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The Digital Enterprise Society Podcast fosters discussion among industry leaders about operations and action needed to drive digitalization principles forward for the future of product development and lifecycles.


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070: Cultivating Business Relationships That Lead to Opportunity

Posted By Digital Enterprise Society, Monday, September 14, 2020

070: Cultivating Business Relationships That Lead to Opportunity


When you look back on 2020 will you remember it as a year of despair or a time of great opportunity?  Today’s guest has joined the podcast to explain why these unprecedented times are filled with good news and opportunities for meaningful career change.  Thom Singer and Craig Brown welcome executive career coach Chris Hoff, the principle of Hoff Consulting, to discuss the importance of finding the opportunities in any situation, even in a pandemic. Chris highlights the importance of shaping the story that you tell yourself about your current situation, how to find the good even in these trying times, and the importance of focusing on the relationships that can lead to the greatest opportunities of your career.

On today’s podcast, you will learn:

The value of shaping your narrative

  • Narratives assist in connecting people and helping them visualize the result.

  • Share your stories of resiliency and creativity as well as the stories of your trials. 

  • Turning the negative into a positive starts with focusing on the moments of hopefulness.

  • Ask questions that highlight moments of triumph in an environment of dismay.

How to find the good news in bad situations

  • Employ a confirmation bias by looking for the good in the information you consume.

  • Changes in your career situation due to COVID-19 can be laced with opportunity.

  • Identify the space between your comfort zone and where future possibilities lie.

  • Tell the stories of success that have come as a result of your challenges. 

  • Focus on the innovation that comes when change is forced upon you. 

Effective ideas for improving your current situation 

  • Feelings of isolation are only going to exacerbate your discouragement — don’t allow yourself to remain isolated.

  • Now is the time to develop relationships with people in your professional and personal circles. 

  • Look for ways to get outside of your own story through service and volunteering.

How to cultivate business relationships that lead to opportunity

  • Make yourself more visible to your company and your network.

  • People matter more than ever in this current situation. 

  • Check in on the people in your circles — try sending three texts a day. 

  • Introverted people will benefit from a more concentrated effort to reach out. 

  • Focusing on acts of service will take the ego out of your efforts. 

  • Use social media as a tool to help increase your visibility. 

Do you have an example of extraordinary efforts or innovation during these unprecedented times? We would love to hear your story and possibly interview you for an upcoming episode. Please reach out to us at

Guest Bio:

Dr. Chris Hoff is passionate about helping individuals become more fulfilled in their personal and professional lives, assisting organizations to meet and surpass their goals, and dissolving conflict between individuals, teams and in organizations in more creative ways. He began his career in sales and sales management with a division of a Fortune 500 company in the aerospace and defense industry. After winning individual and sales management awards (highest performance in sales, branch of the year), he went on to co-found Two Roads Professional Resources Inc., a full-service engineering and information technology staffing company.  After helping to grow the business to eight figures in sales and over 200 employees, Chris successfully exited the business in January 2010. During this successful run, he was an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award finalist and was twice recognized for Excellence in Entrepreneurship by the Orange County Business Journal.

After finding corporate and entrepreneurial success, Chris decided to follow his dream of becoming a therapist. His formal education includes a Ph.D. from Loma Linda University in Marriage & Family Therapy where his concentration was in organizational development and systems consulting. Chris also received his Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University.  

Tags:  9/16/2020 5:00 am 

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069: How to Take Your Career to the Next Level

Posted By Digital Enterprise Society, Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, September 8, 2020

069: How to Take Your Career to the Next Level


If this wild year has given you any time to pause and reflect on what you really want from your career, then you will welcome the advice that you’re going to hear on today’s episode of the Digital Enterprise Society Podcast. Thom  welcomes Sara Canaday to discuss impactful ways that you can take your career to the next level. Sara is an executive coach, trainer and author who knows what it takes to pivot from the job you have to the career you want.  They discuss the importance of identifying your reputation in the workplace, questions you need to ask yourself about the effectiveness of your work, and how to more strategically balance every aspect of your career.

On today’s podcast, you will learn:

How to pivot toward success

  • Solicit feedback to pinpoint the subtle things you may be doing that are keeping you from reaching the next level.

