Speakers

KICK-OFF POOLSIDE COCKTAIL PARTY

Friday, May 1st

NYLO Las Colinas - Poolside

6:30 - 8:30 PM

All conference attendees welcome.

 

Cynthia Smoot

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Cynthia Smoot is a partner at one of Dallas’ leading marketing firms, Gangway Advertising. She spends her days creating interactive social media strategies and handling media relations for clients. At night, she hits the town to cover the “hottest events and coolest people” in Dallas for her lifestyle blog, Oh So Cynthia.  From food to fashion, reality TV to charity galas, cultural events to business deals, Cynthia likes to be right in the middle of the Big D action and take readers along for the ride! 

 

Tiffany Hendra

Tiffany Hendra’s Southern charm combined with her ‘keep-it-real’ attitude and exotic looks has landed her hosting/acting gigs on VH1, NBC, FX, Comedy Central, Showtime, and Spike TV – as well as several internet shows like Tour of Italy with Top Chef all-star, Fabio Viviani. Tiffany quickly became the industry go-to girl early on in her career and went on to land the role of sexy spy operative in the first season of NBC’s Spy TV, and was later hand-selected by Kelsey Grammar to host the Spike TV talk show, Girls To Girls. Tiffany then began to create her own content and brand herself as a champion for young women through her personal web-series Sanctuary of Style. The YouTube series was an instant hit, creating a loyal fanbase and following of worldwide subscribers.

Vashti Patrick-Joseph

Vashti Patrick-Joseph is the creator of the award-winning Dallas-based blog VeePeeJay. In addition to creating content and engaging with her audience, Vashti serves as an event producer/host & speaker, and social media consultant. In the past 3 years, Vashti has coordinated and co-hosted over 25 successful natural hair/beauty events in the Dallas/Fort-Worth area. In 2014, VeePeeJay was named as the  Black Weblog Award Winner for Best Tutorial Blog/Vlog. 

Vashti’s content and images have been featured, mentioned or highlighted on CurlyNikki.com,  Black Hair Information, Rachel O Beauty, NaturallyCurly.com, Black Girl Long Hair, Naturally Happy Hair Magazine, HoneyBeNatural Magazine, MahoganyCurlsOfficial.com, Essence.com, Queen of Kinks, Curls, Coils (iTunes) and more. She has collaborated with brands such as SheaMoisture, CURLS, Q-Redew, Head & Shoulders, Alikay Naturals, Obia Natural Hair Care, Conair, BeeMine Products, Organic Bath, Beija Flor Naturals and so many more. Vashti holds a MSC from the University of Wyoming and lives in Dallas with her husband.

Stephanie Drenka

Stephanie Drenka is an Internet Marketing Manager with i5 web works, a custom website design & development company specializing in SEO, Site Management, and Social Media Marketing. Stephanie was recognized by Asian Week magazine as one of “Ten Asian American Young Women Who Will Change the World” for her participation as a web designer/social media manager in a prominent human rights campaign and was also invited to be a guest lecturer at her alma mater, DePaul University, to speak about her YouTube video series on the Korean adoptee experience. 

As a local blogger, Stephanie started her personal blog Geek Glam in 2013 to document her love of fashion, technology, and pop culture. Just last year, she co-founded the Dallas Blogger Collective, an exclusive network for local DFW bloggers. Additionally, Stephanie recently started a photography company specializing in portraiture for fashion bloggers. In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys helping other bloggers with all the technical aspects of their sites, from designing themes to ensuring that blogs are search engine optimized.

Lisa Petty

From current events reporting to celebrity interviews and television appearances, Lisa Petty’s career in journalism is varied and exciting. After contributing to the Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Observer, the San Antonio Current, NBC DFW, and NBC Universal, Lisa shifted her focus exclusively to fashion with the launch of DFW Style Daily in the Spring of 2011. In high demand as a host and expert commentator, Lisa has cultivated top-tier brand partnerships through her innovative online magazine. Past and ongoing partners include Saks Fifth Avenue, Galleria Dallas, the Dallas Vintage Clothing & Jewelry Show, Belk, Mockingbird Station, Aftershock London, Lafayette 148 New York, and Neiman Marcus.

Leah Frazier

Born and raised in Dallas, Leah Frazier is a multi-licensed attorney, fashion journalist, and certified personal shopper. Her work has been featured in diverse publications, spanning legal contributions to the Oxford Press, an appearance on Vogue.com, and fashion and lifestyle reporting for CBS Local, Examiner.com, and her personal blog, Beauty4Ashes. As the Editor of DFW Style Daily, she takes her industry acumen and keen eye for fashion to a new level.

