2018 Speakers

Eric Bennion has one foot planted firmly in the present and one squarely in the past. Always a storyteller he discovered the real power of voice while studying history in college. He grew that interest into passion by exploring storytelling areas like radio broadcasting, marketing, and social media. He gets fired up by the connections that stories make – from person to person, company to customer, and ideas to new audiences. Eric has been blogging for 13 years and has recently begun producing and co-hosting the But Daddy Why podcast.

Dr. Eric Rasmussen is an assistant professor in the College of Media & Communication at Texas Tech University. He is the author of “Media Maze: Unconventional Wisdom for Guiding Children Through Media,” and of ChildrenAndMediaMan.com. His research on both children’s responses to media exposure, and what parents can do to alter the media’s influence on children’s attitudes and behaviors, has been published in the top international peer-reviewed journals in the fields of communication and child development. He is widely recognized as a leading expert about media parenting. He received a doctorate in communication from The Ohio State University. He lives in Lubbock with his wife and children.

Laura Fuentes is the CEO of Fuentes Media, which includes MOMables.com, LauraFuentes.com, and LauraFuentes.co. She nerds out on Content and Email Acquisition Strategies, two areas she helps other entrepreneurs master for their online businesses.

She’s the Author of 4 cookbooks, Executive Producer of video, makes television appearances, has competed (and won!) on Food Network, and often partners with brands in digital campaigns in both English and Spanish.

With her background in Global Economics, her MBA in business Development and her strategic approach to the creation of online content and its promotion have yielded great success for her company and consulting projects.

Eric Schneller is the CFO & COO of Fuentes Media, a Strategic Content and Email Campaign Agency.

After 15 years of working in Healthcare Management, he left a C-level job and joined his wife’s company to help grow her online businesses.

After a decade of long commutes, he can finally enjoy more time with their three homeschooled kids and have the flexibility to travel and live the lifestyle they’ve always dreamed of.

Fun fact: Eric met Laura Fuentes while getting their MBAs and he is the Southern Gentleman that kept her down South -or so she says.

Julia Beck, Founder of Forty Weeks and the It’s Working Project is a passionate storyteller, engaged connector and curious innovator who remains deeply committed to improving outcomes for all families.

Jaime Casap is the Education Evangelist at Google. Jaime evangelizes the power and potential of technology as an enabling and supporting tool in pursuit of promoting inquiry-driven learning models. Jaime collaborates with school systems, educational organizations, and leaders focused on building innovation and iteration into our education policies and practices. He speaks on education, technology, innovation, and generation z, at events around the world.

In addition to his role at Google, Jaime serves on a number of boards for organizations focused on education, innovation, and equity. Jaime teaches a 10th grade communication class at the Phoenix Coding Academy in Phoenix and is an adjunct professor at Arizona State University.

Brandon Billinger is a husband and father of 2 who creates content for The Rookie Dad. Brandon has been blogging as The Rookie Dad for 7 years, since the birth of his first child. For the last 10 years, Brandon has held various positions in the video industry in Kansas City from news photographer, multimedia specialist, promotions and live TV producer, to video production manager.

Spencer Tapia is a blogger and social media personality, He is a dad and husband raising a child with special needs. When not helping to provide medical care to his daughter Spencer enjoys reading and writing. Spencer’s work can be found through multiple online platforms and mentions in special segment news story’s. Spencer is currently recording a podcast series for Lighthouse media.

Beau Coffron is a dad who was inspired to create special lunches every Monday for his kids, while they are in school. Many of these lunches are fashioned after characters such as Despicable Me Minions, Disney Princesses, and Star Wars Characters. From this project his blog, Lunchbox Dad, was born. The blog went viral and expanded to national appearances on T.V. shows such as Good Morning America and The Steve Harvey Show. Beau has been prominently featured in People Magazine and on websites such as Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post, Bored Panda, Yahoo, E! Online, and Babble. In his day job, Beau is the Social Media Director for one of the largest churches in the country. Beau and his family call Edmond, Oklahoma home.

