Following is information on the presenters at the ACCED-I 37th Annual Conference. Please check back often as new bios are added.
Amanda Adams is the Event Services Coordinator for University of Kentucky’s Event Management Office and Student Center. She assists with reserving several facilities on campus, all outdoor space reservations and campus-wide event approvals. Amanda manages the campus calendar for all university approved events as well as the academic import of classes into the Event Management Systems (EMS) software. Her professional background includes operations, project and event management, and event planning in private aviation, law and higher education.
Omar Andujar, MBA, CCEP
Minor Protection Coordinator, Storrs, Regional, and UConn Health Campuses
Office of Audit, Compliance and Ethics
University of Connecticut
Omar Andujar is a certified compliance and ethics professional (CCEP) with over a decade of experience in developing and leading institutional initiatives and compliance efforts within the higher education and non-profit sectors. In his current role, he is chiefly responsible for the overall operation of enterprise-wide Protection of Minors efforts at the University of Connecticut. Prior to this, Omar worked at the University of Florida where he directed the implementation and day-to-day operation of enterprise-wide Protection of Minors efforts for programs serving nearly 250,000 minors.
Mr. Andujar has frequently presented and published articles on developing and managing Protection of Minors efforts within Institutions of Higher Education. He has experience in creating and delivering onsite and virtual training for groups across diverse industries, and has designed online registration systems aimed at centrally tracking programs, analyzing performance trends, and validating compliance. Throughout his career, he has carried out extensive compliance monitoring activities for programs sponsored by various regulatory agencies and bodies, including youth-related programs in Institution of Higher Education, Early Childhood Education centers, and Therapeutic Foster Care programs.
Mr. Andujar is a founding member of the Youth Protection Network for Higher Education and serves on the Board of Directors for Mental Health Connecticut. He is also a member of the American Camp Association, Institute of Internal Auditors, and Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics. Omar holds a B.B.A. in Supervisory Management, and a M.B.A. in Corporate Innovations.
Kim Araya is the Director of University Conference & Guest Services at American University in Washington, DC. Prior to her coming to American University in January of 2014, her previous position for 10.5 yrs was the Director of Conference & Event Services at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota. She was instrumental in getting the ONE STOP-SHOP concept set-up on the Uof MN campus. She is currently working at AU to open their new conference center in the Summer of 2017. Kim is currently serving as a board member for ACCED-I and has served two years as the Region 5 Director and has served on various committees of ACCED-I since 2005. She works closely with colleagues in various Convention and Visitors Bureaus, area hotels as well as other Universities in the DC/MD area to help market the surrounding cities as well as her University.
Simon T. Bailey
Renowned speaker and author Simon T. Bailey is the leader of the “brilliance” movement – helping more than 1 million people find their brilliance, shift their thinking and produce sustainable results.
According to The Speakers Experts, Simon is one of America’s top ten most booked corporate and association speakers. In 2015 Simon was inducted into the prestigious National Speakers Association Hall of Fame whose honorary members include former U.S. Secretary of State General Colin Powell and President Ronald Reagan.
Speaker magazine also cited Simon as one of the top 25 “hot speakers” shaping the profession. His uber popular “Building Business Relationships” micro-learning course on Lynda.com (A LinkedIn Company) has been viewed by 10,000+ professionals in 100 countries.
His team recently introduced the Shift Your Brilliance System® that teaches individuals and organizations how to create meaningful results in the new economy. A percentage of the proceeds from the Shift Your Brilliance System® benefit the U.S. Dream Academy, a non-profit organization that believes a child with a dream is a child with a future. In 2003 Simon founded Brilliance Institute, Inc., teaching companies and individuals how to grow their most important asset – people. He has spoken on six continents to 1,000+ organizations including AT&T, IBM, MasterCard, Microsoft and Toyota. His previous work experience includes serving as the first African American sales director at the world-renowned Disney Institute based at Walt Disney World Resort® Resort. Simon has authored seven books including Release Your Brilliance (HarperCollins) and Shift Your Brilliance: Harness the Power of You Inc. (SoundWisdom).
An experience with Simon goes beyond feel-good content to real-life deliverables that impact lives. He connects with any audience on many levels with a relevant message that resonates beyond the stage. His wisdom and expertise enabled an Orlando-based healthcare system to be acquired and a division of a hospitality company to be ranked No. 1 for customer service by Expedia.com.
