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  • Bell’s Brewery Vice President Laura Bell Talks Innovation and Beer

    InterCom’s 2nd Friday Speakers Series on Sept. 9 —

    Kalamazoo, Mich. “ When Bell’s Brewery launched in 1985, Michigan’s craft brewing industry was virtually nonexistent. Three decades later, the industry has an economic impact of $1.85 billion (2014) and accounts for more than 200 breweries, according to the Michigan Brewers Guild. And Bell’s ” the company that started it all ” continues to be a leader in innovation. The company recently announced energy efficient upgrades that help power its plant with renewable energy.

    Laura Bell, Bell’s Vice President, will share insights about Bell’s passion for inspired innovation at InterCom’s 2nd Friday Speakers’ Series on Sept. 9 at 11:30 a.m.

    We’re really proud to be seen as an innovator in our industry, Bell says. With that comes a responsibility to continue to push for new ways to create a quality product while preserving our natural resources.

    According to its website, the 1985 Bell’s company launch marked the first time in 70 years that beer had been brewed in Kalamazoo. Today, more than two dozen breweries and restaurants produce craft beer. Discover Kalamazoo launched the Give a Craftâ„¢ beer trail in 2014 to support the industry and encourage tourism. The Michigan Brewers Guild estimates that more than 750 jobs in Michigan are directly related to craft beer, and more than 7,000 jobs support it.

    Bell’s is Michigan’s largest brewery by sales. Earlier this year, the company announced it would take its entire portfolio to Texas, which marks the eighth state Bell’s has added to its distribution. Others include Mississippi, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, Nebraska and West Virginia.

    Event Details

    The brown-bag lunchtime event begins at noon at Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s Anna Whitten Hall, 202 N Rose St, Kalamazoo, 49007. It is free to InterCom members. Guests are asked to pay $10 at the door. Register at Eventbrite. Learn more at, “events.”

    About Laura Bell and Bell’s Brewery

    Now the seventh largest craft brewery in the United States, Bell’s began producing craft beer for the commercial market using a 15-gallon soup kettle in 1985. Today, Bell’s continues to innovate and expand under the leadership of Vice President Laura Bell, the daughter of founder Larry Bell. The company continues to grow and evolve, dedicated to its mission; to be fiercely independent, 100% family owned, deeply rooted to our community, committed to the environment and brewers of inspired beer. The company’s passion for inspired beer and its unique personality are expressed through its breweries and Eccentric Café. Connect with Bells at; @bellsbrewery;;;;

    Laura Bell is Vice President of Bell’s Brewery, Inc. A second-generation co-owner (Laura was just two months old when Larry Bell founded the brewery), she spent time working various odd jobs when she was younger like gluing labels to bottles and in the Eccentric Café’s kitchen while in high school. Laura officially started working at the brewery full-time in 2007 after graduating from Michigan State University. Since then, she has spent time in sales, all areas of beer production and built the marketing department from the ground up. She now oversees Business Insights, Government Compliance, Marketing, Sales and Specialty Brewing departments.


  • Aug. 25, 6-8:30 pm: Breaking the News Part 2 explores challenges & solutions for local news coverage

    Kalamazoo County is not alone. Communities across the state and the nation are challenged with the same dilemma: How do we get reliable news and information about what’s happening in our community? In May, we dug into this issue from a state perspective. On Aug. 25, we’re bringing community-level media folks and communication professionals together to discuss challenges specific to our region. We’ll meet at the Fetzer Center from 6-8:30 p.m. for a fast-paced workshop event. Please join us!

    This is an opportunity to continue the conversation at ground level. Who is covering what in Greater Kalamazoo? Are there gaps? How do we make sure citizens are fully informed about local events and issues? Using a World Café-style approach, everyone will get a chance to tackle these tough questions and blue-sky new solutions.

