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CONNECTIONS™ Summit Speakers


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Speakers


Nikki Ahmadi Nikki Ahmadi, Sr. Director of Product, Universal Electronics

Nikki  is the Sr. Director of Product - Cloud & Entertainment at Universal Electronics. She works with a global team of talented engineers, architects and product folks in designing and implementing innovative solutions that help everyday people easily discover and interact with devices and services in their home . After spending over a decade working in product engineering and management for multimillion dollar technology and start-up companies, Nikki believes what truly drives innovation is not only a commitment to technological breakthroughs but also people’s passion in improving everyday lives by building products that leave a lasting impact, disrupt the industry, and are vehicles of change, while providing the best user experience. 
 
When Nikki isn’t working, she is spending much needed time with friends and family discussing the latest politics, or simply the meaning of life. She’s an adventurous traveler who also enjoys capturing moments through photography.


Yaniv Amir Yaniv Amir, President, Essence USA

Mr. Amir founded Essence USA Inc. in 2012 and opened the North American region for Essence. He has over 13 years of experience in the Security and Care markets in management positions at technology companies. In 2013, the Worldwide Who's Who organization proclaimed Yaniv Amir as the Executive of the year representing the Security Solutions Industry. He holds a BA and MSc Summa cum laude in Computer Science both from the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Israel.


Ian Bryant Ian Bryant, Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships, CEDIA


Laura Buffard Laura Buffard, Sr. Director Connected Home Product Line, NAGRA

Laura Buffard is spear-heading the Kudelski Group’s Connected Home proposition which blends elements of the Group’s payTV, IoT and CyberSecurity business units. Through the NAGRA Scout proposition, Laura is engaging with operators worldwide who, focussed on digital home propositions, are looking to strengthen their ARPU and offer greater value as their subscribers increasingly lead often complex digital lives.


Tali Chen Tali Chen, Co-founder, 2Seas
Twitter ID: @ChenDsp

Tali brings nearly two decades of executive management experience to DSP Group as a strong voice in the semiconductor industry. With a keen ability to multitask, strategize and oversee worldwide teams and customers, she lends her expertise and passion to her position as Chief Marketing Officer, where she manages also the IoT business line, European business development, sales and marketing, heads up DSP Group's US operations and corporate management. Prior to this role, she was the CVP Corporate Development. Before joining DSP Group, Tali was Director of Commercial Legal Affairs at RADA Electronic Industries, a Major in the Israeli Defense Forces, the founding manager of the "Atidim for Industry" program, and an intern at the IDF Ombudsman's office. Tali holds an LLB in Law and Government with honors from the prestigious Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) of Herzliya and an MBA from Technion Israel Institute of Technology.


Jennifer Doctor Jennifer Doctor, Senior Director, Product Management, Johnson Controls
Twitter ID: @jidoctor

Jennifer Doctor is the Senior Director of Product Management for Johnson Controls, Tyco’s’ Intrusion detection portfolio. In this capacity, Jennifer leads a team managing more than 5,000 traditional and smart home security products around the globe in both residential and commercial markets.
 
Jennifer joined Johnson Controls from ADT North America where she was the Director of Product Strategy. She brings more than 20 years of experience in product marketing and product management to Johnson Controls, having worked with companies to help them bring products to market profitably. In addition to her unique blend of product management, product marketing and marketing skills, Jennifer also brings IT skills, including ITIL and Agile knowledge and experience to her work.


Jean-Marc Druesne Jean-Marc Druesne, Founder-CEO of Bbalance; CMO of Baracoda Daily Healthtech, Baracoda Daily Healthtech
Twitter ID: @BaracodaGroup

Jean-Marc Druesne is CMO of Baracoda Daily Healthtech, a company working to improve the lives and health status of people around the world with technology as the driver.
 
As part of this mission, Jean-Marc leads the team at Baracoda Labs (BLabs), an incubator and accelerator, for new startup projects, with a speed-to-market open innovation strategy. He is also responsible for building the identity of Baracoda Daily Healthtech, and is the founder and CEO of BBalance, the world’s first smart bath mat.
 
Jean-Marc has been working in the tech and creative industries for more than 20 years, building and helping startups to scale projects through his company Octoly, a micro-influencer marketing SaaS platform with a fully-integrated product marketplace. Before that he held senior management positions at Google and, earlier in his career, Jean-Marc worked as managing director for EMI Music.
 
