6 Dallas Innovators You Need to Know Today—and Why

Sally Beauty tapped its first-ever female CEO, NTT DATA gets a digital transformation leader, and more senior leadership moves this week.

Across North Texas, companies are promoting and hiring people to take on leadership positions within their organizations.

Dallas Innovates covers prominent personnel moves in Dallas-Fort Worth from startups to big-name corporations. Here are six people you need to know right now—and why.

Sally Beauty Holdings names its first-ever female CEO

Denise Paulonis

Denton-based Sally Beauty, the retailer and distributor of professional beauty supplies, has appointed Denise Paulonis as its president and chief executive officer, effective Oct. 1.

Paulonis succeeds Chris Brickman, who is stepping down but will continue serving in a consulting capacity through March 31, 2022. Paulonis has been a member of Sally Beauty’s Board of Directors since 2018 and is the current Chair of the Audit Committee. She takes the helm after most recently serving as the chief financial officer of Sprouts Farmers Market. 

Prior to that, from 2014 to 2020, Paulonis served in various executive roles at The Michaels Companies. From 2000 to 2014, she held senior level positions PepsiCo, McKinsey & Company, and Bank of America.

“The Board has taken a thoughtful approach to succession planning to ensure that Sally Beauty Holdings is best positioned to continue its momentum, and we unanimously believe Denise is the right leader to drive the next stage of the company’s growth,” Robert McMaster, chair of the Board of Directors, said in a statement. “With her experience and proven commitment to the company, we believe Denise will provide fresh perspectives and valuable insights in order to take our brands and our company into the future.”

NTT DATA gets a digital transformation leader

Aaron Millstone

Digital business and IT services leader NTT DATA, which has its U.S. headquarters in Plano, has added Aaron Millstone to its team as the divisional president of digital transformation services.

Most recently, Millstone led Oracle’s North American cloud strategic services and partner organization. Before that, he spent more than two decades at Accenture, at which he served in a range of roles from architect to lead in the health and public service business unit.

At NTT DATA, Millstone will be tasked with creating a community of digital transformation practices focused on modern applications, data intelligence and automation, cloud transformation, customer experience, and enterprise application services. He has deep expertise in the commercial, public, and nonprofit sectors.

“Aaron joins our team at a pivotal time when we are significantly expanding our digital business in response to client demand,” Wayne Busch, group president of NTT DATA Services’ consulting and digital transformation services, said in a statement. “Aaron’s experience as a global executive who simplifies the complex and delivers transformational outcomes makes him a perfect match for our team.”

Envy Gaming adds executives to run sales and marketing

Eric Duncan

Dallas-based esports and entertainment company Envy Gaming has created two senior executive positions dedicated to boost and scale its sales and marketing efforts. Filling those roles is Eric Duncan as Envy’s head of marketing and Erin Schendle as its senior vice president of sales and partnership.

Duncan joins Envy from digital media company Rooster Teeth, where he led marketing during a period of rapid online and community growth, and Schendle, who has more than two decades of media sales experience, from TEGNA and WFAA. Together, Duncan and Schendle will lead strategic collaboration for Envy’s brands, entertainment properties, media organizations and personalities, and new ventures.

Duncan will focus on audience development, campaign planning, creator relationships, design, digital, merchandise, paid media, public relations, social media, and membership and fan loyalty programs. He has spent 20 years in the digital entertainment and gaming space, having additionally held previous role at Sony Online Entertainment and iNDEMAND.

Erin Schendle

Schendle will manage Envy’s sales and activation teams. She will be responsible for working to develop sponsorship programs, partnership integrations, and licensing opportunities across all of the organization’s channels, brands, competitive teams, players, events and retail footprint. Her previous stints include The Ticket and Cumulus Media, CBS Radio, and Clear Channel.

“Eric and Erin are proven leaders with success at each step in their careers building innovative programs and new ways for larger and larger audiences to engage with the content and brands that they love,” Envy Gaming CEO Adam Rymer said in a statement. “We’re excited to add them to our talented leadership team in North Texas at a pivotal moment for Envy as we expand our role at the intersection of gaming, entertainment and technology.”

Keurig Dr Pepper gets a chief supply chain officer

Tony Milikin

Frisco- and Burlington, Massachusetts-based leading beverage company Keurig Dr Pepper has appointed Tony Milikin as its chief supply chain officer, effective Sept. 7.

Milikin has more than three decades of experience in supply chain operations, having most recently served as the chief procurement, sustainability, and circular ventures officer at Anheuser-Busch InBev. There, he oversaw global procurement spend for one of the world’s largest brewers. Before that, he was the SVP of supply chain for Mead Westvaco and VP of procurement and logistics operations for Sealy.

In his new role at KDP, Milikin will be responsible for the end-to-end supply chain, which includes manufacturing, procurement, logistics, warehousing, and quality. He succeeds Fernando Cortes, who is leaving the company after 18 years to pursue new opportunities.

“Tony’s breadth and depth of experience in building teams and capabilities for future expansion make him an ideal leader to fill this role at this time,” Chairman and CEO Bob Gamgort said in a statement. “He will add incredible value as we move into our next phase of growth at KDP, and we look forward to having him join our executive leadership team.”

Lantern Pharma expands its management team

Harry Kochat

Dallas-based Lantern Pharma, a clinical stage biopharma that’s using its AI platform to transform oncology drug discovery and development, has added two senior industry executives to its team to support clinical and manufacturing initiatives. 

Dr. Harry Kochat has been appointed the senior director of chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC) and manufacturing quality affairs. His responsibilities will include the oversight of drug candidate manufacturing and quality control. He has three decades of experience with successful drug candidates and the management of teams of all phases. Most recently, Dr. Kochat was the director of pharmaceutical operations and business development at the Plough Center for Sterile Drug Delivery Solutions.

In other moves, Lantern also named Darlene Bunpian, MPH as the the clinical trial project manager, where she will oversee clinical trials, including Lantern’s planned Phase 2 clinical trial of LP-300 as a combination therapy in never-smokers with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. She has more than 15 years of experience in clinical research, project management, study start up, regulatory submissions, and budgeting. Most recently, she was the research project manager and clinical research coordinator for Baylor Scott & White Heath.

“Our entire team welcomes these two accomplished and experienced industry executives to our leadership team,” Panna Sharma, president and CEO of Lantern Pharma, said in a statement. “Each of them brings a strong track record overseeing and delivering large drug development initiatives, ensuring they are completed on time, within budget and to the highest quality standards that can lead to positive patient impact.”

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