Southern New England Chapter of PMI

SNEC PM Conference 2018 - Program Abstracts & Speaker Bios

2018 PM Conference - Presentation Abstracts and Speaker Biographies


Presentation Abstracts and Speaker Bios - Arranged by Session/Time:

Opening Keynote - Ballroom A/B

It's Your Ship - Michael Abrashoff

8:30am - 9:30am

Talent Triangle: 1.0 PDU Leadership
SBA Categories: Start, Build


Session A

9:45am - 10:45am


Topic: The Agile Mindset Talent Triangle: 1.0 PDU - Leadership
SBA Category: Start, Build, Advance
Presenter: Wendy Avery Room: 11-12 9:45am - 10:45am

Session Abstract
Shifting to an Agile software development methodology isn’t just applying new processes. In fact, only 20% of the effort to becoming Agile is a change in how you do the work. The other 80% is changing how you think about how you work. Through short exercises, videos and conversation, this fun presentation will address the following questions: What is a mindset? How does it affect your reactions to change? What are the characteristics of an Agile mindset? How can your mindset influence those around you? (Note: we will not be reviewing the Scrum or Kanban processes.)

Wendy AveryAbout Wendy Avery:
Wendy Avery is currently an Enterprise Agile Coach and Agile Instructor for Cigna Healthcare. She has over 20 years of experience in project management in the Health insurance industry, and has been working with Cigna for the past three years on their Agile transformation journey.



Topic: Leading from All Sides: The Realist’s Guide® to Leadership Talent Triangle: 0.25 PDU Strategic and Business Mgmt, 0.75 PDU Leadership
SBA Category: Advance
Presenters: Craig Price Room: 14-15 9:45am - 10:45am

Session Abstract
In a world of vastly different personalities and perspectives, finding ways to get all the piecesto fit into a cohesive and effective organization can be a challenge. If you want to be a good project manager or a good employee, there is no one way. Often, the way a project managerinteracts must change with each person and each situation. In this innovative, practical and entertaining program, discover realistic ways you can create a consistently successful leadership approach by adapting to differing personalities and creating the flexibility necessary to be a leader in today’s changing world.

Craig PriceAbout Craig Price:
A realist by nature and a professional speaker, consultant, podcaster by trade, Craig Price has helped thousands of people learn to find the value in negative thoughts and emotions. He has a background in customer service, entertainment, telecommunications, and safety.



Topic: New Member Orientation Talent Triangle: 1.0 PDU - Strategic and Business Management
SBA Categories: Start, Build, Advance
Presenters: Neil Weiss and Genevieve Guilmette Room: 21-22 9:45am - 10:45am

Session Abstract
Now that you've joined SNEC-PMI or if you are thinking of joining SNEC this is the session to attend!

We all join a professional association for a reason – you can discuss why you have joined, what some of your biggest challenges are, and what you would like to accomplish in the next 6-12 months to personalize and customize your experience with the SNEC Chapter. We offer opportunities to start, grow and advance your career in project management. There are opportunities to learn and prepare for a certification, build connections to people and resources critical to building your career and to advance the profession through collaboration in communities of practice, expert panels, networking and mentoring. Also, Terri Knudson, a Board Member from PMI, will share the future direction of PMI.

Prospective members, you can also participate in the conversation and see how SNEC can help you achieve your goals!

Neil WeissAbout Neil Weiss and Genevieve Guilmette and Terri Knudson:
Neil Weiss has over 15 years of project management experience working in information technology in healthcare. Neil currently works as a IT Infrastructure PM at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in Tarrytown, NY. Neil has held his PMP since 2011 and has been a member of the SNEC-PMI Education Portfolio. Neil led an expansion of educational offerings, concentrated on providing certification prep and project management skill development for the chapter's members. Neil continues his leadership role on the SNEC BOD as a Director of Membership and running their successful new member orientation and other membership engagement events.

Genevieve Guilmette

Genevieve Guilmette has thirteen years’ experience in the financial services and has been a volunteer for SNEC for the past 9 years. She has held several roles with SNEC, including VP for the SNEC Conference (2013 and 2014), BOD member for Membership in 2015, and is currently President of the Chapter. Genevieve’s aspiration for SNEC Conference was to create a Tradition of Excellence, where project managers and project management enthusiasts share their experiences and learn from thoughts leaders. She has worked closely with several Board members to better the Member Experience and differentiating the Southern New England Chapter.

