Four Seasons Hotel
Austin, TX

TOLA IT & Security Leaders Forum 2024


February 04 – 06, 2024

By bringing together the top 80 Executives in the region, we will discuss the most pressing Technology and Leadership challenges we face in an ever-evolving corporate landscape.

Over the next two and a half days, we will nurture meaningful relationships and tackle the challenges inherent to IT in a smaller, more dynamic setting. You will learn from your peers through various workshops, panels, roundtables and presentations. Our closed-door policy fosters an environment where all discussions are confined within the Forum walls, enabling more genuine and engaged conversations.

Learn about the latest and most innovative technologies that can bridge some of your organizational gaps through qualified one-on-one engagements, scheduled strategically throughout the Forum and selected by you, based on your most pressing needs.

Build new relationships and nurture existing ones, share in your successes and commiserate in the challenges that we all face as IT Leaders.

Join us for the TOLA IT & Security Leaders Forum and leave ready to inspire action within your Organization!

Master of Ceremonies

Shawnna DelHierro

Chief Technology Officer Recently of Sportsman Warehouse

Four Seasons Hotel Austin

Austin’s particular brand of cool is evident in every detail of the Hotel, from local art to Texas-inspired spa treatments. Come for incredible margaritas and a saltwater pool, then stay for lawn games, miles of lakeside trails, and spacious rooms overlooking idyllic Lady Bird Lake.

Forum Agenda

Agenda may be subject to change. Click on each day to view full agenda.


2:00 PM - 5:00 PM CST

Get familiar with SINC Staff and the event layout. Secure your complimentary Swag Bag and learn how to use the Onsite Application for Peer Engagement and win great prizes!

5:30 PM - 7:00 PM CST

Engage your Peers over canapes and cocktails

7:00 PM - 9:00 PM CST

Three-course plated meal serving 5-star food and great Peer engagement before Day 1 kicks off!

7:00 AM - 7:50 AM CST

Full breakfast and lots of coffee available!

7:50 AM - 8:00 AM CST

Introduction from our Master of Ceremonies, Shawnna DelHierro, setting the tone for a great day ahead!

8:00 AM - 8:40 AM CST
KEYNOTE EXECUTIVE PRESENTATION - Mastering Dual Roles: The Art of Becoming a Transformational Business Leader and CIO

In today’s dynamic and competitive business landscape, the role of a business leader is paramount for steering organizations toward success, growth, and sustainability! This keynote presentation unravels the significance of excelling in dual capacities – that of a visionary & transformational business leader and a Chief Information Officer (CIO). This strategic approach empowers them to drive the organization to greater heights and provide a competitive advantage, hence helping the organization to increase revenue, growth, and market expansion. All this while still fostering a culture of innovation, digital transformation, and building effectiveness.

Join Lucy Mariappa, the winner of the 2023 “CIO of the Year” Orbie Award, on this keynote as she delves into the journey to unlock the skills and mindset required to excel in these dual capacities, charting a course toward leadership excellence in the ever-evolving intersection of business and technology!

Speaker: Lucy Mariappa, 2023 CIO of the Year

8:50 AM - 09:20 AM CST
WORKSHOP 1 - The Most Important Shift for Cybersecurity in a Generation

We live in a world where everything is hybrid. Whether it’s where we work, the clouds we run workloads on, or the devices we use — the blend between personal, corporate, private, and public is ever-changing and presents us with a host of new challenges. This has increased and complicated the attack surface many times over and the pressure to converge tools and do “more with less” is at peak levels. We must meet this watershed moment with the right team, plans, and technology.

Join this session to learn:

  • How to build an effective plan for change without adding to the chaos
  • Consolidation approaches that save money without sacrificing security
  • Use cases that deliver immediate value and efficiency
  • Reducing your attack surface while improving user experience

Speaker: Gerry Plaza, Field CTO, Netskope

Presented by: Netskope

8:50 AM - 09:20 AM CST
WORKSHOP 2 - Unlock Next-level AIOps, ITSM and FinOps with Next Generation AI

The hype around generative AI is only the beginning. This game-changing technology is poised to disrupt high-tech industries. But with new AI tools popping up every day, choosing the wrong one can have profound effects on a company’s security, customer satisfaction, and productivity.

