Outthinker accepts only the best business and strategy veterans to address the group. The ability to share condensed wisdom, knowledge and experience with the group is key. Speakers for roundtable sessions are meticulously hand-picked by our team to satisfy the following criteria.
- Each speaker’s area of expertise is a top-of-mind issue for our strategy officers—with topics for meetings voted upon by members at the end of each session.
- Each speaker is an exceptionally forward-looking thought-leader or “Outthinker” who will bring exciting information and a nuanced point of view to the conversation.
- Each speaker is excited to join our group and take part in the discussion.
Felix Oberholzer-Gee is the Andreas Andresen Professor of Business Administration in the Strategy Unit at Harvard Business School. A member of the faculty since 2003, Professor Oberholzer-Gee received his Masters degree, summa cum laude, and his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Zurich. His first faculty position was at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He currently teaches competitive strategy in executive education programs such as the Program for Leadership Development, the Senior Executive Program for China, and in a program for media executives titled Effective Strategies for Media Companies. His course Strategies Beyond the Market is a popular elective class for second-year MBA students. Professor Oberholzer-Gee won numerous awards for excellence in teaching, including the Harvard Business School Class of 2006 Faculty Teaching Award for best teacher in the core curriculum, and the 2002 Helen Kardon Moss Anvil Award for best teacher in the Wharton MBA program. Prior to his academic career, Professor Oberholzer-Gee served as managing director of Symo Electronics, a Swiss-based process control company.
Tsedal Neeley (@tsedal) is the Naylor Fitzhugh Professor of Business Administration, Senior Associate Dean of Faculty Development and Research Strategy, and Faculty Chair of the Christensen Center for Teaching and Learning at the Harvard Business School. Recognized as a Top Voice on LinkedIn in remote work and one of the 100 people transforming business who are innovating, sparking trends, and tackling global challenges by Business Insider, her work focuses on how leaders can scale their organizations by developing and implementing global and digital strategies. She regularly advises top leaders who are embarking on virtual work and large scale-change that involves global expansion, digital transformation, and becoming more agile.
She is the co-author of the forthcoming book, The Digital Mindset: What It Really Takes to Thrive in the Age of Data, Algorithms and AI, which introduces the “30% rule”–the minimum threshold that gives us just enough digital literacy to understand and take advantage of the digital threads woven into the fabric of our world. Her best-selling book, Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding from Anywhere, provides remote workers and leaders with the best practices necessary to perform at the highest levels in their organizations. Her award-winning book, The Language of Global Success: How a Common Tongue Transforms Multinational Organizations chronicles the behind-the-scenes globalization process of a company over the course of five years. She has also published extensively in leading scholarly and practitioner-oriented outlets such as Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Management Science, Journal of International Business, Strategic Management Journal and Harvard Business Review, and her work has been widely covered in media outlets such as CNBC, Bloomberg, BBC, CNN, Financial Times, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, and the Economist. Her HBS case, Managing a Global Team: Greg James at Sun Microsystems, is one of the most used cases worldwide on the subject of virtual work.
Tsedal has popular online courses including Remote Work Revolution for Everyone and Leading in a Remote Environment (with Ronald Heifetz). She co-chairs the executive offering, Leading Global Businesses, which helps top leaders develop emerging and mature market strategies in a global and increasingly digital economy. She also teaches extensively in executive programs such as the Harvard Business Analytics Program. She has previously been the course head for the first-year required Leadership and Organizational Behavior course in the MBA program that focuses on how to lead effectively; the curriculum addresses group behavior and performance, organization design, change and how to align people behind a common vision.
Prior to her academic career, Tsedal spent ten years working for companies like Lucent Technologies and The Forum Corporation in various roles, including strategies for global customer experience, 360-degree performance software management systems, sales force/sales management development, and business flow analysis for telecommunication infrastructures. A sought-after speaker with extensive international experience, she is fluent in four languages. She holds a patent for her software simulation on global collaboration and is a member of Rakuten People & Culture Lab Advisory Board.
Tsedal is a recipient of the prestigious Charles M. Williams Award for Outstanding Teaching in Executive Education and the Greenhill Award for outstanding contributions to Harvard Business School (two-time recipient). She serves on the Board of Directors of Brightcove, Brown Capital Management, Harvard Business Publishing and the Partnership Inc.
Tsedal received her Ph.D. from Stanford University in Management Science and Engineering, specializing in Work, Technology and Organizations. Tsedal was named as one of the Top Management Thinkers in the World by Thinkers50, honored as a Stanford Distinguished Alumnus Scholar and was a Stanford University School of Engineering Lieberman award recipient for excellence in teaching and research.
