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Pinot's Palette Annual Retreat 2015
Pinot's Palette - Annual Retreat 2015
Craig Ceccanti

Craig Ceccanti, CFE - Co-founder and CEO

Craig is a founding member and CEO of Pinot’s Palette, Houston’s first and premier, upscale BYOB Painting Studio. As a pioneer in the newly developed and rapidly expanding Sip and Paint industry, Craig has directed an innovative start-up business with one location to a concept which is now being sold nationwide.

His contributions at Pinot’s Palette have involved strategy, financing, architecting proprietary technology, developing and standardizing operations, fundraising, building a team-based culture and a purpose-driven brand. These efforts have helped Pinot’s Palette attract both local and national media attention from TLC Network, The Business Journal, 002 Houston, Envy, Houston Press, ABC 13, Great Day Houston, among others.

Outside of Pinot’s Palette, Craig stays true to his background in Consulting and Project Management. He actively devotes his time to supporting young entrepreneurs, charities and alumni chapters in the Houston community. Some of his favorite projects include teaching "Marketing for Small Business" at Rice University's Jones Graduate School and coaching at Vintage CrossFit.

Read Craig's Blog Articles

Charles Willis

Charles Willis, CFE - Co-founder and President

Charles is a founding member and President of Pinot’s Palette (formerly Pinot & Picasso), Houston’s first and premier, upscale BYOB Painting Studio. As a pioneer in the newly developed and rapidly expanding Sip and Paint industry, Charles has played an instrumental role in expanding both the Houston corporate business as well as developing the business through national franchising.

His expertise has evolved Pinot’s Palette’s growth strategy, streamlining supply chains, developing key markets and strategic management techniques. His project management efforts have helped Pinot’s Palette attract national franchisees as he guides them through the process from introduction, implementation and ongoing support.

Outside of Pinot’s Palette, Charles stays true to his background in Project Management. He actively devotes his time to supporting local charities and alumni chapters in the Houston community and spending time with his wife, Beth, and their daughters.

Read Charles' Blog Articles

Beth Willis

Beth Willis - Co-founder and CCO

Beth is a founding member and Chief Creative Officer of Pinot’s Palette. Beth is regarded as the leading visionary for product development, represents the customer’s perspective, and identifies key consumers trends. Within this role, she collaborates locally and nationally to develop multiple new paintings every month for the Pinot’s Palette library, including any custom paintings requested by Pinot’s Palette customers, and plans the monthly calendars according to customer demand.

In the first days of Pinot’s Palette, Beth presented key evidence for consumer market sustainability of the Paint and Sip business which provided fuel for Charles and Craig to put their plans into action. She is both credited with scouting the Montrose location and designing the Galleria location, including the stylish Picasso room.

Outside of her work with Pinot’s Palette, Beth is a full time Clinical Pharmacy Specialist and mother of two daughters.

Mari Sokolowski

Mari Sokolowski - Franchise Development Director

Mari joined the Pinot’s Palette team in 2011 as Marketing Director, the first full-time hire to the headquarters team. Since 2012, Mari has been directing franchise development from coast-to-coast through managing the national marketing budgets as well as leading the Pinot’s Palette sales efforts from her satellite office in Chicago, IL. Her passion for the industry and Pinot’s Palette brand has helped guide over 22 new franchise partners through the sales process, making Pinot’s Palette the fastest growing paint and sip in the nation. When Mari is not working with qualified candidates, she focuses her time on opening her own franchise studio in Chicago, IL, volunteering and spending time with her family.

Mari graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with undergraduate degrees in both Marketing (B.B.A., 2005) and Advertising (B.S., 2005), and has marketing experience with national brands like P&G as well as local media start-ups like CultureMap.

Read Mari's Blog Articles

Missy Erickson

Missy Erickson - Franchise Development Manager

Missy brings her expertise in sales and management to the Pinot's Palette team. A Wisconsin native, she graduated in 2013 from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a B.A. in Marketing and Sales. As the Franchise Development Manager, Missy assists potential franchise partners in their discovery process and helps them determine if Pinot's Palette is a fit for them. When she is not wearing her Pinot’s Palette hat, you can find her at the gym, rocking out at the local karaoke spots, grilling out with friends, enjoying some rays by the pool, or venturing back to the great north to visit family.

Jacqueline Deavenport

Jacqueline Deavenport - Marketing Manager

Franchise Development and National Partnerships

Jacqueline's love of art and franchise marketing have found their home with our Pinot's Palette family. A graduate of Baylor University, Jacqueline began her career in the radio and television sphere as a journalist and assistant producer. After completing her Master’s in Media Management, she found a home in franchising and implemented franchise sales marketing strategies for The Dwyer Group, a holding company for seven service-based franchise brands. Jacqueline brings her love of creative writing and marketing expertise to Pinot’s Palette to help grow the franchise system and brand. In her free time she loves taking time to ride her horse and spending time with her two cats.

