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Annual Professional Conference

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WithIt Annual Professional Conference for the Home and Furnishings Industries


June 24-26, 2019The Westin • Alexandria, Virginia


    Monday, June 24, 2019
12:00 pm - 5:30 pm
12:30 pm - 3:30 pm
  PreConference Workshop

VisionSPARK - Rosie Molinary       

**There is an additional $50 charge for this workshop


• Are you ready to really define your intentions and embrace your vision

• Would you like to claim how you most want to feel so you can choose actions that support your desire? 

• Would you like to build a foundation for the life you seek by gaining clarity, conviction and confidence in your vision?  

If moving forward with clear intention speaks to you, join us for visionSPARK where you'll articulate and capture your vision in an empowering way. You'll imagine the possibilities, gather inspiration, and then chart your vision all while receiving thoughtful support.  


Ultimately, you will leave visionSPARK with clarity about your current passions and priorities, an inspirational vision board to root you, a touchstone word to reinforce your commitment during the year, a gentle and personal call to action to guide you, and the motivation to manifest the life and business you imagine.
12:30 pm - 3:00 pm
  PreConference Workshop

Strengths Finders - Lorri Kelley, Lorri Kelley Advisors                 

**There is an additional $50 charge for this workshop

    Strengths Finders is one of the leading professional development tools used to uncover your top five talents and teach you to capitalize on them and work to your strengths. You can read the book and learn your talents, but you will be missing half of the opportunity. Lorri Kelley will not only teach you to understand your strengths, but help you learn how to work with others on your team or build your team to have complimentary strengths. 

Prerequisite: Purchase a StrengthsFinders book from Amazon.com, read the first 30 pages and take the test prior to the conference. Bring the results with you to the workshop.
3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
  PreConference Workshop
    City of Hope Women’s Health and Wellness Workshop
    Sponsored by City of Hope - This workshop is free to all attendees
    Mayra Serrano, MPH, CHES, City of Hope


In addition to research on cancer cures and treatments, City of Hope has research studies which explore diet, exercise and wellness habits which can prevent cancer and diabetes. This workshop will highlight the research into superfoods, skin care and important preventative care which each of us can use to maintain our health and that could also prevent cancer and diabetes.


4:30 pm-5:15 pm
  WithIt Membership Meeting
5:30 pm - 7:15 pm
  Mighty Opening Reception
7:30 pm
  Networking Dine-around Dinners

Join a group to network dine at one of the fantastic restaurants in Old Town Alexandria. Choose your group by the restaurant or the leader. Either way, it will be a memorable evening.

    Tuesday, June 25, 2019
7:00 am - 8:30 am
7:00 am - 8:30 am

Breakfast - A continental breakfast will be outside of the conference

meeting room.

8:30 am
  "Setting Your Followers on Fire!"
    Denise Ryan, Firestar Speaking

Our keynote session spotlights the traits great leaders possess and the common mistakes that leaders make and how to avoid them. Then we get to the juicy stuff – what really motivates people (let go of Maslow’s Hierarchy – we’ve got something better!). If you want to get more from your employees, if you want to raise morale (without raising pay), or if you just want to be a better leader, this keynote is for you.


9:45 am - 10:00 am
10:00 am - 11:00 am
  "We Need Women to be Wealthy"
    Ashley Feinstein Gerstley, The Fiscal Femme, author of “30-Day Money Cleanse”


Research shows that we all benefit when women are wealthy. On a personal level, we can negotiate harder to be paid fairly at work, take more risks in our careers, and leave people and jobs where we aren’t treated fairly. Women are agents of change in their families, communities, and countries, and women typically invest a higher proportion of their earnings in their families and communities than men. On a global scale, we’d see flourishing businesses, improved economies, and more solutions to the big problems we face. With that motivation in mind, Ashley will share three actionable steps to start building wealth.



