Countdown to KEEN: Two months!

Can you believe fall is nearly upon us and KEEN kicks off in Nashville in just 58 days? We can’t either, and as the weeks tick by, we get more and more excited here at KEEN HQ.

Nashville, Tennessee

We have a ton of updates to share, but first things first. Here’s your sneak peek at the conference itinerary. (The full Cadillac version of the schedule will be published on our site in early September.)

The Content:

We will be covering a broad range of topics as they pertain to our four targeted tracks: Food & Drinks, Travel & Lifestyles, Family & Entertainment, and Technology. Our agenda will be published on the website at the end of August, but for now, here are some sample panel topics we’ll be touching on:

  • Creating a Dynamite Affiliate Program
  • Social for Good: Crowdsourcing for a Cause
  • Blogger Bookies: The Evolution of Travel Collaboratives
  • Foreign Correspondency in the Digital Age
  • Watch Your Back: Preventing Brand Thievery
  • PR & Writers: Make Your Magazine Pitch Heard
  • Is Pinterest the Right Marketing Model for You?
  • Millennial Marketing: How to Get Your Message Heard
  • Shucking Reality + Following Your Passion
  • Native Advertising: The New Ad Model
  • Sifting through the Clutter: What Agencies Look for in Influencers
  • The Skinny on Targeted LinkedIn + Facebook Ads
  • All Things Foodie: Styling, Photography, Pairings + Recipe Development
  • Disrupting the Term Blogger: You’re More than That

We know what you’re thinking: Lots of parties, lots of time for networking. Just the way we like it!

At a later date, we will be sending out some pre- and post-KEEN activities for you to take advantage of around town should you want to arrive early or stay late. For now, book your room at the Omni Nashville at our special discounted rate of $179 per night. That rate is good only through Sept. 30, so book today! If you have any trouble with bookings whatsoever, please shoot us a note at, and we’ll get you all sorted.

Signing off,

Your KEEN Mates



SHANNON SMITHBeautySmith founder Shannon Smith is a top beauty expert focusing on education and services as well as consulting for spas, celebrities and skincare professionals around the country. Her clientele includes high-profile actors, models, musicians, athletes, and politicians, but we’re most impressed by her philosophy: “Your face is your business card.” How KEEN-appropriate is that?

You walked in Virgin Group founder Richard Branson’s shoes—literally—for a social good campaign to help the homeless. How did that come about?

It all started with my Tweet that said I’d like to spend the day in Richard Branson’s shoes…to my surprise he responded, “sending shoes!” It wasn’t long before the shoes found their way to me from Sir Richard’s private island, Necker. I wore them during the holidays while volunteering at a California homeless shelter, which later triggered the #Shoeathon fundraising on Twitter. Virgin donated money for each Tweet, and we were able to raise $2,000 for the shelter. It’s pretty amazing what one little Tweet was able to achieve!

You used digital media and social avenues to create your BeautySmith brand. Aside from the big players like Twitter and Facebook, are you using any new applications or platforms to expand your business?

I enjoy photography, and therefore Instagram was a natural platform for me. I was an early user, having signed up just a week after the app was released. My Instagram feed includes everything about beauty, travel and living. [Editor’s note: Shannon is being incredibly modest here; check out her posts from various Ritz-Carlton stays!] read more here

KEEN attendees will be able to take advantage of one of your products, HydraFacial, in our Refresh + Recharge Lounge. What makes this product different than others that are currently on the market?

The Refresh + Recharge Lounge is genius! I look forward to sharing the news about the HydraFacial technology. This machine, in the hands of a trained and certified technician, can resurface and hydrate skin in a very short amount of time. It’s an internationally known brand/treatment that both celebrities and people like you and me can use.

In terms of leveraging social media to mold a career, what’s the one tip you would pass on to young job-seekers looking to enter the marketplace?

Like anything in life, you should first set up your goals, and from that point all you really need to do is to make sure your actions are helping you to get closer to that goal. In the same way that what an athlete eats the day before a game affects their game day performance, your actions, words and posts will affect your ability to achieve your goals. Have in mind that what you post out there on the social sphere will probably stay out there for a long time, sometimes way longer than you might want. At all times be thinking about your goals while creating content, whether it’s a Facebook post, a Tweet, or an Instagram photo. Don’t forget that you are your own brand and your content is your marketing. The same way the name Ritz-Carlton creates an image of luxury and first-class service or Harley-Davidson renders a picture of a bad boy living on the edge, you want your name to reflect the image you need to achieve your goals. So decide what that image is and project it.


FEATURED RECIPE: Parmesan Cilantro Skillet Corn

KEEN speaker Beth Sachan lives, eats and breathes all things delicious. She’s a talent in the kitchen, one of the most well-known names in Nashville’s food industry, and the marketing director for beloved Tennessee candy brand Goo Goo Cluster. She shared with us one of her favorite summer recipes, the perfect side for a Labor Day feast.


Serves: 4-6


3 Tbsp butter

1 garlic clove, minced

4 cups fresh corn kernels (approx. 6 large ears)

1 Tbsp lime juice

1 tsp cumin

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese

⅓ cup heavy cream

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

½ cup chopped cilantro


In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. When butter is foamy, add the garlic and corn, stirring to coat with the butter. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add lime juice, cumin and cayenne pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in cheese, and then add heavy cream. Continue to stir so corn won’t stick to pan. Add salt and pepper. Cook corn until almost all of the cream has been absorbed, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro and serve hot.



fixin’ to [verb]

Slang, exercised particularly in the Deep South, for “about to [go do something].” In everyday, informal settings, nearly every Southerner you meet is fixin’ to do something, whether it’s till the land, drink some Bulleit or get his Tweet on. You may have heard it before and thought your ears deceived you, but you’re fixin’ to be in for a shock, linguistically speaking, when you dip below the Mason-Dixon line this fall.

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