Vice President &
Chief Information Officer
Sam Coursen is currently an independent consultant working as an advisor to various technology companies. Additionally, he is providing mentoring and leadership development of IT executives as part of the CIO Executive Council “Pathways” program.
Previously, Sam was Vice-President and Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Freescale Semiconductor from August 2005 through his retirement in April 2011. He was responsible for IT supporting all Freescale operations, leading a global IT organization of 350 professionals and outsource partners located in all geographic regions. He was directly responsible for all IT applications, data and voice services, data center services, distributed computing services, and end user services. Among Sam’s achievements were managing the transition to best-in-class cost structure while simultaneously delivering a significantly enhanced application portfolio such as extension of the single instance SAP ERP system, improving manufacturing gross margins via advanced process control, advanced manufacturing data warehousing and analytics, enhanced equipment monitoring & maintenance, and increased factory automation, implementation of a comprehensive Enterprise Data Warehouse strategy, leading the IT governance process to drive strategic alignment between IT and business strategy, and a continuous drive for efficiency and effectiveness via metrics / balance scorecard, benchmarking, process standardization, consolidation / centralization, and outsourcing.
Prior to Freescale, Sam was vice president and CIO of NCR Corporation, a global technology solutions provider. Sam joined NCR in 1993 and held various senior management positions within the company. In 1995, he was appointed Vice President of Services, responsible for development and global deployment of external NCR service offerings (professional services and customer support services). In 1997, he was appointed Vice President of Global Applications, responsible for development, global deployment, and support of the IT applications supporting NCR’s internal business operations. In 1998, he was appointed VP & CIO of the company.
Prior to joining NCR, Sam held various technical and management positions at AT&T. He joined AT&T in 1973 in Atlanta, Georgia as a co-op student engineer from Auburn University. In 1974, Sam was appointed to a technical position at Bell Laboratories in Naperville, Illinois developing electronic telephone switching systems. In 1979, he was appointed district manager in Bedminster, NJ responsible for development of operations support systems supporting AT&T’s global communications network. In 1985, he was appointed district manager responsible for the UNIX Standard Operating Environment (SOE) within AT&T. In 1987, he was appointed division manager responsible for all of AT&T’s internal data center and network computing services.
Sam holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Auburn University. He is married with four children and currently resides in Austin, Texas.
Adam has a diverse background that spans multiple industries. He spent over a decade with one of the world’s largest biotech companies as both a technologist and a leader of a global team.
Most recently he spent two and a half years as Chief Operating Officer for one of the top mobile software development studios in the world. While there he led this game changing software development company to new heights and helped shape the digital presence of many of the world’s leading brands.
Currently Adam is CEO of Thoughtleadr Inc., a company that provides a software and analytics platform for a form of digital advertising termed native advertising. As a dedicated lifetime learner, throughout his career Adam has enjoyed growing his own knowledge base but also teaching, mentoring, and coaching. Adam holds a BS in Molecular Biology and an MBA from UC Davis.
Chief Operations Officer
Redbird Flight Simulations
Michael (Mike) Clifford was Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Whole Foods Market, Inc., from September 2000 through September, 2012. Since then, he took a year-long personal sabbatical, and has been dabbling as an investor/advisor in a few Austin based eCommerce and technology manufacturing companies.He’s currently serving as the Chief Operations Officer for Redbird Flight Simulations, based in Austin and San Marcos, TX. Redbird is changing the way General Aviation pilots are trained and developed using technology that has never been introduced into this industry before. Mike’s not a pilot, yet.Prior to his long career at Whole Foods, Mike was Vice President and Division CIO for Dell, Inc.’s Public and Americas International group, serving in this capacity from 1997 to 2000. At various times, he was responsible for Dell’s Sales, Marketing and Services systems during Dell’s rapid expansion.Before Dell, Mike spent 15 years in progressive management positions at PepsiCo, Taco Bell and Pepsi-Cola North America. Mike managed applications development projects, deployment teams, help desks and provided direct customer support of Pepsi’s Retail customers during that period.Mike is a graduate of Columbia University, and a hopelessly optimistic fan of the New York Jets. Some think this taints his accomplishments. He’s been a member of several social service Boards in Austin, and enjoys paying what he has learned forward by mentoring students and upcoming leaders.
|Teresa Q. Bitner
PMP & M.Ed., ACC
Professional Life Coach
Teresa coaches determined individuals through challenging changes and works to build resiliency within her clients. Teresa has been coaching and mentoring professionals for over 19 years in various roles as an IT software developer, team lead, manager, project manager, educator, mentor, and leader. Teresa brings to the coaching relationship many unique and challenging life experiences including career transition, personal loss of first spouse and mother, grief, and resiliency.
