The second AFEA Workshop & Networking Event for 2019 is set for September 19 in downtown Batesville. Presenters from the Little Rock RiverMarket, Think Idea Studio in Searcy, and the Arkansas Hospitality Association will discuss the ins and outs of creating Fantastic Festivals & Events! Following the workshop will be a networking event featuring live music, drinks, and appetizers.

Please join us for an afternoon of education and inspiration on how to produce successful and impactful festivals and events and enjoy time networking with peers afterwards! This event is made possible by the Ozark Gateway Travel Association and Main Street Batesville.


Conference Registration

About the presenters:

Susie Cowan: Director of Marketing & Communications, Arkansas Hospitality Association

Susie Cowan has long been a pioneer of community and small business development as well as festivals and events. Cowan is a local business enthusiast that is focused on promoting independent business and cultivating talent in Arkansas. To accomplish this goal, she has been a part of starting Legends of Arkansas (music and craft festival), Local First Little Rock (Independent Business Alliance), the founder and former Executive Director of Local First Arkansas, and the former Director of Marketing and Development for the Argenta Arts District. Currently, Cowan is the Director of Membership Development and Communications for the Arkansas Hospitality Association and on the Executive Board of the Arkansas Festival and Events Association. In her free time she likes to help build events to create connections to boost the local economies in the communities throughout Arkansas.

Mat Faulkner, Owner & Chief “Idea” Officer, Think Idea Studio

Mat is the President & Chief “Idea” Officer of his full service marketing company, Think Idea Studio in Searcy, Arkansas. In addition to running his business he has quite the passion for community. He also is a board member of the Searcy Regional Economic Development Corporation, chair of the Searcy Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Committee, director of the Think ART Project, co-director for Searcy Beats & Eats- a monthly arts and vendors festival in downtown Searcy, he is past president and current board member for Jacob’s Place Homeless Mission, a member of Searcy’s Beautification Committee and Holiday of Lights Committee, and a 2017 member of Arkansas Business’ 40 Under 40. He also played a key and crucial role in working with organizations and small businesses in the city of Searcy to secure a spot on the Hulu original series: The Small Business Revolution in which Searcy has been awarded $500,000 to go towards 6 small businesses and has in turn created a ripple effect for small business improvement throughout the city.

Diana Long, MBS
Director of River Market Operations
Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau (LRCVB)

Diana has been involved with the day to day operations of the Ottenheimer Music Hall, Farmer’s Market Pavilions, and the First Security Amphitheater as well as several other special projects since taking her position in 2011. Additionally, she directs programming in the Little Rock River Market where she manages events such as Movies in the Park and Jazz in the Park. Diana approaches event execution creatively with a focus on marketing and public relations. Prior to joining LRCVB, Long held the position of Director of Client Services at the Angela Rogers Group for 5 years where she was involved in Public Relations, Marketing, Web Design & Event Management.