Brand Innovators LLC
Brand Innovators LLC
Melissa is the Director of Brand Marketing and Communication for Supercuts, where she is responsible for brand positioning, annual and long-term brand strategy, creative development, social strategy, agency management, sponsorships, employer brand and communications. She leverages many agencies, sports partners, internal teams and franchisees to execute marketing for the brand. Prior to Supercuts, Melissa spent several years with Target, most recently leading the Target Run & Done campaign, which spanned paid, owned and earned implementations across multiple siloed marketing teams. The campaign was lauded by Target leadership as one of the efforts that helped turnaround store traffic declines.
Maureen Bausch is currently the Interim CMO of Mayo Clinic. Maureen has spent almost a year in this position during a period of transition at Mayo Clinic. During this time, she led marketing, provided oversite for a large team responsible for demand generation. Maureen has spent the majority of her career working with retailers. She joined Mall of America in 1990, 2 years prior to opening. She rose to Executive Vice President managing the $1B asset and reporting to the Ghermezian family. As EVP, Maureen had responsibility for a $100M budget, all aspects of the P&L, managed a team of 1500, worked with 800+ retailers, restaurants and attractions over 25 years. Maureen lead the Business Development efforts, attracting new retail and attractions. Mall of America opened in 1992 and generated total sales of over $800M within 5 years.
She began her career directing advertising for Cub Foods, her family’s business. During her 13-year tenure, the company grew from 4 stores to 85 in 14 states. Cub was sold to Super Valu and transitioned from a private family organization to part of a publicly held, large wholesale food organization. Maureen left Mall of America in 2015 to become the CEO of MN Super Bowl LII. During this 4-year assignment, she launched 2 companies a 501C3 and a 501C6. Raising $60M in private funding, she created the Bold North brand, hired a staff of 32, secured 10K volunteers and engaged 400 committee members from the public and private sector. She had oversight responsibility for 200+ events and 5800 visiting media. The Minnesota Super Bowl LII has been deemed by the NFL as the most successful in history with an economic impact of $450M for Minnesota.
Maureen graduated from the University of Minnesota with an MA in Journalism/Marketing and has taken further continuing board education courses at Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management. She has always been active in the community. She has been a board member for several non-profit organizations, St. Catherine University, Minnesota Retailers Assoc. US Department of Commerce Travel and Tourism. Today she is a board member of the MN Orchestra, Taste of the NFL as well as others. Maureen and her husband Bill, live in St. Paul and have 5 adult children. They enjoy traveling, family and outdoor activities.
Wade is an accomplished advertising sales executive with a 20+ year track record for delivering results. Proven as a team lead and an individual contributor, Wade’s experience transcends agency planning/buying, traditional media publisher sales and digital sales. Connected at the highest levels across the region, Wade is a strategic seller focused on delivering creative and innovation solutions for clients.
As a Director of Sales at Tremor Video DSP, Wade is responsible for driving revenue and establishing marketplace positioning for Tremor’s screen-agnostic video solutions across the Midwest region.
Christian is a results-oriented marketing leader with 14+ years of experience building impactful digital marketing programs. Currently, Christian manages digital advertising and social media strategy at Anytime Fitness. In this role, Christian manages a team responsible for the successful execution of media strategies across the digital spectrum and effective management of the brand’s social media programs.
Before joining Anytime Fitness, Christian held marketing, PR and digital roles on both the agency and client-side at Best Buy, Thomson Reuters and Securian Financial. Christian holds an MBA in brand management from the University of St. Thomas and bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota’s Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He is a frequent lecturer on the topics of social media, digital strategy and marketing at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
As Vice President of Brand Partnerships, Chris leads Fullscreen’s branded content, original entertainment and influencer marketing sales team. His team builds bespoke content programs that deliver groundbreaking creative and drive significant sales for brand partners such as AT&T, Revlon, Mars Wrigley and dozens more.
Prior to joining Fullscreen, Chris served as Senior Director, Media Innovation at WIRED where he drove unique brand partnership opportunities across digital properties and platforms. He previously served 10 years in sales roles with Conde Nast and Time Inc.
