UCX Advisory Council

The Council is a leading group of industry influencers selected by the UCX research team based on their standing within the industry, market knowledge and position. It comes together once a quarter to meet and discuss the direction of the unified communications and collaboration industry.

Working in partnership with UCX the council helps set our agenda for content throughout the year, advising us about the latest industry trends.

Ultimately the UCX Advisory Council makes our content and events more relevant to you, ensuring you stay ahead in the fast moving market of UC&C.

Advisory Council Members

CMO/VP Webex Marketing
Cisco Webex

Aruna Ravichandran is the global Chief Marketing Officer for Cisco Webex, responsible for leading the transformation of the world’s leading video, meeting, calling, and messaging platform used by Fortune 500 companies, governments, universities, public sector, and more.

A passionate advocate for customers with 20+ years of technology industry experience, Aruna leads brand experience, product marketing, digital marketing, demand generation, events, and field marketing for Cisco Webex.

Prior to Cisco, Aruna was Vice President of Marketing for DevOps at CA Technologies (acquired by Broadcom). Earlier experience includes Vice President, Marketing and Strategy for the Software Solutions Division at Juniper Networks, and escalating leadership roles in both marketing and engineering at Hewlett-Packard.

Aruna serves on the Advisory Board for Graphics Communications at California Polytechnic State University. She has published two books on DevOps and is a contributing blogger for the Forbes Technology Council.

Aruna holds an MBA and a Master of Science in Computer Engineering from Santa Clara University and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Bangalore University. She is a 2019 cohort of the Northwestern University's Kellogg Executive CMO program.

President and Principal Analyst, Commfusion and Co-Founder
BC Strategies

Blair Pleasant is President & Principal Analyst of COMMfusion LLC and a co-founder of ucstrategies.com, an industry resource on the growing UC arena. She provides consulting and market research analysis on voice/data convergence markets, applications, and technologies, aimed at helping end-user and vendor clients both strategically and tactically.

Prior to COMMfusion, Ms. Pleasant was Director of Communications Analysis for The PELORUS Group, a market research and consulting firm, and President of Lower Falls Consulting.

With 20 years experience, her primary areas of focus are convergence applications, including Unified Communications, Unified Messaging, the contact center, computer telephony integration (CTI), and voice processing. Blair has authored many highly acclaimed multi-client market studies and white papers, as well as custom research reports, and provides market research analysis and consulting services to both end user and vendor clients.

Blair’s blogs and articles can be found on www.ucstrategies.com and www.commfusion.com. She also tweets on Twitter as blairplez, and you can find her on Facebook and LinkedIn.

She can be contacted at bpleasant@commfusion.com.

UK Teams Lead

Casandra has been working within the IT industry for the past 15 years focused on customer enablement and field empowerment supporting individuals and organisations in their digital transformation. Currently working as the UK Microsoft Teams Product Marketing Manager, Casandra owns the UK Go to Market strategy for Microsoft Teams.

Global Unified Communication and Collaboration Service Owner
Clifford Chance

Chris Styczynski is a Unified Communication and Collaboration Service Owner at Clifford Chance LLP. As a product owner, he is responsible for delivering operational support, technical leadership and strategic vision of all elements of the UCC portfolio for Clifford Chance globally.

Previously, he worked as a technical consultant for Cable and Wireless Worldwide (now part of Vodafone) and KDDI Europe. On their behalf, he delivered UC projects for NHS Direct, Aviva, Mitsubishi Corporation, to mention a few.

He has a BSc in Computing & IT and Design and is also a CCIE in Collaboration. He is currently studying towards an MBA, focusing on IT as a competitive advantage. Chris is a strong advocate of digital transformation and cloud. He also believes that the organisations which currently underinvest in IT will cease to exist within the next 10 years.

In his spare time, Chris likes making his home smarter using sensors and automation scripts. He also enjoys reading about IoT and AI and exploring these two technologies further.

Senior Vice President, Operations

Curtis Peterson has more than 20 years of experience managing information technology and carrier-scale data and packet voice communication networks. At companies ranging in size from startups to Fortune 500 firms, Curtis has managed teams responsible for engineering, project management, operations, data security, network security, data center, carrier operations, and internet backbone design and operation.

