Skip to Content Skip to Footer

AMA Leadership

AMA Executive Team

Bennie F. Johnson – Chief Executive Officer

Bennie F. Johnson is the Chief Executive Officer of the American Marketing Association. AMA is the largest community-based marketing association in the world, trusted by marketing and sales professionals to help them discover industry trends. AMA’s community of local chapters spans more than 70 cities and 320 college campuses throughout North America. AMA is home to award-winning content, PCM® professional certification, five premiere academic journals, and industry-leading live and virtual training events.

He most recently served as the Executive Director of AIGA, the largest professional association for design. AIGA grows the power of design as a professional craft, strategic advantage, business driver and catalyst for positive impact. While at AIGA, Bennie hosted the acclaimed Design Adjacent podcast and the design leadership fireside chat series from 2020 to 2022.  

Currently, he serves on the Board of Overseers for Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies, as a Trustee of the Smithsonian Archives of American Art and is a former Board Chair of the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum. Bennie is also a special advisor to the People’s Graphic Design Archive.

Bennie thrives on the connections between marketing, technology, education and innovation. With experience in strategic and consumer marketing, brand management and innovation management, he is drawn to opportunities that allow him to lead and create new modes for business engagement. He has broad experience growing brands, businesses and organizations with a special focus on venture launch and brand relaunch business environments.

Bennie graduated from Yale University with a B.A. and from Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies with a M.S., Strategic Communications.

Jeremy Van Ek – Chief Operating Officer

Jeremy VanEk AMA COO

Jeremy came to the AMA as Chief Operating Officer in 2016.

Jeremy has spent his 20+ year career in the marketing industry in roles that drive strategy, financial performance, digital transformation, people development and operational efficiency.  His experience spans many different types of organizations: B2B and B2C; regional, national, and global; public, private, and non-profit. He’s had the pleasure of successfully managing the good, the bad and the ugly: high-growth and severe retrenchment business cycles, mergers and acquisitions, digital transformation, exit strategies, change leadership, global process evolution, and being cash-strapped to cash-flush and everything in between.

As COO of the AMA, Jeremy has primary responsibility for the execution, enablement and development of all finance, operations and technology within the organization, including but not limited to:

• Optimizing performance

• Delivering significant cost efficiencies

• Executing transformational or change management projects

• Discovering and supporting growth opportunities for the business

• Ensuring effective governance and risk management

• Developing and implementing financing and M&A strategies

• Accountability to Board of Directors for integrity of all finance and business operations

• Managing functional departments, including Accounting and Finance, Human Resources, Business and Information Technology, Project Management and Office Administration.

Adara Bowen – Executive Vice President, Growth and Strategy

Prior to her current role, Adara was a champion for the launch and rollout of the AMA brand across its global support center, 70+ professional chapters and 350+ collegiate chapters. She also played a strategic role in the association’s recent technology transformation. 

Adara is no stranger to brand transformation. Prior to the AMA, she worked across account management, brand strategy, business development and marketing at well-known branding firms Landor and Kaleidoscope. She has contributed to delivering and winning work for companies like Procter & Gamble, Kraft Heinz, Kohler, Dow, ConAgra, Newell Brands, Elmer’s, Bell’s Brewery, Fairlife, Hospira, Delhaize America and others.

Matt Weingarden – Senior Vice President, Communities and Journals

A fan of AMA and Marketing history, Matt Weingarden appreciates the tradition, passion and innovative spirit that are hallmarks of the AMA’s three broad communities and four journals. As Vice President, Communities & Journals, Matt is grateful to support the AMA’s network of community leaders and get-it-done volunteers. Since joining the AMA, Matt helped reenergize the academic community and led a journal production transformation in partnership with SAGE Publishing.

Matt has worked in volunteer management and marketing roles at internationally recognized universities, traditional membership associations and municipal government. If you know any AMA trivia, please share it by emailing mweingarden@ama.org.

