Why Attend The Signature CEO Conference? Words From Loyal Attendee Shelby Tuck Horton

With the vast number of panel discussions, fireside chats, webinars, talks, and conference options that exist, why does The Signature CEO Conference continuously attract and excite newcomers, while welcoming back attendees who return, invigorated, year after year? 

The answer lies in the hearts and minds of loyal attendees.

Hearing from attendees, and understanding their expectations and motivations, is key. Their words empower me to strive harder, dive deeper, and dream bigger to optimize the conference event, through intellectually stimulating content enhanced by engaging, transformative experiences. 

Why attend The Signature CEO Conference? As the founder and managing director, I could go on and on, expounding on all of the amazing benefits, but instead, let’s hear from one the platform’s most faithful attendees. 

Here’s a powerful endorsement from 4-time attendee, Shelby Tuck-Horton Certified Life and Business Coach (who celebrated a birthday with us during The Signature CEO Conference 2020 – Virtual Experience). 

Shelby’s sentiment…

I have been a fan of The Signature C.E.O. Conference since I attended my very first one.  To be truthful, I mainly attended to support Tara for her first conference.  However, that was one of the best conferences I had ever attended.

Shelby’s take on the high-impact content…

I loved that some of the speakers were not in the wedding industry, but had valuable information, strategies, and tips for business growth.  As many conferences as I have attended in the wedding industry, I walked away with a notebook full of notes with strategies I could easily implement for business improvement.  

Sometimes I learned something new or confirmed something that I already knew.  There was information shared that could be easily implemented to see immediate changes in your business.

Her thoughts on engagement…

Since I missed last year’s conference, I was really looking forward to this year’s Signature C.E.O. Conference.  When the decision was made to make it a virtual conference due to the pandemic, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it as much. I don’t particularly like staying online for long periods of time.  

However, the speakers were engaging, informative, and authentic in their presentations.  There was still interaction between the speakers and attendees, fun, games, and entertainment.   I ended up taking tons of  notes.

Her feelings about the dynamic speakers…

All of the speakers were great and I learned something from each one, but I really enjoyed Britney Jeanine, a creative brand consultant.  She presented on building a plan-based business and brand.  Her presentation was informative and authentic.  

She helped me to see some mistakes I was making in my branding and confirmed some things that I was doing correctly.  I loved her energy and willingness to share her expertise in such an easy to comprehend manner.

On the ROI…

Needless to say, I have become a loyal attendee who only missed one year due to a conflict. I love The Signature C.E.O Conference and look forward to attending next year.  It is worth the investment in you and your business.

I’m proud to share that Shelby Tuck-Horton was a 2020 Financial Sponsor Award Recipient. Her unwavering support over the years is her greatest testimony. It is a tangible demonstration of her belief that The Signature CEO Conference has the ability to change the trajectory of someone’s life by harnessing the collective power of the brightest creative minds.

The Signature CEO Conference 2020…Virtual Experience Day 3 – Impact!

DAY THREE: IMPACT: A powerful, positive and purpose-driven influence that makes  a contribution towards a better future

Rested, and ready from Monday and Tuesday, our creative community tuned into day 3 anticipating more action items to enhance their personal and professional lives. 

They were encouraged by emcee, Marilyn Patterson, to “Stop and Woosah”. In other words, take it all in, review notes and consider: “What steps am I going to immediately put into place?”  

She emphasized identifying small changes that will make a greater impact over time. 


Speaker, Michelle Gainey, Founder of Lemiga Events 

Topic: “Having a Red Carpet Brand… Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous”

⇨Key Takeaway: “When Oprah calls you don’t want to have to get ready. Be ready.”

Michelle’s overarching theme was to always be intentional about the projects you accept. Whatever your journey is, it doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s. What’s important is that you stay true to the life you want to build. Your business should be a reflection of that. It should fit your lifestyle. 

  • Identifying the best practices within your industry 
  • Do the Work. There are no shortcuts in building your reputation
  • Have the right strategic partners 
  • Have a unique vision. Think beyond your industry
  • Build your tribe
  • Establish trust

The agenda switched gears midday from single speaker to a Peer Panel Discussion format to further engage.

This year’s peer panel was comprised of heavy-hitters: Shaune’ Hayes of Red Carpet Ready Makeup by Shaune’ Hayes + Jennifer Domenick of Love Life Images + Benjamin Davis Yamean Studios.

