Our vetted 2022 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 in Florence.
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.
The daughter of well-traveled academics from Ghana, Kwawu earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and subsequently began a career in genetic studies. After deciding to pivot to a career in fashion, Kwawu earned her master’s degree from the University of the Arts London College of Fashion. In 2002, she founded her agency while serving as a faculty member of Howard University, where she taught undergraduate courses in fashion merchandising and marketing.
Today, TAA PR continues to advise and serve brands seeking expertise in media relations, event production, experiential marketing, and social media. The agency’s regional, national, and international clients span various industries and have included Cirque du Soleil; The Ritz-Carlton;
Rosewood, Chanel, Ladurée; Kering, the global luxury group; chefs Wolfgang Puck and Daniel Boulud; Shake Shack; Tysons Galleria, an upscale shopping destination; CityCenterDC, a mixed-use development; hospitality for The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; the Smithsonian Institution; Mercedes-Benz; Paraiso Miami Beach, formerly known as Swim Week Miami; and more. The agency also has arranged events for icons from André Leon Talley to Carolina Herrera.
In addition to her agency work, Kwawu is the vice-chair of the executive board of the Georgetown Business Improvement District and is the former, two-term regional director for Fashion Group International of Greater Washington, DC, Inc. She served as the 2019 co-chair for the 26th annual Knock Out Abuse Gala, which has raised millions of dollars to help support women and children affected by domestic violence, and was co-chair of the first annual Hirshhorn Ball, which benefitted the programs of the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. She’s been quoted in outlets from Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) to The Washington Post and recognized as a style-setter in her own right by Washingtonian magazine. And she’s spoken at events, including The Inner Circle experience, an international conference for top-tier luxury industry professionals.
When not glammed up for the work of directing high-profile projects, advising clients, and meeting with her staff, she can be found at home in the Washington, DC, area or globetrotting with her husband and their two children.
CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER OF THE OFFICINA PROFUMO-FARMACEUTICA DI SANTA MARIA NOVELLA
Alice has over the last 20 years led brands at the international level. Her career started at a creative digital agency when she was just 18 years old: an experience that allowed her to deep dive into the entertainment industries mainly working with two giants of the theatrical and home entertainment business: Warner Bros. Pictures and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Some years after she joined Luxottica, the worldwide biggest eyewear manufacturer. Her path at Luxottica started in the digital department taking care of various brands, not too long after joining the retail division of the Company, and leaving Luxottica Group after 6 years of pure fun as Global Brand & Communication Director of Sunglass Hut brand: the sunglasses retail chain with over 3,300 stores globally. At Luxottica in 2013, she was awarded the Best Young Marketer of the Year.
At the very beginning of 2017, Alice refined her path joining the realm of luxury: she started working at the global office of Loro Piana, part of LVMH group, as worldwide Head of Digital and eCommerce. She has been part of the LVMH eCommerce Executive Committee she spent 4 amazing years in one of the most “cooconing” companies in the world.
She joined a new incredible adventure in Florence at the beginning of 2021, globally leading marketing and eCommerce for the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella: a company that is just 800 years old. At the end of 2021, in occasion of the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, Alice won the Gold Prize of the Art Director’s Club of Italy in the Motion Design Category for the campaign “Firenze 1221, History is the Fragrance of the Future”.
Always thinking about the long run, not just about the short-scarying immediate needs: some people might say she’s a "forward-thinker", many more might call her “crazy”.
Passionate about creativity, aesthetics, art, brands of heritage, purpose-driven projects, but above all an intense lover of pasta, ballet and karaoke.
PRESIDENT CONVENTION BUREAU ITALIA & DIRECTOR OF DESTINATION FLORENCE CONVENTION & VISTORS BUREAU
45 years old, graduated in Political Science at the University of Florence (Italy). After an exciting career in the event organization as marketing director of an important Italian DMC and in the hospitality industry, Carlotta Ferrari became the director of Firenze Convention Bureau in 2010.
In a short time, she started a new destination marketing strategy and transformed a mainly public company with few private members - as Firenze Convention Bureau was- into a private consortium with about 300 private members, prestigious local sponsors and the strong economic and political support of public institutions. In 2015 Carlotta launched a new division at the CB, totally dedicated to the Destination Wedding Industry: Tuscany for Weddings, which is still the most important Italian case history in this sector. In 2017 finally, she launched Destination Florence, the project dedicated to leisure, transforming the CB in a CVB with the rebranding of the company: Destination Florence convention & visitors bureau.
