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Creighton Grenoble

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Creighton founded Ascendant Services, and has built a folio of successfully completed engagement work, positioning the company in the education, legal and real estate markets. Creighton is a “hands-on” principal, who builds lasting relationships with his clients.

With a career spent delivering information technology innovation, Creighton brings to engagements a broad mix of managerial, consultative and technical experiences - and a track record of achieving business objectives, directing complex projects from inception to completion, and building solutions that are smart and enduring.

Much of Creighton’s engagements focus on enterprise transformation through information technology. This includes strategic assessments, technology selection, management of large programs and projects, and interim leadership.

Before founding Ascendant Services, Creighton was as a: regional CIO for an international, high-technology manufacturer (Oberthur Card Systems); CTO of a venture capital funded, Internet start-up (e-Insurance Systems), and Senior Manager and Partner-Nominee with Deloitte & Touche’s eBusiness Technology & Security Practice.

Creighton has an MBA from the University of Southern California and a BS (Mathematics and Computer Science) from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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Darrell Lane

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Darrell Lane is a marketing leader with over 25 years in consumer products. Darrell brings expertise in consumer research, business development, new product launch know-how, and marketing communications to help clients revitalize and grow brands.

After five years with IBM in technical sales and two years in graduate business school, Darrell developed classic brand marketing competencies at Procter & Gamble from 1990 to 1994 on the Sure Deodorant and Old Spice Aftershave brands. Darrell led new product and advertising introductions on Old Spice before becoming Marketing Manager for Fruit of the Loom Men's & Boy's Underwear.

In 1995, Darrell joined K•Swiss as Director of Marketing and worked with Debbie Mitchell to grow business revenues from $106MM to $500MM. During sixteen years at this athletic footwear company, Darrell led many brand marketing initiatives, including advertising, digital and social media, web site, public relations, and promotions.

At Ascendant Services, Darrell and Debbie's collaborative engagements help clients identify consumer insights that direct business strategy, and they team up to create integrated marketing communications to achieve business objectives.

Darrell has a MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BS in Business Administration/Marketing from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

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Claudio Bonacossa de Almeida

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Claudio helps our clients achieve their technology goals by dynamically managing their projects and by guiding their team to embrace change through proper training and coaching. He combines his formal training in business communications, change management and mediation with his experience in project management and corporate training to develop an effective approach for your workplace.

Claudio is adept at helping people understand technology through his excellent communication skills and his friendly, engaging style. He is fluent in six languages, with extensive experience in working with corporations throughout the world in diverse cultural environments.

Claudio has worked with a variety of businesses to assist with software conversions and other technology-related projects. Having worked with the I.T. departments of many firms as a consultant, integrator, project manager and trainer he has extensive knowledge of the various software packages that are typically used in various industries. Managing the deployment of Oracle Financials to a high profile apparel company and helping a large school district in California implement their Student Information System have been some of his most recent projects with Ascendant Services. In the legal industry he has recently provided advanced training on Office 2007 to the European and Asian offices of one of the largest law firms in the US.

Claudio has a Bachelors degree in Structural Engineering, with graduate studies in Eastern Philosophy. These two disciplines help Claudio manage both the scientific and human elements inherent in technology projects.

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Deborah Mitchell

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Deborah Mitchell brings to our clients over 25 years of broad experience with consumer products marketing and sales.

She began her career with Procter & Gamble and held numerous positions of increased responsibility in sales and marketing over a ten year period, before being named Director of Marketing for Fruit of the Loom, the largest manufacturer of men’s underwear.

In 1994, Deborah joined the athletic footwear company, K•Swiss, as Vice President of Marketing responsible for the United States, Europe and Asia. During her twelve year tenure, the market cap for K•Swiss grew from $170 million to over $1 billion - and Deborah was recognized by Wall Street as being instrumental in this success.

With Ascendant Services, Deborah has served as the Interim Chief Marketing Officer for perhaps the most recognized retailer of big screen televisions and related electronics in Southern California. She prepared and executed the post-acquisition, strategic plan to grow the business in an extremely competitive and rapidly changing industry. This has resulted in dramatic expansion within Southern California, as well as into the Boston and Michigan regions.

Deborah leads Ascendant Services’ pro bono efforts, working directly with non-profit organizations and fledgling entrepreneurs, and providing executive coaching and job search assistance.