Haley Hughes

Haley Hughes - Marketing Manager

National Marketing and Partnerships

As one of the nation’s top special event planners, Haley makes having fun an art form. Drawing on her marketing expertise and business acumen, Haley’s expert advice assists franchisees in developing tailored marketing plans to help them grow their businesses. Haley has received a number of professional awards. She was recognized in the Top 25 Planners Nationally by Special Events Magazine, and the Houston Business Journal named her in its 40 Under 40 list of rising, young professionals. In her spare time, Haley enjoys kayaking on Texas’ rivers and relaxing with a glass of wine in the company of her furry companions: Frankie, Linus and Ruger.

Kendra Lewis

Kendra Lewis - Marketing Manager

Local Marketing and Partnerships

Joining the team in 2015, Kendra brings her experience in regional marketing and brand management to the Pinot’s Palette team. She graduated with a BA in Advertising, Corporate Communications and Public Relations from Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, MO. Along with her eye for design and creativity; she has over five years of experience with traditional and digital marketing. She brings with her a love of art and a fast paced, deadline driven demeanor from her days of working for the Houston Chronicle, the nation’s second largest newspaper. When she isn’t in marketing mode, Kendra enjoys traveling, writing, spending time with her nephew Lucas, and volunteering the skills from her days as collegiate wrestler as a coach/referee.

Natalie Wells

Natalie Wells - Brand Design Lead

Natalie joined the Pinot’s Palette Houston team in 2011 as an artist after completing her BFA and working as a self-employed photographer and designer for 5 years. Her prolific painting contributions and expertise in creative expression led her quickly to a position at headquarters in a dual role of graphic artist and lead artist trainer. After assisting the openings of over 20 Pinot’s Palette studios, Natalie transitioned out of artist training and dove into full-time creative development at the end of 2015. Now acting as our brand design lead, Natalie works with the marketing team to develop and direct the look and feel of creative assets, finding innovative ways to visualize the Pinot’s Palette experience. When she’s not using her creative talents at the office, Natalie enjoys cooking, yoga, wine tasting, playing music with her family, traveling and spending time with her husband and dogs.

Kristin Humphrey

Kristin Humphrey - Operations Director

Kristin joins Team Pinot with over four years of business management and franchise experience, including Curves for Women, Zumba Fitness, and Bobbi Brown cosmetics. A graduate of Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition, she took her love for working with people and translated it into helping clients achieve their dreams, whether big or small. As the Director of Franchise Operations, Kristin guides new franchisees from signing day and site selection through leasing. When she is not wearing her Pinot’s Palette hat, Kristin enjoys spending her time with her husband and family, cooking up a storm, hitting up the links, or drinking a glass of chardonnay while pouring over literature for her next culinary masterpiece.

Cody Miller

Cody Miller - Communications Manager

Cody is a driven business professional with a passion for efficiency. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a B.A. in Economics and a certificate in Entrepreneurship. Cody enjoys the numbers aspect of doing business, and he also has a technical mind and is up-to-date on upcoming technology. Prior to joining Pinot's Palette, Cody developed mobile applications for both Androids and iPhones. He is a Wisconsin Badger and his recipe for a good time is Badger sports (or the Packers), beer, cheese curds, and good company. When not busy working, Cody likes to browse reddit.com, keep up with all Badgers and Packers news, hit the town with friends, and travel the world.

Bonnie Brooks

Bonnie Brooks - Procurement Manager

Bonnie Brooks joined Team Pinot in 2015 bringing procurement and supply chain expertise. Her background includes 14 years at the Texas-based retail grocery super store H.E.B. Grocery Co. For more than 8 years, Bonnie honed her skills working in the Supply Chain and Produce Procurement Department at the Houston based H.E.B. distribution warehouse. In the role of Procurement Coordinator, Bonnie is responsible for fulfilling supply orders for new studio build outs, as well as, fulfilling orders submitted for existing studio locations. She is a Texas native, born and raised in Houston, Texas. Bonnie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Houston - Clear Lake. In her free time she loves cooking, reading books, researching all aspects of the paranormal and listening to music in all forms. Bonnie lives with her partner, Bobby in the Katy area and has two beloved Huskies named Lyric and Melody.

Jennifer Muro

Jennifer Muro - Procurement Coordinator

Jennifer joined Pinot’s Palette Team in August of 2015. She will be assisting the Procurement Manager with procurement and distribution. Jennifer recently graduated from University of Houston – Downtown with a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Minor in Business. In the past, Jennifer has worked as an administrative assistant for Seabord Controls and as a merchandise facilitator for HomeGoods TJX. She has interests in creative writing, working out, and spending time with friends and family.

