Sunday, July 24, 2022 to Wednesday, August 10, 2022 (GMT-4)

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Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando

Adventure Way 6601
Orlando, Florida

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Bofta Yimam (Speaker, Emmy® Award-Winning Journalist, Coach)

Bofta Yimam

Speaker, Emmy® Award-Winning Journalist, Coach


#MotivationMonday Keynote Speaker

Bofta Yimam is an Emmy® & Edward R. Murrow Award-Winning Journalist, DC-based National TV Correspondent, International Speaker, Executive Coach & Business Owner. She has spoken to distinguished audiences in London, Africa and across the United States. Bofta is the first Ethiopian-American newscaster to receive an Emmy® award. As a premier keynote speaker and owner of a boutique visibility and marketing firm, Bofta is living proof that success is not a static object one obtains but a flowing fabric woven from life’s trials and struggles that you wear as a banner of strength and resilience. She believes in embracing your Multi-dimensional Gifts™ and taking risks to create your own route to success — and embracing the challenges, too.

John Rivers (Founder & CEO of 4Roots and 4R Restaurant Group)

John Rivers

Founder & CEO of 4Roots and 4R Restaurant Group


Culinary Experience Speaker

John Rivers is Founder and CEO of 4Roots and 4R Restaurant Group. Following a 20-year career in healthcare, John Rivers retired as president of a $1.5 billion company to pursue a lifelong dream of opening a restaurant. In 2009, John created his first concept, 4 Rivers Smokehouse, which quickly became one of the fastest growing restaurants in the Southeast. The business grew to 22 locations to include John’s other concepts, the Southern-inspired COOP, the Mexican themed Cantina at Disney Springs, and the farm-to-table 4Roots Café. 4 Rivers garnered national recognition being named “The South’s Best BBQ” by Southern Living, and the “#1 BBQ Restaurant Chain” by MSN. Born out of John’s garage, the “barbeque ministry” remains at the heart of the company’s mission to lift up those in need and help build better communities. The culmination of the 4R Foundation’s work, the Orlando based 4Roots Farm will serve as a community campus to inspire revolutionary change in Florida’s food system through education on sustainable and regenerative farming, advancements in agriculture technology, and research in culinary medicine via the launch of the Culinary Health Institute. Author of The Southern Cowboy Cookbook and graduate of Florida State University College of Business, where he served on the Board of Governors, John has been named one of the Restaurant Industry’s Power 20 Leaders by Restaurant Business & News, Restauranter of the Year by Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, and Orlando Magazine’s “50 Most Powerful, 15 to Watch”. John had the honor of cooking at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City and was twice named a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. John serves on the FDACS Food Security Advisory Council and the Department of Agriculture Innovation Committee for the State of Florida, and is a member of the Florida Governor’s Council of 100. John lives in Winter Park with his wife and two children, and serves on the boards of numerous school, church, and local charitable organizations.

Troy Adams (Owner at Carolina DJ Professionals)

Troy Adams

Owner at Carolina DJ Professionals


Educational Breakout Speaker

A sought-after DJ, speaker, writer, and coach, Troy Adams delivers content and experiences that resonate. Named one of the 500 Most Influential Event Pros by BizBash, he's also an elite WeddingPro educator, NACE peer counselor, and his company is one of the most accomplished in the US. A believer in lifelong learning, Troy founded the “Make Your Business Dance” development platform and a nationally acclaimed Lunch & Learn series, each dedicated to better business practices for colleagues. A professional DJ since the age of 16, Troy also juggled successful "mini-careers" as a TV broadcaster, golf pro, GM, and business coach. He launched Carolina DJ Pros in 2013 and now manages a team of 30 across three cities. Drawing from his experiences and lessons learned across multiple high-performance industries, he’s committed to fueling the F.I.R.E. of colleagues, clients and guests through his work.

Nadia S. Anderson, CPA, CWEP (Founder of Virginia Grace Event Management)

Nadia S. Anderson, CPA, CWEP

Founder of Virginia Grace Event Management


Educational Breakout Speaker

Born, raised, rooted, and rising in Richmond, Virginia, Nadia S. Anderson is a believer, a connector, and a creator. A multi-passionate entrepreneur, Nadia supports small business owners and non-profit organizations through her CPA practice. She combines creativity with her business experience to delight and inspire clients and guests of Virginia Grace, an event management company focused on luxury weddings and large-scale community events. In 2021, she opened Lavender Hill, a co-working space and garden event venue, and founded By Black Richmond, a nonprofit whose mission is to close the racial wealth gap by cultivating Black excellence. In all her efforts, Nadia seeks to protect her peace and promote the value of rest and play in the rhythm of productivity. A proud graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia, Nadia is a certified public accountant (CPA), chartered global management accountant (CGMA)and certified wedding and event planner (CWEP) with more than twenty years of experience. She enjoys sharing her smarts, giving practical advice to boost confidence with money matters, and inspiring others to stress less and chase joy.

