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Sheila G. TaltonPresident and Chief Executive OfficerGray Matter Analytics
Sheila Talton is an innovative global leader and Big Data strategist with over 30 years of experience in helping organizations increase value through breakthrough applications of technology, build successful businesses within larger companies and expand into emerging markets.She is recognized for her expertise in developing and gaining consensus around bold initiatives, whether that is through public/private partnerships melding company strategies with governmental objectives in emerging countries, obtaining buy in for consulting services within technology product companies, or breaking down silos to build services around products to create solutions that increase customer value.
She is experienced in governance in corporate, civic and not-for-profit arenas, currently serving on the boards of Deere & Company (NYSE: DE), Wintrust Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WTFC), OGE Energy Corp. (NYSE:OGE), Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital Foundation, The Chicago Network, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the Chicago Urban League.Previously she served for ten years on the board of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, one of the country's leading technology universities, and for five years on the board of Acco Brand Corporation (NYSE:ABD).She was a founding member and chairperson of the Information Technology Senior Management Forum, where she continues to serve on their advisory board.She also served on the Advisory Committee to the Board Selection Committee for Agenda, a Financial Times Company.Ms. Talton began her career by identifying technology as the key area of future business growth and credentialed herself with stints at several information technology companies before forming her own company, Unisource Network Services, in 1987 to take advantage of the emerging demand for networking services in an era of deregulation.
She became one of the pioneers in defining the network integration consulting segment and her career paralleled the growth cycle of the business, beginning with the early days of local area networks and continuing through development of sophisticated communications systems for the Euro-Tunnel.
As network services began to be handled through large companies, Ms. Talton was recruited into Ernst & Young as Vice President to lead their Midwest Technology Practice and then EDS, where she served in multiple leadership roles, including as head of the Consumer Products/Retail Industry outsourcing business.As President of the EDS Business Process Innovation Global Consulting Practice she was able to combine her technology product and consulting expertise to design their first Solutions Consulting Practice, a $6 billion business, and to gain experience to position herself in the global arena.She joined Cisco Systems in 2004 and emerged as a leader in pivotal roles as the company transformed itself from a product to a solutions-focused company and innovative global player.She was recruited as Vice President Advisory Services to build the company's consulting capability.
She globalized leadership and built consensus for cross-functional buy in with product groups by developing an innovative multiplier to demonstrate the added profit impact of services paired with products.
She further credentialed herself in the global arena by seeking out speaking and teaching opportunities, including at Peking University.
She was soon recruited by Cisco's Chief Globalization Officer to serve as the group's first Globalization Officer in China, where she developed the initial phase of the company's multi-billion dollar investment in that country.She served on the China Board, a body chaired by the CEO.She then moved to the company's Office of Globalization to develop Cisco's strategy for Latin America.
She served on the Emerging Countries Council, the Services Solution Board and the boards that represented all the functional lines of business implementing the company's expansion into Brazil and Mexico.Realizing that innovation in technology was coming out of more agile firms in 2011 she became President of SGT, Ltd. (Strategy, Globalization, Technology), a consulting firm she formed to build integrated data services to create additional revenue opportunities for large global companies in financial services, healthcare, and technology industries, with a specialty in emerging markets.
In 2012 she took on a concurrent role as an Executive in Residence of Sterling Partners, a $5 billion private equity firm where she was responsible for building the firm's strategy and investment thesis for business intelligence/Big Data, and deal sourcing for these investment opportunities in healthcare and other industry verticals.
Most recently, Ms. Talton has taken another step to take advantage of what she views is today's biggest opportunity: technology as an enabler.
She has formed Gray Matter Analytics, a consultancy offering data analytics and predictive modeling services and solutions to organizations in the financial services and healthcare industries.Gray Matter Analytics collaborates with its customers to create data-driven organizations, allowing them to benefit from more intelligent insights from their data assets.
Ms. Talton is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), the Women Corporate Directors (WCD), the World's President's Organization, The Economic Club of Chicago, The Chicago Network, and The Executive Leadership Council, a network and forum for African American executives of Fortune 500 companies.Her honors include selection as a Congressional appointee on the US White House Women's Business Council, as one of the "Top 10 Women in Technology" by Enterprising Women, and as "Entrepreneur of the Year" by the National Federation of Black Women Business Owners.
She is also a recipient of the "Entrepreneurial Excellence Award" from Working Woman magazine and a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Award.
Most recently, in 2014 she was designated a "Woman of Influence" by The Chicago Business Journal and an honoree in "Those Having Significant Impact on Business and Technology" by TechWeek.
Previously, in 2011 she was named one of "25 Influential Black Women in Business" by The Network Journal and received the Diamond Leadership Award from the Information Technology Senior Management Forum.
In 2010 she was honored as a Woman of Achievement by the Anti-Defamation League, and as the Outstanding College Alumni of the Year by the Business School of Northern Illinois University.
She was also named a 2009 Business Leader of Color by Chicago United, received a 2008 Egretha Award from the African American Women's Business and Career Conference, and was named a 2007 "Woman Worth Watching" by Profiles in Diversity Journal.
Ms. Talton has been cited in publications including The New York Times, CIO Magazine, Network Magazine, Crain's Chicago Business and Black Enterprise, and is a frequent speaker on topics before universities and corporate groups.
She is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program of Harvard Business School and Northern Illinois University.
Sheila G. Talton, Director since 2010.Ms. Talton, age 61, is President and Chief Executive Officer of Gray Matter Analytics, which focuses on data analytics consulting services in the financial services
and healthcare industries.
Previously, Ms. Talton was President of SGT, Ltd., a firm that provides strategy and technology consulting services in global markets in the financial services, healthcare and technology business sectors.From 2008 to 2011, she was Vice President, Office of Globalization, for Cisco Systems, Inc., a leading global manufacturer of networking, switching and server/virtualization technology products related to the communication and information technology industries.Prior to that, Ms. Talton held various leadership positions at both Ernst & Young and EDS.She is currently a director of Wintrust Financial Corporation and OGE Energy Corporation.
The members of the Audit Committee are Ms. Dvorak (Chairperson), Mr. Hargrove and Ms. Talton.
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