Meet the Google Team

For this event we have a great line-up of Google speakers from across the world. Learn a little more about them here, and follow them on Google+ to ask questions or request topics in advance of their talks. 

Meir Brand
Managing Director of Google Israel, South Africa & Greece
Meir Brand is a member of Google’s management team for SEEMEA (Southern and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa) and is Managing Director for Israel, Greece and South Africa. Meir joined Google in September 2005, when he was appointed to set up and lead Google’s operation in Israel as Country Director for Google Israel. Under his leadership Google Israel grew to become the leading advertising platform in Israel. Since December 2009 he has also led the Greek and South African offices, both of which are currently also undergoing substantial growth. To date, the company has almost 350 employees in these three countries in the various business and R&D centers. Meir has a 14 year successful track record as a business and marketing executive with leading global companies such as: Microsoft, Booz Allen & Hamilton and P&G. An experienced Internet veteran, Meir joined his first Internet company in 1999 as Business Development Manager at Excite@Home. He later moved to ICQ (formerly of AOL Group) as VP Sales and Marketing. Meir holds an MBA from Harvard University Graduate School of Business (Honors) and a B.A. in Economics from Tel Aviv University (Magna Cum Laude) and speaks English, Hebrew, Portuguese, and Spanish.

+Luke McKend
Country Manager - South Africa, Johannesburg
Formerly an Industry Head for Google UK, Luke has worked across a wide variety of businesses ranging from the classifieds, dating and job sectors to property, restaurants and education. Prior to joining Google, Luke was the Commercial Director of a startup tech company which was one of the fastest growing UK tech companies in 2005. He returned home in 2010 and having spent over a decade in colder climates, he is pleased to be back in sunny South Africa, together with his family.

Patrick Walker
Senior Director, YouTube Music, EMEA
Patrick Walker leads the development of Google's content strategy and partnerships for YouTube Music in Europe, the Middle East & Africa. He is responsible for securing deals and managing relationships with some of the region's biggest recording artists and music labels, as well as up-and-coming acts. Patrick was initially hired by Google to develop its video strategy in Europe. With the YouTube acquisition in 2006, he built the team that established thousands of European commercial partnerships and launched YouTube in over 20 EMEA countries. Patrick has also acted as lead evangelist for YouTube's Content ID copyright tools, which are now being used by hundreds of rights-holders in Europe to control the use of their material on the site. Recently, Patrick has taken on the challenge of driving YouTube's rapidly expanding music business in the region. Patrick has 20 years of experience in the media industry, always working at the crossroads of content and technology. He began his career as a TV producer for Japan's public broadcaster, NHK, where he was involved in the launch of the world's first HD TV channel, later working as a Senior Broadcast Journalist for BBC News in hotspots across Asia. Following that, Patrick moved to London to launch early Internet video and music consumer products on behalf of clients such as the BBC, UEFA, Channel 4 and Fremantle, serving as RealNetworks' General Manager for International Video Services. Patrick received his Master's degree in International Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard and a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Southern California. He has also studied at Keio University in Tokyo and the University of Paris.

Program Manager
Emeka is an Outreach Program Manager in Sub Saharan Africa focused on growing the internet ecosystem in the region. Emeka is passionate about developer content and case studies. He is also passionate about football especially when his team is winning

Geo Specialist

Program Manager
Anna Chernova works as a Quantitative Analyst at Google. She is responsible for data analyses for Google Geo teams, including Google Maps for Desktop and Mobile, Google Earth and other geo-related products. She has been with Google since 2007, conducting data scientist work in London and Zurich in close collaboration with engineering and user experience teams. Anna holds a B. Sc. in Physics. She studied at the University of St-Petersburg, Russia, and in a Ph. D. programme at the Oxford University, UK, and worked in a bioinformatics group at the National Institute of Medical Research in London. The main focus of her studies and work prior to Google was quantitative data analyses and statistics, applied to various fields of knowledge.

