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Stephen Shapiro, Innovation, Writer, Speaker

Session: Innovate the way You Innovate

Stephen Shapiro cultivates innovation by showing leaders and their teams how to approach, tackle and solve their business challenges. Applying the knowledge he has accrued over decades in the industry, Stephen is able to see what others can’t: opportunities to improve innovation models and the cultures that support them.

The first innovation opportunity Stephen spotted was the opportunity to innovate within his own life. Halfway through his 15-year tenure at Accenture, while co-leading the company’s business process reengineering practice, he realized he no longer wanted to be responsible for people losing their jobs. So he did exactly the opposite by building Accenture’s thriving 20,000-person process and innovation practice focused on growth and job creation.

In 2001, after publishing his first book, 24/7 Innovation, Stephen left Accenture to become a full-time innovation speaker and advisor to clients around the world. Since then he has published four more books – Goal-Free Living (2006), The Little Book of Big Innovation Ideas (2007), Personality Poker (2010) and Best Practices are Stupid (2011) — and spoken to audiences in 50 different countries.

Today, Stephen continues to focus on transforming the way businesses like 3M, P&G, Marriott, Nike, and Microsoft improve innovation practices through customized keynote speeches, advisory engagements and other services. Passionate and captivating, Stephen’s high-energy approach to innovation gets audiences out of their seats and into new ways of thinking about their business challenges.

Stephen currently serves on the Board of Directors of National Speakers Association (NSA) and is the recipient of the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation, NSA’s highest earned designation. In 2015 he was inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame.

He has a degree from Cornell University in Industrial Engineering, which has helped him optimize the entire innovation process using the engineering techniques he learned there.

He is also involved with Girl Starter, a movement that encourages and enables young women to launch their own businesses. He was a judge and mentor on the television show (TLC) and has supported the speaking tour and other endeavors.

Stephen is based in Orlando, Florida and loves traveling to meet his clients around the world.

General Session Speakers

Brad Veech, Senior Director, GBS Sourcing-Software, Walmart, Inc.

Brad has over 20 years of IT Sourcing experience in multiple industries: Manufacturing, Printing, Medical, Aerospace and Defense, and Big Box Retail. He has been responsible for creating and leading world-class technology Sourcing teams with experts that deliver cost savings, lower risk, and improved process to each project and client - always focusing on creating the best strategies possible to meet customers' desired outcomes. He has also built several Technology, Indirect, and Direct spend sourcing teams by recruiting the best possible talent, building procurement/sourcing processes, and creating teams that exceed expectations.

Through the years, Brad has always maintained ownership of a few supplier relationships and negotiated thousands of IT (Perpetual license, ULA’s, SaaS, Hardware, Telcom and Professional Service) Agreements with Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, Apple, HP, Cisco, and many other suppliers saving hundreds of millions of dollars.

  • Manages up to $2B in Spend
  • Designed global sourcing strategies for multiple Fortune 500 IT procurement departments.
  • Skills in strategy development, people management, team building, and cost reductions that have enabled company growth by leveraging people, process, and technology.
  • Proven track record of improved business outcomes through the use of effective negotiations, supplier development and partnerships. 

Prior to joining Walmart, Brad was the Director of Technology Sourcing for Best Buy, and has had similar roles at ATK, Medtronic and Deluxe. Brad has over 20 years of Technology Sourcing experience with 5 different companies.

When not at work negotiating software deals, Brad can be found on the water fishing, or sorting through collectable money.


Breakout Speakers

Melanie Berry, Strategic Sourcing Management Director, Synovus Bank 

Melanie Berry is a Sourcing professional who has worked in the Financial Services industry for nearly 20 years. She has spent much of her career supporting IT category spend inclusive of hardware, software and services contracts. Currently she serves as Sourcing Director at Synovus Bank in Columbus Georgia. Her direct responsibilities include leading the Sourcing process for critical and high value contracts with a strong focus in the IT category.  

Melanie got an up close look at software audits when a jaw dropping number caused significant changes in how Sourcing and IT partner in the inquiry, engagement and resolution of vendor audit inquiries.


Mark Kaufmann, Partner Sidley Austin LLP

Session: Negotiating Nuggets

Mark Kaufmann is a partner in Sidley Austin LLP’s Tech and IP transactions practice based in Chicago.  Mark’s clients turn to him for their most complex technology transactions encompassing outsourcing deals and sophisticated services, knowing he is dedicated to understanding their business challenges and to closing negotiations with innovative solutions. Mark focuses his practice on domestic and global matters encompassing the acquisition, development and licensing of software, databases, and cloud and web-based products and services, as well as on distribution, facilities management, data processing, consultancy, system integration and services transactions.  Strong leadership on behalf of clients has earned Mark acknowledgement from numerous industry publications. This includes being named a “leading lawyer” every year since 2008 by Chambers USA in its Technology and IT Outsourcing section.  He is a frequent speaker at CAUCUS.  


