Dr. Utku Pamuksuz is a data science researcher with expertise in artificial intelligence, business analytics, and machine learning. Dr. Pamuksuz is currently the Chief Data Scientist of Inference Analytics and a lecturer at the University of Chicago. He also served as a deep learning consultant for Gerson Lehrman Group, maintaining strong relationships with State Farm, Goldman Sachs, Grainger, McKinsey & Company, Deloitte, and KPMG. Dr. Pamuksuz is a prominent speaker in topics ranging from AI, deep learning, and data mining, to predictive analytics strategy, e-Commerce, and quantitative marketing. He was awarded with Big Data Hacking Competition Award in 2015 and 2016, as well as the UIUC Excellence in Teaching Award. He holds a M.Sc. in Computer Science from Northwestern University and Ph.D. from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.
Kenneth Kring has worked on branding while working at a range of companies over the years: Walmart, Walgreens, Sears & Kmart, Discover Financial Services, FCB and others. The branding work has been on both the company-wide level as well as on a products and services level. He has seen an awful lot of both the good and the bad, and knows what it takes to ensure that people and companies are firmly going down the “good” path.
More information about Ken can be found at: www.linkedin.com/in/kenkring/ If you are interested in knowing how it all fits together, send him an invite to link.
Becky Thomas is an experienced Keynote speaker in leadership, helping the next generation of global leaders take action on their goals. She has a corporate background in branding, marketing and strategy, an MBA from DePaul University, and more than 15 years of branding experience with fortune 500 companies and non-profits such as Jimmy Dean, Sara Lee, GUM brand and the Chicago Tribune as well as the National Restaurant Association. She is the founder of Be Greater Consulting, a woman-owned business, has achieved a leadership award from the Chicago Tribune, was named as one of Huffington Post's 99 Limit-Breaking Female Founders in 2018, and has been featured on Thrive Global and BBC news as well.
Becky is the author of the 2019 leadership book, “Rise Up: How Great Leaders Stand Out and Get Promoted”, dedicated to emerging leaders, is a faculty member at the Association of National Advertisers, and teaches MBA Executive Coaching at DePaul University where she is an adjunct professor and serves as the Chair of the Mentors Program at the Coleman Center for Entrepreneurship.
Jennifer Kautz is a results driven marketing innovator with proven expertise in managing multi-million dollar campaigns in the healthcare, financial services, auto and consumer packaged goods (CPG) industries. She is a creator of novel budget driven solutions that add value to existing business relationships as well as new product launches. Her specialties include B2B and B2C marketing, direct marketing, CRM, events, digital marketing and advertising operations.
Currently, Jennifer is the Manager of Enterprise and Collaborative Marketing for Walgreens Retail Pharmacy and Adherence business lines. She is responsible for developing marketing strategy as well as executing all aspects of her marketing plan. Jennifer has fifteen years of experience across the marketing spectrum working on the client side (Walgreens, Discover Card and Cars.com), the agency side (Leo Burnett/Arc Worldwide) and at a start-up (Edo Interactive).
Jennifer has a BA in Marketing Communication from Columbia College and an MBA from DePaul’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. She lives in Mount Prospect and enjoys international travel, spending time with her sixteen month old son and volunteering. Her passport holds stamps from sixteen countries including Japan where she studied abroad during her part-time MBA program. She is looking forward to sharing her experiences today and paying it forward.
Jeff Hoffmeister has more than 15 years of market research experience at Kantar, working to drive meaningful impact with a variety of clients across several industries, including technology, confections, quick-serve restaurants, pet food, retail, financial services, alcohol, oil, insurance, and pharmaceuticals. He has worked extensively across a range of study types and methodologies, both domestic and international, including tracking, copy testing, brand health & equity, concept testing, multicultural, and custom work.
He also serves as a Champion across several content areas, including Analytics, Creative Development, and Neuroscience, guiding teams on the application and interpretation of insights. He received both his Bachelor of Science in Commerce and an M.B.A. in Marketing Management from DePaul University.
Megy Karydes is a Chicago-based marketing and communications consultant for national and international non-profit organizations, writer, and an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University. Among her past and current clients are the Union of Concerned Scientists, The Morton Arboretum and Heartland Alliance. Her byline has appeared in The Atlantic’s CityLab, National Geographic’s The Plate, Politico, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Fortune.com, and Forbes.com, among others.