Panelists covered key areas of business, such as: systems, marketing, vendor partnerships, customer relationships, personal well-being and entrepreneurship.

⇨ Key Takeaways: There were many golden nuggets of wisdom shared, but here are a few standouts:

  • Our identity is established by our habits
  • Love what you do. 
  • Adapt to change. 
  • Be a strong business leader/owner, understand what clients want, manage your money, and build a great team
  • Be brilliant. Be Brief and Be Gone
  • A business cannot survive if the CEO can’t thrive

During the midday break, Perfekt Blend Band had us floating on a natural high. The end of the day was drawing near, and their performance of “Before I Let Go” by Maze was a bittersweet sign that we would have to soon part ways again until 2021.



Speaker, Ticora Davis, ESQ of The Creator’s Law Firm

Topic: “Protecting Your Smarts…Business Legality Misconceptions” 

⇨Key Takeaway: “The law is a sword and a shield, and if it is used correctly it can protect your business, clients and team.”

Ticora empowered our creative community by setting them on a path toward understanding how to secure their rights; especially protecting our brand: names, logos, designs or phrases. Ticora delved into:

  • The power and purpose of specific business entities
  • The essentials to include in a contract
  • Trustworthy places to receive trademark legal guidance

Speaker, Monica Barnett, Founder of Blueprint for Style

Topic: “Paid Marketing vs. Brand Evangelism” 

⇨Key Takeaway: “Marketing is all about doing great business and building lasting connections and relationships.”

Monica clarified the differences between two of the oldest and most widely used forms of marketing: Paid Marketing and Word of Mouth; both with the end goal to increase brand awareness, visibility and awareness.

It’s not and either/or strategy. You need both. The key is to use them in the right proportions:

  • 70% Brand Evangelism (Free walking advertisement; an ambassador that eagerly spreads the word about you without payment or being prompted)
  • 30% Paid Marketing 

Think through the pieces that define what your brand is about. What is going to differentiate your product or service?

Speaker, Natarsha Wright of Natarsha Wright Photography

Topic: “Brand Clarity for Creative Professionals”

⇨Key Takeaway: “Your mission and vision will drive everything you do in your business. Develop an authentic brand voice to master personal branding like a boss”

Natarsha warned us, “Don’t do another thing to your visual brand until you’ve built the foundational elements of your business.” First clarify:

  • Brand Purpose
  • Mission
  • Vision
  • Values
  • Voice

Natarsha was very transparent in showing the growth and development of her own brand identity over the years, and how she overcame old ways of thinking that her brand was “all about her” – as opposed to her new mindset, “Your brand is not about you. It is about who you serve and how.”

Speaker, Teshorn Jackson of Teshorn Jackson Photography- “Crush the Competition…Get Found Online (SEO)”

⇨Key Takeaway: “SEO is like playing sports, you can’t score a basket if you’re not in the game.”

We’re all looking for ways to level up by elevating our online presence. Teshorn shared many technical insights on how we can use SEO to better position our brands online. These are a few things to take into consideration if you’re rebranding or building a website:

  • Identify Your SEO Objectives
  • Claim your business listing 
  • Identify Keywords you want to rank for
  • Use long tail keywords
  • Write Blogs

With his techniques, we will be able to go from not showing up on google to hopefully showing up on the first two pages.

At the conclusion of Day Three, attendees were brought on screen to share overall impressions of the mind-expanding, virtual event. An attendee remarked that having the lineup of topics top of mind, was value added – and appreciated being shown by peers how they activated various tools, techniques and strategies within their brand strategies.

Accolades were plentiful! No matter if an attendee was a seasoned business owner with 7+ years of experience or an emerging entrepreneur, more new to the game, we were all enriched by the robust wisdom imparted. We “walked away” inspired to use our lives as conduits to make an even greater IMPACT!

We bid one another a fond farewell – resonating with innovative ideas to refine our businesses for the remainder of 2020, and beyond. 

DJ Derron of Washington Talent Agency sent final farewells, through a fantastic musical playlist.

Special Recognition and Acknowledgements for our Virtual Experience:

I would be remiss if I did not thank all of #TSCEO2020 sponsors. attendees and speakers. I am especially grateful that all of you rode this wave with me as we bravely traversed the unprecedented Coronavirus. 

