Our Insightful & Visionary Speakers

For information on becoming and/or nominating a speaker, please contact Caryn Brown at 212-967-2519, or email her at
Caryn.Brown@frost.com

Keynote Speakers From Our Previous Event

Lou Von Thaer

Lou Von Thaer

President and Chief Executive Officer, Battelle

Lewis “Lou” Von Thaer was appointed President and CEO of Battelle, the world’s largest independent research and development organization, effective October 1, 2017. Formed in 1925 as a charitable trust and headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Battelle delivers technology solutions for the national security, healthcare, energy, and environmental markets.

Full Bio

The company has a storied history of innovation and technology advances and is highly regarded for its role in managing seven national laboratories in the United States.

Most recently, Lou served as CEO of DynCorp International, a $2 billion company with 12,000 employees. There he was responsible for driving growth across several federal market sectors including aviation services, intelligence solutions, logistics and contingency operations, and operations and maintenance support.

Von Thaer began his technology career with AT&T Bell Laboratories, serving in a number of engineering and management roles with increasing responsibilities over 14 years, until the purchase of his division by General Dynamics. During his 16 years at General Dynamics, Von Thaer rose to the position of President, Advanced Information Systems and was named a Corporate Officer. In 2013, Von Thaer joined Leidos, Inc. as President of the company’s National Security Sector, a $4 billion business focused on intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, cyber, logistics, and systems solutions.

Irv Christy

Irv Christy

World Wide Head of Field Training and Delivery, Amazon Web Services

Irv Christy’s mission is to proactively lead the transformation of the worldwide salesforce at Amazon Web Services. As the market leader in cloud infrastructure and services for the past 8 years, AWS has been an innovator, pioneering the development of new cloud products and services.

Full Bio

The appointment of Christy signals an equal focus by AWS on commercial innovation as they continue to scale their growing global business. Prior to his role in field enablement and training, Irv led the AWS Inception Business Development team where he oversaw the strategic planning, launch, and post-launch discovery for new category services at AWS such as AWS Ground Station and AWS RoboMaker. While at AWS, Irv has led innovation discussions with over 100 different commercial and public sector customers from a broad swath of industries. Prior to joining AWS, Irv held leadership positions at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise where he led go-to-market initiatives for new hardware and software products. Irv spent a number of years at Hewlett-Packard Inc. where he led innovation teams in PCs, tablets, software, and online services.

Michael O. “Coop” Cooper

Michael O. “Coop” Cooper

Founder, Innovators + Influencers

Michael O. “Coop” Cooper is an internationally recognized executive coach, advisor, facilitator and trainer who specializes in working with executive teams to develop the leadership skills, alignment and strategies to grow and thrive in a constantly changing environment.

Full Bio
Coop has 23 years of experience as a coach, management consultant, strategist and project leader with Fortune 1000 companies and small businesses in over 20 countries. He has worked with leaders at Accuray, eBay, Genentech, Google, Novell, Sony Computer Entertainment America, Southwest Airlines, TeleNav, Wells Fargo, Yahoo, Yammer and hundreds of other organizations large and small. He co-lead the teams to develop the world’s first wireless web platform for Vodafone and Verizon deployed in 27 countries and developed the specifications for the first custom internet car-ordering system for Honda. He has facilitated global summits for Sony corporation and a conference on managing Millennials for the Northern California Human Resource Association. For the past 12 years, he has coached and advised Eric Rodenbeck, CEO & Creative Director of Stamen Design, named by Fast Company as one of the 50 Top Innovative Companies in America and one of the Top 50 Designers in America. He has also been selected to coach the prestigious TED Fellows.

Coop is a contributor to Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur and Wired Innovations. He was the founding president of the International Association of Coaching, has served on the faculty of Sony leadership programs, CoachVille, Thomas Leonard School of Coaching and the Graduate School of Coaching. He completed coach training at Coach U, CoachVille and the School of Shadow Coaching. He received an MBA from the Freeman School of Business at Tulane University with a concentration in Information Systems and a special emphasis in Global Strategic Management and degrees in History, Communications Studies and Technology Education at Virginia Tech. He received the (Shop Local / Consulting) Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2006 from San Francisco where he lives with his partner and dog. He is an active supporter of the arts and Burning Man community.

Speakers From Our Previous Event

Andrew Ackerman

Andrew Ackerman

Managing Director, UrbanTech, Dreamit Ventures

What inspires you?
Startups founders with hustle

Full Bio

Andrew is recovering consultant turned serial entrepreneur, startup mentor and angel investor. He is the Managing Director at Dreamit, currently in charge of the UrbanTech accelerator program. Andrew has also written for Fortune, Forbes, Propmodo, CREtech, AlleyWatch, Edsurge, The 74 Million, et. al.

Andrew began his career at Booz & Co consulting on strategy and operations for Fortune 100 clients. After a brief stint at Kaplan helping transition their traditional classroom test prep services into online products, he then joined Bunk1.com as COO/Head of Product where he spent eight years building it from scratch to the leading provider of web services to the summer camp industry. After being bought out of Bunk1 in 2008, Andrew managed a family office where he was responsible for both incubating new ventures and for managing over $50M of alternative assets including hedge, private equity, and venture capital funds as well as a number of direct investments in private companies. Andrew was also the founding CEO of Layercake.com and has a keen appreciation for how hard it is to build a successful startup, even under the best of circumstances.

Andrew received his MBA in Operations & Marketing from Chicago Booth (Beta Gamma Sigma) and a BA in Economics & Political Science from Johns Hopkins University (Phi Beta Kappa). He speaks Hebrew fluently as well as some Spanish, French, Japanese and JavaScript.

Eric Agdeppa

Eric Agdeppa

Executive Director, Innovation and General Manager, Hill-Rom

What inspires you?
Empowering transformative growth for the enterprise and employee

A respected medical device innovator and business strategist with foresight, imagination, and a talent for driving unprecedented results, Eric Agdeppa has an impressive history of amassing millions of revenue dollars and creating revolutionary product strategies for world-renowned enterprises.

Full Bio

As Hillrom’s General Manager and Executive Director of Global Innovation, he built four major organizations that fueled organic growth while steering the company’s purposeful global transformation. Leading a groundbreaking team across seven international locations throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas, he evolved Hillrom’s culture, progressing teams beyond their comfort zones to develop riskier and more profitable concepts.

Prior to his work at Hillrom, Eric ascended the ranks of GE Healthcare to develop disruptive imaging solutions. By building a world leader in novel PET tracer development, he generated $20+ million from the Imanet and Imaging solutions business. He partnered with academics around the world to start 20 new Investigator Sponsored Studies and spark the development of valuable new technologies. He also provided industrial support to obtain a $15 million Center of Excellence (COE) grant to launch a 14-institution imaging network.

Although he served in key leadership roles for over a dozen important associations, including the International Association of Innovation Professionals, Society of Nuclear Medicine, and the International Association of Management of Technology, Eric is most proud of his work at Alberta Innovates. As a Board Member and the Committee Chair for Compensation and Human Resources, he propelled the success of Alberta’s leading health research and innovation organization, which has 100+ people and a $100+ million health research budget.

Eric has a Master of Science in Technology Management at the Howe School of Management at Stevens Institute of Technology, as well as a PhD in Biomedical Physics from the UCLA School of Medicine. He earned Servant Leadership Certification from Cornell University, Strategic Project Leader Certification from Project Management Institute (PMI), and a Six Sigma Green Belt.

As a respected industry thought leader, Eric has over 40 patents and served on four national conference panels since 2018.

Ricardo Angel

Ricardo Angel

CEO & Managing Partner, PIVA

Ricardo brings more than 25 years of experience in the energy sector, having spent most of his career in energy investment with GE Ventures as a founding Managing Director leading origination and investments in energy, oil and gas, and natural resources.

Full Bio

While at GE Ventures he developed and executed the group’s strategy by leveraging breakthrough technologies, innovative business models, capital, and the GE platform which led to shifts in corporate business strategy, multiple technical and commercial collaborations, and various company acquisitions.

