2021 Speakers

2021 Track speakers

Track 1: Architecture Leadership

Brad Koehn

Brad Koehn has been working in software engineering for 30 years, doing everything from coding, managing, leading, leadership consulting, to coaching. In the past several years, his focus has turned increasingly to making his clients more successful by helping to solve human problems through influence. Just as people are the center of good design, people are the heart of good engineering. If engineering is critical to your business growth and success, you need to develop the people who deliver this value.


Session Title

The Leadership Skills That Make a Difference


“Leadership” is one of those terms that seems to defy a clear definition. What differentiates effective leaders? How are leadership skills acquired, and how do they improve performance? In this interactive session we’ll demystify leadership together, and explore how you can improve your leadership, influence others, and be more effective.

Mary Beth Simon

After retiring from 30+ years in corporate financial services, Mary Beth now shares her strategic talents as a keynote speaker and teaching entrepreneurs how to create contingency plans that empower their second-in-command to keep business and life flowing smoothly in an emergency. Mary Beth founded Niche Partnership Consulting because she’s committed to helping small businesses thrive in uncertainty. 

She believes that the combination of continuous learning, growth, and change is the fountain of youth and became a certified Les Mills BodyFlow instructor after retiring.

She’s a rescue dog-mom and volunteers with the American Business Women’s Association and SCORE.

Session Title

Keep Your Business & Life Running Smoothly in an Emergency



My friend was dying from pancreatic cancer. She asked me to help her husband navigate the finances if she didn’t survive. At first, I was surprised, but she was right: she needed to ensure he had support. She managed all the finances and investing.

The same is true for us. What would happen in your business if you were unexpectedly unreachable because of an accident, illness, or emergency?

Who’s prepared to keep your business and financial life running smoothly?

In this interactive session, you’ll learn my frameworks for creating your personal and business contingency plans and your Business Continuance Playbook.

Grant Ecker

Grant Ecker is the Global VP of Enterprise Architecture with Walgreens Boots Alliance. Prior to this role Grant was the Global Head of Architecture at Medtronic and previously managed Architecture Governance for Lowe’s in North Carolina.  Prior to his roles in EA, Grant has held various roles at Lowe’s and General Mills leading enterprise technology platforms and integrations. Grant holds a BSCS from Washington University in Saint Louis, an MBA from the Carlson School of Management and is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach.  He currently resides in Chicago with his wife and 3 dogs.


E.G. Nadhan

E.G. Nadhan is the Chief Architect and Strategist for North America at Red Hat. Nadhan is an IBM Associate Quantum Ambassador and is a Board Member at The HDF Group. He sits on the Advisory Boards for the Customer Experience Program at Missouri State University and the Technology Advisory Board at Governors State University. Nadhan holds a Bachelors in Engineering from Jadavpur University and holds multiple certifications including Leadership from Harvard.




Session Title

A Coach and a Referee Take You Out to the Game of Enterprise Architecture


Enterprise architects are responsible for decomposing strategy into execution with sustainable solutions. Their challenge? Bringing together diverse IT groups, subject matter experts and technical communities to form holistic teams, and leading them to deliver successful outcomes. While doing so, Enterprise Architects have a dual role to play – that of a Coach and a Referee.  How do these roles apply? Who are the players? When does the Referee throw a yellow flag? How does the Coach bring out the best out of the EA team? This session will address various enterprise architecture approaches that bring multiple generations of technical leaders together across your organizations.


Michael Callahan

Mike Callahan is a recognized subject matter expert in the Business Architecture field and senior partner at AgileLayer, where he’s authored and implemented methodologies & frameworks for enabling Design-Thinking, Business Architecture and Service/API Component Fabrics.  Mike has worked with dozens of US corporations over the past 15 years in transitioning them to advanced planning, design and architecture approaches.  He has created tools such as:  business architecture-based Design Thinking methodology, digital capability reference models, DDD-based Service Modeling methodology, and a capabilities-based planning & value assurance framework. Mike is based in Boston MA and has a BS Computer Science from Boston College.

Session Title

Integrating & Exploiting Design Thinking, Agile and Business Architecture Disciplines


The session will focus on the “what” and “how” of combining, implementing and exploiting the critical disciplines of Design Thinking, Agile and Business Architecture.  Topics covered will include:

  • Ideating and delivering the Best Future: Opportunities & Challenges
  • Utilizing Integrated Playbooks: Combining Design Thinking, Agile and Business Architecture Disciplines
  • Implementing a Product vs. Project-centric Approach
  • Design Thinking Workshop Kits: Approach, Tools, Best Practices
  • Scaling Agile: Vertical and Horizontal Considerations
  • Embedding Capabilities and Design Thinking approaches into key Functions & Processes (change management,

     organization, governance, workflow and tooling considerations)

Track 2: Data and Analytics

Dan McCreary

Dan McCreary is a Distinguished Engineer working for the Optum Advanced Technology Collaborative.  He helps businesses within UnitedHeathGroup (Fortune 6) evaluate advanced technologies including AI, Graph and NoSQL.  Dan has a background in solution architecture, search, machine learning, and NLP.  He is the co-author of the book “Making Sense of NoSQL” and was the co-founder of the Dataversity NoSQL Now! series of conferences.  His current research is helping organization evaluate the cost-effectiveness of migrating from relational to graph databases.  In the past Dan worked for Steve Jobs at NeXT computer and Bell Labs as an integrated circuit designer.