Niko Bennett (Event Designer at Hello! Florida)

Niko Bennett

Event Designer at Hello! Florida


Creative Consultant

Aurora Dawn Benton (Chief Change Agent at Astrapto)

Aurora Dawn Benton

Chief Change Agent at Astrapto


Educational Breakout Speaker

Dr. Aurora Dawn Benton is Founder and Chief Change Agent of Astrapto LLC, which exists to advance positive impact in the workplace. Her passion is to make sustainability practical and approachable for people whose main job is not sustainability, but who have a passion to improve social and environmental performance in their operations and supply chains. Aurora loves helping people realize their potential while discovering a greater purpose for good in business. She has helped over 120 young professionals launch green teams and perform sustainable procurement audits. Her clients include World Wildlife Fund (Hotel-Kitchen), Sodexo Live (Centerplate), Baltimore Convention Center, Green Seal (hotel eco-certification), the Events Industry Council, and various hotels and restaurant groups. She has been a thought leader and volunteer in industry organizations, including the Events Industry Council and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. Aurora has a Doctorate in Business Administration in Social Impact Management.

Shantel Campbell (Marketing Manager at Arthur's Catering)

Shantel Campbell

Marketing Manager at Arthur's Catering


Creative Consultant

From receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in Communications from the University of Delaware to conducting marketing research at Stanford University, Shantel Campbell has developed a strong background in all things branding and advertising. With over 7 years in the event industry as the Marketing Manager at Orlando's top catering company, you can usually find her strategizing, designing, managing Arthur’s social media accounts, or capturing photos at our most exciting events!

Kai Carter (Event Sales Manager at Vines Grille and Wine Bar)

Kai Carter

Event Sales Manager at Vines Grille and Wine Bar


Creative Consultant

Kai Carter moved to Orlando 10 years ago to work for the mouse, where he was able to discover how he could mesh his passion for hospitality with his love for the arts and performing. He spent a few years performing in the theme parks and on cruise ships, then returned to his hospitality roots at Cooper’s Hawk Winery. This sparked Kai's interest in event planning, moving him into a sales position at Kings Bowling Alley for 3 years before the pandemic. Kai enjoys meditating, writing in his journal, spending hours inside Home Goods, traveling, and performing as a male burlesque performer with the Lady Boys of the Blue LaLa Lounge. His favorite holiday is Thanksgiving because it’s all about good food, great company, and waking up hungover at 10 pm to a fresh turkey sandwich.

Sharon Charny Woschitz, WSET II (Hospitality Trade Wine Educator at SJC Wine, LLC)

Sharon Charny Woschitz, WSET II

Hospitality Trade Wine Educator at SJC Wine, LLC


Educational Breakout Speaker

Sharon Charny Woschitz, WSET is a 30-year veteran of the hospitality food, wine, and spirits industry. She holds an accredited chef’s degree from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and WSET Wines and Spirits professional certification. Known for her passion for the industry, Sharon most recently launched her hospitality-focused wine education company, Vine-To-Wine, after a 26-year career with Breakthru Beverage Group, a US wine and spirits wholesaler. She has held numerous positions throughout the food and beverage ranks concentrating in the hotel and hospitality sector. Throughout her career, she has focused her efforts on developing innovative sales techniques and training combining her food, wine, and spirits knowledge while creating successful beverage programs for hotels, caterers, and fine dining restaurants.

Emily Cole (ESquared Meetings and Events)

Emily Cole

ESquared Meetings and Events


Creative Consultant

Emily Cole has lived in Orlando for 26 years and is a proud hospitality graduate. Having earned her bachelor’s degree in Event Management from the Rosen College of Hospitality Management, her passion is planning corporate and social events. Emily has been active in the hospitality and restaurant industry for 10 years, holding positions in event catering, special events, and public relations. She has assisted numerous restaurants and wine bars in their social media, networking, and events departments. Emily has been an integral member of the Orlando Chapter of NACE Marketing & Communications committee, taking on the role of Social Media Chair and single-handedly overseeing their Instagram account. Her participation in the events industry won her a full year NACE membership scholarship, full ride scholarship to attend 2021 NACE Experience in Las Vegas, and she was also placed on the 2021NACE National President’s List. Emily was interviewed on the Orlando events podcast “Swag and Repeat” and uses her experiences to come up with “wow” events for e2 Destination and Event Management. She is certified in Cvent Venue Sourcing and COVID-19 Operational Planning and is currently planning on getting her CPCE certification by the end of 2022.

