Advisory Board

Social Media Week Chicago is guided by a Host Team as well as an  Advisory Board of social-media thought leaders that assist in the planning, promotion and execution of the September 23-26 event.  Follow @smwchicago on Twitter or on Facebook to receive real-time updates and alerts.


Social Media Week Chicago 2013 Advisory Board Members include:



Steve Goldhaber


 Director, Interactive Marketing, Aon

Steve has always been fascinated with consumer behavior and understanding what motivates people. He is passionate about digital marketing and leveraging it to help customers make decisions. He believes great marketing involves knowing all the rules, but most importantly, when to break them. Steve enjoys questioning the status quo and leading teams into new territories. His marketing career is a blend of experience across both the corporate and agency side. He currently leads Global Interactive Marketing for Aon where he is responsible for digital strategy and execution. Prior to Aon, Steve was a Vice President at Digitas, where he led digital and integrated accounts for Best Buy, Whirlpool, Intuit and Sprint. Prior to spending 9 years at Digitas, he held corporate marketing positions at Bally Total Fitness, US Bank and DirecTV. Steve has won several digital and integrated marketing awards over his career, and has served as a judge for the Effie awards. Steve earned a Communication degree from Purdue University. He currently resides in Oak Park with his wife Carolyn and 2 year old son Andrew.


Venetta Linas Paris


Global Marketing Manager, Social & Digital Media, Aon

In a time before Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, Venetta joined a small, but ahead-of-its-time start-up, working with product development teams on location-based services for smartphones.  At this start-up, she constantly tested and explored how online users interacted with technology and how brands could monetize these behaviors while fulfilling user needs. Currently a Marketing Manager for Aon, Venetta works with global teams on digital content and social media strategy to achieve a wide array of business goals. Prior to Aon, Venetta worked for CareerBuilder helping Fortune 500 clients define and implement digital advertising and branding strategies to recruit top talent. While obtaining her MBA, she moved into a product management role for CareerBuilder, managing a proprietary social network and developing UX enhancements to Dog-lover extraordinaire, connoisseur of film and novice photographer, she’s passionate about the beauties of life and good-old-fashioned storytelling.


Andrea Javor


Global Director Digital & Media Strategy, Beam, Inc.

In her role at Beam Inc., Andrea Javor is responsible for stewarding Beam’s media investments across paid, owned and earned media channels, as well as bringing social media thought-leadership to the organization at large.  Beam’s roster of brands include: Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Courvoisier, Sauza, Pinnacle Vodka and Skinnygirl Cocktails.

Andrea is a proven digital and media leader with a highly diverse background encompassing more than 12 years media planning experience for several public world-renowned consumer companies.

Most recently, Andrea served as Partner, Sr. Communications Planning Director for Mediacom, an $18 billion provider of business-building media solutions for some of the world’s largest, well-known advertisers. In this role, Andrea was responsible for integrated media execution on brands like Healthy Choice, Hunt’s and Slim Jim.

Prior to joining Mediacom, she worked for Mindshare from 2001 – 2005 and again from 2006 – 2008 working with companies such as Unilever, Northwestern Mutual Financial Network and Nestle, on cross-functional, cross-brand, media planning and strategy.  From 2005 – 2006, Andrea worked for OMD on the Global McDonald’s account as the resident expert on high-growth media vehicles, implementing a plan of action for technological advancements in marketing around the globe.

Andrea holds a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Psychology from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis.  She resides in Chicago, Ill.


Maria Christopoulos Katris


CEO, Built In

Maria is the CEO of Built In, a platform which enables cities to connect, educate and promote their growing digital communities. The company currently operates three sites in Chicago (, Los Angeles ( and Denver (, and is headquartered in Chicago.

Through online and offline activities, the Built In platform connects startups, large companies, universities, civics/non profits, local government, accelerators, incubators and investors. Activities include media content curation, an active job board, data aggregation and publication, and events–at a hyper-local city level-with one shared goal–to help support digital communities.

Maria’s responsibilities include strategic planning, sales, business development, hiring, marketing, community development and events.

Maria is an intrapreneur and entrepreneur who has 12+ years’ marketing, strategy and consulting experience and has worked in diverse industries including: healthcare, technology and in-home services. Previously Maria was the Executive Director of TiE Midwest, the Chicago chapter of a Global not-for-profit organization dedicated to high growth entrepreneurs. Immediately prior to joining TiE Midwest, Maria founded Nanny Boutique, a Chicago-based nanny placement agency, which she sold within 2 years.

Maria has a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Miami University and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management with concentrations in Entrepreneurship and Marketing. Maria serves on the advisory boards of, the Chicago Innovation Awards, TechWeek and Social Media Week Chicago.

