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Executive RLF: Experts' Topics and Bios



THE 2016



Strategic Dialogues with Industry Experts


A signature component of the Executive RLF is the opportunity to engage in an ongoing series of meaningful Strategic Dialogues and connectivity with industry experts.  Participants will interact and network with these top executives – talented, experienced C-level leaders – who will share their principles, best practices, career lessons and guidance on issues they are facing.   

Additionally, these experts will take participants on a deep dive into each Strategic Dialogue topic, through pre-session work and in-session exercises and discussion with the expert’s guidance


Topic: “Strategic Inference:  The Power to Accomplish”
Expert: Neale D'Rozario … CIO; RTI International

Neale has been the CIO of RTI International since 2014.  He has been in the IT profession for more than 35 years, the last 23 of which he has been a CIO. He has been CIO for Genworth Financial, Sensus USA, Misys Healthcare Systems, Channel Master LLC, Cogent Communications, SunTrust Capital Markets and Barclays Capital. He is also the founder and president of D’Rozario Consulting Services.  During this session, Neale will explore:
  • Relationships that modern executives must nurture in order to accomplish great things
  • The “rights and responsibilities” of the modern CIO
  • How success relates to the perception of reality by consumers and users of technology -- not by IT
  • The role of the CIO in creating strategic inferences and enablers that the organization can use for breakthroughs in business 


Topic: “How Does Your Business Really Operate?
Expert: Mary Finlay … Professor; Simmons School of Management and former Deputy CIO of Partners Healthcare System

Mary brings 25 years of IT experience into her courses, utilizing her successful CIO career to inform the various courses she teaches on strategic thinking, analytical decision-making, IT management and project management.  She also teaches in the Harvard School of Public Health’s certificate programs on Project Management and Leadership Strategies for IT.  Mary will present participants with a set of tools to fully understand and evaluate the key components of their company’s business model, including:

  • Learning the elements of a business model which are central to value creation and delivery for customers
  • Examining what makes a business model a winner
  • How a company evaluates its performance against its strategy

Participants will interact with their Program Mentors to gather the information needed to complete and evaluate this model.  



Topic: “Earning a Seat at the Table”
Expert: Pat Coffey … SVP; Allstate Technology & Strategic Ventures

For more than 30 years, Pat has shaped strategic technology solutions impacting Allstate’s employees and customers, including an integrated marketing / sales platform to deliver information and capabilities across agencies, mobile devices, call centers and the Internet.  She has also led technology advancements in policy administration, sales automation, CRM and data warehousing for multiple Allstate lines of insurance.  Pat has been named one of Computerworld’s “Premier 100 IT Leaders” and one of Insurance Networking News’ “Women of Influence.”  During this session Pat will focus on the importance of being at the (senior executive) table in order to influence key strategic decisions.  This session will explore the nature of senior executive decision-making and techniques to insert and assert oneself into the process.  Participants will discover ways to assess their environment and take action to build strategic relationships that will demonstrate value and influence key stakeholders.



Topic: “Working with the Business – From Relationship Building to the Business Case”
Expert: Tim Schaefer …EVP – Client & Digital Experience; Northwestern Mutual 

Tim has been a leader at Northwestern Mutual for 26 years.  Prior to being named EVP, he was CIO and head of the Information Systems Department, an Executive Officer and VP of Life Benefits.  During this session Tim will share how a strong relationship with business partners is critical to develop a common understanding of the value of IT.  Often the question is asked, “Why does IT cost so much and take so long?”  Because communicating the value of IT goes beyond a business case, being able to communicate value has grown in importance as interest in IT expands to include Board members and even customers.  



Topic: “Navigating Organizational Politics & Building Teams with Influence Power”
Expert: June Drewry … CIO Hall of Fame member; RLF Director and Facilitator

June has extensive C-level international experience in the insurance and financial services industries, as a Corporate CIO, Business Unit CIO and President of a third-party administration subsidiary.  Her distinguished career of strategically leading business transformation, corporate planning, P&L and knowledge management culminated in her role as Global CIO for three companies – Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, Aon Corporation and Lincoln National Corporation.  Additionally, she has served on numerous advisory boards and boards of directors for both non-profit and for-profit organizations.  June’s distinguished expertise in change management, business / IT alignment, strategy implementation and managing IT as a business within a business earned her awards for IT leadership and innovative business use of technology, as well as induction into the CIO Hall of Fame.  In this session, June will share her many C-level perspectives on developing successful, strong, trusting relationships.  She will help participants understand how success in today’s complex organizations requires:

  • Understanding the value of “soft skills.”
  • Assessing executives’ personal political style and determining if style changes are desirable.
  • Accepting that politics are natural and unavoidable.  

This workshop will step through a political style analysis, determine where participants are positioned in their power curve and conduct an actual business project analysis through the lens of resolving political roadblocks and boosting influence power.


Topic:    “What Matters About the Board”
Expert: Martha Summerville, Ph.D. … Summerville Consulting and Executive Coaching

Martha utilizes her strong experience as a leader within non-profit organizations and global Fortune 100 enterprises in her present role of sharing her expertise in organization development, strategic planning and executive coaching.  She specializes in governing board development, working with executives and boards in many different types of organizations and industries to build healthy and productive partnerships.  In addition to her Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut, Martha holds an A.B. degree from Guilford College and master’s degrees from Yale University and Antioch University.  She currently serves on the Guilford College Board of Trustees and the New England Board of Trustees for Antioch University. During this session, Martha will share how presenting to the Board and engaging board members involves special preparations, including knowledge of:    

  • What the board believes about its purpose and tasks
  • The internal and external pressures on the enterprise
  • The relationship between the board and the CEO

This interactive session will explore how to navigate the interface between the governing board, the CEO and senior officers, and participant’s roles as experts.



Topic:   “Leadership Storytelling for Authentic Interaction and Influence”
Expert: Laura Packer … Principal; thinkstory llc

In today’s world of competing communications and a constant barrage of messages, storytelling is a vital skill for leaders in any field … as a means to deliver a message resonating with greater clarity and persuasiveness.  Through a recent study by the Advanced Research Practice Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, it has been demonstrated that the told story is the single most persuasive and effective leadership tool humans have.  And the most effective leaders are also effective storytellers and listeners.  During this highly interactive session, participants will learn what an audience will need to be persuaded, why authenticity is key to powerful narrative, and how to identify stories that have meaning and then leverage those stories by telling them to executives and staff effectively.  Participants will also undertake practical exercises in developing stories and listening skills.


Topic: “Transformative Change: Think Big, Start Small, Scale Fast!”
Expert: Dave Sprows … Partner, SVP and CIO; Wellington Management

Dave is responsible for the global infrastructure, application platforms and technological solutions throughout Wellington Management.  His career experience also includes more than two decades at Accenture’s Capital Markets practice in North America, culminating in a Managing Partner role.  During this session, Dave will facilitate an interactive discussion regarding keys to success and lessons learned associated with leading an organization through major transformational change.   He will share his global experience as an Accenture consultant, as well as his perspectives in his current role as the CIO of a major financial services organization.  Participants will delve into clearly communicating a vision, creating a workable plan, and focusing on business outcomes beyond the technology.



Topic: “Ethics & Leadership”
Expert: Mary-Linda Armacost, PhD.  … Professor at the Graduate School of Education – University of Pennsylvania; President Emerita of Moore College of Art and Design; former president of Wilson College.

Since her tenure as president for two colleges, Mary-Linda has been actively consulting with boards of trustees and senior leadership in higher education.  Her accomplishments include designing and implementing the training in change management and strategic planning for the senior leadership of all public universities in Pakistan.  Additionally, for more than two decades she has been a professor at the University of Pennsylvania teaching board governance, presidential leadership and ethics in the Executive Doctoral Program, and ethics and leadership in the master’s program.  During this session, Mary-Linda will engage participants in a time of reflection and sharing – reflecting on key elements in one’s moral development and sharing scenarios on ethical dilemmas one may face personally or has seen another person face.  Participants will also think through the importance of a moral compass in the face of competition and a culture that may or may not share their individual values.