Julie Schnidman – Vice President, Alliances

Julie has always believed in the power of partnerships to create transformational change. As Vice President of the Alliances team, Julie leads the advertising and sponsorship efforts of the AMA, ensuring that our B2B partners find the right platform to share their unique solutions with our engaged audience of marketers. She is also grateful to oversee the AMA Foundation, which celebrates marketers who have made an impact in their community and supports the next generation of marketing leaders.

Prior to her work at the AMA, Julie served in business development, grants administration and client services roles within corporate and nonprofit organizations. 

Molly Soat – Vice President, Professional Development

As the Vice President of Professional Development, Molly oversees a team of production and programming experts that strategize, curate and create experiences to drive employable skills and personal growth for our marketing community. In her eight-year tenure at the AMA, Molly has served in creative and leadership roles for the AMA’s practitioner publication, Marketing News.


Prior to her work at the AMA, Molly was the editor in charge of magazines spanning business and architectural design verticals. She’s always looking for good book recommendations, and can be reached at msoat@ama.org.

Charles WigginsVice President, Technology

CW Headshot

A technology transformation evangelist, Charles has continuously evolved how the AMA, its customers, communities and partners utilize and interact with digital experiences.  By collaboratively working with AMA key stakeholders over his ten-year tenure, Charles and his teams have delivered updated and innovative technology that has and will continue to enable the AMA to drive its strategic goals and mission forward well into the future.

Prior to his time at the AMA, Charles held various technologist roles in the fields of marketing and advertising, data analytics, finance and health care.


2022-23 Board of Directors

The AMA Board of Directors is a group of volunteer leaders who are impactful visionaries in marketing. They provide insight and guidance as the AMA works to become the essential community for marketers.

Kevin BradfordChairperson

Kevin D. Bradford is a teaching professor of marketing at the University of California, Irvine and has been at UCI for one and one half years.  Previous to UCI, professor Bradford was a professor at the University of Notre Dame for 17 years.

He conducts research on developing understanding of significant issues within the marketing system and its relationship to society.  This system can be viewed as consisting of three sets of actors – marketers, customers, and public policymakers.  To this point his work has centered on all three; the marketing domain (e.g., salespeople and the development of relationships), the customer domain (e.g., buyer-seller relationships), and public policy domain (e.g., firearm diversion).  Thus, his research to date can be more specifically summarized in terms of three streams; the factors affecting salesperson performance in the development and maintenance of buyer seller relationships, the development of effective distribution channel relationships, and marketing’s impacts on society.  Though the majority of his research is on the factors affecting the role of the salesperson in developing close buyer seller relationships, the stream of research mentioned last (marketing’s impact on society) is predicated, mostly, on the factors affecting the leakage of firearms into criminal markets in the United States.

Kevin received an “Excellence in Sales Scholarship Award” from the American Marketing Association’s special interest group supporting research in the selling and sales management. He also received the honorable mention award for the “Best Paper Contributing to Theory and Practice to Retail Marketing”.

Kevin teaches numerous different topics across the marketing spectrum at UCI; marketing research, sales management, digital marketing, advertising, and strategic marketing.

Kevin received his B.A. from the University of Northern Iowa, His M.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, and his Ph.D. from the University of Florida.

Lisa Bowman – Chairperson-Elect

Lisa Bowman is the founder and Chief Mojo Officer (CMO) of Marketing Mojo. She most recently served as United Way Worldwide’s Chief Marketing Officer leading the organization’s efforts to create, develop and implement global marketing strategies highlighting the organization’s image and 130 -year history of galvanizing donors, advocates, volunteers and workplace partners to fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community.  

She joined United Way Worldwide from a 15-year career at UPS. Lisa began her career with UPS in 2000 as Vice President of Market Development for UPS e-Ventures, the company’s dot-com incubator. In subsequent senior-level marketing roles with the logistics company, she led several high-profile marketing initiatives designed to transform UPS from its historical position as a business-to-business entity into a business-to-business-to-consumer entity. 

Following UPS’ 2001 acquisition of the former Mail Boxes, Etc. network of nearly 4,000 franchised locations, Lisa led the integration and re-branding to The UPS Store™. In 2009, she developed and launched UPS Direct-to Door, a co-op media product intended to compete with direct mail. She then took a role in The UPS Foundation, where as part of her $80 million social investment portfolio she also oversaw the transportation company’s United Way campaign.

