16 SMW Chicago Speakers from Some of The World’s Leading Brands, Platforms and Agencies [2015]

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.

Social Media Week Chicago is almost here, and we hope we’ll see you at the iconic Merchandise Mart throughout the week for the official program!

There are now over 200 speakers confirmed for next week, each of whom will bring his and her own experience, expertise, skills, and stories to share exclusively with attendees. Many of this year’s speakers represent some of the leading brands, media organizations, and advertising agencies in the country. If you haven’t yet looked closely at the full list of speakers, here are 16 you won’t want to miss.

1. Mark Addicks – Retired CMO, General Mills, Inc.

Mark has a 26-year career leading iconic brands like Cheerios, Betty Crocker and Big G. A highly regarded thought leader in modern global brand­-building, including advertising, promotions, content marketing, and digital marketing, Mark was named one of Advertising Age’s Top 100 marketers and Top 25 power brokers.

2. Mary Jo Behrman – Executive Director of Digital, Golin

Mary Jo Behrman, an executive director with 4 years at Golin, leads our digital practice in our Chicago office, and is the chief digital strategist on our key accounts including McDonald’s, Sprint, Humana and Walmart. As our agencies digital leader, she places particular emphasis on campaign integration, strategic and compelling content creation, and rigorous measurement linked to ROI.

3. Cole Bolton – Editor-in-Chief, The Onion

Vermont native Cole Bolton joined The Onion as a contributor in 2006, became the editor in 2014, and will be fired for embezzling in 2016. A legendarily reclusive figure, this is Bolton’s first public appearance in five decades.

4. Brad Boron – CEO, Communications, Chicago White Sox

Brad Boron is the director of digital communications for the Chicago White Sox, having joined the organization in 2014. In his role, he oversees all digital media, online video and social activations, as well as mobile, e-mail marketing and emerging technologies. Prior to joining the White Sox, Boronspent several years with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, building the team’s digital presence and winning Mashable.com’s “Best Brand Use of Twitter” award in 2009, and has also worked in state government.

5. Candi Butzow – Brand Strategy Manager, Buzzfeed

Candi Butzow joined BuzzFeed in February of 2013 as Brand Strategy Manager. Prviously, she worked at People Magazine as a Midwest Account Manager for People.com. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with B.S. in Advertising, and will speak on a panel of one of SMW Chicago’s independent events, “We’re All In This Together: Creating Engaging Content Across Social Channels

6. Sean Callahan – Senior Manager, Content Marketing, LinkedIn

Sean Callahan is a senior manager of content marketing at LinkedIn. He is the co-author of “The Big Data-Driven Business: How to Use Big Data to Win Customers, Beat Competitors, and Boost Profits,” which was a finalist for the American Marketing Association Foundation’s Berry Prize. Formerly, he was a marketing director at Bizo and an editor and reporter at Crain Communications. His freelance journalism in The New York Times, Washington Post, Salon.com, SI.com, and Notre Dame Magazine. His children’s books include The Leprechaun Who Lost His Rainbow and A Wild Father’s Day.

7. Robert Harles – Managing Director & Global Lead, Social Media and Collaboration, Accenture Digital

Rob Harles is Managing Director and Global Head of Social Business and Collaboration practice for Accenture Digital responsible for consulting and building social strategies for the Fortune 1000. He joined Accenture from Bloomberg LP in New York where he was Global Head of Social Media responsible for developing and managing Bloomberg’s social media strategy and initiatives worldwide. Prior to this, he was Vice President of Social Media for Sears Holdings and built Sears’ social media platform and customer communities.

8. Jenny Heinrich – Vice President of Digital Strategy, Edelman

Over the course of her 16 year career, Jenny Heinrich, VP Digital Strategy, has worked for clients like P&G, Unilever, McDonald’s, General Mills, Nike, Kraft, Land Rover, Coca-Cola, and many others, leading online and offline strategic communications, digital and social media initiatives. At Edelman, Jenny specializes in strategic digital planning and overseeing digital program architecture including sponsored content and influencer relationship management.

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9. Eddie Hill – Senior Vice President of Consumer Marketing & Brand Strategy, BET Networks

Eddie Hill is the Senior Vice President of Consumer Marketing & Brand Strategy for BET Networks (a Viacom Company), responsible for all facets of the consumer marketing and social media strategies for BET, CENTRIC and BET JAMS, across all platforms. He has led the consumer marketing campaigns for such hit programming as The Game, BET Awards, Being Mary Jane and Real Husbands of Hollywood, among others. He also helped develop the launch of BET’s Brand campaign in 2012, and Centric’s Brand refresh in 2014.

10. David Katcher – General Manager, Lyft

David is currently General Manager of Lyft in Chicago. He recently joined Lyft after several years at Groupon where he held a variety of roles, including City Manager, Head of Operations for Groupon’s Merchant Services department, and Director of merchandising products. Prior to Groupon, David was a Manager in Deloitte Consulting’s Strategy practice where he focused on customer strategy and cost reduction. David is a graduate of the University of Illinois and Columbia Business School and resides in Arlington Heights with his wife and two young children.

11. Dan Kocchi – Senior Advisor of Competitive Intelligence, CVS Health

Dan Kocchi is a Senior Advisor of Competitive Intelligence at CVS Health. He oversees the monitoring and analysis of health care social media in support of sales, marketing and product development.

12. Jason Peterson – Chief Creative Officer, Havas Worldwide Chicago

For more than 20 years, Jason has been igniting cultural conversations across all media, including digital, television, print, content and brand identity. He believes that modern brand building must happen through social channels. That’s why he motivates his creatives to generate content for their clients that not only lives on social media, but thrives on it. He was a driving force behind Coke Classic’s “Real” campaign and has an innate understanding of the millennial target. His State Farm “Hot Tub” work was a huge online hit with 200-plus parodies, and the line “Can I get a hot tub?” was a trending topic on Twitter.

13. Jason Miller – VP of Emerging Media, FleishmanHillard

Jason Miller joined FleishmanHillard in 2014 as a vice president in the Chicago office working in the emerging media and digital group. He will be responsible for helping clients create, execute, and analyze digital programming that uses data-driven insights and creative ideas to communicate and engage with customers and fans in meaningful and relevant ways.

14. Amber Naslund – Senior Vice President, Marketing, Sysomos

Amber is the SVP Marketing for Sysomos, a global leader in social intelligence. She’s a dynamic communications strategist with deep experience with and passion for the emergence of social business. Her professional expertise spans nonprofit management, corporate communications, marketing, professional services, and social business strategy. She’s successfully run multimillion-dollar fundraising campaigns, built and led executive communication and professional services teams, and launched and grown international brands.

15. Jason Parker – SVP Strategy Director of Innovation, Leo Burnett

As SVP Strategy Director of Innovation at Leo Burnett, Jason helps bring new platforms, partners, and ways of working into the agency. With a background in brand and digital strategy at several agencies and across myriad categories for the past 14 years, he now works to make sure innovation is practical and strategic, with an eye to solving the business problems that the agency is working on with its clients.

16. Goldie Taylor – CEO, Editor-at-Large, The Daily Beast

Goldie Taylor is currently the Editor at Large for the Daily Beast, and is a frequent contributor to MSNBC, CNN and HLN on social, political and faith issues. She previously spent four years as a political contributor to MSNBC and wrote for MSNBC.com, where she focused on social justice issues. She was also an executive consultant to CNN’s “Black in America”, leading the audience tune-in strategy. “Black In America” remains one of the highest rated documentaries in CNN’s history.

Social Media Week Chicago kicks off on Monday, November 16th. There is still time to purchase your pass and gain access to a week of 200+ speakers, 100+ events, and 1,000+ leaders under one roof.

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.

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