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PDMA Board of Directors
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PDMA Board of Directors: Biographies

Executive Committee

PDMA Chair Allan Anderson

Allan Anderson, NPDP, Chair
Allan graduated from Massey University, New Zealand with a BTech(Food) degree and PhD. His career to date has included a mix of university teaching, consulting and general management. In the early 1980’s Allan lectured in product development at Massey University and was actively involved in establishing a major in product development under the B Tech. From lecturing, he moved to 9 years of consulting, specialising in product development project management and product development management practices. In the mid 1990’s Allan moved to the New Zealand Dairy Research Institute where, in 1997, he was appointed as Chief Executive, responsible for the $40million R&D investment and around 350 staff. He is currently Professor of Product Development and Director of Marketing for the School of Engineering and Advanced Technology at Massey University.  Allan was part of the establishment team for PDMA-NZ in 2007; was president of PDMA-NZ until December 2011; has NPDP certification; is an accredited NPDP training provider; was elected as Vice President Asia-Pacific in 2012; became a Director in 2015; and, is currently a member of the Outstanding Corporate Innovator Award selection committee.

PDMA Vice Chair Charlie Noble

Charles Noble, PhD, Vice Chair 
Charles Noble, PhD is currently the Proffitt’s Professor of Marketing and Director of the Marketing PhD Program at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Prior to serving as the Vice Chair of the PDMA Board of Directors, he served as Chair and VP of Academic Affairs for the organization. In addition to being a PDMA member for several years, Charles has served the organization as an International Affiliate Task Force Member and as a Global Development Initiative Team Leader.

He has earned degrees from Boston College (BS, Finance), Babson College (MBA, International Marketing), and Arizona State University (PhD, Marketing). Charles’ research interests focus on design and development processes, as applied to both products and services. He has published in many leading journals including the Journal of Marketing, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Sloan Management Review, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, and many others. He is lead editor on the recently released, “Open Innovation: New Product Development Essentials from the PDMA” (2014, Wiley Press).

In his corporate life, Charles worked in strategic planning and corporate finance for leading retailers in the consumer electronics, home improvement, and warehouse club sectors. He has consulted for many organizations, primarily in the airline, retailing, restaurant, consumer packaged goods, and commercial real estate industries.

Secretary-Treasurer Meredith Baratz

Meredith Baratz, Secretary-Treasurer
Meredith Baratz is VP Strategic Insights & Innovation at UnitedHealthcare, with 30+ years’ experience in health care and innovation. Among her multiple roles within PDMA are: Board of Directors; Outstanding Corporate Innovator Award Committee 2012 – 2016; OCI dinner host 2012; speaker at PDMA events 2011 – 2012. With a healthy respect for the role that PDMA plays in advancing understanding and application of best practice in new product development, Baratz brings a practical perspective to our opportunities to expand the reach and impact of the association.


PDMA Director Steven Haines

Steven Haines, Director
Steven Haines’ ideas and books continue to shape how leading companies create category defining products with outstanding people. His enthusiasm and focus contributed to his four best-selling books about Product and Business Management – all published by McGraw-Hill. These include:

  • The Product Manager’s Desk Reference 2nd Ed.
  • Managing Product Management: Empowering Your Organization to Produce Competitive Products and Brands
  • The Product Manager’s Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Succeed as a Product Manager
  • The New Manager’s Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Succeed in the Corporate World

Steven is the founder of Sequent Learning Networks, an internationally positioned training and organizational advisory services firm focusing on Product Management, Strategy, and Marketing. Before he founded Sequent, he served for five years as one of the ‘founding fathers’ of the CRM business at Oracle. Prior to that, he worked in various product leadership, financial, and operational roles at AT&T. While at AT&T, he worked on a corporate task force that benchmarked dozens of other firms’ business practices and also served as a member of AT&T’s global leadership development program review board.

He contributes to the world of business by serving as a mentor to The Founder Institute, the world’s largest entrepreneur training and startup launch program. The Founder Institute helps aspiring founders across the globe to build enduring technology companies. 

Steven received his BS in Management Science and Organizational Behavior from Binghamton University, and an MBA in Financial Management from the Lubin School of Business at Pace University. Steven is based in New York City. 

PDMA Director Robert Johnston

Bob Johnston, Director
Bob helps his clients pursue innovative growth opportunities and elevate their existing practice for company-wide innovation. For more than 30 years, he has been helping organizations unleash their creativity and innovation to achieve dramatic growth and new vitality. 

