Global Speakers


Luca Destefanis

Services & Industry Marketing Leader

IBM Asia Pacific

Luca Destefanis is a highly skilled marketing executive with strong business background rooted in 20 years of international experience. He is an expert at designing customer centric, data-driven marketing initiatives, with an extensive background on strategic planning and organizational design, and a track record of building and leading high performance teams across cultures and skill-sets.

Known for continuously challenge the status quo, Luca has led the design of new service offerings in Europe (user accessibility services, customer experience management); worked in partnership with Dubai institutions to open in UAE an innovation center with skills at the intersection of design, consulting and technology; advised more than 20 clients on customers and employers engagement; piloted new marketing operating models; led strategic planning workshops with the leadership team across Asia Pacific; managed multiple marketing initiatives to strengthen IBM brand and activate demand generation. Luca is currently Industry Marketing Executive for IBM in Asia Pacific.

Luca holds a Masters of Business Administration from Henley Business School. He lived and worked in New York, Milano and Shanghai before moving to Singapore, where he currently resides.


Aleksandr Farseev



Aleksandr Farseev is an international researcher, entrepreneur and the co-founder of, the Social Media & Influencer Marketing platform driven by AI. He has obtained his Ph.D. degree from the National University of Singapore and currently holding a Research Professor position at ITMO University. Apart from academic efforts, Aleksandr leads the AI research department at – an AI-Driven Social Media & Influencer Marketing Platform. Aleksandr is known as one of the leading experts in Social Media User Profiling for Marketing. He has published over 15 articles in peer-reviewed journals and Tier I conferences on Social Media user profiling. Aleksandr is also one of the creators of the world-famous AI model that was used to analyze US political leaders’ psychometric profiles in 2017.


Dr. Sandipan Sarkar

CTO - Artificial Intelligence & IoT Practice


Chasing his passion to solve intriguing business problems, Dr. Sandipan Sarkar has dived repeatedly into territories of uncharted markets (e.g. Kazakhstan, Korea) and realms of cutting edge technology (e.g. cloud, artificial intelligence). In this process, he has firmly established himself as a globally respected technical expert in artificial intelligence (AI) and government industry solutions. By successfully delivering innovative solutions and intellectual capital, Sandipan has generated significant value for his clients.

As a strong advocate of AI, Sandipan authored a series of business and scientific papers on cognitive computing. The papers raised the market awareness significantly. Sandipan applied this mass of knowledge in the field and led the win and delivery of multiple complex and significant deals worth multi-million dollars. He collected best practices and practical lessons from the field and ensured its dissemination to the larger global AI team. He has played an instrumental role in building a 400+ strong team of AI professionals in India.

Earlier, he was at the forefront of digital reinvention journey, while technologies were transforming the services and operations of Governments across the world. He developed the assets that had drawn significant business (hundreds of million-dollar). He played a key role in winning and delivering multiple government engagements across the world.


Darren Thang

Senior Manager, Digital Marketing & Communications

Orange Tee & Tie

Darren joined OrangeTee & Tie as the Senior Manager of Digital Marketing & Communications and is also part of the Digital Transformation Team. He is responsible for developing and executing an integrated, long-term digital strategy for the organisation. Before joining the real estate industry, Darren worked at Singapore Tourism Board where he managed accounts of the payment gateway industry such as MasterCard, Alipay, and American Express. Prior to this, Darren was at Phillip Securities where he was in charge of conceptualising and executing of many key marketing initiatives across the various business units. He also played a key role in the Digital Transformation Work-group. Darren holds a BBM from the Singapore Management University, double majoring in Finance and Marketing.


Deborah Kay

Head of Digital Transformation

Singapore Sailing Federation

Deborah Kay is the Head of Digital Transformation at the Singapore Sailing Federation. She looks for new ways to realign marketing, sponsorships and business processes with technology for SSF to be more effective in digital economy. Her responsibilities include building organisational capabilities around analytics, automation and artificial intelligence, developing a culture of storytelling with the athletes and the sport of sailing, and scaling social media assets as a distribution platform for our content. She is the co-developer of Sammy, the world’s first artificially intelligent chatbot for sailing.

Deborah also founded Digital Discovery, one of the few Official Chatfuel Creators and providers of consulting in conversational design and NLP. She is also the Head of Digital at ColorMeHappy Cosmetics.


Gregory Krygsman

Head, Student Services Hub

Singapore Management University

Mr Gregory is the Head of Student Services Hub at the Office of the Dean of Students at Singapore Management University. He is an experienced IT professional with over 20 years of experience in working across the Asia-Pacific countries for global organizations like Ernst & Young and SITA.