Session Title

Graph Systems Thinking


This session will introduce the concept of Graph Systems Thinking (GST) and how it can impact your strategic thinking about the role of integration architecture in your firm.  We combine developments in large-scale Enterprise Knowledge Graphs (EKGs) and Systems Thinking to show how these new ways of problem solving can give your teams a more holistic view of technology in your organization.  We will show how feedback and casual loop diagrams help you understand how machine learning can empower your staff to make better prediction and better serve your customers.

David Marco

Best known as the world’s foremost authority on data governance and metadata management, he is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of data management, data literacy, advanced analytics, and data stewardship. Dr. David P. Marco has earned many industry honors, including Crain’s Chicago Business “Top 40 Under 40”, named by DePaul University as one of their “Top 14 Alumni Under 40”, DAMA Data Management Professional Achievement Award, and he is a Professional Fellow in the Institute of Information Management. He is the president of DataManagementU.com and is their lead contributor. 

David Marco is the author of the widely acclaimed two top-selling books in metadata management history, “Universal Meta Data Models” and “Building and Managing the Meta Data Repository” (available in multiple languages).  In addition, he is a co-author for numerous books and published hundreds of articles, some of which are translated into Mandarin, Russian, Portuguese, and others. DMarco@EWSolutions.com

Session Title

How to Build the Data Literate Organization


Only 24% of the global workforce is confident in their ability to read, work with, analyze and argue with data. As a result, corporations and government agencies are scrambling to make their staff data literate, and the organization’s desire to expand their data literacy significantly has never been greater.

What You Will Learn
  • Data Literacy Background and Fundamentals
  • Data Literacy Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Data Literacy Personas will be Defined and Presented
  • Data Visualization Best Practices
  • Common Data Analysis Mistakes
  • How to Read and Understand Data
  • Explanatory vs. Exploratory Analysis

Ross McNeely

Ross McNeely is the Practice Manager for Enterprise Data Management at Tail Wind for the last 8 years.  Tail Wind is an Information Services practice located in the Twin Cities and works with clients across the nation.  Ross is responsible for data strategy assessments, architecture designs, and delivery management.  He has developed data solutions for companies ranging from mid-size to Fortune 500.  Industry experience includes healthcare, financial services, logistics, manufacturing, retail, and agriculture.  Please join Ross McNeely for his next engaging and informative presentation.  Questions are always encouraged.

Session Title

Aligning Business & Data Strategies


In this session Ross McNeely will cover techniques to properly align your Data and Business Strategy to support critical business capabilities.  Including how to mitigate several risk factors that will derail your data initiatives.  Discuss steps to use when aligning current data projects or programs already underway.   Talk about assessing your organization’s data maturity, and the impact it can have on delivering solutions and innovation.  The session will conclude with Ross laying out a Data Strategy roadmap, and how align delivery with business needs.  Please join this session to understand the importance of aligning your data capabilities with business capabilities.             

Cameron Vetter

I am a technologist with 20 years of experience using Microsoft tools and technologies to develop software. I have experience in many roles including Development, Architecture, Infrastructure, Management, and Leadership roles. 

I have worked for some of the largest companies in the world as well as small companies getting a breadth of experience helping me understand the needs of different size businesses and different Industries. I am the Principal Architect at the Octavian Technology Group, where I help clients develop Technical Strategies. I help clients Architect, Design, and Develop software focusing on Deep Learning / Machine Learning, Cloud Architecture, Mixed Reality, and Azure.

I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned during the past 20 years by speaking at national, regional, and local conferences, including THAT Conference, Microsoft Ignite, The Midwest Architect Community Conference, Milwaukee Code Camp, and at various technology user groups. 

In 2019, I was proud to be named a Microsoft MVP for Artificial Intelligence (AI) – one of the first such honorees in the U.S. and received my second MVP award in 2020. Recently I teamed up with other MVP’s from around the world to write a book about machine learning, which was released earlier this year.

I’m also the co-organizer of the Milwaukee Azure User Group and run the Milwaukee Global AI Group, which is known to draw more than 5,000 participants from cities around the world.

Session Title

Why do most Machine Learning projects never make it to production?


