My team and I are excited to bring back the Cisco Global Advocate Awards for 2023! Now in its third year, this program celebrates Cisco’s customer advocates who go above and beyond in demonstrating thought leadership and supporting Cisco through success stories, speaking engagements, product reviews, and so much more.

We will host three exclusive award celebrations in 2023 that will coincide with Cisco Live conferences in Amsterdam, Las Vegas, and Melbourne. Each regional awards event—EMEA, Americas, and APJC—will recognize top Cisco customers in their respective regions.


Celebrating excellence in advocacy and innovation

Our Cisco Global Advocate Awards 2023: EMEA ceremony, held at Cisco Live EMEA in Amsterdam just last week, marked a triumphant return to an onsite awards celebration. A standing-room crowd of Cisco customers that included a mix of titles from engineers to executives joined Cisco senior leaders from sales, marketing, and services as we awarded 10 winners in 10 categories.

We received 67 nominations for our EMEA event and relied on the expertise of two dozen judges, a combination of Cisco leaders and external industry experts across technology, marketing, and advocacy sectors.

Health and well-being expert, author, coach, and TEDx speaker Jesse Pavelka keynoted our ceremony, speaking to the audience about the importance of “staying well to perform at your best.” And, many of our customers recognized “Gadget Girl” Ella Williamson, who returned as our awards host once again. Ella is a popular consumer technology commentator with two decades of experience who has appeared on television and radio, and in newspapers and magazines. Ella last hosted our Global Advocate Awards at Cisco Live EMEA in Barcelona in 2020.

All shortlisted nominees received a “surprise and delight” gift box through the mail that included a Global Advocate Awards 2023 champagne flute and additional travel-themed gifts that celebrate a return to in-person events. Our 10 winners also received personally engraved crystal plaques onsite.


Congratulations to our winners!

And now let’s find out who the winners are from the Cisco Global Advocate Awards 2023: EMEA event:

EMEA Customer Advocate of the Year

Our award for EMEA Customer Advocate of the Year went to Joacim Wicander with Conscia Sweden AB! Joacim has been in our advocacy community since 2017, and we’re grateful for the support he’s shown throughout the years as he helps mentor other customers inside the community, shares best practices, and joins us in social promotion, blogs, video, and even in conversation with the industry influencer, Bill Kleyman. Learn more about Joacim and his work with Cisco here.

Congratulations to our shortlisted nominees:

  • John Pell with ServiceNow
  • Marcel Janecek with Syntax Systems GmbH
  • Simon Watkins with Prosperity 24/7
  • Damian Erni with Swisscom (Schweiz) AG

EMEA Executive Advocate of the Year

Congratulations to Enric Cuixeres with Leng d’Or, who was named EMEA Executive Advocate of the Year! This category is new this year and is targeted to Cisco’s executive customers. Enric participates with Cisco in webinars and will speak at upcoming conferences. Learn more about Enric and his work with Cisco here.

Congratulations to our shortlisted nominees:

  • Rachel Higham with WPP
  • Jon Townsend with National Trust
  • Chris Perry with Police Scotland
  • Cayetano Carbajo with Telefonica

Industry Excellence Award

Our Industry Excellence award applies to organizations in the public sector, or in the private sector industries of manufacturing, retail, or financial services. Congratulations to Medibus and Felix Thielmann for the fascinating and life-changing work they are leading! Felix and the Medibus team have completed Cisco success stories and participated in a virtual reality experience, as well as PR and speaking activities. Learn more about the inspiring Medibus story here, as well as here, and here.

Congratulations to our shortlisted nominees:

  • University Hospital Basel and Dr. Jens Eckstein
  • Teleperformance Greece and Nikos Tsahouridis
  • STADA and Marinel Boksan
  • ThPA S.A. – Port of Thessaloniki and Christos Papadopoulos

Excellence in Storytelling

WPP and Mark Cameron took top honors in our award for Excellence in Storytelling. Congratulations! Learn how WPP is using Cisco solutions to support their goal of net zero scope 1 & 2 emissions by 2025, and scope 3 by 2030. Learn more about WPP’s work with Cisco here, and here.