His wide background includes sales and support, customer relationship and service, provision of real-time IT services, program and project management, end user support and vendor management. He has great experience and expertise in managimg cross-border teams in a multi-cultural environment.


Ian Chapman-Banks


SQREEM Technologies

Ian Chapman-Banks is a Scientist and coder by degree &  marketing technologist by profession with an MBA from the University of  Chicago Booth Business School, & 25 years in senior positions at Apple, Microsoft, Dell & Ian was the regional CEO of a 3 billion dollar business for Motorola in Asia Pacific, having Lived in London, New York, San Francisco & Beijing.

Ian has had three exits outside of his corporate life:

1). A Retail Business which was a trade sale

2) A Chinese gaming company listed in London and

3) A Nasdaq listed semiconductor company that was delisted and sold to a large Sovereign wealth fund


Irene Boey

Consulting Director

Integral Solutions

Irene has more than 23 years of practical experience in enabling businesses to benefit from Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Mining and big data. With a Marketing Degree and MBA specialising in Entrepreneurial Management, Irene is also involved in training business users on how to leverage on data to derive insights to achieve higher ROI on direct marketing programs, discover cross selling opportunities, derive insights in bundling of products, offering the right products to the right target group at the right time through the right distribution channels. At Integral Solutions (Asia), she has led and implemented numerous successful big data projects in various industries and has accumulated good collection of business best practices in Business Analytics and Data from different industries.

Irene is also the adjunct lecturer at NUS for a WDA-certified course entitled: ‘NICF – Enhanced Customer Acquisition and Retention: An Information-Centric Approach’ which has received good ratings. Irene has led the national survey to explore SMEs and E-business in Singapore for MCYS. She is also the Singapore researcher for APEC’s ‘Capacity Building for APEC Women’s Entrepreneurs in the Age of the 4th Industrial Revolution’ 2018. Through her research and business projects, she has acquired a wealth of experience in relation to business issues in SMEs.

Irene is also the Vice President of Strategies & Development at Association of Small & Medium Enterprises (ASME). She is the Chairman of the SME Talent Program and the SMECentre@ASME, the latter set up by SPRING Singapore to provide more holistic and comprehensive business advisory and assistance services to local entrepreneurs and SMEs.

For more information, please contact: [email protected]


Jarrod Teo


Catalytics Datum

Jarrod is a Data Scientist with 13 years of experience. He was an IBM SPSS Trainer and had given 3 years of Statistical and Data Science training to at least 3,000 participants from Government, Education, Medical, Military, Retail, Chemical, Economic, Banking and Finance background. Jarrod was also the appointed Data Scientist Senior Manager to work for a 1 million SGD deal Data Science project in Nielsen where he built 15 machine learning models and the models are still working on live campaigns for the Telco client till present date. He was also the Rakuten Global office Data Scientist who did a Next Product to Purchase machine learning model which helps Rakuten to gain 200% profit from targeted campaigns. In Samsung, Jarrod helped in building a cocktail of machine learning models which helps to carry out customised targeted campaigns. His machine learning models found out potential buyers and what is the product to sell to these customers so as to prevent these customers from going to competitors.

Jarrod is the co-founder of Catalytics Datum which builds customised Data Science dashboards which bring business owners closer to their database to know their customers better without the need of a Data Scientist or Analyst. The Catalytics Group currently comprises companies in India, Singapore and Australia which manage 4 global teams which are namely, the Data Science Team, Data Engineering Team, Web Crawling Team and App/Web Developing Team.  Catalytics has a track record in executing global data science projects and our key client’s revenue was US$1.3 billion for 2017.


Kester Poh

Co Founder & CEO

AI Chat

Kester Poh is the Co-founder and CEO of AiChat, a leading conversational A.I company providing a platform designed for brands to easily manage chatbots to automate business processes in customer service, sales and marketing on popular messaging apps. Within less than a year since AiChat was launched, the solution has been widely adopted by trusted brands such Philips Lighting, Omron Healthcare, Bayer, Pernod Ricard, StarHub, Shimano, Marina Bay Sands, Cycle & Carriage, Hatten Hotel Group and many other enterprises across Asia.

Prior to founding AiChat, Kester has worked with one of the world’s largest advertising network, the WPP Group, where he led multiple award-winning digital campaigns for the Fortune 500 clients. Kester is passionate about emerging technology, AI and entrepreneurship. He believes that AI will make people’s lives easier and ultimately contribute to the success of business.