Juan Alanis is a public relations and digital strategist, speaker, and content creator, dedicated to creating compelling narratives that drive measurable results. As co-owner of Big Oak Tree Media, a full-service integrated communications firm, he and his team provide strategic counsel and guidance to customers of various industries and size. Juan is also the founder of the award winning U.S. Hispanic lifestyle blog, Juan of Words. He is a regular speaker at national conferences and events on topics such as digital content creation, social media, public relations, and brand advocacy. Juan’s roster of clients to date include premier blue chip brands such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Walmart, among various others.

Jeff “fuzzy” Wenzel is a digital and social media expert, who has created and maintained a social media presence for over 450 client projects on multiple social media platforms. He is a co-founder of Woodshed Agency, a S.E. Michigan based digital media company that has established themselves as crowd-funding pioneers with over 300 successful campaigns to their credit. Jeff also seeks out and maintains collaborative relationships for his digital properties between companies, sponsors, and clients. Credits include Volkswagen, Moncur, Detroit Design Center, Motor City New Years Eve, Camp Casey and North Star Media.

Mike Nunez is an 18-year internet marketing veteran, with 4 years at Google on the Google Shopping & DoubleClick Search teams, who went on to co-found The Performance Company (.com), a performance-based digital marketing agency with subsidiaries that include AffiliateManager.com, a premier affiliate management company with offices in Orlando & Chicago. AffiliateManager.com has won Affiliate Summit Pinnacle awards for Affiliate Manager of the Year in 2013 & Affiliate Agency of the Year in 2016, as well as the Avantlink Best Agency of 2016 & 2017. Our success is powered by our proprietary technology, AffiliateRecruitment.com – with over 8.4 million affiliate pages indexed, & BounceLinks.com, a content monetization tool for bloggers.

Marketing is a spectator sport and Jim Joseph is one of the industry’s most engaging, enthralling, and entertaining commentators. As the Global CEO of brand communications agency Citizen Relations, Jim constantly puts his thirty years of experience to the test with consumer marketing clients from virtually every industry. Jim is also an award-winning author of “The Experience Effect” book and blog series and an adjunct instructor at New York University. Entrepreneur of the Year, Agency of the Year, Consumer Launch Campaign of the Year, Most Creative Agency, Best Place to Work, Social Media Icon, Hall of Fame – these are the accolades that Jim Joseph has amassed through his long career in marketing. But none are more important than the daily

Austin Dowd is a stay-at-home dad to two boys and president of the National At-Home Dad Network. As a lifelong resident of Raleigh, North Carolina Austin founded the Triangle Stay At Home Dads in 2011 and joined the NAHDN the same year.

As a leader within the NAHDN he helped plan both Raleigh HomeDadCons in 2015 and 2016 before moving into officer positions on the Board of Directors.

Previously he has written for the Carolina Parent blog, though now most of his media work is done as a freelance photographer for various companies and publications in NC.

Amy Joyce is the editor and a writer at The Washington Post’s On Parenting vertical. She lives in D.C. with her husband and two sons, 10 and 8.

Mike Reynolds tells the many different stories behind the relationship between a dad and daughters.

He shares the times a dad reads Harry Potter until midnight with his daughter, the time he spends cheering her on at her baseball game, he shares the tattoos he gets of their random drawings, and he shares the times they sit down to talk about anything they want while painting their nails.

He wants dads to constantly be reassured it’s okay to cry, to express emotion and to be wildly in love with their daughters. He is committed to showing the world what masculinity can mean and how open a relationship dads and daughters can have. More than anything they show that girls rule.

Bryan Bennett is the founder and CEO of a software company called Cortex. He thought it was a good idea to start a company and have their first child within 3 months. He then doubled down with a second boy a few years later. Cortex helps large office buildings significantly reduce how much energy they use, by arming building engineers with a mobile app that helps them make the 10-50 operational decisions they have to make every day more easily and efficiently. We do that by applying machine learning to large data sets collected by the building, and delivering a very simple mobile application.

Andrew Tiu is a professional videographer, editor, and motion designer from Dallas, TX. His work has taken him across the country to shoot branded content for multiple companies including Adidas and Fossil. After the birth of his son in early 2017, he leveraged his background in video production to start a small YouTube channel called DadVerb. Every week he chronicles his life as a new dad and reviews tech related gear for the family and home. This is his sophomore year at Dad 2.0 and he’s proud to be a part of this community.

