Breakout Sessions

Panels and workshops are configured differently to deliver ideas and tools with short and long-term application and impact. However, all are interactive.

Panels allow 1/3 of the time for panelists to present their ideas, 1/3 of the time for open discussion and debate across the room, and 1/3 of the time to create a shared vision to present to the world with specific actionable ideas to report.

Workshops are facilitated sessions in which CEOs and experts in the room help each other strengthen knowledge and skills. Learnings and ideas are shared with the community via notes, slides, and take-aways.

Access to Capital for the Mid-Market

What are the different ways mid-market companies can access capital to fuel growth?

This session will explore:

  • Debt options: corporate loans and loan programs
  • Equity options: private investors and public markets
  • Leverage options: pre-pays and joint ventures

Peter Reiter - Managing Director, RFE Investment Partners

R. Peter Reiter Jr. is a Managing Director of RFE Investment Partners, a private equity firm that is focused on investing in companies in the lower middle-market.

Mr. Reiter has more than 19 years of investment experience in the manufacturing, business service, and healthcare service industries. While at RFE, Mr. Reiter has sourced and led numerous platform acquisitions and is currently a director of Lectrus Corp., PCX Aerostructures, LLC, Squan Construction Services, LLC, Camino Modular Systems Inc., and iMedX Inc.

Prior to joining RFE, Mr. Reiter worked for KPMG Peat Marwick in its assurance practice.

Mr. Reiter is a graduate of Iona College, where he received a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting, and New York University, where he received a master of business administration degree.


Marshall Kiev - Founder and President, MK Capital Partners

Mr. Kiev is the Founder and Co-CEO of Forum Merger Corp (NASDAQ: FMCI) a public traded investment vehicle and President of MK Capital Partners, a private investment firm.

Mr. Kiev was previously a Director of Cohen Private Ventures (“CPV”). CPV is a family office investing long-term capital in direct private investments and other opportunistic transactions. Prior to his position with CPV, Mr. Kiev was Chief of Staff at S.A.C. Capital Advisors.

Prior to joining S.A.C., Mr. Kiev was President of Alternative Investments at Family Management Corporation, a multi-family office, where he oversaw a portfolio of investments in hedge funds and private equity funds. Previously, Mr. Kiev was a Partner at Main Street Resources, a middle-market private equity firm. He began his career at Family Management Corporation where he held a variety of roles over more than a decade.

Mr. Kiev holds an MBA degree from the Stern School of Business at New York University and a BA degree also from New York University. Mr. Kiev is an active member of the Young Presidents’ Organization and a former member of the Dean’s Council at Weill Cornell Medical College.


Adam Breslawsky - Owner, Oberon Securities

Adam has been on Wall Street since 1993 and co-founded Oberon in 2001. He manages the approximately 60 banker strong firm and has personally closed M&A and financing transactions with a number of Oberon clients including Select Staffing, NTS Communications, Xpress Retail, Novation, Inc., Oxford Biomedica, BiolineRx and Butler America.

Prior to joining Oberon, Adam was a Vice President of JP Morgan’s Telecom, Media & Technology Group where he was instrumental in the creation of the firm’s Wireless Data Investment Banking coverage effort. While at JP Morgan, Adam led the execution of numerous private placements, mergers and debt financings. Prior to joining JP Morgan, Adam worked at Merrill Lynch in the Leveraged Finance Group, underwriting high yield bonds and bridge loans as well as arranging syndicated loans and mezzanine financings. Adam also spent two years as a member of Merrill Lynch’s Mergers & Acquisitions Group executing over $2 billion in completed transactions across a number of industry sectors including consumer products, healthcare and technology.

Adam holds an MBA from the Wharton Business School and a BA from Union College.

Best Practices in Risk Management

How can companies anticipate and mitigate the inherent risks of doing business?

This session will explore:

  • Regulatory risks
  • Financial risks
  • Social risks
  • Country risks


Sudhir K. Kondisetty - Principal, Risk Advisory Services, RSM US LLP

Sudhir Kondisetty leads the Philadelphia region risk advisory practice. In this role, Sudhir oversees projects over a wide range of services, including internal audit/SOX, IT risk, financial regulatory compliance, security, enterprise risk management, etc. Additionally, Sudhir serves as the office managing partner of the Philadelphia office. Lastly, Sudhir serves as RSM’s northeast leader of Culture, Diversity, and Inclusion (CDI) an important initiative to increase employee and client engagement.

Prior to leading the risk advisory practice, Sudhir was involved in leading IT risk advisory projects, including IT risk assessments, IT general controls reviews, network infrastructure security testing, Sarbanes-Oxley IT reviews, Payment Card Industry (PCI) audits, System and Organization Controls (SOC) attestation engagements and IT project management. He has 20 years of consulting experience in various industries.

Board Management: CEO’s Responsibilities in Managing the Board

How can CEOs more effectively manage their boards to deliver better results?

This session will explore:

  • Clarifying the difference between approval, accountability and advice
  • Clarifying board, lead director and CEO’s roles with regard to governance, strategy, operations and organization
  • Best practices in managing board’s strategic, organizational and operational processes

Paul Berkowitz - Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig

Paul Berkowitz

Paul Berkowitz is a Shareholder based in the Miami office of Greenberg Traurig, LLP, an international, full-service law firm with more than 1750 attorneys serving clients from 35 offices in the United States, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. More than 35 years of experience in working with businesses, both domestically and internationally in a wide range of industries including serving as a senior executive with a NYSE listed company, gives Paul a unique outlook when advising clients facing the challenges of today’s economy. Paul’s background combines cross-border representation of clients in acquisition, disposition, debt, and equity financing transactions, including acting as an advisor to multi-national enterprises in rule 144A, initial public and high yield debt offerings.

His varied transactional experience includes serving as lead securities counsel in a high yield debt offering for a Mexican provider of fixed satellite services through a U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding, lead counsel in the United States public offering of the first company organized under the laws of the Federal Republic of Germany to be listed on the Nasdaq, representing a vitamin and consumer health products company in a $1.6 billion tender offer, and acting as company counsel for both seasoned and early stage issuers in both public and private financings.

  • Finalist, Daily Business Review, “Top Dealmaker of the Year – Corporate (International) Category,” 2012.
  • Member, team ranked as a top corporate law firm in Miami as selected by corporate directors, in the annual “Legal Industry Research Study” by Corporate Board Member magazine and FTI Consulting Inc. (10th year), 2002-2009, 2011-2012.
  • Paul received his undergraduate degree from the Wharton School and his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.
  • Listed, The Best Lawyers in America, 2007Listed, Chambers USA Guide, 2006 and 2007
  • Listed, South Florida Business Journal, “Best of the Bar,” April 2003
  • Rated, AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5

Cyber-Security and Protecting Your Trade Secrets

How can you best protect your trade secrets and mitigate losses in the event of an attack?

This session will explore:

  • The ever-evolving hacker environment
  • Core principles of cyber-security
  • Specific actions you can take to mitigate risks

Russell Beck - Founding Partner, Beck Reed Riden LLP

Russell BeckRussell Beck is a business and intellectual property litigator, nationally recognized for his trade secrets and noncompete experience.

Russell has twenty-five years of experience as a complex business and intellectual property litigator, representing corporate and individual clients throughout the country in federal and state trial and appellate courts, arbitrations, and mediations.

Russell is a leading authority on the law of trade secrets and noncompetes. In addition to his many years of experience advising on and litigating trade secrets and noncompete matters around the country, he authored the book, Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (4th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2010) (covering Massachusetts noncompete law); authored the chapters Trade Secret Misappropriation and Noncompetition Agreements for Intellectual Property Practice (MCLE, Inc. 2004-2011) (covering trade secrets law nationally and Massachusetts noncompete law); drafted the current bill pending before the Massachusetts Legislature to modify Massachusetts noncompete law; founded and chaired Foley & Lardner LLP’s Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice; and created and teaches Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law. (Boston University’s Intellectual Property program, of which Russell’s course is a part, has been ranked in the top 10 in the country by U.S. News and World Reports.)

Russell is also frequently called upon to advise clients concerning the prevention and minimization of litigation risks both in Massachusetts and nationally. Such services include the preparation of noncompetition agreements, nondisclosure agreements, no-raid agreements, nonsolicitation agreements, and other restrictive covenants; the performance of trade secret audits and establishment of comprehensive trade secret protection programs; trade secrets training; preparation of alternative dispute resolution agreements; and advice concerning the on-boarding and off-boarding of employees subject to restrictive covenants, joining a client from a competitor, or leaving a client to join a competitor.

In addition to his national trade secrets and noncompete litigation practice, Russell’s practice concentrates on complex business litigation, including high-tech matters, copyright infringement matters, trademark disputes, unfair competition claims, business-to-business matters, breach of contract claims, land use cases, and health care payor/provider disputes.

