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.


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.

Bill Haddad, Partner at Venable

Bio Pending

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

Jessica Morgan, Vice President of Risk & Safety, ABM Industries

Jessica Morgan is the Vice President of Risk & Safety for ABM Industries.  She is responsible for the development of programs to ensure the health and wellbeing of ABM employees, clients, and ABM’s clients.  Primary responsibilities include safety, claims management, insurance procurement, captive management and Operations support for 140,000 employees operating in thousands of customer locations.  ABM provides integrated facility solutions in the United States and internationally through five segments: Business & Industry, Aviation, Emerging Industries Group, Technical Solutions, and GCA Services.   Mrs. Morgan has an MBA from Georgia State University and resides in Atlanta, GA. 




Effective Boards: Recruitment and Management

How can you effectively “manage” your Board of Directors and recruit strong board members?

This session will explore:

  • Defining and identifying strong candidates for your board
  • Best practices in engaging in discussions with potential board members
  • Clarifying the difference between approval, accountability and advice
  • Best practices in managing board’s strategic, organizational and operational processes

Paul Berkowitz, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig

Paul Berkowitz has more than 40 years of experience working with businesses, both domestically and internationally, including serving as a senior executive with a NYSE-listed home builder. His experience covers a wide range of industries with a focus on corporate governance issues and advice relating to the capital needs of the business. Paul gives an insightful outlook when advising clients facing the challenges of today’s economy. Paul’s background combines cross-border representation of clients in acquisition, disposition, and debt and equity financing transactions, including acting as an advisor to multinational enterprises in Public Private Partnership structures, Rule 144A, initial public, private and high yield debt offerings. 

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.

Daimon Geopfert - Principal, RSM US LLP

Daimon focuses on penetration testing, vulnerability and risk management, security monitoring, incident response, digital forensics and investigations, and compliance frameworks within heavily regulated industries. Daimon has over 20 years of experience in a wide array of information security disciplines. He serves as the firm’s national leader for the security, privacy, and risk practice, responsible for the development of the firm’s overall strategy related to security, privacy, and risk services and applicable methodologies, tool kits and engagement documentation.

Daimon is a regular presenter for organizations such as Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), InfraGard, the Certified Fraud Examiners and SC Magazine’s World Congress. He has been quoted in a variety of publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine, Washington Postand theKansas City Business Journal.

Professional affiliations and credentials

  • Information Systems Audit and Control Association
  • International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2
  • FBI InfraGard, Michigan Chapter
  • The SANS Institute, Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC)
  • The Ethical Hacker Network
  • Certified information systems security professional
  • Certified information security manager
  • Certified information systems auditor
  • GIAC certified incident handler (GCIH),The SANS Institute
  • GIAC certified reverse engineer of malware (GREM), The SANS Institute
  • Certified ethical hacker (CEH), EC council


  • Master of Science, computer science, University of Michigan
  • Bachelor of Science, computer science, United States Air Force Academy
  • Numerous technical and industry courses and seminars

SA Charles P. Kelly

Bio Pending


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 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. 

Jeff Greenhouse, Director of Data Products and Analytics, Discovery Inc

Jeff Greenhouse is the Director of Data Products and Analytics for Discovery, where he uses big data, advanced analytics and data-driven marketing techniques to grow audiences, optimize revenue and reduce costs. With his unique mix of skills and experience, Jeff bridges the worlds of business management, technology and marketing, bringing entrepreneurial energy into the corporate enterprise. 

Jeff has been on the forefront of digital marketing and technology for the past 23 years as an early mover into trends such as eCommerce (in 1997), viral marketing (in 1999), gamification (in 2000), search (2003), analytics (2003) and social media (in 2004).  

In 1995, Jeff founded Singularity, an acclaimed marketing and design agency. Singularity served brands such as Omaha Steaks, Kellogg’s, Brandywine Realty Trust, Kensington Computer Products, Fiskars Brands, and U-Store-It (now CubeSmart), racking up 140 awards before being acquired by a larger media agency.  

In 1999, Jeff co-founded Glowbug, a pioneer in viral marketing and promotions that was acquired by in 2000 after building up a base of 6.5 million members.  

Prior to joining Discovery, Jeff ran 201 Proof, a marketing consultancy focused on holistic marketing strategy, serving clients like Vino Volo, Viejas Casino Resort and the Specialty Food Association. He also spent two years as the Chief Marketing Officer of CEO Connection, the only membership organization exclusively for the CEOs of mid-market companies, evolving the organization’s membership program and communications. 