Jean-Marc continues to support the arts and Paris’ cultural scene, collaborating on artistic direction projects. In 2018 he launched Leroy République, an art project documenting skateboarding culture and modern families.
 
Jean-Marc earned a master's degree in International Marketing and Business Management at EDHEC. He thrives on new challenges, and creates high-performing teams capable of disrupting the status quo by working step-by-step to reach ambitious goals.


Jason Elliott Jason Elliott, Head of Portfolio and Partnership Marketing, Nokia
Twitter ID: @jre_elliott

At Nokia, Jason works with multi-disciplined teams and industry partners to promote our vision and technology leadership. Inspired by the power of people and technology he strives to ensure that all types of audiences from consumers to technology professionals to board members have the knowledge they need to be successful.
 
With two decades of I.T and wireless communications expertise he has made several notable contributions, delivering many industry firsts. He works to educate and collaborate on how technology can be used to realize new business opportunities, and address sustainability goals towards a better future for all. 
Prior to joining Nokia, Jason held several lead roles in the CIO organization at Lucent technologies/Alcatel Lucent, overseeing large I.T infrastructure deployments and then moving into the wireless division developing 3G and 4G proof of concept systems.
 
Enjoys traveling the world and experiencing different cultures. When he is at home you’ll find him in the Boston, MA area either trying out a new restaurant or running to offset his latest dining experience! 


Stephen Eyre Stephen Eyre, VP, Partner Community, Calix
Twitter ID: @TheCalixNetwork

As VP Calix Partner Ecosystem, Stephen is responsible for coordinating the various partner activities and initiatives across Calix into one coherent ecosystem that is beneficial for all participants.
 
A veteran of many aspects of the ITC industry including 10 years in banking, 10 years in telecommunications and 15 years at Microsoft,  Stephen's 25+ year career has encompassed phases as varied as expert system programming, IT and capital markets consulting, systems architecture, alliance creation and management,  IoT Solutions Ecosystem creation, and, most recently, three years helping to build the Calix Cloud and Smart Home business at Calix. Stephen has three wonderful daughters aged 29, 37 & 38, plays as much soccer and golf as possible, and is an avid supporter of the Toronto Blue Jays & Raptors, the New York Islanders, and most of all, Chelsea FC.


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.


Jonathan Freeland Jonathan Freeland, VPGM, Cox Homelife

Jonathan Freeland is the VP/GM, Cox Homelife at Cox Communications in Atlanta. Freeland is responsible for driving the overall subscriber and revenue growth of Cox Homelife which provides residential monitored security and home automation services within Cox's national footprint. Freeland joined Cox Communications in 1995 as a sales representative in Hampton Roads, VA. He successfully performed in a variety of sales and marketing roles and has over a decade of senior leadership experience at Cox as a regional vice president of marketing and sales in three different Cox regions. Freeland earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA and an MBA in marketing from Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA. He graduated from Cox's Executive Development program, and he has also completed CTAM U at Harvard Business 


Michael Ham Michael Ham, President, RePure

Michael Don Ham, a WELL Faculty member, is the President of RePure, a leading supplier of best-in-class health and wellness solutions for residential applications available through professional installers. He has a deep background in indoor air quality, water quality and other important aspects of wellness technology for the home.


Warren Hill Warren Hill, VP Marketing, Alula


Mitchell Klein Mitchell Klein, Executive Director, Z-Wave Alliance; Director, Alliances Strategy, Silicon Labs, Z-Wave Alliance / Silicon Labs
Twitter ID: @Mitchell_Klein

Mitchell Klein is a leader in smart home and IoT, dedicating his career to educating the industry, creating and implementing strategic business programs and leading companies that helped bring smart home and custom installation into the mainstream. Mitch’s career has included systems integration management to business strategy and development, but above all he is a 30+ year industry veteran in IoT, consumer electronics, home automation, and the integrator market. In his current role as executive director of the Z-Wave Alliance, he leads a member consortium of global companies supporting the Z-Wave smart home standard. Mitch is a CEDIA Fellow and committee chair – in 2019, he was awarded the CEDIA Lifetime Achievement Award for his decades of work supporting the custom integrator channel. Mitch is a regular contributor to trade and technology publications, podcasts, and a presenter and panelist at key industry events including CES, CEDIA, ISE, Parks CONNECTIONS Summit, and many more.