    Because this is the first event of its kind in Kalamazoo, we’re getting inquiries about what the experience might be like. So here we’ve answered the top 10 questions about it:

    1. How is this different from the Breaking the News event I attended in May?

    Our first event gave us a big-picture understanding of why the news landscape is changing. At our Aug. 25 discussion, we want to identify specific local challenges and opportunities for positive changes.

    1. What is a World Café`-style event?

    Wikipedia refers to the World Café approach as an intimate discussion by a large group. We’ll gather at small tables to share ideas around big questions. Then we’ll roll out those conversations to the larger room.

    1. Will I get a chance to connect with people before and after the event?

    We’ve built networking into the pre-event schedule. You can enjoy free appetizers, sweets and a cash bar, too.

    1. Will I have to speak?

    Only if you want to. You can come and listen. But we bet you won’t. The intimate discussion style of the World Café approach is designed to draw impassioned input from the most introverted souls.

    1. I belong to a local nonprofit. Why would I attend?

    It’s more challenging than ever to get your story out into the community you serve. You’ll learn which local media outlets target their news to your stakeholders and how to pitch your information successfully for coverage.

    1. I work for the media. What’s in this event for me?

    It’s a rare chance for publishers and broadcasters to meet collectively with their stakeholders in Greater Kalamazoo. This is your opportunity to talk about:

    • Your outlet’s unique role in local news
    • How changes in the media industry have affected your organization
    • How communications professionals can work with you to keep the community informed and our media organizations thriving.
    1. I’m a communications professional ” photographer, writer, social media specialist ” should I come?

    Yes! You’ll be better informed about the news media operating in our community (some you probably didn’t know about!) ” and better positioned to do great work for your employer or clients.

    1. What good do you think will come from this event?

    No matter what happens to our news landscape, connecting professionals around a shared issue of concern is a constructive step forward. We also plan to develop a Media Landscape Map as a follow-up to this event. With this tool, communicators will know which media to pitch and media folks will know what opportunities exist for expanded reach ” and they can tell advertisers where to find their customers.

    1. Why do I have to pay to attend?

    We’d love to offer the event free of charge, but we have to cover the cost of the venue and the food. We’ve kept our pricing low to do that. InterCom is subsidizing a portion of the event as well.

    1. Do I have to be a member of InterCom?

    No. But you may find that events like this ” and our series of 2nd Friday Speakers ” make membership a highly valuable bargain, at just $45 a year!










  • Help map the future of news coverage in Greater Kalamazoo

    Breaking the News Part Two:

    This August 25, InterCom continues our community conversation about the changing local news landscape. Breaking the News, Part Two is a solutions-focused, Kalamazoo-centered follow-up to our May panel discussion.

    Mapping local coverage

    At Part Two, participants will join Kalamazoo-area editors, publishers and broadcasters in conversations about what topics and trends are being covered, what’s not, and how to address the gaps.

    Critical discussion, real impact

    This will be a fully interactive, facilitated session where all participants will have the opportunity to share what’s working and where there are opportunities for improvement.

    Join us!

    Our event begins at 6 p.m. with hot appetizers a cash bar. Cost is $20 for InterCom members, $25 non-members and $15 for students (ID required). Seats are limited, so register now to save your spot.



  • Top 5 InterCom-only membership benefits for pros in-the-know Join or renew today!

    If you could design a program to facilitate your professional development, what would it look like? In college, there were department chairs and program advisors who gave us guidance or a bit of insider intel. Resident assistants helped with roommate challenges or an awkward social situation. But how do you navigate your career?

    We hope one answer is InterCom. If you’ve been a member, it’s time to renew for 2016-2017. If you’re new to InterCom, it’s time to join the region’s only local association for communication professionals! Here are a few things you’ll find when you do.

    Networking is baked into every event

    We actually prefer the term community-building. We hope our members will develop professional friendships that last throughout their careers. Most of us are on our own at work. Few companies today have the luxury of employing a marketing or communications team. Who do you ask about the unique challenges of a particular software program or a hard-to-handle client? Or if you’re one of those lucky pros with a full-time, on-site job, where do you go to bounce ideas off others in the same boat? InterCom membership offers access to a community of professionals who may have just the answers and advice you need.

