Since her career began, Jean Cunningham has been breaking new ground. At the former Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in Maynard, MA, she was the innovative company’s first woman plant controller, using a fully engaged team approach to create excellence in the function. She later moved from DEC finance to operations.
Between 1993 and 2005 Jean served as CFO at two manufacturing companies, where she broke new ground integrating lean manufacturing with finance, IT, HR, marketing, and other business functions.
As CFO and vice president for administration at capital equipment maker Lantech, she played a key role in one of the earliest examples of lean production success and lean enterprise innovation. Lantech’s transformation was featured in Harvard Business Review, business best-seller Lean Thinking, and The Work of Management, published by LEI in 2017. She later became CFO of Marshfield Door Systems.
Jean is one of the original thought leaders behind the Lean Accounting Summit and the Lean HR Summit. She is a board member of the nonprofit Lean Education Advancement Foundation, which provides scholarships for undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students and faculty to attend lean management conferences or conducted research.
From 2006-2011, she was the voluntary CFO of the Association of Manufacturing Excellence. "In 2006, she founded Illinois-based Jean Cunningham Consulting, and for the past 13 years has provided strategic guidance, lean management coaching, and other continuous improvement practices globally to companies in manufacturing, services, and healthcare."
Writing and Painting
A sought-after speaker and keynoter at conferences, Jean was inducted into the AME Hall of Fame for Manufacturing Excellence in 2018. The next year, she was inducted into the Shingo Academy, which honors business leaders who have distinguished themselves in operational excellence. She teaches Lean Accounting at the Ohio State University Master of Business Operational Excellence program.
Despite a busy schedule, Jean has found the time to write three business management books. She is co-author of the acclaimed, Real Numbers: Management Accounting in a Lean Organization, an essential text for learning lean accounting. She is co-author of Easier, Simpler, Faster on applying lean principles to IT processes. Both books were awarded a Shingo Prize for Research in 2004 and 2008, respectively. In 2018, she published The Value Add Accountant, a follow-up to Real Numbers on how finance and accounting can innovate and add value in strategic improvement efforts.
When she isn’t helping companies start or advance continuous improvement systems, Jean enjoys swimming and painting. She holds a bachelor’s in accounting from Indiana University and a master’s from Northeastern University’s Executive Program.
John Y. Shook
Chairman Lean Global Network; Senior Advisor, Lean Enterprise Institute
John Shook learned about lean management while working for Toyota for 11 years in Japan and the U.S., helping it transfer production, engineering, and management systems from Japan to NUMMI and other operations around the world. While at Toyota's headquarters, he became the company's first American kacho (manager) in Japan. In the U.S., Shook joined Toyota’s North American engineering, research and development center in Ann Arbor, Michigan as general manager of administration and planning. His last position with Toyota was as senior American manager with the Toyota Supplier Support Center in Lexington, Kentucky, assisting North American companies adopt the Toyota Production System. Shook co-authored Learning to See, the book that introduced the world to value-stream mapping. He also co-authored Kaizen Express, a bi-lingual manual of the essential concepts and tools of the Toyota Production System. With Managing to Learn, Shook revealed the deeper workings of the A3 management process that is at the heart of Toyota’s management and leadership.
Shook is an industrial anthropologist with a master’s degree from the University of Hawaii, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee, and is a graduate of the Japan-America Institute of Management Science. At the University of Michigan, he was director of the Japan Technological Management Program and faculty member of the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering.
Shook is the author of numerous articles, including "How to Change a Culture: Lessons from NUMMI"; Sloan Management Review, January 2010, which won Sloan’s Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize for outstanding article in the field of organizational development.
James P. Womack
Founder and Senior Advisor, Lean Enterprise Institute
Dr. James Womack is the father of the lean movement and has been talking about creating value through continuous innovation around deep customer understanding for many years. Jim will share his insights about value creation in a fast moving world where customers often seek a solution to complex problems involving many products rather than a single product: Mobility rather than a car, or health support to prevent disease rather than just an insurance policy. You can’t afford to miss this important talk.
Recieved a B.A. in political science from the University of Chicago in 1970, a master's degree in transportation systems from Harvard in 1975, and a Ph.D. in political science from MIT in 1982 (for a dissertation on comparative industrial policy in the U.S., Germany, and Japan).
Co-author of The Machine That Changed the World(Macmillan/Rawson Associates, 1990), Lean Thinking (Simon & Schuster, 1996), Lean Solutions (Simon & Schuster, 2005), and Seeing The Whole Value Stream (Lean Enterprise Institute, 2011).
Articles include: "From Lean Production to the Lean Enterprise" (Harvard Business Review, March-April, 1994), "Beyond Toyota: How to Root Out Waste and Pursue Perfection" (Harvard Business Review, September-October, 1996), “Lean Consumption” (Harvard Business Review, March-April, 2005).
