Voices for Innovation Advisory Task Force


Nikkia Carter, CEO/Owner, Carter-McGowan Services LLC 

Nikkia Carter is the owner and CEO of Carter-McGowan Services, LLC, a Silver Small and MidMarket Cloud Partner and SMB Champion specializing in business technology consulting, development, migration/setup, support/managed services and training, particularly in Office 365, InfoPath, and SharePoint. Nikkia is a CompTIA Certified Technical Trainer and a Microsoft Certified Professional and CMS is also a Constant Contact, Hootsuite, and Brainstorm VAR. Nikkia has industry experience since 2001 in software, web (intranet), Office 365, InfoPath, and SharePoint development. Nikkia has spoken at SharePoint Saturdays, Microsoft's World Partner Conference, IT ProCamp, SharePoint user groups, Office 365 Ramp-Up Day, SP24 world-wide online conference, and other events. She also co-organizes several user groups and events, leads the IAMCP WIT community and sits on the IAMCP DC and IAMCP WIT boards as well as the Microsoft WPC, MCC, and VFI boards.

Why I support VFI:

I support Voices for Innovation because it is important to have a voice in moving our country forward in a way that benefits us all and not just a few.


DavidGershen-headshot_200x200.jpgDavid Gersten, Vice President, Bond Consulting Services

David Gersten has 20+ years of experience in Business Process Solutions including Enterprise Resource Planning and Customer Relationship Management solutions.  As the VP of Customer Success & Strategic Relationships at Bond Consulting Services (BCS), David is responsible for building and managing our sales team, strengthening our positioning and expertise around the ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) we work with; and he is the liaison and face of BCS for our relationships with Microsoft, IAMCP, local chambers of commerce and other associations we continue to work with on a daily basis.

David is currently the President of the Southern California (SoCal) chapter of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP).  He is also the West Regional Chairperson on the US Board of Directors.  David also participates on the Partner Engagement Board for Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference.

Why I support VFI:

I support VFI because of two main reasons, my two school age boys. I want them to grow up in a world that provides STEM based education resources and provides policy that protects individuals and corporations information. This will allow them and others to become both personally and professionally successful. 


Emilie_Hersh.jpgEmilie Hersh, CEO, Unbuttoned Innovation, Inc.

Emilie Hersh has led multi-million dollar engagements for global companies, built out cross-functional teams with a focus on exceptional delivery and exceeding customer expectations, and creating successful sales teams based on her own accomplishments in business development; the addition of this to the InterKnowlogy team has been wildly beneficial. Emilie has an MBA from the University of San Diego, with a dual emphasis in Project Management and Supply Chain Systems, and has remained an active member of the Alumni community where she has successfully increased participation, professional event offerings and the USD network.

Emilie also serves on the Board of Athena, as well as co-chairing the Technology Special Interest Group; Athena is an organization dedicated to women in technology and the life sciences, currently serving more than 500 members locally. Additionally, Ms. Hersh serves on the boards of the Carlsbad Education Foundation and the College of Business Administration (CoBA) at California State University, San Marcos. The ability to drive interest in STEM-based learning opportunities is of great interest to Ms. Hersh and many of her peers, so events and involvement with such organizations remains a top priority!

She is passionate about the leading-edge technologies and solutions that are possible based on the .Net stack, and the ability to work with customers to help them realize their business goals via the incorporation of highly innovative concepts. Committed to the development of her own team, Emilie supports all of her team members to ensure that they are aware of and pursuing the professional opportunities in which they are most interested by creating innovative programs within the company, and encouraging others to do the same.

Additional favorite activities include: Co-Instructor for “In the Executive’s Chair” at CSUSM (current), AYSO soccer coach (past), Girl Scout Troop Leader (Daisies / past).

Why I support VFI:

VFI is an incredible resource for key information on issues that affect each of our companies, and many of our clients. They are also a strong voice in the marketplace, as well as on The Hill, and strive to keep us not only informed, but empowering us to become active on the issues that matter most. I feel confident that my voice is stronger because of my affiliation with VFI; I know that my business and professional relationships have been increased, too, by getting to know other members. Thus, a win on all fronts!


Marc Hoppers

Marc Hoppers, Co-founder and Managing Partner, Cogent Company

Marc has more than 20 years of management consulting and industry experience and specializes advising businesses in the use of technology to improve productivity and performance.

Marc leads the Technology Services Practice Group at Sirius Solutions, focusing on helping firms transform their business through the application of technology to business problems. He has previously served as a Principal at RCG Global Services, was founder and Managing Partner of Cogent Company, ran global channel sales for Trendium, a network management software firm, and served clients globally Ernst & Young, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, and Consulting Partners. He began his career in research and development at Halliburton.

