Our 2017 speakers
Supplier Diversity Consultant
As a strategic member of Nationwide’s Supplier Diversity team the last four years, Didi leverages over 20 years’ of professional experience in corporate and government roles to sustain and advance the award winning reputation of Nationwide’s supplier diversity program.
In 2014, Didi led the drive to increase diverse suppliers’ inclusion and participation in Nationwide’s RFP opportunities from 19% to 95% participation rate. This increase represents a 500% increase over 2013. Between 2013 and 2016, diverse supplier participation translated into more than $870 million spend with diverse suppliers.
Prior to joining Nationwide, I spent more that 20 yrs leading with the State of Ohio and Cardinal Health leading Human Resources, Labor Relations, EEO program and Employee Assistance Program functions.
Didi currently holds board and advisory positions with different national and regional organizations.
Director, Global Procurement
Mark Balog joined Ingersoll Rand in July 2012. He has overall commodity management leadership responsibility for Electronics. In this role, he is responsible for building a world class supply base, driving results and integrating supplier diversity and supplier sustainability into the supply base
Prior to joining Ingersoll Rand, Mark worked as a commodity director for Motorola and Delphi Automotive Systems (formerly Delco Electronics). Mark began his career as an engineer in reliability and quality. His experience includes supervisory roles in manufacturing in the US and Mexico. Mark became the materials manager for a maquiladora facility before returning to procurement in 1995.
Mark has been active in identifying, mentoring and engaging diverse suppliers for Ingersoll Rand. He works across all commodities selecting suppliers who meet Ingersoll Rand’s needs and values. In prior roles, he helped implement second-tier reporting for electronics suppliers.
Mark’s experience and expertise have been utilized to improve the diversity program at Ingersoll Rand to maximize the identification of quality suppliers. Over the past five years he has participated in the following industry diversity activities:
- BMW diversity initiative and conference
- NMSDC conference
- USPAAC Procurement Conference
- Ingersoll Rand Diversity Day
He has more than 25 years of experience in supply chain including procurement, materials management and operations. He has a Masters in Business Administration from Indiana University and Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University.
Mark and Karen, his wife, reside in Mooresville, N.C. and have two children. Away from work, Mark enjoys serving his church and is a leader with the Boy Scouts of America.
Vice President, Operational Services and Chief Procurement Officer
Southern California Edison
Douglas Bauder is vice president, Operational Services and chief procurement officer at Southern California Edison (SCE). He is responsible for the strategic direction of Operational Services, including supply chain management, supplier diversity and development, transportation services, environmental services and corporate real estate. As chief procurement officer, he oversees purchasing of services and materials in excess of $4 billion annually to support the company’s goals to provide safe, reliable, affordable, and clean energy.
Prior to this position, Bauder served as vice president and station manager for the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). After joining SCE in February 2009, Bauder was responsible for all aspects of a dual unit nuclear plant. He was in charge of strategic planning and improvements in station regulatory performance and industry excellence. Bauder also provided oversight of day-to-day plant activities associated with the operation and maintenance of the plant, security, training, engineering, procurement and the implementation of major projects.
Before his tenure at SCE, Bauder served as the plant general manager for Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Maryland. During his 20 years at Calvert Cliffs, he led all aspects of plant management and implemented a site excellence plan, as well as a standard integrated program, that directly contributed to improved business performance functions.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas. Bauder also served as a United States Naval Submarine Officer in Norfolk, Virginia. He is also a graduate of Edison International’s Executive Edge Program.
Director, Supplier Diversity
Southern Company Gas
Darade Collins is the Director of Supplier Diversity for Southern Company Gas. In this role, Darade oversees the company’s efforts around supplier diversity, which includes advocating (both internally and externally) on behalf of diverse businesses, being involved in the procurement process of awarding contracts to diverse vendors, and providing mentorship and developmental support to Southern Company Gas’ diverse partners. Mr. Collins began his career at Nicor Gas (an Illinois-based gas utility, and subsidiary of Southern Company Gas) in December, 2001, and has held various leadership roles within the company. A graduate of DePaul University’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, Darade is passionate about philanthropy, community enrichment, and working with diverse firms to help them gain sustainability.
Director, Sourcing and Procurement
Michael Cooper has been with Disney Parks and Resorts for the total of 13 years and in the position of a Director of Procurement and Sourcing for 11 years. Prior to coming to Disney, he was Purchasing Manager at the All American Gourmet Co. as well as at Nestle USA. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Management from the University of Utah.
Corporate Supplier Diversity Director
Estrella Cramer is the Corporate Supplier Diversity Director in UPS. She has more than 27 years of service across the different business units/functions in UPS including Finance, Procurement, Marketing, Product Development and Supply Chain. She was the Asia Pac Sarbanes Oxley Audit Coordinator for all UPS locations in Asia in 2004.
Estrella is the Chairperson of the UPS Asian Business Resource Group Community Connections Committee. She also serves in the board of several organizations and an active member in various Advisory Councils:
- Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
- WEConnect International
- Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council (GMSDC)
- Greater Women’s Business Council (GWBC)
- Business Consortium Fund (BCF)
- Board Chair for the US-Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Southeast Chapter (USPAACC-SE)
- Disability Equality Index (DEI) Advisory Committee
- Certification Committee for GWBC
- Corporate Mentor in the Georgia Mentor Protégé Connections (GMPC) program
- Advisory Council for the Georgia Tech IAC Women’s Entrepreneurship Program
- Enterprising Women - Advisory
- Kennesaw State University Asian Studies Advisory
- National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) Procurement Council
- US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) Procurement Council
She is the recipient of numerous awards, including 2016 GMSDC Advocate of the Year, DiversityPlus Magazine 2016 Top 25 Women in Power Impacting Diversity, 2014/2016 Corporate Women of Achievement from YWCA, 2013-2016 Top 25 Most Influential Asian American in Georgia by Georgia Asian Times, 2014 OCA National Corporate and Community Achievement Award and Outstanding Georgia Citizen by the Secretary of State.
Estrella graduated Cum Laude from the University of St. Thomas in Manila Philippines and pursued an MBA degree in Iona College, New York.
Executive Vice President, Head of Enterprise Information Technology
Scott Dillon is head of Enterprise Information Technology at Wells Fargo and the company’s Chief Technology Officer, one of the country’s largest and most innovative information technology groups with more than 17,000 talented team members who help keep Wells Fargo at the forefront of America’s diversified financial services companies.
Under his leadership, technology team members set IT strategy, deliver systems software design and development, and provide Wells Fargo global customers ‘round-the-clock’ banking access through in-store, online, ATM, mobile device and telephone transactions. They serve customers directly through systems availability and security, as well as indirectly, through internal business partners who deliver a wide range of financial products and services.
During his nearly two decades with the company, Scott has held various executive positions, including global head of Technology Infrastructure Services, head of Enterprise Hosting Services, chief information officer for Wholesale, Trust and Investment Banking, and head of Payment Strategies – where he created and led the Strategic Alliances & Ventures groups.
Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Scott was a Partner at Deloitte Consulting holding various leadership positions in the Strategy and Financial Services practices while also acting as a Lead Client Services Partner for multiple top 10 financial services organizations.
Scott received a Bachelor of Science degree in Banking from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management.
Senior Vice President, Chief Innovation Architect
A Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Architect, Mike shares hundreds of patents with Wells Fargo and is responsible for the continued growth of both Wells Fargo’s innovative culture and educational programs focused on “Diversity of Thought” delivery.
- Honored as one of “American Banker’s Top 25 Innovators of the Year, 2009.”
- Recently featured at www.InnovationLeader.com
- Executive Co-Chair of The Innovator’s Club (a Wells Fargo community of Practice over 10,000 strong from LOB and IT worlds)
- Featured speaker at Ford, Laureal, BP, and many others.
- At home - Goat Farmer and Drone enthusiast.
- Favorite Drink - Apple Martini with 2 olives.
Mike advises technology and line-of-business teams across the company and beyond on the alignment of results-driven innovative styles.
With an MBA from Wingate University and a B.S. in Computer Science, Mike brings a unique, humanistic perspective to innovation delivery.
Chief Procurement Officer
John Evans is vice president, Global Procurement for Ingersoll Rand. He was appointed to the position in October 2015.
John is a growth-oriented leader with two central beliefs: winning requires us to fully understand the needs of end-user customers, and serving end-user customers successfully stems from operational excellence, business transformation and employee engagement.
John has been with Ingersoll Rand since 2000 in a variety of roles of increasing importance. Prior to his appointment as leader of Global Procurement, John was the President of the Power Tools Strategic Business Unit (SBU) for Ingersoll Rand. Power Tools offers a robust portfolio of assembly, industrial, cordless, construction and vehicle service tools and accessories, and has a long-standing reputation for being powerful, ergonomically designed, reliable and efficient.