Clients have included IBM, BMW, Carl Zeiss, Center for Creative Leadership, 3M, United Way Worldwide, Procter & Gamble and Barclays Global Investors, among others.

Bob has lectured on innovation at the Harvard Business School, Brown University, Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and quoted on his work by Fortune, INC., Industry Week, Entrepreneur, the Journal of Creative Behavior, and CIO magazine. He is a past President and Board Chair of the Product Development and Management Association and has been inducted into the Creative Education Foundation’s Hall of Fame, where he served on the Board for eight years.

Bob is the author of numerous articles on innovation and the book, The Power of Strategy Innovation: A New Way of Linking Creativity and Strategic Planning to Discover Great Business Opportunities, with Doug Bate. The book is full of stories about their collaboration with companies like 3M, Eli Lilly, Procter & Gamble, IBM, Carl Zeiss, Barclays Global Investors, Nokia, and Moen, among others, and the strategy innovation methodology we provided to drive their innovative growth. The updated version of the book describes the global emergence of a new role in the C-Suite, Chief Innovation Officer, and a trend toward Enterprise-wide Innovation. Bob enjoys speaking on the topic of Strategy Innovation and Enterprise Innovation and in the recent past has given presentations or keynotes for Washington DC’s AdWeek, the African Creativity Conference, the Host Hotel’s General Manager’s Conference, the United Way Worldwide Leadership Conference and Regional Conferences and continues to guest lecture each semester in the Brown University Entrepreneurship Program. He has been invited to rejoin the Product Development and Management Board for 2017 and serves on the Board of the Vineyard Montessori School. 

Bob lives with his wife, Ty, on Martha’s Vineyard where they are a short ferry and car ride from their adult children, Danielle, Rob and Emily, daughter-in-law, Andrea, and grandson, Cameron in Massachusetts. The family shares a passion for being together and New England sports!

PDMA Director Kenneth Kahn

Kenneth Kahn, Director
Kenneth B. Kahn, Ph.D. is a Professor of Marketing and Senior Associate Dean in the School of Business at Virginia Commonwealth University. Holding degrees in industrial engineering and marketing, his teaching and research interests address product innovation, product management, and demand forecasting of current and new products. He has published over forty-five articles in such journals as the Journal of Product Innovation Management, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Forecasting, Journal of Business Forecasting, Business Horizons, and R&D Management; authored the books Product Planning Essentials(Sage Publications, 2000; M.E. Sharpe, 2012) and New Product Forecasting: An Applied Approach (M.E. Sharpe, 2006); and served as editor of the PDMA Handbook on New Product Development, 2nd and 3rd editions (Wiley & Sons, 2004, 2013). His industrial experience includes serving as an industrial engineer and project engineer for the Weyerhaeuser Company and a manufacturing engineer for Respironics, Inc. He has consulted and conducted training sessions with numerous companies, including recently Blueprint Automation, Capital One, Hankins & Anderson, Havi Global Solutions, Tredegar Film Products, and Virginia Lottery. Between 2009 and 2015, Dr. Kahn served as Director of VCU’s da Vinci Center – a unique collegiate model advancing innovation and entrepreneurship through cross-disciplinary collaboration among VCU’s Schools of the Arts, Business, Engineering and College of Humanities and Sciences.

PDMA Director Sharon Parsons

Sharon Parsons, Director
Sharon Parsons is the Integration Product Category Leader at Humana, with more than 15 years’ experience in health care. Sharon is responsible for the product development and management of the Employer Group Specialty Product portfolio, as well as the integration of corporate capabilities and services across the entire product portfolio. She leads cross functional teams to drive results across the organization and leads product and program development for board-level corporate goals.  

Sharon has a passion for product development and management, and recently earned her Innovation Management Certified Professional certification from PDMA.  She also served on the conference committee for PDMA and is in the process of obtaining her NPDP certification. 

Sharon holds an MBA from the University Of Notre Dame Executive MBA program Chicago, Illinois, and completed a double major to earn a BA in both psychology and philosophy from St. Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin. In her free time, Sharon enjoys reading, running and spending time at her home in Kentucky with her husband and three dogs.

