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Changing tides

Thought-provoking plenaries

In pursuing innovation during this ever-changing time of crisis, EMBAC has organized a menu of plenary sessions to address the wide spectrum of industry issues.

From the inspirational and innovative to the practical nuts and bolts of empowering leadership to candid looks at the state of the EMBA industry, explore the offerings below.

Harnessing Your Power to Create Change
Derrick Kayongo
Founder, Global Soap Project
Former CEO, National Center for Civil and Human Rights
It All Comes Down to Leadership
Ken Lamneck
President and CEO, Insight

Keynote sessions

Consider yourself inspired when you take part in Monday’s keynote session and follow that up on Tuesday with practical insights about empowering leadership.

Harnessing your power to create change

Derrick Kayongo

Keynote speaker Derrick Kayongo’s soap story offers both lessons in inspiration and innovation.

Born just before dictator Idi Amin seized power in Uganda, Kayongo quickly became a child refugee. He later immigrated to the U.S. to attend college. On his first day in America, he noticed all the different soaps in his hotel room. He wondered what happened to the partially used soaps and discovered hotels threw them away.

That observation formed the basis for a transforming business. Kayongo founded the Global Soap Project, building a multimillion-dollar venture that reprocesses discarded and unused soap from hotels worldwide and distributes it through global health programs to people who lack access to soap.


The project demonstrated his creativity and innovation, making him a leader in both global health and environmental sustainability. As an internationally recognized visionary and humanitarian, Kayongo also served as CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and was named a CNN Hero. Now he shares his story to help instill the spirit of entrepreneurship and creative problem solving, as well as motivate others to invent their own successful paths that help change the world in small and big ways.

His business tale offers many lessons for the EMBA industry as it moves forward with the next evolution of EMBA. Please also note that Kayongo will present live at two different times, which offers access to all parts of the world.


It all comes down to leadership

Ken Lamneck

On Tuesday, take the inspiration from day one and add insights on ways to empower your team and strengthen your own leadership skills, all thanks to a cutting-edge CEO who embraces championing people, leadership, and culture as a key priority.

President and CEO of technology solutions provider Insight, Ken Lamneck will share his approaches in the session, It All Comes Down to Leadership.

In recent years, Insight shifted to a more contemporary method of growing leaders. Lamneck will talk about the reasons behind the Insight evolution to a behavioral-based leadership development model that emphasizes teammate empowerment, simplicity, communication…and neuroscience. As a result, Insight has built an organization with distributed decision making and routine challenges to the status quo at every level, as well as one that casts aside the fear of failure and encourages all to think like true thought leaders.


Lamneck doesn’t believe in settling for the present. He is fascinated with the future and technology, and the way each inspires the other. This interest and vision have driven him from the West Point Military Academy to Insight.

After five years in the U.S. Army, Lamneck began his civilian career as an IBM engineer. But he found that sales and marketing better suited his competitive spirit and the servant leadership principles he learned while in uniform. He honed his technical knowledge and people skills rising through the ranks at Arrow Electronics. As president of Arrow’s Industrial Computer Products business, he was drawn to the rapid pace of innovation in the emerging IT industry. He moved to Tech Data Corp., where he directed its growth and operations across the U.S., Canada, and Latin America.

In 2010, Lamneck joined Insight. His approachable, hands-on leadership style can be seen in Insight’s corridors every day, as he motivates teammates and aligns their efforts with the Next Big Thing.


State-of-the-industry sessions

EMBAC shines the spotlight on the state-of-the-industry in these sessions, looking closely at what the current uncertain and rapidly changing environment might mean for the EMBA industry.

How will it end?

Elmer Almachar

Elmer Almachar, senior director, Executive MBA Global Network, Northwestern University, tackles this question by taking a long view to look forward and to help programs prepare for the world as it changes.

Within the last 15 years, two extreme global disruptions – the financial crisis of 2008 and the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic – have rocked the EMBA world. In the session, Almachar will focus on the meaning of “end” as both a set of possible, if not exhaustive, outcomes and unprecedented opportunities.

Rather than try to predict the future for certain, this session will help you shift from a mindset of trying to make your program or school future-proof to making it future-resilient. It will cover what future resilience could look like in the EMBA industry and how it might position you and your team to be opportunistic in uncertain times.

More to come

The How Will It All End session offers one example of the diverse offerings of the 2020 EMBAC Virtual Conference. Look for updates on new types of plenary sessions in the weeks to come.