Press Release

Avasant is Proud to Sponsor Innovate@UCLA Distinguished Executive Leadership Awards

November 10, 2020 Innovate@UCLA, a member-based executive IT leadership organization, announced four honorees today for its annual Executive Leadership Awards in the Public Sector, Community Impact, Corporate Enterprise, and Emerging Tech categories. See the Official Release here: Awardees include Dr. Christina Ghaly, Director of LA County Health Services; Skye Patrick, Director of LA County Library; Jack Dangermond, Presient and Founder of Esri; and Rich Pierson/Andy Puddicombe Co-Founders of Headspace. The awards celebration will open with a keynote speaker, Guy Kawasaki (MBA ’79), Author, Speaker and Chief Evangelist of Canva “Innovate@UCLA has responded to unprecedented times with a virtual Executive Leadership Awards celebration,” said Jim Davis, Vice Provost of Information Technology and Chief Academic Technology Officer at UCLA. “COVID-19 has caused a dramatic shift in how technology is used by companies to not only survive, but create new business models,” added Davis. “We are recognizing leaders across industries and government who are innovators—and especially in how they served others in the middle of a pandemic,” said Jim Rinaldi, Executive Director of Innovate@UCLA and former CIO of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Our Executive Leadership Awards event will highlight the award recipients and their contributions. It promises to entertain, inform and provide insight into how leaders think and act.” During the event, the four awardees will discuss their personal journeys to leadership positions, their viewpoints on emerging technology disruptions, and tackling the challenges faced by their organizations during the pandemic. Frank Mottek, the voice of business news in Los Angeles, will moderate a fireside chat with Dr. Anne Rimoin, Professor of Epidemiology at UCLA, regarding the COVID-19 research conducted at UCLA. Dr. Christina Ghaly will receive the Public Sector award along with Kevin Lynch, CIO. Dr. Ghaly has served as the Director of the Department of Health Services (DHS) since October 2017. Dr. Ghaly leads strategic, operational, and clinical/financial initiatives critical to DHS’ role in serving the health needs of vulnerable populations across the County and its continued transformation in an era of health reform. DHS is being honored for their daily COVID-19 briefings to the LA County community, establishing guidelines for safer work environments and availability of testing at locations where they had the most infections. Dr. Ghaly previously served as Chief Operations Officer for DHS from 2016 until her appointment as Director. Her previous roles within DHS also include serving as the Deputy Director for Strategy and Operations and as the Interim Chief Executive Officer at Olive View – UCLA Medical Center and LAC+USC Medical Center. Dr. Ghaly attended Harvard Medical School and completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. She continues to see patients in the urgent care at LAC+USC Medical Center. Skye Patrick will receive the Community Impact award along with Binh Le, CIO. Skye was appointed LA County Library Director on February 1, 2016. She has held leadership roles at Broward County, Queens Public Library, and San Francisco Public Library. Skye manages the Library’s $201 million annual budget and is responsible for the operation of the Library’s 86 locations and a 12-vehicle mobile fleet, serving 3.4 million residents in a 3,000-mile area. In January 2019, Skye was named Librarian of the Year by Library Journal, one of the most established industry publications. LA County Library is being honored for partnering with a 3rd party company to produce over 3000 face mask coverings for senior homes, hospitals and UCLA Medical Centers; leveraging their parking lots to distribute food, serve as test centers, and provide WiFi for individuals who come to park and use the libraries’ gigabit connectivity. Skye is committed to breaking down barriers and increasing access for all. As the Library Director, Skye continues to reinforce the Library’s role in the community as a civic and cultural center, a hub for public information and services, and an institution of literacy, innovation, and lifelong learning. Jack Dangermond will receive the Enterprise Award along with Dan Abushanab, CIO. Jack is the founder and president of Esri. He and his wife, Laura, founded Esri in 1969 on the idea that computer-based mapping and analysis could make significant contributions to geographic planning and environmental science. Esri is being honored for being the platform that has enabled John Hopkins University to provide the COVID-19 tracking dashboard worldwide; for modifying its Disaster Response Program (DRP) to provide a COVID-19 Response Package (data, templates, solutions) for free to all nonprofit organizations; for launching location intelligence tools that businesses can leverage to understand the impact of the crisis and make data-driven decisions to enhance recovery efforts. Esri has become the global market leader in GIS and location intelligence, with 49 offices worldwide, 11 dedicated research centers, and a strong user base of about 350,000 organizations around the world. Jack has received many acknowledgements and awards for his contributions to the fields of geography, environmental science, planning, and GIS, including 13 honorary degrees. Rich Pierson and Andy Puddicombe will receive the Emerging Tech Award. While still in his twenties, Rich was already a highly successful advertising industry executive in the UK, serving as the head of business development for powerhouse creative agency BBH. The unrelenting stress and pressure of the ad business, however, caused Rich to abandon his lucrative, yet anxiety-producing career trajectory to study acupuncture. This new life journey led to a chance meeting with co-founder Andy Puddicombe, an ordained Buddhist monk who had recently returned from 10 years in meditative retreat, studying the ancient Buddhist traditions of Southeast Asia and Tibet. Headspace launched in 2010 as an events company, and the now-popular meditation app followed two years later. Headspace is being honored for making their products available for free to all US healthcare providers working in a public health setting. In 2017, Fast Company identified Headspace as being among “The World’s Most Innovative Companies” and today, with nearly 54 million users in 190 countries, Andy, Rich and the dedicated team at Headspace are delivering on their mission to improve happiness and health around the world. About Innovate@UCLA Innovate@UCLA’s mission is to inspire business innovation and research partnerships with emerging technologies. The not-for-profit organization provides access to a network that span the Fortune 500, public sector, tech sector and start-up companies with UCLA’s focus on education and research. Innovate@UCLA brings people together to spark positive disruption and enable business transformation. About Avasant (Platinum Sponsor) Avasant is a leading management consulting firm focused on translating the power of technology into realizable business strategies. Specializing in digital and IT transformation, sourcing advisory, global strategy, and governance services, Avasant prides itself on delivering high ­value engagements through industry focused innovation and flexible client based solutions.