Get remarkable business results by working with remarkable people

The purpose of the Otter Collective: find an expert to support you

I follow a simple rule: either I apply myself to ensuring your success, or I introduce you to the people who can do so even more effectively. My network is full of experienced leaders with expertise in a wide range of domains, and I continue to work with them today.

This is the purpose of the collective. No matter your needs - from structuring your sales force, nailing your GDPR strategy, refining your pitch, sorting out your branding, and beyond - you can rapidly find an expert to support you.

The Otter Collective


Michaela Schilling - Marketing, Communications & Administration  

Michaela is responsible for marketing, communication, and orchestrating all admin tasks across the business. She brings excitement and a strong belief that Otter Advisory will become a unique brand in the HR IT business world.

She is an open-minded person who loves spending time with diverse friends, traveling, and reading books. Often described as a creative and empathic person with finely-tuned organizational skills, Michaela is able to solve problems and handle a complex, fast-moving organization. 

If you have any questions, please contact Michaela!

Photo Bri Vellis, Co-Founder, Luminis Marketing

Bri Vellis, Co-Founder, Luminis Marketing

With in-depth industry experience in spearheading strategic and marketing management for the Human Resources Tech, E-commerce, SaaS/Cloud-based technologies, B2B/B2C and Financial Tech Sectors, Bri loves to integrate marketing and communications with other aspects of an organisation to ensure it drives seamless results. Branding is her second nature and she has a keen eye to ensure your company brand is fresh, beautiful, and tells a story to your customers. She has worked with small, growth-phase startups, as well as, enterprise giants such as SAP, Intuit, PayPal, and eBay.

Photo Daniel Vonderau

Daniel Vonderau - Data Protection Advisor

Daniel has a weakness for data protection. He combines his deep understanding of the challenges that companies face in implementing data protection requirements in HR with scientific expertise in this area.

As a deputy data protection officer and senior researcher in a research company, he brings together the latest scientific knowledge with the legal requirements. He holds a degree in law and certifications as a data protection officer and data protection auditor with several years of experience in research. At the interface between technology and law, he worked in the area of data protection in projects with startups as well as listed companies.

In cooperation with Otter Advisory, he can support your company in implementing data protection requirements in the HR Tech area in which an existing team is trained or existing processes are audited.

Photo Bernfried Niemann

Bernfried Niemann - Payroll Advisor   

Bernfried has worked for more than 25 years in various roles like Developer, Project Lead, Development Manager, Chief Product Expert,  in software development for the HCM Payroll solution from SAP SE. During this time he was responsible for more than 15 years for Payroll Solution for Germany.

In partnership with Otter Advisory, Bernfried is able to help HR Software Companies, like yours, in advice on Payroll Development and German Payroll functionality.

Photo Jerome Gouvernel

Jerome Gouvernel – HCM Product and Architecture advisor

Jerome focuses on product strategy and design as well as scaling technology and teams into multinational successes.

From large-scale platforms like ADP’s global HR/Payroll/Time offering, GlobalView®, to low-friction Leadership products like Compass®, Jerome has a track record of award-winning products that enable worldwide people management and development. 

His management experience includes scaling large distributed development teams across the globe, running a global IT organization as CTO, to founding and running a highly-successful Product Incubation Venture - including go-to-market and sales activities.

Photo Mark Ingram

Mark Ingram – Recruiting Technology Advisor 

Mark Ingram’s knowledge of recruiting technology comes from 20 years wearing the hats of developer, product manager at SAP, functional recruiting implementation consultant, recruiting integration standards author, consulting practice lead and ISV advisor.

In partnership with Otter Advisory, Mark will advise HR Software companies on how best to integrate and work with SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting.

Photo Robert Carson, Co-Founder, Luminis Marketing

Robert Carson, Co-Founder, Luminis Marketing

A confirmed Lead-Gen geek and persona super-fan, Rob is never happier than when he is deep-diving into customers and potential customers to fully understand them! Using empathy and a customer-first mindset has enabled him to deliver leads and revenue through multi-channel marketing programmes. Rob uses a combination of demand waterfall and pragmatic persona-based marketing to deliver optimised marketing-to-sales funnels. Rob has generated content and copy across different industries to feed the automated nurture campaigns that he has designed and delivered. With his understanding of the importance that marketing must always sit within the business context, Rob is someone who will deliver tangible results to your business.