Ricardo served on dozens of Board of Directors of portfolio companies and provided leadership and guidance to management teams to drive operational and financial value. He also led Energy Technology Ventures (ETV), a $300 million joint venture formed by GE, NRG Energy, Inc. and ConocoPhillips, focused on investing in emerging energy technology companies. Previously, Ricardo worked at Chevron’s Venture Capital group, in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and as a consultant at the CNA Corporation. 

As a leader, Ricardo is passionate about nurturing and leveraging open innovation within large organizations. Ricardo is end-goal oriented and a believer in formal education, persistence and teamwork. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated passion for building strong, agile and well aligned teams to deliver strategic and financial benefits to the organization.

Ricardo holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and Bachelors, Masters and PhD degrees in Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Mike Arterbury

Mike Arterbury

Vice President, Global Technology Alliances, Dell EMC

Bio is forthcoming.

Ron Baker

Ron Baker

Director of Geospatial Content & Analytics, Smarter Cities Strategist, IBM

Ron is an IBM Distinguished Engineer in the Watson Cognitive Applications organization, which includes the Internet of Things and Weather Company. In this role, he leads the design and delivery of the Watson IOT Platform, and the expansion of AI and Analytics on IOT content.

Full Bio

Prior to this, he was the Director of Geospatial Content & Analytics in the Weather Company, leading the curation of global location data from our mobile and web properties and their use in industry and consumer applications. This global data lake is one of the largest IOT platforms in the world, with world-class spatial-temporal analytics capabilities. Ron was the technical executive leading the IBM Smarter Cities software portfolio, and its corresponding domain products in Transportation, Water, City Planning & Operations, Video Analytics, and Energy. This software supports cities, regional municipal entities, stadiums, airports, and other operations-based organizations. Bringing together different agencies into a single view, these products were named the industry leader for three straight years by Frost & Sullivan, IDC, and Navigant for their vision and breadth of features. He holds over a dozen software patents.

Ron is currently the President of the Board of Austin CityUPTM, a non-profit organization that works to bring technology to the City of Austin to improve citizen services and the effectiveness of city agencies. He is the cochair of the Housing Committee, where he is working to ease the effects of rapid growth on people that need affordable housing.

Rich Berens

Rich Berens

Chief Executive Officer and Chief Client Fanatic, Root Inc., Author of What are your Blind Spots?

For over 10 years, Rich has had the opportunity to lead Root and its artists, designers, researchers, programmers, and MBAs in creating breakthrough approaches to change that have reached millions of people around the world. Rich has personally worked with dozens of Global 2000 organizations, including Hilton, Verizon, Masco, Petco, Procter & Gamble, Daimler, and many others to help align leaders and drive strategic and cultural change at scale.

Full Bio

Rich is a frequent author, thought leader, and speaker on the subject of leadership, transformation, and how to create lasting change. Rich’s latest project is a book called What Are Your Blind Spots?, which he is co-authoring with Root’s founder, Jim Haudan. The book focuses on five key blind spots they have seen many leaders fall victim to that prevent them from leading their organizations and engaging their people effectively.

Under Rich’s leadership as CEO and Chief Client Fanatic, Root has been listed among the Great Place to Work® Institute’s top 25 places to work, been named to the Inc. 5000 fastest-growing companies list, and experienced 10 years of consecutive growth. Rich joined Root in 1997 after completing his MBA at the University of Michigan. He worked for Commerzbank in Germany and has lived abroad, both in Germany and Nigeria. He holds a BSBA degree from the University of Washington in St. Louis, where he was a three-time All-American tennis player.

Rich lives in Ann Arbor with his family and treasures time with his wife, Anne, and daughters, Katarina and Mia. In his spare time, Rich attends as many Michigan Wolverine sporting events as he can and is hopeful that his football team will find its way back to past glory. He is also an avid reader and likes to play golf and tennis.

April Bertram

April Bertram

Senior Business Development Director, GOJO Industries

Member – Growth Innovation Leadership Council

April Bertram is the Business Development Director of SmartLink Solutions at GOJO Industries. April joined GOJO in 2002 to lead the product development efforts for the Healthcare vertical market.

Full Bio

Since then, she has reinvented the GOJO innovation process, from the front end of innovation, to market and product development, through to strategic portfolio management. Most recently, April was tasked with creating new IoT business models in healthcare, commercial building and other core vertical GOJO markets. She develops and cultivates new partnerships in emerging ecosystems to support strategy execution.

April holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication and an Executive Masters of Business Administration. She has earned a GE Green Belt Six Sigma Certification, Innovation Engineering Black Belt Certification, a Certificate in Strategic Design Capability and the VentureWell Lean LaunchPad Facilitator. She has written a number of publications on product innovation and IoT, including several for the Frost & Sullivan Quarterly eBulletin.

Prior to her role at GOJO Industries, April was a small business owner and served in Product and Market Development positions for market-leading brands for The Hygenic Corporation (TherabandTM and Biofreeze®), GE Lighting and CompuServe Network Services/UUNet. Several patents have been awarded through these development capacities.

About GOJO

The GOJO story is one of entrepreneurship and innovation. Notable inventions include the first waterless heavy duty hand cleaner; the first portion-controlled soap dispenser; PURELL® Instant Hand Sanitizer; PURELL® Surface Sprays, and our latest inventions, PURELL® Brand HEALTHY SOAP® products with CLEAN RELEASE™ Technology and PURELL® ES8 Dispensing Systems with energy on the refill.

Bryce Barnes

Bryce Barnes

Managing Director, IoT Incubation Services, Cisco

Andrew Bruce

Andrew Bruce

CEO, Data Gumbo

Andrew Bruce is a serial entrepreneur and experienced executive who launched Data Gumbo to realize billions of dollars in efficiencies across the industrial value chain. To accomplish this, Bruce is leveraging Data Gumbo’s proprietary blockchain, Internet of Things data platform and smart contracts to foster trust amongst counterparties, reduce barriers associated with doing business and reduce transaction time and cost.

Full Bio

Prior to Data Gumbo, Mr. Bruce was Chief Operating Officer for MHWirth, an Oil and Gas drilling solutions company, where he was responsible for global operations. Prior to MHWirth Andrew was the founder of the NOVOS project – a first of its kind semi-autonomous drilling system – where Andrew holds a patent jointly on Rig Automation.

Daniel Carter

Daniel Carter

Senior Investment Director, Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures US

What inspires you?
Funding great teams + making business happen

Daniel has over 25 years of experience financing and investing in the energy sector across the value chain. He has been Investment Director at Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV) for over 5 years responsible for growth equity and venture capital investments in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors for Aramco, as well as commodity trading and cybersecurity.

Full Bio

Daniel started his career at Salomon/Citigroup for 8 years in the Investment Banking Division, advising utilities and renewable companies, as well as power generation OEMs (in London, Frankfurt, Australia and NYC) and co-founded the Energy Technology investment banking practice. Prior to SAEV, he worked 9 years in a venture fund focused on energy efficiency with investors including Goldman Sachs, Shell, Kuwaiti Petroleum Company. Daniel holds MBAs from Columbia Business School and London Business School and is President of the Columbia Business School Club of Houston.

Angel Contreras

Angel Contreras

Human Resources Executive, GE Aviation

What inspires you?
Family, Traveling, helping others succeed.

Angel has nearly 20 years in HR and as a Human Resources executive with broad experience in all areas of HR shaping high-performing cultures at global companies. Expert in developing strategies around Talent management, performance, recruiting, and leadership development.  His experience crosses multiple companies leading to his most recent role with GE Aviation over the last 10 years.

Full Bio

In his previous roles within GE Aviation, Angel was site HR Director for Batesville, MS composites facility where he led an HR team and all HR functions for over 3 years.  Angel was also site HR leader over a GE Aviation systems facility in Rockford, IL and HR at GE Aviation’s engine repair services shop in McAllen, TX.

