A.J. Mirabedini, CEO, is a life-long entrepreneur focused on the marketing needs of other entrepreneurs and small businesses. His training, background and professional focus as a founder, CEO of two national marketing firms, serving the needs of hundreds of small businesses makes him a natural leader for GKIC. His career has been dedicated to learning and solving the unique business and marketing challenges of small and medium sized businesses. A.J. is known as a passionate leader in the field of establishing and furthering a customer-focused culture and a master of the entire marketing process. In his previous roles, A.J. led companies offering a full range of market research, strategic planning, creative, media and fulfillment services. His focus at GKIC is to evolve the products and services while building empowered teams of employees and developing deep-rooted relationships with GKIC members.
Deb Billow, President, is a seasoned marketing professional with expertise founded in Fortune 500 consumer package goods and strengthened by Senior Management Leadership roles in entrepreneurial and nonprofit organizations. As President of GKIC, she brings 25+ years of experience from leadership roles as the Chief Customer Officer at the American Marketing Association, VP of Marketing at Beckett Associates, and Director of Brand Management at ConAgra Foods. Deb earned a B.A. in Economics from the University of Rochester and an MBA from Duke University.
Nick Loise, VP of Business Consultants and Member Services, comes to GKIC after being a successful entrepreneur and Dan Kennedy and GKIC student. He has owned and operated two separate business, one that is still in operation today. He originally saw Dan Kennedy in 1994 at Success International event in Arizona and has been a student since then. From there he then took the keys of Magnetic Marketing and implemented the key points. He resides in Park Ridge Il, with his wife and two kids. Nick's day to day responsibilities are leading the Business Consultants, concierge and Sponsorship and Exhibitor Sales.
Dave Dee, after graduating from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Communication, started his career in radio as promotions director and copywriter and salesman. Dave, an entrepreneur at heart, wanted to work for himself and opened up a small chain of magic shops and a karate school before deciding to make his dream of being a professional magician come true. After diving head first and applying GKIC marketing, Dave went from doing three shows a month to averaging over 25 shows a month in less than 90 days.
He parlayed that success into an information marketing business where he sold products, seminars and coaching programs that helped entertainers market and sell themselves more effectively. Other business owners, including many GKIC members, took notice and started asking Dave for his help and guidance. And from that his consulting business blossomed. For over 16 years, and now at GKIC, Dave has been inspiring and teaching entrepreneurs and business owners how to have more successful businesses that give them more freedom, money and personal fulfillment.
Dan Schober, VP Finance, has over 25 years of professional experience in finance working for Fortune 500 companies in the consumer products and medical device industries. He was Director of Finance/Controller for Ohio Medical Corporation overseeing the company's financial planning/analysis and all financial and accounting operations for the company's Canadian subsidiary. He has also held positions in finance at Kraft Foods, ConAgra Foods, and Sara Lee. Dan earned his B.S. in Accounting at the State University of New York — Geneseo and a Master's Degree in Accounting Information Systems from Florida Atlantic University. Dan is a licensed CPA in the state of Georgia and a registered CPA in Illinois.
Kim Phelan, Editor-in-Chief, is a seasoned print, digital, and live event content developer. Kim’s background ranges from association management and publishing to publishing and marketing in the construction, healthcare, and higher education industries. She has deep experience in the creation of marketing campaigns for products, services, events and courses.
Kim is a journalist and magazine editor who began her career as an award-winning publications copywriter. She has been an invited “Magazine of the Year” judge for the American Society of Business Publication Editors’ national contest for five years. Having worked eight years as executive editor and director of programs with a national trade association that serves small businesses in equipment distribution, she is plugged in to the marketing, financial and advocacy needs of small-business owners.
Johanna Morlock-Abbasi, a career marketer, began her work shortly after graduating from DePaul University. An avid runner and three-time Chicago marathon finisher, Johanna applies a constant life-learning experience in everything she does.
In addition to concentrating on and collaboratively improving the challenges she’s encountered in her 25-year marketing career, she makes time to not only enrich her home environment, she is also active in charitable work with local non-profits. She often hosts and leads fundraising efforts that significantly increase awareness and support to those needing a hand up instead of a hand-out.
After nearly 20 years with a nationally known publisher, and working closely with GKIC for many of those years, Johanna is responsible for Content Strategy and Development for GKIC products.
Rick Gignac, Membership Director, has over 25 years’ experience leading membership retention and acquisition at several top small and mid-sized businesses, including as Marketing Director at United Marketing Group and AAA Chicago, where he produced the two top membership years in AAA Chicago’s 100-year history.
Rick has brought his passion for building an outstanding membership experience to GKIC. His responsibilities include providing an unrivalled membership experience for our trial members that engages and delights them by fulfilling their needs and exceeding their expectations, thus motivating them to become full members. Rick’s focus for members is to fully understand their individual business challenges and guide them to the various GKIC memberships, services and products that best meet their needs.
Mark Bromberg, Director of Business Development, is a senior sales leader with over 25 years of direct and indirect business development and channel management experience. Mark’s entrepreneurial careen began in college when he started his first software company, Triad Legal Software, during his junior year. Since then Mark has founded two other businesses and held channel management positions with numerous technology firms, helping them enter new markets and expand their sales via indirect sales.
At GKIC, Mark oversees the indirect sales operations working with GKIC’s Independent and Certified Business Advisors, Strategic Partners, and Affiliates. Mark’s hands-on experience is enhanced with certifications in document management and customer relationship management systems, giving him a unique perspective to help his clients and partners identify and overcome the operational challenges of their clients.
Mike Stodola, Product Implementation Director, has been in the direct response marketing world since graduating from college and immediately becoming an entrepreneur. Using Dan Kennedy and GKIC as a guide, he grew his real estate business so fast that at the age of 24 he opened his own brokerage and in less than 18 months the marketing systems he put in place kept over 30 real estate agents busy on appointments full time. He's worked with a wide variety brick and mortar entrepreneurs and sales professionals, helping them grow their businesses through effective, automated direct response marketing. These have included everything from pizza parlors to personal trainers, and insurance agents to medical sales reps.
Wil Beyers started his entrepreneurial journey directly out of college. His first business was a small web design and computer repair shop. As he worked more and more with small businesses on their web presence, he noticed a trend of these small business owners needing marketing help. This led Wil to start his own independent marketing consulting business, GenFour Media & Marketing. After five years of success in his own business, Wil accepted a position at GKIC as their Digital Marketing Director. His passion is in helping small businesses succeed through well thought-out marketing strategies and an extensive online presence.