Maria and her husband live in Chicago with their 2 daughters, Alexandra and Georgie.


John DeRango


Social Media and Online Community Manager, CCC Information Services

John is the Social Media and Online Community Manager for CCC Information Services; the leading provider of software for the auto claims industry.  In this role John is responsible for creating and leading the company-wide digital strategy including building and fostering online communities, driving SEO and SEM tactics, and crafting and implementing online content strategies.

In a previous role, John was Director of Web and Social Media Marketing for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.  During his time as Director, the Chamber saw an unprecedented amount of growth throughout social media and other online communities.  Through his work, John helped to successfully drive brand awareness and shape the Chamber as a regional business resource.

This role was vital to the growth Chamber’s brand and mission and quickly became an important face of the organization along with other key senior roles. Through the development and implementation of online content, the Chamber generated new revenue streams, awareness and targeted a new demographic of members.communities.  Through his work, John helped to successfully drive brand awareness and shape the Chamber as a regional business resource.

John transitioned from his role in the Chamber Foundation where he managed and developed programs and initiatives in the areas of innovation, economic development and other core programs in accordance with the objectives of the Chamber Foundation and the InnovateNow Initiative.

John began his career with Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce in 2006 in the Government Affairs Division, supporting the Chamber’s advocacy and legislative goals and mission. He earned his BA in Political Science and English from DePaul University and lives with his wife Kristen in Chicago.

Lauren McCadney


Senior Manager, Social Media, CDW

Lauren is an experienced marketing professional with a focus on Social Media and a passion for photography and community service.  Currently she heads Social Media at CDW, a leading provider of technology services. When not finding ways to connect customers and co-workers via the use of social media, you can find her teaching at the graduate level, behind the lens at a photo shoot or donating her time to urban education causes.  BtoB Magazine recognized her as one of the 2012 Top 25 Digital Marketers.  In addition to being a frequent speaker at conferences, Lauren contributes to the industry as a member of the Ethics Advisory Board for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). .  Her past lives include executive sales and marketing positions at SBC (currently AT&T) along with a tenure at the Quaker Oats Co. and Burrell Advertising.  Lauren is a proud Bison having received her BBA from Howard University. She also has an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

Jeremy Thum


Director of Interactive Marketing, Chicago Bulls



Kevin Saghy


Manager, Communications, Chicago Cubs

Kevin Saghy is manager of communications for the Chicago Cubs. In this role, he is responsible for promoting the team’s marketing and ticketing efforts, community involvement and other off-the-field endeavors through various communications channels, while also leading the club’s overall social media efforts. Kevin develops messaging, manages proactive and reactive communications outreach, collaborates with the team’s corporate and community partners, and serves as a spokesperson to local and national media.

Kevin manages the club’s social media presence on outlets including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine and Tumblr. Under his guidance, the Cubs have published compelling content and implemented numerous sweepstakes, giveaways, polls and in-ballpark activation, with a focus toward personal engagement with fans both online and offline. The Cubs have earned a social media following that ranks among the top five clubs in Major League Baseball.

Kevin also serves as an advisory board member for the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations, founding board member of the Ohio Northern Chicago Alumni Club and he volunteers for several Chicago-based and national PRSA committees. As a past national president of the student organization (PRSSA), he remains committed to initiatives that advance students in the public relations industry. Prior to joining the Cubs, Saghy worked as an account executive in the corporate practice of Ketchum in Chicago.


Dillon Goodson


Marketing Manager, Chicago Loop Alliance

Dillon is responsible for creating and executing strategic marketing campaigns that promote Downtown Chicago. Since his arrival in 2010, he has elevated the organization’s programs to international prominence. Chicago Loop Alliance has garnered more than half a billion earned media impressions in the past three years, and its work is seen by millions of people annually. He is currently developing a consumer-facing brand for the Loop, which will culminate in a new destination website launched in the fall of 2013.

Prior to joining Chicago Loop Alliance, Dillon worked for the Congress for the New Urbanism, a leading international organization devoted to advancing walkable, mixed-use neighborhood development, sustainable communities and healthier living conditions. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, with a concentration in Public Law and Political Thought, from DePaul University. He was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee and is an avid cyclist, arts enthusiast and volunteer, serving on the Junior Board of the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University and Board of Directors of Friends of Downtown.