Prior to joining GE Aviation Angel worked in various Human Resources capacities at the Wm. Wrigley Jr. company, Portola Packaging, OSI Industries, Rockford School District.  Angel is a veteran and served in the U.S. Navy for 8.5 years as a Navy Corpsman stationed in California, Florida, Japan and Illinois.

Angel holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Aurora University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Iowa and holds a Green Belt in Lean Six Sigma as well as various HR and training certificates.

Angel currently lives in Seguin, TX, is married to Alma Contreras, and has 3 children ages 22, 22, & 18, one dog and one cat.

Skip Davis

Skip Davis

Siemens MindSphere IoT for Energy

Skip Davis is a Principal in the MindSphere Business Unit at Siemens focused on the Energy industry. He has 25 plus years of experience in technology development, corporate management and consulting. Prior to joining Siemens, Mr. Davis worked for Pegasystems, NineSigma, Capgemini and ABB.

Full Bio

Mr. Davis works with companies on their digital transformation programs. This includes applying Internet of Things, edge computing, analytics, intelligent business process management (iBPM) and other emerging technologies to help drive improved business outcomes and new ways of working. Mr. Davis has worked across both Operational Technology and Information Technology and brings a unique perspective on how these disciplines can be leveraged from field operations to across the enterprise.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Davis led diverse teams across several business disciplines including engineering, product management, consulting and innovation.

Mr. Davis received his M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and MBA from the University of Houston. He is a member of the Society for Petroleum Engineers and is on the organizing committee for the SPE Digital Transformation Congress.

Rosana Ellis

Rosana Ellis

Chief Operating Officer, PhDsoft

What inspires you?
Explore alternative thoughts and ideas, Keep your promises, Be enthusiastic.

Rosana Ellis – Chief Operating Officer (C.O.O.) has extensive experience in business and finance management with direct experience in international marketing & trade; she has launched and successfully managed businesses in the biotech, technology, real estate industries and start-ups business consulting. Mrs. Ellis graduated with a dual degree in Business Administration on and International Trade, holds a master’s degree in accounting and an MBA. She is fluent in English, Portuguese, Spanish and German.

Angela Femmer

Angela Femmer

Director Competitive Positioning, Brewer Science

Member – Growth Innovation Leadership Council

What inspires you?
Enabling Growth

After earning her BS in Business Management from Bradley University, Angela worked for a label manufacturing company and earned her MBA from Webster University before joining Brewer Science in 2001.

Full Bio

Her experience included roles ranging from Inside Sales to Label Converting Group Manager. Angela has worked in several positions while at Brewer Science from Quality Analyst to Global Intangible Assets Manager. She has been directing competitive positioning strategies since 2014, aligning competitive intelligence, intellectual property, and marketing to facilitate forward-looking, ecosystem-level solutions for positive impacts and growth.

David Frigstad

David Frigstad

Chairman, Frost & Sullivan

Session: WELCOME

Bio is forthcoming.

Raleen Gagnon

Raleen Gagnon

Managing Director, Global Market Intelligence, ManpowerGroup Solutions

What inspires you?
Willingness to change

Raleen is Managing Director of Global Market Intelligence and her team is responsible for Market, Business, & Competitive Intelligence. She consults on compensation analysis, location strategy, and workforce alignment. Her background includes running Strategic Marketing at Monster Worldwide and leading Fortune 50 Consulting engagements at Fuld & Company. Raleen has a Marketing degree from Bentley University and teaches certification courses for the Academy of Competitive Intelligence.

Kimberly Gilbert, PhD

Kimberly Gilbert, PhD

Head of Technical Commercial Engineering, Beyond Limits

Viv Goldstein

Viv Goldstein

Vice President, Bionic

What inspires you?
My kids, a deserted beach

Viv Goldstein is Vice President, Organizational and Executive Development for Bionic Solution, an exciting and dynamic startup which installs a proprietary operating system that enables new growth and competitiveness in some of the world’s largest enterprises, using the models, methods, and tools of venture capital and entrepreneurship.

Full Bio

Viv is specifically responsible for identifying and developing organizational structures, identifying and developing enterprise talent to build an “always on” growth capability,

Prior to Bionic, Viv spent 29 years at GE, most recently as Director, Innovation Acceleration. She was the co-founder and co-leader of FastWorks, a platform that applied entrepreneurial tools, processes and culture across GE.  By providing additional resources, capabilities and coaching for critical growth initiatives, she focused on driving impact and competitiveness to support of GE’s need to deliver better outcomes for their customers faster.

Prior to this, Viv was Director of Commercial Learning & Transformation, GE Corporate with responsibility for building commercial capabilities across GE globally.  She led the commercial curriculum development and supported the businesses and the various emerging markets to continue to drive the commercial skills.

With GE Capital from 1991 to 2007, Viv held various marketing and client management roles both in America and Europe, including VP Marketing, led the Customer Centric transformation, and developed and implemented value proposition strategies for the private and co-brand credit cards for leading retailers and clients.

Her previous employment includes Bass, Johnson Wax and 3M Companies. Viv balances her busy work schedule with her 3 adult children, traveling and community work.

Ken Hallman

Ken Hallman

Vice President, Offer Launches, Global Marketing, Schneider Electric

Member – Growth Innovation Leadership Council

What inspires you?
We’re a work in progress

Ken Hallman currently leads Schneider Electric’s global initiative to elevate the performance and return on investment of their new products.  With a global presence in over 100 countries, Schneider Electric is the leader in power management – leading the digital transformation of energy management and automation in homes, buildings, data centers, infrastructure and industries.

Full Bio

Ken has over 30 years of experience in general management, strategic planning and product management & development.  He previously held senior leadership positions at various global companies including Motorola/Google, Verizon, Sears Holdings and Verisign.  He has led several multi-billion-dollar product families, including the Kenmore brand and the Motorola Droid product family.

Jim Haudan

Jim Haudan

Co-founder and Chairman, Root Inc., Author of What are your Blind Spots?

As Chairman and Co-Founder, Jim Haudan has a passion that goes beyond leading Root to success. For more than 25 years, he has been helping the world’s most influential organizations transform their business, change how they engage their people, and deliver exceptional results.

Full Bio

Root’s story is captured in Jim’s best-selling book, The Art of Engagement: Bridging the Gap Between People and Possibilities (McGraw-Hill, 2008). His latest book, co-authored with Root CEO and President Rich Berens, is titled, What Are Your Blind Spots? Conquering the 5 Misconceptions That Hold Leaders Back (McGraw-Hill Education, 2018) dives into the effective ways to engage and motivate employees at every level of the organization

Jim is a frequent speaker on leadership alignment, strategy execution, employee engagement, business transformation, change management, and accelerated learning. He has spoken at TEDx Bowling Green State University, Tampa TEDx, and Conference Board events and has given keynote speeches for numerous organizations worldwide. Jim contributes regularly to business publications including Inc. and Switch & Shift, where he was ranked on the Top 75 List of Human Business Champions.

Jim lives in Sylvania, Ohio with his wife, Michelle. They enjoy spending time with their three children and five grandchildren. When Jim’s not traveling the globe visiting clients, he enjoys relaxing with his family at their lake cottage, golfing, fishing, sailing, photography, and attending Jimmy Buffett concerts.

Vincent Higgins

Vincent Higgins

General Manager, Honeywell Connected Plant, Honeywell

What inspires you?
I am passionate about the Connected Digital Worker of the future and transforming the way people work within industry

Mr. Vincent Higgins is the General Manager at Honeywell Connected Plant, Honeywell’s digital transformation initiative for its customers, where Vincent’s current focus is on the Connected Digital Worker.  His expertise in connected technologies brings him to speak at conferences around the globe.

Full Bio

Prior to working at Honeywell, he was the CEO of a technology company that provides advanced digital solutions to industrial customers.  Vincent also led a leadership consulting firm, assisting senior executives in organizational effectiveness. He is author of the book “Social Influence and Genius, A Leadership JourneyA Better Future for your Business and the World.”, In the book, Vincent develops an innovative new model for organizational and leadership development.  

