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Advisory Board Biographies


Susan Couture, Vice President, US Region Customer Services

Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems (JJHCS)

Susan Couture is currently Vice President, Program Management/ Business Improvement/ Learning & Development for Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems (JJHCS). In 2006, she drove over $50 million of improvement in the company through various improvement and learning methodologies. Her ability to identify critical business needs, create vision statements, and complete correlation analyses to determine process improvement focus areas are well noted. Susan was a JJHCS Chairman’s Award Recipient in 2005 and 2006 and her leadership skills have also been recognized through her Standards of Leadership Awards in 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003 and 1999.

Susan has served as Johnson & Johnson’s Vice President of Managed Markets Strategic Initiatives. During that time she was responsible for the establishment of Program Management Office to develop and execute 25 concurrent projects redefining Johnson & Johnson’s approach to the marketplace. Susan also launched the Together Rx Access program in January of 2005, as chair of the Operations Committee. Susan’s use of the business approach to integrate Process Excellence tools in JIT fashion in this organization combined with disciplined use of change management, communication, sound personnel management and outstanding project management has been evident in all teams and enabled the corporation to achieve milestone targets.

Another contribution to Johnson & Johnson was Susan’s time spent as the Vice President of Strategic Planning & Process Excellence in Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc.- the largest pharmaceutical company within Johnson & Johnson. Responsible for the Strategic Planning Process, and geared towards producing increased business performance, Susan simplified templates thereby reducing man-hours by 50%. As Vice President of Quality Management, Susan focused on executive leadership development and managed training administration for Leadership, Black Belt, Green Belt and Train-the-Trainer programs. These programs educated 500 leaders and the new type of methodology has yielded over $700 million in benefits in its first full year of deployment.

Before joining Johnson & Johnson, Susan was the Vice President for POSTAGE BY PHONE® Worldwide, directly contributing $100 million in revenue, and was rated #1 Regional Technical Manager when she worked for AT&T before that. She obtained her Master of Business Administration from the University of Connecticut in 1982. Among other certifications, Susan is a certified Change Leadership Workshop Trainer, and Project Management Professional.

Kenneth Gordon, Senior Manager, Field Communications


Kenneth currently serves as a Manager of Field Communications at Sanofi Aventis. He began his career at Sanofi Aventis as a Sales Professional and then transferred to the Field Communications department. After only one year in the department Kenneth was promoted to the Head of the Department which is his current position.

Previously, Kenneth owned and operated a chain of children's shoe stores (Stride Rite) for 19 years. It was the largest privately held Stride Rite dealer in the country. During this time numerous awards were won for recognizable advances in innovation within the business, as well as for being one of the first to automate the business.

Kenneth graduated from PSU with a degree in Communication. Kenneth and his wife have two daughters and currently reside in the Philadelphia area where his wife also works for Sanofi Aventis.

Steve Rynkowski, Senior Director

Pfizer US Pharmaceuticals

Steve joined Pfizer after graduating from Boston College with a degree in Economics and Political Science. He is presently in his 29th year with the company.

Starting in the sales force, Steve spent almost five years as a successful sales representative in the greater Boston area before moving to New Jersey as an assistant to the regional manager. He was promoted to District Manager in Brooklyn, NY and then elevated to Assistant Director, Sales Administration in 1989 at Pfizer’s NY Headquarters.

Over the course of the next 15 years, Steve worked within Sales Administration, as a Director of Sales Training and within Sales Operations as a Group Leader for Pfizer, supporting the US Sales organization. During this time, Steve’s teams were involved with the introduction of laptop computers to the field, the move to an incentive plan based upon prescriptions versus pharmacy sales and multiple realignments of the sales force structure due to product launches and the mergers with Warner Lambert and Pharmacia.

For the past several years, Steve has been the leader of the Sales Communications Team, with oversight of the information sent to the field via e-mail and voicemail, as well as management of the field force web platform, in-house monthly field force printed magazine, quarterly informational CD and pulse and engagement surveys. Last year, he moved a new role as the business liaison to the Corporate Compliance Team, working with Pfizer attorneys in New York and the sales offices to develop appropriate compliance training and messaging for the US sales force.

Steve and his wife Lisa have been married for 24 years and reside in New Jersey with their five children.

Bob Yacobellis, Founding Partner

Global Software Excellence

Beginning in the late 1980's, Bob Yacobellis, Founding Partner of Global Software Excellence (GSE), began working with all Motorola Businesses to help them improve their software performance. Using a unique, highly customized and tailored facilitated workshop called the Senior Management Forum on Software, Bob and his senior team members in Corporate Software R&D worked with senior management teams and software leaders in organizations across the globe to identify improvement opportunities and deploy best practices that led to significantly greater performance and reduced cost. At the same time, Bob worked with senior software quality personnel across the company to create Motorola's software quality program from the ground up. Even today its Software Quality Council acts as a continuing forum to share best practices and lessons learned in software process, quality, and metrics.

Bob championed the use of the Software Engineering Institute CMM® and CMMI® models of software excellence as the improvement methodology of choice for Motorola, and helped drive their use and software performance improvements in existing organizations across the company. Not content to focus solely on incremental change, Bob also created an innovative organizational concept that led to the creation of high maturity internal outsourcing software centers for Motorola world-wide, forming the Global Software Group (GSG). Initially, Motorola used this concept to create the first commercial CMM® Level 5 organization, Motorola India Electronics, Limited, in Bangalore, India, GSG's first software center. At its peak, GSG consisted of 6000+ software engineers operating at the highest level of software performance, CMMI® Maturity Level 5. Consequently, GSE has expertise and experience creating, managing, and driving excellence in outsourced software organizations world-wide. All of these combined programs and approaches led to the creation of an internal Motorola software improvement consulting business that inspired the formation of GSE.