Brooke is a marketing and brand strategy leader with 15+ years of experience across agencies big and small and on the client-side. Her broad industry experience includes financial services, health and wellness, agriculture, consumer package goods and home improvement. Prior to joining U.S. Bank in January 2019, she was responsible for leading strategy and agency operations at award-winning branding and design firm, Little & Company. While there, her unique ability to leverage strategy, design and storytelling to move businesses forward was recognized by the Twin Cities Business Journal as one of the Twin Cities 40 Under 40.
Tim is a creative brand leader, writer, strategist, teacher, public speaker, entrepreneur, drummer and podcaster who’s been at the forefront of marketing innovation and storytelling since 1992. He’s developed strategy and overseen creative teams for brands including PwC, Thrivent, Volkswagen, Harley-Davidson, Goodyear, Porsche, Anheuser-Busch, 3M, Sears, Hormel Foods and MetLife. Tim has launched three start-ups, lead the 1,400-member Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association for four years and has maintained a blog about the business of ideas since 2006.
Nick Cheetany is the Vice President of Central Region Sales at AdTheorent, a digital advertising leader using advanced machine learning technology and solutions to deliver real-world value for advertisers and marketers. In this role, Nick oversees the sales organization for the Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, Kansas City and Midwest midmarket regions. He has achieved a 900 percent central region revenue growth during his tenure.
Before joining AdTheorent, Nick helped to build and lead sales efforts for Voltari, a predictive modeling ad tech company. Prior to that, his focus was helping media companies anchored in print expand and maximize their presence in the digital space. In this capacity, he led digital sales efforts for Gannet, as well as previously holding a sales position for YP during its move into digital.
An active member of the Chicago Interactive Marketing Association, Nick currently co-chairs the Education Committee with the purpose of providing continuing ad-tech educational resources for professionals as well as a vehicle for marketing students to transition from the classroom into the ad tech space.
With over 15 years of digital marketing experience across CPG, retail and agency, Heather Conneran has been on the forefront of the digital evolution. She is currently the Digital Media Manager at General Mills leading digital media strategy and activation across the company’s portfolio of brands, such as Cheerios, Nature Valley, Pillsbury, Old El Paso, Annie’s and many more. Prior to General Mills, Heather created communications strategies for Pampers, Kellogg’s and JetBlue while at AIMIA. She began her career in marketing communications at Target shortly after receiving her degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison in Journalism and Advertising. As a self-proclaimed “data geek”, Heather excels at translating data into actionable insights and is passionate about being audience-led.
Beth Dahlke is the Digital and Innovation Director at Mall of America with more than 20 years of Creative, Digital and Broadcast experience in Advertising and Marketing. Beth’s area of expertise covers web development, social media optimization and creative direction, plus holistic digital marketing and strategy. Her clients have included: Best Buy, Caribou Coffee, Benefit Cosmetics, Camping World, CRAVE Restaurants, Deluxe Corp, Delta and 3M.
Tina Doering is Vice President, Client & Business development for Viacom. As part of Viacom’s Ad Solutions group, Tina’s team is responsible for crafting and expanding innovative advertising partnerships through focused client engagement leveraging Viacom’s Content, Branded Programming, Data, Influencer, Shopper Marketing, IP and Experiential Solutions. Tina has played an integral role in developing & growing strategic partnerships with brands such as General Mills, Target, Walmart and Best Buy.
Tina’s a patient wife and Mom to two kind humans who deeply wish they had a dog. She’s a local youth track coach, donates her time to The Smile Network & Southwest Public Schools.
Andrew is obsessed with bringing the inherent powers of customers and brands together to help everyone flourish. Digital technologies, social networks, and creativity have created a potent human confluence. Andrew works with Ciceron’s clients to become more open, more innovative, and more responsive to the world in which they compete. Andrew’s work is to create environments, teams, and leaders who embrace this emerging way of doing business, then empower them with teams who deliver results every day. Andrew has spoken extensively around the country at industry conferences, including MediaPost Summits, the Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Las Vegas, E-Tourism Summit, MarketingSherpa, MobCon, many MIMA events, and many more. If you would like Andrew to speak at one of your events, fill out the form here.
