2014 Conference Speakers

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2014 Conference Speakers 2017-01-03T23:18:03+00:00

@Midwest brings you highly qualified experts in the social networking industry to speak about all forms of Internet/mobile technology, strategy, and marketing for the small- and mid-sized businesses. Presentations are focused on topics concerning better social networking management, developing/maintaining a strategy, introducing new business models, improving profitability, and employing effective social media.

Keynote speaker

Joe Benarroch, Corporate Communications, International, Facebook

Joe has had a diverse career in marketing communications and public relations. He began his career at Leo Burnett USA where he served as point of contact for the Pentagon’s Department of U.S. Army Public Affairs. Following his time at Leo Burnett, he was the associate director of strategic planning for the Starcom MediaVest Group and then was senior manager of brand management, advertising and media effectiveness for Discover Financial Services. Prior to joining the Facebook team Joe was global director of corporate affairs for the Interpublic Group. Joe graduated from Illinois State University and holds an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business.

Daniel Newman, President of Broadsuite

Daniel Newman is the President of Broadsuite a company dedicated to helping companies be found, seen and heard online by tying together paid, owner and earned media to drive meaningful business outcomes. Newman is the author of 2 Amazon Best Selling Books, “The New Rules of Customer Engagement,” and “The Millennial CEO” A regular contributor to Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post, an Adjunct Professor and advisor to some of the world’s largest brands. A Chicago native that is passionate about soccer, technology and his family; not in that order of course.

Session speakers

Barbara Rozgonyi

“Online marketing and PR expert, Barbara Rozgonyi, is a wealth of information, brilliant ideas, and resources for small and large companies alike,” says Marla Tabaka, a columnist for inc.com.

Barbara is a speaker, author and founder of CoryWest Media, a Midwest-based strategic marketing consultancy.

As publisher of wiredPRworks.com, named to Cision’s 2013 Top 50 Marketing and PR Blogs list, Barbara reports on ways to grow business, build brands, and connect communities.

The founder of Social Media Club’s Chicago chapter, Barbara is a frequent keynote speaker, an accomplished corporate trainer, and an experienced educator who develops marketing and communications programs for colleges, associations, corporations, small businesses and online communities.

A recognized social media, marketing and PR authority, Barbara’s media mentions include inc.com, American Express OpenForum, businessadvisor.com, Crain’s Chicago Business, Chicago Tribune, NFIB.com, lowesforpros.com, lawmarketing.com, Mashable, Germany’s FAZ, WDCB and NBC5.

An author who began teaching wired writing in 2002, Barbara contributed the LinkedIn chapter to the best seller “Success Secrets of the Social Media Marketing Superstars,” published by Entrepreneur Press. In 2015, Barbara will be the featured PR author in a new book about digital marketing.

In 2013, Nokia selected Barbara as one of two US reporters to cover Social Media Week Berlin and she was named one of the 15 most fascinating faces of the year by Glancer Magazine.

Barbara’s work is referenced in “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” by David Meerman Scott; “Mom Blogging for Dummies by Wendy Piersall”; and “Stick and Stones: How Digital Business Reputations are Won Over Time and Lost in a Click” by Larry Weber. Named one of the top 12 PR twitter experts to follow by PRWeb, Barbara’s digital brand is @wiredprworks. The mother of three, Barbara and her husband, a 93-time marathon finisher, make their home in Chicago’s western suburbs.

Bernia Wheaton

Website: achieveconsultant.com

Social Media: Twitter

Bernia Wheaton is an award-winning e-marketing strategist and communication specialist. Over the past 15 years, Bernia has provided consulting services to businesses, non-profits, and governments throughout North America. Bernia’s expertise is in e-marketing strategy development and execution, economic development, and strategic planning.

As an innovator and out-of-the-box thinker, Bernia has earned International acclaim with the BREI Award of Excellence for Program Impact, as well as the EDCO Social Media marketing award.