Jeff is the creator of the “Leading From Any Level” seminar and has been a guest speaker at Wharton, Saint Joseph’s University, NYU and Arcadia University, and a writer for the Advertising Week blog, MarketingProfs and Philly Ad News.  



Education Partnerships: Leveraging Academia to Drive Profits and Talent

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

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.

Antonia Dean, VP of External Relations for Venture for America

Antonia Dean is a brand strategist and storyteller who specializes in turning something good into something great. A lawyer by training and a risk-taker by birth, Antonia turned down a lucrative career in corporate law after graduating from Harvard Law School to work in the cosmetics industry instead. Working her way up f 

rom unpaid intern to Director of Marketing & Strategy, Antonia helped build some of today’s most well known brands, including Calvin Klein Fragrance, Simply Vera Vera Wang, Michael Kors Beauty and Flirt Cosmetics to name a few.  

Currently, Antonia is taking the skills she learned in building those brands to help recent college grads build businesses of their own as Vice President of External Relations at Venture For America. VFA is a two-year startup fellowship program that connects aspiring entrepreneurs to jobs in startups before investing in their ideas to help them become entrepreneurs. In her role, Antonia leads both the fundraising and marketing teams at VFA, creating compelling brand stories and crafting programs and activations with national corporate partners.  

Antonia recently moved to Philadelphia with her husband, two sons, and a five pound Yorkshire Terrier named Furious who in no way lives up to his name. 

Jake Schwartz, CEO of General Assembly

Jake Schwartz is the co-founder and chief executive officer of General Assembly (GA), a global company advancing the future of work. Schwartz leads GA’s growth, creating sustainable talent pipelines for businesses and building transparent career pathways to the most transformational work. GA offers employer-driven, practitioner-taught training in high-demand fields like data, technology, design, and business, and the company’s global reach, massive community, and leading outcomes have created an international community of professionals nearly one million strong. In 2018, General Assembly was acquired by the Adecco Group, the world’s leading HR solutions partner.  

GA was named as the number one most innovative company in education by Fast Company in 2015 and was in the top 100 on Deloitte’s 2016 Technology Fast 500™ rankings. Schwartz was named E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014 and named one of Crain’s “40 under 40” in 2015. He earned a B.A. in American Studies from Yale in 2000 and a M.B.A. in Entrepreneurial Management from Wharton in 2008. 


Growth Markets: Maximize Access; Minimize Risk

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

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


Jose A. Llontop is the former President and CEO of Giant Cement Holding Inc. (GCHI), a $250 million/yr and 600 employees Cement company, with factories located in South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maine, and Alabama.

He is a Peruvian-American Executive with extensive experience in turning around, organically growing and expanding underperforming businesses primarily in the cement and building materials industry. Prior to joining GCHI, he occupied senior level positions at CEMEX, most notably as the Regional President of a $1 billion vertically integrated business in Central Eastern Europe & Israel, and then as President of the Company’s $250 million 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), where he was the main protagonist.

He was Chairman of the Board of Directors at GCHI from 2012 until 2016, and was also the Chairman of the Supervisory Board at CEMEX Austria, between 2005 and 2007. He led five post merger integration acquisitions and performed an equal number of business turnarounds in multiple continents & countries. 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 basic knowledge of other languages.

Jose was a First Team Soccer All American in Junior College where he received the Captain and MVP awards & studied Engineering at UVA on a full Soccer Scholarship.  

Thomas McGinty - National Director, U.S. Operations, U.S. Commercial Service

Tom McGinty is in his second tour serving as the National Director for U.S. Operations.  In this capacity Tom oversees the day to day operations of the U.S. Export Assistance Center network of the Commercial Service. This network is comprised of approximately 300 trade professionals in over 100 locations throughout the United States.  In his lengthy career Tom has served in several leadership positions including Acting Deputy Under Secretary for the International Trade Administration, Acting Deputy Director General of the Commercial Service, Senior Advisor to the Director General, National Director, and Regional Director.