Target Marketing Magazine recognized Lisa as their Marketer of the Year in December 2019. She was also honored by the American Marketing Association as their 2017 Non-Profit Marketer of the Year. Her work has received numerous awards inclusive of the Harvey Communications Awards, multiple Gold Stevie® Awards, multiple PRNews Awards, and multiple Gold MarComm awards. The PSA campaign she launched on behalf of United Way in her inaugural year was recognized as PSA of the Year by PRNews. Under her leadership, United Way’s research team also received a DigitalEdge 50 Award for PerformanceLink; the organization’s first Business Intelligence tool.

Lisa holds a B.A. in Marketing from Columbia and has completed executive education at Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business.

Dennis R. James – Treasurer

Dennis James is the Chief Financial Officer of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. He joined the organization in late 2015, is the Treasurer of the board of directors and leads all finance and accounting activities.

Dennis has spent his professional career in the Chicagoland area, mostly in the banking and insurance industries – working with both Citibank NA and CNA Insurance. Since 2005, he has worked in the global not-for-profit arena for both religious and membership organizations.

Born in St. Cloud, Minnesota, he attended St. Cloud State University and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Finance, with a minor in Speech Communications.  He then spent a summer in Crested Butte, Colorado, maintaining ski lifts and relaxing before earning his Master’s degree in international finance from Thunderbird in Glendale, Arizona. Dennis is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the State of Illinois.

He resides in Palatine, Illinois with his wife Sheryl and their three children.

Michael Brady – Secretary

Michael (“Mike”) Brady is the Bob Sasser Professor and chair, Department of Marketing, at Florida State University. He is also an affiliated faculty member or honorary professor at six universities around the world. Mike’s primary research interest lies at the intersection of customers and employees in frontline service transactions. He has published articles in many top scholarly journals, and his research articles have been cited over 25,000 times to date.

Mike has won numerous awards for research, teaching, and service, including the Christopher Lovelock Career Contributions to the Service Discipline Award. He is past president of the AMA Academic Council and a current member of the AMA Board of Directors. Mike is an area editor for Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science and just completed a four-year term as Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Service Research.

Karen Albritton – Immediate-Past Chairperson

Karen Albritton Chairperson Elect

Karen Albritton is an advisor to executives of emerging growth and mid-market companies, helping them drive performance and growth. At Thinc Strategy, she’s part of an experienced team of consultants who operate as strategic partners – working alongside business owners, executive leadership teams, and corporate boards – to develop and execute real strategies for measurable growth and change. The firm has helped over 140 companies in 26 countries boost their business value and elevate the people they employ.

Prior to joining Thinc Strategy, Karen was an executive with marketing services firms such as Ketchum, Capstrat and McKinney. In a decade as Capstrat President and then CEO, she helped grow the agency from a 20-person firm into an award-winning market leader. Among her accomplishments are a number of innovations: launching analytics, digital and social media services as well as building a national healthcare practice. She’s been a part of eight acquisitions, both as an acquirer and in successful exits, including the Capstrat sale to Omnicom.

Karen is a marketing industry advocate, serving on the board of directors for the American Marketing Association. In 2018, she was recognized as the AMA National Chapter Volunteer of the Year. She served as president of the Triangle chapter, leading the chapter to a Silver Chapter Excellence Award and continues to volunteer on the chapter’s past-presidents’ council. She was a member of the AMA Professional Chapters Council for five years, serving as AMA Leadership Summit co-chair and PCC president in 2013/14.

She has been a presenter at the Internet Summit, the PRSA Counselors Academy Annual Conference, the AMA Non-Profit Marketing Conference, the International Women’s Forum-Carolinas Chapter, AMA Symposium on Higher Education Marketing and at the AMA Collegiate Conference. She also speaks to corporate audiences for companies like Credit Suisse, Vanderbilt Health, Cotton, Incorporated and Siemens.

