Kenneth Greer, Augeo Marketing

Kenneth GreerKenneth Greer is a change agent, trend visionary, technology geek and creative spark. He’s known as the “go to guy” for big ideas. Ken’s one-of-a-kind combination of creative and strategic marketing skills has been the driving force behind the transformation of both consumer and business-to-business enterprises. Ken holds a Master’s Degree from Stanford University and is nationally recognized for innovative thinking and a unique ability to create compelling brand value. In addition to his duties as Chief Marketing Officer, Kenneth Greer is the President of Augeo+Greer, a Brand Strategy and Communications Design Agency.


Stephen Lauring, Ecolab

Stephen Lauring

Steve Lauring is vice president of Customer Insights for Ecolab Inc., the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services that provide and protect clean water, safe food, abundant energy and healthy environments. Ecolab’s 44,000 employees deliver comprehensive programs and services to the food, energy, healthcare, hospitality and industrial markets in more than 170 countries. Steve leads Ecolab’s global customer insights function in support of corporate and business unit strategies and objectives. Prior to joining Ecolab in 2010, Steve was senior director, consumer insights, at Con Agra Foods. In this role, he led the research program for the company’s snacks portfolio of major brands.

Prior to ConAgra, Steve was director, customer insights at General Mills/Pillsbury where his work on the Progresso brand won an Ogilvy award in 2000 for excellence in advertising research. Steve also led the marketing analytics team for the company, where he implemented a proprietary modeling capability. Steve also has held research positions at Kraft Foods, Land O’Lakes and Hormel Foods. Active in industry locally, Steve serves on the University of Minnesota- Duluth Labovitz School of Business alumni board and is an industry advisor to the Labovitz ReMap program (marketing analytics). He also is a member of the Carlson School Institute for Research in Marketing.

Steve holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and a master’s in business from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dan Peterson, Land O'Lakes

Dan Peterson_Land O'Lakes

Dan Peterson is Director, Corporate Marketing Insight for Land O’Lakes, Inc., the second-largest cooperative in the nation with approximately 9,500 employees and sales of nearly $15 billion.  Land O’Lakes is number 218 on the Fortune 500, and does business in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. It is a leading marketer of a full line of dairy-based consumer, foodservice and food ingredient products across the United States; serves its international customers with a variety of food and animal feed ingredients; and provides farmers and ranchers with an extensive line of agricultural supplies (feed, seed, and crop protection products) and services. 

Dan leads the marketing insights team across the Land O’Lakes portfolio with responsibility for custom and syndicated marketing research including return of marketing spend, emerging consumer trends, new product innovation, brand health measurement and the customer journey.

Prior to joining Land O’Lakes in 2008, Dan held positions with General Mills, TNS, Markettools, and Campbell-Mithun.   In addition, Dan spent two years managing a non-profit organization providing educational, medical and poverty relief to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Dan received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a statistics concentration from the University of St. Thomas.


Jill Renslow, Mall of America

Jill Renslow

As Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development with Mall of America®, Jill Renslow oversees Mall communications, marketing, strategic alliances and partnerships, advertising, digital media, group sales, and attraction marketing. She is responsible for working with new and existing tenants to create unique experiences and drive sales and traffic. Working with various innovative partners, the goal is to develop and integrate emerging technologies into both Mall of America retail and entertainment environments.

Renslow works with top Mall leadership to provide direction and vision for the new front entrance and expansion to the Mall which is currently under development. The project includes a 342-room JW Marriott hotel, office tower, first-to-market retailers, new dining options, and large event space.

Renslow brings over 19 years of valuable experience at Mall of America to her current role. Previously, Renslow was Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Mall of America. During her tenure, Renslow oversaw a $25 million rebranding effort of the nation’s largest indoor amusement park, Nickelodeon Universe®, as well as annual enhancements including new rides, attractions and partnerships. 

Renslow holds a B.A. in marketing communications from St. Cloud State University and an M.B.C. from the University of St. Thomas.


Rachel McKinnon, Marvin Windows and Doors

Rachel McKinnonIt is a passion for customer insight combined with the experience to guide organizations forward based on customer, market and business intelligence that energizes Rachel professionally.  