Vincent has undergraduate degrees in physics and graduate degrees in philosophy and theology. He has lived in several countries, working with corporate leaders and organizations, and speaks several languages.

Itaru “Ice” Hirai

Itaru “Ice” Hirai

Director, Sumitomo Corporation of America

What inspires you?
opportunity, willingness, and golf

A business development professional, connecting and creating new business throughout various industries.

Full Bio

Ice began his professional journey in Japan and has been working for Sumitomo Corporation, more than 17 years since graduating from Keio University in Japan. 

Throughout his career in Sumitomo, Ice has served in for numerous industries, such as IT, Chemicals, and Oil and Gas sectors.

Ice leverages his experiences in and out of the Oil & Gas industry; create new business opportunities for Sumitomo Corporation, where he is looking for not only start-up investment but also seeking for numerous investment and commercial opportunities, creating new business value to Sumitomo Corporation.

Peter Hofstee

Peter Hofstee

Distinguished Research Staff Member, IBM Power Systems Performance, Professor Big Data Systems, TU Delft, Netherlands

What inspires you?
Bridging logic and physics.

Harm Peter Hofstee (born 1962) is a Dutch physicist and computer scientist who currently is a distinguished research staff member at IBM Austin, USA, and a part-time professor in Big Data Systems at Delft University of Technology, Netherlands.

Full Bio

Hofstee is best known for his contributions to Heterogeneous computing as the chief architect of the Synergistic Processor Elements in the Cell Broadband Engine processor used in the Sony PlayStation 3,[1][2] and the first supercomputer to reach sustained Petaflop operation. After returning to IBM research in 2011 he has focused on optimizing the system roadmap for big data, analytics, and cloud, including the use of accelerated compute. His early research work on coherently attached reconfigurable acceleration on POWER7 paved the way for the new coherent attach processor interfaces on POWER8 and subsequent processors.[3] Hofstee is an IBM Master Inventor with more than 100 issued patents.

Paul Holland

Paul Holland

General Partner, Foundation Capital, Mach49 VC-in-Residence

A successful veteran of Silicon Valley, Paul Holland has been a General Partner at top-tier venture capital fund, Foundation Capital, for 17 years. Prior to joining Foundation he had an equally stellar operating career, joining Reed Hastings at Pure Software, ultimately running Europe, Middle East and Africa and helping Pure have one of the hottest IPOs of that vintage.

Full Bio

He was later recruited by Benchmark Capital to join Mark Gainey at Kana Communications as its first C-suite executive to help Kana grow quickly and go public, ultimately attaining a $9B market cap. In total, Paul helped generate over $13B in market capitalization during his operating career.

Paul helps take start-up companies from zero to $100M to IPO or acquisition. He enjoys being on the front lines — working side-by-side with entrepreneurs developing fast-growing, dynamic new ventures. He invests in the IT, consumer, and digital energy sectors; and is on the boards of Mya, Respond Software, Peerspace, Second Address and InsideView. Past investments include Chegg (CHGG $3B market cap), MobileIron (MOBL $1B market cap), Coverity (acquired by Synopsys for $380M), Skycure (acquired by Symantec for $215M) and many others acquired by members of the Global 1000.

As Mach49’s VC-in-Residence, Paul is leveraging his years of experience and extensive Silicon Valley network to help Global 1000 companies design, launch and manage world class corporate venture funds. Once designed, he continues to support these corporate venture groups throughout all phases of the corporate venture lifecycle — pre-investment, investment, post-investment — providing them with unique access to the Silicon Valley and global startup ecosystems.

Paul began his career at SRI International, where, as he likes to tell his kids, he was a “human Google,” conducting inquiries on a broad variety of topics for Global 1000 companies. He received his MBA from UC Berkeley, MA from University of Virginia, and BS from James Madison University.

Paul is a former president of the Western Association of Venture Capitalists; and is the producer of Something Ventured, a critically acclaimed documentary about the early days of the Silicon Valley, which was recently enshrined at the Smithsonian Institution. He has guest lectured on entrepreneurship at Stanford, Harvard, Dartmouth, MIT, University
of Virginia and James Madison University.

Kevin Ilcisin

Kevin Ilcisin

Vice President of Corporate Strategy, National Instruments

As vice president of corporate strategy, Kevin Ilcisin is responsible for ensuring cross-functional alignment of NI’s strategy planning and execution activities, including the use of partnerships and acquisitions to accelerate NI’s platform-based strategy.

Full Bio

Prior to joining NI in 2015, Ilcisin served as the vice president and chief technology officer at Tektronix, where he was responsible for the core technology development, R&D strategy, and portfolio processes governing R&D investments. He has also held leadership roles at Novellus Systems (Lam Research), Zight Corporation, and Technical Visions.

Ilcisin is the inventor or coinventor of 42 U.S. and foreign patents. He has been recognized with five postgraduate and two postdoctoral awards including the Princeton Merit Award and Killam Memorial Award.

Ilcisin holds doctorate and master’s degrees in plasma physics from Princeton University and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering with distinction from the University of Alberta.

Dr. Suraj Kapa

Dr. Suraj Kapa

Director, Augmented and Virtual Reality Innovation, Mayo Clinic

What inspires you?
Innovation and cross-sector technology integration

Suraj Kapa, M.D., is a consultant in the Division of Heart Rhythm Services, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Kapa serves as director of the Augmented and Virtual Reality innovations group. He is also the medical director for marketing and communications in Cardiovascular Medicine. He joined the staff of Mayo Clinic in 2013.

Full Bio

Dr. Kapa has extensive experience in mathematical modeling and quantum mechanics, which he has used in computer simulation modeling of cardiac activation. He dedicates a lot of time in the large animal translational lab for cardiac ablation to develop new catheter, sensing and mapping technologies, and he has been engaged in the development of medical virtual and augmented reality systems. Recent work includes development of new carbon-based biomaterials for biomedical applications.

Dr. Kapa’s research focuses on translational innovation as well as elucidating basic mechanisms underlying electrophysiological diseases. These efforts include the development of new technologies or techniques for autonomic modulation, mapping of atrial and ventricular arrhythmias, and creation of novel devices that can be used for cardiac monitoring and prevention and treatment of electrophysiological disease. He also engages in clinical research to evaluate quality metrics and optimal approaches to currently available methods of electrophysiological treatments, including cardiac device implantation (defibrillators, pacemakers, resynchronization devices) and ablation. His research is funded by the National Institute on Aging; Biosense Webster, Inc.; and Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics, among others.

Dr. Kapa is frequently invited to give presentations on his research both nationally and internationally, and he has authored numerous journal articles, book chapters, abstracts and other written publications. He serves as section editor of Circulation A&E and on the scientific advisory boards for Boston Scientific, Abbott and several startup companies. He also holds reviewer responsibilities for prominent scientific publications.

Dr. Kapa is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Heart Association; the American College of Cardiology, where he serves on the Best Practices and Quality Improvement Subcommittee; and the Heart Rhythm Society, where he serves on the Scientific and Clinical Documents Committee.

Joe Kirgues

Joe Kirgues

Co-Founder, gener8tor

What inspires you?
Mission, Creativity, Achievement

Joe cofounded the gener8tor program where he manages the company’s efforts along with his business partner Troy Vosseller.

Full Bio

gener8tor’s four programs include (1) its startup accelerators including the nationally-ranked gener8tor and The Brandery programs, which operate in Minneapolis, Madison, Milwaukee, and Cincinnati; (2) its gBETA program, which consists of a free, seven-week accelerator that most recently expanded into Social Impact with American Family Insurance and Musictech with Capitol Records; (3) its corporate programming including its OnRamp Conference series in insurance and manufacturing; and, (4) its cultural accelerators including the Backline accelerator program for musicians and Fellowship.art for artists.

The 75+ startup graduates of the gener8tor accelerator have raised over $200 million in follow-on financing and created thousands of jobs.