PDMA Director Suzanne Thompson

Suzanne Thompson, Director
Suzanne M. Thompson joined Sealed Air in 2015 as Vice President Diversey Care R&D. In this role, she leads all R&D for Diversey Care including their innovation pipeline and project management.  Prior to Sealed Air, she worked in Research & Development at the Clorox Company for 29 years. Clorox roles included Vice President R&D, Growth labs where Suzanne led a cross-functional team to help identify, assess and create pipelines for potential adjacencies as well as led global technology, design, and open innovation.    Suzanne also had roles leading Cleaning and Speciality Division R&D teams for Clorox. She has had experience in process development, product development and packaging development for divisions such as Kingsford Charcoal, Laundry, Home Care, Auto, Foods, Litter and Professional products. In addition to leading the Outstanding Corporate Innovator Award Selection Committee, Suzanne is on PDMA’s Board of Directors.

A native of Missouri, Suzanne holds a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.  

PDMA Director Yasmine Winkler

Yasmine Winkler, Director
Yasmine Winkler works at United Healthcare as the Community & State CEO for the Central Region and Chief Consumer Officer.  Formerly she was the Chief Marketing, Product and Innovation Officer for United Healthcare, Employer and Individual.  Her extensive experience across many disciplines and market segments in health insurance has given her a unique ability to develop and match health insurance business solutions to the needs of the marketplace.
With over 30 years in the health insurance industry, she has extensive experience in accreditation, quality improvement, business process development, marketing, product development and innovation. In addition to her work at UnitedHealth Group, she held several positions with BlueCross/BlueShield of Illinois, Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma (HCSC) as well as Chicago HMO.

She attended Northeastern Illinois University and received her B.A. in English and Environmental Studies. She has a M.S in Health Care Delivery Science from the Tuck School of Business and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College.  She is an alumna of the Chicago-based Leadership Greater Chicago program, served on the NHHF Board and is a member of Women in the Boardroom, National Hispanic Latina Institute (NHLI), The Alumni Society, the National Association of Hispanic Nurses – Council of Business (NAHN CoBA) and PDMA.

PDMA Operations Committee

VP of Academics Jelena Spanjol

Jelena Spanjol, Vice President of Academics 
Jelena Spanjol, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She engages with companies’ innovation efforts and questions through UIC’s interdisciplinary Innovation Center by teaching business, engineering, and design students how to successfully structure and conduct Front End of Innovation activities, and by leading a research lab on breakthrough innovation. 

Prior to joining UIC, Jelena was a faculty in the Department of Marketing, Mays Business School, at Texas A&M University. She received a Bachelor of Science in Economics and her doctorate in Business Administration (focus on Marketing and Cognitive Psychology) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Jelena’s research examines the complex relationships between motivation and innovation—through the lens of firms and consumers. In relation to firms and their motivations to innovate, Jelena examines how motivation shapes the innovation process and outcomes. Specifically, she seeks to answer questions such as: how much value does innovation create for firms and at what cost; why are some firms better at creating more novel solutions; and how do innovation teams make decisions. With respect to consumers and their motivations to change through innovative behaviors, Jelena investigates questions such as: how do consumers evaluate and use new products; how do consumers attain their goals more effectively; and how does innovation contribute to making people’s lives healthier. She is particularly interested in how innovation can create value in the healthcare domain. Jelena’s research has been published in the Journal of Marketing, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Marketing Letters, Journal of Business Ethics and Health Psychology, and in various book chapters.

VP of Certification Sudhi Gulur

Sudhi Gulur, NPDP, Vice President of Certification 
Sudhi Gulur is the Solutions Manager in the Digital Aviation organization at The Boeing Company, leading a variety of digital solutions through the new product development lifecycle and enabling innovation and operational efficiency for aviation customers across commercial, military, business and general aviation segments.

Sudhi’s skills and experiences include leading, coaching, and managing teams, partnering with internal and external customers across various domains to understand their needs, leading innovation, product discovery, product strategy and planning, software product management, and new product development.

Prior to joining Boeing, Sudhi worked for Dassault Systèmes and led new product development of product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions for the aerospace, automotive, structure, shipbuilding and architecture and engineering construction (AEC) industries.

Sudhi has a master’s degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in industrial and manufacturing engineering and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Sudhi is a continuous learner and is actively learning through books, blogs, courses and new assignments.

VP of Chapter Activity Steven R. Jambor

Steven R. Jambor, Vice President of Chapter Activity 
Steve is a partner at Launch Agents, a consultancy focused on helping clients through new product development activities including, un-covering customer desires, project management, and commercialization of new products. Steve has extensive product development experience, spanning 20 years, particularly in the dental market where he was responsible, as a Global Product Manager, for developing and promoting high-tech digital radiography, imaging products, and x-ray capital equipment for Gendex Dental Systems (Dentsply). Steve is also a seasoned professional in marcomm activities, developing integrated marketing programs that grow sales through effectively leveraging: advertising, press releases, editorial access, key opinion leader program, and dealer coop program. Prior to working in the dental market, Steve had several roles in industrial market designing innovative sealing solutions, and marketing systems for John Crane International, where he left as a Global Product Manager.

