Michelle Adams is a creative consultant specializing in the growth of brands that speak to today's design-minded consumer. She currently advises a select group of clients, assisting with art direction and conceptualizing collections, developing sharpened brand experiences, and communicating with consumers in more meaningful ways.
In 2013, she was enlisted as the editor in chief of domino magazine, helping relaunch the brand with an integrated web and commerce presence. Previously, she teamed up in 2011 with the Meredith Corporation to create TRADhome, and in 2009 she cofounded Lonny magazine, a trailblazer in the online-shelter-magazine category. She is also the founder of Rubie Green, an organic-textile company. Adams has made several appearances on The Nate Berkus Show and has been featured in Vanity Fair; O, The Oprah Magazine; and The New York Times. She was named one of min’s People to Watch in 2012, and is an advisory board member of Artfully Walls and Mercer School of Interior Design.
Creative Director, STEPHANIE BRADSHAW
What began as a one-woman show from a home office in Roland Park, has grown into a beautiful, creative machine. Stephanie has molded her SB brand, now located in the very hip Woodberry neighborhood of Baltimore, into both a recognizable and widely respected entity. Her propensity for project management and keen eye for detail are a winning combination leading to a portfolio that includes collaborations with some of the industry's most influential leaders.
As a full-service design studio, Stephanie is deeply invested in each and every project — from planning a wedding to producing a fashion show, from styling your home to styling your brand. With three departments, and dedicated project managers, Stephanie and her team are able to offer a wide range of services while still holding on to the personal one-on-one benefit of a small business.
Standout accolades for Bradshaw include ‘Baltimore’s Best Dressed’ by Baltimore Magazine, former ‘Hospitality Professional of the Year’ by NACE, a semi-finalist on HGTV’s ‘Design Star’ (season 4), ‘Alumna of the Year’, Shippensburg University, ’30 Under 40 – Rising Young Event Professionals Worth Watching’ by Special Events Magazine, and member (and former board member) of the National Association of Catering and Events (Baltimore Chapter).
Stephanie enjoys her Sundays in the Roland Park neighborhood of Baltimore with her handsome dog, Brooks.
Director of Marketing, Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore
Four Seasons veteran Sean Casserly recently joined the team at Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore with over 16 years of hotel & resort experience, working in Four Seasons properties across the nation. From beginning his career as Assistant Food & Beverage Director of Four Seasons Hotel New York, he then transitioned into Sales which moved him to Aviara, Philadelphia and Chicago.
As the Director of Sales for Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, Casserly oversaw a team that was responsible for booking more than 80,000 group rooms per year between the two properties. His talents were recognized through several Four Seasons awards, including receiving the prestigious President’s Club honor three times throughout his sales career, for exceeding his goals by 120%.
Casserly brings to Baltimore a wealth of knowledge in the luxury hotel market and his passion, and motivation will take the Baltimore sales team to the next level. With Baltimore becoming more of a leisure travel destination, Casserly is thrilled to be a part of this uphill trend.
Originally from New York, Casserly is excited to be back on the East coast with his wife and baby daughter. An avid athlete, Casserly has run in the Chicago marathon and has completed ten triathlons -watch out for him running on Baltimore’s beautiful inner harbor promenade!
JESSICA LEVIN CONROY
Founder | CEO, Carats & Cake
A native of Laguna Beach, CA Jess attended the University of Pennsylvania to earn an undergraduate degree in economics and Spanish. Her post college path lead her to Burch Creative Capital, where she helped manage investments and brand development for a portfolio that included Poppin and Tory Burch, LLC. After nearly three years identifying aspirational consumer-centric opportunities and strategies, Jess departed as an associate to pursue her MBA at NYU's Stern School of Business. While studying finance and entrepreneurship at Stern, Jess saw an opportunity in the wedding space to help empower the way the best in the industry do business. She is the founder and CEO of Carats and Cake, the premier network representing the best in the wedding industry.
Executive Vice President, Neuberger & Company
Jason Dixon has a diverse background in sales management and business development providing a unique perspective and approach to the sales and management process. Prior to joining Neuberger and Company, Jason spent 14 years mastering the Sandler process and principles, specializing in building elite sales teams.
He served as a Director for a large media company, developing sales teams specializing in new media services and managing the sales teams of five newspaper operations. Jason later launched a new division for the country's largest manufacturer of massage and therapy products, creating a sales and distribution network around the country. Before joining NCO, Jason served as General Sales Manager for one of the leading logistics companies in the country, developing and managing a team of sales professionals based in major markets around the US.
Jason now brings demonstrated success in sales, marketing, strategic planning and process improvement to clients to help them achieve their goals, increase revenues, and create efficiencies in their processes.
Jason graduated from The Pennsylvania State University and has served on the boards of the YMCA and Little League Baseball. He donates his time and services to Leadership York in his hometown of York, PA to develop future leaders in that area.
As the creative force and co-founder of Easton Porter Group (EPG), a luxury hospitality company, Lynn Easton provides strategic vision and a well-honed stylistic eye on all elements of design and presentation for its highly acclaimed properties, including the internationally-celebrated Easton Events. The EPG portfolio is most recognized for Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards, Zero George Hotel and Cannon Green; and its exponential growth landed it a spot on the 2015 Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private companies in America.
Whether orchestrating elegant destination weddings for Easton Events or layering texture and patina in the celebrated boutique hotels, restaurants, wineries and event venues run by Easton Porter Group, Lynn is an inspired innovator and detail-driven design expert. Her background in television production in New York City lends itself well to event production across the globe, as every Lynn Easton project, property or marquee occasion showcases her intuitive sense of stage setting and classic but fresh design.
Lynn’s reputation for “high-touch” events and impeccable attention to detail is why Easton Events is regularly found on “best of” top planner lists by Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Martha Stewart Weddings. Easton Events’ discreet client list includes individuals listed on Forbes 100, Grammy winners, Oscar winners and an array of lifestyle influencers.
Lynn divides her time between her residences in Charlottesville, VA and Charleston, SC.
In 2007, Ethan Giffin left the comfort of directing eCommerce for the nation's largest privately held staffing company to start Baltimore-based Groove.
Today, Groove has grown to be one of the nation’s premier digital agencies, specializing in eCommerce, web design, inbound marketing, and branding for small to mid-sized businesses.
Ethan’s goal when he brought Groove to life was to build a unique, full-service agency that focused on driving real business results. He has since forged partnerships with some of the world’s leading software programs like Magento, HubSpot, Bigcommerec, Shopify, and Salesforce.com. Groove is the only award-winning Magento gold partner in the tri-state area and the only HubSpot Platinum Partner in Baltimore (one of 16 globally!).
Over the years, Groove has helped several hundred companies grow their online presences - from Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, to Lax World to Gotugo. The growing agency has been recognized nationally on the 2013 and 2014 Inc. Magazine “Inc. 5000” list, as an Agency Post “Agency 100,” and as one of the “Best Young Companies to Work for” by turnstone. Baltimore SmartCEO Magazine named Groove a “Future 50” company – three times, and the Baltimore Business Journal honored Ethan as a “40 Under 40” in Baltimore. In 2014, Groove won the Baltimore Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work” in Baltimore and “Digital Marketing Firm of the Year” during the 2014 Baltimore Innovation Awards. Ethan was also recognized as an EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 Maryland Finalist. Most recently, the Chesapeake Regional Tech Council named Groove the 2015 “Best Place to Work” in the Chesapeake region.
An entrepreneur at heart, Ethan was managing profitable yard sales at 10-years-old and started a very successful DJ & karaoke service at the age of 16.
Prior to founding Groove, The Allegis Group benefited from Ethan’s entrepreneurial spirit and he is credited for pushing the business down the digital path. Recognizing the web’s potential to revolutionize recruitment, Ethan oversaw the creation of Thingamajob.com, an online database of continually updated job openings that grew to serve more than 5 million members. As Thingamajob.com became the cornerstone of Allegis Group’s online strategy, Ethan was promoted to Director of eCommerce in 2005.
When Ethan isn’t obsessing over SEO, conversion rates and eCommerce architecture, he can be found speaking as an industry authority nationwide. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, traveling, DJing, and the pursuit of rare pocket squares.
Shana has more than 18 years of marketing communications experience working with many of the world’s leading brands. She has successfully delivered results for a broad scope of clients including: Black & Decker, Chesapeake Utilities, Under Armour, DEWALT, Adidas, MaggieMoo’s Ice Cream, Marble Slab Creamery, Century 21, Medifast, Hair Cuttery, 180s, STX, Sylvan Learning, and CCBC — Maryland’s largest institution of higher education.
Shana oversees and manages the agency’s operations while playing an active role in account management, leading strategic direction for clients. She leads account teams through all phases of branding, marketing, PR, interactive and advertising — from launch conceptualization, to planning, to implementation, to generation of results. For the agency, she oversees operations, long-term strategic planning and implementation, HR, and plays an integral role in new business development.
Shana is a mother of three and enjoys spending time with her family. She also is a certified Insanity instructor, teaches boot camp-style classes and enjoys running 10Ks in her spare time.
Owner | Executive Chef, La Cakerie
After graduating from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI with a Bachelors degree in Baking & Pastry Arts, I traveled to Europe and received a pastry certification from the Restaurant School in Vitznau, Switzerland. This opportunity allowed me to explore other cultures in Europe and practice my art of baking with a global perspective. This fundamental pastry training was my springboard into the culinary world and even allowed me the opportunity to compete on Food Network pastry competitions.
The art of pastry production is something I find truly unique and expressive to all the senses. As a modern day baker I find myself treating my products as true works of art that are envisioned and brought to life using wholesome, seasonal and quality ingredients. In opening an artisan bakery, I view myself as a pioneer. Similar to transforming quality ingredients into masterful pastries, I have the desire to transform my store fronts into unique blends of chic couture and old world tradition.
I am also currently the national spokesperson for Medifast. Working with Medifast, we developed an online webseries, The Front Burner which can be viewed HERE. Check it out for awesome tips on making incredible foods that are wholesome and healthy!
Principle | Owner, Abby Jiu Photography
Abby Jiu has had a passion for gorgeous imagery and creating art since before she can remember. Her style is the best of both worlds, using natural light and film cameras to catch the stolen glances, fits of laughter, and heartfelt emotions sprinkled among the ever-important beautiful details that make each couple’s wedding day unique. She loves having the opportunity to get to know her couples, watching the personalized touches come together and using the relationship she’s built to preserve precious memories on film.
When she’s not behind the camera, Abby fills her time with her husband Jamey, a bossy bulldog named Lola, and traveling abroad. She’s received numerous accolades for her work, including being named one of Martha Stewart Weddings’ Top Photographers and Washingtonian Editor’s Pick. You can see her work on the pages of Brides, Martha Stewart Weddings, The Knot, Southern Weddings, Washingtonian Bride & Groom, and Southern Living Weddings and many more.
Cassandra LaValle is the founder of the lifestyle blog coco+kelley where she and her team curate and create fresh daily content and ideas on interior design, travel, entertaining, and more!
With an urbane eye, Cassandra takes a west-coast approach to classic style, adding her own modern, approachable touch. she designs interiors and events for clients across the country, and has partnered on styling campaigns with brands such as Crate & Barrel, Starbucks, and Amazon through her creative agency, The Emerald Studio.
Founder, Lauren Liess & Co
Decorator Lauren Liess is known for her natural, relaxed and collected style. She writes the blog Pure Style Home where she has been sharing bits of her life, work and laid-back approach to design and living for over seven years. Lauren published her first book Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating, this past fall.
Her line of fabrics, Lauren Liess Textiles, is inspired by her favorite common weeds and wildflowers around the countryside. Lauren and her project s have been featured in numerous national publications including House Beautiful, Luxe, Better Homes and Gardens, Domino, Country Living, Southern Living, Garden & Gun, and Milieu.
AMANDA MILLER LITTLEJOHN
Personal Branding Coach | amandamillerlittlejohn.com
Amanda Miller Littlejohn is an award-winning public relations practitioner, personal branding coach, speaker, and writer. She created the groundbreaking personal branding program - The Branding Box and founded Package Your Genius Academy where women gain the skills they need to make themselves and their work visible in the digital age. Her research and tools are designed to help you build your brand, pursue your passions and package your genius for the world.
"Package Your Genius"
When was the last time you took an inventory of your brand’s opportunities? It may be time for you to identify your new skills, showcase them and, package your genius. Whether you are building a business, a career, or your brand is due a pivot, you can benefit from a proven strategy to determine what unique opportunities may exist for you. During this eye-opening talk, you’ll learn to identify a new opportunity or revenue stream that has the potential to breathe new life into your brand.
Lead Explorer of Light, Story & Creative, Mozell Films
As Video Director of Photography for clients such as Under Armour and Facebook (and other small businesses to larger brands), Lee became familiar with the necessary steps to translate a brand’s voice into engaging, emotional storytelling.
Mozell, named after Lee's Grandmother, promises to walk brands through development, exploration and transformation of concepts that aims to enthrall their audience. There’s a lot of noise, a lot of fluff and too much counterfeit. Let’s get real -- we’re in it for the adventure, for the authenticity and the creative problem solving. Dreamer and creative at heart inspired by family, strong coffee, and great stories.
Consumer Products Group President, Stanley Black&Decker
Allison Nicolaidis is the President of the Consumer Products Group at Stanley Black&Decker. Over 17 years, Nicolaidis has amassed a breadth of leadership experiences touching nearly every customer and business unit within the industry leading Global Tools And Storage (GTS) segment of Stanley Black&Decker.
In her current role as the Consumer Products Group President, she champions global strategic planning, product innovation, product engineering, and brand and digital excellence initiatives across four core business segments including Consumer Power Tools, Home Products, Outdoor Power Equipment, and Tradesman Power Tools. With a broad stable of global brands namely BLACK+DECKER, PORTER-CABLE, STANLEY FATMAX, BOSTITCH, and DEWALT (outdoor), Nicolaidis focuses her teams on relevant consumer innovation, low cost design, and commercial excellence across a broad brick and mortar and E-commerce landscape.
Mary Phan has always been drawn to the arts. After beginning her career as an interior designer, dabbling in fashion and staging model homes before becoming a designer of private homes, Mary’s love of creating an atmosphere and a feeling in the spaces she entered inspired her to launch Very Merry Events in 2008. In addition to creating memorable experiences, Mary sent her clients home with physical mementos in the form of the custom illustrations that became an indispensable part of her design process. In 2013, Mary took that love of illustration to the next level, launching The Sketchbook Series to help other event planners and designers learn a skill that had become a key way that Mary communicated with her clients. Very Merry Events became Very Mary Inspired, and now Mary provides gorgeous hand-illustrations and concept sketches for other brands & designers—when she’s not traveling from coast to coast for The Sketchbook Series classes, of course.
CMP, CPCE, CGMP | Regional Vice President, Sales, PSAV
Prentice is a dynamic, results-driven business executive with a sustained track record of leading high-performing, efficient and profitable sales organizations. Currently, he directs a complex, geographically-disbursed account management team for PSAV.
As a seasoned corporate sales leader, Prentice creates and implements effective business development strategies which deliver impactful customer experiences, increase capture, encourage cross-functional synergy and optimize financial results. His collaborative and analytical management approach enables consistent over-achievement of team goals and objectives.
During his 18-year career, Prentice has been recognized by both employers and key industry organizations for his contributions to the hospitality and technology sectors. Before joining PSAV’s Global Sales Organization (Branch Division) in 2010, Prentice enjoyed lengthy tenures with Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotel Corporation and Wyndham International. In 2011, he was the recipient of PSAV’s Salesperson of the Year Award which recognized his outstanding leadership and sales team performance. In addition to his day-to-day work responsibilities, Prentice has dedicated countless volunteer hours and resources to local chapters of MPI, IAEE, NACE and PCMA. He frequently lectures during regional and national industry conventions.
Prentice earned a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism from West Virginia University. Additionally, he possesses three professional designations: Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP) and Certified Professional Catering Executive (CPCE).
Prentice is married to Erica Pollard. The couple resides in the Greater Washington, D.C. area with their two children, Shelby and Brooks.
Chief Inspiration Officer, Sisarina
Brand building + hardcore strategy x positivity = Melanie Spring. Melanie is the Chief Inspiration Officer at Sisarina, a DC-based brand strategy agency. She's an entrepreneur, international speaker, and approachable badass spreading the gospel of rocking your brand.
Sick of hearing the same old corporate stories, she traveled 7,000 miles in 3 weeks on the Live Your Brand Tour interviewing businesses of all sizes about what makes them tick. After the stories were published in Entrepreneur Magazine, she became a Contributing Writer and successfully established herself as a branding expert.
Sisarina created Brands That Rock, an entrepreneurial tribe of rockstar humans, while Melanie facilitates workshops at Fortune 500 companies. She’s truly living her purpose inspiring others. After listening to her TED-style talks and workshops, you'll have a solid to-do list, bold ideas, and the inspiration to get out there and do something bigger.
Self-Starter, Marketing | Under Armour
Ernie Talbert is responsible for creating strategic category direction for the Global Brand Management team at Under Armour. He has managed Under Armour’s largest key category initiatives across Training, Running and now Lifestyle in his 3 year tenure in Baltimore, MD. In his daily responsibilities, Ernie is tasked with building the category voice and creative feel while partnering cross functionally across multiple facets of the business. Global Brand Management serves as the brand compass with the primary goal of ensuring authenticity in all aspects of the business that deliver the brand promise to millions of athletes around the world.
Prior to joining Under Armour, Ernie spent 5 years at HanesBrands where he worked across a variety of Brands from Just My Size to Champion. Outside of work he has a background in hip-hop culture, skateboarding and is responsible for curating multiple events in the Philadelphia/Delaware area.