In February of 2017, Andrew was named one of Minnesota Business’s “Paragons of Leadership,” a distinction given to business executives who make “a positive impact through service, character, and leadership.” In May 2016, Andrew was selected as one of “The (Real) Power 50 of 2016” by the same magazine, and in 2011, he was named as one of the “200 Minnesotans You Should Know” by the Twin Cities Business magazine. Ciceron has been named as one of the “Top 100 Places To Work” on numerous occasions including every year since 2014. In July of 2016 and 2017, Ciceron was also named a Best Place to Work by the Business Journal. Andrew is most proud of these team recognitions. Andrew serves on the boards of MacPhail Center for Music and the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies. He’s also one of the original members of The Big Wu and is debatably the world’s biggest Phish fan.
With over a decade of experience in the programmatic space, Ashley Evenson is one of only a handful of people in advertising able to say, “I was there at the beginning.” Or as she likes to point out, “Remember those belly fat ads? Those were mine.” A thought leader in the ad tech market, Ashley is Director of Emerging Media and Ad Solutions. She trail-blazes us through the ever-changing ad tech space, finding and testing new ad technologies and data partners, breaking them, hacking them, and putting them back together again to bring even better solutions for our clients. And they love her for this. They love how she challenges them to think more holistically about how these solutions need to work together to serve brands.
Ashley is a regular presenter at some of the most respected industry conferences in this fast evolving world of ad tech, including missing her “frequency cap” as a regular at various MediaPost conferences on media and data. As the digital industry has evolved, so has Ashley’s career. She worked for LAKANA (formerly Internet Broadcasting and Inergize Digital) and Brandpoint (ARAnet) prior to arriving at Ciceron to solidify its programmatic practice in 2015. Ashley fuels her high energy through a love of jock jams and the Timberwolves.
Mary Fischer is Director of Sponsorships for UnitedHealth Group, the largest business dedicated to health and well-being in the United States. In her role, Mary is responsible for developing and leveraging strategic partnerships to facilitate business growth and brand advancement. Mary has more than 25 years of marketing experience across a variety of industries, from start-ups to Fortune 50 companies. Prior to UnitedHealth Group, she was Vice President of Client Services for Modern Climate advertising agency. Mary has served on the alumni board of the University of North Dakota School of Business and is currently serving on the advisory board for Sports Minneapolis. Mary earned a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree from the University of North Dakota and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis.
Susan Fletcher is a marketing leader with brand and loyalty experience across retail, consumer packaged goods and financial services. In her current role as Director of Membership for Best Buy she is passionate about ensuring the customer is at the center of all experiences to drive personalization and increased engagement, and to deliver value for our members. Throughout her career she has led product and program development with cross-functional teams. Prior to joining Best Buy, she has held marketing positions with SuperValu, Target, Malt-o-Meal, and RBC Wealth Management.
“Sarah Grap is the Director of Public Relations for Mall of America, where she is responsible for the development and implementation of the earned media strategy for the largest retail and entertainment center in the United States. She oversees the public relations team which garners more than $400 million annually in earned media from local, regional, national, and international media. Additionally, Sarah oversees several project initiatives at the Mall including their public art initiative, fashion show production, and influencer marketing.
During her ten years at Mall of America, Sarah has led her team to cultivate and maintain relationships with an extensive list of media around the world resulting with features in Fast Company, NBC Nightly News, The New York Times, People Magazine, BBC, Refinery29, Good Morning America, Women’s Wear Daily, and The Tonight Show. Most recently, she oversaw major productions at Mall of America for the films “The End of the Tour” and “Wilson” along with television productions for “Wahlburgers,” and “Cake Boss”.”
