Brand Innovators LLC
Brand Innovators LLC
John is a career shopper marketer, entrepreneur and intraprenuer. He is the CEO of Photofy, a content to commerce media company for brands and retailers. He is helping to shape the future of marketing through great consumer engagement across new media channels.
John has 20+ years of work in consumer packaged goods companies including Hanes Brands, Newell Rubbermaid, PictureVision (Kodak Digital) and Implus. He moved to the retail side in 2007 joining Walmart and built one of the first people as media platforms called Walmart Elevenmoms. He is the founder of Collective Bias (Acquired by Inmar in 2016) and serves as an advisor for GoodX and teaches as an adjunct professor at NC State School of Textiles.
John and his wife Mary Shannon and daughter Mary Catherine live in Raleigh, NC with their dog Cameron and cat Milky Way…
Kate Atwood is the executive director of ChooseATL, an innovative economic development initiative that focuses on attracting and retaining the next generation talent to ensure Atlanta’s position as a top globally competitive metro. In short, ChooseATL shines a national spotlight on the city as a unique epicenter of creative culture, diverse community and innovative industry that makes millennials say ‘hashtag goals’ when they think about the A.
Launched in 2015, ChooseATL has helped flip the script for millennial migration to Atlanta, putting the emerging city in the spotlight both amongst new talent and new Brands. Kate and her team cover a lot of territory in their efforts to attract the next generation to Atlanta, from participating in bids by the metro region to secure new or expanding headquarters, to launching the first city-based OTT video streaming network, THEA, featuring content rooted in Atlanta and relevant to the world. In 2017, Kate led activations around the country including the ChooseATL House at the SXSW Festival where she interviewed rapper and actor Ludacris, and reached 20,000 young job-seekers with messages about career opportunities in Atlanta and the region’s unique offerings. ChooseATL has received recognition for its industry leading approach to talent attraction from media powerhouses such as Forbes, Bloomberg and Vogue, as well as received a Gold Award from the International Economic Development Council.
Kate is known as an entrepreneur and a community leader who has built a career on driving social impact initiatives in the non-profit and for-profit sectors. At 23, she founded Kate’s Club, a nationally-acclaimed not-for-profit organization that provides support to children and teens facing life after the death of a parent or sibling. Having lost her own mother to cancer at the age of 12, Kate set out to build a world for children and teens where it was okay to grieve. What started with just six kids is today a thriving community organization that serves thousands of children and their families.
Kate remains involved with Kate’s Club as its Founder. She is the author of “A Healing Place,” and has been featured in six books as a thought-leader on personal giving and social enterprise.
Kate has been frequently featured in media, including People Magazine, Marie-Claire Magazine, Huffington Post, the Today Show and The View. Recently, she was named to GOOD Magazine’s global “GOOD 100” list for her commitment to helping others.
Sarah Bixler is Head of Marketing and Development at MOFILM, based in New York City. MOFILM is a global community of over 10,000 filmmakers connected by technology to create brilliant content for world’s leading brands. Rooted in crowdsourcing, MOFILM gives brands access to diverse creative thinking and expertise, while maintaining brand voice through human and tech powered curation and oversight. Sarah provides strategic guidance to brands to leverage the MOFILM community for video content on any platform at a fraction of the cost of a traditional model.
Sarah has been with MOFILM since 2013 and watched it evolve with the rapidly changing digital advertising landscape. In 2015 MOFILM was acquired by You & Mr. Jones, the world’s first brandtech group – a technology holding company that helps brands to their jobs better faster and cheaper using technology.
Dan Corso joined the Atlanta Sports Council (ASC) in 1999 after serving as Vice Chair of the Festival Division for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
The ASC’s mission is to facilitate the growth and development of sports in metro Atlanta by serving as a recruiter for major regional, national and international sporting events. The ASC’s recent accomplishments include recruiting and planning several prominent sporting events such as the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship, Super Bowl LIII (2019) and the 2020 NCAA Men’s Final Four.
The ASC has been named national Sports Commission of the Year by the National Association of Sports Commissions four times (2000, 2004, 2006 and 2015).
James Cuthbert is a marketing professional, youth culture expert, and community advocate, with over 12 years of experience including stints at three fortune 500 companies (currently at Coca-Cola, formerly at Kellogg’s and General Mills) and two non-profit organizations. He was the creator of Sprite’s iconic Obey Your Verse campaign and is widely considered one of the preeminent cultural marketers in the industry. He graduated with an undergraduate degree from Penn State University in 2003 and went on to earn an MBA from the University of Rochester’s Simon Business School in 2009. He is a proud husband and father of two amazing children.
