Director, Customer Support
Karl Storz Endoscopy
Change has been a significant part of Marian’s life; she embraces change with vigor and enthusiasm and is dedicated to continuous improvement through life-long learning. Marian recognizes strategic opportunities and unlocks the synergies that spark big idea business visions. She is recognized for successful leadership roles which do not stop at “good enough.” She leads the way by aligning technical development with business strategy to transform “good enough” operations into sustainable best-in-class winners. Marian has led the effort to achieve the J D Power certification at her organization six years in a row. She helped to cultivate a “customer first” mindset throughout the organization; adding value to the customer’s experience with each customer touch-point.
As Freeman continues to lead the experiential marketing industry, Carrie approaches the future with a focus on refining the company’s culture and business approach. A third-generation Freeman in the business (her grandfather is founder Buck Freeman; her father is Chairman Don Freeman), Carrie employs forward-thinking strategies that maintain the company’s reputation as an industry innovator while staying true to its core values. Carrie’s peers and the industry frequently recognize her achievements. She is involved with numerous organizations and nonprofits—one passion is her involvement with Girls Inc.—and begins and ends each day fulfilling Freeman’s obligation to positively affect employees, stakeholders, and the community. She’s unwilling to claim success based solely on the bottom line; instead, she’s dedicated to leading a socially responsible organization. As she provides unparalleled brand experience, she simultaneously provides future generations with the skills needed to make the world a better place. Carrie joined Freeman in 1985 and has held numerous positions—including general manager, the president of Freeman Exhibit Company, and the chief marketing officer. She was elected to the board of directors of Freeman and also serves on the company’s Executive Committee. As Freeman’s current vice chair, Carrie has set her sights on formulating effective thought-leadership strategies and implementing them from the top down.
SVP, Commercial Treasury Service Center National Leader
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Manny Golfe leads a JD Power Certified, national call center organization comprised of Commercial Treasury Service professionals that are responsible for delivering a World Class Experience for Global Commercial Banking, Business Banking, and Public Sector clients. In his role Manny leads multiple Treasury service teams located across multiple sites, and maintains key partnerships such as sales, product, and operations to drive continuous improvement, quality and productivity initiatives, risk management, and operational efficiency. Golfe joined the firm in 2004 as a part of the Retail, Preferred & Small Business Organization, and held various roles in that channel, including Financial Center Manager. While a Financial Center Manager, Golfe led, coached and managed several teams to consistently deliver top client delight results and operational excellence, which earned him the Award of Excellence in 2007. In 2011, Golfe joined Global Technology & Operations where he has held multiple leadership roles and has served in a functional process ownership capacity for multiple high risk processes including electronic payments. In GT&O, Golfe is afforded the opportunity to leverage his subject matter expertise in working with global teams to improve process and remediate risk for the firm. Additionally, Golfe serves as a Sales and Service Liaison, a corporate responsibility purposed to sustain a client centric focus through effective partnership between the sales and service organizations. In 2017, Golfe was promoted to Senior Vice President, where he continues to lead from the front. Golfe is Six Sigma Greenbelt certified and experienced in Kaizen continuous improvement methodology. He is a member of the Black Professionals Group (BPG) and the Political Action Committee (PAC). Golfe resides in Charlotte North Carolina where he actively supports several community growth and development efforts.
VP, Customer Support
The Freeman Company
Kathy Miklos is the Vice President of Freeman Customer Support, which includes Freeman’s centralized contact center and three processing service teams, all of which are dedicated to creating an outstanding customer service experience. Kathy began her Freeman career in 2009 as a Customer Support Center Representative and was promoted to Customer Support Center Supervisor, focusing on quality assurance and training for the contact center team, that same year. In 2011, she was promoted to Director of Customer Support, extending her focus on quality and training to the entire department. She was promoted to Vice President in July 2016, providing her with even more opportunities to share her passion for service and leadership.
Kathy has been involved in the world of customer experience, call centers, training, and quality assurance for more than 25 years. Before joining Freeman, she worked for Southwest Airlines, where she held various positions including Quality Assurance Specialist, Quality Assurance Supervisor, Customer Relations Supervisor, and Reservations Training Instructor.
In 2014, Kathy received Freeman’s Star of Excellence award for her contributions to Freeman’s success in the areas of Operational Excellence, Sustainable Profitability, and Uncompromising Service. In 2015, she was selected to participate in Freeman’s High Potential Leadership Development Program, iLEAD. Currently, Kathy co-chairs the Freeman forward Mentoring Committee and has actively participated in Freeman’s formal mentoring program since its inception.
Kathy was born in Lubbock, raised in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts (Psychology major) from the University of Texas at Austin. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her husband and three sons, reading, posting pictures of her dog and cats on social media, and binge-watching her favorite shows.
Brandon Lee Smith
Operational and Performance Oversight, Medicare and Retirement
Brandon Lee Smith is Senior Director of Consumer Services at UnitedHealth Group, one of the nation’s largest health care companies. He is responsible for leading operational and performance management across the Medicare and Retirement services organization, managing superior experiences for 20+ million contacts a year. Brandon joined UnitedHealth Group in 2010 and has held leadership roles across the company in areas such as sales, operational excellence, and technology.
Prior to joining UnitedHealth Group, Brandon was at Target Corporation, where he held a variety of roles in customer service, operations and product development. Brandon has over 15 years of experience in executing strategies that unlock customer and employee value.
