BBSummit12 Speakers

Panel Moderator - Panel I: Blogger and Brand Relationships–Taking It To The Next Level

Liz Strauss is perhaps the most influential non-celebrity blogger on the Internet. People visit her blog to learn, swap strategies, and meet each other. She’s been called a thought provoker, an über connector, an idea machine. No one questions that what she brings is one-of-a-kind authenticity. Strategic, intelligent, and nice is a powerful combination.

Liz is the CEO and founder of SOBCon.


Blogger Panel:

  • Liz Thompson is a freelance writer and founder of where she has enjoyed writing about the trials and tribulations of raising three teens, one tween, and killer dust bunnies since 2003.  Liz is currently a Featured Blogger for Kmart’s and Hallmark’s Life is a Special Occasion campaign.  She also manages Family Favorite Finds, a lifestyle and shopping blog where she shares information on products and services that perhaps help make life for larger families a little easier.  You can find more information about Liz by visiting her professional site at 

  • Niri Jaganath traded the rat race in Engineering for her rug rats and returned to her passion for writing at after she became a mom. She’s coupled her work in blogging to further several charitable projects and events, such as putting an end teacher-funded classrooms, supporting Rwanda Path2Peace and Heart 4 Haiti, building playgrounds with Kaboom, hosting events to support Autism, and working on the End Child Hunger campaign. In December 2010, she launched a Mommy Niri Cares holiday drive to provide items to children born into poverty. That spawned a newly launched site, which focuses on using social media for social good. She has worked on several ambassadorships with brands including iRobot,  Ragu, Carnival Cruise Lines, Macy’s (Heart 4 Haiti, Path2Peace Rwanda), California Strawberry Commission and Hallmark. Chat with Mommy Niri on Twitter @mommyniri.

  • Stacey Weckstein blogs about being an inspiring entrepreneur, body/mind/spirit, travel, wellness, me time, and more. She writes from the heart about living her dreams and loves to partner with inspiring brands. She blogs at Stacey loves to combine her social media and personal growth passions by helping inspiring transformational teachers, authors, life coaches, and other self-care professionals leverage the power of social media to meet their spiritual, personal, and business goals.


Connie Burke is GM’s Communications Manager. When GM needed to add a voice for their social media efforts, Connie decided it was time to step out of her darkened cubicle and into the light. She has 100 octane blood, collects Coca Cola memorabilia, rides a Suzuki Savage 650 and both of her kids are chefs.  Although based in Detroit, she is typically in Chicago 3-4 times per month for work, and considers herself a Chi-Troiter. While Connie hasn’t yet won a Grammy for her social media efforts, she has achieved Silver Elite travel status and doesn’t get charged for extra bags.


Mary Couzin began as a game designer some 18 years ago, and then founded to help other designers. In her travels promoting games, she discovered Essen Game Fair in Germany and decided to bring the experience to America with the Chicago Toy and Game Fair in 2003.  ChiTAG drew over 20,000 people last year.  Most recently, Mary was named Global Toy News Person of the Year 2011.  In her efforts to promote play around the world, she started working with educators, the American Library Association, the City of Chicago, team building companies, Latino groups, Toy Industry Association, Young Inventors and more.

Some of the programs have included an Educator Forum certified by the State of IL for CPDU credits, Young Inventor Challenge, WorldBee Geography Bee, Teacher’s Golden Game Award, e-newsletters reaching over 300,000, Toy and Game Inventor Event and Awards, Fundraising with Games and much more.


Presentation Speaker: Social Media Laws

Liza Barry-Kessler is co-author of Privacy in the 21st Century: Issues for Public, School, and Academic Libraries, and has written numerous articles for bloggers and other professionals on compliance with federal laws and regulations. She is a frequent public speaker at conferences and educational programs, including the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, the Risk & Insurance Management Society, and the State Bar of Wisconsin, BlogHer, Blogalicious, and Blissdom. Liza graduated from the University of Wisconsin School of Law and from Smith College. She is also currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Information Policy at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, School of Information Studies. Previously, Liza has worked for EarthLink, AOL, and the Center for Democracy & Technology, and as an attorney in private practice. She blogs on these and related topics at .

Panel Moderator - Panel II: Bridging the Gap Between Traditional and Social Media

Barbara Rozgonyi is mother of three, a published author, an accomplished marketing strategist and a PR pro for almost two decades, Barbara Rozgonyi knows what it takes to bring brands, PR agencies, and bloggers together as digital marketing partners. Founder of CoryWest Media, Barbara is a sought-after consultant to PR agencies whose mission is to convey clients’ messages to bloggers and targeted communities in way that makes the message relevant, personable and worth sharing. As the founder of Social Media Club Chicago and publisher of the popular blog Wired PR Works, Barbara is a renowned personality in the digital media world – locally and internationally. In 2010, Barbara contributed the LinkedIn chapter to “Success Secrets of the Social Media Marketing Superstars.” Barbara’s W.I.R.E.D. social media marketing system engineers social media plans in higher education, luxury markets, small businesses, syndicated blogs, publishing houses and at global PR firms. Follow Barbara @wiredprworks on twitter or check out what’s new right now with the Wired PR Works iPhone app.


  • Nancy Loo is an Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist who’s the newest member of the WGN-TV news team, working mainly on WGN Morning News and WGN Midday News.  Prior to joining “Chicago’s Very Own” as a Reporter/Fill-in Anchor in June of 2010, Nancy was an Anchor/Reporter at Fox Chicago after working previously in New York City, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Oregon.

Nancy blogs at Big Tiny World and She was was nicknamed “Big Tiny” by a Chicago cameraman.  Her first ChicagoNow blog explains why.  Many have come to know her as Big Tiny or even, B.T.  Check her out at Big Tiny World!

  • Scott Kleinberg holds a master’s in journalism and communications and more than 15 years of professional experience as a reporter and editor. Scott’s career spans quite the road, from small-town reporter writing long stories, to copy editor chopping other people’s long stories to telling stories mostly in 140 characters or less. As the Chicago Tribune‘s social media specialist in the newsroom, Scott works with reporters and editors to break news via social media, share the paper’s content and livetweet events. He also works on special projects. Scott crafted the social media presence for RedEye in 2008 before moving up to the Tribune in 2011.

  • Jen Lee Reeves is passionate about social media and advocacy. In the journalism world, she manages KOMU-TV8‘s online properties and teaches new media at the Missouri School of Journalism. She was a member of the inaugural class of the Reynolds Journalism Institute Fellowship in 2008-09. She helped found the SMC Mid-MO and is currently Vice President. Reeves speaks on the power of social media in business, journalism and the higher education world.

Reeves is also a self-described “mom advocate” at Born Just Right where she shares stories and lessons as a parent of a child who was born with a physical difference. She is married with two kids and two dogs. Reeves is a fan of technology, running and photography. (She plans to run the Chicago Rock n’ Roll half marathon the day after #BBSummit12!)

Presentation Speaker:  Amplify Your Brand!

Andrea Metcalf: “Living a healthy lifestyle is all about making small changes that lead to big results.” Andrea has been teaching fitness, training clients and coaching on the subjects of nutrition and health for the past 27+ years. “I believe that staying healthy can make you happier…and I am dedicated to motivating others to achieve their personal best life.” Andrea’s ‘inspiring and approachable personality has helped build her reputation as a nationally known fitness expert among the viewers who watch her nationally on the NBC Today Show over a dozen times,
readers of the web, and weekly NBC and BETTER TV segments, to the members who jam pack her classes, to her clients, readers and fans.
Andrea holds a BS in Exercise Science and has grown her career learning each new fitness craze as it came along from aerobic dance to Pilates as well as created many programs of her own including Paws-ilates, Sit-iltes and Live-ilates featured on Oprah’s website. Over the years, Andrea has written numerous articles on health and fitness. She is a national fitness presenter, motivational speaker and has PainFree, Pt-2-Go and three new Keeping Fit Cardio, Pilates, and Strength DVD’s on the market geared toward boomer women staying active. Her book, “Naked Fitness” hits shelves this winter promising to be a new way to align, walk and eat your way to feel great in your own skin.

Also keeping her busy are appearances on Shop NBC, speaking engagements in the corporate environment, races, walks and health events to keep people moving. Still most important in her life is her family. With 2 college students and one working through high school, she understand the demands of multi-tasking mamas. She believes that it’s not just about moving physically, but thoughtfully as well… “Be healthy, be moved.