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Strictly Business is a one-day photography conference that brings together experts in the field to focus on best business practices and so much more. Working collaboratively with speakers ranging from mindfulness specialists, commercial and editorial photographers, and leaders in Chicago’s photography industry, join us for engaging sessions where speakers share their career expertise while sparking conversations and opening new routes for collaborations amongst attendees. Strictly Business creates a space for photographers to elevate their business, be inspired, experience individual growth and valuable bonds with their peers.

A day full of conversations and sharing of ideas will be followed by an open invitation to all members of the Chicago creative community to gather together to celebrate and meet one another at an evening cocktail hour!



Description: Coffee & tea

Time: 8:30AM

Dorie Silverman: Morning Meditation & Setting Intentions

Description: A 30 min. meditation and body movement to get us ready to be present and create intentions for both day and 2020. Throughout the day, we will incorporate light movement activities to promote active engagement and keep our energy throughout the conference. 

Presenter: Yoga Instructor & Anxiety Coach, Dorie Silverman.

Time: 8:45–9:15 AM

Alex Garcia: How to Sustain Your Business As a Storyteller

Description: Photographer/director Alex Garcia has been part of projects that have won the highest awards in both the editorial and advertising worlds, a Pulitzer Prize and a Cannes Lions Titanium Lion. He will share his transition from photojournalism on staff at the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune to being a storyteller in stills and video with clients in corporate, non-profit and advertising worlds. His talk will touch on how to diversify clientele and how to avoid being commoditized in a world of increasing competition.

Presenter: Commerical Photographer & Photojournalist, Alex Garcia.

Time: 9:20 PM –11 PM

Evan Sheehan & Alex Wallbaum: Collaborating with Contemporaries and Brands via Social Media and Beyond

Photographers and digital content creators Evan Sheehan (@evantsheehan) and Alex Wallbaum (@alexwallbaum) join us for a conversation about their work, collaborative practice, and social media strategies. In a time where social media is at the forefront of brands’ digital engagement strategies, Sheehan and Wallbaum will speak to their work and processes in curating and managing their social media presence. Through case studies, the two will give insight into their personal work, making digital content for brands, and how these two worlds can intersect. Sheehan and Wallbaum share their collaborative work and personal relationship to open discussion about how each keeps one’s own aesthetic while working together on projects and dive into questions surrounding work and life balance.

Time: 11:15 AM – 12:15 PM

Lunch Provided by ASMP

Time: 12:15 – 1 PM

Kat Schleicher: Elevating Your Brand to Build the Business You Want

Description: Schleicher speaks to the steps shares tools she used to elevate her photography business to the next level including tips on working consultants, marketing plans, brand evaluation, research, and self-assigned projects. Schleicher will share insight into what worked, what did not work and speak to the continual learning process.

Presenter: Wisconsin-based Freelance Commerical & Editorial Photographer, Kat Schleicher.

Time: 1 PM – 2 PM

Martine Séverin:  Letting Your Purpose Drive Your Work

Description: Martine Séverin interactive workshop focuses on articulating one’s individual purpose and building a career from it. Séverin will speak to her own practice that focuses on culturally infused narratives that embrace inclusion and non-western norms and share ways her purpose drives her work. After, she will guide photographers through an interactive activity that designates time to think about one’s own purpose and reason for the work they do. 

Presenter: Fashion & Lifestyle Photographer, Martine Séverin.

Time: 2:15  – 3:45PM

Ashley Nelson: Mindfulness as the Unlock– your Super Power!

Description: Backed by science and real-life experience, join us for an experience that will increase your capacity to innovate, lead and connect while offering you practical skills to integrate into your business and life.

In an experiential immersion in mindfulness practices, Ashley Nelson of Inseus will offer practical tools and insights for making your behavior less reactive and more engaged. In a series of exercises designed to enhance your active listening skills and bring your consciousness to the forefront, you will be armed with the necessary tools for unleashing the power of self-awareness in a way that will revolutionize your capacity to respond, adapt, and create as a leader—in all areas of your life.

Presenter: Mindfulness Expert, Ashley Nelson.

Time: 3:45  – 5:15PM

Tour of mHUB Chicago with mHUB team!

Time: 5:20 – 5:40PM

Chicago Photographers & Creatives Happy Hour

Description: A day full of conversations and sharing of ideas will be followed by an open invitation to all members of the Chicago creative community to gather together to celebrate and meet one another at an evening cocktail hour! This is a free event and open to all! Drinks & snacks will be provided.

Time: 5:30 – 7PM


When: January 18, 2020

Where: mHUB Chicago, Chicago, IL

Number of sessions: 1 day

Early Bird Prices Through January 6: $150 for ASMP members, students & mHUB members / $175 Partner Organizations / $225 for non-members

After January 6: $200 for ASMP members, students & mHUB members / $225 Partner Organizations / $275 for non-members

Early Bird Deadline: January 6, 2020



Dorie Silverman

Meditation with Dorie Silverman to set your intentions for the day and tools to use through out your day to stay focused and be present. Dorie is a seasoned yoga instructor, teacher trainer and somatic therapist specializing in chronic pain, anxiety, depression, grief, and medical trauma. Through her own experiences of living through these challenges, she gathers what has been most helpful in healing her own body, mind, and heart. Dorie offers yoga, somatic and touch therapy to empower and inspire others to build a strong inner resilience in order to live satisfied, fulfilled and enjoyable lives.  You can work with Dorie privately, join one of her groups and take her workshops in Chicago, San Diego and online. 