Plenary and Breakout Speakers
Lean & Agile Coach, ING
David Bogaerts has been a Lean & Agile coach within ING since 2007. When ING started with the Agile & IT transformation seven years ago, David was asked to join in. From that moment on he is working on this transition which has spread over the entire ING organization.
In the recent years David has focused on how to scale ‘scientific thinking’ within ING while continuing to pursuit the dream of building a learning and adapting organization; an organization practicing scientific thinking everyday with the objective to accomplish the unimaginable.
Ann Mei Chang
Director of Lean Impact, Lean Startup
Ann Mei Chang is a leading advocate for social innovation and author of LEAN IMPACT: How to Innovate for Radically Greater Social Good (Wiley, Oct. 30, 2018). As Chief Innovation Officer at USAID, Ann Mei served as the first Executive Director of the US Global Development Lab, engaging the best practices for innovation from Silicon Valley to accelerate the impact and scale of solutions to the world’s most intractable challenges. She was previously the Chief Innovation Officer at Mercy Corps and served the US Department of State as Senior Advisor for Women and Technology in the Secretary's Office of Global Women’s Issues.
Prior to her pivot to the public and social sector, Ann Mei was a seasoned technology executive, with more than 20 years’ experience at such leading companies as Google, Apple, and Intuit, as well as at a range of startups. As Senior Engineering Director at Google, she led worldwide engineering for mobile applications and services, delivering 20x growth to $1 billion in annual revenues in just three years.
Ann Mei currently serves on the boards of BRAC USA and IREX, is a nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution, and is a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Stanford University, is a member of the Aspen Institute’s Henry Crown Fellows’ class of 2011, and was recognized as one of the “Women In the World: 125 Women of Impact” by Newsweek/The Daily Beast in 2013. Ann Mei is a keynote speaker who has been featured at TEDx MidAtlantic, SxSW, Social Good Summit, SOCAP, and Lean Startup Week, as well as numerous nonprofits, foundations, and government agencies.
Senior Vice President Integrated Sub Systems, TechnipFMC
Paulo has been working in the Oil & Gas Subsea industry since its beginning in early 80´s. He has participated in several important landmarks of subsea developments in the world for the last 30 years. He was a catalyst of innumerous developments and advances of subsea technologies worldwide. Paulo is graduated in Mechanical Engineering from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and has an MBA from COPPEAD. He is currently Senior Vice President of Global Engineering and Development for TechnipFMC.
Chief Inventor, REA-Group
Nigel Dalton is Chief Inventor at REALABS, a small research and development team within REA Group focused on what’s coming down the pipe that will impact the real estate industry in the 2+ year time horizon.
Amy C. Edmondson
Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management, Harvard Business School
Amy C. Edmondson is the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School, a chair established to support the study of human interactions that lead to the creation of successful enterprises that contribute to the betterment of society. She is an expert in leadership, teaming, and organizational learning, and her forthcoming book, The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth (Wiley; November, 2018) summarizers her two decades of pioneering research on psychological safety. With articles in Harvard Business Review andCalifornia Management Review, and in academic journals such as Administrative Science Quarterly and the Academy of Management Journal, she has been recognized by the biannual Thinkers50 global ranking of management thinkers since 2011.
Her prior books – Teaming: How organizations learn, innovate and compete in the knowledge economy and Teaming to Innovate (Jossey-Bass, 2012, 2103) – explore teamwork in dynamic work environments. In Building the future: Big teaming for audacious innovation, (Berrett-Koehler, 2016), she examines the challenges and opportunities of teaming across industries. Before her academic career, she was Director of Research at Pecos River Learning Centers, where she worked on transformational change in large companies. In the early 1980s, she worked as Chief Engineer for architect/inventor Buckminster Fuller, and her bookA Fuller Explanation: The Synergetic Geometry of R. Buckminster Fuller (Birkauser Boston, 1987) clarifies Fuller's mathematical contributions for a non-technical audience. Edmondson received her PhD in organizational behavior, AM in psychology, and AB in engineering and design, all from Harvard University.
Senior Advisor, Product and Process Development, Lean Enterprise Institute
Jim Morgan, Ph.D. is President of EMC Network, a research and consulting firm specializing in new product and process creation. He is also Senior Advisor to the Lean Enterprise Institute for their lean product and process development initiative. In these roles Jim has helped senior leaders from a wide variety of industries to improve their organizations development performance. Dr. Morgan’s expertise comes from a rare combination of deep industry experience and rigorous scholarship.
