FastFWD—The Innovation & Technology Conference

FastFWD brings change agents together to share the stories, insights and trends driving innovation and creating disruption today—and what the future might hold. Tethered to neither industry nor function, the conference takes a broader approach. We examine markets, technologies, geopolitical movements and other ‘macro’ level concepts to explore the root cause of change. And what action we need to take as a result.

September 27th, 2019

UCONN Stamford
Welcome Center
1 University Place
Stamford, CT 06901

Featured Speakers

  • Amanda Slavin
  • Bio

Marketing Strategist & Brand Engagement Expert

Amanda Slavin is the Founder & CEO of the award winning, experiential marketing and engagement marketing firm, CatalystCreativ, and Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree for Advertising and Marketing.

Amanda Slavin is the Founder & CEO of the award winning, experiential marketing and engagement marketing firm, CatalystCreativ, and Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree for Advertising and Marketing. With a Masters of Curriculum and Instruction from NEAG School of Education at UCONN and a rich history in the nightlife and entertainment industries, Amanda now fuses her diverse expertise to help brands achieve deep and meaningful engagement with customers that goes far beyond superficial likes and shares on social media. With clients as diverse as Coca Cola, The Raiders, Google, The Nature Conservancy and the New York City Ballet, Amanda is passionate about using her marketing prowess to help brands do good for the world without sacrificing their bottom line.

She co-founded and launched the Charity Connector event series, a socially nonprofit event series that started at Paige Management in 2010, and has worked with 200 nonprofits building community through strategic partnerships, events and marketing to help engage more individuals to support their fundraising efforts. She is an advisor to Mama Hope, Global Citizen, and I Am That Girl. She is also a member of the World Economic Forum, Global Shapers, TED, Summit Series, Nexus and PTTOW.

Amanda has adapted and tested a proprietary method for quantifying and scaling engagement for employees and customers, known as the Seventh Level Engagement Framework, which she has utilized in building expertise around marketing to Millennials, Gen Z and what she has coined "the Millennial Minded." She has been featured in Inc Magazine, Forbes, Fast Company, Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine and has spoken at SXSW, TED, Summit Series, INBOUND, among many other conferences about the importance of using The Seventh Level framework as the future of personal connection.

  • Shawn Nelson
  • Bio

Founder & CEO @ Lovesac

Shawn holds multiple patents on product inventions producing hundreds of millions in sales to-date. The Lovesac Company is a direct-to-consumer furniture brand with more than 70 retail showrooms supporting its ecommerce delivery model.

Shawn Nelson is the founder and CEO of The Lovesac Company is a direct-to-consumer furniture brand with more than 70 retail showrooms supporting its ecommerce delivery model. Lovesac’s name comes from its original Durafoam filled beanbags called Sacs. The company is now disrupting the home decor industry with its patented furniture platform called Sactionals, a washable, changeable, reconfigurable, and FedEx-shippable solution for large upholstered seating.

From humble beginnings, Shawn began making Lovesac giant beanbags by hand in 1995 out of his parent’s basement. In 1996 he served as a church service volunteer in Taiwan for two years, becoming fluent in Mandarin Chinese, only to return to work in China delivering leadership and team-building seminars in Chinese for Fortune 500 companies in the year 2000.

Shawn graduated from the University of Utah with honors and bachelor’s degree in Chinese and later a Masters in Strategic Design and Management from Parson’s, The New School for Design in New York City where he eventually became an instructor in the Master’s program.

In 2001 Lovesac opened its first retail location in Salt Lake City, Utah, with dozens more to follow. In 2005 Shawn won a 1 million dollar investment from Virgin’s Richard Branson on Fox
Network’s hit show “The Rebel Billionaire,” and was made acting President of Virgin Worldwide for a
time. Raising VC funding and eventually Private Equity financing to drive growth, Lovesac became the fastest growing furniture retailer in the U.S. in 2017, mostly on sales of Sactionals. Lovesac achieved a successful IPO in June of 2018 and continues on its high growth trajectory. He currently splits his time
between Lovesac HQ1 in Stamford, Connecticut, and Lovesac HQ2 in St. George Utah with his wife, 2 dogs, and 4 children. Learn more at www.lovesac.com or on his blog at www.DFLGroup.org.