Prior to his role in Power Tools, John was the President of Residential Security Solutions at Ingersoll Rand where he had full profit and loss responsibility for the business including product and business development; sales and service; and accountability for operational excellence across global manufacturing and distribution.
Previously, John served as vice president of marketing and product management for Residential Solutions as well as vice president of operations for the company’s Climate Control Technologies sector; and vice president of enterprise services, helping to lead the integration of Trane into Ingersoll Rand. John has championed innovative product and solutions launches and executed and integrated acquisitions that expanded technologies and product portfolios. He has a passion for product and category management, and the creation of highly strategic marketing, channel and e-commerce programs that drive end user loyalty.
Before joining Ingersoll Rand in 2000, John was vice president of North American operations at Leoni Wiring Systems; worked as an operations manager at Marley Cooling Tower; and held a variety of positions at Electro-Wire Products. John began his career as a supplier quality assurance engineer in electronics at Cummins Engine Company.
He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in business administration from St. Bonaventure University.
Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer
Mike Fath is currently the Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer for Caesars Entertainment Corporation where his team is responsible for leading the negotiations, contracting and supply of the nearly $3.0 billion in goods and services required to support Caeasers casino and hospitality properties in North America.
Mike’s team of 350 people buy everything from food, beverage and hospitality products, to Gaming Equipment and supplies, to Media, advertising, promotional products and print, to professional services, (including legal services), information technology, facilities equipment and maintenance services and construction.
Mike leads Caesars Entertainment’s commitment to the diverse communities where it does business by procuring goods, products and services from a diversified pool of suppliers, contractors and professional service providers, and working with small local businesses to help them grow.
Prior to Caesars, Mike served as SVP of Procurement at First Group America, the largest transport operator in North America, operating 50,000 school buses under the brand First Student as well as owning Greyhound. While at FGA, Mike led the integration of sourcing and supply chain operations after the 2007 acquisition of Laidlaw doubled the size of the North American business.
Before joining First Group, Mike was a consulting partner with KPMG. Elected to the partnership in 1994, he was a leader in the firm’s Supply Chain consulting practice in North America.
Mike has a Master of Business Administration, from Michigan State University and earned his undergraduate degree from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.
Gary (Emeritas) Kallenbach
Chief Procurement Officer
As the Chief Procurement Officer for UPS, Gary Kallenbach and his team manage all indirect and enterprise-wide complex commodities, including system technologies (hardware and software), professional services, energy and fuel purchases (diesel, air, LNG, propane). In addition, he is responsible for the UPS procure-to-pay process redesign and strategy. Gary also leads the company’s supplier diversity initiatives.
Prior to his current role, Gary served in a variety of executive level procurement positions at UPS. Before that, he was a Region Controller in the Midwest, District Controller for Long Island and New York, and an Accounting Manager in Chicago. He began his career with UPS as a loader, unloader and driver before beginning his management career as an Accounting Supervisor in Wisconsin. He has been with UPS for more than 39 years. Gary holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Finance from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire.
In addition to his Procurement responsibilities, Gary currently serves on the board of the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council (NMSDC). He actively supports organization like the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce (USPAACC), Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), and National Urban League, to name a few. Previously he served on the board of directors for Ramapo College of New Jersey. Internally, Gary serves on UPS’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council.
Under his supplier diversity leadership, UPS has received numerous awards, including the Best Corporations for Veteran-Owned Businesses, America’s Top 50 Organizations for Multicultural Business Opportunities, and America’s Top Corporation for Women Business Enterprises from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. UPS is one of only three companies to have received this honor for 17 consecutive years.
Senior Vice President, IT Chief Financial Officer and Chief Procurement Officer
Angie Klett is senior vice president IT CFO and Chief Procurement Officer (CPO). As CFO, Angie is a strategic business partner to CIO Mike Keller, providing financial planning and reporting on the $1B+ IT budget. Since a great deal of technology spend is sourced externally from suppliers, there’s a tight link to Angie’s responsibilities as CPO where she leads $13B of strategic sourcing and procurement for Nationwide.
Previously, Angie served as Vice President CFO for P&C Personal Lines and Standard Commercial lines where she was responsible for developing the 5-year financial plan, forecasting and reporting for both agency and direct.
Angie began her career as an accountant in the financial services side of Nationwide. She held a number of roles in finance before jumping into the property and casualty business where she spent nearly half of her career in leadership positions across sales and service centers, marketing, and product management.
Angie holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Ohio Wesleyan University, a Chartered Financial Consultant designation and is a CPA. She currently serves as Treasurer and chair of the finance committee on the Berger Health System board in her local community of Circleville Ohio. Additionally, she and her husband own and operate Burr Oak Nursery on their 70 acres.
Executive Vice President, Chief Information Officer, Information and Technology Services
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Gopa began his career with the Bank in 1994 as an applications manager and was promoted to senior vice president in 2010.
Prior to joining the Bank, Gopa was the system manager and chief architect at Providian Financial. Gopa holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the National Institute of Technology, India.
Gopa serves in leadership roles on several key Federal Reserve System workgroups, including Technology Service Council, Application Development Leadership Team, and the information Security Council. Gopa is a member of the Bank’s Executive Committee.
Gopa is a governing body member of the San Francisco CIO Executive Summit, and is also the co-chair of the San Francisco CIO Mid-Market Executive Summit.
Manager, Supply Chain Responsibility
PG & E
Lili Kwan is a Manager of Supply Chain Responsibility at Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). She supports PG&E’s 30+ year old Supplier Diversity Program which just achieved an all-time high of $2.85 billion spent with certified diverse suppliers in 2016, representing 44.4 percent of the company’s total procurement spend. Lili and her team are responsible for program management of key initiatives including PG&E’s Prime Supplier Program, Supplier Development Program, Technical Assistance Program, Outreach Ambassador Program and Small Business engagement. She also oversees the department’s supplier diversity reporting, regulatory compliance and communication strategy.
Lili has been working in sourcing operations for more than 15 years. Before joining PG&E in 2010, she spent ten years at MedAssets, a healthcare performance improvement and group purchasing company, most recently as Senior Manager of a strategic sourcing project management team. Lili received her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley. She enjoys volunteering in her community and spending time outdoors with her tween son.
Senior Vice President Global Directs/ AMENA Procurement
Brian joined PepsiCo in June of 2015 to lead the strategic sourcing and procurement agenda for PepsiCo’s Direct Procurement area and is accountable for $10 billion spend annually. His areas of responsibility include global rigid and flexible packaging, energy, sweeteners and print graphics and quality. He also has Procurement responsibility for the AMENA sector.
Brian joined PepsiCo from Mondelez/Kraft where he spent 20 years in roles of increasing responsibility. He had roles in commodities, direct materials, indirect materials & services, 3rd party manufacturing and strategy and has been based in both Chicago and Atlanta. He then moved to Singapore where he led Kraft Foods’ Asia Pacific Procurement organization. During those five years, he integrated the acquisitions of Danone biscuit and Cadbury with new geographies, organizations and product portfolio. Most recently he spent four years in Zurich where he was responsible for the global Chocolate Category Procurement organization.
Brian holds a BS in Economics from the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign and an MS in Management from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Information Technology
Steve Hagood is senior vice president and chief information officer at Ingersoll Rand and a member of the company’s Enterprise Leadership Team.
Steve leads the company’s global information technology (IT) organization and is responsible for the development and execution of Ingersoll Rand’s information technology strategies, including enterprise technology infrastructure, information security, and business IT solutions.
Prior to joining Ingersoll Rand, Steve spent 19 years with the Goodrich Corporation, most recently as the company’s vice president and chief information officer. With more than 30 years of experience, he has held multiple executive and financial leadership roles in the aerospace and defense, manufacturing and service industries.
Steve currently chairs the Charlotte CIO Executive Summit and previously served as the chair of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce IT Summit. He is a past director and Board Chair of Apparo, a Charlotte-based nonprofit organization, and a prior director for the Charlotte Mecklenburg County Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Technology Advisory Board.
Steve holds a Bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas at Austin and is a member of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He was recognized by the Charlotte Business Journal as ‘CIO of the Year’ in 2014.
Group Vice President of Procurement
Michelle Hawkins is Group Vice President of Procurement at Charter Communications and is located in Denver, Colorado. She joined Charter in June 2012 to develop and transform their Procurement organization. Michelle and her team provide Strategic Sourcing expertise aimed at bringing business value to functional areas across the enterprise. The organization also includes the centralized Purchasing and Contracts Administration functions and is responsible for Charter’s Supplier Diversity program.