Steve has had a long tenure with PDMA leadership at the chapter level. Over the last eleven years, he has held and performed several roles at the Chicago Chapter, including: President, VP of Marketing, VP of Event/Programing. He is looking forward to leveraging his experience to grow the chapters in strength and in numbers.

Steve holds a Masters in Business Administration from Keller Management Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology from Iowa State.

Steve resides with his family in Winnetka, Illinois. In additional to raising his children, he is a volunteer member of a Rotary DIMIST team, which provides technical advice and funding for digital imaging systems in underdeveloped countries throughout the world. When he’s not hanging out with his kids, you can find him golfing, sailing or motor boating on Lake Michigan.

VP of  of Events Ernie Harris

Ernie Harris, Vice President of Events
Ernie Harris is the founding principal at Interesting Blazer, a consulting agency focusing on product management and strategy, business process optimization and competitive intelligence.  A veteran of both the enterprise and the startup community, Ernie has spent his career helping drive growth for the organizations he has had the privilege of working with.

Prior to starting Interesting Blazer, Ernie worked with companies like TDAmeritrade where his product team built one of the first real-time streaming data platforms delivered via the Internet and Baltimore Gas and Electric where he built and deployed one of the first automated software distribution and version control systems for the enterprise.

Ernie’s history with PDMA started in 2008 while at Raymond James Financial where he joined a local chapter to enrich his understanding of Product Management. Since then he has held positions at all levels within the organization from chapter President to Conference Planning Committee Member to Treasurer for the PDMA Board of Directors.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, Ernie holds a degree in Computer Science and numerous certifications including PDMA’s NPDP.  He currently resides in Arizona with his wife BriAnna.

VP of Asia-Pacific Global Affiliates Aruna Shekar

Aruna Shekar, Ph.D., Vice President of Global Affiliates – Asia-Pacific
Aruna Shekar, Ph.D., is a Senior Lecturer in Product Development at Massey University’s School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Aruna received her PhD in Product Development from Massey University in 2003, and has supervised several postgraduate students in the field.  Her research interests are in product development methods and best practices, consumer research and product innovation in humanitarian engineering contexts.  She has published in international journals and written chapters for the PDMA’s books on NPD Essentials. She established the New Zealand Affiliate of Product Development & Management Association in 2007, and continues to be a Board member.

She has taught at Massey for more than twenty years and coordinated the final year product development projects with industry. Her educational focus is on teaching product development through project-based learning experiences and fostering creative thinking.  She has led the re-designed first year humanitarian engineering course in conjunction with Engineers Without Borders (EWB), a non-profit social organization, for four years, and every year her students have won National and International awards.  She has been nominated by students as ‘lecturer of the year’ in 2015 and 2016, as part of a recent initiative by students.

VP of European Global Affiliates Egbert-Jan van Dijck

Egbert-Jan van Dijck,  VP of Global Affiliates - Europe
Egbert-Jan van Dijck is currently the Coordinator of the Graduation Program Innovation Management at The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) in The Netherlands. He is a lecturer on innovation and new business development and researcher at Faculty of Engineering (AUAS). In this capacity, he is involved in a innovation program to innovate their Engineering education. In addition he acts as Faculty Advisor for Enactus, an international non-profit organisation dedicated to inspiring students to improve the world through entrepreneurial action. Enactus provides a platform for teams of outstanding University students to create sustainable solutions to society's biggest challenges. He also serves as Faculty Advisor for the PDMA Student Chapter at the AUAS, the first PDMA Student Chapter outside the USA. Egbert-Jan’s current research is focused in three areas: Urban Technology and Smart Cities, Energy Transition and Stakeholder Management.

Alongside his position as VP of Global Affiliates – Europe, he serves as Acting Chairman of PDMA Netherlands since 2015 and Treasurer since 2013. He has earned degrees from two Dutch universities: Erasmus University (MBA, Finance), Leiden University (BA, Law), and York St. John University in the United Kingdom (MA, Leading Innovation and Change). In his corporate life, Egbert-Jan has worked for more than 30 years in new business development, innovation management for leading organisations in the profit and (semi-) public sector.