  • Rajan Mehta
  • Bio

EVP & CTO @ WWE

Rajan is responsible for WWE’s Digital Products, which include the WWE Network & WWE.com. In addition, he provides oversight for their enterprise technology strategy & operations, including Cybersecurity, Big Data, & Information Technology.

Rajan Mehta is Executive Vice President & Chief Technology Officer at WWE.  He is responsible for WWE’s Digital Products, which include the WWE Network & WWE.com. In addition, he provides oversight for their enterprise technology strategy & operations, including Cybersecurity, Big Data, & Information Technology.

Mehta joined WWE in 2013 as Vice President, Digital Technology and was promoted to Senior Vice President, Media Technology in 2015. Prior to joining WWE, Mehta was with NBC Universal where he held leadership roles with NBC Sports and served as the Chief Technology Officer for Dyle Mobile TV. Mehta has also held technology positions for General Electric, and Sitetrends, an east coast based internet company.

Mehta has been recognized with numerous industry awards including a 2008 Emmy Award for "Outstanding New Approaches in Sports Broadcasting," for his work with NBC Olympics and a 2016 Webby Award for “Online Sports Channel,” for his work with the WWE Network.

Mehta resides in Connecticut, with his wife and two daughters.

  • Tim Kane
  • Bio

President and CEO @ Goodway Technologies

Tim Kane leads product innovation, vertical market expansion and business development at Goodway Technologies, a global manufacturer of innovative industrial maintenance equipment.

Tim Kane is president and chief executive officer of Goodway Technologies, a global manufacturer of innovative industrial maintenance equipment. He is responsible for the
long-term vision and growth of Goodway Technologies and oversees an executive team responsible for the production, distribution and sales of more than 100 different products designed for use in commercial, institutional and industrial facilities around the world. His responsibilities also include leading product innovation, vertical market expansion and business development. Under his leadership, Goodway products have received numerous industry honors including AHR Innovation, Plant Engineering Product of the Year, Dealer Design Award, IBIE Best in Baking, and Money Saving Product. He holds more than a dozen patents related to designs and concepts aimed at improving the efficiency of heating and cooling systems with international reach into more than 140 countries. In 2008, Kane created a new company commercially known as “SpeedClean”. The startup was designed to create a dynamic and innovative value brand in the HVAC wholesale distribution space. The company is now a division of Goodway and has enjoyed double digit annual growth throughout its history. Born and raised in Fairfield County, Kane is committed to the community by supporting several philanthropic organizations and continuing to grow Goodway’s workforce in Stamford.

  • William Tong
  • Bio

Attorney General @ State of Connecticut

William Tong is the 25th Attorney General to serve Connecticut since the office was established in 1897. He took office on January 9, 2019 as the first Asian American elected at the statewide level, in Connecticut.

Before his election as Attorney General, Tong served for 12 years in Connecticut’s General Assembly representing the 147th District, which includes North Stamford and Darien. Most recently, Tong served as House Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. In this position Tong was responsible for all legislation related to constitutional law, criminal law, civil rights, consumer protection, probate, judicial nominations and the Judicial branch, and major areas of substantive law. 

During his service in the legislature, Tong helped lead passage of landmark legislation, including the Connecticut Second Chance Act, Domestic Violence Restraining Order Act, Lost and Stolen Firearms Act, the Act Protecting Homeowner Rights, and the Act Protecting Schoolchildren.

A Connecticut native, Tong grew up in the Hartford area and attended schools in West Hartford. He graduated from Phillips Academy Andover, Brown University and the University of Chicago Law School. He has practiced law for the last 18 years as a litigator in both state and federal courts, first at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, in New York City and for the past 15 years at Finn Dixon & Herling LLP, in Stamford.

Tong is the oldest of five children, and grew up working side-by-side with his immigrant parents in their family’s Chinese restaurant. He and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Stamford with their three children and too many pets. Elizabeth is Vice President of Tax for North America for Diageo Corporation.

  • Matt McCooe
  • Bio

CEO @ CT Innovations

Matt manages Connecticut Innovations' venture capital funds, loans and programs to support entrepreneurs and startups. CI has over 175 portfolio companies and $300M in assets under management. 