Every single year, I hand select each speaker, and intuitively, I know they will knock it out of the park. After witnessing this year’s presentations and absorbing the knowledge that was shared – the speakers did not disappoint! I thank each speaker from the bottom of my heart.

As a creative community, we are at the end of the 2020 virtual conference experience, but also at a new beginning to re-energize our entrepreneurial business journeys. 

It is my hope that you felt that I saw each and every one of you. This platform was specifically created and curated especially for you – for every level that requires a different you. Take time to rest and digest. Then, continue to set audacious goals. Change mindsets. Build relationships. 

Dare yourself to be bold each and every day.

It was a remarkable 3-days. We will continue to rise, and reconvene, fully renewed, in 2021!

How to Use Your Mobile Phone to Create Video That Connects With Your Clients

Our Speaker’s care and want to extend their support to you during this time of uncertainty. As we were all affected by COVID-19, The Signature CEO Conference was postponed and with the support of our Speakers they still want to extend a reach to each of you and share advice on how you can pivot through this temporary disruption of our businesses.

We had the opportunity to do a LIVE Facebook Interview with Speaker, BENJAMIN DAVIS of YAMEAN STUDIOS. Benjamin, the leader behind Yamean Studios, an award-winning brand strategy media agency who work with brands and businesses to develop meaningful content and engage people with actionable brand experiences that spark human connection. His media company turns stories into conversations, impressions into relationships and campaigns into results.

Watch our video to get full details.

(5) Tech Tips for Your Business during Amid Covid-19

Our Speaker’s care and want to extend their support to you during this time of uncertainty. As we were all affected by COVID-19, The Signature CEO Conference was postponed and with the support of our Speakers they still want to extend a reach to each of you and share advice on how you can pivot through this temporary disruption of our businesses.

We had the opportunity to do a LIVE Facebook Interview with Speaker, MYRNA DARAMY of MYRNA & CO. Myrna is a digital media strategist and tech translator for the modern business owner. With over 12 years of experience, her natural ability to clarify the blurred lines between technology application and spontaneous creativity is what makes her one of the most insightful digital marketing strategists today.

During our conversation he highlighted, “(5) Tech Tips for Your Business during Amid Covid-19”:

  1. Jump into video right now (practice, practice, practice) – Video it the number media that people are absorbing right now… Whether you are showing up on Zoom, IG, FB, or YouTube
  2. Take some time out to do an audit of your digi-home from your mobile device (your website)
      • Is your website reflecting the current version of you? (Are you digitally cohesive?)
      • Is your site responding to the fact that it is on mobile
      • When is the last time you blogged or created any new content on your website?
      • Are there any broken links on your site?
      • Is your site optimized?
  3. Visit your analytics on all the platforms that you are active on
  4. Take some time out to do an audit of all the tech platforms you are using (many of these platforms have modified their offerings)
  5. Unplug and give yourself a curfew with tech

Watch our video to get full details.

5 Healthy Living Tips from the Inside Out during COVID-19 | Beny Blaq

Our Speaker’s care and want to extend their support to you during this time of uncertainty. As we were all affected by COVID-19, The Signature CEO Conference was postponed and with the support of our Speakers they still want to extend a reach to each of you and share advice on how you can pivot through this temporary disruption of our businesses.

We had the opportunity to do a LIVE Facebook Interview with Speaker, BENY BLAQ of Rebel Fit USA.  Beny is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist whose studio has grown from 5 clients to over 150 clients in the Northern Virginia area providing boot camp classes, small group personal training, and private personal training.

During our conversation he highlighted,  “5 Healthy Living Tips from the Inside Out during COVID-19”:

1. Exercise at a min of 3x per week
2. Drink minimum of 64 oz of water
3. 7+ Hours of sleep
4. 5 servings of Veggies per day
5. Keep stress low: Reduce TV and social media intake, get fresh air daily and limit alcohol intake.
View our video to get full details.

5 Money Strategy Tips for Your Business to execute during COVID-19 | Jacquette Timmons

Our Speaker’s care and want to extend their support to you during this time of uncertainty. As we were all affected by COVID-19, The Signature CEO Conference was postponed and with the support of our Speakers they still want to extend a reach to each of you and share advice on how you can pivot through this temporary disruption of our businesses.

We had the opportunity to do a LIVE Facebook Interview with Speaker, JACQUETTE TIMMONS of Sterling Investments Jacquette is a financial behaviorist and is committed to getting you to see that you don’t manage money – you manage your choices around money.  During our conversation she highlighted, “5 Money Strategy Tips for Your Business to execute during COVID-19”:

  • Panic pricing – Avoid the temptation to do it
  • Create a condensed offer, instead
  • Do an expense audit
  • Create a decision tree
  • Practice (more) self-care

Watch the full video as we dive into the (5) strategy tips!

Tara’s Business Insight: Part 2, End of Year Preparation

The Signature CEO Conference is all about engaging its audience in the fundamentals of business intelligence that essentially equips creative entrepreneurs with the tools to run their businesses effectively and efficiently.
This video is on “End of Year Preparation”.  Founder, Tara Melvin, walks you through some essential reminders of things you should be implementing to get ready for 2020!  From budgets to networking strategies, to marketing strategies and beyond.


Tara’s Business Insight – End of Year “TAX” Preparation

The Signature CEO Conference is all about engaging its audience in the fundamentals of business intelligence that essentially equips creative entrepreneurs with the tools to run their businesses effectively and efficiently.
This video is on “End of Year TAX Preparation”.  Founder, Tara Melvin, walks you through some key essential tools that she utilizes to aid in her preparation for the upcoming tax season.

My Personal Highlights…The Signature CEO Conference 2018

AUTHOR:  Teaira Abston of Dreamcatcher Stationery

Several, if not all, of my fellow creative bosses would agree that one of the most important things you can do to ensure the success of your business is to consistently seek educational opportunities to learn and expand your knowledge base. Whether the focus is on the newest trends or techniques of your creative niche or discovering new tools and systems to implement in your business, finding a workshop or conference to attend quarterly or annually can prove to be worth the investment.

Every year creatives plan to attend various conferences and workshops in search of the ultimate educational and networking experience. With so many promising to offer just that, it can be overwhelming trying to find the right conference for you and your business. One conference I have attended that has proven to be well worth the investment, is the Signature CEO Conference, organized by Tara Melvin of Perfectly Planned Events. Tara thoughtfully curates the best of the best in the creative industry to present attendees with valuable information and tools to immediately implement and take their businesses to the next level.

The inaugural conference was held in 2015, but my first time attending was the 2017 conference. I had such a positive experience that I knew I could never miss another. What I appreciated so much was the intimacy of this conference. The speakers were so engage, and they even stayed after their own presentations to learn from other industry leaders and interact with attendees. I didn’t feel lost in a sea of professionals fighting for a handshake or “usie.” Instead it felt rather inclusive and personal, especially when we were able to mix and mingle during lunch and speed networking.

I loved that each speaker presented on his or her own area of expertise, covering a broad range of topics that applied to us all regardless of our creative niche. They spoke about practical things we could apply to our business the very next day versus fluff that is only “instagram” worthy. LoL The Signature CEO Conference 2018 was simply amazing!

This year’s speaker line-up included industry gurus like the amazing Kathy Romero, Kellie Daab, Jacqueline Nwobu, and Dan Simons to name a few. The jewels that were dropped were truly invaluable.  I ended each session with pages of notes and was fired up to get back to my home office to make the necessary adjustments in my business.

Monique Melton’s presentation about creating passive income definitely resonated with me. She specifically spoke about the importance of creating something that doesn’t compete with our core service/product. Instead, she implored us to study our target market to find the gaps and areas that can be improved by understanding the frustrations of our audience. It got my wheels turning, and I’m already considering adding a new service/product that will compliment what I currently do.

Patrick Teague dived deep into the basics of copyrighting and how to recognize copyright infringement. He also gave steps on how to obtain copyrights for things such as pictures, videos, and other digital products online. He also touched on social media since that’s how the majority of us share our work with the world.

The panel discussion focused on the grit and grace of being an entrepreneur also resonated with me. They discussed the sacrifices made in order to get ahead, the hardest lessons they’ve learned, and shared so many examples of ways to practice self care while being an entrepreneur. Each panelist was very transparent about their journey and their struggles, giving examples of challenges they had overcome to get where they are today. Their candid responses were heartfelt and relatable.

 Although each speaker focused on very specific topics, there were a few points that were consistent among them…

~Outsource and get help in areas where you know you are not the expert…Abby Grace touched a lot on this.

~Utilize tools that will help you stay organized and on top of things, such as processes and systems to help you streamline. Nicole Peck of Bizbash and Jacqueline Nwobu, CEO of  Munaluchi Bride gave us some amazing apps we can use.

