Leadership Track

At its core, successful leadership is all about interoperability—on a human level. How you interact with your direct reports, your peers and your senior management is just as important to your career success as which products and services you choose and deploy.

Through hands-on workshops, peer-led discussions and expert panel sessions, the Leadership Track at Interop 2015 gives you the skills you need to improve your business outcomes and make the most of your own IT career. Participate in our leadership track and you’ll learn:
  • The secrets to IT career advancement.
  • How to apply creative thinking to every project.
  • Top tips for negotiating—with vendors, corporate stakeholders, and even your own executives.
  • What you can do to enhance your relationships with sales, marketing, GRC, procurement  and other key stakeholders in your organization.
  • Why today’s digital business environment is the best time ever to be in IT.

Join us for our leadership sessions at Interop 2015 and you’ll return to your office reenergized and ready to rock your IT career.

Featured Leadership Sessions
Big IT Ideas Don’t Need Big Budgets
We say it all the time: IT can change lives. That couldn't be more true for Pat Smith, the award-winning former CIO of Florida social services agency Our Kids of Miami/Dade County. Smith completely re-architected how the agency’s caseworkers monitor the foster children in their care, and her elegant solution soon became the de facto standard for social services agencies throughout the state of Florida. Join Pat as she presents the compelling case study that not only transformed the IT organization at Our Kids, but also helped to save young lives in the process. You’ll learn how to make use of the technologies at hand to meet the needs of your stakeholders — whether they are busy business executives or our most precious beings—the kids in our foster care system. Pat’s story of her own IT leadership path will inspire you to stretch your boundaries inside your own organization and, perhaps, find ways that you can help the greater good.
Speaker: Pat Smith, Former CIO - Florida Social Services Agency, Our Kids of Miami/Dade County  
Diversity in IT and the Myth of the Talent Gap
Does your IT department look like the rest of your company? We're not talking about fashion choices. These days, with IT executives often viewed by their business colleagues as inhibitors to speed and success, and with shadow IT becoming in increasingly common in the enterprise, your own colleagues want to see faces in IT that reflect their own. Meanwhile, tech job opportunities would appear to be plentiful based on reports from the U.S. Department of Labor and various research institutions. Yet, ask any IT leader what they think of the available talent pool, and you'll hear a litany of complaints about how difficult it is for them to find the "right" people to fill key roles. At the same time, research shows evidence of ageism in IT, as well an overall lack of diversity when it comes to race, gender, and disability. This panel of experts will provide practical tools that IT hiring managers can use to make sure they're not overlooking important candidates in their quest to find the "right" talent. And we'll give IT employees and job seekers tips on how they can advance in a system that they may feel is stacked against them.
Susan Nunziata, Director of Editorial, UBM Tech
Andy Aczel, CTO, The Specialists Guild 

Barbara Horne, Consultant, The Business Channels
Cindy Goodwin Sak, Senior Systems Engineering Manager, Cisco

Going Big With Small Teams
Small and medium-sized businesses are under the same pressure to innovate as large corporations. Yet they face these challenges with shoestring IT budgets and limited staff who are stretched thin and forced to wear multiple hats. Being small doesn't have to be a barrier to IT innovation. It can, in fact, be a competitive advantage with the right culture and team. As Peter Drucker famously said, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." In this informative and motivational session, Eduardo Ruiz, Director of Information Technology with the Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health, will share first-hand experiences and offer practical ideas on how to cultivate a culture of performance, collaboration, and innovation. You'll leave this session empowered to achieve big results with a small team.
Speaker: Eduardo Ruiz, Director of Information Technology, The Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health 
IT & Procurement: Can This Relationship be Saved?
Procurement is the department everybody loves to hate. IT leaders typically consider procurement as an impediment to progress. Oftentimes, the relationship can feel like a workplace version of The Hunger Games. It doesn't have to be this way. In fact, there's real business and career benefit to learning how to partner with your procurement department. Session speaker Mike Davis, CTO of CounterTrak and frequent InformationWeek contributor, will share the lessons he's learned that illustrate how you can work with, not against, your colleagues in procurement and enlist them as allies in the battle to negotiate contracts with cloud vendors and other service providers.
Speaker: Michael Davis, CTO, CounterTack