Matt has more than 25 years of experience in venture capital, sales, marketing and product management. Matt represents CI on the boards of Tantalus Systems, Vouchr, Curacity, Elm Street Ventures and r4, as well as serving as Chairman of the board for CTNext and the CT Biosciences Fund.

  • David Lehman
  • Bio

Commissioner @ Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development

The DECD oversees a wide range of programs promoting business retention and recruitment, brownfield redevelopment, the arts, historic preservation and tourism.

Governor Ned Lamont nominated David as Commissioner earlier this year. 

Mr. Lehman will also serve as the Governor’s Senior Economic Advisor. He is already hard at work at creating an innovative public-private partnership between DECD and CERC known as the Partnership to Advance the Connecticut of Tomorrow (PACT), a new economic development delivery model for our state.  

Mr. Lehman’s business development priorities include helping build our urban centers into engines of growth; further capitalizing on the state’s top-flight colleges and universities; strengthening the state’s workforce pipelines; and marketing Connecticut as a place that is open for business.

Prior to joining DECD, Mr. Lehman worked in the financial services industry. Most recently he was Global Head of Real Estate Finance for the Investment Banking Division of Goldman Sachs, where he worked for 15 years.

  • Neil Sahota
  • Bio

Master Inventor & Tech Coast Angel

Neil Sahota is an IBM Master Inventor, United Nations Artificial Intelligence subject matter expert, and Professor at UC Irvine. With 20+ years of business experience, Neil works with clients to create next generation solutions powered by AI. 

Neil's work experience spans multiple industries including legal services, healthcare, life sciences, retail, travel and transportation, energy and utilities, automotive, telecommunications, media/communication, and government. Moreover, Neil is one of the few people selected for IBM's Corporate Service Corps leadership program that pairs leaders with NGOs to perform community-driven economic development projects. For his assignment, Neil lived and worked in Ningbo, China where he partnered with Chinese corporate CEOs to create a leadership development program. Neil is also an active volunteer. With the UN, he’s a founding member of their Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Social Good Committee. He is currently working with them to develop a report on the Economic Impact of AI as well as a model to incentivize member nations to invest in emerging technology to help fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals. In IBM’s Academic Initiative program that creates partnership opportunities between the IBM and the country’s top universities. He also serves as a business mentor for IBM’s Extreme Blue program that is an incubator for new product ideas. With Neil’s guidance, IBM developed new products and services in the areas of Business Analytics, Smarter Healthcare, Smarter Energy, Mobile Channel Development, and Social Media Solutions. Moreover, Neil partners with entrepreneurs to define their products, establish their target markets, and structure their companies. He is a member of the Tech Coast Angels and The Cove Fund Investment committee and assists startups with investor funding. Neil also serves as a judge in the Butterworth Product Competition, mentor in the K5 Launch accelerator program, and coach for various start up competitions. In addition to his professional work, Neil has taught part-time for the past eight years at UC Irvine, UC San Diego, UCLA, Oregon State University, international programs, corporate education, and K-12. He has help create Master’s degree programs in Innovation and Entrepreneurship as well as Business Analytics. He has created certificate programs in AI, Business Analysis, Predicative Analytics, and Project Management. In addition, he has created over thirty courses over all education levels.

  • Reena Ninan
  • Bio

Anchor & Correspondent @ CBS News and CBSN

Ninan anchors CBSN and the Saturday edition of CBS Weekend News. She also reports for CBS This Morning, CBS Evening News and other CBS broadcasts.

From 2007 to 2012 she was the Middle East Correspondent for Fox News Channel. She has reported from throughout the world, including Libya, Indonesia, India, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq. In July 2011, she was named one of Glamour magazine's "Women on the Front Lines." Ninan began working at ABC News in 2012 in the Washington bureau, where she covered the White House and the State Department. She later moved to New York, reporting for Good Morning America and continuing to travel abroad as a foreign correspondent. In April 2015, Ninan was named co-anchor of ABC's early morning shows World News Now and America This Morning, alongside T.J. Holm

  • Bob Dorf
  • Bio

Entrepreneur in Residence @ Columbia University School of Business

Bob has been a startup coach/consultant/trainer for nearly a decade, after spending earlier decades founding 7 startups and investing in 30 more.

