Cisco Connect Sub-Saharan Africa 2019



Osama Al-Zoubi
Chief Technology Officer
Middle East and Africa

Technology and Business Executive, with more than 23 years of ICT experience. Osama Al-Zoubi is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Cisco Middle East and Africa (MEA).  In his current role, Osama leads the Engineering and Innovation for Cisco in MEA. A key area of focus under Osama’s leadership is the development and execution of technical strategies for digital transformation for the Middle East and Africa region.

Osama drives technology strategy and innovation, through working closely with Government Agencies, Enterprise Customers, Private Sector and Partners across the region. His focus is on developing Business and Technology Architectures to deliver on government priorities, drive innovation, and partners to accelerate country digitization.

Osama is experienced and regarded as a technical leader who leads the Systems Engineering, Innovation, and Architectures organization for Cisco in the Middle East and Africa. In his role, he partners with all customers across the region to drive innovation and digital transformation.

Osama has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC), and a Masters in Computer Science from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), in Illinois, Chicago.

Osama joined Cisco in 2001 in Chicago, IL USA; and a Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert (CCIE).

Osama enjoys volunteering, reading, volleyball, swimming, traveling, teaching, coaching and development.

Ivan Duggan
Director Enterprise Networks,
Europe, Middle East, Africa & Russia

Ivan has overall responsibility for ‘go to market’ of Cisco’s routing, switching and wireless portfolio’s in EMEAR, a portfolio that represents around 50% of Cisco’s product revenues in the region. With a key focus on enhancing customer’s digitisation evolution, productivity, profitability and lower costs through better use of Intelligent & Intuitive Networks.

With more than 30 years’ experience in the data communications industry, Ivan joined Cisco in 1999, has a diverse background of both domestic and international sales experience, holding various leadership positions in Cisco Ireland and EMEAR. In these roles Ivan was responsible for building strategic sales strategies and also served as a key spokesperson to influence the media and government on the importance of technology to drive innovation and economic growth. He also led the Architecture and Solutions team in EMEAR, where he was responsible for delivering Customer & Partner success through Architectural & solutions IT relevancy.

Ivan lives in Limerick, Ireland with his wife Siobhan and 2 university going children, he is an avid sports enthusiast and a regular attendee to his local Rugby Club, 2-time European Rugby champions, Munster. He would prefer a season ticket, unfortunately, his business travel curtails his ability to attend all games.

Jeff Jack
Executive: Digital Infrastructure, MEA

Jeff was appointed as Executive for Digital Infrastructure, MEA from 1 October 2018 and is responsible for the Networking and Datacentre business in the region.

Prior to this role, Jeff was responsible for setting the strategy and execution of Dimension Data’s $4bn networking business, globally.

Jeff joined Dimension Data in 2000 as technical consultant and has held a number of leadership roles within Networking during his tenure, including the role of General Manager in South Africa where he had full P&L responsibility for a $200m business.

Prior to joining Dimension Data he was with Guardian National Insurance Company for a number of years where he started his working career as a programmer, but soon moved onto introducing the first LAN and WAN networks and client-server systems.

Jeff is married to Colleen, together they have two children. He is a very keen cyclist and loves competing in mountain bike stage races.

TK Keanini
Distinguished Engineer, Advanced Threat Solutions

TK Keanini brings more than 25 years of network and security experience to his role as Distinguished Engineer within Cisco’s Security Business Group, where he uses his expertise in analytics to build a unified security architecture that enables customers to adapt and respond to ever-evolving threats.  In 2017, TK and team were awarded the prestigious Cisco Pioneer Award recognizing their innovative work on Encrypted Traffic Analytics.

Prior to joining Cisco, TK served as CTO for Lancope where he and his team built the award-winning Stealthwatch™ product line. Before joining Lancope, he was CTO at nCircle, driving product innovation that defined the vulnerability management and configuration compliance market. 

TK is a founding member of many security standards such as CVE and remains active in standard bodies that promote multi-vendor interoperability. As a highly regarded industry expert, his opinions and expertise have been featured in publications including Information Week, Federal Computer Week, Forbes, CNET News and CIO. TK is a frequent speaker at industry forums such as the RSA Conference, SANS Network Security, Security B-Sides, GFIRST and Cisco Live.

David Meads
Vice President
Middle East and Africa

David Meads was appointed to lead Cisco’s business and operations in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) in July 2017. Based out of Dubai, UAE, Meads oversees the execution of Cisco’s strategy across the two regions, ensuring the worldwide technology leader maintains its momentum at the forefront of digital transformation efforts.

As Cisco’s Vice President for the Middle East and Africa, Meads is responsible for the company’s sales and go-to-market strategy, in addition to overseeing growth initiatives, strategic alliances and field execution of that strategy. A key focus in this role is to partner with governments and businesses to build the technology skills, ecosystems and engines that drive economic growth, competitiveness and prosperity for emerging countries across the two regions.

Meads has over 30 years of experience in the ICT industry and is highly respected for his keen understanding of technology and market opportunities, as well as his track record of operational excellence. A 21-year Cisco veteran, he combines a deep expertise in building strategic customer relationships with a passion for people leadership, talent development and customer success. During his tenure he has gained a reputation as a transformational leader with deep market knowledge and an ability to deliver business performance outcomes in complex, dynamic markets.

Prior to his current role, Meads had a very successful tenure as Cisco’s Vice President for Africa, where he was responsible for partnering with African governments and private sector companies to help them define and implement digital strategies that unlock the full potential of the Internet of Things (IoT). In this capacity, he acted as a trusted advisor to organisations, cities and countries, helping them to understand how digitization can help them become more competitive, innovative and inclusive through life changing networks, enabled by technology.

