2021 Conference on Enterprise Excellence


Keynote Speakers

Tom Wujec

The Future of Work: Fundamental Skills and Tools to Thrive in a World of Extreme Change (March 30 @ 8:45am)

TED Speaker, Technology Pioneer & Design Thinker

Tom Wujec is a technology pioneer, speaker, writer and design thinker who helps organizations solve complex problems and create massive positive impact.


Tom is the creator of Wicked Problem Solving™, a systems-based framework that elevates creative collaboration. These by the Project Management Institute as an essential method to expand how to implement lean, agile and design thinking methods for its million members. Tom is also the author of six books which have been translated into 16 languages. He has spoken at TED six times and delivered over 400 keynoters and workshops globally.


As a former Autodesk Fellow and founding Singularity University Professor, Tom has worked at the intersection of emerging technologies, business transformation and creative collaboration. He has created a wide range of digital tools to design and engineer better cars, stronger buildings, more beautiful and sustainable consumer products, and more engaging movies and games. Maya, a visual effects application, won an Academy Award for its contribution to the film industry and SketchBook Pro is used by 40 million designers and artists is one of the earliest applications developed using agile methods.

Scott Steinberg

Leading Through Disruption & Future-Proof Your Organization (March 31 @ 9:00am)

Futurist & Best-Selling Author

Hailed as The Master of Innovation by Fortune magazine, and World’s Leading Business Strategist, award-winning strategic consultant, trends expert, and professional speaker Scott Steinberg is a bestselling expert on leadership, change + innovation. A go-to resource for C-level leaders, he has served as a source of thought leadership, insight, and consulting for over 1000 leading brands, and advised on household-name products found in 100+ million homes.


One of America’s top futurists (per the BBC); the author of Make Change Work For You and Millennial Marketing; and among today’s top business strategy + leadership training providers, the Fortune 500 calls him a “defining figure in business + technology” and “top trendsetter to follow.”


A strategic adviser to CEOs and four-star generals, firms like IBM, PwC, and the US Dept. of Defense regularly seek his insight. As the CEO of BIZDEV: The International Association for Business Development and Strategic Partnerships, and management consulting + market research firm FutureProof Strategies, he helps partners stay one step ahead of emerging trends – and drive growth around them.


One of the world’s 150 most influential keynote speakers + futurists, and today’s #1 generations expert and technology expert (per Google), he has consulted on dozens of industry-leading solutions. A noted content strategy, social media + communications expert, his eye for business analysis has also led to his providing insights to 600+ media outlets from CNN to The Today Show. From Dell to MTV, he’s worked with many top brands to drive success and has been an expert witness and board member who advises C-level leaders, attorneys + investors.

Breakout Sessions

Cara Bannon

Screening for Skills, Hiring for Fit (March 30 @ 9:55am)

Director of Human Resources, Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund

Cara Bannon is Director of Human Resources for the $49.8 billion Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), one of the best-funded public pensions in the country, with a funding level of 93.6%. Bannon reports to IMRF’s Executive Director and is a member of the senior leadership team. She leads both IMRF’s Human Resources and Communications functions. She has spent more than two decades working in the field, including for multiple hospital systems. A former Illinois Performance Excellence (ILPEx) Examiner, Bannon holds a B.A. in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership.

Charles D. Callahan, PhD, MBA, FACHE

High Performance in Times of Uncertainty: Management Lessons from the Pandemic (March 30 @ 11:40am)

President, Memorial Health System Hospital Group and President & Chief Operating Officer, Memorial Medical Center

Dr. Callahan earned his doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of Nebraska‐Lincoln in 1991, and his MBA at the University of Illinois‐Springfield in 2004. A Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American College of Healthcare Executives, he is board certified in Rehabilitation Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology, and is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.


Dr. Callahan has over 50 professional publications in the areas of brain injury rehabilitation, neuropsychology, emergency/trauma medicine, healthcare process improvement, and outcomes measurement. He previously served on the editorial boards of Rehabilitation Psychology and The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, and is a Past President of the American Psychological Association’s Division of Rehabilitation Psychology. Callahan served a six year term on the United Way of Central Illinois Board of Directors, including Board Chair in 2012‐2013. He was a 2018 Baldrige Executive Fellow through the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Washington, DC, and recently began a three year term on the Board of Trustees of the Illinois Performance Excellence Program.


Callahan has been employed by Memorial Health System, Springfield, Illinois, since 1991, serving in a variety of clinical and administrative roles. Callahan became the organization’s first Chief Quality Officer in 2013, advanced to Chief Operating Officer in 2014, and effective June, 2019, became President of the MHS Hospital Group and President & Chief Executive Officer of Memorial Medical Center.

