Ready to lead: Driving growth, trust and access in technology

Thursday, May 6, 2021
12-2 p.m. EDT

The pandemic has accelerated transformation trends and reinforced the foundational roles of technology in business, society and government.

As the world recovers, technology firms will take even larger leadership roles. This presents an opportunity for firms to do well for their business, while doing good for society. Vigilance, preparation and decisive action are essential for leading firms, but trust will be critical to the recovery and the continued enablement of new products and services to sustain growth.

Join Grant Thornton and leading industry and business voices for this complimentary by-invitation-only virtual experience to learn, share insights, and debate the issues that affect technology at a U.S. and global level.

Registration is limited, so please reserve your spot today.

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Welcome and
opening remarks


  • Brad Preber, Chief Executive Officer, Grant Thornton
  • Lisa Walkush, National Managing Principal, Industry, Grant Thornton
  • Steve Perkins, National Leader, Technology and Telecommunications Industries, Grant Thornton

Tech industry
leadership: Both
sides of the coin

The economic climate and market trends

A discussion and closer look at current economic conditions and the outlook as well as the business potentials and opportunities in the U.S. for technology companies in a post-pandemic world.


  • Diane Swonk, Chief Economist, Grant Thornton

The outlook for U.S. and global policy and regulation

A discussion of the major policy and regulatory issues in the U.S. and internationally and how those considerations might impact tech in the areas of trade, data privacy, tax, competition, and more in a post-pandemic world.


  • Jason Oxman, President and Chief Executive Officer, ITIC

Keynote Q&A

Tech industry leadership: How can technology companies engage with users to drive growth, trust and digital access?


  • Walter Isaacson, Best-Selling Author; Acclaimed Historian and Journalist; Professor of History, Tulane University
  • Lisa Walkush, National Managing Principal, Industry, Grant Thornton


Head to the Games page to see if you post the high score in three classic video games.

Client panel/Q&A

What it means for the tech industry to shoulder the mantle of leading out of the pandemic.


  • Moderator: Walter Isaacson, Best-Selling Author; Acclaimed Historian and Journalist; Professor of History, Tulane University
  • Joachim Koopsingraven, Global Head of Partner Audit, SAP
  • Additional panelists to be announced

Thank you and
closing remarks


  • Steve Perkins, National Leader, Technology and Telecommunications Industries, Grant Thornton


Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson

Best-selling author and highly acclaimed journalist, Isaacson gives voice to the historical figures and business icons who have shaped and transformed our nation and the world.

Walter Isaacson is a Professor of History at Tulane and an advisory partner at Perella Weinberg, a financial services firm based in New York City. He is the past CEO of the Aspen Institute, where he is now a Distinguished Fellow, and has been the chairman of CNN and the editor of TIME magazine.

Isaacson’s most recent biography, The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race (2021) offers a gripping account of how Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues launched a revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, fend off viruses, and have healthier babies. He is also the author of Leonardo da Vinci (2017), The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution (2014), Steve Jobs (2011), Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007), Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003), and Kissinger: A Biography (1992), and coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made (1986). He is a host of the show “Amanpour and Company” on PBS and CNN, a contributor to CNBC, and host of the podcast “Trailblazers, from Dell Technologies.”

Isaacson was born on May 20, 1952, in New Orleans. He is a graduate of Harvard College and of Pembroke College of Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He began his career at The Sunday Times of London and then the New Orleans Times-Picayune. He joined TIME in 1978 and served as a political correspondent, national editor, and editor of digital media before becoming the magazine’s 14th editor in 1996. He became chairman and CEO of CNN in 2001, and then president and CEO of the Aspen Institute in 2003.

He is chair emeritus of Teach for America. From 2005-2007 he was the vice-chair of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, which oversaw the rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. He was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate to serve as the chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which runs Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and other international broadcasts of the United States, a position he held from 2009 to 2012.He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of the Arts, and the American Philosophical Society.

He serves on the board of United Airlines, the New Orleans City Planning Commission, the New Orleans Tricentennial Commission, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Society of American Historians, the U.S. Defense Department Innovation Board, the Carnegie Institution for Science, and My Brother’s Keeper Alliance.

Joachim Koopsingraven

Joachim Koopsingraven

Global Head of Partner Audit, SAP

Joachim Koopsingraven, CFE, CIA, studied business administration at the University of Essen in Germany (graduate) and Bond University in Australia (undergraduate). He started his career as an internal auditor for the German utility group RWE. He later joined the business software manufacturer SAP, where he worked in multiple countries as an audit expert focusing on internal fraud and compliance investigations in their corporate audit department. After transferring to the U.S. three years ago, Koopsingraven now works as Global Compliance Officer for SAP in their Newtown Square (Philadelphia) location and leads the Global partner audit and monitoring as well as preventive compliance audit teams. Koopsingraven has been invited to speak at several events, including conferences for the German and U.S. chapters of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) and for the Economics of Corruption lecture series at the University of Paderborn.

Jason Oxman

Jason Oxman

President and CEO, Information Technology Industry Council (ITI)

Jason Oxman is president and chief executive officer of the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), the global trade association for the tech sector, representing nearly 70 of the world’s most innovative companies. Jason brings more than 20 years of experience as a globally recognized leader in technology advocacy and serves as the leading representative of the tech industry during a consequential time for the industry.

Before joining ITI, Oxman served as CEO of ETA, the international trade association of the payments technology industry, for seven years. In that role, Oxman led ETA and its 500 global financial and technology member companies through unprecedented industry transformations and served as the voice of the industry before policymakers around the world.

