Evening With An Expert is a series of events curated by AMA Chicago to bring marketers together with industry leaders and experts. Held in an intimate setting, AMA Chicago’s Evening With An Expert series focuses on the latest issues that marketers face in today’s fast-changing landscape.

Interested in applying to be one of our experts?
Contact us at info@chicagoama.org!

Upcoming Evening with an Expert events:

Tuesday, February 27 – Personal Branding Workshop

Personal Branding Workshop
Date: Tuesday, February 27
Time: 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Location: Make Offices, 350 North Orleans Street #9000n, Chicago, IL

As marketers, our day jobs entail getting the word out about the brands we represent or service. What happens to our own brand? It often gets lost because we find ourselves layers deep in an organization (as employees or business owners) and when it’s time to shine, we are left behind on opportunities & beyond.

Career-marketer Tania Haigh is the founder & CEO of marketing agency, Magnolia Insights and creator of GET NOTICED workshops for women. She also writes about personal branding for Chicago Woman magazine.

Join this session to help you define and shape your personal brand.

5:30 – 6:30 p.m.: Registration and Networking
6:30 p.m.: Program, with Q&A to follow

Drinks and light supper will be served.

Thursday, May 3 – How to Create Spectacular – and Effective – Infographics

How to Create Spectacular – and Effective – Infographics
Date: Thursday, May 3
Time: 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Location: TBD

Infographics are not new, but DIY tools in the space have become remarkably more advanced and empowering. It is now possible for a market researcher with no design background to craft eye-catching and superbly effective infographics.

See how one team of self-described nerdy researchers at Fidelity did it. They spent a year exploring DIY options, learned various techniques and tricks, and deployed them with business partners. They will describe eight steps to design an effective infographic that easily translates to all types of research. They also will highlight how Fidelity has used infographics as a communication tool for media and customers in both the B2C and B2B markets. Join us for a highly visual presentation filled with engaging examples of infographics – both good and bad.

Join this session to help you define and shape your personal brand.

5:30 – 6:30 p.m.: Registration and Networking
6:30 p.m.: Program, with Q&A to follow

Drinks and light supper will be served.

Registration to come.

Our Speaker

Kate Morris is the Director of Research & Insights for Fidelity Investment’s Corporate Communications Group. She leads the majority of primary research projects for the marketing communications team to support the firm’s external public relations efforts and client events. Prior to her work with the marketing communications team, Ms. Morris directed all the brand and advertising research for Fidelity from 1998 to 2008. This included a multi-phase research study to develop Fidelity’s Green Line campaign which received the ARF (Advertising Research Foundation) gold award in 2011.

Prior to joining Fidelity, Ms. Morris spent a decade as a research analyst for financial services firms including Scudder/Deutsche Bank and Bank of America/Merrill Lynch as well as a leading internet firm, CMGI.

Ms. Morris got her start in market research while working for Procter & Gamble’s personal care division, as part of the new product development team.

Ms. Morris graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts in Psychology from Tufts University. Ms. Morris resides in Andover, MA with her husband and three children.

Date TBA – VUCA: Design Thinking with IIT

VUCA: Design Thinking with IIT
Date: TBA

Location: IIT Institute of Design
565 W. Adams, 7th Floor
Chicago, IL

Effective brand marketing in today’s economy requires innovation, insight, and vision. Businesses are bringing in design strategy to support a systemic approach to increasingly complex problems and holistically navigate brand representation, reflecting a new expectation on the marketing department.

Marketers are more and more being expected to lead not just communication, but also innovation. What happens when marketers are not only selling to people, but also algorithms? How do you map impact in new ways to get better metrics to make better decisions? The multimodal, multichannel, and complex systems of marketing present a new set of challenges that the methodology and frameworks of design are well suited to solve.

Join us at IIT Institute of Design as we explore the intersection of marketing and design and learn how to leverage design in a technology-driven marketing landscape.

Marcello Magalhaes (MDM ’18), former Chief Strategy Officer at Leo Burnett Chicago
Jenna Peterson (MDM ’18), former Strategy Director at Carat Global Management
Carrie Blumenfeld, Director, Retail Experience Design at U.S. Cellular
Chris Cacci, Chief Creative Officer at CACCICO and AMA Chicago board member
Learn more about our panelists

Light dinner will be served.