Dewardic McNeal, Managing Director, Longview Global, LLC

Bio Pending

Antwaun Griffin, Founder of Penn & Broad Partners

Bio Pending


Going Public: The Road to 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, and advisory communities. She also oversees key IPO transactions and the SPAC listings practice at the NYSE.  Prior to joining the NYSE, Carolyn spent fourteen years on Wall Street, working in the investment banking units of Bear Stearns and Citigroup.  She has advised companies of all sizes on M&A, IPOs, other public and private equity, high yield and high grade public debt, and other capital structure alternatives.  Her investment banking experience includes over $25 billion of completed advisory and over $30 billion of completed financing transactions.  In addition, she has served as a corporate Vice President of Strategy and Finance for Cendant Corporation, where she focused on creating, developing and executing cross-divisional revenue opportunities and defining the company’s long-term consumer services strategy.   

Carolyn earned her MBA in Finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and her BA in Economics from Cornell University’s College of Arts & Sciences.  


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.

Carol Kilko, Deputy Secretary for Business Financing, Department of Community and Economic Development for the State of Pennsylvania

Carol Kilko serves as Deputy Secretary for Business Financing, an appointment made in January 2018.  In this role, Carol manages the Commonwealth’s grant, loan and tax credit programs.  Carol began her second career with DCED in June 2015 as a Special Assistant for Workforce Development, moving to Deputy Secretary of Administration in April 2016 Carol when appointed by Governor Wolf.  During her first tour with DCED – 2000 through 2006 – Carol worked with the Governor’s Action Team and DCED’s Business Retention and Expansion Program.  From April 2006 through June 2015 Carol served as the Director of Training Services for the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS).  Carol holds a Master’s in Public Administration and a Bachelor of Public Policy from Penn State University. 

Thomas Lewis, President, U.S. Division of Louis Berger

Tom Lewis is President, in charge of the U.S. Division of Louis Berger.  Louis Berger is consistently ranked as one of the top global design and infrastructure services companies by Engineering News-Record (ENR). The firm provides a broad range of infrastructure planning, environmental, economic, engineering, architectural, construction management and O&M services for new, expansion and rehabilitation projects for clean renewable power systems, contaminated site redevelopments, ecosystems, water, buildings, highways, bridges, airports, seaports, mass transit, and economic development. 

Previously, Tom served as Louis Berger’s lead on environment, renewables, climate resilience, and disaster management. In this role and previously as an engineer and manager across his 30(+) year career, he has developed specialized skills and experience in technology innovation, renewables and clean energy, climate adaptation and resilience, sustainability, civil and transportation engineering, waste to energy/commodities and recycling, environmental protection and ecosystem restoration, contaminated sites, groundwater and sediment remediation, brownfields redevelopment, geotechnical services, industrial hygiene/safety, disaster management and infrastructure recovery, emergency planning and security, water services, construction/program management, and independent expert/advisory services.    

Tom has also served on a variety of boards and committees, including as chair.  For the promotion, innovation and development of clean energy and renewables, this includes Advanced Energy NJ, the Transportation Research Board (TRB) National Committee on Resource Conservation and Recovery, and Concord Blue Development.  Other examples include Vanguard Emergency Management (Chair), Louis Berger Assoc. PC (Chair), BergerABAM, Berger Charitable Foundation, and Essex County College Engineering Advisory Board.  From a public policy perspective, he also served on the committee that helped to develop New Jersey’s Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) program.  

Tom’s personal passions are family, team sports, the environment, technology innovation, and traveling to experience new places, communities and cultures.  He most enjoys being outdoors whether it be overseeing environmental and infrastructure projects, running, walking, landscaping, gardening, or playing a game with his family or team-mates.  He also enjoys public speaking and presentations, and has served as speaker and panelist for numerous industry conferences as well as being interviewed on multiple occasions as an expert for print, web-based and television media – most recently in the context of opportunities for re-envisioning and rebuilding the power infrastructure in Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands more sustainably following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. 

Tom is a licensed professional engineer (PE) and passed the bar in multiple states, holds both a BS and MS in Engineering from the University of Connecticut, and holds a Doctorate of Jurisprudence with focus on environmental law/regulation from Rutgers. Tom, his wife and four children live in New Jersey. 

Van Freeman, Deputy Chief of Staff for the D.C. Department of Employment Services

Van Freeman currently serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff at the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES), as an appointee under the Bowser Administration. He has been pivotal in leading the efforts to implement the District of Columbia’s Paid Family Leave program and standing up the District of Columbia’s Infrastructure Academy. Among his other duties, Van manages the Office of External Affair that coordinates public engagement and legislative affairs for the Department, as well as the Office of Unemployment Insurance, the Office of Human Resources, and the Office of Compliance and Independent Monitoring.  

Van previously served as senior advisor to the national director at Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), where he advised senior leadership on strategic fiscal decisions, national programing, and Congressional priorities. Prior to this role, Van was appointed by President Obama to serve as deputy director in the Office of the Secretary at U.S. Department of Commerce before transitioning to MBDA.  

Van began his career at General Motors (GM) as a Manufacturing Engineer, eventually being promoted to Production Supervisor at GM’s parts distribution center in Pontiac, Michigan.  Leveraging his business and analytical background, Van landed a position UBS Investment Bank in London, UK, as a Business Analyst in the Office of the Global General Counsel.  Van launched his path into the administration by serving on Obama’s campaign staff in the battleground state of Ohio during the 2008 and 2012 election cycles. 

Van holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Morehouse College and Juris Doctorate from Southern University Law Center.  He currently resides with his wife and young daughter in Washington, DC. 


Healthcare’s New Reality: Balancing Company/Personal Needs

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

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.

Jim Mead, CEO, 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 year 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 healthcare companies and is a former Member of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank ofPhiladelphia 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.

Cesar Carvalho, CEO, Gympass

Cesar Carvalho is the Co-Founder and CEO of Gympass, a corporate fitness program that gives employees an opportunity to find an activity to love by offering an affordable membership with unlimited access to a global network of more than 34,000 different gyms and fitness facilities in 14 countries.

Gympass was born out of a problem Cesar had while he was working as a consultant at McKinsey & Company back in 2011. He was constantly travelling to new cities for project assignments and had trouble finding a local fitness option that wasn’t expensive or time-consuming to access.  

A year later, during a stint at Harvard Business School, he was sitting in a Strategy class when he conceived a solution for the dilemma – a shared economy for fitness facilities. With the help of former colleagues, Cesar put together a business plan and managed to secure enough investment to drop out of Harvard and make this idea a reality.

Gympass was first created to solve a problem, but after a few years of it’s launching, Cesar discovered the platform could play an important role on tackling a Global Issue – Physical Inactivity. By using the power and influence of businesses, the company has now a mission to defeat inactivity. Carvalho believes that companies are in a unique position to influence behavior change as they have reach, credibility and can create a social context. 

Based out of Gympass’ headquarters in New York, Carvalho oversees worldwide operations implementing the company’s overall strategy. With more than ten years of business management experience under his belt, Carvalho previously worked at top firms including CVC, McKinsey & Company and AC Nielsen.

Originally hailing from Minas Gerais in Brazil, Cesar has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Universidade de São Paulo and attended Harvard Business School before dropping out to found Gympass. 

No matter how busy he gets, Carvalho lives out the Gympass mission by playing tennis every week and discovering new activities that he loves, like boxing and cross-training. 

Dr. Barry Rose, Superintendent of Cumberland Public School District in Wisconsin

For 20 years, Dr. Barry Rose has been a visionary leader in the state of Wisconsin public education system. His future-focused leadership has been instrumental in closing achievement gaps, improving ACT scores and providing staff with the tools they need to succeed in and out of the classroom. Dr. Rose has improved his district’s financial bottom line by addressing health insurance and retiree benefits without alienating staff and retirees. Dr. Rose’s educational innovation achievements include a district-wide, one-to-one technology learning program, Charter School and Project Lead The Way, among others.

Dr. Rose understands the “big picture” view of running a district with a shrewd business sense for managing an efficient organization. He strives to provide a framework for educating students so they are able to tackle the challenges of not only today, but beyond. Dr. Rose believes in accountability, not only for himself, but also for his staff and students. He strives to place people in positions of success, and understands how that success strengthens the district and the community, over and above the individuals who achieve it.

Prior to his educational leadership career, Dr. Rose played professional football in several leagues, including the NFL and CFL. This worldly experience and exposure helped him to gain a deeper appreciation for people, cultures, and diversity.


Innovation: Make, Buy, Partner to Build Your Pipeline

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

Luvleen Sidhu - Co-Founder, President & Chief Strategy Officer, BankMobile

Luvleen Sidhu is Co-Founder, President and Chief Strategy Officer at BankMobile, a completely digital bank, offering an entirely fee-free checking account, aimed at helping the underbanked, millennials and middle-income Americans have an affordable, effortless and financially empowering banking experience. She is also a member of the BankMobile Board of Directors and Director and Founder of the BankMobile Foundation. 