Senior User Experience Designer
Benedict Davies is a user experience designer working on mobile products. During his 5 years at Google he has worked on products including Google Mobile App, Google Voice, Chrome to Phone, YouTube Remote and mobile syndication with OEMs and ODMs. Following a background in electronic publishing and web design Ben has been working on mobile UX issues for the last 12 years. Prior to Google he worked for Hutchison 3G on the launch of the first 3G network in the UK and for Samsung Design Europe on a range of wireless projects.

Strategic Partner Leader 
Nada is a Strategic Partner Manager working with Publishers in Eastern/Central Europe and Africa. Nada joined Google Dublin in 2006 and her very first mission was to participate in the launch of AdSense in the Arab world. She also acted as a Content specialist working with advertisers/agencies. In 2010, Nada moved to the London office to join the Partnerships team and focus on Business development. She holds a M.Sc in Communication and PR and an MBA in International Business.

Ayite has extensive media/tech deal making experience in Europe and Africa. He joined Google in Senegal in early 2010 focusing on YouTube and music. Prior to Google, Ayite was at Infineon Technologies in Germany (ex SIEMENS semiconductors) where he led P&L for Low Noise Amplifiers and the development of a Silicon Germanium Carbon technology for mobile communication platforms that won a number of industry awards. A Ghanaian and Togolese native, Ayite enjoys spotting opportunities, negotiating, and closing business deals across Africa. 

Geographic Specialist
Jeremiah is a GIS Specialist who joined Google in 2007 and was part of the landmark project to Map Africa. He currently works on programs to drive acquisition of more geo-content in the region and increase adoption of Google Geo products in Africa.

Account Manager Retail & Travel
Declan has been working for three years with Google. He began his career in the European Headquarters as an account manager for the travel industry, working with OTA's and Tour Operators. He moved to SA in 2011 and is now an acount manager for the "tech and Retail" industry, managing major clients like Vodacom, Samsung and Woolworths.

Partner Solutions Organization, London
Paa Kwesi helps to craft and implement technology solutions for large Google partnerships in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He has worked on a large number of integrations involving Google Maps, Google AdSense, Google Product Search and Google Book Search. He currently works on partner solutions for Google Chrome, Google Toolbar, iGoogle, Picasa and Google Earth. Paa Kwesi likes exploring his neighbourhood on his bicycle.

Account Manager for Google South Africa
Natasha joined Google in January 2011, responsible for managing the Insurance industry, and for growing the Consumer Packaged Goods industry. Prior to joining Google, Natasha was a management consultant, where she led numerous strategy projects in private and public institutions; helping client teams develop sustainable business strategies. She also headed a number of process reengineering projects for improved effectiveness at client sites. During her (fairly limited) free time, Natasha is passionate about diving, she is also a keen runner, and enjoys spending time with her family and two cats preferably around the kitchen table! Fun fact: if the building was burning down, she would save her cats and the diving equipment... who cares about the boyfriend?

Program Manager
Luisella is a Search Quality Senior Analyst who joined Google in 2005 to support search quality efforts in the European languages. She is also the Google Guide on the Italian webmaster help group. Luisella has a degree in Foreign Languages (French, Spanish and Catalan) from the University of Bologna, Italy and a degree in Technology of Computing from the Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland.

Tech Lead Manager, Israel
Natalia Marmasse has been an engineer at Google, working mainly on Mobile applications, since 2006. She holds a PhD from MIT, and has worked on Wearable and Mobile Computing for over two decades. She is currently leading the Emerging Markets engineering team in Israel.;

Swahili Language Specialist
Salome works to delight Swahili speakers with localized Google products. Since joining Google in 2009, she has worked to see Google Search, Gmail, Chrome, Maps and YouTube launched in Swahili. Before Google, Salome worked as an independent Swahili translator and radio presenter for programs such as Nini Kati Yetu, Tembea na Majira, and BBC Swahili’s Kimasomaso. Her two Mantis Kenpo Karate belts serve no purpose as she indulges her love for cooking and kitchenware.

