I’ve been involved in sales, marketing and running software companies since computers had black screens with the ‘wide choice’ of green or orange text. Those were the days…
When I’m not speaking, writing or reading about marketing technology, sales force automation, web tools and awesome processes you’ll find me helping to make VB Insight the best analysis and reports resource on the planet – one where every expert can finally have their words read and their voices heard. If you’re a subject-matter champion in any area of sales or marketing technology, you should probably let me know.
I live in the UK, follow football (that’s soccer, not ‘throwball’), Formula 1, ice hockey, and play video games. I respect and subscribe to the VentureBeat statement of ethics. I drink coffee, yerba mate, white tea and water as if I’m getting paid to do so (I’m not). In my spare time, I run a few multi-author blogs that give all the revenue they generate to worthy causes. When they produce a wireless Internet connection that plugs directly into the medulla oblongata, I’ll be first in line.
Gabriele Corcos is an entrepreneur, tech aficionado, chef, restauranteur, New York Times bestselling author, television personality, husband, and father of two daughters. He was born October 7th, 1972 in Florence, Italy and raised in the scenic olive country of Fiesole, in the Italian region of Tuscany.
Corcos’ love for Tuscan cooking, his captivation with food, and obsession for organic ingredients is thanks to his mother and grandmother who taught him all about Tuscan food and traditional Italian farmers’ fare.
Traveling the world as a percussionist, while “chasing love” he landed in Los Angeles in 2001. Early in his culinary career, while living in L.A., Corcos worked for Mark Peel of Campanile Restaurant, and Gino Angelini of Osteria Angelini. In 2012, Corcos was appointed the Executive Chef of the prestigious Montauk Yacht Club, in Montauk, New York.
Fast forward to the mid-2000s when tech-savvy Corcos began posting a series of “how to” Italian cooking videos on YouTube before it became a household name. The series was titled “Under The Tuscan Gun” and starred Corcos and his wife, actress, Debi Mazar. The whole idea behind the concept was to educate viewers about how quality ingredients, easy prep, and home cooked meals can change your life for the better.
From chef to television producer. Thanks to the popularity of his “how to” YouTube cooking videos, in 2010 Corcos made his television debut alongside his wife, Debi sharing their passion for Tuscan food and cooking with the world. The Cooking Channel series, Extra Virgin, was created and produced by Corcos and won a prestigious James Beard Award for the best ‘Television Program, in Studio or Fixed Location’ category.
From television producer to entrepreneur. During the summer of 2010 while filming the first season of Extra Virgin, the “rules of television” wouldn’t allow Corcos to wear any t-shirts featuring graphics, trademarks, or brand logos. So Corcos decided to take matters into his own hands and “use the opportunity to convey a message to all my prospective future viewers” and thus in a nutshell Peace and Pasta his clothing line came to be. 2012-13 was a busy year for Corcos’. Not only did he create, produce and host a hit television cooking show, he also was named Brand Ambassador for two Multi-National Food Corporations: House Foods America and Lavazza where he continues to help execute the brand’s visions as well as conduct satellite tours on both brands behalf. In 2014 Corcos along with his wife, Debi authored their first cookbook, Extra Virgin: Recipes & Love from Our Tuscan Kitchen, a New York Times bestseller, released by Simon and Schuster.In May 2015, Corcos opened his restaurant “The Tuscan Gun” in his hometown of Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, New York. Serving breakfast and lunch, the 15-seat eatery also hosts occasional cooking classes and ticketed dinners. The restaurant has received numerous accolades including a critic’s pick by NY Magazine and a #10 spot in the Power Rank list compiled by Grub Street. Premiering in March of 2016 on The Cooking Channel, Corcos, his wife Debi, and their two daughters Evelina and Giulia appeared on Extra Virgin Americana, a culinary travel show.
A follow-up to 2014’s New York Times Best Seller, Extra Virgin. Corcos and his wife, Debi, authored their second cookbook titled – Super Tuscan: Heritage Recipes and Simple Pleasures from Our Kitchen to Your Table, released by Simon and Schuster in October 2017. New Tech. Of late, Corcos along with YouVisit a Virtual Reality company won a VR Fest 2018 award for Best VR Live Action Project for Television; an interactive virtual brand experience created to promote his new book, Super Tuscan: Heritage Recipes and Simple Pleasures from Our Kitchen to Your Table. A visionary with an infatuation for all things tech, Corcos will be a guest panelist at the SXSW Conference and Festival in Austin Texas, March 2018 where experts from culinary, media, and tech celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries.
Aspiring to build a lifestyle brand and a community around it, Corcos’ most recent undertaking is naturally tech related. A built from scratch, self-produced cooking show called “Counter Talk Live” streamed from his restaurant The Tuscan Gun in Brooklyn that airs on Facebook Live every Tuesday at 8:00 PM – Eastern Standard Time.
