Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender�Kizer & Bender

Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender are professional speakers, retail strategists, authors and consultants whose client list reads like a “who’s who” in business.

In 2010 Kizer & Bender made Meetings & Conventions Magazine’s list of Meeting Planners Best Keynote Speakers; they’ve also been named “Two of Retailing’s Most Influential People.” And with good reason: Rich and Georganne are experts on generational diversity, consumer trends, marketing and promotion, and everything retail. They are well known for their unique and intensive consumer research. Any speaker can talk about customers, but Georganne and Rich actually become them. In addition to yearly focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and intensive on-site studies, their research includes posing as every kind of customer you can imagine. The results of their research is literally straight from the customers’ mouth: solid ground-level intelligence you can use to better serve customers.

Cindy TortoriciKEYNOTE SPEAKER Cindy Tortorici

In 2006, after a successful career at businesses such as Nike, Inc., and Saks Fifth Avenue, Cindy Tortorici created A Seat at the Table, which features leadership development programs for women executives and business owners, providing access to a network of professional peers and mentors from the community. It is a natural offshoot of The Link for Women, her organization that provides seminars and monthly events to help women flourish in their careers. In 2010, she co-authored 42 Rules for Creating WE, a hands-on, practical approach to organizational development, change and leadership best practices.

Tortorici was named “One of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Town” by the NW Women’s Journal in 2007, and in 2008 she was honored as the “Volunteer of the Year” for Girls Inc. of NW Oregon.

Catherine KaputaCatherine Kaputa

From her years as Director of Advertising and Community Affairs at Citi Smith Barney and Shearson Lehman Brothers, and her time teaching a graduate-level course on branding and advertising as NYU’s Stern School of Business, Catherine Kaputa came to appreciate that branding’s greatest potential was to help people, not just products and companies. Branding, she feels, is for individuals to define and own their brand identity.

That’s why she launched SelfBrand LLC, a New York City–based branding company, and wrote the award-winning book, You Are a BRAND! How Smart People Brand Themselves for Business Success. Catherine’s latest book, on women achieving business success, is The Female Brand: Using the Female Mindset to Succeed in Business. As a speaker, she specializes in offering dynamic and fun presentations and workshops to success-driven executives and entrepreneurs.

Kim BrownKim Brown

Where would needlecraft be without the proliferation of knitting pattern books? Kim Brown, Vice President of Operations for Sterling Publishing, Inc., is responsible for sales, distribution, inventory, art, and production at this long-established publishing house. Kim joined the Sterling team in August 2009; prior to that she spent 30 years at Sterling’s parent company Barnes & Noble, Inc, in their buying and merchandising areas. She speaks to the new business of selling books in this changing marketplace. But more importantly she learned to knit 5 years ago and attends a class every Saturday morning.

Mike KrausMike Kraus

For nearly 20 years, Mike Kraus has worked in a variety of industries in a variety of positions, from general management to marketing to operations. As the founder of StoreTouch, LLC, Mike helps his entrepreneurial retail clients find the sweet spot between inspired store experiences and operational efficiency, resulting in sales and profitability growth.

Mike is also the Retail Advisor for, where he writes his Real World Retailing blog, offering up insight on how to run a successful retail operation. Mike also speaks about retail issues, trends and news, and he has been quoted in everything from the Wall Street Journal, Business Week and Time magazine to local newspapers, trade publications and more.

Emira MearsEmira Mears

Emira Mears co-founded Raised Eyebrow Web Studio Inc. with her partner Lauren Bacon in Vancouver, B.C., in 2000. The firm has grown into a successful and sought after, mission-driven business that primarily serves not-for-profit organizations, government and progressive businesses. Together with her business partner she wrote The Boss of You: Everything a Woman Needs to Know to Start, Run, and Maintain Her Own Business.

Emira is passionate about sustainable growth for small business and the role that women can play in crafting a new approach to business. She is a huge fan of people doing what they love for a living, especially if they’re able to find a balance that allows them to explore and develop new passions. In February 2010 she joined the ranks of “mom-preneurs” with the birth of her daughter Lena and is now taking on the challenge of balancing parenting and managing at a whole new level.

Diane GillelandDiane Gilleland

Online maven Diane Gilleland is a craft writer and teacher in Portland, Oregon. In 2005 she started, a blog that grew into a full-time career. She writes for craft magazines and websites, and she publishes e-books to help creative entrepreneurs use the web more effectively for marketing.