Empathetic Machines Contributors


Cristene Gonzalez-Wertz

You may say I’m a dreamer, well actually I’m more of a pragmatic futurist. I love delving into technology, data and of course, strategy. I’m a researcher and an analyst, but with a creative’s heart. I develop use cases and rich scenarios about how people will work with emerging tech and applications. That makes me very helpful when designing new products, services and offerings.


I’ve been a CMO, executive strategist and thought leader around technology for 20 years, with more than 10 at IBM. 


I believe the world can do well by doing good. But that starts at an individual grass roots level. I believe passion is an essential quality to envision and drive change. I think intellect and empathy need to come as a pair for the greatest level of success. 


I grow things – ideas, strategies, vegetables, flowers. I take detours and side roads to see where they lead. I travel and I explore. An insatiable global curiosity is something I highly value. I love Sci-Fi and fantasy books (Game of Thrones, The Magicians, Charles Stross, John Maberry and NK Jemison). And songs with great lyrics. I live for really good business dialogue and interesting people. I love my family, and without a doubt, my dog, Molly.

You can find me at linkedin.com/in/cjgw1


William Thomas

I am a raconteur and intellectual itinerant. That’s why I co-founded Empathetic Machines, an independent producer of media focused on how big tech is redefining ourselves, our jobs, and our culture. I like stories that describe a future—and present— grounded in transparency, ethics, and the lessons of the past.


My background lies in reimagining organizations and helping them realign and realize the value of the changes brought by technology and globalization. I have done this for start-ups as well as firms in the Global 2000.


I helped launch the Apple+IBM Alliance, bringing products to mobilize manufacturing and hi-tech businesses. My experience spans sales & customer strategy, operating model design and digital consulting as well as business leadership.


I am a founding board member of the local non-profit Futsal Innovations. I serve as a member of the board for the social venture accelerator Communitas Americas. 


I’m a lifetime fishing novice, husband to a genius, and father to both a futboller and a gymnast who would like for you to consider that: 


All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

I’d enjoy connecting.


You can find me at www.linkedin.com/in/william-thomas-iii


David Bacon

I am a multi-talented Digital Executive specializing in digital sales and marketing optimization. The son of a (literal) rocket-scientist, I evangelize data-based decisioning and take pride in my success at leading digital sales and marketing teams in utilities, telecommunications and banking industries.

A student of technology, I leverage my experience and talent to identify, reach and align with the needs of digital audiences through effective marketing campaigns, best-in-class online experiences and conversion rate optimization. I have also been a featured speaker on digital personalization and the science of why consumers convert.

I currently lead the Digital Sales Optimization team at Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG).


Outside of work, I enjoy college football, military aviation, photography and spending time with my family.

You can find me at linkedin.com/in/dbacon


Martin Kienzle

I’ve always had broad interests, and over the years touched a wide array of subjects. At college, I started with physics, but quickly switched to computer science. At the time it was still possible to understand computers from bottom to top, from transistors to applications.


After college, I joined IBM Research.  There, my work took me from operating system performance to media systems and to IoT, developing thought leading demonstration projects with customers, from streaming media servers and IP TV portals to smart home and connected health proofs-of-concept. 


Straddling worlds of technology and business, I helped to develop IoT strategies and solutions.  As a Member of the IBM Industry Academy, I connected emerging technologies to important industry problems, consulting with customers on creative uses of IoT technology and on identifying the most important problems for Researchers to solve.


After a long, wide ranging, and stimulating career at IBM Research, I briefly retired and then rejoined IBM as an executive strategy advisor. I also joined Empathetic Machines where I am exploring interactions between technology and society, focusing on privacy security, and technology impact on our lives and businesses. 


Having spent the last decade working with consumer facing IoT technologies, I’ve become more and more convinced that the key to progress is not technology, but the impact it has on people’s lives.


You can find me at linkedin.com/in/martinkienzle


Ken Pace

I’m a science enthusiast, problem solver, continuous learner and a post-sales support expert who’s   led many service improvement projects on three continents. I am passionate about machines and the people who use and service them.


In my teens I worked on farms in Canada and for my father’s plumbing business. I studied Science at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia where I first learned how to write programs on a Cray supercomputer which is where I got my first exposure to advanced statistics and predictive analytics.


After graduating, I moved to Toronto to work for a global electronics company in its services organization. My first year there, I built my first PC from scrap parts. It wasn’t powerful but I used it to build a better service parts forecast that drastically reduced the company’s parts and distribution costs.


I now travel the world working with many clients who want to improve their technical support organizations. I love my job – I get to help companies transform operations, but I am also constantly learning about new technologies for client support. In some ways, customer support has not changed over the past 35 years but maybe with the note that there is more pressure on service organizations to innovate to compete.


When not working, I’m either reading or fixing or restoring things. My friends are always looking for help and I am always happy to assist – especially if it prolongs the life of a device and prevents it from ending up in a landfill.


You can find me at linkedin.com/in/ken-pace-8572bb11


Jeff Fisher

I love retail – the world of retail. Ok, so I like to shop…but that’s not all of it.  My background is in creating retail store experiences, or maybe it’s better to say retail shopping experiences, which are at the intersection of store design, visual merchandising, interactive technologies and in-store communications.


My retail philosophy begins and ends with the customer experience.


Currently, I am consulting for a variety of retail brands on how to create customer-centric physical experiences.


Previously, I was the global store experience director for Natuzzi SpA, based in Santeramo in Colle, Italy, where I was responsible for the store experience (store design, development, visual merchandising and in-store communications) across their three retail brands, Natuzzi Italia, Natuzzi Editions and Divani & Divani.


My store experience work for Bata Brands SA (a global, vertically integrated shoe company with over 5,300 stores in over 25 countries), Entertainment Retail Enterprises, LLC, Luxottica SpA (Sunglass Hut), WONGDOODY (an experiential marketing agency), Sprint, LEGO, the National Basketball Association and Universal Studios (where I honed my talent for storytelling) also deserves attention.

I enjoy collecting contemporary art, shooting architectural photography and traveling the world. I also claim to shoot a solid round of golf (but don’t believe it until you see it).


You can find me at linkedin.com/in/jeff-fisher-ca


Susan Hallen

Engineer, geek, product lifecycle and intellectual property expert, athlete. I am all of those things and more – I am a translator between business and technology. And I am passionate about tech for good, or least for no harm. I have worked in strategy and product development for industries as diverse as electronics and pharma, but mostly focused on industrial products. 

My career has spanned the beginnings of CAD/CAM to AI implementations. I worked for years in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)/automated mapping. But most of my focus is on product development and implementation – from design to manufacture. The last ten+ years I have been focused on Intellectual Property including strategy, creation, commercialization and applying AI to search and analysis.


I work hard and play hard. Teaming for success stems from all the team sports I love (softball, volleyball, basketball) and now competing in Powerlifting, Highland Games and Track and Field (throwing hammer, weight, shot, discus). I am also an avid photographer, global traveler and history buff.


I love volunteering. I am on boards for non-profits like Neighborhood Food Pantries, Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation and Bits & Bytes Cybersecurity Education. I have been blessed with health and a good job and am passionate about giving back to my community. I mentor for several groups – high school students in STEM, veterans coming into the corporate world.


Let’s connect about the intersection of life and technology!


You can find me at https://www.linkedin.com/in/sahallen/