RESA Las Vegas Staging Conference - A Burlington Home Stager's Point of View

Home Stager with Dezigner Digz


Well, I'm a little late adding my two cents on the RESA International Staging Conference, but I have an excuse since I just got home late Saturday night.  My Sister-in-Law and a girlfriend joined me for a few more days of Vegas life after the Conference.  Must say I'm "Vegased Out" now, but back to the real reason for my blog - the Staging Conference!

We couldn't have asked for a better turnout, especially for our first conference.  Once we hit 200 attendees, Shell Brodnax managed to pull another 20 tickets out of her hat to bring our total up to a whopping 220 professional home stagers from across North America and yes, Australia too - truly amazing. 

After our RESA Leadership meeting Sunday afternoon, a networking event was held for everyone.  It was very exciting to meet so many of the wonderful people that I have come to know and love through Active Rain and RESA.  I must say that I was not disappointed - each and every person was as great, if not more so than I imagined they would be in person.  I'm kicking myself now that I didn't take photos of everyone that I met - what was I thinking! 

During the networking event, excitement hit the room when you guessed it, the man himself MATTHEW FINLASON arrived. 

[ In case you didn't know, I'm the one on the left ;-)  ]

Day One of the Conference was kicked off by no other than HGTV's Matthew Finlason with his true signature "Matthew style".  He was an inspiration to us all and set the tone for an upbeat day.  For those of you that followed my reviews of The Stagers, in my first weigh-in of Episode One, I said that Matthew was a treasure.  After watching the balance of both seasons, interviewing Matthew for my blog, keeping in contact with him and then finally meeting him in person at the Conference, I can honestly say that my first assessment of him was spot on - he truly is a treasure.


[Not the greatest of pictures, but hey, it was early in the morning - the photographer was tired.]

After Matthew opened the ceremonies, Shell Brodnax spoke to everyone about the state of our industry and motivated us all to keep plugging away.  She spoke about the Law of Attraction and how it's worked for her.  She discussed her vision board for the Conference and how everything on her board came true.  I think I better get me one of those.   


Ricardo Bueno

David Avrin

Ginny Mees

Bethany Souza 

Audra Slinkey


Melissa Marro

Lori Polk

Terrylynn Fisher

Kathy Nielsen / Michelle Minch



Let's fast forward to the evening of Day One - the awards dinner.  Talk about a first class event; right down to the impressive ice sculpture engraved with RESA's logo.  I would like to give a big congratulations to Michelle Minch who was awarded RESA Stager of the Year - truly deserving.

After dinner, my good friend James Hannah and I had the pleasure of meeting Bethany Souza of HGTV's Designed to Sell.


[Looking very dapper Mr. Hannah.]

At the end of the evening, I met one of my staging idols, Jackson West.  What a truly gifted person and just as dynamic in person as he is in front of my computer screen.  A group of us went for drinks afterwards.  Jackson's a total trip, I loved talking staging with him.  Gives "pillow talk" a whole new meaning ;-).

[Loved the suit, that man has style!] 



Ashley Whittenberger

Panel of Experts:  Matthew Finlason, Jackson West, Christine Rae, Audera Slinkey, Joanne Lenart-Weary

Erik Pelton

Mike Robbins

After the final speaker, Shell Brodnax closed the ceremonies.  Shell's hard work and determination made the Conference an unforgetable event.  Everything went off without a glitch - total perfection.  I can't thank Shell enough for pulling this off.  She did a fabulous job.


One of the highlights of the trip for me was a dinner that was planned prior to the Conference.  A small group of us arranged to go out with Matthew.  Once we arrived in Vegas, we ended up inviting a few others to join us.  Our group grew to about 17 or 18 - hey, the more the merrier!  I just wish I had a group photo.

[A final cocktail before going to see Bette Midler.]

After Dinner Matthew, James, Steven, David & David and myself went to see Bette Midler (it was her last week in Vegas I might add).  Unfortunately the two Davids and Steven weren't sitting with us, but I had the pleasure of sitting in between two really cute guys (Matthew and James in case you weren't paying attention).  Our seats were in the third row.  You could see every wrinkle - oh that's right, Bette's had work done.  The Divine Miss M looked fabulous.  She put on a fantastic show. 

Afterwards, we chilled at Caesars Palace and hit the casino.  It was a late night for sure, but one I'll never forget.