Alicia Crosby, CPCE (Director of Events at The Baltimore Museum of Art)

Alicia Crosby, CPCE

Director of Events at The Baltimore Museum of Art


Educational Breakout Speaker

Alicia Crosby, CPCE, has worked in the catering and events industry in Baltimore for more than 22 years. Specializing in unique and historic venues, she is currently the Director of Events at The Baltimore Museum of Art and was previously the events director at the American Visionary Art Museum. Alicia has also been the chair of the Unique Venue Professionals of Baltimore (UVPB) for the past four years and has been an active member of NACE since 2002, holding many leadership positions with the local Baltimore board, including three terms as chapter president, as well as chair and volunteer positions on national committees. In her spare time, she is an adjunct professor at Notre Dame of Maryland University, teaching everything from event management and wedding planning to pop culture and film, theory classes. She has also worked as a consultant helping design a hospitality degree program, with minor and certificate options. She has been teaching college courses at NDM since 2004.

Kelly Dalisa, CPCE (Account Executive at CORT Events)

Kelly Dalisa, CPCE

Account Executive at CORT Events


Educational Breakout Speaker

Kelly Dalisa, CPCE began her career in events more than 20 years ago in Northern California as an owner/operator of an upscale wedding venue. Prior to moving to San Diego, she expanded her talents into non-profit, corporate, and social events through various roles including designer, sales, and operations. Within in the last several years, Kelly has made the jump to the supplier side of the industry. As a national sales executive for CORT Events, she has been able to use her years of experience in strategic designing to help her clients execute events for their high-profile clients. No matter the size of each event, Kelly’s goal is to always exceed the client’s expectations by supporting them with design ideas and more.

Renée Dalo (Owner at Moxie Bright Events)

Renée Dalo

Owner at Moxie Bright Events


Educational Breakout Speaker

Wedding planning wasn’t always in the cards for Renée Dalo. Instead, what started out as a seemingly one-time favor for a friend evolved into a thriving side-hustle to her acting career. When it was her turn to walk down the aisle, she flipped the script and discovered that the wedding industry was truly where she belonged. Shortly after her “I do’s,” she started Moxie Bright Events, a boutique wedding planning company, and never looked back. It wasn’t long before fellow industry pros were looking to her for advice. With over 13 years of experience under her belt, Renée turned her knowledge towards the advancement of the industry as a whole and launched her top-notch educational resources for event pros. In addition to her self-guided Wedding Management e-course, she is also the founder and host of the popular B2B podcast, Talk With Renée Dalo. Renée is a fan favorite on the speaker circuit, taking the stage at national and international conferences across the country, including Alt Summit, Wedding MBA, and The Special Event, among others. She is recognized across the industry, having earned a coveted spot on Honeybook’s 20 On The Rise and BizBash’s 500 lists, and she contributes frequently to industry publications. She currently serves as the President of WIPA Southern California and has also held leadership roles in The Association of Bridal Consultants and The Rising Tide Society.

Carol Dekkers (President at Curated Craft Experiences LLC)

Carol Dekkers

President at Curated Craft Experiences LLC


Educational Breakout Speaker

Carol Dekkers is a seasoned public speaker and event coordinator with a passion for craft beverages. She has more than 25 years of experience in fast-paced technology and customer-focused environments and has delivered hundreds of presentations and workshops to audiences in over 30 countries on topics ranging from communication (No more Death by PowerPoint®), leadership, quality, technology, cultural diversity and craft beverages. In both 2007 and 2008, SAP international chose Carol to deliver the keynote address to their 500+ global quality professionals in Waldorf, Germany. Carol’s TV appearances include Fox TV (for Tampa Bay Beer Week 2013), Channel 8 NBC affiliate (in Jan 2016 for the USO benefit “We Want Brew! Fest;” and in Mar 2016 to highlight National Beer Day.) She has also been quoted in the NY Times for her expertise on craft beverages (Oct 2013). Carol presented at NACE Experience in 2016, 2017, and 2019 with sessions on Craft Beverages (various titles).

Thuy Diep, CGSP, DMCP, CSEP (Senior Experience Designer at Haute)


Senior Experience Designer at Haute


Educational Breakout Speaker

Thuy (2E) Diep, CGSP, DMCP, CSEP, brings that Los Angeles energy to the Austin-based full-service creative & event agency, Haute. With her experience of spilling the tea on Event Brew Podcast, holding the industry microphone in her leadership positions with ILEA as 2021-2022 Past President of the Los Angeles Chapter + International Committee for DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion), and using her voice on the Board of Directors for SEARCH Foundation for #EventProfs in crisis… she’s now ready for this engaging educational session you won’t want to miss! Thuy is currently Smart Meeting’s Smart Women in Meetings – Stellar Performer, Connect Meetings + Bizbash’s 2022 40 Under 40 Award Winner, and now she's coming to Orlando, FL to connect with fellow NACE Experience #EventProfs on Return on Emotions!

Meghan Ely, CWIP (Owner/President at OFD Consulting, LLC)

Meghan Ely, CWIP

Owner/President at OFD Consulting, LLC


Educational Breakout Speaker

OFD Consulting owner, Meghan Ely, CWIP combines in-the-trenches event experience with a love of wedding PR to empower her clients to take their businesses to new heights. She is a WeddingWire Education Expert as well as a regular contributor to Wedding Planner Magazine, Wedding Business Magazine, Catersource and SpecialEvents.com. Meghan is the 2022 WIPA International President and is a long-time supporter and member of NACE. Special Events honored her as one of the top 25 young professionals in the event industry, and NACE recently honored her as Speaker of the Year.

Megan Estrada (CEO/Event Consultant of NSWE Events)

Megan Estrada

CEO/Event Consultant of NSWE Events


Educational Breakout Speaker

Megan Estrada is a seasoned wedding and event industry professional who has been in the event planning and hospitality industry for over 20 years. In 2011, after spending years as a Director of Catering for luxury hotels, she decided to bring her experience and insider industry knowledge to the client and establish NSWE Events. Megan prides herself on helping clients stay organized, keep within a budget, and attain the wedding or event beyond their initial expectations. She believes that unique events require extra creativity, not necessarily expenditures. She approaches coordinating events professionally to provide a creative and logical method to the process. In 2020, Megan Estrada established the NACE Covid-19 Task Force in Illinois, Florida, Virginia, Massachusetts, and New York, which worked with state and city governments to create the reopening guidelines for the events industry. She is an events industry leader holding the position of volunteer National Advocacy Team Leader for the NACE.

Brian Green, CMP, CMM (Principle / CEO of By Brian Green)

Brian Green, CMP, CMM

Principle / CEO of By Brian Green


Educational Breakout Speaker

Brian Green, CMP, CMM, is an award-winning event planner, speaker, and educator with over 20 years of experience in the international events industry. He is the owner, Chief Event Architect and Creative Visionary of By BrianGreen based in Atlanta creating amazing social and corporate events worldwide. Brian is a former Diplomat for the country of Barbados. Brian is a dynamic and engaging speaker who infuses personal and professional experiences into his presentations, from working in a corporate environment to becoming an entrepreneur. Taking audiences on a journey that allows them to engage more personally with the topic and come away with gems to help them along their path to success. He has graced the stages of Engage, TSE, CaterSource, NACE Experience, Wedding MBA, Coterie Retreat and Signature CEO. He was the featured guest expert on The Steve Harvey Show for their annual Wedding Hour where he presented great tips and advice on how to host the best wedding while avoiding the usual pitfalls. Brian has been featured and published in every major industry publication including Grace Ormonde, Bride's Magazine, Inside Weddings, Munaluchi Bride, Essence, The Knot, B Collective, just to name a few. As part of his strong activism and belief in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, he currently serves as Chairman of the Board for the National Society of Black Wedding & Event Professionals and is the DEI Director for National Gay Wedding Association. He is a Mentor for the Fellowship for Change by WeddingPro for 2021 and returning for 2022.

Aleya Harris, CPCE (Business Growth Strategist at Flourish Marketing)

Aleya Harris, CPCE

Business Growth Strategist at Flourish Marketing


Educational Breakout Speaker

Aleya Harris, CPCE is the founder and owner of Flourish Marketing, an agency dedicated to helping service-based creative entrepreneurs reach their full potential through “done with you” and “done for you” marketing education, strategies, and copywriting solutions that attract more clients. She is a firm believer that business owners should make good money doing what they love, and she uses her position as an industry thought leader to share tangible revenue growth tools. Aleya has made it her mission to transform small business owners from invisible and overwhelmed to sought-after and confident. Her decade-plus long career, including being a chef, catering company owner, and marketing executive for a major foodservice corporation, has provided her with a multi-faceted knowledge base she leverages to create actionable strategies for passionate empire-builders looking to turn their talent into treasure. Her engaging personality makes learning how to develop lucrative streams of income fun, inspirational, and valuable. As a professional speaker, she fosters interactive discussion about practical marketing tactics and profit-driven storytelling to motivate her audience to take charge of their financial futures. Her quality presentation skills and expertise in social media marketing, brand storytelling, marketing strategy, and email sales funnels have earned her spots and top rankings on stages across the nation, including The Special Event and Catersource. A WeddingPro Educator for 2021, Aleya also currently serves as the marketing committee chair for NACE National and is the proud founder and head of the NACE Black Caucus. More recently, Aleya was honored as the 2020 NACE Emerging Member of the Year, celebrating her commitment and dedication to the organization along with President’s Award for Leadership in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for her work with NACE to develop an action plan for Black member support. She has received the Certified Professional in Catering and Events (CPCE) designation to add to her list of accolades, which also includes being a StoryBrand Certified Guide.