Meads was previously Managing Director for Cisco South Africa based in Johannesburg, a role he held for three years and in which he helped the country accelerate its national digitization strategies and develop its e-skills initiatives to harness technology for socio-economic development.

Meads frequently represents Cisco at a number of high profile external events including the Internet of Things World Forum, World Economic Forum, AfricaCom and Cisco Connect events, ensuring that Cisco builds stronger strategic relationships with government, industry and business leaders.

Clayton Naidoo
General Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa

Clayton Naidoo is the General Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa.  He is responsible for executing a regional-wide vision and strategy that delivers transformational value to our customers and partners; driving growth across all segments in all architectures; managing and achieving operational excellence; and continuing to develop strategic relationships across entire ecosystem to drive a digital agenda for Sub-Saharan Africa.

Most recently, Clayton was Head of the Digital Transformation team for Cisco South Africa, where he was responsible for developing and implementing the Public-Sector strategy for South Africa as well as some of our largest Enterprise customers.  

Prior to this, Clayton was the Regional Sales Manager for Strategic Accounts Southern Africa, where he overseed the development and implementation of the vertical strategy ensuring that he positions the business for growth and new business. He also fosters strong relationships with key customers and partners with the objective of supporting Cisco’s strategic business outcomes.

Clayton joined Cisco in 2007 as the Channel Service Account Manager and was appointed to Regional Sales Manager for Enterprise solutions shortly after that. In that role, Clayton successfully led the first Project One Pilot in EMEAR, where he led the integration of the Product and Services sales teams. The pilot was so successful that Cisco South Africa’s Enterprise Services Business doubled in FY14 and created a $15m recurring revenue stream for the country. As recognition of his achievements, he was appointed into the role of Regional Sales Manager for the Public Sector vertical where his mandate was to revamp, grow and maintain the business.

Prior to joining Cisco, Clayton spent two years as an Account Executive at the Learning Resources Group, a management consulting and learning services organisation where his main task was organisational performance. His academic achievements include a Master in Business Administration (MBA) and a Diploma in Advanced Management from the Management College of South Africa. 

Clayton can be described as passionate about organisational development, business strategy and innovation. He has achieved his greatest accomplishments through a combination of hard work, stewardship and ambition. He is married and has two children.



Gerri Elliott
EVP and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer

As first ever EVP and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Gerri Elliott is responsible for worldwide sales and marketing, field operations, and partnerships across the globe.

Gerri is an accomplished business leader with deep technology experience in enterprise and software sales. She has led large-scale and highly complex global sales organizations and is a recognized expert in go-to-market and customer care strategies. She is highly regarded for her deep international experience including spending years living and working in Asia.

As a leader at IBM, Microsoft, and Juniper Networks, Gerri has transformed global businesses for more than half of her career. As Juniper Networks Chief Customer Officer, she led a global organization of direct and indirect sales, systems engineering, marketing, advanced technologies, channel partners and alliances, field operations, services and support. Prior to that, Gerri was Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President, WW Public Sector, where she oversaw sales and marketing teams serving government, education and health care customers across more than 100 countries. She built the WW Industry Solutions Group, creating multiple industry go-to-market teams, and led Americas Enterprise, the largest geography for Microsoft. Gerri started her tech career at IBM, spending almost 22 years there in key executive and management positions in strategy development, services and consulting, product management, and sales.

Gerri has a deep commitment and passion for developing female leaders and creating more diversity in business. Most recently, she founded, a site devoted to executive women who serve or want to serve on corporate boards. Prior to Cisco, Gerri served on several Board of Directors, including Imperva, Marvell Technologies, Mimecast and Bed Bath and Beyond. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Whirlpool and serves on its audit and finance committees.

Gerri holds a bachelor's degree in political science from New York University.

Cleo Gwena

Ms. Cleo has been in the ICT industry for over 15 years ranging from selling and providing in the early years, online dissemination of information, selling infrastructure solutions, products and services including training of channel partners. Selling of these would range from the private and public sectors in South Africa. During this time the engagements have been with end-users, ecosystem partners including top tier distribution channel, internal stakeholders both locally and internationally including up to Executive levels.  

Today, Cleo is working with an innovative company in the ICT space based in Illovo, Johannesburg. The focal areas for Cleo at IN2IT Technologies are but not limited to selling in both the private and public sector spaces across all verticals in South Africa, particularly in the Gauteng region. In addition to this, Cleo has contributed in the learnership and the skills development programs processes. Other initiatives of late have been to be part of the establishment team at IN2IT with the CEO, to collaborating with the Gauteng Provincial Government (e-Gov) for the Technology Innovation Conference 2018 which took place in February 2018 at the Gallagher Estate in Midrand.  Additionally, Cleo was involved in the CSI activity such as the David Makhura foundation Golf Day in 2017 with the IN2IT Management to sponsor under-privileged students to help pay for their fees.

Cleo holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with the University of Witwatersrand Johannesburg, South Africa majoring in International Relations and Political Studies and a Project Management certificate from the same institution and loves reading broad topics and writing during her spare time amongst other things.

Charmaine Houvet
Public Policy Director: Africa, Cisco Systems

Charmaine Houvet’s love and passion for the ICT industry comes from over two decades of telecommunications experience working with private and public sector organizations across Africa.

She joined Cisco in March 2016 with several years’ experience as a Senior Executive in diverse and transformative roles with high profile leading ICT companies.

Charmaine holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree.

She is passionate about female and community development and serves on various boards and trusts whose objectives are aligned to her values.

Charmaine is a Trustee of the Cisco Charitable Trust Board which is headquartered in San Jose as well as a Board member of the Cisco Systems & Cisco Technology and Services in country.

She serves as a Chairperson of the South African Women in ICT Forum board and the South African Communications Forum (SACF). Charmaine is a member of the invitation only South African Chapter of the International Women’s Forum of South Africa.

