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:

Past Events

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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