~Be ready to pivot and change often because there’s no one size fit all model. Adjust with the industry and determine ways to stand out as a brand! Kellie Dabb talked about becoming known for one thing (niching down), and creating a smooth client experience unlike the rest by starting with a clear message and delivering the luxury to your client by providing the VALUE.

~Authenticity goes a LONG way, especially on social media and when building lasting relationships with people. Network = your net worth!

The Signature CEO Conference is perfect for established and newbie creative professionals. I would recommend this conference to anyone who is looking to learn from some of the best in the industry. At this conference, you get so many practical steps you can take and apply immediately. The speakers are experts in the areas they present, and they provide great information on ways to improve on what you’ve already established.

In addition to the amazing educational opportunity, you can expect to laugh and catch up with old business buddies. Expand your business network by meeting new people and laying a foundation for cultivating new relationships. You will learn so much from others who ask questions and share their thoughts on different topics.

You’ll find yourself opening up to fresh new perspectives that may allow you to see things in your business that you’ve never seen before. You are guaranteed to walk away with the motivation you need to finish the year off strong and plan for the next year. At the end of each conference, I’ve left with a feeling of  “I CAN DO THIS!”…Just knowing I have people there that will genuinely cheer me on means the world.

Oh, and I forgot to mention how fabulous the welcome party was! It’s a great time to let your hair down and be a guest at an event when we are usually on the other end.

So…are you sold??

Great news! Early registration is now open for Signature CEO Conference 2019.  I’ll see you there!

Guest Blogger • Markel Insurance • How to Cultivate Vendor Relationships

In the event planning business, you will be working with a variety of vendors. It is important to have good working relationships so you can be successful. Here are some tips to help you establish these essential relationships.

5 tips to better vendor relationships

  1. Expect to pay fair market value

Yes you want to give your clients a deal, but not at the expense of another vendor losing out. It is important to understand pricing in the event industry, so that you can negotiate fair pricing for both your client and the vendor you are partnering with. Do not expect special deals beyond what is reasonable. The vendor will be much easier to work with if you see their side of the business too.

  1. Refer other business to them

You already have your finger on the pulse of the event industry and most likely know other local event planners. If you like working with a particular vendor, reach out to your other industry contacts and recommend your preferred vendor to them. The vendor will appreciate the business and may give you better discounts in the future. They may also return the favor.

  1. Write glowing reviews

In addition to personally referring business to great vendors, take the time to write a favorable review for them on popular sites like Google and Yelp. This will make you appear more favorable in their eyes and they may in turn write a review for you too.

  1. Respect their opinion

You know a lot about event planning and have many opinions on vendors and their services. It’s important to let other vendors in the industry have a voice too. They are in their respective businesses because they have an expertise. When you are open to their views and vision for their part of the event, you will cultivate a great working relationship. This doesn’t mean giving in to ideas that won’t work for your client, but there might be some value in their thoughts that you hadn’t considered.

  1. Give thanks and praise

You both have jobs to do, but it’s always nice to be thanked for services even if the service is expected.  A “thank you” can go a long way, especially when it comes to establishing mutual respect and trust. In addition, it’s a nice gesture to praise a vendor for an excellent job in front of your client or potential clients. This could lead to more business for them.

We hope these tips help you foster great relationships with vendors.  When you cultivate relationships, you also start sharing best practices. Consider informing them about event insurance. They will thank you.

Markel offers event liability insurance to hosts and honorees, protecting from incidents such as property damage to the venue or injury to a guest. Up to $2 million in event liability insurance can be purchased by your client from Markel any time at least 1 day before the event. Policies start as low as $75.

By offering Markel Event Insurance, it will not only protect your clients, but it can also protect you by potentially decreasing your own business liability risk for accidents due to negligence of the event host or honoree. Markel Event Insurance is an easy and affordable solution for your clients – a free quote takes only a few minutes online or on the phone – turning you into a one-stop-shop for your clients.

Have a website? You can receive a $25 gift card simply by placing a Markel Event Insurance link on your website.  Email maicmarketing@markelcorp.com to learn more!

If you don’t have a website, Markel can also provide you with brochures to help raise your clients’ awareness of the benefits of event liability insurance.

To learn more, please visit http://www.markeleventinsurance.com/wedding-and-event-professionals or call 1-855-480-9757.

Writer, Lauren Hernandez, Markel Insurance