From March 2013 to March 2017 Carlotta was Vice president of Federcongressi & Eventi, the Italian association of public and private companies and professionals working in the meeting industry, proposed to represent the Italian MICE sector on international level and create stable relationships with public institutions and European and International associations.
In this context, Carlotta, together with other national tourist associations, gave life to the Convention Bureau Italia in the form of a private network of companies, responsible for coordinating and promoting Italian meetings and events offer. Now she is the President of Convention Bureau Italia, the company officially recognized by the Italian tourism board with over 120 members representing 3500 Italian MICE suppliers.
Above all she enjoys Yoga, reading and traveling and most of all spending time with her family, including her teenage boy!
CEO SAVINI TARTUFI
SAVINI IS A FAMILY, A FAMILY WHO TURNED ITS PASSION INTO A JOB.
Since 1920 until today Savini has harmoniously been working respecting nature and people.
A story of courage and temper allowing the brand Savini Tartufi to become an important qualitative landmark in the word of truffle. The history of the Savini family goes back to the ‘20s.
HEALTH & TRAVEL JOURNALIST
Danae Mercer is a health and travel journalist and content creator. A graduate of Cambridge University, Danae has worked as editor-in-chief ofWomen's Health Middle East. Her writing has appeared in CNN, Sunday Times, T+L, The Guardian, among many others. Online, Danae speaks to over 2.3m women daily. Her platforms extend across Instagram, a self love podcast (Talking Out Loud), Facebook, YouTube, and more. As an eating disorder survivor herself, Danae cares passionately about helping future generations.
CEO LUXURY BUSINESS EMPORIUM & ELIZABETH'S CAKE EMPORIUM
Queen of cakes Elizabeth Solaru is an author, an international keynote speaker and award-winning entrepreneur.
Formerly a Scientist and Headhunter, she has honed her expertise in luxury selling having successfully set up and run the world-renowned and multi-award-winning atelier Elizabeth's Cake Emporium and the Luxury Business Emporium.
Author of the best-selling book, OPULENCIA, Elizabeth is the co-host of the Luxury News Weekly Podcast, a humorous and informative news commentary podcast focusing on luxury news and the business of luxury.
Creator of the first million-dollar cake NFT, she is an international speaker who has spoken in 30 cities around the world. Charming and engaging, she is able to impart her content to her clients with a unique style that is remembered long after the event. She is widely regarded as one of the few people to truly articulate the psychology and buying habits of high-end clients, and she does not shy away from tough questions and also manages sensitive subjects in a professional manner.
Elizabeth has been invited to speak to business schools and organizations across the world including JP Morgan, Ernst and Young, the NHS CEO Development Programme, the ACEVO Leadership Development Programme, Leaders Unltd at the Cabinet Office, GTBank, Bridelux, Wedx Italia, Said Business School, Warwick Business School, Ashridge Business School and Strathclyde Business School. She has been featured on the BBC, Sky TV and Channel 4.
BEST-SELLING AUTHOR & TEDx SPEAKER
Heather Monahan is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, TEDx speaker and has most recently been appointed to the Board of Directors of Healthlynked Corp. Having successfully climbed the corporate ladder for nearly 20 years, Heather Monahan is one of the few women to break the glass ceiling and claim her spot in the C-suite.
As a Chief Revenue Officer in Media, Heather Monahan is a Glass Ceiling Award winner, named one of the most Influential Women in Radio in 2017 and Thrive Global named her a Limit Breaking Female Founder in 2018.
Heather’s first book Confidence Creator shot to #1 on Amazon’s Business Biographies and Business Motivation lists the first week it debuted on Amazon. Forbes named it one of the Top 5 Books for Women looking to build Confidence in Business in 2021.
Heather’s show, Creating Confidence, debuted on the Top 200 shows on Apple podcast in 2019. Her guests include Sara Blakely, Gary Vaynerchuck, Ryan Serhant, Kaitlyn Bristowe among many other noteworthy celebrities and entrepreneurs.
