Logo for the 2024 GLFEE

2024 Design Presenters

Renowned Florists, Award-Winning Designers and Television Superstars.

Learn more about the star-studded roster of design presenters who will be sharing their knowledge & experience with you at the GLFEE.

Ace Berry


Ace Berry, AIFD, PFCI, TMF

Ace Berry, AIFD, is one of the most recognizable faces in today’s floral design field, especially when his beard is adorned with flowers. Behind the spotlight that has brought Ace to the forefront as a runner-up in HBOmax’s Full Bloom is a humble and creative genius. With a signature for vibrant colors and uplifting passion, Ace Berry was once working in the oil fields in Texas before finding his true passion—flowers. Since then, he has been inducted into the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD), earned his accreditation to Professional Floral Communicators International (PFCI), and received his Texas Master Florist (TMF).

He is part of the Inspired Design Retreat Team with good friend and colleague Patience Pickner, AIFD, and was named Floral Designer of the Year in Houston in 2017. Named Texas Designer of the Year in 2019, he is also a certified judge and valuator. He brings a renewed energy to the field and has a pay it forward mentality in his design work.

Doug Bates


Doug Bates AIFD, CF

Owner and lead designer for Designs By Vogt’s in Sturgis, MI, Doug has received numerous awards in the floral industry, including the Michigan Designer of the Year 2012, Young Person of the Year 2013 and as this years (2021) Design Academy winner.

Doug was inducted into The American Institute of Floral De- signers (AIFD) in 2015 and is often seen volunteering his time and talents at AIFD’s annual Symposium. Doug enjoys sharing his experience and talents in work- shops and stage presentations for local and regional floral events.

Deborah De La Flor


Deborah De La Flor AIFD, PFCI

Deborah’s talent, innovative style and passion for flowers have made her a world-renowned floral designer. For more than 30 years, she has traveled the world, sharing her love for the floral industry through design presentations, seminars, competitions and commentary.

Deborah’s ability to anticipate and influence the latest floral trends has led to her consulting for some of the biggest names in the floral industry. Her vast knowledge, down-to-earth demeanor and infectious enthusiasm make her a sought-after presenter for floral industry events. She is also the author of the floral design book Florsages: The Art of Floral Body Design.

Her accolades are numerous and include Florida State Designer of the Year, winner of the FTD Great Masters design competition and the 2022 recipient of the AIFD Distinguished Service to the Floral Industry. Deborah had the privilege to represent the United States and compete at the Interflora World Cup in Melbourne, Australia in 2004. Most recently, Deborah was a Jury member for the 2023 Interflora World Cup in Manchester, England. She was also a Jury member for the 2019 FTD World Cup in Philadelphia, PA, as well as the 2015 Interflora World Cup in Berlin, Germany. Deborah also had the honor of serving as a Judge/Jury for the 2019 World Flower Art Contest during the International Horticulture Exhibition in Beijing, China.

Deborah was inducted into the Professional Floral Communicators – International (PFCI) in 2006 and the prestigious American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) in 1996. She has owned De La Flor Florist & Gardens in Fort Lauderdale, FL for more than 30 years.

Alejandro Figueira Fernandes


Alejandro Figueira Fernandes AIFD, CFD, PFCI

A member accredited, Certified Floral Designer and Certified Floral Evaluator/Judge by 'American Institute of Floral Designers', current student from EMC program 'European Master Certification' and Ikenobo Ikebana Society of South Florida. Alejandro is a contestant of the most important Floral Cups across the United States, awarded in several of them, occupying the first places.

Alejandro participated in the Interflora World Cup 2023 in the city of Manchester, United Kingdom, representing his native country Venezuela, currently ranking among the top 20 floral designers in the world.

He is part of the team of Floral Instructors for the development of the online educational platform under the name Floriology NOW belonging to the Floriology Institute located in Jacksonville, Florida.

Alejandro all of the floral industry and his passion is education. He enjoys sharing his knowledge, he is a highly sought after floral programs presenter and educator.

Born and raised in Caracas-Venezuela, Alejandro Figueira was exposed from early on to Nature´s Beauty. Alejandro was brought up between families who  owned well-known landscaping companies, that led him to developed a passion for the used of nature in a artistic context.