Michelle’s career began in the telecommunications industry. She spent 22 years at Motorola in various leadership positions in both Direct and Indirect Strategic Procurement. While at Motorola, she had global responsibility with team members in 16 different countries. Michelle also spent one year at Nokia Siemens Networks while she led the procurement integration after the acquisition of the former Motorola Networks business.
Michelle holds a bachelor’s degree in Materials and Logistics Management from Michigan State University and a MBA from the University of Phoenix. She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from PMI and holds a Global Leadership Certificate from Thunderbird School of Global Management. In 2010, she was a Board Member of Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Michelle also was an instructor for “Leadership in Supply Management” at DePaul University as part of their continuing education program in effort to prepare participants for ISM’s CPSM certification. Michelle is a 2016 BMLI Graduate, Class #33 and a member of WICT.
RedOctane and Guitar Hero
Charles Huang is a co-founder of RedOctane and the co-creator of the Guitar Hero video game franchise. In 2005, the company published Guitar Hero, which went on to become the fastest video game to reach $1B in sales. Guitar Hero was the best selling video game in the world in 2007 and 2008.
In 2006, Mr. Huang, along with his brother Kai, was elected as one of the top 50 producers in New Media by the Producers Guild of American New Media Council membership which includes such famed movie directors as Jerry Bruckheimer and Brian Grazer.
Mr Huang left Guitar Hero in 2010. He’s been and adviser to many IOT start ups. He’s a board member of Steel Wool, a virtual reality games studio based in Oakland. His lab is Indigo 7, where he works on various music or fashion or health tech projects such as a Singtrix, a karaoke system that integrates professional grade audio engineering.
Mr. Huang immigrated to California as a young child and currently resides in Silicon Valley with his wife and two daughters. Mr. Huang holds BA’s in Economics and Asian Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. He currently sits on the UC Berkeley Foundation Board of Trustees.
Supplier Diversity Manager
Jackie LaJoie has overall leadership responsibility for Supplier Diversity and Supplier Sustainability at Ingersoll Rand. In this role, she is responsible for building a world class program, driving results and integrating supplier diversity and supplier sustainability into the corporate strategy throughout the enterprise.
Prior to joining the Council, Jackie served as Vice President of the Carolinas Minority Supplier Development Council, Director of Supplier Diversity at Merck and Manager of Supplier Diversity at legacy AT&T. She has more than 27 years of experience in successful program development and implementation.
Jackie has been recognized nationally for her leadership and service in the Supplier Diversity field. She has a B.S. in Accounting and Business Administration from High Point University and an MBA from Wake Forest University.
Red Kite Business Advisors
Evelyn is an experienced marketing executive with 30+ years in management roles. She managed media budgets exceeding $60 million and worked for companies such as Goodyear, Foodmaker (Jack-in-the-Box Restaurants), and Jenny Craig International. Prior to co-founding Red Kite as a marketing consultancy in 2007, she was with Aviatech, a full service ad agency specializing in digital marketing. In five years she served as SVP Marketing, CMO and COO helping it grow from 12 to 45 employees and revenues from $2M to $10M.
A female pioneer in management at Goodyear, she started in the secretarial pool and helped pave the way for other women to hold management positions in a male workforce, as one of five female managers at the time in the company. Red Kite is certified as a WBE with WBENC, advocating for supplier diversity by working with other WBEs and minority-owned businesses. She’s a former Chair of WBEC-West San Diego Leadership Forum and a Platinum Supplier Program graduate. She has been recognized twice as a finalist for Woman of the Year by San Diego Magazine, and was a recipient of Women Who Mean Business Award from San Diego Business Journal. Active in her community, she serves on several boards of non-profit organizations, including San Diego State University’s Campanile Foundation. Evelyn is a trained professional public speaker, writer, director and producer and assists in live corporate events. She and her husband Bill and two adult children live in San Diego.
Co-founder of Hobo Labs Founder, Former CEO of Rotten Tomatoes Executive Producer of "The Heavenly Kings
Rotten Tomatoes, Hobo Labs
Co-founder of Hobo Labs, making guild-based casual mobile games.
Co-founder and former CEO of alivenotdead.com, an online community for artists and their fans. Sold to mig33 February 2014.
Executive Producer of “The Heavenly Kings”, directed by Daniel Wu (Best New Director, 2007 Hong Kong Film Awards).
Co-founder and former CEO of Rotten Tomatoes, a leading entertainment website focused on movie reviews and news and one of the top 600 most trafficked sites in the world. Sold to IGN Entertainment June 2004.
Co-founder and former CEO of Design Reactor (designreactor.com), an internet marketing firm focused on the entertainment industry. Clients included Disney, ABC, Warner Bros., and Artisan Entertainment, among others.
Advisor to Casetagram, Instaread (IDreamBooks), LEEO, Frenzoo, and SupportBee.
Mentor at various SOSV Accelerators (MOX, Chinaccelerator, Leap.Axlr8r), Founder Institute, Gateway Incubator, Berkeley LAUNCH Startup Accelerator, nest.vc, and CoCoon HK.
#55 on Bizzabo’s list of
“The 100 Most Wanted Speakers at Tech Conferences” (Mar 12, 2014):
Holds a BA in Cognitive Science from the University of California at Berkeley.
Senior Director, Supplier Diversity
Fred Lona is the Senior Director Supplier Diversity and Performance Management for Hilton Worldwide which is based in McLean, Virginia. Mr. Lona directs the development, administration and execution of the Hilton Supplier Diversity Program and supplier performance processes. In his current capacity he is also responsible for the oversight of the Global Travel and Expense Services Program and the Marketing and Communications department for Hilton Supply Management. While ensuring compliance with the corporate-wide diversity strategy, he also seeks to incorporate innovative best practice programs in supplier processes and supplier diversity.
Exemplifying his commitment to supplier diversity, Mr. Lona serves on numerous prestigious and diverse organizations that impact the hospitality industry, including: Chair of the Capital Region MSDC; Chair of the NMSDC Hospitality Industry Group; Chair of the ISM Supplier Diversity Group; Senior Executive Corporate Advisory Board member of the United Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Lona has earned numerous awards and recognitions, including: “Corporate Champion of the Year” (United States Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce), “Advocate of the Year” (Asian Business Association), “Volunteer of the Year” (National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development). Under his leadership Hilton’s supplier diversity program has earned numerous awards and recognition.
Mr. Lona holds a BS in Marketing from California State University Long Beach and has completed two years of studies at the University of San Francisco Law School. Mr. Lona is also certified by the Institute for Supply Management as a Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) and Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD).
Senior Vice President & Chief Procurement Officer
Tom D. Lutz joined U.S. Bancorp as Senior Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer in April, 2008. He is responsible for the corporate procurement organization involved with strategic sourcing, vendor management, and supplier diversity. Since joining U.S. Bancorp nine years ago, Tom has focused on delivering significantly greater value across the enterprise through more effective internal alignment, improved vendor relationships, strategic talent management, and a shareholder-centric view of operating costs and business practices.
Tom has more than 30 years of experience in the areas of procurement, supply chain management, and information systems. Prior to joining U.S. Bank, Tom spent twenty years with General Mills in a variety of roles, and three years with Pulte Homes as National Vice President of Procurement.
Tom is a native of Minnesota, and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Systems Analysis from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana.
Joseph A. Maralit is a Senior Buyer for Powertrain components within the BMW Group’s Purchasing and Supplier Network, America. His current purchasing responsibilities include Exhaust Systems, Rear Differentials, Engines, and Output Shafts for the X3, X4, X5, and X6 Sport Activity vehicles.
Over his 21 year experience at BMW, he has developed extensive knowledge and experience working alongside a number of global Tier 1 suppliers both in their production and aftermarket network. In addition to his involvement of improving supply-chain stability and manufacturing efficiencies, he was also directly involved with the localization of a number of drivetrain components to the NAFTA region.
Initially starting his career in Program Management of new-model launches, he transitioned to the purchasing role in 1999 which encompassed regional responsibilities for Engine Cooling, Transfer Cases, Transmissions and Air Induction systems.
Mr. Maralit is a current member of the BMW – Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research Steering Circle focused on strategic areas including manufacturing and materials, automotive engineering, and industry-relevant projects. His current interests revolve around smart-factories and the use of technology and data to further improve manufacturing throughput and efficiencies.
His community work includes being a volunteer-driver for Loaves & Fishes, a food-rescue ministry, Habitat for Humanity, and supporting the Sunday ministry at The Haven Assisted Living facility, all of which are located in upstate South Carolina.