Don Dixon used to be identified as the REAL Most Interesting Man in the Room.. now he is just identified as the OLDEST Man in the room!.. Don Dixon has had one of the more varied careers in marketing. His first job in the filed was as the PR intern for San Diego’s Bicentennial Celebration and then he sold sponsorships and program ads for PGA tournaments like the Andy Williams San Diego Open and Dean Martin Tucson Open. This led Don to a job as a promotional account executive at Dancer Fitzgerald Sample advertising on Madison Avenue where he caught the last stages of Mad Men! Don worked on Wheaties, Toyota, Legg’s, Hamm’s Beer and Winston Cigarettes. From DFS Don was hired as the first Director of Sports Marketing for Anheuser Busch in St. Louis. From AB Don launched his own agency Lifestyle Marketing Group in New York which he sold to Saatchi & Saatchi advertising. After a stint as Chairman of Saatchi Saatchi Marketing Services Worldwide he bought LMG back and in two years sold it to Cox Enterprises. After a 20 year run at Cox in various Marketing and sales roles Don “retired” to re-open LMG and also become the Head of Marketing & Partnerships for the City of Atlanta.
Erin Everhart is a brand marketer, digital strategist and content developer. She’s currently the Senior Manager, Media & Mobile for The Home Depot where she oversees cross-channel media strategy for one of the company’s three business lines. Previously, she ran the digital marketing department at a web development agency supporting mid-sized business and Fortune 500 companies. She speaks regularly on digital strategy, content development and channel marketing at conferences nationwide. Follow her on Twitter @erinever.
Keith Farley’s career path has ranged from marketing cordless drills to transforming supplemental insurance—with a splash of Coke. Seven years managing the DEWALT power tools brand at Black & Decker provided him a solid foundation in sales, marketing, and leadership.
Upon joining Aflac—a Fortune 500 company and the leader in supplemental insurance— Keith leveraged that experience to successfully lead many facets of Aflac Marketing (to include sponsorship, enrollment, recruiting, emerging markets, and customer retention).
In his current role as Director of Innovation & Customer Experience, Keith is charged with helping transform Aflac’s business to prepare for the future. By facilitating innovative platforms, streamlined processes, and of-the-moment technology, Keith is working to deliver a best-in-class customer experience.
A graduate of Auburn University, Keith’s professional experience has also included work with The Coca-Cola Company and Reuters. When not spending time with his wife, Melissa, and their two children, Keith enjoys tennis and wrenching around on classic cars.
Tighe Flatley is the content marketing manager for Victoria’s Secret, where he helps build storytelling experiences across digital channels that drive brand affinity and product consideration. He has held previous roles in creative content marketing, social media and communications at brands such as Gap Inc., Banana Republic, Eventbrite and New Balance.
Brian Gallagher is the Senior Marketing Manager of Kumho Tire USA. He is commissioned to lead and execute the North American brand development and marketing strategy and augment value based relationships with consumers and customers alike. Brian directs a deft team of marketers with diverse talents to enhance and manage various marketing initiatives encompassing integrated marketing platforms, social and digital media, product marketing, sales programs, promotions, advertising, sponsorships and consumer intelligence.
Brian has an extensive background in brand, marketing, product and media and lends his knowledge and experience to young entrepreneurs and recent college grads who have the passion and desire to pursue a career in sports and entertainment marketing.
Brian currently resides in Atlanta, GA and has a personal passion and preference for fine wines and bourbons, golf, fitness and music. He is also a dedicated supporter of foundations and programs committed to battling cancer and encourage and share with those who are in the fight and facing a life altering experience.
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.
Shirley Z. Hamlin currently serves as the Art Director and eCommerce Lead for the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club. In her role, Shirley has implemented bold, trendsetting and relevant brand and advertising strategies which have garnered recognition among retailers and led to remarkable growth in conversion and engagement rates. Presently, she oversees the brand creative for initiatives around the nearly-$200 million transformation to Philips Arena as well as premium pitches from Corporate Partnerships. Since joining the Hawks, Shirley has been integral in supporting multiple projects, including overhauling the entire online user experience for Season-Ticket Members, rebranding the Atlanta Hawks Cheerleaders microsite enhanced major premium event experiences like the 2017 Draft Night Party and increased the efficiency and workflow of the organization’s creative department through the implementation of the industry’s best practices.