Bob co-authored the "Startup Owner’s Manual," a global bestseller now in 21 languages. He travels the world energizing startup ecosystems and providing hands-on, hyperactive training programs for startup groups and corporations driving disruptive innovation. The process Bob teaches has guided thousands of startups and corporate intrapreneurs, reducing the toxic failure rate of innovation.

  • Stanley Litow
  • Bio

Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs @ IBM, President @ IBM Foundation

Under Stanley's leadership, IBM has been widely regarded as the global leader in Corporate Citizenship, and praised for societal and environmental leadership, labor practices, and civic leadership.

Under Mr. Litow, IBM has developed innovative voice recognition technology to help children and adults learn to read, a humanitarian virtual supercomputer to speed research on cancer and AIDS, and new digital imaging technology to improve water quality. Mr. Litow helped devise IBM’s Corporate Service Corps, a corporate version of the Peace Corps, to train and deploy thousands of IBM’s future leaders; the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), a grade 9 through 14 schools initiative to engage companies, colleges, communities and schools to help strengthen America’s economic competitiveness by connecting education to jobs; and IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge, which is helping 100 cities worldwide become more effective.

  • Alan Samuel Cohen
  • Bio

Executive Coach & Professional Speaker

Through mastering effective communication, Alan transforms successful executives into breakthrough leaders. He presided over the successful launch of the Harry Potter series as Scholastic’s Director of Publicity and Marketing, and served as Director of Communications for the Broadway League. 

Alan Samuel Cohen has built a 35+ year career around the idea that no matter the industry or challenge, breakthroughs come from mastering effective communication and connection. 

As an Executive Coach, Alan has worked with global organizations including Bloomberg, Tiffany, American Express, NBC, Bravo, Edelman Public Relations and MetLife.

During that time, Alan discovered an innate ability to transform already-successful executives into breakthrough leaders. This passion inspired him to make the leap into Executive Coaching, enabling him to train, speak, and coach inside some of the world’s top organizations. Alan’s work today inspires leaders and teams to harness the power of communication to achieve exemplary results and meaningful connection.

As an author, Alan drew upon his success in Public Relations to pen his first book, “Those Difficult Talks for PR Pros.” Widely praised by industry professionals, it became a valued resource. As an Executive Coach, he discovered a universal need for a better understanding of the connection between communication and authentic leadership; his next book, “The Connection Challenge™: How Executives Create Power and Possibility in the Age of Distraction,” invites executives to shatter the boundaries of conventional thinking — while revealing the path to ultimate success.

Alan is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credentialed by the International Coaching Federation. BA, Connecticut College; MBA, Gabelli School of Business - Fordham University.  

  • Margaret Feeney
  • Bio

Head of Innovation @ NatWest Markets

Margaret leads strategic innovation initiatives in the US for NatWest Markets.

Margaret is responsible for creating, building and maintaining external key partnerships and identifying and assessing what technology will impact NWM. Margaret also leads several key internal initiatives aimed at increasing employee awareness of emerging technology and its impact on the future of financial services.

  • David O'Malley
  • Bio

Senior Director, Product Strategy @ GE Healthcare

David has lead GE business units and their digital products through programs centered on Lean Product Startup, Product acceleration and organizational transformation.

David's experience also includes; Product Management, architecture, outsourcing, vendor management with extensive business knowledge in the Manufacturing, software, health, insurance, consumer beverage and hospitality industries. As Director of Product David was responsible for creating revenue generating software products that contributed to top line growth and delivered a competitive advantage in our marketplace.

  • Kristen B Sullivan
  • Bio

Partner @ Deloitte

Kristen B. Sullivan is a partner and leads Deloitte & Touche LLP’s Sustainability and KPI services, working with clients to help address their sustainability and non-financial disclosure needs. 

Kristen B. Sullivan is a partner and leads Deloitte & Touche LLP’s Sustainability and KPI services, working with clients to help address their sustainability and non-financial disclosure needs. Kristen also serves as the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited’s Americas Region Sustainability Services Leader. Kristen brings extensive experience in delivering sustainability risk assessment, governance, strategy alignment, measurement, reporting and assurance services. She
also leads Deloitte’s Supply Chain Social Compliance services, bringing specialized insights to these regulatory reporting requirements from her previous area of focus on
Regulatory & Public Policy Matters for Deloitte.

