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Board of Directors
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Chris Boggs
Chief Marketing Officer, Internet Marketing Ninjas


Chris is a proven commodity in the search space with over 13 years’ experience in online marketing across major industries, working as a consultant and as a leader within large digital agencies. His advanced internet marketing qualifications are steeped in Search Engine Optimization. Since 2005 he has written numerous educational articles and spoken regularly at major marketing conferences, which have enabled him to network and brainstorm with many experts across digital marketing. This has led Chris over the past 3 years to focus on the integration of marketing efforts with desirable user experience and conversion goals, across both online and offline channels.

Chris shares his passion of digital marketing in a number of capacities, and is on the Search Engine Strategies Advisory Board, the Board of Directors of SEMPO (current Chair), and a founding member of the Internet Marketers of New York. He also serves as co-host of the Podcast "SEO Rockstars." In his early years he participated extensively at Search Engine Watch Forums, and enjoys sharing ideas and disagreements with other marketers through as many mediums as possible. Twitter: @boggles, G+: 104023451920714923588


Mike Corak - Secretary/Treasurer
EVP of Strategy, ethology – Phoenix

Mike, a current Executive SEMPO board member holding the position of Treasurer, is the EVP of Strategy and the Managing Director of the Phoenix office of ethology, a Tallwave company. Ethology specializes in consumer focused digital strategic planning, integration, search, social, content strategy and marketing.

As SEMPO Treasurer, Mike has overseen the solidification of the SEMPO budget, participating directly in cost cutting exercises, revenue growth plans, and expense reallocation.

At ethology, Mike enjoys diving into audience research and data, and developing integrated digital marketing programs that produce leading results.
A +15 year digital veteran, prior to ethology, Mike served as the Director of Interactive Services, Strategy at Mighty Interactive/Off Madison Ave, under the tutelage of noteworthy social media consultant Jay Baer, and held the position of Senior Strategic Planner at iCrossing. Mike’s notable client experience includes partnerships with FedEx, Nike, Disney, Coca-Cola, Farmers Insurance, ConocoPhillips, Fujitsu, and ConAgra Foods.

Mike is a frequent speaker, content contributor, and search proponent, featured in webinars and events with Econsultancy, Digital Marketing Depot, DigiDay, the DMA, Forrester, SEMPDX, and Integrated Marketing Week, to name a few.

Ryan DeShazer
EVP, Managing Director,inVentiv Media 360

Ryan DeShazer, EVP, Managing Director, inVentiv Media 360º is an accomplished marketing professional with over a decade of agency experience in the fields of digital media, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and data analytics. Following entrepreneurial stints at PPC marketing firm Clix Marketing, and again with digital boutique NOEINK, Ryan established and built the global search and analytics group at gyro, an Advertising Age Top 50 global agency network. Ryan’s work at gyro has been recognized for its excellence by the Business Marketing Association (BMA), BtoB magazine, and ClickZ. In 2012, Ryan joined inVentiv Health and now leads its media organization.


Ryan is an industry thought leader and frequent speaker at major conferences, such as Ad:Tech, Search Engine Strategies, Search Marketing Expo, and Internet World. He authors a bi-weekly column for MediaPost on search and analytics, and is currently writing a book, Subject to Search, due for release in mid-2014.

Ryan additionally holds industry certifications in search marketing by Google and Microsoft, and is recognized as a Google Analytics Qualified Individual, and a Webtrends Web Analytics Certified Professional.

Ryan earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Kentucky and a MBA from the University of Louisville.

Marc Engelsman - VP of Research
Director, Strategy and Analytics, Digital Brand Expressions

Marc has been an active member in SEMPO ever since he joined Digital Brand Expressions more than 7 years ago. He first served on the Marketing Committee and helped lead the update of marketing/member materials. Then he joined the Research Committee and took over the lead role for SEMPO’s Annual State of Search Survey – expanding on capturing agency and advertisers’ perceptions on the role of search as part of an integrated digital marketing mix.

In addition to his search and digital marketing expertise, Marc brings 25 years of experience in marketing and advertising with New York City agencies across a wide range of clients in the consumer, B2B, and not-for-profit sectors. He repeatedly garners praise from clients for his strategic guidance and for his ability to translate strategies into integrated, multi-faceted tactical action plans.

Marc is a frequent speaker at search and broader marketing conferences including SMX, SES/ClickZ, OMS, Marketing Profs, and Direct Marketing Association, among others.

He recently served 4 years on the Board of Directors for the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG). MENG is a non-profit national membership organization (with local chapters) that faces many of the opportunities/challenges that SEMPO is addressing today.