Dan Toma is a founding partner at Outcome, where he helps large companies transform to be able to innovate for the future while running their core business. Dan holds a dual MBA degree. He co-authored The Corporate Startup, which was awarded the 2018 Management Book of the Year Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship by the Chartered Management Institute. Dan worked as a consultant for several companies, including Bosch, Bayer, John Deere, Deutsche Telekom, and The World Bank. He also ran company-wide innovation and digital transformations for leading companies in industries as diverse as: banking, fast mover consumer goods, education, and maritime. A big proponent of the ecosystem approach to innovation, Dan has also worked with various government bodies in Asia and Europe, helping developing national innovation ecosystems and implement national innovation strategies. Most noteworthy is his work in the economic aid program of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vietnam, where he helped design and manage a nationwide business acceleration program and supported the capability development activities. In 2020 Dan was featured on the Thinkers50 Radar list of management thinkers to watch.
Ram Charan is a world-renowned business consultant, author and speaker who has spent the past 40 years working with many top companies, CEOs, and boards of our time. Ram has authored over 30 books since 1998 that have sold over 4 million copies in more than a dozen languages. Three of his books were Wall Street Journal bestsellers, including Execution, which he coauthored with former Honeywell CEO Larry Bossidy in 2002, which spent more than 150 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He also has written for publications including Harvard Business Review, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Time, Chief Executive and USA TODAY.
Rita Gunther McGrath
Rita Gunther McGrath is a globally recognized expert on innovation and growth strategies with an emphasis on corporate entrepreneurship. Recognized as one of the top 10 management thinkers by global management award Thinkers50, her work and ideas help CEOs and senior executives chart a pathway to success in today’s rapidly changing and volatile environments. McGrath is highly valued for her rare ability to connect research to business problems.
Faith Popcorn is the founder and CEO of Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve, the futurist marketing consultancy she established in 1974. She is also the best-selling author of The Popcorn Report, Clicking, EVEolution, Dictionary of the Future, and the upcoming, Popcorn Report Revisited. As the lead strategist for Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve, Faith applies her insight into cultural and business Trends to help BrainReserve clients reposition established brands/companies, develop new strategies, and innovate new products, services, and experiences.
Recently named by HR Magazine as one of the top 20 international thinkers, Peter has expertise in industrial relations and labor economics. Previously, he was a faculty member at MIT, the University of Illinois, and the University of California at Berkeley. An international speaker and advisor, Peter recently led discussions on unemployment and workforce skills at the Davos Annual Meeting of the 2012 World Economic Forum.
Gary Hamel is one of the world’s most influential and iconoclastic business thinkers. He has worked with leading companies across the globe and is a dynamic and sought-after management speaker. Hamel has been on the faculty of the London Business School for more than 30 years and is the director of the Management Lab.
Ash currently acts as a Special Advisor to Zetta Venture Partners, where he was a Managing Director from 2015 to 2021. Before Zetta, Ash launched AngelList’s fundraising platform that now manages over $7B. Prior to AngelList, he co-founded Topguest (acquired), a loyalty software platform that counted United Airlines, Hilton Worldwide, and Virgin America as clients. He started his career in growth investing at Macquarie Capital in New York after studying law at the University of Sydney. Penguin Random House has published his book, “The AI-First Company: How to Compete and Win with Artificial Intelligence”.
Liliana Cerilo is the Head of Strategy for the Google Exploratory. Here she focuses on building technology-driven business innovation partnerships with the world’s largest brands. Working with product teams across Google and Alphabet, these partnerships leverage groundbreaking innovation to solve critical business challenges and help future-proof against evolving industries.
Chris Marquis is the Samuel C. Johnson Professor in Sustainable Global Enterprise and Professor of Management at the Cornell University Johnson College of Business.Marquis’ current teaching and research is broadly focused on the two areas of social innovation and change and doing business in China. Under these themes he has examined entrepreneurship in China, the triple-bottom-line and building sustainable businesses globally, and business competition in emerging markets. These research projects build on Marquis’ earlier research on how business can have a positive impact on society.
Robbie Baxter is the author of The Membership Economy: Find Your Superusers, Master the Forever Transaction & Build Recurring Revenue. She is focused on helping companies leverage subscription pricing, digital community, and freemium to build deeper relationships with customers. Her clients have included start-ups and mid-sized venture-backed companies as well as industry leaders such as Netflix, Oracle, Electronic Arts, and eBay. Robbie’s expertise with companies in the emerging Membership Economy extends to include SaaS, media, consumer products and community organizations. Her new book, The Forever Transaction: How to Build a Subscription Model So Compelling, Your Customers Will Never Want to Leave, was released in March of 2020.