Primary Interest: Change happens in life and work. Building resiliency and learning steps for surviving and thriving amidst constant change sets apart great leaders.
Teresa has a BS in Computer Science and M. Ed.in Curriculum and Instruction – math and science. She holds the following certifications: Project Management Professional – PMP, Myers Brigs Type Indicator (MBTI) Qualified Practitioner, Coach U Graduate, Now What Authorized Facilitator, and Associate Certified Coach.
Teresa is about giving back and service. She volunteers with International Coaching Federation (ICF) Austin Board Member – Community Outreach Director organizing pro bono coaching to local non-profits, Women for Change Coaching Community (W4C3) coach – providing pro-bono coaching to women in poverty, and Memorial Service Coordinator for Hill Country Bible Church Lakeline Austin, TX. Teresa and Bill live in Cedar Park, TX and are proud parents of three grown sons, Korey (24), Kurtis (21), and stepmother to Sawyer (15).
Vijay George has over 25 years of experience applying technology strategically across a range of sectors including utilities, government, manufacturing, IT Services and Management Consulting.
Expertise — Strategic Planning, IT and OT Alignment, Public Sector IT Strategy and Business Case development, Telecommunications, Federated models for technology modernization, Regulatory Compliance, State and Local governments, Public Utility markets, Developing cross organizational models for modernization and cost sharing, Developing effective governance models and decision frameworks, Cloud adoption strategy for public entities, and Developing ERP and MRP modernization strategy.
Vijay was recently VP for Texas Public Sector for Sogeti USA part of Capgemini S.A. before starting NMG Consulting. Vijay is the former CIO/CTO and Director of Innovation for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts (CPA). As a strategic member of the executive management team, he led the statewide ERP modernization initiative, government transparency programs and security and privacy modernization efforts. He had strategy and operational responsibility for the Innovation and Technology division for the state agency that supports the financial systems for the State of Texas including tax, accounting, payroll, treasury, and procurement for the $100B+ State government. Prior to the CPA, Vijay was the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for LCRA (Lower Colorado River Authority), where he was the executive responsible for multiple divisions including IT and Telecommunications. At LCRA he leveraged his experience in IT and OT to bring organizational alignment and bridge IT, Telecommunications and OT organizations together. Prior to LCRA, he ran two start-up software development and technology consulting firms that focused on the manufacturing and utility sectors. He started his career as an electrical and controls engineer with Alcoa leveraging information and operational technology in manufacturing and utility.
He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University, an MS in Software Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from St. Edwards University. He is also a Registered Professional Engineering in Texas (inactive).
He serves on a variety of regional, industry, education and technology advisory boards and groups.
Steve Finnerty is currently president of Finnerty Consulting which is focused on helping people and teams achieve their potential. The emphasis of his practice is individual and team leadership development, coaching, strategy development, change management and influence without authority. Finnerty has been involved in the information systems profession for over 40 years and has held positions as the Senior Vice President for Information Systems and Supply Chain Management at premier global companies including Applied Materials, Dell, Kraft Foods and Johnson Controls. His teams have been consistently recognized with industry awards including CIO 100, Premier 100 and 100 Best Places to Work.In addition to these professional experiences, Steve has been actively involved in several industry leadership positions. He is the former National President of the Society for Information Management (SIM) as well as a member of the Research Board, Council for Logistics Management and SIM Advanced Practices Council. Steve was recognized in 2011 as the IT Executive of the Year in Austin, Texas and is a founding member of the Austin SIM Chapter.. He has guest lectured and taught Supply Chain Management, IT Portfolio Management and Strategic Analysis at Northwestern Kellogg School and University of Texas McCombs School. Steve received his bachelors degree in Finance from Villanova University and his MBA from Lehigh University.
