Monday November 1, the Fox Theatre in Hutchinson Kansas will be the host to some of the most cutting edge personalities in the online universe. Hosted by Jeff Pulver and Becky McCray, the 140 Character Conference is coming to small town America. These conferences have been hosted in cities like New York, London and Tel Aviv. #140conf Small Town will be a ground breaking opportunity to look at the effects of the real-time web on the people and the businesses inside of and around Small Towns.
The #140conf events provide a platform for the worldwide twitter community to: listen, connect, share and engage with each other, while collectively exploring the effects of the emerging real-time internet on business. It creates serendipity in talking to each other, sharing ideas across industries, and exchanging thoughts with people like you and not like you. To put it in rural terms, we’re going to cross-pollinate some ideas. Or think of it as hybrid vigor: your new ideas are much stronger than the ideas that brought them about.
Who’s speaking? At the release of this article there are 31 contributors lined up. This conference will be flexible and there may be more speakers as well. These are just some of the topics that will be covered – and the bios of those presenting.
Anita Cochran – from TV to Twitter
A self-proclaimed “News Goddess,” Anita Cochran became a household name as a News Anchor in her home state of Kansas. A graduate of Wichita State University, her Radio/TV/Film degree morphed into a career that took her from Hays to Garden City and back to Wichita and allowed her to cover stories from all corners of the state and even across the country. In spring 2009, Anita celebrated her 20th year on camera, and walked away from the Industry she loves.
Today, a mother of two daughters, and wife of almost 24 years, Anita has gone through a downsizing of her material life, to upsize her spiritual one. She’s blogging and writing a book about that experience…..and living on one-fourth the income, her family became accustomed to.
Dennis Deery – Small Towns & Online – Melding Two Visions of Community
Dennis Deery is the founder of Irish Rose Consulting, a technology consulting firm located in western Wisconsin. He has worked in the field for over 20 years, specializing in technology planning, software development and web site development. Irish Rose Consulting works with small- to mid-sized companies, non-profit organizations and government agencies throughout the United States and Europe. Dennis also does extensive work in the field of , focusing mainly on small towns and .
Warren Parker and Michelle Tucker – Bridging the Gap between the Farm and Urban Areas
Warren Parker has a degree from Fort Hays State University in Communications and Radio/Television. He worked for 10 years at WIBW-TV/radio in Topeka Kansas as reporter, anchor, and chief photographer. He covered the Kansas legislature and courts, covered three national political conventions, and created an award-winning television feature series ‘Parker’s People’ seen nationally and internationally.
After leaving the media, Warren moved to the Kansas Farm Bureau as lobbyist and governmental relations assistant director for membership-approved policy in Topeka, Kansas and Washington D.C. He is now the web development director for Kansas Farm Bureau managing the organization’s website.
Warren says “I appreciate all kinds of agriculture, and embrace them. However, in my travels to different parts of the world, and seeing complex political and geographical diversities, I have learned there is a need to feed that world, and a safe, modern agriculture that allows our food security, as well as trade with other nations, is required. I believe in true, science-based solutions, and have little patience for agenda-driven hype and emotion. I look forward to sharing views.”
Michelle Tucker – I am a mother, wife, Farm Insurance nerd and all around people lover. I am currently raising the 5th generation in the same home that was placed there over 100 years ago. While we do not farm for a living, we are still active in raising some cattle and help my father who still farms the land. I love sharing my story of Ag and life on Twitter and having the amazing opportunity to connect to others I would otherwise not have met. Oh and I love my Kansas State Wildcats!!
Debbie Lyons-Blythe – Life on a Kansas Cattle Ranch
Debbie Lyons-Blythe is a cattle rancher in central Kansas, in the heart of the grasslands of the Flint Hills. She has been married to Duane for more than 20 years, and they have five kids. They have about 250 mama cows raising calves, and 300 heifers (cows that haven’t had a calf yet). Debbie sells bulls and heifers and sometimes feeds out steers to enter the food chain.
