April 12, 2014

Conference Panelists

Opening Address
Sally Blount
Dean, Kellogg School of Management

Sally Blount was named dean of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in 2010, where she is also the Michael L. Nemmers Professor of Management and Organizations.

During her tenure at Kellogg, Dean Blount has restructured the school’s administrative operations; introduced the dynamic “Think Bravely” advertising campaign; broken ground on a 410,000-square-foot global education center and worked to map a bold, new strategy for the school.

Prior to Kellogg, Dean Blount served New York University’s Stern School of Business as the dean of the undergraduate college and vice dean of the school. She was also special advisor for global academic integration.

From 1992 to 2001 she was on the faculty of the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business. Earlier in her career, she worked as a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group.

Dean Blount received her Ph.D. in management and organizations from Kellogg in 1992 and earned a joint bachelor’s degree from Princeton University’s engineering and Woodrow Wilson schools in 1983.

She is a director of Abbott Laboratories and a member of the Commercial and Economic Clubs of Chicago and The Chicago Network. She serves on advisory boards for the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program, the Chicago Innovation Awards, the Indian School of Business, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Business School, and Fundação Dom Cabral in Brazil.

Innovation in Modern Day Africa
Bright Simons
President, mPedigree

Bright Simons is president of the mPedigree Network, where he pioneered a system that allows consumers to instantly check whether their medicines are counterfeits or not by sending a free text message. He is honorary director of development research at IMANI; a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Councils (on Data and development), Young Global Leaders, and Technology Pioneers Communities; a TED and Ashoka fellow; and a Brain Trust member of the Evian Group at IMD. He is a recipient of numerous awards, ranging from an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Award, Marie Curie and Commonwealth Vision Grants to a PPARC Scholarship in Gamma Ray Astronomy. Bright is consulted on innovation strategy by international organizations such as the World Bank, UNECA, USAID, and the Commonwealth; and is a member of the United Nations taskforce on innovative models in healthcare. He is a Global Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar, where he also served on the 2011 faculty for healthcare. Bright is furthermore a member of the Advisory Board of IC Publications, one of the world's leading publishers focused on Africa and the African diaspora; of the Microsoft for Africa Advisory Council; and of the Sanofi Digital and Africa 2.0 Advisory boards

Kaakpema "KP" Yelpaala
CEO, Access Mobile

Kaakpema is the founder and CEO of access.mobile, a global business that enables real-time mobile data collection linked to web-based business intelligence and communications tools, currently in healthcare and agribusiness industries. With headquarters in Denver, Colorado, access.mobile operates in East Africa through its regional office in Kampala, Uganda. access.mobile’s holistic, context appropriate software solutions replace paper-based, ad hoc processes with data solutions that enable small and medium enterprises to lower costs, improve profits and manage risk. Microsoft recently recognized access.mobile with a prestigious seed grant for its unique and scalable solutions.

Kaakpema is a social entrepreneur with a breadth of experience in health and economic development, living and working in many African and Caribbean countries. He has worked on the design, launch, and implementation of national-scale health and agriculture initiatives in East Africa as one of the early employees with the Clinton Foundation. Kaakpema previously founded an international health nonprofit organization that worked alongside government led initiatives in Ghana and Tanzania to expand access to healthcare. He has international management and strategy consulting experience with Dalberg Global Development Advisors. Kaakpema holds a BA in Economic Development and Global Health from Brown University and an MPH from the Yale School of Public Health. Kaakpema is an Adjunct Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at Denver University.

Kara Palamountain
Research Asst. Professor; Executive Director, Global Health Initiative, Kellogg School of Management

Kara Palamountain is a Research Assistant Professor at the Kellogg School of Management and the Executive Director of the school's Global Health Initiative (GHI). The GHI is currently working in partnership with NU's Center for Innovation in Global Health Technologies (CIGHT) to develop and produce affordable HIV diagnostics for resource limited settings.

Ms. Palamountain has played a crucial role in identifying the more strategic aspects of introducing diagnostics developed by CIGHT. She has managed over 50 Kellogg field research teams conducting market entry analysis in over a dozen countries (Botswana, Brazil, Cambodia, China, India, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam and Zambia).

