Southern C Summit – Charleston, South Carolina

Spring 2014

Overview

Local Palate Brunch at Le Creuset Headquarters on the Ashley River with Food for the Southern Soul • Amy Smilovic of TIBI’s story of scaling her fashion business • Taste of Charleston at High Wire Distillery presented by Southern Living • Lunch and Libations at FISH with Firefly Distillery • Thomasville, GA Break • Keep Calm and Pitch On panel moderated by leapfrog PR co with Southern Living’s Erin Shaw Street, Matchbook’s Katie Armour and Glitter Guide’s Caitlin Moran • Field Guide to a Creative CEO with Jamie Meares and Holly Phillips

Presenters

Amy Wallin Smilovic

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Amy grew up with a sketch pad and pencil in hand, on a small island off the coast of Georgia. The relaxed ease of island living, coupled with highly creative & artistic parents, (her father and grandfather both artists) are her strongest design influences. Amy was always obsessed with style – whether it was creating accessories and clothing to sell to local boutiques or spending hours putting together the perfect outfit. After graduating from University of Georgia, she pursued an early career in advertising at Ogilvy & Mather and later at American Express in New York City. When her husband was transferred to Asia in 1997, Amy decided it would be the perfect time to put her artistic skills to use and pursue her dream of launching a fashion label. She and her husband moved back to the United States in 2000 and now reside in Greenwich, Connecticut with their two boys.

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Whitney Wright

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Whitney Wright is the Deputy Food Director at Southern Living magazine. She develops, writes, edits and produces food content for the magazine’s print and digital editions, and oversees the brand’s video program. Wright was a Senior Editor and Merchandising Manager at Gilt Groupe in the Gilt Home and Gilt Taste divisions. Prior to that, she worked as Chef de Partie at Thomas Keller’s Per Se restaurant and also at Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, Virginia. Wright also appeared on Season 7 of The Next Food Network Star. She and her husband left the hustle and bustle of NYC over a year ago and have settled into Birmingham, Alabama.

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Will Copenhaver

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Born and raised in Winston-Salem, NC, Will’s career has included stints at The White House Press Office, Lycos, Tribeca Film Festival, Landor and Nautica. Five years ago Will moved from New York City to Charleston, SC to join Le Creuset as Director of Marketing Communications. Will is focused on using stories to build brands that matter, and believes that without passion behind a brand there is unlikely to be any passion in the reception of it.

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Tara Guérard

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Recognized as one of the nation’s leading tastemakers, Tara Guérard has earned a widespread reputation for her exceptional ability to create spectacular settings celebrating life’s most anticipated occasions. For over a decade, clients across the United States – from “bright young things” to celebrity hostesses and CEOs – have turned to Tara for her southern-cum-contemporary affairs and impeccably executed events. With a core business in event design, Tara has expanded her brand to include furniture design for Frank and Lane, commercial and residential interior design as well as custom invitation suites and printed pieces through The Lettered Olive. In response to the growing demand for Tara Guérard Soirée services, a New York studio opened in the spring of 2009 to bring Tara’s unique vision to clients in the northeast and beyond.

A noted style expert, Tara has been featured in Food & Wine, InStyle, Southern Living, Traditional Home, Town & Country Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings and on The Martha Stewart Show, The Nate Berkus Show and the Style Network, among other media outlets. Additionally, Tara is a regular on the blog circuit, dispensing tips and advice on an array of design related topics. Tara’s debut book, Southern Weddings: New Looks from the Old South (Gibbs-Smith) was published to rave reviews in 2007, and her second volume, Weddings by Tara Guérard (Gibbs-Smith) premiered in early 2010, further establishing her as an authority on gracious entertaining.

Tara lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, Russell, their sons, Aiken and Myers, daughter Lila and Springer Spaniel, Georgia.

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Sully Sullivan

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Born in Hawaii, Sully lived in California, Texas, Georgia, and now South Carolina. 9.5 times out of 10, he doesn’t need a ladder. He first picked up a camera about six years ago and started assisting some of the world’s best photographers in New York, Los Angeles and Germany. In the past few years, Sully started building his own client base. His ultimate goal is to take over the world, but in the number 2 spot, he doesn’t want to be on top, just under the radar. He says, “Everyone always goes after the person who is number 1.” He doesn’t know what he would do without his Mom, his friends and photography (in that order).

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Stephanie Blurt

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A native North Carolinian, Stephanie grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, on good Southern cooking and lots of books. She received both her BA and MA in English from UNC Charlotte and was a former instructor of English and American Studies there as well.

Writing has led her to some interesting places: haunted houses on lonely country roads, white, sandy beaches on the West coast of Florida, and a vineyard in the shade of a mountain in North Georgia, but now she focuses on the delicious and vibrant food culture of the South as Director of Digital Content for The Local Palate.

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Katherine Sandoz

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Katherine Sandoz is a painter, illustrator and maker mixing media and metaphors in a red barn behind her 1931 cypress cottage in Savannah, Georgia. In addition to exhibiting in galleries and consulting as a visual strategist, she contributes to The Oxford American blog “Big Chief Tablet”, The Good Men Project and the award winning culinary blog “Salted & Styled.” Her work is fueled by a long term love affair with drawing, painting, story telling and the people and places she sees each day.

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Robert Prioleau

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Robert Prioleau is a Founding Partner and the Strategy Director for Blue Ion, a digital marketing company based in Charleston, SC. Robert leads the company’s strategy practice, where he applies his marketing expertise across a wide range of clients and industries.

Before launching Blue Ion, Robert worked with GSD&M Advertising in Austin, Fitzgerald & Company Advertising in Atlanta, BellSouth.net Internet Services in Atlanta, and Rawle-Murdy Associates Advertising in Charleston, SC.