Kasey Frank, Global Senior Category Manager, Willis Towers Watson

Session: Finding the Hidden Value In Negotiations

Kasey Frank, CTPE is the Global Senior Category Manager for Willis Towers Watson, a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company headquartered in London, England, where she oversees the IT Infrastructure category comprised of over $100M in enterprise and globally deployed software and hardware.  Kasey has been an IT Procurement professional since 2014 and prior to WTW, successfully built the IT procurement department, systems and formal procurement processes for Ramsey Solutions, a Dave Ramsey company.  Additionally, Kasey has 15+ years' experience working in the legal profession, specifically focused on contracts and commercial law and has experience as a small business owner. 

Kasey received her Master's degree in Conflict Management with a focus in Mediation and Negotiation from Lipscomb University in, Nashville, TN in 2012 and served as a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 Dual Listed Mediator for over 7 years.  Kasey is originally from the Mississippi Gulf Coast and currently resides in the Greater Nashville, Tennessee area with her husband Jeremy of 15 years, her two children and 2 dogs.


Robert Scott, Scott & Scott LLP

Session: Negotiating with Microsoft

Robert represents mid-market and large enterprise companies in software license transactions and disputes with major software publishers such as Adobe, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP. He has defended over 275 software audit matters initiated by software piracy trade groups such as the BSA and SIIA. He is counsel to some of the world’s largest corporations on information technology matters including intellectual property licensing, risk management, data privacy, and outsourcing.

Robert ensures that Scott & Scott, LLP continues its focus on cost-effective strategies that deliver positive client results. He is regularly called upon by his peers and the media to share his expertise. 


Michael Zazaian, Purchasing Manager, National Education Association (NEA)

Session: Services Agreements - Complex Issues and Key Clauses

Michael Zazaian is the Manager of Contracts and Purchasing for the National Education Association in Washington, D.C.  Michael has more than 30 years of contracts and purchasing experience in both the Federal and Commercial Sectors, including significant international contracting experience.  Michael has held key positions with several Information Technology and Defense Industry related firms. 

Prior to his current position at the NEA, Michael served as the Director or Contracts for AonHewitt’s Federal Business Group, Director of Contracts for DoD Contractor Whitney, Bradley and Brown where he designed and implemented a centralized contracting and procurement organization, the Director of Contracts for Oracle Software’s Public Sector Group which included oversight of all Federal as well as State & Local contracting activity, and for eighteen years served as the Manager of IT Contracts and Purchasing for HP.  Michael resides in Ashburn, Virginia and is a native of Michigan where he earned his B. A. degree from Wayne State University in Detroit and attended the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing.


Jay Schulman, Principal, RSM US LLP

Session: Acquiring Blockchain: How Implementations Come Together and their Impact on Procurement

Jay leads Cryptocurrency and Blockchain practice for RSM. He has helped a major commodities exchange roll out an initial coin offering, consulted multiple trading firms on the security of their cryptocurrency trading strategies, developed strategies for adopting blockchain and taught numerous classes on the basics of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.


Tim Swan, Frost Brown Todd

Session: Artifical Intelligence: Changing your Procurement World

Tim helps technology companies and companies dealing with technology issues. He takes a practical approach and invests the time to understand his clients' specific technologies and needs in order to help them achieve their goals efficiently.  Tim has helped clients review and negotiate hundreds of contracts with software and technology vendors, and helps vendors prepare and hone their form contracts.  Tim is a member of Frost Brown Todd, based in their Cincinnati office.


Ruth Ginzberg, CTPS, Senior IT Procurement Specialist

Ruth Ginzberg is the Sr. I.T. Procurement Specialist at the University of Wisconsin System.  With an annual budget of approximately $6 billion, the University of Wisconsin operates 26 campuses serving 180,000 students and employing more than 39,000 faculty and staff.  Ruth is responsible for the procurement, negotiation and administration of the enterprise-wide portfolio of software licenses, cloud contracts, I.T. service contracts, and library technologies. She also is responsible for providing consulting and support services to campus-based purchasing agents doing technology procurements at the individual campus level. 

She serves on the ICS Board, and is the vice chair of the Technologies Committee of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact.  She has an allegedly useless humanities degree in Philosophy with a concentration in Ethics, and an advanced technical degree in Information Systems Security.