Lau Kei Cheong

Chief Information Officer & Vice President, IT

Singapore Management University

Mr Lau is an experienced Chief Information Officer and Vice President of IT at Singapore Management University. He has a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. Prior to this position, he served as the Chief Information Officer of Nanyang Technological University and Director of InfoComm for the National Library Board. He is skilled in Cloud Computing, Information Technology, Information Management, Project Portfolio Management, and ITIL.


Lionel Chok

Founder & Creative Technologist


Turning his back against his Economics, Honours degree back in 1996 – Lionel decided to try out a week of work at the local Television station in Singapore, and has not looked back since. Rising quickly from his beginning position as Assistant Producer to a full-fledged producer in a short span of 4 years, he left Singapore for New York University to take up a specialised Film Directing module after receiving partial scholarship from Singapore Film Commission in 2001. Completing and achieving top of his cohort there, he returned to Singapore and started to path his own niche – writing, producing, directing and even editing: over half a dozen short films that won awards and critical acclaim, feature films, web and mobile content and more. His specialisation for storytelling also led him to write – produce and direct half a dozen full-length theatre plays and a musical that’s staged at The Esplanade in Singapore, in collaboration with the late, renowned Iskander Ismail.

During this whole time, Lionel also made significant progress in his career in the television, broadcast industry; executive producing 2 seasons of the highly acclaimed ‘Culture Shock’ for Channel News Asia, which went on to be distributed and sold to markets internationally. The next series that he executive produced: ‘Scene City SIngapore’ – featuring acclaimed photographer and host, Tom Ang – went on to not only secure distribution on Sundance Channel, but also winning the Bronze World Award at the 2010 New York Film and TV Festivals.

With that accolade, he joined the pioneering team at Singapore MediaCorp’s Toggle – the National Broadcaster’s first foray into IPTV via the OTT platform, across TV – Web and Mobile! During this 4 years there as Head of Commissioned Content, he commissioned and executive producer over 30 titles across multiple genres – some of which included the highly acclaimed “Letting Go” by Kyanite TV and “What do Men Want” by Bananamana Films, which have gone on to win multiple awards internationally.

Despite the somewhat advancing and cosy career path, Lionel decided to trade in his work life to take on a student role yet again, when news of how Oculus was acquired by Facebook back in 2014. Researching deeply about Virtual Reality during that period, Lionel realised this emerging technology could be the game-changer for media and content, and thus – quit his job, packed his bag and uprooted himself and his family to move to London to pursue a Masters degree in Creative Technology; specialising in Augmented and Virtual Reality. There, he produced London’s first ever 360 Virtual Reality Dance staged at Middlesex University and also Singapore Inside out (London) a VR experience ( ) for the the touring exhibition by Singapore Tourism Board. After completing and achieving distinction in his postgraduate studies, he returned to Singapore and immediately became a much sought after consultant and speaker in the fields of Virtual Reality.


Matthias Kraaz

Chief Operating Officer

Matthias helps modern marketers to measure and increase ROI across all channels using AI-driven marketing attribution. His background is in software and he has scaled and built several companies in Europe and Asia. Currently, he is growing to become the worlds leading provider in data-driven marketing optimisation.


Raja SP

Product Manager


Raja is the Chief Architect and Head of Products for Knowesis Singapore. In his 20+ years of IT experience, he has architected many mission critical and real time computing systems. He has worked extensively on knowledge representation, natural language processing and facts extraction areas. In Knowesis, Raja has architected a streams computing based analytics system, capable of processing web scale real time data, making inferences in sub mill-seconds and engaging customers contextually and in real time. This product is successfully helping in the contextual marketing pursuit of various telecom service providers currently. Raja is focussing now on building auto-scaling and auto-healing architectures, advanced behaviour profiling and customer engagements using modern channels with a human touch.


Suresh Babu

DevOps Manager


Suresh Babu has 18+ years of IT experience. He is currently working on AI and BigData and with special focus on applying voice enabled devices in the contextual marketing space. He has also published skills for Alexa and google assistant. Suresh also has deep skills in DevOps and container based deployment strategies. He is currently working on building a zero downtown operations strategy for knowesis. You can checkout his blogs on Voicebots and Docker at Earlier Suresh has worked with Starhub, Tech Mahindra, Mansion, Corp, Sun Microsystem to mention few.