Debbie’s job is to raise the cattle and kids. She and her husband believe that connecting to the people who do not live on a ranch is very important to their children’s future on the ranch. Debbie blogs weekly about her life, shares beef recipes and stories about the ranch at KansasCattleRanch.blogspot.com. She uses Twitter and Facebook to connect to people across the world. She says, “I am a typical rancher, albeit a woman. But we do things like everyone else around here does—with a basic respect for the cattle and the land. Our future depends on the sustainability of our ranch. The only difference is that we realize that we must make the time to open our lives up to ‘city folk’ so they can see what we do and why we do it.”
Cort Anderson – Support Your Local Newspaper
Cort Anderson is the CEO (Chief Everything Officer) of Cort D Anderson Limited Company and a Senior Partner in Identis, LLC. He provides a variety of services for his clients from software training to graphic design to web consulting. In addition he shoots occasional news assignments for local newspapers and fine art photography.
At Kansas State University he studied journalism and went on to work for newspapers and a wire service. For the past 20 years he has combined his knowledge of photography, printing and computers to help companies move into desktop publishing and digital imaging.
From 1999 until 2009 Cort was the Technology Consultant for the Kansas Press Association. He traveled the state working with small newspapers on training and technology issues. He has presented programs on digital photography, PDF creation, websites and other newspaper technology hurdles for various state and national press associations.
Jonathon George Micro-messaging: Creating Signal in the Noise.
Jonathan George is the founder and CEO of AppRemix, a real-time mobile micro-messaging company known for its popular interaction design and their relationship to technology.application Boxcar. Prior to AppRemix, Jonathan led and developed several web startups. With 10 years of web and software entrepreneurship, he is particularly familiar with the many important aspects of usability,
Jonathan is from Coffeyville, KS and currently resides in Wichita, KS. He is known for his candor and insights into the internet and application industries, and blogs on a non-regular basis
Gus Wagner – Using Social Media to Drive Reaction to Agribusiness in Government
Gus is originally a farm kid from Franklin County, Missouri. He spent 12 years as a manufacturing consultant before launching The Rocket Group in 2001 where they focus on Relationship, Graphic and Communication Strategies for Business, Politics, and Government. After being an early adopter of Facebook and Twitter for client marketing, he became certified in Social Media Strategy in 2010.
Gus says “My official capacity in government was as a Chief of Staff to two Missouri State Senators over an 8-year period. My responsibilities included managing all the legislative issues involved within the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food Production, and Outdoor Resources and a Senate district in Southwest Missouri with one of the fastest growing population areas in America. . My company and I have managed, assisted, or contracted on more than 135 campaigns from small city halls to the halls of Congress since 1998 and have been victorious more than 70% of the time.”
Gigi Belmonico – Living Life Connected
Image Consultant, Glamour Girl, and Bombshell Coach! Many entrepreneurial women lose their femininity and friendships as they build amazing businesses and Gigi shows them how to turn up “The Bombshell Factor™”! An Image Consultant for over 25 years, she’s shown thousands of women how to feel powerful in their femininity through tools such as body typing, makeup and fashion personality, core wardrobing, and much more so that EVERYday is Bombshell day!!
Many women have qualities that make them “look” beautiful, but Gigi takes it even further and teaches the “missing link” …the more esoteric qualities that truly connect women with each other without the typical drama, trauma, and jealousy so prevalent today.
She was featured in “Mom Spa: 75 Relaxing Ways to Pamper a Mother’s Mind, Body, and Soul,” by Gin Sander, and was a contributing author in Gin’s book “Raging Gracefully: Smart Women on Life, Love, And Coming into Your Own”.
