Our vetted 2019 Inner Circle Experience speakers are both inspirational and influential. We know they have the potential to impart seeds of success to all of our attendees- even those who have seen and heard it all. World-renowned brands, innovative encouragers and social media gurus alike are represented here, each a particular piece of that ever-shifting puzzle known as Success. We know that having all the right pieces in place will add up to Excellence and can’t wait to introduce you to these key influencers.
FOUNDER & PRESIDENT TAA PR
Aba Kwawu is the founder and president of TAA PR, a results-oriented public relations, marketing, and events agency specializing in the fashion, design, entertainment, hospitality, and luxury lifestyle sectors.
She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh and her master’s degree from the University of the Arts -London College of Fashion. Founded in 2002, TAA PR advises and serves brands across industries, seeking expertise in media relations, event production, experiential marketing and social media. The agency’s regional, national, and international clients have included Cirque du Soleil, The Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Ladurée, Kering, renown chefs Wolfgang Puck and Daniel Boulud, Shake Shack, hospitality at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Tysons Galleria, CityCenterDC, Paraiso Miami Beach (formerly known as Miami Week Miami) and several others.
In addition, Kwawu has co-chaired high-profile events (including the first annual Smithsonian Hirshhorn Ball in 2019) and the 26th Annual Knock Out Abuse Gala, spoken at international conferences, and provided commentary for outlets from Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) to The Washington Post.
CO-FOUNDER & MANAGING DIRECTOR ADUNA LTD.
Co-founder of Aduna, spent his early career working in the ad industry, successfully creating and launching brands for big companies that he didn’t truly believe in. A positive spirit at heart, he somehow found himself suffering from clinical depression. Thankfully for him, a random phone call from a family friend offered him the opportunity to up-sticks and volunteer in The Gambia, where he would work with small-scale growers of fruits and vegetables.
Instead of staying for the intended six weeks, he stayed for almost four years, and became rejuvenated and inspired by the vibrancy of Africa, and by the potential of business to make a positive impact on the lives of rural smallholder farmers. This is what he decided to spend the rest of his life doing.
In 2012 he co-founded Aduna, an Africa-inspired health food brand and social business, which creates demand for under-utilised natural products from small producers – starting with the superfoods baobab and moringa.
In 2015 Aduna was shortlisted for three Guardian Sustainable Business Awards, was a finalist in Virgin’s Pitch to the Rich competition and won the UKBAA Social Impact Investment of the Year Award and GSC Most Innovative Supply Chain.
Aduna is currently scaling their baobab supply chain in Northern Ghana in partnership with the UNCCD's 'Great Green Wall' project. Andrew believes passionately in the power of business to deliver transformation in rural Africa. He holds an MBA (distinction) from Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.
CEO & FOUNDER CLASE AZUL SPIRITS
Arturo Lomeli, CEO and Founder of Clase Azul Spirits, an award-winning luxury tequila brand from Mexico, reveals the secret to their success. Refreshingly transparent, Arturo shares their rocky start; how their foray into the tequila market began with zero sales for the first 3 years, which led him back to school in 2000 for a master’s degree in marketing.
It is there that Arturo Lomeli learned the importance of creating value and uniqueness in the marketplace and after graduating, he conceived of the idea for Clase Azul Tequila Reposado – a very unique spirit sold in a beautiful, ceramic bottle made by local artisans in Mexico. These bottles are treasures that customers keep and use as decorative pieces long after the tequila has been enjoyed.
Today, Clase Azul sells its award-winning tequila around the world and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Robb Report, InStyle, Food & Travel, Luxury Latin America, The Ellen Show, Influential, and many more.
Beyond simply making money, Arturo believes that success is about happiness, integrity, changing people’s lives and providing opportunities. With that in mind, he and his partner chose to establish their factory in a small community in Jalisco, Mexico, where they support the local artisans and employ 120 people, providing them with free breakfast and lunch, as well as daycare, since 80% of their staff are women.
Their most expensive bottle of tequila sells for $30,000, with all the proceeds going to a non-profit organization that Arturo’s wife runs, that further supports the local artisans.
INVESTOR | ENTREPRENEUR
Brandon Green is an entrepreneur and investor who co-founded Keller Williams Capital Properties, one of the largest residential real estate brokerages in America, with more than $60 million in revenue in 2018. His company has been recognized by the Washington Post as one of the region’s Top Workplaces for 4 years in a row, and was recently named one of the fastest growing companies by the Washington Business Journal. Brandon is also the founder of Chapter Two Ventures, a network of real estate professionals focused on investing in and scaling impact-oriented small businesses operated by diverse and underrepresented founders traditionally underfunded by venture capital.
He is a member and the upcoming learning chair of the global leadership organization YPO (Young President’s Organization), loves to write, and speaks to groups all around the world on leadership, business, and living a life with great purpose.
Brandon is passionate about creating beautiful things and experiences and loves traveling the world with his husband Christian Salinas, a home stager and interior designer.
SHE BUILDS BRANDS
Kubi Springer is an award-winning International Brand Consultant and Trainer with 23 years of brand marketing experience.
Starting her career in 1996 she has worked with some of the biggest brands in the world including Nike, L’Oreal, Blackberry, MTV, Rio Ferdinand, Diddy, Justin Timberlake, Rolls Royce Motor Cars and Aston Martin.
Since 2012 Kubi has used her branding expertise to support equality in the workplace and global brand diversity. Her training programs enable organisations to better connect with stakeholders from around the world. Giving them the tools to adapt to diverse audiences across cultural, gender, ethnic and international backgrounds. Kubi has taught in London, New York, Shanghai, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Istanbul, Accra, Mauritius, Marbella Spain and Morocco, with a client base of corporate and academic clients such as NatWest Bank, Deloitte, Jamaica National, Santander, NYU and Oxford University.
In 2018 Kubi Springer won the BWB ‘Best Entrepreneur of the Year’ Award and she be- came a regular contributor for BBC Radio 5 ‘Business Hour’. In 2019 she secured a book deal with Bloomsbury Publishers (same publishers as J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter). Her forthcoming book ‘I AM MY BRAND’ is due for release on 3rd October 2019.
Paola Lucktung, Fashion Group, Adidas said: “Kubi Springer is one of the top five brand specialists and influencers in the UK. Her teach- ing is inspirational and her knowledge is second to none. She has made such an impact that if you haven’t seen her you really should, she is brilliant. She Builds Brands” .
As the founder of Bluefish, one of the top personal concierge services, and an expert marketer within the luxury industry, Steve has been quoted in various publications & TV including the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, London’s Sunday Times, South China Morning Post and many more.
A best selling Author with "BLUEFISHING - the art of making things happen”, sought-after consultant and a speaker at a variety of networks, groups and associations as well as the Pentagon and Harvard – twice!
Want to sing with your favorite rock star, be serenaded by Andre Boceli, walk the red carpet at A List Oscar parties, get married in the Vatican, Dive to the wreck of the Titanic – these are just a few highlights of what Steve has been asked to provide for his clients.
He makes the impossible, possible, after all he is quoted as “The Real Life Wizard of Oz" by Forbes and Entrepreneur Magazine An entrepreneur in the truest sense of the word, Steve is well regarded within the luxury world for his innovation and down-to-earth personality.
Known for his honesty, integrity and doing things “his way,” Steve creates experiences for his clients that they could never have imagined being possible.
WHITNEY BROMBERG HAWKINS
Whitney Bromberg Hawkings is Founder and CEO of FLOWERBX.
She graduated from Columbia University in 1998 and started her career in Paris working for Tom Ford at Gucci. In 2016, she resigned from her position as SVP of Communications of TOM FORD after working for the designer for 18 years to found FLOWERBX, the online flower delivery service that is slated to become the first global flower brand. Over the past three years, she has launched FLOWERBX across the UK and in France, Germany, Belgium, and Ireland and 17 other countries across Europe.
She is currently focused on strengthening and growing the European markets and launching in New York City in May 2019.
ZAHARA GARCIA GALLARDO
Zahara García Gallardo (1983) represents the fourth generation of the family saga behind the luxury footwear Pedro García, founded in 1925 in the Spanish town of Elda, Alicante.
In 2007, after studying Visual Arts and Photography in Barcelona, Zahara moved to New York City, where she begins her professional career at Milk Studios before she started to work with photographer Spencer Tunick. Shortly after, she started an unstoppable career as an Art Director in the US, working for companies such as Tiffany's & Co or Yoox and prestigious agencies such as Laird and Partners. Zahara has worked in numerous campaigns for clients like Diane Von Furstenberg, Salvatore Ferragamo, Rag & Bone, J Mendel, Tommy Hilfiger or Ralph Lauren, to name a few.
Her work has been featured in publications such as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar or Pop Magazine.
After 7 years in New York, she returned to Spain and joined her family business, becoming Director of Marketing and Brand Image at Pedro García, where she is responsible for the international Marketing and Communications strategy development and implementation in America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Pedro Garcia is a family owned Spanish footwear brand with over 90 years of shoemaking heritage. The company’s timeless and modern designs are crafted from premium materials and hand-produced in-house by skilled shoe artisans and technicians. Their products are sold in over 30 countries at premier retail establishments, and the brand has a solid presence in the European, American, Middle Eastern and Asian markets.
Pedro García has always aimed to have the business make a positive impact on the local environment with an ethical approach in which 100% of production is manufactured in Elda. This is the firm’s commitment to remain inseparable from the “Made in Spain” philosophy.