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Jim Hays, CEO & Principal Instigator

jim_hays_photo_smallJim is the Founder and CEO of the ASPIRE! Group.  Jim possesses more than two decades of experience in both Sales and Sales Management position in the advanced business communications solutions market for leading companies, including ROLM, IBM, Octel, Intecom, Geotel, and Cisco.  Jim pioneered the sale of integrated voice messaging systems for IBM/ROLM and Octel. Additionally, he has extensive background in the sale of Call Center/Customer Interaction Solutions for IBM/ROLM, Intecom, Geotel, and Cisco.   Jim is a noted writer and speaker on Unified Communications and next-generation Customer Interaction solutions and strategies.  His speaking engagements have included speaking on UC selling strategies at the Cisco Worldwide UC Partner Summit in Phoenix, AZ last fall, the recent Cisco FY08 Global Sales Meeting in Las Vegas, NV, and the Cisco Unified Communications Partner Summit in Miami Beach, FL in November.

Jim is a former Cisco employee who came to Cisco through its acquisition of Geotel Communications, a publicly-held software company focused on the Customer Interaction Solutions market.  While at Cisco, he pioneered the sale of the very first Cisco IP Contact Centers and Customer Voice Portal systems.  In addition to his work as a Cisco employee, Jim worked for key applications-focused Cisco Channel Partners, Spanlink and Vista IT.  As an independent consultant, Jim developed many of the messaging and Go-to-Market strategies for the Customer Contact Business Unit at Cisco and coined the now widely-used term, Customer Interaction Network.  His consulting work for Cisco also includes extensive work in the Go-to-Market strategies and messaging for the “QuickStart for Cisco Unified Communications” project.

Over the past four years, Jim has conducted over 150 workshops and trained more than 3,000 Cisco and Channel Partner sales professionals in over forty-seven different countries located throughout all four of Cisco’s US/Canada, Europe, Emerging Markets, and Asia Pacific Theatres.


Chris Luxford, Senior Consultant & Change Agent

As a long-time driving force in moving the Cisco ecosystem toward greater business relevance and sales excellence, the ASPIRE! Group has identified a critical gap in business process expertise and consulting services offerings within the existing sales engagements of Cisco and its Channel Partners.

After a worldwide search for an executive with the background and skills needed to lead an important new consultancy services practice, the ASPIRE! Group is pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Luxford to the company's executive team.  His initial focus will be the development and launching of the ASPIRE! Group's new Business Process Transformation Methodologies and Consulting Services Practice.  This unique new consultancy offering is being developed exclusively for Cisco and its authorized Channel Partners.

Luxford is the former CEO of 3D Networks Australia, a key Cisco Channel Partner focused on innovative business communications and collaboration solutions.  A breadth and depth of industry expertise and visionary leadership skills enabled Chris to accelerate 3D Networks' success in the sales and implementation of Cisco advanced communications applications, including sophisticated customer interaction environments.  Chris has also been a strong advocate within the Cisco ecosystem for improving interoperability between Cisco and Microsoft as a means for facilitating innovation within customer environments.

Prior to joining 3D Networks, Chris was a pioneer in the development and growth of the Australian call center market.  As a senior consultant with SFC Consulting Services, he excelled at helping his clients understand how to better align their people, processes, and technologies to achieve mission-critical business outcomes.

ASPIRE! Group CEO, Jim Hays, emphasized that, "The addition of an experienced Cisco Channel Partner executive and consultant of Chris' caliber further expands our ability to deliver on the ASPIRE! Group's mission of empowering the Cisco sales ecosystem to more effectively sell the value of integrating business strategy, processes, and models with advanced communications and collaboration applications, infrastructrures, and architectures."


Janet Gregory, Senior Consultant

Janet Gregory is a senior consultant and workshop leader who brings extensive expertise in sales and marketing consultancy and sales force development to the ASPIRE! Group.

 Janet has more than twenty-five years of experience in sales and sales management for leading companies within the Unified Communications industry, including ROLM, IBM, Octel, Latitude Communications, and ShoreTel.  Her career began with sales and sales management roles for digital PBX/ACD and voice messaging pioneer, IBM/ROLM.  Her responsibilities expanded at voice messaging leader, Octel Communications.  Janet was on the founding executive team at Latitude Communications, which was later acquired by Cisco.  As VP Sales at Latitude, she lead the company to a successful IPO.  Following Latitude, Janet served as the VP of Sales at ShoreTel, a Cisco competitor in IP Telephony.  She helped ShoreTel become profitable and was responsible for developing effective Go-to-Market strategy, sales messaging and sales process.  Her most recent experience prior to teaming with the ASPIRE! Group was as Founder and Principal of KickStart Alliance, a sales and marketing consulting firm.

She helped establish a technology partnership between Cisco and Latitude prior to Latitude’s acquisition by Cisco.  Her current knowledge of Cisco UC products was derived from the extensive competitive analysis that she conducted while formulating ShoreTel competitive strategy against Cisco and more recently in her work collaborating with current Cisco projects and sales teams.  

Janet has trained, coached, and mentored hundreds of highly-successful sales professionals.  Janet has prior certification as a trainer for Xerox Professional Selling Skills and SPIN® Selling.  Recent experience with KickStart Alliance has involved sales development, custom workshop development and delivery.


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