The Military Influencer Conference is the first of its kind. A dynamic conference for digital entrepreneurs who share a passion for the military, we aim to prepare military members, veterans, and spouses for success as entrepreneurs. To do this, we have rallied together a diverse lineup of speakers, from Shark Tank winners to published authors, that will encourage and inspire. Through their unique struggles, stories, and perspectives, every speaker will compel you to greatness!
“We are just beginning to break down the barriers so the world’s best storytellers can reach audiences all over the world…. The possibilities of building connections between cultures and people are endless and important.” – Reed Hastings | CES ’16
Here is a quick introduction to each speaker for the 2017 Military Influencer Conference!
THE DIGITAL RETAIL GIANTS
Our first group of speakers know firsthand what it’s like to conquer the complex barriers of eCommerce and become established brands, all while promoting the military community. If you are selling a product online, this is the group to lookout for!
Emily Núñez Cavnesss – Sword & Plough
Dan Alarik – Grunt Style
Mostly known for his love of bacon, whiskey, freedom, and all things Army, Dan Alarik is the founder and CEO of Grunt Style and Alpha Outpost.
With nearly 200 veterans in their workforce, Grunt Style, creator of patriotic apparel, has grown to be one of the most recognizable veteran-owned brands.
Cameron Cruse – R.Riveter
They became household names when they appeared on Shark Tank and made a deal with the renowned Mark Cuban.
Cameron Cruse, COO and co-founder of R.Riveter, and proud Army wife, decided to change the deprivating employment landscape most military spouses face by creating an organization solely focused on enriching the lives of fellow spouses all over the world.
Lakesha Cole – She Swank Too
Lakesha is a mom, military spouse, business owner, author, and mentor. She self-published her first book this year and is the founder of She Swank Too.
Known for her entrepreneurial prowess, Lakesha has been recognized by the 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps and featured on the Today Show and Ebony.
THE CHAMPIONS AND ADVOCATES
From education and support to resources and workshops, our next group of speakers focus solely on the enrichment and empowerment of military members, veterans, and their families. Non-profit, not-for-profit, for-profit, each of these entrepreneurs is changing the military community for the best.
Jen Pilcher – Founder of Military One Click & MilSpouse Fest
Founder of Strategic Military Communications, LLC and MilitaryOneClick, Jen Pilcher is one of the nation’s most trusted experts on military families.
With over 20 years of experience as a military spouse and 15 years of experience in Communications, Jen created a company that specializes in enriching the lives of military and veteran families through the power of content.
Phil Randazzo – American Dream U
Phil Randazzo is the writer and developer of American Dream U, a National Entrepreneurship and Coaching program designed to aid military members in one of the most pivotal moments in their life, the transition out of the military.
Phil brings together some of the world’s best and most successful entrepreneurs to encourage and motivate veterans to pursue entrepreneurship after the military and become #vetpreneurs.
Ellie Kay – Heroes at Home
With fifteen published books and appearances on over 1800 radio/tv stations, Ellie Kay is one of our most seasoned speakers. She is the founder of Heroes at Home and specializes in offering financial education to military members and their families.
Whether you or your business need a “Lean Body, Fat Wallet” (title of one of her books), Ellie, mother of seven and proud Air Force wife, has the advice you need.
Eric Mitchell – LifeFlip Media
Eric is an experienced PR strategist and has consistently delivered measurable results for his clientele through highly successful digital and social marketing campaigns. Most notably, three of his clients recently earned over $850,000 from pitch competitions.
He is a Marine Corps veteran and founder of LifeFlip Media, a full-service creative communications agency that focuses on partnering with fellow veteran-owned businesses.
Amy Bushatz – Military.com
As a long-time journalist and blogger, Amy is seen as the expert on military family benefits and news. Some of her expertise has been featured on NPR, the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, CNN.com, the New York Times and the Washington Post.
She is a proud MilSpouse and is the family managing editor and reporter for Military.com, the largest online membership organization for military members and veterans. In addition to writing and reporting, Amy has alco co-produced a documentary.
Judy Davis – Direction Diva
Most commonly known as the Direction Diva, Judy Davis is one of the most transparent and motivational military voices out there.
With several books and short stories published, she is an expert on military life and advocate of Teen Suicide Prevention. She shares tips, inspiration, and resources to those looking for direction.
The first few years of your business are the most crucial. Fighting the statistics of failure is just one part of the battle. Our next group of speakers know how to handle the unique challenges of startups and set the business up for long-term success.
Erica McMannes – MadSkills
The transient and unpredictable nature of the military lifestyle makes traditional employment opportunities for spouses very difficult to obtain, regardless of your experience. After several moves and several short-stint positions, Erica decided to focus on entrepreneurship to mesh with her hectic lifestyle.
She partnered with a fellow MilSpouse to create MadSkills only a year ago, a virtual staffing service connecting organizations and military spouses with remove job opportunities.
Diana Tsai – Veterati
Diana is the founder of Veterati, an organization with a mission to create mentorship conversations between 1.5 million transitioning veterans and 100 million successful professionals employed across U.S.
In their second year of business, Diana is fulfilling her dream of changing the world. Veterati attributes a large portion of their success thus far to their mentors!
THE CONTENT CREATORS
Content is essential in our world, whether you’re fighting oversaturation, direct competition, or the need to differentiate. We’ve brought together some of the best content creators to guide and inspire. Whatever your platform or subject matter may be, this group of speakers can help you take your content strategy to the next level!
Paul Szoldra – Duffel Blog
Paul is the founder and editor-in-chief of Duffel Blog, an online military satire publication. With over one million unique readers each month, 100+ contributing writers from every branch of the military, and recognition from Jim Mattis and Scott Dikkers (founding editor of The Onion), Paul knows how to create and curate some of the best content our community has ever seen!
He is also an editor for Business Insider’s Military & Defense section.
Kevin Kermes – Career Attraction
Specializing in content creation for high-performing, aspiring professionals, Kevin is a successful entrepreneur and published author. From publishing ebooks and novels to one-on-one advice, Kevin focuses on helping others get the respect, pay, and fulfillment they deserve.
From publishing ebooks and novels to one-on-one advice, Kevin focuses on helping others get the respect, pay, and fulfillment they deserve.
He’s made virtual appearances in the Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, Inc., The Military Times and USAA.
Lauren Tamm – The Military Wife & Mom
Books, eBooks, printable packs, and an extremely popular blog are just a few ways Lauren has used content to become successful.
The voice behind The Military Wife & Mom and author of Modern Military Spouse: The Ultimate Military Life Guide for New Spouses and Significant Others, Lauren writes on practical parenting, enjoying motherhood and thriving through the ups and downs of military life.
Kristin Smith – Blogging in Balance
Kristen has leveraged her hobby and nonprofit blogging experience into full-time income.
Blogging in Balance features a membership community and individual paid courses for content creators (bloggers, entrepreneurs & creatives) on subjects ranging from building social media presence to work from home strategies to annual content planning.
Josh Elledge – Savings Angel
Josh, the founder and Chief Executive Angel of SavingsAngel.com, started his entrepreneurial journey with the humble notion of looking for ways to save on his family’s monthly grocery bill. His idea has transformed into a million-dollar company with a blog readership equally as impressive.
Josh is a weekly syndicated columnist for nine newspapers and regularly appears on more than 75 TV stations across the country.
Wes Odonnell – In Military
Wes is a veteran of both the US Army and US Air Force, and a professor.
He has recently spoken at TEDx on Data Visualization and the US Air Force Academy on Leadership, and is most noted for his fascinating, informative, dynamic and entertaining keynotes!
Kayla Roof – KaylaRoof.com
In 2012, Kayla started her own marketing firm and quickly built that business into a successful advertising agency! In 2014, she launched The Navy Mom and turned her blog into a local television show in Jacksonville, Florida, focused on helping military spouses get grounded in their new community.
Now, she advises MilSpouse’s on how to build thriving, PCS-proof businesses through classes, programs, and online training!
Scott Warren – The Exfil Project
Scott is a former Army Special Operations Operator with several combat deployments under his belt. After parting from the military in 2006, he started four businesses, including his own digital marketing agency, The Exfil Project.
As the founder and chief ad strategist, Scott, the “digital nomad”, focuses on the ever-changing nature of Facebook advertising, helping clients generate leads and grow their business.
James Dalman – Happy Joe
James is the founder and CEO of Happy Joe, a veteran-owned business that recruits and deploys veterans and military spouses in the digital marketing industry.
With over 28 years experience in the marketing and design industry, James has been involved in several successful web tech startups! He has done work for some big brands like NASCAR, Disney, Nike Golf, BMW, and NHL.
Kristine Schellhaas – USMC Life
Kristine started USMC Life in 2009 with the goal of connecting military families across bases all over the world, from 29 Palms to Quantico to Okinawa. After thousands of volunteer hours, Kristine turned the site into a revenue-generating business.
Kristine is also the author of 15 Years of War: How the Longest War in U.S. History Affected a Military Family in Love, Loss, and the Cost Of Service and has delivered several keynote speeches.
Tom Morkes – Insurgent Publishing
Tom is a West Point grad, Iraq War veteran, and the founder and CEO of Insurgent Publishing, a creative advisory and consulting firm that is partnering with entrepreneurs, founders, and CEOs across the world to grow their businesses through strategic, large-scale book and digital product launches.
He has consulted on books that hit The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Amazon bestseller lists.
Ryan Guina – CashMoneyLife.com & TheMilitaryWallet.com
Known for his keen financial advice, Ryan is the author of 2 popular financial blogs, CashMoneyLife.com and TheMilitaryWallet.com. TheMiliartyWallet.com focuses on helping those in the military community better manage their money and understand the programs and benefits available!
Both of these blogs have been referenced in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and LifeHacker. Many of Ryan’s articles have also been published in US News, World Report and Yahoo Finance.
Curtez Riggs – Milblogging
The man behind the Military Influencer Conference, Curtez is a Soldier and entrepreneur with over 20 years of progressive leadership experience.
He divides his time by serving within the ranks of the U.S. Army as a First Sergeant, flipping niche websites as a digital entrepreneur, and running a conference for military entrepreneurs!
From personal struggles and industry-specific obstacles to advice and best practices, each of these speakers will be at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel in Dallas, Texas to help you grow as an entrepreneur. Active Duty Military, Veterans, and Spouses from all branches of the military will be represented.