Plenary I: Positively Disrupt or Be Disrupted
Michael J. Arena, Chief Talent Officer, General Motors Corporation
Michael Arena is the Chief Talent Officer for General Motors Corporation. He is responsible for global enterprise talent management, cultural transformation programs, leadership development, talent acquisition and people analytics. Since joining General Motors, he has employed an evidence-based approach to driving performance, leveraging such concepts as predictive analytics and network analysis. He also launched GM2020, a grass roots initiative designed to enable employees to positively disrupt the way they work, which was highlighted in Fast Company and Fortune Magazine. These experiences are highlighted in his book, Adaptive Space: How GM and Other Companies are Positively Disrupting Themselves and Transforming into Agile Organizations. His research on adaptation won the 2017 Walker Prize from People + Strategy and has been cited in the Wall Street Journal, Chief Executive Magazine, Harvard Business Review, Business Insider and Sloan Management Review. He currently teaches in Penn’s Masters in Organizational Dynamics program and acts as a design thinking coach within the Stanford d.School. He also spent two years as a visiting scientist within MIT’s Media Lab and served as Senior Vice President of Leadership Development at Bank of America.
Plenary II: The Desperate Need for Open Thinking
Dan Pontefract, Author, Speaker, Thinker, Founder and CEO, The Pontefract Group
Dan is the founder and CEO of The Pontefract Group, a firm that improves the state of leadership and organizational culture. He is the best-selling author of three books: OPEN TO THINK, THE PURPOSE EFFECT and FLAT ARMY. A renowned speaker, Dan has presented at four different TED events and also writes for Forbes, Harvard Business Review and The Huffington Post. Dan is an adjunct professor at the University of Victoria, Gustavson School of Business and has garnered more than 20 industry awards over his career. Previously as Chief Envisioner and Chief Learning Officer at TELUS—a Canadian telecommunications company with revenues of $14 billion and 50,000 global employees—he launched the Transformation Office, the TELUS MBA, and the TELUS Leadership Philosophy, all award winning initiatives that dramatically helped to increase the company’s employee engagement to record levels of nearly 90%. Prior to TELUS he held senior roles at SAP, Business Objects and BCIT. Dan and his wife, Denise, have three children (aka goats) and live in Victoria, Canada.