During the coronavirus pandemic, industries have experienced years of digital transformation in months. Washington Post Live takes a deep dive into two critical industries that have seen incredible change over the last year: education and manufacturing.

We speak with two leading administrators on the frontlines of digital adoption in classrooms as well as the CEO of MxD (Manufacturing x Digital), one of the nation’s leading outfitters of innovative technology for U.S. factories, and the chief digital officer of Mars Inc., one of the world’s largest manufacturers, about how the pandemic has accelerated digital integration and what it means for the recovery.


Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray says teachers in Memphis, Tennessee, will return to the classroom March 1. “We have teachers as we speak getting vaccinated today…We’re putting our plan into action. Our buildings are well equipped, with the proper PPE and we have signage and our air quality system has been checked and rechecked and now we’re ready to go.” (Washington Post Live)
When asked if distributing devices and providing internet access is enough for students who are living below the poverty level, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner said getting students devices and internet is just "table stakes.” He explains that the next challenge is figuring out how to use those tools to help students recover learning loss and move forward. (Washington Post Live)
MxD CEO Chandra Brown says one of the bright spots of the pandemic has been the increased focus on supply chain issues. Mars Inc. Chief Digital Officer Sandeep Dadlani added that the pandemic has also amplified the value of data and made the supply chain much more resilient and more digital than ever before. (Washington Post Live)
MxD CEO Chandra Brown and Mars Inc. Chief Digital Officer Sandeep Dadlani share how their companies are addressing cybersecurity within the supply chain. “The good news is there’s a lot of work being done in this area. The bad news is honestly, is it couldn’t be done fast enough,” Brown said. (Washington Post Live)


Austin Beutner, Superintendent, Los Angeles Unified School District

Austin Beutner is a civic leader and public servant who has worked for the last decade to make Los Angeles a stronger community. Mr. Beutner was appointed Superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second largest, in May 2018.

Under Mr. Beutner’s leadership Los Angeles Unified has led the nation in responding to the crisis in public schools created by COVID-19. The school district has provided 85 million meals along with 10 million items of needed supplies to the communities it serves, made sure all students have a computer and free internet access to remain connected with their school community, created student-centered learning shows which are being used by PBS affiliates and school districts in 30 states, and is providing COVID-19 tests to students and staff at schools with the support of a consortium including world-class research universities, bio-tech testing companies, health insurers, a technology giant and a national medical center.

Mr. Beutner has served as First Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles, Publisher and CEO of the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union Tribune and Co-Chair of the LA 2020 Commission and the LA Unified Advisory Task Force.

At age 29, he became the youngest partner at The Blackstone Group. He left Blackstone to serve in the US government, where he led a portion of US efforts to help Russia transition to a market economy after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He went on to found Evercore Partners and as President and Co-CEO helped build it into one of the leading independent investment firms in the world.

He holds a degree in economics from Dartmouth College, and has taught courses in ethics, leadership and effective government at Harvard Business School, University of Southern California Price School of Public Policy, the UCLA Anderson School of Management, and California State University Northridge.

Mr. Beutner currently serves on the board of the National Park Foundation, is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He founded Vision To Learn, a non-profit organization that has provided free eye exams and glasses to more than 250,000 children at schools in low-income communities across the country.

Chandra Brown, CEO, MxD

Chandra Brown is passionate about U.S. manufacturing. As CEO of MxD, Chandra uses that passion and her more than 25 years of experience in manufacturing to help American manufacturers seize the potential offered by new and emerging digital technologies. In her role at MxD, Chandra oversees all technology investment, partner relationships and project execution for the more than $90 million dollar portfolio of advanced manufacturing technology, cybersecurity and workforce development research, development, and demonstration.

Manufacturing has always been at the center of Chandra’s work and her experience has allowed her to know the industry from a variety of perspectives. As the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Manufacturing at the U.S. Department of Commerce, she promoted U.S. businesses worldwide, worked to remove trade barriers, and strengthen U.S. competitiveness. As the CEO of United Streetcar, and an executive at its parent company Oregon Iron Works, Chandra led United Streetcar to become the first U.S. manufacturer to create a modern streetcar in more than 60 years.

Since earning both her BS and MBA from Miami University—in addition to her public service and irrespective of her individual role—Chandra has consistently worked to strengthen American manufacturing through innovative, forward-thinking, well-executed strategies. Her intrinsic desire to improve American manufacturing is always on display as she tackles not just MxD’s mission to help make every part better than the last, but also to foster a manufacturing future that is more inclusive and open to all American innovators.

Sandeep Dadlani, Chief Digital Officer, Mars Inc.

Sandeep Dadlani joined Mars, Incorporated as Global Chief Digital Officer in September 2017, and has responsibility for working with Mars' global business segments to drive its digital transformation agenda, while delivering effectiveness and efficiency to existing business and technology platforms. In the last two years, he has driven a new wave of consumer and user centricity, unleashed the power of data, analytics, AI, and automation while driving new agile digital behaviors across the enterprise.

Prior to joining Mars, Dadlani worked at Infosys, a $10 billion global systems integration firm, where he was President, Head of Americas and Global Head of Infosys' Manufacturing, Retail, CPG and Logistic Practices. In this role, he managed a portfolio P&L worth US $3.5 billion and helped more than 300 global clients embrace digital technologies, including AI and Machine Learning. He co-incubated and eventually ran Infosys Edgeverve as Chairman, an AI and software company for Infosys.

Dadlani has 22+ years of experience in operations, consulting, business development and product management. He has been actively involved in helping organizations in the retail, CPG and logistics sectors become more competitive by embracing new emerging trends across digital consumers and emerging markets.

Joris M. Ray, Superintendent, Shelby County Schools, Memphis, Tenn.

Dr. Joris M. Ray was voted unanimously by the Shelby County School Board on April 30, 2019 to become Superintendent of Shelby County Schools (SCS). With more than 100,000 students in over 200 schools, SCS is the largest school district in Tennessee, second largest employer in Shelby County, and one of the 25 largest public school districts in the nation.

The District operates with a fiscal budget of nearly $1.5 billion annually to uphold its commitment to improving learning and academic achievement for students.

Content from Siemens

This content was produced and paid for by a Washington Post Live event sponsor. The Washington Post newsroom was not involved in the production of this content.

A conversation on how the National Center for Civil and Human Rights partnered with Siemens to enhance building safety with new Siemens air filtration technology to open up its doors to community and provide a safer space for visitors amidst COVID-19.

A conversation on how the National Center for Civil and Human Rights partnered with Siemens to enhance building safety with new Siemens air filtration technology to open up its doors to community and provide a safer space for visitors amidst COVID-19. (Washington Post Live)

Jill Savitt, President and CEO, National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Jill Savitt, the President and CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, is a human rights advocate with expertise in genocide and atrocity prevention. She assumed this leadership role in March 2019 but has been involved with The Center since 2010 when she curated the Center’s exhibit on global human rights before the Center’s opening in 2014.

Previously, Savitt was the Acting Director of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. The Center stimulates global action to prevent genocide and to catalyze an international response when it occurs. Before taking on this role and since 2010, Savitt was a Senior Advisor at the Museum. In this role, she curated the Museum’s Wexner Center, which presents exhibitions about contemporary genocides, served on the team working to revitalize the Museum’s permanent exhibition on the Holocaust; and also managed a range of public education initiatives for the Museum.

In 2007, before working as a consultant, Savitt founded and directed Dream for Darfur, a high-profile advocacy campaign that pressed the Chinese government to take specific actions regarding the Darfur crisis in the lead up to the 2008 Beijing Games. The New York Times Magazine profiled Savitt and the initiative. Dream for Darfur was widely recognized for influencing the Chinese government to change its policies on Sudan in the lead up to the 2008 Olympics.

Savitt was the Director of Campaigns at Human Rights First from 2001 to 2007. She developed a campaign that recruited retired military leaders to bring US policies on torture and interrogation into compliance with US and international law. Earlier in her career, Savitt was the Communications Director at the Ms. Foundation for Women where she ran the successful “Take Our Daughters to Work” campaign.

Savitt taught, for three years, a course on human rights advocacy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). She began her career as a reporter for WAMU, the NPR affiliate in Washington, DC. Savitt graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Interviewed by Barbara Humpton, CEO, Siemens USA

Barbara Humpton is President and CEO of Siemens USA, where she guides the company’s strategy and engagement in serving the company’s largest market in the world, with more than 50,000 employees and over $23 billion in revenues and $5 billion in annual exports. Most recently, Humpton served as president and CEO of Siemens Government Technologies, Inc. (SGT), a leading integrator of Siemens’ products and services for federal government agencies and departments. In this role, Humpton also served as an officer/director member of the board of directors of SGT. Prior to joining Siemens in 2011, Humpton served as a vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton where she was responsible for program performance and new business development for technology consulting in the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security. Earlier, Humpton was a vice president at Lockheed Martin Corporation with responsibility for Biometrics Programs, Border and Transportation Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection, including such critical programs as the FBI’s Next Generation Identification and the TSA’s Transportation Workers’ Identification Credential. Humpton is a graduate of Wake Forest University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. Barbara is Chairman of the Siemens Corporation Board, the Siemens Foundation and of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA). She serves on the board of directors of the American Heart Association Greater Washington Region, Triumph Group, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose (CECP), Economic Club of Washington, D.C. and the Seabee Memorial Scholarship Association. She resides in Washington, D.C., with her husband David.