The Sunrise Executive Series brings together top executives and thought leaders to share their marketing insights on the latest industry trends. After the presentation, speakers and attendees participate in an active and engaging Q&A session.

The Sunrise Executive Series takes place at Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse in downtown Chicago or in Rosemont. Breakfast is included.

Registration and networking starts at 8:00 a.m., presentations begin at 8:30 and end at 10:00.

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Upcoming Sunrise Executive Series Events

Join us to learn from these experts

Past Sunrise Series Events

May 11, 2017 - Whose job is it Anyway..PR or Marketing?

Thursday May 11, 2017 from 8:00am to 9:30am
Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse
1028 N. Rush St. Chicago, IL 60611

There is so much overlap between PR and Marketing. This lively debate will be a face-off between PR and Marketers discussing who should take responsibility for those duties that overlap: crisis communications, social media, thought leadership and content creation, the list goes on and on. Each side will discuss why PR or Marketing should be the team that “owns” that work, and then discuss how they would approach the responsibility.

Key Takeaways:

The goal, is that the audience will walk away with new creative strategies for approaching these responsibilities, and that the audience can get a better understanding for who should be handling which responsibilities. Target audience: PR and Marketing professionals at all levels AND managers over these two groups

  • PR and Marketing professionals will have new ways to approach their everyday responsibilities
  • Get insight into how a PR professional or Marketing professional approaches these issues / problems
  • If you don’t have one of these two teams, you’ve now learned how to handle / manage the responsibilities these two groups face
  • Managers will get better insight into how to divide responsibilities between the two teams
  • Speaker Bios: 

    Luke Cushman

    Wilks Communications Group

    Luke Cushman brings a decade of public relations experience, achieving high-level results that combine the expertise of B2B and B2C marketing with media relations, brand messaging and content development for clients across many industries, including: financial and professional services, technology, health care, higher education, non-profits, consumer products and hospitality.

    Luke has held a series of increasingly responsible leadership positions at several global agencies, including most recently the health practice of Edelman. Prior to that he served in the corporate and financial communications practice at Fleishman-Hillard, and the brand marketing and corporate reputation practices at WPP’s Burson-Marsteller and Hill + Knowlton Strategies. He began his career at Cushman/Amberg Communications — and since then, has represented a diverse range of clients. Among some of his notable work includes visibility and media relations campaigns for Aflac, Bank of America, Coldwell Banker, and TGI Fridays; online and content programs for Cochlear Limited, itelligence SAP Solutions and South Loop Montessori School; and strategic planning initiatives for Alzheimer’s Association, Federal Signal and Get Covered Illinois.

    Luke earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the College of Business at Drake University and endorsements in public relations from its School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He is a past president and serves the board of directors for the Publicity Club of Chicago, the nation’s largest and oldest independent public relations membership organization, and is a member of the Public Relations Society of America.

    Learn more about Luke on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook


    Susan Szymanski

    SPINS

    Susan Szymanski

  • Brings a 23 year history in foodservice publishing working for Nation’s Restaurant News, Restaurant Business and R&I Susan brings a broad industry view.  Susan is a graduate of Philadelphia University and resides in Chicago, IL. 

    Learn more about Susan on Twitter or Facebook


    Erin Williams

    Bright Pink

    Erin Williams spent 10 years in the for-profit digital marketing world, leading creative and content strategy at Razorfish for clients such as Kellogg’s and Abercrombie and Fitch. Her current passion is bringing Bright Pink’s life-saving mission to as many people possible. 

    Learn more about Erin on Linkedin, Twitter or Facebook


    Kelly Shannon 

    Loyola University Chicago  

    Kelly Shannon’s responsibilities include managing brand marketing, university websites, media and public relations, crisis communications, internal communications, and advancement communications.

    Before joining Loyola, Shannon was director of brand marketing for the Chicago Tribune and related news products. She spent 10 years at the Tribune Company in various management roles. Shannon also served as director of communications for the Minnesota Department of Transportation; was a news editor/producer for Conus Communications, an international satellite newsgathering corporation; an award-winning television anchor and reporter for WDIO-TV (Duluth, MN); and a news producer for KSTP-TV (Minneapolis-St. Paul).

    Shannon graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Minnesota. She belongs to the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.

    Learn more about Kelly on Twitter


    Sam Randall

    Cook County Sheriff’s Department

    Sam Randall is responsible for creating and executing the communications strategy for the Sheriff’s office. He calls upon his more than eight years of experience in securing high-level placements and developing media relationships to nationally promote the Sheriff’s progressive policies and programming. Sam also frequents Springfield, Ill. to provide communications support for the Sheriff’s legislative agenda. Finally, crisis communications strategy and execution are essential due to the sometimes volatile nature of inmates in the Cook County Jail.

  • Prior to his position with the Sheriff’s office, Sam worked for leading global public relations firms Edelman and Hill & Knowlton Strategies where he supported local, national and global accounts with media relations, messaging and social media strategy. At Edelman, Sam worked in the corporate technology practice supporting brands such as eBay, PayPal, KONE and Life Fitness. At Hill & Knowlton, he worked primarily on Aflac and Mazda. Sam started his career at smaller PR firms Fishman Public Relations and Alpaytac (now O’Malley Hansen).
  • Sam earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing communications from Columbia College Chicago, where he graduated with honors. He has also served as the Public Relations chair for the junior board of the Chicago Parks Foundations and volunteered at Citizen Schools.

December 6, 2016 – The Marketing Team of One

Our December Sunrise Executive Series is for all those marketers who find themselves in charge of marketing their companies—whether they were hired to do that or not! This engaging panel of speakers will provide insights, encouragement and strategies for the small but mighty Marketing Team of One.

Small businesses, business owners, and marketing consultants act as a ‘marketing team of one’ every day. To discuss their unique challenges, the Chicago AMA put together a panel of experts who are marketing teams of one, to talk about their experiences and how to make the most of the resources available.

Who will benefit:

          • Owners and managers of small and medium-size businesses
          • Employees with marketing responsibilities in their organization
          • Independent contractors
          • Anyone who wants to optimize their marketing efforts

Join us to learn from these ‘marketing team of one’ experts

Tom Casale

Chief Operating Officer,
Simplified Solutions

Email Marketing As a One Person Team

It’s all you… time is short, deadlines tight. How can you execute a winning email that earns high open rates, great click-throughs and conversions? We’ll look at tactics and techniques to efficiently create memorable campaigns that drive action, including:

        • Mobile-focused email as a key to success.
        • What’s the value of a name in your email list? Hint: A lot.
        • Best practices for subject lines.

Thom Duncan

Principal,
Content Fluent

Integrated Content Marketing: How to Keep It Manageable

We’ll pick apart the phrase “integrated content marketing,” then look at its components to understand what your priorities need to be when you’re responsible for getting it all done.

        • Why integrated content marketing is valuable
        • Core skills you need to go it alone
        • Key challenges of being a team of one

portrait_Nick FryerNick Fryer

Director of Marketing,
AFN

How To Survive, and Even Thrive, When Help’s On The Way—And When It’s Not

We’ll look at strategies for getting work done that leverage both internal, cross-departmental relationships and external partnerships.

        • Think Big: Behave as though you have a full team at your disposal
        • Think Long-Term: Approach your current role as though you are planning on working at your present employer until retirement
        • Focus On Results: Whatever it takes, follow through and get the job done

Speaker bios


Tom Casale founded Simplified Solutions in 2002 to bring affordable web-based solutions to small and mid-size businesses. From his experience as interactive producer at CNN, where he managed online efforts for hundreds of customers, to his success as an enterprise software sales director, Tom brings a wealth of knowledge to his clients’ business every day.

Tom leads client services and technology. Went to the University of Iowa. Plays guitar…well. Coached all of his son’s baseball games. And is a die-hard Cubs fan.

