Feb 28 - Mar 3, 2019
Seminar Stage Headliners
Kate Wert, Clean Slate by Kate
We all aspire to be happy but sometimes “stuff” gets in the way. As a social worker and professional organizer, Kate readily identifies the barriers that prevent many of us from feeling joy or living life to the fullest. One major barrier in many of our lives is an excess of clutter. When we become emotionally enmeshed in our surrounding environment we begin to feel stagnant, stuck, or even hopeless.
Kate Wert, LLMSW, owner of Clean Slate by Kate runs a Professional Organizing business that centers on decluttering environments and the mind to enhance quality of life. She emphasizes creating a judgment-free zone and using a person-centered approach in her practice. She’s a GVSU School of Social Work Graduate with experience in diverse settings including low-income housing, children’s foster care, hospice, and schools. Kate is an active member with the Grand Rapids Area Hoarding Task Force and keeps in connection with local organizations to best meet the needs of those she serves. While she loves getting lost in the wilderness, she and her young son are at home residing in the City of Grand Rapids.
Paul Zammit, Director of Horticulture, Toronto Botanical Garden
Paul Zammit, a graduate of the University of Guelph, is the Nancy Eaton Director of Horticulture at the Toronto Botanical Garden. He is an energetic and passionate speaker who is much in demand and has presented across Canada and in the United States. In recent years, Paul has presented in Germany, Switzerland and Bermuda. He has appeared both on television and in print. For the summers of 2016 and 2017, Paul has had a weekly gardening column providing gardening advice on the CBC Here and Now radio program. In October of 2014, Paul lead a 10 day garden and food tour on the island of Sicily. In February 2016, Paul and his wife participated in a week of gardening study at Great Dixter in England. This August he will be heading to England and Ireland to visit and photograph gardens.
Paul’s container designs have also been showcased several times in assorted gardening magazines. He also won first place in the Scott’s Miracle-Gro, Do Up the Doorstep competition, for his container entry at Canada Blooms.
The Canning Diva, Diane Devereaux
Diane Devereaux, The Canning Diva®, is a Michigan native who has lived in the Greater Grand Rapids area for more than two decades. Diane started home canning in her thirteenth summer alongside family and friends. She immediately grew a passion for the art of home canning and preserving and started her own garden at the mere age of fifteen. It was at this young age she learned the many benefits of natural pest control; crop rotation and healthy soil factors; heirloom seed production and collection; healthy meal creation and, of course, preserving her garden’s beautiful bounty.
She received her Bachelor Degree in International Business from Davenport University and has spent many years developing her talent for business. During this time Diane experienced a rewarding career in disaster management which gave her the ability to utilize her skills in food preservation, survival and sustainability. Her tenure in home canning combined with her background in disaster management led her to create The Canning Diva® where she is free to blend her passion for gardening and preserving with her knowledge of preparedness and self-reliance.
The Canning Diva® has been featured in various magazines such as Flavor616, Women’s Lifestyle, West Michigan Women and Natural Awakenings and has made several TV appearances on WZZM Channel 13 Healthy You, WOODTV8 Eight West, WZZM Take Five & Company and FOX17 News demonstrating home canning techniques and signature recipes.
In April of 2017, Diane independently published her fist cookbook, Canning Full Circle, and is working on her second cookbook, Canning with Spirits.
J Schwanke, uBloom
J Schwanke’s love of Flowers began at birth during a Snowstorm at a State Flower Convention in Nebraska. J’s career grew and blossomed… as he joined his family’s Flower business: Green’s Greenhouses Inc. in 1976 and directed the Flower Shop and Garden Center operations starting in 1981. J is a member of the American Academy of Floriculture, the American Institute of Floral Designers, and the Professional Floral Communicators International and the National Speakers Association.
In 1994 J began an independent career as a flower design consultant, Flower Industry Spokesperson and the foremost Flower Design Expert in the American flower industry. As the HOST of the World’s First Web Broadcast Flower Design Show: JTV! Offering Flower Enthusiasts everywhere the opportunity to have FUN with Flowers and J all the time! J’s Passion for Flowers is far reaching and Infectious. He gives Flower demonstrations in every state in the Union, Canada, and throughout Europe. Critics, sponsors and flower-loving attendees agree J is one of the most sought after experts in the World of Flowers.
Leslie Hart-Davidson, HDD Studios
Leslie Hart-Davidson is a nationally recognized professional interior designer, author, and owner of HDD Studios in Michigan. Leslie holds a B.A. in interior design and has nearly two decades of industry experience, but credits her family for the desire to enter the world of design. The Hart family practiced real estate flipping while she was a child, so her calling for home improvement came early.
Leslie lives and breathes interior design not only in her successful design business, but also through monthly live tv segments on WZZM’s My West Michigan. She has written two home improvement books full of snark and great content: Remodeling Your House without Killing Your Spouse in 2014 and her new release It’s Not Your Room, it’s You. Her next book is a combination kitchen design/cookbook titled Food is Love, due out late 2017.
The design philosophy Leslie adopted when she started her business in 2001 is straightforward: design is a democracy, not a dictatorship. This guiding principal helps audience members and clients better understand design language and the psychology behind how they live in their homes. Her innovative seminars include “Thing or Not a Thing: The Best and Worst of Today’s Design Trends,” “It’s Not Your Room, it’s You” and “Remodeling Your House without Killing Your Spouse.” When she’s not on stage or on camera, you can find Leslie happily pinning to her designdemocracy Pinterest boards and creating helpful videos for her designdemocracy YouTube Channel
Chef Tommy Fitzgerald, Kitchen Sage
Tommy’s recipes are stupidly simple by design, with creations that are surprisingly simple and quick, but with big taste to wow your palette!
This year Tommy is making delicious Grilled Caesar Crostinis! Come witness the versatility of a natural gas grill.
Tommy lives in Grand Rapids, and among many other projects runs Kitchen Sage, a nonprofit whose core focus is to provide access to nutrition and culinary awareness to the community while making sure kids are fed, along with teaching culinary skills to high school students.
Chef Angus Campbell, Culinary Consultant
A City and Guilds Master Craftsmen, with 43 years of experience, Chef Angus Campbell was born and raised on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. Beginning his professional career, Chef Campbell worked at the Bahamas Hotel Training College where he became the Department Chair for their Culinary Arts Department before moving to Grand Rapids where he taught food production at the Hospitality Education Department at their acclaimed public restaurant ‘The Heritage.’ He has won medals at many levels of food competitions and is an accomplished junior culinary team coach. He recently produced a twelve part series on Italian and Scottish cuisine on location for WZZM TV13 and his production of a monthly cable TV show recently won a national bronze medal at the Paragon Awards. His years in the culinary field has taught him the importance of simple being best and allowing the food to speak for itself. Now, as he steps away from teaching, he continues to consult for local, national and international companies.