Ron Swift, Vice President, Cross Industry Solutions

Teradata Corporation

Ronald S. Swift is an internationally known consultant, author, luminary, and strategist in the areas of Marketing and Customer Relationship Management, Financial Management Systems, Business Performance Management, Demand and Supply Chain Management, Enterprise Data Warehousing, and Electronic Commerce.

For more than 30 years, Swift has assisted hundreds of clients on six continents to achieve their strategies and goals. He is a popular and thought-provoking speaker at numerous conferences and specially designed forums for management of the world's leading corporations. He co-developed the process model for NCR's and Teradata’s original "Data Warehouse Methodology" Model Process, and is one of the team of contributors for the "IBM Architecture for Managing the Information Systems Business".

Swift is Vice-President, Cross Industry Solutions for Teradata Corporation. Prior to joining NCR and the Teradata Division in 1996, Swift was a senior partner with an International Consulting Firm, following a successful 22-year career at IBM. At IBM his contributions included field and headquarters responsibilities that spanned many customer implementation projects, marketing programs, educational functions, executive conferences and institutes, end-user computing, decision support systems, executive information systems, Information Warehouse and Business Intelligence, along with strategy and business development roles in the USA and Europe.

His business, professional, and technical experiences cross numerous industries including Banking, Financial Services, Brokerage, Insurance, Retail, Communications, Transportation, and Government. Ron’s contributions also include many years of teaching and guest lecturing at colleges and universities in graduate, management, and professional educational programs.

He is also a frequent and popular speaker at major symposiums and executive forums, and in October 2002, was awarded the position of Life Senior Executive Lecturer at the University of Georgia's Terry Business School in Athens, Georgia.

Swift is the author of, "Accelerating Customer Relationships", and is currently working on another book about increasing business value and the economics of marketing through active customer, operational, strategic, and financial management analytics. In addition, he has authored a wide variety of articles for numerous publications and online forums.

John Pelton, Director of Corporate Productivity

WR Grace

John Pelton is the Director of Corporate Productivity for W.R. Grace, leading the implementation of Lean Six Sigma and Change Management. He joined Grace in September 2002.

Before joining Grace, John worked as a senior consultant for the George Group. John provided Lean Six Sigma training, coaching and consulting for 10 fortune 500 companies from the executive level to the factory floor. He successfully implemented a Six Sigma program at GSE Systems as a Vice President of Quality and Information Technology and was a critical member of the deployment team for the Six Sigma program at GE information Services. He participated as a member of the GE Corporate Six Sigma Training Council. He attended the Master Black Belt training course at the Six Sigma Academy and has personally conducted training for over 2500 Black Belts and Green Belts. John also served in the United States Army, retiring as a Major in the Infantry after serving in numerous leadership positions.

Hank Brigman, Director Customer Experience

Vistakon, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc.

Hank Brigman is recognized as an innovator and expert in the rapidly growing area of Customer Experience Management or CEM. Hank co-founded and served as President/CEO of the pioneering CEM research consultancy, Touchpoint Metrics™. He also co-invented their renowned Touchpoint Mapping® CEM research methodology for inventorying, mapping, evaluating and improving individual customer interactions – or touchpoints.

As a CEM practitioner, Hank has lead engagements with prominent organizations such at GE, Microsoft and AT&T. Yet, Hank is not a stranger to our world. He has helped a medical device company improve their doctor experiences, as well as having helped multiple medical practices improve their patient experiences.

Known as the “Touchpoint Guru,” Hank was the first to define touchpoints on Wikipedia. You might be interested to know that prior to embarking on his Customer Experience Management career, Hank enjoyed a three-year stint as a professional golfer on a variety of mini tours.

Joseph Martucci, Performance Leader

Public Service Electric and Gas

Joseph Martucci - Performance Leader – Public Service Electric and Gas located in Newark, New Jersey.

New York City native and a graduate of NYU. Currently a management professional with expertise in the areas of benchmarking, Balanced Scorecard Measurement and best practice implementation.

Manages a group of professionals with responsibilities for all aspects of performance measurement at PSE&G. The group provides strategic planning, direction, and leadership for the measurement of key processes. They also collect data from various external sources to maintain databases of market prices, costs and best practices for key processes and work activities.

Has developed an international panel of utilities for the purpose of sharing annual benchmark data on key performance measures.

Has coordinated international benchmarking projects, competitive intelligence gathering studies, and performance measurement analysis.

Has delivered numerous domestic and international presentations on the topic of benchmarking and best practices implementation, including live satellite telecasts and has published white papers on these topics.

Beverly Braden, Manager, Benchmarking Analysis

Centerpoint Energy

Beverly Braden is a CPA experienced in the areas of planning, performance measurement and benchmarking. She is currently responsible for overall coordination of gas, electric and corporate benchmarking studies at CenterPoint Energy.

Beverly has led major benchmarking studies in customer satisfaction and service reliability, with the service reliability study contributing to first quartile performance in electric service restoration time. Her benchmarking efforts also led to the adoption of the balanced scorecard, After Action Reviews, safety improvements and the adoption of best practices in a number of other functional areas.

Prior to benchmarking, Beverly coordinated the business plan, budget, and performance measurement functions within the electric Transmission and Distribution business unit. She also managed the corporate budget area and several accounting functions. In these positions she was responsible for implementation of new systems in payroll and accounts payable, and for overall coordination of the company’s initial rate filing efforts with the Texas PUC.

Christopher Bogan

Christopher Bogan

President and CEO

Chris has 26 years of experience in helping U.S. companies bring new biopharmaceutical products to market. Over that time, he has helped dozens of new brands launch assets totaling hundreds of billions of dollars.

Phone: (919)-767-9228