Cara Knapp


Cara Knapp CF

Cara Knapp is an award-winning Certified Florist working locally at Kennedy’s Flowers and Gifts. Cara started working with flowers at 18 years old and has grown her skill set exponentially in the few years she has been designing. Her unique color combinations, use of texture and dimension are all aspects that make her the queen of hand-tied bouquets.

Jackie Lacey


Jackie Lacey AAF, AIFD, PFCI, CFD

Jackie Lacey has over 35 years of experience. His portfolio includes an extensive background in the retail floral market and wedding/event design experience.

His current position as Director of Education and Industry Relations with Floriology, BloomNet and Napco and Senior Design Team Specialist and Senior Editor for Floriology Magazine keep him on top of market trends, current design trends, industry education and retail marketing. Jackie has won numerous awards in floral design competitions in multi state, national and local floral associations. National Television exposure includes designing and participation for WE TV programs “Platinum Weddings” and “I Do Over” as a Celebrations.Com Floral Expert. Previous work for celebrities such as Drew Barrymore, Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep, Diane Lane, Cheryl Ladd, Cindy Crawford and Richard Gere, Matthew McConaughey and Leonardo DiCaprio have come through participation with floral design on several major motion pictures. Continuing education through numerous stage presentations for multi–state Associations and national industry leaders allow Jackie to help the continued growth of the floral industry.

He has served as a leader in numerous industry associations and was the recipient of the 2021 FSFA Lifetime Achievement Award, AIFD 2021 Special Award of Dedication, AIFD 2022 Special Award of Recognition, and 2022 GLFA National Service Award. Jackie’s extensive travels across the world afford many opportunities to interact with designers of all levels and share this extensive background and experience to florists everywhere.

Jerome Raska


Jerome Raska AAF, AIFD, CF. CFD, PFCI

The co-owner of three retail floral and event operations in Metro Detroit. In the floral industry for over 30 years, he shares his experiences as a Teleflora Education Specialist with florists, garden clubs, and suppliers across the country.

He was a past president of the Great Lakes Floral Association and has served the floral industry in many different capacities through SAF and AIFD.

Sandy Schroeck


Sandy Schroeck AIFD, PFCI, CFD

As the owner of Trend On Design, in Eden Prairie, Minn., Schroeck lives by the mantra “educate, inspire, influence” and it shows. She thrives on the energy of a crowd, and she’s passionate about introducing even seasoned floral professionals to new products, creative mechanics and design techniques to become more innovative and profitable designers. Sandy Schroeck is an award winning designer, trend watcher and international educator with extensive experience in the floral industry.  Having gained professional retail and wholesale experience during her career, Sandy has a unique perspective for the promotion of successful floral and gift businesses. She is currently on the design teams for Floriology Institute and Smithers Oasis presenting education programs across the country. With a strong belief of excellence in design, Sandy is a member of American Institute of Floral Design. Sandy has lead the AIFD national membership committee and is an AIFD certified evaluator.  She will be the chairperson for the International AIFD 2020 Vision Symposium held in Chicago. Sandy is also certified by the Professional Floral Commentators International.  In 2015 she won the prestigious North Central AIFD Bobbi Cup.  Sandy uses her design expertise and passion to convert consumer and color trends into floral sales and with the knowledge that continuing education and a willingness to change are the keys for success.

Michelle Soupley


Michelle Soupley AIFD, CFD

Michelle Soupley AIFD is a designer at Banner Flower House in Kokomo, IN, she has been working with flowers since her high school days. Michelle is a member of the American Institute of Floral Designers. Her first love in the floral industry is weddings, from forming relationships with the brides to executing the final product.

Andrew Stinson


Andrew Stinson, AIFD, CFD, PFCI

Andrew has always been a creative soul, from a very young age. He loves artistic crafts, theater, and music. A part-time job in a flower shop during high school sparked his love for floral design and eventually lead to his family to help him open a small shop in his hometown of Ramseur, North Carolina in 2000. In November of 2012, Andrew started his own event design company: WAS Design Works. Today, Andrew travels extensively and is part of several design teams that specialize in special events, weddings, commercial holiday installation, showroom design and merchandising and is on the design team for NAPCO, based in Jacksonville, FL. Winner of several design competitions, Andrew has honed his talents by competing and learning through critiques and judging. A two-time South Carolina Designer of the Year (2005 & 2009) and two-time Palmetto Cup winner (2012 & 2016). Andrew also has the prestige of being the last Designer of the Year winner for the Southern Retail Florist Association in 2010 before they disbanded.

