Convention Presenters and Sessions

The 2017 INA Convention and Trade Show will feature high-caliber speakers from across the country. Find out more about each of them below.

Mike Centorani

Mike Centorani is the Co-Founder of Sales Transformation Now, Inc. and the former Vice President of Sales Training and Development at Matchcraft.

Sales Transformation Now offers Sales Training and Sales Management consulting for traditional media and search companies throughout the US and in 20 countries worldwide. Mike brings over 25 years of print media experience combined with over 15 years of search engine marketing expertise. His company was chosen by Google to offer sales training to many of their Google Premier SMB Partners in 2011. He has worked with many of the largest newspapers in the US, such as Scripps, Gannett, Newsday Media, McClatchy, Gatehouse, Lee Enterprises, AdvanceNet, Maine Today Media, and many others.

Mike is known for his “real world” approach to the sales call process and his ability to teach sales reps “how to speak the small business owner’s language” and “make the right sale” based on their specific needs. He now specializes in working with all types of traditional media companies around the world helping them to sell the combination of search and traditional media together.

For additional information, please refer to Mike’s YouTube videos. You can also refer to his profile and background on

Mike has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Binghamton in upstate New York with a major in English and a minor in Advertising.


Real World Sales Planning and Preparation
During this session, sales people will learn the how to properly plan and prepare for their sales calls to give themselves the best opportunity to gain instant credibility and lower business owner’s guard. The step-by-step techniques that will be covered in this session work for both prospecting and sales interactions with existing clients. This will also allow the sales person the opportunity to stand apart from their competitors in a very competitive marketplace.

The “Sales Call Opening”
The first five to ten minutes of the sales interaction, in many cases, can either make or break the rest of the conversation. Many sales people struggle in those first few minutes, especially with difficult impatient business owners. During this session, sales people will learn how to professionally and politely “disturb the business owner’s complacency” and earn the right to either gain an appointment or continue the conversation. These techniques and approaches are also very effective when interacting with gatekeepers.

Putting all of the step of the Sales Call Process together
During this session, the sales person will learn exactly what to do step-by-step after they have successfully transitioned from the Call Opening to the Needs Analysis. Most sales experts agree that the most important step of the Sales Call Process is the Needs Analysis step. We’ll discuss exactly what NEEDS to be covered during this critical step to put it all together...and to make sure you never have to guess on your solutions again.


David Chavern

President & Chief Executive Officer David Chavern joined the News Media Alliance as president and CEO in October 2015.

Chavern has built a career spanning 30 years in executive strategic and operational roles, and most recently completed a decade-long tenure at the United States Chamber of Commerce. From 2014 to 2015, he served as the President of the Center for Advanced Technology & Innovation at the Chamber. He established the center, which is the first U.S. Chamber office focused solely on technology and innovation, and led a research and outreach program which was dedicated to the economic power of data-driven innovation.

From 2007 through 2014, Chavern was the Chamber’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. In this role, he was responsible for the day-to-day operations and long-term planning for the 500-person advocacy organization. Chavern helped to grow total revenues by 60 percent, and successfully guided the organization through intense scrutiny from both the media and activists. He also managed revenue growth and expense reductions, and ended the 2013 fiscal year with the best financial performance in the Chamber’s 100-year history. Prior to that, Chavern served as a Vice President and Chief of Staff at the Chamber, offering strategic advice and guidance to the CEO and managing daily operations of the organization.

Chavern is a member of the Board of Directors of Transamerica Insurance and also serves as a member of the Board of Advisors of Humin. He is a founding investor in Starling Trust Sciences, LLC, a company that produces data analytics tools that allow companies to measure a wide range of cultural attributes about their internal operations. A proud alum, Chavern also serves on the board of trustees of his alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh.

A 1987 graduate of Villanova University’s School of Law, Chavern went on to receive his MBA from Georgetown University in 2003. He attended the University of Pittsburgh where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree.


“A national perspective: how is the industry doing and where is it going” – David Chavern, News Media Alliance
Each community – and its newspaper – is different.  But national trends are clear that the audience for news is both larger than ever, and increasingly focused on mobile delivery.  What needs to be done to make mobile lucrative?

Kevin Kush

Kevin Kush, M.A., has been a teacher and coach for more than twenty-five years and is widely recognized as an outstanding motivational speaker. 

In 2005, he was honored as ABC News “Person of the Week” for leading his Boys Town High School football team of at-risk youth to an undefeated regular season.  Coach Kush presents to many different types of organizations including medical, educational, and corporate agencies.  Kevin is the author of three books.  Coach Kush’s knowledge and keys to motivation are delivered with captivating energy, passion, and spirit! 

