NACE Experience! 2012 Speaker Bios
Richard Aaron, CMP, CSEP, is a former Broadway actor and has been hailed as a pioneer in creating the modern event profession. Aaron has been honored by numerous organizations as one of the most respected event professionals in the country. As president of BizBash Media, Aaron is responsible for numerous annual events, including the BizBash/M&C Event Style Show and the BizBash Event Style Award Show, and manages the sales and marketing strategy for the entire organization. Before joining BizBash, Aaron was president of the meeting and events division of Mallory Factor Inc. where he produced thousands of innovative events nationwide for Fortune 100 corporations and associations with clients including Sony, IBM, Sun, GE, Dell Computers and Siemens.P.J. Acosta, Creative Director, Studio AG. With more than 15 years of experience, PJ Acosta has mastered the art of event design. He not only keeps XA, The Experiential Agency, on the forefront of design, he also ensures seamless execution of the creative vision. He has been described by Real Simple Magazine as “PJ Acosta perfects everything including flowers, lighting, table décor, and art installations in order to create the most glamorous atmosphere for Chicago’s Hottest Tastemakers” PJ has also taught design workshops and has been featured in Michigan Avenue Magazine and the Chicago Tribune. With an extensive background in interior and floral design, PJ has an eye for detail and an unparalleled sense of space management and color theory. He successfully conceptualized and coordinated the opening of Harrah’s Casino, with a party for more than 5000 guests. His skilled floral design can be seen in numerous hotels including the Ritz Carlton, W. Hotels and the Four Seasons.Alyson Anderson, CSW is the national account manager for hotels for Republic National Distributing Company, the United States' second largest alcohol beverage wholesaler. She has over 20 years experience in the food and beverage industry, including restaurant and hotel management, beverage and sales training, and wholesale distribution. She is a Certified Specialist of Wine, a graduate of BarSmarts Live, and has worked with the world’s largest and most prestigious spirits and wine suppliers. At RNDC, I am the liaison between corporate hotel beverage buyers and key suppliers to create and facilitate innovative and successful programming.
Teresa Burr is an international facilitator, consultant and speaker for Master Connection Associates (MCA), a premier consulting and training organization specializing in service delivery, sales and leadership performance. Teresa is a dynamic, straight talk presenter with great enthusiasm and an ability to captivate her audiences. With 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Teresa has gained in-depth knowledge in sales, food and beverage, leadership and customer service. Prior to joining MCA in 1999, Teresa’s hospitality career encompassed positions in all aspects of group sales, catering and conference services with several leading hotels. Teresa is committed to participating in organizations that support the hospitality industry and has been an active member of NACE since 1985.
Nico Cervantes, a Santa Barbara, California native, has always been inspired by nature and fashion. With over 15 years of experience, Cervantes creates a name for himself through not only his work, but through television, editorial and speaking appearances. He was named as one of California’s top floral designers by the "Knot's List of Best Weddings" and is now the principal designer of NLC Productions. Cervantes was a finalist in the Best Fundraising Event category for the 2011 Special Event Gala Awards as well as a 2012 Spotlight finalist for Floral Designer of the Year.
Beverly Church, New Orleans author, designer, and magazine editor, is as comfortable creating an evening gala for a major corporation as she is appearing on national and local television programs as an expert on entertaining. Bev is the co-author of "The Joys of Entertaining" and author of "Weddings Southern Style" both produced by Abbeville Press in New York. Recently, "Entertaining Celebrations: Celebrate Each Month With Pizzazz" and "Seasonal Celebrations" were both produced by her company. She is also the Executive Editor of St. Charles Avenue magazine in New Orleans. Mrs. Church travels throughout the United States lecturing on all facets of entertaining and has educated and delighted regional and national television audiences on hundreds of programs in cities all over the United States from Good Morning America to (HGTV). Her imagination and personal style makes her a sought-after lecturer on successful entertaining.
Danielle Couick, CPCE is an award winning event planner and designer with over 13 years of experience in the special event industry. Her expertise stems from her degree in hospitality and event management, building the bridal division for a leading off-premise catering company and as a Lead Planner and Designer for one of Washington, D.C.'s premier event planning companies. Magnolia Bluebird design & events was launched in 2012 to bring custom, creative and unparalleled services to those who seek an educated and personalized approach to their event or design experience. Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, she has planned and designed events all over the East Coast and as far South as The U.S. Virgin Islands. Her own personality, style and demeanor have often been described as “southern charm with a city twist.”
Warren Dietel is an entrepreneur and established business owner. Unprecedented service and superior quality are the driving principles behind his success. Prior to owning and operating the award-winning Puff ‘n Stuff Catering, Warren made his mark in the business community, both in private ventures and with recognized leaders such as Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Institute and Scott Kay. Today, Puff ‘n Stuff Catering is recognized as a national leader in the catering and special event industries with honors from Catersource, the ICA, and Event Solutions. Warren is an active member of several industry associations including ICA, NACE, MPI and ISES.
Jerry Edwards, CPCE is owner and corporate chef of Chef’s Expressions Catering and Consulting, Wine Express and Elements by Chef’s Expressions, an event design firm, as well as a past president of NACE. Besides having built one of the most successful catering companies in his region, Jerry has traveled the world, speaking, training and assisting caterers, chefs and event planners to animate their clients’ culinary experience. Jerry is currently working on two books,We Have Been in Your Kitchen and We Can Help - A Kitchen Management Guide and Seasons of the Grape a book on seasonal cooking and wine pairing in wine growing regions from all over the globe.
Chris Evans is a seasoned sales and marketing professional who teaches professionals how to close a sale and how to break the china egg. His experience shines in a comedic fashion, as he shares information from his dynamic career while motivating and training business professionals for business and sales success. His Business Boot Camp teaches sales and business development. Evans has dedicated his life to teaching the secret of sales success to organizations, business professionals, entrepreneurs and small business owners. He is the author of How To Double Your Wedding Business in 12 Months and The Secret of Sales Success.
Nicole Fitzpatrick began her career in trade show management at the convention services office of the National Restaurant Association. Nicole most recently entered the exciting and challenging realm of off-premise catering by joining the prestigious team at Calihan Catering as venue and account manager. She has more than 10 years of industry experience and has been an active member of NACE for five years. Her speaking engagements include her local chapter meetings, local university hospitality programs and the National Restaurant Association.
Patsy Foxworth is an Executive Business Coach and inspirational speaker. Patsy’s passion is to help professionals grow and be more successful. She utilizes her knowledge in combination with practical business skills to sort through the buzz and zero in on specific strategies. She is an expert in adding value to business owners by helping them to improve their effectiveness in critical tasks, communications, people skills and time management. She has an outstanding ability to communicate verbally and in writing – making sense of complex situations. Patty is considered to be a superior resource to her clients of people and strategy.
Sonny Ganguly leads WeddingWire's marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and business development. Prior to WeddingWire, Sonny was in a management program at Wal-Mart where he led marketing, sales, and retail strategy development. Sonny spent four years prior at Kraft Foods where he managed numerous consumer brands, including the JELL-O business with P&L responsibility for over $800 Million. Sonny has structured partnerships with companies such as NBC, MTV, Condé Nast, Mattel, Universal, Dole, Reynolds, Costco, and Safeway. Sonny holds a B.A. in Economics with a focus in Management and Marketing from The University of Pennsylvania and attended Harvard Business School for his M.B.A.
Sherry L. Granader, ACE, AFAA, NETA, ACSM, ASFA, BBU, is a sports nutritionist, national speaker and writer specializing in nutrition and slowing down the aging process. Sherry has shared the stage with such celebrities as Whoopi Goldberg, Suze Orman and Lou Ferrigno, The Incredible Hulk. She is passionate about helping people feel and look their best with specific ways to enjoy optimum health and vitality. Her insight into nutrition, fitness, health and well-being will leave you feeling energized with useable techniques that will truly make a noticeable difference in your health.
Jonathan T. Howe, Esq., of Howe & Hutton, Ltd., is well known as an author and speaker. He is frequently a speaker for MPI, ASAE, and others. He serves as president of FASAE, and general counsel for MPI, ISES, and the U. S. Chamber Committee of 100, among others. Founder, past president and board member of the Academy of Hospitality Industry Attorneys, Jon was the first recipient of its Hospitality Industry Attorney of the Year Award. He is legal editor forMeetings & Conventions, The Law and the Planner and the first chair of the Convention Industry Council APEX panel on industry contracts.