  • Your mindset around change will greatly affect your level of success.

  • Look at change as an opportunity to reimagine, to reinvent, and to rebrand yourself.

  • A willingness to try new things makes all the difference in pivoting toward success.

How to develop a mindset of success

  • Questions to ask yourself about how other people perceive working with you? 

  • Reflect on more than your credentials — how do you make other people feel at work?

  • What are you doing to be on the “Do Not Lose” list at work? 

  • Develop a network filled with internal and external relationships that serve you now and later.

  • Look outside the career map that your current employer has set before you.

How to take your career to the next level

  • Pay attention to the experience that you are creating for others and for yourself. 

  • Balance your bias for action with your bias for thought.

  • Take strategic pauses for time away from your to-do list and a mental ‘time-in’ to process all of the information that you have encountered each week. 

  • Make space for strategic pauses in your schedule. 

  • Identify what you need to give up in order to get more of what you want most.

How to handle career chaos after COVID-19

  • Living in a VUCA world has required everyone to pause and then pivot.

  • Put structure around the unknown to better handle your current situation.

  • Have a plan in place for both best and worst case scenarios. 

  • Look at this time as an opportunity to identify what you really want and then reinvent where necessary.

Do you have an example of extraordinary efforts or innovation during these unprecedented times? We would love to hear your story and possibly interview you for an upcoming episode. Please reach out to us at


Sara Canaday

You According to Them: Uncovering the blindspots that impact your reputation and career by Sara Canaday

Leadership Unchain: Defy Conventional Wisdom for Breakthrough Performance by Sara Canaday

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Dr. Carol Dweck

Sara Canaday’s Linkedin Learning


Sara Canaday is a leadership development expert, speaker, and author.  In her work, Sara helps companies maximize the contributions of their leaders for bottom-line impact. Drawing on her 15 years of corporate experience, Sara has a unique gift for connecting with audiences and ensuring they walk away with actionable strategies for positive change—strengthening leadership skills, improving business relationships, and enhancing performance.

Sara's career spans more than 20 years, including senior executive positions in sales, operations, and organizational development with USAA and Texas Mutual. After forming her own company, Sara began sharing her expertise in leadership development, executive presence, branding, and emotional intelligence. Her insights have led hundreds of teams and individuals nationwide to make strategic changes with impressive results.

Sara is a member of both the National Speakers Association and the Global Speakers Federation, and is an adjunct executive coach with the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL). She is certified in the CCL suite of 360-degree multi-rater feedback instruments, and she is accredited through Multi-Health Systems to administer the EQ-i 2.0 Emotional Intelligence assessments.

Sara has been featured in a number of publications and broadcasts, most notably Forbes, The Huffington Post, Psychology Today, CNBC, and the American Management Association's Leadership-Wired. Sara is also the author of a popular business book, You—According to Them: Uncovering the blind spots that impact your reputation and your career.

Tags:  Professional Development 

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068: Effective Partnership in Digital Strategy

Posted By Digital Enterprise Society, Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, September 1, 2020

068: Effective Partnership in Digital Strategy


Have you ever wondered how the other guys are getting things done but are too afraid to ask because they’re the competition? Today’s guest is here to explain the reasons why you are only hurting yourself when you don’t take time to build effective partnerships in digital strategy.  Today Thom Singer and Craig Brown welcome Paul Nelson, Chief Technical Strategist at Northrop Grumman to discuss the value of partnerships and collaboration in digital strategy.  Paul shares the mutually beneficial experiences he has had when collaborating with the competition, ideas for creating effective partnerships, and how to secure the best tools for the projects your company is working on. 

On today’s podcast, you will learn:

The power of partnering with competitors

  • Collaboration and resource sharing can be equally beneficial to all involved companies.

  • Partnerships will help increase understanding of current simulation tools and data management. 

  • Inviting collaboration does not have to mean that you are trying to steal secrets from the competition. 

  • Effective partners take time to listen, incorporate, and then respond.

How to create effective partnerships

  • Identify the work that each company does and ways it could be improved upon. 

