Silverlinings March Madness: Meet the 32 contenders in our 'Most influential person in cloud' contest

Welcome to Silverlinings' very own 2023 March Madness where you can vote for this year's most influential person in cloud.

Below you can meet the 32 nominees selected by our readers and the Silverlinings editorial team.

Now, it's your turn to VOTE for your favorites in five rounds until we have a winner.

Click here to check the status of the contest, see who is still in the running and find the latest poll.

Voting runs from March 16 through April 2 at 11:59pm ET. Winner will be announced on Monday, April 3 at noon ET.


Meet the contenders


Alicia Abella, Managing Director, Telecom, Media & Entertainment (TME) Industry Solutions, Google Cloud

Silverlinings March Madness
(Alicia Abella, Google Cloud)

Alicia Abella is the Managing Director, Telecom, Media & Entertainment (TME) Industry Solutions for Google Cloud, leading the North America and LATAM regions. She is responsible for building the go-to-market approach for TME, and partnering with the product engineering and industry sales teams, to deliver end-to-end solutions for telecom customers. 



The Aviatrix Certified Engineer (ACE) Program Founders

Silverlinings March Madness
(The Aviatrix Certified Engineer (ACE) Program Founders)

Created by Nauman Mustafa, Shahzad Ali, Hammad Alam and Saad Mirza of Aviatrix, the ACE Program is the industry’s first and only multi-cloud networking certification, and embodiment of its founders’ commitment to closing the cloud networking skills gap. Launched in 2019, the ACE Program was created to help professionals receive comprehensive training and specialized courses that provide a deep understanding of how to build, operate, automate, scale, and secure multi-cloud networks across any cloud. 


Jeff Barr, VP and Chief Evangelist, AWS

Silverlinings March Madness
(Jeff Barr, AWS)

Jeff Barr of Amazon Web Services (AWS) serves as VP and chief evangelist. Barr is known for his AWS blog which he has been writing since 2004 to create interesting, informative and technically accurate posts that highlight the latest AWS offerings.



Savinay Berry, EVP of Product and Engineering, Vonage

Silverlinings March Madness
(Savinay Berry, Vonage)

Savinay Berry of Vonage is part of the executive leadership team and leads product, engineering and cloud services with an inspiring mission of accelerating the world's ability to connect.




Mark Bunn, VP of Cloud and Network Services, Nokia

Silverlinings March Madness
(Mark Bunn, Nokia)

Mark Bunn is responsible for driving Nokia's Cloud and Network Services business unit in its transformational initiatives. He has experience in cloud (IaaS/PaaS/SaaS), 5G and software engineering.




Andrew Coward, General Manager, Software Networking, IBM

Silverlinings March Madness
(Andrew Coward, IBM)

Andrew Coward of IBM has over 25 years experience in telecommunications and networking, and has held executive management positions in Brocade, Juniper, Carrier IQ and Unisphere in network engineering, product management, strategy, sales and marketing. Prior to joining IBM, Andrew was CEO of Lumina Networks, an open source networking vendor, focused on SDN solutions.


Joe Cumello, SVP and General Manager, Blue Planet, a division of Ciena

Silverlinings March Madness
(Joe Cumello, Blue Planet)

Joe Cumello has a passion for solving network providers’ digital transformation challenges through disruptive software automation. As an evangelist for Blue Planet, he is deeply familiar with its rich history and business, having re-joined Ciena through the company’s acquisition of Cyan, where he was a member of the management team that introduced Blue Planet to the industry. He helped to establish the Blue Planet brand globally and traveled the world selling the power of SDN and NFV orchestration (disruptive topics at that time) to customers across many industries.



Bob Everson, Global Director, Mobility and 5G, Cisco

Silverlinings March Madness
(Bob Everson, Cisco)

Bob Everson leads mobility and 5G strategy, architecture, technology and systems development for Cisco. He is responsible for defining and developing mobile network solutions across both the service provider and enterprise domains.




Scott Guthrie, EVP, Cloud and Enterprise, Microsoft

Silverlinings March Madness
(Scott Guthrie, Microsoft)

Scott Guthrie is responsible for Microsoft Azure, SQL Server and the Microsoft Data Platform, Dynamics 365, Power BI/Power Apps/Power Automate, Nuance Communications, Visual Studio, GitHub and the core Windows operating system.




