The highlight of this year's Upstate event will be Renée Piane.
Inspirational Speaker & Author

Renée Piane is a relationship reinvention expert and matchmaker for love and business. Renee is a widely acclaimed and sought-after inspirational speaker, TV/radio host and author of two books, Love Mechanics-The Power Tool to Build Successful Relationships with women, and Get Real about Love-The Secrets to Opening Your Heart & Finding True Love.

Renée draws from years of research in psychology, sociology, marketing and the healing arts. She moved out west in 1988 and continued her studies to become a clinical hypnotherapist and a certified practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Time Line Therapy. Since then has been sharing her wisdom as an international speaker on topics such as: effective communications, the power of your image, networking skills and flirting with life techniques.

Over her 29-year career Renée’s work has appeared on many television networks and programs such as CNN, NBC, ABC, The Today Show, and Lifetime. She has also been published in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Cosmo, Men’s Health and many more.

Renée has dedicated her life to “spreading the love” and connecting people in their communities while supporting various charities. She is a native Delawarean and attended Ursuline Academy.  Her family successfully operated Piane Caterers and owned four popular restaurants.


The highlight of this year's Downstate event will be Carrie Leishman.
President & CEO
Delaware Restaurant Association

Carrie Leishman is the President & CEO of the Delaware Restaurant Association (DRA) and its philanthropic arm--The Delaware Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (DRAEF). As the state trade association dedicated to promoting, educating and advocating for the Delaware’s foodservice industry the DRA represents close to 2,000 restaurants in the state.

After spending 10 years with the Maryland Restaurant Association, Carrie became the President of the Delaware Restaurant Association. She is credited with building and strengthening the DRA-- taking a handful of members and a miniscule yearly budget and turning it into one of the most influential business organization in the state. She is often described as a passionate and fearless advocate for the industry.

In 2014 Carrie expanded the DRA by forming the Delaware Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (DRAEF). This non-profit entity of the DRA focuses on training, education and workforce development for students, underserved populations, and those already in the foodservice industry. The DRAEF’s premier culinary and management program, the ProStart Program, currently reaches over 3,000 students in 18 high schools throughout Delaware as well as in Delaware's prison system.

Carrie enjoys spending time mentoring high school youth in Delaware’s foster care system, is an avid writer and speaker and is an adjunct professor in the University