  • Don’t be afraid of sharing secrets at the expense of gaining meaningful knowledge. 

  • Sign non-disclosure agreements to mutually protect private information. 

  • Identify the enablers that will allow you to get to the end goal you are working toward, and have the conversations needed to get the tools that will help you get there.

Rising from intern to chief officer 

  • Trying out various positions can help you identify the work you are most interested in.

  • Career transitions don’t have to be triggered by dissatisfaction in your current position.

  • Bringing a different perspective to your new work will benefit all invested parties.

  • Understanding the culture of each company will help you be a more effective partner and employee.

  • Don’t settle for status quo— be willing to challenge the why behind the way things currently are.

Do you have an example of extraordinary efforts or innovation during these unprecedented times? We would love to hear your story and possibly interview you for an upcoming episode. Please reach out to us at

Guest Bio: 

Paul Nelson is the Chief Technical Strategist at Northrop Grumman.  He leads technical strategy for Next Gen Engineering, Manufacturing, and Logistics Technologies as chief technical strategist at Northrop Grumman. He is promoting the proper processes and tools to significantly reduce development time and costs while meeting all customer requirements. Paul is a Fellow for the PLM discipline at Orbital ATK. Paul has BS and MS degrees in mechanical engineering. He is INCOSE certified, holds a graduate certificate in Systems Engineering from the University of Utah, is CM2-P certified and is fluent in Russian.

Tags:  Partnerships  PLM 

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067: Managing Your Career Through COVID-19 and Beyond

Posted By Digital Enterprise Society, Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Updated: Monday, August 24, 2020

067: Managing Your Career Through COVID-19 and Beyond


On this episode, Thom and Craig are joined by Vantage Associates CEO and CCO Kevin Wright to discuss ways to effectively manage career transitions during a pandemic and beyond.  In his career Kevin moved from engineering and sales to CEO and he knows the steps that it takes to advance a career in any situation.  He shares ideas for developing professional resilience and networking advice that can take you from the job you have to the job you want.  He also explains the importance of promoting your skills rather than your job titles, and recommends the tools and the mindset that will increase your productivity and your marketability, even during a pandemic.  

On today’s podcast, you will learn:

OEM limitations in a time of pandemic

  • The pandemic has amplified the challenge of bandwidth limitations. 

  • Limited availability among users creates a problem with getting work done during business hours.

  • Physical security tokens can limit the ability to transfer work to another person. 

  • Answers to these limitations can be found in the cloud. 

Developing professional resilience 

  • Look to the more advanced professionals for tried-and-true advice. 

  • Managing transitions requires building on the work that you were doing and applying it to the work you want to do. 

  • Resiliency comes in knowing how to assign value to the problems you have solved. 

  • Talk about your skills rather than the details of the positions you’ve held, and distill those skills and strengths into the value that you can add to any position.

  • Secure a mentor who can help you identify your skills and strengths. 

  • Translate your skills into what your new employer is looking for.

The next step on your journey toward CEO

  • Seize the opportunities that appear on your career path.

  • Network effectively by talking to as many people as you can in every setting. 

  • Collaborate in groups wherever possible, even in a world of social distancing.

  • Be willing to get out of your comfort zone. 

Career advice during COVID-19

  • Secure the digital tools that can increase your productivity during the pandemic.

  • Emails and texts are not enough — connect with coworkers on a more personal level with phone calls and small gatherings.

  • Don’t let masks get in the way of having conversations and making connections. 

  • Intentional collaborations can happen just as effectively in a digital space. 

  • Continue preparing for the next change because it is always coming. 

Do you have an example of extraordinary efforts or innovation during these unprecedented times? We would love to hear your story and possibly interview you for an upcoming episode. Please reach out to us at


Kevin Wright is Chief Executive Officer at Vantage Associates, Inc. which he joined as Chief Commercial Officer in April 2018.  He is responsible for customer facing activities, strategic planning, sales, marketing, branding and business development. He has over 35 years experience in the Aerospace market in both the UK and the USA. Prior to joining Vantage, Wright was Vice President of Business Development for Ducommun where his responsibilities included Strategic Planning, Business Development and Sales for the 6 SBUs and 18 sites of Ducommun, Inc. Before Joining Ducommun Wright was Senior Vice President, Strategy Sales and Marketing in for Meggitt plc where he was responsible for sales, aftermarket, programs and strategy for the seven business units of Meggitt Control Systems. 