Dealing with Big Data to Build Competitive Advantage

How can you leverage data to gain a sustainable competitive advantage?

This session will explore:

  • Collecting data – the do’s and don’ts
  • Analyzing data – how to uncover insights
  • Actioning data – how to make the data work for you

Michelle Wells - Principal Product Consultant, Mid-Market, SAS

Michelle Wells leads global mid-market product marketing at SAS. SAS is the leader in analytics. Michelle is responsible for understanding mid-market market trends and customer business issues as she defines the mid-market strategy and execution plan for SAS.

Prior to joining SAS, Michelle spent over 30 years with IBM leading worldwide IBM Cloud marketing campaigns, developing and launching mid-market demand generation programs, executing business partner co-marketing programs, and managing systems engineers.

Michelle holds a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a MBA degree from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.


David Palmieri - SVP Product Management & General Manager, K-12 Learning Services, Pearson

David Palmieri is Senior Vice President of Product Management and General Manager for K-12 Learning Services at Pearson. In this role, he has responsibility for all of Pearson’s K-12 products in the US and driving the digital transformation of that business. Prior to joining Pearson in 2017, Mr. Palmieri served as Chief Operating Officer of Centric Digital, a consulting firm that specializes in driving digital transformation in traditional businesses and was recognized as Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing company in New York.

Previously, he served as Chief Executive Officer of US Legal. Backed by America’s largest consumer law firm brands, US Legal developed innovative products and services for the consumer legal services market. The company’s solution combines recognized brands, world-class marketing, web products and technology, call center operations, and shared services that help small law firms run their business.

Prior to that,Mr. Palmieri was Vice President & Managing Director at LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier (NYSE: RUK), where he served as the General Manager of the Martindale-Hubbell division, a $180 million company. Mr. Palmieri drove a transformation at Martindale-Hubbell, which operates leading legal destination web sites for people seeking legal help, including for consumers and small businesses and for private practice attorneys and corporate counsel. In addition, the company offered a full service digital marketing agency that helps law firms manage their web sites and online marketing campaigns.

Prior to joining LexisNexis in 2009, Mr. Palmieri held senior executive positions at Dun & Bradstreet (NYSE: DNB), the global leader in business information. As Senior Vice President of Global Risk Management Solutions (RMS), he served as General Manager of D&B’s core business globally, managing a business with revenue of over $750 Million. While leading RMS, Mr. Palmieri drove a significant transformation of that business and created DNBi, an innovative software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that has delivered significant revenue growth and improvements in customer satisfaction.

Prior to joining D&B in 2003, Mr. Palmieri was the Vice President of Products at, a leading provider of domain name registration and Internet marketing services based in New York City. At, he launched products and services that have helped hundreds of thousands of consumers and small businesses establish and build their presence on the Web. Earlier in his career, he was one of the first employees at Barnes & Noble’s e-commerce division,, where he was a pioneer in the development of consumer e-commerce and helped grow the company from launch to over $100 million in revenue and its successful initial public offering (IPO). He served as Product Manager for Broadband Services for Verizon developing the high-speed Internet and interactive video services that today make up the FiOS service. He began his career in the technology consulting practice of Accenture.

Mr. Palmieri holds a BA from Franklin & Marshall College and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.


Education to Create Tomorrow’s Workforce

How can the education system evolve to create the right workforce?

This session will explore:

  • The Mid-Market College Internship Program
  • The mid-market as “customers” of higher education
  • MOOC’s and education access
  • Government policy and the financing of higher education
  • Worker training/retraining for emerging industries
  • Proactive corporate involvement in the evolution of education
  • Progress report from CEOC Committee Projects

Jon Whitmore - Former CEO, ACT; Chair, CEO Connection Education Committee

Jon Whitmore assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer of ACT on September 1, 2010. ACT’s services include a broad range of assessments encompassing all levels of the educational continuum and a growing array of assessment systems supportive of economic and educworkforce development worldwide. Currently engaged in an extensive developmental agenda that is expanding its work in the U.S. and extending its mission abroad, ACT serves millions of people in high schools, colleges, professional associations, businesses, and government agencies.

Before joining ACT, Whitmore served as the 27th president of San José State University from August 2008 to August 2010. With an enrollment of over 30,000 students, San José State is Silicon Valley’s largest university and has delivered quality higher education to the Bay Area for more than 150 years. Prior to that, he served for five years as president of Texas Tech University, where he led successful initiatives to increase academic excellence, raise student retention and graduation rates, and expand the numbers of minority students and faculty at the campus. He served as provost and professor of theatre arts at the University of Iowa, from 1996 until 2003. That position followed six years as dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin.Whitmore earned his B.A. and M.A. in Speech from Washington State University in 1967 and 1968, respectively. In 1974 he earned the Ph.D. in Dramatic Arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara. His doctoral dissertation focused on the dramatic writings of William Saroyan.

Barbara Hewitt - Senior Associate Director, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania

Barbara joined the Career Services office at the University of Pennsylvania in 1998 as a career counselor working with students in the College of Arts and Sciences. In 2000, she was promoted to the position of Senior Associate Director working with Wharton undergraduate students and alumni. Barbara enjoys helping current undergraduate students explore career paths and pursue internship and post-graduate jobs, as well as her work with alumni seeking new opportunities.  In addition to working with students, she also supervises the on-campus recruiting program at Penn. Prior to joining the Penn Career Services team, Barbara worked for two years in career services at the College of Wooster and for five years in career services at Dickinson College.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Spanish from Dickinson College, an MS in Counseling from Shippensburg University, and an Ed.D. in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania.
David Cohen - Vice President of Sales, North America, LinkedIn Talent Solutions

David Cohen has a varied career history. He’s been a management consultant, private equity investor, entrepreneur, and social media executive. He currently leads LinkedIn’s largest business, Talent Solutions, in N. America which helps companies and candidates find one another at massive scale.

LinkedIn’s vision is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce and they’ve built the world’s first economic graph to accelerate the realization of this vision.

In 2008 David started LinkedIn’s Chicago office and was one of the company’s first 250 employees. In 2012 he moved to London where he was responsible for the Talent Solutions business in the UK, Northern Europe, and emerging markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He returned to Chicago in 2015 to take on his current role where he manages a team of 1000 customer-facing professionals and ¼ of LinkedIn’s revenues.

David received a BA in Psychology from Emory University and has an MBA in Strategy, Marketing and Entrepreneurship from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Sheila Flavell - COO and Executive Board Director - FDM Group

Sheila Flavell is the Chief Operating Officer and an Executive Board Director of FDM Group and has over 26 years of experience in both the public and private IT sectors internationally. She is passionate about enhancing diversity in the workplace and creating exciting careers for the next generation of digital talent.

Sheila played an integral role in the Group’s flotation on AIM in 2005 and was a key instigator of the management buy-out of the Group in 2010 and the subsequent listing onto the main FTSE Market in 2014. Sheila’s experience and knowledge of the sector has been crucial in driving the Group’s global expansion programme, taking FDM into the FTSE250.

Sheila spearheads FDM’s Global Women in Tech campaign and FDM’s Getting Back to Business programme, aimed at providing opportunities for returners to work. She sits on the main Board of techUK and the Women in Tech Council and is frequently called to advise government committees on various issues, especially around the digital skills gap.

She has won numerous awards throughout the years for her services to both business and the tech industry. This includes being recognized as one of the top 25 Most Influential Women of the Mid-Market by CEO Connection, Leader of the Year at the everywoman in Technology Awards, one of the 100 Women Role Models in Tech by Business Cloud, being selected as one of Brummell Magazine’s Top 30 Most Inspirational Female Entrepreneurs in the City, and awarded the Editors’ Choice Award at the Women in IT Awards.

Sheila is a firm believer that “you cannot be what you cannot see” and knows the importance of highlighting strong role models within business. She acts as a mentor to several women within the IT sector to support them through their career progression and travels extensively around the world leading FDM’s expansion and championing a career in tech for all.


Emerging Markets

How do we identify and access appropriate emerging markets?

This session will explore:

  • The Turnkey Program to help mid-market companies access emerging markets
  • Knowledge-sharing for greater efficiency in accessing emerging markets
  • Opportunities for governmental involvement to enhance access
  • Alternate channels and access strategies
  • Progress report from CEOC Committee Projects

Udi Chattopadhyay - COO, Four Rivers (an Ergo company)

Michael McGuireUdi Chattopadhyay is Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of Four Rivers, an investment firm launched by Ergo in 2013 focused on South East Asia.

He oversees business operations on a day-to-day basis, including legal, human resources, marketing, capital raising, and social and corporate governance. Prior to his current role, he was Head of Business Development for Ergo, the leading emerging markets focused business intelligence and advisory firm.

