Speakers

SAM ETTUS
Keynote Speaker

A renowned work/life balance expert, Sam inspires corporate cultures and increases employee retention and productivity through her executive workshops and keynotes. Thousands of professionals from C-level leaders to administrative assistants have benefitted from Sam’s unique guidance on how to maximize work/life success. She finds that spark within each of us and turns it into a fire.
Since earning her undergraduate and MBA degrees from Harvard, Sam has become a bestselling author of five books, a writer for Forbes, a renowned speaker and host of a nationally syndicated call-in radio show. Sam’s most recent book, The Pie Life: A Guilt-Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction, was published in the fall of 2016.

Learn More

Sam began her career in media at CAA, Turner Pictures, Nickelodeon and Ziff Davis. She later founded a personal branding firm and soon realized that she couldn’t talk to executives about their personal brands without talking about the elephant in the room: how they were managing their professional and personal lives. Sam’s passion for work/life optimization began.

Sam is consistently called on by traditional media outlets for her advice. She makes regular national television appearances on shows including NBC News, The Doctors, Fox and Friends, Access Hollywood, and The Today Show, among others. She has been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, Inc, Fast Company and Success Magazine. Widely known for her interviewing skills, Sam has interviewed an array of personalities from Mary J Blige to Jessica Alba, Sara Blakely and Al Roker. She spent two years as host of leading Internet talk show, Obsessed TV, which she created and produced with tech entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk.

More than 400 experts have written chapters for Sam’s bestselling Experts’ Guide book series, published by Random House. Contributors include luminaries such as Rachael Ray, Richard Branson, Suze Orman and Barbara Corcoran. Sam has a large social media following and is active in causes relating to women and girls. She sits on the Friends of Good+ Foundation and the advisory boards of Thuzio and Sparks and Honey. She is co-founder of the LA Electing Women Collective and Senator Gillibrand’s paid leave coalition. Sam lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children.

Energizers

LB Adams

LB Adams

Morning Energizer

Learn More

LB is a native New Yorker who has found a home as an entrepreneur in South Carolina. In the past, she has worked as an executive in both the legal and banking fields as well as the theatre and performing arts arenas. Her company, Practical Dramatics, is a genetic creation born out of these focuses and merges theatre-based strategies to a professional development platform in order to achieve more effective communication. She has served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations and volunteers with the Charleston Metro Chamber’s Career Academies program, bringing her brand of soft skills training to high school students. She is happily married with one daughter and two Labradors.
Katrina Cobb

Katrina Cobb

Afternoon Energizer

Learn More

Katrina Cobb is the Founder and Chief Empowerment Officer of reFORM Studios, a 5 yr old local fitness and wellness coaching company, and also coaches other fitness and wellness business owners around the world. She has been a finalist for Best Personal Trainer of Charleston 2x, was named to the Best and Brightest Young Professionals of Charleston in 2016, and North America’s Fitness Business Of The Year runner up in 2014. She holds a Master’s Degree in Architecture, but made a career change 7 years ago and discovered a passion for empowering both individuals and companies to adopt healthier ways of living so they can thrive.
Angela Klick

Angela Klick

Afternoon Energizer

Learn More

Angela Klick is a wife, mom of three girls under five, an athlete, and an entrepreneur/business owner. I have a bachelor of science in Recreation and Leisure Services Management. I spent 10 years as a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist working with adults and children with disabilities. I changed careers in 2008, and stayed in the health and fitness industry. I was a senior store manager at TrySports and managed two stores, one in SC and one in NC. In 2015, I founded my own business and started an event called, She Tris, which is an all women sprint triathlon. I also founded the Charleston chapter of the nonprofit Tri it for Life, which is based on women helping women train for their first triathlon. I currently serve on the board as the President.  Needless to say juggling my health and fitness goals was always a challenge with a busy lifestyle, but it wasn’t until I had my three girls I faced the ultimate challenges. In my session, I will share my personal experiences and how I manage to continue my personal health and fitness journey. I will also share why I chose an industry that helps women put themselves first.

Breakout Session Speakers


Ashley Bell

Ashley Bell

Learn More

Born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwestern Virginia, Ashley made occasional visits to Charleston during family vacations spent on Edisto Island each summer. Upon graduating from Columbia University’s Teachers College, she decided to leave the beautiful chaos of NYC behind to return to the place she’d loved as a child. Shortly after arriving in Charleston in 1999, she discovered yoga while seeking ways to manage the stress of working in two underserved public schools. She knew at once that she wanted to share this tool as a means of empowering students to embrace their individuality and recognize its value to the world at large.