Previously Wright held multiple key roles, latterly Group Vice President of Customer Satisfaction, for the Aerospace Group of Crane Aerospace & Electronics where he led customer service, business management, sales & marketing, and strategic planning for the aerospace group. He was also Group Vice President of Product Development responsible for engineering and product development, Vice President of Group Development where he was responsible for growing the Group in areas outside core business through both external acquisitions as well as through the smart application of emerging technology. Before joining Crane Aerospace & Electronics, Wright served as Vice President of the Aerospace Group of SITA, a global communications company that provides worldwide information and telecommunications solutions to the air transport and related industries. Wright received a bachelor’s degree with Honors in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the University of Nottingham in England. 

Tags:  Career  OEM  Professional Development 

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066: The Need for Flexibility in PLM Solutions

Posted By Digital Enterprise Society, Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Updated: Monday, August 17, 2020

066: The Need for Flexibility in PLM Solutions 

On today’s episode, Thom and Craig  interview industry veteran Bill Bone, CTO for Automotive at Aras Corporation, to discuss the changing and adapting world of PLM and ALM in the automotive industry.  They examine the value of bringing these two critical systems closer together and highlight the potential benefits to companies utilizing them.  Like Craig, Bill is a failed retiree and shares valuable advice not only for those that are nearing the end of their career but for those that are just starting out as well, and it all starts with developing your passions and tapping into your network.

On today’s podcast, you will learn:

Bringing ALM and PLM together

  • There are still challenges, but Application Lifecycle Management and Product Lifecycle Management are closer together than ever.

  • When do you lead with software and when do you lead with hardware?

  • Computers and services are both essential components of a flexible PLM solution.

  • An effective PLM platform is a critical component of the structure of all functions. 

  • Utilization of requirements and features is an essential component of the PLM structure.

  • Features have long-term capability and long-term reliability, and refer to what the customer is willing to pay for, not the mechanical content of a vehicle.

The value of connecting ALM and PLM 

  • A PLM strategy without an ALM strategy is a losing strategy.

  • Excelling at software development is the first step to tying into a valuable customer database.

  • It is key to remember who your customers are and what they are willing to pay for.

  • Service data is the key to managing a successful application or product lifecycle.

  • The future is going to focus on Service Lifecycle Management as it contains such valuable information. 

Advice for those who are failing at retirement or growing a career

  • There is great value in continuing to work with things that give you a sense of involvement and purpose.

  • Identify the topics that you are most passionate about and frame your efforts around it.

  • Your network will help you stay involved and informed.

  • Don’t be afraid to make the phone calls that will keep you engaged in meaningful work.

  • There are constant changes in most industries — go with the flow and keep up with the changes.

Do you have an example of extraordinary efforts or innovation during these unprecedented times? We would love to hear your story and possibly interview you for an upcoming episode. Please reach out to us at



Bill Bone is the CTO for Automotive at Aras Corporation in Troy, Michigan; in this position, Mr. Bone leads solution platform definition and evangelism for automated and connected vehicles. Prior to this position, Mr. Bone was VP, Product Development, for CloudSAFE’s products and services. This portfolio spanned cloud-based products and services for customer data protection, full stack integrations, colocation, and data center internetworking. Previously, Mr. Bone served as Director for Global Infrastructure Architecture and Strategy at General Motors from 2010 through 2013. Mr. Bone was a Fellow with Hewlett-Packard working as Chief Technologist for the global Manufacturing, Energy, and Life Sciences Industry Group from June 2008 to August 2010.

Mr. Bone has a strong background in complex product management, IT infrastructure, cloud computing, and the automotive industry. He has defined and developed embedded systems for automotive, product management frameworks, cloud computing, business intelligence, and global IT systems.  Mr. Bone holds a BS in Physics from WV University and a MS in Physics from Eastern Michigan University. In addition, he has attended many summer sessions at Stanford University studying business, electrical engineering, and computer science.


