Leading Through Lean -- MLC Lean Leadership Summit

  • Friday, March 24, 2023
  • 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • James B. Henry Center for Executive Development, 3535 Forest Rd, Lansing, MI 48910
  • 19


  • Virtual offering will include both keynote speakers, one breakout session, red bead experiment, and conference closing.
  • Virtual offering will include both keynote speakers, one breakout session, red bead experiment, and conference closing.
  • Virtual offering will include both keynote speakers, one breakout session, red bead experiment, and conference closing.

Registration is closed

People, Purpose, Impact, You!


Time  Session
 8:00 - 8:30 AM Check-in and Continental Breakfast
 8:30 - 8:45 AM  Welcome
 8:45 - 9:30 AM  Keynote Speaker - Billy R. Taylor, "How We Win!"
 9:30 - 9:45 AM  Networking Break
 9:45 - 10:45 AM  Active Learning Session #1
 10:45 - 11:00 AM  Networking Break
 11:00 - 12:00 PM  Active Learning Session #2
 12:00 - 12:30 PM  Networking Lunch in the Atrium
 12:30 - 1:15 PM  Keynote Speaker - Kristie West,
"Evolving Your Culture of Continuous
Improvement Through Leadership Behaviors"
 1:15 - 1:30 PM  Networking Break
 1:30 - 2:30 PM  Active Learning Session #3
 2:30 - 2:45 PM  Networking Break
 2:45 - 3:45 PM  Red Bead Experiment
 3:45 - 4:00 PM  Closing
 4:00 - 6:00 PM  Networking Cocktail Hour (optional + cash bar)

Active Learning Sessions

Choose three of the four at registration.

  1. Coaching - The Very Beginning - Rob Pease and Brian Calkins
  2. Mindfulness As A Leadership Superpower - Dave Kippen
  3. How Accurate Body Language Gets You To The “Yes!” - Janette Ghedetto
  4. Effective Leadership - Why Standards are Critical for Success - Holly Plaga

Keynote Presentations

How We Win
Billy R. Taylor, Founder and President, LinkedXL

Billy Taylor is an American business executive, dynamic speaker and leadership guru. He is the Founder and President of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm. He is also an independent Board Member of MD Building Products.

Taylor spent 30 years with The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT), serving as Director of North America Manufacturing and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. During his tenure at Goodyear, the company's earnings rose from - 38M to +1B. As the Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion for Goodyear, Taylor led diversity and inclusion strategies for 64,000 employees across the 22 countries where Goodyear operates.

Taylor, a Prairie View A&M University graduate, has been called upon by universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to drive and sustain effective results by embracing the culture and enabling employee ownership. He is a disciple of continuous improvement and operational excellence.

As a trusted global industry leader, Taylor is a member of the executive advisory board for the Shingo Institute, Utah State University Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. He is also an Executive Board Member and The Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion for The Association of Manufacturing Excellence.

Evolving Your Culture of Continuous
Improvement Through Leadership Behaviors
Kristie West, Chief Operations Officer, Orchid Orthopedic Solutions

Kristie joined Orchid Orthopedic Solutions as the Chief Operating Officer in January 2022. She is responsible for their 11 manufacturing sites globally, supporting the casting, forging, coating, and machining of all their product. As well, she leads the teams who support the organization for Supply Chain, Operational Excellence, Innovation, and Program Management.

Kristie spent 16 years with GE Aerospace prior to joining Orchid where her last role was the Senior Executive Director of the Edison Works Programs & Operations team, supporting the future of military combat and space. Prior to joining the Edison Works team, Kristie was the Senior Executive for the Tubes & Ducts Value Stream in GE Aviation’s Supply Chain organization. With this role, Kristie had responsibility for the strategic direction & operations in OH, Montana, Poland, and India.

Red Bead Experiment 

Jerry Browne, Continuous Improvement Leader, Orchid Orthopedic Solutions

Jerry has experience teaching, coaching, and implementing lean systems thinking in pharmaceutical manufacturing, health care, and manufacturing across the country. He is currently the Continuous Improvement Leader at Orchid Orthopedics in Holt. Jerry has been a member of the Michigan Lean Consortium (MLC) events committee and he was the 2015 volunteer of the year.

Jerry’s passion is teaching Deming principals and lean as well as facilitating improvement activities. He has presented at numerous MLC events including the 2017 lean bronze pathways series and Healthcare Kata Practitioner Day. Jerry has co-facilitated versions of Dr. Deming’s Red Bead Experiment across the state including at the 2016 annual Deming Conference in East Lansing.

Jerry has both an Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees in business administration from Baker College and a Master’s of Education in Instructional Design from Western Governors University. Jerry also serves on the board of directors for the Institute for Quality and Innovation (IQI) in Lansing.

Susanne Ysasi, Plant Manager, KIRCHHOFF Automotive

For the past 25 years, Susanne has called Manufacturing home. She has worked with materials such as plastics, electronics, paper and sheet metal in industries such as furniture, consumer products and automotive. The common thread that all of Susanne’s experience has share is continuous improvements and leadership. Many years ago, Susanne visited a plant to learn about the Continuous Improvement (CI) and Coaching Kata, which ignited her passion!

