Executive Bios

Kelly Yocum
Co-Founder & Executive Director

Kelly Yocum is an accomplished entrepreneur and visionary with a history of pioneering new networking and collaborative business groups among technology and government executives. She is currently the Co-Founder and CEO of the nonprofit, Government Technology Research Alliance (GTRA), the CEO and Founder of GOVTek LLC, the CEO and Founder of LuXe Body Products LLC and the CEO and Founder of ConVurge Production and Management.

In 2007, Kelly Co-Founded GOVTek, a government technology media for security, cloud computing, virtualization, mobile/wireless, enterprise architecture, health IT and Leadership. GOVTek produces several mediums for collaboration, social media, information sharing, special events, conferences and meetings. Here she serves as the CEO and is responsible for the company’s vision, business development, marketing, sales and strategic alliances. She also oversees the annual symposiums, industry solutions for government, product development, marketing collateral, web and design. Kelly works directly with CEO’s and VP’s of most Fortune 1000 companies as well as cutting-edge technology providers providing consulting, marketing and business development for their government product groups.

Concurrently with GOVTek, Kelly launched the non-profit organization GTRA in 2008 which supports the government’s elite CIO’s, CTO’s, Chief Security Officers and Chief Architects to collaborate among federal agencies and strategize with the private sector for innovative solutions.

Kelly worked closely with the government CIO Council members to establish the SecureGOV Council (formed in 2003), MobileGOV Council (formed in 2004), HrGOV and ArchitectureGOV (formed in 2005), GreenGOV and LeadershipGOV (formed in 2007), DefenseGOV (Formed in 2008), and HealthIT GOV (formed in 2009). Her responsibility is overseeing the operation of the annual council meetings, marketing, business development, educational curriculum, partners and industry alliances.

Kelly Co-founded ConVurge in 2002 and served as the company’s CEO until 2007. Her role was responsible for the company’s vision, consulting services, business development, marketing strategies, special events, market direction and client relations. ConVurge developed programs in markets including government security, enterprise architecture, mobile and wireless, HR, Learning, and new technologies. *ConVurge was re-launched in 2010 to provide event management and production.

Prior to ConVurge, Kelly managed the summits division for a global business intelligence and conference organization. She identified new market trends, conducted research with technology executives, assisted in curriculum and program development as well as business development and marketing. She managed the San Francisco branch of 40 employees in the areas of sales, marketing and business development as well as a 10 person event production team.

Kelly is well-known for producing five star small, medium and large conferences, events and symposiums. Kelly oversees end-to-end production including: Research, curriculum development, competitive intelligence reporting, marketing, trend identification, brand development, business development, partner/alliance development, sponsorships, advertising, promotions, continuing education, budget management, staffing, food and beverage, audio visual, graphic design for logos/ads/collateral and web, lead generation, database management, registration management, media management, public relations, on-site execution, post-event surveys and photography.

Kelly has recently begun talent management for booking speaking engagement for clients in the training, technology, security and government industries.

Publications: Authored the foreword and provided research for “Cloud Computing: Implementation, Management & Security (2009)”, Authored the paper “Recession Proof Your Government Business (2008)”. Kelly has written hundreds of distributed press releases for marketing, business development, strategy, technology and government.

Kelly enjoys living part-time in Chicago, IL and commuting to Washington D.C. and Miami. She is also notably known in Chicago for her work with national charities such as the Y-ME Breast Cancer Association and the creation of Winter Blues, a fundraiser event at the House of Blues Chicago to raise awareness for Y-ME as well as local artists, musicians, fashion lines and entertainers. Other charitable organizations she has helped organize include Bottomless Closet for women trying to enter the workforce and Cystic Fibrosis. Kelly holds a bachelors degree from San Francisco State University, Certificate of Fine Arts from Academy of Art, SF, Information Systems from DeVry University.

 

Deborah Kay
Director of Client Relations

Deborah Kay is a high energy, dynamic, results-oriented  professional with proven success managing strategic marketing plans that map to critical business objectives.

Over 20 years of marketing, partner programs, and public relations experience with the last 5 years focused on the Government IT Industry. Proven team leader who consistently met lead and marketing campaign revenue goals that increased year over year by at least 15%.

Highly accomplished manager with strong track record cultivating client relationships, working with teams to complete complex projects, and developing successful, high-impact integrated marketing programs. Skilled at contributing in companies undergoing change and growth.

Before entering the government IT industry, Deborah was the Human Resources Administrator for Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah, and Senior business development and sales executive at Cruise and Travel Masters.

With over 20 years of experience in the federal, municipal government, and critical infrastructure sectors. She enjoys building strong customer relationships, understanding requirements, and delivering solutions that add value and get the job done. She prides herself on having a long track record of successful projects and customer references.  Deborah enjoys life and the great outdoors, lives to dance, loves to laugh and appreciates those who have a sense of humor!

 

Parham Eftekhari
Co-Founder & Director of Research

Parham Eftekhari is Co-Founder of the Government Technology Research Alliance (GTRA), where he currently serves as GTRA’s Director of Research. With a passion for entrepreneurship, strategy, leadership and networking, Mr. Eftekhari brings nearly 10 years of experience to GTRA and has helped the organization develop and execute its operational and strategic growth strategies Mr. Eftekhari is well versed in both technology and leadership issues including Cloud Computing, Cyber Security, Infrastructure Modernization, Consolidation, Enterprise Architecture, Social Media, Health IT, Change Management, IT Legislation, and Telework.

Mr. Eftekhari’s responsibilities as Director of Research include development of strategic research initiatives, identification of key research target groups, coordinating research interviews, analyzing and presenting research findings, and the design and development of executive-level educational curriculum. Mr. Eftekhari is also heavily involved in designing the GTRA Members Portal, using the knowledge obtained through GTRA’s research to strategically drive the direction of the GTRA Knowledge Center; as well as the use of forums, blogs and other Web 2.0 tools to share information with interested parties and help further build GTRA’s community of Practices. As Co-Founder of GTRA, Parham also plays a key role in managing the day to day operational & financial activities of the organization as well as driving the overall strategic direction of GTRA with Co-Founder and Executive Director Kelly Yocum.

Mr. Eftekhari’s growing resume of professional writing and speaking include numerous research reports written for GTRA, maintaining the official GTRA blog, speaking and moderating on executive panels, and having his research quoted in national publications. Mr. Eftekhari is currently working as a contributing author on a professional book on cloud computing security.

Prior to founding GTRA, Parham worked for four years at Proactive Worldwide Inc, a boutique market research and consulting firm in Chicago, IL, where he was the Director of the Technology research division. Under his direction, the Technology division exceeded revenue goals in 2006 by over 150 percent while achieving 100 percent retention of clients and staff. Prior to Proactive Worldwide, Parham founded CollegeButler LLC, a concierge service exclusively targeting the needs of college students at Northwestern University.

Parham holds a Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing and a Minor in International Business and French from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. He also spent two years as a masters student at the acclaimed Ecole Superiuere de Commerce de Paris (ESCP-EAP) in Paris, France, where in addition to his studies he was the first exchange-student elected to the school’s Student Government (Bureau des Eleves). Parham is fluent in Farsi and French, and is an avid fan of cooking, music, and the outdoors.

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