Marc participates on a number of boards at the University of North Texas in both the College of Business and the College of Arts & Sciences. In addition to his roles at UNT, he is active in leadership in the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (“IAMCP”), the DFW World Affairs Council, the Data Warehouse Institute, and the Institute of Management Consultants. Marc is currently an Technology Policy Ambassador in Voices for Innovation, a member of the Microsoft Partner Experience Board, and serves as a Trustee for the Cambridge School of Dallas.

Why I support VFI:

I have continued to pursue Voices for Innovation because of the timely information about the technology industry they provide to me. Whether it’s just following tweets, engaging in conference calls with policy experts, or attending live events with policy makers, I am always challenged by the content and interactions with this group.


Lacy Jemmott

Lacy Jemmott, President/CEO, TechCumulus

Lacy Finley Jemmott is President/CEO of Tech Cumulus, based in Austin, Texas. Tech Cumulus is a woman-owned Information Technology/Marketing Communications company that focuses on the integration of Microsoft and other technologies to achieve brand amplification, agile sales acceleration, lean marketing strategies, digital asset optimization, and knowledge leadership. Ms. Jemmott is a proud member of the International Association of Microsoft Chanel Partners, having recently served 2 terms as the President of the Austin, Texas chapter. She has served on numerous boards and committees with focus on education, public policy, business, science, technology, and veterans’ affairs. During the 83rd & 84th Texas Legislative Sessions, she attended and helped coordinate the Central Texas VFI advocacy group during their Technology Day at the Capital. In 2014, she made her first trip to the White House with VFI, Microsoft, and IAMCP where the group was briefed on the President’s technology initiatives for the year. In 2015, she went to Washington DC as a VFI ambassador advocating on The Hill for the LEADs Act.

Why I support VFI:

I learned very early in my career how policy is shaped and created. You have to be passionately involved – make time to attend meetings, develop networks, and help to educate people for your cause. Our Legislative representatives are not typically technologist. It is our job as technology advocates to help educate them not only in what we do, but how important it is to our State and National economy.


Dona KeatingDoña 
President and CEO, Professional Options LLC

Doña Keating is President and CEO of Professional Options LLC, a strategic leadership and management consulting firm which serves SMB to Fortune 100 businesses, nonprofit and non-governmental organisations, and governmental agencies. She is also principal and Managing Partner for K2 Strategic Solutions (a business and IT consulting firm) and SVP/Chief Operating Officer for Keating Consulting Service, Inc. (an IT consulting firm). Keating is a co-founding member, former president and strategic advisor for West Sound Technology Association, and co-founder of West Sound CoderDojo. She has served on or chaired numerous boards and committees which focus on education, public policy, business, telecommunications, economic development, and technology.

Why I support VFI:

Voices for Innovation is a much-needed resource for keeping business and technology stakeholders informed on key issues, providing a vessel for advocacy on relevant policy, and aggregating voices for maximum benefit, effectiveness, and strategic impact. The relationship-building between peers also hones emotional intelligence whilst strengthening career success and resiliency.


Shahin_Kohan_square.JPGShahin Kohan, President, AIMS360

Shahin Kohan is the President of AIMS 360. His company creates ERP software for the fashion industry, with over 7,000 users worldwide. The company’s state-of-the-art software solutions for apparel manufacturers and wholesalers dramatically improves the way companies in the garment industry manage their businesses. Kohan has spoken out on the need for better IP protection for American businesses in emerging markets; he knows selling his software in emerging markets with weak intellectual property protections would threaten his business. Kohan, among other small business leaders, does not have the resources to defend his company against piracy internationally. He has signed letters and met with members of Congress in an effort to tackle the problem of unfair competition from overseas manufacturers.

Why I support VFI:

I support VFI because it gives me and my company the opportunity to engage government on serious issues we face in the technology industry today.



Ken Meyer, Director Microsoft Cloud Services – T4 Technologies

Kenneth Meyer is a Technology Management professional working with small to mid-size businesses since 1997. In his role as Director of Microsoft Cloud Services for T4 Technologies, Ken is bringing the Microsoft Cloud platform to Small Business in the Minneapolis/St. Paul market. Delivering the Microsoft Enterprise class product stack to a small non-profit company is a highlight for Ken.

In 2008 Ken started volunteering for the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners serving on the local Board of Directors for the Minneapolis Chapter, Secretary of the International Chapter and now continues to serve as the Treasurer of the US Board of Directors. Ken has also volunteered for Smile Network – “Fish for a Smile” celebrity fishing tournaments, Children’s Heart Link “Kirby Puckett Invitational 8 Ball Pool” tournaments.