Simon holds a Master’s Degree in Theology from Faith Christian University and was inducted as an honorary member of the University of Central Florida Golden Key Honor Society. He serves on the advisory council for Management and Executive Education for the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College, one of the top 25 best private graduate business schools in the U.S.
When Simon is not busy advancing professionals’ and organizations’ development, he roots for the Buffalo Bills, collects rare stamps and global currency, and is an avid movie goer. Simon resides in Windermere, Florida with his wife and their two active teenagers.
Megan Bolton, CPP
Megan Bolton has worked for the University of Tennessee Conferences and Non-Credit Programs department for 10 years, the last 4 years as a Program Coordinator and one of the lead planners of Destination Imagination Global Finals. Destination Imagination Global Finals is an event that takes place annually and attended by over 17,000 people from across the world. She graduated from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in the Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism program with a BS in Service Management.
Trish Carlson is the Director of Conference & Event Services at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles where she has worked for 17 years. As Director, she is responsible for the Event Scheduling, Event Operations and Conference Services Offices at LMU. Her professional background includes hotel sales and auto show coordination for Nissan and Infiniti. She has also been a proud Board member of ACCED-I since 2009 and is currently serving as the Immediate Past-President.
Hannah Centers is the Assistant Director of Event Management for the University of Kentucky Event Management Office and Student Center. She is responsible for processing campus event proposal requests and reserving space on campus. Hannah serves as a primary administrator for the Event Management Systems (EMS) software for the University of Kentucky overseeing system wide configuration. She also assisted in the creation and implementation of the university’s centralized event management process. Hannah has a background in project management and development, event planning, event management, and higher education student affairs.
Andy Dang and Taylor Church work at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg in the University Student Center. Andy Dang graduated from Appalachian State University and is the Conference and Event Planner working primarily with Non-University guests, summer camps and conferences. Taylor Church graduated from the University of South Florida and is the event planner working with student organizations and University departments.
Tammi K. Clanton, CCEP
Tammi K. Clanton, CCEP, is the Director of Auxiliary Services for Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas. Tammi has been on staff with the university since 2005, with a background in the hotel industry and large festival planning.
Tammi is an active member of her community and campus. She serves as secretary for the board of directors for the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce and serves on the executive board of the Hill Country Charity Ball Association. On campus Tammi is a member of the Campus Infrastructure committee, the Enrollment Projection team, and the Planning Stewardship Committee.
Tammi has been a member of ACCED-I since 2005 and has presented at both national and regional ACCED-I conferences and is a current board member.
Sterlynn Clendenin is an event specialist at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, specializing in events for the Development team and the Chancellor’s Office. Sterlynn has a Bachelor’s degree in Recreation Management from the University of Maine at Machias and a Master of Arts in Sports Management from East Tennessee State University. She previously worked as Senior Operations Manager for runDisney and Track Shack Events in Orlando, handling all logistics and operations for the runDisney race series. She has been working at UCCS since 2014, helping the campus to become the fastest growing campus in the University of Colorado System. Sterlynn spends her time hiking, running, playing tennis and enjoying the great outdoors of Colorado.
Mark R. Coldren
Mark R. Coldren is currently the Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York with overall responsibilities for all HR functions including employee and labor relations, compensation, employee and organizational development, payroll, employee benefits, recruitment, work/life and wellness. Prior to coming to UB in July of 2015, Mark was CHRO of Ithaca College and previous to that a member of the senior leader HR team at Syracuse University and an adjunct faculty member in the Whitman School of Business. Before working in higher education, Mark worked in organizations specializing in manufacturing, sales and distribution, and software development. Previous organizations Mark worked with include UTC Carrier Corporation, Goulds Pumps, Inc., and Automatic Data Processing. Mark started as a history teacher in the public school system. He is a past-chair of the College & University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) National Board of Directors. Mark has a MS from Syracuse University and a BA from Cortland State University and is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), 2006-09.
Carol Costello has a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Nutrition and a Ph.D. in Food Science. She is the coordinator for all food events for large conferences over 5,000 individuals at the University of Tennessee. She taught food service management and event management for 27 years at the University of Tennessee. She is semi-retired and lives in Florida.