Nicole Saunches

 Director, Mass Communications, Chicago White Sox

Ms. Saunches, the Director of Mass Communications for the Chicago White Sox, is now entering her 14th year working in sports.  Saunches began her career with the Atlanta Braves in Special Events and later joined the Milwaukee Brewers where she spent six seasons in the Media Relations department.  Following the Brewers, she spent more than four years as the Marketing Communications Manager for the U.S. Olympic Committee.  With the USOC, Ms. Saunches was a member of the U.S. delegations at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.  She also worked as a consultant to the United States Tennis Association before joining the White Sox in February 2012.  Saunches is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Linda Dao


Linda Dao previously served as the VP, Corporate Relations of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.There she was responsible for leading comprehensive new member recruitment, member retention, and member relations strategies for the Chicagoland Chamber. In addition, Linda managed special programs and events, connecting members to each other and the community and helping them grow their businesses and reduce costs.

Prior to joining the staff at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Linda owned and managed her own advertising consultancy, worked as an Executive Recruiter for Advertising & Marketing at Lucas Group, and served as Membership Director for ClubCorp. Linda received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from the University of Southern California and currently serves on various boards and committees.


Yvette Rebik


Marketing Coordinator, Choose Chicago

Yvette Rebik is a Marketing Coordinator at Choose Chicago.  Her responsibilities include managing Choose Chicago’s social media pages as well as the online Events Calendar.  She’s been with the company since July 2011.  Outside of the office, she performs improv and sketch comedy throughout the city at ComedySportz, One Group Mind and The Second City.  Yvette is excited to be a member of the Social Media Week Chicago Advisory Board!

Mary May

Public Relations and Social Media Specialist, City of Chicago, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events


Ankur Thakkar


Digital Director, City of Chicago, Office of the Mayor

As Chicago’s first Digital Director, Ankur Thakkar manages Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s digital communication strategy and works to optimize the City’s web presence. He is also an editor for TriQuarterly and working on his first novel.

Stephanie Moritz


Senior Director, Public Relations & Social Marketing, ConAgra Foods


Alan Snitow


Executive Vice President, Director of Integration, DDB Chicago

Alan Snitow joined DDB Chicago as EVP, Director of Integration. In this role he is responsible for guiding the agency’s integration evolution, pushing ideas across channels and ensuring best practices from an operational, talent and technical perspective. Alan joined from Gotham, Inc. where he helped transform the agency as Managing Partner, Director of Strategy and Innovation - punctuated by the shop being recognized as #1Agency to Watch and #1 Agency Standout in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Prior to Chicago, Alan spent his entire career at New York agencies including BBH, SS+K, and Deutsch. Alan graduated magna cum laude from Washington University in St Louis where he majored in anthropology over the objections of highly skeptical family members. A wine lover who enjoys traveling to wine country around the world, Alan tends to buy wine even faster than he can drink it. But he’s working on that.


Azher Ahmed


Senior Vice President, Director of Digital Operations, DDB Chicago

For over 16 years, Azher has spearheaded digital & technology efforts revolving around marketing, community build, branding and promotion across dozens of big brands including GEICO, Wal-Mart, Dell, Comcast, McDonald’s, Abbott Labs and Mars/Wrigley. Azher started his career as a designer, and brings a good mix of creative thinking and usability to traditionally cut-and-dry technical approaches.

Azher joined DDB in 2011 and has previously led digital marketing efforts for The Martin Agency, Arnold Worldwide and DraftFCB.

He has led development of award-winning mobile, web, gaming, experiential and social platforms for numerous top-tier clients. His experience also includes pioneering real-time marketing optimization platforms for DeVry and Discover Card as well as e-commerce platforms for clients including Dell, Wells Fargo and AOL.

Azher is an online community enthusiast, and possesses deep knowledge in building portable, participatory experiences that play a key role in today’s marketing mix.

Douglas Lee Miller


 New Media Manager, Career and Money Management, DePaul University

Douglas Lee Miller (MS Digital Cinema) is currently a New Media Manager for DePaul University. He also consults privately with other people and organizations regarding mobile and social media strategy and tactical deployment.

His formal training comes from digital storytelling and film production and he has been working in media, marketing, and technology for over 15 years.


Elizabeth Pigg


Senior Vice President, Director of Converged Media, Edelman

Based in Chicago, Elizabeth currently oversees paid and earned social media programs for several of the world’s most innovative brands. Elizabeth has spoken at several industry conferences, including: Global Conference for Accor (Budapest), WOMMA (Miami, Las Vegas), Digiday (New York), Society for New Communications Research (Boston) and Pace University’s Executive Summit (New York).
In addition to Elizabeth’s involvement with Social Media Week, she is also a judge for some of the industry’s most prestigious shows, like the Effies, the Shortys and Digiday.
Elizabeth is a classically trained violist and a member of the Chicago Classical Symphony orchestra.  You may also recognize her as the voice of Red Lobster’s ad campaigns.


Pamela Robertson


Senior Director, Marketing, Experian Marketing Services

Pamela and her team create and deliver strategic marketing programs that position Experian Marketing Services as a premier multi-channel marketing leader that helps clients engage with their customers more effectively. She helps lead efforts around digital strategy, branding, thought leadership, lead generation, events and more. She is passionate about social media marketing and is thrilled to be on the Advisory Board of #SMWChicago for the third year.

Nicole Simonds

Director of Marketing, Flatout Bread

Amy Ravit Korin


Midwest Community Manager, Google+ Local

Amy Ravit Korin joined Google as the Midwest Community Manager for Google+ Local in 2011. With over a dozen years of experience in social and emerging media, Amy founded in 2009 and served on the Board of the Chicago Social Media Club from 2008-2012 and Social Media Week Advisory Board in 2012.  Amy earned her MBA from Loyola University’s Graduate School of Business with a concentration in Marketing and Human Resources and studied Communications at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  Amy lives and breathes social media personally and professionally; and is even an online dating success story – reconnecting with the first boy she ever kissed and marrying him!  You can follow Amy online at @interactiveAmy or @GoogleLocalCHI.

Jennifer Kedinger


Manager, Social Media, Hyatt Corporation

Jennifer Kedinger joined as the Social Media Manager in 2010 at Hyatt Regency Chicago and has recently moved into a role as Social Media Manger at Hyatt Hotels Corporation. With a passion for relationships and a drive to experience the world, she has been a part of Social Media Week Advisory Board in since 2011.  Jennifer graduated from University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee with a focus on Marketing and Human Resources. She lives and breathes social and mobile while working toward the next adventure.



Ed Brill


Director, Mobile Enterprise Marketing, IBM

Ed Brill is responsible for IBM MobileFirst, the industry’s most comprehensive portfolio of solutions for enterprise mobility — “the business of mobile”. Brill and his team drive demand and market execution for products such as IBM Worklight, along with responsibility for the market management of IBM’s entire portfolio of mobile software and services.

Brill recently authored the IBM Press book Opting In: Lessons in Social Business, an Amazon bestseller endorsed by industry analysts, social media pundits, and software executives.

Prior to his current role, Brill was Director, Product Line Management, for IBM Social Business software. Brill was responsible for the product and market strategy for IBM’s messaging, collaboration, communications, and productivity products, including IBM Notes and Domino.

Committed to understanding the global marketplace, Brill has visited IBM customers in over forty countries, and is a frequent speaker at IBM and industry events worldwide. Brill is well known for direct contributions to social media and virtual communities. Brill authors a weblog at, and is prominent on public social networks such as TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

In nineteen years at IBM, Brill has led a variety of sales, marketing, and product-related organizations. As Director for Social Business, Brill has posted several years of innovation in brand and product management. During Brill’s earlier role as product sales executive, his suite of products posted year-to-year quarterly growth for four years, and gained thousands of new customers. Brill’s IBM career also included leadership of competitive strategy, along with several product management and strategic marketing roles. Brill’s technical background includes project management and IT architect roles.

Outside of IBM, Brill is an active Chicago community member. As a 25-year resident of Highland Park, Illinois, USA, Brill authors “Highlands and Ravines”, a regular opinion column, and previously wrote for the  Chicago Tribune’s TribLocal.

Brill holds a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from Indiana University, with a minor in political science.


Katherine Gear


Ecommerce Marketing Manager, Hyatt Regency Chicago

Katie Gear is E-Commerce Marketing Manager for six Hyatt hotels in the Chicagoland area, where she oversees all e-commerce related channels and develops strategy for online marketing promotion and revenue generation.

Geoff Alexander

Geoff Alexander


Vice President & Managing Partner, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises

Geoff Alexander has been wining and dining Chicago’s discerning palate the Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises Inc. ® (LEYE) way since May 1993 – a career he began merely nine days after his college graduation.

Since then Geoff has worked with some of the most notable concept’s in LEYE’s ever-burgeoning local, national and international portfolio, including Mity Nice Grill; Shaw’s Crab House; Big Bowl (eight locations locally and nationally); Vong’s Thai KitchenTM(VTK)  named one of “Chicago’s Top 20 New Restaurants,” (Chicago magazine, May 2002), Frankie’s Scaloppine at the 900 Shops on North Michigan Avenue and now Wow Bao, a concept focusing on steamed Asian buns.

Geoff has also revolutionized the way diners interact with restaurants by being a leader in restaurant technologies and the use of social media. Under his guidance, Wow Bao has implemented online ordering both from an iPhone app and from computer desktops for pick-up orders, bicycle delivery and domestic shipping. He has also installed self-ordering kiosks for guest ordering.  Aside from pioneering the @baomouth twitterfeed into a well respected Chicago Social Media influencer, Alexander partnered with Foursquare to have Wow Bao as one of its first Chicago restaurants offerings. Wow Bao has also flourished through a text messaging platform that Alexander created.

He is now a widely sought after speaker on the subject of Social Media and restaurant technologies having presented at the National Restaurant Show in Chicago and  the Foodservice Technology Conference and Showcase (FSTEC) in Long Beach, CA. He resides in Chicago with his family.

Steve Mura
Director of Digital Marketing, MillerCoors

As Director of Digital Marketing, Steve leads MillerCoors’ digital strategy for the company’s 35 brands and connects agencies, technology suppliers and key internal stakeholders together to execute team strategies and engage key beer drinkers in the digital space.  Working in a highly-regulated industry, Mr. Mura also is charged with developing digital policies and platforms that demonstrate MillerCoors social responsibility commitments.

Earlier in his Coors Brewing and MillerCoors career, Steve held various positions in the Marketing department.  As a member of the Coors Light Team, he was the team’s liaison developing custom calendars with top retailers Publix, Food Lion, Albertson’s, Target and Costco.  Later, he was a key member of the brand’s innovation team and led the development of the Coors Light Vented Wide Mouth can, Home Draft product and Cold Activation window.  Following the formation of MillerCoors,

Steve worked on the Miller Lite innovations team and played a pivotal role in the development of the Miller Lite Vortex bottle introduced in 2010. Prior to working in the beer industry, Steve held the position of  Integrated Marketing Manager for ConAgra Foods in Irvine, California specializing in go-to-market strategic plans for Chef Boyardee, Healthy Choice, Slim Jim, Peter Pan, Reddi-Wip and PAM with top retailers Wal-Mart, Kroger and Albertson’s.  He also served as a Promotions and Public Relations Manager for Sara Lee Bakery Group in St. Louis.

Steve holds a BS degree in Advertising and Marketing from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois and an MBA from Webster University in Webster Groves, Missouri.  A native of St. Louis, he lives in Hinsdale, Illinois with his wife Libby and two children.

Todd Shingler


Founder & President, Mobile Perspectives

Todd founded Mobile Perspectives in 2010 as an advisory practice to help businesses and brands develop and execute mobile strategies to engage mobile consumers, mobilize their workforce and mobile-enable their businesses processes.  Todd believes the most effective users of social media start with a mobile-first strategy.

Previously, Todd was CEO of MobileAware Limited, an Irish mobile software firm whose clients included, Wells Fargo, American Airlines, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Boeing, AT&T, Verizon, Air France/KLM and Cox Communications. Todd joined MobileAware in 2003 as Vice President of Products based in Dublin, Ireland before coming to Chicago to lead Business Development and Sales for North America.

Prior to joining MobileAware, Todd spent 12 years in a variety of business and technology roles at Nortel Networks including stints in Dallas, TX, Munich, Germany and Paris, France and engaging mobile operators and technology partners around the world. Todd holds Computer Science and Math degrees from Southern Methodist University and resides in Chicago with his wife and three children.

Chicago-based Mobile Perspectives developed and maintains the Social Media Week mobile website.

Leslie Marshall


Director – Events, Magazine and Social Media, Morningstar, Inc.

Leslie is responsible for global brand management of Morningstar Conferences, as well as business management for the annual Morningstar Investment Conference and the Morningstar ETF Invest Conference held in Chicago, and Morningstar Advisor magazine.  A champion for social media within the organization, Leslie is also responsible for the Morningstar’s social media strategy. Prior to joining Morningstar, Leslie spent 14 years in the publishing industry in a variety of marketing, new business development, and editorial roles. Leslie holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and German from Adrian College.

Melissa Giovagnoli Wilson


Founder and President, Networlding

Melissa  Giovagnoli Wilson is the founder and President of Networlding, a 12-year old company specializing in publishing, thought leader marketing and social media strategy, training implementation. She has worked with organizations such as Motorola, Hewitt, BF Goodrich, AT&T, Disney, Fortune Brands, American Express, Medtronic, CNA, UBS and hundreds of fast-growth companies. She is also one of the top trainers on LinkedIn.

Melissa is also the author and/or co-author of 14 books, the latest called “Networking is Dead,” to be released November of 2012.  Four of her books have been on best-seller lists. Her seventh book, co-authored with former CMO of Office Depot, Jocelyn Carter Miller, was a top ten Amazon book for a year.


Brittany Walker


Territory Digital Specialist, Nike

Texas born and raised, Brittany arrived in Chicago two years ago and she says that although Texas is the best state (duh) Chicago is definitely the best city. She studied Marketing at Texas Christian University and after earning the highest honor of “the loudest person in the football stadium” she headed to the midwest to become the first Territory Digital Specialist for Nike in Chicago. She traded in her cowboy boots and “y’alls” for a Cubs hat and “you guys.” While here, she’s added the social component into Nike’s many on-the-ground events in Chicago. She’s lead projects such as the first-ever city-specifc twitter handle (@NikeChicago), womens-only city social community (NTC Lincoln Park), and events as big as the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

When not (or even when – that’s the nice thing about Nike!) Brittany loves working out (running, yoga, everything!) or petting any dog within 10 feet of her (less work-related).

Tom Collinger


Executive Director Spiegel Digital & Database Research Initiative, Medill IMC, Northwestern University

Tom joined the faculty at Northwestern University in January 1998, served as Associate Dean and Department Chair from 2005 to 2011, and now leads a research initiative and serves as senior director of distance learning.   He is a widely recognized expert in the areas of integrated marketing communications, direct, database & e-commerce marketing management, customer loyalty, customer relationship management, & channel integration. He is a former Senior Vice President of The Leo Burnett Company; Former Vice President and General Manager of Ogilvy & Mather Direct/OgilvyOne, and former member of the editorial advisory board for the Journal of Consumer Marketing.


Jeff Willinger


Director of Social Computing, Collaboration and Intranets, Rightpoint

Jeff Willinger is the Director of Social Computing, Collaboration and Intranets at Rightpoint and was recently named one of the top SharePoint influencers to watch in 2013, for the second year, and one the most influential social media people in the city of Chicago.  He specializes in advising clients on social computing strategies, social intranets and portals, mobile reach vs. reach and increasing employee engagement.   With experience spanning more than two decades,  Jeff possesses specific expertise in social computing and business inside an organization’s four walls and social media outside their four walls.  He is an internationally recognized speaker and expert in Microsoft SharePoint and is a technology and business evangelist with deep expertise in information architecture, enterprise content management, and web 2.0 technology strategy.  A character with character, he is the President and Founder of the Social Media Club of Chicago.

Billy Dec


Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Rockit Ranch Productions;  TV & Radio Contributor 

Billy Dec is an Emmy Award Winning Entertainment TV Personality and CEO/Founder of Rockit Ranch Productions, Chicago’s premier hospitality & entertainment development company, specializing in the creation, marketing and management of some of the city’s top venues including Rockit Bar & Grill, The Underground, Rockit Burger Bar, Sunda New Asian, Dragon Ranch Moonshine & BBQ and newly opened ¡AY CHIWOWA! Dec was chosen to be the Entertainment Contributor on ABC TV’s new show “Windy City Live” (replacing the “Oprah Winfrey Show”) every Thursday at 9am and most recently, appears on radio’s 103.5 KISS FM AND 101.9 The Mix.

Dec’s educational background includes the University of Illinois, Chicago-Kent College of Law & the Harvard Business School. He has received numerous awards including “Excellence in Business

Award” from the State of Illinois, the Asian American Hall of Fame Award, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Community Leadership Award and Chicago-Kent College of Law Alumni Professional Achievement Award. Dec is also actively involved in philanthropic organizations like Make a Wish, Best Buddies, Lookingglass Theatre…and formerly served as the Director of Cultural Relations for the 2016 Olympic Committee.

Dec writes his own blog about Chicago and its culturally rich entertainment landscape, where his contact info, press pages & upcoming events calendar are also posted, along with access to his heavily followed – &


Daliah Saper


Intellectual Property & Business Attorney, Saper Law, Adjunct Professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Daliah is a member of the Illinois Bar and both the General Bar and Trial Bar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.  She has handled many high profile cases (including one she argued before the Illinois Supreme Court) and is regularly interviewed on national tv, radio, and in several publications including:  Fox News, CNBC, ABC News, The Chicago Tribune, WGN Radio, NPR, and a slew of smaller websites.  She has repeatedly received the honor of being named a“Rising Star” by Super Lawyers magazine (2009,2010,2011,2012,2013), is recognized as a leading Media and Entertainment lawyer by Chambers and Partners, featured on the cover of TheXemplar magazine, profiled by the Chicago Law Bulletin,  and has been nominated for the prestigious ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award. This year, Law Bulletin Publishing Company selected Daliah Saper as a “40 under 40,” an incredibly competitive list of accomplished attorneys compiled from over 1250 qualified nominations. (Read the detailed profile here.)