Sidhu, along with her father Jay Sidhu, co-authored, “Why Can’t Banks Be As Easy As Uber?: BankMobile And The Real Future Of Banking,” which reached #1 International Amazon Best Seller-status and landed the authors on Amazon’s Top 100 Authors list in Business and Money in less than 24 hours.  She has also been recognized in the industry for her accomplishments. She was named ‘Most Innovative Woman in Banking – Greater New York’ and ‘Best Women Owned Financial Services Company – New York’ in Corporate America’s 2016 American Businesswoman Elite Awards; one of Philadelphia Business Journal’s ‘Women to Watch in Banking’ in September 2016; and Bank Innovation’s Top 10 ‘Innovators to Watch’ worldwide in June 2016, among others. 

Sidhu has been featured regularly in the media including on CNBC, Bloomberg Radio, Yahoo Finance, Fox News Radio and in The Wall Street Journal,, American Banker, Crain’s New York,, among others. She is also a national and international speaker at industry conferences and at undergraduate and graduate programs, where she encourages financial innovation and entrepreneurship. 

Sidhu holds a Master of Business Administration from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Government from Harvard College. 

Don Mathis, GM of Growth, Comcast NBCUniversal

Don Mathis is the GM of Growth at Comcast NBCUniversal, where he is responsible for establishing new ventures and initiatives that broaden the company’s offerings, penetrate new markets, and facilitate enterprise transformation. He is also an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School.

Don’s background is a blend of entrepreneurial, operational, investment and portfolio management. He has a successful track record of financing, launching, growing and selling businesses, as well as a strong understanding of the technology ecosystem across digital, security, data enablement, machine learning, social, cable, media, retail, and IoT. Don’s experience includes serving on a number of private and public Boards. He has held CEO and COO positions in three successful early- and mid-stage high-growth technology companies; invested in, advised and helped launch two cybersecurity ventures; and has private equity experience with Periscope Equity and JPMorgan (Chase) Capital Partnlers, as well as strategy consulting experience with McKinsey.

A Navy veteran with both active and reserve tours of duty, Don was mobilized and deployed three times post-9/11 and served as a Commanding Officer / led anti-terrorism and expeditionary combat logistics efforts in the Middle East and at Ground Zero in New York City.  He started his Navy career in anti-submarine patrol squadron aviation.

Don received his MBA from Harvard Business School where he is an Arthur Rock 100 Entrepreneur, and he received his BA from Vassar College in Asian Studies and Economics.


Leveraging Diversity: Key to Mid-Market Growth

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

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.

Nolan Atkinson, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer for the City of Philadelphia

Bio Pending

General Session: State of the Mid-Market Keynote Address

Joe Adams - CEO, RSM US LLP

Joe Adams is managing partner and CEO of RSM US LLP (RSM). He is focused on positioning RSM as the first-choice advisor to middle market leaders by creating an outstanding client experience, enhancing the firm’s focus on the middle market, empowering teams of passionate professionals and building communities of RSM promoters in the marketplace.

Since taking on this role in 2011, Adams and his leadership team have successfully completed the purchase of RSM McGladrey, grown the firm’s revenues and enhanced its profitability. He is currently working to build RSM’s reputation as a global service provider, enhance its presence in key markets domestically and help build its network around the world.

A member of the firm’s Leadership Team since 2008, Adams previously served as regional managing director of the Great Lakes region where he was responsible for one of the firm’s largest merger integrations and grew revenues from $30 to $300 million in 13 years. His client service experience includes auditing and advising clients in mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, operations, organizational and strategy matters. Adams also served as a member of the firm’s Board of Directors from 2001–2004.

Adams is active in the Chicago community and currently serves as a member on the Board of Trustees for DePaul University and as a member of the Economic Club of Chicago.

Professional Affiliations

  • Vice Chairman, Governing Board of the Center For Audit Quality
  • Member, DePaul University Board of Trustees
  • Member, AICPA Major Firms Group
  • Member, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Member, Illinois Society of Certified Public Accountants


  • Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, DePaul University
  • MBA in Operations Management, DePaul University

Jay Dearborn, CEO of Corporate Payments for WEX

Jay joined WEX in 2016, bringing to the company more than 15 years of experience driving strategic growth, marketing and operational performance improvement. 