Now leading an elite team for this innovative online magazine, Leah is committed to bringing readers the very best in real local fashion. In addition, she continues to cultivate top-tier brand partnerships on behalf of DFW Style Daily. Past and ongoing partners include Saks Fifth Avenue, Galleria Dallas, the Dallas Vintage Clothing & Jewelry Show, Belk, Mockingbird 

Station, Aftershock London, Lafayette 148 New York, and Neiman Marcus.

Amber LaFrance

Marketing and Public Relations specialist Amber LaFrance works passionately with personalities and brands through her Dallas-based firm, CultureHype. Her client roster reads like a who’s-who of Southwest creative luminaries, including Larry g(EE), TEAM, Goodnight Ned, participants in the Deep Ellum Arts Festival, jewelry designer Molly Sharp of The Silver Soul, and outerwear designer Cathy Williamson of She Reigns. Also committed to the community, Amber sits on the board of Dress For Success Dallas and ArtLoveMagic, and has coordinated efforts on behalf of The Deen Institute of North America and Family Compass. As the Publisher of DFW Style Daily, she looks forward to connecting a fashionable, motivated Metroplex audience with local and national brand partners.

Heather Buen

Heather Buen is a Dallas-based blogger utilizing social media, online marketing techniques, analytics planning, publishing and buzz marketing techniques to bring small business virtual marketing efforts to life. With an MBA from the University of Maryland, Heather juggles raising three kids as a single parent, managing a corporate job, and optimizing her own business as a lifestyle blogger and CEO for both Dallas Single Mom and  Dallas Mom Deals

With over 14 years of experience in sales and marketing and over 5 years of experience as a professional freelance journalist, her portfolio runs the gamut from product management and corporate sales for Fortune 500 companies to guest writing, web content development, article writing and research writing for small businesses. She puts her expertise into practice by also teaching Web Marketing and Google Analytics at the University of Texas at Arlington in the continuing education department. 

Heather has personally worked with various brands including Best Buy, Kia Motors, Toyota, Ford, eBay, SeaWorld San Antonio, Tasteful Selections, Verizon Wireless, PureVia, Zillow, Care.com and more.  Heather has written for Examiner.com, AXS.com, CBS Local, Family Rambling, Care.com, Social Fabric and more. Her noted industries of expertise include family/parenting, dating/relationships, consumer products, technology, marketing, and finance.

Alex Young

Alex Young is an established men's lifestyle blogger in the Dallas/Ft Worth area. With a passion for sharing his love of all things food, fashion and nightlife on his blog Eat Style Dallas, Alex has become a go to source for Dallasites. From appearing on local talk shows to exploring the Dallas scene and sharing his finds, both his blog and his brand have grown tremendously over the past 6 years. One thing remains constant for Alex throughout it all -- his thriving sense of style and insatiable appetite for discovering the best and brightest the city has to offer, is what undoubtedly attracts his growing number of loyal fans and followers.

Tyra Hughley-Smith

Tyra Hughley Smith is an attorney, photographer, and writer. Her areas of practice focus on intellectual property, specifically copyright and trademark law. As a member of the Law Office of Carolyn E. Wright, LLC, colloquially known as the "Photo Attorney" law firm, she represents photographers and photo agencies in protecting their copyright rights and obtaining compensation for their work. In addition to representing photographers, she represents a number of small businesses, musicians, record labels, artists, writers, media outlets, film producers, and other individuals and entities in the arts.

As a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, the nation's most renowned journalism school, Tyra double majored in Magazine Journalism and Black Studies, with a minor in business. At the University of Southern California (USC), Tyra obtained a dual degree in Law (JD) and a Master's in Communication Management. She also previously taught First Amendment and communications law at USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. She has worked for various newspapers and magazines, including People Magazine.

Tyra runs her own blog, BarrisTourista.com, where she writes about her experiences in travel and food, while maintaining several galleries to display her photographic works. She is also a travel writer for Examiner.com.

 

Sohana Kutub

Sohana Kutub manages public relations efforts at Nunez PR Group, developing strategic programs and creating publicity for lifestyle brands. Her client base ranges from billion dollar retail brands to fast-growing start-ups.
 
In her seven years as a publicist, Sohana has worked with an array of brands ranging from food, fashion, beauty, celebrities and more. She has developed deep-rooted media relationships both locally and nationally, securing notable press in top outlets including ELLE, InStyle, Women’s Wear Daily, New York Times, USA Today, Associated Press, Wall Street Journal and more. Sohana was honored with a PRSA Worthy Award for her work on an advocacy campaign to save the arts community in Fort Worth.
 