Karen is actively engaged in industry and community organizations.  Current board service includes the National Association for Corporate Directors-Research Triangle, and the UNC Health Foundation (audit and executive committees). She earned her B.A. degree in Journalism and Political Science at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ric Sweeney

Ric Sweeney is COE Director and Professor-Educator of Marketing at the Carl H. Linder College of Business at The University of Cincinnati. He currently serves as Faculty Advisor for UC DECA and serves on the Pride at Lindner Council. Ric is a Beta Gamma Sigma, Delta Sigma Pi, Order of Omega, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity member.

He has received numerous awards for teaching and service excellence, including the EXCEL Undergraduate Teaching Award, Boyd Innovation Award, UC’s Barbour Award, UC’s Cohen Award, and the Harold Grilliot Award.

Before joining UC, Ric served as Director of Marketing for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and has prior corporate marketing experience in banking, hospitality, and consumer insights. Ric is also the past-Chairman of the American Marketing Association’s Board of Directors and currently serves as Chair of the Board of Advisors for the AMA Foundation.

Vanitha Swaminathan

Vanitha Swaminathan is Thomas Marshall Professor of Marketing at the University of Pittsburgh and the Director of the Katz Center for Branding. Her research focuses on branding strategy and the conditions that foster consumer-brand relationships. Professor Swaminathan has published in various leading marketing and management journals including Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Consumer Research, Marketing Science, and Strategic Management Journal. She is currently serving as Area Editor of Journal of Marketing. She has won awards for her research including the Lehmann Best Paper Award (twice), Journal of Advertising’s Best Paper Award, and has been selected as Marketing Science Institute’s Young Scholar.

Vanitha served as President of American Marketing Association’s Academic Council (2018-19), and is currently completing her term on the Executive Committee of Academic Council as Past President (2019-2020). During her term on AMA’s Academic Council Executive committee, she championed various conference, SIG and Journal-related initiatives to grow AMA’s academic membership and deepen member engagement. Prior to that, she served as Co-chair of the AMA Winter Educators’ Conference (2015), Chairperson of the Digital Marketing Certification taskforce of the American Marketing Association, and has successfully helped launch the AMA’s digital certification program.

Vanitha’s research and commentaries on branding and digital marketing are quoted in various international media outlets such as Forbes, The Miami Herald, Los Angeles Times, U.S. News & World Report, NPR, Sirius Radio, Science Daily, Slate, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Economic Times (India), Frontline (India), BBC Brasil (UK), and Último. She has worked with companies such as The Hershey Company, KraftHeinz, StarKist, AC Nielsen, GlaxoSmithKline, and P&G, on marketing and branding consulting projects. She has also extensively worked with small businesses to advise them regarding their digital marketing efforts.

Vanitha has co-authored the Fifth Edition of the world-renowned textbook Strategic Brand Management: Building, Measuring, and Managing Brand Equity, along with Professor Kevin Lane Keller. At the University of Pittsburgh, she launched and is currently directing the Center for Branding, which provides thought leadership, research and consulting to various leading companies on branding, with a particular emphasis on brand management in a digital context.

Jessica Perry

An accomplished and groundbreaking leader in digital products, membership and subscription models, Jessica Perry has more than 25 years of experience directing online initiatives for major media operations and non-profits, bridging technology, content and change management to grow revenue and transform business operations.

As principal of Six Doors Media, Jessica is a consultant and advisor to organizations looking to reorganize legacy operations, set new cultural norms, strategies, customer engagement models and partnerships. 

From 2014-2019, Jessica was Chief Digital Officer and head of publishing for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the leading expert, convener and thought leader on issues impacting HR and today’s evolving workplaces.  As CDO, Perry was responsible for advancing digital services transformation at SHRM, overseeing a 53-person staff and its award-winning news, content and creative services operations, while significantly enhancing digital revenue through innovative advertising and reseller relationships. During this time, she more than doubled online media revenues and website traffic and engagement, helping establish SHRM as a voice at large for workplace issues and the future of work. As acting CIO, she helped with transitional technology leadership, overseeing significant infrastructure upgrades.  