His most recent industry experience was serving as Chief Operating Officer at Rivian, an electric vehicle manufacturer that he helped lead through a critical transition period. Prior to Rivian, Jim spent ten years at Ford Motor Company, first leading the development of Ford’s Global Product Development System (GPDS) then serving for eight and a half years as their Global Director of Body and SBU Engineering during Ford’s historic, product led revitalization under then CEO, Alan Mulally. Prior to Ford, Jim worked at Troy Design and Manufacturing (TDM) for 15 years as Vice President of Operations. TDM is a tier one, global automotive supplier of engineering services, prototypes tools and low volume parts and subassemblies.
Jim holds a Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Michigan where his original research into Product Development won two Shingo Prizes for Research Excellence. In addition he co-authored (with Professor Jeffrey Liker) the award-winning book The Toyota Product Development System (2006) and Designing the Future (2018). He has also authored or co-authored several book chapters on product development, as well as related articles for the Sloan Management Review, The Engineering Management Journal and other publications.
Co-Founder and CEO, St. Bernard Project
Zack co-founded SBP with his wife Liz McCartney after volunteering in New Orleans six months after Hurricane Katrina. Disturbed by the lack rebuilding and predictability of recovery for most families, Zack and Liz began asking hard questions to understand the factors leading to the intolerable conditions faced by disaster survivors. From this desire to minimize the suffering caused by delayed recovery, the trial attorney and school teacher began rebuilding homes for New Orleans most vulnerable populations.
Leveraging private sector innovations from Toyota and philosophies from UPS, Zack transformed SBP, adopting a culture of problem solving by teaching staff and AmeriCorps members to surface them at every level. This ethos of continuous discontent has enabled SBP become the leading long-term recovery nonprofit, rebuilding more than 1,860 homes nationwide, and has grown to include more than 30,000 volunteers annually, 240 AmeriCorps members and 76 staff.
SBP now looks at a host of interventions designed to shrink the time between disaster and recovery, resulting in much needed systems change in an otherwise unchanging landscape that is disaster recovery. Zack and Liz co-authored the book, Getting Home, which was released in March of 2019.
Getting Home chronicles the founding of SBP, and how SBP partnered with Toyota to apply the lean principles of the Toyota Production System (TPS) to rebuild homes and lives following natural disasters throughout the U.S. and its territories, creating a culture of continuous improvement within SBP to reduce the duration of time between disaster and recovery.
CEO, Menlo Innovations
Menlo Innovations CEO Rich Sheridan had an all consuming thought during a difficult mid-career in the chaotic technology industry... things can be better. Much better. He had to find a way. His search led him to books, authors and history, including recalling childhood visits to Greenfield Village every summer. The excitement of the Edison Menlo Park New Jersey Lab served as his siren call to create a workplace filled with camaraderie, human energy, creativity and productivity.
Ultimately, Rich and his co-founder James Goebel invented their own company in 2001 to "end human suffering in the world as it relate to technology" by returning joy to one of the most unique endeavors mankind has ever undertaken: the invention of software.
Their unique approach to custom software design, they named it High-tech Anthropology® has produced custom software that delights users rather than frustrating them. The programming team creates the software that works every day without the emergencies that are all too common in the tech industry. The process itself is so interesting that almost 4,000 people a year travel from around the world just to see how they do it. Many spend a week or more studying "The Menlo Way" being taught by the Menlonians who love to share their experience and knowledge.
In 2013, Rich and his publisher Penguin Random House took a chance that a business book with the words joy and love on the cover might have impact. They had no idea how the world yearned for such a message. His best selling book, Joy, Inc. - How We Built a Workplace People Love now has Rich traveling the world speaking about joy, creativity, and human energy in the workplace.
Head of IT for the Digital Channels, ING
Jannes Smit is the Head of IT for the Digital Channels within ING Netherlands and ING Belgium. He is equally passionate about building scalable and resilient software, in order to create a differentiating customer experience, as he is about creating a continuous learning and adapting organization. In his role as IT lead / director he enables 500 software engineers to improve the daily customer contacts of 8 million customers who use digital banking services offered via mobile and web.
Jannes and his team continue to play an important role in the transformation of their IT organization. The IT organization has moved beyond playing a supporting role in business operations to the point where the two are becoming inseparable. This transformation started in 2010 with the introduction of agile/scrum, after which Continuous Delivery was introduced in 2012, DevOps in 2013 and BuzDevOps in 2016.
Two of the most important challenges Jannes and his team are trying to achieve at the moment are:
- Ensuring that everyone practices the scientific method
- Ensuring that everyone knows the strategic direction and considers this direction while doing the work, improving the work and improving himself/herself
Lisa Yerian, M.D.