Jamie Lieberman is a partner and founder of Hashtag Legal, LLC a law firm specializing in influencer marketing and businesses with a digital presence. Jamie has extensive experience advising clients about trademark and copyright issues, FTC requirements, drafting and reviewing contracts and website terms, forming entities and negotiating on behalf of clients.

Jamie has been a practicing lawyer for over 10 years and is also the former Director of Operations and Chief Counsel at an influencer network where she worked with brands, agencies and bloggers at live events and through campaigns.

Jamie is also a co-host of the Businessese Influencer Marketing Podcast, tackling legal and business issues in the influencer marketing industry.

Brent Popolizio has been a digital/tv producer, creator and talent for the past 16 years. Working with companies in traditional and live tv, branded, web series, commercial and social has given him a broad education in what it takes to target audience and entertain. Quality storytelling is at the core of his approach to everything he creates and currently, as head of content for Life of Dad, he implements this strategy to every level for the brand.

Jill & Scott Krause recently sold their dream house to seek out a dream life, along with their 4 young children. They moved into an RV at the end of 2017 and are traveling the country for a year, documenting the journey on HappyLoudLife.com and @Happy.Loud.Life on Instagram. Scott left his job with the federal government after 15 years to focus on fatherhood and figuring out his next life chapter while on the road. Jill is the founder of BabyRabies.com- an award-winning and internationally recognized parenting and pregnancy blog she started in 2007. Together, they are trying to figure out how to better balance family, careers, and freedom.

Christian Paasch leads the National Parents Organization (NPO) in Virginia and loves to tell others about the NPO’s focus on bringing both moms and dads together around their shared custody goals. Family law is stuck in the 1950s and Christian is humbled to be a leader in modernizing the field. He’s also been appointed to Virginia’s Child Support Guidelines Review Panel. As a graduate of the US Air Force Academy and military veteran, Christian has focused his professional career on international affairs. He is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Atlantic Council. Most importantly, he is the proud father of two beautiful boys, husband to a generous wife, and knows that he always has something more to learn.

Rob Rosenthal is the Short Order Dad, named by his daughters for preparing tasty meals that please different palates with maximum taste and minimal effort. He is the author of the fun, how-to cookbook, Short Order Dad – One Guy’s Guide To Making Food Fun and Hassle-Free.

While presenting creative ideas on six continents as president of an international ad agency, Rob honed his skills by performing standup at NYC’s top comedy clubs. He also earned a professional cooking degree from the Institute of Culinary Education.

Called “undoubtedly one of the industry’s most colorful characters” by Ad Age, Rob hosts video programs on food & drink mega-site The Daily Meal. He also emcees events, delivers keynotes and moderates panels.

James Breakwell is a professional comedy writer and amateur father of four girls, ages seven and under. He is best known for his family humor Twitter account @XplodingUnicorn, which boasts more than a million followers. He also created @VeryLonelyLuke, a Star Wars parody account with 350,000 followers that’s been praised by Mark Hamill.

James was named Closer Magazine’s 2016 Blogger Dad of the Year and was a finalist for a 2017 Shorty Award.

He writes a parenting humor column for the Indianapolis Star.

James released his first book, “Only Dead on the Inside: A Parent’s Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse,” in October 2017. It’s a mash-up of a tradition parenting book and a zombie survival guide.

Alice Chase is known for relationship growth and community building both online and offline. Utilizing her background in business marketing, you’ll find her frequently collaborating on projects concerning strategic social media campaigns in the automotive industry, luxury travel destinations, tech, and volunteer outreach. Often referred to as a “connector” by the brands she works with, she is passionate about sharing techniques of solid collaboration to build and strengthen connected communities. She shares personal stories of family, travel and more on her lifestyle blog ThrilloftheChases.com.

Clay Nichols is SmartyPants Senior Vice President of Brand. With his background as an author, playwright, journalist, video producer, and blogger, Clay was an unconventional yet obvious choice to help steer the creative vision of the SmartyPants brand. He brings his storytelling knowledge to the marketing department, lending it to the voice, design, and marketing strategy of all SmartyPants products. Clay spends a lot of time following the athletic exploits of his three kids. Any energy he happens to have left over is used for his own athletic pursuits, including competing in full and half marathons.

