Senior Social Media Community Manager at Callahan Creek

Eric is a multi-headed hydra of creativity. Having released 10 albums and toured the world as a drummer in a former life, he is now an award winning business communicator and Senior Social Media Community Manager, currently kicking ass for clients at Lawrence-based marketing agency Callahan Creek. He also writes for The Pitch, is the President of the Kansas City Film Critics Circle, and the 2013 World Air Guitar Champion. In that role, he's a tireless ambassador for the sport of competitive air guitar -- and its dream of achieving world peace. He speaks about creative inspiration for marketing professionals, social media influencers, business leaders, education professionals, and audiences of all ages.


GAS CAN 2018 Speakers


Event Planning Behind the Scenes

Founder, Executive Producer of Pen + Prue Productions

Annie Thompson is founder and lead producer at Pen + Prue Productions in Austin, TX. She majored in Public Relations & Comms at Univ. of Kansas, where she discovered her love of live events. Having a variety of experience with events and production from small firms in Kansas City, Annie joined the launch team for Google Fiber in Kansas City in 2012.

After six years as a Googler running events, building teams and helping shape creative messages across the country, Thompson left the tech giant in early 2017 to build her own production group. Annie lives to design experiences for people; extending brands into thought evoking experiences is now more than a dream job, it’s her reality. If she isn’t building events, Annie is running around Austin with her yellow lab (and company namesake) Penny!

Client work includes: Southwest Airlines, Toyota, Google, YouTube, Samsung, Austin TV Festival and Bumble.


Entrepreneurship: Creating Your Own Path


Owner + Brand Strategist of KES Studio

Kathryn Snellen is a brand strategist, creative marketer and serial entrepreneur, who inspires and empowers small businesses to create stylish and strategic marketing that builds their brand.

Kathryn Snellen launched KES Studio in 2015, a creative marketing agency based in Kansas City with a goal to combine a love for style and strategy in helping small businesses create real results. 

Previous to running KES Studio full-time, Kathryn was the PR Director for Kansas City Fashion Week for nearly four years, along with a PR consultant for an agency based in Los Angeles. Kathryn also co-founded a creative conference in the Midwest, Go Blog Social, which offered educational and inspirational workshops and events for bloggers, creatives and entrepreneurs in Kansas City, St. Louis, Des Moines, and Chicago.


Sailing the Seas of Change

Owner of Vahalla Studios

Dan Padavic is the owner and operator of Vahalla Studios, a design and print shop that specializes in analog print techniques.  He graduated from the University of Kansas in 2004 with a degree in Visual Communications, and has been running Vahalla since 2005.

His work incorporates the knowledge and hand of a printmaker, combined with the sensibilities of a graphic designer, to produce works across numerous platforms for clients both large and small


Overcoming Physical Challenges


Executive Director of Steps of Faith Foundation

Billy has been the Executive Director for Steps of Faith Foundation since it began in 2013 in Nashville, TN. Steps Of Faith helps provide prosthetic limbs to uninsured and under insured amputees, nation wide. Having lost his left leg above the knee to cancer in 2005, Billy understands first-hand the emotional and physical challenges that come with losing a limb. One of his life's joy is helping other amputees move forward.

In August of 2016, Billy moved back to his hometown of Kansas City with his wife and two children. Relocating the Steps Of Faith headquarters to KC has proven to be a wonderful decision! Thanks to the enormous generosity and talents of the KC community, 2017 WAS A***big growth year for Steps of Faith. In November of 2017, Billy launched Thundergong! A benefit concert for Steps Of Faith hosted by Billy’s lifelong pal, actor, Jason Sudeikis. Thundergong also featured Fred Armisen, Will Forte, Wynonna Judd and a host of other big talent. Thanks to Thundergong, Steps of Faith brought in twice the donations they budgeted for 2017. Since early 2013 Steps of Faith has helped over 175 amputees regain mobility.

Prior to Steps Of Faith starting, Billy was a full time musician and actor. He has toured North America, Canada, the U.K. and Japan playing music and has appeared on numerous albums recorded in Kansas City, Nashville, and Los Angeles. As an actor, Billy has performed at The Kennedy Center, off-Broadway and in film and TV. 


Make your Creative Business Thrive

Founder + Coach of Makers Megaphone Coaching

Ashley Heyburn is the founder and coach at Makers Megaphone Coaching, where she provides tools, resources and support for makers who want to earn money and build a thriving life from what they create. Prior to running her own business, Heyburn was the Senior Account Manager and Small Business specialist at Etsy where she coached and supported hundreds of Etsy's most successful sellers, helping them grow and scale their businesses to well over six-figures a year.

Additionally, she spent over 10 years in New York City involved in the marketing industry in various capacities from promoting major brands to crafting compelling fundraising campaigns.

Heyburn recently relocated back to Kansas City and is passionate about helping local creative entrepreneurs build thriving businesses and driven to develop world-class resources that empower and support creators at every stage of their journey.