Tags:  ALM  PLM 

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065:Increasing Your Company’s Flexibility and Adaptability with a Voice of the Customer Process

Posted By Digital Enterprise Society, Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, August 11, 2020

065:Increasing Your Company’s Flexibility and Adaptability with a Voice of the Customer Process



There are valuable opportunities for growth based on customer feedback, but too often companies just aren’t listening to what their customers are saying. In today’s episode, Thom and Craig interview Samantha Ziesel, expert on Voice of the Customer (VOC). Together they discuss the importance of listening to your customers and changing your company based on their feedback. In this new pandemic world, it is more important than ever to understand and respond to your customers' needs. Every job includes a critical element of customer satisfaction. Through the conversation Sam helps define a VOC process and explains the benefits companies can realize from a structured VOC methodology.

On today’s podcast, you will learn:

Defining and capturing the Voice of the Customer process

  • VOC is a business and technology term for the process aimed at capturing your customer’s expectations and experiences working with you as their supplier

  • VOC offers better insight and a snapshot of reality of your customers expectations and bridges the gap between engineers and market research 

  • This process overcomes some of the silos that are commonly found in organizations 

  • VOC doesn’t reflect a pinpoint in time, it’s a continuously evolving journey that must be continuously acted upon

  • If appropriate action isn’t taken immediately, VoC can become a negative experience 

  • Companies have to be agile and willing to change based on customer feedback

The benefits of an effective VOC program

  • VOC offers improved customer experience and customized products and services that will better respond to customers needs

  • There is always potential for new opportunities with new customers

  • VOC allows you to understand your company performance and success through the eyes of your customer 

  • VOC increases customer satisfaction, loyalty and prioritization of high-impact customer issues

  • Relying too heavily on digital interface loses the human-to-human interface- the human element behind digital communication is a critical link to your customers

  • Failure to listen to the real voice of your customer can result in major lost opportunities 

Embracing flexibility for greater company success

  • In this time of COVID-19, company flexibility is more critical than ever as safety is currently more important than ease of use

  • Internal and external VOC are both equally valuable to the future of your company

  • Even if it’s not good news, companies need to be ready to embrace information that provides a great opportunity

  • Every position in every company should have some element of VoC to it 

Do you have an example of extraordinary efforts or innovation during these unprecedented times? We would love to hear your story and possibly interview you for an upcoming episode. Please reach out to us at



Samantha Ziesel is an Innovative Leader, Process Engineer and Subject Matter Expert in design and execution of CX & VoC Platforms-Tools & Processes.  Sam most recently worked with Meggitt PLC in the Group Strategy, Sales & Marketing division, where she was appointed as the leader for the development, implementation & management of their Global Voice of the Customer (VOC) strategy, policy & processes in support of Group strategies.

Sam is performance-focused, results-driven, and experienced B2B, B2C, C2B, and B2G versatile Customer Service and Operations Executive with rich experience in international customer service improvements, customer engagement, design & development of global CX, CSAT & VOC strategies tools and processes, NPS, transformation, operational excellence, employee achievement, and service delivery initiatives.  She is an award-winning leader recognized for embracing change, cultivating positive relations, and attaining the highest levels of operations success.

Tags:  VOC 

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064: Moving Beyond Your Mistakes with a NASA Expert

Posted By Digital Enterprise Society, Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, August 4, 2020

064: Moving Beyond Your Mistakes with a NASA Expert


On today’s episode, Thom shares an interview he conducted on “The Webinar Talk Show Podcast”, in which he and co-host Eliz Greene interviewed Mike Ciannilli, the head of NASA’s EDGE Apollo, Challenger, Columbia Lessons Learned project.  This project explores what can be learned and what can be avoided from the tragedy of space disasters. Mike understands the importance of recognizing our mistakes, being open and transparent about them, and learning from them in order to create a more successful future.  He shares the importance of embracing the diversity of dissenting opinions in order to produce the best possible outcome on any project, and highlights some of the lessons you take away from the chaos and change that has been forced upon all of us in today’s COVID-19 world.  

