By RoBeRT Regis Hyle
The speakers for the Chief Informa-tion/Technology Officers Roundtable
have been given their marching orders
for today’s gathering, according to Bryan Fowler, chairman of the roundtable.
“All the speakers are compelled
to give actionable advice so when
the attendees get back to their office
there are things for them to do in
six months and even a year from
now,” says Fowler. “We coached all
the speakers to close their sessions
that way so people actually get some
value out of this.”
The opening session is: Sleeper
Cells: Cyber Security Risks Hidden
in Plain Sight. This session will ex-
plore the risks behind the lines that
may be more likely to be exploited
and just as impactful as those com-
ing over the walls.
Next will be a discussion on a
carrier’s transformation leadership
agenda: How to Excel as C-Suite
Digital Pathfinders. Rick Pastore, of
CIO Executive Council, will uncover
the greatest digital leadership gaps
C-Suites face and will examine key ac-
tions that we can take as IT leaders to
overcome the most common hurdles.
Following lunch will be the
Technology Showcase: Three Technologies Changing Insurance. The
session will focus on drones, the Io T,
and predictive/cognitive computing.
The audience will be divided into three
groups and the speakers will rotate to
each group every 20 minutes. When
the day is over the speakers will stay for
people who might want to talk more.
It’s meant to get closer and more real.
The big draw for the day is Vivek
Wadhwa, an academic, researcher, writer, and entrepreneur, who
will close the roundtable with a
discussion of disrupted industries
and trillion-dollar opportunities.
Technologies are no longer progressing in a predictable linear fashion,
but are advancing exponentially
and converging. Practically every
industry will be disrupted over the
next few years, including insurance
and IT services.
“I’m of a mind that we can’t be
looking at our own four walls either
as a company or an industry and
expect to stay relevant in the mar-
ketplace,” says Fowler. “Disruption
and changes are occurring at a faster
pace and they are crossing over. We
want opinions, thought-provoking
ideas, and real-time examples from
industries outside our own that can
affect us or we can use to help our
Futurists are thinking about a lot
of stuff, but Fowler believes Wadhwa
has his finger on the pulse of change.
“He’s not just a dreamer. If people can
think about how the world is going to
change, Vivek can give us some ideas,”
says Fowler. “We should be strategists
as well as tacticians and getting that
All the sponsors will receive vid-
eo airtime and the roundtable com-
mittee added time between sessions
for the sponsors. There is signage in
more places around the rooms so
they get visibility. Also, at the end
of the day there will be a raffle and
each sponsor is putting in two fairly
expensive items—Apple watches,
Fitbits, GoPros. ISCS is raffling off
Fowler believes the roundtable
committee designed a program that
is both tactical and strategic at the
same time and also is actionable. He
admits it’s hard to act on some of
the strategic challenges that come to
CIOs, which is why they designed
the program so they can grasp things
and the speakers can give pointers on
how to act.
“Vivek started out talking to
us about consulting with billion
dollar organizations, but most of
the audience is small and mid-size
companies with smaller budgets.
That put him back on his heels for a
second and got him to think more
about how he was going to address
the group,” says Fowler. “We are
trying to make it real, whether it is a
strategic topic or a tactical topic and
people can take it back to help their
organization and the industry in
By RoBeRT Regis Hyle
Ray Hazel, chairman of the CFO Roundtable today, has one hope for this year’s
program. “I’m hoping the day flies by,
which means it was very good,” he says.
The process for a successful
roundtable started last September
with the formation of a planning
committee. If you are lucky, you have
some members that stay from the
previous year and then recruits are
added from volunteer development
from the national office of IASA,
according to Hazel, whose day job
is senior vice president finance and
CFO with London Life Insurance Co.
This is Hazel’s third and final year
on the roundtable committee and his
second year as a chair. Heather Dunn
served as co-chair this year and will
take on the leadership role next year.
“You hope to have mentors, at
least one per session, to work with
the speakers when the program is
developed,” says Hazel. “You start
out with four main sponsors and
hope you can get a sponsor for each
session to work with and come up
with a session that doesn’t look like
an advertisement for the sponsor.”
Hazel believes the committee has
put together a good roundtable for
today with topics that have never
been seen at other conferences.
“We wanted to stay away from
canned presentations as much as we
could,” he says. “We’re lucky to work with
the four sponsors and they actively par-
ticipated in the development of the topic
and how the session would work.
Hazel believes Ryan Jenkins will deliver an important discussion on the next
generation workforce and how Millennials fit in with the rest of the staff.
“If you have a large financial area,
you have a spread of staff from the
young to people almost at retirement,” says Hazel. “When you came
in at the bottom you had to pay your
dues and didn’t get the exciting work.
Now have to change the thought process because Millennials won’t stick
around if they are not happy and it
becomes a revolving door. You spend
more time having to staff and train.
You have to change the environment.
One of the changes that Hazel bor-
rowed from the CI/TO session is there
will be a takeaway page for each session
that includes the types of things the
committee hopes attendees taking notes
would have come up with on their own.
“This way they have takeaways
when they go back to their office,” he
says. “We’re just hoping this stimu-
lates the way they think of the CFO
roundtable and what they get out of it.
The CFO Roundtable traditionally
is the largest of the four roundtables
and this year Hazel expects to draw in
the neighborhood of 185 attendees. In
total there is just approximately 500
expected for all four roundtables.
“Last year, Las Vegas was a big draw
yet we are within five people of what
we had last year. That was surprising,”
he says. “If you have a room with 200
people in it that’s a pretty good-sized
room. It will be exciting.” (
Roundtable Chair Looking for
Actionable Advice for Attendees
Dealing with Millennials on the
Finance Side Among the Topics of
Interest at CFO Roundtable