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November 7 Kogod Blockchain Forum

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About The Forum

American University's Kogod School of Business is launching a Blockchain Initiative to provide a world-class learning and research platform focused on the impact of this emerging technology on business processes. A core aspect of this Initiative involves experiential learning and continuous engagement with all stakeholders.

One of the central components of this Initiative is the Kogod Blockchain Forum to be held on November 7, 2018. The Forum will engage leading blockchain experts from the private sector, various government agencies (e.g. HHS, GSA, DoD, etc.), The World Bank Group, NGO’s, academic institutions, etc. in a setting designed to foster learning and the exchange of ideas. Novices and experts alike will benefit from participation in this open forum for discussion of best practices and challenges in the field.

Why Attend?

Whether you are a blockchain novice or an expert, in the private sector or the government, if you want to learn about the best practices regarding blockchain applications and explore new opportunities in the field, the Kogod Blockchain Forum is designed specifically to serve your needs. 


Washington College of Law
Claudio Grossman Hall
4300 Nebraska Ave NW


Wednesday, November 7 from 12:30—6:30 p.m.


Forum Agenda
Time Session Speakers


Registration N/A
1:00-1:10 Introduction & Welcome

Ayman Omar, Kogod Assoc. Prof. 

1:10-1:20 Dean's Remarks John Delaney, Dean, Kogod School of Business
1:20-1:45 Opening Keynote
The Current State of Blockchain

Dr. Tomicah Tillemann, Chairman, Global Blockchain Business Council

1:45-2:15 Moderated Discussion with Dr Tilleman and Q & A

Moderated by Dante Disparte, CEO & Founder Risk Cooperative


Panel Discussion
Blockchain: A fad or a transformative technology?

Moderator- Troy Schneider

Aleksandar Zelenovic, Sapient

Erran Carmel, American University

Mihaela Ulieru,

Praveen Singalla, Aurotech

Tim Stitely, IBM

3:20-3:35 Coffee Break  Networking Break

Ted Talks
Use Cases in Blockchain

Dante Disparte, Risk Cooperative

David Nguyen, United Solutions

Sean Manion, Science Distributed

Sean Hetherington, Sapient

Combiz Abdolrahimi, Deloitte

Heather Flannery, Consensys

4:50-5:20 Closing Keynote
The Future of Blockchain

Jose Arrieta, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary, Dept. of Health and Human Services 

5:20-5:30 Closing Remarks

Bob Sicina, Executive in Residence, Kogod

5:30-6:30 Reception

Networking Reception

  1. Combiz Abdolrahimi, Global Emerging Technology and Innovation Strategy Leader, Deloitte
  2. Jose Arrieta, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary, Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS)
  3. Erran Carmel, Professor, Department of Information Technology and Analytics, American University’s Kogod School of Business
  4. John Delaney, Dean, Kogod School of Business, American University
  5. Dante Disparte, Founder and CEO, Risk Cooperative
  6. Heather Flannery, Health Circle Global Lead, ConsenSys; Co-Founder & Board Chair, BiHG, IEEE ISTO
  7. Sean Hetherington, Strategy Consultant, Publicis.Sapient, Project Management Professional, Certified Scrum Master
  8. Sean Manion, CEO and Co-Founder, Science Distributed
  9. David T. Nguyen, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, United Solutions

  10. Ayman Omar, Associate Professor, Department of International Business, American University’s Kogod School of Business
  11. Robert Sicina, Executive in Residence, Department of International Business, American University’s Kogod School of Business
  12. Praveen Singalla,Vice President, Strategy & Consulting, Aurotech
  13. Tim Stitely, VP and Partner, Federal Healthcare, IBM Global Business Services
  14. Tomicah Tillemann, Chairman, Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC)
  15. Mihaela Ulieru, Chief Alchemist, Endor
  16. Aleksander Zelenovic, Senior Director, Strategy and Consulting Practice Lead, Sapient

Combiz Richard Abdolrahimi, Esq., J.D., LL.M.

Global Emerging Technology and Innovation Strategist, Senior Advisor Manager, Government and Public Services for Deloitte

Picture of Combiz Richard AbdolrahimiCombiz Richard Abdolrahimi is a US national security lawyer, a global emerging technology and innovation strategy leader at Deloitte, a former regulator and policymaker, and until recently, he served as a senior policy advisor at the US Department of the Treasury. He co-authored the first US government primer on how blockchain can enable innovation in government; the first US government primer on how FinTech and emerging technologies can deliver more seamless, safe, efficient, and impactful experiences; and has held leadership roles on professional boards and government working groups. He serves as Special Advisor and Executive Secretary to Chairman of the Federal Identity Forum and Expo (FedID).

