Our Speakers

Claudio Polinelli



Claudio is Co-CEO of Switzerland’s leading school photo company, responsible for sales, marketing and business development.

The company was founded by Claudio’s parents in the early seventies. Therefore, he followed the industry developments closely from childhood. Before joining school photo business back in 2014, Claudio was responsible for strategic planning and brand management in communication agencies and FMCG companies.

If not in his office, you find Claudio with his two boys on a soccer field or on his bike in the Alps.

Robert Ste-Marie

President & CEO


Robert Ste-Marie founded 36Pix in 2000 and has served as President and Chief Executive Officer since then. As CEO, Robert has driven the School Photography division’s strategic positioning from zero to being the fastest growing company in Canada and the largest studio in Quebec, which led the Chroma Key division to be the best of its kind worldwide. 

Prior to his 36Pix adventure, Robert held several project management positions in the aerospace industry, mostly on spacecraft engineering for NASA and the Canadian Space Agency.

Magnus Eikli

Photographer, Photo Coach & GM


Magnus got his first pictures published at the age of 15, and since 2007 he has been deeply involved in the volume photo industry.

As a school photographer and photo coach, and most recently as general manager, for one of Norway’s leading school photo companies, he has been involved in upsurge, downturns and major changes in the market.

How these challenges are addressed is essential for the industry’s progress, and is crucial for both customers and companies, according to Magnus.


Marc Heinze

Managing Director


Marc Heinze has been Managing Director of Thiele Foto-Laborbetriebe GmbH since 1997. The company, operating under the brand Thiele – Die Schulfotoprofis (The School Photo Professionals) has been a leading print service provider for school photographers for more than 30 years, serving customers in Germany and several other European countries. 

With the latest printing and data processing technology, Thiele – Die Schulfotoprofis offers a full range of products for school, kindergarten and sports photographers. Before joining Thiele, Marc Heinze studiedat the Universities of Madrid, Spain, as well as Munich and Cologne, Germany, and holds a diploma in Economics and Business Administration. From 1991 to 1997, he worked at the accounting and auditing firm, Grass & Partners. 

Wayne Barksdale



Wayne is President of Barksdale School Portraits, a fourth-generation family owned company servicing over twelve hundred schools in eleven states. In the past fourteen years Barksdale has experienced double-digit growth.

Following a successful career with Bell Atlantic as a Sales Executive Wayne Barksdale will share how he successfully used integrated marketing, direct mail, telemarketing, feet on the street, strategic sales planning and execution to make Barksdale School Portraits one of the largest independent school picture companies on the east coast.

You will leave this session with ideas and useful strategies that you can immediately implement to grow your business.

Janus Van Helfteren

Managing Director, Photographer


Janus Van Helfteren is second generation in the UK business Vancols Ltd, school photographers. He has been working their since he was 19, and running it since he was about 28. The business is in its 60th year and is the 3rd or 4th largest in the UK. Vancols mantra has always been quality of photography and service to schools.

Basically, Janus will talk about the UK schools industry, and the state of the market there and in mainland Europe. He sees this as an informal talk, giving some background to Vancols and the market, with plenty of time for specific questions.

Janus has been a frequent visitor to USA school photography conferences from many years and will be known to quite a few of you, if only for asking difficult questions! 

Specially invited mentors from the industry will attend the panel. The panel moderator for the day is Marty Brown from Excel Photographers — USA.