He graduated from Vanderbilt University with a BA in Latin American History and received a MBA in marketing from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Maryann Bekkedahl

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Seventeen years into a career selling ads into health and fitness magazines at Rodale, MaryAnn switched things up. She doesn’t work out, yawns at yoga, and prefers pixels to paper. So, she swapped out selling pages in print to selling fashion and accessories to women who, like her, love shopping! She has (obviously) never looked back.

Keep is revolutionizing the way stylish women discover and shop for trending products online. As president and co-founder, MaryAnn oversees Keep’s brand strategy, customer acquisition, and business development initiatives. And you thought she just shopped for a living…

In her publishing days, she earned awards for her sales leadership and revenue achievements. Now, she’s earning something even better – the compliments and enthusiasm of shopaholics everywhere.

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Chassity Evans

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Chassity Evans is the author of the daily lifestyle blog, Look Linger Love where she explores her passion for style in fashion, interiors, entertaining, and children’s things. She’s worked with many brands including InStyle, AOL StyleList, Nordstrom, Shopbop, & The Land of Nod. Chassity lives in Charleston, SC with her husband and two children, and considers herself to be a french fry connoisseur (travel insider tip – she says Macintosh has the best in town).

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Liza Graves

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Liza Graves is the Cofounder of StyleBlueprint.com, an online women’s lifestyle publication that launched in 2009. StyleBlueprint writes hyperlocal, curated content, delivered via email each weekday, in Nashville, Atlanta, Birmingham, Louisville and Memphis to a growing audience of over a million unique readers each year. StyleBlueprint revenue sources include the SBDeal, SB Guide and a premium sponsorship packages.

Raised in Virginia by an entrepreneurial family, Liza made her way to Nashville as a student at Vanderbilt University. She opened her own café in Nashville at the age of 25 and then married an entrepreneur who was also raised in an entrepreneurial family. This start-up loving spirit also gives her a different perspective on life: it’s in her blood to support locally owned businesses and to care deeply about customer service.

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Libbie Summers

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Libbie Summers is an accomplished writer, culinary producer and stylist for television and print media. Her first solo book, The Whole Hog Cookbook, (Rizzoli, 2011) was was a multi-award winner including a national Foreword Award. Her second book, Sweet and Vicious— baking with attitude (Rizzoli, April 2014) will share delicious and inventive recipes alongside her trademark irreverent sense of humor. She is the co-creator and imaginative mind behind Salted and Styled, voted the Best Food Blog of 2013 by the International Association of Culinary Professionals, which uses one food related item each week as a muse for inspired living. Libbie lives in Savannah, GA with her super hot yacht-captain husband, Josh, and their son, Anthony. Their Vizsla, McGuire (Maggie), has her own instagram and runs their lives.

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Jackie And Libba

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Leapfrog is a boutique public relations and marketing firm specializing in “lifestyle” related businesses – from specialty food products, dining and fashion to textiles and design. Based in Charleston, SC, leapfrog’s small and savvy team offers a unique mix of national brand experience and extensive media network with accessible and high-touch customer service. Led by principals Jackie Thomson and Libba Osborne, current clients include Callie’s Charleston Biscuits, Marysia Swim, Tara Guerard Soiree, Schermer Pecan Co., King Bean Coffee and Shop BuRu among others. A graduate of the University of the South – Sewanee and The French Culinary Institute, Libba has been promoting culinary businesses for over a decade with boutique firms in Atlanta, New York and Charleston. An Atlanta native, she now resides in Charleston with her husband and two young sons. A native of Annapolis, MD and College of Charleston graduate, Jackie began her career working in the New York fashion industry and now partners with design and retail brands in the south and beyond. She lives in Charleston with her husband and son.

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Katie Armour

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Katie Armour grew up on California’s central coast. After studying Art History at Franklin College of Switzerland, she worked in high-end residential interior design in San Francisco and New York. Her lifestyle blog, The Neo-Traditionalist, has been recognized by The San Francisco Chronicle, Glamour Magazine, Refinery29 and others. She currently resides in Brooklyn.

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Jimmy Haygood

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For Jimmy Hagood, Food for the Southern Soul™ isn’t just the name of his specialty food and catering business; it’s his way of life. Following his passion, Hagood has made an indelible mark on the lowcountry food scene. As a barbecue impresario and an advocate of coastal South Carolina’s unique culinary culture, he has brought national visibility to the art of barbecue cooking, and further elevated high-quality Southern pantry items.

Slow cooking began as a hobby for Hagood, a born and bred Charlestonian. An insurance advisor, he traded his briefcase for a 30 ft long barbecue rig to launch his catering, specialty foods, and restaurant businesses. Hagood’s natural talents were evident from the start – he simultaneously managed a full-scale catering and barbecue business, bottled his award-winning sauces and dry rubs and earned his pit master stripes in top national competitions. Further investing in the heritage of lowcountry fare, in 2005, Hagood moved to acquire and manufacture some of the south’s finest food brands. In June 2011, Hagood opened his first ‘Cue*Osk (think BBQ kiosk) in the revitalized Great Hall of the Historic Charleston City Market. Here traditional barbecue and sides plus beef jerky, pork rinds and all of his southern pantry items are sold 364 days a year.

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Jamie Meares

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Some people see life through rose-colored glasses; Jamie sees it through a kaleidoscope. Designer, blogger at I Suwannee, and owner of home décor store Furbish Studio, it’s her eccentric take on tradition that makes her a sought-after trendsetter. She’s known for daring colors, splashy patterns and quirky pieces that provoke conversation. Featured in Elle Décor, Southern Living, House Beautiful and Lonny magazine as a master of the mix, she is an inherent dabbler — her go-to answer is “I’ll try anything once.”

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