Charmaine is passionate about transformation and the advancement of women in the sector and is the recipient of a number of business awards in recognition of her vision, leadership and achievements in the ICT sector. In November 2016, she was named South Africa’s Top Woman in ICT and in August 2017 Charmaine was awarded the MTN Ministerial Recognition Award for her outstanding contribution towards advancing the ICT industry in South Africa. CNBC Africa featured Charmaine as a disruptor in ICT in August 2017.

Charmaine serves on the Advisory Board of the Global Broadband Plan for Refugees Project to meet the broadband connectivity goal set by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR).

Francine Katsoudas
Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer

Francine Katsoudas is Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer of Cisco. She plays a major role in the company’s overall performance, leading organizational strategy, promoting operational effectiveness, and elevating team performance through innovative leadership. 

She leads Cisco’s business-driven People Strategy and People Deal, both of which support and align to Cisco’s overall business strategy and are essential to driving the Company’s transformational journey. She also is evolving Cisco’s approach to strategic workforce planning with programs highlighting the skills and capabilities that employees need to be innovative in today’s technology driven environment. She fosters a culture of full spectrum participation, emphasizing inclusion and collaboration to drive exponential business value.  

A 22-year veteran of Cisco, Katsoudas has extensive experience leading organizational transformations, driving large scale growth, talent acquisition, leadership development, and succession planning. Prior to her current role, she was the HR leader and business partner to the Engineering leadership team helping oversee its workforce of more than 25,000 people. She has also held leadership positions in the Service Provider, HR Operations, Customer Service, Acquisition Integration and Services groups.

Prior to Cisco, Katsoudas worked in both the financial and professional services industries with a focus on customer service and operations. 

Fran is a member of the Americares Board of Directors. 

Saurabh Kumar
CEO, In2IT Technologies

Saurabh holds MBA in Marketing and Bachelor of Engineering (Electronics) along with international business qualification from Prestigious ESC Rennes, France. As CEO of In2IT Technologies, he manages the country business along with a mandate to create new-edge technology lines. Under his leadership In2IT has been able to establish differentiation in Consulting and Technology sourcing advisory services. He is passionate about IT led business transformation and is widely invited to participate in various intervention and initiatives. He has vast experience in opening up and growing large geographies for IT Services organisation. Saurabh lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. In his free time he likes playing golf.



Rick Alfonso
Systems Engineer Enterprise Networks

Rick has spent the last twenty eight years in the IT industry in a variety of roles. After studying Electronic engineering he started his career in process control engineering at Siemens, before transitioning from component level electronics into the IT field, starting out with desktop and printer support, and then transitioning to network and server engineering and administration, and on to implementation and design. For the past twelve years he has been with Cisco as an Enterprise Networks Systems Engineer looking after customers in the Public Sector, Enterprise and Commercial space. He has a broad knowledge of the industry and has experience working in various areas of the industry ranging from end user customers, through service providers as well as the partner channel. Rick is a member of the Enterprise networks Virtual team and the competitive tiger teams. In his spare time Rick is a Bladesmith / Knife maker and enjoys Cycling and mountain biking.

Hama Alio

Hama helped the Emerging Middle East & Africa GSSO org. Evangelize Cisco's vision to deliver intelligent cybersecurity for the real world, providing one of the industry's most comprehensive advanced threat protection portfolios of solutions across the broadest set of attack vectors. Hama’s roles also focuses on empowering customers to securely create and deliver value as every country, city and company becomes digital covering 60 countries.  

Hama has 19 years ICT experience and joined Cisco from Deutsche Telekom (SP Germany). As a 13 years Cisco Veteran Hama started in the Cisco German Organization as Systems Engineer and held multiple technical (SE) & sales roles (BDM/PSS/AM) in international roles covering routing/switching/wireless/security/video in different verticals.

Paul Beyleveld
Consulting systems engineer, Cisco Security Sales

Paul Beyleveld is a Consulting Systems Engineer for Cisco Security Sales supporting the sub-Saharan Africa region. He is responsible for providing advice, consultation services and gearing up Cisco customers with end-to-end cyber security capabilities. Paul has over 15 years' experience in the Cybersecurity industry, 8 of which were spent at Cisco. Before Cisco, Paul was part of the Engineering teams at leading value added cyber security distributors within the sub-Sahara Africa region and worked to design, implement and support encryption, content, network and application security solutions. Paul is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). He is a self-professed Maker with a keen interest in 3D printing and electronics.

Patrick Bikar
Head of Business Architecture Center of Excellence

Patrick Bikar leads Cisco’s Business Architecture Center of Excellence in EMEAR. This group of 100 Business Architects is focused on 3 goals: driving partnership with the executives of Cisco’s strategic customers, connecting technology roadmaps to business outcomes, and delivering on-going, mutual business success.

Over the last decade, Patrick has helped numerous CIOs and their IT department to become the drivers of Digital Transformation in their organizations. How to effectively meet the strategic business drivers (WHY), gradually evolve the IT operating model (HOW), and build the secure, intelligent platform that will accelerate business innovation (WHAT)? Cisco Business Architecture offers an agile and pragmatic answer, delivering value at every step through tangible Business Innovation Sprints.

In 1999, Patrick graduated first of his promotion as a Telecommunications Engineer from the University of Brussels, Belgium. His certifications include Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert (CCIE 7045), ITIL 3, TOGAF 9, and Business Architect Transformation Program (BATP). He was a Cisco Chairman's Club Winner in 2008 and 2014. In 2014, Patrick finished a 2-year Executive Master in IT Management (Solvay Business School), which gave him a thorough understanding on how to “run IT like a business”.