Congratulations to our shortlisted nominees:

  • Repsol and Lukene Berrosteguieta and Santiago Maestro
  • Canary Wharf Group and Mark Nallen
  • First Abu Dhabi Bank and Emma Lewis
  • VINCI and Rémi Drouin

CX Ambassador of the Year

Our award for CX Ambassador of the Year went to John Pell with ServiceNow—for the second year in a row! Our Cisco Insider Advocates community has an exclusive channel for Cisco’s Customer Experience (CX) services and offerings. John impressed our judges with his enthusiasm, expertise, and willingness to support Cisco CX as he took part in two Cisco CX Quarterly Connection events and completed more than 30 Cisco surveys. He also actively shares on social media and completed this Cisco success story, all of which factored into awarding John this honor once again.

Congratulations to our shortlisted nominees:

  • Benjamin Bubbers with Schleswig-Holstein Netz AG
  • Riccardo Bortoletti with Generali
  • Bader Alrouqi with Communications, Space and Technology Commission
  • Saleh Al Owain with Dawiyat Integrated Telecommunications and Information Technology Company

Hybrid Work Hero

Zakarieya Abderoef with Baraka Technology Group was another repeat winner, this time earning top honors in our Hybrid Work Hero category! Zakarieya won our Digital Transformation Pioneer award last year. This year, our judges were pleased to learn more about how Zakarieya and Baraka Technology Group use Cisco Security, Collaboration, and VPN solutions to enable a “work from anywhere, anytime” policy that does not compromise service quality or security.

Congratulations to our shortlisted nominees:

  • Rik Aragoza with Kinly
  • Sebastian Kozankiewicz with Norma Group
  • Mohamed Abdelhameed Rezk with Fathalla Market
  • Peter Bella with DXC Technology

Unified Experiences Trailblazer

Congratulations to David Clark with Amelco UK Limited, who is our Unified Experiences Trailblazer! David shared with us in his application how Amelco relies on Cisco technologies to build secure networks for its own organization as well as for its external customers, and how the company recently made big advancements into the cloud with Cisco ACI and SD WAN solutions. Learn more about David in an informal question and answer session over at our Cisco Insider Voices blog.

Congratulations to our shortlisted nominees:

  • Joacim Wicander with Conscia Sweden AB
  • Mohamed Alhenawy with BT Group

Reimagine Applications Visionary

Simon Challis with easyJet PLC was named our Reimagine Applications Visionary! Though Simon shared that he is relatively new to the Cisco Insider Advocates community, what impressed our judges is how quickly and enthusiastically he embraced advocacy opportunities. Simon recently recorded both an internal and external success story for Cisco ThousandEyes. He is also engaging with Cisco’s product teams to provide feedback, as well as what new Cisco services would be of interest to his company.

Congratulations to our shortlisted nominee:

  • Damian Erni with Swisscom (Schweiz) AG

Innovation Champion

Congratulations to Damian Erni with Swisscom (Schweiz) AG, who was named our Innovation Champion! Damian impressed the judges with how he leads multiple initiatives in enabling his company’s sales, architects, and engineering colleagues in the deployment of Cisco solutions. This ranges from technology updates, to closed expert groups, to participating in roadshows and internal information streams. Damian also shared with us that he enjoys creating and sharing LinkedIn posts around Cisco topics.

Congratulations to our shortlisted nominees:

  • Martin Saunders with Highlight
  • Simon Watkins with Prosperity 24/7

Cybersecurity Defender of the Year

Our award for Cybersecurity Defender of the Year goes to Luigi Vassallo with Sara Assicurazioni! Luigi has been a member of the Cisco Insider Advocates community since 2018. Luigi is also a member of Cisco’s “League of Cybersecurity Heroes” and has been a featured speaker, sharing his expertise around cybersecurity and working with Cisco’s Security solutions. Learn more about Luigi’s work with Cisco here.

Congratulations to our shortlisted nominees:

  • Alessandro Braga with Talent Garden
  • Mark Healey with South Yorkshire Police
  • Diego Zengin with Grupo Cosentino
  • Christoffer Vargtass Hallstensen with Norwegian University of Science and Technology


Next up: Global Advocate Awards 2023: Americas

The Global Advocate Awards 2023: EMEA event is in the books, but our team is already planning our next celebration of advocacy excellence and innovation at Cisco Live US in Las Vegas in June. We hope to see you there!


Congratulations to our winners, and to all of our shortlisted nominees! We applaud each of you for your passion, innovation, and support for Cisco’s advocacy initiatives.


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Emma Roffey

Vice President

EMEAR Marketing & Global Advocacy