Susan Bachman West (Moderator)
Susan Bachman West is president of wholesale nursery Bachman’s Inc. in Minneapolis, Minnesota. With more than two decades’ experience in the floral industry, she has served on the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Board of Trustees since 2010 where she has served as Marketing and Events Committee Chair since 2012. West also has served on the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable. Her nursery has been in business since 1885.
John Burk’s background in information technology led him to a technical support role with DVFlora in 2001. He joined DVFlora when the company was switching to a new warehouse management system, so he had the opportunity to learn more about all facets of the business. As the digital marketing manager, Burk enjoys developing his passion for technology and the flower industry, while engaging with retailers and floral designers across the nation.
Kobylinski comes from a long line of entrepreneurs; her grandparents started a greenhouse and florist business in the 1930s in Upstate New York. She met her husband, John, at a flower shop, when she was leaving a deposit for her sister’s Valentine’s Day wedding flowers. In 1990, with the help of an angel investor, John and Sally started In Bloom Florist in Orlando, Florida. The business now has two retail locations and a wholesaler operation. Kobylinski oversees the sales, marketing and event teams.
Valerie Lee Ow
Valerie Lee Ow is the co-owner with her sister Robbin of J. Miller Flowers and Gifts in Oakland, California, a family business celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020. Ow oversees design, sales and marketing and teaches regular design and corporate classes. She has been an exhibitor at Bouquets to Art in San Francisco for the past 20 consecutive years and is a frequent speaker at garden clubs. She has served as president of the Piedmont Ave Merchants Association and is currently a board member of many organizations supporting community schools, churches and local charities.
Sandy Schroeck, AIFD, PFCI
Schroeck is an award-winning designer and educator who has designed unique showroom displays at the national level and teaches across the country. She is also the customer education coordinator at Len Busch Roses in Plymouth, Minnesota. In her role, she works alongside the Len Busch team to help customers work through COVID-19 challenges, supporting them with creative programs and selling techniques.
Building Community and Connections for Your Business
Susie Bachman West, Bachman’s, Inc.
John Burk, DVFLora
Sally Kobylinski, In Bloom Florist
Valerie Lee Ow, J. Miller Flowers
Sandy Schroeck, AIFD, PFCI, Len Busch Roses
Industry members who have created strong bonds with their local communities will expand on Ally Fitzpatrick’s keynote session with a conversation about how floral businesses can better cultivate partnerships and networks among area businesses, civic groups, individuals and more. They’ll share insight on why those connections are even more important today and give advice on how tools such as great storytelling can help business owners find new pathways to stand apart, finance projects and build toward the future.