Mark Linder – Mobilized to Feed the World
Entrepreneur, Investor, New Media and Podcasting Pioneer and former Fortune 500 executive. Managing Partner of ND Partners, LLC (Owner & Operator of Sola Salons in Texas) and President/Principle of Forefront Media Labs (producer of New Media and Social Media projects.) Early Podcaster featured on PodShow/Mevio since their beta days. Speaker at 2008 SXSW, 2007 Portable Media Expo, 2008 New Media Expo and 2008 Thin Air Summit. Finalist for 2009 Podcast Award from PodcastAwards.com. Forefront Media Labs has worked on many New Media projects one of which included heading the team which brought Barack Obama to Second Life. Based in Dallas, Texas, his company currently produces three podcasts for Mevio, operates Internet Radio Stations, creates social media programs and websites for a variety of organizations and has a soon to be released in print audio book.
Heather Lytle and Cyndy Hoenig – Trust me: How to Use PR & Social Media to Create Brands People Know, Like and Trust
Heather Lytle is a New Media Strategist and Technology Specialist. As senior partner with H&L Media Partners, Heather uses her extensive corporate background as well as her intimate understanding of the needs of small business owners to offer clients a unique marketing perspective with a focus on new technologies. She also owns HVM Solutions, which offers a full range of technology solutions for business from web design and development to iPhone applications, and ShopGadgetGirl.com, which started as a blog but after generating a huge buzz went retail in March 2009.
Heather holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from University of Central Oklahoma and a MBA in Leadership and Organizational Development from Oklahoma Christian University. She serves on the Board of Directors for Keep Oklahoma Beautiful and served as the Corporate Sponsorship Co-Chair for Go Red for Women. She was just named a 20 under 40 by the Business Times and awarded a 40 under 40 by OKC Biz. A very busy and successful year for one who won’t turn 40 for seven years. Lytle lives in Edmond, Oklahoma in the house she grew up in with her husband Kevin and cow dog, Shawnee. She loves Edmond, Lake Tenkiller, writing and her family.
Cyndy Hoenig’s career has taken her from her home in Oklahoma to a 20-year entertainment career in Los Angeles, where she served as Director of the Television Division of Bender, Goldman & Helper, and a top public relations agency. Her area of expertise centers on planning and executing media relations programs that achieve high levels of coverage. Cyndy has managed media relations for the Emmy’s, Screen Actors Guild and VH-1 Music Awards shows, as well as top television shows for NBC, CBS, FOX, Carsey-Werner, Aaron Spelling, Disney Channel and 20th Television.
She organized the media for the Oklahoma City National Memorial’s 10th Anniversary, handling over 700 media outlets. A program she planned and managed for Oklahoma City’s Race for the Cure enhanced awareness to a level that resulted in a 35 % increase in participation.
Currently, Hoenig owns Pure PR, a PR company in Oklahoma City, and is partnered with Heather Lytle in H&L Media Partners, a company that offers consultant services and trainings in PR and Social Media.
Hoenig is a sustaining member of the Jr. League of OKC and PR chair for the Edmond Women’s Club. She studied communications at University of Central Oklahoma and St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas. Residing in Edmond with her beloved dog, Digger, Cyndy has four grown daughters and eight grandchildren.
Andrea Springer – Tell Me Why I Should Care – Nonprofits, Social Media, and Storytelling
Andrea says “I’m looking forward to my first #140conf and am tickled that it’s going to be in the Fox Theatre. In a previous life, I was executive director of the theatre’s restoration. It’s a 1931 art deco movie palace, restored to its original glory and a great space. We hope everyone enjoys their time there.
In addition to what you read, I was raised on a farm in Illinois but consider myself a Kansan by choice, having been here for over 25 years. Fourteen of those years were spent working in public broadcasting – both radio and television. I’m passionate about community in all its forms – online and off. In addition to my consulting work with nonprofits I volunteer with four local organizations with missions ranging from the arts to social services to economic development. I’m also a knitter and teach classes at a local yarn shop on a regular basis.”