Szeki Sim

Head of Brand


A seasoned and passionate marketeer, SzeKi joined SGInnovate as part of its pioneer team in Sep 2016. She is entrusted with building the brand and marketing team from scratch, to achieve SGInnovate’s mission of enabling ambitious and talented men and women in Singapore to build, commercialise and scale deep technology-based innovations from Singapore that will have global impact. She leads the team in promoting Singapore as a place of thriving innovation in deep tech entrepreneurship and spearheads activities to create a holistic ecosystem, providing a platform where founders, researchers, academics, venture capitalists, corporations come together to share and discuss ideas of innovation in areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and MedTech. Prior to SGInnovate, SzeKi’s long career in marketing included leading teams with global technology brands such as Hewlett Packard, Motorola and Nokia regionally and globally.


Nur Izzati Abdul Hakim


Axiata Group Berhad

Izzati is currently working in Axiata Analytics Centre and leads the development and deployment of conversational omni-channel chatbots across  Axiata’s operating companies in Asia as part of the Group’s strategy in digitizing it’s customer service channels. Before working on chatbots, Izzati has been involved in projects spanning from retail framework optimization in Indonesia to business planning for a leading Malaysian property developer.


Anuvrat Rao

Head of Product Partnerships, APAC


Anuvrat Rao is the Head of Web Product Partnerships for Google APAC. In his role, he leads product business development for web initiatives at Google. Major initiatives include Google Search & Assistant, Accelerate Mobile Pages (AMP) & Progressive Web Apps (PWA). Prior to his current position, Anuvrat worked on Youtube APAC strategy running cross functional projects spanning content, marketing, sales, and product in the region.


Jim Zhang

Chatbot Algorithm Expert


As an algorithm expert in Alibaba Intelligence Innovation Center, Ji Zhang lead the technical team to build advanced chatbot technology such as Machine Reading Comprehension and Multi-Lingual chatbot, which is strongly supporting Alibaba’s multi domain customer service including Taobao, Tmall and Lazada.  What’s more, his team also makes great contribution to empower customer service of merchants and worldwide enterprise clients in various industries by exporting Alibaba’s technology.  He has devoted 8 years in natural language processing field and has rich experience in question&answering, dialogue, machine learning and deep learning.


Anila Fredericks

Head of Customer Service Operations


Anila Fredericks is Head of Customer Service Operations at Telstra. She leads teams managing the Network Operations Centre and the Service Desk that are focused on building, managing and developing end-to-end operational capability to deliver a world-class customer service experience to Telstra customers. She strives to drive significant systemic improvements delivering uplifted capability, ensuring her team exceeds the customer’s expectations. Starting out as a graduate trainee, Anila went through job rotations in different parts of the business and a career focused on enhancing customer experience is what she chose. Keeping the customer at heart, Anila has built great credibility in managing high performing teams. She is passionate about diversity and is an active member of Telstra’s International D&I council. Anila has an Undergraduate Degree in Pharmacy and an MBA and Postgraduate Diploma in IT Systems. Spanning 20 years, her career has covered sales and service operations in highly competitive, high volume environments, consistently exceeding sales/service objectives and retaining client loyalty. These achievements have been built on sound planning and organizational ability, pragmatic decision-making, effective competitor analysis and innovative solutions to customer service and staffing problems.


Adam Good

Chief Digital Officer

Dentsu Aegis Singapore

Adam is a pioneering executive in digital transformation working in the intersection between media, content creation, technology, business strategy and advertising for twenty-eight years, living and working in the United States, China, Australia, New Zealand and now Singapore.

Adam’s is the Chief Digital Officer of Dentsu Brand agencies part of Dentsu Aegis Network where he leads digitalisation in the Asia Pacific region with a focus on digital economy and digital transformation client strategies. Dentsu is the world’s largest and most awarded agency brand headquartered in Tokyo.

Prior to Dentsu, Adam was a member of the Telstra Corporation Senior Leadership Executive team responsible for shaping and setting the overall strategic direction and execution of the company’s digital media solutions, content services and advertising sales for Telstra, Australia’s largest telecommunication and media company. Telstra Media was established to manage all of Telstra Corporation’s end-to-end media capabilities which delivered $1.1 AUS billion in annual ­revenues.

Before to Telstra, Adam spent thirteen years at Omnicom Group in senior Digital Executive roles including founder and President Asia Pacific for Tribal DDB Worldwide and Executive Director roles with the BBDO Proximity Networks.

Adam has a proven background and passion in establishing and leading teams to create new innovative consumer digital services, applications, programs and platforms that find audience, build engagement and deliver market share.


Nikolay Novozhilov

Head of Digital Products


Nikolay Novozhilov is the Head of Digital Products at NTUC Link, one of the largest and most successful consumer rewards programs in Singapore. Nikolay worked as a Chief Data Scientist at Wego. He is using advanced statistics and machine learning techniques to create business value from data. He is a strong believer in machine learning and Big Data as a way to build great eCommerce products. Nikolay holds an MBA degree from INSEAD.


