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Leaders Building Leaders - Investing in People and Partnerships - May 16 - 18 (Virtual)

Leaders Building Leaders 2023

The 3-day Leaders Building Leaders 2023 event provided the 4th Estate Acquisition Workforce with an opportunity to build skills, develop interpersonal leadership, and gain insight from senior leaders in defense acquisition, industry, and academia while they networked with employees from other defense agencies.

The theme of this year's event was "Investing in People and Partnerships". Throughout the course of LBL, participants engaged with selected keynote speakers who readily shared both their leadership experience and best practices from their fields.

Speaker bios and presentation briefs from this year's event can be found below.



Leaders Building Leaders schedule

2023 Speakers

Dr. Sandra L. EdwardsDr. Sandra L. Edwards
Principal Advisor & Program Manager of Education and Training
Air Force Negotiation Center (AFNC)

Dr. Sandra L. Edwards is the Principal Advisor and Program Manager of Education & Training for the Air Force Negotiation Center, Maxwell AFB, AL. As Principal Advisor to the AFNC Director, she provides senior-level guidance regarding organizational, educational, training, budget, procurement and contracting matters. She supports the Chief of Staff and the Office of the General Counsel by ensuring relevant education and training programs are designed, developed, and delivered to the Total Force community. She provides access to the knowledge and skills needed to effectively communicate, negotiate, and mediate in culturally complex environments.

Dr. Matt TurekDr. Matt Turek
Deputy Director
Information Innovation Office (I2O)

Dr. Matt Turek assumed the role of deputy office director for DARPA's Information Innovation Office (I2O) in May 2022. In this position, he provides technical leadership and works with program managers to envision, create, and transition capabilities that ensure enduring information advantage for the United States and its allies. 

Turek joined DARPA in July 2018 as an I2O program manager, and served as acting deputy director of I2O from June 2021 to October 2021. He previously managed the Media Forensics (MediFor), Semantic Forensics (SemaFor), Machine Common Sense (MCS), and Explainable AI (XAI) programs as well as the Reverse Engineering of Deception (RED) AI Exploration program (AIE). His research interests include computer vision, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and their application to problems with significant societal impact.

Dr. John La ScalaDr. John La Scala
PM, Weapons Systems and Platforms, Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program-Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (SERDP-ESTCP)

Dr. John La Scala is the Program Manager for Weapons Systems and Platforms at the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program-Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (SERDP-ESTCP) and is a polymeric materials and manufacturing expert at DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory (ARL). He received a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Virginia in 1997 and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware in 2002. He was a postdoctoral scientist at Drexel University before becoming an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education postdoctoral fellow at ARL in Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD in 2003. In 2005, he was hired as a federal employee at ARL, promoted to senior scientist in 2007, and appointed Chief of the Coatings, Corrosion, and Engineered Polymers Branch in 2009 and was appointed as the Chief of Manufacturing Sciences and Technology Branch in 2020. He was recently appointed as the Program Manager for Weapons Systems and Platforms at SERDP-ESTCP.

Jim BuchmanJim Buchman
DoD Chief Learning Officer/Director of Talent Development
Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service

Mr. Jim Buchman is currently serving as Chief Learning Officer/Director of Talent Development and as Chief, DoD Leader Development Programs with the Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service (DCPAS). In this capacity, he oversees planning and execution of theDepartment’s Career and Professional Development and Human Resources Functional Community portfolios, as well as its enterprise civilian leader development programs. The latter include the Defense Civilian Emerging Leader Program (DCELP), Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP), Defense Senior Leader Development Program (DSLDP), White House Leadership Development Program (WHLDP), and Vanguard Senior Executive Development Program.

Shawn JamesShawn James
Certified LEAP Instructor

Mr. Shawn James is a certified LEAP instructor with extensive executive experience in the defense industry and non-profit communities. As a Naval Academy graduate and career naval intelligence officer, he has a unique perspective of the world stage and being successful in the face of adversity and challenges. He is an expert at organizational development, workforce development, and enterprise performance management including coaching leaders on how to be successful. Being on the water and around boats is Shawn’s passion having skippered his own sailboat for nearly 10,000 miles at sea.