Egbert-Jan lives with his wife, Nicolette, near the Dutch coast. In his spare time he enjoys taking long walks on the beach, driving their classic car and playing golf. He is based in Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

VP of Marketing Karen Dworaczyk

Karen Dworaczyk, NPDP, Vice President of Marketing 
Ms. Dworaczyk, the Principal of INSIGHTOVATION® Consulting, is an experienced product development professional consultant, supporting clients’ transformation of their new product development processes to improve productivity. Her background and experience includes 15 years of consumer and B2B ingredient sales and marketing in various positions with Procter & Gamble, Sr. Product Marketing Manager with Birds Eye Foods, Director of Product Marketing with SentrySafe (Master Lock) and Director of Marketing at LiDestri Food and Drink.   She began her career as a Chemical Engineer, Manufacturing Manager, for Nestle Foods. Ms. Dworaczyk, is highly skilled in NPD portfolio management, product line road mapping, and NPD risk assessment and forecasting. She has developed a branded insight-driven innovation process that supports sustainable, profitable growth and the development strategic plans. 

Over the course of more than 30 years in sales, product marketing and new product development, Karen has led and participated in the product development efforts of numerous Fortune 500 companies, in consumer packaged goods, the chemical industry, consumer durables, ingredient brands and software development. 

She received executive training at The Kellogg School of Business, James L. Allen Center for Executive Training and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University. She has received many awards and scholarships including Kodak Scholar, Conrail Scholar, Regents Scholar, Society of Women Engineers Scholar, Chemical Engineering Honor Society, and the prestigious Emersonian Award from Procter & Gamble’s Global Oleo Chemical Group. She is an active member of PDMA, Product Development and Management Association since 2013 and a PDMA registered Education Provider since 2017.

VP of Membership Mark Adkins

Mark Adkins, NPDP, Vice President of Membership
Mark Adkins is the founder & president of Smart Hammer Innovation, a management consulting business that helps companies apply best practices to Innovation Management. During his career, Mark and his teams have led development projects that have launched numerous new products with lifetime sales of over $1B. 

Smart Hammer Innovation also partners on designing and deploying innovation software programs that provided clients IT systems that support the automation of Stage Gate, Portfolio Management, Resource Planning and the Front End of Innovation business processes improving our client’s Time-to-Market and Product Success Rates.

Mark is also an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Medical Innovation. Professor Adkins teaches on Innovation Management to educate the next generation of innovators in the design, development, and commercialization of medical technologies. 

Before founding Turnkey Marketing, Mr. Adkins was a Director at Cincinnati Machine where he spearheaded the design of their new product development process that was recognized in 1998 as the best in the world by the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA).  Mark was also a director at Kennametal where he successfully integrated independent development teams from Europe, Asia and North America and launched three new next generation product lines.

Mark has a degree in Business Administration from Xavier University and is certified by the PDMA as a New Product Development Professional (NPDP).Mark served on the PDMA board of directors from 2006 – 2013 as VP of Marketing and in 2010 founded PDMA Pittsburgh where he serves as their volunteer executive director. He currently mentors entrepreneurial students in the Pitt Blast Furnace.

VP of Publications Abbie Griffin

Abbie Griffin, NPDP, Vice President of Publications
Abbie Griffin holds the Royal L. Garff Endowed Chair in Marketing at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, where she teaches the 1st-year core MBA Marketing Management course and MBA second year marketing electives.  Professor Griffin’s research investigates means for measuring and improving the process of new product development.  Her research has been published in Marketing Science, Journal of Marketing Research, Management Science, and the Journal of Product Innovation Management among other journals. Her latest research can be found in the book titled: Serial Innovators: How Individuals in Large Organizations Create Breakthrough New Products. Her 1993 article titled “Voice of the Customer” was awarded both the Frank M. Bass Dissertation Paper Award and the John D.C. Little Best Paper Award by INForms and has been named the 7th most important article published in Marketing Science in the last 25 years.  She was the editor of the Journal of Product Innovation Management, the leading academic journal in the areas of product and technology development from 1998 to 2003 and The Product Development and Management Association named her as a Crawford Fellow in 2009.  She was on the Board of Directors of Navistar International, a $ 13 billion manufacturer of diesel engines and trucks from 1998 to 2009. She currently serves on the Intermountain Health and Research Foundation Holiday Quilt Auction. Prof. Griffin is an avid quilter, hiker, and swimmer.