Key takeaways:
• How design thinking solves complicated problems
• The contrast between business approaches (“let’s math our way out of it”) and design strategy
• The strategic – not just executional – side of design
• How design can support a fill brand system


Marcello Magalhaes (current student, MDM ’18)
Former Chief Strategy Officer , Leo Burnett Chicago

Marcello started his career in 1993 as a marketer at Abbott Laboratories and Unilever where he spent 10 years managing innovation and strategic thinking for brands like Axe (Lynx) and Dove across Latin America. In 2002 he moved to the advertising agency side and worked for global agencies such as Y&R, Lowe, BBH, FCB and Ogilvy & Mather. He was also partner at Brand Think Tank a brand strategic hotshop in London in 2008, and back to Brazil as a managing partner at Leo Burnett Tailor Made in 2011. Later, in 2016 Marcello came to Chicago as Chief Strategy Officer at Leo Burnett’s headquarters.

Marcello has a bachelor degree in Social Communication and Marketing from Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing, is graduated in Communication Management (latu sensu) and also has a Master degree in Communication Sciences (strictu sensu) at Universidade de Sao Paulo. He is a faculty member at the Miami Ad-School’s Bootcamp for Strategic Planning for 14 years, and a guest speaker in national and International Industry’s events, such as Cannes Lions. Marcello lives happily and enjoys Chicago, with his wife and 3 children, and he is now studying and researching at the Master in Design Methods program at the Institute of Design – Illinois Institute of Technology – while he cooks his next business enterprise.

Jenna Petersen (current student, MDM ’18)
Former Strategy Director, Carat Global Management

Jenna is a Master of Design Methods candidate at the Institute of Design. She is a design strategist specializing in systemic innovation and the relationships between people and technology-infused cultures. Prior to ID she worked for 10+ years as a planner and strategist at media agencies most recently for Carat UK on Kellogg’s EMEA. Past clients include GE, Pepsico, Diageo, and Bayer Diabetes.

Carrie Blumenfeld
Director, Retail Experience Design, U.S. Cellular

Carrie Blumenfeld a strategic retail experience design director, leading the design and creation of environments & interactions that project the brand, drive customer trial & conversion to sale, and reinforce advocacy. She has proven success in bringing transformation to retail organizations and building cross-disciplinary teams with demonstrable results.

Carrie has spent the last eight years leading Retail Brand Design for U.S. Cellular®, where her team is responsible for designing all aspects of the shopper experience and retail environment, across all corporate, agent and national retailer footprints. She has her masters degree in Design Methods from the Institute of Design and has also served as adjunct faculty at both the Institute of Design and the Illinois Institute of Technology Inter-Professional Projects Program.

Carrie began her career, spending over a decade with marketing services agencies including Arc Worldwide and Wunderman, leading Retail and Digital Promotions teams for a host of major retailers. She earned her B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications from Drake University, majoring in Advertising and minoring in Graphic Design and Consumer Behavior.

Chris Cacci
Chief Creative Officer , CACCICO and AMA Chicago board member

Chris Cacci is Chief Creative Officer for CACCICO, LLC. Through the Design Thinking process, she helps companies simplify and humanize their culture, effectively building their brand from the inside out. She also trains Human Resources and Marketing departments on how to employ Design Thinking techniques in-house. Client success is defined by creating an informed, empathic and connected organizational culture, yielding a more durable brand presence that’s difficult to master with only quantitative data. Her client experience includes Fortune 500 and mission-driven organizations, including Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Abbott, Direct Energy and The Morton Arboretum. Chris holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and a Master of Design Methods from IIT Institute of Design.

Jeff Mau
Experience Strategy, DigitasLBi (panel moderator)

Jeff leads clients through digital transformation by identifying new strategies for customer engagement and business growth. Jeff has advised leading companies around the world in the mobile, financial, entertainment and telecommunications industries. Clients include: Altria, Whirlpool, MillerCoors, Emerson, Lexmark, Samsung, Disney, Merrill Lynch, Target, John Deere, AT&T, Vodafone and Sprint. He holds a Master of Design Methods degree from the IIT Institute of Design and a BFA in Photography and Design from Kansas City Art Institute. Also active in educating the next generation, Jeff teaches courses in design and innovation at IIT Institute of Design in Chicago and CEDIM in Mexico City.

Past Evening with an Expert events:

Tuesday, January 23 - The Five Mega Trends Shaping Marketing in 2018 and Beyond

The Five Mega Trends Shaping Marketing in 2018 and Beyond
Sponsored by: 

Date: Tuesday, January 23
Time: 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Location: Salesforce
111 W. Illinois St., Chicago

The future of marketing is bright, but not in the way you may imagine. Mathew Sweezey, Principal of Marketing Insights at Salesforce and writer for Forbes, shows us the five megatrends shaping our future, including the new model for PR based on recent political examples, why Chatbots will take over, and what Marketing Automation 2.0 is.