Joel Burger
Consulting Systems Engineer Cyber Security – Service Provider

Joel has 21 years’ experience as a Service Provider professional and has been at Cisco since 2008. His focus for the past 5 years is on Cyber Security Solutions for Service providers.  He has extensive experience in SP CORE, Mobile, SP Datacenter and Campus Networks. 

Enjoys the outdoors, Golf, Rugby and holidays with the family.

Eddy Busaidy
IoT Sales Specialist

Eddy Busaidy is an Internet of Things (IoT) Sales Specialist for the Middle East & Africa MEA) region who helps customers understand and apply technology to address their most critical business challenges.  These Industrial IoT solutions apply to OT domains and often relate directly to system operations, security & safety and the field workforce.  Increasingly, these benefits are realized by securely accessing data from machines, devices and sensors.

Eddy joined Cisco in 1999 and has held various roles responsible for sales in the United States, Europe, and the MEA region.  In his 20 years working in IT, he has worked closely with a wide spectrum of customers to deploy complex data center solutions, IT/OT projects, large rollouts of vast networks to meet their business objectives and support their growth.  He is a senior sales executive and a well trusted advisor to his partners and customers.

Luis Coelho
Consulting Systems Engineer at Cisco

With 20 years of experience in the Networking industry, currently has a Sales Technical Consulting role for Data Center and NFV in the GSP group, covering all Service Providers in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey region.

Mark Comeadow
Solution Specialist

Mark is an experienced solution specialist in the SD-WAN and VPN space, who enjoys working in disruptive technology areas that provide strong benefits for customers.

He’s worked with SD-WAN for several years in various roles and enjoys immensely direct customer engagements, and has worked with Enterprise, Government, Financial and Service-Providers across more countries than he’d like to count. He’s previously pioneered solutions in DM-VPN, GET-VPN, MACSEC as well as government grade VPNs across the UK. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering, a CCIE, CompTIA Security and a Cisco Security Ninja Belt and holds a patent in VPNs.

In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his family, a bad tempered pet parrot, feeding 2 garden hedgehogs and swimming!


Paola Jorge Correia
Technical Solutions Architect, EMEAR Enterprise Business Group

Paulo Jorge Correia has a degree in Systems and Computer Science Engineering from the University of Braga in Portugal, he is a CCIE.

More than 25 years’ experience in networking, telecommunication and Security industry.  He is currently a Technical Solutions Architect in the Collaboration EMEAR CTO team. 

Cisco subject matter expert on Identity, Security and endpoints for Collaboration, managing World Wide customer requests and feedback. Paulo works together with the Cisco development organizations to improve our collaboration products on those areas.

Frequent speaker at events such as Cisco Live, Cisco Connect and other public events.

Imran Dewan
Cisco Refresh – Regional Manager, Middle East & Africa

Imran Dewan manages Cisco’s Remanufactured business in the Middle East & Africa. Working across all verticals, Imran is responsible for sales and marketing with specific focus on addressing unauthorised/gray in-region to drive incremental sales. 

 Imran joined Cisco in 2007 spending time in Finance and 11 years in Public Sector focusing on Country Digitisation and Workplace Transformation.

 Imran joined the Refresh team in 2017 and relocated from the UK to Dubai with his wife and son.

Durga Prakash Emani
Senior Product Manager

Durga Emani is Sr Product Manager in Service Provider Routing group at Cisco Systems. As part of the Service Provider Routing group, he drives Access and Aggregation transport products primarily catering to Mobile Backhaul and Carrier Ethernet.

Prior to his current role, Durga worked as Principle Product Manager, Technical Marketing Engineer, Network consultant, Network Operations Engineer and  has a vast knowledge of the industry and has experience working in various areas of the industry ranging from Network Planning, design all through Operations and Service delivery.

Durga has 15 years of experience in Telecom and Digital technologies involving Networking, Cloud, Service assurance and Virtualization . He has been instrumental with customers in delivering products/projects for architecting next generation networks.

He is also an Environmentalist leading an NGO and is passionate about wild life Photography.

Ross Ferguson

Ross has over 25 years expertise in systems, network and security architecture design, implementation and migration. 

He has been involved in the full project life cycle on a number of critical infrastructure projects covering detailed requirements gathering, high and low level design, leading to hands on deployment within defense, enterprise and service provider customers with specific expertise in the security domains.   

For the past 10 years, Ross has been a senior security consultant for Cisco Systems and currently leads their incident response practice for the EMEAR region.   

Previous to this Ross ran his own successful security company for 8 years and also worked with a number of blue chip companies as a consultant including British Telecom, HP and O2 Telefonica.

Fabien Gandola
Technology Solution Architect for Data Center Security

After over 20 years working in Cisco, mostly in Security, participating for over 15 years to event such as Cisco Connect and Cisco Live, i still thoroughly enjoy standing in front of our customers and partners to exchange, either on stage, in a meeting or simply in a corridor.  While I started as SE, then CSE for security, I am nowadays a Technology Solution Architect for Data Center Security covering EMEAR.

Yaman Hakmi
Digital Innovation Architect

Yaman is a Digital Innovation Architect at Cisco based out of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  Yaman has over 14 years of industry experience in the ICT field.   In his current role, Yaman leads the Middle East & Africa Digital & Innovation Team, and works closely with customers on driving innovation initiatives. 

Yaman is also responsible for the day-to-day operation of Cisco Co-Innovation Center in Dubai, as well as driving programmability use cases and business architecture across the region.

Steve Harrison
Leads Systems Engineer

Steve Harrison is the Lead Systems Engineer in EMEA and the global Security & MX SE Lead at Cisco Meraki.  His career has thus far focused on the intersection of technical/information security and computer networks. Prior to working at Cisco Meraki, he spent the previous 15 years advising, designing, consulting, configuring and building networks and network services for everything from commercial entities to government departments to national service providers.