    Signature lunchtime events typify best practices in communication

    From launching a product to planning an event and talking like TED, our signature lunchtime speakers offer best practices and case studies in communication. Each 2nd Friday from September to November and January to April, local leaders share a behind-the-scenes perspective on the how-tos of effective communication. Always free to members, this layered approach also puts you in front of the people behind the events and organizations driving our region.

    NEW! Members-only private intel on local resources

    Starting this year, we’ve planned two behind-the-scenes tours for members. We’ll learn how to access and use local resources specific to communicators. Doing research? Want access to little-known databases or printing equipment? Join us for our members-only Private Access events.

    Talent directory and job postings

    Post your profile in the region’s only online directory of communication professionals. Learn about the latest job openings and gain access to available work through our network.

    Professional development

    InterCom membership offers a host of professional development opportunities. The sky’s the limit. If you’d like to build your leadership skills, our board of directors is a great way to get hands on experience. Don’t have too much time to spare? Consider helping with an event or program planning. And if you’re really limited on time but want to stay connected to your local colleagues, our social media and informal gatherings let you do just that.

    Only membership will make you a part of the InterCom community. Join or renew today!

    time to restart


  • Encore Lunchtime Event: World’s Best Commercials from Cannes

    As we wrap up our 2015-2016 season, we’ve got one more treat in store. Don’t miss our bonus June lunchtime event featuring the world’s best commercials from the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, hosted by Azon and its director of marketing, InterCom member Nancy Peterson.

    Sit back, relax and enjoy funny and dramatic commercials from the world’s top creative talent. You’ll be inspired by these award-winning campaigns that always spark lively discussion and sometimes friendly debate. Our host is providing lunch. We’ll bring the popcorn!

    This event is FREE to InterCom members ($10/non-members).  Register today at our Eventbrite page.

    When & Where: 11:30 to 1 p.m. on Friday, June 10 at Azon’s iconic mid-century international style headquarters, 643 W. Crosstown Parkway, Kalamazoo, MI 49008.


    Current members: It’s time to renewNew to InterCom? Join for our 2016-2017 season and attend this event free.  Here’s a chance to start enjoying the benefits of membership and learn about next season’s programming. Check-out our line-up for 2016-2017 here.


  • InterCom presents BREAKING the NEWS, Part 1: Local story missing! Community seeks answers

    As the media industry continues to transition through technology, is Michigan at risk of losing local news coverage? While publishers change their focus to survive financially, how can we best support efficient access to current, accurate community news in Michigan? Can a community thrive without a robust source of local news? What does the future hold as we “break” the historical news model in our state? And when local publications downsize, how are communities handling the effects, from the loss of good jobs to the absence of a local watchdog and decreased coverage of public affairs — especially in a state ranked last in government transparency?

    InterCom is proud to present BREAKING the News, Part 1, a panel discussion and community conversation exploring these questions, on Thursday, May 19, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at WMU’s Fetzer Center. Register here.

    BREAKING the NEWS, Part 1, offers a forum to talk about local journalism statewide in a swiftly changing industry. Our hope is not to focus on the past, but to identity opportunities and solutions as we move forward together. We’ll continue the discussion in Part 2, set for Aug. 25, when we’ll take a more focused look at the Kalamazoo area, and how new and old media outlets are working to keep our local story alive. (Stay tuned for more information on Part 2.)

    Our moderator on May 19 is Anna Clark, Columbia Journalism Review correspondent for Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania and a 2011 Fulbright fellow.

    Panelists confirmed to date include:

    • Phil Power, Founder & Chairman, Center for Michigan/Bridge Magazine: The Center is a Ížthink-and-doÍŸ tank formed to encourage greater citizen understanding and involvement in Michigan policy issues.
    • Sarah Hulett, Assistant News Director, Michigan Radio: NPR news station serving 500,000 listeners across the Lower Peninsula.
    • Issue Media Group, Detroit: Publisher of online magazines in 21 regions across the U.S. and Canada, including Kalamazoo-based Second Wave Southwest Michigan.
    • Michael McCullough, General Manager & Executive Editor, Battle Creek Enquirer: A Gannett publication serving Calhoun County.

    DETAILS: Free parking at Fetzer Center. Appetizers served; cash bar available. Admission: $20 InterCom members; $25 non-members; $15 students. Sponsorships are available for $100, which includes one free admission, your logo prominently displayed on all materials and the opportunity to showcase your signage and handouts at the event. For more information, contact Curtis Cunningham.

    Register for BREAKING the News at

    WHO SHOULD ATTEND?  Everyone who values an informed community; anyone with an interest in Michigan media; those with messages that need to be heard locally: educators, non-profits, artists, event managers, small businesses, associations, public service providers, local government, etc. “ as well as media and communications professionals exploring new models for getting local news out.


  • 2nd Friday Speaker Series, April 8th ” LKF Marketing’s new President Heather Isch, Talks Industry Change, Talent Recruiting and More

    LKF Marketing president Heather Isch, who acquired LKF and stepped into its top leadership role in December of last year, will share her vision for the future of this work-hard, play-hard company.

    I’ve been fortunate to work with a team of outstanding creative professionals at LKF for the past 20 years, says Isch. I’m excited about the possibilities ahead, and I’m honored to be in a position to lead us forward.

    One of Kalamazoo’s oldest full-service marketing and advertising agencies, LKF Marketing opened its doors in 1989. Since then, dramatic advances in technology have transformed the way consumers and businesses interact. Isch will provide background and context in an introductory presentation, with Q&A from the audience.

    Among topics Isch will address are the challenges of leading a full-service agency in a time of constant industry change; hiring top talent in a competitive market; transitioning from employee to owner; running a woman-owned business in a traditionally male-dominated field, and more.

    LKF Marketing is the agency that developed and launched KzooConnect for Welsh & Associates‘ executive search & professional recruiting services in 2013. Welsh & Associates president Sheri Welsh spoke to InterCom in March about that magazine-style blog and its positive impact on the community. Isch says KzooConnect is a great example of changes in message delivery over the decades. She’ll share other examples of the company’s award-winning creative at the InterCom event.

    Event Details

    The event begins at noon at Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s Anna Whitten Hall, 202 N Rose St, Kalamazoo, 49007. It is free to InterCom members. Guests are asked to pay $10. Register at Eventbrite. Learn more at, “events.”

    About LKF Marketing

    LKF Marketing is a full-service advertising, marketing, website design and development, and public relations agency located in Kalamazoo, Michigan with a 25+ year history. The company prides itself on its outstanding creative and a results-oriented culture. Clients are an integral part of the LKF team, which seeks to thoroughly understand business goals and objectives before developing customized tactics. lkf-marketingThe LKF staff includes seasoned account managers, gifted writers and designers, and technology development experts who work as one cohesive unit. This work-hard, play-hard company is passionate about marketing and deeply committed to the Kalamazoo region.

    About InterCom

    Established in 1989, InterCom provides Kalamazoo-area communicators with opportunities for professional growth, networking and advancement. While promoting the highest ethical and technical standards of practice, InterCom offers educational events and social gatherings to encourage career development. Members include some of the most accomplished communications professionals in the region: Marketers, writers, designers, journalists, corporate communicators and more.

    2nd Friday Speaker’s Series: Our Signature Event

    From September through April (except for a holiday evening event in December), InterCom hosts monthly bring-your-lunch meetings for members and guests. With a focus on case studies and best practices, these sessions offer direct access to industry leaders and local experts who address a range of topics essential to communication success. Each event features networking opportunities as well.