Mr. Maralit graduated from the University of South Carolina where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. Additionally, he earned a Master’s Degree in Industrial Management from Clemson University.
When not at work, Joseph can often be found in the stands cheering for his wife or any one of his five children; all who play basketball for local leagues around Greenville, SC. Happily enjoying the simple pleasures of life, Joseph and his wife of 22 years currently reside with their family in Taylors, South Carolina.
Chief Technology Officer
Walgreens Boots Alliance
Chintan is the CTO of Walgreens Boots Alliance and is responsible for all consumer facing experiences across all digital channels globally. As a part of this role Chintan also heads the innovation team responsible for all our work across new areas like telemedicine, in-store digital experiences etc. Prior to WBA Chintan was Vice President of Engineering at American Express responsible for developing a range of digital payments capabilities and Solutions. Chintan has a Masters in Computer Science from University of Hertfordshire.
Director, Procurement & Operations
Christina (Chris) Najjar is the Director, Procurement & Operations for AARP and was hired in 2013 to strategize and implement an extensive transformation of the department. Chris has responsibility for managing, developing and implementing supply chain strategies to mitigate risk and streamline operations for the Procurement and Requisitioning Teams. Chris leads a team of professionals who provide sourcing and contracting expertise to internal business clients which includes the Offices of the CEO/CFO/COO, Brand, Media, Research, Foundation, State and Local Communities, Multicultural Markets, Consulting and Professional Services. Chris and her team manage the RFP and negotiations process supporting all client commodities.
Chris graduated with honors from Virginia Tech and has completed the HBS General Management/High Potential Leaders Program.
Global Director IT & Chief Contracting Officer
General Motors Company
Ralf is currently Global Director IT & Chief Contracting Officer. He has held this role since December 2015. Prior to this position, he was the Purchasing Director for Infotainment, Semiconductors and Software.
Ralf began his career in 1996 at Opel located in Bochum, Germany. In 1998, he moved to Opel Rüsselsheim, Germany. In 2000, he transitioned to an international assignment in Rochester, NY, working on Fuel Cells, and localized to GM a few years later. In 2007, Ralf moved to Michigan. He has held several positions in Purchasing and Program Management in the areas of Fuel Cells, Electrification, New Technology, as well as Commodity Purchasing and Crisis Management.
Ralf was born in Hildesheim, Germany. He has a dual masters equivalent degree in mechanical engineering and business administration (“Diplom Wirtschaftsingenieur”) from the University of Paderborn, Germany. He speaks German, English, Spanish and basic French.
Senior Vice President, Information Technology
Enterprise Holdings Inc.
Mike Nolfo is a senior vice president in Information Technology at Enterprise Holdings Inc. Mike leads the development of innovative, consumer-focused solutions and services that meet the dynamic needs of the entire entity and its customers. He has responsibility for the daily technical operations of a global IT team of nearly 2,000 employees.
Mike joined Enterprise Holdings in 1995 as a process manager in application development. During his tenure, he has had led diverse functions within IT, including application development, infrastructure, security and other key IT functions. Prior to joining Enterprise Holdings, Mike was a consulting manager at Ernst and Young.
Enterprise Holdings and its affiliate Enterprise Fleet Management offer a total transportation solution. These businesses achieved $20.9 billion in revenue and operated nearly 1.9 million vehicles in more than 85 countries throughout the work in fiscal year 2016.
Vice President of Supply Chain Management
PG & E
Gun S. Shim is Vice President of Supply Chain Management for Pacific Gas and Electric Company. He is responsible for PG&E’s Supply Chain policies and standards, responsible for Strategic Sourcing, enhancing supplier relationships, materials and inventory management, logistics, Supplier Quality Assurance, and Logistics Emergency Response.
Shim has over 25 years of supply chain and procurement experience. Before joining PG&E in September 2009, he was the Vice President, Procurement with T-Mobile USA. Prior to this role, Shim spent over 17 years with SBC Communications, now AT&T, where he held various vice president positions within Shared Services and Supply Chain. At SBC, Shim was one of the leaders who led supply chain merger integrations which included some of the largest mergers at that time.
He was also a principle owner of GS and Company that provided project management and strategic sourcing solutions. As a principal, Shim specialized in raising venture capital for web-enabled buying portals and forming consortium buying groups targeted at specific categories.
Shim holds a bachelor’s degree in political science. He serves on several boards that help advance supply chain principles and practices.
Chief Purchasing Officer
DK has 28 years of leadership experience in industrial/energy management, consumer product, technology, auto, and power equipment manufacturing environment with direct experience in engineering and supply chain including procurement (direct and indirect), logistics, supply-demand, inventory management, and operations.
DK is currently a Chief Purchasing Officer for the Schneider Electric with a global procurement responsibility of $15B spend. He has been with Schneider Electric since August 2014.
Prior to his current position at Schneider Electric, DK spent eight years at ConAgra Foods as a CPO and had the responsibility of enterprise procurement with $10B global spend. Prior to this, he spent three years at Motorola where he held the roles of senior executive in Procurement. He was the Vice President of Procurement for the Motorola’s Mobile Devices Group and had the responsibility of $12B Sourcing for the cell phone business. DK was also the Vice President with Motorola’s Global Procurement function with the responsibilities of Indirect Global Sourcing with $6.0B+ spend.
Before joining Motorola in 2003, DK spent 15 years with IBM Corp in many different leadership roles including product development, engineering, logistics, supply/demand, inventory mgmt, and Global Procurement. His last responsibilities at IBM included managing Global Services Procurement with significant responsibilities.
DK has a Master’s in Industrial Engineering, a BS in Mechanical Engineering and has been a registered Professional Engineer (PE). He has published many articles related to manufacturing and supply-chain in external and internal journals. He has been on the Advisory Board for Resin Technology, NMSDC (National Minority Supplier Development Council) and works closely with USPAACC.
Vice President of HS&E and Workforce Development
Associated Builders and Contractors
Greg Sizemore is the Vice President of HS&E and Workforce Development for the Associated Builders and Contractors in Washington, D.C., and has over 30 years as a leader in the engineering and construction industry championing organizational development initiatives and developing and implementing competency-based professional and craft workforce development programs. Under his leadership, his teams have designed and implemented multiple nationally recognized and award-winning educational and workforce development programs and training interventions that have brought value to the companies he has worked with. Sizemore is past chair of the ABC National Craft Championships Committee and NCCER Workforce Development Committee, and he currently serves on several boards. He has been the keynote speaker at workforce development conferences across the country on topics such as high performance work teams, effective communications, and generations in the workforce.
Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
MGM Resorts International, Inc.
Joshua Soliz has held the position of Vice President and Chief Technology Officer with MGM Resorts International since 2012. In this position he leads the strategic direction for the MGMRI Architecture, Engineering and Innovation Delivery teams. This includes Architecture and Engineering of critical services for MGM Resorts International such as Infrastructure, Cloud (IaaS and SaaS), and commercial applications. He is also the primary advisor on multiple innovation initiatives and is leading a small team of staff for mode 2 delivery.
Prior to his promotion in 2012, Joshua was the Vice President of Global Infrastructure Management for MGM Resorts International Information Technology Department.
Joshua has over 18 years of experience in hospitality. Prior to joining the company, Joshua was the Director of IT Infrastructure for a global timeshare company, Sunterra Corporation (now Diamond Resorts International) in North Las Vegas and has worked for very large companies such as General Motors and AT&T. Joshua has been working in IT Infrastructure for over 25 years and is known for his excellence in crisis management while providing innovation, value creation, and technology leadership.
Joshua is the president of the Technology & Diversity for Charity board of directors and is a member of the Collaboration Leaders Council for Switch Data Centers.
Joshua is a native of Ohio and was educated at Purdue University and UNLV and holds various technology and process improvement certifications.
Vice President of Purchasing
Wes joined Clark in 1996 as a Project Engineer with the Company’s Purchasing Department. In the years since, he has been responsible for purchasing an abundance of projects throughout the country, including the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Courthouse in Omaha, Nebraska and San Antonio Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. Promoted to Purchasing Agent in 1999, Wes was instrumental in successfully purchasing the American Red Cross and National Institute of Standards and testing projects in the Mid-Atlantic Region. In 2002, he was promoted to Senior Purchasing Agent where he continued to strengthen the Company’s relationships with its subcontractors on projects such as 575 7th Street and 901 New York Avenue in Washington, DC and Largo Station in Largo, Maryland. Most recently, Wes led purchasing efforts on the Waterview project – a landmark, one-million-square-foot, mixed-use complex in Arlington, Virginia and the $408 million dollar, one-million- square-foot, Design/Build DC Major League National’s Ballpark.