Alex Garcia 

As a Chicago commercial photographer and photojournalist, Alex Garcia been telling stories through some 6,000 assignments to date.  Along the way, he has the rare distinction of being part of the highest awards in both advertising and editorial; a Titanium Lion at the Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity and a Pulitzer Prize. Along with several other accolades, HarperCollins has called him “one of the world’s leading photojournalists.”  Whether it be stills, motion or a hybrid shoot, he’s learned to be resourceful, creative and dependable no matter the circumstance or level of production. He enjoys the benefits of being a sole photographer as much as he enjoys working with a team to achieve creative objectives and art direction on a larger production.  Garcia’s philosophy: Strong communication skills, direction and positivity on set are crucial to rally others to the creative vision on a project. Learn more about his upcoming workshops in Cuba!

Kat Schleicer

Kat Schleicher is a Milwaukee, Wisconsin based freelance commercial and editorial photographer specializing in portraits, education, and healthcare. A graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Kat spent her childhood on a little farm in Central Illinois, and has since lived next to a rice field in Japan, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and the hills of Los Angeles. When she’s not behind the lens, she’s enjoying quality time at home with her husband and two young children. Select clients include: Children’s Wisconsin, Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, Johnson Health Tech, Marquette University, Milwaukee Art Museum, NYU Langone Health and Zoom North America.

Martine Séverin

Martine Séverin is a Chicago-based fashion and lifestyle photographer who creates culturally infused narratives that embrace inclusion and non-western norms. She’s lived all over the world including France, Belgium, England and Boston, but her roots are tied to her home country of Haiti. Prior to a career in photography, Martine studied education policy at Harvard University and enjoyed a decade of work in the field of child development policy. As a photographer, Martine draws upon her life experience to create a world in which the human experience takes center stage—where people of different cultures, skin tones, sexual orientations, and physiques relate to each other and feel a sense of belonging.

See our Q&A with Martine!

Evan Sheehan

Evan Sheehan is an artist and photographer known for highly detailed product
work, stop-motion animation, and surrealistic portraiture.

Evan’s notable advertising and digital clients includes NIKE, Apple, RXBAR, OLLY,
Warby Parker, Journeys, and Veuve Clicquot.

Evan cofounded Mouthwash Magazine, a collaborative art publication giving
young artists a platform and reason to create. More recently, he also co-founded
Future Use Studio, a multidisciplinary studio comprising photographers, art
directors, stylists, and other creatives.

Outside of the studio, Evan enjoys playing piano and long-distance running.

Alex Wallbaum

Alex Wallbaum is a fine art and still life photographer recognized for his
captivating use of color and high-key lighting. Alex finds inspiration in traditional
still life paintings and ISPY children’s books.

Alex often collaborates with artist Aleia Murawski; the duo is known for their
exciting use of color, texture, and special effects within contemporary still life
imagery. Their work has found an audience in galleries across New York, LA,
London, Tokyo, and Taipei.

Alex’s work has been featured in,, Bullett Magazine,
Chroma Magazine, ORDINARY, and more. Notable clients include NIKE, Corona,
Open Table, Kitsuné, PUMA, Cards Against Humanity, and Spectrum Boutique.
Alex holds a BFA in Art & Design from the University of Illinois, Urbana
Champaign. Prior to that, he studied photography at The Atlanta School (Idaho)
and assisted artists Luke Batten and Jonathan Sadler of New Catalogue.

Alex recently co-founded Future Use Studio, a multidisciplinary studio comprising
photographers, art directors, stylists, and other creatives.

When he’s not working, Alex is an avid traveler and amateur chef.

Ashley Nelson

After disruptive challenges in her professional and personal life, Nelson discovered that mindfulness practice heightened her impact and effectiveness and gave her a clearer sense of purpose across all facets of her life. She is passionate about helping people unlock their full potential to lead authentic, more productive lives, and founded her business Inseus to equip individuals with the tools to cultivate awareness, gain perspective, and balance personal fulfillment with professional success. Through one-on-one training, group training, and consulting engagements, the mindfulness experts at Inseus create spaces for experiential learning to inspire people in profoundly personal ways, empowering them to discover more productive, peaceful, and authentic versions of themselves.

Ashley Nelson helps individuals and businesses unlock their full potential. A former senior executive leader for a global Fortune 500 corporation, she is widely recognized as a strategic, purpose-driven, and compassionate change management leader. For more than a decade, she has been teaching and sharing the power of mindfulness in corporate, community and non-profit settings. She is a certified instructor across many disciplines, including Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), meditation, yoga, emotional intelligence, and leadership development. Additionally, she serves on the board of directors for Fossil Foundation and volunteers extensively teaching mindfulness to individuals through schools, community groups, and recovery programs for incarcerated women.

Venue & directions

mHUB Chicago will host Strictly Business 2020 on January 18, 2020. mHUB is Chicago’s innovation center for physical product development and manufacturing. Their mission is to galvanize Chicago’s manufacturing ecosystem by generating innovative ideas, attracting world-class talent and fostering collaboration. By providing access to labs and equipment, industry experts and workshops, and a community of other product innovators, mHUB helps turn ideas into prototypes, and prototypes into sustainable new businesses that drive economic impact, and ensure the region’s continued leadership in global manufacturing.

mHUB Chicago
965 W. Chicago
Chicago, IL 60642
Tel: 312-248-8701