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Current Speakers

Omar S. Muhammad, Director of the Entrepreneurial Development and Assistance Center (EDAC)

Omar S. Muhammad is Director of the Entrepreneurial Development and Assistance Center (EDAC) located at the Earl G. Graves School of Business & Management on the campus of Morgan State University. He is responsible for developing, fundraising, and managing entrepreneurial initiatives. This is accomplished through his continuous interaction with the Morgan State University community and surrounding organizations primarily located in Maryland, Washington D.C. and Virginia.

Prior to becoming the Director of EDAC, Omar was an instructor and counselor for Women Entrepreneurs of Baltimore, Inc. As an instructor, he was responsible for assisting over 150 students in developing business plans and providing additional resources for starting, operating, and growing small businesses. In addition, Omar served as Vice President and Director of the Community Lending Group, an affiliate of the Development Credit Fund, Inc. He carefully managed $4.0 million in an Empowerment Zone revolving loan fund for the federally funded Empower Baltimore Management Corporation. This experience gave him the opportunity to review business plans and loan packages to determine the feasibility for financing a particular business.

Omar serves on several committees including Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development Neighborhood Business Works Program loan committee, Engaging Yourh Entrepreneurs for Change, Inc. and is a member of the Greater Baltimore Committee Leadership Alumni Association (Class 2006). Omar was selected by the Baltimore Business Journal as one of 40 emerging business leaders under the age of 40. Omar received the United States Small Business Administration’s Minority Business Champion of the Year Award in 2006. Recently, Omar was honored by The Rotary International (Woodlawn Chapter) with the Service Above Self Award 2007.

With all of his accomplishments and unremitting service to others, Omar still finds time to operate his own business, a holding company for educational tools and real estate development. Omar also hosts a television (In Good Company) and radio show (BriefCase Radio heard every Sunday at 9 p.m. on WEAA 88.9 f.m. or pod casting at www.edacmorgan.com). Omar received his degree in Accounting from Morgan State University. He currently resides in Baltimore County with his family. www.improveandprogress.com


Alexandra Garrett, CEO Image by Alex G

Image by Alex G was created to celebrate women through beauty and fashion! Alexandra Garrett is a professional makeup artist and style enthusiast who believes that a woman shines her brightest when she feels good about herself, inside and out. Alexandra loves assisting in creating practical, yet chic, looks for every body shape and size. Through personal one-on-ones and “shopping adventures”, she helps them to show who they are to the world!

As a professional makeup artist, Alexandra Garrett prides herself on her natural and growing skills in the art of makeup. Since 2010, she has always had a makeup brush in one hand and a makeup book in the other, learning and teaching herself new techniques and bettering her skills in makeup artistry. Always learning, Alexandra is ever ‘tinkering’, looking for new ways to refine and integrate techniques picked up from various resources. From personal makeup lessons to proms, weddings and runways, she has had her hands in enhancing looks through simple and creative techniques. Alexandra thrives to make a woman feel and look good!

Since childhood, Alexandra has had an eye for detail when it comes to her personal image. With her love of fashion, she modeled in a few fashion shows, and then made her way to directing marketing for fashion shows. It wasn't until she was asked to help her friend put together an outfit for a party that she realized styling was her niche. Alexandra believes anyone find their style identity by answering this question: “How do you want to present yourself to the world?” Whatever your answer, she will aid you in letting the world know who you are through clothes! Let Alexandra help you in showing the world who you are through her beauty and fashion advice customized for you! www.imagebyalexg.com

Gia Marie Magliano, CEO, Baltimore's Best Events & Confetti's Event Center

Gia is the President and Owner of Baltimore’s Best Party Entertainers, LLC, a full service event planning company specializing in providing entertainment services, attractions, custom event décor, and on-site coordinators.

A graduate of UMBC and the Maryland Institute College of Art, Gia started with Baltimore’s Best 20 years ago, and then bought the business in 1996. The company has expanded greatly since then, recently moving to new location in Towson, which also houses a banquet facility, the new Confetti’s Event Center.

Gia is the Program Chairperson for NAWBO Baltimore Chapter. She is a member of the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce, NACE (National Association of Catering Executives), BACVA, Rotary Towsontowne Chapter, International Balloon Association, and the Baltimore Harford Entrepreneur Association. She is also a board member for the non-profit Success in Style program and the Scholarship Chairperson for MAQBN.