Udi has extensive experience across emerging markets, having worked in Africa, the Indian subcontinent, China and South East Asia on market entry strategy, salesforce effectiveness, due diligence, talent management, public-private partnerships and government lobbying.

His previous experience includes strategy consulting at McKinsey & Company and KPMG, where his clients covered a range of industries including telecom, media, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods and government. He has worked closely with local and federal government and with global organizations while leading business development initiatives at the American Museum of Natural History and the Times Square Alliance. Udi serves on the Board of Oxford Valuation Partners, a leading provider of independent advisory and valuation services across the US and globally.

Udi has a BA in Economics from Cambridge University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania where he was a Thouron Fellow. He is fluent in French, Bengali and Hindi.

Jose A. Llontop - Former President & CEO, Giant Cement Holding; Chair, CEO Connection Emerging Markets Committee

Jose_LlontopJose A. Llontop is the the former President and CEO of Giant Cement Holding Inc. (GCHI) a $250 million/yr. in sales and 600 employees Cement Company with headquarters in Alexandria, VA. GCHI assets include three cement plants located in South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Maine, and four hazardous waste fuel-recycling facilities.

He is a Peruvian-American Executive with extensive experience in turning around underperforming businesses primarily in the cement and building materials industry. Prior to joining GCHI, he occupied senior level positions at CEMEX, a Global Building Materials Company, most notably as the Regional President of a $1 billion/yr. in sales businesses in a Cluster of Countries in Central Eastern Europe, and as President of the Company’s Egyptian operations. Prior to that he worked 13 years for Ingersoll Rand Company‘s Air Compressor Division, primarily in the USA, and later as Managing Director for the company’s Mexican operations.

His efforts to brand cement while using sophisticated marketing tools to develop market insights and shape strategy in the cement industry, caught the attention of academia resulting on the publication of a Harvard Business case study (“CEMEX: Rewarding the Egyptian Retailers”, HBS, March 22, 2006)

He has lived in ten (10) countries and worked with people from different cultures and backgrounds. He has a BSME from the University of Virginia, an MBA from Rice University and trained in the General Manager Program at the Harvard Business School. He speaks English and Spanish fluently, and has a basic knowledge of Arabic, French and Portuguese.

Jose was a First Team Soccer All American in Junior College and studied Engineering at UVA on a full Soccer Scholarship. His passion for soccer continues to this day. He also likes to read and experience great food from different parts of the world.

He is married and has three daughters. He currently lives in Alexandria, VA.

Rick Angiuoni - Director, Africa, Global Business Development Division, U.S. Export-Import Bank

rick-angiuoniJoining the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) in March 2009, Rick Angiuoni is Director for Africa of the Global Business Development Division. Rick is responsible for marketing the Ex-Im Bank Programs to Africa and oversees a portfolio reaching $7 billion. In the seven years, Rick has worked at Ex-Im Bank, the portfolio has grown its annual credit authorizations from $500 million in 2009 to over $2 billion in the fiscal year 2014.  He has assisted in the origination and underwriting of both small and large transactions in over 44 countries across Africa.

He previously served as Director of HSBC in New York, part of the team responsible for Export Finance.   Rick began his international banking career on Wall Street, working with Chemical Bank/JPMorgan followed with positions at Bankers Trust in New York and London.

Rick holds Bachelor and MBA degrees from the University of Notre Dame

Bill Dillon -Former CEO, Hamon Corporation

Bill is an experienced Chief Executive Officer and Board Member with a demonstrated history in the global energy and power generation industries. He has a proven capacity to navigate complex dynamics and deliver strategic growth, enhanced profitability and operational excellence across global organizations. His collaborative leadership style centers on building performance-based teams through open communication along with aligned short and long term objectives. He facilitates accountability throughout the business utilizing metrics driven incentives to insure growth, profitability, quality, and safety. His experience in business development and global supply chain has allowed him to successfully lead organizations and drive global expansion.

His extensive background includes technical, functional, and P&L leadership positions at major companies serving the global energy and industrial sectors. Bill was the Chief Executive Officer of Hamon Corporation and an Executive Committee Member of Hamon & Cie from 2010 until 2017. Prior to joining Hamon he held various executive positions with Foster Wheeler Corporation collimating as the Chief Executive Officer of their North American Power operations.

Bill holds a Civil & Environmental Engineering degree from the University of Rhode Island as well as a MBA in Finance from Rutgers University.

Going Public: Are You Ready for an IPO

Do you have all of the resources that you need to be successful?

This session will explore:

  • Choosing the right advisors
  • Potential board and management team adjustments
  • Initial Public Offering (IPO): the first step to creating a great public company
  • Is the company prepared to offer financial guidance?
  • Hallmarks of a successful IPO


Carolyn E. Saacke –COO, Capital Markets, New York Stock Exchange

Carolyn is Chief Operating Officer, Capital Markets at the NYSE, responsible for developing and maintaining the firm’s relationships with the private equity, venture capital, investment banking, legal, professional services and advisory communities. She also oversees key IPO transactions and the capital markets function at the NYSE. Prior to the NYSE, Carolyn was in the investment banking units of Bear Stearns, Citigroup and Deloitte and served as Vice President of Strategy and Finance for Cendant Corporation. Carolyn earned her MBA in Finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and her BA in Economics from Cornell University.

Government Relations: Access to Resources for the Mid-Market

How can mid-market companies gain access to resources offered by the federal government?

This session will explore:

  • Business opportunities, services and resources being offered by government agencies that benefit mid-market companies
  • How to connect with government agencies and participate in their programs
  • Current mid market government relations programs and partnerships with federal agencies
  • Channels through which your company can provide input to government entities to impact their policies
  • Progress report from CEOC Committee Projects

Paul Decker - President and CEO, Mathematica Policy Research; Chair, CEO Connection Government Relations Committee

Paul Decker has led Mathematica Policy Research since 2007, expanding and diversifying the company’s operations and strengthening its commitment to improving public well-being by developing rigorous, objective research to help policymakers make informed decisions.

A nationally recognized education and labor researcher, Decker is a leading figure in policy research who writes and speaks on trends in the field, including the emergence of Big Data and its impact on public program evaluation and management.

Decker joined Mathematica in 1988 and has devoted his career to the company. Since he assumed the role of president and CEO, Mathematica has grown to include seven locations nationwide and more than 1,200 employees. Under his leadership, the company has:

  • Created a Data Analytics Division to enhance Mathematica’s ability to inform policy and program development decisions through sophisticated data management, data analytics, data mining, and predictive models.
  • Launched an International Research Division to provide high-quality and objective research-based information to funders and policymakers tackling today’s most pressing policy problems in countries throughout Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, and Latin America.
  • Created four dedicated research centers—the Center for Improving Research Evidence, the Center for Studying Disability Policy, the Center on Health Care Effectiveness, and the Center for International Policy Research and Evaluation.
  • Diversified its work to include policy issues related to climate change, child welfare, housing, veterans affairs, and health care comparative effectiveness in the United States, as well as a wide array of strategies to alleviate poverty in developing countries.
  • Expanded Mathematica’s scope of work to include new perspectives, including a focus on using behavioral insights to design better programs, and new methodological strategies, such as applying Bayesian statistical methods to social program evaluations.
  • Expanded its international work, including formative research, situation assessments, policy analysis, and program evaluations in countries throughout Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, and Latin America.

Decker is a past president of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management and has served on the professional association’s Strategic Planning Committee and Policy Council. He has testified before Congress, served as an expert adviser to both the U.S. and Canadian governments, and published widely in peer-reviewed journals.

Decker is one of the nation’s top experts on employment and training programs targeted to dislocated workers and other unemployed individuals. He has directed several evaluations of policy demonstrations as well as studies of ongoing programs such as the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, the Workforce Investment Act programs, Individual Training Accounts, and programs and interventions related to the Unemployment Insurance system.

In the education field, Decker is widely known for directing Mathematica’s evaluation of the Teach For America (TFA) program, which assessed the impact of TFA teachers on student learning. He also oversaw a national study of the efficacy of different teacher preparation methods in contributing to students’ academic achievement. In addition, he has conducted studies of the link between education and worker productivity.

Decker serves as chair of development on the board of advisers of the Thomas Jefferson Public Policy Program at the College of William and Mary, his undergraduate alma mater. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the Johns Hopkins University.

Ted Townsend - Chief Operating Officer, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

J. Edward (Ted) Townsend III, currently serves as Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer for the Department of Economic and Community Development, where he oversees the department’s day-to-day affairs.
Prior to his becoming Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Townsend was Assistant Commissioner of Strategy, responsible for the management of departmental divisions to include research, small business, innovation, and rural and community development policies and programs. Mr. Townsend began his public service for the department as the first TNECD Regional Director over the Greater Memphis Region.

Additionally, Governor Haslam has appointed Mr. Townsend as his official proxy to the State of Tennessee Workforce Development Board, while also representing Governor Haslam as Tennessee’s board designee to the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority.

Before joining TNECD, Mr. Townsend was the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of arGentis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. of Memphis, a privately-held bio-pharmaceutical company involved in the licensing, development, and commercialization of therapies for auto-immune and ophthalmic diseases.

A graduate of the University of Memphis, Mr. Townsend also serves on the boards of LifeScience Tennessee, Memphis Research Consortium, Tennessee Automotive Manufacturers Association, and is presently serving a two year term as Vice Chair of the Fiscal & Economic Development Public Policy Committee for The Council of State Governments.

Harold T. Epps - Director of Commerce, City of Philadelphia

Harold T. Epps is the Director of Commerce at the City of Philadelphia and is a business leader with over 30 years of corporate experience in providing high performance products and solutions for complex and compliance driven industries. As Director of Commerce, Harold oversees and implements policies to help both small businesses and major corporations in Philadelphia thrive. Commerce coordinates activities along neighborhood commercial corridors with small businesses and entrepreneurs, major real estate development projects, large-scale business attraction and retention efforts, as well as efforts to increase minority-owned business contracting opportunities.

Formerly, Harold was the Vice-Chairman of the Board of PRWT Services and served as PRWT’s President and CEO from 2007 – 2014. PRWT Services is one of America’s largest minority-owned firms and a $100M provider of high-performance business solutions, facilities management and infrastructure support services. Prior executive roles include Quadrant, Menasha Corporation and Polaroid, where Harold led subsidiaries and divisions with annual revenues up to $175M and 2,000 employees. Throughout his career, Harold built a solid reputation for positioning organizations for sustained growth, successfully managing change and restructuring, improving efficiency, spurring innovation and maintaining a focus and discipline of continuous process and performance improvement.

Epps’ personal commitment to workforce development and business opportunity diversity and inclusion efforts continue to drive his civic and board activities. Harold is currently a member of the North Carolina Central University Board of Trustees and Co-Chairman of the Comcast National African-American Advisory Council. He also serves on the following Boards: Philadelphia International Airport Advisory Board, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, Select Greater Philadelphia, Global Philadelphia Association and PHLCVB, among others. Formerly, Harold served as the Chairman of the African-American Museum of Philadelphia, and was an executive committee member of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and The Urban League of Philadelphia.

Harold has held the following executive leadership roles:

PRWT Services, Inc.
• Vice Chairman and Business Development Officer
• President and CEO, $100M in annual revenue and over 1,200 employees

Quadrant – Engineering Plastics, Products
• Vice President, Supply Chain, $600M annual spending, overseeing eight manufacturing and distribution facilities

Menasha Corporation, Poly-Hi Solidur
• President, North America, Full P & L, $125M budget and 450 employees
• Vice President and General Manager, North America, $100M budget

Digital Equipment Corporation
• Procurement, Materials, Operations & Plant Management


• Doing the Most Good Community Leadership Award, 2016 – The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia
• Power 76, 2016 – Philadelphia Business Journal
• Pioneer Award, 2013 – National Urban League
• Business Leader Award, 2013 – Urban League of Philadelphia
• Father of the Year Award, 2012 – American Diabetes Association/Greater Philadelphia Father’s Day Council
• Most Influential Award, 2011 – Philadelphia Tribune
• Alumni of the Year, 2010 – North Carolina Central University

Western New England College, Master of Business Administration
North Carolina Central University, Bachelor of Science

Stephanie Silverman - CEO, Venn Strategies

Stephanie Silverman is the founder and chief executive officer of Venn.

Ms. Silverman’s practice focuses on working with clients, largely in the areas of tax, economic and health policy, to optimize their positioning, alliances, messages and objectives in key national policy arenas. Stephanie has three decades of experience advising major corporations, trade associations, associations, advocacy enterprises and foundations in sophisticated public affairs strategies and policy campaigns. A frequent speaker on federal public affairs and political strategy, Ms. Silverman formerly was senior advisor in the Washington, DC office of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips and prior to that was with the global finance division of Citibank, N.A.

Ms. Silverman serves on the board of trustees of the NAACP Foundation, as well as the boards of directors of the Campaign to End Obesity and the National Transitions of Care Coalition. She is a frequent guest lecturer in the law and policy departments of the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University Law Center and the George Washington University. She holds an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business and an undergraduate degree from Duke University.

Healthcare: Leveraging the Mid-Market for Better Benefits

How can we keep our people healthy without breaking the bank?

This session will explore:

  • A mid-market bundling program to create a more cost-effective health insurance program
  • The ACA and mid-market companies’ benefit strategies
  • Spousal coverage
  • Preventative care initiatives
  • Wellness programs/Promoting work-life balance
  • Progress report from CEOC Committee Projects

Rajesh Makhija, CEO, Mphasis Wyde & Eldorado

Rajesh Makhija is the head of Product Portfolio Group and is responsible for intellectual property-based software products, platforms and solutions for Mphasis. As part of this portfolio, Rajesh is the CEO of two product companies – Mphasis Wyde and Eldorado. Wyde is an international software vendor and creator of Wynsure- an industry leading Insurance Policy Administration Solution. Eldorado offers Health Insurance solutions, through its two payer platform products Javelina and Health Pac.

Since taking on this role in Nov 2014, Rajesh has led a quick pace turnaround of the Product Portfolio Group with both Wyde & Eldorado, well on their way to be among the best performing units of the Mphasis Group. In recognition, in June 2017, Rajesh was awarded the Gold Stevie Award for “Executive of the year” at American Business Awards. Eldorado was awarded the Bronze Stevie Award for “Company of the year”.

Rajesh has more than 25 years of experience in Technology domain and has been with Mphasis for 16+ years. Over the years, Mr. Makhija produced tremendous growth across a wide spectrum of industry segments including Financial Services and Healthcare & Life Sciences, globally.

An experienced presenter, Mr. Makhija has been a guest lecturer at multiple universities in the U.S. and India. He is often called upon to share his insight in cross-industry forums on next-generation technologies, affecting business processes and the state of the global sourcing and outsourcing industries. He serves on the Board of IIM-Ahmedabad Alumni Association, USA Chapter. Mr. Makhija is also an active member of the Wharton Club of New York.

Academically, Mr. Makhija holds an Engineering degree in Electronics & Telecom and a PGDM (MBA) from IIM-Ahmedabad. He also completed the Advanced Management program at Wharton, University of Pennsylvania.

In his personal life, Rajesh is committed to charitable efforts and is associated with multiple non-governmental organizations to support underprivileged children in the US & India. He is an avid follower of NBA & Cricket, also an active sportsperson with passion for tennis, golf and volleyball.

Doug Robinson - CEO, Heka Corporation; Chair, CEO Connection Healthcare Committee

Mr. Robinson has been hired as Heka’s CEO to lead Heka’s entry in to the regulated healthcare environment and to build Heka’s business. Mr. Robinson is a results oriented executive driven by strong financial and operational experience. He has a proven track record in both large and small organizations, public and private with progressive responsibility in building organizations. He has successfully built senior management teams and reshaped Board of Directors groups that drive shareholder value.

Mr. Robinson has held executive-level positions with such organizations as LifeVantage Corporation, WorkWell Systems, Inc., United Health Group, Deloitte Consulting, LLP, SynHRgy HR Solutions, Inc., and PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLC. He has served in various advisory capacities with many large organizations as well as director positions with various Boards.

Mr. Robinson received a B.A. in Marketing, Public Relations and Speech Communications from Gonzaga University where he continues to guest lecture on health care economics to its graduate and undergraduate schools. Mr. Robinson has been married to his wife, Mary, for 15 years and they are the parents of a blended family of six children, and now have four grandchildren.

Jonathan Mayhew - President, Aetna National Accounts and Consumer Businesses

A demonstrated leader with diverse healthcare experience, Jonathan Mayhew has a long history of building and growing businesses to serve the unique needs in the marketplace. He currently leads the National Accounts and Consumer businesses at Aetna.

As head of Aetna’s National Accounts business, Jonathan has full profit and loss and operating responsibility for the multi-billion dollar business that delivers innovative, customer-focused benefits solutions to large employers with over 3,000 employees. He also oversees network and medical management for 7 million medical members throughout North America.

Prior to his National Accounts role, Jonathan led the transformation of our Individual business products and services. Under his leadership, the Individual business grew to more than one million members and Aetna achieved the largest Public Exchange membership of any carrier. He continues to navigate this high-risk, turbulent marketplace to respond to changes in the Affordable Care Act and prepare Aetna and its customers for the next phase of health reform.

Before joining Aetna, Jonathan was founding principal and managing partner of two health risk management companies. He successfully raised capital while building and maintaining relationships with customers, investors and partners. Also as Region and Market President at previous companies, Jonathan was responsible for all sales, network and health plan operations.

James M. Mead - Chief Executive Officer, PinnacleCare

James M. Mead is the CEO of PinnacleCare, after having served for two years on the Board of Directors for the Baltimore-based health advisory service and 20-plus years as the President and CEO of Capital BlueCross (Harrisburg, PA), where he served as the organization’s Vice Chairman. From 1988 to 2004, Mr. Mead served on the board of directors of the national BlueCross BlueShield Association, sitting on many national committees and chairing its Plan Performance and Financial Standards Committee. Mr. Mead continues to serve on the boards of directors of several health care companies and is a former Member of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia serving as its Chairman from 1994 to 1996.

Additionally, Mr. Mead is the Managing Director of JM Mead, LLC, established in 2004 to provide advisory services in health economics and healthcare financing to private equity firms, investment banking firms and emerging companies. He is a Venture Partner with Radius Ventures, LLC (New York, NY), a private equity firm focused on leading-edge health services and life sciences firms.

Innovation: Make and Buy Opportunities

How can mid-market companies best manage the intersection of innovation and scale?

This session will explore:

  • Expansion of Mid-Market Angel Investor Network
  • The Reverse Pitch to connect mid-market companies to entrepreneurs
  • Mid-market venture capital
  • Revolutionary innovation
  • Evolutionary innovation
  • Scaling innovation
  • Progress report from CEOC Committee Projects

Hiten Patel, Founder & Chairman, Collabera

Hiten Patel is the Chairman of Collabera, Inc., a leading global IT services and solutions provider. Over the last 25 years, Collabera has become a dominant contingent workforce partner and supplier to some of the world’s leading organizations with more than 14,000 professionals and over 60 offices across the globe, including locations in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., India, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. Beginning with a single client in 1991, Collabera now provides services to more than 400 clients around the globe. With the company’s continuous growth and expansion, Collabera’s goal is to become a billion dollar company by 2020.

Over the years Hiten has been routinely recognized as one of the country’s most interesting and successful entrepreneurs and received accolades including Ernst & Young’s prestigious “Entrepreneur of the Year” award. Under his leadership, the company has consistently been recognized for its excellence by industry-leading organizations such as International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP), Fintech100,, InformationWeek, Software Magazine, New York/New Jersey Business Council, USPAACC, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), United States Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce (USPAACC) and others.

Hiten received his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from R.D. University, India and a Masters in Computer Science from Stevens Institute of Technology. Utilizing his experience and vast business network to help others achieve success, Hiten is currently active in various organizations including EO of NJ, AAHC, NACCB, TiE Tri-State, USPAACC, Association for Corporate Growth of New Jersey, New Jersey Technology Council, and National Minority Supplier Development Council

Ron Totaro - former General Manager, Global Financial Services, Pitney Bowes; Chair, CEO Connection Innovation Committee

Ron is recognized by industry leaders, analysts and investors for leading company transformations, driving innovation and creating scalable P&L growth and shareholder value. He has led $3 Billion of global P&Ls in financial technology and cloud-enabled business services including payments, big data & analytics, ecommerce and transaction platforms focusing on building value propositions for a diverse set of B2C, SMB and enterprise customers.

Ron joined Pitney Bowes in 2013 as General Manager, Global Financial Services, and leads the largest corporate P&L and digital transformation initiatives for SMB lending, ecommerce payments and the Pitney Bowes Bank.

Prior, Ron served as CEO of Partsearch Technologies, the leading ecommerce and data platform providing customer access to over 10 Million consumer electronics parts and accessories. Ron repositioned the company strategy and grew into a leading B2C ecommerce platform when the company was sold to a strategic buyer.

Ron also served as COO of ACI Worldwide, the leader in payments software and cloud-based solutions for financial institutions and led the company P&L and all operating units.
Ron’s experience also includes global P&L leadership roles at Fair Isaac, GE Capital, America Online and American Express, where he led strategy development, M&A, sales, product and operations for numerous businesses.

Ron holds an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and a B.S. in Business Administration from SUNY Albany where he graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Mike Dishowitz - Portfolio Manager - PCI Ventures, Penn Center for Innovation, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Dishowitz manages a portfolio of PCI Ventures startup companies, focusing on the medical device, biotechnology, and therapeutic sectors. His primary responsibility is to build businesses that commercialize Penn intellectual property by recruiting management, developing business strategies, fundraising, supporting company operations, and executing deals. He is also the director of Penn’s medical device startup accelerator, DevelUPmed, and manages several capital acquisition and business development programs.

Prior to joining PCI Ventures, Mike was a member of ICON Commercialisation & Outcomes (formerly PriceSpective), a boutique consulting agency, where he specialized in asset valuation and pricing & market access of emerging life science technologies. Before entering industry, Mike spent several years in academia, studying the impact of cell signaling pathways on orthopaedic injury and repair. He is also co-founder of a startup company based on his thesis research that uses a combination drug-device to promote bone formation and regeneration.

Mike graduated with a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

Karina Sotnik - Director of Business Incubation and Accelerator Programs, University City Science Center

Karina Sotnik is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, adviser, and educator. She spent more than a decade in Silicon Valley in senior positions helping companies grow globally. She also launched three ventures of her own, including WorldUpStart, a consulting practice focused on providing mentorship, consulting and advice on best innovation practices to institutions around the world. In addition, she worked as a Digital Enterprise Portfolio Manager at the University of Pennsylvania PCI Ventures where she launched and ran AppItUP, a digital accelerator for mobile apps. She is now a new Director of Business Incubation and Accelerator Programs at the University City Science Center.

Leveraging Diversity: A Key to Your Future Workforce

How can we use diversity to win the war for talent?

This session will explore:

  • The Women’s Leadership Committee programs to help mid-market companies include more women in senior management
  • Mid-Market Partnerships with smaller minority-owned businesses to target government contracts
  • Resources available through CEO Connection partnership with the US Minority Business Development Agency
  • Progress report from CEOC Committee Projects

Donald Cravins - Washington Bureau Executive Director, National Urban League


Donald Cravins, Jr. serves as the National Urban League’s Senior Vice President for Policy and Executive Director of the Washington Bureau. Cravins leads the development of the National Urban League’s policy, research, and advocacy agenda, while expending the organization’s impact and influence inside the Capital Beltway.

In 2004, Cravins was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives. Two years later, he was elected to the Louisiana State Senate for the seat vacated by his father; he was reelected in 2007 with over 70 percent of the vote.

After running for Congress, Cravins left Louisiana to serve as Staff Director and Chief Counsel for the United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. As Staff Director and Chief Counsel, Cravins oversaw the activities of the Committee which included: advising its Chairman and the 19 senators of the Committee, developing policy and legislation affecting small businesses throughout America, and supervising its 20 employees. In January of 2013, Cravins accepted a new role and began serving as Chief of Staff for former U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana. Before coming to the National Urban League, Cravins was the Deputy National Political Director at The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

In addition to his duties at the National Urban League, Cravins is an adjunct professor at George Washington University where he teaches Prosecution and Litigation in Intellectual Property. He also serves as a captain of the Washington DC Army National Guard Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps with the 352nd Judge Advocate Detachment.

Cravins is a native of Southwest Louisiana and a graduate of Louisiana State University where he received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He attended Southern University Law Center where he graduated with honors. Cravins is also a practicing attorney in areas of areas of commercial litigation, personal injury, complex litigation and military law.

Donald and his wife, Attorney Yvette Puckett Cravins, have three children Dominique Claire, Trey and Chloe Denise. Yvette serves as Chief of Staff for Congressman William Lacy Clay, Jr. of Missouri. Cravins and his family currently reside in Washington, DC.

Kathryn Ritchie - Founder and CEO, KRStrategy (KRS); Chair, CEO Connection Influential Women's List Advisory Board

Kathryn RitchieKathryn Ritchie, founder and CEO of international strategy execution firm KRStrategy (KRS), has ensured that KRS is synonymous with trust and results since its inception in 1995. She is a world‐renowned advisor on strategy clarification and execution alignment, known for developing the proprietary and effective Ignition method. She has worked across industries and the globe, including Australia, Asia, Europe and North America, helping companies unleash their performance potential, channel it into a clear business strategy, and ensure successful execution of that strategy.

Kathryn’s passion for strategy execution is rooted in her operations experience. She began her career in the trenches of the health care industry, running the speech pathology department of a large regional hospital and later a rehabilitation center. During this period, she gained interest in the relationship between business performance and an organization’s untapped capacity within its individuals and teams. This fascination deepened as Kathryn went on to work in several management roles at international investment bank Macquarie Group. There she had the first opportunity to combine her operational skills and strategic abilities, leading and implementing strategy and change initiatives, both cultural and structural, to drive business outcomes. Kathryn also supported Macquarie Bank’s then Wholesale Funds Management Division to conduct analysis, strategy and organizational effectiveness work as part of the front ‐end consulting team offering to organizations that needed to transact and place investments.

