Here You Go, Boss. Everything You Need To Know About Why We Should Attend @SMWChicago

Social Media Week

Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas and insights into social media and technology's impact on business, society, and culture.

If you’re reading this, your colleague might have sent it to you, or you plan to send this to your manager. Perhaps you’re already a part of our community, and just want to learn more about Social Media Week Chicago, which is just around the corner and taking place this November 16-20 at downtown Chicago’s iconic Merchandise Mart.

If you’re not familiar with Social Media Week Chicago, it’s lined up to be an incredibly unique program that explores the intersection of media and technology. The week of November 16th will consist of panels, presentations, demos, workshops, talks, conversations, interactive events, networking, parties, and more. Here’s why someone, or multiple individuals, should represent your organization at SMW Chicago…

Leading speakers and industry pioneers sharing their expertise

SMW Chicago
SMW Chicago

  • Mark Addicks (Retired CMO, General Mills, Inc.)
  • Mary Jo Behrman (Executive Director of Digital, Golin)
  • Cole Bolton (Editor-in-Chief, The Onion)
  • Brad Boron (Director of Digital Communications, Chicago White Sox)
  • Sean Callahan (Senior Manager of Content Marketing, LinkedIn)
  • Jena Gambaccini (Founder and Fashion Blogger,
  • Paul Gunning (CEO, DDB Chicago)
  • David Katcher (General Manager, Lyft)
  • Dan Kocchi (Senior Advisor of Competitive Intelligence, CVS Health)
  • Mikaela Lefrak (Associate Editor, The New Republic)
  • Amber Naslund (Senior Vice President, Marketing, Sysomos)
  • Mary Olivieri (SVP, Executive Creative Director, CBD Marketing)
  • Suey Park (Founder, Writer, Activist & Contributor, The Daily Dot)
  • Goldie Taylor (Editor-at-Large, The Daily Beast)
  • Howard Tullman (CEO, 1871)
  • Desiree Vargas Wrigley (CEO & Co-Founder,
  • 150+ other leading speakers!

Social Media Week Chicago is bringing more than 150 leading individuals to speak and share their knowledge, expertise, and experiences with attendees, all under one roof. From keynotes and mainstage talks, to masterclasses and demos, SMW Chicago speakers are at the forefront of our industry sharing a wide variety of engaging, entertaining, educational, diverse content and experiences to help us think differently about media, advertising, technology, publishing, startups, innovation, society, and so much more.

Masterclasses to learn new, hands-on skills

SMW Chicago
SMW Chicago

Masterclasses are intimate, hands-on talks designed for attendees to walk away from Social Media Week Chicago with new skills and knowledge under their belt, ready to implement into their line of work the very next week, or even the next day. Some of this year’s masterclass topics include utilizing social data effectively (hosted by Spredfast), taking your content marketing to the next level (hosted by LinkedIn), making old stories relevant today (hosted by The New Republic), and setting up a successful marketing strategy (hosted by General Assembly).

Along with these masterclass sessions, attendees will also hear from leading brands and organizations such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Brand Networks, Meltwater, Lightspan Digital, Synthesio, and many more. You can view the current list of masterclasses, and other sessions taking place on the SMW Chicago schedule page.

Innovative sessions to hear new and emerging trends

SMW Chicago
SMW Chicago

From a global perspective, Social Media Week exists to explore how media and technology continue to evolve, why this is important, what these changes mean, and who is leading this shift. Mainstage sessions are the driving force of our exploration, where leaders from around the globe share their knowledge and expertise on a variety of topics. Get a taste of Social Media Week’s innovative programming with this talk from September’s SMW London event below.

Some of the brands leading official events at SMW Chicago include: The Onion, NBC, Linkedin, Meltwater, General Assembly, Chicago Cubs, General Mills, CVS, Lyft, The Daily Dot, DDB Chicago, Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Sun-Times and many more!

This November 16-20, SMW Chicago is part of our next global edition of Social Media Week in 2015, which marks the fourth and final conference dedicated to this year’s global theme, “Upwardly Mobile: The Rise of the Connected Class.” This cover story theme represents our year-long pursuit to gain a deeper understanding of how we can collectively achieve more in a future where 6 billion people on the planet will connect to each other online.

Co-Working space to get regular work done

SMW Chicago
SMW Chicago

With all the programing and networking taking place throughout Social Media Week Chicago, we know you will have regular work and responsibilities that need to get done. The Merchandise Mart, SMW Chicago’s official venue for the week, will have a co-working lounge for attendees with tables and chairs to serve as your office for the week. Along with free WiFi at the venue, going to sessions while staying productive is certainly possible.

Networking opportunities with other attendees

SMW Chicago
SMW Chicago

Throughout the week, you’ll have the chance to network with other attendees from leading organizations. Here are six ways Social Media Week attendees meet each other, swap business cards, and form relationships to collaborate together:

  1. In-between sessions and programming breaks
  2. Your table neighbors in the co-working lounge
  3. Breakfasts and lunches at the official venue
  4. End-of-day happy hours, thanks to Edelman, Sprout Social, and The Chicago Community Trust
  5. The official SMW mobile app, which makes networking possible from anywhere
  6. Our closing party, which celebrate Social Media Week attendees, speakers, partners, and the city of Chicago!

Installations from leading brands

SMW Chicago
SMW Chicago

You’ll have the chance to interact with some of the industry’s most innovative brands showcasing their products, services, and technology capabilities around our exhibition space at The Merchandise Mart. Each of the SMW Chicago exhibitors will have employees and representatives on hand to answer your questions face-to-face.

For example, if you’re looking for a new social analytics partner, and want to better understand the possibilities of using your company’s data, you can find out if an exhibitor’s product is right for you. This year’s SMW Chicago will feature the following exhibitors: Meltwater, Accenture, Cision, Synthesio, Digimind, Spredfast, Brand Networks, Capital One, Pabst, and PicsArt

Celebrating our attendance at the official parties

SMW Chicago
SMW Chicago

By the end of SMW Chicago, it’s time to celebrate. You’ve learned from leading individuals and brands, you’ve established new connections and relationships, and you deserve to unwind after a successful week. Not to mention the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, where you can brag to your friends and family all about the conference, and especially the closing party. We’re bringing all of SMW Chicago’s attendees, speakers, and partners together to eat, drink, dance, and connect.

Tyler Becker

Director of Content, Social Media Week


Tyler is the Director of Content at Crowdcentric and Social Media Week. He writes about digital media, entertainment, emerging tech, Internet silly-billies, mobile apps, and more. Oh, and he likes craft beer, travel, and podcasts.

Want to write for Social Media Week?

We're looking for individuals around the globe to contribute articles on marketing, media, technology, and more.