Terri Knudson

Ms. Teresa (Terri) Knudson, MBA, PMP, PgMP, PfMP, will be representing the PMI® Global Executive Council. Terri is the Director of the Enterprise Portfolio Management Office (EPMO) at Mayo Clinic, the largest integrated nonprofit medical center in the world. Terri has been an active member of the PMI® Global Executive Council since 2011, has a quarterly column in PM Network®, served on a global congress keynote panel, is a regular presenter at the PMO Symposium, has written for multiple magazines and books, teaches and speaks internationally, and consults with organizations worldwide.



Topic: Embracing Change and Inspiring Engagement Talent Triangle: 1.0 PDU - Leadership
SBA Categories: Build
Presenter: Belinda Fremouw Room: 24-25 9:45am - 10:45am

Session Abstract
This one hour breakout session highlights the project manager as the ultimate change agent, illuminating the impact of the project manager’s attitude towards change on the project stakeholders and the project success. By understanding the PM’s role in change management and how to approach change in various situations, the participants will be armed with change management approaches and techniques that will inspire engagement versus resistance.

Belinda FremouwAbout Belinda Fremouw:
A project management and leadership development expert, Belinda Fremouw provides innovative solutions to the currently challenges and obstacles in project management. With a long and varied career in project management across a number of industries, Belinda now lends her expertise to organizations and individuals through her books and speaking engagements.



Session B

11:00am - 12:00pm


Topic: Agile Estimating and Planning Talent Triangle: 1.0 PDU - Technical (PMP, PgMP, PMI-ACP)
SBA Categories: Build, Advance
Presenter: Dave Todaro Room: 11-12 11:00am - 12:00pm

Session Abstract
Software engineering management expert Dave Todaro walks you step-by-step through Agile estimating techniques you can use to understand the size of your project and how long it will take. You and your team will quickly come up with accurate estimates and you’ll be able to forecast completion dates based on how fast the team is moving. You’ll learn how to deal with changes in scope and priority while always being able to tell management, “This is when we’ll be done.”

Dave TodaroAbout Dave Todaro:
Dave Todaro has spent the last 35+ years building and leading software teams in a variety of leadership roles. He is currently President and COO of Ascendle, a contract software engineering firm specializing in custom software development and Agile training and coaching. Ascendle is a trusted partner for business visionaries who need to deliver solid business results through software development, reliably and on a predictable schedule.



Topic: Managing a Crisis: Resiliency Planning in a New World Talent Triangle: 0.5 PDU - Strategic and Business Mgmt, 0.5 PDU Leadership
SBA Category: Build, Advance
Presenter: Spruille Braden Room: 14-15 11:00am - 12:00pm

Session Abstract
Perhaps the most impactful events ever to disrupt business have occurred in the U.S. within the past couple of years. From more "traditional" events such as Superstorm Sandy, winter weather events, and telecommunications failures to cyber-attacks, active shooter scenarios and terrorist threats, the risk profile of our country is constantly evolving. C-Level executives and senior leaders are changing their thinking from “What if?” to “When?” and the last thing any company can afford to do is start the project planning process in the midst of a crisis. This talk will outline important project management lessons learned for before, during and after an incident.

Spruille BradenAbout Spruille Braden:
Spruille Braden, MBA, PMP, is Executive Director and Americas Head of Business Continuity Management (BCM) for UBS AG, one of the world’s largest financial institutions. Prior to his role in BCM, he ran the Project Management Office (PMO) for the Americas region at UBS.



Topic: Microsoft Office 365 Tools for Project Collaboration and Project Management Talent Triangle: 0.25 PDU - Strategic and Business Mgmt, 0.75 PDU Technical (PMP, PgMP)
SBA Categories: Start, Build
Presenter: Joe Ursone, David Hale, Brent Harvey and Noah Ullman Room: 21-22 11:00am - 12:00pm

Session Abstract
Modern project management requires support for connectivity and collaboration. Microsoft has tools in Office 365 and Project Online that support connectivity and collaboration. We will demonstrate Teams, Planner, One Note, Yammer, Flow, Forms, SharePoint and Project Online. What’s in it for Project Managers? The ability to:

  • Prioritize a Project Portfolio aligned with corporate strategies;
  • See cross-project resource capacity and allocations;
  • Broadcast questions to the whole team at once;
  • Get instant alerts on Issues & Risks;
  • Include people on your team from outside your enterprise;
  • Have Group Video calls; Instant Messaging; Screen sharing; and Record & Playback meetings;
  • Type on any device anywhere, capture anything; Tag notes, Make lists; Think, plan, and share ideas with others; Create a plan, build a team, assign tasks, and update status;
  • Everyone sees who is working on what; Built-in ‘Scrum’ board;

Joe UrsoneAbout Joe Ursone, David Hale, Brent Harvey and Noah Ullman:
Joe Ursone has over thirty-five years of project & program management experience in Banking, Insurance, Manufacturing, Non-profits and Government Entities. He’s been an adjunct professor for Project Management and has taught PMP Prep classes for SNEC-PMI since 2009.

david haleAs a manager in BlumShapiro’s Technology Consulting Group, David Hale has over eight years of experience with Microsoft cloud solutions. Dave specializes in migrating, implementing, training and providing support to clients on the Microsoft cloud solutions including Office 365 and Dynamics 365 to help organizations accomplish their goals.

brent harveyBrent Harvey has been building and developing technology solutions for over 13 years. He is a Solution Architect at BlumShapiro Consulting where he has engineered technological solutions for small businesses on up to Fortune 100 companies.

noah ullmanIn his role at BlumShapiro, Noah Ullman enjoys helping organizations of all sizes envision and realize their future with the application of modern technologies - from basic cloud computing to artificial intelligence.



Topic: Change Management: The Undercover Role of the Project Manager Talent Triangle: 1.0 PDU - Technical (PMP, PgMP)
SBA Categories: Build, Advance
Presenter: Dr. James Brown Room: 24-25 11:00am - 12:00pm

Session Abstract
Do you have the fundamental change management knowledge to assure project success? Change management for organizational (stakeholder and customer acceptance) change is a responsibility of the project manager. But, it is a role that is typically under-appreciated… underutilized…and frankly not even recognized by many project managers. Change management is complex. There is no cookbook recipe you can find and then simply apply to your situation. Change management is necessary for success. Just like a battery stores up energy, you need to store up knowledge of change management and then apply when needed. This presentation will help you do just that.

Dr. James BrownAbout Dr. James Brown:
Dr. James Brown, PMP, PE, CSP, has spoken to audiences from Anchorage Alaska to Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. He is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) by the National Speakers Association. It is the highest earned designation in the speaking industry. Participants say his use of stories and humor bring critical truths to light, in an entertaining way that leaves them motivated to take action. He provides brilliant bluntness on real world, common sense practices for project management and leadership.



Afternoon Keynote - Ballroom A/B

The Realist's Guide to the New Workforce - Craig Price

1:15pm - 2:15pm

Talent Triangle: 0.75 PDU - Leadership, 0.25 PDU - Strategic and Business Mgmt
SBA Categories:


Session C

2:30pm - 3:30pm


Topic: Mixing Oil & Water (How to make Agile methods work with governance and compliance) Talent Triangle: 1.0 PDU - Technical (PMP, PgMP, PMI-ACP)
SBA Categories: Build, Advance
Presenter: Stephen Gristock Room: 11-12 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Session Abstract
We are familiar with the traditional project delivery standards and models that still prevail in most medium to large organizations. Due to their perceived inflexibility, some corporate compliance and regulatory frameworks may represent a significant challenge to Agile Transformation teams.

Conversely the Agile family of methods, emphasize a bias toward establishing a light weight and highly flexible approach to delivery processes for teams. Indeed, Agile methods are potentially powerful at this level, but problems arise when attempting to scale at an enterprise or business unit level. Right now, many companies are struggling to reconcile team based Agile methods with their more traditional governance based processes.

On the face of it, we have a situation where traditional linear (waterfall) standards and Agile methodology appear to be incompatible. But there’s a substantial population of practitioners who are forced to make them align and work together. This session will focus on exploring tips and techniques that illustrate how these apparently divergent processes can coexist, and even complement each other. All delivered with a focus on real-world pragmatism, practicality and a dash of humor!

Stephen GristockAbout Stephen Gristock:
Originally from Wales (UK), Stephen has presented at conferences in Europe, Asia and North America (including INCOSE, SPIN, PSQT, SEPG, ICSPI) on process transformation techniques. Stephen has an extensive background in project management and process improvement acquired as a consultant, practitioner and implementation leader. He is a certified Scrum Master and Product Owner, SAFe SPC, ISO auditor, PMI PMP and ACP, SEI Lead Appraiser and Trainer. He has also served as a member on both the SEI’s CMMI Change Control Board and the PMI’s OPM3 Development Team. Having managed several successful corporate PMO teams and agile transformation initiatives, he currently leads Eliassen Group’s Agile advisory and training delivery services in NY.