Eric Wright

Eric Wright - Technology Director

Eric joined Pinot’s Palette in 2012. He holds Bachelor Degrees in both Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Houston. Eric has worked in IT for 5 years, including 2 years in the role as a software developer at JV Industrial. His primary role at Pinot’s Palette is to make sure the PTS systems and features are performing with high utility. When he is not writing code and fulfilling requests, he enjoys spending time with his family and watching the Rockets and Texans.

Lori Lockerd

Lori Lockerd - Office Manager

Lori Lockerd joined Pinot’s Palette in 2012 as the Franchise Development Manager and has since progressed into the company’s Office Manager position. She grew up in Denver, Colorado, and graduated from the University of Colorado with Bachelor Degrees in Advertising and Fine Art. Following graduation from college, Lori found work with Village Voice Media (known in Denver as The Westword Newspaper). She started her career as an Account Manager for the sales staff, moved into the position of Marketing Coordinator, and found her way to Houston via a promotion to be Marketing Director for the Houston Press. After spending 8 years with Village Voice Media, Lori took leave to start her own social media business. She worked as a small business owner for two years before taking the opportunity to work with Team Pinot. As Office Manager, Lori helps drive the day-to-day operations at Pinot’s Palette headquarters, helping staff to be as efficient as possible so the company can continue to improve its support and grow the brand. She also wears the hat of Event Planner, and is an integral part of the Pinot’s Palette Annual Retreat. In her spare time Lori spends time with her husband, Patrick, son, Owen and daughter, Wren.

Cara Calvert-Thomas

Cara Calvert-Thomas - Artist Trainer Lead

Cara moved to Houston in 2015 after working as a lead artist at Pinot’s Palette – Lakewood in Dallas since their 2011 opening. In addition to managing the Master Painting Library, Cara trains and hires artists, develops training resources for our studios, provides ongoing support to ensure their success, and enthusiastically promotes the Pinot’s Palette mission of providing extraordinary customer service in a fun and entertaining atmosphere. She grew up in Alaska and moved to the “Lower 48” to earn her BAEd in Visual Arts Education from the University of Kansas. Her next 10 years were teaching elementary art in Oklahoma and providing professional development to teachers from across the country at Northeastern State University’s Great Expectations Summer Institute. When she isn’t dancing and singing for customers, Cara’s free time is spent painting in her home studio, gardening, traveling, enjoying live music and hanging out with her husband and dogs.

Ashley Gardner

Ashley Gardner - Artist Trainer

Ashley quickly accelerated into the Artist Trainer role after starting with Pinot’s Palette in 2010. Since then, she has been instrumental for onboarding and training initial artists across the Pinot’s Palette system. Her photography, event coordinating skills, and painting background has helped her develop the training programs that are successful in our studios across the United States. Ashley is opening a Pinot's Palette studio in Oklahoma City in the spring of 2013. Outside of Pinot's Palette, Ashley enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and still continues creating her own unique multimedia pieces of art.

Renee Mak

Renee Mak - Artist Trainer

Renée joined team Pinot as an artist in early 2014 at our Des Moines studio. She fell in love with the concept of bringing art to the masses in an upscale, fun, authentic studio environment and her experience owning/operating her own art studio business helped her quickly become the studio manager and finally, a Pinot's Palette Artist Trainer. Her enthusiasm and love for all things art makes her a great addition to the team and she loves sharing the Pinot's Palette culture with new studio owners and artists. Prior to Pinot's Palette, Renée established herself as an artist by creating and selling more than 500 pieces of unique art, teaching numerous classes and workshops, painting live at events and giving inspirational talks to small business and women's groups. She's constantly inspired by her three children and creates from her heart ...every single time. Most recently, she was a keynote speaker at Inspired 2015 and continues to sell artwork in small coffee shops and privately. Renée's dreams for the future include moving to Southern California, continuing to create and sell her own artwork, teach creative workshops abroad and owning a Pinot's Palette of her own!

Lindsay Cahill

Lindsay Cahill - Artist Trainer

Lindsay is a lead artist from our Louisville/St. Matthews team. With a BA in Studio Art and years of experience under her belt, she is excited to move into the role of Artist Trainer. Lindsay’s favorite part of being a Pinot’s Palette artist is bringing art to the masses. She finds it rewarding to bring her love of art to others who have not yet experienced the joy of painting. Lindsay’s hits such as Wild Wine Night can be seen selling out on calendars year round, and her fun energy and positive attitude continue to attest to her valuable contribution to our artist training team.

Disclaimer and Pre-Disclosure
Entrepreneur Magazine 2014 Franchise 500 List
Entrepreneur Magazine 2014 Franchise 500 List
Entrepreneur Magazine 2014 Franchise 500 List
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Franchise Gator Top 100 Franchise
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