On today’s podcast, you will learn:

The value of learning from your mistakes 

  • NASA has done a lot of things right over the last 6 decades, but the times they missed the mark are the lessons that they need to learn from most.

  • Study and understand your history and the reasons that certain decisions were made. 

  • Pinpoint the good and the bad, and then choose which one you want to repeat.

Lessons learned from the Columbia disaster

  • Rocket science is the easy part of a NASA project, communicating with people is the harder but most essential part of the success of any project. 

  • Learn to be a better listener to decrease the likelihood of miscommunication among team members. 

  • Over time people can be conditioned to ignore small changes, so be wary of the human ability to be conditioned to accept negative changes. 

  • Be vigilant in keeping up the habits that matter most every day. 

  • Understand your audience so that you can communicate effectively with them. 

The critical role of diversity in your organization 

  • Encouraging diversity of dissenting opinions is a critical component to the success of every team and project. 

  • Allowing team members to share different opinions or possible solutions will produce better results for everyone.

  • Apollo 13 proves that every idea has the potential to save the day. 

  • The ability to problem solve is at the heart of NASA’s success. 

Advice from a NASA expert

  • Every person on your team is built with the DNA to do amazing things. 

  • Be aware of the traps that we all fall into of not listening or considering different ideas.

  • Keep learning everything you can and bring your A-game to work every single day. 

  • Build a strong network of relationships with your team members. 

Overcoming the chaos and change of COVID-19

  • Identify what you can learn from the losses you are experiencing. 

  • Don’t disregard the difficulty of now, but also don’t lose out on the lessons that could save the day in the future.

  • Find the rays of sunshine that will help you do better and be better. 

  • Ask yourself what is around the next corner that will make the future better than today. 

Do you have an example of extraordinary efforts or innovation during these unprecedented times? We would love to hear your story and possibly interview you for an upcoming episode. Please reach out to us at


The Webinar Talk Show Podcast



Michael Ciannilli is the NASA’s manager of the Apollo, Challenger, Columbia Lessons Learned Program. He assumed this role in 2016, and is responsible for innovatively and effectively sharing the lessons of the past to help ensure future success.  As manager of this agency level program, Ciannilli oversees the Columbia Research and Preservation Office, which preserves all Columbia artifacts.  In addition, he gives lessons learned tours for NASA engineers, scientists, interns, executives, commercial partners, and others. During these tours, he uses the stories of Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia to share what has been learned from these past mishaps to prevent recurrence in future missions. 

Prior to his work with the NASA EDGE program Michael was a NASA Test Director at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In this role he oversaw the processing and checkout of the Space Shuttle from landing thru launch, including leading the entire launch team through launch countdown operations. During the Space Shuttle Program, Mike was also a Landing Recovery Director and was responsible for ensuring the readiness of the ground teams for landing operations. In this capacity, he was responsible to lead emergency management and recovery operations in the event of a launch or entry accident. Before joining NASA, Mike began his space program career as a member of the United Space Alliance team as a Fuel Cell Systems Engineer. He also served as a Test Project Engineer and Orbiter Processing Engineer with the responsibility of leading the engineering teams for vehicle and ground systems during processing and launch countdown. Ciannilli was also the Launch Countdown Simulation Lead, responsible for designing, conducting and leading the launch team through numerous countdown simulations. Mike attended the Florida Institute of Technology and received a degree in Space Science.


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063: How to Handle Stress and Deal With Uncertainty

Posted By Digital Enterprise Society, Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Updated: Monday, July 27, 2020

063: How to Handle Stress and Deal With Uncertainty

In today’s episode, Thom welcomes stress management expert Eliz Greene to discuss the importance of managing stress while dealing with uncertainty in your career and your life. Eliz survived a heart attack at 35 while 7 months pregnant with twins and she has joined the podcast to share simple ways to bring stress levels down in any situation. This timely advice applies to all of us as we are dealing with uncertainties surrounding the pandemic, and it can help you both advance your career and improve your life. She explains that even though you may not be able to control all of the uncertainties in your life, you do have the power to master your stress levels and perform like a pro in any situation. 

