Ascend Europe 2016 Speaker Bios

Tim Walters

Digital Clarity Group

A founding partner of Digital Clarity Group, Tim has vast experience helping companies engage with both consumers and employees. An early advocate of personalized and relevant digital experiences, he is also an expert on intranets and the future of work. His background in research, teaching, and software marketing and strategy makes Tim a valued advisor to enterprises as well as solution providers.

Prior to DCG, Tim was a Senior Analyst and Advisor at Forrester Research, where he covered WCM, intranets, the next-generation Information Workplace, portal servers, and translation/globalization practices. He also served as director of international marketing and strategy for FatWire Software, where he was instrumental in charting the transition from WCM to web experience management (WEM). Earlier, Tim was a professor at the University of Rochester and New York University.

Tim lives in Germany with his wife and son. When not digging into the latest research on digital disruption, he enjoys motor sports and alpine hiking, but not at the same time.

Igor Beuker

In the spotlights, Igor Beuker is a renowned professional keynote speaker and host who appears on countless television and radio shows as independent expert voice on emerging trends in marketing, media and innovation.

After 1,000 speeches for leading brands and events, he jumped from the podium to the television screen. Audiences love his authentic, bold, charismatic and witty personality.

At conferences and on Twitter frequently trending topic as Math Man in a world of Mad Men.

Behind the scenes, Igor is an award-winning marketing strategist for global brands like Nike, Amazon, AmEx, Heineken, L’Oréal and Unilever and a trendwatcher for several Fortune 500s.

As serial entrepreneur Igor has multiple exits on his black belt, is a guest teacher at universities and a board member at several revolutionary retail, tech and media firms.

Igor is passionate about football, kickboxing, music, movies and the island of Ibiza.

Martin Fewell

Director of Media & Communications at Metropolitan Police

The Director of Media & Communications at the Met Police, Martin has extensive experience in covering press and media relations, marketing & publicity, internal communications and digital platforms. His background in digital and social media content, internal and external communications and public affairs makes Martin an expert in stakeholder engagement through digital channels.

At the Met Police, Martin leads the digital strategy for customer and internal engagement, developing digital transformation for MPS and a vision for policing London in 2020. He commissioned a project the MPS is worked on with the RSA to engage external partners to develop a collaborative plan for protecting public safety in a global city.

And his team recently facilitated a major BBC documentary on the Met. 

Prior to the Met Police, Martin was a journalist, broadcaster and editor where he has extensive experience of editing high-profile news and current affairs programming for the BBC and ITN. This included The World at One, the BBC News Channel and Channel 4 News.

David Bitner

Head of Group eCommerce

David has worked at Just Retirement for seven years, having spent the last three years in his current role as Head of eCommerce.

The eCommerce function supports the management, development and delivery of existing and new online capabilities required by the business to support future distribution and customer needs.  David has overseen a number of key developments including a brand new consumer focused website launched in 2015.

For the first four years David held the role of Head of Business Development, where he set up and began to expand Just Retirement’s non-intermediated business development partners and capabilities.

David has more than 20 years’ experience in all aspects of financial services. Experience relating to UK retail and wholesale banking and insurance product distribution and design, sales, operational, product, marketing and technology.

Helena Raven

Associate Director at NSPCC - Digital and Child Safety Online

Helena has been at the NSPCC since 2012, leading an ambitious programme of digital transformation, and more recently, creating an organisational strategy for keeping children safe online. Prior to joining the NSPCC Helena was a senior leader with the Ministry of Justice, and before that, spent a number of years working in Tel Aviv.

James Sharpe

Strategic Alliances Director at Amaze

James is Strategic Alliances Director at Amaze an Episerver Global Premium Solution Partner. With over 19 successful years experience and significant industry knowledge, James manages enterprise multi-technology solutions for global or enterprise customers and achieves significant benefit through digital transformation within his clients.

He works with some of Amaze's Global and Pan European pillar accounts including Emirates, Air Charter Service, Unilever, Virgin Trains East Coast, Zurich Insurance, Hiscox, Pizza Hut, and UK national brands such as The Caravan Club, NSPCC, Childline, Interxion, Bupa amongst others.