Veteran executive coach
Ann is a 20 year, veteran executive coach, who works mainly with contemporary male leaders to develop their accountability and talent.Primary interest: To help men move from managing to leading. In essence, they develop the competencies needed to be in touch with the needs of their business while also being a role model of balance, integrity and concern for their team.Expertise: Because Ann is a “mature” coach, with a background as a psychotherapist, she is able to bring out the best in the men she coaches.Experience: She has coached deep within organizations, over many years, in the US, Europe and the Middle East. Client industries include: Pharma, Engineering, Finance, High Tech. Additionally, Ann taught in the Coaching Certificate Program and New York University (NYU) for 7 years.Volunteer/ Personal info: Ann moved to Austin in 1985, moved to NYC for nine years, and returned to Austin in 2015. She volunteers with Cancer organizations, entrepreneurial groups, and non-profits. She loves traveling, theater, movies, opera and other music. She has one child, a son. He is the lead singer of a band here in Austin.
|Kelley Russell-DuVarney, MA
St. Edward’s University, UT-MBA,
Founder of Vantage Coaching
Positive psychology trained coach who partners with entrepreneurs, business executives and small business owners to create goal-specific, personal brands that lead to greater personal and professional success.Primary Interest:
As a coach, my approach is both pragmatic and goal oriented, which benefits my clients’ need for efficiency and effectiveness. Yet, my background in sociology affords me a distinct lens from which to consider the individual, the organization and potential barriers to success. In addition, my focus in graduate school was on technology, globalization and gender and the social problems that might arise as we transition more fully into a knowledge and service-based economy. My clients currently include early stage tech start-ups and tech executives as well as other entre/intropreneurs.Expertise/Coaching Niche: Positive Psychology Trained Coach, Specializing in Personal BrandingExperience: Speaker/Facilitator at St. Edward’s University, UT-MBA, Leadership Austin
Founder of Vantage CoachingEducation/Certifications: BA, St. Edwards Univ; MA, Texas State-San Marcos; Positive Psychology Coach Training, School of Coaching Mastery; ACC-International Coach Federation (ICF)Volunteer/Personal Info: Native New Englander, runner, tennis, research/stats enthusiast, Current President Elect, Greater Austin-ICF Chapter
Blue Beagle Consulting (BBC)
Sonya Ware, Blue Beagle Consulting (BBC) is an entrepreneur and executive coach. Prior to BBC, she was a Shell senior IT leader who rose regional leader with $30M+ in projects & operating budgets. Launched BBC in 2011, today is an authentic coach to director-level+ clients in IT, Legal, HR and Non-Profit; helping them to lead, and live, authentically; changing what they do, not who they are.Her interest in serving as an InnoTech coach is to leverage her experiences as an IT leader and as a coach to IT director level+ to help leaders showcase their best leadership self, gain a seat at the table and deliver results through others.Domains of expertise: strategic thinking partner, confidence, brand & calling. Most executives have technical & business acumen but lack a sounding board, or thinking partner, someone that isn’t a peer, subordinate or boss. Sonya creates a safe harbor for her clients to share, strategize and take intentional action.ICF PCC accreditation. UH, BA Entrepreneurship, UST, MLA and Executive Leadership Certificate, Cornell University. 15+ years working in global Fortune 500s. United Way Pro-Bono Consultant. Lives in Pearland, Texas. Mother of two lovely sons who enjoys comedy, beaches and murder-mystery.
|Dr. Jack M. Allen
Dynamic Coaching, LLC
Jack uses systems that build a desirable culture, find people who fit, and develop them and their teams so they thrive.His systems help create a transparent and collaborative culture that increases the fun of working at the right place. He uses proven technology to reduce turnover and increase workplace camaraderie.Jack works with business owners, CEOs, and top leaders to align goals and develop emerging leaders. He has more 1:1 experience with Millennials than anyone in the coaching space.Jack has coached, mentored, and taught emerging and executive leaders for 25 years in virtually every major US city as well Ireland, Kenya, and Rwanda.He’s been a home builder, tenured professor, and entrepreneur in eleven for- and non-profit organizations. He created the Team Member Care program of organizational development that helped earn a Malcolm Baldrige Award in 2010.Jack’s PhD is in ethics and managerial psychology with emphases in cultural reconciliation, economics, and management. He studied at Southwestern, TCU, LBJ School of Public Affairs, Acton Institute, and The University of Texas. He holds professional credentials from the International Coach Federation.• Jack and his wife, Janet, are Austin natives. Really.
