Most people don’t realize that when they look up at stars, the light twinkling back at them was actually emitted centuries ago. That’s a lot like how most businesses operate. They study past performance to predict future success. They go after opportunities that have already passed them by. Meanwhile, the world is changing faster than any other time in human history. No wonder businesses are struggling to keep up. But then there are the companies that just get it, the stars of the marketing and business world. They always seem to be at the right place at the right time, with the right message. I call these companies "blue variables." A blue variable is a very special kind of star, one that demonstrates dramatic variations in its spectrum and brightness and dazzles us with its unpredictability. I have studied a number of these “blue variable” Fortune 100 companies through my in-depth interviews with their creative and dynamic CMOs. This session will be devoted to helping participants spot opportunities for organizations to shine their brightest and move at the speed of culture. 

Adele Cehrs is the author of SPIKE Your Brand ROI: How to Maximize Reputation and Get Results. As CEO of the When and How Agency, Adele has overseen the development of numerous award-winning local and national marketing campaigns. A recognized authority in marketing, Adele is a regular contributor to Inc. Magazine and she is a featured crisis communications expert for the Wall Street Journal’s Crisis of the Week Column. In the past year, Cehrs has spoken at the United Nations twice and interviewed more than 100 Chief Marketing Officers from Fortune 500 companies.

LS -  Lightning Sessions: fast-paced workshops BR - Business Roundtable: small group presentations LL - Learning Lounge: Q & A discussion led by a resident expert
Digital technology has changed the way people make purchases. It’s no longer about generating as many leads as possible and hoping for the best. In this session, you will learn how to build strong relationships at every stage of the new sales cycle and create an immediately implementable 90-day strategy to help you increase your reach and revenue. 

Rita Goodroe helps women entrepreneurs increase their reach and revenue so that they build profitable businesses that impact the lives of many while fully supporting their own! Rita's clients love how she uses humor and storytelling to break tough topics down into practical, easily implementable, actions and have coined the phrase "Rita made me DO it!" to celebrate their many successes.
If you build it, will they come? Only if you get the word out! Getting “buzz” is the brick and mortar of a company’s marketing efforts. In this talk, I’ll walk you through the keys to securing press and getting the attention of the media — so that your company/product/service becomes the talk of the town.

Sandy Sponaugle is the CEO/Founder of Platinum PR, a marketing and public relations firm supporting economic development and tourism organizations, higher education, regional banks and other industries since 2002. Sandy has invigorated the identities of small businesses, associations, and educational institutions across the United States and is an advocate for effective communications across generations -- from millennials to Baby Boomers -- to increase results, productivity, and customer satisfaction.
So many entrepreneurs struggle with finding compelling and engaging content to post on social media. This session will teach you an actionable, fail-proof strategy for developing enough content in one day to post for an entire week.  All communications experts say, “Just post good content.” But what does that mean? And how do we sustain a daily, content-rich posting schedule? The answer: Content Prepping for Social Media. Think of it like the wildly popular meal prepping. Meal prepping is the practice of preparing all your meals for the week, ahead of time so you can grab, heat, and eat with ease. Learn the best practices for doing the same with your social media content as well as how and when to post. 

Pamela H. Vines is principal and owner of Troop Public Relations, LLC, a creative communications firm located in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Troop Public Relations specializes in helping political candidates polish and promote their platforms with campaign videos, media training, and reputation management. With her military leadership and communications experience; as well as her work within the creative space of visual and brand storytelling, Pamela and her team are uniquely poised to guide clients through the creation of their campaign videos and vital preemptive communications training.
The gig economy is the new way to get work done and includes many cost-effective AI applications that can help save time, energy and money. In fact, by next year 40% of all jobs will be in the gig economy. However, many solopreneurs and small businesses still think the gig economy is only about Uber. They are unaware of specialty sites where you can find top talent available immediately. This session teaches attendees how they can source top talent for a fraction of the prices and highlights little-known tools to streamline their operations.

Angela Heath is the CEO of TKC Incorporated, an idea studio that guides individuals and businesses in leveraging the gig economy to save time, effort and money. Through consulting and training services, Angela helps companies source, onboard and train gig workers to meet critical business metrics for a fraction of the cost.
This workshop will discuss traditional and non-traditional means of financing your business. Yael will share the challenges she faced raising money for her first brick-and-mortar location. Yael raised $75k in a Kickstarter campaign, obtained a loan, and got backing from the DC cash collateral program. You’ll leave with some new ideas of how to finance the growth of your business.

Yael Krigman is a recovering attorney and owner of Baked by Yael. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Spain before starting her first career at the global law firm of White & Case. Yael began baking to relieve stress during law school. She ultimately left her job as an international trade attorney to pursue baking full-time. In 2015, Baked by Yael’s first brick-and-mortar shop opened across from the National Zoo and now has 3 dozen employees.
Lisa Anderson, Anavo Transform Solutions LLC
Candace Waterman, Women In Public Policy
LS -  Lightning Sessions: fast-paced workshops BR - Business Roundtable: small group presentations
Business owners often ask if they need a business plan.  The correct answer is yes if you want to ensure the success and longevity of your business not to mention the discovery and implementation of new insights and innovations as you grow.  There are many ways to approach planning and creating a viable plan, however, some of these methodologies can be complicated and time-consuming.  The One Page Business Plan method is a simple process that helps you hone in on your businesses' critical success factors.    In this 30-minute lightning round, we will examine what's working in your business and what is not, and identify pain points and challenges that are holding you back.  We will provide templates for a simple, yet powerful method of setting measurable goals and objectives linked to your priorities. 