Megy has an English Literature and a Women's Studies degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and an MBA in Marketing from DePaul University. She stays young by running after her two middle-school-aged children and marathon-running, long-distance bicycle-riding husband. She may not be able to run as fast as her husband, but he has yet to beat her at air hockey, so she has that going for her. Connect with Megy here: linkedin.com/in/megykarydes/
Kate Stevenson has eleven years of experience as a communications professional. Kate’s experience encompasses both traditional communications and digital communications. Her change management, project management, and communication skills have helped clients to maximize the impact of communications in a variety of settings. Kate is able to skillfully engage stakeholders at all levels and guide decision making to move opportunities to action. Clients value Kate’s creative problem solving skills and her passion for delivering high quality work. Kate received her M.B.A. from DePaul University's Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, and her B.A. in Anthropology and French from DePaul University.
Vanessa Velasco: Leading by Example. One Choice at a Time.
One-part analytical and one-part creative, Vanessa summarizes her leadership style with two phrases:
“Every problem has a solution.” and
“It takes a village. #LoveWhatYouDo.”
This philosophy has been the root of her success as the Senior Manager of Events and Marketing with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). With the support of 10 volunteers and three staff members, Vanessa took a 13-page concept and launched a full working program known as WE Local in less than two weeks. Since its inception, WE Local has grown to over 90 volunteers who serve on a strategic board or one of five committees who support five conferences around the United States ranging between 250-750 attendees.
For over 12 years, Vanessa has continued to introduce concepts into production while also creating a positive and inclusive environment. It’s because of this unique skillset and ability that Vanessa has coordinated marketing communications and event production for organizations like Sole Technology, the United Way, Danaher Corporation, and the American Health Information Management Association.
Vanessa is from the sunshine state of California – where happy cows come from. Though California will always be home, the Midwest has captured her heart from the Chicago summer nights to the Green Bay Packers – a fan since 1998. Vanessa received a dual bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing, and a Film and Television degree with an emphasis in Public Relations from Chapman University. If you like to learn more about Vanessa or follow her leadership journey, connect with her on LinkedIn. #LeadOn
Lisa Rowland is Marketing Director at Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, Allianz Group’s dedicated carrier for corporate and specialty insurance business. In her role, Lisa is responsible for the marketing strategy and execution for commercial lines products to drive growth and customer loyalty. She also leads the customer experience program for AGCS in North America.
Prior to joining Allianz, Lisa worked at CNA Insurance where she held various roles in underwriting, sales and marketing and was the National Marketing Director for Small Business.
Lisa holds a B.S. in Finance from the University of Illinois and an MBA in Marketing from DePaul University. She lives with her husband and three year old daughter in Bucktown.
Matthew Wren is the Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of BUNDLAR, an augmented reality solutions company serving individuals, businesses, and institutions. He is the Chicago Chapter President of the VR/AR Association, growing and connecting the immersive technology business community in Chicago and the surrounding area. Matt has delivered cutting-edge technology since the late 1990s, supporting enterprises as large as GE, Kraft, and Northern Trust, as well as start-ups. He spent many years supporting live events in different technical capacities, including project management, logistics, design, technology development, and support.
Matt is also a technology adviser to Loyola University Chicago’s Ignite Lab for Entrepreneurship, a Designer/Developer member at 1871 (the World’s #1 Tech Incubator), and founder of the VR/AR Chicago MeetUp (a monthly event that has been connecting and growing the XR community in Chicago since early 2017). In July of 2018, with Matt’s guidance, several local groups joined forces to host the first Chicago XR Summit. Matt has been a VR enthusiast for over twenty years, professionally developing VR & AR applications since 2016. He regularly speaks about immersive technology at events, providing thought leadership on content, strategy, innovation, and the business benefits of virtual and augmented reality technology.
Other confirmed speakers:
Ted Miller, VP of Loyalty Analytics, Synchrony Financial
Brendan Shea - VP Creative Services, Walker Sands
Zak Protzman, Strategy & Business Development, Cars.com / Emcee