Shane Cutler is the general manager of Events and Conferences at Boston University (BU) and has been there since August of 2015. Prior to BU, Shane was the director of Conference and Event Services at the University of Vermont (UVM) for over 10 years.
In both locations, Shane has been responsible for supporting his teams in the coordination of University-wide events, room scheduling of University events, management of summer conference operations, and the coordination of non-University conferences and events throughout the year. As part of these operations, Shane worked with his teams to complete extensive peer assessments used to develop campus-wide rate structures for facility rental rates for University events, sponsored/hosted events, and non-University events; in addition to an hourly rate for conference coordination and online registration services.
Shane has his Master of Arts in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University and is currently a doctoral candidate at UVM for his Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.
Andy Dang and Taylor Church work at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg in the University Student Center. Andy Dang graduated from Appalachian State University and is the Conference and Event Planner working primarily with Non-University guests, summer camps and conferences. Taylor Church graduated from the University of South Florida and is the event planner working with student organizations and University departments.
Jeanne Feathers is the Director of Sales at Unique Venues. She has been with the Unique Venues team for 10 years and has over 30 years sales, marketing and management experience. At Unique Venues and as Sales Manager and General Manager at various radio and television corporations, she has developed, overseen and managed the sales departments and sales efforts. Through her career, Jeanne has attended and facilitated dozens of sales and marketing training courses for sales teams and management alike. She brings to this session the experience of both a leader and an “on the street” salesperson and will provide hands on observations, suggestions and examples that can be used at all levels of your conference and events operation.
Laurin Gierman, CCEP
Laurin Gierman, CCEP, has been a member of ACCED-I since 2006, and received her CCEP in March 2011. While working at Michigan State University for the last 17 years, Laurin has moved from residential dining, to residence hall facilities, then spent 10 years as the senior sales manager of University Conference Services. After a brief interim assignment, Laurin has been the operations manager of Spartan Signature Catering, the University owned and operated, full service catering company. Laurin has been with SSC since March 2016, and oversees a team of about 100 full-time, part-time, and student team members.
Phillip Gin, CMP, CMM
Phil’s experience includes over 20 years in university conference operations at three different higher education institutions. Phil currently serves as the Executive Director of Stanford Conferences at Stanford University, and his professional distinctions include earning both the Certified Meetings Professional (CMP) designation through the Conventions Industry Council (CIC) and the Certificate in Meeting Management (CMM) through Meeting Professionals International (MPI) in 2010. He also has a Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Phil is a past-president of ACCED-I, and he served on the Board of Directors for the association for nine years.
With a life-long career path devoted to education, and he considers himself an educator with significant experience and knowledge in the business constructs of higher education. In the field of university conference operations specifically, Phil’s work to date is recognized for his expertise and accomplishments in service models and processes, business growth and service expansion, staff development and leadership development, and entrepreneurialism and innovation.
Under Phil’s leadership over the past ten years as the executive director, the Stanford Conferences team of 17 dedicated and industry expert professionals has transformed Stanford’s conference business to become a year round and multi-faceted business enterprise offering a variety of industry-related services. In addition to summer conferences, Stanford Conferences’ business enterprises include robust operations for meeting planning services, meeting facilities management, and oversight of policy compliance for the protection of minors for all events and programs at Stanford with minors involved.
Krystal Grace is the Assistant Director for University Housing’s Conferences, Special Events and the Student Dining and Residential Programs Building at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Krystal has been in her current roll for 3.5 years and was the Coordinator for Conference and Special Events for 9 years. Krystal has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a Master of Education degree from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. As the Coordinator for Conferences and Special Events Krystal supervised 40 summer student staff. As the Assistant Director Krystal has overseen the implementation of a new scheduling model that responds to student’s needs and adjusts for the University of Illinois’ scheduling rules in response to the Affordable Care Act.
Joshua L. Grimes, Esq.
Joshua L. Grimes, Esq. Grimes Law Offices based in Philadelphia, is a leading attorney in the association, nonprofit, meeting, and hospitality industries. He is a specialist in all matters relating meetings and conventions, as well as association & nonprofit governance.
Mr. Grimes is a member of the APEX Contracts Panel, and served on the Board of Directors of the Academy of Hospitality Industry Attorneys. He was selected as a “Pennsylvania Super Lawyer”, and recently designated a “Legal Leader” by ALM Media. Mr. Grimes is also frequently quoted in industry publications.