Committed to empowering women in our community, Sohana currently sits on the board of Femfessionals Dallas, a women’s organization geared to create opportunities for professional and personal growth. 

 

Jackson

Recognized by one name only, Jackson has become as much a part of Dallas culture as our city’s skyline. Following 15 years of success in the interior, furniture, and jewelry design industries, he transitioned into a Big D-based position that raised the bar in luxury customer care. As the Corporate Concierge for Barneys New York, Jackson enjoyed a six-year reign as the most respected concierge in Dallas.

Today, Jackson carries on his legacy as the President of FLUENT, a premier luxury lifestyle management company. His passion and connections allow unprecedented access to his clientele. From the social and cultural scenes, to dining, entertainment, and underground invitations, this Dallasite truly has a finger on the pulse of his city. In addition to his bi-monthly column for DFW Style Daily, Jackson is also the President of Corporate Concierge, Inc., and co-host of the Weekend Insider on KTXD’s The Broadcast,.

 

Amy and Nick Bonanno

Nick Bonanno is the founder of Simple Media LLC, a digital marketing agency that assists small to large-sized businesses with strategy, branding, technical design, development and managed marketing.    

Born and raised in Italy, Nick is a self-taught designer and front-end developer. He is known as an innovative technology leader with the ability to drive digital marketing initiatives building brand value that results in sustainable, profitable growth.  

Nick brings to the table 12 years of marketing strategy, management, design and development experience.  He is an expert in aligning strategy with organizational vision/goals to overall optimize the customer’s experience.

 

Megan Weaver

Megan Weaver is a Portrait & Blogger Photographer based in Dallas, TX. Since moving to Dallas three years ago, Megan has photographed over 45 fashion and lifestyle bloggers and entrepreneurs including Lauren Scruggs of LoloMag, Katey McFarlan of Chronicles of Frivolity, and Lauren Murphy of Murphy’s Law. Megan has been a guest speaker at the Bloguettes Branding Workshop and Dallas Blogger Collective. Her work and content has been featured in PureWow, CultureMap Dallas, DFW Style Daily, and Raspberry Magazine to name a few. In addition to her portrait and blogger photography, Megan is also launching a free video series to help bloggers and creatives learn how to shoot in manual which can be found on her photography blog at www.megan-weaver.com. Megan is passionate about encouraging and helping other entrepreneurs and bloggers reach their goals and also offers personalized photography coaching. When Megan is not shooting, she loves to travel, geek out on business and marketing resources and spend time with her talented videographer husband who occasionally joins her on blogger shoots. 

Thomas Garza

Thomas Garza is a professional photographer out of Dallas, TX. Thomas always had a camera, even as a little kid, growing up and left the corporate world recently to pursue his passion for photography full-time. For the last five years, Thomas has photographed countless social, charity, fashion and bridal events. He's also responsible for gorgeous fashion photography for local brands such as Demerara and Edo Popken. His work has been featured in publications across DFW including D Magazine, The Dallas Morning News' GuideLive, Modern Luxury Dallas, The Examiner, CultureMap Dallas, The Advocate, Ask Miss A and PaperCity Dallas. You can learn more about Thomas at www.thomasgarzaphotography.com

Kirsten Williams

A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, graduate of the University of Missouri, and now Dallas enthusiast, this southern dynamo has a passion for creating brand awareness and management strategies across multi-media platforms.

As a highly talented Strategic Communications professional with an extensive background in Marketing, Sales, Business Development, Corporate & Community Communications, and Client Relations. Her experience includes project management, traditional and unconventional marketing/advertising, and program implementation. 

Kirsten's skills in marketing and product/service management have contributed to many client successes with implementing strategic communication campaigns. She has performed a variety of activities, including management of marketing campaigns for a variety of clients, public relations, and customer communication programs for both non-profit and corporate organizations, market research and analysis, implementation of new business programs (such as social media campaigns), establishing community public relations and awareness, and establishment of effective policies and procedures. 

Kirsten has an impressive record of designing and leading effective campaigns, and has been recognized throughout her career for her consistent ability to increase revenue and profitability for clients with the use of multi-functioning teams, managing accounts, and building business awareness through conferences and community events. Her management experience also includes directing all phases of development, from inception through to deployment.

Kirsten actively serves as the Vice President of the Lee Park Junior Conservancy, President of FemFessionals Dallas, is active in the Junior League of Dallas, the American Cancer Society Corporate Heros Steering Committee, and the Kappa Alpha Theta Dallas Alumni Chapter. For more information about Kirsten and her company Compass360 Branding LLC, visit http://www.compass360branding.com/.