He has also served in the US Senate, the White House, and the State Department. Combiz is a recipient of the 2018 Rising Stars Award which recognizes the top 20 US government IT’s innovators and emerging leaders; a Fellow with the ALPS Leadership Program; a Fellow with Blockchain in Healthcare Global-IEEE; an editorial board member with Blockchain in Healthcare Today; and Deputy Chair of the American Council for Technology (ACT) and Industry Advisory Council (IAC) Blockchain Forum. He is a graduate of UCLA, American University of Beirut and Georgetown Law.

Jose Arrieta

Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition 
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Picture of Jose Arietta Jose Arrieta has been a member of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) team since January 2018. Since joining, he has successfully built and begun to implement the first fully functioning blockchain coupled with artificial intelligence for public procurement, in the world. Formerly, he was director of Schedule 70 Operations with the General Services Administration (GSA); the first Senior Executive Director of the Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization for the Department of the Treasury; the first Procurement Ombudsman for the Department of Homeland Security; and a Program Manager of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). He is actively engaged in the academic community, and currently serves at the University of Virginia and Johns Hopkins University as an Adjunct Professor focused on Blockchain and Public Procurement. He is also an advisor to the Dean of the Kogod Business School and provides guidance on the creation of a data science lab that is exploring the use of blockchain.

Erran Carmel

Professor, Department of Information Technology and Analytics, American University’s Kogod School of Business.

Picture of Erran Carmel Professor Carmel teaches Information Technology at American University’s Kogod School of Business. He researches the globalization of technology work: crowdsourcing, impact sourcing, global software teams, and offshore outsourcing. He also leads the business school’s Business in the Capital Initiative to play a larger role in regional businesses and in regional policy. In 2014-2016 Carmel was interim Dean of the Kogod School of Business. Carmel led the launching of two online programs, improved the schools rankings, launched two new centers, and raised more than 6 million dollars.

Carmel is the author of three books: I’m Working While They’re Sleeping: Time Zone Separation Challenges and Solutions(2011), Offshoring Information Technology (2005) and Global Software Teams (1999). He has written over 100 articles, reports, and manuscripts, and consults and speaks to industry and professional groups.In addition to his professorship at American University, he has been a Visiting Professor at Haifa University (Israel), University College Dublin (Ireland), and at Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez (Chile). In 2008, he was awarded the Orkand Endowed Chaired Professor at the University of Maryland University College.

John Delaney

Dean, American University’s Kogod School of Business

Dean DelaneyJohn T. Delaney is dean of American University’s Kogod School of Business. Prior to his appointment at AU in 2016, he served as the Henry E. Haller, Jr. Dean of Business at the University of Pittsburgh from 2006 until 2015. During his deanship, the school experienced increased enrollments, better student quality, improved student satisfaction scores, greater diversity, and enhancements on virtually all key metrics. Delaney earned a BS degree from LeMoyne College and AM and PhD degrees from the University of Illinois. He held faculty positions at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business, University of Iowa, Michigan State University, and the University of Pittsburgh before joining AU. He has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Society for Human Resource Management–University of Iowa Hawkeye Chapter–Outstanding Professor Award (1994-1995), the University of Illinois School of Labor and Employment Relations Distinguished Alumni Award (2011), and the University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business’ H.J. Zoffer Medal for Meritorious Service (2015).

Dante Disparte

Founder and CEO, Risk Cooperative

Picture of Dante Disparte Dante Disparte is an entrepreneur, business leader and global risk expert. He is the Founder and CEO of Risk Cooperative, a strategic risk advisory and insurance brokerage firm based in Washington, DC. Dante serves on the board of the American Security Project, where he founded and chairs the Business Council. He is also a member of the Bretton Woods II Council and a fellow at New America and a strategic advisor to Power Ledger, the world's leading blockchain-based renewable energy marketplace. Dante’s wide-ranging views are regularly featured in leading media and publications, from entrepreneurship, where he was invited by the White House to speak at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya, to risk, economic competitiveness and security issues. Dante holds an MSc. in Risk Management from the NYU Stern School of Business and a B.A. in International and Intercultural Studies from Goucher College. He is also a graduate of Harvard Business School. He is the co-author Global Risk Agility and Decision Making (Macmillan, 2016) and was recognized as one of the 40 leaders under 40 by the Washington Business Journal and in the inaugural Powermeter 100 list.