Andrea’s background includes 25 years of experience working for and with nonprofit organizations. She served as Capital Campaign Manager and Director of Development for KPTS Public Television in Wichita, Executive Director of the Fox Theatre restoration project in Hutchinson and Senior Consultant for HartsookCompanies, a national fundraising firm. She is also a founding member of the Kansas Historic Theatre Association. In 2004, Andrea started Springer Coaching and Consulting, a firm that focuses on the specialized needs of small nonprofits.
(pic is Andrea Springer and Marci Penner)
Marci Penner – How 8 Wonders Drive Online Success
Marci Penner is the director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, a non-profit founded by her and her father in 1993. The office is based on the family farm near Inman.
Major stops have been at the University of Kansas, the University of Wisconsin, and the Philadelphia area. In 1990 Marci moved back to Kansas and has been working with rural communities ever since. The mission of the Foundation is to preserve and sustain rural culture by educating Kansans about Kansas and by networking and supporting rural communities.
Some of the better known projects are the 8 Wonders of Kansas, the Kansas Sampler Festival, and Rural Kansas: Come & Get It, the Kansas Explorers Club, and the Kansas Guidebook for Explorers. Marci went to every one of the 627 incorporated cities in Kansas in the early 2000s to research for the guidebook.
Marci served as a co-chair for the Governor’s Rural Life Task Force, was named Distinguished Kansas of the Year in 2005 and has received other state and national awards for her work with rural communities.
Jay Ehret – Your Tweet is Your Brand: Small Town Business Branding
Jay Ehret is Chief Officer of Awesomeness for The Marketing Spot, a marketing coaching and consulting firm he founded in 2001 in Waco, Texas. He is a marketing coach, consultant, speaker, and blog author. He helps entrepreneurs and brands build marketing plans based on the four essential spots of marketing: Branding, Experience, Conversation, and Promotion. He empowers his clients with knowledge, giving them a course in marketing, turning entrepreneurs into marketers while transforming businesses into extra-ordinary brands. Jay has developed a full-day workshop that teaches participants how to build and implement their own marketing plan.
He is a frequent speaker at conferences and industry association events. He was a featured speaker at the 2010 National Golf Course Owners Association annual conference. Jay has presented at numerous marketing and trade association conferences and been a featured speaker at South by Southwest Interactive, the Optimization Summits, and the Global Golf Marketing Conference in Seoul, Korea. Jay authors the award winning Marketing Spot Blog and hosts the Power to the Small Business podcast.
He is married to Carol and has four grandchildren and two dogs. He is active in his church, is a wine lover, and dreams of someday playing in the World Series of Poker. (Jay is on the left)
Cody M. Heitschmidt – What is Your OPA …Online Presence Assessment?
Cody attended Hutchinson Community College Classes while at Hutchinson High School, graduating in 1993. United States Marine Corps followed from 1994 – 1998. After leaving the military and returning to Hutchinson, Kansas, Cody did a short but enjoyable time with Koch Industries, leaving to develop and build H&R Outfitters, a hunting guide business. Although he enjoyed it tremendously, it did not prove to be financially prudent so he teamed up with his wife, Tamara, in her business LogicMaze, Inc. Web Designs and Small Business Marketing to do her sales and marketing in 2004. Together they grew the business and sold it to Harris Enterprises/Hutchinson News in December, 2009. They continue to manage, design and market the business for the Hutchinson News.
Cody was one of the original committee members in the development of the Young Professionals Organization in Reno County that now has grown to over 250 members; he was also instrumental in the marketing and publicity of organizing the first Third Thursdays that are now a popular event in the downtown area of Hutchinson.