Chief Improvement Officer, Cleveland Clinic
Lisa Yerian, MD is Medical Director of Continuous Improvement and a Gastrointestinal and Hepatobiliary Pathologist at the Cleveland Clinic. She received a BS from the University of Notre Dame in 1996 and a medical degree from the University of Chicago-Pritzker School of Medicine in 2000. Dr. Yerian completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology and a fellowship in gastrointestinal and liver pathology at the University of Chicago. She joined the Cleveland Clinic in 2004, where she has served as Director of Hepatobiliary Pathology and Section Head of Surgical Pathology. She also holds a joint appointment in the Transplantation Center. Early in her career Dr. Yerian began to realize her passion for engaging others in relentless, continuous efforts to improve the care we deliver for our patients and for our caregivers, and in 2010 she accepted the newly-created role of Medical Director of Continuous Improvement. Dr. Yerian now leads a team of continuous improvement professionals engaged in building a culture of continuous improvement across the Cleveland Clinic Health System. Under her leadership the Cleveland Clinic Continuous Improvement team developed, tested and refined the Cleveland Clinic Improvement Model (CCIM, www.clevelandclinic.org/improve), a model now used at the Cleveland Clinic and other organizations to pursue a culture of continuous improvement. In 2012 Dr. Yerian was elected to the Cleveland Clinic Board of Governors and in 2016 she was appointed Vice Chair of Staff Affairs.
Dr. Yerian has authored over 150 manuscripts, articles and book chapters in the fields of pathology and continuous improvement, and she is co-editor of multiple pathology texts. Her efforts in both fields have been recognized in multiple awards including the Association of American Medical Colleges Clinical Care Innovation Challenge Award (2016), the Anthony S. Tavill Citywide Liver Rounds Appreciation Award (2016), and the Smart Culture Conference Buffalo Award (2018). She is an active member of the Catalysis (formerly Healthcare Value Network) Advisory Board and speaks both nationally and internationally on pathology and on the pursuit of continuous improvement in healthcare.
Learning Session Speakers
Co-Founder, Author, LEI Faculty Member, Digital Lean Strategies, LLC and Lean4NGO
Steve Bell is a pioneer of Lean IT and Lean Digitization, applying principles and practices through a method-agnostic approach, drawing on a variety of disciplines— including Lean, Six Sigma, Agile, Scrum, Kanban, DevOps, Lean Startup, Kata, Design Thinking, ITSM, Visual Management (Obeya), and Strategy Deployment (Hoshin Kanri) —as appropriate to the culture and situation, to coach and support leaders to develop high-performance practices and organizational learning capabilities. He is the author of Lean IT, Run Grow Transform, Lean Enterprise Systems, and numerous other published works. In 2011 Steve was awarded the Shingo Prize for Research and Professional Publication. His career spans the evolution of enterprise-wide information technology, with hands-on experience in continuous improvement and innovation across most industries.
Steve and his partner Karen Whitely Bell are co-founders of Digital Lean Strategies, LLC (formerly Lean IT Strategies). Together they have co-authored numerous articles, and recently contributed a chapter on high performance management to Accelerate: The Science Behind DevOps, by Jez Humble, Gene Kim, and Nicole Forsgren PhD. They are currently working on their next book, on the Digital Lean Enterprise.
They are also co-founders of Lean4NGO (LinkedIn Group “Lean Thinking for NGOs and Nonprofits) whose mission is to make Lean Thinking accessible to humanitarian aid organizations, improving NGO operational efficiency (use of scarce resources) and effectiveness (improved outcomes) to benefit the three billion people living at the "bottom of the pyramid" on less than $2 a day.
Denise is an experienced Lean Thinking practitioner and coach with deep experience in healthcare and local government. Denise had the opportunity to pioneer the application of this approach to both of these sectors, commencing her Lean Thinking and Practice journey at Flinders Medical Centre (2004), and then from 2010 to 2015 guiding the Lean Transformation at the City of Melbourne. In 2015, Denise returned to healthcare joining the Stanford Children’s Health team in California as the Lean Sensei. With a mature lean system, this was Denise’s first experience as a lean coach in a brownfield site. Since July 2017, Denise has operated as a Lean Coach and Director for Lean Enterprise Australia and the Australasian Lean Healthcare Network. She is committed to supporting the development of strong Australasian examples of Lean Thinking and Practice and establishing networks and communities of practice in lean based management systems.
Denise began her career as a nurse and continued in that profession for 25 years before accidentally discovering Lean Thinking and Practice. She is passionate about developing people and uses visual practice constantly to engage service teams in improvement. She holds an MBA at the University of South Australia.
Vice President, Global Accounts, CI&T
As Vice President of Global Accounts at CI&T, Felipe Brito’s passion is to fuse lean thinking and digital excellence, ensuring that blazing the trail one step at a time is a feature, not a bug. He helps Fortune 500 companies such as Coca-Cola, iHeartMedia, Johnson & Johnson, and Konica Minolta succeed in their growth journeys by striving to be their best at getting better and designing experiences and platforms that customers truly love. A cornerstone of CI&T since 2000, Felipe is an avid learner who works diligently to see his team win and always get stoked with big hairy audacious goals.