Why I support VFI:

I support Voices for Innovation because it provides me information that I can use to determine what policy, law and other technology issues are being discussed in Local, State and National government bodies. This enables me to have informed discussions with customers, other business owners and my government representatives on issues that may affect business.



Naomi Moneypenny, CTO, ManyWorlds

Naomi Moneypenny is Chief Technology Officer at Synxi (a ManyWorlds brand) where she leads the development team for the adaptive recommendations & machine learning engine for SharePoint and other social business systems such as Yammer and Tibbr. She is also responsible for the knowledge infrastructure internally for the organization.

Prior to ManyWorlds, Naomi served as a senior business & IT strategist at the Royal Dutch/Shell Group. Naomi developed advanced business strategies for global business units and worked on overall Shell technology forecasts & knowledge management strategies.

Before moving into the energy industry, Naomi was senior production editor at recognized blue chip business publisher, Euromoney PLC. There, while redesigning processes, she implemented one of Europe’s first Intranets, for which she won the U.K. Director’s Award.
Naomi's formal education includes a graduate degree in Astrophysics from the University of London, as well as executive programs in strategy and M&A from Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management.

She holds over 30 patents in the area of adaptive systems and is a frequent speaker at international events on enterprise social & collaboration, predictive analytics & business growth from innovative technology.

An active contributor to the SharePoint community, recognized as a Microsoft MVP in Office 365 & one of the Top 25 SharePoint Influencers in 2014.

Speaker at over 30 conferences in 2014 including Microsoft SharePoint Conference (SPC14), Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), European SharePoint Conference, SharePoint Summit Toronto, Dev Intersection & SPS's.

Why I support VFI:

Voices for Innovation is an important organization for bringing the voices of small technology focussed business together, working to make our voices heard in Federal and State legislation issues that really affect our businesses and our customers. This is not a political org, the focus is issues that have direct impact for us as technology professionals.


Ryan_Risley.jpgRyan Risley, CTO, Brittenford Systems, Inc.

Ryan leads Brittenford Systems’ CIO Services Practice, partnering with his clients’ CEOs and CFOs to help their IT divisions align with their businesses. His extensive experience and holistic approach helps his team demystify IT, helping leadership to lead innovation efforts in client organizations. As Brittenford’s CTO, Ryan also oversees IT systems and manages vendor relations with the mission of empowering Brittenford consultants to deliver the highest quality service to their clients.

Ryan earned his Bachelors in Environmental Studies from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and his Masters of Science in Information Systems Technology with a concentration in data warehousing and the Chief Information Officer Executive Certificate from George Washington University.

Ryan is actively involved in all aspects of the community and Brittenford’s philanthropic efforts. He is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, a Guest Lecturer at the George Washington University, and an Eagle Scout. He enjoys adventure travel, diving and sailing in his free time. Ryan is the past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the IAMCP.

Why I support VFI:

Strong conduit for focusing energy and gathering support for important initiatives.


Rudy Rodriguez

Rudy Rodriguez, Vice President - Business Development, Eagle Technology Group

Managing Director of Business Development & Training Practice for Gruene Technology Group, Worldwide President of IAMCP




Why I support VFI:

I support wholeheartedly the efforts of Voices for Innovation because they provide valuable unbiased information regarding tech policies which impact our lives.  This allows us in the business community to be well versed on the impact  of these policies and allows to better engage our representatives in meaningful discourse and affect change.


TituSarder-VFI-ATF_200x200.jpgTitu Sarder, 
Founder & President, NetCom Learning

Titu Sarder is an American entrepreneur, inventor, investor and philanthropist who is the CO-Founder and President of NetCom Learning. Under his leadership, NetCom Learning has become a multimillion-dollar business. In 2008 and 2011, Inc 5000 Magazine listed NetCom Learning as one of the fastest growing private companies in the USA. Sarder is a Board Member of several State and Learning Associations, including the Coalition of New York State Career Schools, Trusted Learning Network, and Florida Association of Veterans Education Specialists.

Titu is the President of New York City Chapter of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP).

Why I support VFI:

Voices for Innovation is an organization that bring all technology companies together to voice their opinions about laws that effect all of our businesses and customers. VFI helps me understand these laws better. I encourage all our partners to become a VFI member.