Ms. Palamountain is a co-investigator on a cost-effectiveness project at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda funded by the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health. Ms. Palamountain has also served as an external reviewer for various projects under consideration by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a peer reviewer for Grand Challenges Canada. She also authored "Perspectives On Introduction And Implementation Of New Point-Of-Care Diagnostic Tests" and "Opportunities And Challenges For Cost-Efficient Implementation Of New Point-Of-Care Diagnostics For HIV And Tuberculosis" recently published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases and "Towards the development of point-of-care diagnostics for global health needs" published in Clinical Laboratory International.

Ms. Palamountain is also the President of the Northwestern Global Health Foundation. Prior to her work at the Northwestern Global Health Foundation and at Kellogg, Kara worked as a management consultant in Deloitte's Healthcare practice for over six years (1998-2002; 2004-2006). She received her MBA from Kellogg in 2004 and her BBA from the University of Texas at Austin in 1998.

Stephanie Wolcott
Associate Director, Kellogg Innovation Network

Stephanie Wolcott is Associate Director of the Kellogg Innovation Network, fostering global prosperity through innovation. Prior to KIN, she was CSR Director for Alcoa Foundation, developing their global signature programming with an emphasis on environmental sustainability and global entrepreneurship, partnering with such organizations as WRI: New Ventures, Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs and Ashoka.

Previously, Ms. Wolcott served as Global Manager, Corporate Citizenship for Tyco International where she created public/private partnerships in the areas of healthcare, reforestation and water security. Earlier in her career, Wolcott held positions with brand strategy and design firms, including Edelman Public Relations, and VSA Partners.

She has spoken at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Harvard University and Net Impact National Conference. She writes for Stanford Social Innovation Review, has co-authored two social impact case studies for Kellogg and is an advisor for the Social Innovation Summit at the United Nations. Ms. Wolcott was a YWCA woman of the year in 2006 and currently volunteers with veterans.

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: How I Did It
Maria Casanova
Senior Partner, Maximum Learning & Consulting LLC

Maria Casanova consults with multinational firms to grow their capabilities and amplify their business performance through Communication Excellence!

Currently as Senior Partner of Maximum Learning & Consulting LLC, Maria works with corporations providing interactive and experience-based learning programs that deliver tangible skills and visible increases in effectiveness. Her most popular program, Excellence in Communication, focuses on helping firms articulate their unique business value to the market place.

Maximum Learning and Consulting’s focus ares include:

  • Corporate On Boarding Strategies
  • Multicultural Curriculum Design
  • Simulation Based Learning

Previously, at IBM, Maria served as a Global Learning Consultant in the area of sales execution, client relationship management and organizational development. She collaborated with executives and business leaders across multiple disciplines, analyzing audiences, understanding business environments and connecting them to strategy and mission. She designed and deployed both external and internal IBM training programs across the globe including Africa, Eastern Europe, Western Europe and South America.

Maria holds a BBA from Northwood University. She is certified as an IBM Global Sales School Facilitator for IBM’s world renowned new seller curriculum. She is on the board of The DFW Alliance of Technology and Women (DFW.ATW). She is also a member of the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD).

Elikem Kuenyehia
Managing Partner, Oxford & Beaumont

Elikem is an entrepreneur, lawyer, academic and business facilitator focused on FDI into Africa. Oxford & Beaumont, the firm he founded in 2006 is internationally recognised as one of Ghana’s top law firms and was shortlisted as ‘Africa Law Firm of the Year’ in the 2013 Africa Legal Awards, having advised on deals in excess of thirteen billion US dollars ($13b) for some of the leading international corporations and financial institutions.

Prior to Oxford & Beaumont, Elikem was part of the start-up team that set up United Bank for Africa (Ghana) Limited, He also previously worked for Diageo and Linklaters LLP. In the early 1990s, Elikem created, developed and co-hosted ‘Second Generation’, an award winning prime-time youth television show.

Elikem teaches entrepreneurship at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) and is author of the first ever textbook on Ghanaian entrepreneurship (‘Kuenyehia On Entrepreneurship’).

Gloria Buckman
Founding Partner, PlanIt Events

A transformational leader and social entrepreneur, Gloria Buckman Yankson is Founding Partner of PlanIt Ghana - which is recognised internationally as one of the most sought after Event Planning & Brand Communications Firms in Ghana today. Before joining PlanIt Ghana full time, Gloria worked as Director of Corporate Affairs and Marketing with DEVTRACO, a real estate firm in Ghana - where she spearheaded all marketing initiatives and campaigns in support of the business. Prior to this, she worked with multi-national brands in the UK including Hilton Plc and more recently Morgan Stanley, where she worked on the company’s Marketing Communications Team for close to four [4] years.