Gil Klinger

Gil Klinger

Vice President Space and Intelligence, Raytheon Company

What inspires you?
Courage, candor/honesty, common sense, critical, adaptable thinking

Gil Klinger is a Vice President for Space Programs at the Raytheon Company.  From mid-2015 to mid-2017, he was a Vice President for National Security Future Architectures at the Harris Corporation.

Full Bio
In 2015, he retired from the United States Government after a career of almost 31 years, during which he served as a Senior Executive in leadership positions across the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Intelligence Community (IC), and on the National Security Council (NSC) Staff.  As Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategic, Space and Intelligence, he was responsible for acquisition oversight of all space and intelligence programs executed by the Department of Defense (DoD).  He was also responsible for oversight and coordination with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) for the majority of acquisition programs executed within the National Intelligence Program.  Mr. Klinger served in two senior positions in the ODNI where he led the Integrated Collection Architecture, an unprecedented IC/DoD study that developed capability, architecture, and investment alternatives for recapitalizing U.S. collection capabilities.  As the NSC Director of Space Policy, Mr. Klinger was principal author of five national space polices, including the first new U.S. space exploration vision in more than a generation, which he briefed to, and gained approval by the President.  Prior to this assignment, he served as Director of Policy at the NRO, where he developed and oversaw implementation of all internal policy, interagency activity, and all international engagement.  In earlier DoD management positions, he authored the memorandum that the Deputy Secretary of Defense used to direct a DoD wide reorganization of space management.  Mr. Klinger created and gained approval for the Office of the Deputy under Secretary for Space, consolidating for the first time all OSD space policy development, architecture, programmatic, and operational oversight activities.  He also led the Strategic Targeting Review, called by then Secretary Cheney “the most comprehensive and in-depth study of nuclear targeting ever initiated by this department.”  Its findings resulted in significant changes to the guidance for constructing U.S. nuclear war plans and for strategic forces’ acquisition programs, and as the basis for the U.S. negotiating position in the START II talks.  Mr. Klinger began his career in the Presidential Management Internship Program.  He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Albany with a B.A. in European History and Political Science. He received a master’s degree in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Dr. Michael Krause

Dr. Michael Krause

Principal Data Scientist, Energy at Beyond Limits

Dr. Michael Krause is Principal Data Scientist, Energy at Beyond Limits, a full-stack artificial intelligence engineering company creating advanced software solutions that go beyond conventional AI. Michael specializes in subsurface machine learning with experience spanning major initiatives at supermajors to next generation digital transformations at small independents. Prior to joining Beyond Limits, Michael was Director of Analytics at Tiandi Energy in Beijing, China, and later at Energective in Houston, Texas. Michael holds a PhD in Energy Resources Engineering from Stanford University.

Susan Lucas-Conwell

Susan Lucas-Conwell

Executive Vice President, CSIRO US

Member – Growth Innovation Leadership Council

What inspires you?

Creating innovation ecosystems that bring entrepreneurs, academic researchers and large companies together to either create new markets or address significant issues facing our planet and populations. Seeing the results of these collaborations and being a part of making them happen inspires me.  The opportunity to make an impact on our world and guide companies to achieve aspirational goals has been a life-long purpose.

Full Bio

In 2017, Susan Lucas-Conwell, Executive Vice President of CSIRO, opened the North American innovation center in Silicon Valley. CSIRO (www.csiro.us) is Australia’s pre-eminent national science organization with partners across diverse science sectors including Space (NASA), Agriculture (The Gates Foundation, UC-Davis), Manufacturing (Boeing) and Energy (DARPA).

Susan is a global business executive, independent Board Director and NACD Fellow, recognized for her successful track record of driving innovation and accelerating revenue growth both in the US and in Europe. She sits on private as well as not-for-profits boards including Women in Sports Tech (www.womeninsportstech.org), Growth Resources, Inc. (www.gri.co) and Wharton Club of Northern California (www.whartonclub.com).  She is also a board advisor to REDF (www.redf.org) Tiatros (www.tiatros.com) and Singularity U (www.su.org). Over the past two decades Susan has advised hundreds of early stage start-ups and founders in cleantech, IoT, and health tech; venture firms including Sapphire Ventures; and spoken on innovation at conferences including TedX and GCVI.

Susan has won numerous awards including Frost & Sullivan’s “Innovator Spotlight”, Watermark’s “Women Who Made Their Mark” and Silicon Valley Business Journal’s “Women of Influence”. She earned an MBA in Marketing and International Business from the Wharton School of Business, a MA in Economic History from The Johns Hopkins University, and a BA with Honors in Economic History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.   In addition to her professional accomplishments, she is a competitive rower with the Bair Island Aquatic Center.

Chris McLaughlin

Chris McLaughlin

Head of Strategy, Cloud Artificial Intelligence, Google Cloud

What inspires you?
Evolving my worldview every day

Chris leads strategy for Google Cloud’s suite of AI products and solutions. His team is chartered with identifying the best opportunities to use AI to solve enterprise customers’ biggest problems. He is particularly interested in the potential for AI to reshape business workflows from the ground up and how an AI-first approach to development will upend pre-AI ways of doing things.

Full Bio

Prior to this role, he performed a similar function as Head of the Strategy and Solutions team for Google Chrome Enterprise. Before Google, Chris spent about a decade in consulting, most recently at Bain & Company, where he focused on R&D and market segment strategy for emerging technologies like 5G, industrial IoT and sensor fusion.

Kristi Martindale

Kristi Martindale

Chief Marketing Officer, Sarcos Robotics

What inspires you?
Technologies positive impact on humanity.

Kristi Martindale serves as Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President for Sarcos Robotics. In this role, she oversees all aspects of marketing, including branding, product marketing, marketing communications, market research and public relations.

Full Bio

With more than 20 years of brand-building experience, Martindale’s passion is developing performance-driven global marketing campaigns, and has created, developed and deployed successful industry-leading products and strategies for startups, mid-sized companies and Fortune 500 companies.

Prior to joining Sarcos, Martindale spent more than 13 years with Qualcomm Incorporated as Vice President, Global Marketing. In this role, she led marketing for many of Qualcomm’s business units, including software, services, emerging technology and licensing businesses worldwide. She was charged with bringing to market products, services and solutions that spanned a multitude of industries, including augmented reality, proximal communications, healthcare, Internet of Things (IoT), transportation and wireless charging. Martindale also led many notable wireless and mobile initiatives, including the launch of several industry-leading consortia, developer programs, the first smart watch reference design and several other products into the B2B and B2C markets. Martindale previously achieved early career success in executive marketing roles for technology and software companies in e-commerce, supply chain management and wireless communications.

Martindale holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management from the University of La Verne.

Josh Mason

Josh Mason

Competitive Analysis Lead, IBM

A veteran of IBM, Samsung, and General Motors, Josh has built his career solving complex business problems with an evolving toolset, from financial analysis and stakeholder interviews to competitive intelligence and strategy frameworks. He has been able to pair these skills with the Enterprise Design Thinking practice to help teams and organizations make better decisions.

Full Bio

Josh has lived all over the US – Portland, Salt Lake City, Detroit, and Dallas – and currently resides in Austin with his wife and four children. When he’s not in the garage or exploring with his wife, he is focused on teaching his kids important life skills by volunteering for disaster cleanup, starting their own business, or learning to drive a manual transmission.

Joe Meersman

Joe Meersman

Director of User Experience, Resideo

Joe Meersman has researched and designed a variety of experiences throughout his career. His work has ranged from Bluetooth headsets and office furniture to first-responder centers and artificial intelligence. Joe has led teams of designers in the delivery of cognitive-enabled applications and services across IBM’s Cloud and Watson portfolio. He recently left IBM for an opportunity with Resideo, a spin-off division of Honeywell, where he is focused on the various aspects of the connected home experience.