Learn more about Tom on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter @iBestPractices.


An agency director once called Thom Duncan a “one-stop marketing shop.”

At the Kellogg School of Management, Thom built out the creative team of three, ultimately serving as the senior director of marketing and communications, and providing strategic direction to 16 writers and designers. In 2013 Thom joined a startup technology education company, Mobile Makers Academy, and as director of engagement he truly became a marketing team of one. That launched Thom on his current solo path doing content marketing for small businesses and educational institutions, under the new name of Content Fluent.

Thom has a BA from Washington University in St. Louis, and a General Management certificate from Kellogg’s Executive Education Program.

Learn more about Thom on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter @thom_duncan.


Nick Fryer is a proud member of the hard-working and fun-loving team at AFN, a fast-growing, third-party logistics firm located in Niles, Ill. Nick got his start in marketing in the late 90s right here in Chicago, working on the account side for boutique agencies before defecting to the Dark Side (AKA the client side). Nick has been an “army of one” twice in his career and attributes his success to outstanding mentors, his mom (a highly accomplished executive in her own right) and sheer luck.

Nick has a BA in philosophy from Miami University.

Learn more about Nick on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter @AFNLogistics.

June 22, 2016 - Willie Wilkov, CMO, PlayFusion

Willie-Wilkov-CMO-TOMY Suburban Sunrise: 10 Epic Fails That Helped Me Become CMO

 Speaker: – Willie Wilkov, CMO, PlayFusion

How self-deprecation, sacrifice and selflessness can make us all better marketing leaders!

Learn more about this event HERE

May 24, 2016 - Jeff Miller, Dir. of Digital Strategy, Gatorade

Jeff Miller Headshot Tuesday, May 24th 2016 – Sunrise Executive Series

Gatorade’s Digital focuses on three priorities: Content, Commerce & Technology

Our May 24th speaker, Jeff Miller, Director of Digital Strategy at Gatorade,  explores the strategic vision across Content (Branded/Social), eCommerce, Gaming and Marketing Technology.

Learn More HERE

December 9, 2015 - Why Don’t I Rank? A Google Audit

On December 9th, the Sunrise Executive Series will be a SEO clinic. Three websites will be audited that morning by our speaker.

Event Key Learning Objectives:

(1) Diagnose common technical SEO problems with free tools
(2) Learn to separate technical problems from marketing problems
(3) Understand the basics of competitive SEO analysis

Speaker: Dr. Peter J. Meyers, Marketing Scientist, Moz

dr-pete-2015-smDr. Peter J. Meyers (AKA “Dr. Pete”) is Marketing Scientist for Seattle-based Moz, where he works with the marketing and data science teams on product research and data-driven content. He has spent the past three years building research tools to monitor Google, including the MozCast Project, and he curates the Google Algorithm History, a chronicle of Google updates back to 2002.

August 12, 2015, Jonathan Copulsky, CMO, Deloitte

How to Create Powerful Content & Extend Reach with Emerging Platforms

Attendees will learn:

Understand the role that content marketing can play in creating a powerful brand
Identify what it takes to build and sustain a compelling content marketing program
Discover emerging platforms for connecting your content with customers

Headshot FY15

Speaker:

Jonathan Copulsky, Chief Content Officer for Deloitte LLP, Chief Marketing Officer for Deloitte Consulting LLP

Read his full bio here:

June 22, 2015 (Rosemont) - David Kimbell, CMO, Ulta Beauty

David Kimbell, CMOJoin the Chicago AMA on June 22nd from 8:00am – 10:00am at Gibsons in Rosemont (5464 N. River Rd, Rosemont, IL 60018) as we feature David Kimbell, CMO at ULTA Beauty.

Dave Kimbell, Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer of ULTA Beauty, will reveal the secrets of “Building a Consumer-Centric Business Strategy” at our upcoming Sunrise Executive Breakfast Series on June 22.