Always ambitious, Gloria has [backed by a formidable team] built PlanIt Ghana from scratch to become one of the reference points for Brand Communications and Event Planning in Ghana and beyond. Today, PlanIt Ghana, the company she co-founded and which officially launched in Ghana three [3] years ago, has an enviable track record and a portfolio of clients in the United Kingdom, USA, Switzerland, South Africa, Nigeria, as well as Ghana. A strong advocate for women empowerment and for driving change in Africa through entrepreneurship, she has since been featured on several local and international media platforms as an industry leader.

In 2013, Gloria was named one of Africa’s 40 under 40 Achievers by The Network Journal. In 2012, she received a Ghana UK Based Achievement [GUBA] Award in London to spotlight her entrepreneurial achievements. In 2011, she was awarded for her contribution to the creative industry at the 10th Annual Global Professional Achievers’ Awards. Gloria is a graduate of the Ghana Institute of Journalism and the London School of Public Relations and holds an MSc in Public Relations from the University of Stirling.

Professor Mark Achler
Lecturer of Management & Organizations

Professor Mark Achler was recently the senior vice president of new business, strategy and innovation at Redbox, where he managed the Company’s long-term planning and expansion into new business opportunities.  Mark was recently featured as a mentor to a tech startup on Bloomberg TV’s “The Mentor.”

Prior to joining Redbox in 2009, Mark co-founded one of the first personal computer retail stores in the country and participated in the launch of the IBM PC in Boca Raton in 1981. He then moved to Apple, where he was the worldwide introduction manager for the Apple //c.


Upon leaving Apple, Mark co-founded and served as chief executive officer of the Whitewater Group, a company that specialized in development tools and programming languages and shipped the second application for Windows 1.0. After building and eventually selling the Whitewater Group, he co-founded the video game company, Kinesoft Development, where he served as president. Kinesoft was instrumental in developing the technology that allowed Sega and Nintendo scrolling action arcade games to be played on Windows 95.

After leaving Kinesoft, Mark served as a founding general partner in Kettle Partners, an early-stage venture capital fund. While at Kettle, Mark was the lead investor in local Chicago companies such as Surepayroll (sold to PAYX) and Novarra (sold to NOK).  

Fueled by a lifelong passion for building new businesses, Mark also has helped to co-found Emmi Solutions, a provider of patient education, where he first served as president and later became chief executive officer.

Mark is also a frequent speaker, resource and ardent champion for the entrepreneurial community; where he is a mentor for Excelerate Labs and the Chicago High Tech Academy.

China Investments in Africa: a Win-Win Situation?
Frances Pontemayor
International Development Specialist, MCC Overseas LTD.

Frances Pontemayor is an independent analyst focusing international development. She graduated from Tsinghua University in Beijing with a Master of Public Administration and International Development. Her personal interests include Chinese industrial policies and the global expansion of Chinese industry, as well as the poverty alleviating effects of Chinese engagement in economic development in Sub Saharan Africa. Her thesis, “Phones and Loans: the complementarities of the CDB and IFC in Sub Saharan Africa” focuses on the respective activities of Chinese and Western development finance institutions in promoting economic development in the region. She has been published in The Diplomat and the South China Morning Post. Frances regularly writes in "Country Roads," her personal blog, in which she discusses global development through observations on China-Africa relations.

Phil Levy
Adjunct Professor of Management & Strategy, Kellogg School of Management

Phil Levy is senior fellow on the global economy at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Previously he was associate professor of business administration at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He was formerly a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and taught at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. From 2003 to 2006, he served first as senior economist for trade for President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers and then as a member of Secretary of State Rice’s Policy Planning Staff, covering international economic matters. Before working in government, he was a faculty member of Yale University’s Department of Economics for nine years and spent one of those as academic director of Yale’s Center for the Study of Globalization.

His academic writings have appeared in such outlets as The American Economic Review, Economic Journal, and the Journal of International Economics. He is a regular contributor to Foreign Policymagazine’s online Shadow Government section and writes on topics including trade policy, economic relations with China, and the European economic crisis. Dr. Levy has testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Joint Economic Committee, the House Committee on Ways and Mean, and the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission. He received his PhD in Economics from Stanford University in 1994 and his AB in Economics from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1988.

