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Chris Boggs - VP of Programs
Founder, Web Traffic Advisors

Chris has been a digital marketer since 2000, starting in-house in the insurance space and subsequently assuming growing leadership roles across large agencies and SEM firms. He recently founded in upstate New York. Chris consults with and coaches business and agency teams ranging from senior executives to technical, brand, content and legal groups; helping to improve validation, efficiency, internal acumen and implementation. Chris has diverse experience across major ecommerce platforms, pharma, retail, and other industries.

Since 2004 Chris has been a highly rated speaker, moderator, and content advisor at conferences and partner events all over the world, covering search engine marketing, social media, analytics and evolving tactics including the promotion of better SEO integration across marketing channels. He has served on the Global Board of Directors of SEMPO since 2006, and co-hosts the weekly podcast SEO Rockstars. Chris blogs for various industry publications but most of his writing involves analysis and recommendations for clients, while promoting integrated online marketing and branding to a qualified target audience. Twitter: @boggles, G+: 104023451920714923588


Mike Corak - Secretary/Treasurer
VP / General Manager, DAC Group – Louisville

C-level managing director and digital marketing strategist with full revenue, thought leadership and P&L responsibilities. Proven 18 year track record of designing and orchestrating successful integrated digital marketing programs for clients such as Bank of America, Chase, Coca-Cola, Conoco-Phillips, Farmers Insurance, FedEx, General Motors, Nike, US Bank, Walt Disney and Waste Management. Includes 10 years of experience developing, architecting, and implementing agency operational structures, service design and productization, and go to market strategies.


 Ryan DeShazer - VP of Membership & Sponsorship
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.


John Gagnon
Bing Ads Evangelist, Microsoft

John is the Evangelist for Bing Ads and also leads training strategy for paid search marketing at Bing. John is an award-winning speaker and travels to digital marketing conferences around the world. He is regular contributor for industry publications like Search Engine Watch, the Bing Ads Blog and ClickZ, and has written for many others like Huffington Post’s Small Business. With nearly a decade of PPC experience, John has an unstoppable passion for helping others get smarter about optimizing their marketing budgets.

John has worked for both Bing and Google. Before he became the Bing Ads Evangelist, John honed hardcore optimization skills running the online media team for Bing Ads and managing Fortune 100 Bing Ads marketing. A Seattle native, he is convinced that caffeine is responsible for many of his best decisions.


Mike Grehan - Chairperson
CMO, Acronym

The current Chairman of SEMPO, Mike is CMO & Managing Director at Acronym where he is responsible for directing thought leadership programs and cross platform marketing initiatives, as well as developing new, innovative content marketing campaigns. Prior to joining Acronym Mike was Group Publishing Director at Incisive Media, publisher of Search Engine Watch and ClickZ, and producer of the SES international conference series. Previously, he worked as a search marketing consultant with a number of international agencies handling global clients such as SAP and Motorola.

Recognized as a leading search marketing expert, Mike came online in 1995 and is the author of numerous books and white papers and is currently in the process of writing his new book "From Search To Social: Marketing To The Connected Consumer" to be published by Wiley. @mikegrehan


Mike Gullaksen - President
Chief Operating Officer, iProspect

As Chief Operating Officer, Mike creates operational excellence by aligning our people, processes and technology to create product innovation and support agency growth. Mike joined iProspect through the acquisition of Covario where he held the position of CEO. Prior to running Covario, Mike worked for 9 years at iCrossing as the Senior Vice President of Search. He has built a reputation for creating award-winning digital marketing teams, and developing proven digital strategies that drive business growth for Global 1000 clients. Mike also serves on the Board of Directors and as President for SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization), helping drive clarity for today's digital marketing professionals.

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 -


Brian Kleisner
Leader - Search & Digital Media, Humana

Brian Kleisner is a specialist in acquisition and retention marketing with experience in e-mail marketing, search engine optimization and paid search advertising. He joined Humana, one of the nation's leading health insurers, in January, 2013 as leader of Search and Digital Media.

Brian has worked in search engine marketing since 2006, first as an Account Director for a mid-size SEM agency, then a global search role with Intuit in 2007 before leading a 70+ person search team at FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters company. He's worked with organizations ranging from small businesses to Fortune 100, within all major industries, including technology, financial services, consumer products, and retail. He is experienced in performing and directing hands-on SEO and SEM, from keyword research to content and link development, as well as guiding technical implementations with e-commerce platforms.

Brian has lived and worked in New York, Tokyo, Minneapolis and San Jose, California. He currently resides in Chicago.


Krista LaRiviere - VP of Cities
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
CEO and Founder, Blue Nile Research

Nathan Safran is the CEO and founder of Blue Nile Research, a market research/thought leadership firm. Nathan helps firms of all sizes create industry leading research studies and thought leadership.

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 spoken at numerous industry conferences including SMX, Pubcon and C3. Prior to founding Blue Nile, Nathan was the Director of Research for Conductor, an enterprise SEO software firm.  Prior to founding Blue Nile Research, Nathan was an analyst Conductor and Forrester Research.

Dave Tan

Head of Performance Media Agency Development, Google, Inc.

Dave Tan heads up the US Performance Media Agency Development Team at Google, focusing on developing and liaising with top Holding Company and independent Performance Agencies and Groups in North America. Prior to joining Google in 2011, Dave was on the Executive Team at Resolution Media (OMC) serving as vice president of innovation, product development and content solutions. As a leading voice and thought leader in the digital agency community, Dave has an extensive 19-year career specializing in brand/search/interactive marketing, online publishing, product development and general management and has held senior marketing positions at Navteq-Nokia, Chicago Tribune Interactive and Shure Inc.

Dave holds an MBA with honors in marketing from DePaul University's Kellstadt Graduate School of Business and a bachelor's degree with honors in history from Connecticut College.


Tony Wright
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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