Rebooting IT: Going Digital Through Operational Excellence & Innovation
Technology continues to be the heartbeat of every business, government, and non-profit. With an exploding digital portfolio, IT is simultaneously called upon to do more, secure more, and create new products, but sometimes with less business unit cooperation and resourcing. How can IT continue to keep the lights on, yet be the digital and innovation leader that the organization needs? Jonathan has spent the last 10 years in a challenging environment: a mid-sized city with scarce resources, a political environment, and a civil service culture. Yet, by taking specific steps to reboot IT, the city has changed how it does business, served customers and citizens better, improved its cybersecurity posture, innovated in the field of cloud computing, cut costs, kept citizens safer, and garnered industry awards in the process.
Speaker: Jonathan Feldman, CIO of the City of Asheville, NC  

Salary and Promotion Negotiation for IT
As information technology pros we focus our time on knowing the systems we work with, understanding technology, and keeping up with a constantly changing industry. This tech focus often leads to a gap in the soft skills required to negotiate raises and promotions, and map out a career path with bosses. While salary and title are only part of what makes work worthwhile, fair compensation is essential to overall job satisfaction. This session will focus on three key areas for IT pros: assessing your market value, negotiating for that value, and knowing when a job change is necessary to keep on track with your desired career path. We will discuss methodologies for planning a path, negotiation tactics, and guidelines for when and where a job change may be the only option.
Joe Onisick, Principal Engineer, Marketing, Cisco INSBU, Cisco

Technical Leadership in a Culture That Values Business Results
You’ve heard it time and again: IT leadership today demands that you take risks, have a passion for the end-goal, and offer deep knowledge of the subject matter, all while delivering on business goals.  You can easily find eloquent descriptions of IT leaders with such skillsets who have changed their organizations.  Generally missing from these discussions is the “what” and the “how.” What they did to achieve the results? And how did they do it? Tapping his three decades working in IT for corporate enterprises and government agencies, Victor Moudgill will share his own career-pivoting experiences and tell you how they helped shaped the five best practices that he always applies to his own IT projects. In this interactive session, he’ll coach participants in identifying the core challenges every IT leader faces and how to tackle them, leaving you with action items you’ll be able to put into practice in your own workplace. 
Speaker: Victor Moudgil, Director of World Class Operations 
The New IT: How Ready Are You?
Corporate strategy is putting digital technology front-and-center, even as IT leaders feel they’re losing decision-making power (and budget) to their business-side colleagues. Business managers are sharing cocktails with software vendors, systems are synonymous with smart phones, small companies are taking on big data, and every end-user has a legacy system under his or her desk. During this participatory session, author Jill Dyché, VP of Best Practices at SAS, will guide you through the three key self-assessment tests that will help you determine if you’re ready to lead your IT organization into the future. You’ll learn from real-world examples of those who are getting it right — and those who aren’t.
Jill Dyché, VP of Best Practices, SAS and Author, "The New IT"

Understanding the Full Legal & Business Liabilities of Cyber Breaches
Protecting your organization from cyber breaches extends well beyond deploying the right technologies. In this session you'll learn about the business and legal fallout from cyber security breaches. These include business disruptions, loss of data/IP, PII exposure, expensive/embarrassing litigation, potentially damaging regulatory inquiries, and compliance actions. We'll examine the negative financial, social and operational impact of high profile breaches such as those affecting Sony, Target, Home Depot, JP Morgan and others. We'll also provide an overview of potential regulatory actions that could be taken by the SEC, FTC, CFTC or Congress, and the business impact of such actions -- extensive document requests, "invitations" to testify, fines and sanctions, and more.
Speaker: Jason Straight, SVP Chief Privacy Officer, UnitedLex  
Unleashing the Hidden Value of IT
The value and potential of IT in an organization is often misunderstood, and the role can be thankless: IT is blamed for problems, but rarely gets credit for value delivered. What if we were to build a broader role for IT, where it is not only a commodity-based service, but also a vehicle for leveraging partners, finding new connections, and developing initiatives for the enterprise? This session will explore how looking at IT's role in a more creative and entrepreneurial light can facilitate the growth of the organization and the individual IT employee. It will provide real-life examples of what a CIO is doing to realize those possibilities.
Speaker: Hollis "Terry" Bradwell III, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, AARP
Vendor-Agnostic RFPs: The IT Leader's Secret Weapon
When was the last time you truly evaluated your RFP process? Are you sure you're asking the right questions and seeking the right vendors to deliver the best possible value to your organization? Michel Davidoff, Director CyberInfrastructure, California State University, Chancellor's Office, will share his real-world experiences in this session to help you examine and refine your own RFP process.
Michel Davidoff, Director CyberInfrastructure, California State University, Chancellor's Office