Since completing her first 200-hour training in 2003, she has been teaching yoga anywhere and everywhere, sometimes logging as many as 1500 miles in one month traveling to studios and private spaces in Charleston County alone. She has taught workshops throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic and served on the faculty at the College of Charleston. Ashley founded Reverb not because she believes so much in the power of yoga, but in the power of individuals to create the change that they seek in their own lives.

Holly A. Fisher

Holly A. Fisher

Learn More

Holly A. Fisher is the owner of H.A.F. Creative, a communications company in Mount Pleasant. Holly writes for a number of Charleston area publications as well as working with nonprofits and small businesses on public relations and marketing projects. Holly spent a number of years as a newspaper reporter and editor before starting her own business in 2011. Holly has a master of mass communication from the University of South Carolina and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio University. She’s a long-time member of the Society of Professional Journalists, a member of the Center for Women, Lowcountry Local First and a former board president for the Charleston Chapter of the American Marketing Association. She’s also an active volunteer and former board president with Postpartum Support Charleston. Holly and her husband have one daughter and three dogs. When she’s not working, Holly’s probably doing CrossFit, drinking coffee or driving her Dodge Challenger (fast).
Bonny C. Millard

Bonny C. Millard

Learn More

Bonny C. Millard has worked 15+ years as a print journalist and freelance writer and currently works with private clients as a project development editor, helping them to expand and explore their stories. Her career as a journalist taught her that everyone has a story to tell and those stories are what inspire her. She also teaches composition at two community colleges and has worked as a victim advocate for victims of crime. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee and earned an MFA in Creative Writing in Fiction from Queens University of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Jennifer Owens

Jennifer Owens

Learn More

Jen Owens is the Founder and Owner of Townscout, a Charleston-based travel-planning company, and the Co-Founder of Sparklight Partners, a consulting practice focused on strategic planning and problem solving.

As a trial lawyer and compliance specialist, Jen has spent the bulk of her career solving problems—in courtrooms and board rooms across the globe.  As a litigator, Jen was part of trial teams for a number of high-profile, white collar trials and was twice named a D.C. “Rising Star” in White Collar Criminal Defense by Super Lawyers.  When she was not litigating, Jen focused her practice on corporate governance and compliance.  She regularly worked with boards and C-suites of multinational companies to complete internal reviews, offer overall guidance, and assist with executive-level decision-making.

After 10 years in the law, she decided to use those skills in a new way.  In 2014, Jen left Washington, D.C. and returned to Charleston, S.C., where she founded Townscout, a travel-planning and concierge service for the Charleston area.  Having started her own business, Jen knows first hand what it means and what it takes to build an idea from the ground up.  In 2016, she and long-time friend Molly Norton formed Sparklight Partners, a consulting company focused on helping organizations thrive and evolve.

Dr. Nancy Simpson

Dr. Nancy Simpson

Learn More

Dr. Nancy Simpson is a licensed clinical psychologist and psychology professor who enjoys educating students and public speaking. She delivered a TEDx talk to a standing ovation on the need to destigmatize mental illness. Nancy lives with her husband and two college age children on a hobby farm outside of Charleston where she milks goats, makes cheese, gathers honey, spins and weaves.  Her latest pursuit is how to be healthy, wealthy and wise.
Danielle Wecksler

Danielle Wecksler

Learn More

Danielle Wecksler is a creative and energetic business leader with over twenty years of experience in managing high profile projects in the culinary, retail, and IT industries. She has particular expertise in launching new ventures and projects with challenging requirements, timelines, and budgets.

At Plateful Solutions, she blends the unique traits of being a foodie, a project manager, and a geek, and specializes in the digital marketing and business solutions side of the business.   Given that she has both a food and tech background, Danielle is able to create unique and original content for brands that can be applied across all digital channels.  She is an expert in digital strategies, and can translate complex technical concepts into business results.

Prior to that, she was General Manager at Charleston Cooks! for almost ten years, a retail kitchen store and cooking school with three locations around South Carolina.  With responsibility for all aspects of the stores, she was instrumental in growing the brand from inception to a profitable and widely recognized leader in the industry. She has been featured in numerous national publications, such as Traditional Home, Taste of the South, and Southern Living, and is also the author of two cookbooks on Lowcountry cuisine.  With her keen eye for design and merchandising, Danielle handles all of the shopping for their rapidly expanding food styling prop collection, as well as any of the DIY craft projects needed for shoots!

Her technical expertise comes from spending more than eight years at Apple Computer, during the turnaround of the company under Steve Jobs.  Danielle joined Apple as a software automation engineer, but quickly moved up the ranks into Project and Program Management.  By leading cross-functional teams from all over the company, she brought to market over twenty high visibility projects under aggressive schedules.

Danielle has a MS in Project Management from George Washington University, a BS in Aviation Operations from San Jose State University, and professional culinary training at the prestigious Apicius Culinary Institute in Florence, Italy.  She lives in the Charleston, SC area with her husband and two beagles.

Bea Wray

Bea Wray

Learn More

Bea Wray is a passionate entrepreneur and marketing expert.  She is a frequent keynote speaker and inspiring contributor to various publications including Entrepreneur.com and The Savannah Morning News.  At Advantage Media Group/ForbesBooks, she combines her passions for entrepreneurship and storytelling through Authority Marketing™ and book publishing.  Bea encourages Advantage Members, “YOUR story is MY business!” At the age of 27, Bea Wray became the CEO of Data Securities International, the leading intellectual property protection firm now owned by Iron Mountain.  With those “street learning” she sought “book learning” by earning her MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School. “Real learning” began with the most important job of raising three amazing children now 16, 14, and 11.  Bea’s highest business achievement was as Founder of SourceHarbor, a company she grew to thousands of clients, spanning 14 countries and successfully sold to NCC, PLC in England.  Bea’s highest (and most fun) personal achievement was her recent three-month journey across 6,000 miles of Australia with her three children plus a niece. Bea is excited to share with you business lessons Harvard taught but her children made her learn!

Johnny Caldwell

Johnny Caldwell

Learn More

Recently named two of Charleston’s 50 Most Progressive in 2016, Johnny Caldwell and Taneka Reaves are the dynamic duo known around the globe as the curly-haired Cocktail Bandits. The full-time Charleston Ambassadors met in their political science classes at the College of Charleston, and now, with their booming hospitality business and self-titled Cocktail Bandits blog, promote female empowerment through advocacy for the food and beverage community from a feminine, urban perspective.

The curly ladies, who talk cocktails daily, educate and entertain their growing blog audience through their own original cocktail recipes, promoting the craftsmanship of other bar professionals, and sharing their experiences at foodie events all around the Holy City and beyond. Johnny and Taneka have also been featured on Sirius XM Radio online, NBC Blk, Metro UK online, Charleston Wine & Food Festival, Atlanta Food & Wine Festival and several other regional publications.

Danielle Mason Hosker

Danielle Mason Hosker

Learn More

Designer Danielle Mason Hosker, who counts accomplished dancer and choreographer among her pursuits, designs with a natural musicality and a sharp eye for beautiful movement.  The result is Mason Hosker, a designer dress label and eveningwear line that celebrates the strength, femininity, and grace of every woman.  

Founded in 2015, Mason Hosker officially launched with its Spring 2016 collection and has continued to grow under Danielle’s leadership.  Its flagship boutique recently opened at 17 State Street in downtown Charleston, and the Mason Hosker Bridal Collection launched in January 2017.

Prior to designing for Mason Hosker, Danielle created Dancefx, Inc. in Athens, GA and was the Founder and Designer of luxury home décor brand, Antage Bleu, and Baby Bleu, a luxury line of fine linens, designer décor, and gifts for baby and home.

Whether she’s dazzling a table adorned with linen and orchids, enlightening a crowded auditorium, or gliding across a polished cyprus-wood floor, Danielle does so with a balletic fluidity, beauty, and strength that are all her own.

Paula Jo Miller

Paula Jo Miller

Learn More

Paula Jo Miller is a contemporary abstract artist.  She paints for exhibitions, private collectors, and artisan collaboration events that benefit various non-profit organizations. Currently, she is leading the effort to create an Artisan Co-op in her town. Paula created and teaches Courage in Creativity, an abstract art workshop that also addresses the fear that comes with creativity.  She teaches CIC at contemporary art centers throughout the country, including her Charleston class at the Redux Contemporary Art Center on Saturday, February 25.

Paula, her husband, and their two rescued akitas live and play in beautiful Pagosa Springs, Colorado.

Jane Perdue

Jane Perdue

Learn More

Jane Perdue, CEO/Founder of the personal development firm The Jane Group and former Fortune 500 company executive, is an advocate for leadership development and women’s issues. Jane speaks, writes, educates, and inspires women and men to be well-mannered mavericks who welcome differences, reduce bias, shake up the status quo, and use power the right way. Jane loves chocolate, TED talks, kindness, paradox, and shoes.
Dr. Alison Smith

Dr. Alison Smith

Learn More

Dr. Alison Smith was born in Charleston and grew up in Columbia, South Carolina. She completed a BA in French and Politics at Wake Forest University, and she earned her MA and Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. She wrote her dissertation on the French films of Luis Buñuel, and she is interested in 20th century and contemporary literature and film in France and the Hispanic world. Dr. Smith has taught French, Spanish, English, Honors Western Civilization and Women’s and Gender Studies at a variety of educational institutions, including Wake Forest University and The College of Charleston, where she served as the Associate Director of Women’s and Gender Studies. She has also developed courses for students with learning disabilities and conducted training workshops on teaching second languages to students with learning and other disabilities. Dr. Smith enjoys traveling and has directed study abroad trips to France, Spain, Austria, Germany and Italy. She also served as faculty advisor for Alternative Break trips to Belize, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras and Costa Rica while at The College of Charleston. Dr. Smith is currently and Assistant Professor in the Department of Modern Languages at The Citadel.
Guang Ming Whitley

Guang Ming Whitley

Learn More

Guang Ming Whitley earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Southern California and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was a member of Law Review and a moot court semi-finalist. She taught at the University of Chicago and practiced intellectual property law with O’Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles before accepting the position as Chief Operating Officer of the Whitley Household. She now manages the lives of her husband and four young children. She also serves as President of the Girls State Alumnae Foundation and is a founder of Gathering for Good, an initiative to revive civic engagement in the United States.
Angharad Chester-Jones

Angharad Chester-Jones

Learn More

Angharad Chester-Jones joined Regan Communications in January of 2016 as Manager of the Charleston office.  Prior to Regan Communications Chester-Jones was with Gulfstream Communications as PR & Marketing Manager. She had recently re-located back to Charleston from Atlanta. Gulfstream owns such publications as Charleston Magazine and WNC Magazine, Charleston Grit and Charleston Fashion Week.  

Prior to her position with Gulfstream she worked as the Program Director for a Latino focused non-profit call LaAmistad.  Previous positions have included handling the Marketing and PR for a Child Advocacy Center in Charleston and before that she spent the majority of her professional career in Charleston working for the exclusive Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. In this capacity she managed the food and beverage marketing for the hotel, created and managed some of the hotel’s community outreach involvement, and assisted in overseeing all aspects of the Gourmet and Grapes yearly food and wine fundraising event for the Hollings Cancer Center.

Chester-Jones has spent quite a bit of her free time volunteering for a variety of non-profit organizations in the Charleston, which also allowed her to maintain her public relations and communications skills, and interest in non-profits, arts, and culture. Prior to working at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Chester-Jones resided and worked in Greenwich, CT.  She worked for the Historical Society of Greenwich and as an assistant to an interior designer, covering projects for Arabian, Egyptian, and French clients. Previous to this, Chester-Jones worked in marketing for several financial companies in Barcelona, Spain.

Angharad graduated from the College of Charleston in 2003 where she earned both a B.A. in Spanish and a B.S. in Media Communications, and minored in Latin- American Caribbean Studies.  She spent 5 years living and working abroad in such locations as London, Barcelona, Santiago, Chile; and Deia, Majorca.  During this time she immersed herself in learning about other cultures, taking in the arts, fashion, languages, and architecture that flourished in many of the cities she lived in.

Chester-Jones is a dual citizen of the United States and Great Britain.  In her spare time she enjoys running, dancing, yoga, tennis, swimming, paddle boarding, and reading both serious and light fiction and non-fiction.

Erin Kienzle

Erin Kienzle

Learn More

Erin Kienzle is the host of Lowcountry Live on ABC News 4.  You can catch her and Tom Crawford every Monday through Friday 10-11am.  She loves highlighting what’s hot and happening in the Lowcountry!

Erin has been on TV for 17 years.  She’s worked in Charleston and Pittsburgh as a meteorologist forecasting hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and major snow storms!  Now she loves her role as TV host and enjoys highlighting more than 2,000 community events and businesses every year.  She really loves helping those nervous guests feel comfortable and at ease on camera. (TV isn’t scary – really!)

Erin also volunteers and serves on many boards.  She helps the Gavalas Kolanko Foundation, Susan G. Komen of the Lowcountry and Communities in Schools. However, her most important role is mother to her 2 young daughters, Alex and Cate.

