Meet the WORKTECH 15 West Coast Speakers

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Chair Of The Month

Natalie Grasso Cockrell
Natalie Grasso Cockrell
Natalie is a Workplace Consultant at Herman Miller and the former Editor of Work Design Magazine. She’s currently based in Pittsburgh.
Work Design Magazine is proud to support WORKTECH 15 West Coast. The conference will take place on Wednesday, December 2 at the Mission Bay Conference Center in downtown San Francisco; speakers and guests will explore workplace themes including the future of work and the workplace as well as real estate, technology and innovation.
Read more and register for the event here; scroll down to get to know the all-star lineup of speakers, and stay tuned for more coverage after the conference.
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Image via Unwired.
Carla Boragno
Vice President of Site Services, Genentech

Carla Boragno is a transformational business leader known for delivering results, scaling organizations for growth, and building high-performing global teams. In Carla’s current role as VP of site services, she is accountable for Genentech’s corporate real estate portfolio, physical infrastructure, and several key workplace services for the South San Francisco campus. This progressive biotechnology campus consists of approximately 12,000 employees, 170 acres, and over 5.5 million square feet of space devoted to research and development, manufacturing, marketing and administration.

Antonia Cardone
Senior Vice President, Cushman & Wakefield

Antonia leads the West Coast workplace strategy practice for Cushman & Wakefield. She brings more than 20 years of experience and a commitment to excellence in thought leadership to her role. Leading Cushman & Wakefield’s specialist workplace strategy team, Antonia works closely with Cushman & Wakefield portfolio management, brokerage and project management leads to deliver superior workplace strategy services to Cushman & Wakefield clients. Antonia and her team create strategic plans to optimize space utilization, create dynamic and flexible workplace environments, and “future ready” buildings and portfolios.

Bob Christopher
Director, Innovation, Panasonic R&D

Bob Christopher is the former CEO and co-founder of Ugobe, the maker of Pleo. Pleo was the first lifelike robot with emotional intelligence that became a worldwide sensation selling over $19.7MM in the first year. Since Ugobe, Bob has helped launch Anybots (telepresence robots) and most recently JIBO (family robots), where he led the crowd funding campaign to raise over $3MM on Indiegogo that eventually supported a Series A raise of $26MM. Bob utilizes his hardware experience and visionary know-how as mentor at US MAC, Highway1, StartX, and Qualcomm’s Robot Accelerator to help launch the next generation of exciting hardware companies. Bob now leads innovation for Panasonic AVC division in Cupertino where he builds key initiatives in IoT, robotics, and strategic alliances through LAB 1.0.

Peter Czimback
Director of IT Strategy for Sports, Leisure, Corrections and Dining, Aramark

Peter is a 17 year veteran of Aramark and director of IT strategy for sports, leisure, corrections and dining with a focus on identifying clients business needs and creating insights-based roadmaps connecting technology to business process improvement, stakeholder satisfaction, and revenue.

Peter leverages his experience in market research and development to identify business needs and the best in breed platforms and innovation that support growth. Prior to his roles in IT, Peter lead retail marketing where he developed and launched industry shaping technology and marketing strategies that creating new revenue streams for clients and improved asset utilization. These innovations reshaped the marketplace, generating new revenue channels, and engagement for our clients in North America.

Albert DePlazaola
Design Strategy Consultant, Unispace

Albert is a design strategy consultant with over 14 years of experience in people-centered design and change strategies for private and public institutions. By leveraging design thinking and a user-centric approach that considers cognitive, operational, and emotional factors, as well as various models of analysis, Albert moves beyond the typical motivations to explore how meaningful change can occur to foster greater organizational responsiveness, adaptability, and innovation.

Dr. Megan Divett
Project Director, Puzzle Partners

Megan wants to live in a world that believes everyone is creative and true innovation comes from engaging people and their ideas; a world that has inflight movies without the inflight interruptions. As an organizational psychologist and workplace specialist for more than 20 years, Megan has helped many companies such as Toyota, BHP Billiton, Microsoft, Chevron, Canon, and Macquarie to use their workplace as a catalyst for culture and performance. Having enjoyed working in successful teams, she helps companies experiment with their environments, receiving a National Award for Team Innovation.

Tom Edwards
Head of Global Design & Construction, eBay

Tom Edwards is head of global design and construction at eBay where he has spent the past 16 years with the Workplace Resources group. Tom has been instrumental in supporting the business as it grew from 400 to 36,000 employees, managing design, construction and tenant improvement projects for offices across the globe. Prior to his current role Tom headed up WPR Space Planning and Systems.

Before joining eBay, Tom held positions at FaciliCorp and Applied Materials, where he managed real estate and construction projects.

Dr. Charles Grantham

Dr. Grantham is a Viet Nam combat veteran, having served 8 years in the U.S. Army as a Chief Warrant Officer in the Intelligence Corps. That time was followed by successful careers in academia as a professor and in multi-national technology companies as an executive director of research and development for a Fortune 250 company. Dr. Grantham received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Maryland in 1980. He has published eight books and several dozen technical papers. He is a frequent speaker at international events and a “go to” resource for the media on a wide range of workplace issues, ranging from psychology to public policy. With this rich multi-disciplinary background, he is now pursuing his passion for helping communities and leaders realize their true potential and provide them with a pathway to awakening their wholeness. He is also a Reiki Master Teacher and has a Master of Spiritual Healing certification.

