the ICEX story


This all started about 25 years ago. Appropriately, it was a member suggestion. (Even though neither “ICEX” nor “ICEX members” existed at the time.)

At the time, ICEX’s founder, Rick Swanborg, had been doing research for individual clients in the late 1990’s. One client suggested that, rather than work with clients separately, why not gather them all in a room and let them drive the conversation according to their common needs?

The ICEX community-based, “members first” model was born. ICEX established its first Accelerators – communities of like-minded representatives from corporations spanning all industries. These companies became the ICEX founding members:

From its inception, ICEX has been driven by only one thing – we provide value to our members through exchange of ideas.

The initial capital investment was just $1,000 back in 1999. The true capital – the true value – is in the ideas, the relationships, and the takeaways. The expertise is embodied in the members – what they have to say, how they interact with one another, and the trust that arises from mutual respect.

Over the years, Accelerators have included IT Strategy, Enterprise Architecture, IT Security, IT Human Resources, Infrastructure and Operations, Enterprise Data and Analytics, and more recently, Business Innovation, Corporate Venturing, and Digital Innovation.


Our members are the leaders in their industries. They have no patience for things that don’t work or don’t provide value. That they have stayed with us over the years proves they have found value in the process – a process they actually co-own, driven by an ever-evolving script they author.

Through the years, major disruptions – 9/11, the 2007 financial crisis, COVID – forced adaptations so that conversations could proceed. For COVID, we had to abandon our in-person meetings and create virtual experiences. We are now emerging from that time into a changed world.

Despite these disruptions, our members insisted, no matter how trying the times, that these exchanges continue – indeed, the disruptions often sharpened the need for exchange of ideas.

But it’s not all business. From the start, Rick infused a spirit that allowed people to loosen up, enjoy the moment. We give prizes for the most notable member quotes in an exchange. There is laughter despite the tough topics. Rick doesn’t take himself too seriously (neither do we); and he has loosened the reins so that the present crew can continue to evolve as times change.


Today, ICEX is a tiny company – barely a dozen people. Yet, what other small team can provide trusted connections with dozens of Fortune-100 companies, spanning all industries? We are the 25-year-old best-kept secret on (or off) the Internet.

We are proud of the shared history we have with our members – a history that covers not only the major disruptors already mentioned, but also:

The Original Crew (L to R): Rick Swanborg, Sarah Kaull, Patrice Hanlon, Aliya Jilani, and Paul Myers
  • Changes across the IT development spectrum, from architecture to agile, and beyond
  • Rise of the internet, IoT, edge computing, cloud services, mobile devices, machine learning, and now AI and transformative AI
  • Cyber security challenges evolving with the technology
  • Changes across industries: Mergers, acquisitions, partnerships, divestitures, implosions, etc.
  • Fundamental changes in how work is performed, and its impact on IT professionalsDouble-click this text to edit it.


What’s next? You can bet it will be fast-paced, transformative, and exciting. Our members will be in the thick of it. And so will we.

You can count on that.
ICEX, Inc. | 40 Broad Street | Boston, MA 02109
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