Kick-off session:

A Piece of the Puzzle, Eight Traits of a Quality Teammate
Coach Kush shares the same techniques that he uses to create a winning football team and how you can apply them in your organization.

How well do the members of your organization or team work together?  Are you a smooth, well-oiled machine or a fractured collection of in-it-for-yourself individuals?  In a straight forward no-excuses style, Kevin Kush discusses eight traits that can turn any group or organization into a cohesive, high-performing team.  Including; respecting everyone, handling adversity, adapting to change, and the importance of having high energy and being accountable.  Coach Kush’s passion for performance is contagious and will help lead your team to greater productivity and success!

Russell Viers

Russell Viers is an international speaker who, since 1997, has presented at publishing conferences in 22 countries, including at AdobeMAX, where he was honored as an AdobeMAX Master.

In addition to speaking and developing videos, Viers has trained many designers on techniques to improve efficiency and quality, including those at Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies Home Journal and American Greetings. Viers started working with CompuGraphic typesetting machines in the early 80s, then PageMaker 1 in 1987 and has been actively involved with Digital Publishing since the early days.


The Power of Process
Knowing the software is only part of the solution. It’s important to have processes in place that maximize efficiency, create consistency, improve workflow between individuals and teams, and reduce risk. This session applies mainly to ad and editorial production, but the ideas are for all departments, all business and even apply to lifestyle.

Changes in technology: Creative cloud
Adobe released the first Creative Cloud only software June 17, 2013. Time flies. Is time to upgrade? Is what you have sufficient? Have you upgraded and feel you’re not getting the most out of it? We’ll discuss the advantages (and disadvantages) of the Creative Cloud product as well as see some of the nifty features that make it worth looking at. Bring your questions.

Working with graphics: Illustrator
Do you get “clip art” or artwork from a service, disc or download and just don’t know how to edit, fix or modify? Do you want to do more with text than simply choose font, size and color? This class starts out BASIC and escalates quickly to give you the tools to make your ads fit, make your designs more exciting and make your job more fun! Illustrator is the most powerful, yet under used tool in the Creative Cloud package. It can truly change your ads and editorial pages so that your readers NOTICE.

Mike Wagner

Mike Wagner is President of White Rabbit, a business consultancy he founded in 2004.

Mike is a skilled communicator, facilitator, and business consultant. He serves leadership teams in the creation of competitive advantage and growth strategies. His approach is a unique combination of leadership development and organizational culture, informed by the tools and process of “design thinking”.

Mike has been speaking professionally for over 30 years. He started his career as a Pastor and Church Planter before entering the business world. Mike engages audiences with fresh ideas and tells compelling stories to inspire them to keep creating! Mike’s mission is to release the wisdom and capacity of each organization he serves.


Keeping the Brightest and the Best
You can solve every problem your business faces and still fail. How? By losing key employees. You’ll be learning this is about your leadership. Great leaders know how to shape a place to work where high potentials want to be. The better your leadership the better you’ll be at keeping your team together.

3 Steps to Purpose Driven Innovation: How To Stay Ahead In a Dynamic Marketplace
The recipe for competitive innovation includes the right mindset and strategy along with a disciplined willingness to follow the proven processes of team innovation. This session serves up all three of these and a little more!

Tim Waltner

Tim L. Waltner has been a community journalist for 40 years.

He was publisher of the Freeman (South Dakota) Courier from 1984 through 2015. Although he passed that title to his son, Jeremy, in 2016, Waltner remains active with the weekly newspaper as a writer, photographer, member of the editorial board and advisor. The Courier has consistently won general excellence and sweepstakes awards in South Dakota for the past 25 years.

Waltner has served as a board member of the South Dakota Newspaper Association (president in 1991 and 1993) and the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors (president in 2000). He is chair and a charter member of the SDNA First Amendment Committee. He has won eight ISWNE Golden Dozen awards for editorial writing since 1994. In 2012 he received the Eugene Cervi award, established by ISWNE in 1976 to honor the memory of Eugene Cervi of the Rocky Mountain Journal in Denver, for a career of outstanding public service through community journalism. In 2016 he was inducted into the South Dakota Newspaper Hall of Fame.

Waltner has been a keynote speaker and facilitator on community journalism for two dozen newspaper groups in the United States and Canada. He is currently the coordinator for the annual ISWNE editorial critiques.

Innovation workshop: Expanding your editorial options with creative solutions
Thursday, 1:45 p.m.
Picht will serve as moderator of this first-of-its-kind half-day workshop that will have attendees developing business plans for five new editorial ideas. Participants will work in groups to cultivate these five pre-selected projects that are outside the realm of newspapers’ general, day-to-day, practices that will help newspaper enterprises become more relevant and engage community members.

Find out more about this workshop session here.