On today’s podcast, you will learn:

Controlling for the uncertainty that causes stress

  • Eliz shares the experience that led her to focus on controlling for the uncertainty that causes stress.
  • How do you feel about stress? Achieving work-life balance may not actually be as important as taking control over other stresses in your life.
  • 93% of respondents in Eliz’s survey indicated that slowing their pace in the workplace and reducing uncertainty would be more beneficial than achieving work-life balance.
  • A physical reaction to uncertainty is natural for our bodies, but that doesn’t mean it has to take over our daily lives.

Why should you master your stress levels?

  • Managing stress is not a soft skill — it is an essential life skill that keeps us balanced and properly functioning.
  • Stress itself is not a bad thing — the boost of energy that comes with a cortisol boost is how we get things done.
  • Staying in a high stress level all of the time is not only bad for your physical health, it’s damaging to your mental health.

Ways to reduce your stress level

  • Raise your heart rate and let it come back down to signal to your body that it’s okay to let go of stress-induced cortisol.
  • Slow and lengthen your breath and clear your mind through meditation of any form.
  • Recognize how you best disengage from stress, either by choosing to do nothing or by staying highly occupied, and then give yourself permission to actually do it.
  • Staying connected with your coworkers while working remotely is essential to managing stress.

How can managing stress help your career?

  • People are unable to work well when they’re stressed out, but you can avoid burnout by learning how to manage your stress proactively.
  • If you can effectively handle incoming stresses then you can perform well where others are unable to.
  • Reducing stress will increase your creativity and critical-thinking skills.

Do you have an example of extraordinary efforts or innovation during these unprecedented times? We would love to hear your story and possibly interview you for an upcoming episode. Please reach out to us at



Eliz Greene

Stress-Proof Your Heart: Live Longer, Feel Better, and Protect Your Health by Eliz Greene


Surviving a heart attack at age 35 while seven months pregnant with twins propelled Eliz Greene on a mission to share her story to inspire other busy people to pay attention to their health. Recognizing stress as an essential and often under-addressed risk factor, Eliz conducted a research study on job stress. Eliz is an author and writes a Top Health and Wellness Blog. She was named as a Top Online Influencer on Stress and Heart Health. She’s been seen on CNN, PBS, Lifetime, TNT, and many national and local news programs. A national spokesperson and advocate for the American Heart Association, Eliz received the Heart Hero Award in 2010. More recently, she has partnered on the Take Cholesterol To Heart campaign. Today, Eliz is a healthy 52-year-old living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her wonderful husband, Clay, their beautiful (now 17-year-old) daughters. 

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062: Using Multidisciplinary Design Optimization to Solve Problems

Posted By Digital Enterprise Society, Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Updated: Monday, July 20, 2020

062: Using Multidisciplinary Design Optimization to Solve Problems


In today’s episode, Thom and Craig welcome Kevin Brittain, the Multidisciplinary Optimization Group Leader at Cummins, Inc. Kevin coaches a team that is focused on bringing cross-functional models together to solve problems across the product life cycle.  He defines MDO, explains why it is so powerful, and highlights the importance of putting people before processes or tools.  He offers suggestions to help overcome adoption resistance and highlights the overarching benefits of rejecting silo work and embracing cross-functional decision making. As an industry leader who is clearly passionate about his work, Kevin’s career advice is advice that will help anyone excel in their work and in their relationships. 

On today’s podcast, you will learn:

Understanding multidisciplinary design optimization

  • Kevin defines MDO as the enabling of cross-functional decision making through the integration and optimization of diverse simulation models across the product lifecycle.

  • How can you bring functions together rather than having parallel functional model silos working independently on a broader problem? 

  • What is the key to linking information across models for greater information sharing?

  • Bringing this information together allows for greater cross-functional decision making. 

  • Enable decision making and highlight the trade-offs that come as a result.

Why is MDO so powerful?

  • MDO is more affordable than ever, making it widely available for greater use.
  • What are the benefits of honing in on the optimal trade space that exists between the decision makers and the constraints?   
  • MDO allows for utilizing the models that would be used to help make decisions in the product development cycle to answer the problem of constraints across several groups.   
  • MDO effectively addresses the manufacturing cost factor of optimization. 