Kabir Maiga Kabir Maiga, Co-Founder, PassiveBolt

Kabir Maiga is the Co-Founder of PassiveBolt, a technology company looking to pioneer a proper Tier 1 supplier class in access control and security, similar to the automotive industry. He is a devout innovator and envisions an entirely keyless future. Lock manufacturers and platforms (e.g. home security) are poised to build the keyless future. PassiveBolt supports them by supplying the picks & shovels. Kabir Maiga and his team invented and patented several smart access technologies and innovations. They have also won CES 2020 Innovation Awards, CES 2021 Innovations Awards, IoT World Best Consumer Technology nomination and more. He was recognized by Forbes in 2021 in the Forbes Next 1000 list. Kabir Maiga was formerly Technical Lead at Continental Automotive were he and his team developed keyless entry technologies currently deployed in over 120 million cars globally. He started the PassiveBolt project within Continental and later spun off – with Continental as lead investor. He has over 13 years of business and engineering experience. He worked in engineering in the auto industry, in finance on Wall Street, and built technology companies. He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Kettering University and a Masters Degree in Business and Entrepreneurship from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.


Tyson Marian Tyson Marian, Chief Commercial Officer, Plume Design Inc.
Twitter ID: @plume

Tyson Marian is Chief Commercial Officer at Plume. Bringing over 20 years of experience in the fast-moving technology sector, he drives the growth, core business strategy and P&L for the company. Having held a number of senior management and board-level positions at leading media and telecommunications companies, Tyson initially served on Plume’s Board of Directors before joining full-time to spearhead the company’s commercial operations.
 
Having developed a strong commercial acumen as an investment banker with Morgan Stanley in New York, Tyson’s most recent appointment, prior to joining Plume, was at Comcast Corporation where he was responsible for identifying, deploying and commercialising emerging technologies primarily for Comcast’s consumer services portfolio. Tyson holds a bachelors degree in Economics from the University of Southern California.


Cristina Martinho Cristina Martinho, Vice President, Performance Marketing, Minim, Inc.

Cristina Martinho is the Vice President of Marketing Performance at Minim. She is responsible for all aspects of Minim's omni channel marketing and Ecommerce business and has successfully grown Minim's ecommerce and international market presence. Before joining Minim, Cristina has worked in various roles including, brand management, category management, customer marketing and ecommerce for L'oreal, COTY and DS Laboratories. Cristina has served on the board of directors for the YWCA of South Florida. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Northeastern University, a Digital Marketing Degree from NYU and an MBA from Florida International University in Miami Florida.


Blake Miller Blake Miller, CEO, Homebase.a
Twitter ID: @ImBmills

Blake Miller is the Founder of Homebase.ai a resident experience and connected building solution. Blake is also the host of The Future of Living Podcast. Prior to Homebase Blake was a Partner at Think Big, a startup incubator in Kansas City, MO. At Think Big, Blake led the incubator program investing in and advising early stage startups. In 2012, Blake led the Kansas City Smart City Initiative, a public private partnership led by Cisco, deploying smart city technologies in Downtown Kansas City, MO, creating one of the worlds largest smart cities and winning a 2017 Edison Award for innovation.  Blake has been recognized as the Tech Connector of the Year by the KC Tech Council and Next Gen Leader by the Kansas City Business Journal.


Sean Miller Sean Miller, CEO, Griot
Twitter ID: @Sean_T_Miller

Sean Miller is the CEO and co-founder of Griot, a startup focused on delivering AI-powered communication and knowledge-capture tools specifically designed for field technicians. Griot helps skilled trades get jobs done right and on time. Previous to Griot, Sean lead PointCentral at Alarm.com, WeMo at Belkin, and MobileTech at Generac.


Dr. Ann Marie Olivo Dr. Ann Marie Olivo, Marketing Director, North America, Tuya Smart

Ann is the Marketing Director for North America for Tuya Smart. She is responsible for driving localized initiatives in public relations, strategic partnerships, lead generation, and branding in the North American region. Previously, she served as the Marketing Director for the Connectivity Standards Alliance where she brought IoT solutions to market with global smart home industry leaders and helped to launch the Matter initiative. She also holds a PhD in Linguistics from Rice University.


