Innovation & Technology

2018 Technology Forum Speaker Bios

Morning Keynote:

Rich Sheridan

Author of Joy, Inc. (How We Built a Workplace People Love)

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.


Afternoon Keynote:

Michael Hakkarinen

Expectations of a Constantly Connected Workforce

Michael is an Instructional Technologies Specialist with the Utah Education Network. He has been a keynote speaker at several Digital State Government conferences where he talks about generational expectations, particularly among the emerging generations and the mixture of generations in the workforce. Funny and insightful.

Technology is transforming society in fundamental ways as new generations grow up using portable digital devices, often before they can even walk or talk. In this 24/7 online world we take connectivity and engagement for granted, evolving into a digitally divided society. The haves and have nots, the online and the disconnected, the technically savvy and the digitally discouraged. From millennials to baby boomers the differences between our generational expectations is growing and a new "fear of the young" has emerged. In this session we will discuss the challenges and opportunities that IT professionals face, and ask the difficult questions necessary to bring our culture together in a truly connected environment.

In this presentation we will examine the historical events that have bookmarked the generations of the past century, and compare these to the recent advanced in technology that have influenced the micro-generations of today: the internet generation, the mobile generation, tablet generation, etc.


Leian Royce

VP Strategic Change, AcceleratedK

Leian Royce brings more than 30 years of business experience to Accelerated Knowledge. For the last five years her work has focused on organizational change. As lead of Change Management services, Leian has vertical expertise in Manufacturing, HealthCare and Technology. With Master level certification in the LaMarsh Managed Change™ model, Leian works with business leaders to ensure that strategic objectives of the organization are defined and that the change is aligned with these objectives and that ROI metrics are embedded into the governance of the change. Leian’s past experience has included extensive support of large systems implementation as a project manager, business analyst and instructional designer. Leian’s recent change projects include:

  1. Change lead in several SalesForce and Workday technology projects
  2. Change lead for a large software application development project
  3. Education and mentorship for the implementation of LaMarsh Managed Change model

Mary Jo Cartwright

CEO, Court Innovations

In 2014, Cartwright, who has 32 years of IT experience with a range of tech companies, founded Court Innovations, which provides cloud-based online court negotiations and mediations to allow litigants to settle cases without going to court. Since 2011, she has also been president of her own consulting company, MJ Innovations, working with Ann Arbor Spark and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and serving in interim senior level management roles with several area tech companies. From 2006-2011, Cartwright was vice president of product management and business development for Ann Arbor-based HealthMedia Inc., a provider of online health care information and wellness programs co-founded by Rick Snyder in 1998.