Mr. Grimes is one of the association and meeting industries’ most prominent speakers. In addition to speaking regularly for MPI and PCMA, he conducts in-house training programs for corporate and association executives. Mr. Grimes also a frequent contributor for meeting and association industry publications and websites.
Mr. Grimes has appeared before industry professionals throughout the United States, and in Europe, the Middle East, Canada, and Mexico. He is a member of the Bars of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.
Mr. Grimes is also proud to represent his hometown as an elected Commissioner in Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania, a part of Philadelphia’s famed “Main Line” neighborhood.
Jim is the Director of Conference & Event Services at Duke University and a long time ACCED-I member. His campus portfolio includes summer programs, eCommerce conference registration websites, and facility management of the Campus Center Area consisting of three buildings including the newly opened Penn Events Pavilion. His team reserves the non-athletic outdoor spaces on campus and oversees logistics for large University Events and Ceremonies such as Commencement and Convocation. His team members provide many of the services student organizations require to host safe and successful events. Jim serves as a primary campus contact for questions regarding the University’s Policy related to minors on campus.
His first experience in collegiate conferencing was as an undergraduate conference assistant. He is the event professional that managed to turn a “just a summer job” into a career having worked through the ranks at Duke University for 25 years. One of his proudest statements to each summer staff is, “There isn’t a task that I am sending you to do that I haven’t done before or won’t be right there with you doing it.”
Steven W. Hoffman, The Tax Translator, MT, CFP, EA
Steve is a tax professional with many years of experience and education and is dedicated to providing education and consulting on taxes to colleges and universities and nonprofit organizations.
He has served as Tax Manager of George Washington University, the largest nonprofit educational organization in Washington, DC. He is the former Director of Tax Services, and Payroll in the Business and Finance Division at the flagship West Virginia University. He also served for six years as the first ever Director of Taxation at The Ohio State University, the largest land grant university in the US. He is editor and publisher of the Tax Update Newsletter for Higher Education that is distributed to colleges and universities around the United States and publishes a Blog on taxes in Higher Education that is widely read. His background includes 15 years with the IRS and he is an Enrolled Agent Before the IRS. He has been employed in multiple areas of taxation such as local government, federal government, nonprofit organizations, and corporate taxation.
He was appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury to serve on the Advisory Committee for Taxation for the Tax Exempt/Governmental Entities Division of the IRS where he received the Commissioners Award and also on the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel of the IRS. Steve is also a Certified Financial Planner and graduated with a Master of Science in Taxation Degree from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. He has been a member of the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers and served on the Doctoral and Research Institutions committee. He has presented at the SACUBO, CACUBO and EACUBO Annual Meetings, SACUBO Drive In Workshops and ACUA. In addition, he has provided seminars and workshops for various other organizations. With his extensive experience with the IRS and as Tax Manager for 3 universities, Steve is well versed in ‘tax controversy’ – meaning that he successfully represents colleges and universities before the IRS in audit situations.
Steve is an accomplished speaker who has earned his membership in the National Speakers Association and whose focus is on the audience learning. Known as the The Tax Translator, he makes tax law easily understood and has been called ‘Tax with Personality’. He has been quoted in the USATODAY, and The Christian Science Monitor, Baltimore Sun and the Dominion Post newspapers. He has also appeared on WBOY- TV for a series of tax tips. His book, “Taxation for Universities and Colleges: Six Steps to a Successful Tax Compliance Program” was recently published by Wiley Publishing. His second book, ‘Resources from The Tax Translator” is over 400 pages of samples of policies related to tax, questionnaires, flowcharts, decision trees and other helpful articles to implement the six steps of a successful tax compliance program at your school.
Juliet Holzknecht began her work with Western Washington University as a student staff in Guest Housing ten years ago. Juliet received her undergraduate degree in Sociology at WWU and moved into a professional position within the Guest Housing office where she managed twenty student staff and almost 10,000 conference guests in the residence halls each summer. She transitioned into the Conference Service office at WWU, overseeing conference contracting, youth programs, and forty to fifty student staff for different programs and events each year. Juliet has just finished her Masters of Education in Adult and Higher Education in March 2017 and brings this experience, as well as her background in student affairs into her daily work as both a conference coordinator and student developer. She believes in preparing her students for their life after college in a way that meets the needs of the organization and also challenges student staff as better professionals.
Matthew Jauregui, CCEP
Matthew Jauregui is the Assistant Director of Conference and Event Services at Loyola Marymount University, where he was worked for the past 16 years, both as a student and a full time staff member. Matt oversees the Summer Conference program at LMU as well as manages the Conference and Diagram Database for the department. He obtained his CCEP in 2013.
Laura Johnson-Morris is the Data Warehouse Architect and Kx Administrator for Housing & Dining Services at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her primary objective with the data warehouse is to bring together data from multiple software systems into a central repository for easy reporting and analysis. Previously, she worked as an Area Coordinator in Residence Life and assisted with conference operations in the summer. Her experiences working in conference operations have given her a better understanding of the business needs of conferences, which has translated into responsive IT solutions. Laura has a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Michigan.
Patrick Jordan is an Engagement Manager for the Disney Institute. Prior to joining Disney Institute, Patrick worked as the operations learning and development coordinator of training and recreation for Disney’s All-Star Resort and Mickey’s Retreat. Patrick’s previous professional experience included jobs at a variety of patient care and executive health care organizations. In his role as an engagement manager, Patrick is responsible for building and nurturing the client relationship throughout multiple phases of an ongoing engagement. He leads and manages the concept creation, content development as well as training the client’s facilitation delivery team. Patrick has a Bachelor of Arts in speech communications as well as Master of Education in speech-language pathology.
Nikki Joy joined the CU Boulder Conference Services team in 2015. She has 6 years of diverse experience working with large catered events, conferences and camps, hotel services and in eCommerce. Hailing from the Buckeye state, Nikki graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor's degree in Hospitality Management. She enjoys reading and hiking in the Colorado outdoors.
Charles Keegan began his career in Event Management at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, and it wasn’t long before he took advantage of the service industries relocation opportunities to continue his career development in Hawaii. Over the next (8) years he worked his way up from Catering Assistant at the Renaissance Ilikai Hotel to Director of Catering & Conferences Services at The Kahala Hotel & Resort - one of Hawaii’s premier resorts. Family goals brought about a search for opportunities in the Bay Area and he was fortunate to land in the Stanford Conferences department, where he hopes his career will continue to grow and develop for a long time to come.
Nikki Lee is the Senior Associate Director of Events Management and Conference Services and the University Center at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her previous career of entertainment management allowed a fascinating decade of show, event and concert production, and leading a theme park team of 200 team members. She has led her UTSA team since 2007 through numerous changes and continues to broaden the spectrum of development and services for the campus community and beyond. Her latest adventure is opening a food pantry in the University Center for students in need.
Nikki has a Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership and Policies Studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a double Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre and Communication Arts from the University of the Incarnate Word. She has been an active member of ACCED-I since her first conference in 2009. Come check out one her Zumba® classes at ACCED-I this conference!
Kay S. Lewis
Kay S. Lewis has worked in special events in various capacities since 2003. Growing up, Kay developed a flair for planning events, which manifested into a career as an event planner for colleges and universities, non-profits, private organizations, and private clients. She began working with special events while still in graduate school, designing and editing stationery documents for weddings. She quickly became fascinated with planning, and continued on to produce events through two companies, Kreative Mylestones (with a partner), and Maximized Events (solely), alongside her posts at East Carolina and Duke Universities respectively. Over the years, she has had wonderful opportunities to plan fantastic events with numerous celebrities, dignitaries, renowned poets and all around fantastic people!
Kay is currently the Director of Event Services at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, where they host more than 1,800 events throughout the academic year at the university’s hub, the SMC Campus Center.
In her spare time, she is a published author and podcast host. Kay has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication/Public Relations, and a Master of Arts in Technical and Professional Communication, both from East Carolina University, in Greenville, NC.
Nathan Lubich is the Associate Director of Conference & Event Management and Director of Summer Programs at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut.
Nathan received a Bachelor of Art degree from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point in History, Spanish and International Studies and a Master of Science degree from Arkansas Tech University in College Student Personnel.
In 2013, Nathan joined the newly formed Office of Conference & Event Management after 5 years in Residence Life, bringing with him responsibly for summer programs, the Summer Conference Assistant staff, and summer housing.