Before joining the Hawks, Shirley spent time with Carter’s Inc., most recently working as a creative manager for the corporation’s international eCommerce experience with a focus on the Canadian market. She began working at Carter’s as a graphic designer working specifically on the OshKosh B’gosh brand. Shirley, who was born in Henan, China, was raised in New York City. She moved to Atlanta in high school and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and Advertising from Savannah College Art and Design in 2010. She currently resides in Buckhead with her husband Andrew and their dog, Ellie.
Kip Havel is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Randstad US, the second largest staffing and recruiting firm in the US and a subsidiary of Randstad Holding nv, a € 20.7 billion global provider of HR services. He has nearly 20 years of experience in marketing and communications and has been recognized as one of “4 Under 40” Emerging Leaders nationally by the American Marketing Association, a “Rising Star” by PR Week and an “Ace Communicator” by Ragan and PR Daily.
In his current role, he is responsible for developing and executing the B2B and B2C marketing strategy for Randstad’s U.S. lines of business. Before joining Randstad in 2015, he was the Vice President of Integrated Marketing at Aflac, a Fortune 120 company and the nation’s largest provider of supplemental insurance.
Prior to joining Aflac, Kip was the head of marketing and public relations for international staffing/recruiting company Spherion Corporation. He has also worked with global PR agencies Hill + Knowlton Strategies and Edelman Worldwide.
He and his teams have received numerous awards and accolades, including multiple PRSA Silver and Bronze Anvil Awards, recognition as the top social media program in the insurance industry by Northwestern University in 2014 and 2015 and one of his social media programs was named as BrandWeek’s #2 Bright Idea of 2008.
Peter Horn is an experienced technology and media executive who is committed to building businesses and helping customers address the challenges of the evolving marketplace. He is currently a Sr. Sales Director at Simulmedia, a New York City-based marketing technology company. Simulmedia’s predictive analytic software platform, VAMOS, brings web-like ad targeting and optimization to linear TV—and Peter is charged with helping marketers drive better performance from their TV advertising. Prior to joining Simulmedia, Peter was the Chief Revenue Officer of Dstillery, where he led the sales, marketing, and account services organizations in finding new customers for their clients across all digital platforms. He also previously served as Chief Revenue Officer of NetSeer and The HealthCentral Network, and from 2001 – 2008, worked at Microsoft/MSN, where he held strategic management roles in the sales and account management organizations. Additionally, Peter has worked at HoopsTV.com, CBS Sportsline.com, Weather.com, and JP Morgan, where he began his career selling fixed income securities.
Erica Hughes is an award-winning marketing and advertising professional with a breadth of experience working for Fortune 100 companies. With a love of connecting large brands with consumers, Erica has led marketing strategies for iconic brands such as General Motors, Chevrolet, Sears, Slim Jim and Reddi-wip just to name a few. Erica Hughes has consistently been a trailblazer in the marketing and advertising industry. In 2017, Erica was published in the Huffington Post demonstrating her knowledge and expertise of industry trends & dynamics.
Currently at Conagra Brands, Erica has taken a lead role in transitioning the organization from a traditional marketing company to a forward thinking digital marketing leader. Erica not only serves as a leader of self, but also as a leader of others. In 2017, Erica’s team at Conagra Brands was recognized by Ad Exchanger as a Top Ten Programmatic Advertiser.
When Erica is not leading brands in the advertising industry, she is serving others in the community. Erica is as a youth leader at Living Word Christian Center, a member of the National Black MBA Association and member of the Conagra Brands Black Employee Network.
Erica Hughes is a native of Flint, MI and earned a Bachelor of Arts Communication from Michigan State University (MSU). In 2018, Erica will be honored as the recipient of the MSU College of Communication Arts & Sciences Rising Star Alumni Award. In addition, Erica obtained a Master’s of Business Administration from Northern Illinois University.
Kristin leads the strategic direction for Randstad North America’s integrated marketing initiatives involving branding, digital marketing, content, public relations, citation programs and enhancing the talent and customer experience. Kristin has served as an instrumental leader in driving business revenue through digital transformations and implementing Randstad’s agile workforce in 2015. Additionally, she has been an ongoing thought leader, targeting demographic shifts in women’s leadership and the growing millennial workforce. Her wide-ranging skillsets and data-driven strategies improve the way Randstad communicates the evolving world of work.
James is an industry leader in developing disruptive innovation strategy for enterprises and has been involved with establishing 4 different early-stage accelerator fund programs, including Techstars Atlanta, Bridge Community, and Engage Atlanta. For these programs he has participated in Board-level advisory, company selection, mentoring, deal structuring, and numerous other activities that represented over 50 early-stage companies.
He also managed a corporate venture portfolio with nearly $1B of invested capital and has executed buy, sell, and investment transactions worth over $500M across many different industries. His diversified experience in innovation strategy development and venture investing give him a unique perspective on how to drive value for both early-stage companies and large enterprises.
James also hold an MBA in Finance & Entrepreneurship from Emory Goizueta Business School.
Anthony joined The Coca-Cola Company in July 2011 and is a recent transplant to the Atlanta area. He started with The Company in New York, looking over integrated marketing communications for the Glaceau portfolio of brands that includes vitaminwater, smartwater and POWERADE. He went on to create The Company’s first internal group of strategic communications planners named Kollective who are responsible for designing and experimenting in new ways to connect The Company’s high growth brands in its venturing and emerging portfolio with different audiences through media and technology.
Today Anthony is responsible for helping to transform The Coca-Cola Company to a global learning organization with an audience first mindset. This includes leading the global rollout and adoption of the company’s data management platform and approach to programmatic media and marketing as well as defining data standards, taxonomies, designing the strategic data stack around first, second and third party data. Prior to joining The Coca-Cola Company, Anthony worked at American Express, where he created digital content and social media experiences to engaged card members and prospects around the company’s B2B and entertainment properties. He also spent several years on the agency side in strategy and media planning roles for clients like Procter and Gamble and Intel. Anthony earned an M.S. in Strategic Communications from Columbia University in New York City.
The ability to architect the syncopation between consumer, messaging, environment, culture and beyond to curate an experience that is the embodiment of the brand is no longer a future expectation, its today’s expectation. Building and celebrating that ecosystem are at the heart of what makes Christi so excited to be an experience marketer.
Christi holds an MBA from The University of Chicago in the fields of Marketing, Strategic Management, Finance, and Entrepreneurship. Since business school, she has done a lot of marketing and even more eating working on beloved food and restaurant brands including Kahn’s, Gallo Salame, Jimmy Dean, Olive Garden, and Arby’s. Today, Christi is excited to curate the Holiday Inn Express guest journey, as the Director of Brand Experience.
Every free moment she has, Christi spends with her husband Michael and her “real” boss, her daughter Bree.
Greg Mize is entering his fifth season with the Atlanta Braves, currently serving as the Senior Director, Marketing and Innovation. In this role, Mize leads the club’s overall marketing, digital, and innovation initiatives. During his tenure, he’s established the club as an industry leader in mobile interaction and engagement, while leading all consumer communication through brand, campaign, content development, and social media.
Prior to joining the Braves, Greg served as the Marketing Director for the NBA business at Turner Sports, including NBA on TNT, NBA TV, the NBA Game Time app and NBA League Pass. Previous roles at Turner Sports included leading the marketing strategy and implementation for NCAA March Madness Live, the MLB Postseason on TBS and NASCAR.com.
A native of Massachusetts, Greg earned a Bachelor of Science in marketing from Fairfield University.
Hala Moddelmog is a business and civic leader with more than 20 years in president and CEO roles. She also serves as a corporate director for two NYSE companies – FLEETCOR Technologies and Lamb Weston – and as a board member of several blue-chip nonprofit organizations.
As the first female president and CEO of the nearly 160-year-old Metro Atlanta Chamber, Hala works on behalf of FORTUNE 500 companies and SMEs in the country’s ninth largest metro region. Prior to joining MAC, Hala was president of Arby’s Restaurant Group, president and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and the first woman to lead an international restaurant company as president of Church’s Chicken.
Hala’s current nonprofit boards include Georgia Public Broadcasting appointed by the Governor of Georgia, Woodruff Arts Center, The Alliance Theatre co-chair for 2017-2019 and Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business.
Hala has a Master of Arts degree in journalism and mass communications from the University of Georgia and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Georgia Southern University. She has attended executive education programs at Harvard Business School and Kellogg School of Management. Georgia Southern University awarded Hala an Honorary Doctorate of Letters.
Victoria is a senior social media manager for FOCUS Brands, a leading developer of global multi-channel food service brands, working specifically on Cinnabon and Moe’s Southwest Grill. She is responsible for the overall strategy, growth and evolution of the brand’s social channels, working cross-functionally to develop a strong brand voice and build global relevancy with social-lead integrations, influencer activations and engagement-driven initiatives. Before FOCUS Brands, Victoria was the online editor and social media lead at Hoffman Media in Birmingham. Victoria has a bachelor of science in Journalism from the University of Florida. She has worked for Food Network, Refinery29 and More Magazine, among others.
A brand marketer and general manager with 20 years of experience, Kimberly is currently the CMO, N.A. Consumer Beauty Division at Coty which includes Fragrances and many iconic brands such as COVERGIRL, Clairol, Sally Hansen, and Rimmel. Prior to joining Coty, Kimberly worked at The Coca- Cola Company (TCCC) for 16 years in various roles within North America and Global. Her roles included Vice President, Venturing and Emerging Brands (VEB) where she was responsible for leading marketing, innovation and assessing high growth merger and acquisition opportunities of emerging beverage brands.
Prior to her VEB role, Kimberly led and delivered record growth of the $3.5B Sprite and Flavors portfolio. During her leadership, she relaunched The Coca-Cola Company’s 2nd and 3rd largest global brands, Sprite and Fanta and led the turnaround of other brands such as Seagram’s, Fresca, Mello Yello and Barq’s Root Beer. Kimberly’s sites her strategic leadership, passion for culture, and emerging technology as the cornerstone of her successful career.
Kimberly started her career in Brand Management with Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, OH. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications & Business from Howard University and a MBA from Clark Atlanta University. She has been recognized as one of the Top Marketing Executives to Watch, interviewed by leading industry publications and has spoken on a number of panels on how to expand brands globally and effectively market to youth, millennials and multicultural consumers. She is actively involved in many professional and social organizations and has been nationally recognized for her efforts to address childhood literacy.
Brad Ruffkess is the founder and CEO of BoxLock. Brad is a high-energy leader with a proven ability to build brands and businesses. Brad held roles at The Coca-Cola Company before founding BoxLock, including leading Marketing Futures, founding The Coca-Cola Media Co., Director of Connection Planning and leading Social Strategy.
Prior to joining The Coca-Cola Company, Brad was the Director of Digital Strategy at Merge Agency, A North Highland Company. Brad helped communities in “Creating Bridges as Art” at FIGG in Tallahassee, Florida and founded the now defunct LazyCampus, a network of local portals for smart card enabled college communities.
Brad’s passion for marketing and technology started at a young age as he was programming branded digital animations in BASIC by third grade. Brad is a proud husband and new father.
Ashley Sasnett is the New Media and Social Engagement Manager at Porsche Cars North America headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. She enjoys her position as a brand storyteller immensely and uses her diverse background and communication skills to galvanize enthusiasts, energize her stakeholders and fully develop the reciprocal storytelling capabilities of social media for Porsche.
Having worked solely in social and digital content for the past decade (on both the agency and client-side), there is nothing she loves more than collaboration, building out strategies that deliver value, and the occasional moon shot.
Caroline Schulweis is the southeast lead for brand partnerships at Foursquare, a leading location intelligence company that invented the “check-in,” and now powers location in over 125,000+ other applications, including Twitter, Uber, & Garmin. Caroline works with brands and agencies to leverage first-party, mobile location data to create innovative marketing programs that achieve specific business objectives and reach consumers across a variety of digital platforms. Her clients include Coca-Cola, Home Depot, and Disney. Prior to Foursquare, Caroline managed search advertising campaigns and interactive project management at Omnicom. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a concentration in digital marketing at Bocconi University in Milan.
As the founder and managing partner of RÄKÄNTER, Sorckoff brings 20 + years of marketing, branding, strategy and big thinking experience to the table. His life before sports in a therapeutic environment set his professional lens to ‘people first’. That starting point served him well in the world of professional sports where he managed marketing/branding, digital/social, creative, production, innovation and retail teams. Prior to the creation of RÄKÄNTER, Peter was Chief Creative Officer for the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena. There he built an internal agency which changed the paradigm of sports sponsorships and piloted marketing programs for Anheuser Busch, Diageo, and FanDuel to name a few. In addition to his day to day responsibilities, Sorckoff lead the repositioning and rebranding of the Hawks franchise, served as design lead on the $200M dollar renovation of Philips Arena, a $40M practice facility and worked with Coca-Cola to integrate their global innovation platform (Bridge Community) into the facility and broader franchise. Recognized for creating ‘first in sports’ Sorckoff has also delivered on the international stage having worked with the Olympics and in Australian sports. Now the wealth of that passion and experience drives RÄKÄNTER to deliver the same results for their clients.
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.