  • Nikki Mamuric
  • Bio

CEO @ Sprout Innovation Co.

Nikki Mamuric is an American marketer, entrepreneur, writer, and innovation public speaker. She is the Founder and CEO of Sprout Innovation Co., an innovation advisory ecosystem working with Fortune 500 FMCG’s.

Currently, Mamuric leads end-to-end marketing (innovation, activation and equity) for a portfolio of six brands at RB, a multinational consumer goods company focusing on health, hygiene and home products.

Over the course of her career, Mamuric has influenced 30+ consumer brands across 15+ categories. She is the brains behind game-changing consumer products, like Crest 3D White, OxiClean WhiteRevive and L’Oreal’s Pure Clay. 

Mamuric has been recognized with a number of marketing and innovation awards, most recently 2018’s Top 25 Brand Builder by Leading Women Entrepreneurs & Business Owners, and in 2014, “40 Under 40” by Brand Innovators.

Attachments area

  • M. Ariel Evans
  • Bio

CEO @ Cyber Innovative Technologies

M. (Maryellen) Ariel Evans is the CEO of Cyber Innovative Technologies, a leading cyber risk software company and Cyber Intelligence 4U a leading cyber educational services company.

Ariel has over two decades of senior executive experience leading governance, legal, cyber, compliance, risk, and internal audit teams. She is a senior cybersecurity and governance expert, author and entrepreneur. Her book "Managing Cyber Risk" will be available this spring from Routledge a leading academic publisher in the U.K.. She also is the Executive Cyber Security Chairperson at Rutgers University managing their executive cybersecurity program and a guest lecturer in entrepreneurship at Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University and many others.

  • Richard Duan
  • Bio

Managing Director @ Diaconia Solutions LLC

Richard is an MIT graduate, ethical team builder and quantitative investment manager / trader who specializes in high return / low risk (high Sharpe-ratio) investment strategies, with in-depth knowledge of algorithm trading and transaction cost reduction.

Amanda Slavin is the Founder & CEO of the award winning, experiential marketing and engagement marketing firm, CatalystCreativ, and Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree for Advertising and Marketing. With a Masters of Curriculum and Instruction from NEAG School of Education at UCONN and a rich history in the nightlife and entertainment industries, Amanda now fuses her diverse expertise to help brands achieve deep and meaningful engagement with customers that goes far beyond superficial likes and shares on social media. With clients as diverse as Coca Cola, The Raiders, Google, The Nature Conservancy and the New York City Ballet, Amanda is passionate about using her marketing prowess to help brands do good for the world without sacrificing their bottom line.

She co-founded and launched the Charity Connector event series, a socially nonprofit event series that started at Paige Management in 2010, and has worked with 200 nonprofits building community through strategic partnerships, events and marketing to help engage more individuals to support their fundraising efforts. She is an advisor to Mama Hope, Global Citizen, and I Am That Girl. She is also a member of the World Economic Forum, Global Shapers, TED, Summit Series, Nexus and PTTOW.

Amanda has adapted and tested a proprietary method for quantifying and scaling engagement for employees and customers, known as the Seventh Level Engagement Framework, which she has utilized in building expertise around marketing to Millennials, Gen Z and what she has coined "the Millennial Minded." She has been featured in Inc Magazine, Forbes, Fast Company, Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine and has spoken at SXSW, TED, Summit Series, INBOUND, among many other conferences about the importance of using The Seventh Level framework as the future of personal connection.

  • Abhijit Shome
  • Bio

Vice President, Global Digital Marketing @ Mastercard

Abhijit is responsible for driving innovation in digital marketing through integration of technologies, data, ML and AI into all aspects of marketing.

Abhijit oversees global initiatives around Personalization, Voice, Social, CRM, Analytics, Measurement and Mastercard’s proprietary Digital Engine. Abhijit has 20 years of sales and marketing experience and has been a pioneer throughout his career.

Over the past decade, Abhijit has been driving innovation around Digital Marketing globally. Prior to joining Mastercard, he was responsible for verticalizing MediaMath’s business and leading a $400M business unit that serviced many of the largest global omni-channel retailers. Before joining MediaMath, at Macy’s, he was responsible for Digital Marketing innovation, Loyalty and an omni-channel customer ecosystem that supported CRM, Customer Insights, Merchandising etc.

