PeopleConnect LIVE – Speakers

PowerSchool Speakers

Hardeep Gulati


PowerSchool Group LLC

Hardeep is an innovative leader and executive with more than two decades of experience leading successful software businesses. Hardeep’s passion for education and proven expertise in guiding companies through periods of growth has been instrumental to the ongoing successful implementation of PowerSchool’s expansion plan. Under Hardeep’s leadership, PowerSchool has introduced award-winning, integrated classroom solutions and made a lasting impact on the future of K-12 education. For Hardeep, leading a company that includes thousands of educators and technology specialists is a natural evolution of his lifelong commitment to harnessing the power of technology to transform lives and unlock student potential. Hardeep brings that ethos, and his belief that a high-quality education is a fundamental right to his leadership, of PowerSchool.

Rishi Rana

General Manager


Rishi Rana is GM (CEO) of the Higher-Ed business in the edtech sector for PowerSchool Group LLC, leading strategy, growth, and with direct ownership of Product, R&D, Services, Customer Success, Sales, and Marketing. He has over 22 years of executive and leadership experience with a proven track record in leading businesses while developing complex, critical software solutions, products, and platforms across various domains.

Previously, Rishi was COO of AGDATA LP. He oversaw the transformation of several product and service lines into a single platform providing data-enabled insight and analytics for the agriculture industry. Rishi has led several businesses towards high growth in topline revenue, revamping service lines and factory models towards multiple-fold EBITDA growth. Prior experience includes serving HCM and Talent landscape as SVP for Global Services at Skillsoft Limited and GM-APAC for SumTotal Systems, where he setup offices in various countries and crafted teams and functions from the ground up. Rishi also held several leadership roles at Microsoft for over a decade where he led product, services, and strategy across a variety of functions and markets globally. Rishi is an avid speaker at events and recipient of several awards in management excellence, strategy, communication, and mentoring. He recently won the “CEO with HR Orientation” Award from Asia Pacific HRM Congress. He holds a BS in Computer Science & Math and an MBA, both from Texas A&M University.

Chengdian Lin

VP Product Development


Chengdian leads the Product Engineering and Development in the HigherEd division of PowerSchool. He has over 25 years of experience in software leading various organizations in creating and solving problems. He has lead several organizations and teams in Product Engineering, Architecture, DevOps, and Professional Services helping increase customer retention via technology and impact across various business models, customer bases, structures, and cultures throughout his career.

Danielle Becka

Director of Product Management

PowerSchool Group LLC

As Director of Product Management, Danielle is responsible for delivering the strategic vision behind PowerSchool’s portfolio of products for higher education. With over a decade in the education and technology space, she has led many customer- and business-impacting programs and teams across Product Management, PMO, Professional Services, Customer Success, and Support. She is an accomplished consultant, trainer, and speaker, and has created and led many software-specific courses around the country. Danielle is an alumna of Americorps, the voluntary service program that aims to lift communities in need. She holds a master’s degree in Math Education from the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin. Danielle enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, family, traveling, reading, and staying active with yoga, hiking and running outside. Danielle is an active member of her community, serving on the Board of Directors for the Anti-Defamation League of Austin and the Alumni Advisory Committee for the Department of Psychology at The University of Texas at Austin.

Partner and Customer Speakers

Dr. Christopher Lee


William and Mary

Dr. Christopher D. Lee is the inventor of the pioneering Performance Conversations method, a performance improvement system that replaces the outdated appraisal. He is an accomplished practitioner, author, lecturer, and consultant on HR related topics. His background includes having served as the chief HR officer for four institutions of higher learning. He is a former question writer for the PHR (Professional in Human Resources) and SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) examinations administered by the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI).

Rob Curtin

Director of Higher Education

Microsoft Education Industry

Rob is the Director of Higher Education for Microsoft’s Worldwide team focusing on The Americas. Based in the Boston area, he is responsible for market strategy, and landing Microsoft’s priorities for Higher Education across Canada, US, and Latin America. He is grateful his role connects him with innovators that share bold goals to transform education and spark innovation in their home countries. Rob is most passionate about the role of technology to guide student ownership of their lifelong learning journey, and helps systems adopt more student-centric engagement models.

Rob has been deploying technology in education for over 30 years. Beginning with IBM in 1988 he implemented the first classroom networks in the Boston Public Schools and joined Microsoft in 1991 - before Excel had the AutoSum button. In the 29 years since first joining Microsoft Rob has been a two-time EdTech entrepreneur, spending a decade working on the Exeter Student Information System (1995-2004), and co-founding Pip Learning Technologies in 2014 providing cloud identity and student privacy services to K-12 school districts. Rob has a combined 17 years with Microsoft, and launched programs such as Microsoft Campus Connections Summit, Cloud Research Software Engineer grant program, and in 2019 the Campus Reimagined initiative with Florida State University as the seed collaborator. Rob received a B.S. from Northeastern University, his favorite sport is whatever his teenage children are playing that day, and he deeply appreciates his wife for tolerating his travel schedule – and now even more for tolerating him at home!

Alejandra Zertuche



While working in Academic Assessment at the University of Incarnate Word (UIW) in San Antonio, Texas, Alejandra Zertuche began developing a process to leverage big data for the assessment and accreditation of academic programs in higher education. She saw the opportunity to create a cloud-based platform for schools to drive accreditation compliance and student success. This passion brought her to Enflux, where she launched it’s Academic Intelligence Vertical and quickly became the CEO. She concurrently rounded out her skill set in this developing space with her BS in Industrial Engineering, an MBA in Business Administration from St. Mary’s University, and a Master’s in Biomedical Informatics from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. She’s also completed course work in Applied Statistics with UIW, which opened doors to presenting her accreditation process and driving interest for colleges to do academic research and test drive her software. Some of her volunteer interests include serving as a Director for TransPecos Banks, mentoring local STEM students, and providing ongoing support of San Antonio’s vibrant arts and tech scene.

Adam Godson



Adam Godson is Chief Product Officer of Paradox, the company behind Olivia — a conversational AI assistant helping companies like Unilever, McDonald’s, CVS Health, Disney, and Aramark save their recruiting teams countless hours every day by automating administrative tasks like candidate Q&A, applicant screening, interview scheduling, and more. Paradox has won numerous awards — including Human Resource Executive’s Best HR Product of 2019 — and was recently named one of Forbes’ Top 500 Startup Employers. Godson owns all things product at Paradox, leading a growing team that’s adding new skills to Olivia’s repertoire every day.