THE JUDGING PANEL
Taleen Armen, Head of Technology, QBE Insurance
Penni Berns, Chief of Digital Strategy, UNICEF
Penni is a seasoned marketing and communications executive with a proven ability to translate strategic vision into practical execution and breakthrough results. A natural innovator, Penni has a deep understanding of the digital landscape and emerging trends. Penni is a firm believer in the power of communication and technology to transform people’s lives – she is putting that belief to the test in her current role as the Chief of Digital Strategy at UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund.
As Chief of Digital Strategy, Penni oversees global digital communications and helps shape and amplify UNICEF’s powerful and compelling voice. By creating breakthrough multimedia content and distributing through social media channels that exceed 30 million followers, Penni leads her team in building awareness of the issues facing the world’s most vulnerable children. Penni is also responsible for driving a global UNICEF transformation initiative to elevate digital infrastructure and organizational expertise across 190 countries.
Prior to her time at UNICEF, Penni was an executive at American Express where she held multiple leadership positions within the Consumer, Small Business, Corporate and Merchant businesses. Among her many accomplishments at American Express, one that she is most proud of is her role in advocating for small merchants and creating tools for them to grow their businesses. As one of the architects of Small Business Saturday, Penni helped fuel a movement to focus consumers on the powerful economic engine of small business commerce.
Penni earned an MBA in Finance from The Stern School of Business at NYU and a BA from Tufts University, where she studied English and Economics. Of the many titles that Penni answers to on a regular basis- mentor, marketer, musician, – her favorite one, spoken many times a day by her two daughters, is mom.
Shilpa Bhandari - Divisional President, NTT DATA Services
Shilpa Bhandari serves as Divisional President, Financial Services for NTT DATA Services, a top 10 global business and IT services provider. In her role, Bhandari leads all aspects of the business, including client satisfaction, employee engagement, revenue growth, profitability and thought leadership.
With nearly two decades of experience in IT services, Bhandari maintains full accountability for the P&L of the global business, as well as responsibility for a leadership team that drives strategy and growth for financial services clients in Infrastructure Consulting, Managed Services, Application Services, Digital, Cloud, Security and Business Consulting.
Bhandari has held prior leadership positions at Dell Services and Wipro. She is also an alumni of Harvard Business School and serves on the steering committee of the employee resource group Women Inspiring NTT DATA (WIN).
Shawn Carney, Director of IT, Etsy
Shawn Carney is the Director of IT for Etsy, a platform that empowers creative entrepreneurs around the world. Shawn’s two decades of leadership experience includes growing diverse, agile teams that deliver strategic business outcomes in fast-paced global environments. She previously served as Director of IT at Spotify and Director of Global Infrastructure at Universal Music Group and EMI Music. She is currently on the tech advisory board for Year Up, a national organization that provides professional career training to underprivileged young adults and helps them secure internships with top US companies.
Marcus Delano East, EVP & CTO, National Geographic Partners
Marcus is a technologist with a passion for driving change through the use of technology — a love affair that started when he was taught to program in elementary school at the age of nine. Since then, he has built a reputation for being a ‘creative technologist,’ someone who enjoys solving difficult problems in innovative ways, whether they are complex business challenges or life-changing social issues.
He has spent half of his career working for leading technology companies building world- class technology (Apple & IBM) and the other half of his career helping brands to harness the power of technology to drive business value — including Comic Relief, Marks and Spencer, and National Geographic. Marcus attended The Latymer Grammar School in London and subsequently read for an honors degree at the London Metropolitan University majoring in Management & Information Technology, and a Master’s in Management (major in Social Enterprise) from the University of Cambridge.
He is a Fellow of the BCS (British Computer Society) Chartered Institute for Information Technology (FBCS) and a Member of the Chartered Management Institute (MCMI). In his spare time, he enjoys watching soccer, building computers, investigating applications for blockchain technology, and traveling with his wife.
Kat Heffron, VP - Enterprise Data Solutions, T-Mobile
Vijay Kasarabada, CTO and Managing Director - Global Head of Technology, Lazard Asset Management
Vijay Kasarabada is the Global Head of Technology for Lazard Asset Management. He began working in the investment field in 2000. Prior to joining Lazard in 2017, Vijay was a Managing Director within BlackRock’s Aladdin product group helping build several aspects of their technology to support the wider investment management process from Front through Middle through the Back Office. Prior to that Vijay worked at large institutions such as Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs (where he started his technology career on Wall Street), helping architect solutions in the Capital Markets Sales and Trading domain, along with a core expertise in the Investment Management domain. Vijay’s responsibilities focus on all aspects of technology that support Lazard Asset Management’s global business operations. Vijay has an MBA in Finance and Business Strategy from Rutgers and a B.S. in Computer Science from Rohilkhand University.
Jillian Munro - Head of Technology, Fidelity Digital Assets
Jillian Munro is Head of Technology for Fidelity Digital AssetsSM, which provides enterprise-grade digital asset solutions for institutional investors. Ms. Munro joined Fidelity Digital AssetsSM in September 2018.
Previously, Ms. Munro was senior vice president of Resiliency & Business Engagement for the Enterprise Cybersecurity organization at Fidelity Investments, where she was also responsible for ensuring alignment between the Firm’s business priorities and the Cybersecurity agenda.