Outside of work Steve has a bachelor’s degree in Physics and many professional certifications including CWNE


Jamey Heary
Distinguished Security Systems Architect

Jamey Heary is a Distinguished Security Systems Architect, Sr. Dir., at Cisco Systems where he leads the Global Security Architecture Team.  Jamey is a trusted security advisor and architect for many of Cisco’s largest customers across the globe. His recent focus areas are in cutting-edge secure hybrid datacenter, workload security and zero trust architectures.  Jamey has a long-term passion for secure network access control and has authored three books, his latest is Cisco ISE for BYOD and Secure Unified Access 2nd ed. He also has two patents on a new next-gen firewall IP reputation technique. He is a frequent and accomplished speaker, including a Cisco Live distinguished speaker.  Jamey sits on numerous security technology advisory boards for Cisco and was a founding member of the Colorado Healthcare InfoSec Users Group and Cisco Security Users groups across the USA.

His certifications include CCIE #7680, CISSP and he is a Certified HIPAA Security Professional. Jamey has extensive expertise and thought leadership in PCI compliance and design. He was elected to the PCI Council -board of advisors for 8 years where he provided strategic guidance on revisions to the PCI standards. 

He has been working in the IT security field for over 25 years. His hobbies are boating, scuba diving and medieval history.

Marcos Jimena
Technical Solutions Architect

Marcos Jimena is based in Madrid (Spain) and working at Cisco since 98. He ´s currently a Technical Solutions Architect for EMEAR specialized in switching and SD -Access technologies and responsible in helping customers and partners in the digital transformation of their business processes and business models through Cisco campus innovations and SDN approach.

Karim Kattouf
Investigator, Brand Protection – Middle East & Africa

Born in Lebanon and raised in Cyprus, Karim leads the Cisco’s Brand Protection team for the Middle East and Africa. 

Karim’s role is multifaceted encompassing Investigations, Audit, Governance, protecting Cisco’s Intellectual & trademark Rights and fostering key relationships with Government officials. 

Karim joined Cisco in 2007 as part of Partnership for Lebanon program where he worked in San Jose California in the Marketing department. He then relocated back to Lebanon, as an analyst in the Risk Management function and then joined the Cisco Brand Protection supporting the Middle East.  

Karim holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree from the American University of Beirut and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the Lebanese American University. Karim completed Cisco’s Leadership Pipeline Program, an 18 months development program for high potential leaders at early career stages.

Sean Kelly
Senior Consultant

Sean is a senior consultant with Cisco’s Advisory Services team, helping customers create, execute and measure the benefits of digitalisation strategies, working across the EMEAR region with a current focus on Africa and Russia.  He has years of experience across different geographies and industries, with recent and ongoing projects covering use case identification & prioritisation, service portfolio discovery & definition, business case creation, and services strategy.  In addition, Sean is one of the team’s cloud and automation subject matter experts, with specific expertise in telco & media clouds, and unlocking operating model potential through the introduction of Agile working methodologies.

Sean has over 20 years IT experience and has been with Cisco for 2 years.  He previously worked with Hewlett Packard where he helped create their EMEA cloud consulting practice, and with British Telecom where he designed and built their first generation IaaS cloud platform using open source technologies.  His current areas of personal interest include media distribution and machine learning.

Living in the Northumberland countryside of the North East of England, Sean enjoys running and hiking around the local woodland and coastal trails.

Abubakar Maarof
IoT Technical Solutions Architect in Cisco for Middle East Africa Region

Abubakar Maaroof is IoT Technical Solutions Architect in Cisco for Middle East Africa Region

He started at Cisco in 2007, joining as a Systems Engineer in the Middle East region covering multiple verticals such as Oil and Gas, Transportation and Utilities. In 2015, Abubakar joined the IoT regional team covering Middle East & Africa region region.

Abubakar’s primary focus is helping cisco customers & partners to understand Cisco’s IoT vision and solutions from both a technical standpoint and business value proposition.

Abubakar holds, a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electrical Engineering and Master of Science in Internet Technology from Aston University Birmingham, United Kingdom.


Jean-Baptiste Marzolf

Phil Maynard
Senior Product Manager

Phil Maynard is a Senior Product Manager in Cisco’s Cross Architecture Customer Experience organization.  Phil leads a dynamic team focused on Global Public Sector, Network Function Virtualization and Circular Economy.  Phil has interests in digital transformation, sustainability, value creation with technology, commerce, and consumption-based annuity offers.   

Phil began his career as an Officer in the United States Air Force.  He joined Cisco Advanced Services in 2013, serving in a variety of professional services delivery, product management and engineering management roles. 

Phil holds a MS in Management of IT from the University of Virginia and BS in Aviation Human Factors from the University of Illinois.  He also holds Project Management Professional, Stanford Advanced Program Management, and ITILv3 Foundations certifications. 

Leendert Meyer
Technical Consultant

Leendert is a technical consultant with more than 20 years working experience in the development -, security -, integration - and monitoring domains. He has mainly focused on application performance management (APM) and integration for the last couple of years, where he was responsible for managing APM operations for customers like Telkom SA.

Annette Muller

Despite efforts to bridge the gap of gender inequality in the workplace, the tech industry is still very much male-dominated. According to the Women in Tech website, only 23% of tech jobs are held by women in South Africa and out of 236 000 ICT roles, women occupy 56 000 of them.

One lady who decided that she was not going to allow society to dictate to her what her career path should be just because she is a woman is Annette Muller.

In 2011 Annette decided to start her own tech business called DOTNXT which serviced clients such as Nedbank and Graham Beck. Following the success of that company, she started another tech company called Flexyforce - a cloud-based platform that allows companies to create and manage a flexible on-demand workforce, and book and pay preferred freelance suppliers.

Not only does she have two successful tech businesses which she started, but she was also on Forbes 2014's list of 10 Female Tech Founders to Watch in Africa.