Wes holds bachelor’s degrees with a concentration on facilities management from Norfolk State University and Widener University. He is an active leader in a number of Company initiatives, including the Clark Corporate University and Boot Camp and is involved in community outreach programs for So Others Might Eat (SOME), Rebuilding Together with Christmas in April and Peaceoholics.
Wes and his wife, Michelle, live in Great Falls, Virginia with their two daughters, Loren and Reilly. In his free time, he enjoys fishing, traveling, community service and spending time with his family.
Wes’s Purchainsing Team develops bid packages, conducts pre-bid-conferences, performs scoping activities, negotiates subcontracts and purchase orders, drafts subcontract scope descriptions, assembles and distributes subcontracts and purchase orders, tracks all activities and ensures that they are executed properly. His Team also assists in the procurement of fast-track components in order to make certain that critical milestone dates are maintained and achieved to ensure each projects success.
Wes also commonly serves as the CBE Coordinator to ensure that the goals of each projects minority subcontracting plans are achieved. Wes developes bid packages specific to the minority business community, coordinates opportunity fairs and other activities in support of Clark Project Team’s. Because so much of the subcontracted work needs to be procured as “fast-track” or “early release” packages, it is critical that Wes be involved from the very onset of the project to ensure that the Clark Team maximizes opportunities for the certified business enterprises. By being involved early on, Wes’ Team can help both monitor and drive subcontractor interest, and can help align appropriate subcontractors with suitable work packages.
Vice President, Enterprise Chief Architect
Jim Tussing is an Information Technology executive with over 29 years of experience spanning application development, application integration, infrastructure and data.
Jim is currently serving as VP, Enterprise Chief Architect for Nationwide Insurance, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Nationwide is the 7th largest homeowners insurer, the 8th largest auto insurer, the 8th largest life insurer, and the number one small business insurer in the U.S. In his current role, Jim has responsibility for Enterprise Architecture for Nationwide’s IT applications, infrastructure, and data, and the continued development and evolution of the IT Architecture capability.
Prior to his current role, Jim served as Infrastructure CTO for Nationwide, leading Nationwide’s adoption of cloud computing through the development and deployment of an internal private cloud and adoption of public cloud services. Jim’s prior focus areas have included server virtualization, implementation of Service Oriented Architecture application integration capability, and enterprise application integration across multiple platforms.
Vice President of Supply Management
Sempra Energy Utility (San Diego Gas & Electric and SoCalGas)
Denita Willoughby is vice president of supply management for Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), Sempra Energy’s regulated California utilities. She is responsible for overseeing the areas of supply management and supplier diversity. Willoughby previously served as regional vice president of external affairs for SoCalGas, where she led the company’s community relations, public affairs, and media & employee communication efforts.
Before joining Sempra Energy, Willoughby held leadership positions at AT&T, which included vice president of television programming during the roll out of U-Verse; vice president of external affairs, leading the company’s government and community affairs activities; and regional sales vice president for SBC Communications.
She serves on the boards of The Center for Global Supply Chain Management at USC, Vision to Learn, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, and as board chair for UNITE-LA. She is an advocate for improving educational outcomes for all children and dedicates time to mentoring professionals wishing to advance their careers.
Willoughby has a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Ashley Woolheater is a Policy Associate at Oculus where she helps coordinate the company’s work with governments around the world on virtual reality. Ashley was previously Policy Chief of Staff at Hillary for America, consulted with technology and health care companies on their public policy strategies, and served at the U.S. State Department on the Secretary of State’s Strategic Communications team. Ashley holds an MA from The Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University and a BA from Emory University.
Senior Manager of Supply Chain
Southern California Edison
Scott Yoshikawa is a Sr. Supply Chain Manager at Southern California Edison. He manages roughly $300M in annual direct service procurements covering a variety of categories including Environmental Services, Transportation, Civil Construction and Electrical Generation. Southern California Edison is the primary electricity utility company in Southern California providing over 85 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity to 15 million people covering a territory of 50,000 square miles.
Government & NGOs
E. Darlene Bullock
OSDBU - Department of Homeland Security
E. Darlene Bullock began serving as the Deputy Director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) in June 2015. Ms. Bullock is also a Senior Procurement Analyst in the OSDBU serving as the Program Manager for several small business programs to include: 8(a), small disadvantaged, and women-owned. She also is a Desk Officer providing technical procurement and small business support to four DHS operational contracting offices.
Ms. Bullock has over 25 years of experience in procurement, federal assistance, and acquisitions management. Ms. Bullock has held leadership positions at several Federal and local agencies including the Department of Homeland Security Headquarters, U.S. Agency for International Development, U. S. Department of Commerce, District of Columbia Government, and the U.S. Army.
Faye L. Esaias
SPAWAR Small Business Programs
Ms. Esaias began her federal service career in 1986 as a Contract Intern at the Naval Regional Contract Center at Long Beach. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and is a member of the Acquisition Professional Corps. Ms. Esaias joined SPAWAR System Command (HQ) December 2009 and assumed responsibility for the Small Business Program, having previously been the part-time Deputy for Small Business and a Contracts Manager at the Command’s System Center, Pacific. Prior to joining SPAWAR Systems Center, Pacific, Faye was Head of Contracts at Officer In Charge of Construction (OICC) Camp Pendleton and a Contracts Division Head at Navy Public Works Center under Southwest Division of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command.
OSDBU - Department of Energy
Christy Jackiewicz is the Acting Director for the Department of Energy’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (DOE- OSDBU) and leads the charge to institutionalize the use of small businesses and fully integrate them into the Department’s competitive base of contractors.
Prior to joining OSDBU, Christy spent her career at the General Services Administration (GSA) in various managerial capacities, most recently as the National Director of Customer Care and Outreach, Office of Small Business Utilization. In this role, she was instrumental in creating efficiencies for businesses to contract with the government through strategic and innovative customer relationship management and program process improvements. Prior to that, she was the Principal Advisor to the Associate Administrator and helped develop and implement the agency’s comprehensive small business program strategies. Christy began her career as a contract specialist, with a focus on acquisition policy, where her passion for small business blossomed.
Michelle E. Warren
OSDBU - U.S. Department of Agriculture
In October 2010, Michelle Warren was assigned Program Manager in the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) within U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In December 2015, Michelle was appointed Deputy Director in OSDBU and still holds that position. It is her responsibility to provide maximum opportunities for small businesses to participate in USDA contracting activities. Michelle coordinates and participates in events all over the country with high level USDA officials and others to promote federal contracting opportunities for small businesses.
Michelle’s philosophy is, “Think about what you want to do, DO IT, then think about what you have done!”
Asian American, Other Minority & Small Businesses
Cathleen Cher Chen
Founder and Creative Director
Cathleen Cher Chen is the founder of Strita, LLC—a music centric creative consulting company with clients such as American Express, BuzzFeed, Adidas, MySpace, Pandora, etc. Before finding her own company, Cathleen worked as the Art Production Manager for Kanye West’s concerts across the country and in Canada. Cathleen was among a group of distinguished scholarship recipients at USPAACC Procurement Conference back in 2005.
Founder, Chief Executive Officer and President
Technology Integration Group (TIG)
With a keen entrepreneur spirit and a vision of how computers would forever change technology – Bruce Geier made a bold move to ride what became the computer boom of the late 1980s and early 1990s and built a global footprint in IT that reaches 25 locations in the US, Canada and China.
Bruce is a recognized thought leader in business and computer technology solutions with a long-standing commitment to diversity and small business in the community he serves. Recent recipient of the Minority Technology Firm of the Year by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
Bruce has been recently recognized as
- 20 Most Powerful Big Data companies by CIO Story Magazine
- International Promotion Award of the Year- Minority Supplier Development China
- 2016 “Top Business” by DiversityBusiness.com
Jacob Hsu is a Silicon Valley based executive, entrepreneur, and corporate advisor. Mr Hsu is currently the CEO of Catalyte (www.catalyte.io), a company that leverages data science to redevelop American non- technical workers to become software developers, creating thousands of new jobs in the knowledge economy. Prior to Catalyte, Mr. Hsu was CEO of Symbio, a global software engineering and R&D services company, which he transformed from an early stage startup company to global diversified IT services company with over 23,000 employees around the world.
Mr. Hsu has also co-founded or been a founding investor in over thirty other companies in the United States and Asia. Before joining Symbio, he was the founding CEO of Trilogica, a data aggregation software company, and founding CEO of Epitome, a banking applications company. Mr. Hsu began his career in investment banking focused on mergers & acquisitions.