Carol Hargreaves

Director of Data Analytics Consulting Centre

National University of Singapore

A/Prof Carol Hargreaves is the Director of the Data Analytics Consulting Centre at the National University of Singapore. Prof Hargreaves has a joint position in the Department of Mathematics & the Department of Statistics & Applied Probability. Her role includes providing data analytics advisory & consulting services to industry, designing and teaching data analytics executive training courses for industry professionals, and is a noted keynote conference speaker and moderator.

Prof Hargreaves has a passion for solving business problems using analytics and machine learning techniques to build data driven solutions for growth and effective decision-making. She aims to provide her clients with organic revenue growth, allowing business processes to become smarter and faster while keeping customers engaged.

Prof Hargreaves is an analytics and business intelligence professional with over 28 years analytics experience, with leading roles in the pharmaceutical, healthcare & fast moving consumer goods and education industries. Prof Hargreaves has worked with a variety of leading companies to make businesses more intelligent. These include Pfizer, Novartis, Merck Sharp & Dohme, Nestle, MasterFoods, Goodman Fielder, Foxtel, Aztec (IRI), Cegedim Strategic Data (Quintiles), National Health & Medical Research Council, National University of Singapore.


Paulin Tay Straughan

Dean of Students

Singapore Management University

Professor Straughan is the Dean of Students at Singapore Management University, which supports student empowerment and student life. She is also a professor of sociology (practice) at SMU’s School of Social Sciences and her research interests center around sociology of family and medical sociology. Her current research investigates environmental risk factors in childhood obesity. She is also the Principal Investigator of recently concluded project on Successful Ageing in Singapore, Seoul and Shanghai which involved multiple institutions and a multidisciplinary team. Professor Straughan serves as Consultant on numerous projects commissioned by various government agencies. Amongst others, she is Principal Consultant for the Marriage and Parenthood Survey 2016 & 2012, which were commissioned by the National Population and Talent Division.

Professor Straughan was a Nominated Member of Parliament from 2009 to 2011, during which she argued for work-life balance and the nurture of a more pro-family social environment. Her community involvement includes serving on the Child and Youth Health Task Force, and the Infectious Disease Research Advisory Group (both at the Ministry of Health).


Wei Lu

Assistant Professor


Wei is interested in designing mathematical models and efficient machine learning algorithms for solving fundamental data processing problems, with a specific focus on natural language processing (NLP). He is particularly interested in natural language semantics (in a broad sense) and fundamental problems related to structured prediction. Prior to joining SUTD, he worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and was a Ph.D. student at the Singapore-MIT Alliance of the National University of Singapore. Even earlier, he received my Bachelor’s degree (1st class) from School of Computing, National University of Singapore.


Pedro Uria

Head of Axiata Analytics Center


Pedro URIA RECIO is a strategic and hands-on marketing leader with 15 years track record in technology, focused on advanced analytics and digital in emerging Asia.

Pedro leads analytics across the subsidiaries of Axiata Group, a conglomerate with a diverse portfolio in digital services, mobile networks, and communications infrastructure in ten countries in South and South East Asia. With a cross-functional team of business consultants, data scientists and digital professionals, Pedro focuses on marketing analytics, digital marketing, artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and network analytics.

Prior to this role, Pedro was a management consultant specializing in strategy and marketing, in the telecom, technology and banking industries at McKinsey & Company, where he focused on analytics, process digitization, customer experience, digital go-to-market and transformational programs.

Pedro also worked in IT strategy and architecture in Veolia Water Asia Pacific, as well as in Research & Development in France Telecom. Pedro holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Pedro is passionate about nature, running and literature.


Will Hanschell

Co-founder & CEO


Will has worked as a management consultant embedded in creative agencies for almost 10 years. He has significant experience managing and architecting data-driven marketing for some of the world’s biggest brands.

In 2015 Will co-founded the Singapore office of Iris Concise, the management consultancy arm of Iris Worldwide, a multi-award winning global creative agency. Will took the office to several million in income and over double the agency’s global margin in 18 months. The office is now the second largest in the iris network with clients including Samsung, Starbucks, Shell, Intercontinental Hotels, Abbott Healthcare and Marina Bay Sands.

Prior to that, Will co-founded and led Iris’ global digital analytics practice, pioneering creative insight and marketing effectiveness techniques for clients including Philips, MINI, Virgin, TomTom and Adidas.

Will graduated from the University of Cambridge with a Masters in Engineering.