Account Strategist and YouTube partnership manager at Google South Africa
Before joining Google, Jared was the marketing director for the start-up CrowdTech, where he was managing an online T-shirt design company called Springleap. Concurrently he spearheaded go-to-market strategies for the development of the first Crowdsourcing Social Network, Evly. His previous history ties back to 360-degree digital experience. Working at a global digital agency - Shake Interactive - he managed key Australian, UK and US accounts. There he specialized in Web Analysis while managing the strategy & implementation for the full range digital offering from SEO, Social Media, Web Development and SEM. Working for Google has come full circle as his roots are grounded in Search Engine Marketing. His first job as a specialist at a leading SEM agency in South Africa, Acceleration Media, has built the foundation from which he works today.

Account Strategist - Google South Africa
Paul joined Google in January 2010 and has worked with small, medium and large-sized South African advertisers from Google’s European HQ in Dublin ireland. As an Account Strategist, Paul has an expert understanding of what it is that makes an AdWords Campaign tick, and he works predominantly with South Africa’s Automotive and Tech clients. Paul holds a Bachelors degree in Business and an MSc in Management from University College Dublin. When not working on Campaigns, Paul enjoys playing and collecting guitars. His favourite brand is Coca Cola and his favourite food is Peanut M n’ Ms.

Business Development Manager for Google South Africa
Bryan is responsible for driving projects with partners which grow the internet ecosystem and expand Google's product offering in South Africa. Bryan has 14 years of experience in the internet and telco industry. Prior to joining Google he was the managing director of a startup focused on low cost laptops; the general manager of products and services for Smile Communications, a VoIP and WiMAX operator in Africa; the head of Technology Strategy for MTN Group; and a managing consultant in technology and high tech for Accenture. Bryan holds a BSc in Industrial Engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Marketing Manager at Google South Africa
Elizma spent 10 years working as journalist, editor, publisher and online marketer in London, where she was part of the founding team of several media start-up projects in the print, online and TV space - including SA Times, South Africa Magazine and SA Direct TV - all with the aim of promoting Africa globally. Pursuing her passion to combine media and technology to focus local, go global, she returned to South Africa in 2011 to join the Google Africa team. Elizma holds a B Computer Science & Mathematics, and an MPhil in Journalism from Stellenbosch University, MSc in Digital Publishing from City University London Cum Laude, and an MBA from INSEAD in France/Singapore.

Industry Manager Google South Africa
Avinesh joined Google in 2010 as part of the sales team where he managed all accounts ranging from the Financial Industry to Classifieds. Avi's background comes from the Telecommunication industry with experiences spanning over 10 years as a Product Manager, Account Manager and Marketing Manager, with some working experiences for Sony Ericsson in Europe. As an Industry Manager he manages sales in Tech/Retail/Auto/Travel/Classified/Local and Entertainment Industries.

Matthieu Pujol
Apps Partnership Development, SMB, EMEA
Matthieu is responsible for developing strategic partnerships in Europe, Middle East and Africa: better offering Google Cloud Products to many happy customers through our top-notch channel. First joined Google in 2010 to scale the Enterprise SMB Business Development Operations after working in Sales, Marketing and Consulting in various organizations in Europe and the Americas. Matthieu looks forward to meeting new prospective partners at g|SA

Jonathan Sorum
Senior Strategist -Entreprise - Google Dublin
Jonathan joined Google in 2010, coming from IBM's hardware division. At Google, he's in the SMB sales team, helping customers move over their old email-, communication- and collaboration platforms to the cloud. He manages customers and partners in 43 countries, including UK, Russia + CEE, South Africa and Kenya.

Olatawura Ladipo-Ajayi
University Programs Coordinator
Olatawura Ladipo-Ajayi is a University Programs Cordinator for sub-Sharan Africa. She is responsible for organising the ambassador programs and introducing new cutting edge technologies, Google applications and various schorlaships and opportunities available to sub- saharan african students and faculty memebers. Her task is to empower Africa's academia and introduce ways of enhacing both learning and teaching experience. She enjoys reading and dancing.

