Innovation and Technology Episode

From your Host Reo Oravec,

We have a fabulous show for you today… packed with subject matter experts, updating you with the latest key and critical issues surrounding innovation AND technology which (as we know) are changing and becoming more complex in today’s business environment.

In this episode, we have a triple play show, which consists of 3 individual parts.

The first of which, several of our speakers and I will discuss innovation strategies and then the risks associated with innovation.

The technology portion will be Hosted by our co-host Gretchen Iler, covering:

Innovations in technology, trends, security, and a look at the innovation processes used in one of the fastest growing software companies headquartered, here in Atlanta.

Host’s whitepaper entitled :



Listen to the Full Show Innovation and Technology Episode

Our Speakers:


Lauret Howard

Chief Risk Officer

Innovation and Technology show

Lauret Howard

Listen to Lauret Howard on the Innovation and Technology Episode

As NASCO’s Chief Risk Officer, Lauret ensures processes are in place to protect the personal health information of 23 million BCBS members. Lauret focuses on NASCO’s compliance with the risk management expectations of customers, the senior leadership team, NASCO’s Board of Directors and government regulators. She is responsible for developing and managing an enterprise risk management (ERM) framework to assess, identify, monitor and reduce pertinent business risks that could prevent NASCO from achieving its objectives and goals. She is also responsible for ensuring that NASCO is in substantial compliance with internal operating policies and procedures and with any external legal, regulatory or contractual requirements. Lauret has direct oversight for corporate governance, compliance, audit and legal. Lauret is also NASCO’s Corporate Secretary.

Prior to joining NASCO, Lauret held a variety of leadership and operational delivery roles with EDS’ Health Care Division with a focus on solution engineering, implementation and change management for the payer market. In addition, Lauret led the development and deployment of a mentoring program for the division.

Lauret is the President of the Atlanta Chapter of the Association for Strategic Planning (ASP) and is a certified Strategy Management Professional. Lauret, a member of the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) and was a WIT Woman of the Year Finalist in 2011 and 2012. She currently mentors numerous men and women to help them achieve their professional and personal goals. Lauret serves as President of the Madison Hall Homeowners Association.

A Georgia native, Lauret received a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Georgia and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Goizeuta Business School of Emory University, where she is still active as a mentor and coach. Lauret is currently enrolled in Goizueta’s Business of Healthcare Elective Series. Lauret resides in Marietta, Georgia with her husband and has three children.


Hans Eckman

Group Vice President, Innovation Programs
SunTrust Bank

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Hans Eckman

Listen to Hans Eckman Innovation Segment on Innovation and Technology Episode Listen to Hans Eckman Technology Segment on Innovation and Technology Episode

Hans Eckman provides linchpin leadership and consulting for rapidly evolving companies.
Nineteen of his over 25+ years’ experience, Hans spent creating workflow and support optimization solutions, with a focus to streamline operations across diverse industries.

Mr. Eckman is currently part of the SunTrust Innovation Programs team at SunTrust Bank, and co-founded the SunTrust Business Analyst Center of Excellence.

Hans Eckman has spent most of career implementing business systems. Recently Hans served as Security Services Workstream Manager at SunTrust Bank, and in 2009 helped implement the new online banking which became the industry lead in usability.


Cristina F. Da Costa

Innovation and Technology show

Cristina F. Da Costa

Culture & Leadership Consultant
CDC Consulting Partners

Listen to Cristina Da Costa Segment on Innovation and Technology Episode

Cristina Da Costa is a CTT certified consultant and the founder of CDC Consulting Partners operating here in Atlanta. In her work with companies measuring their corporate culture she uses the CTT – Cultural Transformation Tools and resources from Barrett Values Centre providing powerful metrics that enable leaders to measure and manage the culture in their Organizations. The CTT – Cultural Transformation Tools define an actionable road map that becomes an integral part of a leader’s business strategy and of his personal development plan as well.

With long experience as a senior executive in the Banking industry in Europe, Cristina’s background includes driving successful and diverse strategic projects for business performance both through risk management and business development while improving business by developing its resilience to every day-to-day impacts. Cristina has focused her entire professional life on developing key executive relationships, building strong and motivated teams and engaging organizations in newly defined roadmaps for success.

Throughout her extensive experience in the corporate world, Cristina has built a very strong belief in how culture in an organization and employee engagement can impact positively a company´s bottom line. This led Cristina to dedicate her work to measuring companies’ culture and leaders’ performance while delivering tools and recommendations to organizations in order to embrace change for sustainable growth and profit.

The CTT – Cultural Transformation Tools Cristina uses in her work, have been used to map the values of over 6,000 Organizations and 3,000 leaders in 90 countries. The CTT are used by corporations, NGOs, government and municipal agencies, communities, schools, and nations. The CTT values assessment instruments are available in over 50 languages.

Cristina Da Costa’s purpose with her work is to provide data to companies on how their culture is supporting (or not) the success and the future of their business. Bringing culture to Leadership’s radar is her way of contributing to more successful and sustainable businesses that impact more and more positively all their stakeholders, in today’s rapid changing society and markets.

Cristina is also a Certified Coach by the worldwide known ICF – International Coach Federation. Additionally, she has a degree in Economics from the Universidade Nova in Lisbon and in a Finance Program for Executives at Universidade Catolica Portuguesa in Lisbon as well. Cristina is also a certified Trainer by the IEFP and an eLearning Trainer by ISQ in Portugal.