Lean Transformation Leader, GE Appliances
Rich Calvaruso, leads GE Appliances’ lean manufacturing transformation. He is responsible for developing lean thinking capability of the people and improving the efficiency of the processes across the manufacturing organization. He assumed his role in 2006 with the introduction of Lean concepts into manufacturing. His efforts expanded and accelerated in 2009 when GE Appliances began its first of a series of investments that would total $1 billion to design and produce 11 new appliance products in its US factories.
Rich joined GE in 1989 following his graduation from Youngstown State University where he earned a B.E. degree in Electrical Engineering. He worked in GE Lighting’s Fluorescent Lamp manufacturing plant in Circleville, OH from 1989 to 1997, holding positions as Manufacturing Engineer, Operations Manager and Manager of Manufacturing Engineering. He was promoted to Plant Manager of GE Lighting Special Pack Inc. in Canton, OH in 1997. In 1998 he was named a Six Sigma Master Black Belt for Fluorescent manufacturing. Rich was promoted to Plant Manager at the GE Lighting Incandescent Lamp Manufacturing facility in Winchester, VA in 2000. He moved to GE Appliances in 2004 as Master Black belt for Appliances manufacturing.
Crystal’s personality and work practices are the foundation of her success as speaker, coach and consultant.
Crystal has worked over 20 years in various leadership positions as a change agent. She’s had the privilege to work with leading experts in various countries such as Portugal, Spain, Mexico and Sweden. These experiences have enabled Crystal to become very knowledgeable about Business Process Improvement, Lean Six Sigma, and Leadership Development. And to develop a deep understanding of how to thrive in diverse work environments.
Crystal’s career spans over a number of business functions, industries and disciplines including automotive, consumer-packaged goods, healthcare, engineering, strategy deployment, training, facilitation, coaching and speaking.
Crystal earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Mississippi State University and a MBA from Samford University. In addition, Crystal is a certified Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma, and certified John Maxwell Leadership Coach.
Eric Ethington is the coach and program manager of the Lean Product and Process Development (LPPD) Initiative. Eric has a passion for lean with over 30 years of work experience feeding his passion. Starting as an industrial engineer with General Motors’ AC Spark Plug Division, Eric learned early that continuous improvement required a balance of technical knowledge and interpersonal skills. Rounding experiences in operations, planning, marketing, engineering, and strategy helped to prepare Eric for a lean implementation leadership position with Delphi’s Energy & Engine Management division in Flint, Michigan.
Beginning in 1998 and coaching engaged cross-functional teams, several brown-field plants in the Flint area underwent significant transformations. Initially on a list to be either sold or closed, now they were on a path to competitiveness.
In 2001 Eric moved to Delphi’s World Headquarters as the manager of the corporate lean team responsible for supporting Delphi’s six divisions with their lean transformations. Additionally, this team was tasked with the development, launch and operation of a “lean boot camp” for Delphi’s 650 executives worldwide. In 2005 Eric started the next phase of his career. Taking a position at Textron, Eric earned his six sigma black belt in design while mentoring multiple Green Belts and Black Belts. Afterward, as part of the internal lean consulting organization, he gained experience implementing lean in defense, aerospace, consumer products, and financial industries.
In 2009 Eric founded Lean Shift Consulting, focusing on developing others to be lean leaders and transform their own organizations. In doing so, Eric has expanded his industry experience to include medical equipment, healthcare, software, and distribution. Likewise in 2009, Eric began to support LEI’s Lean Enterprise Partners program by offering coaching services to the companies who were members of the partnership.
In February of 2016, Eric’s role at LEI shifted to managing and growing its Lean Product & Process Development initiative. This initiative is expanding the under explored science of using product and process development to truly transform the extended enterprise, with the ultimate goal of developing successful value streams.
Eric holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Kettering University (formerly GMI) and an MBA in Operations from the University of Michigan, Flint campus. He serves on the Board of Directors at Goodwill Industries of Mid-Michigan as well as the Alumni Advisory Board for the Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering department at Kettering University. He and his family call Grand Blanc, Michigan home.
Director of Production, Daktronics
Jim has 24 years of manufacturing and people development experience. Early in his career, he applied his Mechanical Engineering degree towards process engineering in a manufacturing environment. He later moved into Manufacturing Engineering management before taking on a Plant Manager position in 2007. Since 2013, his role as Director of Production includes supporting the Plant Managers of 5 North American factories. In addition to those responsibilities, Jim leads Lean, Safety and Facilities teams within the company.
Jim has been actively problem solving and continuously improving processes throughout his entire career, from college internships to projects he is supporting today. In the past 10 years, Jim was introduced to lean thinking through LEI and their partners. Jim was part of the leadership team that brought those ideas into their company culture. Their early focus was on removing waste from production processes and building their products in one-piece flow. More recently, their focus has been on improving the people side of lean through creation of an employee performance standard and better engagement of supervisors with their teams.