Expect to learn marketing’s new role in creating experiences – not messages – and how this plays out for brands such as Starbucks and Tesla. Find out why Purpose is the new heart of marketing, as showcased through brand new research Matthew conducted with the Economist as well as the future of the marketing technology landscape and public relations.

This presentation will supercharge your upcoming year, and it is not one to be missed!

Our Speaker

Mathew is Principal of Marketing Insights for Salesforce.com and is regarded as one of the top minds on the future of Marketing. A consummate researcher and thinker, Mathew’s work is often cited leading publications such as Mashable, VentureBeat, PCWorld, CMO.com, Information Week, Forbes, Huffington Post, and numerous others. Mathew is a frequent speaker at conferences around the world and routinely works with the world’s largest and most well-respected brands including: NATO, MIT, UPS, HomeDepot, NASCAR, Verizon, and Dell.

A consummate writer, he authors a columns for multiple publications, such as Moz, Mashable, DemandGen Report and his work is often quoted in books including “The Digital Marketer,” “The ReTargeting Playbook,” and the forward to “The Complete Guide to B2B Marketing.” Mathew also is the author of Marketing Automation for Dummies, with his next book “Context,” published by Harvard.

Twitter | LinkedIn

October 19, 2017 – MillerCoors

Thursday, October 19, 2017 | 4:30 – 7:00 pm

Miller High Life:
Reinventing a 110-year-old Brand

An Evening with an Expert

MillerCoors, 250 S. Wacker Dr. Chicago, IL

Miller High Life, the champagne of beers, is an American Icon – but the last decade has not been kind. Ryan Marek from MillerCoors shares how Miller High Life found its mojo again, thanks to an integrated campaign that has revitalized the brand and its authentic heritage with both older beer loyalists as well as the next generation of beer drinkers.

This event will appeal to professionals interested in brand management, retail marketing, and food and beverage marketing. Following the presentation, we will gather at Fred & Adolph’s Pub for complimentary refreshments and networking.

Registration: 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Presentation: 5:00-6:00 p.m.
Networking: 6:00-7:00 p.m.

NOTE: You must be at least 21 years old to attend this event. Due to space limitations, event attendance will be capped at 75 people.

Our Presenter

Ryan Marek is the Director of MillerCoors’ Economy Portfolio, overseeing strategy, marketing communications and in-market execution of iconic value brands such as Miller High Life, Keystone, Hamm’s and Mickey’s. Prior to joining MillerCoors in 2013, Ryan “cut his teeth” in the beauty industry, helping to manage a wide range of hair care and skin care brands including TRESemmé, Nexxus and St. Ives. Ryan hails from the Chicagoland area and holds an MBA from DePaul University’s Kellstadt School of Management.

March 21, 2017 - Building A Brand Experientially

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 | 5:30 – 8:00 pm

Building A Brand Experientially

An Evening with Marketing Experts

Sponsored by Chicago Scenic Studios

360 CHICAGO, 875 N. Michigan Ave, 94th Floor, Chicago

Enjoy a behind the scenes discussion of how the new 360 Chicago came to life. Learn the objectives, issues and opportunities behind the 360 Chicago brand and effort, as well as the strategic thinking behind the experience developed.

January 17, 2017 - Essential Skills for Today’s Marketers

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 | 5:30 – 8:00 pm

Essential Skills for Today’s Marketers

An Evening with Marketing Experts

1871 Chicago, 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 1212

Advancements in technology have resulted in unprecedented change for the marketing industry. Over the last decade, the skills necessary for marketing have seismically shifted, and the tremors aren’t letting up. To remain competitive, companies are re-thinking their marketing strategies, shifting budgets, and identifying gaps where their career marketers’ expertise doesn’t make use of the latest practices.

In an Adobe survey, 64% of marketers expected their role to change in the next year and 40% of marketers said they wanted to reinvent themselves—but only 14% of those marketers actually knew how to go about it. The Chicago AMA has assembled a panel to help marketers at all career levels seize this opportunity to assess their current skills and identify additional skills they should add to their portfolio.

Attend this panel to learn:

                    •  Skills you need to succeed in today’s marketing environment
                    • How to acquire and hone those skills
                    • What hiring managers look for when searching for their next marketing talent

Thanks to everyone who joined us!

September 20, 2016 - Convos from the She-Suite

Photo of 6 speakers for She-Suite

Convos from the She-Suite:

Women in Senior Leadership

Tuesday, September 20, 2016 | 5:30 – 9:00 pm

If you aspire to the c-suite, you’ll be inspired by the success stories from these top marketing executives.