Linda Hamilton, CPA, CGMA is a speaker and strategic business advisor in New York City.  Linda is a certified consultant on the One Page Business Plan Method and One Page Exit Strategy Plan.  Linda empowers WBEs to grow their companies in her Vision to Value Business Planning workshops and Master Mind groups.  She provides strategic financial advice, financial reviews, and goal setting as well as remote CFO and controller services.
From terms, to process, to players, to knowing what the Federal Government buys and knowing how to sell to them is invaluable.  Participants will move through the continuum of market research, effective pre-award communications, technical analysis of proposals, effective award management and performance management. 

Sheila Stenhouse Lee, President/CEO of Sheila Lee & Associates, LLC - Learning Everywhere a SBA 8(a) graduate, MBE/DBE, EDWOSB, Hub Zone, WBENC and NMSDC certified training company. Sheila is a business rockstar who has received the 2016 Outstanding Women Owned Small Business award, the 2015 WBE’s Who Rock Award and Enterprising Women Award, the Top 100 MBE, Smart CEO Brava Award, Top 100 MD Women Award, and the 25 Women of Color Achievement Award.  

If you are a female entrepreneur who is ready to say, “this is what I am worth and this is my price,” this workshop is for you.  Most female entrepreneurs struggle with pricing their product or services in the middle of the market, let alone what the market will bear. As a result, we make less than our male counterparts in the entrepreneurial world. In this presentation I will talk about: -how to gather data to see where you are priced in the market -understanding the risks and rewards of setting pricing higher -a strategy for raising prices with existing customers –and the least you should know about negotiation. 

With over 30 years experience as a strategist and leader in publishing and in her own businesses, Emily Barrosse earned her reputation as a “rainmaker” by taking bold actions that resulted in spectacular successes. As an Editor in Chief at McGraw-Hill, she transformed the sluggish culture into a competitive, hungry, growth-driven business. Fueled by explosive creativity, her division quadrupled pipeline productivity with innovative content for the future. As a coach and teacher, Emily’s passion is in empowering women to be bolder and to reach for greater success.

Your WordPress website is crucial to your business. It generates leads, customers and revenue (or at least it should). It's a channel through which potential new staff, suppliers, and partners will find you and engage with you. This valuable asset has to be protected. You can’t just “set it and forget it.” The software that powers your website needs to be updated regularly to make it more secure, faster and more visible to search engines. Is there a low-stress way to update your WordPress and plugins? How often should you update and what is the process to best eliminate risk? Learn best practices and power tips to help you safely update your WordPress website every month and keep it available to your audience without interruption.

Doris Barber is CEO of The Mikayla Group, LLC, a boutique marketing and consulting firm that specializes in relationship marketing solutions. The Mikayla Group takes the overwhelm out of marketing for women solopreneurs and helps them develop strong, lifelong relationships with their customers.   
Do you want BIG opportunities? A better question is – are you 100% ready to attract big opportunities by being positioned as an expert? Knowing how to position yourself is different than being visible. Being positioned well allows you to be seen and heard by your clients and colleagues, resulting in you opening the door to lucrative opportunities that you wouldn't get any other way. 

Lisa Marie Platske left her action-packed life as a Federal law enforcement officer after 9/11 to become the CEO of an international leadership development company, Upside Thinking, Inc., to assist business leaders with connection, positioning, and executive presence.
Market research has been expensive for small businesses in growth mode; the ability to get actionable insights has been limited to companies with big budgets. However, exciting and innovative technologies make it more affordable for businesses to leverage customer and competitive insights for a sustainable competitive advantage. This presentation will cover how to determine high-gain questions that can deliver actionable insights at each stage of a business, methodologies that exist and which to use for your needs, an overall guide to affordable research technology tools, and tips to avoid pitfalls in research execution.

Joy Levin founded Allium Research and Analytics, a market research consultancy, in 1998, and manages all phases of research studies and analytics activities for a diverse portfolio of clients, ranging from startups to companies in the Fortune 500. Joy has been fully responsible for all study aspects, including strategic formulation and development, selection of analytical methodology, research design, field activity oversight, data interpretation and analysis, and results presentation.
Facebook Messenger and website bots (also called chatbots) are a relatively new form of technology that enables marketers can get their message to their clients’ or prospects’ eyes immediately and create strong relationships with your clients and attract new prospects to your business. The average website visitor spends 30 seconds or less when they visit your website if they are unable to find the information they need immediately. Small businesses can benefit from automating some of their lead generation tasks with artificial intelligence (chatbots).  Learn how to create customized experiences that can automate your online message, build effective e-mail/lead lists, and deliver relevant content automatically. 

