Social Media University Milwaukee :: Panel Discussion

Panel: Milwaukee's Changing Social Media Environment

Second Morning General Session 11:00 – 11:45 A.M.

June 11th, 2014 - Potawatomi Bingo Casino, Milwaukee, WI


Vince Vitrano -
Today's TMJ4 News Anchor
Panelists: Joe Woelfle – State Farm Insurance
Scott Baitinger - Streetza Pizza/Verlo Mattress Factory Outlet CMO
Joe Sorge – Hospitality Democracy
Leslie Rivers - Marketing Manager Milwaukee Ballet

Rewind to 2009, when Social Media was just beginning to make its mark on the marketing landscape of Milwaukee. The first Social Media University assembled a panel of early adopters to debunk the claim that "Nobody's making money from Social Media." along with other misconceptions about Social Media and its impact on business. How has the promise of Social Media changed for these individuals and organizations since then, and what do they predict the next 5 years will bring? Hear how this group is harnessing the power of  Social Media tools to drive demonstrable success to their business' and personal bottom lines. Not just theory, real case studies. Session will include a Q&A from the audience.

vitranohead.jpgVince Vitrano's work as a reporter and anchor have earned him numerous honors from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, Associated Press and the Milwaukee Press Club, as well as two Emmy Nominations. But as a pioneer for the use of Twitter and Facebook as journalistic tools and as co-anchor of Today's TMJ4 News Live at Daybreak, he is the guy that Milwaukee's Social Media community wakes up to every morning.

Untitled-1.jpgIn 2009 Joe Woelfle was the owner and proprietor of two liquor stores in the Milwaukee area, using Facebook and Twitter to promote his brand. Those liquor stores are gone, but Joe is using the lessons he learned to harness the power of Social media to help him become a successful State Farm Insurance agent.

scottb.jpgScott Baitinger was... and still is... the owner of Streetza, a mobile Pizzeria business that uses Twitter and Facebook accounts to keep fans updated with location updates and slice specials. Scott is now also CMO at Verlo Mattress Factory Stores.  His specialties include branding, packaging and collateral design, Web site architecture and design, photo and video direction, and obviously Social Media.

JoeSorge.jpgJoe Sorge wasn’t on our panel in 2009, because he was too busy using the Social Media University hashtag (#GoSMUM) the day of the conference to make attendees aware of the lunch specials at his nearby restaurants. Even back then, Joe was making national headlines as the guy who owns “A.J. Bombers, the restaurant built by Twitter.”  Since then, Joe’s operations... and use of Social Media... have expanded with his Hospitality Democracy operation now including 6 restaurants and the newly opened A.J. Bombers location at Miller Park.

Lesliesmall.jpgLeslie Rivers wasn't a part of our panel in 2009, but the Milwaukee Ballet was. The Ballet continues to find creative ways to use Social Media, most recently taking the spotlight with “Shattered,” an event that combined Social Media, ballet dancers and popular music to expose the Milwaukee Ballet to a whole new audience. A Milwaukee native, Leslie earned a Bachelor of Arts in English, and minored in Communication and Theatre at Ripon College. After spending years as a child performer with First Stage, she returned as a Marketing & PR intern in college. After graduating, she interned with Milwaukee Repertory Theater, where they hired her full time in the development department. Two years later, Rivers accepted a position Milwaukee Ballet, where she is currently the marketing manager. During her tenure with Milwaukee Ballet, she developed an enthusiastic social media following and oversaw programming to interest young professionals, including the creation of the annual Pints Before Pointe reception. Rivers was the recipient of a 2014 Bubbler Award from Newaukee, given to young professionals who are “bubbling up” in their field, and the Milwaukee community at large. 


Presented By


Trivera and Biz Times


Adecco M&M Office Interiors AMI Communications
c2.png First Priority Priniting Big Shoes Network


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