2015 Speakers

(Note:  The speakers listed below are from our November 2015 conference.  This page will be updated with our 2016 speakers soon – stay tuned.)

heidielnora_2013finalheadshotweb1Heidi Elnora  |  Bridal Fashion Designer, Heidi Elnora & Star of TLC’s Bride by Design

From a humble beginning to bridal shops across the world, Heidi Elnora has become one of the premier wedding dress designers through the success of her company, Heidi Elnora. Her journey began upon graduation from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2002 where Heidi was taught the couture techniques of the fashion industry. Heidi’s passion for couture and the creation of timeless pieces resulted in the establishment of Heidi Elnora in 2006. Following the footprints of great wedding dress designers before her, Heidi’s wedding dresses are recognized by their quality in construction, fine attention to detail, and feminine relevance.Based in Alabama, the Heidi Elnora brand is focused on being a personal and honest company, helping brides-to-be find and design their dream wedding dresses, while staying true to their Southern roots. Today, Heidi Elnora wedding dresses can be found in more than 32 bridal shops worldwide, including the Heidi Elnora flagship atelier and boutique in Birmingham, Alabama.The spring of 2015 unveiled a new chapter for Heidi Elnora with the launch of her reality show, Bride by Design, part of TLC‘s bridal lineup.

TaraGentile_OfficialHeadshotTara Gentile  |  Business Strategist & Author, Quiet Power Strategy  |  Founder, Kick Start Labs

Tara Gentile is a business strategist and the author of Quiet Power Strategy. She works with entrepreneurs and idea people to help them leverage their Quiet Power and build businesses that generate wealth, peace, and ease. Her clients learn to lead themselves and their businesses based on what makes them most effective and compelling.

She’s also the creator of the Quiet Power Strategy™ program for business owners and teaches aspiring business coaches and strategists how to use the system with their own clients. She’s the founder of Kick Start Labs, a resource library and entrepreneurial community for businesses that are lean and mean.

Tara’s work has been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Design*Sponge, and in the New York Times bestselling book,  The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau. She’s a regular instructor on CreativeLive and speaks on entrepreneurship, money, and the New Economy all over the world.

Erica BarrettErica Barrett  |  Founder & CEO  | Southern Culture Artisan Foods, Inc.

Erica’s love for cooking started at the youthful age of 9 years old . She got her inspiration as a young girl from a red and white checkered cookbook titled Good Housekeeping offered to her by her grandmother. From the time she was given the cookbook, Erica immediately started experimenting with recipes, which soon blossomed into meals for her family. Preparing those family meals built confidence in Erica to start selling hotdogs, chicken wings, and nachos at her mom’s hair salon to make extra money on the weekends..

Erica went on to attend Clark Atlanta University and earned a degree in Business Administration. She landed her first job at Target as an Executive Team Leader. Even at Target, she won food contest amongst her peers. It wasn’t until years later that Erica entered a cooking contest with Lea & Perrins and Foodnetwork.com, that she really started to craft for making amazing dishes seriously. Erica ultimately became the grand prize winner of that contest. But it wasn’t until she was making breakfast for her husband one weekend morning that she realized that something was missing from the grocery aisle, good breakfast. Erica left the store an entrepreneur and started to create her own food company, Southern Culture Artisan Foods. Erica’s mission was to totally re-invent breakfast. She wanted to make food that was great tasting and clean to eat.

She  started with pancakes, the kind that were light and airy, then decided to have fun with flavors like Vanilla and Bourbon Salted Pecan and Banana Pudding. Erica thought, “these are delicious, but what will people think?” So she asked neighbors, friends, and family to try them and they loved them. With the official stamp of approval, Erica placed the products for sale April 2012 and the rest is history. Since launching Southern Culture, Erica has successfully placed her product in over 3,000 stores and 4 countries. Notable Stores include Nordstrom, Wholefoods, Safeway, TJ Maxx, Kroger, and Sur la Table. Erica has appeared on ABC’s 2014 Emmy Award winning hit series Shark Tank (view Erica’s episode on Shark Tank) and regularly airs on QVC. Erica has quickly built her reputation as the go-to “businesswoman” in food.

Erica Barrett has been seen in the following:

  • OWN Network Orignal Series “2 Fat 2 Fly”
  • ABC’s Shark Tank
  • The Oprah Magazine (O’s Favorite List)
  • Black Enterprise Magazine
  • QVC
  • Daily Candy
  • The Huffington Post
  • The Atlanta Journal Constitution
  • Chicago Tribune

688__275x481_kimberleynealKimberly H. Neal, Esq  |  Pessin Katz Law, P.A.