Alex Gregory

Innovation and Technology Show

Alex Gregory

Chairman, President & CEO
YKK Corporation of America

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Alex oversees the strategic direction of YKK Corporation’s North and Central America Group, which consists of approximately 2,500 employees at 12 operating companies located in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central America, and Colombia. Gregory began his career with YKK in 1973. He was named the first non-Japanese president of YKK Corporation of America in 2001. In 2004, Gregory became the first non-Japanese group officer for YKK Corporation in Japan. From 2008 to 2010, he served on YKK Corporation’s Board in Japan. In 2011, he was named chairman of YKK Corporation of America’s Board of Directors.

Alex has testified in Washington before the International Trade Commission on two occasions, and he has addressed the House Ways and Means Committee.

Of great importance, Alex considers the time he spends mentoring students, time best spent. He has been mentoring students at Georgia Tech since 2001 and students at Georgia College since 2004. In 2010, Gregory was one of five CEOs featured in Hayes and Comer’s book Start With Humility: Lessons From America’s Quiet CEOs On How To Build Trust And Inspire Followers.

Gregory received his Bachelor’s from Georgia Tech and his MBA and MSA from GCSU. He retired as a commander from the U.S. Naval Reserves in 1998 after serving 28 years. Gregory and wife Glenda have two grown children: Kristen and Alex III. They also have three granddaughters, Emma, Mya, and Lucy and a grandson, Alex IV.


Mitchell Johnson

Chief Technology Officer

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Innovation and Technology show

Mitchell Johnson


Mitchell leads all aspects of product strategy, data, security and technology for eVestment: the global leader in institutional investor data and analytics. During his time at eVestment, the company has experienced tremendous growth, adding about 200 people over the past four years alone. Mitchell now leads one of the largest teams at eVestment.

During his tenure as CTO, eVestment has been recognized with numerous workplace, technology and usability awards. Most recently, Fortune Magazine named eVestment the No. 5 midsized tech workplace in the United States. The company has also been recognized as one of the fastest growing U.S. technology companies in the Deloitte Fast 500 rankings and one of the top 40 most innovative technology companies in Georgia by the Technology Association of Georgia. eVestment has also placed on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing companies in the United States for nine consecutive years.

In his position as CTO, Mitchell has led continuous efforts to maximize eVestment’s usability and functionality, which has resulted in eVestment being recognized as best-in-class in its industry. The company is regularly recognized as the most useful and most influential global database by institutional investment consulting firms and media outlets.

Prior to joining eVestment in 2009, Mitchell held a variety of senior positions at Equifax in product, mergers and acquisitions, and technology. He has also held technology leadership positions with Hitachi Consulting and Delta Air Lines.

Mitchell holds a BA in Management Science and a certificate in Information Systems from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from Emory University, where he graduated Beta Gamma Sigma and received the faculty award for Organization and Management.



Leon Williams

Program Manager/Enterprise Solution Architect
Cognizant Technology Solutions, Inc.

Leon Williams

Leon Williams

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Leon Williams is a Program Director/Enterprise Solution Architect, in Strategic and Tactical leadership in Program Development, P&L Management Consulting and Program Management in the U.S. Branded, Generic Pharmaceuticals, Devices, International Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences Industry for Cognizant Technology Solutions, Inc.

Mr. Williams has served as a Program Director/Enterprise Solution Architect for JDE EnterpriseOne global Manufacturing, Distribution, and Financials transformation at Abbott Laboratories. Mr. Williams also served as Program Manager/Enterprise Solution Architect at Johnson & Johnson, where he led the effort of (Oracle ERP Fusion, PeopleSoft, JDE E1, SMAC (Social in Mobile in Analytics & Cloud), Technologies,), systems integration, and developed solutions across CRM, HCM, Financials, SCM and ERP systems.

He is a Member of the Oracle Cloud Practice team and responsible for executing Cognizant Technology Solutions strategy and leading its core operations including the Global Business Development, Delivery and Implementations also integration of marketing, technology, product development and content. He has worked in Pfizer, Inc., Actavis Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Bayer AG for Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences industry.

Mr. Williams was a Sr. Executive Strategy Practice Director at ORACLE Corp and a Member of its Global Technology Practice. Mr. Williams worked extensively with Fortune 500 companies to develop a more Cloud holistic, enterprise-wide approach to regulatory compliance and ethics management. Mr. Williams additionally, has consulted to four of the largest global professional services firms; Cognizant Technology Solutions Inc., Accenture, ORACLE, McKinsey and Company, with locations in the United States, Europe, Africa, China, Australia and Japan to help companies in a broad cross-section of industries. Improving their strategic position, building new businesses, and achieving sustained performance improvement. Mr. Williams has teamed with Oracle for more than two decades, and innovated with Oracle solutions and has given his clients a vision of how they can navigate their digital journey.

Mr. Williams holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University System, where he received the IBM’s Watson Design Award, and an Executive M.B.A. from Yale EMBA Program Graduate School of Management, completing his studies at the Yale School of Management.


We would like to thank our dedicated production team

• Co- Host Gretchen Iler
• Producer Sherrell Russell
• Executive Producer and Host Reo Oravec
• Production Manager Everett James
• Production Assistant Juliana Altman
• Public Relations Whitney Adams
• Technical Editor Robert Grant
• Managing Editor Sherrell Russell
• Announcer Sherrell Russell
• Photographer Juliana Altman
Business Executive Radio EXE
• The wonderful hospitality of the City Club of Buckhead
• And all of the Guests in our Studio Audience