  • Sheri Welsh

    Join us March 11th for a presentation on corporate branding and storytelling

    Sheri Welsh, president of Welsh & Associates executive search & professional recruiting services will share The KzooConnect Story, a case study of corporate branding and talent recruitment through storytelling.


    Read more

  • Feb. 12: Travel the Beer Trail and Discover Kalamazoo

    Renée Newman, Discover Kalamazoo’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications, will discuss the successful Give a Craftâ„¢ Beer Trail passport program with InterCom members and guests at the association of professional communicators’ 2nd Friday Speakers Event on February 12.

    The Give a Craftâ„¢ beer trail was launched in 2015 to attract craft beer lovers to the Kalamazoo region. Promoted as a fun way to experience Kalamazoo’s beer scene, the trail featured destinations at each of the 12 craft breweries located throughout the county. Kalamazooans soon found themselves raising beer glasses alongside visitors from throughout the Midwest and across the country.

    Newman will discuss the Give a Craftâ„¢ beer trail as a case study in collaboration, communication and promotion. Designed primarily as an effort to promote tourism, it also served to raise the visibility of the region’s craft brewing industry and Kalamazoo County as a travel destination.

    InterCom will use the case study to begin local conversations of its own. Calling it the Lift All Boats initiative, the region’s association of communication professionals will explore other creative programs to cross-promote their members’ shared professional goals and the goals of the organizations they represent. The group is reaching out to other local organizations such as Startup Grind Kalamazoo, Buy Local Greater Kalamazoo and ONEplace to start similar conversations across the community.

    About Renée Newman

    Renee Newman is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Discover Kalamazoo “ the destination marketing organization for Kalamazoo County. Renee manages all aspects of marketing, advertising and communications for Discover Kalamazoo and is the Program Manager for the Kalamazoo Tourism Ambassador Program. She’s spent her entire professional career in hospitality, beginning in the hotel business. Prior to coming to Discover Kalamazoo in 2008, Renee was the director of marketing for the Air Zoo.

    Register at Eventbrite here.

  • A Peek Behind Green Door Distilling Co.’s New Venture

    InterCom 2nd Friday Speakers’ Series Jan 8th, 2016 held at KVCC’s Anna Whitten Hall.

    Entrepreneur Josh Cook, co-founder of Green Door Distilling, will share his company’s marketing and business vision at the InterCom 2nd Friday Speakers’ series Jan. 8.

    Green Door, which officially launched in Nov. 2014, cites the success of the region’s craft brewing industry and their love for whiskey as inspiration for its own ambitions. Cook says the area’s abundance of natural resources and its legacy of entrepreneurialism also bode well for startups like his, which capitalize on local resources. Green Door uses local grain to ensure fresh, local flavors and notes in its distinctive spirits. The distillery promises to Make Whiskey Approachable for All.

    The distillery’s location in the City of Kalamazoo’s Rivers Edge district is also central to Green Door’s plans for growth, which include manufacturing, a Tasting Room, a Whiskey Garden and food trucks. The Rivers Edge is northeast of downtown and is undergoing unprecedented urban renewal of what once featured warehouses, commercial, and industrial businesses. Today it boasts an eclectic mix of businesses, shops, restaurants and affordable apartments, all within walking distance of Green Door, at 429 East North Street, Kalamazoo.


    About Green Door Distilling

    Green Door Distilling Co specializes in handcrafted Artisan Spirits. We use only locally grown grains from Michigan to produce our spirits. This means our spirits share the same purity and character associated with our great state. You won’t find any dyes, synthetic flavors, or colorings in our products. If it says Green Door Distilling Co., It’s made by us, bottled by us, at our distillery, no question! Join us in the Rivers Edge district in downtown Kalamazoo to enjoy a cocktail and relax. Our honey whiskey is made with pure Michigan honey and is sure to impress. Come hang out, have a drink, and Join the Adventureâ„¢.

    Join us for a spirited discussion with Jon and Josh, plus networking and catching up with colleagues in the new year!

    Register at Eventbrite here.