Wannie Park Wannie Park, CEO, Zen Ecosystems
Twitter ID: @HelloInspire

Wannie Park is the CEO of Zen Ecosystems, an energy management platform that helps small to medium businesses take control of their energy usage while meeting sustainability goals. Wannie is a seasoned executive with more than 20 years of experience in energy, renewables, IoT and SaaS. He's passionate about leveraging technology to make a tangible impact against climate change by redefining the way businesses interact with energy. Prior to Zen, Wannie was Vice President of Corporate and Business Development at Inspire Energy where he was responsible for growth and partnerships. Prior to joining Inspire, Wannie was SVP of Business Development at CEIVA Energy, a SaaS-based demand response and energy efficiency provider. Wannie graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a bachelor's degree in Economics and earned his Master's in Business from USC and Environmental Law degree from the UCLA School of Law.


Rick Plummer Rick Plummer, Director, Home Services, CenterPoint Energy

Rick Plummer is CenterPoint Energy’s Director of Home Services. He leads a unique Home Services P&L including CenterPoint Energy's own Home Service Plus in Minnesota and similar partnership-based programs in Indiana, Ohio, Mississippi, and Texas. Rick joined the company in 2018, previously heading up Home Services’ businesses at Nicor Services and Direct Energy.


Bethany Schoengarth Bethany Schoengarth, Marketing Director, Healium XR

Digital marketing and communication strategist who leads the marketing strategy for the world’s first immersive media channel powered by wearables.


Oz Yildirim Oz Yildirim, EVP and GM of Americas Business Unit, Airties
Twitter ID: @Airties

Oz Yildirim is the Executive Vice President and General Manager for the Americas Business Unit of Airties.  Prior to this role, Oz served as CMO, where he oversaw the company’s significant expansion with leading U.S. service providers (including AT&T), new distribution partners, and office opening in Texas. He joined Airties in 2004 and was one of the first employees in the company. Oz served in numerous leadership roles across product management, R&D, and customer services management and previously oversaw Airties’ product portfolio. 
 
Mr. Yildirim holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering from Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul.


Rafi Zauer Rafi Zauer, Head of Marketing, Essence
Twitter ID: @Essence_grp

Rafi Zauer is Head of Essence's Marketing, overseeing the company's global positioning and brand, product marketing, market strategy and supporting Essence customers with go to market services. Rafi has 15 years of experience in market and business analysis, defining technology companies' market vision and executing business strategies. Prior to this, Rafi held various positions in strategic marketing in a leading international security electronics company and has also managed to be part of the renewable energy revolution, developing distribution channels and investments in Solar Photovoltaic plants around the world.



Parks Associates Analysts / Moderators


Paul Erickson Paul Erickson, Senior Analyst, Parks Associates
Twitter ID: @PaulEricksonAV
Website: http://www.parksassociates.com

With more than 20 years of technology industry experience and over 15 as an analyst, Paul Erickson’s coverage has spanned connected consumer electronics, pay & broadcast TV, digital & physical media, streaming devices and services, home and pro AV, smart home, user interface technologies, and digital rights management.

Prior to joining Parks Associates, Paul was an analyst for Omdia, IHS Markit, and NPD DisplaySearch. He has regularly attended, spoken, and/or moderated at industry events and tradeshows across the consumer, service provider, and pro AV technology landscape, such as CES, IFA, IBC, MWC, NAB, InfoComm, NAMM, and Integrated Systems Europe. Paul is also a several-time AVIXA Emerging Trends Fellow honoree.

Paul holds a BS in International Business from Georgetown University, an MBA in Marketing from the University of Texas at Austin, and can converse in English, Spanish, German, Mandarin Chinese, and Taiwanese.


Kristen Hanich Kristen Hanich, Director of Research, Parks Associates
Twitter ID: @KristenAtParks
Website: http://www.parksassociates.com

INDUSTRY EXPERTISE: Consumer electronics, mobility services and devices, connected health and wellness

Kristen Hanich heads Parks Associates' consumer electronics and mobility research, with expertise in other verticals including connected cars, mobile networking, healthcare, wellness, and independent living. She leads a mix of custom and syndicated research projects throughout the year, with a focus on major players and emerging trends. Kristen specializes in bridging the gap between data-driven and narrative approaches to understanding the consumer markets via a mix of qualitative and quantitative research approaches.

Kristen has dual master's degrees in applied anthropology and public health from the Universities of North Texas in Denton and Fort Worth. She earned her BSc in health at the University of Texas at San Antonio and has a graduate certificate in Geographic Information Systems.

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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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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.