As a trusted partner, OpenText is pioneering the era of new possibilities where generative AI complements human creativity to become tomorrow’s solutions across AIOps, ITSM and FinOps.

In our talk, we will cover how OpenText AI and automation:

  • Improve reliability of IT services with Observability and AIOps
  • Improve the user experience with a GenAI virtual agent
  • Reduce cloud costs and carbon with FinOps and GreenOps

Speaker: Victor Diemert, Senior Solutions Consultant, OpenText

Presented by: OpenText

09:30 AM - 10:00 AM CST
WORKSHOP 1 - Empowering Innovation: Unpacking the Efficiency of PaaS Solutions in Modern Development

In this discussion we will discuss Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions offering a cloud-based environment for developers to build, deploy, and manage applications without the complexity of maintaining the underlying infrastructure. These scalable platforms provide a suite of tools and services designed to streamline the development process, including middleware, database management, and development tools. We will learn how PaaS enables businesses to focus on innovation and rapid deployment, reducing time-to-market for new software offerings, while offering cost savings and enhanced collaboration across development teams.


Jessica Orozco, General Manager, North America & APAC,

Corey Dockendorf, Strategic Solutions Architect,

Presented by:

09:30 AM - 10:00 AM CST
WORKSHOP 2 - Unified Ingress: Secure local webhook development and enabling ‘Bring Your Own Cloud’

Developers today need ingress in all phases of the development lifecycle, including building webhook integrations, connecting to data sources in external networks and as a gateway for production APIs and websites. Explore how ngrok’s unified ingress platform make ingress environment-agnostic and finally simplifies the least portable piece of your stack across your deployments.

  • Get an overview of how companies like Twilio, Github, Zendesk and Okta use ngrok to speed development cycles on webhook integrations with secure policy and controls.
  • Explore how Databricks solved the problem of creating secure ingress at scale for all the data nodes that run in their customer’s infrastructure.
  • Learn how innovative startups like Replicated embed ngrok as an agnostic ingress layer to provide a secure gateway to their customers’ apps and APIs into a disparate mix of cloud, on-premise environments and Kubernetes distributions.

Join Founder and CEO Alan Shreve in this talk to learn why millions of developers rely on ngrok for secure webhook testing, and secure connectivity into customer and partner networks.

Speaker: Alan Shreve, Founder & CEO, ngrok

Presented by: Ngrok

10:00 AM - 10:15 AM CST

Circle back with your Peers on the content so far while grabbing a coffee and a snack

10:20 AM - 10:50 AM CST
FIRESIDE CHAT - Data for DevOps: The Intersection of Data Automation and Data Security

Innovation driven by DevOps, cloud and AI/ML emboldens businesses to expand access to the essential fuel for those programs– enterprise data. At the same time, stringent privacy laws and frequent cyber attacks increase pressure to mitigate sensitive data risks. With more and more interaction shifting to the digital brand experience, how can today’s enterprises effectively unlock the power of their enterprise data and eliminate friction between data usage and data security?

Join this interactive session to discuss the cultural shift modern enterprises are actively engaged in to make data more available, secure, compliant and resilient.


Charlie Rapier, Americas Vice President, Delphix

Kiran Varanasi, Director, Technology Transformation, Motiva Enterprises

Presented by: Delphix

10:20 AM - 10:50 AM CST
WORKSHOP - A Seasoned CIO's Perspective of the Future of IT

Ross Tucker, CIO of Texas United Management shares his expert perspective on the evolving landscape of Information Technology, highlighting upcoming trends and challenges. The session delves into the strategic role of IT in driving business innovation and efficiency in the digital age. Attendees will gain a forward-looking view on how emerging technologies are shaping the future of IT and their potential impact on organizations.

Speaker: Ross Tucker, CIO, Texas United Management

11:00 AM - 11:50 AM CST
ROUNDTABLE + PANEL - Sustainable IT Practices: Navigating the Green Challenge

This session explores practical strategies for integrating sustainability into IT operations, emphasizing a balance between innovation and environmental responsibility. Attendees will gain valuable insights into eco-friendly solutions, energy-efficient practices, and responsible resource management, ensuring that IT initiatives contribute to, rather than detract from, environmental well-being. Join us for an in-depth discussion on navigating the green challenge in the digital landscape, discovering actionable approaches that align IT practices with a sustainable and environmentally friendly future.