• He’s also her high school sweetheart.
• In college, he and a friend ate all the fish out of someone’s aquarium.
• He once visited the world’s largest slum where he taught 2nd graders to read.
• He grew up a redhead. And yes, the stereotypes are pretty much true.
|Sherry Lowry, MCC, MA, MS
Seven times entrepreneur, Sherry Lowry is a strategist/mentoring collaborator for founding teams, owners, executives & high potentials.Primary interest: the organization’s most talented becoming the best possible leaders-of-self & others for greatest potentiation organizationally. Once self-managed & self-led, the whole room stops to listen when they speak. Their own best ideas become not just actively pursued, but received & acted upon with zest.Sherry’s expertise is in catalyzing others putting capabilities & best selves forward. This grew through fully developing her own staff & client service throughout N.America & six other English-speaking countries. The largest she & staff founded grew to 20,000 clients.Volunteer-wise, Sherry helped foundation the origin of the now 33,000+ member International Coach Federation, serving 3 Board terms. She carries their highest credential of Master Certified Coach (MCC). Mainstream education includes two Master’s degrees & creation of three coach-specific training entities. She has helped train over 3,700 business mentors & coaches along the way.Austin resident, community-active serving on Boards, with Cherry Creek Community Garden, she is fortunate to have all 3 generations of family local. This includes both sons, her only daughter-in-law – an Austin native, two grandboys, a rescued grand-dog, along with a most precious grand-kitten.
Certified Master Coach
Drawing on 25 years as president of 4 technology oriented companies, Kevin advises and coaches business owners and executives to increase leadership effectiveness while improving company value.Primary interest: Leaders who strategize and communicate effectively increase the values of their organizations as well as their communities.In 4 organizations, 2 of which operated internationally, Kevin led diverse teams of people to achieve significant growth in revenue, profitability, and teamwork. Success was achieved through critical strategic planning, and implementing change while establishing non-threatening environments. 3 of Kevin’s presidential business assignments were wholly owned subsidiaries of a Fortune 200 diversified conglomerate in which he led a multi-division re-engineering activity, held a board position in a JV with a Japanese technology company, and traveled extensively in Europe and Asia.Kevin is a Certified Master Coach by CCC, is on the board of the International Coaching Federation – Austin Chapter, is a certified Value Builder Advisor and has a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After over 30 years in Michigan, Hawaii, Tennessee, and Washington DC, he recently returned to Austin with his wife, two dogs and an outspoken cat. He divides his personal time between family, kayaking, guitars, bicycling, triathlons, and wine.
Master coach Jim Parker is a consultant, mentor and entrepreneur working with people who share a thrill for challenge, entrepreneurial spirit, and passion for creating a life and work they love.Jim enjoys working with aspiring professionals to champion their successes and guide them through challenges they face as they grow. For over 20 years he has coached individuals and organizations in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. A graduate of Coach University with 400+ hours of coach-specific training, he is Master certified by the International Coach Federation. Jim is a Certified Professional Behavior Analyst and Certified Professional Motivators Analyst as well as a certified Inspired Learning Facilitator.Jim moved to Austin 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO to be closer to his family and experience Austin. An entrepreneur all his life, he started his first business mowing lawns at age 11 and owned his first corporation at 22. He has created more than a half dozen businesses, including a manufacturing company, a commercial business brokerage and several highly successful franchise operations. Jim’s diverse background coupled with his professional coach training helps him provide a rich and resourceful experience for his clients.
