Talks 2015

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Bob Roitblat – Paradox of Innovation

 

Innovative fusion is the act of combining unrelated idea fragments to solve problems, rework old ideas and create new ideas. We take the best knowledge, memories, bits of information, sparks of inspiration, and existing ideas — that we adapt, transform, remix and fuse into something new; something better.

For more than three decades, Bob Roitblat has innovated, nurtured, developed and sold more than a dozen businesses. As the CEO of Mainsail Consulting Group, he uses his experience as a competitive sailor to draw parallels between building and leading a winning yacht racing team and building and leading a winning business. He helps business owners and managers develop business skills that are effective whether the seas are calm or storms are raging. “Yacht racing,” he says, “is the perfect metaphor for business success. Businesses, like race boats, require leadership, teamwork and rapid decision-making to be successful. Miles from land, you have only those resources you brought with you and your knowledge of the environment and your competition to eke out as much advantage as you can in a dynamic environment.” Bob Roitblat is a sought-after consultant and speaker with expertise across a range of industries.

Mark Milhouse – Potential of Sleeping Computers

 

Idle computers hold the key to solving many of the world’s most difficult computational problems. By connecting and utilizing idle networked workstations, resource intensive tasks for weather modeling, encryption, or large, complex physics problems can be solved more quickly and efficiently than with costly supercomputer arrays.

A technology enthusiast, a thinker and most importantly a doer! Mark Milhouse, a student of IIT’s ITM Department, explored a wide variety of technologies during his enlistment in the Marines and since leaving the military he has continued to feed his passion with many projects from data analysis to system engineering, collaborating with students and professors from different colleges. He is a keen researcher, loves photography and gadgets, and insists that Python is the most important skill anyone could ever learn.

Dr. Steven Lee – Mission For Vision

 

By focusing on the way the eyes interpret images, patent-pending online eye exams reduce the cost of eye care, and increase accessibility for all populations regardless of race, gender or geographical location, Dr. Steven Lee places vision measurement tools in our everyday homes and optimizes the eye exam experience.

In addition to his formal training in eye care, Dr. Steven Lee has a background in engineering, as well as a keen interest in optics. Before starting Opternative, he was previously in clinical practice from 2007-2013. During that time, he focused on the areas of difficult contact lens fittings, ocular disease treatment, and dry eye management. In addition to seeing patients in the past, Steven has also taught ophthalmology students the basics of clinical refraction and the systematic approach to contact lens fittings. He has managed numerous surgical cases and is a reviewer for the Council on Optometric Practitioner Education, as well as a previous researcher and clinical investigator for the Global Revitalens Experience and Acceptance Trial. Steven loves thinking outside of the box, and enjoys creating solutions to problems that people never thought were possible to solve.

Ryan Dooley – Kinetic Design

 

Architecture can be stimulating and engaging, or it can suppress and sedate. Ryan looks to the brain to understand the impact our built environments have on us and determines that architecture is the act of designing a neurological stimulus and therefore architects should consider the brain as their client.

Ryan is a Graduate (M.Arch) from IIT’s College of Architecture. Currently working as an architect in a develop-design-build firm, Ryan has worked in various capacities within the architecture industry including establishing the BIM platform for an engineering firm as well as working for a construction consulting firm. Ryan has presented a BIM Case Study on Model Integration Sessions to the AIA Chicago and has presented on his concept of Kinetic Design to the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture at the Salk Institute, as well as to the Integrated School of Building’s inaugural symposium.

Ricky Cooper – Fusion, Confusion & Illusion in the Stock Market

 

People who patiently find everything they can about a company before purchasing it, buy from people who don’t know what the company they are selling actually does. Does this melding of different ideas lead to good outcomes for society, or just confusion?

Dr. Cooper recently came to full time academics after a successful career in industry. It was during this time he found his love of questions regarding market ethics and high frequency trading. His research has been published in numerous academic and professional journals, and he has won several research awards including the paper of the year award (2001) from the “Journal of Financial Economics” and two honorable mention Dietz Awards (2013) from the “Journal of Performance Measurement”. Dr. Cooper has taught all aspects of Finance but currently spends time teaching many classes in various types of Investment Management and Asset Pricing Theories.