Deborah has an undergraduate degree in Marketing from the University of Southern California and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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Helen Garey

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Helen Garey has 20 years of experience with technology, specializing in data networking. She has a very broad technical range, from developing device drivers for network devices to designing, implementing, and managing large network architectures. In addition, she is a capable project manager, certified security professional, and seasoned technical analyst. Helen delivers sophisticated and practical designs and implementation plans that address both networking and data security needs.

Helen has led a number of our projects for mid‐sized organizations in the legal, education, and social services industries. For universities and K‐12 school districts, she has been in a lead role on a myriad of networking projects, from needs analysis and technology selection to implementation and ongoing support.

For example, at a K12 school district with 16 sites, she design and implemented a secure network environment that allows students to take full advantage of the District’s infrastructure while fully protecting critical systems and confidential data. This environment encompasses perimeter security (i.e., firewalls, proxy servers, intrusion detection, etc.), content inspection (i.e., antivirus, spam), network segmentation and isolation (i.e., VLANs with QOS), and secure email services.

Within the legal industry, Helen’s focus has been on the design and implementation of highly available and secure networks. For example, she led the design, component selection and installation of a new perimeter security paradigm for an AmLaw 100 firm.

Across these projects, Helen has established a track record of being invited back by her clients to tackle new projects, as well as to provide long‐term support and diagnostic services for the solutions she has engineered.

Helen has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida. She also is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

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Sandra Lugo

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Sandra enables our clients to bring their "chaos to order" through effective program management and over 15 years of business process re-engineering experience.

In addition to holding key roles in IT operations functions, including contract management and quality assurance planning, Sandra has broad project management experience. For example, she has led: multi-million, multi-year, full lifecycle projects for customer service systems; implementation of targeted, packaged software configurations; and the creation and operation of departmental project offices.

Sandra specializes in reviewing a client's current business processes and working with the client to determine which portions are to be kept - and which portions can be improved with customized changes - prior to introducing a technology solution.

In addition to consulting with Ascendant Services, Sandra held the positions of Director of IT Project Management at PSI Services LLC and Director of IT Business Operations at Sony Pictures Entertainment. Sandra began her career at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) and spent seven years in the Process Competency Group and Resources Market Unit.

Sandra is a graduate of the University of Southern California.

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Mark Vedel

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Mark is a twenty+ year veteran of the information technology industry, with particular expertise with infrastructure, storage and networking. He brings to engagements an effective and action-oriented skillset, gained from his domestic and international experience as a senior consultant and executive.

Mark has global, enterprise-level experience in a number of markets, including Legal, Media/Sports & Entertainment, "Big Data", High Performance Computing (HPC), and Life Sciences. Engagement work at which Mark excels includes:

  • Leading strategic and tactical initiatives for clients regarding their current and future network, storage technologies, and use of cloud computing solutions.
  • Selecting and managing vendors, vetting design, and developing the business case (i.e., budgeting, TCO, and ROI).
  • Tackling complex scenarios, and producing high-value requirements and design, in regards to areas in which Mark has deep expertise, such as: data storage hardware (SAN / NAS); software and compute infrastructure for HPC; and cloud based solutions.
  • Managing, for either project delivery or profit & loss objectives, the global delivery of technical and professional service teams.
  • Interim, information technology leadership for internal operations or business development.
  • Project portfolio management, using Master|Folio.

Mark holds a Bachelors degree in Engineering and Business from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

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Chris Howe

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Chris Howe has twenty years of experience as a leader and innovator in the application of technology to solve business problems. He has been responsible for guiding a number of large transformational initiatives spanning many different technologies, including .Net and Java.

Focused on the Southern California marketplace for the last eleven years, Chris has served a diverse set of companies, spanning industries such as Entertainment / New Media, Financial Services, Healthcare, Manufacturing and Distribution, Retail, Government, and Utilities.

As CIO of Fandom, Chris oversaw a complete re-architecture and integration of multiple web presences and branding strategies. In his eight years at Deloitte Consulting, culminating in his role as a Senior Manager, he led many large enterprise change initiatives at Fortune 500 companies nationally.

Chris received a Bachelor's degree cum laude from Harvard in Economics in 1989. He received a Master's degree in Management from Oxford University in 1992. In his free time over the past ten years, he has volunteered as a coach for a local high school basketball team, and has a cameo role in a movie about Washington Wizard star Nick Young entitled "Second Chance Season."