Heather Flannery

Health Circle Global Lead, ConsenSys; Co-Founder and Board Chair, BiHG, IEEE ISTO; Co-Chair, HIMSS Blockchain Task Force

Heather Flannery Heather Flannery is the Health Circle Global Lead at ConsenSys and the Co-Founder and Board Chair of Blockchain in Healthcare Global ("BiHG"), a new 501(c)6 trade association organized under the IEEE ISTO launching in Q3, 2018. She also serves as the FY19 Co-Chair of the global HIMSS Blockchain in Healthcare Task Force, is an Innovation Fellow at EP3 Foundation, and is an active consultant, advisor, and speaker. Prior to ConsenSys and BiHG, she founded and led Obesity Prevention, Policy, and Management, Inc. ("Obesity PPM"), an innovative provider of disease management, population health, research administration, and information technology managed services for health systems in the Americas, and an early adopter of distributed ledger technology. Due to her personal life experience, Ms. Flannery is intrinsically motivated to impact population health and economic prosperity through non-communicable disease prevention and treatment. She builds mission-driven organizations aligned by shared values: making measurable societal contributions, creating economically sustainable interventions, and prioritizing diversity and inclusion.

Sean Hetherington

Strategy Consultant for Publicis.Sapient, Project Management Professional, Certified Scrum Master

Sean HeatheringtonSean Hetherington is a strategy consultant specializing in digital  business transformation and emerging technologies with Publicis.Sapient. He holds an MBA degree from the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business along with professional certifications as both a Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Scrum Master (CSM). With over a decade of experience across the federal, information technology and healthcare sectors, Sean focuses on fusing leadership, business, and technology strategy together to deliver differentiating experiences while driving operational effectiveness. Recent notable successes include managing design and development of a web and mobile app for veterans, as well as leading business analysis for the first ever federal blockchain implementation. Sean is an active member of several industry associations where he authors and contributes to thought leadership around emerging technologies such as blockchain and AI.

Sean T. Manion

PhD, CEO of Science Distributed, co-founder of Blockchain in Healthcare Global

Picture of Sean T. ManionSean Manion is a neuroscientist and former federal research administrator. He is CEO of Science Distributed, a new platform bringing health researchers together with blockchain as a layer of trust for better science, cheaper research, and faster miracles. He is a co-founder of the newly established Blockchain in Healthcare Global, a 501 (c)(6) under the IEEE International Standards and Technology Organization. He serves as a member of the United Nations’ “Blockchain for Impact” Global Health and Emergency Relief delegation.

Dr. Manion earned degrees in Biochemistry at Temple University (BS, 1999) and Neuroscience at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences - USUHS (PhD, 2006). He has served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Research Activities Chief for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC), where he oversaw a research network of more than 100 clinical researchers at multiple DoD and VA hospital sites across the country.

He moved to the private sector in 2017 and co-founded Science Distributed. He serves as Vice President of the non-profit American College of Military Public Health and serves on the editorial review board for the peer-reviewed blockchain journals Ledger and the Journal of the British Blockchain Association.

David T. Nguyen

Founder & Chief Executive Officer, United Solutions

Picture of David T. NguyenDavid T. Nguyen is a creative thinker and passionate innovator who wants to change the world with great technology. He formed United Solutions over 10 years ago with the vision of helping people do extraordinary things with technology. Today, his company is building technology such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (A/I), and Open Innovation to reinvent management, reimagine workforce, and redesign value chains. United Solutions has won multiple awards and received notable recognitions. The company has won the SPIRIT OF FREE ENTERPRISE AWARD, SMART CEO CORNERSTONE AWARD, and ALLIANCE FOR WORKPLACE EXCELLENCE AWARD; and it has been featured in the Washington Business Journal, Federal Computer Week, and Daily Record.

David serves on the Board of Directors of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, Workforce Development Board, and The Community Foundation. He holds a Juris Doctorate (JD) from the Antonin Scalia Law School, a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees in Biochemistry, Physiology & Neurobiology and Computer Science from the University of Maryland. He is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Scrum Master (CSM), Certified SAFe Practitioner (SAFe SP), and Certified Hyperledger Blockchain for Business.