Mike Grehan - Chairperson
CMO, Acronym

Mike Grehan is Publisher of Search Engine Watch and ClickZ and Producer of the SES international conference series (recently rebranded as ClickZ Live). He is the current president of global trade association SEMPO, having been elected to the board of directors in 2010.

Formerly, Mike worked as a search marketing consultant with a number of international agencies, handling such global clients as SAP and Motorola. Recognized as a leading search marketing expert, Mike came online in 1995 and is author of numerous books and white papers on the subject. He is currently in the process of writing his new book "From Search To Social: Marketing To The Connected Consumer" to be published by Wiley.




Mike Gullaksen - President
CEO, Covario

In November 2013, Mike Gullaksen was promoted to Co-CEO of Covario, along with his longtime colleague Jeff Johnson. As Co-CEO Mike is responsible for the overall operational excellence, revenue growth, and client satisfaction. Under Mike’s watch, Covario was named the Search Agency of the Year by OMMA a record three years in a row (2013-11). It was also ranked by Advertising Age magazine among the ten largest U.S. search agencies (and the fastest growing of the largest ones). In addition, Covario was the only independent firm selected for inclusion in the last two Forrester Research Wave reports of leading search marketing agencies, which were published in 2012 and 2011. Over the course of 2013, Covario received its highest Net Promoter Scores ever – a key indicator of overall client satisfaction.

Prior to his current role as Co-CEO, Mike served as Senior Vice President and Co-Managing Director, leading Covario’s paid and earned media teams in delivering the industry’s most forward-thinking search, social, and content marketing solutions. Mike has more than 14 years of specialized experience in SEO, paid search, social media and analytics. He has built a reputation for creating award-winning search teams, and developing proven search strategies that have helped numerous Global 1000 clients grow their online business and strengthen their online strategy.

Mike also serves on the Board of Directors for SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization), helping drive clarity for today’s digital marketing professionals. He was named by BtoB Magazine in 2013 to its selective group of "Who’s Who in Search and Digital Marketing.” He was also recently named as one of the Top "40 Under 40” Marketing Executives by Direct Marketing News. Before joining Covario, Mike was the Senior Vice president of Search at iCrossing. He holds a BS in Business Management from Arizona State University.

Simon Heseltine - VP of Education

Senior Director of Audience Development, AOL, Inc.

Originally joined SEMPO in 2005, and was in the in-house committee. Last year I was on the research committee.


I started doing SEO & PPC in 2005 for a small in-house local search company, working with 4 of the top 5 telecommunications companies in the US on IYP products. In 2007 I moved to the agency side of things, working with a variety of companies including a nationwide media company where I both performed audits and trained their staff on SEO & Social Media best practices. In 2009 I joined AOL working within their news and information division. Now I run the Organic Audience Development team, which includes SEO, Social and newsletters. My team and I work with all of our brands including, but not limited to,, the Huffington Post, TechCrunch and Engadget.

I’ve taught Online Marketing at Georgetown University since 2010, and have been a regular columnist for Search Engine Watch since 2010 (I’m also a past columnist for Search Engine Land and Search Engine Guide). I speak at conferences around the world – Barcelona, Reykjavik, London, etc – but can typically be found on the US conference circuit -


Krista LaRiviere - VP of Local Groups
Co-Founder & CEO, gShift

Krista LaRiviere has been speaking and writing about SEO, content marketing, and social media for over ten years. She is the co-founder and CEO of gShift, a web presences analytics company that helps inform the content marketing workflow process and prove engagement and performance in search and social.

Prior to founding gShift she co-founded Hot Banana Software, a web content management system for marketers. Krista holds degrees in Economics, Business Administration, and Information Technology.


Nathan Safran

Director of Research, Conductor

Nathan is the Director of Research at Conductor and leads Conductor’s research and content team. Nathan is a monthly columnist at Search Engine Land and Search Engine Watch. Nathan’s research on digital marketing has been widely covered in both industry publications and mainstream media such as Techcrunch, Venture Beat and the Washington Post. Nathan has at numerous industry conferences including SMX, Pubcon and C3. Prior to joining Conductor Nathan was an analyst at Forrester Research.


Angie Schottmuller
Director of Interactive Strategy & Optimization, Three Deep Marketing


Angie Schottmuller is a "growth hacker" and inbound marketing thought leader with over 15 years' experience spanning web application development, online marketing, and conversion optimization. The breadth and depth of her marketing and technology background uniquely empowers both big picture strategic perspective and fine-tuned attention to detail -- a handy skillset for uniting and persuading stakeholders across C-suite, marketing, and IT teams.