He has recently been the Designer of Year (2021) for the Florida State Florists Assoc. and ranked 6 th in the international Gateway to the Americas Cup (2022) He was inducted into AIFD in 2018. Andrew strives to make his mission one that is focused first and foremost on continuing education opportunities for the floral industry.

Cindy Tole


Cindy Tole AIFD, CFD

Cindy Tole is the owner of Botanica Flowers & Gifts in Greensboro, North Carolina. She is a third- generation florist. Her grandparents, then her parents, now retired, owned the original family flower shop in Poland, Ohio.

With over forty years of floral industry experience, Cindy’s education in design began with art classes in high school and college. To further her education in contemporary floral design, she attended the American Floral Arts School in Chicago, the Phil Rulloda School of Floral Design in Phoenix, Gregor Lersch’s “Forward Reflections” in Asheville, North Carolina, and Teleflora’s Commentating School.

An active participant of state and local florist associations, Cindy is Past President of the Greensboro Triad Florist Association, has served as President, Vice President and Secretary of Teleflora’s North Carolina Unit and is a past president of the North Carolina State Florists Association.

Cindy has designed on numerous panels and educational programs around the country, including the Southern Retail Florist Association, Georgia State, Alabama State, Michigan Floral Association, South Dakota Florists’ Association, the Ohio Short Course and Kentucky Florists Association. An innovative designer, her talents are sought after by many industry vendors and suppliers to create floral displays at trade fairs across the country.

A member of Teleflora’s prestigious design team, Cindy has won several state and local competitions, including Teleflora’s National Design America and third place in “Teleflor International Design” competition in Athens, Greece. Cindy was inducted into AIFD in July 2016. She is a proud member of the Teleflora Education Specialist team.

Lisa VanderMeer


Lisa VanderMeer CF

Lisa VanderMeer CF has been part of the floral industry for 22 years with much of that time spent specializing in wedding and special events. Lisa has spent the last 16 years working at Ludema’s Floral and Garden as a lead designer on the Special Events Team. She was the 2018 Great Lakes Floral Association Designer of the Year and Chuck Bannow award recipient. Lisa loves being part of the floral community and is delighted to be able to pass on her knowledge and experience to others.

Rene Van Rems


Rene Van Rems AIFD, CFD

Rene Van Rems, originally from Amsterdam, Holland, is a world renowned and multiple-award winning ambassador of the floral industry. Formally educated in the entire spectrum of horticulture and floriculture at the famous Aalsmeer Institute he has led design shows, workshops, master classes and he was instrumental in the marketing of California flowers as Director of Promotions for the California Cut Flower Commission. He has delivered keynote presentations and programs in all of the US, Canada, Europe, South and Central America, and Asia. Rene is a long-time Emeritus member of the American Institute of Floral Designers, (AIFD), and has received several of their highest awards. His product development projects and consulting work take him from his design studio in Carlsbad, California to work with bouquet assembly companies and hard-goods producers. Rene is currently the Creative Director of Exhibits for the San Diego Botanic Garden. He resides in Encinitas, California.

Derek Woodruff


Derek Woodruff AAF, AIFD, CFD, CF, PFCI

Derek joined the floral industry at the age of 16 where he began learning floral design in vocational school and working for a local florist. Since then, he as continued to study the trade through institutes such as Michigan State University, the Great Lakes Floral Association (GLFA), and the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD).

In 2008 he launched his own business, Floral Underground. Derek is a captivating speaker who specializes in “today’s consumer” connecting and engaging them through different types of media including demonstrations, subscription services and hands-on workshops with both plants and flowers.

In addition to being an educator, Derek is considered a “National Floral Design Champion” spending many years polishing the practice of live floral design competition. This love of competition has won him numerous awards in the industry, including the GLFA's Chuck Bannow Award and Designer of the Year (twice), AIFD's Bobbi Cup (Thrice), Chicago’s Best in Blooms Competition, second runner-up on a national television floral design competition reality show called: "The Arrangement", is the 2016 Sylvia Cup Design Competition Champion and was the runner-up in the 2018 FTD America’s Cup Competition.