Machine Learning is quickly becoming a ubiquitous technology and expected skill of development teams.  In 2019 a stunning 87% of Data Science projects never made it into production.  What will you do to make sure that your ML and Data Science projects succeed?

This talk will focused on digging deeper into that static and help to explain what goes wrong, why it goes wrong, and what I do to mitigate these issues.

You’ll leave with a deep understanding of ML project failures, and some advice on how to improve your projects chance of success.  You also will learn how to fail quickly in ML model development and pivot towards a path of success.

Track 3: Technology

Sorell Slaymaker

Sorell is an analyst and consultant with years of experience in networking, communications, and security architecture.  His recent published research and projects include: Zero Trust Networking, SD-WANs, UC/CC Security, Going Passwordless, PAM, Multi-Cloud Internetworking, and edge computing with 5G.  He has worked at Gartner, Target, United Health, Cigna, Travelers, and AT&T.



Session Title

UCaaS Privacy & Security – Webex, Teams, Zoom


We are all using collaboration tools more such as Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, and Zoom.  How secure are these tools?  What should enterprises be looking for to ensure the right level of security and privacy controls are in place while not over burdening the administrators, hosts, or participants.

This session is for security and IT professionals who are interested in broadening their skill set into Unified Communications security.

Marjorie Freeman

As community manager for Enable Architect, one of four technical communities (developers, programmers, CIOs/CTOs, architects, and system administrators) dedicated to growing Red Hat’s community of open-source technologists, Marjorie Freeman helps tell the story of the IT architects around me to inform others of their value in this new digital landscape. Marjorie’s goal is to not only learn from the tech leaders but also to honor their great work while encouraging the next generation of engineers and architects to follow their lead. 

Session Title

Tech trends shaping industries and transforming the IT architect’s role in the digital enterprise


Enterprise architecture is the backbone of the digital transformation underway. Enable Architect (redhat.com/architect) is a global platform dedicated to IT architects and the systems they create. As community manager for Enable Architect, Marjorie helps tell the story of the IT architects around her to inform others of their value in this new digital landscape. Based on her first-hand interactions with the contributors to this global platform and other industry leaders, Marjorie joins Enable Architect Advisor, E.G.Nadhan, to share essential trends architects need to keep an eye on they plan for the next budget cycle.

Tariq Samad

Honeywell/W.R. Sweatt Chair and Senior Fellow, Technological Leadership Institute, University of Minnesota, leading M.S. in Management of Technology program. Joined TLI in 2016 after 30 years with Honeywell, retiring as Corporate Fellow.  Industry sector experience includes process industries, homes and buildings, advanced manufacturing, and automotive. Past president, American Automatic Control Council and IEEE Control Systems Society.  Fellow, IEEE and IFAC. Founding chair, IFAC Industry Committee. Editor-in-chief, IEEE Press 2014-17. Book series editor, Technology Management, Innovation, and Leadership (Wiley). Co-editor-in-chief, Encyclopedia of Systems and Control (Springer). Board member, Clean Energy Economy Minnesota and IEEE TEMS. B.S. Yale University; M.S./Ph.D. Carnegie Mellon.

Session Title

Decision Making in Technology Management—Applying Concepts from Systems Thinking and Control Systems


How to make decisions under uncertainty? How to analyze the dynamics of a process or system? What are the pros and cons of feedback? How can mental models help or lead us astray? This presentation will present concepts and insights from the fields of systems thinking and control systems that bear on these questions and can help address them rigorously. Topics such as feedback and feedforward, noise and disturbances, time delays and other dynamic complexities, and modeling and optimization will be discussed. Several take-away messages targeted to program and project managers, innovation leaders, and system architects will be presented.

PJ Johnson

PJ Johnson is a Principal Architect at Microsoft Corporation.  His business focus includes M&A/D, Retail/CPG, and Financial Services, and he has expertise in cloud architecture and governance, security, data and AI, modern applications, and blockchain among many others.  Mr. Johnson has over 34 years of experience in IT and business functions.



Session Title

Joiners – Managing Employee Onboarding in COVID/WFH


With COVID, virtually all businesses were forced to adopt work-from-home; however, these businesses also continued to hire new employees constrained in that the employee could not come to a corporate office.  In this session, we’ll discuss an approach for onboarding new employees securely and efficiently that considers the work-from-home requirement.

Track 4: Architecture Process/Practice/Engagement

Nicklas Malik

Nick is an internally recognized Enterprise Architecture writer and speaker.  Former VP of both FEAPO and the EABOK, Nick individually developed and released the first open-source Enterprise Architecture Metamodel (motivationmodel.com).  He co-authored Stories That Move Mountains, a book on business storytelling with Martin Sykes and Mark West, and regularly interacts with the EA community on social media.  Nick has been an Enterprise Architect for 16 years and is currently a member of the Strategic Technology Group in Infosys.