Jane Moran

Jane Moran

Senior Vice President, Data & Technology, LoyaltyOne

Member – Growth Innovation Leadership Council

Session: Implementing the Best, Brightest, and Boldest Ideas

What inspires you?
Becoming adaptive to constant change

As Senior Vice President of Data & Technology, Jane leads a team of 300 IT and analytics professionals and oversees the data and IT strategy for the AIR MILES Reward Program.  For the past 12 years, Jane has been developing methodologies to help businesses capitalize on the power of data using machine learning and AI, applying these techniques within the CPG, retail, and media spaces.

Full Bio

Prior to joining AIR MILES, Jane led the Behavioral Data and Analytics Group at Ipsos where she was responsible for introducing new sources of digital consumer data into the business.  She has also worked at Mars Inc., with a focus on developing advertising effectiveness metrics in digital and social media. 

Jane has a Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Jay Nakagawa

Jay Nakagawa

Director, ISG Competitive Intelligence, Dell EMC

Jay is currently Director of Competitive Intelligence at Dell Technologies.  He and his team support the multi-billion Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG) within Dell Technologies, providing realtime competitive intelligence and strategic insights on the competition and their offerings.

Full Bio

Additionally, Jay and his team provide realtime in-depth analytics of the business relative to the competition and have a number of projects underway identifying monetization opportunities through big data business analytics.

Jay has held a number of positions in product management, marketing, business development, sales, systems engineering and executive positions over his 20+ years in the business with enterprises, startups, and growth companies including IBM, McDATA, Compuware, Datasonix, Spectra Logic, ADIC, BEZ Systems, eNetica, Sun Microsystems and others.

Living in Colorado, Jay and his wife, Veronica, enjoy summer and winter camping, ATVing, hiking, skiing, and other outdoor activities.  Jay is a professional trumpet player and has led several jazz and rock bands in the Denver-metro area.  He is also a competitive BBQ-er and his team has received awards competing locally.

Jay is a member of the Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP), IEEE, and KCBS (Kansas City BBQ Society).  Jay graduated with a Bachelors degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Masters degree from Regis University.

Lee Ng

Lee Ng

Vice President, Innovation, Travelers

What inspires you?
Passionate about creating new businesses

Dr. Lee Ng is an innovation management executive with over 20 years of experience in Silicon Valley, scouting for new technologies and creating new businesses for large tech corporations like HP, Agilent and Siemens corporation. She got into the insurance industry when she was recruited as the COO for Singapore-based MetLife Innovation Centre in 2015, and returned to the US to join Travelers in 2018.

Full Bio

Lee has an engineering background with Master and PhD degrees from MIT, and she had to learned most of her business acumen by making mistakes in real life through launching new product & services and serving real customers.

Mike Olive

Mike Olive

Director, Corporate Intelligence, Hypergiant Space Age Solutions

What inspires you?
People, problem solving and music

A problem solver and servant at heart, Mike began his professional journey in the United States Marine Corps and established guiding principles which have influenced his life ever since. After fulfilling his duties to the Corps and graduating from Arizona State University’s Barrett Honors College, Mike’s civilian career has been dedicated to serving individuals and businesses in pursuit of their personal and professional goals.

Full Bio

Mike joined the team at Hypergiant shortly after its inception, and works with large organizations like Nestlé, Sumitomo Corporation, Chesapeake Energy and many others to develop digital strategies and adopt intelligent technologies to meet and exceed their corporate objectives.

Mike leverages his experiences in and out of the Oil & Gas industry, combined with an interdisciplinary mindset, to help organizations see through obstacles and build bridges over boundaries to the inevitable rewards on the other side. As somewhat of a digital Sherpa, Mike and the team at Hypergiant not only help companies get ready for their respective journeys through digital transformation and into the 4th industrial revolution, they lead them up the mountain and plant the flag with them, together as a team.

In his personal life, Mike enjoys time with his family, collecting records, listening to music, experiencing culture, and trying new/interesting foods.

Charlie Plauche

Charlie Plauche

Partner, S3 Ventures

What inspires you?
Creating jobs in growing companies

Charlie Plauche is a Partner at S3 Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm in Austin, TX with $500 million under management. S3’s focus is investing in Texas-based B2B software companies at seed, Series A, and Series B stages but we have also invested in consumer/med-tech and outside of TX.

Full Bio

Charlie currently serves on the boards of S3 portfolio companies Alkami Technology, AtmosphereTV, Interplay Learning, Levelset, Liveoak Technologies, OutboundEngine, and Tango Health. Previous board duties include Favor Delivery (acquired by H-E-B), Kimbia (acquired by GiveGab), Pristine (acquired by Upskill), and TVA Medical (Observer – acquired by Becton Dickinson, NYSE:BDX). 

Prior to S3, Charlie was with Harbert Private Equity Funds, a subsidiary of Harbert Management Corporation.  At Harbert, Charlie analyzed and structured leveraged buyouts in the healthcare and manufacturing sectors and assisted with portfolio management.  He received his MBA from the McCombs School at the University of Texas in Austin and his BS in Finance from the University of Mississippi, where he was a Holmes Scholarship recipient and a Mississippi Eminent Scholar.

Bernhard Ries

Bernhard Ries

Senior Director of Corporate Strategy, Intel Corporation

What inspires you?
Using Technology to Maximize Human Potential

I sit happily at the intersection of strategy, communications and organizational development. My 30 year long career in the tech sector has covered roles in software engineering, product marketing, business development, brand marketing, market research and corporate strategy.

Full Bio

I’ve benefited from assignments in diverse areas operating on three continents (Europe, North America & South America) that have allowed me to learn about different facets of business and how to best work in diverse cultural settings. My strong belief is that business performance always comes back to developing people and activating the power of good leadership.

In my current role as Senior Director of Corporate Strategy at Intel I lead a team responsible for researching and synthesizing key market trends across Intel’s business and bringing them to the attention of Intel’s executive management. The team also engages in industry analysis projects to analyze business and ecosystem forces in specific segments of the market to inform Intel’s business strategy in those segments and provides strategic consulting to the CEO and the Board. One of my key current areas of interest in this space is to push the envelope on how advanced data analytics and machine learning techniques can lead to better strategic insights and actions.

John Ruggles

John Ruggles

Senior Vice President, Frost & Sullivan

John Ruggles is the Senior Vice President of Sales & Senior Fellow for Frost & Sullivan. John has been part of the leadership team at Frost & Sullivan for nearly two decades and has been part of their consistent growth over this period of time.

Full Bio

He has a successful track record in business development, sales operations, digital selling and marketing. He has worked with many of the top fortune 1000, as well as, emerging companies during his tenure at Frost & Sullivan

Prior to Frost & Sullivan, John spent 14 years with Otis Elevator, a United Technologies Company, where he led the overall operational and sales efforts of several offices in the Southwest Region as a General Manager.

John earned a BS degree in Industrial Engineering from Texas Tech University and an MBA degree from the University of Tampa. John resides with his wife Jill in San Antonio, Texas. During his off time, John enjoys hunting, fishing, and spending time with his three sons and daughter-in-law.

Richard Sear

Richard Sear

Partner & Senior Vice President: Visionary Innovation, Frost & Sullivan

As Partner & Senior Vice President of Visionary Innovation of Frost & Sullivan Richard Sear oversees our practice focused on mid to long term growth strategies. Richard works with a team of global consultants that are focused on understanding how future transformative developments will impact them and what may sustain long term growth.

Full Bio

His teams approach is grounded in research, taking key developing indicators to more credibly assess what the future will bring us and how to act on that information. In his role Richard has worked with some of the world’s leading companies such as GE, Intel, Henkel, Agilent, Schneider, Cisco, Boeing, Verizon and many more.

Richard has also served as Vice President of Corporate & Executive Development for Frost & Sullivan. His work covered all aspects of learning and development which focused on corporate education. In this role Richard drove the alignment of strategic initiatives within our client’s workforce. This led to significant experience consulting with Fortune 500 companies on successful implementations in marketing, sales, product management and research development, to name a few.