[Me and my boys.  It's getting real late - time to call it a night.]

Well, this pretty much sums up my very exciting week in Vegas at the Conference.  I'm sorry that it came to an end so quickly.  

For anyone sitting on the fence about attending next year, get off that fence now and start saving your pennies.  I'm sure next year will be even better!


Dezigner Digz is a professional home staging and interior decorating firm based in Burlington, Ontario.  The owner, Charlene Storozuk, is a member of the Real Estate Staging Association and currently serves on the Executive Committee as Regional Vice-President, Canada.  Her work has been featured in the FabJob Guide To Become a Home Stager, 2009 edition.  Charlene has written several articles on home staging, a few of which have been published by the International Business Times.  She is also a Contributing Blogger for REALTOR Magazine's blog Styled, Staged & Sold.  For more information about us, visit our website at 

Comments (20)

Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,

Thanks to YOU Charlene we were able to have Matthew as a keynote speaker at the RESA Convention and it was fabulous all around. One of my favorite things was having dinner together! It was such a thrill to meet you finally! oxox Karen

PS if you're ever in TX you must call me!

Feb 05, 2010 10:24 AM
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Matthew looks like a ton of fun.  He was in Portland a few months ago and I wish we'd met up with him!

Feb 05, 2010 01:53 PM
Karen Dembsky
Peachtree Home Staging LLC, Home Staging in Atlanta, GA - Peachtree City, GA
Atlanta Home Staging

It was great to meet you Charlene!  The conference just could not have been better . . . I am still smiling inside out! 

Feb 05, 2010 11:44 PM
Yvonne Marquez
Consider It Staged - Escondido, CA
Maureen Carpenter Deborah Schwartz

Yes, We Agree!  The Conference could not have been better. Tons of Information but lots of Fun!  Maureen and I saw Bette on Sunday Evening, and she put on an Awesome Show. We also look forward to volunteering with Matthew now that he has relocated to Southern Calif!  He was SO MUCH fun!    We are saving our pennies also to make sure we are there next year to meet many more of you fellow Stagers and  Share our experiences with all. Yvonne and Maureen, Consider It Staged, San Diego, Calif.

Feb 06, 2010 12:28 AM
Valerie Sagheddu
Apostle Art Home Staging & Design - Stroudsburg, PA
~Home Staging Professional, Poconos, PA

Looks like everyone had a great time...hope to meet you all next year!

Feb 06, 2010 01:44 AM
Janice Ankrett
Burlington, ON
Staging Professional

Sounds like a great time for all. Thanks for such a colourful post.

Feb 06, 2010 12:39 PM
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA

Thrilling indeed to meet you in person!! Miss everyone-still smiling...

Feb 06, 2010 03:51 PM
Charlene Storozuk
Dezigner Digz - Burlington, ON
Home Stager - Burlington Ontario

Karen - I was SO happy that Matthew was able to attend the Conference.  He was "the icing on the cake".  I was really excited to finally meet you and so glad that we were able to go out for dinner.  I'll definitely call you if I'm ever in Texas.  Make sure you do the same if you're ever in the Toronto area.  See you next year in Vegas?  P.S.  Right back atcha: oxox

Maureen - You're right, Matthew is a ton of fun.  I wish I had half his energy.

Karen - It was great meeting you too.  I still have a smile on my face as well from the Conference :-)

Yvonne & Maureen - The Conference was fabulous.  Glad you enjoyed the Bette show too.  I'm sure Matthew will appreciate your help.  See you next year in Vegas!

Valerie - Hope to meet you next year!

Janice - It really was a great time.  Will you be there next year?  It would be really nice to have a fellow Burlingtonian there :-)

Cathy - I'm so glad that we finally got to meet.  I just wish we'd had more time to chat.  Let's make time for that next year if you're there.


Feb 06, 2010 11:57 PM
Sally Weatherley
Vancouver Home Staging, Home Stager Vancouver, B.C

Charlene,  You party girl!  And surrounded by all those lovely men.  Ok, that's it.  Next year I'm going out with you guys!  It was really great to meet you and James and Steven in Vegas.  This is a great re-cap.  Thanks for the memories.

Feb 07, 2010 12:47 AM
Charlene Storozuk
Dezigner Digz - Burlington, ON
Home Stager - Burlington Ontario

Sally - It must be true that they pump oxygen into the casinos in Vegas. There's no way I can stay up that late at home :-).  I'm so glad to hear that you're attending the convention next year - yes, you'll definitely have to come out with us. It was great meeting you!

