The Brand Sprint Conference for Nonprofits

Thursday, 18 November 2021 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Your brand is the image stakeholders have of your nonprofit, association or institution. Join us for this half-day exercise to learn how to define your brand thoughtfully and early, before your constituents and competitors do it for you.

Through this action-oriented, half-day conference, you’ll learn how to lead a nonprofit brand sprint workshop, a highly actionable exercise to rethink your brand offering, identify new opportunities, and uncover surprising, valuable insights. You will gain the tools to align stakeholders around your mission and to sustainably grow your supporter network.

AMA Chicago designed this conference around a single topic to maximize impact for nonprofit marketers. This break from the multi-speaker format will allow deeper engagement and focus on driving your organization forward.

Key takeaways:
  • How to successfully lead a brand sprint workshop from start to finish, including ways to sustain the momentum
  • Tactics to build consensus and get decisions made across leadership teams, boards and other stakeholders
  • How to move your organization from brand strategy to real, measurable action faster than ever
  • Ways to prepare your organization for quick brand pivots and to immediately push forward through unexpected and unpredictable situations
  • Your own brand sprint outline, plus templates for brand sprint workshops and roadmaps

We’re back to live events!

This event will be in person at Morningstar. The health, safety and comfort of our members, presenters, and guests is our primary concern. To that end, beginning November 10, 2021 and until further notice:

  • All AMA Chicago in-person meetings require all attendees to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination on-site before entering the meeting venue. Unvaccinated attendees will not be admitted. There are no exceptions to this rule.
  • Per CDC and City of Chicago guidelines, face coverings are required for all attendees over the age of 2 in our indoor venues.
  • We will continue to provide virtual attendance for some events and/or recordings of events whenever possible.

If our venue partners change their requirements for gatherings, we will edit the in-person requirement here and email all registered attendees.

We reserve the right to change this event format to be virtual (via Zoom) given City of Chicago mandates for indoor gatherings. If the event format changes, we will email all registrants.


1 PM – 1:45PM: Welcome & Opening Keynote: Visual Storytelling with John Featherstone

Everyone has a story to tell – increasingly the line between marketing and theatre are increasingly blurred. How can you use visual story telling to create memorable and distinctive experiences, elevate your brand, and turn spectators into participants?

1:45 PM – 2:45 PM: The Brand Sprint Project with Jennifer Severns

2:45 PM – 3:10 PM: Break

3:10 – 5:00PM: The Brand Sprint Project, continued

Sponsored by


John Featherstone
Partner and Principal


Hailing from “over the pond”, John brought his blend of theatre training and rock and roll sensibility with him when he moved to the US from the UK in 1989, and went on to found Lightswitch 28 years ago.

Expertise gained as a veteran lighting designer for concert tours worldwide for performers including INXS, Duran Duran, Van Halen and Janet Jackson translated well to theatrical and concert lighting in this country.

Over time his work has expanded to include museum, corporate and event lighting design, and has developed a reputation for singular, elegant design featuring innovative and cost-effective solutions. A leader in the design industry, riding the cutting-edge of technology, he is perennially in pursuit of the next great project.

John is committed to the pursuit of excellence in all areas of experiential design, and dedicated to designing dynamic, exciting, innovative & distinctive productions for todays ever more demanding audiences. John is a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society.

Jennifer Severns
Chief Experience Officer


Jennifer is a human-centered design leader with over 20 years guiding organizations through digital transformation by building diverse teams, digital products and systems, and campaigns that consistently drive results.

As the Chief Experience Officer of ThomasArts, she serves as the agency’s executive leader of customer experience and technology practice, leading experience strategy and digital transformation. Prior to joining ThomasArts, she was contracted by UCLA Health to help create a data-driven culture to shift enterprise inertia toward a “precision health” and patient-centric future.

Jennifer was formerly recruited by the American Marketing Association as the Chief Experience Officer to redefine the business model for the organization and shape the way marketers interacted with the association.

She has led human-centered design with many of the world’s foremost brands including Allstate, Unilever, Dell, Nabisco, and more. Also noteworthy is Jennifer’s stint with Harpo Productions where she led digital design. She was central to the original design of the Oprah brand digital strategy for the Oprah Winfrey Show, growing the Oprah website site to nearly 15 million monthly unique visitors.

Morningstar, 7th floor
22 W. Washington St
Chicago, IL 60602

Morningstar is easily accessible by CTA bus or train. There is a parking garage in the building, and there are several more in the area.

This half-day conference is ideal for nonprofit marketing professionals.

Important COVID safety protocols will be in place as determined by the CDC.

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