When the Student is Ready…CLIC ’18 Appears

It’s about staying in marketing school, not going back to school.

CLIC ‘18 — our annual CMOs Leading Innovation Conference—often happens during the beginning of the school year.

Yet lifelong learning is not constrained by the school calendar. 

For high performing leaders, school is always in session. We must continually remain curious, and push our learning edge further outward. And as a student of marketing, I am constantly searching for new teachers.

Thankfully, four teachers and practitioners have agreed to share their innovation wisdom with us at the annual CMOs Leading Innovation Conference (CLIC ’18).

This year, the CLIC ’18 faculty includes:

  • Karen Robinson-Cope, EVP of Nanolumens
  • Darren Eales, President of Atlanta United Football Club
  • Mike Varner, VP of Brand Strategy at Medstar Health System
  • Frank Patterson, President of Pinewood Atlanta Studios

They will show us how marketing innovation, when combined with extraordinary customer and employee experiences, create unstoppable brands.

Check out their backgrounds, and you will find innovation inspiration:

Karen Robinson-Cope

Karen Robinson CopeKaren is the Executive Vice President of NanoLumens, a privately-held Atlanta-based corporation. The company is heralded by The Wall Street Journal for innovative digital LED displays, and by Forbes as one of the most promising companies in America. Karen leads the disruptive message of LED as an immersive experience that drives customer engagement for companies around the world.

She is a global brand ambassador, serial entrepreneur and a fundraising force. Karen is a passionate advocate and member of Opportunity International (OI), the Carter Center, and Mission: Hope. Karen concentrates on micro-lending to entrepreneurs in developing countries to help eradicate poverty.

Karen finds innovation inspiration while circling the globe. She travels with husband Rick and daughter Alex to support these humanitarian causes.

Darren Eales: 

Darren EalesEales is the first President of the Atlanta United Football Club. He led the club in its record-breaking 2017 inaugural campaign. It is widely considered one of the most accomplished seasons in MLS history. In addition to assembling the club’s front office and the development of the club’s brand identity, Eales led its on-field hiring and drafting activities.

Under this leadership, Atlanta United became the first expansion team to qualify for MLS Cup Playoffs since 2009. The club also scored the fifth-most goals in league history (70).

Eales led the club’s development of the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground, an innovation host site for CLIC ’18. This $60 million training facility widely considered one of the best facilities in North America. He also guided the club’s transition into its new home at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a sterling, $1.6B multi-use entertainment complex.

British-born Eales was immersed in soccer throughout his life. When injuries cut short his professional playing career, Eales returned to England and earned a MA in Law at Cambridge University. He later specialized in sports law, and served as in-house counsel for two prominent English teams.

Darren find his innovation inspiration in three areas: karaoke, staff soccer matches, and conkers. If you haven’t watched a nutty conkers championship, check it out on YouTube!

Mike Varner

Mike Varner currently serves as the Vice President of Brand Strategy at MedStar Health, an integrated academic health system compromised of 10 hospitals and over 300 locations across Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia. He manages the company’s system-wide brand advertising, sports sponsorships, and customer experience initiatives.

Mike previously held leadership roles in marketing and brand management at Choice Hotels, Campbell Soup, and 3M.

Mike is known for translating brand strategy into brand experience. At Choice Hotels, he led revitalizations of the Comfort Inn and Sleep Inn brands, leading to segment-leading financial and customer experience gains. Immediately prior to joining MedStar, Mike developed a new brand and customer experience for a private equity-backed hotel company and ultimately led one of the hotel industry’s largest-ever system-wide brand makeovers.

Mike finds inspiration by spending time with his children and traveling. “My kids have a completely different perspective on the world, and that helps me think differently.” He lives in Maryland with his wife, Kim, and their three children.

Frank Patterson

Frank Patterson is a studio executive, entrepreneur and higher education pioneer. He is President of Pinewood Atlanta Studiosthe second largest purpose-built film studio in North America. This is where blockbuster films Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Passengers were produced, among others.

His creative and research activities are focused at the intersection of artificial intelligence and immersive technologies, with an interest in digital human agency.

Prior to Pinewood, Patterson served as the founding CEO of Pulse Evolution Corporation, a technology company that produces hyper-realistic digital humans for live and virtual reality applications. While at Pulse, he produced the immersive live production of Michael Jackson’s “Slave to the Rhythm” at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards. This featured an original performance by Pulse’s computer-generated and animated human likeness of the late Michael Jackson.

As an educator, Patterson teaches producing at FSU’s College of Motion Picture Arts, where he served as dean from 2003 to 2016. He was also President of The Los Angeles Film School.

Among his many awards as a filmmaking pioneer, The Hollywood Reporter named Patterson one of the nation’s top mentors to a generation of Hollywood filmmakers, including Barry Jenkins of “Moonlight” fame.

Patterson’s innovation inspiration? His self-described role as a “closet neuroscientist.” He loves spending time focusing on the way the human brain interacts with story and translates to the real world.

CLIC ’18 comes complete with … wait for it … a luxury “school bus.” We will be transported to two different field trips to see the innovation first hand! The good news? Nobody on the bus will tease you, throw spitballs, or steal your boxed lunch.

Join us on October 3-4 for CLIC ’18 to garner fresh ideas on marketing innovation. You’ll become the teacher’s pet in record time.

Go here to learn more and register.

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