Gia is the President and Owner of Baltimore’s Best Events, LLC, a full service event planning and production firm specializing in providing entertainment services, amusements, custom event décor and props, balloons, and catering services.

A graduate of UMBC and the Maryland Institute College of Art, Gia started with Baltimore’s Best 20 years ago, and then bought the business in 1996. The company has expanded greatly since then, recently moving to new location in Towson, which also houses a banquet facility, the new CONFETTI’S Event Center.

Gia is the Program Chairperson for NAWBO Baltimore Chapter. She is a member of the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce, NACE (National Association of Catering Executives), BACVA, Rotary Towsontowne Chapter, International Balloon Association, and the Baltimore Harford Entrepreneur Association. She is also a board member for the non-profit Success in Style program and the Scholarship Chairperson for MAQBN. www.baltimoresbest.net


Stephanie Gibson-Wilson, Owner of Creative Energyz and HR Specialist for Event Planners:Events Employment HR New Hiring for Employees and Interns

Steffanie Gibson Wilson has been in Human Resources and Executive Administration for over fifteen years. She is Personnel Manager for a Major retailer where she also champions the Diversity and Engagement Programs. She oversees the talent management concerns for over 300-400 associates, while acting as liaison and talent management/operations consultant for an executive management team of around 13. During her journey she has been recognized on a Market level and Back Office Branding Consultant for various Regions. Steffanie also owns Creative Energyz Events which has currently added two divisions’ music/entertainment and human resources. She has a GREAT APPRECIATION AND REALIZATION of how keeping your people informed, motivated, empowered, trained and actively engaged affects the overall mission and goals of the organization, as well as, operations and management.

While working on her MBA at University of Phoenix; she developed a love for research, writing, communication, and developing managerial skills. Upon graduation in 2010 she incorporated her passions for event management and years of Human resources experience when consulting with non-profit organizations, small businesses and event companies on various human resources and administrative challenges. In 2011 she entered University of Phoenix Doctoral Program studying International Organizational Management. Creative Energyz Events developed its Human resource division to create a synergy with event companies, Non Profit organizations, entertainment, and small businesses with a need for administration and HR experience.

Steffanie is also a volunteer on several City, Community and Civic Advisory Boards. She served six consecutive terms for Parks and Recreation. She also served as the Vice Chair for the Extension Leadership Council. Even though, her focus is on Human Resources her passion is being active in Non- Profit Management, Advisory Boards and fundraising. She also consulted with other businesses and organizations aiding them with policy and procedures with State Laws regarding employment, training, recruiting, workman’s compensation benefits, payroll diversity and many other Human Resources related issues.

Steffanie Gibson Wilson long term goals is to now utilize the training from my MBA and Doctoral degree to further my career in HR and start developing the foundation and Business Plans for my future business ventures. www.cenergyzevents.com

Lindsay Tarlow, Payroll and HR Consultant, Associate District Manager Small Business Services at ADP:Speaker-Services for Small Businesses

My name is Lindsay Tarlow and I am small business consultant for ADP. I work with companies in the 1-50 employee market by offering personalized solutions to streamline their administrative tasks and provide back office efficiency. I aim to uncover areas of weakness and opportunities for growth to improve cash flow, talent management, and risk compliance. ADP is the fastest growing insurance agency for workers compensation and health and benefits. Regardless of size, every business owner should be prepared for retirement and kept up to date of the ever changing laws made in congress each day. My passion is helping businesses transform and even more so grow!



Previous Speakers


Rev. Sandra Bearden, Wedding Officiant & Owner of Weddings by Sandy

Reverend Sandra Bearden is the creator of magical moments for engaged couples. The ceremonies created by her and her talented Officiants, often brings tears to the eyes of the guests. Rev Sandy is an ordained wedding Officiant, with over 10 years of experience she and her talented Officiants are authorized to officiate weddings in five states in the mid-Atlantic region. She is the owner of Weddings by Sandy & Associates, L.L.C. and the creator of the Perfect Officiant a training program where Officiants can gain education, training and the certification of "Certified PerfectTM".