John Hagel III
Mr. John Hagel III serves as Co-Chairman at Strategy and Technology Center of Deloitte LLP. Mr. Hagel serves as Co-Chairman of The Deloitte Center for the Edge. Mr. Hagel’s distinctive expertise involves perspectives on the emergence and evolution of new business models enabled by the Internet, restructuring opportunities created by e-commerce and new approaches to strategy under high uncertainty.
David Schonthal is a portfolio director at IDEO and a professor at Kellogg School of Management in innovation and entrepreneurship. He is the faculty director of the Zell Fellows Program, a selective venture accelerator program helping student entrepreneurs launch new businesses. Author of “The Human Element: Overcoming the Resistance That Awaits New Ideas” in bookstores on October 5, 2021.
Erica Dhawan is an expert on modern day collaboration and connectional intelligence. She is the co-author of bestselling book Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence and CEO of Cotential, a firm that develops 21st century leaders that drive disruptive thinking while removing bureaucracies and inefficient communication patterns. She has an MPA from Harvard Kennedy School, MBA from MIT Sloan and BS in Economics from The Wharton School.
Whitney Johnson’s research and work in disruptive innovation start with the understanding that the framework of disruption is – at a very high level – a framework for managing change, which begins with the individual. She developed her proprietary framework and diagnostics after having co-founded the Disruptive Innovation Fund with Harvard Business School’s Clayton Christensen.
Tom Crawford is a Senior Managing Director at Ankura and the company’s Chief Development Officer. Tom has three decades of experience in the specialty consulting category executing strategies and solutions for managing complex issues, special situations, and events in every region of the world. Prior to his current role, Tom advised boards of directors, executive teams, and senior decision-makers on issues that pose opportunities and challenges to their organizations’ enterprise value and operations with an emphasis on cross-border, crisis, regulation, corporate reputation, M&A, public affairs, corporate sustainability/ESG, and Freedom to Operate.
Dr. Geoff Smart is Chairman & Founder of ghSMART, a leadership consulting firm that serves Fortune 500 CEOs and boards, billionaire entrepreneurs, and heads of state. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Who, Leadocracy, and Power Score: Your Formula for Leadership Success. Geoff and his colleagues donate hundreds of hours per year to advise leaders in Education, Public Health, and Government.
Ben Gomes-Casseres is an authority on alliance strategy and management. He has researched this topic for 30 years, taught it to MBAs and executives, and consulted with major companies worldwide. He is a professor at Brandeis International Business School and before that served a decade on the faculty of the Harvard Business School; before that, he was an economist at the World Bank. His most recent book is “Remix Strategy: The Three Laws of Business Combinations” (Harvard Business Review Press, 2015).
Safi Bahcall received his BA summa cum laude in physics from Harvard and his PhD from Stanford. After working for three years as a consultant for McKinsey, he co-founded Synta Pharmaceuticals—a biotechnology company developing new drugs for cancer—and served as its CEO for 13 years. In 2008, he was named E&Y New England Biotechnology Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2011, he served on the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology working group on the future of national research. Safi is the author of Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries.
Our world is experiencing an unprecedented magnitude and pace of change. People and organizations are stressed and fearful, but also empowered by new technologies and looking to reinvent for the future.
Kalina Nikolova believes that the future brings exponential growth. Increasing returns are unlocked when people and organizations are enabled to work with passion and purpose – while leveraging the new technologies to reinvent business models. For over two decades Kalina has been working as a navigator plotting the course for companies to work better today, and prepare for the future: from Saatchi & Saatchi where she led Zenith Media in Eastern Europe to Deloitte where she consulted clients like S&P, McGraw-Hill, Meredith Publishing, and Cablevision, as EVP of Strategy at Viacom Ad Sales and now as VP of Business Operations and Strategy at Yahoo.
Kalina’s approach to strategy and transformation is centered on human potential and building collaborations across internal silos, and among unlikely partners in ecosystems. It is informed by deep understanding of technological, business and societal changes. Igniting innovation and energizing culture and diversity, Kalina creates the playbooks that empower people and organizations to unlock potential with purpose.
Ming Zeng is chairman of the Academic Council of the Alibaba Group, an e-commerce, retail, and technology conglomerate, based in Hangzhou, China, and the author of Smart Business: What Alibaba’s Success Reveals About the Future of Strategy (Harvard Business Review Press, September 2018). He is also the dean of Hupan School of Entrepreneurship, a private business school founded by Alibaba chairman Jack Ma and other leading Chinese entrepreneurs in Hangzhou. Prior to his current role, Ming was the Chief Strategy of Alibaba for 10 years.
