Raleigh Small Business Women Conference

Who’s Who at Illuminate 2014: Conference Speakers

The allure of being able to work around your family’s schedule has created a buzz around self-employment. While most mompreneurs are working for themselves as their own company or a part of direct sales company, they may or may not realize the need for a local team, support, or tribe in their business journey as a working mom.   When I first become a certified Gentle Sleep Coach, I was held accountable and supported by my mentor and a team of other sleep coaches around the world.  This network is an imperative component to your business as it helps you grow your expertise professionally…and even personally. 

But what happens when you’re a mompreneur trying to balance your job with being a wife, a mom and a woman?   For me, I experienced loneliness, isolation and even chaos.  And I quickly realized too that I didn’t even know what I needed to know to make my business successful.  Enter Vend Raleigh.

After attending a few Vend Raleigh events and learning more about what they have to offer, I discovered there are other like-minded women in my area I can really learn from. Each woman is equally passionate about her company, but in the beginning they too had the same sort of, “What the heck am I supposed to be doing?” experiences I was going through. They also felt alone, isolated, and not sure what the next steps would be to help their business grow and expand.  This “mompreneural gap” got my proverbial wheels turning.

One thing to know about me is I really like to figure out how to make things easier and simpler.   And after meeting so many passionate women, I thought “What would it look like to have all these talented women come together and share their strengths and teach one another in a supportive and collaborative environment?”

After some thoughts, persistence, and collaboration, Illuminate launched in 2011 as a local conference for like-minded women to help them GROW, LEARN, and SUCCEED in their business!  

Raleigh Small Business Women Conference This year we are heading into the 3rd annual Illuminate Conference! Each year it continues to get bigger and better all the while still holding true to meeting all the needs of the local momprenuer.  As a committee we realize that you have a #realbiz and the potential for your success is endless.   As women, wives and moms, we know that taking care of you is key to running your family, home, and business and that you are #worthit!  Since we also know there is “no I in team,” we want to make sure you #gethookedup with other like-minded women.  Through Illuminate, you get all this and more…right here in your own back yard!





It’s my pleasure to introduce you to the dynamic speakers at this year’s conference:

Erin Lane Illuminate Speaker

Erin Lane has over 13 years of marketing communications experience. After many years with a local strategic communications firm, Erin went on to serve as Director of Marketing Communications for a small juvenile product distribution company. Her expertise lies with the juvenile product sector and marketing to parents. She is now a work-at-home mama to two kids, ages three and five, mastering creative play and toddler tantrums in between emails and brainstorming sessions. Coffee keeps her sane. She writes for the BabyCenter Blog, runs her own site and consults/freelances when the opportunity arises. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.




Stevii Mills Headshot Illuminate Speaker

Stevii Aisha Mills specializes in creating concepts, leadership development, business mentorship and networking. Stevii’s primary goal is empowering women to live in their dreams and use their network marketing opportunity as a platform to launch their dreams. She is an outstanding motivational speaker who connects with her audience through being authentic and showing them that they can truly take their lives to their next level of greatness.   When you connect with Stevii you are guaranteed to have fun, learn, and grow. 




Clare Luffman Headshot Illuminate Speaker

Clare Luffman has become a sought-after mentor for Mompreneurs. She specifically helps service-based women entrepreneurs authentically package and market their expertise, so they can have a steady stream of new, hungry, ideal leads and clients each and every month.  Clare’s signature program is a high-level, fast-path mentorship program for service-based entrepreneurs, who want a family-focused, super-streamlined, highly profitable business ~ while only working part-time hours.   Go ahead and claim your free gift at Clare’s site ~ “My 5 Favorite Strategies for More Clients, More Money and More Freedom” ~ at www.ClareLuffman.com.




Petrina Hamm Headshot Illuminate Speaker After losing 100 pounds, Petrina Hamm decided to trade in her business suits & sensible pumps as a corporate lawyer for athletic wear & running sneakers – turning her newfound passion for health & fitness into a business.  She’s an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and independent Team Beachbody Coach who’s helped hundreds achieve their health & fitness goals.  Her story & fitness tips have been featured on LiveStrong, SkinnyMom and DailyWorth. But most impressively, she has been dubbed the “Queen of Fitness” by her 5 year old daughter.



Allison Carter Headshot Illuminate Speaker Allison Carter started blogging 5 years ago, starting with Mom in Chapel Hill.   As that blog grew more successful than she ever could have imagined, blogging gave her a career.  Today Allison is a content strategist and freelance writer for businesses and organizations of all sizes and in various industries, tailoring plans dependent on the company’s goals and writing unique content that gets them noticed by people and Google!  This involves writing a company’s website from scratch, providing weekly blog posts for some companies, creating editorial calendars, and proposing unique social media implementation strategies.  What she really loves though? All the consultations she does with bloggers looking to grow and hone their site.   Allison writes creatively, for herself, at Go Dansker Mom and is a published author whose pieces have been featured in a print anthology, on Scary Mommy, Mamapedia, and What the Flicka?. 

Kelly Ruta copy

Kelly Ruta is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has nearly 20 years of experience and expertise in the field.  She began her career as a Student Assistance Counselor in New Jersey and spent 14 years supporting students, family and staff there.  In addition, Kelly operated her own private practice where she worked with all ages and focused on the treatment of substance abuse and eating disorders.  Kelly and her family moved to North Carolina in 2009 and have loved every minute since!  Kelly’s ideal client is someone who is ready to commit to making major life changes and taking all aspects of their lives to NEW LEVELS. Working with women who are ready to “step into their vision, find their voice and manifest their dreams” is of great interest to Kelly. Kelly is the owner of Milestones Counseling, PLLC, but in her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons.  She also enjoys reading, meditating, learning about Eastern philosophy and having much needed “girl time” with her friends. 

Kristen Bagwell Headshot Illuminate Speaker

Kristen Bagwell is a corporate director with nearly 20 years of marketing and ecommerce experience in the technology industry. As the voice of www.CorporateMama.com and an executive consultant for Rodan + Fields skin care, she’s also proud to be a local mompreneur. Kristen has been married for 8 years and has 2 young children, and loves to share and follow new friends on the interwebs. Connect with Kristen via Facebook as CorporateMama and as herself. You can also follow CorporateMama on Twitter.






With this much talent and expertise you’ll be ready to take your business to the next level no matter where you are in your journey!  Grab your Illuminate 2014 ticket and begin to Illuminate your path to setting the world on fire with your talent! 

Register for Illuminate and choose your breakout sessions now! 

Irene Gouge Loving Lessons Irene Gouge is a Pediatric Sleep Consultant with Loving Lessons (www.loving-lessons.com) supporting families to have healthy children, happy parents, and harmonious homes.  As a Gentle Sleep Coach in the Raleigh and the surrounding areas, she works to empower parents with positive and gentle solutions for baby, toddler, or preschool children.  She is a stay-at-home mom, takes care of children in her home, and enjoys supporting moms in business find creative ways to  share their message while having fun. 

 For more sleep tips and positive parenting inspirations, follow Irene on Facebook or Twitter .






Mom owned businesses Raleigh, Raleigh small business, small business owner raleigh

Leading Raleigh Area Business Women

Cary Heise
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