2018 Women's Business Summit
October 14-15, 2018
Meet our Luncheon Keynote
Jill Blashack Strahan - Tastefully Simple Founder & CEO
Jill Blashack Strahan, Tastefully Simple Founder & CEO, is a top female entrepreneur and an inspiration to women across the nation. Blashack Strahan grew up on her family’s farm in rural Minnesota during the 1960s, where she was inspired by her father’s work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit.
In 1995, Jill launched Tastefully Simple offering delicious, easy-to-prepare foods and gifts. It wasn’t a simple start. Blashack Strahan and her young family had no money to risk on such a venture. Determined, she bootstrapped the business and within eight years, Blashack Strahan grew Tastefully Simple to a $100 million company.
Just three years into developing the company, Blashack Strahan was rocked by tragedy. Her brother was killed in a fall, and only a few months later her husband died suddenly. Blashack Strahan was faced with raising her 5-year-old son and the decision of whether (and how) to continue a business that consumed most of her time, energy and resources. She chose to persevere, using the deaths of those she loved as inspiration to live her dreams.
Recognized as an exceptional CEO, Blashack Strahan has won numerous awards for her achievements and unique philosophies of positivity and abundance. She published a book about her life lessons and inspirational journey with Tastefully Simple called Simply Shine: Stories That Stirred the Fire.
Blashack Strahan motivates and inspires thousands across the country, sharing her stories and lessons as a professional speaker. Her down-to-earth nature and charismatic approach make her someone people believe in, and – more importantly – someone who enables them to believe in themselves.
Meet our Emcees - Casserole Queens
Part kitsch, part dish, all apron. Meet the Casserole Queens, Sandy Pollock and Crystal Cook. New York Times Best Selling authors, Sandy and Crystal have taken their fresh-from-scratch meals from their home in Austin, Texas to the stages of Throwdown! with Bobby Flay, The Today Show, QVC and more. Featured on Epicurious, Oprah.com and CNN.com, they’ve also been guests on Bobby Flay Radio on Sirius XM and Martha Stewart Living Radio on SiriusXM 110. In between speaking engagements, book signings and cooking demonstrations, they’re also earning a whole new legion of fans as stars of their own web series on the new YouTube food channel, HUNGRY. But who are the Casserole Queens?
Sandy Pollock: Sandy, a graduate of the prestigious French Culinary Institute in New York City, derived the idea for the Casserole Queens during a holiday visit with her family. After making the Pollocks' signature dishes with her mom and siblings, she realized that everyone in the family (all the way down to the tiniest Pollock) was indubitably satisfied. Sandy has happy memories of her family gathering at the dinner table to eat a casserole, and she hopes that Casserole Queens will help build memories for other families, too. Drawing from a diverse culinary background, including stints at Austin restaurants Jeffrey's and Cipollina, Sandy has a knack for enhancing the taste of an old favorite—as well as serving up some uniquely different dishes of her own.
Crystal Cook: Crystal, a former citizen of Corporate America, brings over 20 years of marketing experience to the Casserole Queens team and an entrepreneurial drive to help execute on their vision. In addition to her strong marketing background, Crystal comes from generations of fine cooking. Raised a true Southern Belle, this Casserole Queen knows her way around the kitchen and into every food lover's heart. It is her goal to help deliver a little nostalgia with every casserole we sell.