Alan Bain

Session: Data: The Currency of the Future and How to Leverage it for Cost Savings

Mr. Bain is presently the Vice President of Delivery for Information Systems Asset Management (ISAM). He provides asset management, software portfolio management, and vendor negotiation services to a wide variety of clients ranging from Federal Agencies to State Governments to Fortune 500 companies. He is directly responsible for managing service delivery and product development for ISAM.

Mr. Bain has been in the Information Technology sector for more than 35 years and actively involved with Software Asset Management for 25 years. He is a Certified Software Asset Manager (CSAM) as well as ITIL Foundation certified.


Jonathan Berg

Session: Software as a Service (SaaS) Agreements: How to Negotiate and Tackle Key Issues

Jonathan Berg is a Member of Bodman PLC’s Enterprise Procurement Practice Group. As an IT and Procurement attorney, Jonathan helps clients efficiently negotiate and structure information technology and other procurement contracts with vendors.  He has specific experience in the areas of information technology, business process and technology outsourcing, mortgage and loan products and services, professional and consulting services, and transportation and logistics and in the banking, automotive, and outsourcing markets. 

Jonathan is recognized in Michigan Rising Stars 2018 and in DBusiness Magazine "Top Lawyers" 2017. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Supply Management Southeast Michigan.


Kevin Green, VP & CPO for Genworth Financial

Session: Managing Supplier Risk throughout from Beginning to End

Kevin is the VP & CPO for Genworth Financial, a Fortune 500 insurance company committed to helping families achieve the dream of home ownership and address the financial challenges of aging through its leadership positions in mortgage insurance and long-term care insurance and headquartered in Richmond, VA. He leads a team of sourcing and risk professionals that work with internal clients from the Request for Information/proposal stages through negotiations on pricing, contract terms and post-contract supplier management. He has more than 24 years of experience in the corporate world, both manufacturing and services, the majority of which has been in a sourcing role. Prior to Genworth, Kevin was with the General Electric Company, where was a certified Six Sigma Blackbelt, a marketing and operations manager, and contracting agent.

Prior to entering the business world, he served in the U.S. Army as an armor officer, which included combat in Desert Storm. Kevin received his Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.

Cynthia Farren

Session: New Era of Microsoft Agreements - Structure What’s RIGHT for Your Enterprise!

Cynthia Farren, President of Cynthia Farren Consulting, is a recognized leader in the Software Asset Management and licensing arenas with emphasis on Microsoft licensing. She founded her company over 20 years ago to give businesses unbiased access to Microsoft licensing expertise and has been assisting clients big and small ever since. With significant successful audit experience and a background in both technology and finance, Cynthia focuses on negotiating well-structured agreements that provide access to the necessary technology, favorable terms and audit risk management strategies to benefit her clients. 


Glen Shok

Session: Everything Oracle – probably more than you needed to know…

10 years at Oracle in various technical, sales and marketing positions focusing on datacenter solutions, specifically on Engineered Systems and, most recently, Oracle Cloud. Prior to Oracle, Glen held several technical and sales roles within Cisco, EMC, & Brocade. Glen has deep and extensive knowledge in Oracle database, Oracle engineered systems, Oracle cloud infrastructure, cloud design and architecture, networking, application optimization, HA/clustering/failover, disaster recovery, network operations, and cloud governance.

Phil Panas

Session: Outsourcing SLAs and KPIs

I excel in bridge-building between Corporations’ IT organization(s), their Technology Procurement organization(s), their customers, and their software suppliers. My knowledge of internal-use and IT vendors, IT contracts (internal and resale), extensive IT background and multi-industry business experience offer a clear, unique value proposition. 


Gretchen Binney

Over 20 years of IT experience in infrastructure, compliance, learning and conversions.  15 years in the Healthcare market working for not for profit and a fortune 100 for profit systems.    An agent of change, and process, Gretchen’s focus has been on implementing systems and working closely with service providers and stake holders to ensure success.   Gretchen understands systems and relations and is able to combine her 20 years of IT experience with her degree in Human development and Family Studies to bring a unique perspective to IT and process improvement.  

When not at work.  Gretchen goes off line and spends time on her and her spouses 10 aces with their children, horses, plethora of dogs, cats and a peacock.   

Jennifer Gardiner

Jenni Gardiner is the Technical Supplier Manager in the Shared IT Procurement Services department at Assurant, Inc. Gardiner is a highly effective Global Information Technology Sourcing expert & Vendor Manager with over 21 years of experience in Category Management, Strategic Sourcing, Project Management and Vendor Management/Governance.