With 25+ years of experience in advertising and marketing, Bob Gruters has a unique perspective on how we use media to inform, entertain, and improve humanity. His diverse work experience includes time at agency giants such as Publicis and Saatchi & Saatchi, publishing giants Hearst & Conde Nast, and global out-of-home advertising firms like JC Decaux & Gannett. His media and marketing experience spans various companies across Viacom, Sony, and Univision. In 2013, Bob was tapped to launch Sean Combs’ music platform REVOLT (considered to be one of the most successful platform launches in recent US history). And for 4 years he helped lead the massive and rapid growth at Facebook & Instagram focused on the Entertainment, Technology, Telecom, and Restaurant industries (including a highly successful Multicultural initiative). Currently Bob is the Chief Revenue Officer at Digital Trends, a super-premium, brand-safe publisher focused on tech & innovation that attracts a millennial audience. He joins a talented executive leadership and lauded editorial team that connects Fortune 500 marketers to the rapidly growing affluent, educated HENRY audience. Bob has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rowan University where he met his wife, Barbara. He is the very proud father of Evan, Grace, Matthew & Ryan and resides in Westfield & Monmouth Beach, NJ.
As Co-Founder of the Brand Innovators, Brandon is responsible for developing premium content which means tapping marketers from the world’s most successful brands to share how they’re utilizing emerging technology and new media vehicles to build their brands and drive meaningful ROI. A prolific, highly respected writer, Brandon is an expert blogger at Forbes where his weekly contributions are featured on Forbes’ CMO Network, Leadership and Technology sections. Prior to launching Brand Innovators, Brandon held marketing and business development positions in the executive search sector where he forged relationships with some of the most influential brand marketers, technology developers and venture capitalists in our industry. Follow Brandon on Twitter.
Paul Hillen is a partner, President and COO, Revier Brand Group, LLC at the Revier Cattle Company; and, Author of How Goodness Pays.
Paul has held positions in private equity, Cargill and Procter & Gamble. He served as SVP and Chief Commercial Officer for two Platinum Equity companies. At Cargill his roles included: Chief Marketing Officer, President – Food Growth and Innovation, President – Food Systems Business Unit, and Vice President – Marketing & Sales.
At P&G, Paul held several general management, brand management, marketing and sales leadership roles. He was chosen CMO of the Year by the CMO Club in 2015, and a top 100 Global Marketing Leader by the World Marketing Congress in 2014 and 2016.
Paul serves on the boards of Revier Cattle Company, tech start-up JourneyTellr, and non-profit Living Well Disability Services. Paul previously served on the advisory boards for University of Chicago Booth School and the University of Minnesota Carlson School.
Jessica leads the account management department at Bailey Lauerman, an independent advertising agency based in Omaha, Nebraska. She focuses her energy on finding new solutions to help clients overcome business challenges and fosters an agency environment that leads to breakthrough creative. Her team has a history of building strong brand partnerships with clients such as Phillips 66 Lubricants, Bosch, United Healthcare, Disney and Cargill. Jessica worked in New York prior, at award-winning agencies Pereira O’Dell and Concept Farm. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She loves spending time in the water – scuba diving with her husband and coaching a Special Olympics swim team.
As Vice President of Enterprise Partnerships, Amanda Martin identifies and develops strategic relationships to ensure Control v Expos’s clients receive best-in-class, result-yielding digital media strategies. Highly in-tune with the industry and market trends, Amanda leverages her progressive foresight to inform CvE as well as Goodway Group’s strategic roadmap and arm the organization with the external context needed to continually cultivate innovative thinking.
Driven by her entrepreneurial spirit and intellect for solution development, Amanda’s career is deep-rooted in the fast-paced, always-evolving digital media industry. Holding positions within interactive sales, account strategy, and campaign management has provided Amanda with a comprehensive and extensive understanding of the fundamental components required for a successful digital media campaign. Passionate about helping others, Amanda is known for empowering and equipping people with the needed tools and skills to take their careers to the next level.
