We designed our speaker lineup to represent every facet of small business ownership. Whether you are in your first years of business or a seasoned pro, our speakers will inspire and light that fire to elevate your business and lives.

MEET OUR SPEAKERS

Natalie Franke

Here’s to the Independents: Building a Business with Brave and Boundless Courage

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Keynote Speaker

What happens when you quit working a 9 to 5 only to hustle 24/7? When you set out to find creative freedom and discover burnout instead? When your pursuit of entrepreneurial independence leaves you feeling isolated and alone? 

I’ve been there. You’ve been there. We’ve all been there.

2023 is about reclaiming your independence. This is the year that you say goodbye to burnout and hello to freedom—the year you embrace your greater purpose and walk forward boldly with brave and boundless courage. This is a talk for the ones who dare to dream. The ones who choose to be their own boss and build something remarkable for the future. This is a rallying cry for the heart-centered souls who have turned their passion into a sustainable livelihood. The world needs what you’ve got and together we’re going to chart a course for this year unlike any other.

Natalie Franke is an author, community builder, neuroscience nerd and mama bear for small business.

As one of the founders of the Rising Tide, the Head of Community at HoneyBook, and author of Built to Belong, she leads tens of thousands of independent business owners while fostering a spirit of community over competition around the world.

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Mattie James

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Keynote Speaker

COMING SOON!

Mattie James is the lifestyle expert and author behind The Mattie James Company and bestselling book, Everyday MAGIC.

After being crowned Miss Liberia USA in 2009, Mattie started blogging as a hobby and grew it into the seven-figure business it is today. As her business grew, her family did as well while learning the hard way that you can have it all but you can’t do it all. By finding her own Everyday MAGIC, Mattie has become the woman she’s always wanted to be by not being everything to everyone and remembering that she’s more than enough.

In addition to creating content for her site, Instagram, and YouTube channel, she also creates content for household name brands like Amazon, Mattel, Olay, and Home Depot. Since 2015, she’s taught over 2500 content creators and influencers how to grow their following, pitch brands & create content for profit with her BOSSFLUENCE online courses and programs. 

As a lifestyle expert and entrepreneur with over 13 years of experience, Mattie has been featured on GMA3 and Atlanta & Co and featured in ESSENCE, Forbes, Business Insider, NBC, Cosmopolitan, Black Enterprise, The Everymom, Sweet July, The Home Edit and The Goal Digger Podcast.

Mattie currently resides in Atlanta with her husband, Christopher, and their 3 children, Maizah, Caliana, and Christian.

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Sales Copy Has Entered the Chat: Persuasion Hacks To Tuck In Your Bio & Story

Ashlyn Carter

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Presenting Speaker

"Your about page isn't *really* about you as much as your ideal client," they say. Psshhhh. Let's call their bluff and uncover the hidden loot tucked into one of the most visited pages on your entire website with my A.R.T.I.S.T. copy framework. 

As an entrepreneur, international speaker, mentor, and marketer, Ashlyn Carter is the premier expert for copywriting for creative entrepreneurs. She's the founder and CEO at Ashlyn Writes®, a copywriting business and marketing curriculum source for creatives. 90+ 1:1 clients, 5,000+ students, and 7-figures in revenue later, she's pinpointed what it is that helps lock in half-a-million dollar launches for digital marketing campaigns. 

She’s worked with major brands’ marketing efforts, including Delta Air Lines, Synovus Banks, Ford Fry Restaurants, and supported entrepreneurs including Jenna Kutcher, Amy Porterfield, Julie Solomon, and more. She's been a contributing educator with Creative Live, ConvertKit, and HoneyBook, and have been featured in Forbes, Southern Living, Style Me Pretty, and more. Ashlyn lives outside of Atlanta and convinces her husband and two kids to go with her to grab tacos weekly.

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GET PAID TO CREATE YOUR FIRST DIGITAL PRODUCT: 5 WAYS TO MONETIZE YOUR EXISTING KNOWLEDGE & CONTENT NOW

Ellen Yin

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Presenting Speaker

Access my behind the scenes breakdown of selling over $1 million in digital products to 10,000+ customers, and discover how you can monetize your existing knowledge and content immediately - no matter the size of your audience. We'll cover the 5 key types of digital products and help you identify which is best suited to your strengths. You'll also learn the best approach to bootstrap creating your first digital product, with zero time or financial risk upfront. 

Ellen Yin is the founder & award-winning podcast host of Cubicle to CEO®, a media company creating financially transparent content, events and education empowering women entrepreneurs to make more money and pursue what's possible. She also owns the Clubhouse, a women's coworking space in Salem. Ellen quit her corporate job without a backup plan and bootstrapped her first $300 client project into over $1.5 million in revenue by age 27. 

Through her online programs, Ellen has mentored over 10,000 students and her work has been featured in publications like Forbes, the Today Show, Yahoo Finance, HerMoney, Statesman Journal, BlogHer, Real Simple Magazine, Thrive Global and more.

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The New Wave of Marketing

Windsor Western

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Panel Moderator

This segment will dive into the New Wave of Marketing and explore where our consumers are consuming their content today. Marketing trends have shifted away from traditional publications and media, and today’s small business owners should be equipped to understand what is influencing their customer’s purchasing decisions in light of this evolution. This panel will discuss the evolved roles of influencers, brands, and consumers in today’s media landscape, and how small business owners can leverage their own expertise to engage, inspire, and ultimately influence their own audiences. 

As President and Co-Founder of Her Campus Media, Windsor is in charge of all revenue and monetization strategies. Under her watch, Her Campus has done state of the art college marketing programs for clients including Under Armour, Aussie Haircare, Neutrogena, Coke with Coffee, Bed Bath & Beyond, Hallmark, VS Pink, Ralph Lauren Fragrances, H&R Block, The Home Depot, WeWork, Grubhub and more. Windsor is a 2010 honors graduate of Harvard College. She has also been named to Forbes 30 Under 30, BusinessWeek's 25 Under 25 Best Young Entrepreneurs, Inc. magazine's 30 Under 30 Coolest Young Entrepreneurs, Glamour magazine's 20 Amazing Young Women, and The Boston Globe's 25 Most Stylish Bostonians. She lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband and two daughters.

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website | instagram

The New Wave of Marketing

Megan Lore

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Influencer Panelist

This segment will dive into the New Wave of Marketing and explore where our consumers are consuming their content today. Marketing trends have shifted away from traditional publications and media, and today’s small business owners should be equipped to understand what is influencing their customer’s purchasing decisions in light of this evolution. This panel will discuss the evolved roles of influencers, brands, and consumers in today’s media landscape, and how small business owners can leverage their own expertise to engage, inspire, and ultimately influence their own audiences.

Megan Lore innately knows the ins and outs of social media—both behind the scenes for her clients' brands and in front of the camera for her own. Her in-depth industry knowledge, creative problem solving and mastery of holistic campaigns on both the influencer and brand sides have helped Social Club become one of the most influential creative agencies in the Southeast, serving nationally and locally recognized clients. She's not afraid to be the one to forge the path into the unknown, and expertly navigates the ever-changing influencer and social media landscape. Her concepts, tactics and execution—especially in influencer marketing—have helped her clients turn content into tangible results including brand equity, brand loyalty, and ultimately sales.

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This is Your Year! Visualize, Strategize, Plan and ELEVATE your 2023

Alice Park

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Presenting Speaker

Life is too short to play small. But goals can be overwhelming if there is no strategic plan or well-thought-out vision tied to them. This hands-on workshop will focus on bringing your goals and dreams to life in 2023. Each attendee will receive a 2023 Elevate Planner, and Alice will walk you through her five step process of planning her year: Reflection, Vision Boarding, Intentional Goal Setting, Strategic Planning and Scheduling it all. Alice’s goal is for each Elevate attendee to walk away with a road map and plan to create exceptional content, get more done, and smash through their business goals!

Co-founder of the National Association of Professional Child Photographers (NAPCP), Park Studios, and founder of Alice Park Photography and the acclaimed Creativity Camp in Atlanta, Ga., Alice is a passionate creative, entrepreneur and industry influencer. With nearly 20 years of first-hand experience growing three global businesses from the ground up, Alice is an expert in the needs and challenges of running a successfully branded business. Her experience has resulted in heartfelt insight into the nuances of a company’s culture — from branding, networking, marketing to design and customer service. Along with her husband Kyu, the husband-wife team is committed to educating and giving back to the international network of creatives who have supported them so strongly over the past two decades.

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Bring the Bliss Back: Better your life so you can better your business

Sabrina Gebhardt

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Presenting Speaker

We have all been there… at the start of our business is sunshine and rainbows and glitter because its NEW, and EXCITING and people are paying us actual CASH MONEY. “This is the best ever! I love being an entrepreneur” and then we hit a wall when we realize, “OMG, this stuff never ends.”

At some point it happens to everyone- we are too busy, making too little money, serving everyone (except ourselves) and we are pretty miserable. Enter burnout and the deep questioning of “Why did I even start this business? I hate this”... 

The good news is that there is a way to bring the joy and excitement back into your life. And when your life feels better, your business gets better. It will take effort and intentionality, but hope is not lost. 

You can be an entrepreneur and still love the life you have created. This is possible and in this talk I am going to teach you exactly how to put the joy back into your life and business.

Sabrina Gebhardt is a lifestyle family photographer of 12 years and a business coach to creative entrepreneurs. Sabrina is a bold personality who loves color, laughter, emojis, almond milk lattes and a good book. She is a strong enneagram three who has fallen in love with building community and empowering creatives. Sabrina lives in Fort Worth, Texas with her husband, 3 kids and 2 dogs. 

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Is your Money Mindset holding you back from reaching your true potential?

Heather Crowder

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Presenting Speaker

 Is your Money Mindset holding you back from reaching your true potential? If you're a creative entrepreneur, no doubt you think a lot about money. It's why we are in business after all! But beyond the P & L's, COG's and balance sheets are our THOUGHTS about money, and many of us have never taken the time to really look at how these thoughts impact the decisions we make in our businesses on a daily basis. 

Your money mindset may be causing you stress you don't even realize, holding you back from reaching your true potential, and preventing you from truly next-leveling in your business. Emotional currency is a piece of this puzzle and we'll dive into this and so much more. 
I'll help you understand your own money mindset, identify your blocks and most importantly give you tools to overcome them. Even small changes in your money mindset can transform your business!

Heather Crowder has been delighting families, children, and professionals with her style of contemporary portraiture for over 15 years. In 2008, She's now bringing 25 years of experience as a serial entrepreneur, along with her 'business first' approach to photography, and sharing all she's learned along the way to help other creatives grow and succeed in business. She is a WPPI speaker and was recently a guest on the Portrait Masters Podcast. Heather also owns and operates two photography studios - The Lightbox Studio and The Lightbox Loft, in her hometown of Annapolis, MD, where she lives with her husband and 2 daughters. 

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why contracts matter

Ashley Fillingim

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Presenting Speaker

Relationships are at the core of building a business, and contracts are about creating and maintaining lasting relationships. Ashley, a 20-year attorney turned entrepreneur, will explore our perspective on contracts and how that affects the way we create and collaborate. 

Ashley Fillingim is a business strategist and attorney who helps entrepreneurs create, grow, and scale. After two decades at a top-tier international law firm—including over 10 years as a litigation partner—representing Fortune 500 clients in high-stakes litigation, Ashley walked out of her corner office and into entrepreneur life. Trading high heels for flip flops and city life for the beach, she began building multiple businesses with her toes in the sand. Now, she empowers entrepreneurs with legal planning and strategy through Sandstar Law, writes and speaks on building a KickAshLife, and (accidentally) owns a wine shop in a small coastal town. She is passionate about her children, travel, the beach, sunsets, and one very large dog.

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Maximizing your website home Page

Octavia Elease

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Presenting Speaker

With your home page most visitors land on first, it should connect with them in a way that lets them know your business is the answer to their problem. I’ll address the most common home page mistakes and show you how to design your home page with strategy + intention to ensure it’s actually doing the job of connecting and converting your ideal client.

Octavia is a Showit website designer and HoneyBook Pro based in Atlanta, Georgia. She fuses brand storytelling with a modern aesthetic to create conversion-focused brand visuals for creative entrepreneurs. As the Rising Tide Leader in Atlanta @risingtideatlanta, Octavia is on a mission to educate and inspire the creative community to chase their dreams. She’s a Disney obsessed, charcuterie board enthusiast who loves to FaceTime with a cup of coffee!

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Brand Storytelling: How to create a compelling Reel to tell your brand story

Katie Cathell

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Presenting Speaker

Let’s face it- video content is becoming more and more crucial for small and independent businesses. Platforms like Instagram, TikTok and YouTube push relatable and authentic content through story telling videos - turning followers into clients. But how do YOU create that content for your business? In this class we will break down how to create compelling reels for Instagram from conceptualizing to publishing and everything in between. We will discuss the importance of creating consistent content with manageable goals that will draw in your audience and create conversion; and together we will make our own reel from beginning to end, using the tools we discuss, leaving you confident in how to incorporate video content into your growing business.

Katie is an Atlanta based photographer specializing in creating content for influencers, bloggers and small businesses. Her goal is to direct, capture and create media such as photos and videos that will elevate the brand and help to grow engagement. Her goal is to provide her clients with high value content, to expedite client workflow and ultimately expand businesses. Her work has been featured across many brand platforms such as Like to Know It, Old Navy, J.Crew, Lane Bryant, Draper James, Aldi, Walmart and more. 

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Your own brand of genius

Heidi Hope

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Presenting Speaker

Each person has their own unique genius zone, a combination of their talents, skills and life experience. Working in your genius zone feels effortless and fun. Time goes by unnoticed and you can achieve extraordinary things! When you intentionally design your life and business in a way that maximizes your time spent in that zone, you can reach new heights of success, abundance and wellbeing. Getting into your genius means you have to leave behind your comfort zone and follow your enthusiasm into the unknown. We'll talk about the limiting beliefs that could be keeping you from working in your genius and my favorite ways to design your brand and messaging around your unique genius to leverage your greatest assets in your business.

Heidi Hope Guerard is a multi-passionate entrepreneur, educator and inspirer who coaches high achieving women as they uncover their unique genius and ignite their passion for life. A former high school art and photography teacher, Heidi achieved international recognition with her hand painted backdrops created out of her world renown portrait studio in Rhode Island. With a specialty in marketing and content creation, Heidi is an influencing force on social media having founded and scaled multiple creative businesses including Heidi Hope Photography®, Photographer Rising®, Heidi Hope Backdrops, New England Photo Collective and the She's Gone Free Podcast, all with a focus on living a creative life. As an educator in the professional photography industry since 2010, Heidi has mentored thousands of women around the world as they uncovered their greater purpose and infuse it into every area of their life and work. Frequently featured in local media and television, Heidi currently creates out of St. Augustine, Florida while hosting international workshops and public speaking to inspire and uplift creatives.

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Crafting a Seasonal Cheese + Charcuterie Board

Marcy Braselton

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Presenting Instructor

A beautifully curated cheese + charcuterie board is THE perfect appetizer for all of your seasonal entertaining! Marcy Braselton, founder of Community Kitchen Atl, will be revealing her secrets to building the board of your dreams. Marcy will share her tips + demonstrate how to assemble a seasonal board (using her favorite foodie finds) for easy + elegant entertaining. This is a hands-on workshop so you will be creating your own personal board.

Marcy Braselton is an Atlanta-based foodie and imperfect chef. Eating, cooking and entertaining have always brought joy to Marcy's life so she launched Community Kitchen Atl in 2016 to share what she was making, creating and supporting with a broader audience. Her goal is to make healthy eating accessible, attainable and, most of all, enjoyable for busy people and families. Her recipes are family-friendly and she uses fresh, nutrient-rich, locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. Marcy has worked with a diverse group of brands to create content and host events. She teaches a variety of workshops with a focus on easy and elegant entertaining. 

Marcy attended Queens University of Charlotte and has lived in eight states across the USA, the District of Columbia, England and Belgium. She currently lives in Atlanta with her husband, two children and golden doodle.

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Small Business, Big Impact

Maggie Tucker

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Small Business Panelist

This panel conversation will explore navigating the complexibilities of small business ownership in today’s world. Being an entrepreneur brings very specific challenges - such as juggling the many hats we wear to operate, market and grow our business, accessing capital for growth opportunities, and the daily struggle between managing our domestic responsibilities and professional ambition. What work-life balance?! Our small business panelists represent several diverse sectors of business, but the stories, advice and wisdom they share will resonate with us all.

Maggie Tucker is a Nashville native, and the owner/founder of beloved children’s retail store Magpies, based in Nashville with locations in Tennessee and Kentucky. With almost two decades in retail, Maggie has shifted, pivoted and navigated through a recession, Covid and the day to day challenges of managing and leading a team. She is sought after nationwide for her expertise that spans from smart start up, to daily operations to leadership and beyond.

Maggie and her stores have have been featured in Southern Living, Cottage Living, Gift Shop Magazine, and presented with HGTV’s award for top retail merchandising and design.

Maggie’s passion centers around people. She employees over 20 women, and never hesitates to partner with entrepreneurs, creatives and charitable organizations within all industries to leverage ideas and talents in an effort to elevate others towards greatness. 

Of all the hats Maggie wears, the most important ones to her are wife, mother, daughter and friend. 

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3-2-1 Social Media: Jumpstart your year with 3 social media strategy habits that work.

Kristie Bradley

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Masterclass Presenter

Jumpstart your year with social media strategy habits that work. Join Kristie as she shares 3 of her tried and true habits that keep her on her social media game. We won't be talking numbers or algorithms, but you'll walk away ready to hit the ground running with your new year social media strategy.

Kristie Bradley Photography has been working exclusively photographing high school seniors for more than 10 years. Setting down roots in her small town in Virginia, she opened her brick and mortar studio in 2016. In addition to photographing her seniors, she is known for her senior ambassador program which focuses on bringing positivity and compassion to her community. Her events include community service, an annual charity fashion show and fundraisers for local veterans and schools. Kristie works with photographers from all over the country to provide coaching and business mentoring to help others thrive in photography and creative industries. She loves speaking at events and conferences to inspire others to live their dreams.

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Financial Fitness for Creatives

Kristen Montgomery

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Masterclass Presenter

Running your own business requires you to wear many hats and not all our hats fit as easily as others! Understanding financial basics can be intimidating for someone that is used to being creative or perhaps doesn't consider themselves a "numbers" person. This class will break down finance fundamentals in an easy to understand way. My goal is for attendees to come away from this class with a better understanding and motivation as to why they need to pay their current selves AND pay their future selves and the tools to do so! I'm so excited to combine my knowledge of the creative industry and my wealth of information from working in the financial industry. I'm passionate about both and look forward to helping attendees become more financially fit without the stress! 

Hi! I'm Kristen Montgomery! I have run a successful photography business for growing families in the Charlotte, North Carolina area since 2013. Before launching my business, I worked in the banking and wealth management for both large and small firms. My interest in finance started at a young age when my grandfather gave me a list of stock ticker symbols to keep track of in the newspaper and report daily changes to him. Eventually, I graduated with a degree in finance from Miami University and developed a passion for financial literacy. One of my senior year projects was outlining the need for a financial literacy education course to be taught to all students - no matter their major or interest of study. I furthered my education by obtaining my CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (TM) designation in 2008. I believe that financial planning should be available to everyone - regardless of net worth or career. I am so excited about combining two of my passions - it's been a dream of mine for a while! 

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Crafting A Powerful Clientflow: Less Friction, More Freedom

Mac Hughes/ The HoneyBook Team

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Masterclass Presenter

Your business should give you freedom—not leave you feeling overwhelmed. Creating a cohesive clientflow means getting paid while you sleep, working from anywhere, and never dropping the ball on a client again. In this presentation, we will cover the best strategies and tactical insights for creating systems that scale your creative business.

Mac Hughes is your business systems bestie. Empowering independents with the insights they need to grow, strategize, and improve their processes. With a degree in Entrepreneurship and an 8 year career alongside tech pro’s at MINDBODY and HoneyBook, she loves helping business owners find and adopt systems for streamlining their passions.

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Girls Paint Night In! 

Heidi Hope

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Creativity Night Artist Instructor

Learn watercolors LIVE in a paint night with Heidi Hope! The theme of this class is "Find your Flow with Watercolors" and we'll spend 1.5 hour learning basic watercolor techniques that are an easy and inexpensive way to bring more creativity into your life on a regular basis.

During our time together you'll:
Connect with an incredible creative community for some much needed fun and flow!
Learn basic watercolor techniques and easy practices that will ignite your creativity and take your work to the next level.
Transform your experience of creating art, allowing you to tap into your genius and peak performance in all areas of your life.

This night will be filled with creativity, laughter and inspiration. You will not want to miss it!

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Introduction to Modern Hand Lettering

Kristen Smith

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Creativity Night Artist Instructor

Kristen Smith is a graphic designer and hand lettering artist residing in Atlanta, Georgia. After receiving a BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Georgia, she worked hard to establish a freelance career and officially launched her own company in 2011. She has a passion for fresh, beautiful designs, often incorporating organic elements like watercolor textures and calligraphy into her work. When she is not designing or sketching, you can find her in the garden with her son, creating projects with her photographer husband or snuggling a cat!

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Join Kristen for an Introduction to Modern Hand Lettering! This class will focus on beginner friendly basics and fundamentals to help you start your lettering journey with a solid foundation. Kristen will discuss various mark making tools and ways to create hand lettering but primarily focus on one: the brush pen! We will practice stroke techniques, create alphabets and learn how to embellish our work so it is truly one of a kind. Most of all, this class will give you space to explore your creativity through a fun new skill!

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Attend our jam-packed, 2-day event or secure one of our limited VIP tickets that include masterclass offerings, exclusive VIP parties, elevated perks and MORE!

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book your stay at The graduate hotel

Join us at our host hotel and stay at one of Music City’s most iconic and most charming hotels. We will offer complimentary shuttle service to and from our Summit venue.

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join our facebook community

Stay up to date with all of the details and get to know everyone attending! We’ll continue the business and strategic growth conversations long after you leave Nashville!

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