Kimberly H. Neal is a Member of the Maryland and District of Columbia Bars and focuses her practice on business litigation, including general commercial litigation, the defense of employment-related claims, hospitality industry, construction law, and insurance defense.  A member of the National Association of Catering Executives and Legal Advisor for the Baltimore Fashion Alliance, she enjoys presenting on and assisting clients with business law matters, particularly within the event planning, catering, hospitality and retail industries.

Ms. Neal is an active member of the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA).  She was appointed to the Civil Pattern Jury Instructions Committee of the MSBA and served three years on the Executive Council for the MSBA’s Section of Young Lawyers. The Section of Young Lawyers recognized Kimberly as its “Most Valuable Player” in 2011, and honored her with its “Distinguished Service Award” in 2010.

The daughter of an educator, Ms. Neal advocates the importance of quality education. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Downtown Baltimore Child Care, Inc., a local non-profit aimed at providing Baltimore-area children with access to outstanding early childcare.  She supports the Fannie Angelos Program for Academic Excellence’s initiatives in assisting students at Maryland’s historically black colleges and universities in preparing for law school, currently chairing the program’s annual fundraising gala.  Ever devoted to her alma mater, Ms. Neal is Co-Chair of Student Recruiting for the Mississippi State University Alumni Association’s MD/DC/VA Chapter; she informs area high school students of educational opportunities at Mississippi State University.

Accolades for Kimberly H. Neal:

  • Named Top 100 Women in Maryland by The Daily Record, 2015
  • Selected for inclusion in “Rising Stars” in Super Lawyers Magazine, 2012-2015
  • Author, Maryland Civil Pattern Jury Instructions Fourth Edition with 2013 Supplement
  • Leading Woman distinction, The Daily Record, 2013
  • Rising Star, Living Classrooms Foundation, 2013
  • VIP Award, The Daily Record, 2013

Click Here for Additional information about Kimberly H. Neal

Amanda Miller Littlejohn  |  Certified Branding Coach

Amanda Miller Littlejohn is a top nationally recognized expert on personal branding. She is an idea oven, brand problem solver, and creative powerhouse working at the intersection of public relations, journalism, marketing and social media. A former full-time print journalist and a writer first by training and passion, Amanda uses her unique storytelling lens and reporting skills to help her clients uncover and subsequently share better brand stories. Through her coaching programs, signature personal branding system The

Branding Box, Amanda is a motivating business coach for entrepreneurs and experts who are seeking brand clarity, and fresh ideas on how to emerge as experts in their chosen fields.  As the founder of Washington, DC based PR firm Mopwater Social PR, Amanda has helped organizations leverage mainstream media and publicity, blogs and social media campaigns to build buzz online and off. When working with clients, she’s used her journalistic training to dig deep to find the story behind the story – crafting an authentic brand message in the process. She now leverages that foundation of journalism and public relations in her work as a coach, where she helps you build your brand, pursue your passions and package your genius so you can share it with the world.

Dr. Shana Y. Patrick  |  CEO, Infinite Provision Consulting, LLC

Dr. Shana Y. Patrick is the CEO of Infinite Provision Consulting, LLC. She established her consulting business in 2010 in an effort to provide organizations and individuals services related to leadership development, soft skills training, and organizational effectiveness.

Dr. Patrick is also a highly accomplished business analyst with 20 years of combined experience in the public sector (federal), private sector (telecom and logistics), and university setting (Professor). These experiences have enhanced her work performance by allowing her to consider various approaches and solutions to workplace challenges with a clear understanding of how to work decisively, but with immense consideration for the contribution of others. She is also Six Sigma GreenBelt Certified.

Dr. Patrick earned her Doctor of Management (DM) in Organizational Leadership from the University of Phoenix (UoP), a Master of Arts in Business Administration from Bowie State University (BSU), and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T).