Vic Drabicky is the founder and CEO of January Digital, a full-funnel digital marketing agency and consultancy specializing in luxury, retail, and beauty. His team focuses on full-funnel digital planning and execution including paid search, paid social, programmatic media buying, SEO, and above the line marketing. An expert and innovator in the field of digital marketing with more than 15 years’ of experience on both the client and agency side, Vic has worked with myriad brands including Tory Burch, Nike, Cole Haan, J.Crew, NARS Cosmetics, Oscar de la Renta, and Vineyard Vines.

Mark Trahan: I am a behavioral scientist/researcher and teaching assistant professor at Texas State University. My primary research interests are fathering confidence and involvement and virtual/augmented reality interventions for behavioral training including fathering confidence within the parenting realm, applications for veterans, and disaster preparedness planning, communication, and response research. I also maintain a small private practice counseling office. I see couples for concerns related to addiction, conflict, emotional loneliness, and infidelity. Outside of work, I enjoy mountain biking, fly fishing, church involvement and spending time with my wife and two daughters.

Jeff Vrabel’s writing has appeared in GQ, the Washington Post, Men’s Health, Success, Garden & Gun, Golf Digest, Vice, Fatherly, Billboard, Time, Playboy, Scary Mommy and many others. He’s a former senior editor with Nickelodeon, former editor-in-chief of Hilton Head Monthly and current contributing editor to Indianapolis Monthly. He’s also the current Guinness World Record holder for Most Bruce Springsteen Songs Identified by Their Lyrics in One Minute. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and two sons, the youngest of whom was personally approved by Springsteen (long story).

Karen Walrond is an attorney, author and leadership coach, and the creator of the award-winning website Chookooloonks.com, a source for inspiration on how to live well and make light. Her bestselling book, The Beauty of Different, is a chronicle of imagery and portraiture, combined with written essays and observations on the concept that what makes us different makes us beautiful — and may even be the source of our superpowers.

In addition, Karen is a sought-after keynote speaker on topics such as self-empowerment, creativity and innovation, leadership, and diversity and inclusion. She’s also a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator, trained in Brené Brown’s work on vulnerability, courage, empathy and worthiness.

Karen remains an active member of the State Bar of Texas.

Stewart Reynolds: Brittlestar’s comedic and family-friendly but irreverent videos have been seen more than 400 MILLION times on various platforms. His recent KFC video campaign was the most popular branded video content in the world on Facebook for the summer of 2017.

With a global fanbase, an invitation to the White House, speaking engagements all over North America, starring in the Dreamworks TV show ‘Kid vs Parent’ with his youngest son, collaborations with celebs such as The Property Brothers, and meet-and-greets at PlaylistLive, Brittlestar is living the social media celebrity dream… not bad for a Dad from the suburbs.

Staci Salazar is the voice behind the stories at Our Family Lifestyle where she has been sharing about her (growing) family of seven for over 10 years. Her blog is for real families who like to keep it simple. From general lifestyle applications, to family travel, to everyday routines, it’s all about finding simplicity in the journey of life. Together with her husband, Staci has built a brand around telling authentic stories of the everyday family. They believe in face-to-face relationships and have utilized this marketing strategy to work with brands from Verizon Wireless to Carnival Cruise Lines; as well as a national media tour with Scott Products.

Charlie Capen is a veteran digital strategist and content creator responsible for several hundred million views and followers across digital platforms.

Following tenures at Netflix and Fox, Charlie now oversees GISHWHES, the world’s largest scavenger hunt with players in over 100 countries changing the world through creativity, courage, and social good.

As a parenting influencer, his work has made the front pages of The New York Times, Fast Company, Buzzfeed, Huff Post, ABC, BabyCenter, and Reddit, to name a few. He’s also appeared on ABC, HLN, and Fox as a featured expert, and co-authored best-selling “The Guide to Baby Sleep Positions” with Random House. In April 2016, Charlie was honored to speak on a White House panel about deconstructing gender bias through parenting.