Curtis has been a pioneer in VoIP services in the business communications space and has been developing, launching, and operating Class 4 VoIP and customer-facing hosted PBX systems since 2002.

J Arnold and Associates

As Principal of J Arnold & Associates, Jon is an independent research analyst providing thought leadership and go-to-market counsel with a focus on the business-level impact of disruptive communications technologies. JAA works primarily with vendors and service providers to educate their customers on the value of these technologies and to accelerate the adoption of their offerings. Jon has been consulting since 2001, and his independent practice was founded in 2005. Core areas of expertise include unified communications, collaboration, team messaging, cloud services (UCaaS/CPaaS/CCaaS), AI, automatic speech recognition (ASR), future of work, contact centers, customer experience, video, VoIP, and social media.

JAA is based in Toronto, Ontario, and serves clients across North America as well as in Europe. A current roster of clients can be viewed here on the website.

Jon’s thought leadership can be followed on his widely-read JAA’s Analyst Blog, along with daily commentary on Twitter and LinkedIn. In addition, Jon produces a monthly podcast - Watch This Space – which is a regular feature in his monthly newsletter, JAA’s Communications and Collaboration Review. His thought leadership is also regularly published across the communications industry, including BCStrategies, No Jitter, Ziff Davis/Toolbox.com, TechTarget and Internet Telephony Magazine.

In 2019, he has served as a judge both the Voice Summit 2019 Awards, and has been a Best in Biz Awards International judge since 2016. Also in 2019, Jon was named a “Top 50 Unified Comms Influencer”, and a “Top 30 Contact Center Influencer”.

During 2018, Jon was included in a listing of “Top 10 Telecoms Influencers”, and “TOP VoIP Bloggers to Follow”. Previously, in both March 2017 and January 2016, Jon was cited among the Top Analysts Covering the Contact Center Industry. Also in 2017, Jon was been cited as a Top 10 Telecom Expert, and Six Business Communications Thought Leaders to Follow. For JAA’s blog, it was recognized as a Top Tech Blog in 2016 and 2015, and has had other similar accolades going back to 2008.

Additionally, Jon is a BC Expert with BCStrategies, a long-serving Council Member with the Gerson Lehrman Group, speaks regularly at industry events and accepts public speaking invitations. He is frequently cited in both the trade press and mainstream business press, serves as an Advisor to emerging technology/telecom companies, and is a member of the U.S.-based SCTC, which recently absorbed the Canadian-based CTCA, of which Jon was also a member.

Prior to branching out as an independent analyst in 2005, Jon was the VoIP Program Leader for four years at industry analyst firm Frost & Sullivan. While there, he was responsible for managing their subscription service for Global VoIP Equipment Markets, and through his active participation in the industry, he created a strong presence for the firm and an unprecedented profile in the media.

Before Frost & Sullivan, Jon founded Research Solutions, an independent marketing research consultancy that operated for 15 years. During that time, Research Solutions conducted both qualitative and quantitative research projects for clients across a wide range of industries, including telecommunications, software, electronics, financial services, diagnostic equipment, transportation, energy, management training, trade publishing and professional associations.

Head of Workplace Technology
CIO Advisor

Magnus has had a 30 year career using technology to help businesses innovate. He has led, advised and been a non-executive in the Financial Services, Government and Technology sectors.

A mining engineer by training, he graduated with a first class honours from Imperial College and has mined gold, diamonds and coal.

Following a short service commission in the British Army, he enhanced his technology delivery skills at Accenture, coding, designing, testing and project managing.

Having delivered numerous projects for Credit Suisse with Accenture, he finally joined the firm and built the Investment Bank’s first Project Services function, delivering the ability for rapid change, core to Credit Suisse’s growth in the banking’s “premier division”.

Moving into technology management in 2000, he held numerous leadership positions as Head of IT, COO for IT and CIO as technology became yet more important in the Bank.

