Jeff Pulver

Vonage Founder and VoIP Industry Pioneer

Jeff Pulver is a tech industry icon, a pioneer in the field of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) for over 25 years, and a leading advocate for internet freedom. In the late 1990s, Pulver saw the potential for VoIP to revolutionize the way we communicate and founded the company Vonage, one of the first VoIP service providers. As VoIP began to gain traction, Pulver faced resistance from traditional telephone companies and regulators. In 2003, he took on the establishment and petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In response, in 2004, The FCC issued the “Pulver Order,” which ensured that VoIP services would not be subject to traditional telephone regulation. This decision paved the way for the widespread adoption of VoIP and transformed the way we communicate today. He is recognized the world over as a pioneer in the world of communications technology and ‌one of the most famous and renowned figures in the voice-over-IP (VoIP), having been involved in multiple startups globally.

Paul Chisholm


Mr. Chisholm presently invests in and serves as an advisor to a number of small businesses and young entrepreneurs. Mr. Chisholm retired in 2013 having served for ten years as the Chairman & CEO of mindSHIFT Technologies, a provider of managed IT services to small and medium businesses throughout the US. Prior to joining mindSHIFT in 2003 Mr. Chisholm provided business and telecom consulting to various venture capital firms.From 1992-2001 worked as a Senior Executive for COLT Telecom. From 1996-2001 Mr. Chisholm was the President & Chief Executive Officer of COLT Telecom Group plc headquartered in London, England. Mr. Chisholm started his career at COLT in 1992 as the company’s first Managing Director. Mr. Chisholm also held various general management positions at Teleport Communications Group, Shawmut Bank, AT&T and New England Telephone. Mr. Chisholm received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston College in 1971 and a Masters in Business Administration from Babson College in 1982. Mr. Chisholm is on the Board of Directors of Summit IG and Synoptek and is a member of the Board of Trustees of Cathedral High School in Boston and Babson College in Wellesley, MA.

Akshay Sharma

Former Senior Gartner Analyst

Akshay Sharma is a technical advisory board member for several startups: GoodWorldGames in the mobile video gaming space, as well as Grubbrr, and was previously VP Corporate Strategy at Beesion, both with CRM, Electronic kiosks, Point of Sales, Order Management, and back office ERP solutions that are model-driven, and rules based. He helped win an eMerge Startup Finalist award, in June 2017, and an upcoming Gartner Magic Quadrant entry. He was a senior analyst at Gartner, for over a decade, a frequent speaker at tech events, and often quoted in leading institutions like CNN, and Wall St. Journal, etc. In 2006 he was the CTO of a smartphone firm that created a prototype smartphone with streaming video, and cellular/WiFi roaming. Formerly a manager at Bell Canada, he has worked for Nortel, SAAB as well as several successful startups which are now part of Intel, Nokia, and IBM. Additionally he is a board member for a 501 (c) 3 charity called No More Tears, helping people in need.

Bob Atkinson

Former Deputy Chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s Common Carrier Bureau

Bob Atkinson joined the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information (CITI) at the Columbia Business School in mid-2000 after serving for 18 months as Deputy Chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s Common Carrier Bureau following a 20+ year career in the competitive telecom industry. At CITI, he serves as Director of Policy Research, speaks and writes on a variety of telecom issues and assists federal, state and local government agencies with respect to telecom and broadband internet policy matters. He served as Chair of the FCC’s North American Numbering Council (NANC), as a member of NY Gov. Cuomo’s blue ribbon panel examining the impact of Superstorm Sandy on essential infrastructure, assisted in the launch of the federal government’s $7.2 billion “broadband stimulus” program and provided a report on the status and future of “Broadband in America” to the FCC’s broadband task force. Prior to the FCC, Mr. Atkinson managed the regulatory, public policy and external affairs activities of the Teleport Communications Group (TCG), the first Competitive Access Provider (CAP) and Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) in the United States. Mr. Atkinson received a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center (evening program) in 1979. While at Georgetown, Mr. Atkinson was a member of the Georgetown Law Journal.

Carl Ford

Cross Fire Media

Carl Ford was VP and Community Developer for Pulvermedia between 1997 and 2008, focusing on development and cultivation of Pulvermedia’s IP Communications Community. Carl played a key role in developing all content and securing Industry leading speakers for Pulvermedia’s flagship IP Communications event, VON. Prior to Pulvermedia, Ford spent 20+ years at an array of companies that cover both the width and breadth of the industry. Carl gained much of his technology experience at leading companies such as Bellcore (now Telcordia Technologies), Bell Atlantic and Nynex (both now a part of Verizon). Carl’s diverse experience in technology spans the areas of Costing, Operations, Marketing, Regulatory, and Product Management. While at Nynex, Carl designed and managed the development of a carrier-grade softswitch billing mediation device, compatible with ILEC billing systems. Carl’s technology experience along with his expertise in building a relevant, thought provoking conference program, makes him an invaluable asset to Crossfire Media.

Scott Durgin

Aligned Global

Scott Durgin has over 20 years of experience in the high technology industry in both enterprise and early-stage ventures. He is founder and CEO of Aligned Global, a unique consulting company providing innovative low-cost web, rich media, and software development services to creative agencies, start-ups and technology-enabled companies. Scott has held CTO and executive management roles at Adesso Systems, a provider of PC/Mobile synchronization and application development platforms, Gotuit Media, where he and his team pioneered indexing services for time-shifted, online video content, and iCast (a CMGI company), where his team delivered a first-of-its-kind consumer-based interactive entertainment portal for both commercial and user-generated content. Prior to that, Durgin spent 10 years with IBM and Lotus, as Director of Advanced Collaboration, where he co-created Lotus Sametime, the product that defined the Enterprise Instant Messaging market. Earlier, he was Director of Product Management for Notes & Domino.

Talal Ali Ahmad

Entrada Communications

Talal Ali Ahmad is a successful entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in Telecommunications, Networking, Cloud computing at high-tech startups. Talal is the founder and former CEO of vCentrix, a wholesale VoIP provider for carriers and ISPs. Under Talal’s leadership, the company grew from $100K to $5 million in three years. To expand the company’s service portfolio, Talal successfully negotiated the acquisition of a specialized software company.  In 2009, vCentrix was acquired by Momentum Telecom, where Talal held the position of CTO. Internationally, Talal has been a consultant to carriers in Africa, focused on streamlining their existing infrastructure to increase revenue and reduce operating costs.  Earlier, Talal held various positions in engineering and operations, including Director of IP Technology Services at iBasis where he led their network expansion from two US-based data centers to more than 50 worldwide. Ali Ahmad holds an MBA, an MS in Engineering, and BSEE from Northeastern University.