Saul J. Berman
Ph.D., VP and Global Chief Strategist, for IBM. He was previously Global Lead Partner for the IBM Strategy & Transformation Global team within IBM Global Business Services (GBS). Saul built a forward thinking worldwide team of IBM consultants focused on delivering business value through business, technology and operations strategy engagements as well as organizational change initiatives.
Global Leader of Digital Strategy Consulting at IBM. Jamie is developing a global team of top-notch strategy professionals who support clients to successfully and impactfully reinvent themselves in today’s digitally disruptive world. Prior to this role, Jamie was a Partner and Head of Digital at McKinsey & Company.
Jeff Schwartz, a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP, is the US leader for the Future of Work. Schwartz is an advisor to senior business leaders at global companies focusing on work, workforce and business transformation, organization strategies, and C-suite level HR, talent, and leadership. He has lived and worked in the United States, Russia, Belgium, Kenya, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India, and was based in Delhi and Mumbai from 2011 to 2016. He is the global editor of Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends research which he launched in 2011.
Former Chief Strategy Officer of Turner Broadcasting. He developed strategies that extended the company’s competitive position and evaluated new business opportunities. Including identifying new trends and business models, helping assess potential acquisitions and strategic investments and coordinating activities across our business units. Shapiro oversaw Turner’s domestic Research and Consumer Insights team and its Media group, with the goal of better using data and insights to inform Turner’s strategic decisions.
Fred Santarpia is an accomplished Senior Executive and Board Member with more than 20 years of success across the travel, digital media, music, fashion, luxury, and entertainment, industries. Leveraging extensive experience in digital transformations, operational and cultural development, and business restructuring. Throughout his executive career, Fred has held leadership positions with Conde Nast, VEVO, and Universal Music Group. Fred was recognized as the U.S. Chief Digital Officer of the Year for 2018 by the CDO Club, the world’s largest community of C-suite digital and data leaders.
Howard Tullman is executive director of the Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship and a professor in entrepreneurship at Illinois Institute of Technology. He is the former CEO of Chicago-based 1871, a top-ranked university-affiliated incubator for 500 digital startups. He is also the general managing partner of G2T3V and Chicago High Tech Investors, both early-stage venture funds. He has founded more than a dozen tech startups, advises many technology businesses, and teaches at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
Karim R. Lakhani is a professor at the Harvard Business School and co-author of Competing in the Age of AI: Strategy and Leadership When Algorithms and Networks Run the World. He is the founder and co-director of the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard, the principal investigator of the NASA Tournament Laboratory at the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science, and the faculty co-founder of the Harvard Business School Digital Initiative. He specializes in technology management and innovation.
Paul Nunes is the Global Managing Director of Thought Leadership for Accenture Research and is a renowned innovator, author and speaker on business strategy. Over thirty-plus years at Accenture, he has researched technology-led changes in business and marketing strategy. His findings are regularly featured in publications around the world, as are his articles on marketing and business strategy.
Salim Ismail is an expert on the impact of breakthrough technologies and how organizations can leverage these disruptions to grow 10x faster than their peers. His best-selling book, Exponential Organizations, is required reading at top organizations. Salim has spent the last seven years building Singularity University as its founding executive director and current global ambassador. Prior to Singularity, Salim was a VP at Yahoo, where he built and ran the company’s internal incubator. His last company (a news aggregator) was sold to Google in 2010. He has founded or operated seven early-stage companies that laid some of the foundation for the real-time web.
Andy Noronha is a Director with the Cisco Office of Inclusion & Collaboration and a visiting scholar at the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation. He is co-author of the book Digital Vortex: How Today’s Market Leaders Can Beat Disruptive Competitors at Their Own Game. Andy develops research and insights that help guide the future of digitization for Cisco and its customers. He also works with executives from companies seeking to remain competitive in an era of digital disruption
Neel Doshi & Lindsay McGregor
Neel Doshi and Lindsay McGregor are co-founders of Vega Factor and co-authors of bestselling book, Primed to Perform: How to Build the Highest Performing Cultures Through the Science of Total Motivation. Previously, Neel was a Partner at McKinsey & Company, CTO and founding member of an award-winning tech startup, and employee of several mega-institutions. He studied engineering at MIT and received his MBA from Wharton. Previously, Lindsay led projects at McKinsey & Company, working with large fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, universities and school systems. She received her B.A. from Princeton and an MBA from Harvard.