Brent Kelly

Brent Kelly is a commercial lines agent for Clemens Insurance in Bloomington, and founder of “Empowering Sales.”  He was named one of the top 12 insurance agents in in the country in 2012 by Agent & Broker Magazine.  Much of his success has been attributed to development and leveraging and an online presence through his blog at www.brentmkelly.com and utilizing various social media platforms.

Brent’s mission is to engage, enlighten, and empower sales professionals, business owners, and entrepreneurs.  He is a certified advisor for Jeffrey Gitomer, author of the #1 sales book of all time, The Little Red Book of Selling.  Brent conducts monthly workshops for the McLean County Chamber of Commerce, delivered keynote presentations for organizations, and is a regular contributor to national insurance publications.

Brian Gawor

Website: RuffaloCODY.com

Social Media: Twitter

Brian Gawor serves as associate vice president and provides benchmarking and analytics to propel fundraising results for RuffaloCODY Inc’s 500+ charitable clients in the U.S., Canada, UK and Australia. During his career, Brian has worked with numerous institutions and charities to help adapt to the emerging behaviors of 21st century donors.

Brian has more than 14 years of higher education experience in student affairs, enrollment management, and development and holds the Certified Fundraising Executive credential. He is currently a Ph.D student in the College of Education at Illinois State University and his research focus is on how institutions translate “like” into “give.”

Brian lives in Indianapolis with his wife Susannah and their two daughters.

Brian Huonker

Website: Huonks.com

Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+

Brian Huonker provides strategic thought and direction to enhancements for State Farm’s digital properties. Within this role, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in print/web design and integrated marketing—with a passion and specialty for creating branded customer experiences that coalesces across websites, social media, direct marketing, and print. His background is derived from a graphic design degree, master’s (2014) in communication, and award-winning, extensive experience as a creative agency art director, print/web/media designer, college instructor, freelance designer, print/web and social strategist, and conference speaker. In addition, as vice-chair, he launched and still leads @Midwest, an annual social media conference for small- and medium-sized businesses. 

Dillon White

Website: axiomcom.com

Social Media: Twitter

Dillon White is a marketing and communications expert, public speaking coach, and nationally recognized speaker and presenter.  He specializes in digital media and global branding for national and international companies.  He currently serves as the new media and digital policy manager for Axiom Marketing Communications, where he works with a variety of Fortune 500 companies in establishing their digital marketing presence.  His work has been exhibited at national communications conferences, branding seminars, and corporate social media training workshops.

Eric Hodges

Website: Illinoisstate.edu

Social Media: Facebook and Twitter

Eric Hodges is the emergency manager at Illinois State University, where he has served in this position for a year.  He is a 19-year member of the McLean County Emergency Management Agency, where he serves as chief of preparedness and administration.  Before becoming the preparedness chief, Eric was the chief of operations for 14 years and led program development within the agency.

Eric is also a member of the Illinois Incident Management Team (IMT), where he serves as the lead logistics section chief.  As a member of the IMT, Eric responded to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Superstorm Sandy in 2011.

Before becoming a full-time emergency manager in 2013, Eric spent a career in information technology where he led various infrastructure and operations departments at Illinois State University, including service desks, server administration, endpoint support, automation, application development, project management, and enterprise architecture.

Fetesha Downs

Website: animedancer87.com

Social Media: Twitter

Fetesha’s pursuit of working social media into her career started with a YouTube reaction video another Japanese rock fan posted back in late 2005. The idea that there was an audience on the other end of a blog post completely revolutionized her approach to the medium. Being in college during the initial social media boom meant it was a part of her daily life. However, Myspace was where she really began to make her mark in the indie international rock music scene.

She holds a B.A. in public and professional communication from Marian University of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Currently in the nonprofit sector, she works as the marketing and development associate for YWCA Metropolitan Chicago. Her latest pursuit is participating in the inaugural class of CreatingILTalent, a mobile and Web app development program designed to train women and minorities for jobs in high-demand technology fields.