More sessions will be announced shortly. Stay tuned on Twitter by following @Interop.
Featured Leadership Workshops
Creative Leadership
IT leaders don't have the liberty of facing tomorrow's problems with yesterday's solutions, in today's world that simply doesn't work. Successful technology leaders understand their role in driving innovation and change to successfully produce continued growth and profitability. In this workshop, participants will learn about creativity and techniques for influencing leaders at all levels to embrace creativity. Participants will also identify strategies for challenging norms, staying open to new ideas, and taking risks while taking ownership of their roles and their team's creative climate.
Instructor: Rob Cordova, Master Leadership Trainer, Rob Cordova Consulting

Fearless Career Advancement in IT & the Myths of the Employment System
The career advancement process seems designed to make your palms sweat – whether you're gunning for a promotion, looking to survive a performance review or pursuing a new gig. In this interactive workshop, the instructor will give you the keys to unlocking the system and breaking out of the status quo. During this three-hour workshop you'll participate in activities designed to help you refine your own career strategies, establish your value as an employee, teach you how to make profitable hires, and enable you to be the kind of leader who nurtures the careers of others in your IT organization.

IT Leadership Summit
This full-day workshop will host several IT influencers who will delve into the strategies and challenges of leading one of the world’s fastest growing industries. Many organizations struggle with developing and engaging high-potential technical talent, those fast-track specialists that drive innovation and uniquely contribute to their organization's value proposition. This workshop will share research-based and experience-tested practices for accelerating the development of high-potential technical talent. We will explore how self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and learning agility contribute to leadership effectiveness. This interactive session will show you how to both enhance your own career and accelerate the development of key employees so they will innovate, drive change, and advance to senior strategic roles.
Instructor: Kim E. Ruyle, President, Inventive Talent Consulting   
Romi Mahajan, President, KKM Group

How to Register

The following passes will get you access to the Interop program:

Track Chair

Photo of Susan Nunziata

Susan Nunziata

Director of Editorial, UBM Tech

As Director of Editorial for one of UBM Tech’s IT community sites, Susan Nunziata works closely with the site's content team and contributors to guide topics, direct strategies, and pursue new ideas, all in the interest of sharing practicable insights with our community of visitors.

Prior to joining the E2 team, Nunziata was Editorial Director for the Ziff Davis Enterprise portfolio of Websites, which includes eWEEK, Baseline, and CIO Insight. Since 2010, she also served as Editor in Chief of CIO Insight. Prior to joining Ziff Davis Enterprise, she served as Editor in Chief of Mobile Enterprise from 2007 to 2010. A frequent public speaker, she has entertained audiences with compelling topics such as "Enterprise Mobility" and "The Multigenerational Workforce." She even managed to snag invitations to speak about BYOD and enterprise mobility at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium – not once, but twice (and those folks are smart). In a past life, she worked as a lead editor for entertainment and marketing publications, including Billboard, Music Business International, and Entertainment Marketing Letter. A native New Yorker, in August 2011 Nunziata inexplicably picked up stakes and relocated to the only place in the country with a higher cost of living: The San Francisco Bay Area. A telecommuter, her office mates are two dogs and two extremely well fed cats. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from St. John's University in Jamaica, N.Y. (and she doesn't even watch basketball).


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