Heather was named one of the Top 40 Female Keynote Speakers for 2020 by Real Leaders. Her TEDx talk was promoted to TED and translated into 6 languages.
Harper Collins Leadership published her new book Overcome Your Villains which hit the charts at #1 on the Workplace Culture List on Amazon. Most recently Heather was named Top 50 Keynote Speaker for 2022 by Real Leaders and has headlined events for Google, YPO, Entrepreneur Organization, BNY Mellon, Harvard, Molson Coors, Santander Bank and many others.
Heather has been featured in USA Today, CNN, Forbes, Fast Company, Gary V’s Audio Experience and The Steve Harvey Show. Heather and her son Dylan reside in Miami.
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’Oréal, 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 organizations 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 teaching 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”.
PRESIDENT EMILIO PUCCI HERITAGE
Graduated at the Luiss University in 1985
Started working with her father Emilio Pucci in 1985
1987-1989 Hubert de Givenchy Paris
1989-2000 Ceo and creative director of Pucci
2000-2021 Deputy Chairman and Image Director Pucci
2021 President EMILIO PUCCI HERITAGE
2010 has been awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des letters by Frederic Mitterrand
2021 Honorary General Consul of Japan in Florence
Board member of Polimoda, Altagamma vice president, board member of Palazzo Strozzi Foundation Usa, member of LA4G
DIRECTOR & GLOBAL HEAD OF LUXURY AT META
Morin Oluwole is a luxury industry thought leader in digital transformation, business development and innovation. As Director & Global Head of Luxury at Meta, she leads the global luxury division and has managed multiple product and business teams within the company for the past 15 years.
She was formerly Chief of Staff to the CMO, where she developed business strategies for global brand partners. In her prior roles, she led Product Marketing and Public Content Partnerships for the fashion and luxury sector. Prior, she led management consulting at Sachs Consulting in New York.
Morin holds a BA and MA from Stanford University in Human Biology and Sociology and an MA in Management from Columbia University. She was a Bill Gates Millennium Scholar and received the Stanford Dean's Award for Academic Excellence - both for 5 consecutive years.
Morin has been featured in WWD, Vogue, Vogue Business, Business of Fashion, Fashion Network, Journal du Luxe, CB News, L'Opinion, Stratégies, Luxury Daily, Luxury Society, France 24, The New York Times and Black Enterprise. Morin is also on the Innovation Council for One&Only Resorts. She was born and raised in Nigeria, speaks four languages (English, French, Spanish and Yoruba) and has lived in the US, UK, and Nigeria. Morin currently resides in Paris.
CREATIVE DIRECTOR ZANIZ STUDIOS
Zaniz is an internationally renowned designer working on some of the world’s most iconic architecture, residential and commercial interiors, private and commercial superyachts, installations and theatre sets, and furniture and products, for an exclusive list of highly select UHNW clients across the globe.
With a career spanning 25+ years, Zaniz founded Zaniz Ltd. in NYC in the 1980s and has since taken her brilliant conceptual design to all corners of the globe, with offices in Tuscany, Italy and London’s prestigious Westend.
Although Zaniz has worked for a long list of illustrious companies and well known individuals, her highly confidential projects means that you won’t find her work on the pages of many glossy magazines, instead you will find it behind closed doors in some of the most prestigious addresses world over.
She won favour in New York working on many properties, both commercial and residential, and has even appeared on Late Night with David Letterman to talk about the redesign of the NBC offices. In a world where NDAs are a prerequisite, Zaniz can now reveal aspects of her work to the public.
Zaniz works at all scales in all sectors. She creates transformative cultural, corporate, residential and private spaces that work in synchronicity with their surroundings. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards and has earned an international reputation for her built work and conceptual design. Each of her dynamic and innovative projects consistently finds the tension between whimsy and rigor, refinement and rebellion, past and future. Unhampered by conventions, Zaniz employs a wide range of materials, objects, ideas and references-from pure play to highbrow sophistication- culminating in a singular viewpoint and a practice that has
earned her a devoted global following.
“Our studio brings a versatile, multi-skilled practice that puts a premium on ideas and originality of thought. We bring magic to the real world; connecting realities and dreams. We tell stories, inventing imaginary worlds, extraordinary environments and transforming spaces committed to enhancing the human emotion while consistently pushing the boundaries of design and innovation.”