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The Maker City Summit 2020: 100% online, 100% inspiring

The Knoxville News-Sentinel logoThe Knoxville News-Sentinel 8/11/2020 Carol Z. Shane, Knox.biz columnist
a group of people sitting at a table: Every Maker City Summit features an inspiring lineup of keynote speakers and this year’s is no exception. Sept. 7, 2019. © Miranda Mader Every Maker City Summit features an inspiring lineup of keynote speakers and this year’s is no exception. Sept. 7, 2019.

As you might expect, the fifth annual Maker City Summit will be a bit different from the previous four. But even in the COVID-19 era, some things are the same – and in some cases, better.

Billed as “A Virtual Gathering/Summit/Experience,” the 100% online Summit, which takes place Sept. 12-13, will be kicked off by Mayor Indya Kincannon. There will be inspiring keynote speakers and a host of workshops focusing on all facets of small businesses, such as accounting, maintaining creativity, photography, online shopability, and digital marketing. Nearly 20 different roundtable discussions will take place after the weekend, which include Robin Easter on small business marketing and WUTK’s Benny Smith on music growth.

Artists and makers such as Allie Mounce and Clare Freeman of Pretty Useful Company and Shawn Poynter of Shawn Poynter Photography will also share their tactics for success.

The LunchPool online platform will allow attendees the opportunity to network and interact at digital tables with workshop leaders like never before, and the Summit’s virtual nature allows for a broader attendance and increased programming where attendees can choose the expert track that best fits their needs.

a person wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Tanika Harper, founder of Harper’s Naturals, founder/CEO of The Shora Foundation and chair for the fifth annual Maker City Summit. Spring, 2020. © Submitted Tanika Harper, founder of Harper’s Naturals, founder/CEO of The Shora Foundation and chair for the fifth annual Maker City Summit. Spring, 2020.

Tanika Harper, founder of skin care company Harper’s Naturals and the Shora Foundation, and chair for the event, said she and her committee had to do “a quick hard pivot” when well-laid, long-confirmed plans for an in-person Summit were scuttled by the pandemic.

“None of us had ever put together a virtual summit; that’s a new concept," she said. "But we are really excited about what we have planned.”

Anchoring the Summit are three exceptional keynote speakers.

a man sitting in a chair talking on a cell phone: Keynote speaker Van Tucker has a career-long focus on the growth of small maker businesses. She is Interim CEO at Launch TN, a collaboration guided by a vision of making Tennessee the most startup-friendly state in the nation. Dec. 29, 2016. © Submitted Keynote speaker Van Tucker has a career-long focus on the growth of small maker businesses. She is Interim CEO at Launch TN, a collaboration guided by a vision of making Tennessee the most startup-friendly state in the nation. Dec. 29, 2016.

Van Tucker, Interim CEO of Launch TN and former CEO of the Nashville Fashion Alliance, will kick off the event with “Brandology: The Art and Science of Branding.”

“Most people believe their brand is a look, a slogan, a logo, or a phrase,” said Tucker. “Great branding tells the right story to the right audience, in such a way that they become raving fans and your least expensive marketing tool. We’ll explore the phases of branding, and the sales funnel, as well as various marketing channels – and how to make choices that are consistent with your brand.”

a woman sitting in a room: Regina Bonds, “The Confidence Guru,” will present her formula for success in her keynote address, “The Confidence Formula.” July 6, 2020. © Submitted Regina Bonds, “The Confidence Guru,” will present her formula for success in her keynote address, “The Confidence Formula.” July 6, 2020.

Certified Confidence Coach Regina Bonds will offer “The Confidence Formula,” familiar to her clients around the world as the way to help them recognize their value, find their voice, and clarify their path. Also known as “The Confidence Guru,” Bonds said that, for many people, a sense of shame stands in the way of confidence.

“Whenever there’s been a change in your life and shame automatically shuts your mouth, you’ve got to understand that each and every one of us has made mistakes. When you stay silent, it holds you hostage," she said. "When you can speak out, you become free. And confidence is the luxury vehicle that gets you from where you are to where you want to be.”

a man standing in front of a store: Stephen Brown, the colorful co-founder of Glitterville, encourages makers to “Make Every Day a Holiday” in his keynote address at the Maker City Summit 2020. Spring, 2019. © The Maker City Stephen Brown, the colorful co-founder of Glitterville, encourages makers to “Make Every Day a Holiday” in his keynote address at the Maker City Summit 2020. Spring, 2019.

The Summit concludes with Stephen Brown, co-founder of Glitterville. A former costume designer for television and film in New York City, Brown has built an international brand focused on bringing joy to the everyday. He is the author of Glitterville’s holiday how-to book series and is the creator of all things shiny and fun! 

The title of his talk – “Make Every Day a Holiday” – is also Glitterville’s tagline. “This statement was the inspiration I needed to follow my dreams,” Brown said. “Why celebrate life only a couple of times a year, when you can ‘Make’ that same joy 365 days a year? I’ll share my comparisons of life to my favorite crafting materials, glitter and glue. Know when to sparkle – and what to do when you’re stuck!”

The summit is presented by the City of Knoxville Mayor’s Maker Council in partnership with the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and Launch TN. Registration is $35. For more info, including a complete schedule, go to themakercity.org/summit. 

The Maker City is the greater Knoxville-area community of makers, artists, creatives, and small-scale manufacturers and supporting entities. Led by the Mayor’s Maker Council, we create collaborative partnerships, programming, and opportunities in support of Knoxville’s maker community. For more info, visit us at http://themakercity.org/.

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: The Maker City Summit 2020: 100% online, 100% inspiring

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