Spotlight on 2017 Greenwich CIO Executive Leadership Summit

It was another successful collaboration between SIM Fairfield/Westchester and HMG Strategy on October 19th at the Greenwich Hyatt.

Approximately 250 attendees were treated to a day full of relevant themes and very stimulating speakers. This year’s theme was “Driving a Culture of Genius for Success”.

The topics in the morning included Principles for Business Transformation, led by Ursuline Foley, our chapter President, who kicked off the conference with her enthusiastic “pitch” for the benefits of SIM and also a briefing on transformation at XL Catlin. She was followed by Ramon Baez, former CIO of HP who offered additional insights and spoke about the importance of culture for driving top performance.

Tim Campos, former CIO of Facebook and Yuri Aguiar of Ogilvy Group offered compelling examples of their lessons learned including “fail hard and fast” when trying to innovate. Yuri impressed upon us the need to “understand your audience” and to be prepared for “unintended consequences”, when embarking on major change initiatives.

No conference would be complete without a discussion on Cyber Security, which was addressed with John Summers, VP and GM with Akamai and a panel discussion in the afternoon moderated by Dr. Jonathan Hill.

Other Breakout sessions included discussions on New Technologies – driving speed to market, another on a View on the New Presidential Administration, led by Israel Martinez and another on Leading and Innovating in Uncertain Times, moderated by Urs Foley. The Executive Search panel, moderated by Larry Bonfante, provided insights into the roles of the CIO, CDO and CMO, which are becoming blurred, at times, due to the convergence of skills required to drive digital transformation.

The end of the day was uplifted with an exciting presentation by former Commanding Officer, Greg Wooldridge, with the Blue Angels. He spoke about “team work” and the power of “trust” in executing amazingly challenging feats. He showed video clips of 6 Blue Angels flying in formation within 18” of each other at outrageously fast speeds.

The finish to the day was a cocktail hour and live entertainment by a first-class band called Cobert Operations. They rocked the house with tunes from the Beatles, Ray Charles, Gladys Knight and more!

As a long-time participant in these SIM/HMG events, I am delighted to report that this event was well-received by many people and continues to be a great way for SIM members to meet up, network, enjoy a lovely venue and hear the most “relevant topics” of the day and to obtain “takeaways” that can help you in your job and in your career ascent.

A big round of applause to the HMG and SIM teams who worked hard to deliver a great experience!

Written by Bev Lieberman

Event Highlights


“Greenwich 2017 was my first CIO Summit, and based on my experience, it certainly won’t be my last. I was impressed with both the outstanding quality of the speakers and the richness of the content they presented. IT leaders face many challenges and opportunities in our new digital world. This kind of information sharing – both in the formal presentations and the informal networking sessions – is truly invaluable.”

– Lynn Werther, SVP Global Financial Systems, Warner Music Group

“CIO Summit is not only a place for learning something new from the industry leaders, it also creates an opportunity to meet and connect with the talented IT leaders from your area. Needless to say, it is the best spot to meet some of my key contacts once a year! The take away from this year’s conference is ‘stretch your box.’”

– Rafi Mohamed,VP Information Technology, Hitachi Metals America

“I always enjoy attending the HMG events as a SIM member. It is a great way to catch up with my peers and discuss the latest trends occurring in the technology world. I found the discussions at the Connecticut event involving Digital Transformation to be spot on.”

– Joe Talik – VP, Digital Transformation, Neoris

“Extremely relevant content and thought leadership targeted directly to the opportunities and challenges facing today’s CIO. Time well spent with a roomful of high performance presenters and attendees.”

– Michael Kerrigan, SVP/CIO, The Hartford

“The CIO Executive Leadership Summit sessions were well organized and the topics were very relevant. I especially enjoyed the panel discussions and learning from my peers’ knowledge and career experiences…SIM provides me the opportunity to network, collaborate and share knowledge (and is) extremely valuable in my career development and in making me a more effective leader.”

-Montos Vakirtzis, Director Enterprise Applications, Xylem, Inc.

“The 2017 FWSIM Greenwich CIO Executive Leadership Summit was a well-run event, from the networking to the speakers and content, it provided great insights into the challenges and

opportunities that CIOs are facing today. The message that CIOs are in a unique position to drive digital transformation, but first they need to transform their IT organizations into a culture of collaboration, innovation, data driven decision making and experimentation without the fear of failure to be able to meet organization’s expectations was very powerful and helpful.”

– Joseph Duarte, Sr Director, Daymon Worldwide

“The CIO summit is an incredible experience. One of the key takeaways was how the role of the CIO has evolved. The CIO role has gone from an almost back office function, to true business partner, with a keen understanding of how to lead and innovate. CIOs now have a seat at the Executive table with CFOs COOs and CEOs as well as the boardrooms. The sphere of a Technology Executives company influence has grown tenfold. All firms are now digital firms and the summit more than addressed how to survive and thrive in these rapid transformations.”

– Mark Katz, CIO

The HMG 2017 Greenwich CIO Summit provided a valuable networking and learning opportunity for technology leaders. The subject matter pertaining to culture, leadership and driving transformation is top of mind and applicable for today’s IT leaders. I walked away with a handful of “tips” that will be beneficial. “Kudos” to the closing keynote on “high performance leadership”. The speech was both riveting and entertaining.

– George Cacchiani, VP Information Technology, Quorum Federal Credit Union

The SIM CIO Summit was a great event. The speakers were interesting and entertaining – and the food was good too. I made a number of new connections and will definitely be back next year.

– Abigail Smith, Director, Information Security, Acorda Therapeutics, Inc.