Doreen Donohue - DNP, RN, NEA‐BC, CPHQ

High Reliability: How the Joint Commission Sustained During a Global Pandemic (March 31 @ 10:50am)

Field Director, The Joint Commission

Doreen is the Field Director for the Disease Specific Care Certification Program at The Joint Commission with responsibility for the leadership of over 40 Disease Specific Care Reviewers in all programs.

She has over 30 years of experience in hospital operations which includes leading nursing teams in a variety of specialties, program development and responsibility for organizational education.

Doreen received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the College of Mount St. Vincent in Riverdale, NY, her Master of Science in Nursing Administration from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA  and her Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Doreen been a National Baldrige Performance Excellence Award Examiner since 2018.

Gary Alveranga

Empowerment: The Power to Drive Change (March 31 @ 11:40am)

Executive Consultant, The Kaleidoscope Group

Gary Alveranga has over ten years of production management and quality control experience in organizations that remanufacture and maintain large equipment. Before joining The Kaleidoscope Group, he was independently consulting as an on-site project manager for the remanufacture of thirty-eight diesel-electric locomotives. Gary has experienced the significant effects that a diverse and unified workforce can have in both non-union and union production environments. As a Facility Manager, he and his team of new employees created a manufacturing facility which was profitable in its first year of operation. While managing multiple shift production lines, he facilitated diverse employee teams in their continuous quality improvement efforts. Some of the processes resulting from these efforts include: a “New Hire Training and Mentoring Program”, multiple component re-engineering and redesign changes, and an in-house production line inventory system. Implementation of these processes cut operating budget expenses, increased production per shift, and improved equipment performance and reliability.

Joining the Kaleidoscope Group in the fall of 1997, Gary currently serves as a Certified Master Facilitator. Gary oversees the development and certification of internal training staff and external consultants. Gary strategically consults with executive clients, nationally and globally, and he also assists with diversity education design and implementation. He is noted as being able to “connect” with and present to all audiences due to his thorough understanding of the business case and impact of diversity for every stakeholder.

A few of Gary’s client engagements include organizations such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Caterpillar, CNA Insurance, Coca-Cola Bottling, Duracell, Federal Reserve Bank, John G. Shedd Aquarium, Northrop Grumman, Sara Lee, and The Wildlife Conservation Society. Gary is originally from Jamaica, West Indies and has a B.S. from Drexel University in Electrical Engineering.

Dr. JoAnn Sternke

Measure What Matters - Selecting Key Data for Your Organization and Display It So It Tells Your Story! (March 31 @ 10:00am)

Senior Leader and Coach, Studer Education

How many people can say they have worked for TWO Baldrige recipient organizations?  Dr. JoAnn Sternke currently serves as a Senior Leader and Coach at Studer Education, a division of Studer Group.  Studer Group is a 2010 Baldrige award recipient. Simply put, JoAnn is enjoying helping organizations “get better at getting better.”  Previously, JoAnn was the Superintendent of Schools in Pewaukee School District, located near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 2013, JoAnn led the Pewaukee School District to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Under her leadership, student achievement saw a dramatic increase. Despite having one of the most rigorous public school graduation requirements in the state, PSD achieved a 97% graduation rate. Additionally, the percentage of PSD students attending a two- or four-year college increased from 68.8% in 2006-2007 to close to 93% in 2015-16.  After serving as an examiner and team lead, JoAnn just completed a three-year term on the Panel of Judges for the Baldrige National Quality Program. She enjoys service with both the Wisconsin and Minnesota program.  She also learned much serving on the board for the American Society of Quality.  JoAnn was honored to receive the 2019 Harry Hertz Leadership Award from the Baldrige Foundation.

Mara Bryant

5 Key Innovations Driving Outcomes in a Pandemic (March 31 @ 11:40am)

Operations Executive, Adventist Health White Memorial

As Operations Executive, Mara Bryant leads out in key initiatives integration of the Malcolm Baldrige business framework, strategic planning and organizational performance. In 1999, she became Adventist Health’s first national Malcolm Baldrige examiner in the healthcare category, which has helped White Memorial better understand and implement the Malcolm Baldrige criteria.


Bryant has also set up an effective productivity standard to monitor staffing and help ensure correct nursing ratios. She also established the decision support function to provide comparative data, which is vital to strategic and operational planning.