Photo kerry hancock

Kerry Hancock - Futures Consultant

Kerry is a futurist and an entrepreneur with a passion for creative storytelling using data and analytics. She studied computer science and statistics and trained as a management consultant before co-founding and managing a web development company specializing in company information. Thereafter, she has assisted a number of retail, tourism, banking, technology, and engineering businesses with strategy, marketing, finance, best practices, and systems implementation. More recently, Kerry completed her MPhil (Future Studies) Cum Laude through the University of Stellenbosch.

Kerry, with her husband, has numerous interests in conservation in Southern Africa. Their mission is to make conservation of wildlife habitat valuable to people. Kerry is a director of the Greater Kruger Environmental Protection Foundation, a non-profit established to protect the environment for future generations by combatting wildlife crime.
Kerry currently lives in the Netherlands. As a South African, her interest is to promote North-South global relations to restore the balance between people, profit, and the planet.

In partnering with Otter Advisory, Kerry is able to use her skills to provide a unique insight into future Human Resource innovation scenarios.

Photo thomas gerstner

Thomas Gerstner

Thomas is an accomplished global senior executive who has worked in the enterprise business application market for over 20 years, always focusing on growth strategies and its execution across the organization. He has held various sales and general management roles with full P&L and lived and worked in four countries in Europe and Asia.

Thomas has an impressive track record in driving profitable business growth across all channels and rapidly increasing market share by establishing the necessary structures and processes across teams.
He gained his HR experience by overseeing SAP’s SuccessFactors business in the most competitive region with 30 countries incl. Germany, Switzerland, and CIS for more than 3 years.

Prior to his current role as the EMEA President at Greenlight Technologies Inc., he was the Managing Director of SAP in Hong Kong, one of the fastest-growing and most dynamic markets for SAP globally.

He is the right partner to advise HR Tech companies on their GTM-, growth- and expansion strategy.

Photo nigel montgomery

Nigel Montgomery – Analyst Engagement Advisor

The services provided by Nigel are based on his 20 years at Gartner and AMR Research as Research Director and leading ERP and SCM analyst - responding to nearly 600 inquiries and producing over 450+ reports annually covering ERP, SCM, CLM and HCM. This followed a further 22 years in a combination of software product management and manufacturing industry management roles.  

In partnership with Otter Advisory, Nigel’s services provide tactical and strategic advisory support of vendor’s product and go-to-market strategies and actions, particularly where they connect with the analyst world (e.g. Gartner, Forrester, IDC etc).

These services include the ‘Magic Quadrant Impact Service (MQIS)’ which supports vendors, undergoing the rigour of a Gartner Magic Quadrant, to perform at their best under scrutiny.

Nigel’s services also include the very popular ‘Getting on, and staying on the analyst’s radar’ training and support, which helps vendors which have yet to attain inclusion in a Magic Quadrant or which are questioning whether to spend on analyst services in general. 

Nigel is a highly respected analyst in the enterprise applications market and, in addition to the above, continues to regularly advise investment and end-user organisations related to their investment in enterprise software applications and services.

Photo ludovic-leforestier

Ludovic Leforestier – Founder, Starsight Communications & IIAR> Board Member

is a recognised thought leader in influencer and analyst relations. He has over 20 years of hands-on analyst relations experience with the very best AR teams such as Oracle and IBM and has built two world-class analyst & influencer relations departments at management firm BearingPoint and AdTech leader Criteo. At BearingPoint, he also led the launch and development of the BearingPoint Institute.

He has co-founded the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations (IIAR>) and is currently serving as one of its Board Members. 

He is also the founder of Starsight Communications (, @starsightbiz), a new kind of specialist analyst & B2B influencer relations agency, bold, hands-on and insightful, supporting vendors with strategy, insights and execution.

Read his blog.








luk smeyers

Luk Smeyers - HR Tech Positioning Expert

Unlike traditional startup/scale-up advisors, Luk has worked at the intersection of HR, HR Tech, and HR advisory. Luk used to be EMEA CHRO at Starbucks and Nielsen for almost a decade. In 2008 Luk founded his own People Analytics technology consulting company iNostix, with his existing CHRO network as ideal clients.

Due to the unrivalled reputational footprint Luk has built with iNostix, the company was acquired by Deloitte in 2016. During his 4 years with Deloitte, Luk was able to deepen his understanding of the drivers of HR Tech success in the fast changing HR and future of work landscape.

Luk is now combining his HR Tech work at Otter Advisory with helping consultancies growing their reputational footprint. Positioning audits for Products (HR Tech) and Services (Consultancies) is at the core of his all day work and expertise.

With this one-of-a-kind blend Luk is one of those rare experts who can advise HR Tech companies how to position themselves for long term success.







Get in touch with Thomas and his collective

I empower HRTECH founders in building and scaling great product businesses with incisive, actionable, expert advice.