Kathryn then took her strategy skills to a niche‐consulting firm, Corporate Vision, where she worked with clients to drive successful organizational change and develop constructive cultures. At this firm, she also oversaw the account management team, and negotiated major, international partnerships.

Kathryn has an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management and an applied science bachelor’s degree in speech pathology.

Kathryn has held board roles at several not‐for‐profits and spent 9 years as a Sydney University fellow. She actively supports the arts and sustainability initiatives, and also achieved ski instructor qualifications with the hope of staying within sight of her alpine‐ski‐racing daughters.

Van Freeman - Deputy Chief of Staff, District of Columbia Department of Employment Services


Van Freeman currently serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff for the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) where he manages the Office of Public Affairs and the Office of Legislative Affairs. He is responsible for all media engagement for the Department’s 21 program offices and legislative strategy with D.C. City Council.

Previously, Van served as the Senior Advisor to the National Director at Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), where he advised the National Director and Senior Leadership team on strategic decisions, national programming, high level fiscal approaches and Congressional priorities, as well as provided deep analytical assessments of relevant public policy issues and innovative approaches to its access to capital and  and access to market programs. President Obama appointed Van Freeman to serve as a Deputy Director in the  Office of the Secretary at U.S. Department of Commerce in 2013 before he transitioned to his role at MBDA.

Van began his career at General Motors (GM) as a Manufacturing Engineer, eventually moving up to Production Supervisor at GM’s parts distribution center in Pontiac, MI. Leveraging his business and analytical background, Van landed a position at UBS Investment Bank in London, UK as a Business Analyst in the Office of the Global General Counsel. After time well spent in London, he joined President Obama’s campaign staff in Cleveland, OH, for the 2008  and 2012 election cycles which was a critical launching point for his path in to the Administration.

Van holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, and Juris Doctorate from Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, LA. He currently resides with his wife in Washington, DC.

Andrea Bastiani Archibald - Chief G.I.R.L. & Parent Engagement Officer, Girl Scouts of the USA

Andrea Bastiani Archibald, Ph.D. and developmental psychologist, is the Chief Girl and Parent Engagement Officer for GSUSA.  She serves as a national spokesperson on girls’ and women’s leadership development, parenting and family dynamics, cultural influences such as economics, social media and pop culture, gender issues, current events, and demographic shifts in the national girl population.

In addition to her girl expertise from nearing a decade at GSUSA, Andrea speaks on the exclusive data generated by the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI), which she also oversees The GSRI generates reports on different topics as they affect girl development and leadership, such as The Vote Is In: What Americans Say About the Importance of Girls’ Issues, The Resilience Factor: A Key to Leadership in African American and Hispanic Girls, and our most recent State of Girls: Emerging Truths and Troubling Trends, a synthesis of data from national agencies reflecting changes in the overall health and wellbeing of girls in the U.S.

Andrea’s interviews and insights have appeared in top-tier media including The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox News, CNN, NPR, AP, The Washington Times, Fast Company, Parents Magazine, Buzz Feed and Mashable.  She directs content and writes regularly for Raising Awesome Girls, a dedicated section for parents and families on Girl Scouts’ web site.

Organizational Alignment

Who wouldn’t want their organization to be more predictable and profitable?

Find out how companies have achieved this through:

  • Removing organizational drag
  • Aligning the company’s core values to how the business is actually managed
  • “Running the numbers” – a unique perspective

Mark Follows - President, Carpedia International Corp.

Mark FollowsMark is President of Carpedia International and oversees all functions related to the growth and service delivery of the firm. He is instrumental in developing and refining many of the components of the fundamental Carpedia methodology.Mark has over 25 years of operational consulting experience for leading companies and organizations in many industries all over the world. His areas of expertise include demand planning, marketing and sales, supply chain optimization, change management, and implementation.Mark has his Bachelor’s degree from Harvard University. He is active in the local community and is a highly regarded coach of competitive youth lacrosse.

    Areas of Expertise:

  • Business Planning
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Operational Effectiveness

Andrew Rush - Vice President, Carpedia International

Andrew has a history of improving financial results through optimizing the collaboration of teams and developing more effective senior leaders; focusing on the culture and behaviors required to optimize performance. He has been successful in turnaround situations and with organizations that were recognized as being one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Privately Owned Companies.
In his current role with Carpedia, he meets with CEO’s and members of the Executive Leadership Team and determines how well aligned their organizations are. Through a series of interviews and surveys conducted over a 1 to 2 day period, he is able to produce a report with recommendations as to where companies have opportunities to gain a greater degree of alignment.
Andrew started his career with Carpedia as a Consultant and left as a Senior Manager in 2001. From there he went on to various companies in the building materials, aluminum and construction industries, holding various roles, including as the Vice-President of Operations, Vice-President of Sales, General Manager and President, before returning to Carpedia.
Andrew has had experience with a wide range of companies in terms of size and influence, which helps him connect with a broad base of business leaders. The leadership positions that he has held have been with companies that have 25 to 1,200 employees, $3M to $450M in revenue, in unionized and non-unionized environments for both publicly traded and privately held firms.

Jacques Gauthier - Director, Carpedia International

A genuine people person, Jacques serves as a Director for Carpedia. He excels in helping teams reach their greatest potential and guiding companies to surpass their financial expectations. After a brief departure from the firm, Jacques has ‘returned home’ in 2010 and hasn’t looked back since.

Prior to returning to Carpedia, Jacques was with a multi-national BPO Services Firm responsible for operations, overseeing 15 sites across two continents. His clients were in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. He has also directed the integration of two acquisitions and the standardization of their management operating systems.

Jacques is a past President and board member of the Niagara Distress Center (crisis intervention organization) as well as a past board member of CAIFA (Canadian Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors). Jacques is a sports guy. He enjoys hockey, baseball, volleyball, skiing and is an avid outdoorsman. He adores spending time with his wife and two young sons and coaching his kids’ athletic teams.

Areas of Expertise:
People Development
Sales and Marketing
Operational Delivery

Personal Branding: Managing Your Own Brand

How can you best manage your own brand as a CEO to drive growth for you and your company?

This session will explore:

  • A BRAVE approach to personal branding (Behaviors, Relationships, Attitude, Values, Environment)
  • Context and purpose
  • Strategy
  • Messaging and implementation, including media choices

Evan McGowan-Watson - Co-Founder, BrandYourself

Evan McGowan-WatsonEvan McGowan-Watson is a co-founder at, the first DIY platform that makes it simple for anyone to take control of their own search results.

Evan is recognized as a leading expert in online reputation management, personal branding and Search Engine Optimization. In 2011, his company was named New York’s # 1 Emerging Technology Business, making his team the youngest company ever to win the $200K prize. He was recognized by the White House as one of the Empact 100 Top founders under 30, named Young Entrepreneur of the year by the SBA, and most recently, named to Inc Magazine’s top 35 under 35.

Evan has led BrandYourself to secure over $5 million in venture capital and grow to over 80 full time employees. BrandYourself has been featured on Fox News, ABC News, CBS News, HuffingtonPost, FastCompany, Mashable, TechCrunch, New York Post, WSJ, the NYTimes, PandoDaily, US News & World, and many others.

Social Impact: Enlightened Self Interest to Drive Growth

How can corporate social impact programs make a real difference in recruiting employees and customers?

This session will explore:

  • The CEOC-Wharton Social Impact (CSI) student consulting program that helps mid-market companies incorporate social impact programs into their corporate strategy
  • CEOC-Growth Fund Program powered by Global Impact for employee retention and engagement
  • Combining innovation and scale in your CSI program
  • Integrating social impact into your business strategy
  • Measuring the impact of CSI activities
  • How effective CSI strategies affect your brand
  • How to engage employees in a CSI strategy
  • Progress report from CEOC Committee Projects

Scott Jackson - President & CEO, Global Impact

Scott JacksonScott Jackson is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Global Impact. A global development, fundraising and marketing veteran with more than 20 years of experience, Mr. Jackson provides leadership, direction and oversight for all aspects of the organization, which has raised $1.7 billion since inception to help the world’s most vulnerable people. Previously, Mr. Jackson served as Vice President for External Relations at PATH, as Senior Vice President of World Vision US, and as President of APCO Seattle. He sits on boards and advisory councils of several nonprofits. Mr. Jackson received an MBA from the University of Edinburgh. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree and an honorary Doctorate from the University of Puget Sound.