From 2015-2019, Jessica served on the executive committee and as chairperson of the Software and Information Industry Association, the principal trade group and public policy representative for B2B content and data providers. 

Earlier experience included senior management roles advancing the digital footprint for many leading B2C brands, including Atlantic Media’s National Journal, Conde Nast properties and The Wall Street Journal Online. Perry began her career laying the interactive future for Dow Jones, in positions spanning marketing, business development, product development and editorial.  

Jessica has been on the advisory boards of early-stage SaaS and media companies. She has been a frequent speaker on the subject of digital media transformation and the future of work.  

She is a trustee of the Princeton-Blairstown Center, which provides adventure-based social-emotional learning to low-income students, and has also been active on a volunteer basis in organizations that provide career training and counseling to the low-income unemployed. She was also a founding member of the New Jersey Coalition for Medical Marijuana.  

Jessica holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in journalism from Northwestern University. 

Peter Barber

Peter Barber is a transformative marketing and branding executive recognized for success in leading innovative and comprehensive marketing, communications and branding strategies. He has worked extensively in the higher education, nonprofit, franchising and retail marketing sectors. Peter is a past co-chair of the AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education, where he led the volunteer planning committee in revamping the Symposium’s programming for greater appeal to senior decision-makers and incorporation of a stronger DEI focus. He is also a past chair of the AMA Nonprofit Marketing Conference, where he and the volunteer team organized the most highly attended event in the conference’s history. 

Peter has worked for a number of prestigious marketing and advertising companies, including Lipman Hearne, DDB, Campbell Mithun, Budget Car & Truck Rental, and the Leo Burnett Company. His experience includes work with some of the most well-known brands in the country, including Procter & Gamble, Ace Hardware, Rutgers University, Weber Grills, Black & Decker and McDonald’s.

Peter currently serves as the Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Trout Unlimited, a conservation nonprofit working to protect and restore America’s coldwater streams and rivers. He is a graduate of Drake University and a resident of Durham, North Carolina.

Robin Tooms

Robin Tooms has spent her 20+-year professional career ascending from a variety of roles – from creative and design, to leading strategy for clients and serving as a virtual CMO, to an in-house CMO for a leading financial institution. As an innovative marketer, she has deep expertise in areas including B2B, corporate and product branding, digital marketing and marketing automation, and integrated brand and marketing strategies. Over the years, she has gained a reputation for driving initiatives that capture millions of dollars in brand value and new revenue opportunities.

Tooms firmly believes that everyone has a responsibility to support the community that helped their personal and professional success. Her mission has been twofold: create awareness and value for our design and marketing communities, and to support the organizations and students that will shape the next generation of professionals. To do this, she regularly volunteers for board and leadership positions with organizations, including the American Marketing Association (AMA).

She holds an MBA with a concentration in Marketing Management from Rice University, in addition to a BFA in Graphic Communications from the University of Houston.

Tiffany White

Tiffany Barnett White is Associate Professor of Business Administration and Advertising and Bruce and Anne Strohm Faculty Fellow in the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois. She serves as Academic Director of the Master of Science in Management program at Gies and Faculty Athletics Representative for the University of Illinois. She received a Ph.D. in marketing from Duke University and BS and MS degrees in Advertising from the University of Illinois.

Her research addresses affective and behavioral aspects of consumer-brand relationships with a particular emphasis on the drivers and outcomes of consumer (dis)trust. White has presented on the topic of branding and brand strategy to national and international audiences. Her research on the “Brand Connected Consumer” is a featured TEDx presentation. She is an award-winning teacher and is consistently featured on the University-wide list of faculty rated as excellent by their students. 

White served as Secretary-Treasurer for the Society for Consumer Psychology, At-Large Director for the Association for Consumer Research and as ACR Co-Chair. She is a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Consumer Psychology, the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, and the Journal of Service Research.