Nir Mashkowski

Director of Program Management

Nir is the Director of Program Management for the Azure Functions and Azure App Service team. Nir has been working on Azure PaaS for the last five years and on Web technologies since the late 90s.

His team built the Azure Websites service and later on consolidated a set of other capabilities into Azure App Service. In late 2015 the team embarked on a journey to drive serverless computing on the Microsoft platform. The services provided by his team help enable developers to quickly migrate to the Cloud as well as the ability to extend existing Microsoft products such as the Dynamics365 suit.

Nir joined Microsoft in 2003 as a Web developer and later transitioned to a Program Management and leadership roles. Nir worked for several teams at Microsoft ranging from the Windows core operating system division, Bing and Azure.

Before joining Microsoft in 2003, Nir held engineering and leadership roles in a few startups and enterprise IT.


Henrik Fransas

System Developer at NetRelations and EMVP

I have worked as a system developer since 2000 and in the last nine years a lot with Episerver.
In January 2015 I became EMVP (Episerver Most Valuable Professional) and around that time I also started working for Episerver as a technical trainer through the company NetRelations where I am hired.
My biggest interest next to Episerver are databases and Microsoft Azure where I was one of the first in the world to deploy a live Episerver site as a real Azure website and that was in September 2014!

Scott Fisk

Global Web Director

Scott Fisk is the Global Web Site Director at Bostik, S.A. Scott has been with Bostik for four years and was previously the Marketing and Communications Manager for Industrial Business. He brings demonstrated digital marketing success for international manufacturers by developing and implementing cohesive marketing plans to support and achieve sales goals. Bridging the gap that exists between Information Technology, Marketing and Sales has lead to the development of new ideas and new ways to reach customers at the right time, in the right place.

Scott and his team launched in February of 2016. Currently his team is on track to launch 46 Bostik country sites in 21 languages by the end 2017. Scott’s goal is to make the world a better place: 'I believe people can change the world by doing good things where they live'. Scott lives in Milwaukee, WI, with his wife and three children. When he is not driving his kids to various sporting events, he enjoys remodeling his 100 year old colonial home, grilling, and a good cup of coffee.

Kay Edwin

Digital Account Director

Kay Edwin is an award winning Digital Account Director and has been with Freestyle for five years. She is a commercially astute, strategic thinker with a comprehensive marketing focus and a never ending passion for digital.

Kay has worked with variety of market leading brands from Microsoft, Vodafone and Samsung to Land Rover, RS Components and Bostik. When she’s not up skilling her client base, she can be found in a CrossFit box or walking her hound in the Warwickshire countryside.

Dan Edwards

Account Director

Dan Edwards is Account Director at Freestyle Interactive. A highly experienced marketer, he leads a number of key accounts and works closely with senior stakeholders to help drive business growth through their digital channels.

With a passion for creative and strategic thinking, he’s delivered everything from award-winning and highly effective campaigns through to complex website implementations.


Andrew Burns

Smith & Nephew

Andrew Burns is Senior Director of Digital Marketing at Smith & Nephew, the global medical device company, where he leads the company’s communications channel strategy and digital marketing initiatives. He has previously been responsible for Smith & Nephew’s surgical device division’s public relations, advertising, promotional literature, crisis communications and online strategies in the US, Europe and Australia. Prior to joining Smith & Nephew, he managed public relations and corporate communications for AutoZone, the Fortune 500 automotive parts retailer, and before that, worked as a journalist, writing for various newspapers and magazines.

David Shadbolt

Digital Content Manager

David Shadbolt is Digital Content Manager at Arriva Bus, one of the UK’s largest bus companies. David led the launch of the new Arriva Bus site in 2014, which now receives over 15 million visits per year. His constant programme of ongoing website optimisation has also resulted in over half a million tickets sold through digital channels every year

Gian Mario Contessa

Software Development Manager

Gian Mario has a decade of experience in developing robust and scalable software solutions and over the past 5 years, SaaS solutions specifically in e-commerce and retail technology. He has a world of experience in open-source development technologies pertaining to the Java & Scala stacks. He is always excited about new developments in technology and is always looking for bigger challenges. He now leads the development team at Peerius, an Episerver company,  as the Development Manager, and is currently working on delivering Personalization across the complete suite of Episerver products.