His team partnered with Facebook, Google, Apple etc. in the launch of products such as Custom Audiences, Google PLA, iTunes Radio etc. At the core of all of this innovation was a rich omni-channel customer ecosystem that in today’s parlance would be called a CDP. The success of these innovative efforts led to significant shift in investments from traditional marketing channels such as print, radio, OOH into digital channels to support omni-channel customer engagement.

Early in his career Abhijit was an entrepreneur – co-founding and growing multiple businesses. He served on IBM’s Customer Advisory Board and advised many other digital businesses.

  • Matthew Quint
  • Bio

Director, Center on Global Brand Leadership @ Columbia Business School

Matthew researches, writes, teaches, and speaks on a wide range of issues critical to building a strong brand. He has particular expertise in marketing ROI, strategies for marketing in the digital age, and the development of creative and effective brand communications.

Columbia Business School's Center on Global Brand Leadership creates, gathers, and shares insights and tools that inspire strategic thinking and decision-making.

Matthew is the producer and host of the Center's acclaimed BRITE conference series which brings together over 500 big thinkers in industry and academia to discuss how innovation and technology help organizations to build and maintain strong brands.

He has worked with senior executives from various leading companies to conduct research, produce events, and promote knowledge sharing among branding and marketing professionals.

Previously, Matthew held positions at Columbia University in which he developed the Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment, and managed print and digital communications materials for Columbia Law School.

Prior to moving to New York City, Matthew was the Assistant Counsellor (Nuclear Science & Technology) at the Embassy of Australia in Washington, DC. Matthew has been interviewed and cited in dozens of media outlets. He has written a chapter on measuring purpose in Perspectives on Purpose (Routledge, 2019). Matthew has a M.S. in strategic communications from Columbia University and a B.A. in political science and history from Cornell University. He is a board member of the American Marketing Association New York and New York City Children’s Theater.

  • Dan Taylor
  • Bio

President and Creative Director @ Taylor Design

Dan started Taylor Design in 1992 in Stamford, CT. Over the years he and his team have produced award-winning branding programs and digital communications for corporations, colleges, and non-profits

After ten years of working at different agencies in New York City, Dan started Taylor Design in 1992 in Stamford, CT, building it into a thriving studio with twelve employees. Over the years, Dan and his team have produced award-winning branding programs and digital communications for corporations, colleges, and non-profits, including Columbia University, Harvard Medical School, Northwestern University, MasterCard, IBM, and Charter/Spectrum. He received a BFA in Design from Rochester Institute of Technology and has taught design at the University of Connecticut, Dan currently serves on the boards of AIGA CT and the Business Council of Fairfield County.

  • Chris Epple
  • Bio

Vice President, Consumer Marketing @ Harman International

Chris oversees marketing of Consumer Audio products for brands such as JBL, Harman Kardon and AKG. Lead Consumer, Trade, Digital / Social, Experiential, Sports & Music Sponsorship / Properties, Retail and New Product launches in the Americas with dotted line oversight of global regions.

Chris is an accomplished senior marketing executive with 15+ years experience at premiere consumer goods companies PepsiCo and Kraft Foods, and entertainment at A+E Networks, in global and domestic capacities.
• Consumer-Focused: Passion for engaging consumers through media, social media, partnerships and events.
• Commercial-Minded: Lead teams on large-scale launches.
• Brand-Builder: Drive profitable growth and brand relevance - no compromise on either.
• Talent-First: Committed to people development and building healthy cultures & strong teams.

  • Ron Ashkenas
  • Bio

Principal @ Ashkenas Consulting LLC

Ron has been a thought-partner on organizational change, leadership, and transformation with prominent private and public sector executives for over thirty years, and is currently focusing his consulting on start-ups and non-profits.

Ron Ashkenas is the principal of Ashkenas Consulting LLC, and an Emeritus Partner of Schaffer Consulting in Stamford, Connecticut. He is the author of the book Simply Effective:  How to Cut Through Complexity in Your Organization and Get Things Done. (Harvard Business Press), and the co-author of four other books (including “The Boundaryless Organization” and “The GE Work-Out”). Ron also is the author of hundreds of articles, including seven that have appeared in The Harvard Business Review.

