Social Business Summit – Introducing our Panelists

The agenda for this week’s Social Business Summit includes two panel discussions, featuring representatives from seven leading national brands. These digital practitioners help shape and execute social media strategies on a daily basis and their insights will be a valuable addition to the in-depth study sessions lead by Jeremiah Owyang.

The panel discussions will feature:


Justin Gardner

Social Media Manager, AMC Theatres

Currently, Justin Gardner is planning and executing social strategies to offer guests more ways to engage in conversations about AMC Theatres, movies and the moviegoing experience. He also manages a LA-based blogging team who cover red carpet events, junkets and create original content for AMC’s movie news blog.

In addition to his job, he maintains a popular multi-partisan, political blog called, which boasts a roster of over 20 authors and has received over 4.4M+ page views since July 2005. The site has also been highlighted by the New York Times, CNN, Real Clear Politics, Huffington Post, MSNBC, Yahoo Sites of the Day, Guardian UK, FiveThirtyEight, Rasmussen Reports, Media Bistro and many more.

From 2004 to 2006, he worked as a Communications Manager for Kozoru, a startup that built a search technology that delivered answers to questions inside a wide array of IM clients. During that time, the company was profiled by Fast Company, Wired, San Jose Mercury News, CNET and BBC.

Before that, he was a Copywriter for Muller + Company, where my work was recognized by Creativity, AdWeek, Graphis, AIGA and garnered numerous industry awards, including several Best of Show Addys.


Jason Gertzen

Manager, Social Media, Sprin

Jason Gertzen is a member of the Sprint Corporate Communications team that uses social media to tell the company’s story and engage with customers.

In addition to contributing to the management of Sprint’s presence on Facebook, user forums, blogs and other social networking sites, Jason also helped create a program supporting other employees who serve as Sprint advocates. The growing Sprint Social Media Ninjas initiative has educated 1,000+ employees about social media best practices and equips them with information and encouragement allowing them to engage with customers through social media.

Prior to his current role, Gertzen co-founded and managed an award-winning blog and worked as a newspaper journalist.


Scott Gulbransen

Director of Social Media and Digital Content, Applebee’s

Scott Gulbransen, when not listening to Van Halen or AC/DC loudly on his iPhone, is the Director of Social Media & Digital Content at Applebee’s in Lenexa, Kansas. In his role, he doesn’t get to live out his inner Eddie Van Halen much but he does lead the social media marketing and digital content efforts for the world’s largest casual dining chain.

Prior to his gig at Applebee’s, Gulbransen was a member of the TurboTax PR and social media team. Scott helped launch and sustain the brand’s social media platform including interacting with customers and journalists on a daily basis. Recently, he launched one of the most significant social media campaigns in the brand’s history with the @TeamTurboTax Twitter project.  He also was instrumental in developing and executing the successful “Freeloader Nation” campaign for TurboTax in 2009. The campaign, which was aimed at attracting new and younger customers to TurboTax’s free product via social media, included a series of MySpace Secret Shows with acts like Lily Allen, Fall Out Boy and Metro Station.

Gulbransen was instrumental in reinvigorating the Quicken brand almost entirely through the use of social media and, particularly, Twitter.  By engaging with customers and influencers who talk about personal finance on Twitter, he and his team have helped Quicken Online grow from just 200,000 users in October 2008 to over 1.4 Million in just 10 months.  This led to a more focused look at the personal finance space and, ultimately, the acquisition of

Scott is a former print journalist, who, after realizing his paychecks from the newspaper industry weren’t going to get much bigger, turned to the Dark Side – public relations. After working in both college athletics and inside mid-size agencies, he joined Intuit in 2000, then Sony Online Entertainment in 2010 and now Applebee’s. He is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV – Go Runnin’ Rebels!) and is the married father of four kids – all of whom have no choice but to listen to his horrid version of “Eruption” on his 5150 replica.

To hassle Scott, or to send him thoughts on how much you agree with his point of view, you can follow him on Twitter at @sdgully. Scott also is a contributor for Technorati, writes for the Dad’s blog and also reviews gluten free food and restaurants on


Jake Jacobson

Social Media Manager, Garmin International

The @Garmin Twitter account was born in the back seat of a van in rural France, where Jake Jacobson was following the best cyclists in the world. Since that first stage of the 2008 Tour, Jake has used Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and the Garmin blog to blend personality with product information while engaging and educating customers in Garmin’s many global markets – automotive, aviation, fitness, outdoor, marine and mobile. Jake’s current role as Social Media Manager for the world leader in satellite navigation embodies his enthusiasm for an active, social lifestyle and experience in professional communication, public speaking and journalism


Julie Weeks

Marketing Communications Manager, Boulevard Brewing Co

Julie Weeks has spent almost six years of her professional career at Boulevard Brewing Co. During her time at the brewery, Weeks has played key roles in catapulting social media and public relations efforts, developing the hospitality department and representing the brewery as a spokesperson locally and within the craft brewing community. Weeks began her career as a reporter and anchor at KCAU-TV in Sioux City, Iowa, and has spent time honing her public relations skills at Sturges Word and Barkley, both in Kansas City. She’s always had a place in her heart for craft beers and a passion for story telling which makes her position at Boulevard her perfect livelihood.


Zena Weist
Director of Social Media, H&R Block

Zena Weist is the Director of Social Media with H&R Block. She leads an award winning social media team who has received national acclaim for integrated online marketing communication programs and the H&R Block online community including the National Social Advertising, Media and Marketing (SAMMY) Award for Best Social CRM from digiDaily, the National PRNews Platinum for Social Media Award. Recently, the H&R Block Corporate Twitter Account was selected as one of only ten brands on Time Magazine’s Top 140 Twitter Feeds.

Zena is a digital practitioner and integrated media strategist with over 17 years of online marketing experience including executive leadership in digital start-ups, account management with interactive agencies and client-side roles with Hallmark, Sprint and Embarq in online brand engagement, integrated marketing communications and project management.


One additional introduction. When Jeremiah arrives in Kansas City he will be accompanied by Christine Tran. Christine works closely with Jeremiah at Altimeter Group, conducting research and analysis on customer strategies. She will share some of that research with attendees at the Social Business Summit, another valuable benefit for those attending:


Christine Tran

 Researcher, Altimeter Group 

Christine Tran works closely with Jeremiah Owyang in the Customer Strategy practice at Altimeter Group. She conducts research and analysis on customer strategies, focusing on emerging technologies which currently include social marketing, social CRM, mobile, and location-based services.

Christine recently returned to the Bay Area from Vietnam, where she spent a year and a half as a Project Manager serving U.S. e-commerce companies. While in Vietnam, she also completed her MBA through the University of Hawaii’s offsite program based in Ho Chi Minh City. Christine wrote her thesis on online customer engagement in Vietnam, researching US models and interviewing Vietnam’s early adopters, entrepreneurs, VCs, and brand managers. Previously, she was the Program Director for Vietnam and Myanmar at San Francisco-based nonprofit Volunteers in Asia. Christine blogs at

Leave a Reply