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CONNECTIONS™ Speaker Biographies

Please contact Mindi Sue Sternblitz-Rubenstein at Parks Associates or call 972-490-1113. Submit to Speak.


Michelle Mindala-Freeman Michelle Mindala-Freeman, Head of Marketing & Member Services, Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA)
Twitter ID: @freeman5i

Michelle serves as the Alliance’s Head of Marketing and Member Services, helping to both promote the Alliance mission, standards and solutions and drive the growth and success of IoT for the benefit of members, consumers and the marketplace at large. As an executive in the telecom, energy & professional services industries, she has built & lead teams across marketing, strategy, brand, customer experience, and go-to-market. Having worked in industry and in consulting for over 25 years, including time at AT&T, Capgemini and Microsoft, she brings a wealth of experience, perspectives, and a passion for the Alliance’s mission to build the foundation and the future of IoT. Michelle received her BA from Miami University (Ohio), her MBA in Strategy & Organizational Behavior from the University of Chicago and is currently a Visiting Scholar at CDAIT, the IoT Research Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, a personal trainer and Strongman competitor.


Jake Alamat Jake Alamat, Vice President and General Manager, IoT Home & Life Business Unit, Silicon Labs

Jake Alamat is Vice President and General Manager of IoT Home and Consumer Products at Silicon Labs. With more than 19 years of industry experience at NXP and Texas Instruments, Jake has served in multiple leadership roles focused on embedded processing and analog semiconductor solutions. His career experience spans consumer, mobile, automotive, industrial and infrastructure end markets. Prior to joining Silicon Labs in September 2019, Jake served as Vice President and General Manager of Automotive Connectivity and Security processing products as well as General Manager of Microcontroller products at NXP Semiconductors. Prior to NXP, he held various executive and management roles at Texas Instruments including General Manager of Singlecore Digital Signal Processors and Director of Marketing for Arm Microprocessors. Jake holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in computer engineering from Michigan State University.

Samantha Fein Samantha Fein, Vice President of Business Development and Marketing , Samsung SmartThings

Samantha Fein is an Internet executive and entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in scaling brands from early stage through explosive growth with a focus on marketing, GTM strategy and business development. She is currently Vice President of Business Development and Marketing for Samsung SmartThings, and is responsible for developing innovative go-to-market strategy and forging partnerships that will help shape the future of smart home. Samantha serves on the Board of Directors for the Connectivity Standards Alliance, is a board member of Thread Group, and is a leading sponsor of the Matter initiative.

Kevin Kraus Kevin Kraus, V.P. Global Programs and Technology Alliances, Smart Residential Solutions, ASSA ABLOY

As V.P. of Global Programs and Technology Alliances, Kevin is responsible for implementing and successfully executing global development programs and managing Yale and ASSA ABLOY’s participation in technology alliances. Prior to being promoted in August 2021, Kevin was Director of Technology and Partner Integration for Yale and August residential electronic lock business since 2018 and was responsible for defining key product technologies and developing partner integration strategies and tools to support seamless lock integration. Prior to that role, Kevin was Director of Product Development for Yale residential locks, responsible for product strategy, product development, and technology. 
Before joining ASSA ABLOY in 2009, Kevin spent 11 years as Director of Product Management for electronic locks for the Schlage Residential Business. Kevin also spent 7 years with Honeywell’s Security Group as Product Manager for Honeywell Residential Security Products. Kevin has extensive experience in the IOT, Residential Security, and Home Automation Business and is a subject matter expert in residential electronic locks, residential security and home automation systems and residential systems communication technologies. Kevin is also on the Z-Wave Alliance, Zigbee Alliance, and Thread Board of Directors and Treasure of both the Thread Group and Z-Wave Alliance.

John Osborne John Osborne, COO, Lexi

David Quam David Quam, Director of Connected Product Solutions, Resideo

David has worked in the HVAC industry for 17 years and have developed a wide range of connected product solutions for homeowners, contractors, security dealers and utilities. He believes the promise of smart home is fully realized through date-driven services offered by Pros, which optimize comfort, peace of mind and savings.

Yana Welinder Yana Welinder, CEO, Kraftful Inc
Twitter ID: @kraftful

Yana Welinder started Kraftful based on a problem she identified while leading the Product Management team at IFTTT, working with Nest, Ring, iRobot, Arlo, and hundreds of other hardware brands. Backed by Google, Samsung Next, and Y Combinator, Kraftful helps hardware companies make their connected products usable (and therefore useful) by everyone. In previous roles, Yana worked on disrupting manufacturing with digital production at Carbon and tackled free knowledge creation on Wikipedia. As a tech policy thought leader, she's published pieces about AI and biometrics in the New York Times, Harvard Journal of Law & Tech, and a chapter in the Cambridge Handbook on Consumer Privacy. She's given talks at the White House and at Yale, Stanford, NYU, and other universities. Yana holds degrees from Harvard, USC, and London School of Economics.

Stefan Witkamp Stefan Witkamp, Co-founder, Commercial Director, Homey
Twitter ID: @homey

Stefan Witkamp is the co-founder and commercial director of Homey by Athom B.V, the company he founded in 2014. As commercial director of Homey, Stefan is responsible for operations, sales, partnerships and public relations. 
Stefan has been a tech, retail and business enthusiast since his youth, with a broad range of experience in non-profit boards, representation and commerce prior to founding Homey. He loves the combination of tech and commerce, and is focused on making great products reach as many people as possible. Stefan has been entrepreneurial since high school and holds a BSc in Creative Technology from the University of Twente in The Netherlands.


Jennifer Kent Jennifer Kent, Vice President, Research, Parks Associates
Twitter ID: @JenniferMKent
Website: http://www.parksassociates.com

INDUSTRY EXPERTISE: Connected Health, Connected Home Technologies and Services, Connected Entertainment Products and Services

Jennifer manages the research department and Parks Associates' process for producing high-quality, relevant, and meaningful research. Jennifer also leads and advises on syndicated and custom research projects across all connected consumer verticals and guides questionnaire development for Parks Associates’ extensive consumer analytics survey program. Jennifer is a certified focus group moderator, with training from the Burke Institute.

Jennifer earned her PhD in religion, politics, and society and an MA in church-state studies from Baylor University. She earned her BA in politics from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

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Elizabeth Parks Elizabeth Parks, President, Parks Associates
Twitter ID: @elizparks
Website: http://www.parksassociates.com

Elizabeth leads the marketing team and supports the research and operations teams. Elizabeth manages and directs the integrated strategic communications plan for Parks Associates, including advertising, public relations, and marketing campaigns for research and events hosted by Parks Associates. Elizabeth is the key organizer for all of Parks Associates' events, including CONNECTIONS™. She also supports Parks Associates' Business Development Team with prospective client searches, overall support, and maintenance of Parks Associates' databases.

Elizabeth joined Parks Associates on a full-time basis in 1998 after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a BA in psychology.

Chris White Chris White, Senior Analyst, chris.white@parksassociates.com
Twitter ID: @cwhiteinsights
Website: http://parksassociates.com

Chris is a Senior Researcher with Parks Associates, covering the connected home market. He was previously a Director of Insights at PeopleMetrics in Philadelphia and the Data Manager of a youth-serving collaborative in New Orleans. He has performed research for companies in a variety of industries, including the telecom/ISP space.

Chris earned his BBA in Marketing from the College of William & Mary and his MBA in Marketing and Finance from American University.

Please contact Mindi Sue Sternblitz-Rubenstein at Parks Associates or call 972-490-1113.