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March 1, 2023

PHS Luxury Conference 2023 Speakers

Past SMART Talk Speakers

Alan D. Lev is the Chairman of Belgravia Group, Ltd., a Chicago residential homebuilder specializing in townhome, condominium, and apartment developments throughout the Chicago and now is Scottsdale, Arizona.

Pamela McNally, Vice President, Marketplace for the National Kitchen & Bath Association. Formerly Executive Vice President of Interior Design magazine, Sandow Media.

Owner at Melanie Anne, Professional EOS Implementer® | Business & Mindset Coach

Principal / Senior Designer, Raad Ghantous & Associates, and VP of Design, Identity Hospitality

Jack Pizzo, MS, PLA, ASLA, ICN is the founder and principal of The Pizzo Group of companies.

Karen Herold

Karen Harold is the Principal Designer at Studio K Creative, renowned hospitality design firm.

Carrie McCormick

Carrie McCormick, a leader in the Chicago Real Estate market, has more than 20 years of real estate sales expertise along with an unsurpassed reputation for quality and results-oriented service and support.

Dario Durham

Dario is a Chicago comedian and producer/booker. Currently, he is a producer at Zanies Comedy Club in Oldtown, Laugh Factory Chicago, & Offshore Rooftop Bar at Navy Pier. He’s also the host of the podcast 77 Flavors of Chicago.

Brian Jessen

Brian R. Jessen is a Senior Vice President of Lending for Guaranteed Rate, Inc. within their Deerfield, Illinois office, specializing in residential mortgage lending, home equity lines and loans, lot loans, constructions loans, and multi-family lending across the United States for primary homes, second homes, and investment properties.

Robert Johnson

Chief Economic Inclusion Officer & General Counsel at YWCA Metropolitan Chicago and Managing Partner and General Counsel at Solomon Group LLC

2023 Speakers Coming Soon!

Past Emerging Leaders

Amanda Kurk

Kurk Concrete

Amanda grew up in SE Wisconsin and has been involved in the construction industry since childhood. She bought into the family business in 2013, shortly after receiving her BS in Structural Engineering from Milwaukee School of Engineering. She currently serves as the vice president and managing partner. Amanda's role within the small family business includes a variety of tasks such as daily operations, project design, bidding, employee development and education, and marketing.  She is eager to teach the next generation about rewarding careers in the trades.

Ariela Dvorkin

Global Plumbing Group

Ariela has been in the decorative plumbing and residential design industry for over 6 years. She currently sits on the Associate Board for Designs for Dignity and is the Lead Showroom Consultant for Global Plumbing Group’s flagship showrooms at the Mart.

Ashlyn Powers

Studio K Creative

As a certified NCIDQ interior designer with a professional Architectural educational background, Ashlyn has a unique perspective on project approach and delivery. Her work at NORR reflects that duality with a solid grounding in both professions. Ashlyn’s varied experience ranges from leading design charities for airport restaurants to solving engineering coordination issues for projects in the construction administration phase. She has completed various design competitions resulting in awards and has published articles internationally. All of these various strengths and abilities help bring clients' visions to reality.

Brittany Swick


I am an Interior Architecture major at Columbia College Chicago. I am a part of the National Kitchen and Bath Association Student Chapter. My bedroom inspired me to create the art I design today. I want to create spaces that will inspire people to generate new ideas, hopes, and dreams. 

Ethan Nagar

Let my experience work for you. I am 5th generation in the Kogen Real Estate family. It all began in Chicagoland, where the Kogen family has been building homes and managing apartments for more than 100 years. In all, the family has built or remodeled hundreds of homes and residential units and overseen thousands of real estate transactions.

I have teamed up with Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty. This iconic brand allows me to help you navigate & market to local, national, and international markets. 
My extensive construction & real estate experience allows me to help sellers seamlessly prepare their homes for sale. I work with buyers finding their dream home while saving clients money through strong negotiation. If you or anyone you know need to buy or sell a home, please contact me.

Kathleen Hayes


My experience is tracking and closing sales on commercial developments, from specification through project completion. I build and maintain relationships with Developers, GC's, A&D firms, and Subcontractors in the Chicagoland area.

Mike Davis

Davis Property Care

I am a Franklin native and business school graduate. Hard work is in my DNA, and with God as my co-pilot, I know I will always serve my clients and employees as best that I am able. My motto is, and always will be, that no job is finished until the client has a smile on his or her face. When I am not on a job site or working together with my clients, I escape back to the outdoors to hunt or fish. I look forward to meeting you and helping to accomplish your goals!

Nick Belling

Caesar Stone

Nick is passionate about custom counter tops!

Ray Sanders

The ABL Group

Passion for Tech Design Services

Robert Oraha

Top Cabinetry

Robert has a passion for cabinetry. He is part of the American Society of Interior Designers Illinois Chapter Board of Directors and Professional Development Director.

Rosemary Vespo

Global Furniture Group

Rosemary is the Territory Manager, Dealer Sales-Chicago at Global Furniture Group USA

Ryan Morris

Experienced in Design & Sales with a demonstrated history of working in the A&D community and successful management across a variety of industry partner businesses. Highly energetic, detail-oriented. Expert in the luxury design + build market.

Sarah Schwuchow

Sarah Schwuchow, ASID, NCIDQ, RID, WELL AP is the Owner and Principal Interior Designer of Sarah Jacquelyn Interiors, a full service residential Interior Design firm based in Chicago, IL. Sarah truly believes that design impacts lives and that good design is for everyone. She cares deeply about helping others and is dedicated to educating the public on the value of Interior Design.

Shannon Johnson

Berkshire Hathaway

Having lived in the greater Chicago region for over 15 years Shannon has a vast knowledge of the area and the individual characteristics of each neighborhood.   She serves as chair for the NSBAR Young Professionals Network and works hard to give agents an opportunity to network and learn more about the industry. 

As a part of one of the leading brokerages in the Chicagoland area, she can offer you advanced tools and resources. Whether you are buying or selling Shannon will provide guidance each step of the way. 

Stephen Quist

Roberts Ryan Insurance

Stephen is a Commercial Account Executive with a background in construction and is also the fourth generation to work at Mangold Insurance. He started in 2014 after graduating from Iowa State University. Stephen recently earned his Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation. In his spare time, Stephen coaches youth basketball in Burlington and recently became a board member of the Young Republicans of Racine and Burlington Chamber of Commerce.

Travis Wallace

Jameson Sotherby’s Realty

Travis is a proud member of the highly accomplished Jackie Mack & More Team, where he enjoys working with first-time homebuyers, buyers looking for the perfect investment property, and sellers. His goal is to make the real estate process as seamless and efficient as possible. As a native Evanstonian and a current Chicago resident, he can assist buyers and sellers in both markets.

PHS Luxury Conference 2022 Moderators

Adrienne Frazier-Russ

Vice President of Operations
Frazier Homes

Brian Jessen

Sr. Vice President 
Guaranteed Rate

Celine Marcotte

Global Projects & Hospitality Manager

Colette Rodon Hornof

Vesta Hearth and Home

Darrell Katz

Principal Consultant
Impact Training Solutions

James McClister

Custom Builder Magazine

Larry Santello

National Sales & Product Specialist
Bosch, Thermador, Gaggenau

Michael Freiburger

Owner/Director of Design
Newlook Development

Michael Schmechtig

Schmechtig Landscaping

Nancy Jacobson

Kitchen Design Partners

Rebecca Pogonitz

GoGo Design Group

Teak Barton

Macnon Builders