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Start Date: 10/17/2019Start Time: 6:00 PM
End Date: 10/17/2019End Time: 8:00 PM

Event Description

How will disruptive technologies impact career development and career longevity? How can careers best be developed for tomorrow’s workforce and which leadership skills will be most important to companies in the next 5, 10, 20 years?

Attend an exclusive Fireside Chat with John Fry, president of Drexel University, and DJ Paoni, president of SAP North America, as they discuss the importance of career development in a time when disruptive technologies are changing industry at a rapid pace, as well as the leadership skills needed to accommodate these changes.


  • Lessons in leadership - building a culture of innovation
  • Careers - navigating one’s career
  • Power of relationships and networking - building personal reputation, brand and trust
  • Staying relevant in the age of digital disruption – capitalizing on new opportunities
  • Facing challenges - how to handle pitfalls

Co-sponsored by Alumni Relations and Drexel Business Solutions Institute (DBSI). This event will also be offered online.

Interested in learning more about what inspired DJ Paoni and his ideas on being the CEO of your own career? Listen to his interview with Kelly Deily, LeBow College of Business' Assistant Director of MBA/MS Career Services, as part of the Career Conversations with Kelly podcast! Listen to the podcast here!


John Fry, President, Drexel University

John Fry was appointed Drexel University’s 14th president in 2010 and set out to transform Drexel into a private research university with a strong public purpose — an institution that harnesses its strengths to serve its students, its neighborhood, city and the nation. Prior to Drexel, Fry was president of Franklin & Marshall College, executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania, and a management consultant for the higher education and nonprofit sectors.

Under Fry’s leadership, Drexel is setting a new standard for online and hybrid education, public-private partnerships, and becoming a powerful force for economic development in Greater Philadelphia. Fry has championed major neighborhood initiatives including the PECO-Drexel Education Collaborative supporting local public schools, the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation and the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships. He negotiated a groundbreaking affiliation with the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, launched the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship to foster entrepreneurial learning, and forged a series of academic and research partnerships to enhance Drexel’s global connections in China, Turkey, Israel, Brazil, Chile, India and South Korea. Also, during Fry’s tenure, Drexel has seen a significant increase in fundraising and a growing number of philanthropic partners.

As part of Drexel’s role as anchor institution in the region, Fry announced the creation of Drexel Ventures, a subsidiary enterprise to help faculty and students partner with the private sector to build businesses around their inventions. And those relationships will be at the heart of Schuylkill Yards, a $3.5 billion mixed-use development on University real estate adjacent to Philadelphia’s Amtrak 30th Street Station.

Fry serves on the boards of Lafayette College, the Agnes Irwin School, Andalusia Foundation, Delaware Investments, Community Health Systems, the Wistar Institute, Advanced Functional Fabrics of America, and the Kresge Foundation. He also served two years as chairman of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, concluding his tenure in October 2018.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Fry graduated from Lafayette College and earned a master’s degree in business administration from the New York University Stern School of Business. He and his wife, Cara, an art historian, have three children: Mia, a student at Penn Law; Nat, an entrepreneur; and Phoebe, a senior at The Shipley School.

DJ Paoni, President, SAP North America

SAP North America President DJ Paoni has been disrupting the enterprise technology industry for over two decades. Since joining SAP as an account executive in 1996, he has demonstrated an impenetrable commitment to teamwork, innovation, and quality results for the company’s more than 187,000 customers. Now responsible for SAP North America’s strategy, day-to-day operations, and overall customer success in the US and Canada, DJ serves as a model for executive flexibility. That he has provided support and leadership throughout several landmark M&A cycles is indicative of his ability to adapt to changes in the ever-dynamic tech landscape.

With 23 years of experience at SAP, he champions his customer-centric mentality as a focal point for engaging with other C-Level execs to discuss their digital transformations. DJ’s thought leadership efforts establish precedents for articulating the challenges of and solutions to rethinking customers, products, and corporate structure in today’s digital economy. Whether he is setting standards for rethinking customer acquisition, data-driven connectivity, or the role of technology in C-Suite functions, he continually inspires employees and other leaders to march towards the forefront of innovation.

His expertise extends into various philanthropic and Diversity & Inclusion practices as well. DJ serves on the board of GENYOUth, a non-profit organization that collaborates with schools, communities, and business partners to improve nutrition and physical activity in children’s lives. Bringing this commitment to positive change back into the work space, he also proudly oversees functions of Project Propel, an educational initiative directed towards students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, as well as the Autism at Work program, which perfectly encapsulates SAP’s devotion to cultivation a work environment that embraces the special needs and skills of each employee.

DJ has earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He is married to his wife, Susie, and together they have two children, Anna and Ben.

Contact Information:
Name: Lauren Karch, MS '15
Email: lmk324@drexel.edu
Drexel's President, John Fry and SAP's President, D.J. Paoni
Gerri C. LeBow Hall
3220 Market Street
Room TBD
Philadelphia, PA 19104
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