Robert C. Wolcott
Robert Wolcott is a Clinical Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Executive Education at the Kellogg School of Management and Northwestern University. Wolcott won Teacher of the Year from Kellogg’s EMBA program in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017. He is a managing partner at Clareo and the Co-Founder and Chairman of The World Innovation Network (TWIN). Wolcott is a regular contributor on the topics of technology, innovation and society in Forbes and has appeared in MIT Sloan Management Review, strategy+business, The Harvard Business Review, Quartz, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and The New York Times among others.
Mark L. Sirower and Jefferey M. Weirens
Mark L. Sirower is a U.S. Leader in Deloitte’s M&A and Restructuring practice, where he joined in 2008 to launch the M&A Strategy practice. Mark has advised senior executive teams on hundreds of transactions over the past 25 years from strategy and diligence through post-merger integration. Previously, he built the Deals Strategy Group at PwC and was global leader of the M&A practice at the Boston Consulting Group where he developed innovative approaches to crafting M&A strategies, planning integrations, delivering synergies, and creating shareholder value. Mark has taught M&A at the Wharton School, and for 30 years, at the NYU Stern School Executive MBA program. He is the author of the M&A bestseller, The Synergy Trap.
Jeffrey F. Weirens is the Leader of Deloitte’s Global Financial Advisory Business and serves on Deloitte’s Global Executive. For more than 25 years, Jeff has advised clients on several of the world’s most iconic acquisitions and divestitures while growing and transforming Deloitte’s consulting and advisory businesses. He has served in multiple leadership roles including Deloitte Consulting’s Management Committee, the Energy, Resources and Industrials industry, and the Mergers, Acquisitions, and Restructuring practice. He is a trusted advisor to senior client executive teams and Boards of Directors, has advised on hundreds of acquisitions, divestitures, and transformations, and is an expert on post-merger integration and divestitures.
Thomas W. Malone
Thomas W. Malone is the Patrick J. McGovern Professor of Management, a professor of information technology, and a professor of work and organizational studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is also the founding director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence and was one of the two founding co-directors of the MIT Initiative on “Inventing the Organizations of the 21st Century”. Malone is the author of The Future of Work and more than 100 articles, research papers, and book chapters. He has also been a cofounder of four software companies, an inventor on eleven patents, and a coeditor of four books.
Chae An (and IBM colleagues)
Chae An is the CTO of IBM’s Global Financial Services Sector, and has worldwide responsibility for the technical strategy and architecture for business solutions for IBM’s customers in financial services. He provides architectural guidance, leadership, and strategy on new blockchain technical innovations and digital transformation. Prior to his current position, he held various technical and executive management positions at IBM Software Group and IBM Research, leading research in robotics, supply chain optimization, e-Commerce technologies, and analytics for decision support. Chae is a member of the board at the Banking Industry Architecture Network. Chae received his PhD at MIT in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with the focus on Robotics.
George S. Day
George S. Day is the Geoffrey T. Boisi Professor Emeritus at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His primary areas of activity are marketing, strategy making, organic growth and innovation, organizational change, and competitive strategies in global markets. Dr. Day has authored eighteen books in the areas of marketing and strategic management. He has won ten best article awards, one best book award, and two of his articles were among the top 25 most influential articles in marketing science in the past 25 years.
Bharat Anand is the Henry R. Byers Professor of Business Administration in the Strategy Unit at Harvard Business School, faculty chair of the HBX initiative, and an expert in multi-business strategy. with a primary focus on media and entertainment. His recent book, The Content Trap, examines digital transformation in the media and entertainment industries, with a view to understanding what we can learn from nearly a quarter century of change.
Peter S. Fader is the Frances and Pei-Yuan Chia Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His expertise centers around the analysis of behavioral data to understand and forecast customer shopping/purchasing activities. Managerial applications focus on topics such as customer relationship management, lifetime value of the customer, and sales forecasting for new products. Much of his research highlights the consistent (but often surprising) behavioral patterns that exist across these industries and other seemingly different domains.
Glenn Finch serves as the Global Leader for Technology and Data in the Business Analytics and Strategy practice at IBM. His emphasis on business analytics and optimization is focused on the most challenging and transformative engagements IBM undertakes. He has over 25 years of experience advising global clients on how to achieve greater business value from their analytic environments, as well as to reduce the ongoing cost of running those environments, through large-scale transformation.
Dr. Clemons is Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. A pioneer in the systematic study of the transformational impacts of information on the strategy and practice of business, he has authored numerous books and papers on strategic uses of information systems, information economics, and the changes enabled by information technology.