Richard’s seventeen years at Frost & Sullivan has led him to work in virtually every industry, from Energy, Healthcare, to IT and Chemicals giving him a truly rounded perspective of the global business environment and the trends driving change ranging from Social issues to Mass Urbanization.

Prior to this Richard worked for PriceWaterhouseCoopers as a Consultant focusing on the future of wireless technologies. Richard holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Middlesex, England and Master’s degree from Cambridge University, England, where his main concentration was looking at the future events that would impact the growth of Southern European countries.  Richard is a frequent and well known speaker at global conferences and corporate events to drive awareness of long term strategic planning and the macro forces shaping our future.

Chris Shonk

Chris Shonk

Partner, ATX Venture Partners

What inspires you?
Solving difficult and noble problems, building partnerships, navigating innovation at scale.

As the oldest of 8 children, Chris started his first business at fourteen and has been financially self-sufficient from that day on. Chris served in the US Army to provide money for college and attain leadership and strategic execution skills from the world’s most elite operators.  He won the highly prestigious Special Operations Soldier of the Year award in 1996 and worked as an analyst at Merrill Lynch to begin his post-military career.

Full Bio

Chris cofounded Virtus Financial Group (now Virtus Real Estate a $3.5B private equity fund),  and served as managing director of the private equity unit. Chris sold his interests in 2006 and cofounded EZ Money Pawn bringing technology and ecommerce to the secured lending and pawn business.  There after he cofounded Sneaky Games and was also their lead investor taking that to a successful exit via IPO.  Chris and his wife Myrna were among the first investors and largest franchisees in Massage Envy where they continue to own numerous clinics in Central Texas.

Chris is currently the General Partner of ATX Venture Partners, a founder-focused early stage venture fund based in Austin, Texas. Known as a numbers based operator Chris is a sought after director and advisor in the technology and venture industries, currently serving on the boards of: Bractlet, Olono, SourceDay, Slingshot Aerospace, MonoDrive and GoCo.   Chris has taken companies he has operated and invested in to exit via acquisition, merger, recapitalization and IPO. 

Chris earned his B.A. at in Business Administration & Economics and his M.B.A. from the Acton School of Business.   He was the first alumni to start an endowment for the Acton MBA to afford other deserving entrepreneurs the opportunity to change the world.  Chris is on the board of the Boys & Girls Club and focuses on their STEM efforts for underprivileged children.  He resides in Austin, Texas with his wife Myrna and their son Asher and their giant schnauzer Princess Leia.

Ethan Smith

Ethan Smith

Vice President, Frost & Sullivan

Ethan Smith is Vice President for Frost & Sullivan’s Oil & Gas practice. He is responsible for helping to accelerate the pace of innovation in Oil & Gas through the Innovation Council he chairs. Ethan is also Frost & Sullivan’s best practice leader for global client management. Some initiatives he leads include strategic planning, new product introduction and development, monetization of new business models, and achieving disproportional growth through innovation.

Full Bio

Prior to this role, Ethan led the marketing and sales teams for Frost & Sullivan’s emerging technologies business, and has authored several papers on innovation best practices in upstream Oil & Gas. He received his B.A. in Economics from Trinity University.

In his spare time, Ethan coaches his son’s 14U select baseball team and is a volunteer for the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Chris Spanton

Chris Spanton

Principal Architect – Blockchain, T-Mobile

What inspires you?
I’m passionate about learning!

Christopher Spanton is known for his innovative work in emerging technology and his leadership in the broader technology community. A long-time veteran of the healthcare and telecom industries, Christopher is a hands-on leader who holds a Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Healthcare and Technology Management and has a portfolio that spans many years in both start-up and enterprise environments.

Full Bio

Recently named a T-Mobile “Creative Genius”, Christopher is T-Mobile’s blockchain lead. His related research has led to both open source software development and patent filings spanning disciplines from advertising and content management, to IoT and device security, and beyond. His position as an early leader in the development of enterprise blockchain technologies has earned him opportunities to provide expert testimony for the Joint Legislative Committee on Economic Development and International Relations in Washington, and to provide insights for the Office of the Directory of National Intelligence report Blockchain Suitability for Government Applications. Christopher is engaged in standards and certification development with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, the Hyperledger Project, and the Linux Foundation. He was the founding Vice President of the Seattle Government Blockchain Association and is a co-founder and Board Member of the Cascadia Blockchain Council.

Outside of work Christopher is a husband, father, and accomplished ski-mountaineer. Skilled in advanced mountain rescue and emergency medicine; he has studied – and lived – leadership in high-risk environments through climbing and skiing many of North America’s most prominent peaks. He is passionate about passing on his experience and knowledge as a volunteer mountaineering instructor and mentor.

Christopher has shared his deep multi-disciplinary experience and insights with dozens of audiences around the world and is thrilled to join the speaker roster at the Frost & Sullivan 15th Anniversary Growth, Innovation and Leadership Executive MindXchange.

Krishna Srinivasan

Krishna Srinivasan

Global President & Managing Partner, Frost & Sullivan

Mr. Srinivasan, Global President and Managing Partner of Frost & Sullivan, has been with the company for over twenty five years. Over the years, he has held a variety of positions with increasing responsibility, culminating in the role of President in the year 2000. He has played a key role in reshaping the company from its early days as a market research company to a full-fledged global growth consulting company focused on solving client challenges with customized business intelligence, growth strategies and training & implementation support.

Full Bio

He is also the architect of Frost & Sullivan’s proprietary Growth Model and Growth Pipeline process, a structured, robust and continuous process that helps clients generate, evaluate and implement growth strategies. He brings to his role a unique blend of technology and business expertise, combined with several years of business research and strategy consulting experience.

Lauren Taylor

Lauren Taylor

Principal Consultant: Visionary Innovation, Frost & Sullivan

What inspires you?
Sharing innovation insights across industries

Lauren has worked in strategy and innovation for over 12 years, with the last five spent as a Principal Consultant with Frost & Sullivan’s Visionary Innovation Group.  As a member of the Visionary Innovation Group, Lauren helps companies prepare for the transformations and disruptions that Mega Trends will usher in to their industries. Highlights from her work at Frost & Sullivan include futurecasting growth opportunities for Fortune 5 companies, corporate scenario planning for industries facing disruption, and innovation process evaluation and development for global leaders. Lauren holds an MBA from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas.

Dr. Ahmed Tewfik

Dr. Ahmed Tewfik

Cockrell Family Regents Chair in Engineering and Chairman, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

Ahmed Tewfik received his B.Sc. degree from Cairo University, Cairo Egypt, and his M.Sc., E.E. and Sc.D. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. He is the Cockrell Family Regents Chair in Engineering and the Chairman of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. 

Full Bio

He was previously the E. F. Johnson professor of Electronic Communications with the department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Minnesota and worked at Alphatech, Inc., Burlington, MA. He also served as a consultant to several high tech, industrial measurements and medical tech companies. From August 1997 to August 2001, he was the President and CEO of Cognicity, Inc., an entertainment marketing software tools publisher that he co-founded, on partial leave of absence from the University of Minnesota. His current research interests are in man–machine symbiosis, brain computing interfaces and applied machine learning. He has made seminal contributions in the past to food inspection, watermarking, multimedia signal processing and content-based retrieval, wavelet signal processing and fractals.  Past research contributions also include low power multimedia communications, adaptive search and data acquisition strategies for World Wide Web applications, radar and dental/medical imaging, monitoring of machinery via acoustic emissions, industrial measurements.

Prof. Tewfik is a Fellow of the IEEE. He received several awards and honors, including the IEEE Signal Processing Society Technical Achievement Award in 2018, IEEE third Millennium award in 2000 and Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Signal Processing Society in 1997 – 1999. He was elected to the post of President-elect of the IEEE Signal Processing Society in 2017 and will serve as President in 2020. He was previously elected for three year terms as VP for Technical Directions and member of the board of governors of that society in 2009 and 2005 respectively. Prof. Tewfik delivered plenary lectures at several IEEE and non-IEEE meetings and taught tutorials on bioinformatics, ultrawideband communications, watermarking and wavelets at major IEEE conferences. He was selected to be the first Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Signal Processing Letters from 1993 to 1999.