Anders Gustafsson

Anders Gustafsson is a professor of marketing at BI The Norwegian Business School. Anders is also Distinguished Professorial Fellow at the University of Manchester’s Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS). He is conducting research on customer satisfaction and loyalty, management of customer relationships, and consumer behavior. Anders has published articles in journals such as Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, and Journal of Consumer Research. 

He is the current editor-in-chief for Journal of Business Research. Anders was the first international president for the American Marketing Association Academic Council and he is also a recipient of the Christopher Lovelock Career Contributions to the Services Discipline Award. Recently, he has joined The Sheth Foundation as a member of the board.

Brian Fergemann

Brian Fergemann is Senior Counsel, Marketing and Intellectual Property, at McDonald’s Corporation, where he counsels the business on a wide range of legal issues related to advertising, marketing, social media engagement and intellectual property. Prior to joining McDonald’s in 2016, Brian was a Partner in the Advertising and Marketing practice group at the law firm of Winston & Strawn in Chicago, where his clients included both national advertisers and agencies. While at Winston & Strawn he was recognized by Chambers USA as an “Up and Coming” attorney in Illinois in the Media & Entertainment category and as a “Leading Lawyer” in the advertising and marketing category by Leading Lawyers magazine from 2014 to 2016.

Brian previously served as legal counsel to the Board of Directors of the Chicago Advertising Federation and in various roles on the Board of Directors for nonprofit organizations based in Chicago.

He holds a B.A. in International Relations and Political Theory from Michigan Stat

Rebecca Slotegraaf

Rebecca J. Slotegraaf is Professor of Marketing and Neal Gilliatt Chair in Marketing at the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. Rebecca’s research focuses broadly on new product introduction and design, brand strength, and marketing assets and capabilities. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Marketing, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Product Innovation Management, and other top marketing and management journals. 

Rebecca serves as an Area Editor for the Journal of Marketing and the Journal of Product Innovation Management and on the editorial review boards of JAMS, IJRM, and Journal of International Marketing. She has received several awards, including the Jagdish N. Sheth Award for best paper published in JAMS, the IU Trustees Teaching Award, and a Kelley School of Business Innovative Teaching Award.  

She teaches new product development at the undergraduate, MBA, and Ph.D. levels.

Angela Brutsche

Angela Brutsché is Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Texas REALTORS®, an association representing more than 150,000 members. With extensive experience in the field of association management, Angela has consistently led initiatives that positively influence the communities she serves through education, advocacy and innovation. Prior to her current role, Angela worked to expand the reach of benefits to military veterans as Deputy Director of the Texas Veterans Land Board.

Her contributions to the marketing profession encompass a broad range of activities, including mentorship, public speaking and committee service. She is a past president of AMA Austin and the AMA Professional Chapters Council. In 2020, Angela was named AMA Chapter Volunteer of the Year.

She is a member of the McCoy College of Business Marketing Department Advisory Board at Texas State University and regularly volunteers for the Texas Society of Association Executives. Angela holds an MBA and is a Certified Association Executive (CAE).

Christine Mathers

Christine Mathers is Head of Marketing for Worldwide Oilfield Machine, a premium flow and pressure containment technology company in the energy sector. As part of the company’s leadership team, she provides strategic direction for WOM’s evolving global organization. 

Prior to joining WOM, Christine was Vice President of Marketing and Communications for AFGlobal Corporation, an OEM and technology specialist for the oil and gas industry. In this role, Christine was responsible for positioning the company for growth and building a brand presence for the enterprise across multiple markets.

Christine joined AFGlobal from Baker Hughes where she served as Director of External Communications, leading all investor, crisis and media communications efforts. Prior to this role, she held escalating marketing and communication leadership positions for 20 years with Weatherford International. 

Christine maintains strong professional affiliations. As a long-time member of the American Marketing Association, Christine currently serves as an honorary board member for AMA Houston. She previously served as director of the chapter’s CMO forums. At a national level, she previously led the AMA Professional Chapters Council, supporting more than 40 chapters. She began her AMA journey at a local level, ultimately serving as Chapter President for AMA Houston in 2005-06, for which Houston was named AMA’s Chapter of the Year. 

Christine holds a master’s degree in marketing from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas.