Last week, I announced the exciting news that we are welcoming Dr. Condoleezza Rice, the 66th U.S. Secretary of State, and New York Times bestselling author, Michael Lewis, to Citrix Synergy 2018. It’s fair to say that these two people have literally changed the world, in completely different ways – from demonstrating leadership and diplomacy to reshaping how entire industries operate and think. I’ve spent time over the last month reflecting on their work and what they will bring to our discussions at Synergy.

Following the Super Sessions at Synergy 2017, I had some great conversations with customers about the insights we all loved from General Colin Powell and Malcolm Gladwell. I know that our guests this year will similarly spark deep discussions about their topics and their amazing life stories.

The conflicts of leadership

Both Dr. Rice and Mr. Lewis are compelling writers, and one of the ways I’ve been getting to know them is through their books. In No Higher Honor, Dr. Rice describes the fearful atmosphere in the days after 9/11 and how it influenced the actions that followed. Even with so many unknowns, rapid decision-making and committed leadership was required. Ultimately, it’s a story of two women: the national security advisor charged with taking immediate action and the secretary of state working to spread democracy—which is still the best chance for global peace, as Dr. Rice argues in her latest book, Democracy: Stories From the Long Road to Freedom.

Her experiences as an African American woman, from growing up in segregated Birmingham to serving at the highest levels of power, have led her to take the long view. Democracy takes a long time to build, and progress is not linear. I’m looking forward to hearing her speak at Synergy 2018 about her story — rising to groundbreaking success in the face of so much adversity — the art of diplomacy and how it applies not only on the world stage but also in business, the workplace, and within work teams.

The power of technology

So many things have been said about Michael Lewis’ writing that we’ve run out of superlatives to describe it. The journalist and author and former bond salesman is, above all, a captivating storyteller. When it comes to building a compelling narrative about a complex subject, he has no equal — so I can’t wait for his talk at Synergy about AI, machine learning and their role in business decision making.

Lately, I’ve been unable to put down The New New Thing, about Netscape’s Jim Clark and his unlikely role in creating Silicon Valley, and Flash Boys, the story of how geeks took over the stock market and the race among high-frequency traders to build a faster network and tap new algorithms to capture a nanosecond edge in gaining market insights and executing trades. And of course, you will all be familiar with book turned award-winning film, Moneyball, which helped redefine how sports teams — and businesses — use analytics to field top-performing teams.

They’re not his latest work, but ones with obvious parallels to our day-to-day, talking in plain terms about how computing continues to reshape our world. Access to technology confers power. How do we use that power wisely as we go boldly where no regulatory agency has gone before? Mr. Lewis will explore this human factor in technology and discuss how it adds layers of complexity that are not yet fully understood.

There you have it — two incredible speakers who will keep you thinking long after Synergy 2018 ends. They join our own president and CEO David Henshall, who will explore themes of leadership and technology from the Citrix perspective in the Opening Keynote, which will highlight the incredible pace of our innovation and how our customers are using it to their competitive advantage. It’s all part of a stellar lineup of programming this year that I hope you won’t miss. Take a look at what’s coming: www.citrixsynergy.com.