Wilson Freitas Dacosta
Executive Director Central Africa GE

Wilson joins GE as Country Manager (Angola) in the Commercial Operations team, in 2011. In this role, he worked on building and developing the GE businesses in Angola. He was responsible for developing GE’s go-to-market strategy, and also supporting sales activities to drive growth in Angola. In 2014 he was promoted to his current role as the Executive Growth leader for Central Africa were his focus will to grow the market in Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Congo, Chad etc.

Prior to Joining GE, Wilson was the General Manager of Palabora Mining Company in South Africa, a Rio Tinto managed organisation from 2008 to October of 2011. He oversaw the final processing of copper in the largest copper mine in South Africa from smelting to the rod plant. Managing a total of 930 employees and 300 contractors on a daily basis, Wilson was in charge of the safety, productivity, environmental and regulatory compliance and financial performance of the downstream process of the plant.

Other prior positions include being the Asset Manager for Kennecott Utah Copper, a division of Rio Tinto Group: a mining, smelting, and refining company with corporate headquarters located in South Jordan, Utah, USA. Kennecott operates one of the largest open-pit copper mines in the world in Bingham Canyon, Utah, USA. In this role, Wilson focused on delivering capability, sustainability, and value as it related to the company’s physical assets approximated at $2.4 billion in value. Wilson also assisted with the definition/delivery of future assets, and the work required to manage existing assets for on-going operational effectiveness.

Wilson has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from York College of Pennsylvania an MBA from the University of Liverpool.

Professor Harry Kraemer
Clinical Professor of Management & Strategy, Kellogg School of Management

HARRY M. JANSEN KRAEMER, JR. is an executive partner with Madison Dearborn Partners, a private equity firm based in Chicago, Illinois and a Clinical Professor of Management and Strategy at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He was named the 2008 Kellogg School Professor of the Year. Harry is the author of a bestselling leadership book entitled “From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership”.

He is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Baxter International Inc., a $12 billion global healthcare company. He became Baxter's chief executive officer in January 1999, and assumed the additional responsibility of chairman of Baxter's board of directors in January 2000.

Mr. Kraemer joined Baxter in 1982 as director of corporate development. His twenty three year career at Baxter included senior positions in both domestic and international operations. In 1993, he was named senior vice president and chief financial officer, responsible for financial operations, business development, global communications, and European operations. Over the next several years, he assumed additional responsibility for Baxter’s Renal and Medication Delivery businesses. He was elected to Baxter’s board of directors in 1995, and was named president of Baxter International Inc. in 1997.

Before joining Baxter, Mr. Kraemer worked for Bank of America in corporate banking and for Northwest Industries in planning and business development.

Mr. Kraemer is active in business, education and civic affairs. He serves on the board of directors of Leidos Corporation, Sirona Dental Systems , VWR International, Sage Products Inc., and Catamaran Corporation and on the board of trustees of Northwestern University, The Conference Board, NorthShore University Healthsystem and the Archdiocese of Chicago Finance Committee and School Board.

He is a member of the Dean’s Global Advisory Board of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and the Economics Club of Chicago. He is a past member of the Business Roundtable, the Business Council, and the Healthcare Leadership Council.

Mr. Kraemer graduated summa cum laude from Lawrence University of Wisconsin in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics. He received an MBA degree in finance and accounting from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in 1979 and is a certified public accountant. For his outstanding leadership and service, he received the 1996 Schaffner Award from the Kellogg School of Management. Harry enjoys jogging, tennis, skiing and reading, especially world civilization. Harry, his wife Julie, and their five children live in Wilmette, Illinois.

Casablanca Finance City: A Moroccan Business Platform to Access African Markets
Saïd Ibrahimi
Casablanca Finance City

Saïd Ibrahimi was appointed CEO of Casablanca Finance City Authority (CFCA) in April 2010 by HM King Mohammed VI.

Casablanca Finance City was created by the Moroccan Government to position the kingdom’s economic centre, Casablanca, as a leading regional hub for international financial institutions and multinational corporations wishing to access the fast-growing markets of Africa.

Saïd has 30 years of global experience. Before joining CFC, he was General Treasurer of the Kingdom, appointed by HM King Mohammed VI in 2003. Previously, he was CEO of the bank Caisse Nationale du Crédit Agricole (now Crédit du Maroc), appointed by HM the late King Hassan II.