VP, Customer Service and Sales
Pat Wessel is a Vice President in MetLife’s Global Customer Solutions organization. She leads the service teams that support Property & Casualty and Retirement & Income Solutions products along with the group that handles customer inquiries on MetLife’s e-business capabilities. Pat began her current role in 2015 when she assumed responsibility for MetLife’s service center in Dayton, Ohio.
Pat joined MetLife in 2013 as a Client Relationship Manager following positions of increasing responsibility at Prudential Financial and The Hartford. She began her career a COBOL programmer and moved into leadership roles within IT before becoming a Director of Finance with responsibility for managing budgets, expenses and internal risk assessments. Pat has also held Operations roles and led billing, commissions, enrollments and call center teams.
Pat holds a bachelor’s degree from Dickinson College and an MBA from Temple University. She lives in Southeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and enjoys spending time with her three adult children and volunteering with youth baseball and soccer leagues in the community.
Director, Customer Service Solutions
Scott Killingsworth is Director, Customer Service Benchmarking and Solutions and Solutions at J.D. Power. He currently manages the J.D. Power Customer Service Certification and Benchmarking programs and is responsible for developing and maintaining the standards and operational benchmarks for the program. He also manages the execution of all benchmarking surveys and evaluations. Mr. Killingsworth has 20 years of customer experience improvement experience in all customer channels (retail/in-person, phone, and self-service). He has designed or led numerous major CE solutions and engagements; serving as project lead, SME, and individual contributor in over 100 performance improvement projects. His area of expertise includes: VOC Research, Operational Benchmarking, ROI analysis, Impact Analysis, Contact Center, Evaluation, Contact Center Strategy, Operational Improvement, and Best Practice Proliferation. Prior to joining J.D. Power and Associates, Mr. Killingsworth was a Market Manager for Tecnol, Inc., a manufacturer of contamination control products for semiconductor, pharmaceutical, and biotech manufacturing. Mr. Killingsworth has a bachelor’s degree in Education, and studies in Controlled Environments Manufacturing at Arizona State University.
Practice Leader, Customer Service Solutions
Mark Miller is Practice Leader of the Customer Service Solutions Practice at J.D. Power. He is responsible for leading the global strategy and market development for the Customer Service Solutions Practice, including the Certified Contact Center Program and the Certified Technology Service and Support Program. In addition, he directs all customer service assessment and performance-improvement consulting engagements for the company. Mark has nearly 20 years of performance-improvement consulting experience working with small, medium and Fortune 500 clients in more than a dozen industries to improve sales, customer service and technical support operations. Recent engagements include two leading wireless companies; a large automotive manufacturer; the largest telecommunications company in Italy; multiple leading insurance companies; several major financial services firms; an industry-leading utility; and a prominent video game developer. Prior to joining J.D. Power in 2000, Mark served as a strategy and operations consultant to senior-level management, as well as an executive in the sporting goods, computer and networking services, offshore software development and Internet security industries. Mark has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and an MBA in marketing (with honors) from Regis University. He was selected as a member of the Alpha Sigma Nu Honor Society.
Chief Digital Officer
Bernardo Rodriguez is the Chief Digital Officer at J.D. Power, responsible for advancing J.D. Power’s digital transformation by leading new product development, branding, marketing and mergers and acquisitions. In this role, he will be responsible for the design and content of J.D. Power’s digital interface with clients and consumers. Mr. Rodriguez joined J.D. Power in 2017 from Huge, the global full-service digital agency, where he served as Managing Director of Strategy, partnering with Fortune 100 companies on the design and execution of product and brand strategies, enterprise transformation and innovation. Previously, he served as a Managing Director at Accenture, the global management consulting and professional service company, where he led the firm’s North American Digital Strategy Practice for telecommunications, media and technology. Earlier, Mr. Rodriguez served as Chief Digital Officer at Kaplan Test Prep, a top provider of educational and career services, where he was responsible for digital transformation in technology, data science, user experience, online learning, Kaplan publishing and innovation. Mr. Rodriguez holds a bachelor’s of science degree in electrical engineering from Universidad Rafael Urdaneta in Venezuela and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in computer engineering from the University of Colorado. He is fluent in English and Spanish.
Michael Vermillion is Vice President, Product Management and Strategy in the Service Industries segment at J.D. Power. He is responsible for the growth of the segment's business by leading growth initiatives, key capability development and new market entry. Areas of responsibilities include strategic planning, new product development, sales enablement and strategic partnerships. A key thought leader in the field of Customer Service Excellence, Mr. Vermillion is the co-author of the forthcoming book J.D. Power's Guide to the Net Promoter Score® and is a regular contributor to publications and blogs including The Digital Customer. Mr. Vermillion brought to J.D. Power 25 years of experience in the strategy and product management fields. Prior to joining the company in 2015, he held executive roles in product, strategy, business development and consulting with Market Risk Partners, NAVEX Global, Dun & Bradstreet, Autobex, Salient3 Communications, Stern Stewart & Company and Procter & Gamble. Mr. Vermillion is a former chairman, P&G Alumni of New York City and a member of the CFA Institute, the New York Society of Security Analysts, the Product Management Association and the American Marketing Association. Mr. Vermillion received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and an MBA in corporate finance from the University of Chicago.