Super Sessions 


David Schonthal (IDEO)

David Schonthal is a Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management where he teaches courses in new venture creation, design thinking and creativity. He also serves as the Executive Director of Kellogg's Zell Fellows program -- a selective venture accelerator program designed to help student-entrepreneurs successfully launch new businesses.

David is also a Portfolio Director and Business Designer at IDEO, an award-winning innovation consultancy, where he helps companies design new business models and creative paths for products and services to get to market.  David has also developed initiatives such as the IDEOs Startup-in-Residence program as well as other offers and approaches around venture design and corporate entrepreneurship.

Previously David spent nearly a decade in the venture capital and startup world as a Partner at Fusion Ventures, and Director of Strategy and Venture Development for Tavistock Life Sciences both based in San Diego, CA.  He has also held numerous senior operating roles at startups in the technology and life sciences sectors.

David is a Co-Founder of MATTER, a 25,000 square foot innovation center in downtown Chicago focused on catalyzing and supporting healthcare entrepreneurship and serves as a member of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuels technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship council, ChicagoNext. He is a contributor to Forbes, Inc. and Fortune Magazine, writing articles on corporate entrepreneurship, innovation and business design. David has received several honors for his work, which recently include a Kellogg Faculty Impact Award for excellence in teaching, as well as being named to Crain's Chicago Business magazine's "40 Under 40" list and the Techweek 100.”

David earned his MBA from The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and his B.A. in International Relations from Boston University.

If all else fails, Davids Plan B is to use his booming baritone to break into the lucrative voiceover world.

Partners in Leadership


Ron Paul, Senior Consultant, Partners in Leadership

Building a Culture of Accountability to Achieve Results

In a competitive environment, no organization’s survival is guaranteed.  Today, the pace of change is accelerating, technological advances are multiplying, funds are tightening, competition is growing and funding and staff resources are constrained.   As a result, more is demanded of all of each of us on our campuses and in our dining programs.  Attend this session to learn how to build a culture of accountability to remain competitive and achieve results.  Learn how to align and focus your team on key results.   Learn how to apply these principles to your dining program as well as contribute to the larger conversations on campus.  Learn what you can do personally, to lead toward greater results, remain positive and overcome obstacles.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Attendees will understand the concept of alignment.
  2. Attendees will learn the differences between results and activity.
  3. Attendees will understand the role that beliefs and experiences play as obstacles to achieving results.
  4. Attendees will receive tools to improve their own accountability and leadership skills. 

Dr. Paul is a Consulting Partner for Partners In Leadership and has an outstanding background in business, specifically with experience in management, leadership, coaching, facilitation, and training. He has trained Csuite executives, senior/middle managers, and line workers on many topics, including principles of leadership, productivity, execution, and building organizational cultures of accountability for results.

Ron has extensive experience in many industries, spanning energy, banking, telecommunications, healthcare, food services, manufacturing, and nonprofit organizations. In his consulting and training engagements, he has served numerous organizations: PETRONAS, Sime Darby, Entergy Corporation, The Walt Disney Co., Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (U.S. NRC), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Lone Star College System, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, New York Life Insurance Company, PPG Industries Inc, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and U.S. Steel.

Prior to coming to Partners In Leadership, Ron served as the Managing Director of the Office of Corporate andLeadership Initiatives at California University of Pennsylvania (Cal U). While there, he had responsibilities that included line management of two university divisions, P&L management of the university’s $59 million convocation center, and contract management of the facility management company. Ron also served as the head of Investor Relations for GMN Capital, a billion-dollar quantitative hedge fund and as a successful Client Partner for FranklinCovey.

In addition to his business expertise, Ron is a sought-after keynote speaker and facilitator. Known for his captivating and interactive presentation skills, Ron connects with audience members in a lasting and meaningful manner.

Ron holds an MBA from Cal U and a Ph.D. in business administration (management) from Northcentral
University. He speaks Spanish and Italian.


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Mike Ritz & Kevin Cooper, Leadership Rhode Island

Leveraging the Power of Strengths Psychology

Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? Do others around you, in your personal life and in your companies, have the opportunity to do what they do best every day? Based on Gallup research, most people do not. The traditional paradigm has been to focus on those things people are not good at and to make them better. However, when individuals identify their talents and develop them into strengths, they are happier and more engaged. 

In this workshop, through reflective activities, interactive discussions and sharing of best practices, attendees’ will learn how to discover, understand and maximize a strengths-based philosophy for use in their personal and professional lives. Attendees will also leave with takeaways for how they can continue to leverage a strengths-based approach once the conference is over.

For the past four years, Leadership Rhode Island has spearheaded a cross-sector movement to spread the strengths-based philosophy throughout Rhode Island. They have witnessed the transformative power of adopting a strengths-based approach at individual, team, and organizational levels.

The Rhode Island School of Design Auxiliary Services implemented strengths within their program in 2016-2017. We use them as a case study highlighting the power of adopting a strengths-based approach within a team to implement the program, generate employee pride and improve multi-directional communication.