As president of corporate payments, Jay is responsible for WEX’s virtual card and other payments solutions. He previously served as WEX’s VP of strategy. 

Prior to joining WEX in January 2016, Jay was a principal at McKinsey & Company, where he helped private and public organizations set their strategic direction, including technology deployment and process redesign to support long-term growth. Previously, at American Express, Jay was responsible for elements of the merchant marketing organization and corporate strategic planning. 

Jay holds an MBA and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He also has a master’s degree in law and diplomacy from Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He is active with FocusMaine, Junior Achievement of Maine and the United Way. 

Tony Miller, CEO of BIND

Bio Pending

Craig Circosta, Head of M&A Practice, Ballard Spahr

Bio Pending

Competitive Advantage Through Customer Centricity

How can companies gain a competitive advantage by refocusing on the customer?

Dimensions to be addressed include:

  • Understanding what Customer Centricity is and what it isn’t
  • Building stronger customer relationships
  • Understanding and anticipating their behaviors
  • Applying Customer Centricity to government

Peter Fader - Frances and Pei-Yuan Chia Professor of Marketing

Professor Fader’s expertise centers around the analysis of behavioral data to understand and forecast customer shopping/purchasing activities. He works with firms from a wide range of industries, such as consumer packaged goods, interactive media, financial services, and pharmaceuticals. Managerial applications focus on topics such as customer relationship management, lifetime value of the customer, and sales forecasting for new products. Much of his research highlights the consistent (but often surprising) behavioral patterns that exist across these industries and other seemingly different domains.

Many of these cross-industry experiences have led to the development of the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative, a new research center that serves as a “matchmaker” between leading-edge academic researchers and top companies that depend on granular, customer-level data for key strategic decisions.

Professor Fader believes that marketing should not be viewed as a “soft” discipline, and he frequently works with different companies and industry associations to improve managerial perspectives in this regard. His work has been published in (and he serves on the editorial boards of) a number of leading journals in marketing, statistics, and the management sciences. He has won many awards for his teaching and research accomplishments.


Performance and Cultural Alignment: The Key to Greater Profitability and Predictability

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,

Evan McGowan-Watson is a Co-Founder and Head of Growth at BrandYourself’s suite of software and services empowers individuals and  business’s to grow their digital reputation and control what people find when they’re Googled. Evan has been recognized by the White House as one of Empact100’s 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. 

By following unique growth strategies that focus on personal branding and reputation management, BrandYourself has grown rapidly to nearly 100 full time employees and was named in Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2015 “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America.” The company 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 Interests 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

Peter Frumkin, Mindy and Andrew Heyer Chair in Social Policy, University of Pennsylvania

Peter Frumkin is Professor of Social Policy & Practice and holds the Mindy and Andrew Heyer Chair in Social Policy. He is Faculty Director of the Center for Social Impact Strategy and Director of the Nonprofit Leadership Program. His research and teaching focus on philanthropy, nonprofit management, and social entrepreneurship. 

Frumkin has written articles on all aspects of philanthropy, including the formulation of grantmaking strategy, the changing profile of major individual donors, theories of philanthropic leverage, the professionalization movement within foundations, and other topics. His book, Strategic Giving: The Art and Science of Philanthropy, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2006. It has been touted by reviewers as the “benchmark text for the field” and “the most penetrating exploration of contemporary philanthropy now available.” He has lectured on philanthropy at meetings of grantmakers in the U.S. and abroad, and served as a consultant to foundations and individual donors on strategy and evaluation. 

Frumkin is the author of Building for the Arts (co-authored with Ana Kolendo; University of Chicago Press, 2014), which considers the management challenges associated with the recent cultural building boom in America. Frumkin’s On Being Nonprofit (Harvard University Press, 2002) won the best book award from the Academy of Management’s public and nonprofit section. This book considers the changing roles and responsibilities of nonprofit organizations in American democracy and the evolution of public policies shaping the sector’s growth. He has also authored numerous articles on topics related to nonprofit management, including ones focusing on compensation policies in nonprofit organizations, the effective deployment of volunteers, the impact of fundraising strategies on nonprofit revenue generation, nonprofit accountability systems, and the effects of public funding on nonprofit mission definition. 