We’re Ben and Rebecca, and along with our four young kids, we’ve decided we’re not ready to ‘grow up and settle down’. We got married young, had kids young, and settled into the typical life of draining careers, mortgages and overwhelming responsibility. Everything started to take priority over family, quality time and our relationship. It was time for a change, so we sold most of our belongings and hit the road for an adventure to find fulfillment for our family. We now full time travel! Every day is an adventure, discoving more about our kids, our personal happiness, priorities and our relationship with each other. We started a YouTube channel called The Family Fulfillment Project to document our travels, inspire others to pursue their passions, but more importantly, their relationships!

Joe Saladino is a writer/photographer/cinematographer/teacher when he has any extra time from his full time job of being a stay-at-home dad. For the last six years he has been cultivating his creative outlets and turning them into Saladino Photography, a photography business that specializes in body positivity and getting smiles from those who usually refuse to crack a grin.

Lately Joe’s sports media work has sent him to France for the 2016 Euros Tournament and he will be traveling with the Icelandic Football Team’s supporters group Tolfan to document their 2018 Russia World Cup run in June.

He holds a B.A. in Family and Consumer Sciences from Central Washington University and an M.A. in Counseling from Bastyr University.

A million years ago, Brian Gordon spent his time staying out late, hitting the clubs and eating at fancy restaurants.

And then suddenly…CHILDREN. While he loved being a dad more than anything else, he also noticed that at times, parenting can be a total crap-fest.

In the summer of 2013, Brian began drawing Fowl Language as a fun (and often profane) way to vent his frustrations over the day-to-day tedium and challenges of being a parent to two small children. After getting laid off in 2015 from his job as a Hallmark greeting card artist, he decided to pursue the comic full-time. His work quickly became an internet viral sensation, and is seen and shared regularly by millions of people all over the world.

Amanda Magee is one of four founders of Trampoline, an ADDY award-winning design and communication agency. They have proudly eschewed QR codes and cheap, sexist advertising ploys for 15 years while still managing to sell products and boost market share for clients.

Amanda began blogging the same year Trampoline opened. Her writing has appeared in publications ranging from the anthology This is Childhood, the Washington Post, the Today Show, Brain, Child, Scary Mommy, to Mamalode, and more. She was the 2017 Iris Award winner for Best Writing.

She lives in the Adirondacks with her husband and three daughters. She is unabashedly sentimental and outspoken on issues ranging from the over-hyping of kale to the value of using your voice for good.

Whit Honea is a documentarian, the author of “The Parents’ Phrase Book,” and co-founder of Dads 4 Change, an organization dedicated to progressive parenting and social good. His writing can be found in several popular publications and websites, including Fandango, City Dads Group, Stand Magazine, Today, Good Housekeeping and The Washington Post.

In addition to being an invited guest contributor to President Obama’s website, Whit has been deemed “the activist dad” by UpWorthy and one of the “funniest dads on Twitter” by Mashable. His fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and his stories on parenting won the 2015 Iris Award for Best Writing.

He is the Community Manager for Dad 2.0 Summit.

Nate Bauer is director of the Geek Squad Design and Engineering capability, which develops support services to enable clients to fully enjoy their technology. He also is responsible for nurturing the Geek Squad culture as “Chief Inspector,” a distinguished role held by only two Agents, the first being Geek Squad’s founder. Nate previously was the Chief Commander over Geek Squad’s Remote Support Unit and in-home services teams.

Joining Geek Squad prior to its national rollout in 2004, Nate has held a wide variety of roles supporting the growth and evolution of Geek Squad. He has been with Best Buy and Geek Squad for more than 16 years.

Nate lives in the Twin Cities suburbs and is stationed at Best Buy’s headquarters in Richfield, Minn. When not traveling the world to promote the Geek Squad brand and culture, he resides with his retired racing Greyhound “Diego,” enjoys time with friends in the U.S. and abroad, and volunteers in his community. On Saturdays, Nate can typically be found at Starbuck’s drinking all the dark roast coffee.