She is actively pursuing research in racially ambiguous babies, its implications in healthcare and social determinants of health. Bryant has 2 publications on this topic and participated on an NIH conference to begin looking at alternative models.


Bryant first worked at White Memorial as a volunteer, at 14 years of age. In 1984, she was hired as a part-time secretary while completing her bachelor’s degree. In the 1990s, she held positions as Joint Commission Project Manager and Director of Quality and Resource Management.


Mara holds a Master of Business Administration degree from La Sierra University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Administration of Justice from California State University at Los Angeles.

Mark G. Pelletier - RN, MS

High Reliability: How the Joint Commission Sustained During a Global Pandemic (March 31 @ 10:50am)

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Executive, The Joint Commission

Mark G. Pelletier, RN, MS is the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Executive for The Joint Commission. His responsibilities include executive leadership for the accreditation and certification of more than 21,000 healthcare organizations and programs, all activities related to surveys, eligibility and application processes, customer account management, and federal deeming compliance requirements. He also administers accreditation and certification policy development, surveyor education and development, survey technology, and the ongoing development and refinement of the accreditation process.

Mr. Pelletier has more than 30 years of experience in hospital operations, performance and quality improvement, process redesign, and program development. He has served in executive positions for several hospitals in Chicago.

Mr. Pelletier earned his Diploma in Nursing at Mennonite School of Nursing, Bloomington, Illinois, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Administration from DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois.

Mark Roberts

How is Voice of Customer Changing? (March 31 @ 10:00am)

CEO and Founder, OTB Sales Solutions

Mark brings an exceptional background of over 35 years of sales & marketing successes, & leadership. Mark has had senior sales, marketing & training development positions across a wide array of businesses, including The Timken Company, Mobility Works, Gardner Denver, VMI, Pragmatic Marketing, Frito-Lay, & many other industry leaders. With a long history of building, training, coaching, & leading sales teams, the National Association of Sales & Marketing recognized his contributions with The Business Excellence Award. He was recently recognized as one of the Top 50 for his expertise implementing Sales Enablement by Highspot. Mark is also the author of the book Branding Backwards, a keynote speaker, trainer, thought leader on LinkedIn, and his strategic business development blog No Smoke & Mirrors. A graduate of the Executive MBA program at Kent State University, he also completed a management-development program with Harvard Business School. Mark has a passion for continuous personal improvement and helping his clients drive strategic profitable growth. When he’s not serving customers, he actively volunteers in the community. He and his wife Kecia rescue Labradors and help them find their forever homes.

Michael Horrigan

Unemployment Landscape: What the Emerging Economic Data Is Telling Us About Jobs and the Eventual Recovery (March 31 @ 10:00am)

President, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

Dr. Michael Horrigan has been the President of the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research since March 2019. The Institute, headquartered in Kalamazoo, MI, is a private, not-for-profit, nonpartisan, independent organization founded in 1945. The Institute conducts high-quality research on labor markets, focusing on the causes of unemployment, the effectiveness of social safety net programs, the impact of education and training on workers’ employability and earnings, the influence of state and local economic development policies, and the analysis of regional economic conditions. The Institute also administers federal, state, and locally funded employment and training programs to assist job seeks and employers in Southwest Michigan.

Prior to coming to the Institute, Mike worked for 32 years in a variety of positions at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most recently, from 2015 to 2019, he ran the employment and unemployment programs at BLS, including the publication of the national civilian unemployment rate and the monthly payroll jobs numbers. Prior to that position, Mike oversaw all of the price and inflation programs at BLS.

Patricia Skriba

Why Use an Organization-Wide Management Strategy? (March 31 @ 10:50am)

Vice President Business Excellence, Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, Downers Grove, IL (RETIRED)

Pattie joined Advocate Aurora Health Care in 1992 in a variety of system roles culminating into the system Director of Organizational Development.  In 2006, Pattie was intrigued with a journey called ‘moving from good to great’ at one of the hospitals in the system – Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, a 300-bed acute care hospital in Downers Grove, IL.  She transitioned to GSAM and became the Vice President of Business Excellence.  In this role, Pattie partnered with the executive team to embed the Baldrige Framework into business operations and create a more ‘process-honoring culture’ which led to Advocate Good Samaritan’s recognition as a 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient.  In her role Pattie also led the operations improvement (LEAN) function achieving both breakthrough improvements and cultivating a ‘community of problem-solvers.’  Pattie has shared her passion for performance excellence as an IMEC examiner, the Chief Judge for the IMEC Performance Excellence Recognition program and is currently serving on the Panel of Judges for the National Baldrige Program.  Pattie holds a Bachelor of Arts from Wheaton College (IL) and a Master of Science from Northern Illinois University.  She is known for her energy, creativity, and a strong results-orientation.   Besides anything dealing with Baldrige, Pattie enjoys her family, biking, travel, and the outdoors.