Moderator: Alexander Rosca, IT Director, RNWBL


Adriana Graham, Sr. Director, Tyson Foods

Jay Smith, Director of Information Systems, Baylor Scott & White

Jeff Kendall, VP of IT, Goodwill Central Texas

Scott Shultz, VP TechOps & Infrastructure, Topgolf

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CST

Open seating, Buffet-style lunch. Serving food for all tastes, pallets and preferences. Vegan, vegetarian, halal options available

1:05 PM - 1:35 PM CST
PRESENTATION - The Role of ERP in Security and AI

The ERP is the backbone of most organizations. Software packages from large vendors such as Oracle and SAP are essential for back-end business operations. But how do they fit into emerging technology strategies such as Cloud, AI/ML, Security, and other competitive growth initiatives? Come to this session to learn about the intersection of ERP and emerging technology and ways to find the right allocation of resources between operations and innovation.

Speaker: Eric Helmer, Chief Technology Officer, Rimini Street

Presented by: Rimini Street

1:45 PM - 2:15 PM CST
WORKSHOP 1 - Hybrid IAM: Solving the Identity Protection Gaps in Your Hybrid Environments

The security of on-premises Active Directory authentications stands as a critical component in safeguarding an organization’s data and resources. This session will delve into the various threats and challenges that organizations face with on-premises and hybrid IAM implementations and provide valuable insights into how to secure and protect existing investments in legacy systems and applications.

Speaker: Jason Shupp, Director, Sales Engineering, Silverfort

Presented by: Silverfort

1:45 PM - 2:15 PM CST
WORKSHOP 2 - Achieving the Benefits of Converged Endpoint Management

Managing endpoint risk and compliance is more challenging today than ever before. Today’s CISOs have to manage risk from many thousands of globally distributed, heterogeneous assets, while also responding to ever increasing audit scrutiny and regulatory compliance requirements.

Join this session, Achieving the Benefits of Converged Endpoint Management, to learn more about how to:

  • Identify & remediate risks that create the greatest exposure.
  • Assess & measure unknown vulnerabilities.
  • Maximize IT budgets and staffing during economic uncertainty.
  • Enhance existing investment in strategic technology vendors.

Speaker: Mo Patel, RVP, Technical Account Management, Tanium

Presented by: Tanium

2:25 PM - 3:15 PM CST
ROUNDTABLE + PANEL - Unlocking Organizational Excellence: Navigating Talent Acquisition, Retention and Fostering Diversity of Thought

This Panel will discuss how embracing diverse perspectives contributes to a more dynamic and innovative workplace, ultimately unlocking the full potential of your organization while creating a happier, more engaged staff.

Attendees will gain valuable insights into cultivating an environment that not only attracts and retains top talent but also harnesses the diverse intellectual capital within a team. Join us in unraveling the strategies that unlock the full potential of organizations, propelling them toward excellence in a rapidly evolving business landscape.

Moderator: Dana Prochaska, Deputy CISO, Texas Mutual


Kiran Varanasi, Director, Technology Transformation, Motiva Enterprises

Jeff Green, CIO, Strike Construction

Cynthia Dixon, IT Director, Pepsico

Wendi White, Deputy CISO, City of Austin

3:15 PM - 3:30 PM CST

Circle back with your Peers on the content so far while grabbing a coffee and a snack

3:35 PM - 4:05 PM CST
WORKSHOP 1 - Going on the Offensive with AI with Minimal Data Leakage

This session discusses redefining the role of AI from a defensive shield to an aggressive tool in business and technology. This session explores how AI can be proactively used for gaining competitive advantage, while still emphasizing the importance of data security and privacy. It highlights the shift from using AI solely for risk management to employing it as a dynamic force for innovation, all while maintaining ethical standards and data integrity.

Speaker: Robert Pace, CISO, Invitation Homes

3:35 PM - 4:05 PM CST
WORKSHOP 2 - From Data to Wisdom

Data has become more critical to manage and control than ever before. The data is growing at an alarming rate; according to some analysts, more data is created in the last 2 years than all of the data created throughout human history combined.
Data by itself is useless without context. It must be presented to us in the form of information that we can apply in real life as knowledge. Then the lessons we learn from its application, must be managed for future reuse as wisdom.