Annette holds a Business Science degree (Honours Cum Laude) from Cape Town, SA, and has attended the renowned Hyper Island Digital Master Class in New York. As a sought-after international speaker and digital change agent, her work continues to expand her global network of specialists and industry leaders, building on her skill and her firm’s offering as a connector for start-ups, investors, agencies and enterprises alike.

Annette is widely regarded as one of the great young strategic minds of today. This impassioned social entrepreneur’s drive to make things happen is further strengthened by her dedication to creating work that drives pan-African social change and transformation. Committed to staying on the cutting edge of technology, surrounded by people that can make things happen, Annette lives her mantra that “if you are the smartest person in the room you are in the wrong room!"

Michael Nagar
Senior Systems Engineer

Michael Nagar is a Senior member of the Turbonomic Pre-Sales team in the EMEA region. Michael is closely involved with the Cisco/Turbonomic Alliance in the region working to evangelise and drive market awareness of the (CWOM) Cisco Workload Optimisation Manager software in the market place.   

Michael joined Turbonomic in 2015 whilst it was still in early stages and has been working with large Enterprise Accounts across the EMEA region participating in the success of this Hyper-growth software company.  

Prior to joining Turbonomic Michael spent four years at Node4 Ltd where he was managing Pre-Sales primarily focused on the UK market during the accelerated growth stages of the business.  

Michael hold many technical accreditations including AWS, VMware VCP, Microsoft MCPS and Citrix CCA. His academic achievements include a MSc in Computer Science.

Justin Olivier
Enterprise Account Executive

Justin Olivier is a member of the Turbonomic Senior Enterprise Accounts Team and prides himself on building long lasting value for his clients through delivering high-standards of service with accountability, ownership and trust.

Having spent nearly a decade working in IT for multimillion dollar brands such as VMware, Justin knows what truly drives digital transformation, strategy and execution. Justin has been at Turbonomic since 2017, and exclusively covers the Sub Saharan Africa Region.

Having started his career as a hands on Techie, Justin has developed a firm understanding of how Data Center technology can drive true business value.

Justin holds a VCP and MSCE, and on a personal level, has a young family, has travelled extensively and relishes experiencing different cultures.


Karl Oswald

Stuart Player

Stuart Player is the WEBEX Meetings, Teams & Devices Sales Acceleration Lead for EMEAR (Enterprise & GSP) at Cisco. 

Based out of the United Kingdom Stuart is responsible for developing and delivering sales programs; setting global sales strategies aligned with Webex Business Unit initiatives; and driving thought leadership into the EMEAR region.

Stuart is passionate about how video and collaboration technologies are transforming the workplace; enabling new, agile and flexible working practices.  Customer success has always been a key driver for him.

In his 15 years at Cisco Stuart has held a number of sales roles across the organisation with the last 9 years specifically focussed in Video and Collaboration.  

Outside of Cisco; Stuart is an elected Governor on the Members Council at Great Ormond Street Hospital Foundation Trust in London.  He studied software engineering at Anglia Ruskin University, graduating in 1991.

He is married with three children and lives in Hampshire, England. Interests include kite surfing, snowboarding, cycling and travel. Additionally, Stuart is a professionally qualified SCUBA diving instructor.

Videsha Proothveerajh
EMEA Territory - Strategic Growth Director
General Manager: Southern Africa

Intel Corporation

Videsha stands at the forefront of the fastest moving technology industry.  She is Intel’s EMEA Territory Strategic Growth Director as well as the General Manager for Southern Africa. She is responsible for pushing the boundaries of smart and connected technology and enabling customers on their digital transformation journey to make amazing experiences possible across all segments and industries.

 Her comfort in the industry derives from her 20 years’ plus experience working in high-profile ICT companies such as EDS, Microsoft and Intel. She has also successfully run her own business focusing on strategy and value creation. She has many accolades, including being honoured and recognised as the most influential Woman in Business and Government for ICT in Africa. She was spotlighted by Forbes as a change maker in Africa. In 2017 Videsha was recognised as one of the 50 most inspiring women in South Africa as part of the global Inspiring woman recognitions run by the European commission.

 Videsha has always capitalised on opportunities to be an instrumental change-maker not only in the corporate world but also on issues close to her heart. She’s passionate about women and the girl child’s empowerment and she works on projects to uplift the community as a whole through Intel’s work in this space. She is a strong champion of Intel’s work with Government that touches the lives of citizens in emerging markets through technology.

 Videsha believes that one should never be defined by a title but rather embrace opportunities to learn new skill sets and be enriched by new experiences – this is evident in her approach to her career and life in general. Her leadership philosophy is a servant one and she believes that her role in the lives of the people around her is to help them achieve their full potential.

 Videsha is a certified SAP and ITIL consultant, certified NLP coach, has a B.Com degree, a post graduate degree in Business management and a MBA specializing in advanced strategic management. Videsha enjoys beach hopping and walks in nature as well as dabbling in yoga, meditation and Reiki and is a “readaholic”. When she counts her blessings she counts her two children thrice.

Dr Rene Raeber
Distinguished Engineer | IEEE-802.1 Architect

René Raeber, has 20 Years of Datacenter Experience, holds a Swiss University degree in IT Engineering, as well as a Post-degree / Masters in Business IT Security. René joined Cisco more than 15 Years ago, before Cisco he was working on Mainframe technologies in supercomputing datacenters, and did some of the very first multiprotocol routing products integrations. Today he works in a role as a Datacenter Architect for the Cisco Emerging Market Theater (Latin & Central America, Middle East, Russia, and Africa). He is engaged in advanced technology and strategic Datacenter projects, designs, and implementations, education for internal and external engineers, as well as gateway function towards the datacenter business units for new and strategic datacenter product development. In beside of his Cisco role, Rene Raeber is an active IEEE Member for the IEEE-802.1 Datacenter Protocol Standards, and he is active member of different IT Security councils like SICTA, and FGSEC in beside of being a BS/ISO 7799v3 Auditor for IT-Security in Datacenters, and active contributor for the TIA-942 Datacenter Environmental standards.

