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Keynote Speakers & Conference Emcee

We are very pleased to introduce the Lean HE 2023 Keynote Speakers and Conference Emcee! The University of California San Diego is very fortunate to work with these Lean zealots, continuous improvement superstars and award-winning Leaders of Change!


  • Keynote Speaker

    Keynote Speaker

    Dr. Henrik Christensen

    "Future of AI and Higher Education"

    We are thrilled to announce Keynote Speaker, Dr. Henrik Christensen, a renowned authority in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). Dr. Christensen is the Qualcomm Chancellor’s Chair of Robot Systems and a Distinguished Professor of Computer Science in the Dept. of Computer Science and EngineeringUC San Diego.

    With his expertise and deep understanding of AI, Dr. Christensen's talk titled "Future of AI and Higher Education" will enlighten us on the trajectory of AI and its transformative potential for business processes in higher education. Join us “On the Edge…” for this extraordinary opportunity!

    Dr. Christensen is also the director of the Contextual Robotics Institute, the Cognitive Robotics Laboratory, and the Autonomous Vehicle LaboratoryHe is an academic doing research on robotics and artificial intelligence, the main editor of the US National Robotics Roadmap, and an entrepreneur. He has co-founded multiple companies including Robust.AI, Christensen Consulting Group, AeroScan, and Intelligent Machines. He is also engaged in investments in publicly traded companies and start-ups through companies such as ROBO Global (co-founder) and Spring Mountain Capital (advisor). 

    Dr. Christensen does research on robotics and AI, with an emphasis on a systems view to problems. The research has been published in 400+ contributions across AI, Computer Vision, and Robotics. The research has been adopted by companies such as Electrolux, ABB, KUKA, Weda, BMW, Boeing, iRobot, PerMobil, and General Motors. He serves as a consultant to agencies and companies across four continents.

  • Keynote Speaker

    Keynote Speaker

    Ms. Cathy O'Sullivan

    "Creating Flow: Case Studies in Lean Across the University of California System"

    We are thrilled to announce another Keynote Speaker for the 2023 Lean HE Conference, Ms. Cathy O'Sullivan, from the University of California Office of the President (UCOP). Join us "On the Edge..." to hear about Ms.O'Sullivan's insights and vast experience in California public higher education.  

    Ms. O'Sullivan is Chief of Staff to UC’s systemwide Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Rachael Nava. She serves as the senior advisor to the COO and directly oversees UCOP’s Strategy and Program Management Office and various programs and functions to support the UC Operations division. This includes system-wide Information Technology, Human Resources, Strategy and Program Management, Operational Services (including UCPath and the local operations of UCOP), Community Safety and the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion office for UCOP.  

    Ms. O’Sullivan works regularly with her counterparts at the California State University and the California Community College systems to convene staff from all 3 segments of California public higher education to share best practices. This work has been formalized into an annual event, the California Higher Education Collaborative, now in its 10th year. A highlight of this event is the “Focus on Innovation” awards to teams whose innovations better serve students, faculty and fellow staff in a way that is replicable in other campuses and systems.

    Ms. O’Sullivan is the past Director of UC’s Working Smarter Initiative, a portfolio of administrative efficiency projects and programs which delivered on its commitment to find $500 million in savings and new revenue over 5 years through system-wide innovations.  In 2016, NCCI, the national Network for Change and Continuous Innovation, named Ms. O’Sullivan a Leader of Change.

    Prior to UC, Ms. O’Sullivan worked in the high technology industry. She earned her MBA from UC Davis Graduate School of Management, and her Bachelor’s Degree from UC San Diego. Outside of full-time work, she is a full-time mom to two daughters.

  • Conference Emcee

    Conference Emcee

    Ms. Tracy O'Rourke

    We are very excited to announce that the one and only, fun & joyful, Lean Zealot and Process Palooza favorite, Tracy O'Rourke will be our 2023 Lean HE International Conference Emcee!

     - Co-Author, "The Problem-Solver's Toolkit"
     - Co-Founder, Just-in-Time Café
     - Master Black Belt, Lean Six Sigma
     - Chair, SoCal Lean Network 
     - Board Member, AME West Region
     - Instructor, UC San Diego
     - Process Improvement ZEALOT!

    For 25+ years, Tracy has advised companies on many aspects of cultural change, leadership development, customer experience, strategic alignment, and Lean process improvement.

    For 20+ years, Tracy has consulted in the process improvement industry. She has trained over 3500 people, mentored over 1500 people and has helped coach folks through projects with results that range between $20,000 and $8 million dollars in savings. Her expertise runs the gamut, from facilitating leadership retreats and strategic planning with top executives, to hosting conferences as Emcee, to facilitating Process Walks, Kaizen Events and coaching problem solvers.

    Tracy teaches process improvement at UC San Diego. She is the Lead Instructor for the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and the Lean Six Sigma Leadership Course. As far as conferences, Tracy has been a Process Palooza emcee every year for 5 years! She has hosted as emcee at numerous conferences, been the keynote speaker and frequently a session presenter.

    To learn more about Tracy, visit (don't miss) her website or LinkedIn.