Jennene Biggins, Founder J Biggins Consulting brings over 22 years of Internet and Social Medial Marketing Experience to her small business clients who seek to build an online presence for their products and services. Jennene’s expertise in the digital marketing field encompasses social media marketing strategies including email marketing, video marketing, mobile marketing and chatbot development. Jennene not only provides digital marketing services for small businesses, but frequently conducts training for the Maryland Small Business Development Center, the DC Small Business Development Center, The Washington, DC Chapter of SCORE and various Chamber of Commerce chapters.
LS -  Lightning Sessions: fast-paced workshops BR - Business Roundtable: small group presentations LL - Learning Lounge: Q & A discussion led by a resident expert
Becoming a certified Woman Business Enterprise is an achievement, one that comes with a variety of benefits designed to raise your business' profile and position you for success. Learn about official WBENC certification that gives you access to a national database of top corporation supplier diversity programs for sourcing certified WBEs. Understand how Woman-Owned Small Business Administration (WOSB) certification as part of the Small Business Administration's WOSB Federal Contracting Program provides greater access to government contracting opportunities at the federal level. Armed with insider insights, decide if Certification is right for your business.

Sandra Eberhard, Executive Director, Women Presidents Education Organization - DC (WPEO-DC) is a dedicated advocate for women's business enterprises. WPEO helps you gain access to business opportunities across America. www.wpeo.us
The State of Maryland spent $390 Million dollars with Small Business Reserve (SBR) certified vendors in FY 2017.  Learn how the State of Maryland's Small Business Reserve (SBR) Program provides small businesses with the opportunity to participate as prime contractors on state contracts by establishing a unique marketplace where small businesses compete against other small businesses instead of larger, more established companies. 

Lisa Mitchell Sennaar serves as a Small Business Reserve (SBR) Compliance Manager in the Governor’s Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs. As a coordinating office within the Executive Branch, the Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs connects the small business community to greater economic opportunities in both the public and private sectors.

This interactive introduction to Google Analytics will be a creative exploration to learn more about where to find data to help make decisions. Together we will learn where to find and access valuable information. Is your digital footprint working for you? Come learn to make better business decisions based on data.

Julie Schumacher, owner of sasse agency & Brian Loebigfounder of Loebig Ink, have teamed up for multiple topics for professional development programs for business owners throughout the DMV.  Julie Schumacher is a leader in integrated marketing strategy. She is a highly-focused project manager, who works collaboratively with owners, executive leadership and teams in large and small companies to drive effective messaging and engagement. Her approach is to keep marketing simple and strategic. Brian Loebig has over 15 years of experience in web technology, Internet advertising and social media strategies with a special emphasis on search engine marketing (SEO). 

Why do some women in business display more confidence than others? What are the keys to unlock this Confidence Code and enhance your executive presence at all levels. Based upon research, interviews and client successes, this presentation will draw upon best practices and what works in the real business world for women to increase confidence and take on stronger leadership presence, with impactful results.

Wendy Swire, founder of Swire Solutions, LLC based in Bethesda, is an author, facilitator, speaker and Neuroleadership thought leader. She has coached over 2,000 senior leaders and executives. She is co-author of Anytime Coaching; Unleashing Employee Performance, a popular go-to resource for managers.
Are you ready for return and referral business? Do you wonder what Nordstrom, Disney, Southwest and Amazon have in common? How do they ensure repeat business and better outcomes – service and financial? It’s Service Excellence, and it’s time to exceed consumer expectations by putting the WOW into your OUTCOMES!  Let me show you 3 steps for reaching and surpassing your Service Excellence goals. 

Sharon Weinstein is Chief Executive Officer, SMW Group LLC and President/Founder of SMW Group. She puts the WOW into outcomes for all business models. With over three decades of global business experience, she appreciates and shares with her audiences, the vital role of first impressions, behaviors, expectations, and culture. Service Excellence is not a fad, ad, or promotion; Service Excellence is for everyone, every day. It's how we produce WOWTcomes™.

Everyone has a book (or more!) in them. This presentation features a narrative for executives on how they can turn latent business ideas and information gaps in the marketplace into industry-relevant books, and provides insights into and tools for being successful in the publishing process. 

An internationally accredited business communicator and as Chief of Party for the Kaizen Company, Dr. Roa has authored four books, including an industry best-seller "The Value of Water: A Compendium of Essays by Smart CEOs.  She works with innovators operating in 40 countries and has led the rebranding of five international organizations.

Whether you are a small business owner, entrepreneur, or a side hustler, join this discussion to learn how to create content for LinkedIn that maximizes customer acquisition on a budget.  Participants will learn how to draw in their target customers, engage with profile viewers and start relationships, and convert leads from their inboxes into sales. 

Bianca J. Jackson is storytelling and personal branding consultant based in Baltimore, MD. Her background in tech, digital marketing, and diversity and inclusion has landed her and associated projects a Pulitzer Prize, 40K+ followers on LinkedIn, and coveted speaking opportunities at events such as SXSW, Digital Summit Philadelphia, and Tech Inclusion NY.
Lisa Nicholls, Tira! Strategies & René Wells