All COE events are located at Fisher College of Business unless otherwise noted.

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Partner Event: Oct. 5 - 9 | Lean Leadership Week

Lean Frontiers is hosting Lean Leadership Week in Jacksonville, FL, Oct. 5-9. The week kicks off with the inaugural Summit on Lean Leadership, held at One Ocean Resort on October 5-6. Later that same week is the Lean Accounting Summit and Lean Management Summit. These summits take place at The Sawgrass Marriott Oct. 8-9 with optional workshops taking place October 7. These events explore best practices in leadership, accounting, and management in the lean enterprise.

Any employees of COE member companies that register and use discount code “COE” at checkout receive 10% off the standard registration fee.

Click here to read more and register ....

Oct. 16 - IT Leadership Network Fall Forum

Session 1, 9 to 10:15 a.m.: Nordstrom's Lean I.T. Journey
Amy Evans, manager, continuous improvement, Nordstrom Inc.

Specialty fashion retailer Nordstrom has nearly 300 full-line and Nordstrom Rack locations in the U.S. and employs about 67,000. In its continuing efforts to drive efficiency and effectiveness, Nordstrom mounted a lean transformation in its technology division January 2013. Amy Evans (pictured), senior manager of continuous improvement for Nordstrom, and Micah Samuels, senior director of store technology management, in this session will offer a wide-ranging look at how this drive for continuous improvement is changing the technology division’s culture. They’ll also share early successes and ongoing challenges.

Session 2, 10:30 a.m. to noon: Building Better Shared Outcomes Between I.T. and Business Unit Leaders
Bob Gold, CEO, Gold Mobile (pictured, right)

In today’s mobile and fast paced global economy, companies and their people are constantly on the go -- busy and under pressure and stress to perform – for today’s presentation, this month’s quota, or to effect the stock price this quarter. This mindset creates real and perceived barriers between building sustainable technology architectures and solutions and meeting the business and financial needs of your internal customers and stakeholders. The result of this new world order creates increased tensions between IT and business teams on what is the “right” approach and priority to produce quality solutions on-time and on-budget.

This session will take a refreshing and novel look at how IT and Business Units engage, build relationships, and share success. We’ll delve into typical corporate behavioral attitudes from both a business and IT leadership perspective and then discuss engagement and design techniques that can reduce friction, produce solid ROI and increase the brand equity of the IT organization.

In this session you will discover techniques that lead to a more symbiotic development process, quicker time to market, better user adoption, and less mis-expectations:

  • People Have Brands Too!: Do you really know your personal brand and how you and/or your group is perceived by business unit customers? Discover methods to increase trust, credibility, and raise the believability of your brand.
  • How to Get Business People to think Differently about Technology and its Value
  • Increase Your Ability to Produce Innovation: by thinking outside your company to change the internal playing field.

Session 3, 1 to 2:30 p.m.: Why Are We Here? Finding, Aligning and Sharing Purpose
Mike Orzen and Tom Paider, co-authors, The Lean I.T. Field Guide

Most companies struggle with cultivating a shared understanding of the value proposition at its very core, resulting in a diffuse and varied answer across the organization to the simple question: “Why are we in business?” This disconnect can trickle down to create problems at the individual work level, leaving the organization’s driving purpose open to interpretation. Mike Orzen (left) and Tom Paider (right), workshop hosts and authors of the upcoming book The Lean I.T. Field Guide, argue that tackling this crucial challenge and aligning individual purpose with the broader organization’s is a key milestone in undertaking a successful operational excellence journey.

In this session, attendees will be introduced to the transformational model Orzen and Paider have created and then dive deep into the concept of purpose through individual and small-group exercises. Participants will have the opportunity to think critically about their organization’s purpose, identify gaps in their own alignment, and chart a course for rallying their teams to that elusive shared understanding.

Oct. 30 - Supply Chain Forum

Featured speaker: Bob Charleston, SVP, Operations and Supply Chain, T. Marzetti Co.

Columbus-based food purveyor T. Marzetti Co. is riding a tide of growing demand and sales, but that also comes with a constant need for tough decisions: Grow an internal production capability or contract out? Expand the transportation fleet or seek a third party? Each decision poses a risk, presents a challenge and harbors the potential for opportunity.

Bob Charleston, SVP of Operations and Supply Chain for T. Marzetti Co., joins COE Oct. 30 for an inside look at how the company navigates the tricky realm of make-buy decisions, a constant balancing act of capacity management, volatile commodities and external partnerships. He’ll also share how the company’s strategic sourcing efforts fit inside its broader operational excellence journey, which includes an ongoing partnership with COE.

T. Marzetti Co. is a subsidiary of Lancaster Colony Corp. The company produces a wide variety of salad dressings, fruit and vegetable dips, frozen baked goods and other specialty items. In addition to its namesake brand, others include Sister Schubert's, Mamma Bella's, Cardini's, Marzetti Simply Dressed, New York Bakery, Reames, Girard's, and more. Charleston joined the company in 2014 after serving in the U.S. Army and an extensive career in the food industry that included roles at Pillsbury Co., General Mills, Wrigley Co. and ConAgra Foods. In his current role, he has overall leadership responsibility for all areas of manufacturing, distribution, customer service, procurement, engineering, supply and demand planning, and continuous improvement.


  • 8 a.m.: Check-in opens
  • 8:30 a.m.: T. Marzetti keynote
  • 9:30 a.m.: Panel discussion, featuring Charleston & Fisher College of Business Prof. John Gray (additional panelists TBA)
  • 10:45 a.m.: Interactive, group-based make-buy activity
  • 11:45 a.m.: Networking lunch
  • 12:45 p.m.: Event concludes

Nov. 6 - Professional Development Meeting

Featured Speaker:

Joe Zekoski, SVP, Chief Technical Officer, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

Zekoski, who had served as Interim Chief Technical Officer since 2012, began his career with Goodyear in 1979 as a commercial truck tire engineer in Akron, Ohio. He then took leadership positions in commercial truck tire development in Luxembourg and in Akron.  Zekoski gained experience in consumer tires when he was assigned as Chief Engineer of tire development for the Asian original equipment manufacturers.  Zekoski has also held many other leadership roles within Goodyear’s technical organizations, including customer engineering, light truck tire development and North America product development.  His business leadership experience encompasses North America’s retread business, as well as the molded products and air spring businesses in the Engineered Products Division.  From 2006 through 2008, Zekoski led Goodyear’s Innovation Center in Luxembourg.

Registration to open in September

Mark your calendar...

The following COE events are scheduled with more details to come, though dates are subject to change. Check back on our events page or look for an e-mail invite closer to the event.

  • Dec. 4 - Women's Leadership Forum: Women in Lean
  • Feb. 12, 2016 - Professional Development Meeting
  • April 12-14, 2016 - Leading Through Excellence summit
  • June 3, 2016 - IT Leadership Network forum