Mr. Hsu received his bachelors from Wharton and was named by Chief Executive Magazine as one of the world’s Top 12 Young Global Leaders of Tomorrow and as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
Founder and CEO
Tim is currently the Founder and CEO of FiscalNote, a realtime legal analytics platform that uses AI and natural language processing to help global organizations take control of their government risk and understand the law. The 150person company now powers some of the world’s largest and most influential law firms, legal departments, and governments. With Hwang’s technology and over $30M+ in funding from the likes of Mark Cuban, Jerry Yang, Steve Case, NEA, Renren and others, FiscalNote is revolutionizing access to legislation, regulations, and court cases for organizations around the world.
Prior to starting FiscalNote from a Motel 6 in Silicon Valley, Hwang started his career in politics as a field organizer for the Obama ‘08 campaign. He was elected to the Montgomery County Board of Education a year later, overseeing a budget of over $4 Billion for 22,000 public employees. Tim also served as the President of the 750,000 member National Youth Association and the founder of Operation Fly. Inc., a national 501(c)(3) organization that served innercity children in underprivileged areas around the country.
Tim was profiled in Forbes 30 Under 30, Inc. 30 Under 30, CNN’s Top 10 Startups, Business Insiders Top 25 Hottest Startups, and many others. He is a graduate of Princeton and currently deferring Harvard Business School. He is also currently a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer and a member of the The Economic Club of Washington, D.C.
Founder and CEO
Award-winning journalist Ravi Kapur is the founder and CEO of Diya TV, America’s first 24/7 South Asian broadcast television network airing to more than 50 million people in a dozen markets around the nation.
In addition, Ravi owns and operates television stations in San Francisco, Chicago and Fargo that broadcast 40 program streams of major network, sports and minority-focused content. He is the first Indian-American to own a full power television station in the United States.
His first broadcast venture, KAXT, became America’s most diverse television station, incubating networks and hyperlocal programming for the African-American, Hispanic, South Asian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean and Filipino communities.
Ravi led KAXT to its first-ever Emmy award in 2013 and nomination as Television Station of the Year by Broadcast Engineering in 2010.
Before venturing into entrepreneurship, Ravi served as an anchor, reporter and producer for ABC, CBS & NBC affiliates in Northern California, Oregon & Tennessee, enterprising stories that changed local laws, altered big business practices and held area politicians accountable.
He has testified before the FCC and Congress, was a Broadcast Leadership fellow of the National Association of Broadcasters and majored in Communication and Rhetorical Studies at Syracuse University.
In 2016, Ravi was inducted into the MMTC Hall of Fame for his commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion in media & telecommunications.
CEO & Chairman
Itech Global Group
Kishore Khandavalli founded SevenTablets in 2012 as a part of the iTech group of companies. He started iTech in 2003 and he remains the group’s CEO & Chairman today. Under Mr. Khandavalli’s leadership, the company has evolved into a global group, established key partnerships and acquired numerous clients, many of which are Fortune 100 organizations. Currently managing over 1,200 employees, three offices outside the U.S., and five within the United States and Canada, he steered iTech to be the fastest growing technology company in New England. Over the last few years, he made strategic acquisitions to make iTech into a consortium of companies with global delivery centers offering solutions in IT services (www.iTechUS.com, www.SmtWorks.com) mobile technologies (www.SevenTablets.com), software solutions and data management (www.iTechDataServices.com). Before founding iTech, Mr. Khandavalli founded Primesoft in 1997, which was later merged with another software company. He spearheaded the merger and subsequently led the combined organization until 2002. Prior to venturing into the IT industry, Mr. Khandavalli worked as a chemical engineer at Enerfex, a technology think tank in Vermont where he developed a unique patented technology to capture greenhouse gases and reuse them as byproducts. He was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the year finalist for two years in a row in 2009 & 2010. He was also a Wells Fargo Asian Business leader finalist in 2010. He is an avid flying enthusiast and a private pilot and holds a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Akron in Ohio.
Chief Technology Officer
Krish Krishnan is the Chief Technology Officer of Ampcus Inc, a Business and Technology Consulting Services Company based in Chantilly, Va. He is a recognized expert worldwide in the strategy, architecture and implementation of Big Data, Text Analytics, Analytics and Data Warehousing. His team focus at Ampcus is to provide leading innovation and solutions to Clients across Federal and Commercial. He leads the development of algorithms and solution frameworks that Ampcus will leverage across all solutions. Krish brings a vast experience of 24+ years with clients including USPS, eBay, Experian, Walgreens, Allstate, CNA Insurance, Cars.Com, Fox, State Street Bank, EMC, Elsevier, RBS, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, Reliance Communications, Singtel, Electronic Arts, Brocade, Cisco and many others. Krish has written three books “Building the Unstructured Data Warehouse” with Bill Inmon and “Data Warehousing in the Age of Big Data” and “Social Analytics” with Shawn Rogers, and working on two more to come in 2017/2018. Krish is a featured speaker at many conferences globally and a faculty at TDWI.
David U. Lee
Founder and CEO
David U. Lee is the founder and CEO of Leeding Media, a production, finance and marketing company that serves as a bridge between the U.S. and Chinese entertainment industries. The company works with American studios, filmmakers and rights holders as well as Chinese investors, distributors and media companies to identify, negotiate and execute mutually beneficial partnerships and co-productions. Lee’s expertise on business opportunities and practices in China and the U.S. is highly sought after by prominent companies in both countries.
Since its formation in 2007, with offices in both Los Angeles and Beijing, Leeding Media has become the premier independent aggregator and marketer of world-class films in China. In collaboration with its partners, Leeding Media has marketed 12 feature films theatrically and controls exclusive digital distribution rights to nearly 500 titles in China. They include such award-winning and critically acclaimed films as Million Dollar Baby, Whiplash, Nightcrawler, Rush, Bobby, A Single Man and Kinsey, as well as blockbusters including Divergent, Insurgent, Ender’s Game, Ghost Rider 2 and Underworld.
In 2014 the company helped orchestrate the launch of the groundbreaking Chinese subscription streaming service Lionsgate Entertainment World, a joint venture between Alibaba Group and Lionsgate. Leeding Media continues to aggregate and license Chinese digital rights to titles from the libraries of companies including IM Global Films, Exclusive Media, Lakeshore Entertainment, Myriad Pictures, Voltage Pictures and Intermedia.
Lee has played instrumental roles in five groundbreaking film productions in China. Most recently he served as U.S. post-production producer on director Jiang Wen’s Gone with the Bullets. In 2011 he produced Inseparable, starring two-time Academy Award® winner Kevin Spacey. In 2009 Lee advised China Film Group Corporation on the structuring of its co-production with Sony Pictures Entertainment on The Karate Kid, starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith. Lee is a co-executive producer of Shanghai starring John Cusack, Gong Li and Chow Yun-fat, and The Forbidden Kingdom, the most successful China-U.S. co-production in history, which stars Jackie Chan and Jet Li.
In 2009 Lee was named an inaugural member of The Hollywood Reporter’s Next Generation Asia, which honored rising young stars of Asia’s media and entertainment industry. He is frequently invited to speak at major China-U.S. entertainment industry conferences.
Lee was born in China and raised in Los Angeles. He received his bachelor’s degree from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California before starting his entertainment career at Miramax and serving in various positions at Telemundo, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Revolution Studios.
After returning to USC and receiving his MBA in 2004, Lee move to Beijing where he joined the venture-capital arm of American publishing firm IDG Asia. As director, and later vice president of business development for IDG, he oversaw the launch of the Chinese edition of entertainment-industry trade paper Variety.
The Black Widow
Jeanette Lee, known throughout the world as “The Black Widow,” has enjoyed one of the most illustrious careers in billiards history. Repeatedly recognized by Billiards Digest as one of the sport’s most powerful people, Jeanette has claimed more than 30 national and international titles. Formerly ranked as the #1 player in the world, she has received the greatest honors in her sport with her inductions into the WPBA Hall of Fame (2012) and BCA Hall of Fame (2013). Jeanette currently ranks #3 in the world, making her the top American player.
Jeanette was named the WPBA Sportsperson of the Year in 1998 and has also earned Player of the Year honors from both Billiards Digest and Pool & Billiards Magazine. In 2001, Jeanette was the gold medalist for the United States at the World Games in Akita, Japan – the first time the sport of billiards was ever included – and she participated again in the 2013 World Games held in Cali, Colombia. Jeanette has also captured silver twice at the World Championships during her 14-year professional career. In 2004, Jeanette won the World Trick Shot Championships and BCA Open. In 2005, Jeanette won the China Invitational and, more recently, in 2007 won the World Team Cup, Empress Cup and International Skins Billiard Championship with her doubles partner and husband, George Breedlove “The Flame Thrower.” She went on to successfully defend her Empress Cup title in 2008 and 2009.