Whitney McChane, vice president, marketing communications for International Dairy Queen leads the brand’s integrated marketing (national advertising), social media, public relations, cause marketing and creative services teams. Recently, these teams unveiled a new brand position, creative campaign and tagline, all focused on the happy experiences that set DQ apart from its QSR competitors. McChane has 18 years of experience in various marketing disciplines, supporting national food, beverage and cause marketing clients at agencies in Minneapolis, Chicago and Los Angeles. She earned her master’s degree from the University of Southern California.
Christina Milanowski (@ChristinaMila) is Social Media Manager at Regis Corporation, a leader in hair salon brands including SmartStyle Hair Salons, Cost Cutters and Supercuts. She develops and executes Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube strategies to engage with customers and drive business. With more than a dozen years of experience leading strategic social media, content marketing and public relations campaigns in corporate and agency settings, she holds a master’s degree in business communications from St. Thomas and a bachelor’s degree strategic communications from the U of M.
Mr. Mitchell is VP of Sales at Simulmedia, overseeing the growth of general market advertisers leveraging Simulmedia’s technology. Prior to Simulmedia, Matt was the VP of Sales at 4C and before that was Director of Advanced & Programmatic TV at the Trade Desk. Earlier in his career, he served in senior sales posts with CBS Network and A&E Television Networks and before that, as a television media buyer at Universal McCann, Zenith Media, and Initiative Media. Mr. Mitchell holds a BS in Business and Marketing from the University of Delaware.
Yuliya Mycka is a VP/Digital Director at Preston Kelly, a modern, independent marketing communications agency located in Northeast Minneapolis. There she serves as a member of the leadership team and a lead digital strategist collaborating with digital, media, creative, account, and production groups to develop, guide and implement the right digital business and marketing strategies for clients. Her thinking is digital-first but not digital-only. Her passion for digital marketing is undeniable as evidenced in her work for clients like Ameriprise, Catholic Health Initiatives, Grande Cheese, Medtronic, Optum, and UnitedHealthcare. A native of Ukraine, she’s an avid runner, tennis player, and an active member of the local digital marketing community, having served 3 years on the Board of Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA).
Lesa joined NCC Media as Head of Client Partnerships in the Midwest in January of this year and is excited to be a part of the “new” NCC Media; a company at the intersection of technology, data and TV. In this role, she empowers advertisers with census level TV data while delivering customized audiences across screens.
Lesa previously served as VP, Southwest Region for NBC Universal Network Sales, focusing on Multicultural advertising. At NBCU, she worked directly with clients to develop marketing and audience strategies that connect with consumers and drive growth. She was successful in breaking barriers and activating new commercial innovations in high profile properties including, World Cup, The Voice, and Top Chef. Lesa takes a consultative approach in helping clients solve their business challenges.
Her career in TV and Digital Ad sales has allowed her to work with talented innovative people on both sides of the industry. She began her career in local TV sales before moving into National and Network TV.
An avid runner, Lesa enjoys training for and running marathons and the life lessons it teaches her. The journey is as important as the race. Lesa is happy to share that journey with her beautiful daughter and husband, who are best friends and always her ground support.
With nearly 20 years of ecommerce and web experience, Erik Olson is a veteran leader in the content space. From all the way back to 2000, working on the launch of BestBuy.com as a copywriter through the last five years and the complete redesign and overhaul of the Regis Corporation customer-facing sites like Supercuts.com, Erik’s been a part of – and led – cross-functional omnichannel teams’ content efforts. With a specialization in content strategy and development, Erik has managed and mentored writing, editing, and design staffs while fostering cross-enterprise content initiatives and objectives. Throughout his career, Erik’s worn most all of the “content” hats, including copywriting, editorial planning, curation, tone and voice development, and brand attribute work, along with UX team tasks, like concepting, wireframing, prototyping, and testing, including customer panels, A/B, and usability studies. Erik is currently the Content Strategy Director at Regis Corp., and when you can’t find him there, he’s probably coaching little league, driving to ballet, or dreaming about his next sneaker purchase.