            • Dorri McWhorter, CEO, YWCA Metro Chicago
            • Lisa Petrilli, Chief Operating, Marketing & Strategy Officer, The Thread
            • Sandra Wilson, COO, Wheels Inc.
            • Toni Irving, Executive Director, Get In Chicago
            • Wendy DuBoe, President, CEO, United Way of Metro Chicago
            • Moderated by Susan Rosenstein, President, Susan Rosenstein Executive Search Limited

Thanks to everyone who joined us!

June 14, 2016 - Applied Google Analytics: Insights & Action

AndyCrest  Take a deep dive into Google Analytics to make better decisions.

Andy shows us 12 reports within Google Analytics to help you better understand your audience and your content performance so you can improve your site’s effectiveness.

View more info on this event, HERE

March 22, 2016 - Applied Google Analytics: Insights and Actions from 12 Reports


6:00 – 7:00 PM
Registration, networking, heavy appetizers and wine, beer, and sodas

7:00 – 8:30 PM
Presentation and Q&A

Take a deep dive into Google Analytics to make better decisions. Andy will show you 12 reports within Google Analytics to help you better understand your audience and your content performance so you can improve your site’s effectiveness.

If you have a website – this is a must-attend event!

The majority of websites use Google Analytics. It’s ubiquitous. But are marketers using it properly? Not really. Many marketers are using it only for reporting, not analysis. A lot of marketers are using Analytics wrong.

In this lesson, we’ll look at specific ways to use Analytics to do real analysis, to answer questions and draw conclusions.

    • Reporting vs. Analysis: How most marketers get Analytics wrong
    • Turning ideas into questions
    • Analytics Insights

February 23, 2016 - Marketing Slam 2016 "6 Keys to Unlocking Engagment"

Marketing Slam visualA special Chicago AMA Evening with the Experts “5 Overlooked Keys to Unlocking Engagement.” Our speakers 10-minute presentations uncover five different perspectives, techniques, and opportunities for enhancing customer engagement that others may not be aware of, or not sufficiently understand.

Take a look at the SIX presentations here.

October 22, 2015 - Optimize Marketing Automation to Drive Revenue

Program: 6:00 – 9:00 PM

Registration and Networking: 6:00 – 7:00 PM (Includes beer, wine, & appetizers)

Presentation: 7:00 – 8:30 PM

Location: 1871, 222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza, 12th Floor, Chicago, 60654

FullSizeRenderSpeaker: Hubspot Recommended, Kent Ecklor, Global Digital Marketing Director, CDK Global

Be the destination and let your target audience reach you through inbound marketing.  HubSpot recommended CMS (Content Management System) expert, Kent Ecklor of CDK Global, will help us navigate the enterprise of marketing automation.  Kent’s CDK case study and his insight on tools and applications will leave you confident in selecting and structuring a marketing automation system that grow sales, boosts market presence, and analyzes performance.

You will also learn about:
– Considerations for structuring your inbound marketing strategies
– Structuring your CMS to generate, nurture & manage sales leads
– Create a lead scoring system within your CMS
– Understand the future of CMS and inbound marketing platforms

CDK Global is a B2B company that provides integrated technology solutions to over 26,500 Auto, Truck, Motorcycle, Marine, Recreational Vehicle and Heavy Equipment dealers throughout the world.

September 29, 2015 Experiential Rolling Tour: Creating a Hands-On Brand Experience

Mark_Fenne_reduced_weberlogo2Program: 6:00 – 8:30 PM

Registration and Networking: 6:00 – 7:00 PM (Includes beer, wine, & appetizers)

Presentation: 7:00 – 8:30 PM

Location: Weber Grill, 539 N State St , Chicago, IL 60654

The event registration table will be in the lobby of Hilton Garden Inn at the entrance to Weber Grill. Hilton Garden Inn Valet parking will be validated by Weber Grill and cost $16.

Speaker: Mark Fenne, Director of Channel Marketing, Weber Stephen Products. Read his bio here.

Attendees Will Learn:

1. How to employ the strategy of Test, Refine, Scale to a experiential marketing platform
2. How to create a hands-on-brand experience that drives results
3. How let the consumer data drive where your marketing investment is made

June 11, 2015 - CMO Panel - The Future of Marketing

Significant shifts are happening within the marketing landscape which are dramatically influencing how marketing leaders strategize and prioritize for success. While there’s lots of uncertainty, the only thing that is clear is that sticking to the status quo will likely result in failure.

Increasingly, marketers must evaluate changing media, customer behaviors, technology platforms and talent to set their organizations up for success in the near-term future. They must also consider altering the way in which they promote their brands, incorporate new outlets, collaborate with internal teams and external partners to create more dynamic and efficient marketing teams that drive results.

