The Savvy Consortium Presents

Leadership Conference XXXII

Innovative Leadership: Critical Knowledge for Personal & Organizational Transformation

Thursday, April 28th, 2022

Host: Parker Hannifin Quick Coupling Division, Golden Valley, MN

Savvy Conference XXXII features speakers with a broad and diverse range of experience beginning in various technical roles before leading successful organizations in multiple industries. These speakers provide you with a vision for how to ascend the mountain of productive, meaningful & engaged work. This conference enables you to improve collaboration between the people and improve the processes that contribute to greater business excellence.

Thursday, April 28

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Integrity--A Growth Market: Innovative Cultures Start with Innovative Virtues
  • Dr. Peter Rea
  • Vice President of Integrity and Ethics
  • Parker Hannifin Corporation
  • Cleveland, OH
Does your culture eat strategy, engagement, productivity and everything else for breakfast? How do you take the abstract concept of culture and translate it into real, actionable, common parlance in your organization? Moreover, how do you create the environment for innovation to flourish? According to Dr. Peter Rea’s decades of research and practice, virtue is the answer. What are the virtues, and how do they link to economic value? Can the virtues boost individual and team engagement, and ultimately, performance under pressure? Can they make or break a culture of innovation? Dr. Peter Rea will show you tools and practices to adopt the virtues as the common language that acts as a ‘performance multiplier’ in both individuals and teams. These tools and practices foster a culture of hard-to-beat teams who consistently outperform their peers under the worst of circumstances. They are the backbone of a thriving organizational culture which embraces innovation at all levels. Participate in this critical conversation to enable the right transformation of yourself, your work, and your organization’s contribution to the advancement of science and technology for the betterment of all.
A Leader’s Cri de Coeur: Critical Attributes for Personal & Organizational Excellence
  • Bill Lentsch
  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis, MN
  • Former Chief Customer Experience Officer
  • Former Executive Vice President
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Atlanta, GA
Bill Lentsch will share his compelling story about working through the ranks at Delta Air Lines, beginning with various engineering, operations and finance roles. After 30+ years of service, Bill took on the role of CCEO, responsible for leading all customer facing functions including Airport Customer Service, Inflight Services, Reservations, Customer Care, and related support organizations. His group spanned more than 60,000 of Delta’s 85,000 employees. Bill will address the following questions: What are the critical leadership attributes that drive performance excellence among large people organizations? How do you cultivate those attributes and keep both your internal and external customers engaged and well served? Bill will detail what it takes so that you have a clear blueprint to improve your effectiveness as a leader, which is the first step to achieving outstanding results with your team.
Change Leadership vs. Change Management: Preparing for the Great Retention
  • Dr. Alex Cirillo, Jr.
  • Vice President (ret.)
  • 3M
  • St. Paul, MN
In the face of immense change, leaders at all levels are tasked with identifying solutions to problems they’ve never faced. Solutions are no longer obvious but are instead emerging; and often slowly. Leaders in all industries face the prospect of losing talent with alarming frequency. How will you lead through the changes? What should be your focus? The old models of ‘command and control’ management no longer apply; what is needed today, especially to retain talent? Skilled leaders today are constantly learning about and assessing the traits that distinguish the next generation of leaders. Looking at your own path, what talents made you stand out from your peers and opened up a world of opportunity and increased responsibility for you? Beyond technical and people skills, what did it take to ‘level up’ in your organization? What does it take to lead both up and down the ‘chain of command’? Alex Cirillo led 3M during times of chaos and uncertainty; his story provides a compelling vision for what a leader might be asked to do, what a leader might be asked to leave behind, when a leader should push back, and when a leader MUST ‘say yes.’ Alex’s story will enrich your understanding of how to lead in three dimensions, a critical skill for a thriving career.
Cultural Transformation through Human-Centered Innovation: Deploy Design Thinking at all Levels
  • Chris Von Dohlen
  • Director, Design Transformation
  • Marvin Windows & Doors
  • Eagan, MN
Is your organization “too busy” to innovate? Are your processes overcomplicated? Are your products over-engineered? Do you lack reliable VOC and/or good user studies? Are your product developers and technical people siloed and unused to looking outside the organization for ideas, perhaps for new technologies? Are your teams frequently deploying the tactic of ‘ready-fire-aim’? Chris Von Dohlen addresses these and many other related constraints to performance excellence. Surely, most organizations have great products and great people, and most want to restart the ‘innovation engine’ to move into the 21st Century; however, the constraints are often hidden, and the company leadership doesn’t want to or can’t afford to waste time on initiatives that don’t engage people in the right ‘innovation mindset.’ Chris presents his experiences discovering the opportunities for work excellence and applying his toolkit that enables high energy and collaborative learning teams at Marvin Windows. The purpose is to encourage curiosity but balance it with execution. The toolkit enables all employees to access processes and team activities that • foster the infusion of the company’s values into product designs, • improve manufacturing experiences, • overcome the tendency to jump to solutions immediately, • align product design scope with customer and end user wants/needs/problems & practices. The goal of the initiative is to align the organization with its leadership, to create a common language across disciplines with less complexity, and, most importantly, to empower people to solve problems…for people!
Innovation Center Speeds Time-to-Market in Critical Industries
  • Karthik Viswanathan
  • Vice President of Product Development
  • Minnesota Rubber & Plastics
  • Plymouth, MN
As the pandemic response has taught us, speeding time-to-market of new products is critically important. Developing products the right way quickly can even safe lives. One place OEMs in critical industries can speed time-to-market is through the component design process. Karthik Viswanathan, the VP, Product Development at Minnesota Rubber & Plastics will explain how his organization has responded quickly to the needs of its OEM partners to help them create production-intent prototypes, from a full spectrum of materials, at unparalleled speed in its innovation center.


Design engineering managers, department heads, chief engineers, functional department engineers, product engineers/marketers, directors of product engineering, change management pilot leaders, product test engineering managers, process improvement managers, product engineering development team members and leaders, and all who are responsible for improving product innovation, product development and process improvement in their product engineering operations. 

Over 1000 people have participated in Savvy conferences and learning events. They are design engineers, systems engineers, technical and scientific people; product development teams leaders, knowledge specialists, engineering departments heads, engineering support group leaders, continuous improvement managers, process excellence managers, talent build managers, knowledge system managers, and others whose mission is people development, process improvement and productivity increase.

Partial List of Firms attending Savvy Sponsored Product Development Events:

Toro, Eaton, Timken, Dana, Sauder, Medtronic, McDonalds, General Mills, TSI, Goodyear, Cooper, Amano Pioneer, Diebold, John Deere, Pella, Genie, Pella, Schram, Cabot, Medtronic, St. Jude Medical, Boston Scientific, Nexen, Masonite, Steris/US Endoscopy, Inovonics, UTAS Aerospace, Wil-burt, Cabot Electronics, Cooper, CNH, GE Medical, Crown, Keithley, Knowles, Parker, Actuant, Deluxe, Tennant, Henny Penny, 3M, Shram, Diamond, Emerson, Terex, Ditch Witch, Waterous, HGST, RT technologies, Altec, Toyota, Saris, Andersen, Wet Design, Sub Zero, Harley Davidson, Autobag, CA Companies, Beckman Coulter, Donaldson, Seagate and participants from many other manufacturers that are implementing continuous improvement in their product design engineering organizations.