Conference Speakers

        Candice Thompson, Black Sheep
       Tuesday, January 21  |  1:15pm

       Building Your Leadership Brand 

         Tuesday, January 21 |  2:10 pm
        Be Prepared to Meet the Press

          Clients who have worked with Candice Thompson believe she has superpowers! Her
          innate ability to objectively see situations in a true light at a 30,000-foot viewpoint,
          3-inch zoom and 3D hologram allows her to ask all the questions that get you to see
          solutions and vision, sometimes right before your eyes.  With over 25 years in marketing, sales, operations, economic development and workforce preparation, Candice brings front line experience directly to you. She has worked with small companies, taking them to industry leader status and has worked for large, older companies where change requires fortitude. As a successful, results oriented generalist, she has an innate ability to see the big picture and the small details. And better yet, how to effectively create, manage and grow - at all levels.  As a business coach, trainer, and consultant, Candice becomes the objective insider that challenges the status quo and builds bridges to the next level of success. On the stage, her style is interactive, authentic and thought provoking. Have we mentioned that she tends to ask a lot of questions that really make you think and look at things differently?    

         Major Matthew Calhoun, SC Bureau of Protective Services 

         Wednesday, January 22 
        Planning for Incidents vs Events: Keys to Success
          Major Calhoun is a 1994 graduate of Barnwell High School in Barnwell, SC, a 1998 graduate of 
           the University of South Carolina with a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice and a 1999
           graduate of Basic Law Enforcement Class 380 at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy.
           Most recently, Major Calhoun graduated from the South Carolina Certified Public Manager
           (CPM) program and the prestigious FBI National Academy.
           He has worked for The Bureau of Protective Services for 19+ years. Major Calhoun currently is
           the Assistant Chief of Police for the Bureau of Protective Services Division at the SC
           Department of Public Safety. Previously, Major Calhoun was the field commander for the State House & Judicial Divisions, Training Officer, CALEA manager for BPS, oversaw field operations for the Governor’s Mansion, State Agency Support Division and Special Operations. Major Calhoun also led the Certification and Standards Section of the SC Department of Public Safety Training Unit from 2010-2013. This section was the administrative operation of the unit and record keeping responsibilities for all departmental training.

        Bryan Paschal, Paschal Events

       Tuesday, January 21  |  3:20 pm
       Sponsorship Activations & Engagement

         Paschal Events, located in Charlotte, NC, offers more than 25 years experience in
         sponsorship procurement, corporate & non-profit events, volunteer coordination, sports
         consulting, event management, event staffing and social media for events. Paschal
         Events produced, created and managed over 400 events in 2019 in the Charlotte region,
         US and Internationally.
         Bryan is an active member of the SRVA/Visit Charlotte and The International Live Events
         Association.  He was awarded Hospitality Professional of the Year in 2014 from the CRVA.
         Bryan is fluent in Spanish and enjoys spending time with his wife, Tonya and two labs,
         Bass and Cobia.

       Steven Doniger, Executive Director, Summerville D.R.E.A.M.

      Wednesday, January 22  |  1:15 pm  
      Executing Events: From Conception to Reality

       Doniger earned a business management degree from Indiana Wesleyan University and has
        experience in business development, events management and marketing. Before his role with
        Summerville DREAM, Doniger was a parks superintendent for the parks and recreation
        department in Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois. In Indiana, Doniger was in charge of Main Street
        programs.  Doniger has committed much of his life to volunteering throughout the various
        communities he has lived in. He has worked with the Special Olympics for twenty years, starting as a basketball coach and eventually working in development. He also volunteered for the Chamber of Commerce and was on several service league organizations including the Kiwanis Club.
  Doniger believes that “when working together in our community there is nothing we can’t solve,” and plans on bringing that philosophy with him to D.R.E.A.M.

      Haley Knight, Director, Aiken Downtown Development Association

      Tuesday, January 21  |  2:10
      So, You Want to "Manage" Your Merchants?

       Haley Knight is the Executive Director for Aiken Downtown Development Association 
       (ADDA), a non-profit organization in Aiken, SC. As a native of Aiken, Haley has always had  
       deep roots in her town and a passion for sharing it’s beauty.  She began working with
       ADDA in 2017 as an assistant and shortly after being there a year, she was asked to take
       on the roll as Executive Director following the resignation of her predecessor. After being
       with ADDA for three years now, Haley has brought new life into Aiken’s downtown district.
       ADDA’s Board of Directors are more involved than ever before,  their events are growing, and their place making projects are encouraging residents and visitors to not only come downtown, but stay downtown. Haley’s goal is to show others what Aiken looks like through her eyes. In her spare time, Haley enjoys doing hair and makeup for brides and pageant queens as well as spending time with her husband, Adam and dog, Zoey.

      Erin Curtis, Operations Director, Soda City

      Wednesday, January 22  |  1:15
      So Refreshing! Creative Placemaking with Soda City Market

        Erin Curtis excels in creating innovative programs and live event experiences while building
        dynamic teams ready to offer creative solutions in increasingly fast-paced environments. Erin
        has directed live interactive broadcast programs, produced short and long form video content,
        and crafted  boundary-testing events across the glove with the mission to never do what is
        already being done and to lead projects forward with a results-oriented approach. Ever the
        internal operations warrior, Erin has successfully scaled small business and public sector
Erin graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.B. in Media Arts and promptly joined the Peace Corps, teaching ESL and Youth Development courses in Kazakhstan.  Equal parts off-the-grid globe trotter and tech enthusiast, Erin enjoys mounting and installing TVs while never being home to enjoy them. Currently, she is the Operations Director, also serving as the HR department IT guru, and an event planner for Soda City.

SC Festival & Event Association is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization.

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