Tech Trek

June 15, 2018


Tech Talk 2018 Speakers and Presentations

Thank you for making Tech Talk 2018 a huge success! Check out the speaker presentations from the event below.

Sponsored by:

Trey Boynton, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Duo Security
Trey Boynton has spent her professional career working to create inclusive environments. For nearly 20 years, she worked in university settings working with students, faculty and staff in diversity leadership roles. She joined Duo Security in 2017 as their first head of diversity and inclusion to guide overall strategy and connectedness initiatives. For Trey, inclusion work is deeply personal. She describes it as head and heart work centered on creating space so that employees are valued, celebrated, and able to define their own success. In short, her ultimate goal is to reduce barriers to brilliance.

Jamal El-Mokadem, Director of QA at Barracuda
Jamal El-Mokadem graduated from University of Michigan-Dearborn with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science in 1998, and went to earn a Master’s in Software Engineering in 2003 and a Master’s in Engineering Management in 2007. He worked in the Software Development industry for over 20 years. Over the span of his career, Jamal played in multiple roles, from programming, to product management, to QA, and to managing engineers. The majority of Jamal’s career was centered around an area that he is very passionate about, Quality Assurance.


Dave Forman, Managing Director at Pillar Technology
Dave Forman is Managing Director at Pillar Technology, where he is responsible for the company’s software development and innovation consulting practice in the Great Lakes region, working with clients in mobility & automotive, banking & finance, government, publishing, and other sectors. Prior to joining Pillar, he was Senior Vice President of Product & User Experience at Cengage Learning, one of the world’s largest publishing companies. Forman started his career as one of the original generation of cyber-journalists, helping major media organizations go online in the early days of the Web.

Larry Freed, CEO of Give and Take
Larry joined the founding team of Give and Take as CEO in the summer of 2017 and raised a seed round of financing at the end of August, 2017. The founding team at Give and Take consisted of Wayne Baker (Professor at the University of Michigan), Adam Grant (Professor at Wharton and author of the best-selling and transformational book, Give and Take) and Cheryl Baker (creator of the Reciprocity Ring). He assembled a proven and experienced team to take Give and Take to a world class enterprise level knowledge collaboration platform.


Kimberly Gamez, Founder and CEO of Mi Padrino
My life’s mission is to become one of the “greats”. I am a highly experienced Michigan businesswoman who has consistently demonstrated the ability to lead diverse teams to meet extraordinary goals in diverse, fast-paced environments. I utilize my extensive experience to lead organizations that champion all of my passions. With over fourteen years of hands-on experience in strategic planning, asset administration, event and product management with innovative marketing strategies; coupled with over a decade of service as a participant, team leader, and board president for an award winning international residential study abroad program in Latin America that provides traditional summer camp, environmental education, and cross cultural experiences in underserved communities abroad, I am uniquely situated to successfully analyze an organization’s critical business requirements, identify deficiencies and potential opportunities; while concurrently developing innovative and cost-effective strategies for improving programing, increasing revenues, and enhancing overall customer and employee satisfaction.

Rachna Govani, CEO and Co-Founder of Foodstand
Rachna Govani is the CEO and co-founder of Foodstand, the healthy eating behavior change platform that helps you turn healthy eating into everyday habits so you can ditch dieting for good. Rachna is a lifelong healthy food advocate, social entrepreneur, and behavior change product builder. When she is not helping Foodstanders build healthy habits one bite a time, she can be found perusing the farmers markets around Detroit with her son and husband.


Ryan Kennel, Office Director at FordLabs
Ryan Kennel has nearly twenty years of software development experience at Ford across different roles such as Software Engineer, Project Manager, Business Analyst and Management serving different business units including Marketing, Service, Product Development and Manufacturing. His current role as office director of the FordLabs allows him to influence better software product outcomes: both from the perspective of the company and from the perspective of the awesome people that participate in the process. Ryan has lived in Ann Arbor almost his entire life and is excited to be able to participate in the vibrant tech scene.

Laura Khoury, Founder and CEO of Shoptelligence
Laura founded Shoptelligence as a frustrated consumer wanting to make shopping more convenient and looking stylish more effortless. Leveraging her professional background in strategy, technology and analytics, Laura designed the user experience, underlying data model and algorithms to enable that experience. The founding team then joined Laura to develop the detailed algorithms, build the technology and prove it out with retailer data. Thus, Shoptelligence was born.


Molly McFarland, Founder and CRO of AdAdapted
Molly McFarland has spent the last eight years designing and executing sales and marketing strategy for technology startups. As founder and CRO of AdAdapted, Molly leads all aspects of sales, marketing, and client success, including: managing a direct sales team, business development, and account management/client success. Before founding AdAdapted, she held the Director of Marketing position at Amplifinity, where she worked with sales, product and executive management teams to translate vision into effective brand building, as well as prioritize product development to increase client loyalty and close rates.

Lisa McLaughlin, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Workit Health
Lisa McLaughlin is a social entrepreneur and the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Workit Health, a telehealth addiction care company creating a home-based rehab program for drinking and drug use backed by the National Science Foundation. She is the recipient of the TechWeek Detroit Technology Woman of the Year award for 2017. Lisa serves as a Desai Accelerator Mentor for early stage technology companies and as an advisor to a number of biotech startups.


Kenneth Natoli, Director of Delivery Technology at Domino’s Pizza
Technology leader at Domino’s Pizza focused on delivery. Specialties: IT Strategy, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Natural Language Processing (NLP), API Strategy & Management, Agile Methodologies, Project Management, Product Management, Custom Web Applications, Technical Architecture, eCommerce, Vendor Management. Previous experience as a Project/Product Manager, Business Analyst and Software Engineer in finance, food service, federal/state government, education, communications, oil and gas, and high tech.


Shawn Planko, Engineering Manager at Expedia
Shawn Planko is an Engineering Manager at Expedia working on mobile native apps. He works out of the Ann Arbor, MI office and has been in the mobile industry for 7+ years. Shawn started off in Quality Assurance and now runs a team of QA, TPM’s and Developers. Prior to that, he worked in the IT industry for 14+ years, which entailed working for a few companies during the Internet boom (Dial-Up to Broadband). Shawn has his BBA with a Management focus.


Ann Marie Sastry, President and CEO of Amesite
Ann Marie Sastry is President and CEO of Amesite, an artificial intelligence software company. Dr. Sastry was previously President, CEO, Board Director and co-Founder of Sakti3, recognized as one of MIT’s 50 Smartest Companies (2015), and as a Crain’s Detroit Business Cool Places to Work winner (2017). The company was acquired by Dyson in 2015 for $90M, to support Dyson’s efforts in building an electric vehicle. Sastry was invited to the White House in 2015 to be recognized for her technology entrepreneurship, and meet with President Barack Obama. Her technology and business work have been featured in the WSJ, Fortune, Forbes, the Economist, USA Today, the New York Times and on the cover of Inc.