|Edna Harris, MC, PCC
Therapon Certified Counselor
My Special Coaching Interests are with Educators and Business Leaders who are interested in exploring other possibilities in their work environment or in their personal/work relationshipsExpertise/Coaching Niche: I love working with Leaders who desire to always show up as the best person they can be or become in all aspects of their lives.Experience: 31+ years as a Public School Leader, 16 years as Director of Staff Development for Round Rock Schools; Leadership Coach for 16 years; Co-author of Results Coaching: The New Essential for School Leaders, 2010; Consultant and Presenter.Education/Certifications: BS/MA+ in Educational Leadership; International Coach Certification–PCC certified; DiSC trainer; Therapon Certified counselorVolunteer/Personal Information: Board Member for two organizations–Coaching for Results, 2002-2013; Real Marriage Program, 2010-current.I live in Round Rock and have two grown, married children. I enjoy remodeling projects and working in my yard. I currently host an International student from Haiti who attends ACC.
|Ted Middelberg, Ed.D., MBA
Primary Interest: Ted is an Executive Coach & Leadership Consultant. Ted uses his hands-on leadership experience, systems-level thinking and interpersonal skills to bring out the best in individual leaders, in their teams and in their organizations.He brings the wisdom of 20 years of leadership and executive level responsibilities in finance at hi-tech firms, followed by another 15 years focused explicitly on helping leaders drive successful results. His extensive experience gives him the flexibility to adapt to the needs and issues facing each client. He is a Certified Executive Coach and the author of the book, Transformational Executive Coaching: A Relationship-Based Model for Sustained Change.Ted has an extensive client list encompassing major firms in Hi-tech, Energy, Healthcare and Engineering. He has deep experience coaching in the information technology area, including executives at AT&T and ExxonMobil.Ted has a BA in Economics from Brown University, an MBA in Finance from The Ohio State University and an Ed.D. in Human Resource Development & Leadership from The University of Texas at Austin. Ted was a founding faculty member of the Masters of Science in Organizational Leadership & Ethics program at St. Edward’s University. Ted is a member of the International Coaching Federation, the Systems Centered Training Research Institute and the International Consortium for Coaching in Organization.Ted has served as a Board of Director member for the local chapter of the Financial Executive Institute (FEI), of the Organizational Development Network (ODN), the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) and the Austin Human Resource Management Association (AHRMA).
Synthia Smith is a transformational consultant/strategic collaborator for leaders, teams and organizations committed to bringing something new into being or aren’t willing to settle for the status quo.Primary interests: Leaders creating high performance project teams and organizations where people flourish and innovation thrives. People who dream big and want to deliver with sustained energy and deep satisfaction.Synthia’s expertise: Helping leaders develop their teams, transform their cultures, and find balance in their lives. She has a special ability to reframe challenges in a way that enables individuals and teams to create their own solutions.
Since 1995, Synthia has consulted/coached thousands of individuals, entrepreneurs, businesses, and global corporations. She served with two global consulting companies, founded two training/coaching companies and brings 30+ years as a geologist, global training manager, executive coach, organizational consultant, and transformational trainer.
Synthia has 300+ days of coach training, multiple coaching certifications, academic degrees (Psychology, Geology & French), and a Certificate of Completion in Tibetan Buddhist Meditation, Yoga and Dzogchen including four one-hundred day silent, cloistered retreats.
Synthia enjoys Austin with her husband Steve, four foundling kitties and abundant hill country wildlife. An incurable learner, Synthia currently explores breakthrough leadership, brain neuroscience-based performance and Bordeaux wines.
International Coach Federation
Valerie Thomson has helped business leaders and professionals through her intensive, insight-focused coaching practice for over 17 years. As a partner in understanding and overcoming internal and external hurdles, Valerie applies an in-depth, hands-on approach to development. Through objective assessment and an empathy-rich engagement process, she helps organizations to bring long-hidden challenges to the surface, finding quick resolution through honest and clear communication.
Valerie’s expertise lies in how she applies a holistic approach to her consulting work. With a focus that includes both individual challenges and integrative team-based assessments, she helps organizations to maximize their results and business performance. As a core practice, she applies a proprietary evaluative tool set to help organizations hire staff and manage responsibilities in such a way that optimizes employee retention and performance.
Serving on the local board of the International Coach Federation, Valerie has called Austin home for over 30 years. Her favorite life-balancing acts include time with her children, painting, and finding any excuse to spend time outdoors.