In 2010, two books by Frumkin were published: Serving Country and Community co-authored with JoAnn Jastrzab (Harvard, 2010), which examines the effectiveness of the national service programs AmeriCorps and VISTA, and The Essence of Strategic Giving: A Practical Guide for Donors and Fundraisers (University of Chicago Press, 2010), which provides a roadmap for how to improve the effectiveness of philanthropy. The Strategic Management of Charter Schools (Harvard 2011), which Frumkin co-authored with Bruno Manno and Nell Edgington, develops a systematic way of thinking about and handling the many management challenges associated with starting and sustaining a charter school. 

Prior to coming to Penn, Frumkin was Professor of Public Affairs and Director of the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin. He has taught at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and served as a senior fellow at the New America Foundation. Before academics, Frumkin worked as a foundation program officer, a nonprofit manager, and as a program evaluator in both nonprofit and public agencies. Frumkin received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago. 

Sherryl Kuhlman, Ph.D., 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. 


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

Steve Lang, CEO, Dancker

Steve Lang joined dancker in 1997 and in the spring of 2012, he succeeded retired CEO, Scott Douglas, to become 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, member of Rutgers Business School Center For Real Estate Advisory Board, 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. 

Michael Prager, CEO, D'Longhi Group North America

Mike Prager is President & CEO of The De’Longhi Group, North America Inc., global leaders across a range of consumer small appliance categories.   The Group goes to market under three market leading brands:  De’Longhi, number one in the world in home espresso machines; Kenwood, a world leader in food preparation appliances; and Braun, an iconic leader across a variety of consumer electrics.  De’Longhi is also the largest global coffee machine partner to The Nestle Company, including co-branded partnerships on their Nespresso brand.  

Mr. Prager has a diverse background spanning a broad range of premium, consumer product businesses.  Prior to joining De’Longhi in early 2012, he served as President, Oregon Scientific, an award winning specialty electronics company.   This followed his work as President, The Boyds Collection, a Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) private equity owned consumer gift, collectible and home décor business.  He also served in executive roles with The Timberland Company, a world leader in outdoor fashion. 

The foundation of Mr. Prager’s career was built over the course of 16 years with blue chip, consumer product companies, Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson.  Over that time, he served in numerous, multifunctional executive leadership roles across several divisions of the Companies, much of his tenure spent in the growing health and beauty care businesses.  He is a Finance & Marketing graduate of Denver University. 

Paul Saccone, CEO, Able

As the Chief Executive Officer of Able, Mr. Saccone guides the overall leadership and direction of the organization and the more than 15,000 employees he works alongside daily. Collectively, they work together to service over one billion square feet of real estate daily in asset classes such as commercial offices, ballparks, hotels, corporate campuses, residential high-rises, data centers, hospitals, and universities. Critical to long term success is positioning the company to remain at the forefront of the ever-changing dynamics in commercial real estate, developing future strategy, as well as maintaining a strong commitment to their cultural core values, and ensuring their vision is alive and well at Able. 

Previously, Mr. Saccone served as Vice-President – Corporate Engineering, Construction, and Energy at Equity Office Properties Trust where he was responsible for the strategy and execution of Equity Office’s energy operations, security and life safety, as well as for the leadership direction and management of the company’s engineering and construction functions at the national level.  

Prior to Able Services and Equity Office, he was Director of Hotel Operations at Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Boston and Director of Engineering Operations for the Saunders Hotel Group. During his tenure in the hotel industry, he oversaw hotel management, engineering, energy operations, and hotel renovations in the USA, Europe, Asia, and South America. 

Paul has been actively involved with numerous industry events and organizations. Specifically, he has served as a keynote speaker at the U.S. Conference of Mayors for the National Summit on Energy and Environment, The Real Estate Roundtable, Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), and BOMA International.  He is a Board of Director member of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Chicago, a Board of Director for a SAAS energy technology company, Goby LLC, a Board of Trustee of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Foundation, as well as serving as a Trustee for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Central Pension Fund.  

He holds a BS ME from Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA).  

Mark Bacon, President & CEO of Coffee Booster, Inc.

Bio Pending


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. 

Bert Hensley, Chairman & CEO, Morgan Samuels

Bert Hensley is  the Chairman  &  Chief Executive  Officer  of Morgan  Samuels.  In 1997,he  acquired  a controlling  interest  in  the  company and  began  immediately applying  Lean  and  Six  Sigma methodologies  and  built a  world class  infrastructure  that has   achieved unparalleled  standards  of quality  of  execution.

