will enliven the conversations at the annual four-day gathering of INTA’s Board of Directors and volunteers serving on the Association’s various councils, committees, and project teams. To date, there are 1,467 registrants from 80 jurisdictions set to attend the Global Meeting, with numbers ticking up daily.

One of two Houston-based speakers, Ms. Burke is the first woman CEO of HCHSA since its inception in 1997. Under her leadership, the HCHSA secured bids to bring numerous prestigious sporting events to Houston, including the 2026 FIFA World Cup, Olympic trials, college football championships, the NCAA Men’s Final Four, the AAU Junior Olympics, and other national and world championships that have made Houston the international hub of sports that it is today.

“As someone in a leadership role that has a significant responsibility to our community for bringing in sporting events as well as ensuring the professional sports stadiums remain state-of-the-art, I look forward to sharing some of the ways that our organization has successfully navigated this charge,” Ms. Burke explained. “People often ask what it’s like to be the first female to hold this position and be in a male-dominated industry, so I’ll talk a little bit about my personal journey. I hope it will help inspire those who have a dream to tenaciously and passionately pursue it no matter what life throws their way.”

Born and raised in Houston, Mr. Sam founded The Rainbow Disruption, a multi-services diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) firm. In his keynote address, he will reflect on how his firm has successfully implemented DEI initiatives for various organizations. His experiences fostering and optimizing inclusive and equitable workplaces will offer best practices and strategies that contribute to better workplaces that are steeped in innovation, employee satisfaction, and business success.

“My tenure as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Nike cemented my belief that diversity and inclusion aren’t mere ideals but strategic imperatives. My firm, The Rainbow Disruption, was born from that conviction and exemplifies how embracing diversity fuels innovation and propels organizations to new heights,“ explained Mr. Sam. “At the INTA Leadership Meeting, I’ll underscore the urgency of prioritizing DEI now more than ever as so much weighs in the balance given immense polarization and how, as a collective, we can be a catalyst for global community building. It is crucial that we galvanize our commitment to DEI and ignite a seismic shift toward a future that truly embodies equality and inclusion for all.“

The third keynote speaker, WIPO Assistant Director General Kwakwa, will preview the 2024 World IP Day theme, “IP and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Building Our Common Future with Innovation and Creativity.” His talk will offer a birds-eye view of the issues faced in today’s IP system and describe WIPO’s activities in leading the international community’s attempts to resolve them, discussing IP and how it intersects with some of the world’s most profound challenges, including climate change; global health; and the protection of traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions, and access to genetic resources.

“The theme of World Intellectual Property Day 2024, Intellectual Property and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), could not be more timely,” explained Mr. Kwakwa. He went on to say, “We are seeing, more than ever, how intellectual property can be used to propel innovation in order to address global challenges. Intellectual property can no longer be viewed solely as a legal and technical matter: it can pave a road toward sustainability, and the global intellectual property community must embrace this.”

“INTA is a dynamic, successful, global Association because it is a member-driven organization. Our dedicated volunteers are our most important asset,” said INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo. “Our Leadership Meeting is where we come together to learn from one another and to advance our Association’s mission and strategic goals. Our keynote speakers will provide our community an opportunity to see the world from a different point of view and approach what we do with a new framework.”

The INTA Leadership Meeting is an invitation-only event for its Board of Directors and members who volunteer on its councils, committees, and project teams.

About the International Trademark Association

The International Trademark Association (INTA) is a global association of brand owners and professionals dedicated to supporting trademarks and complementary intellectual property (IP) to foster consumer trust, economic growth, and innovation, and committed to building a better society through brands. Members include nearly 6,000 organizations, representing more than 33,500 individuals (trademark owners, professionals, and academics) from 181 countries, who benefit from the Association’s global trademark resources, policy development, education and training, and international network. Founded in 1878, INTA is headquartered in New York City, with offices in Beijing, Brussels, Santiago, Singapore, and the Washington, D.C., Metro Area, and representatives in Amman, Nairobi, and New Delhi. For more information, visit

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