A global leader in building high fidelity virtual humans powered by artificial intelligence working in the entertainment and hospitality, customer service and training verticals.
SNathan is the Founder & President of the VR/AR Association – a global community of companies in virtual reality and augmented reality consisting of over 60 global chapters. Previously, Nathan was the Founder & CEO of Aisle411, a leading indoor navigation and augmented reality software services company for global leading retailers and brands.
Nathan speaks and keynotes at conferences on the subjects of mobile platforms, augmented reality and virtual reality, virtual humans and AI, and has been featured on CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, Bloomberg and TechCrunch.
Cathy Hackl is an Emmy-nominated communicator turned virtual reality & augmented reality global speaker, producer, and futurist. She’s a Partner at Mixed Reality Ventures and works as Lead Futurist at You Are Here Immersive Labs, one of the Southeast’s most prominent XR labs. Prior to that, Hackl worked as an HTC VIVE VR Evangelist during the launch of their latest headset, the VIVE Pro, and during the company’s partnership with Warner Brothers’ blockbuster, Ready Player One. She’s the author of Marketing New Realities: An Introduction to VR & AR Marketing, Branding & Communications. Hackl was named by IZEA and Onalytica as a leading augmented reality and virtual reality influencer and also by NBC News as one of the top women working in virtual reality. Hackl served as chief communications & content officer for Future Lighthouse, one of the world’s top VR studios focused on branded VR narrative, where she collaborated on projects with brands like Sony Pictures Entertainment, Oculus, Beefeater, and William Morris Endeavor. Hackl was also selected as a 2017 Oculus Launch Pad Fellow, a program designed to support promising diverse VR content creators and help them bring their unique ideas to market. She’s the founder of Latinos in VR/AR and has spoken about VR and social media in more than 10 countries. Hackl has been featured in media outlets like Mic, CNN, Silicon Beat, Entrepreneur, CMO.com, Forbes, VentureBeat and Mashable. She is a global advisor for VR AR Association and a leading voice in the VR AR marketing space. Before working in AR, VR and social media, Hackl worked as a journalist for CNN, Discovery Communications, and ABC News. She’s also the creator of the holographic press release. She loves all things mixed reality, tech, AI and blockchain.
Dorothy Dowling is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Best Western® Hotels & Resorts. Dowling, a 30-year hotel industry veteran, directs all marketing and sales strategies, overseeing the brand’s loyalty program, consumer and field marketing activities, advertising and public relations.
Since joining Best Western in 2004, Dowling has implemented a number of measures to increase market share and contemporize the iconic Best Western brand. She re-branded the company’s loyalty program to Best Western Rewards®, increased its membership by 13 million and more than doubled its revenue contribution percentage to hotels. The program has since earned key industry recognitions in recent years, such as the top loyalty program by Loyalty 360 and the “Best Hotel Chain Loyalty Program” by Business Traveler Awards. For four years in a row, Best Western Rewards was ranked as a top hotel loyalty program by U.S. News & World Report.
Under Dowling’s leadership, Best Western has strengthened its strategic partnership with AAA®/CAA®. As a result, Best Western has been named AAA Lodging Partner of the Year every year since 2008. In 2016, AAA also named Best Western “Best in Marketing,” “Best in Member Support,” and “Best in Travel Agency Support.”
During Dowling’s tenure, Best Western introduced its descriptor program, which established three distinct hotel types, and made significant investments in its sales programs. As a result, Best Western Plus® and Best Western® ranked in the top three upper-mid-price and mid-price hotel brands by the Business Travel News survey for three years in a row.
Dowling has also overseen critical user experience improvements to the bestwestern.com booking channel, as well as the launch of multiple mobile initiatives, including the iPhone and Android application, Best Western To Go®. Under her leadership, Best Western has become a leading hotel player in digital marketing through innovative partnerships with TripAdvisor®, Facebook® and Google®, among others. In 2016, Best Western launched the Best Western Virtual Reality Experience (BWVRE), making it the first major company of its size and scale to utilize this cutting-edge technology and enhance the customer experience. Complete with music and narration, the BWVRE provides travelers with an immersive 360 degree look into its hotel offerings – setting a new industry standard and reinventing how guests view hotels. In September 2013, Dowling was named Vice President of the Global Business Travel Association Allied Leadership Council.Dowling currently serves on, and is a former chair of the HSMAI Americas Board of Directors, and is past president of HSMAI Canada.
Dowling has been honored with a number of awards, including being named the 18th most influential Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) in the world in the Forbes/ScribbleLive/LinkedIn’s 4th Annual CMO Influence Study in 2015. Dowling, who jumped in the rankings from 27th in 2014 to 18th in 2015, is the third highest ranked female CMO on the list. Additionally, she received the prestigious American Hotel Foundation Award for Best Practices in Guest Loyalty Programs, and was among HSMAI’s Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing two times. Finally, in 2014, Dowling was inducted into the Direct Marketing News Marketing Hall of Femme.
