Presenters, Moderators & Mentors

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Lydia Fenet

CEO of the Lydia Fenet Agency

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Lydia Fenet is the founder and CEO of the Lydia Fenet Agency, a boutique agency representing best in class charity auctioneers. Over her two-decade long career, Lydia served as the Global Managing Director of Strategic Partnerships for Christie’s and reshaped the fundraising landscape as the world’s leading charity auctioneer. She has single handedly raised over one billion dollars for more than 800 organizations and broken-down countless barriers for women in the auction industry. Widely recognized for her poise and power onstage, she has stood alongside celebrities including Bruce Springsteen, Hugh Jackman, Elton John, Matt Damon and Jerry Seinfeld to raise record-breaking donations for the most notable charities across the globe.

Lydia is the author of two best-selling books, The Most Powerful Woman in the Room is You & Claim Your Confidence as well as the podcast host of Claim Your Confidence in collaboration with Rockefeller Center. Her first book was optioned by Netflix in 2022 for a series that will be produced by Chernin Entertainment starring Kiernan Shipka as the lead.

Lydia is represented by CAA and travels internationally to speak to companies about unlocking their sales potential, empowering people in the workplace and the art of public speaking. You can follow her auctions, antics, and anecdotes on Instagram @LydiaFenet.

Katie Kime standing in doorway

Katie Kime

Founder of Katie Kime designs

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Katie Kime is an Austin, TX-based designer known for her bold, expressive style and personalizable assortment of fashion, home and stationery. Founded in 2013, the Katie Kime brand is a world of prints and personalization. Deeply committed to artistry and craft, Katie takes pride in the quality of her items, each made to last, celebrating the union of style and substance. Her bold and playful prints encourage you to live a storied life and that personalized fashion and home decor allow you to express what makes you uniquely you.

Katie McClure standing on steps

Katie McClure

Co-Founder & CEO of MIRTH

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Inspired by the makers and rich traditions of heritage textiles in India, Katie McClure, together with her sister Erin Breen, founded MIRTH in 2016. MIRTH is a line of ethically made womenswear with a mission to create effortless pieces that tell stories rooted in culture and global exploration. Each collection, designed in collaboration with ethically employed artisans, is meant to be worn on holiday as easily as at home, from the beach to dinner, from the seaside to the mountains, and everywhere in between. Katie studied Textiles & Apparel at the University of Texas at Austin, but after graduation pursued jobs in event planning, recruiting, and sales. It wasn’t until a time of explorational travel in Southeast Asia that her interest in fashion returned full circle when the idea came to her to start MIRTH, combining a love of textiles, travel and caftans. The brand started as a line of everyday caftans and has expanded into a full line of womenswear, accessories and tabletop. Katie currently lives and runs the business in Houston, Texas, and travels as often as she can, including multiple annual trips to India and Peru to collaborate with MIRTH’s artisan partners.

Merrimac Dillion

Founder of DRI Consulting and The Pillow Bar

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In the early 1980’s, Merrimac began her career in her native city of New Orleans in hotel marketing and catering sales. Her first positions were with the Brennan family at Commander’s Palace and the multi-unit boutique hotel company, Century Management Corporation.

Shortly after completing EMBA classes at Tulane University, Merrimac moved to Dallas to join the Trammell Crow Company as Director of Public Relations for The Dallas Apparel Mart where she remained for 3 years. During that time, they established the Dallas Fashion Awards and the Guest Designer programs, both which continue today.

In 1986, she was vice president of GO MAGAZINES, a New Orleans-based visitor publication, where she assisted in the national expansion effort and the eventual sale of the magazine. After the sale, Merrimac moved to New York City and became the public relations and marketing director for Doral Hotel and Resorts overseeing the marketing for 3200 hotel rooms and nine restaurants. During that time, she assisted in the planning, opening and marketing of two new hotel projects and four restaurants.

During this time in New York, Merrimac was successful in publishing two books: The 50+ Travel Guide (Doubleday/St.Martin’s Press) and The Real Life Guide for the Second Time Bride (Bounty Press).

Moving to Germany with her husband, she became fluent in the German language and then began a consulting firm to assist U.S.-based firms with their European marketing and special events efforts.

Returning to New Orleans in 1993, Merrimac joined a local multi-unit franchisee of Arby’s as vice president of development, where she oversaw the marketing and development efforts for a four state 30-unit franchisee.

She then transitioned into the Advertising Agency business where she became a partner in Keating Magee Advertising and Public Relations and oversaw the daily operations of a AAAA (4A’s) $30 million dollar agency. During this time, she and her partner began building The Curtain Exchange Franchise Company where she eventually moved full time until such time she sold out with more than 24 franchises established.

In 2008, Merrimac Dillon began working on the concept of The Pillow Bar, with the intention of providing herself and others with custom made down filled pillow. Having struggled to find her own “perfect pillow”, she was seeking to provide consumers with a unique luxury product that also offered immediate gratification and personalization. Her goal was to change the way consumers purchase pillows. No longer someone else’s idea of “soft, medium or hard”, but purchased by the sleep style and size of the purchaser. Working with various engineers, designers, chiropractors and neurosurgeons, over the course of 14 months, The Pillow Bar came to fruition and was introduced onto the market in January of 2008. The Pillow Bar now has hundreds of  retail store partners, designers and a variety of catalog and hospitality customers; to include notables such as Neiman Marcus, Wynn Casino and The Pierre Hotel. Merrimac has appeared on the Today Show, QVC and a variety of National Television Shows to share her expertise in supply chain management, entrepreneurship and marketing.

Dillon has been recognized by many publications such as; the Wall Street Journal as “10 most innovative businesses”, D Magazine as “Best of Big D”, Whoopi’s Favorite Things, Chicago Tribune Best, San Francisco Chronical as “Best products” and Dallas Business Journal. Merrimac was also named by the Dallas Business Journal as a “2016 Women in Business” award winner.

In 2021, Dillon sold the majority interest in The Pillow Bar to a Dallas family and continues her involvement as a consultant. In 2024, she established DRI consulting (Direction, Resources & Insights) where she offers her four decades of experience to other entrepreneurs looking for the next steps in building or selling their businesses.

Merrimac  is a board member for Camp John Marc (, and has served as a volunteer for The Hockaday School , The Texas American Saddlehorse Association and the Veritex Bank Women in Business mentor program.

The Pillow Bar has been awarded:
2008 Best of Big D by D Magazine
2009 Best Innovation by Wall Street Journal
2014 Graduate Goldman Sachs 10,000 small businesses
2015 Finalist ICON Awards
2016 Women in Business Award by Dallas Business Journal
2016 Gold Medal ADDY Award for Television excellence
2017 Oprah’s Magazine summer picks for The Pillow Bar
2017 Torch Award for Ethics Finalist Better Business Bureau
2018 Oprah’s Christmas list