#MWTravelCon20 Speakers

KEYNOTE SPEAKER

CORY LEE

Cory Lee You May Not Have Mountains, Oceans or All The Money In The World, but You CAN Travel And Make a Difference In The World

Cory will inspire you on how you can travel the world and inspire others. You may not have mountains, oceans or all the money in the world, but you CAN travel and make a difference in our world.

About Cory Lee: After being diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at the age of two, Cory Lee’s thirst for adventure never ceased. He went on many trips around the US when he was younger, and then started taking things internationally when he turned fifteen. Since then, Cory has traveled across 6 continents, all while managing to run his travel blog curbfreewithcorylee.com, where he shares his accessible, and sometimes not so accessible, travel adventures with others. Cory’s blog has received the prestigious 2019 Webby Award for Best Personal Blog and the Lowell Thomas Award for Best Travel Blog in 2017. He was also named New Mobility Magazine’s 2018 Person of the Year. Cory has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, National Geographic Travel, Forbes, USA Today, in a nationwide segment for CBS News, Lonely Planet, and many others. He hopes to inspire other wheelchair users to roll out of their comfort zone and see all of the beauty that the world has to offer.

SPEAKERS

Jay & Leah Hall

Jay and Leah Hall The Right Image: Improving Your Photography

In this workshop, Leah and Jay will teach you some practical tips for improving your photography skills as well as a couple editing secrets. Photos on your site and social media are critical for making a first impression! We will cover photographing food, travel, landscapes and basic photo skills. Come prepared with your camera or phone to take a few practice shots so you get a hands on experience.

About Jay & Leah Hall: Jay and Leah Hall started Gastronom in 2012 starting as a food blog, which turned into the cocktail blog they have today. They are all about local culinary scenes, unique cocktail ingredients and spirited travel. They live in Omaha, Nebraska with their two sons.


Jody Halsted

Jody Halsted Growing Affiliate Relationships For Maximum Profits

Affiliate relationships can be one of the most profitable sources of income on and off your website — but they take work to establish and grow. It’s not a case of ‘throw something up and see what sticks’ or ‘more is better.’ Learn how to find affiliate programs that produce consistent results on your website and how to take those relationships to the next level with direct partnerships. Create a strong affiliate relationship to provide ongoing passive income.

About Jody Halsted: Jody Halsted is an award-winning writer and podcaster specializing in Ireland, camping, and RVing. An Iowa native, Jody currently calls Ankeny home but dreams of the day she can set out on an endless road trip in her RV. Jody is mom to 2 teenage daughters and wife to Doug, a very supportive and understanding IT architect.


Katy Mann

Katy Mann How To Use Video To Find Your Audience & Make Money

In this workshop, Katy Mann and her husband Jacob will teach you how to use Facebook Live and short edited videos to grow your audience and make money. From monetization on your website to selling your videos to network television, Katy and Jacob will help you develop your audience growth strategy and create a plan to monetize.

Topics Covered: Equipment, Platforms, Monetization, Audience Growth

About Katy Mann: After serving aboard a hospital ship in Africa and lending a hand in a handful of other beautiful countries, Southern California native Katy Mann found herself in the midwest looking for things to do. After many years of documenting her travels and every day adventures, Katy had viral success with a holiday website and decided she really liked having an audience.

Katy settled down and had children, while she created Indy with Kids, the number one family events and activities website in Indiana. With a passion for activating families to explore their community and beyond, Katy creates hyperlocal and travel content for her own platforms and her clients. Using video, Katy reaches 1000’s of people each day by way of television, social media and her website.

Katy’s professional triumphs include weekly television segments for local stations, writing for regional and state tourism websites, weekly columnist for the Indianapolis Star, co-director of a conference and association of Hyperlocal Publications, Disney’s Babble award winner for people’s choice of favorite Family Travel Blogger and a semi-viral video of a live tour of a gas station bathroom.


Lindsey Ranzau

Lindsey Ranzau The Steps Everyone Needs To Know To Become A Compelling Video Storyteller

How should you use Instagram stories to drive more engagement around your content? How can you be more comfortable in front of the camera? What makes people want to come back to you for more? Learn why video storytelling is crucial to driving engagement and the steps you should take to build a compelling story for your brand and the experiences you cover. Hear lessons learned from Minnesota travel writer Look About Lindsey on using her favorite platform, Instagram stories, to engage with her audience in a personal way.