Ingrid Vanderveldt

Ingrid Vanderveldt

Founder, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, EBW2020 & Vanderveldt Global Investments

What inspires you?
God, family, a billion women and the amazing men who collaborate with us

Ingrid Vanderveldt (iV) is the Chairman and CEO of Empowering a Billion Women by 2020 (EBW2020) and MintHERTM. Previously, she was the first Entrepreneur-in-Residence (“EIR”) for Dell Inc. where she oversaw entrepreneurial initiatives worldwide helping to build a $250 million business segment and founded the $125M Dell Innovators Credit Fund, Dell Founders Club, and the Dell Center for Entrepreneurs during her 3-year term.

Full Bio

iV is an Emeritus member of United Nations Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council, is a Managing Partner of Vanderveldt Global Investments, founding organizer of the GLASS Forum (Global Leadership & Sustainable Success), and co-founder of The Billionaire Girls Club. She also created and hosted CNBC’s first original primetime series, “American Made,” reaching over 1M viewers around the globe and is a Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) Member.  She is the 2018 Recipient of the Global Empowerment Award by the Global Business and Interfaith Peace Awards in partnership with the UN, has been named by Oprah as one of her Global 100 Leaders and is the winner of the FORBES & Northwestern Mutual “Global Entrepreneur in Excellence Award”.

iV has been featured on outlets including NBC, CNBC, FOX, ABC, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Bloomberg, CNN Money, Fortune Magazine, Fast Company, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine. In 2016 she was named one of Oprah’s SuperSoul 100 Global Leaders.  She was ranked #1 Super Connector by Fast Company, is the recipient of the Forbes and Northwestern Mutual Global “Entrepreneur in Excellence Award” and was just named the 100th Champion Celebration for the HearStrong Foundation.  She holds a Masters in Architecture at the Savannah College of Art & Design and an MBA in Entrepreneurship from UT at Austin.

David Walker

David Walker

Executive Director, Wright Brothers Institute

What inspires you?
Providing our Airmen with the greatest advantage science and technology can provide.

Senior executive with 40 years of experience in operations, flight test, research, development and acquisition in the Air Force and the Navy.  He served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology and Engineering and as the Portfolio Director for all Naval Science and Technology Investments.

Jillian Walker

Jillian Walker

Principal Consultant: Visionary Innovation, Frost & Sullivan

What inspires you?
Innovation for the greater good

My work as a Principal Consultant with Frost & Sullivan’s Visionary Innovation Group (VIG) concentrates on a deep understanding of the socioeconomic, technological, and demographic megatrends that will impact business, government, and societies through the coming decades.

Full Bio

Specifically, in my role with VIG, I have worked in areas as diverse as automotive and transportation, financial services, energy, industrial process, public sector, and education. Topics with recently published research include the Future of Work, Gen Z in the US, 5G as an emerging technology investment area, and Smart Cities. At Frost & Sullivan, I am also an active member of GLOW, the Growth & Leadership of Women, program.

Prior to supporting VIG, I worked with Frost & Sullivan’s Growth Team Membership, whose research concentrated on functional best practices in Corporate Strategy, Marketing, and Research & Development. My academic background includes an ABD Ph.D. in English Literature with a focus on Cultural Studies. This concentration has helped infuse my current work with a highly creative and analytical perspective, which I strive to bring to each and every engagement in which I participate.

Nicole Walker

Nicole Walker

General Partner, Venture Capital, Baird Capital

Bio is forthcoming.

Lisa Wardlaw

Lisa Wardlaw

Executive Vice President, Global Chief Digital Transformation Officer, Munich American Reassurance Company

Lisa Wardlaw is Executive Vice President, Global Chief Digital Transformation Officer, MunichRe. She is responsible for driving MunichRe towards becoming the first fully digital reinsurer which includes enabling business with new transformative technologies and inventing new and exciting business models for financial services. 

Full Bio

Her role covers all lines of business and territories in which MunichRe operates giving her unique perspective across the entire industry.  She partners with thought leaders in other industries to bring first-hand disruptive and creative agility to the financial services sector.

Lisa joined Munich Re in 2009 with over 20 years of experience in financial and operational systems implementations. Throughout her career with Munich Re, Lisa has championed dramatic improvements in processes and systems, and has been the driving force behind the future technology platform that MunichRe is building fully in the Cloud.

Lisa is a graduate of the Rhodes College. She is an active in the digital transformation community leading key thought pieces on disruption, generation of new business models and innovation for the insurance sector.

Seshu Yalamanchili

Seshu Yalamanchili

Director, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Visa

What inspires you?
AI Driven Innovation

Seshu is responsible for Artificial Intelligence strategy and implementation at Visa. He led the development of several Digital Assistants power by AI, e.g. Chatbot, e-mail assistant, Sales Assistant, Fraud detection assistant, etc. for B2B, B2C and internal use cases.

Full Bio
Seshu developed and implemented strategy for consistent omni-channel experience using micro services based, multi-cloud architecture and robust security model to scale quickly and securely.

Prior to Visa, Seshu was responsible for building autonomous vehicle technology strategy and solutions, with focus on Artificial Intelligence at General Motors.
Seshu is a recognized leader developing strategic vision and executing transformative initiatives.  Seshu has expertise in building and leading high performance teams to deliver innovative, enterprise solutions and achieve extraordinary results through application of agile development principles. He has received numerous awards for innovation.

Linda Yates

Linda Yates

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mach49

Linda is a seasoned CEO with over 25 years of experience creating global strategy and driving innovation. As a native of the Silicon Valley with an extensive network, she has served as a bridge between the Silicon Valley and the Global 1000 her entire career.

Full Bio

She launched Mach49 as the first Silicon Valley incubator/accelerator focused exclusively on helping Global 1000 companies Disrupt InsideOut™ — creating, building and launching new ventures generated from within their organizations and Disrupt OutsideIn™ — designing and operating world class corporate venture groups. In addition to creating new ventures, Mach49 builds the client’s capability and infrastructure to create a pipeline and portfolio of new ventures on an ongoing basis and to manage the mothership so it understands the from-to shifts required to ensure new ventures can reach escape velocity.

Linda spent a decade as a member of the Board of Directors for NYSE-traded Sybase Inc. (now SAP) and has been a board member and advisor to many entrepreneurs and private companies.

Linda was CEO of Strategos – a leading international strategy consulting firm she co-founded with business guru Gary Hamel, helping G1000 clients innovate in fundamentally new ways by “Bringing the Silicon Valley Inside.” Prior to Strategos, she spent six years with the Mac Group/Gemini where she was Head of the San Francisco office, co-head of the High Tech practice on the West Coast and, later, Europe (based in Amsterdam). She spent two years at Smith Barney in corporate finance and M&A and has extensive global experience having worked in/traveled to over 60 countries.

Linda is a Henry Crown Fellow with the Aspen Institute. She is an environmental activist having built Tah.Mah.Lah (http://www.tahmahlah.com), considered the greenest home in the US and a 21st century education pioneer, including working to transform public schools and co-founding Creekside Learning Lab as a demo site for best practices in 21st century learning. She holds a BA in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and a MA in International Relations and Comparative Politics from Stanford University where she guest lectures.

Deb Zell

Deb Zell

Director of Customer and User Experience, Dell EMC

What inspires you?
Identifying unmet customer needs and riding my bike

I accidentally found my way into human centered design, best practice research and journey mapping 10 years ago (long before it became a thing) due to a product I launched for Charles Schwab that was a spectacular failure.

Full Bio

In the years since then, I’ve grown as practitioner of omni-channel, customer-centric design methods, have worked for and with early stage startups and incubators, and led the customer experience design practice at Deloitte Digital.  I was then hired into my current role to bring together the post-Dell and EMC merger offerings in a way that makes sense to customers; in the process am improving internal and external customer experience around all touchpoints: events, sales, product, support and digital experiences.

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