Daliah is an Adjunct Professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, teaching a Sports and Entertainment Law course.  She also serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Illinois College of Law, teaching an Internet Law course.  She is on the faculty of PLI, Practicing Law Institute, and has been selected by Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society to be a member of Harvard’s new Online Media Legal Network (OMLN).  In addition Daliah conducts Seminars at Saper Law on a monthly basis, and is a frequent lecturer, panelist, and instructor for organizations around the city and the country. (For Daliah’s latest speaking engagements, please click on News.)

Daliah received her J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law, where she was a staff member on the Journal of Law Technology and Policy and served as President of the Intellectual Property Law Society. Her work experience includes positions at Brinks Hofer Gilson and Lione, a large intellectual property law firm; Lawyers for the Creative Arts, a non-profit organization assisting artists; and the Anti-Defamation League, a civil rights organization. She has also worked at Playboy Enterprises, Inc., assisting with the maintenance and enforcement of Playboy’s global trademark portfolio.

Prior to starting her own firm, Daliah gained experience as a commercial litigator and negotiated settlement agreements on behalf of individuals sued by the Recording Industry Association of America. She also served as Vice President and in-house counsel of diLuce Productions, Inc., a Chicago based public relations and marketing consulting firm specializing in event production.

Daliah is an active member of the Chicago Bar Association, the Chicago Fashion Foundation, the Technology Executives Club, the Decalogue Society, the Standard Club, and IFP (Independent Feature Project).  Through her firm, she supports and sponsors many technology and arts related organizations such as Tech Cocktail and the Midwest Independent Film Festival. She also volunteers for Lawyers for the Creative Arts, Kartemquin Films, Chicago Filmmakers, Women in Film, and Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti Foundation. Finally, Daliah has extensive overseas experience, having studied at Fudan University in Shanghai and the City University School of Business in London. She speaks Hebrew and Farsi.


Kim Healy

Vice President, Consumer Products Division, Dart Container Corporation (Dart acquired Solo Cup Company in 2012)

Kim is currently Vice President, Consumer Products Marketing for Dart Container which purchased the Solo Cup Company in May, 2012.   In this role, Kim brings 15 years of Consumer Packaged Goods experience and a passion for growing the Solo®, Bare by Solo® and Dart® brands.  While with the Solo Cup Company, she held various positions with increasing responsibility in brand marketing, social media, new product development, sales management and business development.  Prior to Dart, Kim was at Sunbeam Corporation where she focused on growing the Sunbeam® and Oster® brands globally through new product development and brand marketing efforts.

Kim is a graduate of Boston College with a BA in Psychology and earned her MBA from Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of International Management.  She resides in Chicago with her husband and two children.


Michael Herron


 Manager, Social Media and Online Engagement, Dart Container Corporation (Dart acquired Solo Cup Company in 2012)

Mike’s primary responsibility is to oversee social communications and other online channels around the Solo Cup consumer brand while being a social media expert and champion for the Solo Cup parent company, the Dart Container Corporation.

Mike brought 8 years of social media marketing experience to Dart Container and the Solo Cup brand and has worked with some of the top brands in the sports and hospitality industries during his career.  Mike is an entrepreneur at heart and a generalist with expertise in numerous marketing, advertising and technology areas.  He holds two current US Patents around products he developed for the golf industry and was nominated for a nationwide OBIE award in 2010.

He, his wife and two daughters live in Chicago’s western suburbs.


Andrew Caravella


Vice President, Marketing, Sprout Social

Andrew Caravella is vice president of marketing at Sprout Social, a leading social media management and engagement platform for business. He leads a rock star team that creates and delivers relevant, engaging content and conversations through multiple forms of media and technology. Andrew believes the heart of social media hinges on exceptional experiences and meaningful human connections, and he uses those principles to guide dedicated direct acquisition, lead generation and brand visibility initiatives.

Focused primarily on digital and social media, his career work includes executive communications, brand management, education campaigns, and event planning for everyone from Fortune 500 brands to not-for-profit organizations. Prior to joining Sprout Social, Andrew was director of marketing at the search marketing agency Performics (Publicis Groupe). He previously served as a search product marketing manager at DoubleClick and began his career in public relations and account management at Weber Shandwick.

Andrew earned an MS in integrated marketing communications from Northwestern University and BAs in political science and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He is a competitive volleyball player, a tennis and Roger Federer fanatic, a SPARK program middle school mentor and serves on the auxiliary boards of Vital Bridges and Chicago’s acclaimed Joffrey Ballet.

