Quick Connect!

After last year’s SMASH, we heard that you wanted an easier way to find and connect with resource people.  So this year, we have created Quick•Connect – a place at SMASH! where you can meet with a local expert and have their undivided attention for 5 minutes.


Quick•Connects are 5 minute “speed” sessions with local experts. You will sign up for a session at SMASH and when the “gong” sounds for your session, you get to talk to your chosen expert for 5 minutes … until the gong sounds again!

There will be two 45-minute Quick•Connect sessions, beginning at 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm, usually with a different set of experts. Which means 162 attendees can connect with a local expert for 5 uninterrupted minutes of useful conversation during the two sessions.


Watch this spot, as we will be adding the names and bios of area subject experts!

Table 1: Ask Law + ArtWorks/Ask an Accountant

Ask a Lawyer

Both Sessions – Law + ArtWorks Attorneys

Ask an Accountant


Roby Sawyers, Ph.D, CPA, Dept. of Accounting, NCSU Poole College of Management.


Candace Engles, CPA, CGMA, Tax Manager, Hughes Pittman & Gupton

Table 2: Small Business Counseling/Mentors

6:30 Session

Cherith Roberson, Director, Wake Tech Small Business Center,

Holly M. Yanker – Manager, Small Business Counseling Team, Business Link NC(BLNC). Holly has over 20 years of experience working with large and small businesses. Note: Holly is fluent in Spanish. Business Link helps new and existing businesses with regulatory information in North Carolina.

7:30 Session

Laurel Rupe – Business Consultant, BLNC – Laurel is an experienced business consultant with over 20 years working in the fields of management, customer service, and human resources. Laurel is an artist. She’s an avid member of the Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild since 2004.

LaShon Harley – Director, Small Business Center/Corporate Services – Durham Tech

Table 3: Marketing

6:30 Session

Tara Owens – Tara is Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Goodness — a creative studio. Goodness is focused on helping entrepreneurs, dreamers, and doers clarify and amplify their brand. Tara is former marketing director and COO of a multi-establishment restaurant group and serves on the boards for Raleigh City Farm and Arts NC State.

Kevin Landwehr – Kevin manages and executes brand/visual efforts for clients of all size, shape, and type: Edgy, corporate, techie, or all of the above. He’s worked and lived in New York, San Francisco, Miami, and North Carolina. He is also a Design Director with 9+ years experience leading an independent agency focused on user experience and brand content strategy.

7:30 Session

Thea Fotiu Howell – Thea is known as The Artist’s Concierge; a freelance website designer, content writer, and creator of professional development programs for artists and creatives in business.

Jacob Fremderman – Jacob is founder and creative director of Sababa Design, a brand strategy consultancy with clients that range from start-ups to public universities. He believes in the business of design and the (super)power of extraordinary brands.

Table 4: Grants & Funding

6:30 Session

Sarah Corrin – Arts Grant Director, City of Raleigh Arts –Sarah Corrin serves as Art Grant Director for the City of Raleigh’s Office of Raleigh Arts. . As a municipal funder, the program focuses on both artistic quality and access to the arts for residents and visitors. Corrin also oversees nonprofit capacity building initiatives there, including the Arts Learning Community for Universal Access and the recent Equity + More Program.

Margaret Demott – Durham Arts Council –Margaret DeMott, DAC Director of Artist Services, with 35 years arts experience administers five grant programs and technical assistance for arts organizations and artists.

7:30 Session

Mimi O’Brien – Executive Director, Mary Duke Biddle Foundation – MDB makes single year grants to nonprofit arts organizations for efforts that strengthen arts organizations, encourage collaboration, and nurture artistic talent.

Brandi Neuwirth – Community Arts Coordinator at United Arts Council. grant program. United Arts awards grants to schools, nonprofit organizations and  individual artists. Check out their grant program.

Table 5  Art Organizations – Developing and Working with your Board

6:30 Session

• Maggie Clay Love – Nonprofit Consultant

7:30 Session


When you arrive at SMASH, head straight to the signup board to reserve your 5-minute Quick•Connect session with a resource person in one or more of our four topic areas. Just find the Topic Area that interests you and sign a space on the board.

Get to SMASH! early to ensure you get the expert and time slot you want! And come prepared to get the most out of your 5-minute Quick•Connect.