Rachael Ostrom is executive director, digital strategy and transformation and has been with Aveda for 19 years. She is currently responsible for Aveda’s global online business, CRM, loyalty marketing, and digital innovation. Rachael leads a cross functional team that is focused on increasing Aveda’s global omnichannel capabilities and accelerating Aveda’s global online business.
Tolá Oyewole is the Sr. Manager of Influencer Marketing for Best Buy. She is responsible for the strategic development and execution of influencer marketing campaigns, events and cultivating relationships with Best Buy vendor and agency partners. She also manages relationships with influential customers and leaders within the influencer industry and digital media innovation building new, never been before created digital media/marketing plans. Her oversight includes managing influencer marketing strategy, national influencer events for major drive time campaigns, budget management, contact for over 2,500 influencers for Best Buy.
She recently returned to Best Buy from Cargill, where she served as the Director of the Cargill Foundation and Corporate Giving. Her role in Corporate Affairs included leading the Cargill Foundation and the national and global education portfolio for Cargill. In addition to her Foundation role, she partnered with North American businesses to provide support within issues management and cross-functional business strategy.
Tolá enjoys spending time with her family and friends, is an avid online shopper and volunteerism with high school youth. Tolá was honored by the Minneapolis and St. Paul Business Journal as one of the Top 50 Women in Business in 2015.
Jay Prasad is Chief Strategy Officer for VideoAmp, the software and data solutions company powering the convergence of the linear TV and digital advertising. In this role, Mr. Prasad leads corporate strategy development and the partnership and marketing teams responsible for accelerating the industry’s move to automation and unification of TV and all forms of digital video. Taking into account dynamic aggressive market trends, emerging and disruptive technologies, Mr. Prasad is focused on increasing the valuation and long-term growth of VideoAmp’s business both domestically and internationally.
Mr. Prasad has led VideoAmp’s agency, broadcaster and data partnerships that were instrumental in developing new products and new partnerships with Mediaocean, Comscore, and FreeWheel. Notably, Mr. Prasad is a co-inventor on VideoAmp’s patents.
Prior to joining VideoAmp, Mr. Prasad served as VP of Global Business Development at TubeMogul where he led the company’s launch of Programmatic TV, data and supply partnerships, as well as their international partnership teams in the U.S., EU, Japan, and Southeast Asia. Previously, he led strategic development at FreeWheel focused on broadcaster’s distribution to digital and OTT platforms. Jay has also held leadership roles w Yahoo!, and Ernst & Young.
Mr. Prasad holds a degree in Marketing, International Business, and Risk Management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and studied International Business and International Political Economics at the London Business School.
As Chief Revenue Officer, Michael leads Intersection’s sales organization and is responsible for media revenue streams across Intersection’s fast-growing range of products. Prior to joining Intersection, Michael was SVP of Sales at Foursquare, where he led media and measurement sales. During his tenure, he drove rapid growth of new products, including their audience and attribution measurement platforms, transforming Foursquare from a purely consumer app into the leader in location intelligence for marketers. Prior to Foursquare, Rosen was Chief Revenue Officer at First Look Media, and held leadership positions at AT&T AdWorks, Bloomberg Media, WeatherBug and Showtime Networks. Michael brings over 20 years of experience in advertising and technology, spanning mobile, online, and TV, with deep expertise in cross-channel advertising, programmatic buying, creative innovation, and the application of audience & location data. Michael received his MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business and bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University.
Jane is a seasoned executive powered by thoughtful insight into what’s next in marketing and technology. Her deep understanding of how to effectively optimize content, media and data to innovate marketing solutions is what sets her apart. Jane serves as VP of Americas at Buzzoole the Global Influencer Marketing Platform Leader. She previously led national account development at Undertone and launched new products for Reelio, Gen.video, Experian and Pulsepoint. Prior to joining the ad:tech Jane led Account teams at Agency, Chiat\Day and Modem Media. She resides in NYC.