Previously, Oxman was Senior Vice President of Industry Affairs at the Consumer Technology Association, which he joined in 2006, leading multiple departments. Previously, he served as general counsel of an ICT industry trade association and as vice president of a Silicon Valley-based technology company. He also worked at the Federal Communications Commission to develop and implement technology policy for broadband and related communications services. Oxman began his legal career as a law clerk for the Maine Supreme Court, and he is also a former broadcast journalist. He received his B.A. cum laude from Amherst College, and his M.S. and J.D. from Boston University. Oxman lives in Virginia with his wife Annemarie and their two sons.

George Kadifa

George Kadifa

Managing Director, Sumeru Equity Partners, L.P.

George Kadifa is a Managing Director focused on the firm’s software investments and is a member of the Investment Committee. He has three decades of operating experience in the technology sector.

Prior to co-founding Sumeru Equity Partners, George was Executive Vice President at HP, reporting to the CEO and member of Executive Committee. He was responsible for leading growth initiatives and alliance programs with key partners, service providers and the largest customers. Mr. Kadifa previously served as Executive Vice President of HP Software. He led HP’s $4-billion software business that includes IT/Cloud Operations Management, Application Delivery Management, Enterprise Security, and HP Big Data.

George previously served as Operating Partner at Silver Lake, a global technology investment firm with over $26 billion of assets under management. He was responsible for driving growth and operational improvement in a wide range of enterprises within the company portfolio of the firm’s large-cap investment fund. George has significant expertise in building and managing technology businesses. He has held various leadership positions at technology and management consulting companies such as IBM, Corio Corporation (founder), Oracle, Booz-Allen & Hamilton and Xerox.

Steven Perkins

Steven Perkins

National Leader, Technology and Telecommunications Industries, Grant Thornton

Steve Perkins is the national leader of Grant Thornton’s U.S. Technology and Telecommunications Industry Practice. He develops and executes strategies to help technology companies grow profitability and manage risk. He also leads the Grant Thornton International’s global TMT community practice. Steve is also the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Grant Thornton’s Advisory Services. He uses strategic leadership and vision to drive profitable growth, optimize operations of business units and supporting functions to drive programmatic transformation. Additionally, he develops long-term and near-term strategies focused on growth, diversification and expansion. 

Steve has served in senior leadership roles with Fortune 100 technology companies, managing profit and loss, and building and leading teams for both the U.S. and international markets. These roles have also included leading business strategy, government relations, product development and marketing functions. Steve has more than 40 years of experience, advising clients on the most effective use of IT across a wide range of industries. Additionally, he has developed and executed product and services growth strategies, specializing in software and technology services.

Tony Perazzo

Tony Perazzo

West Region Managing Partner, Grant Thornton

Tony is Grant Thornton’s West Region Managing Partner. He leads a team of audit, tax and advisory experts working with senior management, board of directors and other key decision-makers across geography and industries.

Tony has over 25 years of experience serving public and private clients primarily in the technology and consumer and industrial products industries. While he has focused his career on the middle market, Tony has also worked extensively with large multi-national companies. He has assisted clients with initial public offerings, mergers and acquisition due diligence, and various process consulting projects. Tony also understands the dynamics of closely held ownership due to his experience with private equity-held, family owned and venture capital backed companies.

As a senior Audit partner, Tony works closely with audit committees and management teams to provide high quality results and valuable business insights. In his leadership role, he ensures that clients are receiving the client service, expertise and tailored resources necessary to provide innovative, forward-thinking solutions that consistently exceed our clients’ expectations.

Tony previously served as Grant Thornton’s Greater Bay Area audit practice leader and office managing partner as well as the firm’s California Market Leader.

Prior to joining Grant Thornton back in 2002, Tony spent the first eight years of his career with Arthur Andersen LLP.

Throughout his career, has gained experience in a number of industries, having worked extensively with public and private SAAS, software, leasing, medical device and consumer products companies.

He also served as the firm’s Northern California Consumer and Industrial Products Industry leader and continues to be a resource for Grant Thornton’s national food and beverage and retail industry sub segments.

Brad Preber

Brad Preber

CEO, Grant Thornton

Brad Preber is the CEO of Grant Thornton, a leading global provider of audit, tax and advisory services to public and private companies, nonprofit organizations and government entities. Prior to his appointment as CEO, Brad served as interim CEO from June through October 2019. Previously, he was chairman of the Partnership Board, national managing partner of Business Risk Services and office managing partner in Phoenix.

Diane Swonk

Diane Swonk

Chief Economist, Grant Thornton

Diane Swonk is Grant Thornton’s chief economist and one of the nation’s most respected macroeconomists. She maintains a unique perspective on the inner workings of Main Street, as well as Wall Street, and is eminently knowledgeable about the economics of the labor market, monetary policy and structural changes that are distinct from economic cycles.

Diane’s global network — which includes economists, industry leaders and geopolitical experts — amplifies the breadth and reach of her analysis. She advises policymakers, including central bankers, at all levels of government. Diane’s uniquely accessible approach to macroeconomic shifts has made her a highly sought-after speaker and commentator, frequently quoted by local, national and international newspapers and broadcasters. Diane has won many awards for excellence in forecasting and leadership in economics and the business community.

Lisa Walkush

Lisa Walkush

National Managing Principal, Industry, Grant Thornton

As national managing principal, Industry, Lisa Walkush leads the strategic direction and oversees all aspects of the firm’s industry program. She has experience in enterprise program management, customer relationship management, operational excellence, compliance and validation, and technology consulting services. Lisa’s industry specializations include life sciences, healthcare and manufacturing. She previously served as Grant Thornton’s Life Sciences industry leader. In 2017, Lisa was named among the Women to Watch by Philly Biz. She has also been recognized by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association as a top luminary.