She's a regular speaker at international marketing conferences including SES, SMX, MarketingProfs, and Conversion Conference on diverse, leading-edge topics such as organic search conversion, social media ROI, and mobile landing page optimization. She's contributed to the Moz Search Ranking Factors Report since 2010 and authored curriculum for The Art Institutes inaugural online marketing major. She writes for several Ad Age Power 150 blogs and holds records for "articles with most page views ever" on both Search Engine Watch and Convince & Convert.

Angie has a reputation for creating epic actionable content, simplifying complex marketing topics, and quantifying tangible ROI. She has worked in both agency and corporation settings serving small and large B2B and B2C clients such as Nestle USA, Gerber, Andersen Windows, and The Home Depot. For fun, she enjoys family time, fishing, Jeep off-road adventures, and nature photography.




Tony Wright - VP of Communication & Public Relation
CEO, WrightIMC

With more than 13 years of hands-on and strategic experience in interactive and integrated marketing and a background in traditional and interactive public relations and journalism, Tony Wright has spent his career helping companies of all sizes be profitable online.

Wright is a search marketing expert and also has extensive experience in online crisis communication and brand reputation strategy, including corporate blogging and corporate monitoring, most notably directing the online corporate reputation management strategy for American Airlines immediately following the events of September 11, 2001.

Wright serves as the driving force behind WrightIMC while managing online media strategies, public relations and other interactive marketing projects for the firm’s clients. He provides valuable input into creative, technical and strategic projects as well, ensuring that the strategic vision of all interactive marketing programs mesh with campaign goals.

In addition, Mr. Wright created and directs the implementation of WrightIMC’s "Website as the center of your marketing universe” philosophy. This philosophy helps guide interactive marketing teams through the process of creating successful and profitable interactive marketing programs that also provide valuable insight into all other aspects an organization’s marketing practices.

Wright is a former two-time President of the Dallas/Ft. Worth Search Marketing Association and a founding member of the organization. He is also a sought after speaker at industry events, including Search Engine Strategies, Search Marketing Expo, Pubcon, E-tail and others. His frequent contribution of articles, columns and quotes to various national and trade publications are widely read and cited. Wright’s work for his clients has been recognized in several local and national award campaigns, including the Excellence in Interactive Marketing Award, the Katie Awards, Webawards and the PRweek awards.

He is also a member of the professional advisory committee of the Texas Tech College of Mass Communications. He is an active member of the Dallas Entrepreneurs Organization, the Dallas Fort Worth Interactive Marketing Association, Dallas Social Media Club, Dallas AAF and Dallas AMA. He also is very active in his church, St. Andrews Episcopal in McKinney, Texas where he serves on several committees.
Wright lives in Allen, Texas with his wife Kathy and their four children.

Client experience includes: American Airlines, Hewlett Packard, Hanes, Q-tips, Kraft Interactive, Unilever Interactive, Disney Interactive, Coca-Cola, Tombstone Pizza, Merck Pharmaceuticals,, NokiaUSA, Nokia n-gage, Gateway Computers, Samsung Electronics, Hilton Hotels, Southern Methodist University, Baylor University,, FASTSIGNS, La Quinta, Precept Financial, Bank of America, Compass Bank, AIG Insurance, and


Michael Y. Xu
SVP, Beijing Gridsum Technology Co., Ltd.

Michael has more than 15 years of digital marketing and financial services experience serving Fortune 500 clients and China's top-tier state owned enterprises in both North American and Northeast Asian markets. He joined Gridsum Technology, China's leading online business optimization company, in early 2008 as Vice President of Business Operations. Michael manages Gridsum Technology's strategic cooperation, business development, and marketing teams, while determining how Gridsum Technology could use partner connections to deliver the best results for clients and the entire ecosystem. Under his leadership, Gridsum Technology successfully initiates solid partnership with iCrossing and Microsoft.

Michael worked in Strategic Investment Department of Sinochem, China's top national oil company, with 19 entries into Fortune 500, from 1994 to 1999, where he got deeply involved with major transactions, including China Unicom, Shanghai Grand Hyatt, Suzhou Industrial Park, WEPEC, and Zhejiang Aoshan National Petroleum Base. He then joined one of China's leading real estate companies as Financial Controller. Before joining Gridsum Technology, Michael was Vice President of one of the world's largest PVC production companies, in charge of North American sales and marketing.

Michael is currently the Co-Chairman for SEMPO's Greater China Working Group and member of Global Committee. Through his coordination, SEMPO Greater China formed an in-depth partnership with Baidu, China's top search engine. He also speaks at conferences on online business optimization and SEO/SEM. Michael received his MBA and MS degrees from California State University in 2003, and his BA degree in Accounting from Renmin University of China in 1994.


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