Feb 07, 2010 12:56 AM
Karen Hubert
Center Stage Design-real estate staging, Ancaster/Hamilton - Ancaster, ON
Home Stager

Hi Charlene,  I am so jealous I wasn't able to attend.  Looks like a great time had by all.  Hope to see you soon.

Feb 07, 2010 01:30 AM
unknown person
Toronto, ON

Hey Charlene - another treasure at the show was spending time with YOU - we had so much fun, right from the first night before the official start to the end and seeing the fantastic Showgirl Bette with Matthew and friends.  Lucky for me you're just down the street.  Like you, met some FAB people and looking forward to keeping in touch and to next year's conference - I think Shell has double the attendance on her Vision board for next year.


Feb 07, 2010 01:31 AM
Kathy Burke
Sensational Home Staging~~Danville, CA - Danville, CA
S.F. East Bay Home Staging

Very nice recap....makes me wish I had attended.  Maybe next year!  What a coup having Matthew at the conference!  I love the it shows great staging at real prices and he is TRULY the highlight of the show!  Wouldn't you LOVE to work with him on a staging job!

Feb 07, 2010 02:13 AM
Janice Ankrett
Burlington, ON
Staging Professional

Sounds like a fun event from what I can see in everyone's posts. Looks like Matthew was VERY popular LOL.

Feb 07, 2010 07:19 AM
Lori Kim Polk
Premiere Home Staging : Home Staging Services - Roseville, CA
Home Stager - Roseville, Sacramento

Charlene... you were just the sweetheart I knew you would be. I just loved meeting you and that handsome Mr. Hannah. We had so much fun. Wish I could have gone to see the show with you all. Next year Ryan is coming with...... we will have a ball. Take care my friend ;)

Feb 07, 2010 07:34 AM
Kathleen Garvey
HomeSmart Cherry Creek - Denver - Denver, CO
Denver's Neighborhood Expert - Listings & Sales

Nice work by you Charlene!  It was wonderful to meet everyone in person and like you, I wish there was more time to chat with was a blast! We can't wait for next year....after I sleep for another week to catch up!!  ; )

Feb 07, 2010 07:50 AM
Gary Barnett
Home Matters - Indianapolis, IN
Home Matters Property Stylist Group, Indianapolis

Hello Charlene, hope your doing well.  I just wanted to take a quick moment to tell you what a pleasure it was for Linda and I to meet you in person and we'll be looking forward to seeing you next year.

Feb 08, 2010 07:21 AM
Liz Gallagher
LG Home Harmony - Home Stagers & Organizers - Montreal, QC
Montreal Quebec RESA member

What a great experience. Lucky you.

Thanks for posting.

Feb 08, 2010 10:23 AM
Sandi Gerrard
Toronto, ON

Sounds great, Charlene.  Thanks for sharing.  It must have been fun meeting Matthew and hearing of his TV show experience.

Feb 10, 2010 11:27 PM
Charlene Storozuk
Dezigner Digz - Burlington, ON
Home Stager - Burlington Ontario

Karen - We definitely all had a great time.  Wish you could have been there.  See you soon!

James - I had SO much fun with you and Steven.  It was great to hang out together - you guys are THE BEST!  I'm really glad that we live so close to each other.  We have to get caught up soon! 

Kathy - Hope you can make it next year.  It was fantastic having Matthew there.  He really made the Conference special for everyone.

Janice - He certainly was popular!

Lori - That's so nice of you to say.  I loved getting to finally meet you too - you're awesome.  Can't wait until next year.  We'll have to plan a night out for sure.  Looking forward to meeting Ryan.  Let's keep in touch :-)

Kathleen - Thanks!  I can't wait until next year either.  I think I'll have to start banking some extra sleep hours now towards next year :-).

Gary - I was thrilled to finally meet you and Linda.  I really appreciate the great advice that you've always given me on Active Rain.  Can't wait to see you both next year.  Hopefully we'll have more time to chat.  I told Linda on Facebook that we'll have to keep in touch.

Liz - You're welcome.  Hope you can make it next year.

Sandi - It was really interesting to finally meet Matthew in person and hear all about the show. 

Feb 11, 2010 11:40 AM