Nate Sandell is senior manager of social media at Mall of America, where he oversees all social content and engagement strategies for the largest retail entertainment center in the United States. With a focus on social care and storytelling, Sandell leads a team of engagement and content specialists who seek to provide a positive experience for all guests through thousands of social conversations each week across social media and SMS platforms. He manages Mall of America’s Enhanced Service Portal, which serves as a command center that integrates the multitude of service departments at MOA. Prior to joining MOA, Sandell worked in the Twin Cities sports media market for 1500-ESPN AM and 1500ESPN.com, covering college football, NBA, MLB, NHL and NFL.
Mo Scanlan is Vevo’s Midwest VP of Sales, based in Chicago with over 20 years of experience in media. She is responsible for all sales leadership, strategy and business development with key agency and brand partners. Mo’s background is rooted in bringing premium content with rich audiences to brands throughout the region. Prior to joining Vevo, Mo held sales and management roles at various Fox Interactive Media properties including IGN Entertainment, Myspace and AskMen.
As the Director of Paid Media at Best Buy, Kate Schmidt is responsible for paid media strategy and execution across digital and traditional media. She leads media mix strategy and measurement, and manages media agency/ partner relationships. Kate has been working in paid media at Best Buy for nearly ten years. She thrives on the fast pace of working in the consumer electronics industry/ retail, and constantly evolving media landscape. Prior to Best Buy, Kate worked on the media agency side, most recently at Haworth supporting the Target account. Kate received her Bachelor of Arts in Consumer Relations from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She currently resides in Apple Valley, Minnesota with her husband Aaron and their two children, Max and Olive.
David Shelleny is a creative producer, photographer and filmmaker with Polaris Industries. David uses storytelling via content production to influence the aspirations and purchasing decisions of Polaris customers. He supervises the Polaris Content Studio, an in-house content production team that supports all of the Polaris products including Polaris Snowmobiles, Off Road Vehicles, Commercial Vehicles, Boats and Indian Motorcycle. David has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Film Scoring from Berklee College of Music. He lives in Apple Valley, Minnesota with his wife Wendy, and their two children Willem and Anne.
Before joining the Social and Digital team at Mayo Clinic, Margaret received her Master’s of Science degree in Communications from North Dakota State University. Margaret joined the team in May of 2015, maintaining the editorial calendar for Mayo Clinic’s main social media platforms, including creating and scheduling content and daily monitoring. Margaret currently consults with Mayo Clinic departments on how to use social media and works with Marketing to further digital strategies for engagement.
Pamela Stephens is a Digital Media Manager overseeing Media Partnerships and Influencer Marketing at 3M within the Consumer Business Group. Pamela has over 12 years of experience in the industry with the majority of her time spent focusing on digital and social media, media partnerships and influencer marketing. During her time at 3M Pamela has led partnerships between Scotch® Brand and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, ACE™ Brand and National Geographic, Nexcare™ Brand and ESPN X Games to name a few.
Prior to 3M, Pamela was a DIY influencer herself which sparked her passion of working within influencer marketing for consumer brands and building relationships with partners. Throughout her blogging career she worked with Brands such as Home Depot, Ryobi, Sherwin Williams, and 3M Brand ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape. When Pamela isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her two children and still doing home renovation projects.
Jeff loves solving puzzles, building relationships, and exploring new technology. Jeff has held various digital strategy, media and social media roles at Carlson Companies, Target, and most recently 3M where he leads Digital Transformation for the multibillion-dollar Industrial Adhesives and Tapes division, creating experiences across the digital ecosystem to scale 3M’s technical knowledge and bring the company closer to its customers. Jeff is a husband and dad, and loves to play music, cook, travel, read, snowboard, and run. Jeff holds bachelor’s degrees in English and business management from Saint John’s University in Collegeville, MN.
Marc Sternberg is CEO of Rising Tide Media, a leading producer of conferences for the advertising and emerging technology industries. Marc was president and COO of AlwaysOn, from 2007-2011, where he produced over 20 successful conferences in the digital media, clean technology and cloud computing sectors. Marc was the vice president of advertising sales for The Hollywood Reporter, from 1989-2007. Marc has served on the boards of numerous charitable and non-profit organizations, including Make-A-Wish Foundation of Los Angeles and the Anti-Defamation League/LA.