Prior to joining  Morgan Samuels,  Bert  was a  Vice  President/Partner  at Korn/Ferry  International  where he  was  a member   of the  general  practice and  led  the industrial  practice  for the  Los  Angeles office.

Bert was previously  a General  Partner  of Meridian  Strategies,  Inc., a  fullservice  strategic  consulting  and venture  management  firm that  was  a  spin off  of McKinsey  &  Company. There he served clients on engagements  involving  corporate  strategy, mergers,  acquisitions and  divestitures; organization  analysis  and design;  and  process and  systems

improvement.  Additionally, he  orked with  a  capital partner  to  acquire and  turn  around a  sole source  manufacturer of   satellite components.

Prior to  joining Meridian  Strategies,  Bert was  a  Building and  Project  Manager at  LaSalle  Partners. Before that,  he  was  an Associate  Brand Manager  of  a  $430  million national  brand  for KraftGeneral  Foods.

Earlier  in his  career,  Bert served  five  years in  the  United States  Army  Aviation Branch. He  received  several achievement  and  services awards  for  his contributions  while  on  active  duty, including  the  Meritorious Service  Medal.

Bert  holds a  JD  from Loyola  Law  School, an  MS  in Business  Administration  from Boston  University,  and a  BS  in  Engineering  with a  concentration  in International  Relations  from West  Point. He  is  a member  of  WPO, and  was  formerly  on the  board  of The  Cambodian  Children’s Fund,  a  non profit  organization dedicated  to  helping Cambodian  orphans.


Tax Policy

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

Brian Kirkell, Principal - Washington National Tax, RSM

As RSM’s Washington National Tax State & Local Tax leader, Brian serves as a technical resource for the firm’s national practice across all state and local tax service lines. He tracks significant state case law and legislative and administrative activities daily, and coordinates the firm’s response to law changes. Brian frequently contributes articles of tax significance for internal newsletters and external publications such as the SALT Matters column in State Tax Notes. Brian regularly speaks on state and local tax issues before industry groups and at local, regional and national conferences. 

Brian provides tax services to clients across the United States, including advice on sales and use, credits and incentives, income and franchise, and property tax issues. He is sought after by clients across the firm for his advanced knowledge in state and local taxes. 

Prior to joining RSM, Brian managed the state and local tax function and operated as tax counsel for a Fortune 500 company. He also developed a successful, broad-based tax consulting practice at a mid-sized national accounting firm, served in the Washington National Tax office of a Big Four firm, and was a legal editor for Tax Analysts. 

Professional affiliations and credentials 

  • State Bar of Tennessee 
  • United States Tax Court Bar 
  • American Bar Association 


  • Juris Doctor, George Washington University Law School 
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Rochester 


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 ecosystem 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


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.

Dinesh Venugopal - President, Mphasis

As President, and Member of the Executive Council, Dinesh is the global head for Direct-Core Business and Digital across industry verticals. 

With over 20 years of cross-functional leadership experience spanning strategy, technology innovation, M&A and marketing, Dinesh has been instrumental in catalyzing Mphasis growth through focus in delivering business value and delighting customers. 

Under Dinesh’s leadership, Mphasis has transformed its solution and services portfolio that have enabled Direct-core business to grow faster than the industry. Also, Mphasis is now consistently ranked as #1 or #2 service provider by our top 5 Industry leading customers. 

In his previous role as the Global Head of Mphasis’ Specialized Market Unit, Dinesh led the development of next gen solutions in the areas of Mobility, Analytics and BPO/KPO. He also set up the Mphasis’ Corporate Development Office including the Mergers & Acquisitions team, Marketing and innovation incubation charter in the areas of Payment Solutions and Product Engineering Services. 

Prior to his assignment at Mphasis, Dinesh was the Head of Product Development at BMC Software for the Remedy ITSM suite of products. He was also Director of Engineering at Marimba Inc, a leading Silicon Valley start-up, where he led the development of award winning, next generation products in the niche fields of Data Center Automation, Desktop Management and Mobile Management. 

Dinesh has a vast and successful experience in leading global teams to enable offshoring of enterprise product development in India, Israel, Canada and Ukraine, with proven expertise in amalgamating technology commercialization, business acumen global client relationships, marketing and strategic planning.  

Dinesh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Technology from College of Engineering, Trivandrum in India, and a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Louisiana. 

Dinesh’s twitter handle - @dvenugopal 

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Bill Kracunas, Principal & National Management Consulting Leader, RSM

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.