People, then processes and tools

  • Making sustainable change requires a broader vision that focuses on people.
  • How are roles defined in order to enable a bigger vision? How is change enabled through process?
  • Changing the workflow is the critical step to effecting lasting change for any problem.
  • Democratization refers to bringing the capabilities of powerful simulation tools into the hands of non-experts.
  • Models have tremendous knowledge of systems and can be used throughout the whole product lifecycle to help make better decisions.
  • Resistance to change needs to be addressed and the people who hold the knowledge need to be valued.
  • People who help make changes feel ownership of the new culture and will embrace it even faster. 
  • There doesn’t need to be any competition — effective change happens by taking what was already great and improving upon it.

Career advice from an engineer

  • If you don’t understand something, start by Googling it.
  • Building relationships is the key to a successful career — engineering is a social exercise.
  • Find the work that you are passionate about and then enjoy working hard at it. 
  • Maintain high standards for the company that you work for and for the people you work with.


Do you have an example of extraordinary efforts or innovation during these unprecedented times? We would love to hear your story and possibly interview you for an upcoming episode. Please reach out to us at

Guest Bio

Kevin Brittain is the Multidisciplinary Optimization Group Leader at Cummins, Inc. 

Kevin worked for Cummins in structural analysis for 6 years. He received his Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2011 with an emphasis on structural optimization. Currently he is leading a global MDO team within the Power Systems Business Unit and also leading cross functional initiatives across the company to proliferate the use of optimization within analysis-led design.

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061: From Event Execution to COVID-19 Testing with Digital Tools

Posted By Digital Enterprise Society, Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, July 14, 2020

061: From Event Execution to COVID-19 Testing with Digital Tools 


On today’s episode, Thom and Craig welcome Ryan Choura, an event builder who has turned the devastation of a global pandemic into an opportunity for service and growth. Before the pandemic, Ryan’s company focused on superior event planning and execution, but now that the event industry has gone into hibernation, he has set his sights on something far more essential and meaningful. After spending 90 days researching and perfecting the best possible COVID-19 testing experience, Choura Events is set to become the largest testing company in the nation. Ryan shares the motivation behind creating a more effective testing company and offers advice to anyone that is looking for ways to build their career by helping where help is needed most.

On today’s podcast, you will learn:


Using digital tools for event execution 
  • Ryan highlights the key role of digital tools for industries of every kind.
  • Digital tools provide the virtual simulation needed to visualize spaces in event planning and execution.
  • Digital tools assist in meeting the quick turnaround requirements for event planning.

Pivoting from event planning to COVID-19 testing
  • COVID-19 has changed the spacial requirements that must be met at events.
  • The devastation of the pandemic has given Ryan’s company the opportunity to use their rapid building skills in a new way. 
  • The output experience at hospitals has to change in light of COVID-19 testing, and Ryan’s company is prepared to make that change happen. 
  • A comparison of the output of an average testing facility compared to what Ryan’s new testing company will be able to service. 

Career advice for times of forced change
  • Use the assets and skills you have to bring good to the world. 
  • Have open hands and don’t hold too tightly to the way things currently are. 
  • Look for problems and find ways to provide better solutions. 
  • Examine your network and make yourself valuable within it. 
  • Have a vision for the challenges that are placed in front of you.

Do you have an example of extraordinary efforts or innovation during these unprecedented times? We would love to hear your story and possibly interview you for an upcoming episode. Please reach out to us at


Ryan Choura is a next-generation CEO, writer, and speaker who is leading his company, Choura Events, to be listed as one of the top 100 fastest growing companies in Los Angeles three years in a row by LA Business Journal. He founded the Los Angeles-based creative event agency in 2007 with a mission to build life-changing event experiences, such as the ESPYS, X-Games, Coachella, Stagecoach, LB Grand Prix.  Ryan considers his most significant impact to be his company culture, fostering high levels of trust, creativity, and conviction. He credits his personal growth to the generosity of critical life mentors and in turn, openly writes and is requested to speak about invaluable lessons learned such as the need to focus on internal success while being driven to achieve external success.


Tags:  COVID-19  Digital Tools  Simulation 

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