Topic: “Leading Transformations”
Expert: Chris Atkins … Former CIO; Principal at Atkins & Cameron Consulting LLC

Chris has perspectives derived from a successful career in technology management and as CIO for four national and global companies across industries such as petroleum, engineering, software, finance, insurance and retail.  She has advised Google, Oracle and Hewlett-Packard and retired two years ago from Royal Ahold, a Netherlands-based global grocery retailer.  She currently serves on the board of directors for Forsythe Technology and is a consultant specializing in IT strategy.  Chris will facilitate this introspective session focused on today’s need for transformational leaders who must not only manage IT, but also be influencers across departmental / functional lines in the face of today’s technological tsunami which continues to transform companies in ways not yet imagined.  The session will explore the mindset and leadership style that can empower participants to work across disciplines, encourage innovation, build high-performing teams and eliminate obstacles to success.


Topic: “Influence Without Authority, The Key to Effective Collaboration”
Expert: Steve Finnerty … Former CIO; Principal at Finnerty Consulting  

Steve has over four decades of experience in the information systems profession, including SVP for Information Systems and Supply Chain Management at premier global corporations including Dell, Kraft Foods, Applied Materials and Johnson Controls.  His teams have been consistently recognized with industry awards such as CIO 100, Premier 100 and 100 Best Places to Work.  His current consulting practice is focused on individual and team leadership development, CIO coaching, strategy development, change management and influence without authority.  He was recognized in 2011 as IT Executive of the Year in Austin, Texas and has lectured and taught at the Kellogg School of Business – Northwestern University and the McCombs School of Business – University of Texas.  During this session, Steve will provide frameworks, tools and a real-life case study about a business initiative – led by the IT organization – which significantly transformed the New Product Development process at Johnson Controls Automotive Seating Group.  Participants will develop their capability to:
  • Identify barriers to collaboration across departments, functions, organizations and industry ecosystems
  • Pinpoint appropriate influence approaches to overcome these barriers
  • Utilize key influence tools


Topic:   “Building and Sustaining Organizational Culture”
Expert: Bob Blackwell, Sr. ... Managing Partner; SMS Consulting
Bob is a well-known visionary and dynamic leader in management and information technology.  He worked for more than 25 years for IBM, rising through the company to become a director, managing more than 200 people and generating $300 million in revenue.  After leaving IBM, Bob founded Blackwell Global Consulting – one of the largest minority-owned management and IT firms in the U.S.  He is currently Managing Partner at SMS Consulting.  His passion for and dedication to the arts has fueled his support for the Neighborhood Writing Alliance and the ETA Creative Arts Foundation.  During this session, Bob will share how building an organizational culture that treats people with respect, honors their work and is customer focused is not simple nor easy to implement.  It is difficult and challenging and demands a committed senior management team.   Participants will examine different types of organizations and how to build high-functioning organizational cultures.


Topic:   “Executive Presence”
Expert:  Amy Castoro … Executive Coach and President of Irimi Group
Expert:  Mary Jo Greil … Strategic Change Consultant & Executive Coach and President of Carson Greil Group

Amy and Mary Jo are noted consultants providing executive coaching, performance-based team coaching and presence-based coaching.  Mary Jo is one of the three lead Facilitators of the Executive RLF program and Amy has more than two decades of experience in advising executives and teams of technology companies, pharmaceutical companies, banks, professional service firms, telecommunications and manufacturers.  Amy’s corporate experience with The Walt Disney Company, Adecco Corporation and Grant Thornton Management Consulting provide her with a strong foundation of organizational dynamics, business process re-engineering projects, and counseling individuals and teams in performance management, leadership development and customer satisfaction.  Together, Amy and Mary Jo will lead participants through an ongoing focus on executive presence woven throughout every session.  Over the course of the four sessions, participants will learn to develop new habits that can be embodied into everyday action.  Each session will touch on pragmatic and physical changes to individual presence that can produce more effective influence, power, and collaboration.  Collectively, the Strategic Dialogues on Executive Presence in all four sessions can become the cornerstone of more credible, influential and authentic leadership at the executive level. 




 For More Information...


Direct questions to:

Bart Bolton, Executive RLF Facilitator
Mary Jo Greil, Executive RLF Facilitator
Darwin John, Executive RLF Facilitator
Joanne Jackowiec, Executive RLF Administrator


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