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TSE Featured Speakers: Adrienna McDermott & AJ Williams

Meet the speakers of Catersource + The Special Event!

As we count down the days until we come together in Austin, TX, let’s get to know this year’s featured speakers. Get your calendar ready—there's a lot of great sessions coming your way! 

Adrienna McDermott, Owner, Ava and the Bee 


Adrienna McDermott is the founder and CEO of Ava and the Bee, a marketing agency exclusively for wedding pros that builds connections with dream couples through inclusive, results-driven marketing. As a former bridal boutique owner, wedding planner, and florist with over a decade of experience in the industry, she knows exactly what wedding vendors struggle with when creating new and engaging content to grow their business. She is also the founder of The Creative VA Academy, a hub for creatives looking to hone their natural skills and establish a profitable creative virtual assistant business that earns them a full-time income doing what they love. When she's not running analytics reports, you can find her cuddling on the couch with her cat (the Bee in her business), walking her tripod black lab, or binging Netflix with her husband. 

The Blogging Blueprint for Wedding Vendors 
8:30 a.m. Tuesday, February 13 

Blogging is overwhelming—but it doesn't have to be! Once you start seeing your blog posts as part of a bigger strategy and a key piece of great SEO, it will be easier to manage. Even if you have never blogged before, you will walk away with an easy-to-follow, step-by-step system to get started. You will learn: 

  • How to start your blog, and what platforms to use. 
  • What keywords are, how to find them, and why they matter. 
  • A step by step walkthrough of what to include in a blog post. 

An accompanying workbook will include steps to get started, as well as blog topics and talking points so you can start writing today. 

AJ Williams, President & Executive Producer, AJ Event 


Named BizBash’s 500 Most Influential Event Pros in the US, AJ masterminds cutting-edge experiences for social, corporate, and private events, she exceeds expectations with PR and fundraising for her non-profit clients, and she designs gorgeous experiences for luxury weddings. AJ has raised over $76MM for nonprofits and recently $6MM during the pandemic year. AJ's work is always ambitious—and often unconventional—her work reflects a bold, can-do attitude; she was one of few planners in the US that successfully executed multiple LIVE hybrid fundraisers with a live auction to a live audience in 2020. AJ credits a background across multiple disciplines as key to her creativity, production savvy, and innate flexibility. After Mass College of Art, she worked in publishing, catering, fashion, and eventually marketing—before launching AJ Events. AJ's ability, unique talents and outstanding reputation have made her a tremendous success. AJ executes press-worthy fundraisers with celebrities Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah, Anthony Anderson, Wyclef, Vanessa Williams, Danny Glover, Common, President Bill Clinton, Michael McDonald, Jimmy Fallon's The Roots, and many more. "Creating energy is a big part of my success. I give my clients event strategy, smart events." In short, AJ simply throws a great bash. 

Inside the World of Charitable Events 
1:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 14 

Can you really make money from the nonprofit world? Um YAAAAH! Explore your future with charitable events and the world of giving. AJ will speak candidly about the best approach to success with charitable events and how to navigate nonprofit organizations. Discover how you can support a worthy cause and leverage the audience to benefit the bottom line. It's all about the giving experience, branding and how to drive deeper engagement to increase clients and exposure. This session will also provide insight about why you should target specific charity events to make it worthwhile for your brand and how to utilize charity events as a marketing strategy. 

Top Takeaways: 

  • Change your mindset about the nonprofit industry 
  • Learn strategies to leverage your gift or partnership 
  • How fundraisers can be your best asset 
  • Gain effective resources you can implement immediately 

You can see Adrienna and AJ LIVE at Catersource + The Special Event in Austin,TX from Feb 12-15. 

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