Ron’s latest book (co-authored with Brook Manville) is the “Harvard Business Review Leader’s Handbook: Make an Impact, Inspire Your Organization, and Get to the Next Level” that was published in November 2018.

Ron has been a thought-partner on organizational change, leadership, and transformation with prominent private and public sector executives for over thirty years, and is currently focusing his consulting on start-ups and non-profits. He was part of the team that worked with Jack Welch to transform GE in the 1990’s. His other
clients have included The World Bank and Federal Reserve Bank of NY; Merck, Pfizer, Teva, and GSK pharmaceuticals; technology companies such as Cisco, Amdocs,
Cognizant, and HP Enterprise; Stanford Hospital and the MD Anderson Cancer Center; financial services companies such as AIG, JP Morgan Chase, Thomson Reuters, and Zurich Insurance; and consumer products firms including PepsiCo, ConAgra Foods, and P&G.

Ron holds a BA from Wesleyan University, a Masters Degree from Harvard, and a PhD from Case Western Reserve University in organizational behavior.

In addition to his
consulting work with CEO’s, senior executive teams, and non-profits, Ron has lectured on change management, leadership, innovation, simplification, and merger integration
at universities and conferences around the world; and has served as an executive-in- residence at the Haas Business School of UC Berkeley. He also is a co-founder and change advisor to the Rapid Results Institute, a non-profit spinoff from Schaffer
Consulting that focuses on social innovation projects in the US and developing countries.

  • Amy Steele
  • Bio

Partner @ Deloitte

Amy Steele is an Audit & Assurance Partner performing audits and serving in the National Office of Deloitte & Touche LLP. Amy performs audits in the Technology industry, including in Software and Blockchain sectors. 

Amy Steele is an Audit & Assurance Partner performing audits and serving in the National Office of Deloitte & Touche LLP. Amy performs audits in the Technology industry, including in Software and Blockchain sectors.  In her National Office role, Amy has responsibility for developing and implementing strategies to enhance quality across the Audit & Assurance practice, she leads consultations with practitioners to enact leading practices throughout Deloitte’s global organization, and she leads initiatives to innovate and transform how Deloitte performs audits.  Amy also leads Deloitte’s National Office Audit Group Revenue subject matter team and Deloitte’s audit initiatives related to the Cryptocurrency, Digital Assets and Blockchain emerging sectors. Amy co-chairs the AICPA Digital Assets taskforce and serves on the Center for Audit Quality Emerging Technologies taskforce.

  • Hugh Seaton
  • Bio

General Manager @ Adept Reality

Hugh has founded and led hackathons, conferences and meetups in New York, San Francisco, Toronto and Boston, all while founding and running Aquinas Learning, a software company focused on applying AI to learning.

Hugh Seaton is GM of Adept Reality, a software company focused on using VR/AR in adult learning. Prior to Adept, Hugh founded AquinasVR, a VR/AR software company which he sold to the Glimpse Group, parent of Adept. Hugh’s focus, whether in immersive technologies, IoT or artificial intelligence, is on the intersection of learning science, creativity, and the cutting edge technologies that can bring learning to new levels of effectiveness.

  • Lyron Bentovim
  • Bio

President & CEO @ Glimpse Group

Mr. Bentovim has over 20 years of experience in executive management, technology investing and entrepreneurship. Prior to co-founding the Glimpse Group in 2016, between 2008-2016, Mr. Bentovim served as CFO and COO for several technology companies.

Mr. Bentovim has over 20 years of experience in executive management, technology investing and entrepreneurship. Prior to co-founding the Glimpse Group in 2016, between 2008-2016, Mr. Bentovim served as CFO and COO for several technology companies: Top Image Systems (TISA; a SAAS software company), NIT Health (a healthcare IT company) and Sunrise Telecom, Inc (SRTI; a test and measurement solutions for telecom, wireless and cable networks). He also founded DarklightPartners, a strategic advisory to small and mid-cap companies. Between 2002 and 2008, Mr. Bentovim was a co-founder and Managing Director of Skiritai Capital LLC, a San Francisco based hedge fund focused on small cap technology investing. Prior to this, Mr. Bentovim was an entrepreneur, as co-founder and President/COO of Webrix, Inc. Additionally, Mr. Bentovim has held positions as a Senior Engagement Manager with strategy consultancies: USWeb/CKS, the Mitchell Madison Group LLC and McKinsey & Company Inc. He has also serves on the board of directors for multiple public and private companies. Mr. Bentovim holds an MBA from Yale School of Management and a Law degree from the Hebrew University.