Ben Mand is an experienced executive who has worked across agency, consulting, and CPG businesses with a passion for building responsible brands. He brings an entrepreneurial spirit, appetite for innovation, and a reputation for being a creative problem solver. 

At Plum Organics, Ben is responsible for the company’s marketing programs, brand development, mission, product innovation and creative strategy. He has been instrumental in strengthening Plum’s mission, developing brand campaigns, as well as the launch of more than 30 new products, helping to accelerate the brand from the #3 to #1 organic baby food company in the U.S.

Prior to joining Plum, Ben worked in various brand marketing roles at leading companies including General Mills, Johnson & Johnson, and Interbrand.

Titania Jordan is the CPO of Bark.us, an internet safety solution that helps parents, corporations, and schools keep children safer across social media, text messaging, and email. As the current host of CONNECT with Titania Jordan, and former host of NBC Atlanta affiliate WXIA’s weekly television show Atlanta Tech Edge, Titania has the honor of covering the latest in tech news and talent across both the city and the globe. Titania enjoys helping startups launch in the Atlanta market, serves as a mentor at both Techstars and the Atlanta Tech Village, and frequently appears as a tech contributor across the nation. Titania enjoys painting, co-hosting Atlanta Eats, and building some pretty sweet LEGO cities with her family in her downtime.

Christopher Grady is the creator of the webcomic Lunarbaboon. In his spare time he is an elementary school teacher and father living in Toronto, Canada.

Angus Nelson is director of strategy for the influencer marketing agency, Life of Dad. He was formerly the founding member of Crowd Companies and Brain+Trust Partners; an advisor, consultant, and facilitator, speaking at headquarters of Walmart, Whole Foods, Coke, BMW and more. He is host of Inc.com Top 20 business podcast called, “Up In Your Business”; and featured on Aol.com, Huffington Post, and VentureBeat. His book, Empowering Work, releases fall 2018 by Morgan James Publishing.

Scott Price: I’m the father of two special needs kids. My son was born deaf and a brain tumor took most of my daughter’s vision. Our journey has been one I wouldn’t have chosen, but feel blessed that I’ve traveled.

When we received our diagnoses, I felt useless, much like I did in the delivery room–just what is my job here?

Treatments and doctors are centered around the kids and Mom’s nurturing instinct jumped so it could be registered on the Richter Scale. What was my place in the hospital or at home?

I channeled my pain and loss into trying shore up other special needs dads and teach the professional caregivers that dads also need to have a place in the child’s recovery and treatment.

Brent Almond writes (and doodles) Designer Daddy, a parenting blog that combines pop culture and politics, all amidst tales of being a gay dad of an adopted son. Brent’s work can also be seen on The Huffington Post, Nickelodeon Parents, and Fatherly, and he was named one of the Best Dad Bloggers by Mashable. In addition, every morning Brent creates notes for his son’s lunchbox, which have been featured on BuzzFeed, ABCNews, Today, and Vogue Bambini, to name a few. They live permanently on Instagram as SuperLunchNotes.

David Kargas is a father of three pre-teen boys and a marketing director at the Clorox Company. At Clorox, David focuses on building brand engagement programs for the company’s non-cleaning brands, including Kingsford Charcoal, Hidden Valley Ranch, Fresh Step cat litter and Brita water filters. His work has ranged from sponsoring the retirement announcement of an NFL superstar to creating a cat film festival at Sundance. Prior to joining Clorox in 2009, David served as a yes man and scapegoat at advertising and public relations agencies.

When not working, David enjoys, baseball, hiking, snowboarding with the boys and, when the stars align, sneaking out to have a civilized dinner with his wife.

Kimberly Wolf is an educator, writer, and the Founder of Girlmentum, an educational media consultancy promoting girls’ health around the web and around the world. An expert on the topics of adolescent sexuality and relationships, father-daughter bonds, and media literacy, she is a sought-after speaker and media contributor. Kimberly’s work has been featured on platforms including Forbes, NPR, and CNN, and she has spoken at universities including Cornell and UCLA’s Anderson School of Business and organizations including the United Nations Foundation’s GirlUp and the National Association of Girls’ Schools. She holds a degree in Gender Studies from Brown University and a master’s degree in human development and psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.