Sherryl Kuhlman - Managing Director, Wharton Social Impact Initiative

Sherryl leads the Social Impact Initiative at the Wharton School of Business. Drawing on “business strategies for a better world,” Sherryl is strengthening the impact investing ecosystem, focusing specifically on impact assessment and innovative finance. Kuhlman’s approach has been shaped by her blend of nonprofit and academic experience. With more than 10 years of involvement in social impact management, partnership development, outcomes measurement and strategy, she has successfully focused and grown the reach and influence of the Wharton School’s efforts in this field. Sherryl has served on committees evaluating high impact social enterprises and entrepreneurs, including the Classy Awards, Echoing Green, the Forbes Change the World competition, and the Milken-Penn GSE Business Plan Competition. She joined the Wharton Social Impact Initiative in October 2010, and earned her M.B.A. from the Wharton School after having been a Professor of Ethics at Franklin & Marshall College.

Anne Sempowski Ward - CEO, CURiO Brands

It is rare that one truly thinks about how sweet success can smell, but Anne Sempowski Ward does. As CEO of CURiO, artisans and curators of premium bath, body and home fragrances, Ward has successfully transitioned the company to a new generation of leadership. In five years as CEO, she has led the company through a highly successful investor transition and doubled the company’s size and profit through organic growth and a major acquisition.

Ward’s career  started as a mechanical engineer with Procter & Gamble, then jumped to strategy and brand management. At P&G, and Coca-Cola, she worked on major brands and initiatives, earning a reputation for innovation and an intraprenerial approach. A significant portion of her passion and career at both companies as also focused on authentically speaking to multicultural consumers and communities. She also performed turnarounds at Fashion Fair Cosmetics and Johnson Publishing (home of Ebony and Jet magazines) before striking out on her own as a consultant in search of family and professional balance. As an experienced CEO who has spent more than two decades in major corporations, mid-sized companies and as an entrepreneur, Ward specializes in leading people, brands, and organizations through all stages and transitions but particularly phases of major change and unprecedented growth.

Ward’s achievements have been written about in numerous magazines and The Go-Getter Girl’s Guide: Get What You Want in Work and Life. She has been a frequent speaker to professional groups and has appeared on television shows and networks such as The Steve Harvey Show, The Balancing Act, and HSN. She is also a personal mentor to many individuals and has always had a special interest in helping women and minorities be successful in their careers and life. A Duke University alumna, Wards has been very active and currently chairs an alumni board at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

A native of Detroit, Ward currently residents in Minneapolis with her son and enjoys traveling and music.

Fathima Dada - Global Managing Director, English and Schools, Pearson

Fathima has worked in education all her adult life. She loves working with people, especially committed, talented, innovative thinkers who want to change the world! She loves the idea of working in an education business, bringing together education and efficacy with the edge of business. She gets excited about PnLs, product innovation, market share and winning against the competition!

Her career bio in three segments:

1. Teacher, lecturer, university external examiner, children’s book and textbook author. Books she’s written have sold over a million copies.

2. Her corporate career. She has held almost every level of job in the education industry from publisher, to production and design, sales and sales strategy, MD, CEO and Chairman. Currently Managing Director of the Global English and Schools unit at Pearson, she works on product strategy, innovation and development across the globe in the English, Language Assessments and Schools sectors. She is also a member of Pearson’s social impact committee

3. Government and NGO work in policy, curriculum, assessment, qualifications and implementation. She’s been on several ministerial committees and overseen education reform and policy development in several countries, including working for UNESCO to support education systems in Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia. She is a a Council Member on the Schools and Vocational Quality Assurance. She is currently helping lead the transformation to sustainability of the education unit of BRAC in Bangladesh.

Fathima is on the boards of Oasis Asset Management, two affordable school chains, Omega in Ghana and Spark in South Africa, and a tech start-up in India, Zaya. She has previously sat on the Bridge affordable schools board in Kenya.

Fathima is Chairman of Africa Ignite, a not for profit, working with rural communities, and a trustee of MIET, an NGO working with vulnerable children in Africa.

That’s a lifetime of education related activities, so to balance that, Fathima dance’s and is a black belt dance instructor in Nia technique, a fusion of dance and martial arts.


Strategic Planning for Mid-Market Companies Battling Giants

How can mid-market companies avoid getting “caught in the middle”?

This session will explore:

  • Best practices in tackling industry giants
  • Convergence tactics
  • Divergent tactics
  • Integrated business planning


Eric Deutsch - Principal and Board Member, Oliver Wight


Eric Deutsch, principal with Oliver Wight and Sales and Operations Planning process educator, works with companies to implement and improve their integrated business planning processes. Eric has extensive hands-on industry experience in manufacturing, distribution, and supply chain management in the global specialty chemical and biotech industry.

Prior to joining Oliver Wight, Eric held several leadership positions with Merck, KGaA (EMDMillipore in North America). While working with Merck, Eric led teams through an Enterprise Resource Planning (SAP) implementation, several mergers and acquisitions, and major corporate restructuring projects. As project manager, Eric led the Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) implementation at EMD across four diverse business units simultaneously. The divisions achieved significant operational and financial performance results through S&OP. In addition to leading the S&OP implementation, Eric led improvements in demand management, master scheduling, and supply chain planning and execution.

Since joining the Oliver Wight team, Eric has worked with a broad range of companies and organizations across several industries (Department of Defense – U.S. Army and the Defense Logistics Agency, apparel, food, CPG, chemicals, service, and biotech) to assess current processes and design best practice future states for Integrated Business Planning, Integrated Planning & Control, Master Scheduling, Demand Management, and Portfolio Management. In addition to process development work, he currently leads the Technology Community within Oliver Wight, ensuring that Oliver Wight will continue to develop best-in-class IBP tools to support rapid and effective implementations with speed to results. Finally, he is an instructor for the public Master Scheduling course. Eric is an APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP). He is a contributing author to the VICS guideline, The Ultimate Retail Supply Chain Machine – Connecting the Consumer to the Factory, as well as several white papers. He received his degree in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Steve Lang - President & CEO, Dancker

Steve Lang joined dancker in 1997 and in the spring of 2012, he succeeded retired CEO, Scott Douglas, to became the President and CEO. Steve was well prepared to lead this dynamic organization, having successfully served as a regional Dealer Business Consultant (DBC) for Steelcase, Inc., and as Manager of Company Operations at Exxon/Mobil Corporation.

Since taking the helm, Steve has instilled a customer-centric philosophy and a clear, strategic blueprint aimed at building and sustaining market leadership for the nearly 200-year old organization. dancker has won various awards and recognitions from industry-peer groups, business organizations and publications – such as being named among the 50 Fastest Growing Companies in New Jersey, as well as one of the Top 100 Privately-Held companies by NJBiz Magazine. In May of 2016, Steve was named EY Entrepreneur of the Year in New Jersey. The award is regarded as the most prestigious recognition of its kind and acknowledges entrepreneurs whose ingenuity, spirit of innovation, and discipline have propelled their companies’ success, invigorated their industries, and benefited their communities.

Steve is involved with several industry and professional development organizations, including serving on the Board of CoreNet Global, the President’s Forum, Junior Achievement of New Jersey, Friar’s Honorary Society and Vistage International, where he received their Leadership Insights Award 2011 – 2014. He holds a B.S. in Marketing from West Chester University and an M.B.A. in Finance from St. John’s University.

Talent Management: Winning the War for Talent

How can we best acquire, develop, and foster talent?

The session will explore:

  • The CEOC CHRO Forum to help develop programs around recruiting, retention and education.
  • The CEOC Connecting Veterans to Success program that helps you find top talent
  • Giving workers from old jobs new skills
  • The impact of technology on labor demand
  • Rebuilding trust between employers and the workforce
  • Progress report from CEOC Committee Projects

Dan Fries - SVP, Managing Director, Sibson Consulting


Mr. Fries joined the New York office in 1988 and has held such leadership positions as Vice President, Senior Vice President, Co-Head of the New York office, Chief Operating Officer, Member of the Board, and Member of the Board’s Compensation and Audit Committees. He is currently Managing Director of Sibson Consulting.

Mr. Fries has expertise in a wide range of HR disciplines including leadership and performance management, Board governance, executive and broad-based pay with special expertise in the areas of benefit design.

Mr. Fries serves as the lead consultant to some of our larger sports industry clients including the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLS, as well as many public and private corporations, including BMW. Mr. Fries was appointed to the first Board of Directors for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Venture Philanthropy, a nonprofit group focused on discovering treatments for neuromuscular diseases and working towards the commercialization of those treatments. He has also been a member of the Board of Directors for MDA since 2007 and serves on the Finance, Compensation, Governance, and Investment Committees.

Before joining the Company, Mr. Fries worked as a senior consultant for a major insurance company and large global money management organization where he provided consulting services for pension, defined contribution and deferred compensation arrangements. Prior to this, he worked as a registered investment advisor for a private investment firm specializing in fixed-income investments for pension plans.

Mr. Fries has lectured on human resources, leadership, and governance issues in various business forums. He has been quoted in business publications and has taught classes for the American Management Association and other public associations as part of their credential programs. Mr. Fries has also taught at New York University (NYU) as an adjunct faculty member of their Leadership and Human Capital Management graduate certificate program.