Rachel currently holds the position of Director, Market Intelligence and Marketing Operations at Marvin Windows and Doors, a leading manufacturer of premium window and door products. A fourth-generation family-owned and operated company, Marvin Windows and Doors is headquartered in Warroad, Minn., with a team of more than 5,000 employees in 12 facilities throughout the United States. 

Rachel has oversight on all primary and secondary research, including key areas such as customer experience strategy, journey mapping, customer satisfaction tracking programs, transactional research, segmentation, product concept testing, ethnographic studies, and market trend identification. Beyond research, Rachel also oversees key activities in the organization related to competitive intelligence, product demand analysis, business sales analysis, lead generation and nurturing, Salesforce strategy and digital marketing. 

Prior to Marvin Windows and Doors, Rachel worked at Thomson Reuters in its legal division,  and has additional experience gained through past roles in a diverse range of industries including utility, education, healthcare, travel, financial and hosted email.

Rachel has her undergraduate degree in Marketing and Management from the University of North Dakota and is a member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association. 

Rachel resides in Eagan, Minn., with her husband and two children. 


Elda Macias, Securian

Elda Macias
Elda Macias is currently Director of Customer Insights and Experience at Securian Financial Group, one of the nation’s largest financial services providers, offering financial security to individuals and businesses in the form of insurance, investments and retirement plans since 1880. Elda was brought on to transform the market research function into an enterprise customer insights capability that drives innovation and growth opportunities for the company. Elda has quickly become a key partner to a variety of functions given her strong acumen on the end consumer. She is currently advising a new brand strategy, leading an employer of choice initiative, and a member of a cross-functional team for a new marketing analytics and technology project.
Prior to Securian, Elda spent 10 years at Ameriprise Financial, a leading financial planning company with 10,000 financial advisors across the country. She was responsible for leading various strategic initiatives to increase visibility, awareness and client acquisition for the firm. Early in her career at the company she created business and sales strategies to help 80% of financial advisors modify their marketing plans to more effectively engage diverse audiences including women, small business owners, the LGBT community, and Hispanic and Asian consumers. Elda was then asked to redesign an alliance program, and build and launch a healthcare initiative that resulted in a four-year alliance with UnitedHealthcare. One of the most significant accomplishments for Elda at the firm was the development and management of a thought leadership strategy. The company had not been actively pursuing media exposure, but after a thought leadership pilot driven by Elda and several colleagues showed positive coverage, she built a plan that the firm continues to use today.
As an advocate of the customer experience, Elda is able to build strategy and make a case for change by focusing on what is important – the end consumer. She has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, among other publications. She has 20 years of marketing experience and has held positions at Wells Fargo & Company, the universities of Minnesota and Texas, and the Walt Disney Company.
She’s an active volunteer in the Minnesota Hispanic community and has been recognized by several organizations. The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal named her to their 2011 “40 Under Forty” list of honorees. In 2010, she received the “Mano Amigo” of the Year Award from the Latino Economic Development Center, and in 2009, she was named to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota’s list of “25 on the Rise.”
Elda has served on the board of directors for LatinoLEAD, WomenVenture, and the Certified Financial Planners Board of Standards Women’s Initiative Council. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Texas at El Paso, and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Minnesota.


David Mucha, United Healthcare

David MuchaDavid Mucha is Vice-President of Strategic Insights Group at United Healthcare, the commercial division of United Health Group, a Fortune 25 company serving over 70 million Americans with diversified health and well-being services.

Mucha has been at United Healthcare since 2004 and has responsibility for all primary market research related to campaign management, brand equity measurements, customer satisfaction and loyalty tracking systems, customer retention and acquisition modeling, growth strategies, new product development and launches, and advertising effectiveness.

Mucha has previously held similar positions with Fortis Financial Group and The Pillsbury Company; he also has twelve years of experience as a market research consultant.

Mucha is a member of the American Marketing Association and an active member at the Northfield MN Historical Society. He received his BA in economics from Saint Norbert College and his MBA from the University of St. Thomas.


Eric Pehle, Weber Shandwick

Eric Pehle

Eric has more than 20 years’ experience managing crisis communication, community relations and public affairs projects for clients across multiple industries.