She further developed her Lean and Kata skills by completing a Lean Champion Certification at Grand Rapids Community College. Susanne has worked in several manufacturing leadership roles, Operational Excellence Leadership and is now the Plant Manager for an automotive supplier. Throughout all positions, she is always looking for opportunities to learn, share and develop Lean Thinking and Leadership skills.

Active Learning Session Speakers

Rob Pease, Senior Director, Continuous Improvement, Americas

Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Rob drives the region's culture of continuous improvement through standardized processes and methodology. He helps to identify and support opportunities for improvement in accuracy, timeliness, and efficiency and provides value to stakeholders regarding safety, cost, quality, and service, enabling the Americas region to execute with excellence.

Rob joined Dematic in 2022. He began in the US military as a nuclear engineer and has spent the past 20 years working in operational or continuous improvement leadership roles in local government, service, non-profit, food, furniture, and agricultural sectors.

Rob holds a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Change Leadership from Western Michigan University and a Bachelor of Science in Business, with an emphasis on leadership from the University of Phoenix. He is also a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt, Certified Lean Champion, and Certified Systems and Quality Leader.

Brian Calkins, Manager, Continuous Improvement, Americas-Solutions Development

Lean has played a key role in Brian’s career over the last decade.

Brian was a trainer and A3 and 5S plant focal for Howmet Whitehall and drove shop-wide initiatives, creating a culture of safety and waste elimination.

From there, he was site focal for coaching and training A3 methodology, leading Kaizen events and Action Work Outs at GE Aviation. Brian also played a key role in introducing and expanding the Kata mindset to the three GE plants located in the Muskegon area. Kata was the primary method used to meet and exceed goals and objectives and played a large role in achieving “World Class” status (under 2% defects) in the area he supervised with an awesome team. Using Kata methods and practices, the team was able to increase our First Pass Yield by 48% over the course of 62 days.

Also, while at GE, Brian participated in two Shingi-Jutsu Kaizen events as a team lead, where the team was able to set effective standard work practices to reach and exceed expectations and goals as well as implement KanBan with outside suppliers both up and downstream.

Currently, Brian is employed at Dematic as a Continuous Improvement Manager and one of the trainers for Dematic North America’s Kata transformation process. Brian also oversees coaching and training the A3 Problem Solving Method where we saw large improvements in cost avoidance as it relates to our Non-Conforming Costs.

Holly Plaga, Principal Business Process & Change Management Engineer- Continuous Improvement, Orchid Orthopedic Solutions

Holly has a background in Industrial Engineering and Project Management. She has spent over 25 years fostering organizational change to strategically deploy methods of process improvement in both the manufacturing and transactional environments. She enjoys working together with organizations to develop collaborative teams and implementing systems to facilitate process excellence sustaining positive change.

Born and raised in Michigan, Holly has her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Michigan State University and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification from Lawrence Technological University. Holly has also been an active member of the Michigan Lean Consortium since 2010. Outside of work Holly and her husband, Ken enjoy spending time with their children and two dogs. She looks forward to any activity out of doors, especially gardening and fishing. She also samples as much chocolate as humanly possible.

Janette Ghedotte, MA LLP, Clinical Psychologist, Founder, and CEO, Accurate Body Language

Accurate Body Language is the KEY to crack the code, unlock the vault of nonverbal communication, and reveal the secrets of human interaction.

With over 20 years of corporate business, marketing research, advertising and strategic brand positioning, and clinical psychology experience, Janette specializes in understanding the complexities of human behavior, interpersonal relationships, verbal, and nonverbal body language communication.

Dave Kippen, Continuous Improvement Manager, Archer Daniels Midland Company

For the past 15+ years, Dave Kippen has served as a business leader, Lean leader, change agent, coach, teacher and mentor. Over the last 6 years, Dave has been on a Meditation and Mindfulness journey which has helped deepen his passion for improving the human condition on our beautiful planet.

Dave’s passion is to aid in the development of leadership and growth throughout all levels of the organization. During this time, Dave has successfully coached hundreds of people through Lean 101, 102, and 103 classes, Coached dozens of leaders through CI methodologies, and facilitated well over 100 Kaizen events throughout the United States and Europe.

Dave’s ultimate goal is to help end workplace suffering by making the workplace a little more engaging, fun, and meaningful for employees at all levels. Dave is Bronze certified through the SME/AME/Shingo Prize/ASQ Partnership.

MLC Membership—Why Join?

✔️ To grow your network

✔️ To be supported and mentored in your Lean journey

✔️ To continuously learn how to be a Lean systems thinker

✔️ To share your passion, successes, and failures with others

✔️ Attend MLC events at the member rate

MLC Yearly Individual Membership: $120.00

Learn more about joining the MLC!

Apply for Membership!

Refunds will not be processed after March 17, 2023

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