Jez Humble is co-author of Accelerate, The DevOps Handbook, Lean Enterprise, and the Jolt Award winning Continuous Delivery. He has spent his career applying Lean and Agile practices as a software developer, infrastructure expert, and product manager in companies of varying sizes across three continents, most recently working for the US Federal Government at 18F.
He is currently studying how to build high performing teams at his startup, DevOps Research and Assessment LLC, and teaches classes in Lean product management and Agile software development at UC Berkeley.
Sarah Day Kalloch
Sarah Day Kalloch has dedicated her career to connecting public and private sector leaders with front line workers to build better businesses, create good jobs, and define stronger social policy. She serves as the Executive Director of the Good Jobs Institute, which inspires industry leaders to redefine what it means to run a successful business and help their companies thrive by creating good jobs. She builds partnerships with companies that are dedicated to transforming their organizations by embracing the Good Jobs Strategy and co-creates tools and resources that guide the transformation process.
Sarah previously spent over a decade in international development, improving the health, human rights and financial independence of communities across Africa. At Oxfam, Sarah spearheaded global partnerships that encouraged leading food and beverage companies to adopt more sustainable sourcing policies. As an executive at Physicians for Human Rights, she co-founded two health and human rights organization in Uganda and Kenya and secured billions in HIV/AIDS and global health funding. Sarah graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College and also holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Manager, Products Management, Gas Compressor Business, Solar Turbines
Howard Kinkade is Manager, Products Management, Gas Compressor Business for Solar Turbines Inc. (A Caterpillar Company). He is accountable for the development and program execution of new and sustaining product strategies. Howard has 35 years of Engineering and Product Development leadership, including extensive application of traditional and innovative Lean Product Development Methods. Having spent the last 10 years leading teams and organizations through innovative change and re-birth, Howard believes in the importance of leadership’s engagement in creating high performing cultural values that continuously evolves and constantly improves toward a common vision.
Following ten years as an engineer in the aerospace industry, Howard joined Solar Turbines first as a NPI leader in 2004. His background and experience include engineering analysis, design engineer, test engineering, NPI leader, project engineering, project manager, and various Engineering Management positions. In 2008, Howard joined Solar’s Gas Turbine engine Products Development group. During this period he incorporated lean principals and developed teams with unique cultural values. Howard lead two engine NPI programs which achieved new heights in time to market (30% faster), initial product quality, and financial performance.
Howard has earned positions of increasing responsibility and influence in Solar Turbines. His leadership and lean methods have been benchmarked by Caterpillar (Solar Turbines) and numerous companies from around the world. Since, becoming the Manger of Products Management he has led a cultural transformation in Engineering, including a transition from our traditional “Push and Chase” culture of managing our workflow to a true pull system.
Howard’s under-graduate degree is in Mechanical Engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He continues to serve Cal Poly as a member of the Mechanical Engineering Department’s Industry Advisory Board.
VP Digital Transformation for Latin America, Coca-Cola Company
As VP of Digital Transformation at Coca-Cola, Adriana Knackfuss is responsible for the company's end-to-end digital strategy in Latin America, overseeing 4 regions with a strong focus on E-commerce, Data & Analytics and CRM. Along with taking on the responsibility of igniting digital and cultural change within Coca-Cola, Adriana focuses on gaining a deep understanding and addressing consumer needs using digital methodologies (design thinking, lean, agile) and aligning them with business initiatives.
Vice President Manufacturing, Daktronics
Matt Kurtenbach is Daktronics Inc.’s Vice President of Manufacturing. Daktronics designs, manufactures, sells, and provides services for a wide variety of digital display products for customers across the globe. Daktronics manufacturing operation employs over 900 people and occupies over 750,000 square feet of production space. In addition to manufacturing on its main campus in Brookings, S.D., Daktronics has manufacturing plants in Sioux Falls, S.D.; Redwood Falls, Minn.; Ennistymon, Ireland; and Shanghai, China.
Kurtenbach has been with Daktronics since 1992, and in his current role since 2001. He is a 1992 graduate of South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D., where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. He also received a Master of Science in Industrial Management degree from SDSU in December 2000.
In 2006, Kurtenbach was charged with leading an effort to transform Daktronics manufacturing from a traditional, mass production operation into a lean production system. Since that time, Daktronics has reorganized its factories by value stream and converted to one-piece flow on its primary production lines. The functional areas of Materials Management, Manufacturing Engineering, Quality, Test, and Sourcing have also developed to support the lean manufacturing effort. In recent years, the transformation has become more focused on people development to sustain gains and propel the Daktronics Production System to new levels of productivity.