Ayman Omar

Co-Director, AU Blockchain Forum Associate Professor, Department of International Business, Kogod School of Business, American University

Picture of Ayman Omar Professor Omar is an Associate Professor in the Department of International Business and a Research Fellow at the Kogod Cybersecurity Governance Center. His research interests focus on global supply chain management, specifically targeting areas such as supply chain integration and responsiveness, cyber risks in global supply chains, and sustainability in global supply chains. Prior to receiving his Ph.D., Professor Omar worked in the oil industry and conducted several consulting projects for a wide range of corporations including many Fortune 100 companies as well as small privately-owned firms.

Nikhil Shenoy

Founder and CEO Colvin Run Networks

Picture of Nikhil Shinoy Nikhil Shenoy is Founder and CEO of Colvin Run Networks, an award-winning data and logistics venture that designs and develops blockchain-based solutions for supply chains and personnel/credential management systems. Nikhil began his career at Goldman Sachs in credit and equity derivatives, then led data-driven finance and marketing initiatives for the Swiffer and Mr. Clean brands at Procter & Gamble. He then oversaw the design and development of a workplace IoT platform deployed to 550+ global locations for Kastle Systems, a DC-area managed security technology company. Nikhil is a leader within the Government Blockchain Association’s Supply Chain Working Group and Reston Chapter, and is a frequent speaker on blockchain use cases. He holds an engineering degree from MIT with an MBA from the University of Chicago. 

Robert Sicina

Co-Director of AU Blockchain Forum, Executive in Residence, Department of International Business, Kogod School of Business, American University

Robert SicinaProfessor Sicina has 30 years of experience in senior executive positions at Citibank, American Express and various entrepreneurial endeavors. He worked for fourteen years in Latin America for Citibank, where he served as Country Manager of Colombia and Division Chief Financial Officer (CFO). He became CFO of Citibank's entire International Consumer Group and later, of Citibank's US credit card business. Professor Sicina subsequently joined American Express and went on to become President of American Express Bank, Ltd., and a member of its Board of Directors. Subsequently, he was named President of the Latin American Division for the corporation. Professor Sicina has since worked in executive positions of several entrepreneurial endeavors. As part of his course work, he leads student teams that help entrepreneurs in post-conflict regions create business plans. He also is a member of the International Advisory board of Partners of the Americas. He is the author of the book Learn from Failure: The Key to Successful Decision Making.

Praveen Singalla

Vice President, Strategy and Consulting

Praveen SingallaPraveen Singalla is a visionary IT/business strategist and value-driven executive with over a decade of diversified experience in delivering successful programs across both private and public sectors. His core expertise is rooted in developing innovative, fact-based, realistic solutions and performance-based operating models to bridge business demands with robust IT strategies. He is known by his clients and peers as the ‘trend setter’ for solving complex IT/business challenges through the use of innovative technologies and industry-proven business practices. Additionally, his areas of expertise and experience include: Business Analytics, Business Process Re-engineering, Contract Management and Administration, Quality Management, and Project/Program Management in both Federal and Commercial Markets. Mr. Singalla is a certified Project Management Professional, Certified Scrum Master, Certified Six Sigma Green Belt Professional and holds the ITIL v3 Foundations certificate. He has a bachelor’s degree in IT Engineering and holds a Master’s in Business Administration.

Timothy A. Stitely

Vice President and Partner for IBM’s Federal Health, Public Service, Global Business Services

Picture of Stitely Timothy A. Stitely is Vice President and Partner for IBM’s Federal Health, Public Service, Global Business Services. Mr. Stitely is a former member of the government’s Senior Executive Service where he served in various executive positions, culminating as Director of Administrative Operations Service, Program Support Center of the US. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Prior industry experience includes Senior Management Consultant with the Oracle Corporation, where he advised and influenced Fortune 200 companies on business and technology strategies. Prior to joining Oracle, he served in a variety of positions at HHS during a 21 year tenure including Chief Information Officer, Food and Drug Administration (FDA); Director of Office of Information Management, FDA; Director of Information Systems Design and Development, CMS; and Director of Information Technology, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health. Mr. Stitely is a Bioinformatics PhD candidate at George Mason University. He received his Master of Science degree in Information Technology from the University of Maryland, University College.