Eric leads Weber Shandwick’s work for the U.S. Army in support of the recruitment marketing and advertising campaign. The team supports the Army’s recruiting mission through grassroots community outreach, national event support, strategic media relations, multicultural outreach and social media initiatives. In his role as the Client Relationship Leader, Eric has counseled Army recruiting leadership on a number of issues and crises that could impact recruiting efforts.  

Eric also directs the agency’s work for a number of public affairs and crisis accounts including, BAE Systems, Dairy Management Inc., Prairie Island Indian Community, Manitoba Hydro and Mall of America.

During his 21 years at Weber Shandwick, Eric has worked on a variety of issues and crises for clients including labor disputes; accidental deaths and injuries; fires and damage to property; food contamination; sick building syndrome; workplace violence; gang and criminal activity; concerns about terrorism; litigation support; and school shootings.

For more than 10 years, Eric has led crisis readiness trainings for the U.S. Dairy industry, focusing on food safety issues, animal health threats and agroterrorism attacks. He’s also led similar trainings for clients in the retail and commercial development industries.

Eric’s crisis work also extends internationally through his work with the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Previously, he served as global account director for the Northwest Airlines account, with an emphasis on managing the crisis communication efforts of Weber Shandwick’s international agencies.

Eric has worked with Mall of America, the largest retail and entertainment complex in the United States, since its grand opening in 1992. He has helped manage communications during a number of emergencies, crises and issues and led award-winning community outreach programs. His other work has included leading award-winning public affairs programs for tribal governments around environmental and energy issues, as well as tribal gaming associations highlighting the benefits of Indian gaming.

Prior to joining Weber Shandwick, Eric was a television reporter and anchor. Eric began his career as a radio reporter. Eric has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota.

James S. Henney, Wells Fargo

James S. Henney During a 25-year career in retail financial services, James S. Henney has held a series of marketing, product management and research management positions supporting a wide spectrum of businesses, including retail banking, mortgage, small business and wholesale banking.

Currently, he is Senior Vice President of the Enterprise Customer Insights group for Wells Fargo Bank. Reporting directly to the bank's CMO, his organization's main areas of focus are research and analysis on the company's brand and advertising programs, ethnic marketing, the customer experience and the creation of customer loyalty, integrated product offerings, and competitive intelligence.

Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Henney spent almost 15 years with Bank of America in both Seattle and San Francisco, where he was responsible for managing several customer research and analytic teams. Previous to relocating to San Francisco with Bank of America, he was the Research Director for Citibank's Mortgage business.

Henney studied for his PhD and completed his MBA at the University of Washington, in Seattle.


Chris Behrens, YA

Chris Behrens_YAChris is the principal architect of YA’s strategy, vision and execution. As chief evangelist for the business, he works closely with clients, partners and team members to create extraordinary omni-channel experiences that motivate consumers to engage the brand, take action and spread the word. Prior to becoming President and CEO, Chris was Chairman of the Board of Directors for Young America, LLC. Before joining YA, Chris had been working with Baird Capital Partners to develop and execute acquisition and investment strategies to build a company in the digital marketing services industry, serving as CEO and/or Board Member of the acquired business. Previously, Chris was President and CEO of SourceLink, which grew to become the 4th largest privately held marketing services company in the US. Prior to SourceLink, Chris was President and CEO of ETrac, a software services (SaaS) business. He also held various positions at GE Financial Assurance, including Senior Vice President Sales and Client Marketing. Chris began his career at OAG, a global publisher of airline and hotel information. Chris received his degree from the University of Illinois - Chicago. 

Chris is also very active in the industry and community. He currently serves on the Superior International Industries board of directors, the Brand Activation Association board of directors, as a curator to the Direct Marketing Association, the Minneapolis Downtown Council board of directors, the Minneapolis Club Board of Governors, and is a Board Director for Circle Urban Ministries in Chicago. When Chris isn’t leading the team at YA, he’s still pursuing his childhood dream of becoming a shortstop for the Chicago Cubs and wannabe golfer. Outside of these dreams, he enjoys gardening and traveling. Chris has been to more than 50 countries, but never to Italy – he admits, he needs to fix that… fast!