Kurtenbach says he enjoys the challenges associated with managing in a dynamic business environment and has particularly enjoyed the opportunity to lead the lean transformation at Daktronics. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his family, wife Melissa and their four children; gathering with friends and family; hunting, and golfing. Being an avid sports fan, Kurtenbach also appreciates the opportunity to see Daktronics products on display at many of the sporting venues in the area and on television.
Sr engineering lead, Spotify
Kristian is an engineering leader at Spotify. He has over 10 years experience managing and coaching a broad variety of engineering and product teams. He was managing parts of the agile coach practice at Spotify for a few years and has been very active in supporting the growth of a strong agile and lean approach in the company. After that, he has managed the engineering team in San Francisco and most recently a 40 person team in New York. Prior to Spotify, Kristian spent 8 years in fintech in Stockholm where his main focus was reducing waste and growing high impact teams.
Laura Mottola is the President and CEO of Flow Partners Inc., a Canadian consulting company with operations in Chile, and Director of Great Lakes Graphite Inc., a company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. She is recognized globally as a leader in Lean Mining®, Mining Automation, Technology and Innovation in the natural resources sector. Laura is a mining engineer with a Masters of Engineering in Mining Automation from McGill University. A seasoned professional and business leader with more than 20 years of global experience in mining, Laura was named one of 100 most inspirational women in mining by Women in Mining UK.
Laura is dedicated to Lean Thinking, Methodology, Lean Mining®, Innovation, development integration of concepts from other industries, and multidisciplinary approach strategies. She is a co-founder of the Lean Institute Canada and the founder of the Lean Mining® Institute. She is passionate about creating value, increasing productivity, social, environmental responsibility and teamwork in mining. Laura brings the multidimensional leadership and vision needed to generate dynamic and diverse opportunities in the mining sector
Laura has personally worked with clients such as Yamana Gold, Sherritt International Corp., Goldcorp, KGHM International, Sierra Gorda S.C.M., KMC Mining, Rio Tinto Technology & Innovation, IAMGold, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, Alcoa, Syncrude, Suncor, Cambior, Inco, was a council member of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum and currently is the Leader of the Integrated Operations Working Group for Global Mining Standards and Guidelines Group.
Dan Murphy. Ph.D
Daniel is also the Medical Director of the Outpatient Heart Centre at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and the Medical Director of Ambulatory Services for Stanford Children's Health. Since 2013, Professor Murphy and the ambulatory team have employed Lean methodology to transform the model of ambulatory care for children at Stanford. He is a humble lean leader who practices daily to improve the delivery of care and develop other team members, doctors and leaders in the organisation. Dan is also an organisational leader for the wellness and resilience work at Stanford and an active member of the WellMD Center in the School of Medicine. He has made presentations at the International Conference on Physician Health (Finding your Bliss as a Physician) and the Lean Academic Healthcare Conference (Using Lean Thinking to Foster Wellness and Prevent Burnout) demonstrating his belief that Lean Improvement and Physician Wellness are naturally and inevitably connected.
LEI Faculty, President Honsha Associates, Honsha Associates
Sammy learned the Toyota Production System while working at Toyota Motors in Japan. For three years he underwent intense practical training at the Honsha Overseas Engineering Division in Toyota City. Then for 13 years, he implemented lean in a variety of Toyota facilities in Japan, Brazil, the United States, and Venezuela.
Sammy has hands-on experience implementing lean principles in other industries, including healthcare, construction, retail, and government. In all, he has helped over 300 companies on their lean journeys. He holds a master’s degree in technology management and has lectured at universities such as Stanford and Harvard. He currently aids companies implementing lean through Honsha Associates.
Andi Plantenberg is an entrepreneur and principal at FutureTight, an innovation consultancy based in San Francisco, California. Andi will share how the best companies identify where to focus their precious resources, how they generate bold ideas to make maximum impact and know when its time to kill an idea.
- Co-founded Singlebound Creative in 2000, a Digital Product Studio / Design Agency that had an eleven year run and served Fortune 500 clients.
- Faculty member at Lean Startup Co, and a long-time mentor for startups in Silicon Valley (500 startups, IndieBio, Singularity University).
Co-Owner, Teaching Lean Inc.
Ernie has 25 years of Manufacturing and Human Resources management experience which allows him to see the cultural dynamics from both functional areas of a company. He gained this experience at Toyota Motor Manufacturing where he grew from Team Leader, to Group Leader, to Assistant Manager on the manufacturing side. After which he moved to HR, assuming, at different times, responsibility for skill development programs, safety and medical management.
As Acting Medical Director for Toyota Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Ernie was responsible for nine on-site medical clinics across Toyota North America (convenience care, full-primary care, and occupational care). He was also responsible for disability management (as described above) North American wide. Ernie worked at IBM for 8 years before joining Toyota. Currently, Ernie shares his extensive experience with members of the lean community as a co-owner of Teaching Lean and a Faculty member of the Lean Enterprise Institute. He is coauthor with Tracey Richardson of The Toyota Engagement Equation.
