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Marketing Seminar Sessions & Speakers

Tuesday, January 31

KEYNOTE: Life is an Adventure: Make it Epic
Steve Fredlund, The Safari Dude

Have you ever been on a safari? Well, you are right now. Like a savannah on the Kalahari, the world of telecommunications is filled with ups and downs, highs and lows, knowns and unknowns. This is the very nature of safari and of telecommunications. So how do we make our safari epic?

Happiness can seem as elusive as the black rhino in Rwanda, but it can be found – when you have the right peeps in your jeep, fully aligned with the mission and deeply connected with each other.

Steve Fredlund (The Safari Dude) is a fun, interactive keynote presenter with a game-changing message and methodology. He brings to the stage three decades of experience in corporate, nonprofit and entrepreneurial environments. His safari experiences in East Africa provide an entertaining backdrop for insights that lead audience members toward greater levels of happiness on their epic adventures.

“Steve Fredlund is the only actuary -- in the history of actuaries -- you actually WANT to sit next to at a dinner party!”

This declaration by a finance leader is a testament to Steve’s diverse and successful background. His impact has been felt by individuals, small businesses, nonprofits and Fortune 500 companies from Minnesota to Europe to Africa. As an award-winning actuary, Steve’s analysis of human resources data uncovered the surprising drivers of employee motivation. This breakthrough is transforming how businesses recruit, hire and onboard new team members. The impact has been staggering. Steve’s revolutionary team-building approach has radically improved employee productivity, engagement and retention – making him a highly sought-after leadership coach and speaker. After leading six African safaris, Steve become known as “The Safari Dude.” His experiences form the foundation for his “Epic Adventure” leadership model. Steve’s riveting stories from the savannah profoundly drive home his paradigm-shifting perspectives on teambuilding to help leaders become reinvigorated on their “safari.”

Steve’s accomplishments include Thrivent Financial’s employee of the year, inventor of a retirement income strategy and two-time TEDx speaker. He has been the founder and leader of three nonprofits, four small businesses and two Fortune 500 business units. Steve earned his Masters in Business Administration and fellowship in the Society of Actuaries. When not speaking or coaching, Steve can be found playing disc golf, trying to win a poker tournament and doing the best he can to stay a loyal Minnesota sports fan. 

Download my free "QuickStart Guide for Leaders" available on my website at:

Rebuilding Company Culture
Autumn Ricke & Tracy Williams, Pinnacle Marketing Group

With more and more businesses adopting hybrid work models it is becoming increasingly challenging to get you staff to connect and engage the way they “used to”. This disconnect makes it challenging to spread marketing messages effectively. Companies need to adapt and start rebuilding company culture from the ground up. Join us as we cover ideas to help reengage your staff to promote your company culture and disperse your marketing messages effectively.

Autumn Ricke has been a member of the Pinnacle Marketing Group team for 4 years. Her creativity, attention to detail, and willingness to give anything a try, has helped Pinnacle not only promote their own brand, but their customers as well. Her extensive knowledge of marketing and design has made her a valuable member of the team. When she is not busy sharing unsolicited marketing.

Tracy Williams has been with Pinnacle Marketing Group for 21 years and the Sales Relations Manager for 16 years. Tracy manages the Pre-Sales and Sales Support teams to ensure that quality and service meet our customers’ needs.

Leveraging Fiber Homes for Your Brand
Kaleigh Cox,

When Fiber Homes launched in February of 2022, over a dozen Wisconsin providers quickly certified their addresses for use by the real estate industry and homebuyers. But once you certify your addresses, what comes next? Join us as Kaleigh Cox shares new ways to leverage data, local relationships, and creative marketing with Fiber Homes. You’ll see new and upcoming resources, get updates on major integrations, and walk away with new ideas for reaching agents and homebuyers in your market.

Vice President of Business Development and Content Operations at DxTEL, Kaleigh helps telecommunication companies, rural cooperatives, and other broadband providers use content marketing and strategic brand messaging to engage their target audience and reach their goals.

Panel Discussion - 
Marketing Automation Tools: What We’re Using & How We’re Doing
Panel of Peers: 
Melissa Lease, Mount Horeb Telephone Company
Chad Mix, Norvado
Ben Gumz, Tri-County Communications Co-op, Inc.
Shay Jilek, Lynxx Networks

Marketing Roundtable: Questions, Answers & Awesomeness
Melissa Lease, Mount Horeb Telephone Company
Patrick Scully, Marquette-Adams Telephone Cooperative, Inc

Get in the Game: Esports, Gaming, & What it Means to You
David Lockstein, Watertown Unified School District

What’s New – More and more colleges are starting programs, building arenas, and recruiting high school players via scholarships.  We are starting to see state schools build major programs and anticipate every college to have a program in the next 5 years.