Born on July 9, 1971, Jeanette was raised in Brooklyn, NY. At the age of 13, Jeanette was diagnosed with scoliosis, a disorder in which there is a curve, often S-shaped or C-shaped, of the spine or backbone. To alleviate the progression of the debilitating condition, Jeanette underwent scoliosis surgery. The surgical procedure involved techniques to fuse or join the vertebrae along the curve of her spine. Metal “Harrington” rods and other instrumentation were attached to her spine in order to hold her vertebrae together during the months after her surgery while the bones in her spine eventually fused together. Scoliosis surgery is one of the longest and most complicated orthopedic surgical procedures performed on children due to the long operation time and hospitalization for recovery. Her surgery at the time was thought to be a success, but Jeanette’s affliction with scoliosis was not yet at an end.
As an adolescent, Jeanette excelled in scholastics and was accepted into the prestigious Bronx High School of Science. Jeanette expected to attend college and pursue a more conventional career after graduating high school. She completed two years of college while pursuing a bachelor degree in early childhood development and elementary education. However, around this time period in her young life, Jeanette was introduced to the game of pool, a discovery that would change the course of her life. Jeanette immersed herself in all facets of the game and began to practice pool incessantly, regularly playing 20-30 hours at a time. Additionally, Jeanette began studying literature on the game and even befriended “old-time” pool professionals.
During this time of her billiards immersion, Jeanette suffered immensely from pain caused by the steel rods implanted in her back. Her intense pursuit to perfect her new passion consequently aggravated her spinal condition. Regardless, Jeanette relentlessly continued to exert herself physically and mentally. According to one account, she once played pool for 37 straight hours, to the point of unbearable pain and physical exhaustion, and she literally had to be lifted and carried back home by her friends.In 1993, Jeanette’s hard work and unrelenting pursuit of excellence in the game of pool resulted in her professional debut at the age of 21. She turned pro as a full-time member of the Women’s Professional Billiards Association (WPBA) only three years after picking up the sport at age 18. In only her first year as a pro, Jeanette rocketed into the ranks of the top ten in the WPBA. Less than six months later, she was ranked the #1 women’s professional pool player in the world.
Jeanette entered the professional pool world with fury. Her reputation grew to legendary proportions as the world came to know her as “The Black Widow,” a persona she acquired through her ability to overwhelm and almost devour her opponents with a dominant game and a fierce glare, while also exclusively wearing black attire during tournaments.
Jeanette’s first victory came in 1994 at the Baltimore Billiard Classic, the debut event of the WPBA season. She followed up her first professional title with another win at the tour’s next event, the Kasson Twin Cities Classic, and went on to claim two more titles at the BCA San Francisco Classic and U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships. She capped off her sophomore campaign with a win at the Connelly WPBA National Championships in the tour finale for five victories and was named Player of the Year by Billiards Digest and Pool & Billiards Magazine.
Jeanette’s success continued in 1995 as she captured titles at the Olhausen Los Angeles Classic and the Brunswick New York Classic and was nominated by the WPBA for the Sports Person of the Year award, a nomination she would receive again in 1997, before winning the award in 1998. Jeanette would win the 1996 World Bar Table Championships and claim three more tour stops during the next two seasons, winning the BCA Charlotte Classic in 1996 and posting back-to-back victories at the Hubler Cues Nashville Classic and the Olhausen San Diego Classic in 1997. Her spectacular performance in 1997 again earned her Player of the Year honors by Pool & Billiards Magazine.
In 1998, Jeanette would post three more victories en route to being named the WPBA Sportsperson of the Year. She claimed another trio of wins during the 1999 season, including the Tournament of Champions. In 2001, she not only won the BCA Open Championship, but also took home the gold medal for the United States at the 2001 World Games. She also won her first three cushion tournament title at the NYC Women’s Three Cushion Championship in 2011. Jeanette claimed the Tournament of Champions again in 2003 and added two more titles in 2004, with wins at the Cuetec Cues Florida Classic and the Women’s Trick Shot Magic World Championship.
Yet, throughout Jeanette’s flourishing career and unprecedented success, she suffered from chronic pain, which stemmed from her scoliosis. To date, Jeanette has undergone a total of 11 surgeries to the back, neck, and shoulder. She suffers from arthritis, degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, four deteriorated discs in her neck and back, and bursitis in both shoulders and both hips. Yet, in spite of her medical challenges, she continues to achieve in the game of pool and other endeavors outside of the pro billiards tour. Jeanette is celebrated as an inspiring leader for her dedication to supporting the Scoliosis Research Society and Women’s Sports Foundation, as well as serving as the National Spokesperson for The Scoliosis Association for almost two decades.
Jeanette’s beautiful and deadly game, underscored through her nickname, “The Black Widow”, has attracted attention away from the pool table as well. She was ranked third on ESPN’s list of Sexiest Female Athletes in the World, featured in Esquire’s Ten Women We Love and among Aloette Cosmetics Dozen Most Attractive Women Athletes. Jeanette has made television appearances on Arli$$, Best Damn Sports Show Period, Entertainment Tonight, Extra!, Hard Copy, HBO Real Sports, Late Show with Craig Kilborn, Today, The Late Show with David Letterman and Live with Regis & Kelly. She has also been featured in commercials for ESPN’s SportsCenter, Ford, Bass Pro Shops and the American Poolplayers Association, and made a cameo appearance in the Walt Disney Pictures’ The Other Sister. Rolling Stone has called her “one of the truest stars anywhere on television.”
The combination of Jeanette’s pool prowess, engaging personality, beauty and mystique has led to her renowned reputation as the most famous pool player of her generation. In addition to dominating opponents in tournaments, Jeanette dazzles audiences with her pool artistry and arsenal of trick shots at corporate and public appearances. David Brenner, an actor, comedian and owner of Amsterdam Billiards, NYC, says “Jeanette Lee is a natural, like Wayne Gretzky, Babe Ruth or Michael Jordan.” She is unmistakably a fan favorite, prompting Golf Digest to proclaim Jeanette “an absolute show stopper,” noting that “she was the star at our U.S. Open party filled with Donald Trump, Carson Daly and other celebrities.”
A world champion pool player, celebrity, public speaker and philanthropist, Jeanette has also been successful in other ventures. In 2000, she co-authored The Black Widow’s Guide to Killer Pool. Jeanette opened the Black Widow Parlor in Bass Pro Shops in Altoona, Iowa, has her own sleepwear line in the Bass Pro Shops stores, and is the face of the American Poolplayers Association. Jeanette also leads the Black Widow Experience, a group clinic she teaches in Indianapolis, Ind., as well as locations around the country during her various travels.
Jeanette Lee currently resides in Indianapolis, Ind. with her husband George Breedlove, a top-ranked men’s pro billiards player and business owner, and they have six kids. They live with their adopted daughter Cheyenne Lee, whom they have had since her birth; their daughter Chloe Angelee, who was born through a kind surrogate; and a little surprise miracle baby Savannah Lee, who was carried by Jeanette herself after 17 years of trying. Jeanette and George are the definition of raising a modern blended family, as they also adopted a foster at 14 years old, John, now in his senior year of college, and Jeanette and George have two daughters from George’s previous marriage. Morgan is married to Jason with a beautiful daughter Elliette in South Dakota. Olivia is a student and has her own custom craft gifts business, Olivia Sue Designs.
Anjali “Ann” Ramakumaran
Founder and CEO
Anjali Ann Ramakumaran, Founder and CEO of Ampcus Inc. (Ampcus), is a technology savvy entrepreneur with more than 15 years of contribution towards the design, development and delivery of leading edge Technology Solutions and Human Capital Management across the globe. Under her leadership she has cultivated Ampcus into a fast growing Consulting and Professional Services firm. For eight consecutive years (2009-2016), she has been recognized as a top Asian American owned business by the USPAACC. In addition, for the past seven consecutive years (2010-2016), she has been honored as one of the 50 Fastest Growing Women Owned Businesses in the CONUS by the Women Presidents Organization. Under Ann’s leadership, Ampcus has made the Inc. 500/5000 list and has been recognized as a Top Diversity Business for the past 7 years (2010-2016). Ann was also awarded Women in Technology Entrepreneur of the Year by WIT and most recently received the Chairman’s Award for Inspirational Leadership from the CRMSDC. Ampcus has also received the Global Growth Award from Astra Women’s Business Alliance, Supplier of the Year Award from the GMSDC and the Top Asian American Business Award from the USPAACC-SE.