Jeffrey Kiesel - CEO, Restaurant Technologies; Chair, CEO Connection Talent Management Committee

With more than 25 years of senior leadership experience, Jeff Kiesel is both the head and heart of Restaurant Technologies. He led the company to expand into new regional service locations and evolve the Total Oil Management™ portal to meet the ever-changing needs of our foodservice customers. Jeff joined in 2005 as CEO and stands by the set of values we call the 5 C’s – customer, character, commitment, courage and community. These values ensure that we put our customers and our community first – never being afraid to reach out to help, lead by example and always put our best foot forward. As part of this commitment, Jeff drives the Restaurant Technologies Cares program and is Chairman of the RTI Educational Foundation. He also serves on the Nixon Medical Board of Directors and the SALO Advisory Board.

Jeff held previous positions as CEO, president and senior vice president in both large and small companies across multiple industries, including 18 years with GE and GE Capital, and C-level positions with G&K Services and VIZTA3D Inc.

Jeff earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Williams College, Williamstown, MA and an MBA from the Krannert School of Management, Purdue University. As a former college football player, he is also an Insanity Workout and P90X/P90X2 loyalist, so you can find him crunching and punching most days of the week.

Jim Kitkowski - Former CEO, Andromeda

Jim has retired as CEO for Andromeda Simulations where he oversaw operations, sales, and quality. This is the fourth time he has been called out of retirement for special assignments. He has an extensive background in engineering; he has worked as Director of Engineering for Sandoz Agro, a Senior Engineering Associate for BASF, and a Senior Project Director for Myriant Corp.

Jim is passionate about personal quality and learning as shown by his ability to train and develop people both in the workplace and in his past voluntary activities. Jim served in the Boy Scouts in many roles and was known as “Mr K” to the boys. He has also served on the Board of Directors for Duke University’s OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute).

Rob Biederman - Founder and CEO, Catalant Technologies

Rob Biederman is the co-founder and CEO of Catalant, the leading technology platform delivering elite business talent. Catalant’s innovative human capital solution connects top independent professionals with enterprises to tackle projects flexibly, quickly and efficiently. Catalant has built a global network of nearly 40,000 boutique consulting firms, custom teams, and independent experts, as well as best-in-class software tools for engaging and managing this market. Based in Boston, Catalant serves thousands of clients, including Fortune 1000 companies like GE, Hess, Staples, Pfizer and Microsoft, as well as countless others on a confidential basis.

Prior to founding Catalant, Biederman was a private equity investor at Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital, where he focused on the healthcare and high-tech industries. Biederman attended Princeton University and graduated from Harvard Business School.

Tax Policy Updates

How do the current tax policy changes affect they way you do business?

This session will explore:

  • The best ways to manage your corporate balance sheets, P&L statements, and cash flows domestically and across borders

Don Susswein - Principal, Washington National Tax, RSM

Don Susswein leads the Washington National Tax group in the areas of partnerships (subchapter K) and the taxation of debt and other financial instruments and products. Don’s consulting experience includes seven years as a tax partner in the Washington National Tax offices of KPMG and PwC, and over a decade as a partner at Thacher Proffitt and Wood, a Wall Street law firm with a market-leading practice in the field of mortgage and asset securitization. Don led that law firm’s work representing several major financial institutions in connection with the development and enactment of significant legislation and regulations affecting the tax treatment of asset securitization and the secondary mortgage market.
Don’s government experience includes serving as majority tax counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance during a period in which the tax law underwent very substantial change. In that role he developed and drafted legislation relating to tax controversy and tax compliance issues, real estate partnerships and partnership tax shelters, original issue discount, coupon stripping, time-value of money, interest-free loans, stepped-rents, tax exempt financing, banking and savings institutions, and a variety of other financial institutions and products. His duties included advising the Chairman and Members of the Committee on tax issues and negotiating on tax issues with representatives of the Treasury Department, the IRS and the House of Representatives.
Before working in the Senate, Don briefed and argued the government’s position in tax controversies before the United States Courts of Appeals, and selected state appellate and high courts, as an attorney in the Honors Program of the Appellate Section of the Tax Division of the Department of Justice. There he also participated in the review of adverse lower court decisions to determine the government’s position on appeal and prepared submissions to U.S. Supreme Court following appellate court rulings.

Professional affiliations and credentials
• New York State Bar
• District of Columbia Bar
• Juris Doctor, Yale Law School
• Bachelor of Arts, Columbia University

The Path to Digital Transformation

How can the Mid-Market work together to close the digital divide developing in today’s economy?

This session will explore:

  • Leadership: The ability to see changes in the eco-system and create a DX vision
  • Omni-Experience: Blend digital and physical experiences to garner customer allegiance
  • Information: Turn information into a competitive advantage
  • Operating Model: Create new digital revenue streams from connected systems
  • Worksource: Leverage technology to win the war for talent


Adam Warby - CEO of Avanade; Chair, CEO Connection European Expansion Committee

adamwarbyq2Adam works closely with the Avanade Board of Directors and his leadership team to realize our mission of making a genuine impact on our clients and their customers through solutions based on the Microsoft platform.

Adam joined Avanade at its inception in April, 2000, and as one of the founding members, was instrumental in building the company and shaping its culture. A senior leader, Adam has significant experience managing and growing Avanade’s business operations, having served as General Manager and Senior Vice President for the company’s North American and European operations during his tenure. As Executive Vice President, he has also led Avanade’s worldwide sales and marketing teams, and set the vision and direction for Avanade solutions.

A true global citizen, Adam has lived in both Europe and North America, and has frequently traveled the globe visiting Avanade clients and regional offices.

Adam came to Avanade from Microsoft, where he was General Manager of the Midwest District, responsible for sales and support of Microsoft software throughout Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Prior to this position, he was General Manager of Microsoft’s Enterprise Services, responsible for implementing the strategy and plans for Microsoft’s direct and partner services organizations focused on enterprise customers.

Adam earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College, London.

Bill Kracunas - Principal, National Leader of Management Consulting, RSM US LLP

Bill Kracunas serves as RSM’s national management consulting leader, a role he’s held since 2015. He is responsible for setting management consulting’s strategic direction and ensuring the practice employs the latest technologies, methodologies and approaches to assist RSM’s middle market clients in improving performance. Bill is also RSM’s Northeast region technology and management consulting leader.
Under Bill’s leadership, RSM’s national management consulting practice was named one of “America’s Best Management Consulting Firms” by Forbes in 2016. In addition, Bill has earned numerous personal accolades, including being named one of the nation’s “Top 25 Consultants” by Consulting Magazine in 2011 for Excellence in Technology and being named to the Boston Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list in 2008, recognizing individuals under the age of 40 who have established themselves as leaders to be watched in their fields.

Bill joined RSM in 2010, with the firm’s acquisition of Caturano and Company. He speaks frequently to professional and industry groups on topics that include digital transformation, strategy, technology trends, outsourcing and risk management. Currently serving as a board member of Junior Achievement of Northern New England, he is also a member of the Bentley Executive Club and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Future Leaders Program.
Bill holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and a Master of Business Administration from Bentley University.

Raj Mamodia - Founder and CEO, Brillio. 2017 Mid-Market Social Impact Award Winner.

Raj Mamodia is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Brillio, a leading global digital consulting and technology services company. Raj started Brillio in 2014 to challenge the conventional approach to enterprise IT with the “New Know How” in technology. By focusing solely on implementing digital technologies for the world’s leading companies, Raj helps clients re-imagine their businesses and competitive advantages and rapidly develop and deploy disruptive
industrial-grade digital solutions using UX design, digital applications, big data analytics, cloud, security and digital engineering. Brillio has become a fast growth digital transformation company with 2,600+ employees serving more than 350 customers, of which 50 are Fortune 500.

Raj is a true visionary and disruptor, a master strategist, planner, and implementer, known for his strong organizational ethics, culture, and discipline. As a thought leader in digital transformation, he has provided insight to business and technology media such as Forbes, Today, Knowledge at Wharton, The Smart CEO, and Midmarket CEO.

Before founding Brillio, Raj was a member of Cognizant’s global leadership team and then became CEO of Collabera. He holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, and a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the Motilal National Institute of Technology.

Lawrence Cole - Head of Mid-Market Ad Sales, U.S. West | Google

Lawrence Cole is the Western United States Head of the Mid-Market Ads Business for Google Marketing Solutions, Google’s division that enables small, medium and large businesses to reach and sell to their best customers by leveraging the power of Google’s marketing platform and its multiple consumer-facing assets such as Google Search, The Google Display Network, YouTube and GMail.

He has worked across the advertising, software, space exploration, and logistics industries and has over 15 years of tech and digital experience, first starting his career as a software engineer for Earthlink, Inc..

Lawrence holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from Florida A&M University and an MBA from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania.