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Speakers

 

Kirsten OsolindKirsten Osolind is Founding CEO of RE:INVENTION Marketing. In just four years, Ms. Osolind has transformed RE:INVENTION from a start-up to a nationally noted and quoted agency.

Ms. Osolind’s 18-year career includes Fortune 500 marketing leadership roles as Whole Foods Market’s National Marketing Director (where she led a national team of 12 regional marketing coordinators, promotions managers, and art directors), WebMD’s Director of Advertising & Media, General Mills’ ethnic marketing manager, and brand manager at The Coca-Cola Company and Procter & Gamble. She has launched cookbooks and e-marketing platforms, introduced Hispanic kids to Go-Gurt, declared a national tea war, shadow-boxed with Muhammad Ali during the filming of a SuperBowl ad, and convinced Dilbert to take the Nestea plunge.

As one of the nation’s respected “Women 2.0 Experts,” Ms. Osolind has appeared in over 500+ women’s and business publications, from Redbook and Pink to BusinessWeek and INC. A 2005 Entrepreneur Magazine monthly marketing columnist (and 2008 contributing writer), Ms. Osolind now edits one of the nation’s top marketing blogs, according to Advertising Age Magazine, also the #1 GOOGLE-ranked women entrepreneurs’ blog. She spearheaded the creation of RE:INVENTION’s 2004 “Venture Funding for Women Entrepreneurs Report,” a groundbreaking analysis of venture capital gender disparities, often referenced as an industry barometer by national media including Inc., BusinessWeek, Entrepreneur, Washington Post, Mercury News, and multiple U.S. dailies.


Jeff Woelker
is a Chicago-based SEO, SEM & Online Marketing Consultant. His expertise is grounded in SEO, SEM, usability consulting, web development, social media strategies, database management, application development, online advertising and email marketing.


Beth PolishBeth Polish is President of The Critical Junctures Group. She has held senior management positions in diverse industries, including media, finance, private investment and technology. She has been president of Anthony Robbins’ Dreamlife, Inc., founding CFO at iVillage, Inc., CFO of Goldman Sachs Ventures, and managing director at KPMG.

Expert at mobilizing and leading teams through such critical junctures as startup, merger and acquisition, strategic planning, financing, and turnaround, she also has extensive experience negotiating corporate partnerships and business development agreements. Ms. Polish has secured initial and follow-on financings from and worked with leading venture capital and strategic investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, TCI, AOL, and Mitsubishi.

A frequent speaker on the subject of “financing growth” and “strategies for growth,” Ms. Polish teaches entrepreneurship at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies and is a regular guest speaker on entrepreneurial finance at Columbia Business School. Ms. Polish serves on the National Advisory Board of the Women’s Leadership Exchange and conducts seminars around the country as a WLE “growth guru.” She is the publisher of DROOM Books and the author of the DROOM PRIMERS “In the Market for Money: The 5 Essential Stages,” “In the Market for Money: Raising Equity” and the forthcoming “In the Market for Money: Securing Debt.”

Ms. Polish received her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.


Lauren Freedman
is President of The E-Tailing Group. In 1994, she leveraged her 15-year retail and catalog career and passion for merchandising to found The E-tailing Group, Inc. The firm’s mission was, and continues to be, providing strategic and e-commerce solutions to online merchants as well as businesses targeting that market.

An extensive client list has included Fortune 500s and start-ups such as Toys “R” Us, The Vitamin Shoppe, Scholastic, J.Jill, Orbitz and Kodak.

As a veteran and visionary within both the retailing and the Internet industries, Freedman is a frequent resource to the trade and business press, and her speaking engagements have spanned the globe. Freedman most recently completed her first book, It’s Just Shopping, which provides a comprehensive behind-the-scenes look at the evolution of multi-channel selling.


Rich Kizer & Georganne BenderRich Kizer & Georganne Bender are retail anthropologists and professional speakers. They stalk and study that most elusive of mammals-the retail consumer. They are nationally recognized experts on customer diversity, “messing with the media,” marketing and promotion and everything retail. In 2004 they were named two of the Retail Industry’s Most Influential People by Crafttrends Magazine. Kizer & Bender have been featured on ABC national news, and their client list reads like a Who’s Who in American business and includes Ace Hardware Corporation, Sears, CAA, Husqvarna Viking and International Gift & Home Furnishings Market.

Kizer and Bender speak to thousands of businesspeople each year through their “Retail Adventures in the REAL World™” and “Business Adventures in the REAL World™” keynotes and seminars. Their articles are published regularly in a variety of national trade and business publications, such as CraftTrends and Yarn Market News and on the Internet.


Jason Krellenstein
is a New York-based attorney specializing in cases involving acquisitions, employment, licensing and publishing law—including copyright and trademark prosecution and defense.


Maggie PaceMaggie Pace started Pick Up Sticks! in 2003, when she was five months’ pregnant with her second child. After working as a journalist for 10 years, Maggie was ready for something new. She had just discovered felting, and she found herself madly knitting gigantic grocery-sized bags and shrinking them down into exciting smaller shapes. What she loved most was the transformation of the fibers: She could take a standard-looking wool handknit and turn it into a brand-new textile-stiff, yet soft to the touch, with all the colors blending as if they had always been a single material. She was hooked, and literally felted everything that wasn’t pinned down. This was the career she had been searching for. So she enlisted her mom, Joan, to be her business partner, and together they marched down to city hall and got a business license.

Two weeks later, fate dealt a surprising blow: Maggie was hospitalized due to complications with her pregnancy. There, doctors told her if she wanted to save the baby, she had to lie flat on her back for the next four months. No sitting, no working, no running after her 2-and-a-half-year-old daughter. It was from this mandatory confinement that the first line of Pick Up Sticks! designs was born, right along with her son, who entered the world full term, perfectly healthy, and ready to model Maggie’s felted hat designs.

Today Pick Up Sticks! patterns and kits are sold at stores throughout the U.S. and U.K. Maggie has written two books and a leaflet on the art of knitted felt: I Can’t Believe I’m Felting (Leisure Arts, 2008), Felt Forward (Interweave Press, Nov. 2007) and Felt It! (Storey, Nov 2006). Maggie was noted as a 2008 Women Entrepreneur for Country Living Magazine. In 2008 she appeared on the Knit and Crochet Today program as one of two in-house knitting experts. Over the past four years, she has appeared on several national and local television programs, including DIY Network’s Knitty Gritty and PBS’s Chay Pendray’s Needlearts Studio.


Nadine CurtisNadine Curtis founded Be Sweet in 2003 while living in Cape Town, South Africa. Her entrepreneurial spirit and passion for socially conscious programs served as catalysts for turning her fascination with local handmade accessories into a thriving business that supports artisans in South Africa. Be Sweet, a company with a conscience, has a mission: to bring socially and environmentally friendly products to fashionable consumers, products that evoke an individual style and help support community development around the world. “I want to remind people to literally be sweet and to show compassion for your neighbors and those less fortunate,” says Curtis.

Prior to founding Be Sweet, Nadine and her husband successfully launched and operated a design firm called Honey Interactive. For six years, Nadine integrated design and technology to develop new media marketing tools for clients including Visa and VeriSign. As an entrepreneur, Nadine wore many hats within the company and particularly enjoyed hands-on design work. She delved deep into her clients’ brands to create an overall look that spoke to the companies’ business objectives, personality and mission. She also created and managed user-interface development, graphic and layout design, website development and streaming video presentations.

Previous experience includes positions with San Francisco-based advertising agency Black Rocket and Internet marketing company Organic Media. While at Organic, she helped build online advertising marketing materials and campaigns for Gap and MasterCard. Nadine began her early career in visual arts, serving as a production assistant for Uground Productions. There she worked on Dave Matthews’s award-winning video “Crash Into Me.”

Nadine currently lives in northern California with her husband and son and travels to South Africa annually.


Franklin HabitWriter, illustrator, and photographer Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008) and proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on Internet. On an average day, upwards of 2,500 readers worldwide drop in for a mix of essays, cartoons, and the continuing adventures of Dolores the Sheep.

Franklin’s other publishing experience in the fiber world includes contributions to Yarn Market News, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Cast On: A Podcast for Knitters, Twist Collective, and a regular column on historic knitting patterns for Knitty.com.

These days, Franklin knits and spins in Chicago, Illinois, sharing a small city apartment with an Ashford spinning wheel and colony of sock yarn that multiplies alarmingly whenever his back is turned.


Paul Pelssers
is the President of Paul Pelssers Ltd. His New York Retail Report and Early Color & Trend Directions are the culmination of more than twenty years’ experience within the fashion industry. Paul’s background—as Fashion Director for one of Australia’s leading retail groups, Sportsgirl; Director of Merchandising for Esprit de Corp, USA; and President of Sportsman, Australia for which he won the “Fashion Industries of Australia Award” for design excellence—gives him extensive knowledge of men’s and women’s fashion. Paul Pelssers has held positions on the Course Advisory Committee for the Melbourne Institute of Textiles and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.