Molly Johnson is the Executive Chef at Calihan Catering in Chicago, Illinois. Born just outside Detroit, Molly received her Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature at Michigan State University before her classic French culinary education at Schoolcraft College. Molly worked her way through Michigan restaurants, bakeries, and catering kitchens and, in 2005, relocated to New York to run an Estée Lauder corporate kitchen. In 2010 Molly received her Masters Degree from New York University’s Food Studies Program, where she focused on the cultural consumption of food and world food systems. With her extensive education and experience, Molly leads her culinary team with a commitment to wholesome, thoughtful and innovative cuisine.
Rafael Mael is Marketing Strategist for Brand Launcher, a business and marketing strategyfirm based in Baltimore with a team in the US, Canada, Israel and South Africa. A passionate speaker with a dynamic style that has been called “magnetic,” Rafael dazzles and delivers. You’ll walk out of Rafael’s presentations with smiles―and with can-do action steps that you can put to immediate use. Rafael’s approach is refreshingly practical, with a focus on proven strategies that actually work in the time-strapped, resource-tight world of business. Rafael Mael holds an MBA from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and is an avid runner.
Joe Mahoney, CPCE, Managing Partner of HospitalityStaff, has an extensive background in the catering and event industry and comes to the table with more than his degree in hospitality management. His expertise spans a wide range of staffing, human resources, training, mentoring and management.
Eric Ostrow combines savvy awareness in the hospitality industry with an innate ability to provide clients the reassurance, attention to detail and the service that keeps them coming back. Ostrow is currently the director of sales for Landry's restaurant companies’ signature brands. Prior to joining Landry's, Eric served as the director of sales and marketing for The Glazier Group and also served as the director of national sales for Ruth's Chris Steak House for over 15 years. Eric served as the president of the board of trustees of the Foundation of NACE for three years.
Linnyette Richardson-Hall and her company, Baltimore-based Premiere Event Management(www.theweddingdiva.com), take event planning to the next level for discerning clients locally and across the United States. Linnyette and her team use their artistic talents and intuition to create events that touch all five senses. Television audiences have come to know Linnyette as the out-of-the-box, no-nonsense, designing diva on the Style Network’s, “Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?” Her expertise and work have been featured in countless publications such as Glamour, The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Knot, as well appearances on CNN, Fox and countless other television and radio outlets.
Ed Rosheim, MA started Workplace Languages, LLC in 1995. Ed spent two years in Spain taking courses, teaching ESL to all ages and levels and learning about the Spanish culture. He teaches onsite courses on Workplace Spanish and English as a Second Language and has instructed more than 30 companies, including Marriott and Sodexo. Ed understands that companies want industry and company-specific phrases to get them 'up and speaking' without bogging them down with grammar. He also understands his students’ goals to improve their company's retention rate, increase productivity and cost-effectiveness and build better rapport by being through effective communication.
Dr. Nancy Loman Scanlon, Ph.D, CHE, has over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry and education. Her experience includes an active industry career, both in operations and corporate with Hilton Hotels, Interstate Hotels and Marriott International. Nancy is the author of several hospitality industry books published by John Wiley, including Quality Restaurant Service Guaranteed and Marketing By Menu. The 4th edition of Catering Management is being released this summer. Dr. Scanlon is an Associate Professor at the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Florida International University. She is a frequent speaker at travel and tourism related conferences.
Michele Schwartz’ 15 year career in event planning began at Walt Disney World with stops at major Jewish institutions. Michele now maintains two Jewish lifecycle event blogs, The Modern Jewish Wedding and The Modern Jewish Mitzvah. They provide readers with ideas, inspiration and a select vendor directory to help create events that reflect their unique personalities and Jewish beliefs. In conjunction with Nuptial Essentials Wedding Certification, Michele offers a vendor certification and training on cultural differences in planning Jewish lifecycle events. She maintains memberships in ISES, Women in Communication and many Jewish organizations.
Meryl Snow has emerged as a true leader of the event industry. As co-founder of Feastivities Events, Meryl has spent the last 23 years creating events throughout the Philadelphia region featuring creative and well-executed menus, dramatic presentations, outstanding service and extreme attention to detail. Meryl’s direction has enabled Feastivities to earn prestigious accolades from local, national and international publications and associations including NACE and the Esprit Award from ISES International, the ACE award, Achievement in Catering Excellence, from Catersource Magazine and Caterer of the Year from Catering Magazine and Event Solutions Magazine. Meryl teaches seminars across the country.