Tomicah Tillemann

Co-founder and Director of the Blockchain Trust Accelerator at New America, Chairman of the Global Blockchain Business Council, and an advisor to the BitFury Group, VoxGov, and other blockchain companies, and Director of the Bretton Woods II program at New America

Tomicah Tillemann Dr. Tomicah Tillemann serves as co-founder and Director of the Blockchain Trust Accelerator at New America, Chairman of the Global Blockchain Business Council, and an advisor to the BitFury Group, VoxGov, and other blockchain companies. He is also Director of the Bretton Woods II program at New America, where he and his team work with large, long-term asset allocators' to reduce exposure to risk and volatility through strategic investments in social impact and development. From 2010 to 2014, Tillemann served under Hillary Clinton and John Kerry as the Secretary of State's Senior Advisor for Civil Society and Emerging Democracies. He joined the State Department in 2009 as Secretary Clinton's speechwriter and collaborated with her on over 200 speeches. Previously, he spent four years on the professional staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee working with Joe Biden, John Kerry and Barack Obama. Tillemann is a co-holder of four patents. He received his B.A. magna cum laude from Yale University and holds a Ph.D. with distinction from the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University (SAIS). He has delivered over 100 keynote addresses and appears frequently on broadcast media and at conferences including SXSW and TED.

Dr. Mihaela Ulieru

Chief Alchemist, Endor

Picture of Dr. Mihaela Ulieru Dr. Mihaela Ulieru is a scholar of distributed intelligent systems, having pioneered a series of technologies that are bundled under the collective name of “Blockchain,” which consists of over 200 peer reviewed publications, hundreds of invited keynotes and talks, advisor to governments on the adoption of emerging technologies to improve the lives of citizens, as well as mentor to many successful entrepreneurs. In the beginning of her career she advised Garret Camp, the co-founder of Uber and founder of StumbleUpon on his MSc Thesis.Dr. Ulieru advocated to include blockchain among the Top 10 future and emerging technologies at the World Economic Forum in 2016. Currently she is an innovator at the edge of the impossible for Endor (aka Chief Alchemist), an MIT start-up bringing a series of breakthrough innovations to enable predictive analytics as a shared service on blockchain.

Aleksandar Zelenovic

Strategy and Consulting Practice Lead at Sapient ConsultingPicture of Aleksandar Zelenovic Aleksandar Zelenovic focuses on creating long-lasting value at the intersection of technology, innovation and business. He holds an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management and has over 20 years of experience in the global commercial and government sectors. He is an industry expert in business and digital strategy, emerging technologies, DevOps/Agile, modernization, voice of the customer, and organizational design. He is also the founder of Sapient's Strategy University, a powerful and interactive learning program, that educated 1,000+ professionals across the globe in maximizing business value. Throughout 2017, Aleksandar pioneered the blockchain ecosystem concept for the federal space that focused on "connected intelligence" and the ways that emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, work in concert to increase benefit to organizations. His work won him a FCW Federal 100 Award, a prestigious recognition for industry and government leaders who had significant impact in advancing federal IT. His ideas and work have been highlighted by organizations such as the World Bank, the Chamber of Commerce and the Inter-American Development Bank. His blockchain work was recently reviewed by renowned Harvard Professor, Dr. Steve Kelman, who labeled it as the "blockchain blockbuster.”


4300 Nebraska Ave NW
Washington DC 20016

Map of the Washington School of Law

Click here for a map of Washington School of Law and additional parking details.

Enter the parking garage off of Nebraska Ave and continue straight to the second set of elevators for the Yuma Building. Once parked, pay for your parking at the kiosk by the elevators. Take the elevator to the Terrace level, exit left, and Claudio Grossman Hall will be in front of you.


4100 Yuma St NW
Washington DC 20016

*Whether taking Uber or walking from the metro, enter through the Yuma Building on Yuma St. Upon entering the building, continue straight down the hall. Claudio Grossman Hall is located just past the stairs and elevators on the right hand side.

*When entering from the Warren entrance in the Warren Building, turn right at the information desk and proceed through The Commons to the second set of stairs. Claudio Grossman Hall is located just past the stairs and elevators on the right hand side.

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Gold Sponsors

  • Sapient Consulting
  • Aurotech

Silver Sponsor 

  • United Solutions