About Lindsey Ranzau: Lindsey, a born and raised Minnesota blogger lives in Minneapolis with her favorite person (and hubby) Cole. When she is not living the corporate life during the week, she spends most of her free time exploring everything from her North Loop neighborhood to destinations overseas. For the last few years, she has been jumping on a plane or taking a road trip every chance she gets. She believes that travel and new experiences shouldn’t be dreamt about as “someday” but should instead be something that’s part of your everyday life. She shares her stories in her blog, “Look About Lindsey.” She can also be seen occasionally on the popular Twin Cities talk show, “The Jason Show.” Follow Lindsey on Instagram to keep up with her stories.


Jessica Sawatski

Jessica Sawatski Best Practices For CVB’s & Bloggers On Partnering Together

Partnering with a blogger can be a fun experience when you take the time to get to know them. When bloggers and destinations work together, relationships bloom. Learn how to connect with each other as Jessica and Melody Pittman of Wherever I May Roam Blog have. They will offer you best practices on forming partnerships and how you can rise above your competition. Bloggers and destinations all have choices and you want to be their first choice!

About Jessica Sawatski: Jessica Sawatski leads Visit Wichita‘s media relations efforts as public relations manager. In her role, she works with local, regional and national media to promote Wichita as a must-visit Midwest destination through earned media initiatives. Sawatski received her bachelor’s degree in public relations from Kansas State University, and has called Wichita home for the past 15 years. Prior to Visit Wichita, she helped clients manage social media strategy and content development, special event planning and public relations at the branding agency, Signal Theory.

Melody Pittman

Melody Pittman

About Melody Pittman: Melody Pittman is a blogger and freelance writer from Vero Beach, Florida who is on a quest to conquer all 50 states and visit as many countries as she is years old. She and her daughter Taylor Pittman Hardy write about luxury travel, culture, and food on their blog, Wherever I May Roam and Travel the South Bloggers. After years of traveling big cities both locally and abroad, Melody is now finding that her passion is exploring the Southern charms of small towns across the country. She is unofficially the biggest cheerleader for the Midwest and loves sharing stories of her travels there. She loves exploring local festivals, museums, unique attractions, cruising, and the concept of buying and eating local. 

 

Sara Broers

Your Success Can Be Measured By The People You Surround Yourself With

The people that you surround yourself with will help determine more than 90% of your success. When you purposely seek out people that you admire and are inspired by, you will take your blog and/or business to a new level. Sara has Sara Broersa proven track record of building successful relationships through connections that were made through strangers. Learn how you can connect yourself with the people that will be your best partners in future projects. If you have ever wondered why others are doing somethings that you are not, Sara will show you how you can be the person making all of those things happen. Remember this, “You do not know who the person knows that is sitting next to you.”

About Sara Broers:

Sara Broers is the co-owner of the Midwest Travel Network, the CEO of Travel With Sara, the CEO of Social Connections, LLC and she’s also the social media instructor at World Wide College of Auctioneering and America’s Auction Academy. Sara entered the online marketing space in 2008 when she created a “Mom” blog and hopped on Twitter. Over the course of time, she realized that the tourism industry was one of the easiest ways for communities to grow their tax base. It wasn’t long after that Travel With Sara came to fruition. Sara has been a speaker at the Indiana State Tourism Conference, the Iowa Fair Association Conference, Bloggy Conference, TBEX, WITS, Type-A Parent Conference, Iowa Lakes Community College, NIACC, and several Chamber of Commerces across the United States. She founded the North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club in 2013, and has helped connect hundreds of business owners through this monthly event. She is passionate about helping destinations place themselves on the map, unlike anything before. Sara lives in Iowa on the family farm with her husband and they have two grown adult sons.

Joshua Unseth

Stop Blaming Your SEO 

This session is a therapy session for bloggers who get lost in the scary world of SEO. It’s a reminder to not forget what makes a blog tick: content. Joshua will discuss content strategies, a few SEO tips that you can take with you everywhere you Joshua Unsethgo. But, more than anything, Joshua is here to remind you that your “site ain’t broke,” as he says on the Theory of Content podcast. There are no silver bullets. And SEO is one small part of a holistic blog strategy. Hopefully, you will walk out of this session reinvigorated to do what you do best. You will be confronted with the scary and empowering reality that what will make your blog successful is the work that you put into it.

About Joshua Unseth:

Joshua Unseth is the owner of Alarm Grid, Inc and host of the podcast Theory of Content. Joshua got his start in a boutique New York agency doing SEO for all sorts of clients. He worked on projects for big brands, small brands and everything in between. Now, Joshua does for himself what he did for larger companies. He shares his passion, along with his co-host Amber Bracegirdle, sharing his content strategies and passion for information on their podcast. Now, with thousands of listeners each week, Theory of Content has emerged as a must-listen for content makers. Joshua and Amber’s quirky presentation is an entertaining way to consume relevant, poignant information about strategically how to build a blog and nurture your craft without losing yourself along the way.