Becky Locke-Laden
Workplace Innovation & Program Development, Symantec

Becky leads workplace excellence for Symantec where she develops strategies for their global workplace portfolio. She has more than 17 years of experience in strategic planning and management of corporate real estate and capital projects. Becky’s passion is to research and implement innovations that support workplace amenities and employee benefit programs around space, food, fitness and commute. She has been a part of several award-winning projects that enhance performance, promote agile work environments, and feature wellness as a central tenet.

Melissa Marsh

Melissa is an expert in workplace strategy and a leader in change management services. She has defined a career in workplace innovation by embedding the added value of real estate strategy within design, architecture and master planning projects around the world. Melissa began her career following the completion of her Masters of Architecture thesis entitled Design for Achieving Strategic Business Objectives. Working in both Europe and the U.S., Melissa has been on the forefront of delivering alternative workplace solutions, and has lead virtual teams throughout her career.

Laura Mihailoff,
Consulting Strategist, Gensler

Laura is a consulting strategist for Gensler, a global architecture and design firm. With a Ph.D. in history and a passion for understanding people and organizations, Laura brings a unique perspective and set of skills to her work as a strategist. She takes a humanist approach to workplace design, placing people, their experiences, and their stories at the center of her research. Laura has worked with a wide range of clients and industries, specializing in workplace strategy for knowledge-based workers and the tech sector.

Thomas Muchnick
Consulting Analyst/Strategist, Gensler

Thomas is an analyst and consulting strategist for Gensler, based in San Francisco. Coming from an interdisciplinary background, Thomas strives to bridge the gap between analytical and design through holistic thinking and realization. Concentrating on real-world use, his strategy helps clients create more effective and engaging workplaces.

Jeff Reuschel
Global Director of Design & Innovation, Haworth, Inc.

Jeff Reuschel is global director of design and innovation at Haworth, Inc. His degree is in industrial design and has he enjoyed over 30 years with the contract furniture industry. He has applied for and received multiple design and utility patents, and has received numerous design awards, most recently the National ASID Award for Innovation in 2014. In addition to his work for Haworth he is Regional Advisor to Design West Michigan, spent two terms on the board of trustees of the Grand Rapids Art Museum and is a member of the Industrial Designer’s Society of America.

David Rolls
Head of Cities and Urban Renewal, Mirvac

David has over 30 years of experience in property, construction, design and development, with a particular focus on complex major mixed-use development projects. David has extensive leadership experience in delivering some of the largest urban regeneration projects nationally, including Barangaroo, Darling Park and Darling Quarter in Sydney, Victoria Harbour in Melbourne, and RNA in Brisbane.

Previously, David held the role as managing director, development at Lend Lease and was responsible for all development projects for Lend Lease Australia including mixed use and commercial, communities, apartments, and retail developments. David is also the NSW President of the Property Council of Australia.

Philip Ross
Futurologist & CEO, Cordless Group & UNWORK

Philip is an author, consultant, and commentator specializing in the future of work. He predicts the way that new trends and forces such as emerging technology will shape how we work, live, learn, and enjoy leisure.

He has written a number of books on the future of cities, work and workplace including The Creative Office, The 21st Century Office, and Space to Work (all co-authored with Jeremy Myerson). He has also contributed to a number of other books including The Corporate Fool and The Responsible Workplace.

Jamie Russo
Chief of Work and Wellness at Enerspace Coworking, President of the League of Extraordinary Coworking Spaces

Jamie is founder and chief of work and wellness at Enerspace Coworking. She has spent the last eight years intensely immersed in the study of creating space, culture, and communities that help people do their best work and be their best selves. This has been in the form of designing and operating coworking spaces in Chicago and Palo Alto, as well as helping clients including Fortune 100 companies, tech start-ups, and real estate investor groups achieve their goals related to collaborative workspace models. Jamie is the current president of the League of Extraordinary Coworking spaces, a global network of boutique coworking spaces enabling mobility among members and best-practice sharing and industry leadership for owners. She recently launched a podcast called “Everything Coworking,” interviewing experts on coworking trends and how-tos.

Rebecca Weaver
People Operations, Downtown Project

Rebecca Weaver is a 15 year veteran of business, specializing in human resources, leading in both large and small organizations, including two Fortune 50 companies. She is a keynote and TEDx speaker, having appeared on behalf of both companies and multiple nonprofits. She is the head of people operations for the Downtown Project, an organization founded by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh that focuses on revitalizing downtown Las Vegas. Downtown Project’s purpose is to help make downtown Las Vegas a place of inspiration, entrepreneurial energy, creativity, innovation, upward mobility and discovery. In her current role, Weaver is leading the company’s efforts to become completely self-managed. Weaver believes that traditional HR could use a little disrupting and so can the world of work.

Elizabeth Vereker
Brand Studio Manager, Studio O+A

Elizabeth Vereker is brand studio manager at Studio O+A, the San Francisco firm responsible for groundbreaking interiors at Uber, Yelp, Cisco, Microsoft, and many other companies. As leader of a team of graphic designers and storytellers, she is key to shaping the concept and visual impact of every O+A project. A gifted designer of environmental graphics, marketing materials, books, and online media, Elizabeth brings years of experience at Gensler in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco and at Embarcadero Partners here in the Bay Area to her belief — and O+A’s — that every workplace is a story told with space, light, and imagery.

Natalie Grasso Cockrell
Natalie Grasso Cockrell
Natalie is a Workplace Consultant at Herman Miller and the former Editor of Work Design Magazine. She’s currently based in Pittsburgh.
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