SHARE Fort Worth Featured Speakers

Monday, February 24


Kris Paronto

Kris Paronto is a former Army Ranger from 2nd Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment and private security contractor who has deployed throughout South America, Central America, the Middle East and North Africa. He also worked with the U.S. Government’s Global Response Staff conducting low profile security in high threat environments throughout the world.

Paronto was part of the CIA annex security team that responded to the terrorist attack on the U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012, helping to save over 20 lives while fighting off terrorists for over 13 hours. Paronto’s story is told in the book 13 Hours, written by Mitchell Zuckoff and his five surviving annex security team members, and in the 2016 major motion picture of the same name.

Born in Alamosa, Colorado, Paronto obtained his Bachelor’s Degree from Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colorado and Master’s Degree from The University of Nebraska at Omaha. He served four years in the U.S. Army and an additional four years in the U.S. Army National Guard, reaching the rank of Sergeant then becoming a commissioned officer in 2003. He started contracting for Blackwater Security Consulting in 2003 and continued to deploy on various security contracts, to include the Global Response Staff until 2013. He is also the author of the 2017 motivational book The Ranger Way.

13 Hours: Bottom Up Leadership and How it Saved Lives in Benghazi

For more than 10 years, Paronto has been involved in security operations in hostile environments and his team’s involvement with the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. special mission in Benghazi, Libya. He was paramount in the saving of U.S. lives and assets and is considered an American hero. 

During his keynote, Paronto details the insider account of the attacks in Benghazi. Attendees will learn about perseverance, trusting your team and self, and being a leader in times of crisis.   From combat to business, he shares techniques, stories and lessons he learned from having a strong team under fire.

> Tuesday, February 25

Mark Figley, Director of AI, Red Hat Synergy for Z27.png

After starting his career as a Software Engineer working at startups in California, Mark moved to the east coast and took on increasing levels responsibility in software architecture leadership until eventually becoming a CTO and AVP of Technology at AIG. He then came to IBM where he took on business leadership roles, growing through the offering management ranks to eventually be the executive leading the Linux on Z and LinuxONE businesses for Z. He currently leads the Red Hat Synergy efforts for the Z brand and has also taken on a new challenge building a new AI mission for Z this year.

Brian Gracely, Senior Director of Product Strategy, OpenShift26.png

Brian Gracely (@bgracely) is the senior director of product strategy in the Red Hat Cloud business unit, focused on OpenShift. He brings 20+ years of experience (Red Hat, Wikibon, EMC, Virtustream, NetApp, Cisco) in strategy, product management, systems engineering, marketing and M&A. He is recognized as an industry thought-leader in Cloud Computing and DevOps, as well as being co-host of the award-winning podcast, The Cloudcast (@thecloudcastnet) and weekly Kubernetes podcast (@PodCTL). He has a BS/MBA from Wake Forest University. 

Can the Rest of Application Development Catch Up to the Importance of the Mainframe? 

For the last decade, software has been eating the world. Driving new interactions with customers, markets and data. And yet, these new applications only impact a small portion of how a business operates today. As the world moves into the next generation of cloud computing, hybrid models will become the de-facto architecture for industry leading companies. Learn how IBM and Red Hat are reshaping how the mainframe will have a seat at the table of the next software feast.