Chicago AMA brings together a panel of leading CMOs to discuss:
1) Digital disruption
2) Changing demographics and customer behaviors
3) Data-driven marketing
4) Content marketing and ROI


Megan Bueschel

Megan Bueschel

SVP/Chief Marketing Officer

Mario Tricoci Hair Salons & Day Spas

Sandy Kolkey

Sandy Kolkey

Chief Marketing Officer

Turtle Wax, Inc

Patrick Bernardi

Patrick Bernardi

Chief Marketing Officer

Hu-Friedy Mfg. Co.

Daniel Ash

Daniel Ash

Chief Marketing Officer

The Chicago Community Trust


Pete Krainik

Pete Krainik

Founder and CEO

The CMO Club

February 26, 2015 - U.S. Cellular® Brings Shark Tank to Main Street

The Art & Science of Partner Affiliation to Elevate and Expand Your Brand Story
Join us on 2/26 as we host another thought-provoking event in our Evening with Experts series. This time it’s Cristel Turner, Director of Brand Advertising, Strategy and Business Marketing walking us through U.S. Cellular’s strategic partnership with Shark Tank.

Learn branding & partnership best practices and network with your marketing peers at the uber cool 1871 Chicago. Come to be inspired, make connections and get applicable takeaways to enhance your own brand, marketing and partner strategies.


Being the 5th largest national wireless carrier, U.S. Cellular has 23 markets of operation where they need to build awareness and credibility amongst business owners. Their regional spot buys have historically prohibited them from executing large-scale national partnerships that their competitors have successfully leveraged to drive visibility and credibility (NFL, The Voice, NCAA, VMAs)… partnerships that would never even begin to pay for themselves for U.S. Cellular.


How can U.S. Cellular crack the code and find someone with big enough shoulders for the brand to stand on to scale their brand exposure, while still staying committed to the smaller markets they choose to serve?


Go to your consumers vs. getting them to come to you! It was clear that access was the missing link for business owners in their markets. Like the brand, they too were “the underdog” in comparison to the startup culture in major urban centers, lacking the mentorship/advice, knowledge, and resources to take their business ideas to the next level.

They saw an opportunity to positively impact the lives of business owners in their markets as “the champions of small-town entrepreneurial access.” And against all odds as a regional buyer, U.S. Cellular knew just the partner to bring their vision to life.

Introducing…Shark Tank…one of the most sought-after properties by brands. In today’s ‘start-up era,’ it has exploded into pop culture. Its Sharks have become national celebrities and idols for aspiring entrepreneurs. The program has seen tremendous audience growth entering its 6th Season and caters to a loyal, business savvy fan base.

The Results:

Borrowed equity from Shark Tank moved the needle for U.S. Cellular and then some. Their regionally-targeted program generated national exposure beyond just their footprint, granting them visibility and credibility on the same level playing field as their competitors. These results can’t be bought, especially from a standard media buy.

Speaker: Cristel Turner, Director, Brand Advertising, Strategy & Business Marketing, U.S. Cellular®

Cristel TurnerCristel Turner, Director, Brand Advertising, Strategy & Business Marketing, U.S. Cellular®

A seasoned Brand and Communications Strategist with both consumer and B2B experience across CPG and retail technology sectors. Well known as an “unconventional creative thinker”, with a strong muscle for leading and collaborating on: brand turnarounds, launching new initiatives, new product positioning and integrated marketing communications planning & content development.

I have extensive agency management experience and well versed in creative content development across disciplines including digital. I have vast leadership experiences across consumer insights, CRM, marketing communications, and innovation “white space” scoping within a variety of food categories: Cheese, Beverages, Desserts, Enhancers, Meals/Frozen.

Jazzed by the fuzzy front-end of problem solving; I enjoy applying innovative thinking to unlock consumer opportunity through creative messaging, new product/service scoping or refreshing brand strategies.

Valued as a thought leader inside of Kraft, I directed new campaign creation for America’s beloved brands (e.g. Kraft Cheese, Miracle Whip, Jell-O, A1, Kraft Mac & Cheese) and lead the launch design and editorial creation for the Kraft Food & Family CRM program while consulting on acquisition optimization models.

In February 2011, I began successfully leading the development of a new juice platform for PepsiCo with projected potential of $150MM – $175MM.

Joined U.S. Cellular in 2012 to help transform brand marketing including a fully integrated Small Business effort to grow base revenue of over $400MM

Check out our photos of previous Evening with Experts events! A special thank you to all attendees, sponsors, speakers, and volunteers for making each one a success.

Photos courtesy Paul Audia.

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