Tess Mabry Saffar
Tess Mabry Saffar is the Assistant Director of Conference Sales & Marketing at American University in Washington, DC. Tess attended AU as both an undergraduate and graduate student and completed her BA and MA from the School of International Service. Throughout her undergraduate studies, she spent her summers working for Conference & Guest Services and was hired on full time to the team when she graduated in 2013. Prior to her role as the Assistant Director of Conference Sales & marketing, she spent one year overseeing all of the residence hall front desks, followed by two years as a Conference Operations Coordinator. In 2016, Tess won the ACCED-I Outstanding New Conference and Events Professional Award.
Kelly Mason, CMP
Kelly Mason began working for Conference Services at the University of Colorado Boulder as a Conference Coordinator in 2014. She initially became involved with conference and event planning during her time as an undergraduate student at Colorado State University, working with Conference & Event Services. This eventually led to her earning her Master’s degree in Tourism Management. Her learning experiences and support from her mentor helped her grow and develop her role in collegiate event planning and she hopes to support her peers and students in their futures as she once was. She has taken the lead on student staff training at both CSU and CU and is challenged by her desire to continue to innovate and grow collegiate conferencing’s positive impact on students. Kelly is currently serving ACCED-I as the Student Development Action Team Chair.
Brittany Milan serves as an Assistant Director for Alumni Relations at Central Michigan University. Previously working with Events and Conference Services at CMU, she has had the opportunity to coach and mentor 10 students fulfilling an internship for academic credit. Brittany is passionate about student development and the impact that we as professional staff members can have during such a short period of the student’s academic experience.
Rachelle Merkel Diaz
Rachelle Merkel Diaz is currently the Director of Summer Programs at the University of Indianapolis. As a brand-new office of one, Rachelle works to increase summer class enrollment and grow camps and conferences as well as design and implement new University-wide policies and practices.
Rachelle has spent all of her 20-year career in and around education. As a staff member at University of Illinois-Urbana as well as at Wabash College, Rachelle has worked in student affairs, event planning, and student development. Prior to joining the University of Indianapolis, she also worked in the non-profit sector focusing on leadership, training and state education policy. Rachelle served as the Associate Director for State Relations for Complete College America, the Director of Membership for Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society and the Executive Director for Sigma Kappa Sorority.
Rachelle has her Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.
Orlando Monge is Regional Vice President for PSAV in Central Florida. PSAV is the largest Event Technology Company in the world with over 7,000 employees and 1,500 venues in 13 countries. He is an industry veteran of over 25 years and has held various leadership positions in both Sales and Operations through his career. Orlando’s customers include Walt Disney World, Hilton Hotels, Four Seasons, Gaylord Hotels and Starwood Hotels.
Originally from San Juan Puerto Rico, Orlando is an Orlando resident for 35 years. Orlando and his wife Leticia have been married for 30 years, and have a son and a daughter both in college. Orlando has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Central Florida. He is a competitive tennis player, loves to travel especially to Spain, and reading Spanish novels and biographies.
Barry Neal’s meeting management experience spans a 36-year career.
Neal, an East Tennessee native, has worked for University of Tennessee Conferences & Non-Credit Programs for the past 27 years.
His current responsibilities at UT include strategic and logistical planning and implementation of some of Knoxville’s largest events.
Neal was one of the early pioneers of the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) program, obtaining his certification in 1987.
He serves as 2017-18 Vice-president of the East Tennessee Meeting Professionals where he was chosen the Meeting Planner of the Year in both 2015 and 2016.
Barry earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Christina Patarino, CCEP
Christina Patarino has worked in the hospitality industry for over 30 years. For the last 17 years she has been with Conference Services at the University of Colorado Boulder, serving as the Scheduling Conference Coordinator for seven years and ten years as a Conference Coordinator. She has planned conferences locally and nationally for up to 13,000 participants, along with organizing youth trips to both Rome & Germany. Christina has been an active member of ACCED-I for ten years by volunteering and presenting, along with being a Regional Director and the Hospitality Co-Chair for the Annual ACCED-I 2012 Conference in Denver. This past year she received her CCEP. In her “spare time,” Christina is a singing Diva and most of all loves spending time with her family and friends.