Thomas Kurian, CEO, Google Cloud

Silverlinings March Madness
(Thomas Kurian, Google)

Thomas Kurian leads the Google Cloud team as CEO and oversees its mission to accelerate organizations' ability to digitally transform their business with the best infrastructure, platform, industry solutions and expertise.




Martin Lund, CVP, Azure for Operators, Microsoft

Silverlinings March Madness
(Martin Lund, Microsoft)

Martin Lund of Microsoft leads Azure for Operators, including sales, engineering and product management functions. Azure for Operators is focused on developing voice network infrastructure products, unified communications and collaboration services and 5G/edge networking solutions for network operators.



Lori MacVittie, Distinguished Engineer and Chief Evangelist, Microsoft

Silverlinings March Madness
(Lori MacVittie, Microsoft)

Lori MacVittie of F5 Networks is the principal technical evangelist for cloud computing, cloud and application security, and application delivery and is responsible for education and evangelism across F5's entire product suite. MacVittie has extensive development and technical architecture experience in both high-tech and enterprise organizations.



Dave Mayo, EVP of Network Development, Dish Networks

Silverlinings March Madness
(Dave Mayo, Dish Networks)

Dave Mayo is responsible for Dish's wireless build out strategy and execution of the company's deployment of the nation's first standalone 5G network.





Steve Mullaney, President and CEO, Aviatrix

Silverlinings March Madness
(Steve Mullaney, Aviatrix)

Steve Mullaney led SDN and network virtualization startup Nicira as CEO which sold to VMware for $1.26B, where he then led VMware’s networking and security business unit. Since Steve joined Aviatrix, several Google, AWS and Oracle engineers and talent (including many of Azure’s Global Black Belts) have followed to contribute to the company’s hyper-growth trajectory.



Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO, Microsoft

Silverlinings March Madness
(Satya Nadella, Microsoft)

Satya Nadella is chairman and CEO of Microsoft. Most recently, Nadella was EVP of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group. In this role he led the transformation to the cloud infrastructure and services business, which outperformed the market and took share from competition. 



Sid Nag, VP, Cloud Services and Technologies, Gartner

Silverlinings March Madness
(Sid Nag, Gartner)

Sid Nag of Gartner was the originator of the term “Cloud Networking'' at Gartner and in the industry. He is alos the creator of the first ever Gartner Public Cloud Market share publication. Nag was also the creator of the body of research known as Multicloud Managed Services (MCMS), or Cloud Service Brokerage (CSB), at Gartner. 



Sonakshi Pandey, Data Analytics, Google Cloud

Silverlinings March Madness
(Sonakshi Pandey, Google Cloud)

Sonakshi Pandey of Google is a data analytics leader who solves big data problems for enterprise customers using the Google Cloud Platform. Pandey is also a cloud track lead at Women Who Code Cloud. Before joining Google, she worked at Amazon for five years. For the first three years, Pandey was a software engineer for the forecasting team.



Dr. Jeongho Park, VP and Head of Technology Strategy Group, Networks Business, Samsung Electronics

Silverlinings March Madness
(Jeongho Park, Samsung Electronics)

As Samsung’s VP of technology strategy for the networks business, Dr. Park focuses on planning and execution of optimization strategies to enhance the performance of the company’s virtualized radio access network (vRAN) on cloud-based environments. Jeongho has played a prominent role in leading the world’s first commercialization of the largest-scale cloud-based vRAN with a Tier One operator in the U.S. by successfully spearheading the integration of Samsung’s vRAN with third-party cloud platforms. 



Krish Prasad, General Manager, Cloud Infrastructure, VMware

Silverlinings March Madness
(Krish Prasad, VMware)

Krish Prasad of VMware leads the business unit responsible for VMware's cloud platform products that power private clouds, the VMware Cloud on AWS and the VMware solutions for IoT/Edge.





David Ranch, Director of Cloud and Engineering Operations, Juniper Networks

Silverlinings March Madness
(David Ranch, Juniper Networks)

David Ranch of Juniper Networks serves as director of cloud and engineering operations. His role takes many cloud infrastructure technologies including Contrail SDN overlay, OpenStack, Electric Cloud's Accelerator, Kubernetes/Docker containers, Ansible and custom automation, VMware vSphere/ESX solutions. His work focuses on supporting fully automated elastic workloads to allow engineering to focus on what matters most.