Valerie Jencks – How to Rewrite History

 

We all have stories. We have personal stories which explain life experiences. We have family stories connecting generations through time and culture. We have stories that unify and sometimes even divide nations. Advances in science and technology prove that we come by our stories organically. We are wired for storytelling and have the power to rewrite them when they no longer serve us well.

Valerie Jencks’ fascination with stories began in her childhood listening to her Filipino grandfather recount tales of his homeland. As an Anthropology student during the 1980s, she studied stories that defined cultures and transcended time, learning that power and immortality come to those who craft the most charismatic narratives. Her training as a Family Therapist led her to found Prairie Family Therapy in 1996, a Chicago private practice where Valerie listens to her clients’ powerful stories, helping to rewrite those which no longer serve them well. As a single mother, Valerie has her own stories of challenge and success through which she redefined her life and turned adversity into opportunity and strength. Valerie is an active member of the storytelling and standup comedy communities in Chicago, and is a frequently quoted expert by Fox Business and Huffington Post. She has written two soon-to-be-released books.

Roger Breisch – Beyond Measure

 

Your Brain is Lying to You. The human brain takes in, stores and retrieves information in a ‘good enough’ way. As a result, much of what we think and feel is askew. In this video, Roger challenges viewers to imagine how knowing this can lead to more curiosity, creativity, and happiness.

Roger has lived an eclectic life. He holds a Master of Science in Mathematics from Northern Illinois University and a Master of Science in Management from the Sloan School at MIT. He taught high school, was a manager for a Fortune 100 company, owned a management consulting company, and, most recently ran the local Chamber of Commerce. Roger has volunteered extensively. He chaired the community 4th of July Fireworks for 17 years, has worked with teens in an anti-alcohol, anti-drug program, and has spent more than 2500 hours answering calls on a suicide hotline. Today, Roger loves challenging audiences to see how their thinking keeps them from finding true happiness and success. He and Judi, his wife of 32 years, have two grown children and live in Batavia, Illinois.

Todd Diel – The Case for Personal Standards

 

You know the person you want to be. Do you have a plan for how to get there? This video discusses how applying Quality Assurance principles to personal behavior allows us to create a set of personal standards that can help us avoid pitfalls on the path to self-actualization.

Todd Diel is the Project Coordinator for Education and Safety at IIT’s Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH), as well as an Adjunct Industry Professor for Illinois Tech’s Department of Food Science and Nutrition. Over the course of his life, Todd has played many different roles, including quality assurance technician, sales manager, researcher, safety compliance officer, entrepreneur, game designer, and missionary. Through all of these, he has gained a sound appreciation for the power of standards, both as levels of quality or excellence and as rules used as a basis for judgment. He has experienced how applying standards to one’s personal behavior can result in deep and meaningful changes in character that lead to self-actualization—becoming the person one wants to become.

JD Gershbein – The Undeniable Presence of Brand

 

A composite personal brand emerges from the blending of elements from a real-world brand and a social brand, the latter a brand of one’s own creation fueled by the Digital Era. These two self-concepts fuse and liberate a single, distinctive identity, an undeniable presence, which drives our brand story.

Since 2006, JD Gershbein has helped advance the collective awareness of LinkedIn and inspired opportunity-oriented professionals in all walks of business to step up and achieve on the site. JD is considered a thought leaders on LinkedIn strategy, and a pioneer in the design and delivery of LinkedIn education. He is also a speaker and a frequent broadcast media expert on LinkedIn for business, and a featured blogger for The Huffington Post and Forbes. Additionally, JD is adjunct professor of marketing communications at the IIT Stuart School of Business.

Kate Webster – Quiet Power

 

Quiet Power fuses verbal and non-verbal communication techniques to create a balance between passively keeping quiet and aggressively overreacting in the face of difficult interactions. Connecting physiological and psychological tools, Quiet Power shows introverts the perfect way to speak up and extroverts how to respond rather than react.

