Mainstage speakers

Cindy Novotny 

Masters Connection Associates

Mike Michalowicz  

Profit First

Rachel Jo Silver

Love Stories TV

Mark Chapman

Everett Andrew Marketing

Kirsten Palladino 

Equally Wed

Peter Grimes

Vows Magazine

Bernadette Baille

The Knot

Beth Chapman 

The White Dress Society

Kaleigh Wiese

 LABEL by Meldeen


mainstage speaker bios

Cindy Novotny

Cindy is a business leader that celebrates women and has launched many careers, Cindy is not only a mentor but a role model for women in business. Cindy founded Master Connection Associates (MCA) an international training and development company specializing in sales, leadership and service excellence over 25 years ago. Cindy has been recognized by the Association for Talent Development (ATD), formally the American Society of Training and Development as one of the most powerful, innovative and passionate speakers in the industry. She has been branded the “Radical Mentor” by thousands of executives around the world for her straight forward, no nonsense approach to leadership. She has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Training Magazine, Successful Meetings, and broadcast live on the BBC. Cindy spans the globe speaking to vast audiences that range from line employees to top executives. She has also shared the stage with global leaders such as former New York Mayor, Rudy Giuliani. Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) recognized Cindy as one of the Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing. The Award is given for the most innovation, vision and achievement in the hospitality, travel and tourism industry. 

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Mike Michalowicz 

By his 35th birthday MIKE MICHALOWICZ had founded and sold two multi-million dollar companies.

Confident that he had the formula to success, he became a small business angel investor… and proceeded to lose his entire fortune. Then he started all over again, driven to find better ways to grow healthy, strong companies. Mike has devoted his life to the research and delivery of innovative, impactful entrepreneurial strategies to you.

Mike is the creator of Profit First, which is used by hundreds of thousands of companies across the globe to drive profit. He is the creator of Clockwork, a powerful method to make any business run on automatic. And his latest, arguably most impactful discovery, is Fix This Next. In Fix This Next, Mike details the strategy businesses can use to determine what to do, in what order, to ensure healthy, fast, permanent growth (and avoid debilitating distractions).

Today, Mike leads two new multi-million-dollar ventures, as he tests his latest business research for his books. He is a former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal and business makeover specialist on MSNBC. Mike is a popular main stage keynote speaker on innovative entrepreneurial topics; and is the author of Fix This Next, Clockwork, Profit First, Surge, The Pumpkin Plan and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.

Fabled author, Simon Sinek deemed Mike Michalowicz “…the top contender for the patron saint of entrepreneurs.”

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rachel jo silver

Rachel Jo Silver is the founder of Love Stories TV, a video platform connecting soonlyweds with the ideas, products, and services they’re seeking for their wedding. With its massive collection of data-enriched wedding films, submitted by brides and videographers from all over the world, Love Stories TV is a hub for a fast-growing and deeply engaged community of engaged couples and wedding enthusiasts.

Rachel is a recognized expert on social and video strategy as well as a resource for the modern, social media savvy bride. 

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Mark Chapman

Mark is the President of Everett Andrew Marketing - an agency with a niche focus on paid marketing (i.e. Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Pinterest Ads) for wedding industry businesses. He's passionate about creating campaigns that deliver low cost, high quality leads & sales. He also loves helping his clients better understand these advertising platforms by breaking down complex issues into simple language they can quickly and easily understand. Any question is fair game with Mark!

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Kirsten Palladino

Kirsten Palladino is an award-winning writer and editor, and one of the world’s most notable experts on LGBTQ+ weddings. Kirsten Palladino is the editorial director and cofounder of Equally Wed, the world's leading LGBTQ+ wedding website. She is the author of Equally Wed: The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your LGBTQ+ Wedding (Seal Press), and the creator and lead educator of Equally Wed Pro, the LGBTQ+ inclusive certification course. 

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Peter grimes

Since founding VOWS magazine in September, 1990 as a dedicated voice of and for independent bridal salons in North America, Grimes has worked with teams of dedicated and talented individuals who have each given VOWS its unique voice and presentation. This dedication to staff and the audience he serves is readily apparent in the professional, upbeat and credible content of VOWS that is currently enjoyed and appreciated by over 30,000 owners, managers and stylists in print and digital platforms. In addition to VOWS he currently strives to create creative branding approaches for retailers and manufacturers through specialty publications and contract publishing.

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bernadette baille

Bernadette M. Baillie has more than 20 years of experience executing consumer and trade marketing for some of the world's top brands including MTV, Nickelodeon, and Sony Music Entertainment. Bernadette has been a featured speaker at Wedding MBA, JCK, NACE, and The Special Event.

Bernadette earned her undergraduate degree in Advertising from Pepperdine University and attended NYU's Gallatin program focusing on International Relations & New Media. She is a mother of 4, lover of Dyson vacuums and foodie that likes to try regional cuisine wherever her travels take her. Bernadette lives in San Diego, California.

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Beth Chapman

BETH LINDSAY CHAPMAN is a veteran of the fashion industry and is known for her work as a bridal boutique owner, stylist, educator, author, and wedding fashion consultant. After her tenure as a Vice President of Merchandising for Ann Taylor, her love of bridal fashion, and sincere desire to create a memorable shopping experience for brides, compelled her to launch The White Dress by the shore, a Connecticut based luxury bridal boutique, in 2004. Beth is also the founder of Beth Chapman Styling + Consulting. After running a bridal store herself for over 15 years, she recognized the need for support and education for bridal store owners. Her passion for teaching and education and her desire to empower independent bridal retailers, has led her to mentor other bridal store owners on elevating their brand and increasing their sales and business profitability. Beth is a firm believer that once you master the art of selling that you can sell anything! To that end, she also trains Wedding Pros on changing their approach to selling and increasing their closing rate. Beth’s styling work and voice can be found in numerous publications, including the 2 books that she co-authored, The White Dress in Color, and The White Dress Destinations.

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Kaleigh Weise

Kaleigh Wiese is an endless creator, visual branding educator, entrepreneur, and public speaker. She has worked her entire career helping creatives find their visual voice. She found Méldeen in 2008, a luxury branding and paper goods company focused on designing unique touch-points throughout the wedding experience. LABEL by Méldeen launched in 2018 with resources and services to help event pros and creative find their brand voice and visually share their companies uniqueness. Through her work in the industry, she has been featured in The Huffington Post, Enterpreneur.com, Martha Stewart Weddings, shared trends at Wedding MBA, WIPA, niche creative workshops and traveled the country offering tips for growing your business with WeddingPro (formerly The Knot & Wedding Wire) for the last 4 years. Additionally, she has been selected as a WeddingPro Educator to continue to give insight and walk alongside event pros across the US. When she’s not on the go, you can find her with a book in hand, boating on Lake Travis with her husband, Michael, and their two rescue pups, Charlie and Jack, hunting for the best tacos and margaritas in her hometown of Austin, and plotting her next adventure.

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Breakout Speakers

Mike Ebrahimi

SYVO

Myrna Daramy 

Myrna & Co.

Ingrid Heilke

Bridal Vision Financial 

Mark Chapman

Everett Andrew Marketing


Kaleigh Weise

LABEL by Méldeen


Breakout Speaker BIOS

MIKE EBRAHIMI

Mike Ebrahimi, founder/CEO of SYVO, helps hundreds of bridal retailers drive appointments through proven online methods. Based out of Austin, TX, SYVO’s team of 20 people develop solutions that help bridal shops target and engage generation Z brides. SYVO’s website platform, built specifically for bridal shops, allows stores to showcase their collection imagery and information to drive appointments and inquiries.

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Myrna Daramy

Myrna Plaisir Daramy is a tech-savvy Digital Media Optimization Specialist, oftentimes referred to as the “Tech Whisperer” by her clients. Over the last 15 years, she’s transformed countless small business brands and wedding industry professionals by combining her expertise in digital analytics, technology management, and SEO with a deep understanding of all things creative. Myrna's superpower is that she can easily translate “tech talk” into concepts that make sense to even the most non-technical of business owners. She takes pride in helping her clients peel back the layers of their brand, utilize the latest and greatest technology tools, and return to them an optimized digital footprint that converts better than ever before.

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Ingrid Hielke

Ingrid Heilke (pronounced Hile-key) is the Co-Founder of BridalVision, where she serves as Chief Financial Guide and Business Strategist.

Ingrid’s goal is to make the numbers behind bridal store business visual, intuitive, and easy.

She helps bridal stores chart a path towards a thriving, impactful business through financial advisory services, accounting, and her latest venture, business intelligence software.

Ingrid’s 20+ years of experience spans financial services data analytics and decision science R&D. Ingrid holds a Master’s in City Planning from MIT.  

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Mark Chapman

Mark is the President of Everett Andrew Marketing - an agency with a niche focus on paid marketing (i.e. Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Pinterest Ads) for wedding industry businesses. He's passionate about creating campaigns that deliver low cost, high quality leads & sales. He also loves helping his clients better understand these advertising platforms by breaking down complex issues into simple language they can quickly and easily understand. Any question is fair game with Mark!

WebsiteSocial Media

Kaleigh Wiese

Kaleigh Wiese is an endless creator, visual branding educator, entrepreneur, and public speaker. She has worked her entire career helping creatives find their visual voice. She found Méldeen in 2008, a luxury branding and paper goods company focused on designing unique touch-points throughout the wedding experience. LABEL by Méldeen launched in 2018 with resources and services to help event pros and creative find their brand voice and visually share their companies uniqueness. Through her work in the industry, she has been featured in The Huffington Post, Enterpreneur.com, Martha Stewart Weddings, shared trends at Wedding MBA, WIPA, niche creative workshops and traveled the country offering tips for growing your business with WeddingPro (formerly The Knot & Wedding Wire) for the last 4 years. Additionally, she has been selected as a WeddingPro Educator to continue to give insight and walk alongside event pros across the US. When she’s not on the go, you can find her with a book in hand, boating on Lake Travis with her husband, Michael, and their two rescue pups, Charlie and Jack, hunting for the best tacos and margaritas in her hometown of Austin, and plotting her next adventure.

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Designer Panel

Christina Wettstein

Coterie White 

Sara Gabriel 

Sara Gabriel

Justin Alexander

Justin Alexander

Shawne Jacobs

Anne Barge 

Maria Prince

Watters

Katherine McDonald

Kate McDonald Bridal


Designer Panel bios

Christina Wettstein

Coterie White was created with a sincere passion to develop and grow brands - both wholesale & retail through the support of designer relationships. Our vast knowledge of the bridal industry stems from years of working directly with designers from all over the world, top production managers, fabric buyers and truly talented sewers to achieve sensible and saleable collections. It's been our pleasure to work with over 150 bridal boutiques globally and majors including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. We truly believe that the only true way to support the retailer is to focus on strengthening the partnership with the designer. We pride ourselves on being a bridge between the designers & stores to cultivate growth & success for all! 


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sara gabriel

Sara began her company on the floor of her tiny Denver apartment in July of 2000. A lifelong obsession with Swarovski crystals, soft tulles, and intricate French laces quickly became the foundation for something bigger: one satisfied bride turned into 200 retail accounts with raving reviews. Sara is a top industry designer because of her blend of classic and spirited designs. But, moreover, she is known for her dedication to growth through authenticity, problem-solving, and partnerships with small businesses. The Sara Gabriel collection is thoughtfully designed to help women see themselves as brides, and to aid stylists in bringing unique bridal visions to life. Sara’s focus on preserving the bespoke process means every handmade piece enables stylists to say “yes” to their bride so she can say “YES” to her dress.

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JUSTIN ALEXANDER

Justin Alexander Warshaw is the CEO and Creative Director of Justin Alexander, a world leader in designing, manufacturing, and distributing bridal fashion. This multi-generational wedding dress design house includes the all-inclusive brands: Justin Alexander, Justin Alexander Signature, Adore by Justin Alexander, Lillian West, Sincerity Bridal, Viktor&Rolf Mariage and Savannah Miller. Justin Alexander is a private, family-owned company with offices in New York City, New Jersey, London, Rotterdam and Hong Kong, and its collections are sold by more than 1,500 authorized retailers worldwide.

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Shawne Jacobs

Shawne Jacobs serves as Creative Director of Anne Barge and President of its parent company, S. Jacobs, Inc. Her duties include leading the design, marketing, and business development of the bridal lines Anne Barge, Blue Willow Bride by Anne Barge, and Curve Couture as well as its evening wear line, Anne Barge Black Label. Shawne began her career at Anne Barge in 2002, learning every aspect of the bridal business and honing her design skills under the tutelage of the company’s namesake, Anne Barge. Since assuming her role as Creative Director in 2014, Shawne continues to evolve the Anne Barge aesthetic of “modern classical” with new fabrics, details, and silhouettes. “Anne Barge designs are timeless and memorable,” noted Shawne. “Each gown is created to make a woman feel confident and beautiful.”

Originally from Kentucky, Shawne currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, Steven Jacobs, and their three sons. In her spare time, she enjoys spending quality time outdoors with her family, exploring Atlanta’s vibrant restaurant and art scenes, and going to yoga. Shawne also supports charities dedicated to improving the environment, fighting hunger, empowering women, and helping children. Two organizations particularly close to her heart are CARE and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA).

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maria Prince

A self-proclaimed people enthusiast, Maria serves as Executive Vice President of WATTERS. She has a passion for bridal and a love of fashion. Maria began her career in bridal moving from sales staff to buyer for a Midwest Bridal boutique while attending college in Minnesota, leading to a long term love affair with the bridal industry.

A leap of faith and move to Texas after landing a position as Bridal Manager for Neiman Marcus Dallas whirled her into a chance meeting with the, then startup, WATTERS & WATTERS founder Vatana WATTERS.

Fast forward 32 years and Maria is still helping to grow the creative tribe of individuals that give their all for both retail partners and WATTERS brides around the globe.

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Katherine McDonald

After exploring various corporate jobs, Katherine set out to design her first Ready-to-Wear line in 2003. The Ready-to-Wear line led to a bridesmaids line which led to her true passion, designing wedding dresses. 

Working with luxurious fine European fabrics, delicate details and happy brides is a dream come true. We are proud and committed to being sewn in the USA using the finest specialty fabrics. Kate McDonald Bridal is headquartered in beautiful Charleston, SC. The Gown Collection is available at select bridal salons across the country.

Katherine is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill. She currently resides in Mt. Pleasant, SC with her two sons, Hudson and James, and her two golden retrievers. 

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inclusivity Panel

Shayna Clute

Luxe Bridal 

Selina Howard

Vainglorious Bride

Shafonne Myers

Pretty Pear Bride


Kirsten Palladino 

Equally Wed


inclusivity Panel bios

Shayna Clute

In 2010, Shayna took a giant leap of faith leaving her corporate life behind after becoming a mom for the first time. An entrepreneur at heart, Shayna opened the first Luxe Bridal store in Minneapolis, MN, after years of dreaming up a bridal shop where every woman no matter what her size had a fun, relaxing and memorable moment finding her dress. Ensuring a bride felt empowered rather than deflated while buying her dress.

Committed to creating a contemporary retail brand that inspires women to embrace their curves, beauty and confidence. Today Shayna has 2 stores located in Minnesota with plans for growth and expansion. 

Website | Social Media

SELINA  howard

Selina Howard, Creative Director/Stylist for Vainglorious Brides, is an internationally published bridal stylist for brides who crave a curated fashion experience for their wedding day and all surrounding events.

Prior to launching Vainglorious Brides, Selina was a full-time educator who holds a B.S. in Health Education from Virginia State University and a M.S. in Teaching and Learning from Nova Southeastern University. Her career in weddings began with her boutique planning firm Selina Howard Events (SHE) in 2011. Although Vainglorious Brides was born under the SHE umbrella in 2012, Selina became passionate about working more intimately with brides as she helped to ensure one of the most important elements of the wedding—the dress—was chosen precisely and bustled to perfection (not to mention, the countless influential times she had to steam dresses as a planner). 

Today, as the CEO of Vainglorious Brides, Selina offers custom bridal shopping experiences, day of dressing services, editorial services, bridal fashion product styling, creative direction, and bridal fashion event production.

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shafonne myers

Shafonne Myers is a media mogul and self love and body positivity coach from Temecula, California. She graduated with a biology and psychology degree but always had a love for weddings and helping people. She built an internationally recognized, award-winning wedding publication for plus size brides, Pretty Pear Bride. Her wedding publication is the only one in the world and has solidified her as THE plus size bridal expert.

She has recently started offering private coaching for: plus size women ready to transform their lives by learning to love themselves, feeling beautiful, stopping the comparison game, and finding the courage within themselves to be themselves regardless of their weight. From her experience with working with the plus size industry, she also helps wedding professions struggling with booking clients identify their ideal clients to make more money and get more clients with less effort.   

These are both the true reflection of her zone of genius. Harnessing her fearlessness, determination, charisma and plain ole hustle, Shafonne empowers plus size women to release their fears and insecurities, embody their self worth, and get into action to become the best version of themselves in life and business regardless of their weight. 

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Kirsten Palladino

Kirsten Palladino is an award-winning writer and editor, and one of the world’s most notable experts on LGBTQ+ weddings. Kirsten Palladino is the editorial director and cofounder of Equally Wed, the world's leading LGBTQ+ wedding website. She is the author of Equally Wed: The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your LGBTQ+ Wedding (Seal Press), and the creator and lead educator of Equally Wed Pro, the LGBTQ+ inclusive certification course. 

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REGISTER FOR THE WHITE DRESS SOCIETY RETREAT 2021

May 23rd - 25th  2021

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER