It’s A Wrap On “Sheer Genius”… Exchange 2018

By Gail Doby, ASID  
CVO & Co-Founder, Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting  
Photos: @bakerbroductions

We confess… Genius Exchange was more like an Interior Design Summit with lots of speakers and break-outs, but we had the room, the stage and the opportunity to give The Ritz-Carlton, Denver a last hurrah and maximize this event. Next year, we’ll be taking the Genius Exchange on the road. We’ll also return to our ‘less speakers, more masterminding’ format which many of you told us you want.

Our event started with our customary Welcome Party. We were packed like sardines and you could barely hear a word, but it was great fun and a wonderful way to connect people prior to the Friday event.

Our team and several of our clients also got amazing new head shots by Tommy Collier with Denver Headshots and our hair and make-up team, Lindsay Ambrosio and Crissy Chase. Every single person looked phenomenal – we’ll share the pictures very soon.


Chris DeLisa, Patricia Weber, Kim Raymond, Neil MacKenzie

Gail Doby & Erin Weir

Lisa Gielincki, Mary Thomson, Rene Wirh, Crista Davis & Taylor Brislawn

Friday and Saturday sessions…

Team members also got extra break-outs and training from Erin Weir, our VP and co-founder, Yasmine Bijan Wilson – our Director of Client Development and Shawn Blair, our Technology Manager. They learned leadership skills, communication skills and technology best practices.

  Erin Weir & Yasmine Bijan Wilson

Boardroom members had breakout sessions with Shawn Blair to get best practices and strategies for implementing technology in their business. They also heard from Thom Beckett about preparing their business for sale or more value.

Shawn Blair

Nick May with The Chaise Lounge shot several Facebook Lives and also brought his video team to the event to shoot the sessions and case studies. He spoke on how he has sold over $1M in services using Facebook and how you can easily drive traffic to your website.

  Nick May

Dawn Brinson wowed the crowd with her talk on Marketing Strategy, and she also emceed the event with her usual humor and energy.

Dawn Brinson

Other speakers…

  • Shaye Price with A Design Partnership talked about marketing with social media.
  • Kathleen DiPaolo shared her brilliant skills of organizing businesses with her Return on Interiors program.
  • Trivinia Barber spoke on how to expand your business using outsourcing and technology tools.
  • Amy Flurry spoke about Recipe for Press – how you can do your own PR effectively.
  • Sydney Vigotov Spoke about understanding the evolution of residential performance textile technologies.
  • And we had two panel discussions – one was of our Alliance clients, Becky Charton, Glenna Stone and Lauren O’Connor who made a pact at last Genius Exchange to reach $1M in revenue and they did it! They are all joining Boardroom III which is a mastermind group for $1M+ companies. Our first retreat with the new members will be in Las Vegas during January market.

Lisa Kahn

          Renee Wirth & Ruthie Stebbins

Christi Barbour & LeeAnn Baker

Thank you to our sponsors – we appreciate your support!

Our partners, Stemper & Associates, hosted lunch both days and a dinner for 19 attendees that have found her through us. Monique Stemper & team provides bookkeeping and expediting services.

And of course, a big thank you to Universal to the Trade and Crypton for their title sponsorship. We had a great time getting to know them better, and we greatly appreciate the furniture they loaned us for the stage.

Neil MacKenzie & Sydney Vigitov


Entrepreneur of the Year

Bria Hammel, Bria Hammel Interiors, Mendota Heights, Minnesota. Hammel has been in business for six years. Her 12-member team specializes in new construction and interior design. In addition, Hammel is a successful real estate developer. Hammel is launching a product line named after her children, Brooke & Lou. Known as one of the design world’s key influencers, she has more than 50,000 Instagram followers, and she was named a 2018 Style Spotter by High Point Market.

 Charter Boardroom Chairman’s Award

Crimson Design Group, Columbus, Ohio. Cheryl Beachy Stauffer and Luis Stauffer founded Crimson Design Group in 2003. Crimson Design Group has grown its business with philanthropy as a core value. It gives a percentage of its client fees to a non-profit organization of its clients’ choosing, or, if they prefer, to one of CDG’s choosing. The company’s three key essential values are these: To live among people, not apart from people. To be a small part in changing the world. To play a part in empowering someone else to experience more.

Boardroom II Chairman’s Award

Charbonneau Interiors, Woodlands, Texas. Nancy Charbonneau founded Woodlands Fabrics & Interiors in 1999. Today, she has a staff of 15 members. Last year, Nancy reinvented and renamed her business to Charbonneau Interiors. By changing the focus from retail sales and design to interior design, she more than doubled her revenue and profits in one year while serving a luxury residential clientele across Texas and the southwest.

Alliance Circle of Excellence Award

Becky Charton, Table Setters, Inc. North Little Rock, Arkansas. In the past four years, Charton has had a quadruple-digit increase in net profit. Her business results significantly exceed industry standards, with her net profit almost triple the industry average. Table Setters specializes in full-scale design-build projects, residential interior design services, and commercial design projects.

Boardroom Business Breakthrough Award

LeeAnn Baker, LeeAnn Baker Interiors Ltd., Seattle, Washington. Within 3 1/2 months of instituting the business transformation strategies she acquired through an intensive VIP business program , Baker increased her net profit by triple digits over 2016. During that same VIP session, her husband was motivated to open his own successful law firm.

Alliance Business Breakthrough Award

Glenna Stone, Glenna Stone Interior Design, Philadelphia. Over the past five years, Stone has posted triple-digit revenue and net profit increases while providing her residential and commercial clients with exceptional service. Stone graduated with an engineering degree from Lehigh University, and eventually followed her passion for design with a master’s degree in Interior Architecture and Design from Drexel University.

VIP Rising Star Award

Kimberley Harrison, Kimberley Harrison Interiors, San Francisco. Harrison garnered the VIP Rising Star Award for posting impressive increases in annual revenue and net profit and instituting continuous business improvement processes to secure similar success in the future. As principal designer for her eponymous firm, Harrison is known for crafting contemporary, family-friendly spaces imbued with a timeless sensibility for homeowners throughout the San Francisco Bay region.


All winners attained triple-digit growth — or more — from their baseline years, ranging from 2012 to 2016. Of equal importance, during the same timeframe each firm added services, staff or capabilities to more fully serve their clientele and communities.

Save The Date

Save the date for mid-July 2019 and budget for bringing your team since they will execute your vision. It’s a great bonding experience for you with your team, and for them to feel appreciated and inspired. We’ll be sending an RFP to hotels very soon in Newport, Rhode Island where the Golden Age Mansions are. You’ll be able to attach a day on either side of the event to take a tour and get inspired.


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