Jon_Sastre_square.jpgJon SastreCEO, ConQuest

Jon has served as a business leader with 20 years of experience in Information Technology. Primarily focusing on delivery of Professional Technical Services and Technical Training in network infrastructure and telecommunication. Jon launched his career in the early 90’s while supporting IT infrastructures for the banking and hospitality/travel industries. Throughout his career Jon has successfully mastered various roles, working as a Network Engineer, Software Implementer, evolving into teaching more than 2000 students as Certified Technical Trainer and providing technical and management consulting services. Mr. Sastre has been invited back to Florida International University in Miami, where he earned his undergraduate and graduate technology degrees to speak with newly enrolled graduate school students about success in technology entrepreneurship and on panel discussions for various specific technology topics where Jon has subject matter expertise. Jon also has various opportunities throughout the year to provide keynote speaking and event organization around important technology current events. Originally from South Florida, born of Cuban immigrant parents, he spent a number of years residing in Houston, Texas and Chicago, Illinois and currently resides in Coral Gables, Florida with his wife and two daughters.

Jon is president of Conquest Technology Services a successful, award winning, multi-million dollar company. Conquest’s focus is on Managed Information Technology Services for small-to-medium sized businesses and specialized Unified Communications/ Voice projects for the Mid-Market and Enterprise client sizes. Jon has also certified with a number of other vendors including, Cisco, ITIL, Citrix, CompTIA among others. With these certifications Jon and Conquest partners have been able to create substantive relationships with respective vendors and are thought leaders brand delivery like Microsoft and the excellent solutions they bring to market.

Specifically, Jon serves as President of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners US Region which includes (IAMCP) 35+ chapters in the United States. And over 100 worldwide. While Conquest’s business development effort to serve a variety of industries focuses on legal, automotive, healthcare, manufacturing and others.

In November of 2014 Jon was recognized by the Miami Herald newspaper as one of Miami’s top 20 professionals under 40 years old. Conquest was also recognized for the Minority Business award and the Good to Great award from the Miami Chamber of Commerce.


RandySteinle-headshot_200x200.jpgRandy Steinle, Vice President, Onsupport Corporation

Randy is first and foremost, blessed to be married to Beth and the Father of Josiah, Anna Rose, Noah and Autumn. Randy has managed the sales and operations of technology service providers for over 20 years. He is in his 10th year as the Vice President of Onsupport – a technology consulting, managed services and cloud services firm serving small and mid-market firms in the South Central Region for over 23 years. In 2012, Randy and Onsupport CEO, Chris Canada, launched a Security Risk Analysis and Compliance practice to help healthcare providers and their business associates assess and maintain compliance with HIPAA Security and Privacy Regulations. Randy has been a Microsoft Channel Partner for 12 years, and an active member of the IAMCP-Austin Chapter for 10 years. He is currently Treasurer and Advocacy Chair of the IAMCP- Austin Chapter, Secretary of the IAMPC – US board of directors, and serving on the advisory committee of Innotech – an innovation and technology conference in its 12th year in Austin.

Why I support VFI:

VFI is an incredible resource to small businesses like mine where resources are spread thin. VFI provides education and clarity on critical issues that often get lost in the noise of everyday “fires” and the overabundance of information we get bombarded with each day. Not only does VFI provide me with education on issues, but it has helped me understand how important it is to get involved and what a difference we can make when we do.


Frank_Valdivieso_headshot.jpgFrank Valdivieso, President and CEO, Gryphon Consulting

Mr. Frank Valdivieso is the President and CEO of Gryphon Consulting, LLC and has over 25 years of experience in the Information Technology (IT) field. Gryphon Consulting is an IT services company that specializes in helping small and medium-sized businesses effectively deploy and leverage technology in their organizations. Mr. Valdivieso started his career with EDS as a Systems Engineer and went on to hold senior IT management and business development positions at several systems integrator companies prior to starting Gryphon Consulting.

Mr. Valdivieso serves on the board of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners, Washington DC Chapter, and is an alumnus of Leadership Prince George’s. Mr. Valdivieso holds an MBA from George Washington University and a B.S. degree from the University of Florida. He is an avid football fan and, in his spare time, he enjoys golf and photography.

Why I support VFI

I support VFI because it’s a great opportunity to work with other business owners and senior leaders of technology companies on issues that impact our organizations’ ability to grow, succeed, and remain competitive.


Josh YoungbloodJosh Youngblood, CEO, Kumo Technology

Josh is an expert in software development, workflow design and technical operations.   He is currently CEO and Founder of Kumo Technology, a premier provider of integrated business solutions to the private lending, banking and investment management industries.  As CEO, Josh focuses on the growth of new client relationships and the never ending quest for excellent talent.

Prior to Kumo, Josh led mission critical digital operations department at NBCUniversal Studios driving $1 billion+ in distribution revenue.  Early in his career, Josh was part of the exclusive GE/NBC Leadership Program, working on high profile projects throughout the United States.  Josh currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.  

Why I support VFI:

Passion for smart legislation. Knowledge and credibility on top issues facing the technology industry.


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