So you’re going to #MDMC18, the Midwest’s premier digital marketing conference, this week in St. Louis. You know you’re hoping to connect with some great people, but you’re not quite sure who those people are yet.
Don’t worry — I’ve got you covered. Here are seven people to keep an eye out for, with pictures and Twitter handles to make the journey even easier:
Vernon Ross - @RossPR
One of the nicest, kindest and most supportive people I’ve ever met, much less at a social media conference, you’ll see Vernon all over Union Station this week, between his speaking engagements and his work as a committee member with the conference. At #MDMC17, which was my first conference as a true solopreneur, I was a bit intimidated to introduce myself to Vernon — he was on a bunch of official videos on Twitter, mostly in his signature bow tie, and I figured there was no way this guy would want to say hi to me, much less know or care who I was. I couldn’t possibly have been more wrong, and my interaction with Vernon last year transformed the way I view all social media conferences and speakers. In addition to all the great work he’s done as an author and a podcaster, Vern is quite possibly the nicest guy you’ll meet all week, (and as a bonus, there’s a good chance you might see me, too, since I love hanging with good people like him!) Don’t leave St. Louis without meeting this fellow, who is a tremendous representative of everything that MDMC is all about. Put Vernon Ross atop your list.
Kristy Gillentine @KrisGillentine
One of my best friends and another of the kindest souls on the planet, Kristy is jet-setting it this week to come to MDMC all the way from Houston. Although she isn’t speaking this week, Kristy is preparing to keynote Social Media Day Houston, which will feature a spectacular cadre of presenters and a super-tight-knit community built heavily on Snapchat relationships. Kristy is one of the premier Snapchat thought leaders in America, and is the host of #Chatsnap, the only Twitter chat about the Snapchat community, which will feature thought leaders like MPlatco, Nick Cicero and CJ Operamericano in the months ahead. Kristy works for DriveWest Communications in Houston and has helped develop winning strategies for many clients in south Texas. More importantly, she is phenomenally kind and generous and I guarantee she’d be humbled to meet you this week in St. Louis. Don’t leave Union Station without finding KG!
Ross Woods - @RossWoods10
I met Ross at this conference last year and we’ve become closer and closer friends since. Ross, a supremely talented digital editor who’s traveling over from Indiana for #MDMC18, is organizing a Monday night bowling event that’s open to everyone, and if the official parties are intimidating, it’ll be a great, low-pressure opportunity for you to meet some awesome people. Be sure to hit him up on Twitter if you’re interested in joining us!
Sara McDowell - @sarabinwv
I met Sara three years ago in her hometown of Charleston, West Virginia, along my ‘50 States, 100 Days’ tour, and she’s become one of my best friends and biggest allies in the social media industry since. Sara is the Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central West Virginia, and she’s very bullish about the importance of a crisp and focused digital marketing strategy for her organization — and for all nonprofits. Sara is a magnificent human being with a bottomless heart, and I couldn’t possibly be more excited that she’s joining the fun here at #MDMC18. Don’t miss her!
Kendra Ramirez - @KendraRamirez
As head of her own digital marketing agency, Kendra is a big dreamer with both an infectiously sweet personality and an unquestionable set of data-based results to back it up. Kendra and I met last September at Social Media Day Dayton, closer to her hometown of Cincinnati, and she’s stoked to be making the journey out here to St. Louis to meet some driven and like-minded marketers here in Cardinals country.
Isaac Irvine - @theisaac
One of the faces of the GoDaddy brand, Isaac Irvine is genuinely one of the most sincere people you’ll ever meet. Perhaps best known for his surprise hyper-viral video about bullying with his son, Isaac is a gentle, caring and super-knowledgeable Dad with one of the most well-traveled personal brands in America. He’s here from Phoenix, and your conversation with him is sure to be a highlight and key takeaway from the conference. Make it happen!
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Update, July 2018: A previous version of this article, originally posted in March 2018, included a laudatory reference to a digital marketer who has since been accused of online and offline harassment. That individual has been removed from this list.
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There are many more people I’m excited to connect with further this week, including my co-presenter on Wednesday, Cara Baribeau of the Community Foundation of Louisville — we are talking at 10:40 AM on Wednesday about how they used Facebook Live to raise $4.6 Million in 24 hours last September , and I really hope you’ll join us at that session on Wednesday morning. (Please!)
Cara and I live-streaming from the Big Four Bridge in Louisville on Give For Good Louisville day, Sept. 14, 2017, when we raised $4.6 Million in 24 Hours.
I’m also super excited to meet my fellow panelists for both the livestreaming session and the social media for nonprofits session, which are happening on Tuesday; and I’m amped to meet up with Chris Reimer, Cami Thomas, Mike Allton, Bonnie Frank and, of course, everyone on the MDMC leadership team, like Perry Drake, Brianna Smith, Marisa Lather, Kristina Medvedeva ... and so many more. And if you’re not here, I very highly recommend you plan on doing so in 2019 — this is a conference I hope to be at for years and years to come.
TL;DR: There are a ton of really wonderful people here this week for #MDMC18, and the most value you can get out of an event like this is meeting and directly engaging with as many of those people as possible. I hope this list has brought you value — let me know on Twitter who’s on your list, and of course, hit me up on Twitter @ChrisStrub if you’d like to meet me! (I’m very much pro-selfie!)
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Chris Strub is the first person to live-stream and Snapchat in all 50 U.S. states, author of ‘50 States, 100 Days; The Book,’ creator of the online course ‘Live-streaming for Nonprofits’ and CEO of I Am Here, LLC. Chris will be the official Snapchatter for #MDMC18 and is speaking twice on Tuesday and then presenting on Wednesday. Learn more about Chris and get a copy of his book at TeamStrub.com .