She has demonstrated mastery of developing and successful execution of complex Category Management including: IT (hardware, telecommunications, mobility, networking, software, hosting), Outsourcing (ITO, BPO, etc.) and Services.  In addition she has successfully implemented formalized corporate-wide Vendor Management Programs, Partnership Improvement Plans, Spend Analytics and IT Sourcing Policies and Procedures.

Her previous position at Assurant was with governance responsibilities over Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, EMC, CA, HP, Verizon and Cisco. 

Kristen Wiesner-Meehan

Kristen Wiesner-Meehan is a Managing Partner of Business Sales for Verizon. She has worked for Verizon and its affiliates for 15 years. Her career started in the consumer division and quickly advanced to business. She has spent the past 11 years building strategic partnerships and services with 8K customers across the State of Indiana. Kristen attended Ball State University where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology.

Kristen has spent much of her free time engaging in philanthropic efforts. This includes running an entrepreneurship program for inner city teens (2014-2018); being a graduation speaker for Starbase academy, donating time and items each year to the Indiana Children’s Bureau and spending countless hours supporting cancer research. She also has served as a speaker for Techpoint winner’s circle events.

Kristen is a proud mother of 3 children ranging from the ages of 3-10 which keeps her busy outside of work. When she isn’t at Verizon or donating her time she is spectating her children’s baseball, football, basketball, and gymnastic routines. She is also dedicated to her physical well-being and focuses much energy on fitness and creating healthy meals for her and her family.

Luke Montoya

Luke Montoya is the current Chairman of the CAUCUS executive advisory committee.  He is the Strategic Sourcing Director at RSM US LLP, the fifth largest USA accounting/consulting firm.  Prior to joining the sourcing team, Mr. Montoya worked in RSM’s legal department as an attorney, negotiating a variety of contracts, including vendor agreements.  In addition, Mr. Montoya has advised RSM with respect to vendor disputes, contract compliance, terminating vendor contracts, and software audits.  Before joining RSM, Mr. Montoya was a corporate attorney at Winston & Strawn LLP, a national law firm headquartered in Chicago.  Mr. Montoya obtained his law degree from Vanderbilt University, earning a Law and Business Certificate in addition to his J.D., and is licensed to practice law in Illinois.  Mr. Montoya earned his B.A. degree from Bradley University.

Robert Schuler

Robert Schuler is a Sr. Manager on the IT Procurement team at Ascena Retail Group in Etna, Ohio. Robert’s career spans four decades, beginning in the mid-1980’s where he designing, installed, and supporting various types of computer networks.  In the late 1990’s, Robert was presented with a telecom contract – which appears to be written in English – yet the legal and commercial language were completely foreign to him.  In the early 2000’s, Robert was given the opportunity to learn and grow in contracting, starting with hardware and software maintenance contracts. Since that time, he has enjoyed the thrill of contract negotiations, which resulted in millions of dollars in cost savings over the past seventeen years. In March, 2018, Robert accepted a seat on the administrative board of CAUCUS.

Elgin Ward

      F. Elgin Ward is both an attorney and ICN Senior Consultant. A skilled negotiator, contracts manager, and educator, Mr. Ward has extensive experience in technology deals.

      In addition to working in Asia for more than 5 years and his lengthy experience as a technology consultant in multiple cities in North America and also in Europe, Elgin has been teaching fundamental and advanced purchasing seminars to management professionals for over 20 years. He has both developed and taught a Contract Management Seminar for the American Management Association, as well as co-developed and taught an ICN SLA Lab course and an ICN Cloud Contracting seminar for purchasing professionals in a wide variety of industries including public utilities, insurance, financial institutions, semiconductors and other manufacturing, transportation and telecommunications. 

      Prior to joining ICN, Elgin was Corporate Counsel for Deseret Generation & Transmission Co-operative, where he successfully prepared and issued documentation for hundreds of RFPs for outsourcing, maintenance, diagnostics, and security for the construction of power generation, electric power transmission and distribution lines, microwave and other telecommunication facilities.   Elgin has successfully established and maintained purchasing and contracting documentation systems, and he is superbly experienced in negotiating and drafting purchase agreements for raw materials, equipment, computer hardware and software, transportation, engineering services and maintenance.

      Elgin also supervised the preparation and issuing of bid documentation for hundreds of RFPs, which totaled millions of dollars, for major industrial equipment. He also has developed and presented seminars on the legal aspects of buying and selling and on how to avoid legal pitfalls in contract administration.

      Mr. Ward holds a Juris Doctor degree from Brigham Young University – J. Reuben Clark Law School, and a BA from the University of Maryland.

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