Betsy Allen-ManningBetsy Allen-Manning
Leadership Speaker 

Featured on FOX, CBS, ABC, NBC & TEDx, Betsy Allen-Manning is a renowned leadership speaker & corporate culture expert for fast growing companies. As founder of Corporate Culture Training Solutions, known as one of the top leadership training companies in Dallas, Texas, her specialty is improving workplace culture, creating better employee experiences, & developing ‘ready-now leaders’ who are equipped to attract, engage, motivate & retain talent in a hyper-competitive marketplace. She's the author of 3 published books and is one of the top leadership motivational speakers in Dallas. Through her dedicated research, expertise in human behavior, experience working as a manager for 5-star hotels, and her involvement with the John Maxwell Team, she is honored to have trained over 15,000 leaders & teams for small businesses, franchises & associations, to multi-billion dollar corporations, such as Toshiba, Aflac, Fidelity & the US Department of Defense.

Adarryl M. RobertsAdarryl M. Roberts
Acting Deputy Chief Information Officer, DLA Information Operations 

Mr. Adarryl M. Roberts is currently the acting Deputy Chief Information Officer. He was appointed to the Senior Executive Service and selected as the Program Executive Officer (PEO) for the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) on November 4, 2019. DLA is the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)’s combat logistics support agency, providing worldwide logistics support for the material and personnel readiness and sustainment of the Military Departments and the Unified Combatant Commands under conditions of peace and war. It also provides logistics support to other DOD Components and certain Federal agencies, foreign governments, international organizations, and others as authorized.

Ann DunkinAnn Dunkin 
Author and Speaker 

Ann Dunkin was most recently the Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer focused on state and local government at Dell Technologies. Prior to that, she was the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the County of Santa Clara. Dunkin served in the Obama Administration as CIO of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Previously, she was the Chief Technology Officer for the Palo Alto Unified School District, after a long career at Hewlett Packard in a variety of leadership roles focused on Engineering, Research & Development, IT, Manufacturing Engineering, Software Quality and Operations.

Dunkin is a published author, most recently of the book Industrial Digital Transformation, and a speaker on the topics of government technology modernization, digital transformation and organizational development.

Joy PattonDr. Joy Patton
Visiting Professor, DAU   

Dr. Joy Patton serves as visiting faculty at the Defense Acquisition University, as well as career transition coach for Randstad RiseSmart.

Previously, Dr. Patton served as staff officer at Headquarters Air Force, Washington D.C. in the multi-domain/ISR division under Lt Gen Mary O’Brien. Additionally, she has over two decades of experience in leading Airmen in the intelligence community, is a published author of “Predicting Leader Survival in Covert Operations from Congo to Cuba” and is a graduate of Georgetown University’s executive leadership coaching program. Her unique skill set and experience, as well as her keen interest in integrating design thinking into professional career development make her a trusted wealth of knowledge for new members as well as seasoned veterans of the acquisition workforce.

Stephen WallaceStephen Wallace
Emerging Technology Directorate,
Enterprise and Innovation Center,

Stephen M. Wallace is the Defense Information Systems Agency chief technology officer. He also serves as the Emerging Technology Directorate director and focuses on delivering innovative processes, services and capabilities across the agency. The Emerging Technology Directorate develops, executes, prioritizes and collaborates EM-based needs, such as browser isolation, software-defined networking and assured identity. Previously, Wallace served as the technical director of DISA’s Development and Business Center, where he worked on integrating commercial and government-owned technologies in support of the agency’s emerging technologies.

Dusty LangDusty Lang
Director Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program,
Department of Homeland Security  

Dusty Lang assumed the role of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Director in 2019. She has worked extensively with the DHS SBIR program, administered by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), having joined the program team in 2016. In 2018, Ms. Lang served as the Program Manager for the S&T Broad Agency Announcement and Prize Competition programs before coming back to the DHS SBIR program as Director in 2019.

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