Rebekah Kowalski

Post-COVID World of Work / America 2.0 (March 30 @ 10:50am)

Vice President, Manpower Manufacturing

Rebekah Kowalski is the Vice President of Manpower Manufacturing and is responsible for ManpowerGroup North America’s Manufacturing Sector Strategy, developing talent solutions for the rapidly transforming industry. Rebekah’s work focuses on developing solutions that help organizations and leaders deal with the implications of both the shortage of rightly skilled workers, and the evolution of roles and skills.


Leading up to her current role, Rebekah led the Client Workforce Solutions team for ManpowerGroup North America. Rebekah’s work focused on developing solutions that help organizations and leaders deal with the implications of both the shortage of rightly skilled workers and the rapid evolution of roles and skills across multiple sectors. Rebekah led the ManpowerGroup team who worked with MxD (formally the Digital Manufacturing & Design Innovation Institute) to define the future workforce for digital manufacturing and design and was responsible for leading ManpowerGroup North America’s manufacturing sector strategy. Rebekah also led the Workforce Strategy and Solution Integration team for Right Management, a ManpowerGroup company, where she was the primary architect of ManpowerGroup’s proprietary workforce supply and demand forecasting solution and consulting process. She pioneered the workforce strategy approach for government clients to help align their employment ecosystems with their long-term talent forecasts.


Prior to joining Right Management, Rebekah spent nine years at the helm of Manpower’s U.S. and Global Solutions units. She led the teams responsible for working with ManpowerGroup’s most strategically significant global clients to architect innovative global workforce strategy and delivery models that enabled them to optimize cost and flexibility and prepare for emerging needs. She is passionate about education leading into a sustainable career and has served on the Board of the Wisconsin Education Business Roundtable and the Executive Committee of Competitive Wisconsin. She is an active member of the University of Wisconsin System Business Council.


Scott Frisch

A Focus on Action (March 31 @ 11:40am)

EVP & Chief Operating Officer, AARP

Scott Frisch is executive vice president and chief operating officer for AARP. He is responsible for all enterprise-wide operational and financial matters including human resources, information technology, real estate and facilities management as well as data and analytics performance management.

Since his appointment as COO, Scott has helped guide AARP through a period of dynamic change, reengineering the operational functions of the organization to maximize efficiencies and increase operating reserves.  He established a $40 million investment fund that spurs innovation in health and wellness as well as a $60 million investment vehicle to accelerate research into cures for all types of dementia including Alzheimer’s.  Scott oversaw the comprehensive renovation of AARP’s 500,000 square foot national office headquarters in Washington, DC to provide the latest in technology and environmentally-friendly and innovative workspace. He is widely respected at all levels of the organization for his acute business acumen and fiscal discipline.

Prior to his appointment as COO, Scott served as senior vice president and chief financial officer for AARP Services, Inc. (ASI), the for-profit subsidiary of AARP. He provided strategic guidance and expertise in all areas of ASI’s financial management.  He had previously served as chief financial officer and treasurer at AARP Financial, Inc.

Prior to joining the AARP enterprise, Scott held a variety of management positions at Columbia Management Group, NATIXIS Asset Management Services, Inc., Putnam Investments and KPMG.

Scott graduated from Villanova University. He is a certified public accountant and previously held Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Series 6 and 63 licenses. Scott is a Board member on the Greater Washington Board of Trade, Treasurer and Chair of the Audit & Finance Committee of the Downtown DC Business Improvement Council and is on the Board of Advisors of CBC Financial, LLC. He sits on the Wall Street Journal CFO Network, the Executive Committee of the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging Business Council, and is a Malcom Baldrige Executive Fellow. Scott is also a member of the Connected DMV COVID-19 Strategic Renewal Task Force, a collaboration of regional leaders focused on accelerating the economic and business recovery of the greater Washington area in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Shankar Anant

Better Every Day: Managing for Daily Improvement (March 31 @ 10:50am)

Lean and Quality Technical Specialist, IMEC

Shankar Anant holds over 20 years of international manufacturing experience having worked in the U.S., Europe and Asia in a variety of industries. This experience directly corresponds with how he helps manufacturers in Illinois. With so many different industries being represented, Shankar’s diverse background aids in my ability to help a variety of manufacturers.