Ann works closely with her Advisory Board, whose advice/input on strategy and direction helps her drive the company to attain its vision of being one of the largest and most successful high performing Professional Services companies globally. She has been actively involved in executing a consultative methodology to define, qualify and quantify Ampcus’ target clients, determine their strategic IT and business objectives and from this developed solutions which proactively address their current and evolving demands and needs.
Ann serves on the CRMSDC Board of Directors, WPEO Leadership Committee and the USPAACC Scholarship Committee. She has been a speaker at numerous National and Local Procurement and Diversity Conferences. In addition, Ann has mentored several women and minority start up’s in an effort to help them grow their business. Ann holds her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Business and Commercial Management from India and has completed Executive Management from the Robins School of Business, University of Richmond Virginia and an Advanced Management from the Kellogg School of Management Northwestern University Illinois.
Co-Founder & President
As Co-founder and President of Akraya Inc., a multiple award-winning solutions staffing firm, Sonu Ratra is a strong believer that with success comes with responsibility. An entrepreneur with a charitable heart and a never-say-die spirit, Ratra is passionate about giving back to the community. Over the years, she has been an avid supporter for women’s empowerment and is currently spearheading an initiative called “Women Back to Work,” a workforce re-entry program for women.
In the staffing industry, Ratra has been recognized as a highly motivated and focused thought-leader. Besides leading Akraya’s aggressive growth strategies, Ratra serves on the Board of Directors at the Institute of Economic Empowerment for Women to support their Peace through Business program. She is also part of the Northern California Astra Women’s Business Alliance leadership group.
A past winner of the Enterprising Woman of the Year Award, Ratra has received several accolades including the Woman of Influence Award, the Stevie Award for Women Helping Women and the Soroptimist Ruby Award, amongst others.
Akraya, Inc. is a multinational IT staffing and managed servicesfirm headquartered in Santa Clara, California. Akraya specializes in contingent staffing, permanent placement, managed services and managed projects in the areas of IT, Engineering, Creative and Marketing. This year Akraya celebrates 15 years of providing preferred staffing solutions to Fortune 500 enterprises and innovative start-ups. Named Best Places to Work for three consecutive years, Akraya’s other accolades include being namedBest Staffing Company to Work For, Best Staffing Company to Temp For and Healthiest Employer.
Softpath System LLC
Sushumna Roy began her career in HR over 20 years ago, her ability to quickly understand the needs of a customer along with her dedication and commitment to excellence in her profession led her to Co-Found Softpath System in 1999 with Ravi Chander. Softpath System is a certified Women and Minority Owned Business Enterprise. Softpath is a Workforce and Solutions provider to businesses of all sizes including some of the Fortune 500 companies across the United States.
As Softpath System’s President, Sushumna Roy Jalajam is responsible for Company’s day-to-day operations, as well as leading the company’s Staffing and Technology strategy. Today the company has about 500 employees with a team that represents the industry’s best and brightest talent. Recently Softpath was awarded the Investment Partner of the Year-2014 by Informatica for its contribution to Informatica and MDM Technology. Sushumna has nearly 20 years of experience in management in the IT industry including 3 years in the educational industry. Sushumna and her team are committed to providing unparalleled service and value to their customers.
Sushumna holds a Master’s Degree in Literature with honors from Osmania University, India and has earned a Master’s in Business Management from the prestigious IMS, India.
VP, Multicultural Marketing
Mammen Verghis is VP, Multicultural Consumer Marketing for Prudential’s U.S.-based businesses. He is responsible for helping the U.S. businesses drive profitable growth among key multicultural market communities, including women, Hispanic, Asian, African American and LGBT. Mammen works closely with each of the businesses and the corporate areas to execute on strategy, products, marketing communications, and sponsorship programs.
Prior to assuming his current role, Mammen was Vice President of Product and Solutions Marketing for Individual Life Insurance. In that role he led all product research, marketing, and promotional campaigns for the U.S. individual life insurance business.
Mammen entered the financial services industry as a Marketing Management Trainee at John Hancock Financial Services. He subsequently worked for 11 years at the Hanover Insurance Group and assumed progressively senior positions in sales, marketing, and product management. He joined GE in 1998 as Senior Vice President of Integration for GE Financial and soon held senior leadership roles in International Operations, Marketing, and Sales Management.
Mammen has a degree in Economics from St. Norbert College and a MBA with a concentration in Economics from Temple University. He has several professional designations and licenses, including CLU, ChFC, CFP, and FINRA Series 7 and 22.
A frequent speaker at company and industry events, Mammen has been quoted in several business and industry publications. He is also active in various non-profit community organizations and serves on the board of Citizen Schools of NJ.
Founder & CEO
Brian Wong is the 26-year-old co-founder and CEO of Kiip. Kiip (pronounced “keep”) redefines how brands connect with consumers through a rewards platform that targets “achievement moments” in mobile games and apps. This innovative approach to mobile marketing creates meaningful engagements between consumers and brands. Backed by Verizon Ventures, AmEx Ventures, US Cellular, North Atlantic Capital, Hummer Winblad, Relay Ventures, True Ventures, and others, the company has raised over $32 million in funding to date.
Kiip has been recognized by Forbes as one of the “4 Hot Online Ad Companies to Put on Your Watch List,” named on the Dow Jones “FasTech50” and is listed on Fast Company’s “50 Most Innovative Companies in the World.” Once the youngest person to ever receive venture capital funding, Brian received his Bachelor of Commerce from the University of British Columbia at age 18, after skipping four K-12 grades.
Brian has been recognized with many awards for his accomplishments and leadership, including:
- Business Insider’s “Top 25 Under 25 in Silicon Valley,” “30 Under 30 in Advertising” and “18 Most Important People in Mobile Advertising”
- Forbes’ “30 under 30” for three years in a row, and then a judge for 2016
- Mashable’s “Top 5 Entrepreneurs to Watch”
- iMedia’s top “25”
- AdAge’s “Creativity Top 50”
- Canadian Business’ Change Agents for 2016
Before starting Kiip, Brian led key publisher and tech partnerships at the social news website Digg.com, where he accelerated the company’s mobile presence by launching the Digg Android mobile app.
Brian launched his first book, The Cheat Code, in September 2016, published by Crown Business / Penguin Random House. The Cheat Code contains 71 bitesized and virtually effortless shortcuts to get a leg up on the competition, garner attention for creative thinkers and their ideas, and to accelerate success. The book has been featured by Forbes, CNBC, Elle, The Telegraph, The Globe and Mail, and many more publications around the world, and is quickly becoming the go-to book for entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial advice for our generation.
Wu & Associates
A licensed architect in numerous states with over 20 years of building industry experience, Kirby Wu brings a unique blend of design and construction knowledge to the Wu & Associates design-build practice, a second-generation family-owned business founded in 1990.
After graduating with honors from Carnegie Mellon University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture and Industrial Management, Mr. Wu worked as a Project Architect for a prominent design firm prior to joining Wu & Associates in 1996. He advanced to Vice President after obtaining a Master of Business Administration degree from Cornell University, and became President in 2010.
Through Mr. Wu’s leadership, Wu & Associates has grown its portfolio to deliver multi-million dollar construction projects nationally to the nation’s most distinguished clients, ranging from federal agencies to Fortune 500 customers. With an award-winning project list including military complexes, national historic monuments, nuclear submarine berths, and educational facilities, the firm’s success is reflected in the national recognition it continually receives for demonstrating excellence in construction, sustainability, safety, and diversity. Another hallmark of leadership is the company’s achievement of the U.S. Green Building Council’s first LEED Platinum Certification for Existing Buildings in the entire State of New Jersey.
Outside of Wu & Associates, Mr. Wu serves as the past Northeast Region Vice Chair and current Diversity Committee Member for the Associated Builders and Contractors, a national organization of 70 chapters and 21,000 members; he also serves as the current Northeast Region President for the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce, a national organization promoting Asian American-owned businesses. Mr. Wu is a sought-after lecturer on business and architecture for professional audiences, and an avid mentor for small and diverse businesses.
Vice President of Product
Named “Women of Influence 2017”, Jin Zhang is currently VP of Product at CA Technologies. Prior to this she led Apigee to its IPO as their VP of Engineering. Jin was an engineering executive with IBM, responsible for managing large teams as well as delivering 8-digit revenue. Jin is a member of Palo Alto Lean In Circle, and one of the sponsors / speakers for Bay Area Girls Geek Dinner. A frequent speaker and CIO Reviewcontributor, Jin is passionate about diversity and mentoring, and her favorite technology topics includes data, cloud, and design thinking. Jin spent her spare time teaching and inspiring at Stanford University as well as Menlo College.