my philosophy…


I don’t ever want to stand in front of people and talk AT them… I want to ENGAGE them in a conversation. In an activity. In something that maybe even pushes them a little bit out of their comfort zone, and reminds us that we’re on an equal playing field as human beings.

Why? Because that’s what we are… human beings with real emotions, real struggles, and real desires to be seen, heard, and valued. And sometimes we just need to be reminded that that’s OKAY. 

I also believe in FUN. Who wants to listen to a boring presentation with boring slides, and take copious notes on something you’ll never look at again?

As entrepreneurs, we’re constantly self-motivated to learn, learn, learn… to the point that we forget to play.

More education, more knowledge… isn’t our problem. We have the proverbial world at our fingertips and in our back pockets.

But sometimes you just have to put the phone down and learn another way…

I believe some of our best lessons in life can be learned through play. 

(Note to self: scheme ways to incorporate teaching Fortnite emote dances into my next opportunity…)

To this extent, in any opportunity I have to speak, my goal is to engage people. I want them to feel confident, capable, inspired, cared for, and worthy. 

I started speaking in 2017. Here’s what I’ve done so far.

NOTE: because I’ve had two businesses (one in branding / marketing, the other in art / surface design) I’ve spoken to both categories. Hence the variety in topics!



surface-design-art-licensing-presentation-by-wendy-van-rynThis was a paid presentation for an audience consisting primarily of traditional fine artists… painters, mixed media artists, collage artists, etc.

I knew engaging this audience would present a unique challenge… most of the artists were unfamiliar with the world of pattern design and art licensing. Only a portion of them worked digitally. So I knew I would have to not only educate them about what surface design was, but also inspire them with a vision for their own art.

I decided to give them an overview of how the industry works, and the opportunities even fine artists have (whether or not they work digitally.)

I broke my presentation down into two categories… surface design + art licensing. Within each category I discussed topics such as substrates, themes for design, tips for acquiring clients, as well as a brief overview of how different licensing contracts work.


I had a fun and practical exercise that got everyone out of their chair and engaged in an activity they’d never tried before: making a seamless pattern by hand. At the end of the night everyone left with their own seamless pattern. (Seriously, if you’ve never tried this before, ask me to show you how… even if you’re not an artist, it’s a lot of fun!) 

My goal was to show them how they could turn their own motifs into a marketable surface pattern.


Thanks again for your great presentation at our GVAL meeting. Many members commented
that yours was the best presentation we’ve ever had! I know you put a lot of effort into the
preparation, and we most appreciate it.

– Stevie Denny, GVAL Organizer



Sales-Strategy-Engine-By-Wendy-Van-Ryn - CopyThis was a speaking session at a Drupal developer weekend conference. Drupal is an open source platform used by many agencies and freelancers, often for clients with a variety of broad and deep technical needs, such as government agencies, educational institutions, etc.

I’ve worked with many developers over the years, and I understand that marketing and brand strategy aren’t necessarily their favorite topics. So, I made the decision to speak from a big picture / sales-oriented perspective…

In other words… how to land better leads, contracts, and clients.

I framed the presentation around the business owner’s own talents and strengths… many of which are rooted in the ability to think deeply about complex issues and develop solutions. I explained how to translate these strengths into conversations that communicate their ability to solve their clients’ most pressing problems.

I also discussed how to speak in language their clients can understand… many of which just “need the job done.”

I stressed the importance of relationship building and using testimonials and numbers-based results as leverage to acquire new clients.


Okay. I maaaay have sung a Coca Cola commercial from the 80s. There’s no recording of it, so it’s their word against mine.  😀

I wanted to start off by making a point about their own brand / marketing strategy:

It’s memorable. It creates feelings…

For me, the feeling of freedom as a kid (singing that song outside on the swingset at the top of my lungs with my brother) is a memory I’ll never forget. In fact the commercial lyrics are “You can’t beat the feeling…”

Throughout my presentation, I wanted to stress this importance… that how these entrepreneurs make their clients FEEL is truly important. Their conversations with them are just as important as the deliverables they provide.

They may create wonderfully functioning and converting websites… but their clients will remember how they made them feel, and that will be a major factor in their later recommendation of them to someone else. (They’ll also get a glowing testimony, if they ask nicely. WIN!)


I didn’t write down or ask for direct feedback, but afterward, a few of the developers told me I should write a book on my strategy engine… who knows… maybe I will!



brand-and-marketing-strategy-workshop-by-wendy-van-rynSola is a unique concept… they provide beauty professionals with high-end, fully-equipped salon studios, along with the tools and support to launch their business.

This was a 3-hour workshop co-hosted with a  30-year salon professional and New York salon owner, Theresa Weinberg.

My role was to address brand and marketing strategy from a best-practices approach… what it takes to grow a business and get dedicated repeat clients. Her role was to relate the key principles to the specific needs within the beauty industry.

Our audience consisted primarily of beauty salon owners, med spa service providers, and estheticians. We also had a couple of other franchise owners in attendance.


Theresa and I had great energy together. We actually started off with a mini dance party. It was 9 a.m. in the morning, so…. you know. It was good to have something other than coffee and snacks to energize everyone!

We ran this workshop quite casually, with plenty of question and answer time throughout. We also had mini journals and pens for people to write down ideas and answers to pre-planned questions we gave them. We wanted them to walk away at the end of the morning with practical ideas they could implement right away.


At the end of our workshop, we provided feedback forms. On all the forms we received back, we scored Excellent across the board with all the attendees. In fact only one franchise owner ranked a couple of items as Very Good. (We were so happy to see what he ranked that way… if everything was Excellent, what could we improve upon??)

Here were some of the comments we received:

Great! Loved the activities. Made me really think about who I am and why I started a business. I needed this. I need to write down my thoughts, ideas, and goals more often.

You ladies did a fantastic job!! Thank you! My why and my goals are two things I really should focus on.

Very good – I needed this to see where to go with my business. The video exercise was a big eye opener.


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