Before joining Best Western, Dowling held executive-level positions with ARAMARK’s parks, resorts and conventions divisions. She began her hospitality career in Canada after earning a joint Masters of Arts degree in sociology and leisure studies from the University of Waterloo in Ontario. In 2008, Dowling received the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2016, Dowling’s alma mater awarded her with the prestigious Applied Health Sciences Alumni Achievement Award for her outstanding contributions to the health and wellbeing of society through her professional accomplishments.
For over 25 years, Brett Leonard has been at the forefront of the digital media revolution – whether it be as Director/ Writer of the groundbreaking cult-classic film Lawnmower Man, which introduced the concept of Virtual Reality to popular culture – or being the first to pioneer modern stereoscopic techniques and photo-realistic CGI in his hit IMAX 3D film “T-Rex” – or introducing American audiences to Russell Crowe and many other talents both in front of and behind the camera – Brett’s work as a visionary Director/Producer/Futurist has always pushed the edge of innovation in the entertainment industry, and continues to do so with a project slate at his production company Global Human Entertainment.
Brett is also CCO of Virtuosity, a next-generation VR/AR studio he co-founded with legendary digital-effects executive Scott Ross (who ran ILM/LucasFilm and co-founded Digital Domain with James Cameron) – Virtuosity is focused on defining a
platform for truly interactive narrative entertainment for the emerging mediums of Virtual and Augmented Reality.
Sam Wolfe is the Founder of PitchFWD, a Marketing + Branding agency working exclusively with immersive technologies. She co-authored the book “Marketing New Realities: An Introduction to Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Marketing, Branding, and Communications” and manages the group XR Branding & Marketing, dedicated to inform and empower those who work within the immersive industry.
Chris is Director of Immersive at Adobe, overseeing the company’s Immersive Media efforts.
Chris is the software architect for the SkyBox suite of 360˚ video and cinematic VR tools, which Adobe recently acquired from Chris’ previous company Mettle. Chris co-founded Mettle in 1992 and was Partner & Creative Director. Mettle transformed the nascent 360˚ VR video industry with their SkyBox software plugins for Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects, providing a dedicated toolset for editing and manipulating 360˚ video and introducing core features and functionality that had previously been missing from the market. Today, Mettle customers include Facebook, Google, Apple, Samsung, CNN, HBO, New York Times, NASA, and virtually all other professional 360˚ content producers. Chris is an advocate for immersive storytelling, and regular presenter at SIGGRAPH, NAB and IBC conferences. Chris grew up in Montréal, and previously worked as a creative director, art director, illustrator and production manager.
Brian Fanzo inspires, motivates and educates businesses on how to leverage emerging technologies and digital marketing to stand out from the noise and reach the millennial and generation z consumers. He has a diverse background working for the Department of Defense in cybersecurity, then as a technology evangelist at a booming cloud computing startup and is currently the founder of iSocialFanz which has helped launch digital and influencer strategies with the world’s most iconic brands like Dell EMC, Adobe, IBM, UFC, Applebees and SAP. A proud pager-wearing millennial and Dad of three girls, Brian hosts two podcasts (FOMOFanz & SMACtalk), has traveled to over 70 countries and has spoken at many of the world’s largest events including SXSW, Social Media Marketing World, CES, Mobile World Congress. Brian is a diehard Pittsburgh sports fan and semi-professional poker player that isn’t afraid to leverage his fast-talking skills to read your body language and spot when you’re bluffing!.
John has a twenty-year career in the entertainment business, writing for video games, films,
television, digital media and books. Starting as a tour guide at Universal Studios, John began
working in production on shows such as The New Lassie, Matlock and Harry and the Hendersons.
His work as Visual Effects Producer in the early days of video games led to a relationship with Sega,
where John designed, produced and wrote the highly successful Sega CD, Tomcat Alley.
Realizing his love of video games, John would go on to write and produce Johnny Mnemonic for
Sony Imagesoft, leading to an overall production agreement with Propaganda Code during which he
developed several titles and film properties for Philips Media. John then created Fear Effect for
Eidos, which was named the Playstation action game of the year by IGN. The film Venom, released
by Dimension, was based on an original property he co-created with Flint Dille.
John has written and designed over sixty projects for every major publisher and studio, including:
HAWx2, Apache Air Assault, Wanted: Weapons of Fate, Ghostbusters, F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin,
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Escape from Butcher Bay and Dark Athena (Chronicles of
Riddick saga) and Wheelman. John’s book The Ultimate Guide to Video Game Writing and Design
(co-authored by Flint Dille) has remained a top seller on Amazon.com since its release.
John was a creative at Niantic Labs, developer of Ingress and Pokémon GO, and a creative
consultant on a reboot of his Fear Effect property for Square Enix Collective. He is currently
developing Summoners War as a multi-platform property for Skybound, as well as writing the
current Jurassic World game for Universal and Frontier Developments.