Cydney Strommen is Director of Marketing Communications for Aveda in the company’s largest market, North America. In this role, she is responsible for consumer-facing communications promoting all of Aveda’s high-performance product lines. She is tasked with developing winning strategies for public relations, influencer marketing, experiential marketing, and more, and also supports the brand’s communications to its thousands of salons. Prior to joining Aveda, Cydney spent eight years at Minneapolis-based integrated creative agency Fast Horse. While at the Cannes Lion award-winning agency, she represented a diverse client list, including The Coca-Cola Company, General Mills, UnitedHealth Group, Best Buy, Askov Finlayson, and more. A graduate of the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities, Cydney is a life-long Minnesota resident. In 2017, Cydney was recognized by AdFed as one of the 32 under 32.
Greg Swan leads a team devoted to building engagement strategies for brands rooted in consumer habits, social networks, and the culture engine that knits them together. A nationally-recognized thought-leader, strategist and creative leader, Greg blends experience with emerging technology, earned creative, and social media for clients like Arby’s, Massage Envy and Anheuser-Busch.
Darla Tufto is Vice President, UnitedHealthcare Brand. She and her team support strategic execution of brand strategy, national advertising, brand health and brand evolution. Tufto joined UnitedHealth Group in 2003 and has held marketing and strategic planning roles across both UnitedHealthcare and Optum business lines. Prior to UnitedHealth Group, Tufto held positions in product management and strategic planning at The Clorox Company, Boston Scientific, Pillsbury and U.S. Bank. Tufto earned a B.S. Degree in Nutrition from North Dakota State University in Fargo and an MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management in Minneapolis.
Melissa Wildermuth is the Brand Experience Director, Culture, focused on infusing General Mills brands into culture and bringing culture into brands. She is responsible for partnerships and licensing, experiential marketing, brand PR, and mission work across General Mills US brands. She began her career at General Mills in 1997 and has served in a variety of marketing communication roles on a variety of brands. Her current favorite General Mills product is Totino’s Pizza Rolls, which she prefers to eat straight up with a cold beer! She received her B.A. from the College of St. Benedict.
As Director of Brand & Advertising, David is responsible for driving new customer acquisition for TCF Bank with retail customers across multiple products and services. He oversees positioning and messaging, creative development, media planning, and analytics for ongoing optimization. Prior to joining TCF Bank, David led brand revitalization efforts at Miracle-Ear and Kemps as well as numerous initiatives across multiple brands at General Mills. David brings over 15 years of marketing leadership with a focus on driving growth by transforming data into creative. He received a MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business and bachelor’s degree from BYU.
Most recently, Wendy was the VP of Marketing & Consumer Experience at Omcare (a health care technology start-up) based in Burnsville, Minnesota. Previously to that role she lead the marketing organization as the Senior Director of Brand & Engagement Marketing at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of MN. Accountable for the marketing organization, overarching brand strategy and experience initiatives designed to acquire, retain and engage members, her strategic vision lead to retention and growth of a 20 point brand leadership position in the state of MN over the course of her 6-years.
A liaison to executive leadership throughout her career in both the financial services and health care sectors, she is an expert at synthesizing strategic initiatives while driving cross-functional teams to successful innovation outputs, such as the opening of health plan retail center locations – in less than 100 days. Her personal and professional leadership efforts have also achieved accolade by way of awards from: The Content Marketing Institute, MarComm Awards and Shorty Social Awards, MN Business Magazine (2018 Women Who Lead honoree).
Katie Wong is the Brand Experience Senior Manager, Partnerships for General Mills. Katie leads partnership and licensing opportunities within the industries of Entertainment, Sports, Fashion and Technology for General Mills US. Katie joined General Mills in 2005 and, prior to her current role, led marketing communications for various brands within the company. Katie is an avid consumer of all things pop culture and loves that she can call binging a series on Netflix “work.” She received her B.S. from Iowa State University.