Founded 25 years ago, ULTA Beauty offers a wide range of beauty products in its own stores and others. But with the passing years and changes in the marketplace, it was clear the company had to revamp their strategy to keep up with the times and ensure future growth. Dave’s success in this effort is borne out by ULTA’s 30 percent increase in profits in 2014.

Before joining ULTA as Chief Marketing Officer in February 2014, Dave was CMO and Executive Vice President at U.S. Cellular. Previously he served as CMO, Vice President of Seventh Generation, a producer of environmentally friendly household and baby care products for seven years. From 1995 to 2008, he held various positions with such iconic consumer brand companies as PepsiCo, Quaker Food and Procter and Gamble.

Don’t miss this exciting event. Held in Rosemont, its particularly convenient for our members who live or work in the western suburbs. Register now – space is limited.


May 27, 2015 - Liz Ross, Global CMO, IPG Mediabrands

LIz Ross, CMO, IPG MediabrandsLiz Ross will headline the May 27 Sunrise Executive Series revealing “The Future of Media” at Gibson’s Bar and Steakhouse on Rush in Chicago.

SUMMARY: What are the latest developments in Programmatic media? What do marketers need to prepare for in the coming years as OTT content and streaming media increase? Join us as we discuss the future of media.

BIO: One of the true innovators in the industry, no one is better to advise us on “the Future of Media’ than Liz Ross, global chief marketing officer of IPG Media Brands. Liz’s role is to define the mission and fulfill the vision of this international cutting-edge company.

Prior to joining IPG, Liz was North America president at BPN. Under her leadership, BPN NA doubled its billings with major clients including Hillshire Brands and Morgan Stanley. Before joining BPN, she was CEO of Geomentum, an IPG Mediabrands agency, delivering excellence in the realms of shopper and geo-targeted marketing strategy, and as North American CEO of IPG Mediabrands Ventures.

A veteran of the industry for nearly 20 years, Liz has been chief growth officer at Publicis Groupe’s Digitas, U.S. president at Tribal DDB, and Modem Media in San Francisco, where she led the business development groups in San Francisco and Norwalk, Conn. She has been associated with J. Walter Thompson in Chicago and New York.

Liz was inducted into the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Hall of Achievement in 2008 and was named a “Woman to Watch” by Advertising Age in January of 2008. She received bachelor’s degree in advertising from the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University. And in 2011 Liz came full circle – becoming a Visiting Advertising Professional at Michigan State U.

Join us on May 27 to hear Liz’s uniquely informed insights on “The Future of Media.” Registration and networking starts at 8:00 AM. The presentation begins at 8:30 AM, and concludes at 10:00 AM. Seating is limited so register today for “The Future of Media” in the Sunrise Executive Breakfast Series now!

Lend your voice to the conversation @chicagoama #camasunrise

January 22, 2015 - The Customer Journey: Owning the Moments That Matter, Jennifer Ramirez, Vice President, Global Customer Experience, The Western Union Company

Take the journey toward customer loyalty with Western Union’s VP

During every interaction with a customer, there are significant moments that have the power to change the way that customer feels about your company for life. What are those moments, and how can you make every one of them rewarding and positive for the customer? How do you keep your brand top of mind – even when the customer isn’t interacting with you?

Join Jennifer Ramirz, VP of Western Union, as she presents,“The Customer Journey: Owning the Moments That Matter.” She will discuss how to create and maintain Customer Loyalty and Retention. Experience how Jennifer has helped the brand evolve – creating strong emotional connectivity between Western Union and its core base with this important marketing strategy. Join the conversation on Twitter @chicagoama #camasunrise.

BIO: Jennifer Ramirez leads Global Customer Experience Transformation for The Western Union Company. In this role, Jennifer oversees the charge of building stronger relationships with the hundreds of millions of people and businesses that use Western Union’s services every day. She is responsible for developing the organization’s multi-year customer experience strategy and transformation initiatives, and for driving the optimal customer and Agent experience across all channels and touchpoints in 200 countries and territories.