Dr. Kate Webster fuses her academic knowledge on gender equality issues with her physical experiences as a self-defense instructor to provide a unique combination of mind and body awareness called Quiet Power™. She is a published academic author on issues of gender-based barriers to girls’ schooling in Africa. Additionally, she is a third degree black belt and nationally certified empowerment-based self-defense instructor.

David Eccles – We Are Melodies

 

Music is the ultimate fusion of art and science, form and function, soul and intellect, and individual and group. The musician’s journey from the isolation of individual practice to performance on the world stage to everyday interactions holds lessons for us all.

David F. Eccles serves as Director of String Music Education and Orchestral Activities at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, Illinois. An active conductor and cellist, Eccles has held conducting and music director positions with the Florida State University Summer Music Camps, Tallahassee Symphony Youth Orchestra, Southwest Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra, Greater Miami Youth Symphony, Jubilate Youth Orchestra, and Brevard Symphony Youth Orchestra. He has served as a guest conductor for various state, county, regional, and community orchestras.

Sunny Shah – What’s Your Problem

 

Schools have taught students to succeed by gaming the system, always avoiding failure, and outperforming their peers. By fusing the entrepreneurial mindset into education, we can teach students how to learn with purpose. If we stop counting failures and start counting successes, we can transform competition into opportunity.

During his senior year at the Illinois Math and Science Academy, Sunny Shah led a student-run organization that taught 200 sophomores about leadership and psychodynamics through the lens of social entrepreneurship and policy reform. As one of two freshman Duchossois Leadership Scholars, he’s driven to enhance leadership, communication, collaboration, and innovation around the IIT campus. He’s also a member of Chicago’s Future Founder’s Circle, the Entrepreneurship Academy Council, and president of IIT’s Collegiate Entrepreneur’s Organization.

Yashwini Kamdar – Leadership Fusion

 

When a task oriented, result driven, fierce leader both motivates and genuinely cares, a team can overcome their obstacles and achieve higher results. This fusion of different styles creates a new type of leadership that makes a powerful impact on the individuals, community, and the corporation.

A distance runner, Mom and leader, Yashwini Kamdar attributes her success to her community and is passionate about giving back. Examples include: mentoring at high schools and colleges like IIT, UIC, UIUC and Waubonsee; helping students in the areas of leadership, Project Management, international mergers, resume reviews, mock interviews; and serving as a teacher for the toddler class at her temple, the Jain Society of Chicago.

Claudette Soto – Change Architecture-Change Community

 

Sounds are etched in your mind: the sound of a person crying out after being shot, the sound of an active gunfight, the sound of screeching tires, the sound of a grieving family. How can beauty and hope exist in such an environment? Architectural design can be the environmental catalyst by fusing collaboration, mindfulness and intention.

Claudette Soto is currently a Project Executive at d’Escoto, Inc., one of the largest Hispanic owned Construction Management firms in Chicago. In 2001, as an undergraduate, Ms. Soto founded a local non-for-profit organization named VAMOS. VAMOS tries to promote the importance of higher education to middle school children in the community of Gage Park through summer enrichment programs and one on one mentoring. VAMOS has now evolved into a mentoring program from middle school age through college age students who are seeking higher education or are currently engaged in a college/university program. Ms. Soto attributes her strong will for success, outspoken demeanor and thirst for change in her community, to the education she received while attending Mother McAuley High School, a single gender high school in Chicago. There she received the confidence to pursue degrees not traditionally pursued by women and to know her voice mattered.

Robert Anderson – Linear Brains in an Exponential World

 

As our brains are wired by nature to see change as a linear process, we make bad decisions in areas such as energy, environment, financial planning, and personal health. In this video, Professor Anderson provides examples of the shocking results from ignoring compounding. He also offers practical suggestions for expanding our thinking about the future.

Robert Anderson spent 37 years with UOP LLC where he served as managing director of several European subsidiaries, vice president of quality and productivity, and vice president of marketing. As a professor at IIT he has worked with students and faculty in entrepreneurship, with companies seeking IIT’s assistance with real-world problems, and with startup companies at IIT’s incubator. After retiring as IIT’s Director of Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property, Professor Anderson still teaches a graduate course in energy and environmental policy and another course in intellectual property and entrepreneurship.