11:00 am - 11:15 am
11:15 am - 12:10 pm
  "The Path to Purchase: Understanding the Realities, Resources & Revenue Opportunities Based on How Consumers Really Shop"
    Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, Retail Minded


As retail evolves, so do the ways in which consumers navigate their paths to purchase. This featured session will explore how customers truly identify where they want to shop, why they want to spend and what ultimately leads them to making a purchase. To help merchants, manufacturers and industry professionals alike better understand their customers journeys, this session will kick off with an overview of consumers across the generations and what each of their preferred paths tend to be. Attendees can expect to gain insight on what touch points customers have during their paths to purchase, as well as gain clarity on the latest retail technologies within the retail space that can benefit their businesses. Plus, attendees can expect to gain insight on how and why certain touch points can help their businesses gain stronger success... including increased revenue.

12:15pm - 1:15 pm
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  Professional Headshot Photography
1:15pm - 2:00pm
  Breakout Sessions
    "7 Steps to Financial Well-being"
    Ashley Feinstein Gerstley, The Fiscal Femme, author of “30-Day Money Cleanse”


Ashley will build on the morning’s conversation and take participants through seven actionable and manageable exercises to vastly improve their financial health. This is not your typical personal finance workshop. It’s a fun, interactive, and fresh perspective on money where we cover the emotional and behavioral aspects of our money lives, in addition to looking at the numbers. This new, powerful conversation around money is where the real, lasting results are.

    "Drive Results by Strengthening Your Organization from the Inside Out"
    René Johnston-Gingrich, Profitability Consulting Group


A strong team will prevent a multitude of problems and greatly enhance performance. A healthy internal environment and well-functioning team is the foundation for increased sales and productivity. During this highly interactive session we examine the health of your current environment and explores strategies for improvement to position your organization for success.


• How to develop a higher functioning organizational culture with clear benchmarks and objectives
• How to create strategies for evaluating and strengthening team performance
• How to build an internal team that support the delivery of exceptional
service and drive results.

    "Capturing Lightening in a Jar - How to make your iPhone, camera and videos shine"
    Lori Dolnick, Frank Advertising


With a smart phone, you have the capability to capture images, live stream, video and more! But having a powerful tool at your disposal and having the ability or the confidence to use it – are two entirely different things. We’ll break down the basics of good videos and photographs for personal branding or professional marketing use. We’ll also give you checklists for improving your photography, video and live streaming of rooms, events, people and products. We’ll help you avoid all the mistakes we’ve most likely already made – and of course - when to call in the real pros. and artists.

2:00pm - 2:10pm
2:10 pm - 2:55 pm
  Breakout Sessions
    "You're Talking, But Why Should We Listen"
    Deena Gardner, Reverie


Organizations try desperately to communicate their message but are they considering their audience and what matters to them? During this breakout, we will discuss the types of content that really matter to an audience - and where, when and how they matter. You will walk away with an understanding of the importance of knowing your audience, communicating messages efficiently all while staying authentic and credible.

    "The Red Carpet Treatment: A 3 Step Guide to Employee Training for Stronger Customer Service Experiences & Sales"
    Nicole Reyhle, Retail Minded


Among the strategies retailers can use to reach today's consumer is hiring, training and ultimately managing an employee team that you can confidently feel best represents your brand and business. With selling strategies top of mind and enhanced sales always a goal, this session will identify a three-step strategy to supporting customers in today's competitive retail landscape.

Expect to gain insight on tried, true and trusted techniques that remain relevant despite the evolving retail marketplace, as well as gain insight on many of the new ways in which customers want to be supported. Looking both internally and externally at how customer service must be managed, attendees can expect to leave with actionable steps to begin applying to their employee management and customer service right away. 

    "Creative Solutions To Solve Problems"
    Jason Pires and Alessandra Pecoraro, Furniture Branding


Throughout an iterative and holistic method, Furniture Branding will present how decision-makers can use brainstorm sessions and exercises to develop  olutions that are a cost-effective, inclusive and fast turnaround for a diverse  audience.