Datacenter Patent Reviewer

Masters Business IT Security

Nathan Reddy
Industry Technical Specialist – SSSA

Intel Corporation

Nathan has technical expertise on Intel based products and solutions with Commercial Client, Enterprise, Storage and IOT. Nathan works as a technical consultant with the regional Account Executives focused on Public Sector, Financial Services and High Performance Computing market segments.

Mohammad Salaheldin
Customer Solutions Architect

Mohammad Salaheldin is a technical solutions architect, in his current role Mohammad overlooks large customer transformation, with special focus on 5G technologies and network automation.

Mohammad joined Cisco on 2007 as a service provider systems engineer, during his role as a system engineer Mohammad orchestrated many architectural transformations in customer networks in a wide area of technologies such as, core MPLS, datacenters and virtualization, cloud computing, network function virtualization and automation.

He was assigned to work as a global SE for Orange group participating in some of the key wins across the group in core networking 4G/5G core transformation and automation.

Prior to joining Cisco, he spent 5 years as a technical implementation manager at BARQ (system Integrator) overlooking several key projects across the middle east.

Mohammad’s academic achievements include a Bachelor of engineering from Cairo University.

He is married and has a daughter and a son.

Bruno Scholz
Solution Architect

Bruno Scholz is a Solution Architect at Cisco, working with public sector clients in South Africa. He joined Cisco in 2007 and has served in various roles since then, from technical Partner Enablement where he worked with some of Cisco SA’s largest Cisco Partners, to solution architecture in the Enterprise (financial services) and Public Sector verticals.

Bruno holds a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering (Electrical and Electronic), as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from the University of Johannesburg.

Interests outside of work include software and programming, cycling, and travel.

Steve Sharman
Technical Solutions Architect

Steve Sharman is a Technical Solution Architect with the Cisco EMEAR Data Centre team, based in London. Since joining Cisco in 1998, Steve has held roles of Systems Engineer, Consulting Systems Engineer and Technical Solutions Architect covering enterprise and service provider customers across the EMEAR region with a specific focus on Data Centre solutions.

Bilal Sherrief
Solution Architect

Bilal Sherrief is a Solution Architect at Cisco working with customers to understand some of thier key business drivers and how technology can provide a platform to drive business transformation and enable business outcomes. Bilal joined Cisco in 2006 spending working with financial services customers across the region, over the years he has worked across multiple verticals consulting with customers in his area of expertise. Bilal, additionally leads the Business Architecture and Programmability workstreams at Cisco for Sub-Saharan Africa, helping customers build a technology roadmap for digital business and how they can leverage the Open API’s across Cisco Secure Intelligent Platform for Digital Business. Bilal has a Bachelors degree in Information Technology.

Mik Stevens

Mik is the EMEAR Sales Manager for Cisco SD WAN (formerly Viptela).  Previously he was the Cyber Security Sales leader for UK, the Partner Lead for Enterprise Networking in EMEAR and the Emerging Markets Channel Lead for Borderless Networks. Mik joined Cisco in 2006 after 20 years of computer security experience in vendor, channel, public and military sectors of the industry.

Before joining Cisco, Mik worked for Check Point Software Technologies for five years in a variety of roles in both Sales and Marketing across EMEA and Asia Pacific. Prior to this he was Technical Director in a large Managed Security Service Provider in the UK market place bringing some of the first managed security services into the European Market.   Mik also worked on the first draft of the Common Criteria whilst working at The National Physical Laboratory and has seven years of Military Communications experience as an Officer in The Royal Signals.

Mik has a Masters Degree in Systems Design from The University of Manchester and a Bachelors degree in Battlefield Communication Systems (C3I) and attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

Ludomir Sznajder

Ludomir is a member of EN Global Segments & Solutions Team. He joined Cisco over 5 years ago starting as vSales Account Manager, moving to Stealthwatch Sales Specialist role and finally becoming a part of Software Defined revolution. In his current role, he helps EMEAR enterprise-scale Customers in understanding and adopting elements of Cisco’s DNA, being part of many interesting and successful projects across the Theater. Ludomir holds Master’s degree in Business Management.

Remi Vacher
Consulting Systems Engineer

Remi is a Consulting Systems Engineer based out of Dubai covering Middle-East and Africa markets. Remi’s main focus on day-to-day basis is to help customers improving their detection capabilities by bringing visibility all over the places : on-premise or in the cloud.

Johan Van Puymbrouck
Collaboration Technology Leader

In his role as Collaboration Technology Leader, Johan Van Puymbrouck is responsible for driving the tech aspect of Cisco’s Collaboration portfolio for the EMEAR markets.  He manages a team of highly specialized architects.  Johan also represents the EMEAR requirements towards Cisco’s Collaboration Business Units.  Every year, this operation represents >1 Billion USD in product and services, operated either direct or via partners.   

Since joining Cisco in 1999, Johan has held various positions, including engineering, business development, sales and management.  A pivotal moment happened when Johan joined the Cloud focused team in 2009, only 1 year after Cisco acquired Webex.  He thoroughly understands the SaaS and on-premise business and how Cisco now embraces “cloud first, not cloud only” through hybrid deployments.  Johan was also responsible for go-to-market strategies for various collaboration products in EMEAR. 

Outside of Cisco, Johan loves teaching Python and Scratch to his 3 kids, loves transformational plays and thrives on change and a good challenge.  He holds a bachelor and masters degree in engineering, ran his own VoIP broker business startup and is a proud gamer.  He is also an advisor to the university of Royal Holloway (school of management) on their digitization programme.

