December 18, 2015


Who and what are mentors and how will they help me at the Business Advancement Conference? 

Think of the Business Advancement Conference (BAC) mentors as your business fairy godmother, there to help guide and motivate you. Our mentors will be available during the conference for you to ask them questions and to help advise you, and some mentors will host mentor express sessions during lunch.

The mentor express sessions are designed to be your moments of clarification and inspiration. Mentor express sessions will be your opportunity to get one-on-one advice from industry veterans.

What can you expect from a mentor express session? An opportunity to gain guidance, insight and expertise.

Mentor express sessions will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Advance sign-up is now available. To lock in your space, register for your requested mentor below.


NOTICE: We are now accepting applications for BAC Mentors and Mentor Express Host for 2017-2018! Send your information to to learn more!

April 2016

The Mentors and Mentor Express Session Line-Up:

????????????????????????????????????1)Meet Urban Swank (Shanna Jones and Felice Sloan)

Expertise: Blogging, Branding, Community Awareness and Blog SEO

Position: Mentors + Mentor Express Hosts

Bio: Shanna Jones and Felice Sloan are the Founders and Editors of Founded in September of 2011, Urban Swank has quickly transformed from a food blog into an online lifestyle magazine focusing on food, fashion and travel.


2) Meet Bobbie Byrd and Lisa Stauber of Houston Bloggers and The Blog Elevated Conference. 

Expertise: Blogging

Position: Mentor + Mentor Express Host

Bio: Bobbie Byrd’s goal is to encourage others to live a creative life, whether it’s with a paint brush or armed with a blog and a keyboard. When she’s not burning dinner, she’s creating projects for her blog, Clumsy Crafter. She’s also a self taught graphic designer, digital media strategist, Assistant Director of Houston Bloggers and Founder of Blog Elevated Conference and Community.  You can always find her on Twitter at@ClumsyCrafter or using #BlogElevated hashtag.


shot 5 - Copy3)Meet Abbie Unger, Owner of Flight Attendant Career Connection and Author of the Amazon Bestseller, Make Money with Facebook Groups

Expertise: Facebook Groups Expert/Connecting with Customers on Social Media

Position: Mentor

Bio: Abbie Unger is a speaker, the owner of Flight Attendant Career Connection, and the author of the Amazon bestseller, Make Money with Facebook Groups. When she isn’t helping aspiring flight attendants land their dream job or writing for the Huffington Post, she’s encouraging women to dream big and live bigger. She and her husband, Jason, have three children and live on Edisto Beach, South Carolina. You can learn more about Abbie and how you can live your effervescent life at or connect with her on Facebook.


MoniqueHolmes4) Meet Monique L. Holmes of The Savvy Sales Strategist

Expertise: Sales Strategist | Corporate Sales Trainer | Business Development Expert

Position: Mentor Express Host

Bio: Monique Holmes is a gifted speaker, business development and sales strategy expert. She is committed to helping entrepreneurs and corporations to uncover the science behind selling to increase their profit and make more money in their businesses. Graduating with honors from the University of Michigan with a degree in Spanish, she has worked in sales for companies such as Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. In addition to her bilingual fluency in Spanish and English and three professional selling certifications (Professional Selling Skills, Integrity Selling, and Insight Selling), Monique is a master at sales strategy, training, and conversion. Monique believes the selling process does not have to be hard, and that you can have a sales strategy that allows you to be authentic to your brand and make more money.



5) Meet Brian and Dee Bleifeld

Expertise: CPA

Position: Mentor Express Hosts

Bio: Brian Bleifeld has been a licensed CPA in the State of Texas since 2001. Beginning his career with Engineering, Construction and Logistics firms, he gained expertise in international operations, acquisitions, building accounting systems and staff, consolidating financial statements and audit support. Brian brings big company services to small and mid-sized business.

Dee Bleifeld has been organizing companies and providing tax planning and preparation services since 2003. Dee has formed and managed corporate governance for local companies as well as the US subsidiaries of companies around the world. She is the US agent for international companies from The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Venezuela, Australia, Portugal, India, Pakistan, Mexico and Brazil. With the heart of a teacher, Dee is always ready to help. She can demystify even the most frustrating accounting and tax matters, leaving you free to pursue your passions.



6) Meet the Founders of Houston Latina Bloggers: Jihane Rodriguez, Connie Gomez, and Ariana Reed

Position: Mentors

Bio: Houston Latina Bloggers was founded to create a nationwide awareness of Houston-based Latina Writers and Bloggers. As well as establish an online presence within Social Media and PR groups. While disseminating relevant and pertinent information not only to the Latino/Hispanic community here in Houston but also to other local writers and Bloggers. The group is composed of women who work hard and understand the content that reaches our community. They are amazingly talented Latina’s who share their lives, their journey’s, their stories and so much more.  We have become experts in our subject matter. We look to uplift Latina’s not only within our group who are looking to build a writing business, but also all women in our community as a whole. Women seeking support as they begin a new venture or platforms where they can share and relate to other Houston women. You can find their blogs featured on HLB social media sites. The group is administered by three local Latina’s. Jihane Rodriguez of OnixJ, Connie Gomez of Momma of Dos  (Co-Founders) and Ariana Reed of 3twentysix (Social Media Director). Please feel free to contact us at


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7) Meet Sharon Hines

Expertise: Encouragement, helping people find clarity and direction, helping people find and use their authentic voice and to understand why it matters.

Position: Mentor

Bio: As a former educator with 18 years of teaching under her belt, Sharon is the wife, mother, and author behind the book, Creating Success At Home and the lifestyle blog, Mrs. Hines’ Class where you will find cleaning tips, organizing ideas, decorating inspiration and motivational life lessons. Sharon is a natural encourager, and loves to mentor women in creating success at home, and in life.



8) Meet Yolanda Keels-Walker

Expertise: Grow Your Business + Make More Money

Position: Mentor Express Session Host

Bio: Yolanda Keels-Walker is an author and successful serial entrepreneur with a portfolio ranging from motivational speaker to salon owner to real estate developer.  Yolanda is most known as the brains behind Business Babes, an online resource and business

coaching organization of over 25,000 females that helps budding female entrepreneurs manage their business and grow their circle of influence.  Prior to starting her own business ventures, Yolanda served as a Business Adviser within the Central Intelligence Agency.  She holds thorough knowledge of contracts and procurement.
Yolanda has been invited to speak for the NAACP, The Urban League, Miller Lite’s Entrepreneur events and various universities and small business seminars. Because of her 30K following across brands, Yolanda’s expertise has been sought after by prestigious publications such as Black Enterprise, Billionaire Entertainment Magazine and Newsworks.   She published her first book this year, The Femme and The Fearless:  A 30 Day Guide To Use Fear And Anxiety As Fuel To Create A Fortune and is enjoying speaking to women from all backgrounds on the subjects of business, life and remaining excellent in the midst of it all.




9) Meet Amy Malkan

Expertise: Artist and Motivational Speaker

Position: Mentor

Bio: Amy Malkan is a Houston native, self-taught artist and motivational speaker. Through her unwavering passion of leadership and ability to deliver powerful messages through art, she founded The Art of Leadership. These programs use various art activities to make leadership concepts tangible, sustainable and applicable to everyday life, professionally and personally. She has worked with several organizations, business, non-profits, corporations, schools and youth organizations.

She is also a self-taught artist. She works with but not limited to acrylic, aerosol and mixed media to create fine art, commissions and public art for the community. When she creates art every piece is done with purpose and intention to transfer positive energy through the artwork. Her main objective is to empower the viewer to see a different perspective and to recognize the potential within oneself. This is the philosophy of the Leadership Artistry movement.