Prior to joining Fidelity, Ms. Munro was a Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer for Legal at JP Morgan Chase. She was responsible for the end-to-end technology strategy and data protection for the Legal practice, as well as eDiscovery operations for the firm. She also served as the global technology lead for Resolution & Recovery. Ms. Munro began her career at Andersen Consulting providing technology architecture and strategy consulting services to clients in telecommunications and financial services. Subsequently, she spent a number of years managing technology for the control functions at Lehman Brothers. She holds several patents and patents pending for systems and systems methods.
Ms. Munro earned a BSBA in Accounting from Bucknell University and an MA in East Asian Studies from George Washington University.
Susan Persichetti, Strategic Alliances - VP of the Americas, Frank Recruitment Group
Susan Persichetti has a diverse background including finance, marketing, software sales, channel management and alliances. She is currently the VP of the Americas, Alliances, at The Frank Recruitment Group overseeing the relationships they maintain with their software partners.
Ulku Rowe, Technical Director - Financial Services, Google Cloud
Ulku Rowe is the Technical Director of Financial Services at Google Cloud. At the forefront of Google’s cloud and machine learning capabilities, she enables the financial services industry to take advantage of Google’s technology to fuel their digital transformation.
Before joining Google, Ulku was a Managing Director of Technology at J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America. During her financial services career, she built technology platforms for trading & analytics, middle & back-office, risk management, and finance. Driving business transformation through technical innovation and leadership has always been her focus.
Ulku received her MS degree in Computer Science from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her BS degree in Computer Engineering from Bogazici University in Istanbul.
She serves on the Board of Directors of the Fulbright Association.
Adeel Saeed, SVP - Global Chief Information Security Officer, State Street
Adeel Saeed is a Senior Vice President, Global Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and Interim Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Corporate Technology Services at State Street. He has end-to-end accountability for leading, planning and building advocacy, support and sponsorship for information security across the organization and around the world. By leveraging leading edge technology and engineering practices, objective of Information security is to bring together different disciplines that revolve around security to establish the vision, strategy and architecture to ensure client and other data can be secured effectively and flexibly.
In his interim capacity he is also is currently responsible for providing leadership for developing and implementing strategic technology initiatives and directing the planning, prioritization, and implementation of IT systems in support of State Street’s our corporate functions (including Compliance, Finance, Legal, Risk, Audit and HR). Prior to joining State Street, he was the chief information officer of Group Corporate Technology for the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) where he was responsible for the Group’s Corporate Systems, PMO, Business Management and Information Security. He has led technology transformation through technology modernization and cost efficiencies through standardization. He is well experienced in delivering technology platforms and tools to empower business growth while managing talent and integrations. He has held various senior technology positions at various financial institutions, including Refinance.com, American Stock Exchange and Millennium BCP (formerly known as Banco Commercial Portuguese).
Adeel Saeed holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science and is a member of the SANS institute. He also represents State Street as a board member of FSARC under FS-ISAC and ACSC.
Elizabeth Sampson, SVP and CIO, TerraForm Power
Lisa Schneider - Chief Digital Officer, Merriam Webster
Vidya Thangirala - Head of Technology, Teach for All
Vidya Thangirala is the Head of Technology at Teach For All, a global network of independent organisations working towards developing collective leadership to ensure all children have the opportunity to fulfil their potential.
She had over fifteen years of experience in business and technology in an international environment in several industries including technology start-ups, telecom, banking, shipping, manufacturing, and non-profits. Her background is in agile software development and management in various roles including engineering, product management, vendor and client relationship management, and IT business strategy and consulting. She has multiple years of exposure to working in international locations including Canada, Hong Kong, China, London, Vietnam, the Philippines, India, U.S.A., with on-shore and off-shore teams and vendors.
She graduated from the University of Toronto in Computer Engineering and is currently pursuing an MITx MicroMasters Credential in Statistics and Data Science. Vidya is based in New York City.
Sonia Wedrychowicz-Horbatowska, Head of Technology Transformation, JPMorgan Chase
Sonia Wedrychowicz-Horbatowska joined JPMorgan Chase as the Head of Technology Transformation for Consumer & Community Banking Technology. She comes to the firm with over twenty years of experience in business management in Corporate banking (cash management, trade finance, securities services) and Consumer banking in Europe as well as Asia, including Islamic Banking.
Sonia has been a key driver of digibank by DBS implementation in India and Indonesia. She was most recently the Head of Technology Consumer Bank Group Singapore in DBS. She had joined DBS Bank in the Digital Bank division in February 2015. Her scope of responsibilities at DBS included digital product development and management, UX design, risk and control as well as operational delivery.
In September 2016, she was promoted to Singapore CBG Technology Head, responsible for Consumer Bank Singapore Technology delivery and API Strategy. Sonia was the former Country Head of Consumer Bank at Standard Chartered in Malaysia. She was responsible for the strategy, development, and management of the bank’s consumer business. She also chaired the bank’s financial education program initiative and was part of the bank’s Women Initiative Network.
Starting her banking career in Citibank in 1994, Sonia rose through the ranks and held various roles in transaction banking before becoming the Vice President of the Management Board and Head of Consumer Banking in Citi Poland. She also held other leadership roles including Chairman of the Board of Junior Achievement Foundation, Member of the Supervisory Board of Handlowy – Leasing S.A., and Member of the Supervisory Board of Bank Handlowy Brokerage House.
Sonia holds a Master’s degree in Foreign Trade from Warsaw School of Economics and a BA in European Business Studies from Brunel University in London. She has relocated from Singapore to the United States with her husband and two children.