Subsequently, he joined the UK Government as a CTO in the Government Digital Service, building options to make delivery easier for hundreds of Government CIO’s. Following this, he joined the UK Financial Conduct Authority as their first senior advisor with a technology background, focussing on improving outcomes through the use of technology.

Magnus has sat on the board of a bank and a data centre company. He continues to be a non-executive at the UK Serious Fraud Office.

Director of Technology Engagement
British Heart Foundation

Mary O’Callaghan is the Director of Technology Engagement at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), growing pioneering partnerships (internally and externally) that co-create opportunities and mobilise the right people who can make them happen.

Prior to joining BHF, Mary was the lead consultant in Z/Yen’s civil society practice, working with a range of organisations, including medical and research charities, trades unions, public sector bodies, financial institutions and hospitals. She was the project manager for the establishment of the award winning CharITyshare, and SPHERE Systems Empowering Healthcare, as well as Z/Yen’s early development of Mutual Distributed Ledgers (Blockchains). Mary is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and University College Galway.

Managing Director

Owen’s career in AV started in 1984 and he has worked in a variety of roles from live events through project delivery at systems integrators that include Metro Group & Electrosonic. He also served for 17 years as a corporate enterprise end user at Morgan Stanley Investment Bank. He transitioned to a full-time role running the AV User Group in December 2017.

Owen became a member of the AV User Group in London in 2004 and was asked to serve as Chairman at the end of 2009. During Owen's time as Chairman he has extended the Groups reach into New York, San Jose (Silicon Valley) and Hong Kong.

UC Today

Rob Scott is owner and publisher of UC Today - Unified Communications, Collaboration & CX Technology News - UCToday.com.

Rob resides in the North of England and has over two decades experience in the industry. As well as publishing news, he spends his spare time attending conferences, judging awards, speaking at events and hosting panel discussions.

Director, Product Management

Smita is currently Director of Product Management at Google Cloud where she leads product development and go to market strategy for flagship communication and time management products. This includes Google Meet hardware for video conferencing, Jamboard digital whiteboarding solutions, Google Voice for cloud telephony, Google Calendar and Tasks, Google’s phone app and telephony platform. She recently led the explosive growth and transformation of Google Meet to serve the needs of users impacted by Covid19. Prior to her current role, she headed the expansion of Google’s Chrome OS device and Android apps portfolio and market growth. Before Chrome OS, Smita was responsible for AdWords expansion into location based advertising solutions.

Before Google, Smita led the product management team for delivery of television over IP networks at Microsoft. Smita received her bachelor's degree in engineering from IIT Kanpur, masters from Princeton and has a PhD in information science with focus on video and image compression from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Head of UK

Stuart Templeton is Head of Slack in the UK, the leading channel-based messaging platform used by millions to align their teams, unify their systems, and drive their businesses forward. He has over 20 years of experience in the enterprise technology industry and has held senior roles at Salesforce, Tideway and SS&C.

During his 10 years at Salesforce, Stuart held a variety of positions including Regional Vice President for Financial Services, where he helped guide customer focused innovation within banking, insurance and capital markets space.

Head of Collaboration Platforms

Sumit has over 15 years of experience in IT. Prior to working with EF, he worked for Convergys India Services and Akamai India. Throughout my career, Sumit has gained extensive knowledge and experience in the areas of project management, service delivery, IT and business management, risk assessment & mitigation and digital transformation. He has established a track record for delivering complex tasks and projects in collaborative style leadership.

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst of ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical and long-term strategic advice to constituents, including end-user IT and network managers; vendors of IT hardware, software and services; and the IT investment community.

Prior to ZK Research, Zeus Kerravala was a senior vice president and distinguished research fellow with Yankee Group. Before Yankee Group, Kerravala had a number of technical roles, including a senior technical position at Greenwich Technology Partners (GTP). He has held numerous internal IT positions, including vice president of IT and deputy CIO of Ferris, Baker Watts and senior project manager at Alex. Brown and Sons Inc. Kerravala is heavily quoted in the business and technology press, and is a regular speaker at events including Interop and Enterprise Connect.