Ovidiu Visan
Consulting Systems Engineer

Ovidiu is Consultant System Engineer in the Service Provider group in EMEAR, based in Brussels/Belgium. His focus for the past 5 years is on SD-WAN and Next-Generation Managed Service Architectures for SP, SDN and NFV technologies in general.

He has extensive experience in IP and Broadband Aggregation, MetroEthernet services and, IP video streaming . He started with Cisco in 1993, is CCIE since 1995.

MD in Telecommunications and MBA from Brussels University, he enjoys kitesurfing and outdoor activities with family in his spare time.


Shelley Wanless
SMB Manager

Shelley Wanless is responsible for the SMB business for Cisco South Africa. 

She first joined Cisco in August 2013 as a Territory Business Manager in the Commercial Business before being promoted to SMB Manager in 2018. 

Shelley has collected more than 18 years’ experience in the ICT sector working in various sales roles.  During her 6 years at Cisco, she received various accolades such as Sales Achiever, Sales Champion and FY18 Commercial EMEAR Leader Award. 

What excites Shelley the most, is the disruption that is happening in the SMB Market. The saying, “Small business is Big Business”, is so relevant as companies enter new markets and drive innovation to stay ahead of their competitors. 

Shelley is passionate about creating value and helping small and medium business, secure their business, enable their workforce, all the while optimizing their business to be smart, reliable and easy-to manage.  A major focus area is to help our valued Partners drive their digital success in this every changing world and open new business opportunities. 

When Shelley is not working, she loves spending time with her husband, playing golf or enjoying the outdoors.

Moritz Wenz
Systems Engineer for Advanced Threats

Moritz Wenz is the Head of Systems Engineering for the Advanced Threats team in EMEAR. He is working for Cisco Security for the last 11 years and is responsible for the portfolio of the Cisco Advanced Malware Protection portfolio. He is a speaker on Cisco Live Events, as well as speaker on IT-Security trade shows all over EMEAR. As a hobby he is looking and chatting with 3rd Party Integration tools to broaden our capability to bring more value to our customers.

Darren Williams
EMEAR UCS & HyperFlex Leader

Darren Williams has been in the IT industry for over 25 years. During this time, he has worked in many different roles including customer roles covering everything from Systems Administrator through to Global Storage Architect.

Outside of these customer roles Darren has worked in Storage companies for the past 14 years holding roles covering Pre-Sales and Sales in all different size customers and regions and now leads Cisco Compute Sales in EMEAR covering both UCS and HyperFlex.

 Darren has been at Cisco for over 6 years and works with his team in evangelising UCS & HyperFlex and enabling the Cisco field, Cisco partners and Customers to understand the rich offerings Cisco has in Compute. He’s never shy and participates in all the major speaking opportunities to promote Cisco Compute and is always keen to share his thoughts.

In his spare time Darren plays golf, not as often as he would like, supports Arsenal Football Club and is a keen runner.

Twitter: @MrHyperFlex @MrCiscoUCS


Pinar Yildiz Budakoglu
Strategy & Cross-Architectural Engagements Lead

Pinar Yildiz Budakoglu is currently leading Strategy and Cross-Architectural Engagements for MEA Specialist team and also supporting Collaboration business in Turkey and Sub-Saharan Africa. She joined Cisco in 2006 and had several roles in technical and channel teams. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and completed her Executive MBA at Koç University. Pinar is a happy mother of a 3 years old boy, she lives in Istanbul and loves dancing and Yoga.

Ahmad Zureiki
Collaboration Lead – Cisco Middle East and Africa

Ahmad has 23 years experience in the IT industry and joined Cisco more than 8 years ago successfully driving Cisco collaboration business across Middle East and Africa region. Prior to joining Cisco Ahmad held several regional sales, technical and managerial positions with Avaya, Nortel and regional System integrators. He holds communication engineering degree and lives in Dubai.



Brett Archibald

Having fallen overboard unconscious off a surf charter boat in the middle of a stormy night, being stung by Portuguese man of war and jellyfish, eaten by small fish, attacked by seagulls, hit by a shark plus surviving the ordeal of swimming for 28.5 hours alone in the Mentawaii Straits in the Indian Ocean, successful businessman and entrepreneur, Brett Archibald is now a sought after corporate speaker.

People cope with trauma and tragedy in different ways, and I feel fortunate to be able to share this story with others in such a way that will give them an insight as to what I went through and how it has changed my perspective and view of life. I firmly believe we all need to find ways where we can add meaning to our own lives and those around us.

South African born Archibald matriculated at Westville Boys High and studied at Natal University and UNISA. He completed 5 years of articles at Ernst and Young and went on to become a director at RCI Southern Africa before moving to London as Managing Director for Group RCI EMEAI. His challenging global career that included the roles of Group Managing Director of RCI EMEAI with 14 countries reporting in to him, Group Development Director for Wyndham Rental and Exchange in Hong Kong and finally Group Development Director for Wyndham Rental and Exchange Europe, Middle East, Africa, India and Asia based out of London, helped him emerge from the turbulent waters. His incredible focus, belief, determination and will to survive, together with those who saved him, form the backbone of this amazing story that began when he went on a surfing trip to Indonesia with a group of childhood friends.

Hailed as the miracle surfing survivor, Brett is in fact a charismatic, reputed philanthropist who champions for numerous Charities in addition to having many diverse business interests. Brett’s account of the experience that changed his life, forms the perfect analogy for people trying to tread water in turbulent times and face the challenges of a constantly changing world. Brett has subsequently published a book called “Alone” which has been published in 7 countries and translated into 3 different languages. In it, he shares the innermost details of his harrowing experience.