This summit is tailored to CEOs and leaders of free market policy organizations. We will bring together exciting speakers who will talk about the latest ways they've been successful using marketing to advance the movement.
With divisive rhetoric taking over the media, it's especially important to learn to talk to a variety of audiences in a way that advances your mission. Richard Lorenc, executive vice president of FEE, will provide insights and specific advice about developing messages that get through to a variety of audiences.
Technology impacts the way we market, and it evolves quickly. Ryan Green and Jo Jensen will explain how you can plan your marketing activities in a way where you take advantage of the latest technology but avoid high-risk and low-return tactics.
Brian Walker and Austin Berg will share lessons from the real world of marketing.
Melissa Mann, Vice President of Communications at the Atlas Network, and John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, will share tips about integrating marketing into your budget, and how to find funding for marketing.
Enjoy a plated lunch while talented semi-finalists take the stage to share their views on a specific topic for a chance to advance to the final round of the Great Communicators Tournament.
Eric Tubbs is President of Think Freely Media. While he has served on the board of Think Freely Media and prior to that, The Sam Adams Alliance, he spent most of the last thirty five years in the for profit private sector as an employee, an entrepreneur and a business owner. He sold his auto dealership to dedicate his time to empowering humanity through the advancement of free markets and individual freedom. Eric lives in Michigan with Penny, his wife of 28 years and occasionally sees his three millennial children.
John Tillman is one of the nation’s most prominent leaders in the free market public policy arena. As CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, John recruits and leads a talented team of leaders, experts and advocates to advance reforms that can spur Illinois’ comeback story.
In addition to leading the relaunch of the Illinois Policy Institute 501(c)(3) in 2007, John founded Illinois Policy 501(c)(4) and the Liberty Justice Center, a 501(c)(3) public-interest law firm.
John advocates on behalf of the powerless against the powerful special interests in Illinois. His leadership has been instrumental in making the Illinois Policy Institute a leading voice in Illinois on criminal justice reform, pension reform, budget and tax policies, and issues concerning jobs and growth.
In 2018, the Illinois Policy Institute and Liberty Justice Center shared the Bob Williams Award for “Biggest Win” in recognition of the U.S. Supreme Court victory in Janus v. AFSCME. The case overturned a 41-year-old precedent and restored the First Amendment rights of 5 million workers nationwide.
John’s success has become a model for liberty-focused organizations across the country. John is frequently asked to consult with other nonprofits on fundraising, leadership, marketing and organizational strategy.
In 2011, John won the State Policy Network’s prestigious Roe Award for his leadership, innovation and accomplishments in the world of public policy. This annual award pays tribute to those in the state-based public policy movement whose achievements have greatly advanced the free market philosophy.
Austin tells the stories of people who are affected by public policy through award-winning writing, photography, and video.
His work has been featured in the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the Chicago Sun-Times, and he has appeared on ABC 7 Chicago and WTTW. Austin was the writer of the documentary film “Madigan: Power. Privilege. Politics.”
Prior to joining Iron Light, Austin worked in television content development for WGBH in Boston, risk and execution at PEAK6 Investments in Chicago, and was a former intern at the Illinois Policy Institute.
Austin knows where to get a good chicken pot pie if you’re interested. It’s only available on Thursdays though.
Brian Walker is the Chief Executive Officer at AE Marketing Group, a 3x Inc. 5000 Founder, and Award-Winning Host of the Brand Lab Series™
With roots in technology, business development, and advertising, Brian founded AE Marketing Group and led the company to multi-million dollar growth with eight straight years of profitability - including three straight years on the list of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies.
His industry experience includes guiding 150-year-old UCAN’s non-profit brand to execute a $40M capital campaign, leading a consumer-movement on the Affordable Care Act in Alaska that shattered engagement earning national media attention, and laying the foundation for the Illinois Policy Institute’s transformation to a leading consumer-centric brand.
Recognized by Inc., Forbes, Branding Magazine, Ad Age, The American Marketing Association. Modern Healthcare, and more, Brian helps c-level executives and entrepreneurs build brands beyond traditional advertising.
Brian is a Goldman Sachs 10K alum, Forbes Agency Council member, and one of Chicago Inno’s 50 on Fire. In addition to his role as CEO, Brian is a mentor at the Bunker Labs coaching US Military Veterans on marketing and entrepreneurship and oversees a giving portfolio to 40 non-profits in the U.S. and Africa.
Jo Jensen is an Impact Producer at the production company Just Add Firewater. Jo has over a decade of experience designing award winning digital marketing campaigns. She has led grassroots strategies for political campaigns, national PR firms, nonprofits and movies. Jo’s work has been featured in several national news outlets including the Wall Street Journal, IndieWire, LA Times, Washington Post, NPR, CNN, Good Morning America and People Magazine. Jo applies grassroots and digital marketing strategies to disrupt the traditional film distribution landscape and earned a Guinness World Record in 2012 for organizing the world's largest movie premiere with 28,442 people in attendance.
Melissa Mann joined Atlas Network as Director of Partnerships in 2018 and became the Vice President of Communications in 2019. Prior to joining Atlas Network, Melissa spent seventeen years as Director of Development at Reason Foundation, a public policy and media organization that advances a free society by developing, applying, and promoting libertarian principles, including individual liberty, free markets, and the rule of law. She is a 2016 graduate of Atlas Network’s Think Tank MBA program. Melissa received a bachelor’s degree in Diplomacy and World Affairs from Occidental College in Los Angeles and did graduate work in public policy and law at the Universität des Saarlandes in Saarbrücken and Rheinische-Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, both in what was then West Germany. From her home in Los Angeles, Melissa spends her free time reading liberty-themed non-fiction; doing voiceovers for commercials, videogames, and telephone answering systems; and chasing peacocks around her backyard.
Richard N. Lorenc is the Executive Vice President of FEE, and serves as the managing director of the YEAR Project. As FEE’s Executive Vice President, Lorenc serves as chief of staff, leads creative projects, manages corporate finances, participates in fundraising, and directs outreach and partnerships. Under his leadership, the organization's budget has more than doubled to over $6 million, and FEE now reaches thousands of students in-person and millions online annually.
Ryan Green, Chief Executive Officer, Iron Light Ryan comes to Iron Light with extensive agency experience, helping to launch Firebone, an integrated design firm in Chicago. His experience spans from cause-based and advocacy organizations to Fortune 100 companies. He leads our data-driven, holistic marketing campaigns. Ryan’s depth of experience helps us to define and refine our clients’ marketing strategies and maximize any budget. If Ryan is ever slow getting back to you, he’s probably stuck mid-commute on an idle Metra train.