• How to use a creative brainstorm to develop cost-effective solutions
• Collaborative team process using Design Thinking and Agile methodologies
• Use strategies to sell it to your audience/ stakeholders ( internal or external)


2:55pm - 3:10pm
3:10 pm - 4:00 pm
  Breakout Sessions
    "Public Speaking, Presentations and Media Interviews: How to Overcome Your Fears, Enhance Your Skills and Get Better Press"

Michelle Pollak, La Petite Maison/The Lollipop Tree, Inc.

Patricia Sheridan, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



Media interviews, presentations, and public speaking all have two things in common: most people find them intimidating and they depend on a good connection with your audience, whether that audience is a single editor or a room full of hundreds. Join us as we discuss this from both an editor’s perspective and that of a frequent media guest and seasoned public speaker.

Learn tips for becoming a better communicator with insight into media processes and “behind the scenes” tips so you know what to expect. In addition, learn the best way to reach out to editors and why the mainstream press is still important, even in the age of social media.


    "Licensing: Turning Designs, Brands and other Intellectual Property into Profits" 
    David Sar and Amanda Whorton, Brooks Pierce


Licensing can be lucrative if done right, but a failure to understand the legal lingo and strategies can be disastrous.  David Sar and Amanda will discuss licensing in the furniture industry, key provisions and recurring hot spots in license negotiations.

    OnWatch Training
    Malouf Foundation


Become trained in Malouf's OnWatch program, which teaches signs and strategies to identify victims of human trafficking and tools for how to safely help victims. The Malouf Foundation has won many awards for this program and aspires to train everyone in our industry on identifying victims of trafficking.

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
  Rest and recharge break
6:00pm - 7:00pm
  Networking Cocktail Reception
    Honoring Empowered Women Through History
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
  After-Party with DJ Alkimist

Kimberly Venetz, aka DJ Alkimist, is a DJ, musician, and music producer based out of Washington, DC, and New York City. You can catch her spinning everything from private parties to corporate events to special events to nightclubs. 

DJ Alkimist spins every week at DC's best clubs, including Soundcheck, U St. Music Hall, Heist, Tropicalia, Living Room, Lost Society, and Echostage. She has opened for such acts as Steve Angello, Wiz Khalifa, Cash Cash, Anevo, Au Revoir Simone, and Zella Day.

    Wednesday, June 26, 2019
7:30 am - 8:30 am
  Breakfast -  A continental breakfast will be outside of the conference

meeting room.

8:30 am - 8:45 am
8:45 am - 9:20 am
  City of Hope
    Andrea Courtney, City of Hope


Our industry’s support of the City of Hope has funded their production some of the most promising research and treatments for cancer and diabetes. Andrea Courtney takes us on a tour of the campus which provides treatments to many as well as the research and treatment initiatives that are offering many patients hope and healing.

9:30 am - 10:20 am
  "Relationships are Everything"
    Joan Kuhl, Founder Why Millenials Matter


Joan Kuhl, author of “Dig Your Heels In” will share the key research and powerful stories to empower women to thrive and rise in their career with inspirational strategies to be a catalyst for positive progress in the home and furnishing industries. This workshop delves into one of the most important themes from her book about the power of relationship mapping.

Women value their connections but struggle to leverage them for professional success. We will review the key types of relationships you need in your corner while aligning your goals to the people who can open doors for you.

10:20 am - 10:35 am
10:35 am - 11:25 am
  "The Essential Steps to Becoming An Effective Leader"
    Lorri Kelley, Lorri Kelley Advisors, Inc.


Great leaders share one common characteristic: they love helping others become great leaders, too.  You’ve enjoyed managing people. Are you ready to take your skills to the next level and lead them? This session offers the tools necessary for developing your personal leadership style, how to effectively communicate direction to others and, most importantly, get them to follow your vision. Recognizing your strengths and limitations, understanding the crucial differences between managing and leading, and how to create successful leaders are all on the table for this lively discussion.

11:30 am - 12:00 pm

"Ignite Your Action Plan"


Moderator: Alexis Koscielny, The Dufresne Group

Let's spend a few minutes reflecting on the important topics and information shared during the last 2 days. What has been the powerful takeaways? And how will we put them in action in our businesses.


12:00 pm - 12:15 pm
  Closing and Evaluation





















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