Bridgette Beam

bridgette-sextonBridgette is a global entrepreneurship manager working to further Google’s efforts to empower entrepreneurs around the world. She brings with her a truly global background and a passion for making the impossible happen. Prior to joining Ventures, Bridgette led Google’s outreach efforts in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA), based out of Ghana. In this role, she built programs that enable software developers, startups and businesses to utilize Google’s tools to drive innovation and content generation on the web. Her efforts expanded Google’s reach to over 19 countries, training thousands of people while creating sustainable local tech communities. Before moving to Africa, Bridgette was a on the scalable 3rd party sales team focused on non-traditional agencies, based in San Francisco, California.

Prior to joining Google, Bridgette’s diverse background spanned jumpstarting a micro-finance organization in Peru, attracting foreign direct investment in the investment promotion Nicaragua, working at Alcoa in the marketing strategy unit and studying in Thailand. Bridgette is an avid runner, a culinary experimenter and a jazz singer.

Phil Buckley


Phil Buckley is the Director of SEO at Virante. He organizes the most successful SEO Meetup in the United States where he encourages people to be better, care more and ratchet up the awesome bar. His blogging insights on how to save the newspaper industry were used by the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University but never by the newspaper company he was working at. A long history in web development, UX, social media, e-commerce and SEO has allowed him to work with companies like McClatchy newspapers, Adam & Eve, Entertainment Book, Ancestry.com, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of NC, Lenovo and the Kauffman Foundation.

Danielle Hatfield

daniellehatfield-headshot-bioDanielle Hatfield is owner and Chief Dirt Digger of Experience Farm, a full-service branding and marketing agency with a core focus on Web & Media Development. Clients include Cargill, Dreamwalls Glass, East Coast Wings, and Undercurrent Restaurant, just to name a few. Training executive teams, lifestyle leaders, hospitality and design brands how to integrate social media into their traditional marketing strategies is a passion for Hatfield, and she is committed to teaching the importance of building stronger online communities. As North Carolina Envoy (Volunteer Position) for international social media management service, HootSuite, Danielle helps HootSuite users organize fun and educational #HootUp events across North Carolina and Virginia. By connecting with users at a grassroots level, Danielle provides valuable local insight which helps HootSuite to shape and direct outreach and community building strategies in each region. Danielle is frequently interviewed by local CBS and NBC affiliates on a growing list of social media related topics, personal branding as well as social media best practices.

Margot Carmichael Lester and Steve Peha

121211Margot Carmichael Lester has been creating content since they called it “copy” (lead type, anyone?). This year marks her 20th as a business owner. She advises content-heavy organizations like AOL, Intermedia Outdoors and Institutional Investor on how to get back to what makes writing fun, upgrade their content operations and produce stuff people are dying to read. A working writer, Margot’s byline appears in print (Los Angeles Business Journal, Playboy) and online (Match.com, Monster.com); she once had a regular segment on an LA talk radio station. Operating in the dog-eat-dog freelance marketplace gives her a unique understanding of how to grab and keep an audience’s attention, which keeps her clients and accountant happy. Margot used this real-world experience to build a systematic approach for creating content that drives business operations and engages the audience (everybody wins!). She and her husband are the authors of Be A Better Writer, which won the 2007 Independent Publishers Award for Nonfiction, despite their inability to agree on critical issues like the serial comma. Margot’s a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication (Go, Heels!).

Steve Peha Headshot Hi ResSteve Peha has lived most of his life between a capital letter and a period. Occasionally a question mark shows up at the end. Less often a mark of exclamation. He claims to have at least twice used the Sasquatch of punctuation, the interrobang, (What?!), but reports of sightings in the wild remain unconfirmed. Steve’s words are widely known: he has written books; he has contributed to large newspapers and magazines (MacWeek, PC World, The Seattle Times); he publishes more than 100 times a year on well-respected websites (The National Journal, Thompson Media Group, Edutopia); he led the technical publications team for the Gate’s Foundation’s Shared Learning Infrastructure; he does not fear the semicolon. In a former life, he was a software developer (Music Technology Associates, Midisoft), VP of product development (Exem), and an Agile product owner (Amplify). Steve is a graduate of Boston University. Though he and his wife disagree on the use of the serial comma (he believes that the comma should always be included after the penultimate item in the series to avoid the accidental creation of an appositive; she believes in “commas for clarity only”) they remain one couple living happily under two style guides.

Mark O’Brien


Mark O’Brien is the CEO of Newfangled, a web development company that has been helping marketing agencies plan and build conversion-focused websites since 1995.

Mark speaks internationally at conferences about web strategy and marketing topics and is the author of “A Website That Works: How Marketing Agencies Can Create Business Generating Websites.”

Jon Parks

Jon-Parks-Triangle-AMA-headshotJon Parks is the founder and Lead Dijital Strategist at Dijital Farm, a digital marketing consulting agency based in Raleigh, NC. Jon is a digital marketing veteran with more than 15 years of experience working with companies such as Fike Corporation, Epstein Global Architects, MarketVue Partners, Tough Mudder, NICOR Energy, Bailey’s Fine Jewelry, Endurance Works and a variety of governmental organizations with their digital needs. Jon’s areas of expertise include digital marketing and digital media strategy, social media strategy, web analytics, search engine optimization, e-mail marketing and pay-per-click advertising. Jon is a regular contributor to the tech blog Marketing Pilgrim and is an instructor with ASPE-ROI where he teaches Google Online Marketing Boot Camp and Social Media Boot Camp classes. Jon is a graduate of Appalachian State University and received his Masters from N.C. State University. He also holds the rare distinction of being a native of the Triangle-area, where he lives today with his wife and three children.

Amanda Steinhardt

Amanda-SteinhardtTo help brands build strong customer relationships, you can’t do without the professional tools—databases, analytics, and a sixth sense for marketing. But it also helps to be a demanding customer yourself. Amanda has all those bases covered. She has a decade of customer relationship management (CRM) experience at her fingertips, earned while helping clients such as Unilever, Office Depot, The Body Shop and Burt’s Bees. Presently she’s CRM Strategist at Capstrat, But she’s also an active food critic who brings home the truth as the cheerful but uncompromising blogger “Demandy.”