Kaleigh Moore

Website: wearelumen.com

Social Media: Twitter

Kaleigh Moore is the cofounder of Lumen, a business offering copywriting, social media, and graphic design services. A communications graduate from the University of Illinois, she previously worked in public relations and owned a successful online jewelry business from 2009-2013, which was named one of Storenvy’s top-selling stores.

Katie Eades

Website: www.countryfinancial.com

Social Media: Facebook and Twitter

Katie Eades is a digital marketer with Bloomington-based COUNTRY Financial®, leading the Fortune 1000 company’s corporate social media efforts and the social media program for its 2,000+ financial representatives. There are more than 1,300 social media profiles under the COUNTRY Financial brand, with a combined 350,000 people connected to COUNTRY on social. In 2013, more than 35 million people engaged with COUNTRY through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

When not online, Katie has a lot of hobbies including CrossFit, hiking, biking, visiting wineries, paddle boarding, reading, traveling, and not running.

Katy Killian

Website: Illinoisstate.edu

Social Media: Facebook and Twitter

Katy Killian serves as the assistant to the vice president for Student Affairs for marketing and communication at Illinois State University. Katy’s career at Illinois State spans 18 years holding positions in academic affairs as the director of enrollment communication and academic services as well as senior associate director of Admissions. In her current position, she works with various university units to create, evaluate, implement, and maintain all aspects of marketing, communication, public relations, and advertising for the Division of Student Affairs. She chairs the University’s Campus Communication Group (CCG), which is responsible for coordinating the flow of information about emergency events to the campus community as well as external stakeholders via myriad communication channels. The CCG is a 14-member cross-divisional team, which includes a 15-member Virtual Technical Community dedicated to social media monitoring. Katy holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mass communication from Illinois State.

Matt Christensen

Website: mattchristensen.net

Social Media: Twitter

Matt Christensen is a professional Web/software developer from Pontiac.  He has been developing professionally since 2003 when he graduated from Bradley University with a degree in computer science and math.

Matt currently works for a Fortune 1000 company doing Web development and analytics.  This includes working on things like gamification, Facebook apps, campaign microsites, and lead analysis.

Outside of full-time work, Matt fills free time with additional technology projects.  This includes working with WordPress, Raspberry Pi, Javascript/Front-end Development, and Big Data.

Matt is also a firefighter in Pontiac and hopes to build apps that will benefit the fire service.

Pete Moore

Website: SugarMamaBakery.net

Social Media: Facebook and Twitter

Pete Moore is a non-profit and small business marketer from Normal. He has provided marketing leadership to a variety of local organizations, including Calvary United Methodist Church, The Baby Fold, The United Way of McLean County, Illinois Valley Community College, and the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.  Pete has also served as a social media consultant to COUNTRY Financial’s Trips and Picks promotion, State Farm/ESPN’s College Gameday, and local dessert shop Sugar Mama Bakery.

In 2005, his Illinoise! podcast won a first-ever New Media Expo/PodcastAwards.com Podcast of the Year distinction. Pete has been recognized by the American Marketing Association Central Illinois Chapter with a special marketing award for his work with the annual Festival of Trees fundraiser. More recently, he has helped to establish a local brand for the Bloomington-Normal community through the strategic development of the #BloNo hashtag and a supporting social media network.

Sarah Wilson

Website: sarahwilsondogexpert.com

Social Media: Twitter

Sarah Wilson realized years ago that to remain relevant you must have a strong social media presence. Skillful participation is not optional. Connectedness is now the sine non qua credential.

Chronically busy, as every entrepreneur is, she uses her tactical Twitter strategies daily. With 37,000 followers and counting, her methods work.

Here’s the ticker tape: 10 books; master’s degree; seen on PBC, CBS, ABC, Fox; seen in CNN.com., Forbes, O Magazine, LA Times, Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, Parade Magazine, Cosmopolitan; international speaker; radio personality.

