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Goafest 2014 announces first set of speakers

This year the Knowledge Seminars will have a mix of international, inspirational, spiritual speakers and also innovators

BestMedaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | April 3, 2014

goafest-2014The Goafest Organiding Committee today released the first list of speakers the Knowledge Seminars at Goafest 2014. Unlike in the previous years where the focus was principally on international speakers, this year the Knowledge Seminars will have a mix of international speakers, inspirational speakers, spiritual speakers and speakers on innovative aspects.

This is based on a survey of delegates attending Goafest over the last three years. “Based on the findings of this survey, we have put together a very special list of speakers for Goafest delegates to listen to and interact with,” said Arvind Sharma, President of Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI).

The initial set of names include: Preethi Mariappan, Executive Creative Director at Razorfish, Germany; Melanie Varley, Chief Strategy Officer, Global at MEC; Norm Johnson, Chief Digital Officer at Mindshare; Alicia Souza, Illustrator / designer / artist /e-commerce entrepreneur; Shravan Kumaran and Sanjay Kumaran, the youngest app developers in India; a group known as AIB (All India Bakchod), Devdutt Pattanaik, Mythologist and Author; and DK Hema and Hema Hari, Founders, Bharath Gyan. Some more names will be added for which confirmations are awaited soon.

“We are delighted that we have been able to get some very inspiring speakers on a cross-section of subjects which delegates are normally not exposed to,” said Goafest Committee Chairman, Srinivasan Swamy.

Brief profiles of the speakers are given below:

Preethi Mariappan, Executive Creative Director at Razorfish Germany: One of Preethi’s notable pieces of work is the Red Tomato Pizza Fridge Magnet, which picked up four Cannes Lions in 2012. Additionally she has received global recognition at One Show, Sabre, Dubai Lynx and Effies. Preethi has an industry wide reputation and award-winning expertise across multiple sectors.  Preethi’s last role was with Digital ECD TBWA, heading up the Digital Arts Network by bringing together storytelling, people and products.

Melanie Varley, Chief Strategy Officer, Global at MEC: Melanie takes responsibility for designing MEC’s future business model and for the global development and integration of MEC’s product and services. She was previously CEO, Europe, Middle East and Africa. She rolled out MEC Interaction and MEC Access across the region. Prior to moving into the CEO role, Melannie led Global Solutions, MEC’s international client service, across Europe. She also led the development and rollout of Navigator, MEC's global operating system, and was responsible for the introduction of communications planning to the overall global MEC offer.

Norm Johnson, Chief Digital Officer at Mindshare:  Johnston has been involved in interactive marketing since graduating from Chicago’s Northwestern University in 1988. While at Accenture, he led a team that developed one of the earliest interactive shopping destinations for a large US retail client. He is a longtime vocal evangelist of the digital industry and is a frequent speaker at interactive conferences, including various IAB events, the Cannes Advertising Festival, the Festival of Media, and Internet World.

DK Hari, Founder of Bharath Gyan: Hari, along with his wife Hema Hari, conceptualised and founded Bharath Gyan, a research initiative to collate from traditional as well as modern sources, the knowledge base and cultural ties of India through the ages. Prior to this, Hari was involved in his family business of petroleum and FMCG products. He was head of marketing in a corporate environment for 12 years. Hema is a computer engineer from Bombay University and a PMI certified Project Management Professional. She started her career in Tata Consultancy Service in 1989 and after spending the first 10 years of her career there, moved to what is now CSC India, where she spent the next decade in a senior management capacity. Hari and Hema Hari have written around ten books and produced a number of films, which would make India proud of her contribution to the world.

Alicia Souza, Illustrator / designer / e-commerce entrepreneur: After working as a banker, Alicia Souza took up a full-fledged career in illustration as a designer for Chumbak, India’s trendiest homegrown souvenir company. A year and a half later, she set out on her own as a freelancer, drawing cute and quirky everyday cartoons for a sizeable and loyal online fan-base, and illustrating for some of India’s oldest institutions, like Tinkle magazine.

Shravan and Sanjay Kumaran, India’s youngest App developers and Founders of Go Dimensions: Two tech savvy brothers, Shravan and Sanjay Kumaran are perhaps the youngest App developers and CEOs from India. Together, they have been successfully running an app development company called Go Dimensions. Shravan (14 years old) is the Co-Founder and President, while his brother Sanjay (12 years old) is the Co-Founder & CEO. They are students of Vaels Billabong High International School, Chennai. Floated in 2011, the firm has made rapid strides. Within two months of its launch, the first product – Catch me Cop, a mobile app – was on display at Apple's App Store. And in the next two weeks, there were some 2,000 downloads! This drew the attention of cnet.com, the popular website that comes out with lists of popular apps. Over the last two years the two brothers have developed 11 apps that are available on the Apple App Store and Google's Android Play Store.

AIB (All India Bakchod): Co-founded by comedians Gursimran Khamba and Tanmay Bhat, along with Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya, AIB presents edgy, candid and tongue-in-cheek humour without mincing any words. Gursimran Khamba (also known only as Khamba) is a stand-up comedian, political satirist and a writer from New Delhi. Tanmay Bhat, who hails from Mumbai, is a well-known scriptwriter who has also worked for Weirdass Comedy (an Indian comedy company started by Vir Das). The AIB crew started the trend of comedy podcast shows in India. Besides having a cult following in online circuits, AIB is also gradually developing a loyal fan-base for their live comedy shows, and their brainchild, Royal Turds (a parody on the decadent Bollywood award shows), was an instant hit the year it commenced. AIB tasted instant fame with some video chartering an astounding number of YouTube hits. A few of their videos have also mingled social message with humour. In September 2013, a video – ‘It’s Your Fault’ - starring actress Kalki Koechlin and VJ Juhi Pandey was released.  Within a week, it crossed 1 million views on YouTube.

Dr Devdutt Pattanaik- Chief Belief Officer of The Future Group: Dr Pattanaik writes and lectures extensively on the relevance of mythology in matters related to leadership, entrepreneurship, branding, management and governance. He serves as Culture Consultant to Reliance Industries, Chief Belief Officer of the Future Group, and is Storytelling Advisor to Star TV and Epic TV. Trained in medicine, he spent 15 years in healthcare and pharmaceutical industries including Apollo Health Street and Sanofi Aventis, before joining Ernst & Young as Business Advisor. He is an inspirational speaker at conferences where he ‘opens the minds’ to a very Indian approach to business.


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