Speaker: Ad Ghauri, Director Enterprise Architecture, Baker Hughes

4:10 PM - 5:00 PM CST
ROUNDTABLE + PANEL - Cybersecurity in the Era of Regulatory Compliance

As organizations navigate an increasingly complex web of data protection laws and industry regulations, they must not only fortify their digital defenses against ever-evolving cyber threats but also align these efforts with new SEC compliance mandates. This requires a proactive and integrated approach, where cybersecurity strategies are not only proficient in thwarting cyber risks but are also intricately woven into the fabric of regulatory frameworks, fostering a secure and compliant digital environment.

Moderator: Ebenezer Arumai, CISO, OldCastle Building Envelope


Joshua Copeland, Director of Enterprise Security, Bose Corporation

Darrel Raynor, Director of Cybersecurity, LCRA

Andy Bennett, VP of Technology/CISO, Apollo Information System

Heriberto Landetta, CIO GM Financial Mexico & Peru, GM Financial

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM CST

Engage your Peers over canapés and cocktails

7:00 PM - 9:00 PM CST

Open seating in the Four Season’s very own food truck park serving a vast array of different food options and live entertainment!

8:00 AM - 8:50 AM CST

Full Breakfast and lots of coffee available!

9:00 AM - 9:50 AM CST
CISO PANEL - The Rapidly Evolving Threat Landscape

Aggressive attacks on Enterprise computer networks are continuing with increased frequency and threatening economic and national security. Actions like vulnerability reduction and passive defenses on their own simply are not cutting it and there needs to be a functional shift in the way we mitigate this substantial threat. Companies can seek to protect their most sensitive data by implementing an environment of actionable intelligence and detection to bring the fight to the adversaries and ensure a proactive approach to securing data. This session will discuss best practices in managing the constant evolution in the security environment.

Moderator: David Malicoat, CISO, Direct Marketing Solutions


Ashok Kakani, CISO, Inspira Enterprise

Brian Gardner, Chief Technology & Information Security Officer, City of Dallas

Ray Texter, CISO, Texas United Management

Jeffrey Vinson, CISO, Harris Health System

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM CST
WORKSHOP - Cyber Defense Strategies for Earlier Detection and Faster Response

Delve into the flaws of the traditional cybersecurity landscape and how a modern SOC should focus on outcome-based services without relying on logs or the cost and complexity of a SIEM.

Speaker: Hamlet Khodaverdian, Co-Founder and Vice-President, Americas, LMNTRIX

Presented by: LMNTRIX

10:30 AM - 10:45 AM CST

Circle back with your Peers on the content so far while grabbing a coffee and a snack

10:50 AM - 11:20 AM CST
WORKSHOP 1 - Tactical Leadership Mistakes in a Digital Workplace

Every major technology project has obstacles and landmines, especially when it comes to keeping the team engaged and their morale up.

Rob outlines the tactical leadership mistakes to avoid when directing teams and how to inspire them to deliver on time and under budget.

Speaker: Rob Teel, CTO, State of Oklahoma

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM CST
PRESENTATION - Why IT Audits Are your Friend

Who loves a good audit? Well, you should! Think of them as a helpful nudge to fix what’s weak, make sure you’re playing by the rules, and get your systems running smoother than ever. You’ll see how these check-ups are less of a headache and more like a secret weapon for keeping your tech game strong and secure.

Speaker: Rob Strickland, Interim CIO, InfoVista

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CST

Open seating, To-go lunch. Serving food for all tastes, palates, and preferences. Vegetarian options available. Serving to-go boxes for those in a hurry!

TOLA Executive Advisory Council

Lucy Mariappa

2023 CIO of the Year

Radhika Murudeshwar

Director Enterprise Architecture - Clinical

UnitedHealth Group

Ross Tucker


Texas United Management Corporation

Dana Prochaska

Executive Security Advisor / vCISO


Jeff Baker


NB Business Solutions

Rusty Kennington


Henry Company

Sudhakar Virupakshi


Buckeye Partners

Robert Pace


Invitation Homes

Shivani Agarwal

Head of IT

McLane Company

Tod Huber


Milwaukee County

Bhadresh Patel

Chief Technology Officer


Forum Speakers