Her niche is dogs, but her tactics are subject neutral. When not writing, blogging, or teaching, she coaches other small business owners on effective social media use and helps local nonprofits with their social media efforts.

You can find her on the web at MySmartPuppy on: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram… you get the idea.

Steve Haase

Website: Hubspot.com

Social Media: Company Twitter and Personal Twitter

Steve Haase arrived in marketing via an unconventional path, starting his professional career as a trumpet instrumentalist in the U.S. Navy Band in Washington, DC. He went on to co-found a software company for online learning that morphed into a content marketing agency for Fortune 500 brands. Since joining the HubSpot services team in 2012, Steve has specialized in eCommerce, helping over 200 businesses leverage the HubSpot software to increase their revenue and delight their customers.

When he’s not studying marketing, Steve enjoys a wide variety of nerdy and difficult things, including JavaScript, Lean Startup methodology, public speaking, classical music, meditation, and rowing. Connect with him about any of these topics on Twitter @stevehaase.

Steve Raquel

Website: iovmedia.com

Social Media: LinkedIn and Twitter

Steve Raquel is the president of IOV Media, a social media and marketing consultancy in the Chicago area.  He has more than 20 years of experience working with some of the biggest brands in the world including McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, State Farm, and the Olympics.  In his current role at IOV Media, he helps professional athletes, small businesses, and large corporations determine how to use social media wisely.

Within the last five years, Steve has been an active participant and contributor in the social media arena, having been featured on CNN and as a regular contributor on bleacherreport.com, writing on the impact of social media in sports as well as consumer behavior.  He has also been a guest lecturer on social media at Northwestern University, University of Notre Dame, and just completed a semester as a guest lecturer at the University of Illinois teaching foundations of brand strategy.

Steve and his wife Stephanie live in Naperville with their three daughters. He earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in advertising from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Steve Robinson

Website: constantcontact.com

Social Media: Facebook and Twitter

Steve is Constant Contact’s small business expert in the Midwest, covering Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan & Ohio.  A knowledgeable marketing expert with more than 30 years of experience, Steve has helped thousands of small businesses, associations, and non-profits develop and implement effective email marketing, social media, and online survey and engagement marketing strategies.

A popular speaker and educator, Steve gives small businesses and non-profits the tools, techniques, and strategies they need to grow and expand their business and to maximize the power of relationship marketing.  Steve’s experience in small business ownership, business development, sales, and fundraising help associations, small businesses and nonprofits achieve success.

Will Koch, Digital Marketer, COUNTRY Financial

Website: www.countryfinancial.com

Social Media: Facebook and Twitter

Will is a digital marketer with Bloomington-based COUNTRY Financial®, leading the Fortune 1000 company’s corporate social media efforts and the social media program for its 2,000+ financial representatives. Will started at COUNTRY in 2007 as a corporate communications analyst. Shortly thereafter, he was assigned to the social media project team, which launched the company’s first blog, Twitter handle, Facebook page and LinkedIn profile. Today, there are more than 1,300 social media profiles under the COUNTRY Financial brand, with a combined 350,000 people connected to COUNTRY on social. In 2013, more than 35 million people engaged with COUNTRY through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Way back in olden times (2000-2007), Will was a broadcast journalist, working as a news and sports reporter, anchor, assignment editor and assistant news director with WMBD-TV in Peoria.

Will lives with his wife Megan in Normal, IL.They have a dog named Scooby and are actively looking for a puppy crate painted to look like the Mystery Machine.

Zach Parcell

Website: allthingsdiscgolf.com

Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Zach Parcell is the founder and editor in chief of All Things Disc Golf. Zach has built the website from a hobby on the side to a profitable business. While the dream of running All Things Disc Golf for a living remains, he currently serves as the associate director of Alumni Relations at Illinois State University, where he oversees all marketing and communication efforts to alumni. Previously Zach has worked at Wolfram|Alpha in their PR/Marketing department in Champaign, and at WJBC/WBNQ/WBWN in Bloomington.