This is this generations NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB.  Today’s youth are look up to the likes of Ninja, Shroud, and other pro esports players and less and less at pro athletes.  Marketing and advertising dollars are catching up to traditional sports and will outpace them within 10 years.

The ability of a player to practice at home, work with coaches, attend clinics, and hire one on one sessions all from home is a must.  Broadband reaching these student athletes where they live is vital, we are even starting to see parents choose living locations based on broadband availability.

Dave has been in IT for 25+ years, education 17 of those years. Dave is on the Board of the Wisconsin High School Esports Association and is the Game Coordinator for the Winter Esport Overwatch 2. Dave has been part of the association and expansion of esports in the state of Wisconsin for the last 7 years. Helping grow the association from 7 schools to well over 200 across the state.

Superior Subscriber Experience Is the Best Kind of Marketing
Tara Young, Calix

From planning for new subscriber acquisition to launching new services with your existing subscribers, marketers are the champions of the subscriber experience. Join this session to discover the best practices for planning and executing a superior subscriber experience.

The first marketing upgrade campaign Tara Young remembers running was designed to move customers from their 56k dialup modems to “blazing fast” 128k DSL. That was where her love of the broadband industry began, and it was also where she learned to center on the subscriber experience, rather than subjective marketing terms like “blazing fast.” Since beginning her broadband career at her local cooperative, Tara has worked throughout the industry, including for a telecom engineering firm, a marketing agency, and most recently at Calix as a Calix Marketing Cloud Customer Success Manager, where she taps her experience to bring pragmatic, actionable guidance to Marketing Cloud and Revenue EDGE customers. Tara has NO free time, since she has kids in sports, but she occasionally takes time to travel or hike with her family.

Wednesday, February 1

Outside the Industry Marketing Perspective
Joe Hamilton, Vortex Optics 

Gain valuable insight into the marketing strategies of processionals beyond the telecommunications industry and the CEO and brand/marketing leader at Vortex Optics.

Joe’s passion for business through serving others started back in 1986 when his parents opened a small retail store on the west side of Madison. From a very young age, Joe and his three brothers learned from their folks how great things can be when you work hard, innovate, and a apply a customer/employee first philosophy.

Over the past 30 years the Hamilton family, along with many other amazing team members, have helped build that small retail store into Vortex®, the largest sport optics company in the world today. Joe is proud to have played a small part in Vortex’s® success and even more proud to lead a team so rabidly devoted to customer service and creating unforgettable experiences for others.

Joe’s primary focus now is selecting and leading a group of leaders throughout the business to ensure Vortex® stays focused on serving others through the C.A.R.E., “Create A Rare Experience”, philosophy. If you want to know more about what C.A.R.E. means, just ask him!

Warming Up Future Builds
Sarah Pieper, Pinnacle Marketing Group

Building broadband, laying fiber and connecting each home along the way tops the to-do list for every Internet Service Provider in the country. Before a single line is laid, you should be pouring efforts into making sure the homes and businesses within your new build areas are aware of you and all the great benefits you will soon make available. Join us as we talk about the value of preheating the audiences in your new areas and some easy ways to fit that into your current marketing plan.

Sarah Pieper has been with Pinnacle Marketing Group for 14 years. She has been an integral part of the Pinnacle Marketing Group team as a Project Manager. Sarah has a proven track record with broadband companies in regard to digital advertising, promotions, social media, and websites.

Storytelling for Rural Broadband: Share What You Know and Be Heard 
Laura Withers, NTCA

With the advent of social media phenomena like TikTok and Instagram stories, everyone today is a storyteller. But not everyone knows how to make others truly understand their perspective. Some stories are merely told, while others are truly heard—and there is a difference! Learn how trust plays into the success of your storytelling and what it takes to break through in the more crowded rural broadband space.

Laura Withers is vice president of strategic communications for NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association. Laura oversees communication of NTCA’s mission, objectives, policy positions and employee benefits offerings to enhance and increase the association’s visibility with members, the media and others interested in building a better broadband future for rural America. Since joining NTCA in 2012, she has helped promote small, rural telecom companies as technology solution providers delivering the broadband future for rural America by, among other things, contributing to the association’s Smart Communities branding platform serving more than 250 rural communities leveraging broadband-enabled applications to support economic development and innovation in agriculture, education, and health care. Laura loves telling great stories and believes her passion for communications was inherited, as both of her grandfathers worked in news typesetting and printing. Before joining NTCA, Laura was a newspaper reporter and editor.

Speakers subject to change. 


Wisconsin State Telecommunications (WSTA)
122 West Washington Ave, Suite 1050
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: 608-256-8866

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