Sila Awad
University Programs Specialist
Sila is the University Programmes Specialist for the Middle East & Africa. He travels all around the region to reach out to university students about Google’s culture and career opportunities. He joined Google in 2010 and initially worked in the Search Quality team where he was fighting spam and making sure that Google has quality search results. He enjoys sports and outdoor activities, specially extreme sports. He did skydiving, bungee jumping and free falling into a net.

Partner Development Associate, London
Rachel is a Strategic Partner Manager at YouTube in London. Prior to joining YouTube in 2011, she worked in New York City is a television development professional and production coordinator.

Software Engineer , Zurich
Xavier joined Google three years. Before that, he was managing the R&D in a small video game company that recruited me at INRIA where I held a Research Position in Computer Graphics.

He loves sport, cooking, and sharing all around the world his passion for Science and Innovation.

+Yariv Adan
Head of Product Management, Emerging Markets

+Baris Yuksel
Software Engineer

Head of New Products at Google South Africa
Brett spent 15 years working in mobile media all over the globe – engineering, implementing and selling mobile operator infrastructure from London to Mongolia. After a decade in London, Brett returned to his birthplace, Johannesburg, to start his own mobile media agency. Brett is now utilising his extensive knowledge of the South African and African mobile media market as Country Manager for Admob, one of the world’s leading mobile advertising network. His passions are family, freedom, the frenetic buzz of developing mobile technology, fine humour and, occasionally, a round or two of golf.

Account Strategist - Google South Africa
Prior to joining Google in 2011, Irvin has more than 4 years of progressive experience in the digital space. After finishing his postgraduate degree in Applied Mathematics at Stellenbosch University, he joined Incubeta Holdings, a holding company for global search specialists Clicks2Customers as a PPC Campaign Manager. In June 2010 he joined TMI (The Media Image) as a Search Account Manager. Early 2011 he moved to Johannesburg to join Mindshare South Africa as a Search Specialist. Currently Irvin is responsible for actively help grow customer business and provide consultancy services across Google's broad range of solutions, from Google AdWords, to YouTube, to Mobile, that help customers connect instantly and seamlessly with their audiences and get the most out of the web.

Senior Account Manager at Google South Africa
Asha was one of the founding members of the Digital Marketing team at Standard Bank Group where she worked for 4 years prior to joining Google. Here her focus was on driving digital and mobile marketing across the bank's operations in Africa. Before this, Asha occupied a position in Marketing and CRM for 2 years at The Mobile Games Company. Asha holds degrees in Informatics from the University of Johannesburg, Honours Cum Laude in Marketing Management from UNISA, and Wits and Henley Business Schools certifications. Her passions lie in travelling and fashion and she’s always up for a good party.

Agency Lead for Google South Africa
Before joining Google, Jon spent 5 years at Ogilvy South Africa and 2 years at Quirk emarketing. While at Ogilvy, Jon was elected to the committee of the Advertising and Media Association of South Africa (AMASA) and spent three years on the committee before being elected as the AMASA Vice Chairman in Cape Town.While in London Jon was elected as a special advisor to the British Interactive Media Association. Jon has a degree in Finance from the Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

Software Engineer
Toki is a Software Engineer based in London and currently works on Google Offers. Before joining Google, he worked at MTech, Digital Jewels, and Yahoo. Toki is excited about software engineering efforts from Africa. He has a bachelors degree in Computer Engineering, a masters in Software Systems Engineering, and a Diploma in Character Animation.

Small Business Marketing Manager - Google South Africa
Craig Wing joined Google in 2011 and leads Google’s drive to assist Small Businesses better understand the value of being online. He has led the launch of South African Business Woza Online helping 30,000 businesses to date publish websites. Prior to Google, he started three companies: a tech startup, consulting business and non-profit in San Francisco, filled 2 provisional patents and has worked with entrepreneurs and small business for over a decade. He has been recognized as one of the top 200 under 40 by Mail and Guardian and top 40 under 40 by Destiny Man Magazine. He was selected as one of 20 World Economic Forum Global Shapers and is an Ashoka Changemaker. Craig holds a Bsc in Electrical/Information Engineering (Wits), Msc in Usability Engineering (Wits) and MBA from Babson College, based in Boston, Massachusetts.

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