Execs In The Know- A Global Network of Customer Experience Professionals

CRS Chicago – Speaker Bios


Featured Speakers


Brian leads Risk Operations at Square, responsible for protecting the company and its constituents against certain financial, legal, and business risks. Specifically, his teams focus on fraud, payment risk, chargeback disputes, credit risk, and recovery. Prior to joining Square, he ran Risk Management Operations at Facebook, was VP and General Counsel at Spring Rewards, and ran the Global Risk Management function at Groupon. His prior legal practice focused on corporate and professional civil litigation defense. Brian is a graduate of MIT and the Boston University School of Law.

Mary is the Vice President of Customer Experience and Trust at Lyft, working to deliver the perfect ride to drivers and passengers.  Mary focuses on understanding the voice of customer across Lyft to drive insights and improvements in Lyft’s product and processes.  Mary leads the work focused on all Lyft touchpoints with customers for problems or questions – social, email, phone, chat, sms, as well as Lyft’s Critical Response Line.

Mary’s passion for empowering people and communities carries on from her 12 years at Intuit where she spent time leading Customer Care for the Small Business Division (Quickbooks, Payroll, Payments, and Websites businesses) and Consumer Division (TurboTax, Quicken, and Mint) in addition to Process Excellence Leadership for Product Design, Finance, HR, Operations and Order Management.

Her prior roles include: Senior Vice President Global Technical Services at Sophos (network and endpoint security software), Director Operations at Pure Markets (high tech equipment leasing software), and Engagement Leader IBM Global Services.

Mary began her career at GE Capital and spent 9 years across various roles including Accounting, Lease Contracting, Mergers and Acquisitions, Operations Leadership, Product Marketing and Six Sigma Quality.

Mary is a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas with a degree in Political Science.


Michael started his career at The Home Depot in 1995 as a sales associate on the west coast. In his 21 years with the company, he has held a variety of positions: Store Manager, District Manager, Regional Director of Operations and Director of Tool Rental Operations. Michael now serves as the Senior Director, Customer Care at The Home Depot’s Atlanta Store Support Center and is dedicated to delivering a world-class, effortless customer experience through business intelligence and continual process improvement. He leads a team of over 600 associates and is most proud of the associates he has worked with during his tenure and the opportunity to support them and advance their careers.

He serves on the board of directors for the Better Business Bureau of Metro Atlanta, Athens and Northeast Georgia. He has served as a member of various committees for his local community as well.

Michael attended the University of Georgia and remains an avid bulldog fan.

Tony Drummond is a customer-obsessed story teller and inspirational leader.  As Vice President, Client Experience, with the Manheim Inventory Solutions group at Cox Automotive, Tony and his team work tirelessly to remind the business and team members at every level of the reason we are in business in the first place – to create and grow loyal clients.  Over the past three years with Cox Automotive, Tony has put client experience processes, tools and disciplines in place to help the company operationalize the voice of the client by focusing investments on the things that move the loyalty needle.

Prior to joining Cox, Tony spent thirteen years with IBM Global Business services where he helped IBM’s clients drive customer focused business transformation programs.

Alex Rivera is Vice President of Customer Care for TheMine.com. Headquartered in the Pacific Northwest, The Mine is a premier destination for fine furnishings unlike any other in the online retail space. Alex currently leads the servicing, fraud and fulfillment LOB’s. Before The Mine, Alex served as Vice President of Customer Service for Trupanion (a medical insurance company for cats and dogs). Prior to that he worked with Amazon where he played a key role in the launch of Mayday and implementing the servicing strategy for the launch of Amazon Echo and the support teams.

Currently VP Member Services Organization for Sears Holdings Corporation where he leads the organization responsible for strategy and execution of SHC member contact operations.  Mr. Bowden has over 35 years of management experience in a broad range of disciplines that include Finance, Marketing, Sales and Systems Development.  For the past 20 years, Mr. Bowden has gained significant experience in the areas of customer relationship management, contact strategy development, best process identification, self-service strategies and contact center optimization.  He has managed one of the largest in house service operations, was the senior operations executive at the 4th largest provider of outsourced contact centers and has lead consulting engagements in a variety of industries.

With more than 20 years of contact center and service delivery experience in the technology space, Brad currently serves as Vice President of GoDaddy’s International Customer Operations. He is responsible for leading GoDaddy’s international care centers as well as developing strategies to support GoDaddy’s growing base of global customers. Prior to GoDaddy, Brad held leadership roles at Dell, Sitel, and TruSource Labs.

Brad specializes in developing and managing customer contact centers, and has successfully launched and grown several sites in North America, Asia, Latin America and Europe. He is passionate about both the customer and employee experience, and about creating memorable customer moments through great sales and service interactions.

Based in Austin, Texas, Brad enjoys spending time with his wife Karen and his children Chris and Catelyn.

Robert is Vice President of Global Customer Care at 1-800-Flowers.com, a leading provider of gourmet food and floral gifts for all occasions. He is responsible for the in-house and outsourced contact center operations encompassing a team in excess of 3500, as well as identifying strategies and technologies to better reach and serve 1-800-Flowers’ customer base.

Robert is committed to promoting organizational outcomes through operational excellence and motivating teams to exceed their own expectations. He has over 25 years of customer service and service delivery experience. His specialties include BPO relationship management, on-shore/off-shore/near-shore outsourcing, captive centers, managing e‑Commerce operations and large scale, geographically dispersed customer support operations. His change management talents have enabled him to react with great agility to rapidly evolving markets, increasing competition and emerging technology.

Robert believes in driving a world-class customer experience by maximizing the quality of customer contacts to improve brand loyalty and multi-brand promotion. He is a cross-functional leader who has managed through multiple post-M&A integrations by reaching across functional boundaries to capitalize on synergies and capture emerging opportunities.

As Head of Performance Optimization for IHG, Tanya enables a team of 4,000 employees in IHG contact centers across the globe to provide sales and service to customers in the spirit of True Hospitality.

Tanya leads four functional centers of excellence that drive effective operational execution:

– Planning and Project Management – Gets the right people doing the right things in alignment across teams

– Business Innovation – Puts technology to work in the service of IHG customers and colleagues

– Global Sourcing – Optimizes a global operational platform with infrastructure and facilities to leverage our global scale.

– Workforce Management – Optimizes customer experience, cost of sale and revenue delivery by putting the right agent with the customer at the right time

Tanya has led many innovative initiatives at IHG, including implementing a reservation user interface used to generate revenue for IHG hotels and launching a virtual assistant to assist customers in digital channels.   She is also a customer advocate leading Customer Experience Management for personalized guest experiences and Voice of the Customer advances.

Involved as a volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Tanya has been matched with her little as a mentor for 9 years.  She resides in Salt Lake City, Utah, home of the Greatest Snow on Earth® and when not working can be found travelling the world or enjoying the great outdoors with her husband and 2 children.

Case Study

Antony Brydon is CEO and co-founder of Directly. Directly helps companies transform customer service by tapping into the knowledge and passion of their power users. World-class organizations like Airbnb, LinkedIn, SAP, and Samsung use Directly to provide customers with expert answers, delivered both automatically and personally. With a unique, mutually-reinforcing combination of artificial intelligence and expert users, Directly dramatically decreases the burden on agents. Directly customers have seen 1000X reductions in response times, 50–90% decreases in cost, and 5–10 point increases in CSAT. www.directly.com

Michael Lawder oversees all U.S. customer service operations, including contact centers, field and depot operations, walk-in support locations, parts supply and quality assurance. Michael’s passion at Samsung is to help customers get the most out of their products. The Samsung Customer Care team is committed to making each day simpler, more productive and more enjoyable for customers.

Prior to Samsung, Michael spent almost six years at Electronic Arts Inc. where he served as vice president of Worldwide Customer Experience. Prior to Electronic Arts, Michael had a 12-year tenure with Apple.

Joseph is CEO and co-founder of Gladly, a company he incubated at Greylock Partners with Dirk Kessler and Michael Wolfe. He believes that one of the keys to effective leadership is ensuring teams have the right tools to succeed. At Gladly, he’s working to empower customer service agents with a platform that turns them into heroes. This role builds on his customer service experience first as a co-founder and CEO of Connectify and later when it was acquired by Kana, one of the first digital customer service platforms which he helped take public in 1999. He also co-founded and was CEO of Vontu, the leader in data loss prevention, which was acquired by Symantec in 2007.

In addition to his role at Gladly, Joseph is a partner at Greylock Partners and on the Board of Directors of Sumo Logic, Grand Rounds and Trifacta.

Joseph received a B.S. in Applied Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and is currently a member of the Wharton Undergraduate Executive Board.

Panel Moderators


Judi Brenstein offers 20 years as a management professional and consultant with an impressive range of expertise. As a COPC Inc. Vice President of Client Solutions, Judi specializes in the areas of performance improvement, operational management, change management, quality, training and development, recruiting and project management.

Judi consults with clients to provide solutions for outcome-based performance improvement results, benchmark reviews of current performance, provide Six Sigma-based contact center project expertise, and strategic planning. She is well-known and sought after by COPC clients who are looking for the specific expertise to come in, diagnose the high-impact, low-effort opportunities, determine ROI and recommended actions, and then oversee the ability of internal teams to make those improvements. Judi is also known for her sought-after presentations at industry events.

Prior to working with COPC Inc. Judi co-founded Customer Synergy Solutions, LLC in Houston, Texas. In addition to contact center operational management talents, Judi has a wealth of practical knowledge and hands-on experience gained from working with blue-chip organizations, such as Microsoft, Scholastic, Hyatt Hotels, CISCO, United HealthCare, Hewlett Packard, Beachbody, T-Mobile, United Airlines, Anheuser-Busch, Shell, Sprint, Groupon, Bright House Networks, PODS and Vectren Energy.

Judi’s previous led the COPC training practice area, overseeing the content curriculum, creating the COPC Training Center, an online training platform, as well as being a COPC Certified Facilitator for classroom programs, such as COPC High Performance Management Techniques, COPC Lean Six Sigma for Contact Centers Yellow Belt & Green Belt programs, COPC People Workshop, and COPC Quality training.

Judi holds an MBA in International Business from Houston Baptist University and a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Oral Roberts University. Judi is a Registered Coordinator to both the COPC CSP Standard and the COPC VMO Standard. She is also a COPC Certified Professional Manager, and a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt (LSSMBB).

Evan Dobkin is the Product Marketing Manager for Aspect CXP and leads Aspect’s pursuit of strategic partnerships. Evan focuses on the development of use cases for customer service chatbots. Additionally, he develops strategies for internal channels to improve the technology experience for customer-facing employees.

With over 20 years experience at technology start-ups, Jane specializes in bringing innovative offerings to market. Combining an engineering background with extensive product management and marketing experience, Jane has focused her career on helping early stage and disruptive companies succeed. As VP of Marketing, Jane is responsible for product and go-to-market strategy, corporate brand and communications. Jane and her team focus on advancing Interactions mission to transform the way leading businesses and their customers communicate through Intelligent Virtual Assistants. Before joining Interactions in 2013, Jane led Marketing and Product Management teams at Care.com, TripAdvisor and MathWorks.