Co-Owner, Teaching Lean Incorporated
Tracey has over 29 year’s combined experience in different roles within Toyota and learned lean practices as a group leader at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky from 1988-1998. She was one of the first team members hired, with the fortunate opportunity to learn directly from Japanese trainers. As a group leader and quality circle advisor, she learned first-hand about lean tools and culture development.
For the last 19 years, as president of Teaching Lean, Inc. Tracey has worked with Toyota North American plants, and other companies on their lean journeys, helping them develop the capabilities of employees, including team members and company leaders. Using problem-solving and aligning daily activities with company business plans, she helps them create lean cultures that are the foundations for long-term sustainability.
Tracey is an active coach and contributor to LEI’s The Lean Post. She teaches several problem-solving and A3 workshops as an LEI faculty member. She is coauthor of the new book The Toyota Engagement Equation.
Author and Consultant, Art of Lean
Art Smalley is a renowned expert specializing in leadership, problem solving, and operational improvement.
In the latter part of the 1980s Art was one of the first Americans to work for Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan, first studying at different universities in Japan and then learning the principles of TPS in the historic Kamigo engine plant where Taiichi Ohno was the founding plant manager. Art also played an instrumental role in the development and transfer of TPS methods and precision equipment to Toyota’s overseas plants.
After a decade in Japan, Art returned to the United States and served as Director of Lean Manufacturing for Donnelly Corporation for five years. Art helped lead one of the most impressive lean transformations in North America. Donnelly won multiple awards while substantially improving net income, as well as operational metrics in safety, quality, productivity, delivery, and morale. Art’s work and this turnaround was featured in Forbes and many other publications.
In 1998, Art joined the international management consulting firm of McKinsey & Company and was one of the firm’s leading experts in lean manufacturing. He counseled numerous Fortune 500 clients on operational matters involving lean implementation and oversaw numerous successful quality, cost, and delivery improvement projects.
In 2003, Art launched his own company Art of Lean, Inc. and now divides his time serving a diverse base of clients such as Parker Hannifin, Delphi, Timken, Schlumberger, Gillette, Nexteer, Sandia National Laboratories, private equity groups, and many other organizations. A vast array of articles, guides, and documents pertaining to leadership and lean are available on his website: www.artoflean.com
Art serves as author and periodic advisor to the Lean Enterprise Institute and its global affiliates, delivering lectures to leading manufacturing executives around the world. In 2005, Art authored the Shingo Publication Award-winning workbook Creating Level Pull on implementing basic pull production. In 2008, he co-authored with his friend and colleague Professor Durward K. Sobek, the Shingo winning book Understanding A3 Thinking. In 2010, Art published Toyota's Kaizen Methods: Six Steps to Improvement with Isao Kato. In 2018, Art wrote his latest book Four Types of Problems, published by the Lean Enterprise Institute.
Director of Workplace Transformation, Governor’s Results Washington Office, State of Washington
Renée Smith serves as the Director of Workplace Transformation for Washington State as part of the Governor’s Results Washington Team. She champions a more humane and effective workplace through primary research, writing, and speaking on Making Work More Human by increasing love and decreasing fear in the workplace. Renée leads the development of the Human Workplace community across the state and provides resources to cultivate human-centered leaders, teams, and Lean advisers.
Renée has spoken across the US, Canada, and Spain, including for LEI’s 2018 Coaching Summit, 2018 AME San Diego, the Foundation for Healthcare Quality, the Catalonia Institute for Construction Technology, Lean in the Public Sector International Conference 2018, the Canadian Government Lean Summit, the US Army’s Regional Health Command Pacific Warriors Care and Transition Summit, and for many other organizations.
She’s a founding member of the HumansFirst.club and has been featured on numerous podcasts including Gemba Academy and The Higher Purpose Podcast, and soon on Robert Martichenko’s Drift and Hum, Heather Younger’s Leadership with Heart, GoLeanSixSigma’s Just In Time Café.
Before joining Results Washington, Renée spent nearly seven years at the Department of Enterprise Services where she served on the Corporate Council and led the Organization Development Services division that provided Lean Transformation Services and Change Excellence Services to DES and G2G Lean Consulting to other state and local governments. Renée earned a Master of Science in Organization Development from Pepperdine University. She lives in Tacoma and enjoys drawing, cooking, and traveling.
Change agent and leader with 15+ years of operational excellence and business improvement experience. Advisor, coach and facilitator in continuous improvement methods (Lean, Six-Sigma), working with teams from the front-line to the corporate office to transform their results. Broad mining and metallurgical background, with experience in both hemispheres.
Over the last 15 years Adrian has worked with clients such as Sherritt International, KGHM International, Skypower Global, Glencore Zinc.