Deb Brown – Volunteering Pays
Deb was born and raised in Franklin County Iowa. Luther College educated her and she lived in Chicago for many years. She’s worked as an insurance underwriter, a retail management professional, salesperson, a teacher and a writer. Deb returned home to Iowa to care for her elderly parents. Much to her surprise, the Iowa Deb remembered was so much more than just a place to raise pigs. Franklin County has a rich prairie heritage, is loaded with historical sites and treasures, welcoming neighbors and good old fashioned entrepreneurial spirit. It was the perfect place to begin Debworks – combining many years of experience in various fields into her own business. Social media merging with volunteer activities has created another line of income in her income stream. Deb believes everyone can make a difference if we just live into our greatness and teach others to do the same.
Lynn Woolf – From the Farm: Advocating for Agriculture Using Social Media & Other Tools
Today’s consumers are looking for more than a great product, service or cause. They want — and deserve — ways to become engaged and to interact as part of a community. Credible, interesting and “fresh” online content and social media initiatives can help you do just that. And, traditional forms of communication — print media and newsletters, for example — are still important ways to build relationships.
“I am a copywriter with journalism and PR experience — that’s a double dose of expertise in creating informative, engaging and persuasive content for web sites, publications, company collateral and more. “
Simran Sethi – Social Media for Social Change in the Classroom (and Beyond)
Simran blogs about sustainability for online outlets including The Huffington Post, Mother Earth News and Oprah.com. She has been a featured guest on NPR and is host of the Emmy-award winning PBS documentary, “A School in the Woods.” Simran has lectured at institutions ranging from the Commonwealth Club to Cornell University; keynoted conferences including Bioneers by the Bay, the green Business Conference and the North American Association for Environmental Education; and moderated panels for the Clinton Global Initiative University, Demos and The Climate Group.
Simran is a 2010 fellow in the Poynter Institute’s Sense-Making project, a Ford Foundation-funded program that is studying the integration of new media and democratic values. She has also served as an associate fellow at the Asia Society since 2008. Simran is a member of the Sustainability Advisory Board, a mayoral appointment in the city of Lawrence, Kansas. She holds an M.B.A. in sustainable business from the Presidio Graduate School where she now lectures in their sustainability certification program and graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Sociology and Women’s Studies from Smith College. She is the 2009 recipient of the Smith College Medal, awarded to alumnae demonstrating extraordinary professional achievements and outstanding service to their communities, and the 2010 recipient of the American College Personnel Association Champion of Sustainability award for leadership on sustainability within academe.
Elizabeth Norton – Living in a Victorian Town in a Real Time World
Even at the age of 28, Elizabeth has had many opportunities to play her share of different roles. While her journeys have taken her to stage, writing, children party entertainment and beyond, her finest casting role is one of being a mother. Elizabeth Norton is never at a loss for words. What is more important is that she is a wife and mother to over 25 children while 23 of those have come and gone through Elizabeth’s house through the foster system of New Jersey 2 birth children remain who are delightful(sometimes) boys.
Elizabeth pokes fun at her own imperfections as she discusses matters of motherhood, party planning, and hot topics that affect the families of today. She is a voice for various motherhood panels and owner of the Party Planning Professor.
Patsy Terrell – Twitter is Today’s Civic Club
Patsy Terrell is a writer and artist. She does public relations for the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center. She is a columnist for the statewide magazine, Kansas Country Living, and writes freelance for a number of publications. Her background includes being a journalist, a graphic designer, and executive director of a non-profit. She consults with businesses and organizations about how to incorporate social media into their marketing; she speaks to groups about social media, food and food traditions, and creating a meaningful life.
The lineup is a great one – and this is one event you won’t want to miss in Hutchinson Kansas.
November 1, 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. at the Fox Theatre, 18 East 1st Avenue. Stay overnight at Ramada Hotel and Conference Center Hutchinson (formerly known as the Grand Prairie Hotel and Convention Center) 620-669-9311 or 800-362-5018. A block of rooms has been assigned for conference attendees.
The schedule is posted at http://smalltown.140conf.com
You can purchase your ticket and receive a $40 discount at
The original Bloggers who came to Hutch on a tour