Khalid Raza, CEO and Founder, Graphiant

Silverlinings March Madness
(Khalid Raza, Graphiant)

Khalid Raza was the co-founder and CTO of Viptela and is widely regarded as the “Father” of SD-WAN. He is a visionary in routing protocols and large-scale network architectures. He is now on the cutting edge of innovation again with the launch of Graphiant, a replacement for MPLS and SD-WAN.



Danielle Royston, Leading Public Cloud Evangelist, TelcoDR

Silverlinings March Madness
(Danielle Royston, TelcoDR)

Danielle Royston of TelcoDR has 25 years of enterprise software experience – the last 10+ as a CEO specializing in turnarounds. Royston has raised $1 billion to fundamentally transform telco software, propelling the industry to new heights with the power of the public cloud. 



Leandro Rzezak, CEO, Intraway

Silverlinings March Madness
(Leandro Rzezak, Intraway)

Leandro Rzezak is the CEO and co-founder of Intraway Corp., a company that provides software solutions for telecommunications and cloud service providers. Under his leadership, Intraway has become a leading provider of cloud-based software solutions with a strong focus on automation and orchestration.



Paul Scanlan, CTO, Huawei Carrier Business Group, Huawei Technologies Ltd

Silverlinings March Madness
(Paul Scanlan, Huawei)

Paul Scanlan of Huawei Technologies has more than 30 years’ experience in the Telecom and IT industries and possesses broad experience across technical, commercial, company and business management, operations, sales, marketing, program management and R&D disciplines.



Partha Seetala, President, Cloud, Rakuten Symphony

Silverlinings March Madness
(Parth Seetala, Rakuten Symphony)

Parth Seetala of Rakuten Symphony is the president of the Unified Cloud Business Unit and has conceived, designed and built products in the scale out storage, file systems, networking, distributed systems, big data and information analytics space.



Adam Selipsky, CEO, Amazon Web Services

Silverlinings March Madness
(Adam Selipsky, AWS)

Adam Selipsky is the CEO of AWS. He previously led AWS marketing, sales and support for 11 years, from 2005-2016. Selipsky helped launch and grow AWS from a start-up into a multi-billion dollar business.




Phil Straw, CEO and Co-Founder, SoftIron

Silverlinings March Madness
(Phil Straw, SoftIron)

Phil Straw spearheaded SoftIron's mission to simplify the architecting of a cloud, eliminating the need for specialist skills and large engineering teams to build cloud infrastructure. The result, HyperCloud, is a game-changing technology that radically simplifies the process of building and operating highly sophisticated hybrid and/or multi-cloud infrastructures, democratizing the cloud for organizations of all sizes.


Bhuvaneswari Subramani, Chief Cloud Evangelist,

Silverlinings March Madness
(Bhuvaneswari Subramini, Intuitive.Cloud)

Bhuvaneswari Subramani is chief cloud evangelist at Intuitive.Cloud. Prior to her role, Subramani served as director engineering operations at Infor. She has two decades of IT experience, specializing in cloud computing, DevOps and performance testing.



Ido Susan, CEO, DriveNets

Silverlinings March Madness
(Ido Susan, DriveNets)

Ido Susan co-founded DriveNets and is its current CEO where he shapes the company’s technological and business vision. Prior to DriveNets, Ido co-founded Intucell, the company that invented the self optimizing network (SON), which was acquired by Cisco for $475 million three years after its inception.


Kenny Van Alstyne, CTO, SoftIron

Silverlinings March Madness
(Kenny Van Alstyne, SoftIron)

Kenny Van Alstyne's leadership and technical prowess have been instrumental in making HyperCloud a reality. As the world's first reductive cloud technology, HyperCloud radically simplifies the architecting of a cloud, without the need for specialist skills and large engineering teams to build cloud infrastructure.



Raj Yavatkar, CTO, Juniper Networks

Silverlinings March Madness
(Raj Yavatkar, Juniper Networks)

Raj Yavatkar is responsible for charting Juniper's technology strategy and for leading and executing the company’s critical technology innovations and products in intelligent self-driving network, security, mobile edge cloud, network virtualization, packet-optical integration and hybrid cloud.



Michelle Zatlyn, Co-Founder, President and COO, Cloudflare

Silverlinings March Madness
(Michelle Zatlyn, Cloudflare)

Michelle Zatlyn is co-founder, president and COO of Cloudflare, a web performance and security company that was named to CNBC's Disruptor 50 List, selected by the Wall Street Journal as the Most Innovative Internet Technology Company for two successive years, and named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum.



Click here to check the status of our own March Madness contest, see who is still in the running and find the latest poll.