Laura Milligan

Laura Milligan

Learn More

Lauren has worked with thousands of professionals in all stages of career advancement for the past 15 years. She has developed tools and exercises that have enabled emerging leaders to take that next crucial career step, and has empowered established leaders to reach previously insurmountable goals. Simply put, when it comes to getting your next job, Lauren knows what you need to do to get there.

 

If you’re looking to land your next job, campaign for a promotion, or make a career transition, Lauren is your best secret weapon. Lauren’s clients come to her for resume development, LinkedIn profile creation, networking and interview skills coaching, and crafting a multi-tier job search campaign. She’s written so many resumes, she dreams in bullet points!

In addition to her coaching practice, Lauren teaches a multitude of workshops and classes at College of DuPage, Harper College, workNet, IDES and dozens of business and employment support groups throughout Chicagoland. She has contributed to hundreds of career-related features on WGN Morning News, ABC News, WLS and WGN radio and in the Wall Street Journal, CNN.com, and dozens of other media outlets.

Keisha A Rivers

Keisha A Rivers

Learn More

As a strategist, consultant, speaker and author, Keisha A Rivers assists clients to fuel their passion, align with their purpose and build their legacy by enhancing their Knowledge of Self, Knowledge of Strategies and Knowledge of Systems.  As the founder and managing consultant of The KARS Group, LTD, Ms. Rivers specializes in providing personal and professional development services that enable clients to achieve their goals in these three knowledge areas by participating in Released & Ready workshops and retreats, BeastMode Boot Camp strategy development series and FAB Outcomes training sessions.  She effectively weaves her experience and expertise as a grant writer, adjunct instructor, former foundation Executive Director, educator and administrator into a system of facilitating knowledge acquisition that enables her clients to achieve tangible success. A gifted speaker, facilitator and trainer, clients and attendees have remarked at her passion, professionalism, talent, creativity and ability to communicate that not only educates, but inspires action.  It is this undeniable belief in what’s possible and the passion with which she communicates that belief that enables her to assist her clients in finding ways to make the possible more probable and the probable therefore doable.  Using this approach, she has created a personal and professional strategic development model that is assisting clients create their vision of success across the country.  For additional information, visit www.karsgroup.com
Dorie Wallace

Dorie Wallace

Learn More

Dorie Wallace is the newly appointed Vice President of Customer Success at Blackbaud, the leading provider of software and services to nonprofits with 35,000 customers worldwide.  She has been with Blackbaud for 18 years serving in leadership roles in professional services, product management, and customer support before leading the customer success organization.  During her tenure in support, the team increased customer satisfaction by 13 points all while decreasing costs over $1M.  

Prior to working at Blackbaud, she worked in hospitality management in Charleston’s thriving tourism industry.  Dorie has a Masters of Business Administration from The Citadel where she was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi honor society for academic excellence. Dorie is a Board Member at One80 Place and has served as a mentor for Charleston Young Professionals and the College of Charleston MBA program.  Due to her leadership in business and in the community, Dorie was inducted into 2015 Top 40 under 40 by the Charleston Regional Business Journal.  Finally, Dorie was recently asked to join the faculty at the College of Charleston as an adjunct professor teaching Business Communications.

Kathleen Wilson

Kathleen Wilson

Learn More

Kathleen Wilson currently serves as a city councilmember for the city of Charleston, representing District 12. She was elected to office in 2005 and thoroughly enjoys serving the public and helping to set policy and shape the future of the city of Charleston.

She is also an internationally known and highly experienced marathon swimmer with a world class resume of swims. Understanding what goes into preparation and successful completion of a marathon swim, she brings that knowledge to numerous other areas of life. Kathleen introduced marathon swimming to the Carolinas over 20 years ago and while continuing to train and swim, became the creator and race director for the annual Swim Around Charleston, a 12 mile open water swim event held in early fall each year. She has several swims registered in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as firsts.

Kathleen also serves as primary instructor for the innovative SwimCalm program, teaching adults fearful of the water how to swim.  This highly gratifying work uses the same principles that have assisted her in marathon swimming and city government – knowledge and adaptation to surroundings with the confidence that comes as a result. She brings a unique set of skills to the water with adults and leading them to discover what to expect in the water and how to eliminate the gripping fear by understanding how the water works with us.

When not in the water, Kathleen is a conservatory-trained professional harpist, holding a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, performing in both teaching positions at both the College of Charleston and Charleston Southern University. She is a recipient of the Order of the Palmetto and is a Liberty Fellow.