Professional & Community Organizations:

  • Professional Women’s Network (PWN)
  • American Society for Training & Development (ASTD)
  • International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI)
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
  • Rebuilding Together
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation

Kendall Lott  |  M Powered Strategies Inc.  |  2014 Chair Chief Executive Officer The Washington DC Chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMIWDC)

Kendall Lott is the CEO and President of M Powered Strategies, Inc, a government consulting firm in Washington DC that supports departments and agencies within the U.S. Government.  A seasoned consultant and management professional, Mr. Lott has strong admiration and respect for public service. His first experience with public service was a two-year tour with the U.S. Peace Corps in Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia, where he served as an instructor at the local community college and junior high school, and an economic adviser to the municipal council. After receiving his Masters degree in Pacific International Affairs, he was accepted into the prestigious Presidential Management Fellowship program and served as a career civil servant at offices in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Management and Budget and the U.S. Department of Justice.  Mr. Lott’s career has focused on modernization and transformation, particularly in the area of information technology (IT). While overseas, he managed multi-cultural international teams in support of bringing enabling IT to the practices of the national governments of India, Malaysia, and Jordan. These projects focused on education, government operations, and citizen-facing services. For the U.S. Government, Mr. Lott has worked with senior executives and managers to enhance organizational effectiveness within the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Energy, and the Defense Logistics Agency.  Mr. Lott holds a Master of Pacific International Affairs degree from the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from Indiana University, Bloomington. He is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) of the Project Management Institute (PMI), and currently serves as Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the Washington DC Chapter. He was a member of the international Program Management Standards Committee for PMI and is a volunteer PMP Certification instructor.

Brian Wendroff  |  Founder, Wendroff & Associates, CPA

Brian is the managing partner and founder of Wendroff & Associates, CPA. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) who specializes in CFO consulting, small business and nonprofit accounting, startup companies, and tax planning for individuals and businesses. Brian is a member of the Virginia Society of CPAs Northern Chapter and is currently serving as the Chair of the Nonprofit committee. He is also an active member of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.  Brian’s favorite part of being a CPA is working with business owners to help them reach their organizational goals and create opportunities for growth.

ryan kingRyan King  |  CEO & Founder, RCHY Didactics & Digits

Ryan King has been designing and coding webpages for 14 years and has specialized in WordPress custom theme design and development, plugins and other customizations. His skills include HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP and MySQL. He specializes in cross-disciplinary and cross-platform design centered around creating rich and engaging user experiences and has deep technical knowledge of SEO back-end assessment and implementation.

He holds a B.A. in Sociology and Art History and a M.A. in Exhibition Design.

Ryan’s projects include the University of Florida’s Department of Continuing Dental Education, the American-Danish Business Council, the National Association of Environmental Health and Safety Managers, the National Association of Community Health Centers, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, the Freer|Sackler Museum of Asian Art, and Museum of Contemporary Craft. He has also taught continuing education courses on Photoshop and served as a writing coach and editor at the Corcoran College of Art + Design.

Timothy Young  |  CEO, Y106bca4oung Marketing Consulting

Tim Young is the founder and CEO of Young Marketing Consulting, a full-service marketing and business strategy firm that helps clients identify, reach and convert their target audience into customers, and also served as a wedding band leader and guitarist with the Washington Talent Agency. He began his marketing career in the Fortune 500, working with companies such as Target, Kimberly-Clark, Sony, HP, and more, before transitioning to head marketing for the world’s largest membership-based association for business owners, the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. He founded Young Marketing Consulting in 2013. Learn more at www.youngmarketingconsulting.com.

Alonzo HowardAlonzo Howard  |  Independent Insurance Agent, State Farm Insurance

Prior to becoming a State Farm Insurance Agent, Alonzo was employed with Xerox Corporation for nine years as a Key Account Manager (KAM). As a KAM he was responsible for growing, developing, and maintaining major accounts. Alonzo’s marketing and business management skills proved to be of great value to him in his position with Xerox Corporation.

Alonzo has been an Independent State Farm Agent since 1994. Alonzo is responsible for marketing all lines of insurance and financial products to policyholders and members of the community. He provides professional insurance counseling to ensure policyholders have appropriate coverage. He is also tasked with being a “Good Neighbor” and active in the community. Alonzo is responsible for four full-time staff persons. As a State Farm Agent Alonzo has received many awards and he has travelled on behalf of State Farm as a result of being a Stellar Insurance Agent in his market place.

Alonzo received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, from Fayetteville State University in 1985. Alonzo continues to take marketing/management business related courses for career enhancement purposes to ensure that he offers his policyholders sound financial advice.

Community Involvement: As a State Farm Agent Alonzo has participated in several school awareness activities educating children on the importance of understanding proper usage of 911, how to safely evacuate your home in case of a fire, and seat belt safety. Alonzo is an active member of Kappa Alpha Psi, Fraternity, Incorporated-Baltimore Alumnae Chapter. Alonzo has been married for over twenty years and has two children.

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