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 today.

September 27th, 2019

UCONN Stamford
Welcome Center
1 University Place
Stamford, CT 06901

Featured Speakers

  • Stanley Litow
  • Bio

Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and President of IBM’s 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.

  • 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

  • William Tong
  • Bio

William Tong

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.

  • 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.

  • Margaret Feeney
  • Bio

Margaret Feeney

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Bob Dorf
  • Bio

Entrepreneur in Residence @ Columbia University School of Business

Driving/coaching disruptive innovation at startups/Fortune 500's. Prominent author, trainer, consultant, trainer-trainer.

Bob Dorf has been a startup coach/consultant/trainer for nearly a decade, after spending earlier decades founding 7 startups and investing in 30 more. He helps startups three key ways:

  • "growth coaching" ceo's and teams to get un-stuck or accelerate revenues and business models
  • training founders and their teams in 1/2/3-day and 6-10 week boot camps and virtual incubators
  • training cadres of startup educators/coaches/mentors in startup ecosystems around the world

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.

Among Bob's recent high-impact projects: 
• A weeklong lean innovation workshop/simulation for 50 Moroccan corporate Executive MBAs 
• Six-part interactive webinar training series for 50 agribusiness startups
• Training 75 Tunisian startup leaders to teach and coach entrepreneurs on "lean" methods
• Hands-on one-, two, and three-day Lean Startup Boot Camps
• Ten-week "LeanStartupsMX" program, a virtual incubator pilot for the Mexican government
• Startup Academy Moscow: six-time top-rated trainer in a four-day lean principles boot camp
• Corporate Innovation boot camps for giants including GE, Merck, NewsCorp Carvajal SA, OCP
• Keynote speeches, often to thousands, in many corners of the globe

  • 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.

  • Ron Ashkenas
  • Bio

Principle @ 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.

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.

  • Ron Ashkenas
  • Bio

Principle @ 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.

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.

  • Alan Samuel Cohen
  • Bio

President & Executive Coach 

Executive Coach, Professional Speaker, Author, Connector Transforming Successful Executives Into Breakthrough Leaders 

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. Spending decades as both a marketing expert and Human Resources consultant, 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. 

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.  

  • 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.

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.