Breakout Speaker: Omar Ansari

Breakout Session: Creating a Cult Following

Great products and service aside, how did they do it? How did four of Minnesota’s most beloved brands cultivate organic, fan-centric growth across digital? What insights, protocols, ideas and leadership helped their brand teams leverage customer behavior? How do they build upon their fans’ passion, year after year, in very competitive industries? We’ll learn all this and more from Omar Ansari, Founder of Surly, Brett Baldwin, Managing Digital Producer at American Public Media, Angie Bastian, Co-Founder of Angie’s/Boomchickapop, and Dave Schneider, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Red Wing Shoes, in a panel moderated by former MIMA President Tim Brunelle (@tbrunelle).


About Omar Ansari

Omar Ansari established Surly Brewing Co. on December 31, 2005, carving out a space on the factory floor of Brooklyn Center’s Ansari Abrasives for Minnesota’s first production brewery in twenty years. Omar’s entrepreneurial spirit, the same one that led his Pakistani father and German mother to open a sandpaper factory in a Minneapolis suburb, guided this second-generation American start-up.

Surly’s legend grew at a whirlwind pace. Furious IPA gathered national acclaim. Beer Advocate named Surly Brewery of the Year. Omar spearheaded a change in Minnesota law, allowing brewers to sell their own beer. Surly’s Destination Brewery opened, a 50,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility with a Beer Hall, full service kitchen, massive Beer Garden and events center

Surly is now one of the Top 50 craft breweries (by volume) in the United States of America. What started with two employees 11 years ago now employs 375+.

Omar lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Dr. Rebecca Ansari, and their four boys.


Brett Baldwin
Managing Digital Producer for Minnesota Public Radio's The Current

Angie Bastian
Co-Founder of Angie's BOOMCHICKAPOP

Dave Schneider
Chief Marketing Officer of Red Wing Shoe Company

Tim Brunelle
VP Creative Director at BBDO Minneapolis