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.
Robert Yacobellis, Director, MSG Process & Quality
Bob Yacobellis is currently Senior Director of Process, Quality, and Metrics (PQM) for Motorola Corporate Quality. His team creates and drives world-class process, quality, and metrics solutions that lead to superior operational and project performance for Motorola Software organizations and their customers. He is involved in Company-wide software initiatives to achieve improved software quality and productivity and greater engineering leverage. Bob is active in Motorola’s software technology community, and is currently a member of its Software Excellence Team (SET), Software Academy (a leadership team for software training and career development), and Science Advisory Board Associates (SABA). In July of 2003 Bob was awarded the first-ever Motorola Jerry Sandvos award for contributions to Software Engineering. In 2005, he was recognized as a Dan Noble Fellow, one of Motorola’s top honors for technological innovation.
Bob joined Motorola in 1988, and was one of the initial champions for the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) process improvement approach within the Company. This model-based approach uses industry best practices for software development focused on continual software engineering and organization renewal and improvement. Bob’s first team in the Corporate Software R&D organization created the vision for Motorola’s Global Software Centers in 1989 and sponsored formation of the Motorola India Software Center, the company’s first SEI software CMM® and CMMI® Level 5 organization. As a result, until a recent organization change integrated these global software centers into the Motorola Businesses, they formed an organization of over 6000 software people working in a globally distributed team located in 12 countries, almost all of which were at SEI Level 4 or Level 5.
Bob has spent 40 years in software, beginning with a 21-year career in telecommunications at AT&T Bell Laboratories, and has been a champion and change agent for software process, quality, methodology, training, and technology for the past 23 years. He has helped many organizations improve their ability to produce high-quality software on time and within budget, and to be successful at achieving and maintaining software excellence. He holds a BS in Math from Carnegie-Mellon University, as well as MS and PhD degrees in Information Science and an MBA, all from the University of Chicago. In the past he has worked with academic and industry leaders in software engineering such as Vic Basili, Watts Humphrey, Barry Boehm, and Capers Jones.
Ron Swift, Vice President, Cross Industry Solutions
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
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 Customer Experience Management thought leader, Hank has shared his knowledge in speeches and programs worldwide, including throughout North America, in China, Singapore, Malaysia and Europe.
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.
David Conn, Senior Program Manager – Global Technical Support
David Conn is the Senior Program Manager of Global Technical Support for Intuit. He joined Intuit in November 2000.
Before joining Intuit, David worked as a stockbroker for a privately owned investment brokerage. He is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt with additional certifications in asset management and statistical analysis of investment securities. David has a BA in Communication from the University of Arizona and has spent over 11 years working in financial services organizations. At Intuit his contributions have included implementation & migration projects, designing & building executive information systems, leadership learning & development programs, strategic planning and cross-functional group facilitation, as well as quality & productivity improvement projects with global teams in the US and India.
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
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.