Based at Western Union’s global headquarters in Englewood, Colo., Ramirez has held various leadership roles with Western Union and former parent company First Data for 15 years. Key leadership roles have included product management, channel management, product delivery, new product development, strategy and large-scale program management.

Prior to joining Western Union, Jennifer spent five years in management consulting and three years in the nonprofit sector.

In addition to her professional career, Ramirez is passionate about volunteering and giving back to her community. She currently serves as a board member and officer for Upwardly Global, is co-founder of 501c3 Kids Giving to Kids, and is an ambassador for the Western Union Foundation.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Florida State University and a master’s degree in Behavioral Psychology from the University of Kansas.

August 14, 2014, Stephen Surman, Head of Global and Digital Strategy, Mead Johnson Nutrition

The Biggest Myths In Digital Marketing

Stephen Surman – Head of Global Digital and Social Strategy, Mead Johnson Nutrition, will present his thoughts on “The 10 Biggest Myths in Digital Marketing” on August 14, 2014 at the Chicago AMA’s Sunrise Executive Series at the famous Gibsons on Rush. In an interview with Direct Marketing News, Stephen shared insight into his “myths”. Here is an excerpt:

Myth #2: “Don’t obsess about Big Data, Surman counseled. “Think about what segments you’re trying to address and what questions you’re trying to answer and go get the data you need to do the job. You’re looking for a needle in a haystack. Don’t pile on more hay before you search the pile already in front of you,” he said. “Look for the needle in the haystack closest to the needle factory.” Read the article here.

Stephen Surman, Head of Global Digital and Social Strategy, Mead Johnson NutritionBIO – Stephan has spent 15 years leading digital marketing programs for some of the world’s largest consumer goods brands. He’s served as Vice President of Digital Strategy for Anheuser-Busch, developing marketing plans to support brands like Budweiser and Bud Light. He’s led digital marketing at Procter & Gamble, responsible for brands like Tampax and Pampers. Stephen is a graduate of Cornell University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in engineering.  He also earned his MBA at the University of Chicago in Finance, Marketing, and Strategy.

May 14, 2014, Susan Bryant, Vice President of Marketing, Apartments.com

“Digital Marketing Evolution in the Age of the Customer”

Attendees will learn:

  •  How consumer expectations have outpaced marketing talent and innovation.
  •  New skills necessary to excel in modern-day marketing.
  •  Emerging digital strategies and tactics to gain an edge on the competition.

SpeakerSusan Bryant, Vice President Marketing, Apartments.com

As head of marketing for a $600 million online business, Susan is at the forefront of digital marketing evolution and as results-driven business executive. Click here to view her LinkedIn profile.

 Key Takeaways Blog Recap

January 15, 2014, Rodrigo Sierra, CMO, American Medical Association

Our speaker, Rodrigo Sierra, CMO & SVP of the American Medical Association presented insights on Transitional Marketing within the American Medical Association by creating unity throughout the marketing department and consistency in communication throughout the organization. He also spoke on the importance of marketing communication sitting at the decision table and taking ownership of their decisions.

Read more about our past Sunrise Series events in our blog:

Suburban Breakfast with Dave Kimbell, CMO, ULTA Beauty in Rosemont, IL on June 22.

Dave Kimbell, Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer of ULTA Beauty, has a remarkable story to tell at our upcoming Sunrise Executive Breakfast Series on June 22.  ULTA has not only been breaking new ground in merchandising and marketing communications, but also setting new records in profitable growth. And Dave Kimbell will share all the details […]

Liz Ross, Global CMO, IPG Mediabrands to Speak on May 27

Liz Ross will headline the May 27 Sunrise Executive Series at Gibson’s Bar and Steakhouse on Rush in Chicago. As global chief marketing officer, Liz Ross is responsible for further defining the mission and vision of the firm’s network through clear articulation of the products, services and client solutions that differentiate IPG Mediabrands from its […]