Rev Sandy also co-hosts a Blog Talk radio show called Officiants Chat! Every Monday she can be found chatting with wedding industry professionals such as Renee Strauss of Beverly Hills Brides, small business development coaches, other Officiants and engaged couples. Rev Sandy is also the author of the book, "You CAN have the Perfect Wedding Ceremony," which is available today at the Weddings by Sandy booth. Rev Sandy is retired from the Air Force, a graduate of the University of Maryland, University College and holds a MS from Johns Hopkins University in Organizational Development and Strategic Human Resources Management. She also graduated and holds an Ordination from the International Metaphysical University Churches. She is the mommy to two canine fur babies named Ziggy and Skipper, has one daughter, Gena, two grandchildren Dakota and Deandra and is engaged to Timothy Lynch. http://weddingsbysandy.com

Keisha Lewis, MBA, PMP & Internet Rockstar

Keisha Lewis is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with a background in e-business project management, social media, web development, branding and consulting. She is the owner of DTB Solutions, LLC, an information technology and business services firm. With a focus on e-Business and online branding, the company is dedicated to identifying and implementing the industry's best practices to help clients succeed.

Also known as 'KeishaRocks!', she provides training, coaching and consulting to businesses in the areas of Internet marketing and social media marketing. She makes small businesses look B.I.G. through the power of the Internet. She knows that if you have a strong brand, you don't need to continuously hustle for new customers because the ones that you have will spend more money with you. It's all about controlling what people feel, think and say about you, your business and the problems that you solve.

Keisha is on a mission to help business owners move from barely surviving to awesomely thriving. Whether it's through her training and coaching that meets you where you are, or through the innovative solutions that she provides...she will transform you into a rock star! http://www.KeishaRocks.com

Chef Jonathan Soudry, Owner and Executive Chef of Rouge Fine Catering

Chef Jonathan Soudry has reinvented how catering food moves from kitchen to table. Exceptional restaurant cuisine is achieved at an event through "á la minute" cooking, minimally processed product, state-of-the-art heating and refrigeration and a great level of sanitation at every step.

In his quest for the ideal of the ultimate culinary service, Chef and owner Jonathan Soudry skillfully combines over 25 years of professional experience with his native French culinary training to bring you ROUGE Fine Catering. Jonathan also functions as the corporate Executive Chef at Under Armour's Humble and Hungry Café, fully developing and implementing a customized "green"nutrition focused restaurant for their 1000 on-site employees. http://www.rougecatering.com/

Summer Whitford, Food and Wine Diva

Ms. Whitford is the owner of The Food and Wine Diva, a consulting business specializing in the hospitality, event, and wedding industries. The Food and Wine Diva offers small business start-up services, lifestyle content, social media and digital development, culinary education, public speaking, and event expertise. With over twenty years in the business, Summer Whitford has extensive experience as a chef/caterer, food and wine educator, and writer of books, articles, newsletters, and television programming on food, wine, culture, and travel.

Ms. Whitford is the author of "Join Us At The Embassy", a cultural guide and culinary travelogue that highlights food and drink, traditions, travel, and entertaining from ten countries. While on book tour, she and her book were featured on national and international TV and radio She has also been a ghost writer, editor, and "book doctor" on five books, including "The Tax Deductible Wedding", a how-to book on how to plan a wedding for less.

Summer was the Senior Writer and Editor for the acclaimed food, wine, and travel series on Discovery Channel entitled "World Class Cuisine" and the Contributing Editor for the companion cookbook by the same name. http://www.linkedin.com/in/foodandwinediva

Lauren Hines, Editor-in-Chief of Get Wed for Less

Lauren serves as the Chief DealFinder and Editor-in-Chief of Get Wed for Less. She brings over a decade of sales & marketing and organizational management experience to the team. A former bargainista bride and event coordinator, she knows the stresses that come along with planning affairs and finding accommodating vendors. Thus, she developed Get Wed for Less to help couples enjoy the wedding planning journey and to have more money in the bank when standing at the proverbial altar. Considering herself immensely blessed, Lauren is the wife of an incredible man and the mother of two brilliant, beautiful children. Serving at at her local church also brings her much fulfillment. www.getwedforless.com

Didi Russell, CEO VAWE Network

Didi Russell is the CEO and Founder of the VAWE Network, Virginia's only statewide wedding & event network with 14 chapters and over 400 members. She has worked for the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce where she developed a strong admiration for small business owners and their desire to grow and expand with minimal marketing budgets & little marketing know how. She has worked with or volunteered for The Board of Trade in DC, Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce, Charles County Chamber of Commerce and various business networks. She attributes her success to social media, relationship building and a very positive outlook on the uncertainty and chaos that comes from running your own business in the wedding industry. http://www.vawenetwork.com/