Opening Keynote/General Session Thursday 9-10:20am
Corporate Vice President, Industry
As corporate vice president of Industry at Microsoft, Toni Townes-Whitley leads company strategy for driving digital transformation across public sector and commercial industry customers and partners in support of our mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. Her organization is responsible for defining industry-specific needs with engineering teams, including industry solution maps and reference architectures; defining industry solution selling go-to-market, supported by a robust first- and third-party portfolio; and cultivating a thriving ecosystem for partner-led industry solutions globally.
In addition to championing innovative technology adoption and creating business value for industry customers, Townes-Whitley is passionate about creating positive societal and global impact. By aligning Microsoft public sector and commercial industry programs and organizational priorities with the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Townes-Whitley advocates advancement and change in keeping with Microsoft’s enduring values and desire to fuel meaningful societal impact through cloud technology that is trusted, responsible, and inclusive.
Prior to joining Microsoft, Townes-Whitley was president of CGI Federal, where she was responsible for a portfolio of more than $1 billion, leading 6,600 employees in more than 70 countries to deliver greater value to US Government civilian, defense, and intelligence sectors. Prior to her role at CGI, Townes-Whitley held several management roles at Unisys Corporation leading global public sector systems integration and the Federal Civilian group, where she achieved 500 percent revenue growth and doubled profitability.
Townes-Whitley is a graduate of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School and has received certifications from Wharton Executive Education, New York University (NYU), and the Performance Management Institute. A writer and presenter on topics of IT innovation and application, Townes-Whitley has collaborated with organizations such as Council for Excellence in Government, the Minority Enterprise Executive Council, Industry Advisory Council, Princeton University, NYU, and numerous others.
She sits on the board of directors for United Way, the Women’s Center of Northern Virginia, and Leadership Foundry—an organization that prepares women to serve on corporate boards. She also continues to support the US Peace Corps and is a former volunteer who served three years as a village teacher in Central Africa.
Townes-Whitley and her husband have five children and two grandchildren. In her free time, Townes-Whitley enjoys writing and is finishing her first screenplay.
Closing Keynote/General Session Friday 2-3:30 pm
Legendary Journalist & News Anchor
Those who hear Dan Rather speak often say that he is one of the most extraordinary communicators of our time. With more than 60 years spent chronicling our world and nation, few can match the authority, experience, and perspective that the famed newsman brings to almost any subject. From politics, the media, current events, and our country’s most pressing issues— to inspiring words of wisdom on leadership, education, social justice, civic involvement and the importance of philanthropy, Dan Rather speaks from the heart and treats audiences to a memorable encounter with a living legend.
With a career that began in radio and is currently shaping news coverage in social media and beyond, Dan Rather has earned his place as one of the world’s most influential and respected journalists. During 44 years at CBS, including 24 years as anchor of the CBS Evening News, he interviewed every president since Eisenhower and personally covered history-making events from the Kennedy Assassination through Viet Nam, Watergate, Tiananmen Square, the fall of the Berlin Wall, 9/11, and the Iraq Invasion. During this time, Rather earned a reputation as “the hardest working man in broadcast journalism” for simultaneously heading up the CBS Evening News, 48 Hours and 60 Minutes. He is the recipient of virtually every honor in broadcast journalism, including numerous Emmy Awards, several Peabody Awards and the 2012 Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award. Currently president and CEO of News and Guts, an independent multimedia production company, Rather remains an integral part of our national conversation through television appearances, innovative reports on Facebook Live, a much-followed Twitter feed and contributions to Mashable.
Known for humor, folksy “Ratherisms” captivating stories, and inspiring wisdom, Dan Rather’s keynotes put you in the presence of a remarkable witness to history and our times — staying with audiences long after the final applause.