Topic: Berlin-Brandenburg Airport: A Case Study in “What Not To Do” in Project Management. Talent Triangle: 1.0 PDU - Strategic and Business Management
SBA Category: Build
Presenter: Christopher Friday Room: 14-15 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Session Abstract
The Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) in Germany is synonymous for a project debacle. Originally projected to open in 2011, the airport is now projected to open October 2019. Originally projected to cost $2.15 billion, the airport is now projected to cost an estimated $5+billion. For a country known for it’s efficient infrastructure projects, this project has wounded German pride. How did this happen? We will explore the critical project management and governance mistakes that led to this becoming a case study in “what not to do” in project management.

Christopher FridayAbout Christopher Friday:
Christopher Friday brings over 25 years of experience in project, program and portfolio management in the gaming, hospitality, retail, professional services and consumer electronics industries. Christopher Friday is currently Adjunct Professor, Management at Nichols College, Dudley, MA as well as Managing Principal of Dragnet Consulting. Christopher holds a BA from Syracuse University and a MBA from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. Christopher holds PMP, PfMP and CGEIT professional certifications.



Topic: Culture Enables Innovation Talent Triangle: 0.5 PDU - Strategic and Business Mgmt, 0.5 PDU - Technical (PMP, PgMP)
SBA Categories: Advance
Presenter: Milos Topic Room: 21-22 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Session Abstract
Organizational culture starts with us, leaders of teams and organizations. Culture enables innovation and as leadership has the greatest impact and influence over organizational culture it is on us to provide environments where it is safe to fail and try new things. The environment where experiments and errors are allowed is the best long-term approach towards sustainable and relevant innovation and new ideas. Unfortunately, the structure and culture of many organizations go directly against much needed innovation as they are centered and focused around numbers and quarterly earnings calls with shareholders. If you only live by the numbers, avoid risk and are preventing people form exploring, trying and failing, you will never innovate and grow naturally and organically. Additionally, in the process, the best employees will leave as they always do when their growth and creativity are limited.

Milos TopicAbout Milos Topic:
Milos Topic has 20+ years of experience in leadership, strategy, technology, implementation and business development. His journey in the IT profession started in 1997 and over the past 20+ years he has worked on nearly all aspects of IT. Milos has experiences in networking, cabling installs; tech support to programming in C++, C#, Java; web development; system/network security/administration to his most recent positions of leading teams of amazing people providing technology solutions and services while supporting a multitude of organizational needs.



Topic: Moving Projects at the Speed of Change - Easing Change Management Pain Talent Triangle: 1.0 PDU - Technical (PMP, PgMP)
SBA Category: Build, Advance
Presenter: Sinikka Waugh Room: 24-25 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Session Abstract
Covering topics from change and transition foundations, to what messages people need to hear at the key moments of transition, and how to create a plan for leading change well, this course covers the essence of change leadership and transition management in an unforgettable way, with stories, anecdotes, tools, and approaches specifically tailored to those in the project management space. In this deep dive into the secrets of thriving on change – not merely surviving it, participants will:

  • Recognize the characteristics of change and transition
  • Gain tactics to recognize and describe the change and transition process for yourself and others
  • Encounter keys to successful change leadership in an organizational context (Planning, buy-in, and communication)

Sinikka WaughAbout Sinikka Waugh:
Sinikka Waugh is a recognized leader in understanding people and teaching others to adapt to the situation at hand. Since 2006, she has provided compassionate leadership in transformation initiatives. Her relentless enthusiasm and “try-this-now” approach help others get even better where they work.



Closing Keynote - Ballroom A/B

Project Management: Art vs. Science:Driving Execution Excellence by Developing PM Leadership to Better Use the PM Tools of the Trade - Matthew Bromberg

3:45pm - 4:45pm

Talent Triangle: 0.5 PDU Leadership, 0.5 PDU Strategic and Business Management
SBA Categories: Build, Advance


Key to Presentations:

Agile Track
Leadership Track
Technical Track
Change Management Track
PMI Talent Triangle


For more information on the Start, Build, Advance model for PM Professional Development goals, please click here.


Program Subject to Change (last revised 25-March-2018)