NEXT SESSION: April 22-23 2020 - Napa


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About Spark



The idea behind Spark began with a business called Telwares, and an event called the CIO Global Forum. In 2004, a Telwares Customer Advisory Board made up of CXOs from the client base was assembled. During advisory board discussions it became quite clear there was very little opportunity for CIO’s to connect in an intimate, collaborative environment where the agenda was not influenced or dictated by vendor sponsorship. Where CIOs were truly among senior level peers, and participants could relate their successes, but more importantly their failures and lessons learned. So, we assembled a forum comprised of timely and important educational sessions, and created the CIO Global Forum.


Between 2004 and 2012, approximately 2,000 CIOs and senior executives engaged the program twice-annual main sessions or regional dinners. It was widely respected as one of the premier C-level events to attend. After the final sale of Telwares in 2012, the CIO Global Forum was disbanded.


Yates Ltd. was born in 2014. Much like Telwares, Yates is an outcome-based management consultancy that works with senior executives to accelerate opportunities to transform their businesses. Most critical in our business, we believe that creating powerful C-Level relationships between the enterprise and its suppliers can unveil alchemy that enables innovation and unprecedented results. In working with IT and Business leaders, we asked them what would be most valuable in creating an environment that inspires this alchemy. Again, it was clear there were no objective venues for senior leaders to have open and honest exchange or identify best practices in enterprise technology management, organizational change and business and digital transformation. We assembled the Spark Executive Forum and held our inaugural session October 3-4, 2018.


Founders - Charlotte Yates and Michael Voellinger


Charlotte Yates is the founder and CEO of Yates Ltd, a management consulting firm that works with key executives to optimize and transform their organizations and technology environments, reduce costs and create competitive advantage. Areas of focus include network, software, hardware, managed services, automation, supply chain optimization, digital transformation, end user services and business process design. Services include strategy, sourcing, program execution, change management, communications and governance. Yates Ltd is a WBENC certified women-owned business.


Charlotte is also a Partner at Seraph Group, a structured-angel investment fund. She serves on the board of MDSL and Academy of the Arts University, and as Advisory Board member for both Sumeru Equity and Point Inside, Inc.


Previously Charlotte was co-founder and Partner at Telwares, Inc. Telwares was a leading provider of network transformation and advisory services, strategic sourcing and telecommunications expense management solutions to global enterprises. She served as CEO and Vice Chairman of Telwares through their sale to private equity, roll-up of multiple expense management providers and divestiture to Tangoe, Inc. in 2011. She also held executive positions at both Sprint and IBM. Her experience includes M&A, executive consulting, infrastructure strategy and design, supplier contract negotiations, corporate cost reduction management, re-engineering and specialized programs focused on strategic partnerships and alliances.


Ms. Yates holds both a B.S. degree in Biology and a B.A. degree in Philosophy from the University of Florida.



Michael Voellinger is the Principal Executive of the Spark Executive Forum, and Senior Director at Yates Ltd. He is responsible for planning and execution of the Spark program, leads select Fortune 500 client engagements and all marketing activities for Yates Ltd.


Prior to Yates Ltd., Michael was Managing Director and Head of Business Development at Austin-based ClearBlade Inc., an industrial Internet of Things software company. Prior to ClearBlade, Michael served as EVP of Marketing and leader of the Mobile Technology practice at Telwares, Inc. He also served as the Executive Producer of the CIO Global Forum, an exclusive group of CIO thought leaders that met twice yearly to drive an agenda of innovation, technology achievement, and idea exchange. Prior to joining Telwares, Michael served as Partner and Principal Consultant at OES Telecom and held operational leadership positions at both AT&T and Nextel.


Michael has also served as a strategic advisor to Electronic Polymers (manufacturer of tunable polydiodes), Angelspan (investor relations software and services) and NuLite Technologies (cold cathode lighting). He is an active supporter and participant in Haymakers for Hope, a series of charitable boxing tournaments raising money for cancer research and Covenant House, the largest charity in the Americas serving homeless, trafficked and runaway youth.





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Spark is an invitation-only event series for senior technology and business leaders. Each session is focused on providing a private venue for open collaboration and sharing of relevant insights on issues and trends in technology and business. Spark offers a unique and intimate environment to quickly gain crucial insights and actionable ideas from other executives through discussions of successes and challenges. Attendees can establish and enhance valuable relationships that create lasting value beyond the sessions themselves.


Each agenda is formulated by thought leaders in business and technology who also donate their time and effort in moderating the sessions including CIOs, CTOs, CEOs, leading analysts and media figures, and the Spark team. The result is a truly unique, peer-based venue that delivers unmatched content, idea generation, and career development opportunities.



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