Illuminate Committee Members

Cary Heise

Cary Heise

www.designedforjoy.com

As the founder of four companies, devoted wife, mom of two, and committed volunteer, she’s kind of busy – but in the best way. Cary is passionate about helping women succeed in both their personal and professional lives.
Cary’s first two companies, a guide to family-friendly events in Raleigh and a branded T-shirt line, equipped her well to lead women seeking small business success. An eagerness to develop community, mentor women and create relevant, personal connections inspired her to found Vend Raleigh in 2011.
As Vend Raleigh expands, Cary will continue to foster the welcoming, warm, diverse environment that attracts more than 3,000 individuals and business partners to Vend Raleigh.
Cary recently founded local nonprofit Designed For Joy, a living wage artisan group hiring women at risk for trafficking and those living with food and housing insecurities.
 
Follow Designed for Joy and Vend Raleigh on Instagram
Belinda Briggs

Belinda Briggs

www.BelindaLeeBriggs.com

Belinda is a freelance web designer who builds small businesses an eye catching presence on the web.  She began designing websites for Fidelity Investments back in the late 90s.  Pausing her design career when her children were small, she opened an Etsy shop to help pay for preschool. She refers to that creative entrepreneurship as “getting an on-your-feet MBA”. Now she uses those experiences to craft web sites and DIY web design strategies for small businesses and solopreneurs.
 
I’ve been both an attendee and a speaker at previous Illuminate conferences.  There is not better place to learn and no better way to connect than at an in person event with local women who share your goals and your energy. The topics are always relevant and the keynote speakers never disappoint. Take the time to invest in yourself and your business – you are worth it!
- Belinda

Noa Ronen, MBA PCC

Noa Ronen, MBA PCC

www.NoaRonenCoaching.com

Noa Ronen, MBA PCC is a speaker, executive and leadership coach, author, vlogger and blogger, disruptor and coffee lover. Noa encourages progressive leaders, social leaders, and teams to never settle on the norms so they can create the change they desire. Noa has over 20 years of experience in Change Management, Human Resources, Project Management, and Coaching.

Noa’s personal relocation experience impacted her perspective about being different and her passion to create bridges between people. Noa’s motto is very simple: “Don’t look for the differences in others, just open your mind and heart to see things differently.” It is her invitation for you to make new choices about the way you are being and step towards what she calls the “Beyond Leadership” where inspire and influence others.

Noa served as the ICF Raleigh Chapter President 2015-2017. Currently, she is still serving the board as Past-President.

 

I attended few Illuminate events, and for me, the Illuminate conferences, like its name is about:  energy.  The energy of an amazing group of business women and women leaders who get together to inspire, get inspired and touch each other’s heart and leave motivated to keep creating for the good of our local community.

- Noa

Stephanie Llorente

Stephanie Llorente

www.PrepComm.com

Stephanie Llorente is the owner of Prep Communications, a consultancy that uses strategic communications to build, maintain and defend organization reputations to meet client goals. Her company partners with organizations that desire to increase their level of communications readiness and mitigate business risk by communicating effectively with audiences that matter to them.
Prior to founding Prep, Stephanie managed the corporate reputation for Butterball where she spent nearly eight years in roles of increasing responsibility and served most recently as the company’s public
relations manager. In that role, she held responsibility for all corporate and crisis communication initiatives. She has logged many hours in PR agency settings on behalf of health care, technology, nonprofit and real estate development clients.
Stephanie moonlights as the owner of Restored, a community that equips, encourages and engages working moms. She is in passionate pursuit of helping moms in the workplace feel seen, connected to likeminded women, and supported in their faith.
A native of North Carolina, Stephanie is involved with multiple nonprofit organizations, volunteering in leadership positions to help meet organizational goals. She is currently the director of accreditation for
of the North Carolina chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and a past president of the Raleigh Public Relations Society.
Stephanie earned her bachelor’s degree in communications with a concentration in public relations from North Carolina State University. She earned her APR credential from PRSA in 2014.

Supporting women in business is a passion of mine. I was so encouraged after my first Illuminate event in 2016 to see female business leaders joining together to encourage, collaborate and learn together – dispelling stereotypes of cattiness and “mean girl” attitudes among ambitious female leaders. Collaboration over competition is truly at the heart of Vend Raleigh’s Illuminate conference, and that’s why I’m honored to participate and help shape this year’s event.

- Stephanie

Kristen Bagwell

Kristen Bagwell

www.kristenrbagwell.com

Kristen Bagwell is a recovering corporate professional and a serial entrepreneur, always looking for ways to encourage women in business, both in corporate and small business roles. Kristen began the first of her corporate leadership roles at IBM, where she first heard the phrase “hope is not a strategy” as the management team discussed risk mitigation for Y2K. (remember that??) That little cliche stuck, and she has many years of practice helping women convert goals and dreams to strategies and action plans. Kristen has been a friend, speaker, and volunteer for Vend Raleigh since it began in 2011 (and she still has her “first date” photo with Cary H. Awww) 
 
Follow Kristen and her growing wine business on Instagram

I can’t even remember exactly how I found Vend Raleigh – probably because I had a tiny baby at the time – but I vividly remember the very first meeting I attended, and the warm welcome I received. Cary’s energy and her spirit of community and collaboration were something I truly needed at the time, and I’ve treasured the experiences and friendships that participating in Vend Raleigh have brought me. Illuminate is one of my favorite annual Vend events because it’s a jam-packed day full of tips and education and especially connection. Can’t wait to see you there!

- Kristen

Lounge Sponsor

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Session Sponsors

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Table Sponsors

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Supported Non-Profit

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Official Illuminate Photographer

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Committee

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