Florine Postell has worked at the University of Cincinnati for 11 years, in various capacities in Campus Services, the division in charge of auxiliary services. She has extensive experience with event planning, conference management, and supervises the campus scheduling function: a program manager and 6 students. She is currently a program director with the Department of Conference & Event Services. This year Florine serves as the president of UCAAMP- a membership association for all staff at UC.
Prior to joining the university Florine was engaged in international relations positions where she engaged locally with the mayor’s office, corporate and civic leaders in efforts to host inbound delegations from abroad.
Florine has served on the national board of Protocol Diplomacy International – Protocol Officers Association for 6 years. She also served on the protocol committees for both the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games hosted in Lexington, KY and the 2012 World Choir Games, hosted in Cincinnati, OH. These experiences has provided Florine with a wealth of knowledge about the intriguing world of protocol.
Heather Rappaport, CCEP
Heather Rappaport has worked in special events and venue management for more than 15 years. Her experiences include AEG/Toyota Sports Center, California Science Center Foundation, and University of Nevada, Las Vegas where she currently the Assistant Director, Sales & Business Operations. Some of her most memorable event management experiences include a luncheon with the Dalai Lama, the State of the City of Los Angeles, Stanley Cup photos, and the Presidential Debate. She is the Region 1 Director Elect and is excited to be receiving her CCEP at the 37th Annual Conference!
Prior to working in Conferences & Events, Heather held positions in Development for higher education and as an elementary school teacher. She has two kids and enjoys ice skating, hiking, and driving her kiddos around town.
Malika Rogers is the Facilities Reservationist for the office of Event Services & Auxiliary Management at Loyola University Maryland and has been an Event Professional for over 10 years. She has an M.A. from Loyola University Maryland and a B.S from Towson University. Malika is a sports fanatic and sci-fi enthusiast.
Suzanne Shaw has been the director of Yale Conferences & Events for three years, but has been with the department for 10 years rising through the ranks. As Director of Yale Conferences & Events, Suzanne is responsible for development of new programs and expanding the visibility of YC&E.
YC&E has gone from being a 6 million-dollar operation to a 13 million-dollar operation in her time as Director. Suzanne has done a complete overhaul with the department going from 6 staff to 14 full time staff in three years, executing strategies for programmatic, services, and fiscal growth. The department has a directive from the Office of the Provost to take on new risks for the advancement of growth and to hit large annual revenue targets for Yale.
She has more than two decades of experience, a bachelor’s in recreation management and an M.B.A. Suzanne has worked for Disney, Quinnipiac University, and South Seas Resorts Company, and is very active in the community, including helping to open the Soundview Family YMCA in Branford, CT. She also is an adjunct professor at Southern Connecticut State University where she teaches Event Management and Travel & Tourism.
Devin Shelby is the Director of Membership at ACCED-I Headquarters. Devin has been in her current position for 1.5 years though she has been in membership within the association management industry for over 8 years. As Director of Membership, Devin oversees two ACCED-I Action Teams; Leadership Development and Student Development. Through this role, Devin works with volunteer members to move the Association forward in its goals.
For McKenzie Suber-Robinson, what started out as a minor curiosity in sporting event operations as a junior in 2001 has now manifested into a promising career that includes experience in both the sports & entertainment industry and the collegiate conferencing sector.
In 2009, McKenzie joined Rowan University’s Office of Conference and Event Services as a scheduling coordinator and was instrumental in the campus-wide rollout of R25/25Live, the University’s web-based event management software. A natural problem solver with the ability to see the “big picture,” his emphasis on customer service, efficiency, and being resourceful resulted in Rowan’s planned 24-month rollout taking only 18 months.
In his current role as Assistant Director of University Scheduling, he now oversees scheduling operations across Rowan’s three campuses and is the lead event coordinator for external athletic and performing arts events.
McKenzie is currently working to earn his CCEP certification. He is a member of the Education Action Team and Regional Director-Elect for Region 5.
Kirstin Taylor is a Professional Services Consultant with Kinetic Software, creator of the Kx product suite. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management with a double emphasis in Event Planning and Lodging from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. She worked for UNL Conference Services where she was a Kx user. Kirstin also worked for the Walt Disney Company in the hotels at the Disneyland Resort in Front Desk and Guest Services positions. Kirstin joined the Kinetic team in 2014.
As associate director of Yale Conferences and Events, Kate is responsible for developing and directing programs and projects that will cultivate and enhance summer operations and programming. She is responsible for the oversight and execution of the summer operation and contributes to their short and long term planning and strategy development. In addition, she serves as the point person for client relationships and client program development processes as well as marketing and communications. She has a B.S. in Finance and Marketing and a M.A. in Educational Psychology. Kate has worked for Northwestern University in educational program management, at the University of Connecticut in conferences and event planning and for Summer Institute for the Gifted as a director of marketing. In her spare time, Kate practices yoga and likes to spend time with family and friends at her home on Cape Cod.
Michele Eicher Whiteside
Michele Eicher Whiteside is currently the Director of Advancement Events at the University of Mary Washington and has been at UMW since March 2016. However, she has been in the events and conferences industry for over 20 years; in fact she started in events as a 16 year old in the catering department at University of Richmond. Michele spent most of her career at UR starting out in catering and then moving over to the Events Office where she was the Events and Technology Manager and Commencement Coordinator. She "retired" from UR in 2010 and to pursue her consulting business working with universities and colleges on setting up their scheduling software systems. And to take a much deserved break!
During her time as a consultant and the 6 year "retirement" from full-time higher ed, Michele had the opportunity to do some traveling. In those years she has been to the Grand Canyon, New Orleans, Charleston, Savannah, Orlando, Chicago, Toronto, Oregon numerous times, the Caribbean a couple of times, Italy and Israel. Her upcoming adventures include a Baltic/Scandinavian Cruise this summer and a trip to the see The Open in Scotland in 2018.
Michele has been a part of ACCED-I since 1998 and has been attending regional and annual conferences since the beginning, volunteering or presenting at most of them. She served as Regional Director for Region 10, Hospitality Co-Chair for Baltimore 2007, Events Program Co-Chair for Orlando 2011, on the Hospitality Committee for Portland 2016 and Orlando 2017, and served on the Board of Directors from 2017 to 2010.
Mark Williams is the COO at Event Guru Software where he oversees all aspects of the company’s operations from marketing and selling to client management, training, as well as leading product development initiatives for their cloud based conference and events management solution. He joined the Event Guru Software team in September of last year bringing over 15 years experience working in the collegiate conferencing world.
Prior to working for Event Guru Software, Mark got his first taste of the conference industry during a work study program at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown’s conference center. After a few years he later returned to Pitt-Johnstown’s Conference Center and secured a full-time professional position as the Conference and Sales Manager where he learned the ins and outs, ups and downs of collegiate conferencing.
He has been involved with ACCED-I for 16 years as both an institutional and corporate member. He is the current Chair of the ACCED-I Corporate Advisory Council where he is working to strengthen and improve the Corporate Membership program. He resides in Johnstown, Pennsylvania along with his wife and their two daughters.
Michelle is the Director of Conference Services at Illinois Wesleyan University, serving the community by providing event coordination and conference services for meetings, conferences, weddings, special events, and summer camps. An active ACCED-I member since 2007, she has presented at several regional and annual conferences, and in 2013, received her designation as a certified Collegiate Conference and Events Professional (CCEP). Additionally, she currently serves as Regional Director for Region 3.
Michelle began her career as a student conferences worker at Emory University, eventually moving up to the Assistant Director position, where she focused on expanding business through their intern housing and commencement housing programs. In 2015, Michelle received her Master’s in Higher Education Administration from Vanderbilt University, and also worked in their Conferences and Reservations offices as part of her degree program. She joined Illinois Wesleyan in June 2015 as their first Director of Conference Services in nearly 15 years, guiding the renewed department from infancy into an established events office.
Leo Young is originally from the great state of Texas, but is also a proud Californian; currently serving as the Conference Coordinator in University Housing Services at San Jose State University. Leo earned his Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Master of Educational Administration with a concentration in Student Affairs from Texas A&M University. Leo has served as an Activities Coordinator for Student Activities at Georgia Southern University; working with student organizations and the University Programming Board. Leo has also served as a risk management and event planning consultant for student organizations with the Risk Management team at Texas A&M University. In his current role at SJSU, Leo has focused on developing a holistic model for risk management with the Conference Services program. To that end, over the past two plus years, Leo has designed and implemented a student staff leadership development curriculum that he is excited to share with you (today).