Session Title

Creating an Agile Approach to Enterprise Architecture to empower Digital Transformation


Companies embarking on Digital Transformation are often in the upside-down position of engaging Enterprise Architecture as an afterthought.  However, building a reputation for agility and dynamic engagement, an Enterprise Architecture team can add direct and immediate value to any organization that have invested in agile at scale.  The role of the Agile Enterprise Architect is different from the traditional “EA as police” that we’ve seen in the past.  Join this session to find practical advice on configuring your Enterprise Architecture practice to enable, empower, and engage with agile organizations.

Jim Hietala

Jim Hietala is Vice President, Business Development and Security for The Open Group, where he manages security and risk management programs and standards activities, as well as the business development team.  He has led the development of several industry standards including O-ISM3, O-ESA, and the Open FAIR Body of Knowledge, as well as the Open FAIR certification program for risk analysts. 

Jim is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. He has published numerous articles on information security, risk management, and compliance topics in publications including CSO, The ISSA Journal, Bank Accounting & Finance, Risk Factor, SC Magazine, and others. An IT security industry veteran, he has held leadership roles at several IT security vendors. Jim holds a B.S. in Marketing from Southern Illinois University, and he is a holder of the Open FAIR, GSEC-Gold, and CISSP certifications.

Session Title

Industry Open-Source Initiatives: When standards (by themselves) aren’t enough


When it comes to achieving real industry transformation, standards can be necessary but insufficient. Recent industry initiatives in disparate industries including oil and gas, military avionics, process control, and carbon footprint measurement have these things in common:

  • the need for significant buy-in from not just the buy side of each industry, but also the supply side
  • the need for fundamental industry transformation to solve real business problems
  • the need for not just standards, but also open source software to accelerate adoption and change

This talk will describe the journey taken in each of these industries to drive real change through a combination of open standards and open source software development. The central role of Enterprise Architecture in the development of standards and open source software in these initiatives will also be discussed.

Joseph Perzel

Joe Perzel has been leading projects of all sizes and managing staffs since 1982 in both a corporate and vendor capacity.  He has a background in multiple industries such as healthcare, insurance, finance, government, manufacturing, non-profit and education.  Presently Joe is Partner JPerzel Inc. as well as Program Manager at Surescripts LLC.  Previously he has held leadership positions at Cargill, Thomson Reuters, MN Workers Compensation Bureau and International Multifoods.

Joe has been speaking since 2002 on topics ranging from project management, leadership, strategy, negotiations/sales.  He has presented keynotes, chapter meetings and workshops internationally to multiple corporate, government and non-profit organizations, as well as over 20 PMI chapters, Global and PMI Region 2, Society for Quality (ASQ), International Institute of Business Analysts (IIBA), International Practice Management (IPMA) and now the PMO Impact Summit.

Session Title

How to be a Chameleon: The Key to Enterprise Project Success


Successful delivery of any project requires you to communicate with, manage and influence people at all levels, both inside and outside your organization.  Yet they all speak different “languages”.  And worse yet there isn’t a roadmap, translation guide or hint sheet to tell you how to relate to each so that you can be successful.

This presentation will discuss how to identify your target audience, determine the communication styles and methods that works best for them and how to adapt your message, motivations methods and your style for optimum success.  We will also discuss how to build a relationship with your sponsor and leverage your influence with them to set your project up for success.

The major points to be covered include:

  • Defining what a Chameleon is in the project world and why it is important
  • Defining and discussing the various target audiences and the keys to success for working with each
  • The skills and dos/don’ts a project manager will need to be a Chameleon and the typical roadblocks
  • Examples you can use immediately to become more effective

Learn how to recognize and adapt to everyone in your project world to optimize your leadership and messaging for project success.

Morten Stender

Morten is Partner of Staun & Stender, a leading advisory and solution provider of solutions to business change  and transformation. Morten brings professional background of strategy management and how to succeed with  strategy implementations across the large cap segment. He has researched and practiced consulting in  strategy, Planning and IT Management since 90’s. Morten holds a PhD, M.Sc. and B.Com from the Technical  University of Denmark and Copenhagen Business School. He is an IEEE reviewer and appointed examiner at  Danish Universities. 

 Session Title

Architect, what value do you bring? Time for a brain-transplant? 


With EA as the holistic design to execute digitally inspired strategic goals, we need to see a shift in mindset  among many architects. For an EA strategy needs to evolve with new learnings and transitions. To deliver the  future digital services that is wanted by customers, the gap is between the long-term planning and objectives, and the short-term agile teams with pace. For companies to succeed with constant change, a new mindset is  required for architects. Based on Jeanne Ross re-designs and Steven Covey’s 7 habits, the session translates  this into a new mindset to succeed with constant value delivery. EA and strategy are a two-way synergy!