  • DJ Smith
  • Bio

Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer @ Glimpse Group

Mr. Smith is the Organizer of the 2nd Largest Virtual Reality Meetup in the world called NYVR, founded in 2013. Mr. Smith has extensive domain expertise and knowledge of virtual and augmented reality hardware, software and content creation.

Mr. Smith is the Organizer of the 2nd Largest Virtual Reality Meetup in the world called NYVR, founded in 2013. Mr. Smith has extensive domain expertise and knowledge of virtual and augmented reality hardware, software and content creation. In addition, his role as NYVR Organizer provides a deep understanding of the virtual reality industry, a real-time access to current industry developments, as well as a direct connection to virtual reality entrepreneurs and startups. In parallel with NYVR, Mr. Smith founded VRTech Consulting, Inc. whose purpose was to educate businesses in the field of virtual reality and assist in procuring virtual reality services. Mr. Smith holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Pennsylvania State University and brings 18 years of project management in construction and real estate development.

  • Mike Barlow
  • Bio

Award-winning Journalist and Co-Author of Smart Cities, Smart Future: Showcasing Tomorrow

Mike Barlow is an award-winning journalist and prolific writer with experience a reporter and editor at several respected suburban daily newspapers. He is the author of Learning to Love Data Science (O’Reilly 2015) and coauthor of Smart Cities, Smart Future: Showcasing Tomorrow (Wiley 2019). 

Mike Barlow is an award-winning journalist and prolific writer. He was a reporter and editor at several respected suburban daily newspapers, including The Journal News and the Stamford Advocate. His feature stories and columns appeared regularly in The Los Angeles TimesChicago TribuneMiami HeraldNewsday, and other major US dailies. He has written extensively on data science topics for O’Reilly Media and other publishers.

He is the author of Learning to Love Data Science (O’Reilly 2015) and coauthor of Smart Cities, Smart Future: Showcasing Tomorrow (Wiley 2019). A graduate of Hamilton College, he is a licensed private pilot and ice hockey fan. 

  • Cornelia Lévy-Bencheton
  • Bio

Author, Principal @ CLB Strategic Consulting, LLC

Cornelia is a data-driven, full-stack marketing and communications consultant, a technologist and futurist. She reports, analyzes and consults on smart cities, emerging and disruptive technologies, big data, analytics, and financial services.

Cornelia is a data-driven, full-stack marketing and communications consultant, a technologist and futurist. As principal of CLB Strategic Consulting, she reports, analyzes and consults on smart cities, emerging and disruptive technologies, big data, analytics, and financial services. She helps clients get tech-enabled and future-proofed with new markets, technologies, and more business. 

Conference & Session Themes

Emerging Factors

Blockchain

Automation

AI & ML

5G

VR/AR/MR

During the early panels and speakers, we will explore the big movements creating disruption and driving the need for innovation. This series will focus mainly on emerging technology and consumer behavior and preference trends.

Broader Context

Sustainability

Privacy

Managing Risk

Cybersecurity

Ethics

During these sessions, we will hear from leaders and innovators that will help give color your understanding of the Impact Factors. We will cover themes like responsibility, sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and more.

Driving Innovation

At Scale

Building Teams

Strategy

Agile

M&A / Venture

The payoff—during these talks, we will explore how we as individuals, teams, and organizations create disruption and drive innovation. What can we learn from the strategies, experiences, wins, and failures of our panelists and speakers?

The Big Picture

Emerging Markets

Political Realities

U.S. Trade Policy

Regulation & Legislation

Tax & Fiscal Policy

Our panel on macroeconomic and geopolitical trends will explore the broad movements that are shifting, creating, and even destroying markets and what were once ‘safe assumptions.’

Closing Keynote Series

Our lineup of premier innovators in their respective fields will share their personal and professional stories of opportunities, challenges, and ultimately innovation and growth. From lessons learned to their aha-moments, you will get real insight into the minds of recognized visionaries.