Mark Shaffer is president and national publisher of Beautiful Bride Magazine, headquartered in Las Vegas. Mark has been in the wedding industry since 1977. He produces annual bridal shows with a staff of 25 and manages the online, website and social marketing of the company. His annual Wedding Awards has an attendance of more than 200. Working with more than 300 top wedding professionals, Mark speaks on a variety of topics from networking for success, bridal show tips and trends, social media, selling and closing the deal, and sales and marketing for wedding professionals.
Kristi Gray Shepherd has successfully operated an event business in the Twin Cities for over 20 years. For the first 12 years, the company was known as Kristi Gray, Inc. or KGI. KGI's events ranged from sports to guerilla marketing to entertainment to educational conferences. Kristi's expertise has been tapped to assist with many of the national events that took place in Minnesota, including the Super Bowl, U.S. Figure Skating Championship, International Special Olympics and the U.S. Open. In 2002, Kristi renamed her company Event Architects. Her husband, Fred Shepherd, joined the company in 2003, providing production, logistics and marketing expertise for all Event Architects projects.
Fred Shepherd is a master of logistical management and can squeeze more out of a budget than anyone in the event business. Fred’s career began in sales and marketing, and he has sold or managed nearly half a billion dollars in products and services over the course of his career. Fred was both consumer and service provider in the corporate sector, and developed and produced incentive programs and corporate meetings throughout the world, involving thousands of sales people. In 2003, Fred joined Event Architects to provide the company and its clients with production, logistics and marketing expertise.
Chef Daryl L. Shular is the corporate executive chef for Performance Foodservice-Milton’s. Chef Shular is a highly respected food consultant, culinary arts instructor, and frequent motivational speaker. His career and achievements have been recognized and featured in many media publications, including the prestigious African American historical archives, The History Makers. As a member of the American Culinary Federation since 1993, he has received over 12 gold medals and eight “best in shows” in local and national competitions. In 2005 Chef Shular was a member of The Art Institute International Culinary Team, a seven member team representing the United States as delegates to the Chinese Government. The team competed in the International Hotel and Restaurant Association Culinary Salon, taking home top honors.
Monique G. Studak, CSW, CSS is the southern region sales and training manager for E&J Gallo Winery, specializing in the hotel and catering industry. She has been involved in the wine industry for 20 years, working in three states and six major markets. Her current position puts her in day-to-day contact with hotel and catering venue teams as she provides wine program consultation, auditing and training. Her specialty is developing wine programs for catering teams that help generate additional revenue and profit dollars. Monique is a Certified Specialist of Wine, a Certified Specialist of Spirits and a lecturer at the Conrad Hilton College for Hotel and Restaurant Management.
Merlin Verrier was raised in the central coast of California, where seasonality is seen in its purest form and quality ingredients are always the focus. His West Coast vibe and passion for music, combined with his playfulness and humility, fit in perfectly with the culinary vision of Chef Graham Elliot. Merlin received his culinary education from the Western Culinary Institute in Oregon, which was followed by almost a decade of experience working in numerous restaurants across Colorado. He was a chef for James Beard nominated Jennifer Jasinski at Rioja and a Corporate Chef for Richard Sandoval’s restaurant group. Merlin came to work with Chef Elliot in Chicago, helping launch his first solo project, Graham Elliot, in 2008. Since then, Verrier has consistently been Graham’s right-hand man, assisting in opening the sandwich concept, Grahamwich, as well as serving as the executive chef of Graham Elliot. Under Merlin’s tenure, Graham Elliot received one Michelin star in both the 2011 and 2012 Chicago guides. Whitney Gray Wilkerson is founder and ceo of Next for Women, an online community for young women in the early stages of their careers, offering life-stage relevant advice, information and guidance from experts in a broad range of fields. Whitney is a graduate of Hampshire College with a decade of executive experience in marketing and new media at Giorgio Armani Corporation, Condé Nast Publications, and Stop Studios, Inc., an award-winning creative firm of which she is a founding partner. Whitney is a recognized leader in her field and is passionate about educating and energizing other young women to succeed.
Cvent Online Event Registration Software | Copyright © 2000-2013 Cvent Inc. All rights reserved.