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MEF Content & Strategy Advisor TJ Thinakaran was instrumental in putting together the programme for the recent MEF Leadership Forum Americas in Miami, where experts gathered to explore the role of trust, identity, and interoperability in the future of messaging. The event was well received – TJ here provides an overview. If you missed it, the conference is available to view on demand now.

“You should have such events every six months,” remarked one attendee. The MEF Leadership Forum Miami received many positive comments during and after the event, and this remark from an attendee was just one of them.

The conference hit every objective checkbox for a successful event: more subscribers than seats, diverse expert speakers and panelists, great location, awesome food, and smooth logistics. One attendee even remarked that they didn’t want to take toilet breaks as they were worried they’d miss out on sessions!

The event was a mix of engrossing presentations and riveting conversations. Steve Legge, CEO of NetNumber Global Data Services, set the tone of the day with his Aussie optimism. Legge highlighted the PII paradox and reminded the audience about the fight for privacy against increasingly sophisticated fraudsters. He ended his speech by calling for the ecosystem to increase trust and sharing to fight cybercrime. This would be a recurring theme of the day. 

Former FCC General Counsel Tom Johnson Jr. gave the keynote address and provided an overview of the FCC and its various departments. Johnson emphasized the importance of having a regulatory strategy for every company. He gave a big-picture perspective on the NPRMs currently being discussed at the FCC and delved into the FCC’s thought process regarding these matters. The audience’s questions demonstrated the timeliness and significance of the topics being discussed. 

ENEA’s CMO, Stephanie Huf, and Head of Business Development, Simeon Coney, gave a great talk about the damage caused by phishing attacks. Huf shared a unique perspective as the former head of Telia’s marketing, discussing the harm and workload that even small phishing attacks can cause a carrier. Coney emphasized the need for the people in the room to collaborate more, as the scammers are already doing it! The talk highlighted the importance of taking proactive measures against phishing attacks, as they can have severe consequences if not addressed promptly. 

Sinch has always had a heads-down, “let’s do the work” approach to what they do. Like Twilio and others, they have been aggressively acquiring companies, while also leading the way in the adoption of 10DLC. In an industry first, Sinch provided the DCA’s view on the actual traffic going through 10DLC and its implementation status. This was a good follow-up to the A2P KYC panel earlier in the day featuring Catalina Badea, John Bruner, Stefan Heller, and others, who spoke about the necessary work A2P providers must do to ensure wanted messaging. 

The conversations and information were shared freely on the panels. The Legal Confidential panel began with Glenn Richards providing a substantive update on the many issues in the FCC docket. The RCS panel shared information on the security built into the RCS platform. Leaders such as Telesign’s Bella Simon, Neustar’s Munz Bharde, and Attentive Mobile’s Nate Kliger shared their POVs on issues surrounding identity and interoperability. 

Perhaps the most courageous panel was “A Democrat and a Republican talk Political Texting.” Moderated by the respected David Diggs, the OG moderator, Thomas Peters, CEO of RumbleUp, and Krishna Ghodiwala, CEO of, got on stage and talked about political texting. It was risky to take on this explosive topic on stage as political texting is a use case everyone would like to ignore (and forget). The industry is notorious for not following guidelines, and all carriers hear are complaints from consumers, intermediaries, and politicians. Peters and Ghodiwala showed courage and candor. Skillfully guided by Diggs, both sides acknowledged the work that political organizations need to do when vetting opt-ins. At the same time, they encouraged the room to do more to enable democracy. 

Industry veteran, Vibes Co-founder, and CEO Jack Philbin gave the closing keynote. He asked the group to be aggressive and optimistic, and in a classic past-present-future format, his “Renaissance of Messaging” hit the right notes as he laid out how far the industry had come and the challenges that the insiders in the room had to tackle. 

In contrast to the MEF Las Vegas event, even with 130+ attendees, it was a relatively intimate affair. Everyone was an insider, keenly aware that building messaging products is hard work with few wins and many bruises. But even among the chronically frustrated, there was no doubt that the messaging industry is kinetic, innovative, and powerful. 

Speaking of the relentless pace that MEF sets, there is a MEF event happening somewhere in the world every week. Twelve weeks into the year, MEF has already had over 11 in-person events, including its three days of intense activities in Barcelona. The upcoming events in Dublin, London, Rio, Rome and Washington DC promise to be just as packed. Become a member today! 

TJ Thinakaran

MEF Content & Strategy Advisor


Available on demand now – MEF Leadership Forum Americas

MEF Leadership Forum Americas brought together experts in the field of text messaging and other technologies to discuss the latest trends. The thought-leadership conference focussed on the role of trust, identity, and interoperability in the future of messaging.

Watch now