Over the last decade, Shankar has consulted with global, diverse manufacturing industries helping them in their Lean transformation journey. He works with companies to implement Lean Business Systems, quality management systems and process quality upgrades that bring improvement to and help transform the entire organization.

Scott Rempala

Streamline Efficiency with 80/20 Process Improvement (March 30 @ 11:40am)

President, Mighty Hook, Inc.

Scott Rempala has 32 years of experience in manufacturing and applied coatings in various senior level positions including, Senior Product Manager, Vice President of Operations and Executive Vice President.  For the last 20 years, Scott has served as President and Owner of Mighty Hook, Inc., a wire forming and metal fabrication manufacturer specializing in tooling and material handling solutions for the industrial coatings market.

Scott holds a J.D. in International Business Law from John Marshall Law School, Chicago, IL, an M.B.A. in International Business from Loyola University Chicago, IL, and a B.A. in Economics and English Literature from Lake Forest College, IL

Sherrin Ingram

Your Strategic Plan as a Living Document: Staying Focused on Your Strategy When "Fires" are Everywhere (March 31 @ 10:50am)

Chief Executive Officer, International Center for Strategic Planning

Sherrin Ingram is the Chief Executive Officer of the International Center for Strategic Planning, a management consulting firm specializing in sustainable scaling and comprehensive restructuring for aggressive growth companies. She oversees the development and support of all strategic initiatives for client companies and is a trusted advisor and coach to high-performing CEOs and executives. Visit Sherirn’s Linkedin profile to learn more about her work: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sherriningram.

Susan MacNicol

Insider Ways to Use Facebook and LinkedIn to Increase Your Sales (March 30 @ 11:40am)

Founder & President, Strategic & Creative Marketing, Inc.

Susan MacNicol has more than 25 years of business experience spanning several industries including media, entertainment, retail, higher education and data. Her roles have ranged from marketing, employment branding and client relations, to sales, recruiting and training.  Susan provides a strategic direction, creative guidance and major copywriting for all projects.

After a successful management career at both domestic and international companies, including Fortune 500 organizations, Susan established her marketing consulting firm in 2001. Through her company, she has completed projects for non-profits, small businesses and enterprise level companies. Some clients include: Experian, Nielsen, Charter Business, Office Max, Sears Holdings, Ericsson, Charter Cable, Time Warner, Level 3 Communications, International Channel Networks, United Artists/Regal Cinemas, Columbia College Chicago, BCCA (Broadcast Cable Credit Association) and Johnson & Johnson.

Specific areas of focus throughout her career include: corporate and regional recruiting and employment branding; local and national sales, advertising, promotions and publicity campaigns; domestic and international marketing, events and corporate sponsorships; client relations, training and business development.

Her educational background includes an MBA from Pepperdine University and a BA in Marketing Communications from Columbia College Chicago.

Tami Wloch

Insider Ways to Use Facebook and Linked In to Increase Your Sales (March 30 @ 11:40am)

Director, Social/Digital Media, Strategic & Creative Marketing, Inc.

For over 15 years, Tami has been implementing Marketing tactics, including expertise in Social Media, PR, TradeShows, Radio/TV/Newspaper, print, and more.  Because of her successes with Social Media Campaigns, she now serves on Advisory Boards for both Facebook Corp & LinkedIn Corp where she helps shape the future of Social Media by beta testing, evaluating, and changing their future products & services.  In addition, she is certified in both SEO & Google Analytics.

She teaches classes both in the US and internationally, nearly every month, to help business owners understand the complex world of gaining customers through Social Platforms – this can be a very inexpensive Marketing tool if used correctly.  She leads classes through hands-on techniques owners can implement for immediate results and welcomes feedback and questions from the attendees during all sessions as instant feedback greatly increases the learning curve.

Tom Welge

Adjusting to Changes in Supply Chain and Customer Demands: Serving the Food Industry in a Global Pandemic (March 30 @ 9:55am)

President and CEO, Gilster-Mary Lee

Tom Welge serves as President & CEO of Gilster-Mary Lee Corp, a store brand and food service manufacturer headquartered in southern Illinois.  He is the 4th generation of the family working in the 125-year-old business.  Prior to assuming his current role in 2020, he worked in sales, technical services, and served as the organization’s General Counsel.  He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Buena Vista National Bank in Chester, IL, Chairman of the Board of the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC), and as a board member of the Illinois Manufacturers Association (IMA).  He is also President of the St. Nicholas Brewing Co. in Du Quoin, IL.

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