Kristin Hertko


Web Evangelist, Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy

Max Crowley


Community Manager, Uber 

Max Crowley is the Community Manager for Uber in Chicago, a mobile app that allows you to request a private driver or taxi at the push of a button. Max joined Uber in August 2011 to launch the Chicago market. His work consists of all client-facing initiatives, including social media, marketing, customer support, and business development. The Uber Chicago Twitter account surpassed over 3,000 followers in less than nine months, and is the focal point of their customer interaction in Chicago.

Originally from Park Ridge, Max attended the University of Iowa, and was previously an analyst at Accenture. Most nights you can find him slanging Uber at a local watering hole, or you can give him a shout on Twitter.


Shanna Quinn


Senior Marketing Representative – Social Media Programs, United Airlines

Shanna Quinn has immersed herself in the social media sphere since 2008, serving in a number of key roles including Writer for, Contributing Editor at Galavanting Productions, Organizer and swag handler for TBEX 2009 & 2010, and Community Manager & Social Media Strategist for Imagination Publishing. In her current role as Senior Marketing Representative on the Social Media team at United Airlines, Shanna focuses on content strategy and execution, campaigns and social customer support. When she’s not at work, you can find her traveling, tweeting, exploring Chicago, or discovering the newest cupcake creation.

Rhiannon Clifton


Program Director, Charles H. Sandage Department of Advertising, University of Illinois

Rhiannon creates and directs new programs for the Charles H. Sandage Department of Advertising, including AdCamp, Digital Bootcamp, Study Abroad, and the new PR Certificate Program. She also teaches for the Department and is a Faculty Fellow in Entrepreneurship with the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership at Illinois.

Prior to joining the Advertising Department, Rhiannon was the Assistant Director of the Technology Entrepreneur Center in the College of Engineering at Illinois. She joined the TEC’s staff in 2005, and was responsible for the development and implementation of programs, policies, procedures and objectives of the Center and its role in promoting technology entrepreneurship to students and faculty within the College of Engineering and across the Illinois campus. Rhiannon also led curriculum development for the Center, and is an instructor for the TEC’s High Tech Venture Marketing course.

Rhiannon is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a BS in Advertising, and earned her MBA from Salem International University with a concentration in International Business in 2010. Prior to joining the University, she was a Media Supervisor, and later, the training class instructor for Starcom in Chicago. During her tenure at Starcom and StarLink (now Spark Communications), Rhiannon and her team were recognized for innovation in media and won several awards including an SMG Fuel Award, and Media Magazine’s “Media Plan of the Year.”

Rhiannon lives in Savoy, IL with her husband and three young children, who always keep her laughing. She participated in the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer walk in 2009, where she walked 39.3 miles to raise funds for breast cancer research.

Suzanne Fanning


President, WOMMA

Suzanne was an early believer in the power of word of mouth and social media marketing. By connecting with and empowering consumers (even before all the cool kids were talking about it) she was able to unleash the power of worldwide brand evangelism to drive unprecedented results for several global companies. The short list of all the excellent things that WOM helped her do included quadrupling website traffic, tripling POP and online sales, increasing blogosphere chatter by 600%, and significantly increasing net favorability. At that point she realized that consumers could market products and brands far better than the most savvy marketers. Her ultimate hobby became finding new ways to help companies embrace the love of their fans, “likes,” ambassadors, evangelists (or whatever you want to call them). She even found ways to involve fans in new product development, customer service, ads, and in-store events.

Fast Company, Ad Age, Forbes, and PR Week have all featured the award-winning programs she helped develop. You may have also read about them in marketing books like How Smart Companies Get People Talking, Brains on Fire, the Secrets of Social Media Marketing , Killing Giants, and Groundswell. She is a believer in the incredible power of the brand/consumer connection. The vehicles of communication are changing, but one thing remains the same–if you love your fans, they’ll love you back. If you want to know more, just call her…she’d love to connect with you.


Amanda Puck


 Executive Vice President, Public Relations, XA, The Experiential Agency

Amanda Puck is a recognized leader in the public relations & social media industries in Chicago as the EVP of XA, The Experiential Agency, and is responsible for the successful blend of traditional and new media tactics. Through her new and emerging media efforts, Amanda and her team take on the digital space and make valuable connections that generate buzz and revenue for their clients. A foodie first, Amanda was the Managing Partner of Spago Restaurant and also the two-time Emmy Award winning host of “Check, Please” on WTTW Channel 11 for its first two seasons in 2001 and 2002.

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