Haley Hogan (Event Designer at Hello! Florida)

Haley Hogan

Event Designer at Hello! Florida


Creative Consultant

Courtney Hopper (Owner at C&D Events Inc)

Courtney Hopper

Owner at C&D Events Inc


Educational Breakout Speaker

Hustle + Gather is a training and consulting firm that is on a mission to inspire others to take big leaps, dream big dreams, and create amazing teams that grow profits and enjoyable (but productive) culture within business. They specialize in the hospitality industry and have coached and trained businesses to increase their profitability while creating a kick-ass team along the way. Over the past 15 years, Courtney Hopper and Dana Kadwell, CPCE have built and operated three successful businesses in the Raleigh North Carolina area. Starting off from ordinary, they paved their way by sheer grit and tenacity splashed with some therapy and coffee along the way. They are on a mission to inspire others to take big leaps, dream big dreams, and create amazing teams that grow profits and enjoyable (but productive) culture within your business.

Kristine Iverson (Crow Practice, LLC)

Kristine Iverson

Crow Practice, LLC


Creative Consultant

Kristine Iverson is a wellness advocate, activist, yogi, business owner, and most recently, author, with a passion for stress management achieved through living a holistic lifestyle. Naturally gifted in hospitality, Kristine loves to share that passion with others by teaching life changing practices to help live life to the fullest! She is the owner of CROW (an acronym for ‘coordinated response on wellness’) Practice, LLC, a national hub of wellness providers who bring both live and virtual sessions to events all over the country. Kristine offers many services through her personal and shared experiences in the health and wellness industry.

Sarah James, CPCE (Owner at The Sarah James Agency)

Sarah James, CPCE

Owner at The Sarah James Agency


Educational Breakout Speaker

hotel catering departments, guiding her teams to success and winning many local and national awards. Going back to her roots in writing, paired with her communication and marketing experience, Sarah now works as a freelance copywriter, consultant, and speaker. She works with companies to increase their website traffic, engage with customers to increase sales, and save time, all in their unique brand voice.

Dana Kadwell, CPCE (CEO of C and D Events)

Dana Kadwell, CPCE

CEO of C and D Events


Educational Breakout Speaker

Hustle + Gather is a training and consulting firm that is on a mission to inspire others to take big leaps, dream big dreams, and create amazing teams that grow profits and enjoyable (but productive) culture within business. They specialize in the hospitality industry and have coached and trained businesses to increase their profitability while creating a kick-ass team along the way. Over the past 15 years, Courtney Hopper and Dana Kadwell, CPCE have built and operated three successful businesses in the Raleigh North Carolina area. Starting off from ordinary, they paved their way by sheer grit and tenacity splashed with some therapy and coffee along the way. They are on a mission to inspire others to take big leaps, dream big dreams, and create amazing teams that grow profits and enjoyable (but productive) culture within your business.

Tom Kokinakos (Managing Partner/Director of Catering and Sales at Inspired Catering and Events)

Tom Kokinakos

Managing Partner/Director of Catering and Sales at Inspired Catering and Events


Educational Breakout Speaker

With over 25+ years of experience, Tom Kokinakos is a native Chicagoan who specializes in full-service event management/production and creative menu planning. Currently the Senior Sales Manager at Inspired Catering & Events, he has worked with over a hundred different venues throughout his city, creating events for up to 7500 attendees. He is also the current Vice President of the Chicago NACE Chapter.

Don Mamone (Owner at The Mamones LLC)

Don Mamone

Owner at The Mamones LLC


Educational Breakout Speaker

Don Mamone’s decade-long career in hospitality culminated with their role as the Director of Events for the world-renowned Beverly Hilton. Determined to pursue a life-long passion, Don and his wife Emily opened their photography studio 15 years ago guided by and based largely on principles learned on the front lines of hospitality. Creating an award-winning studio photographing from Dallas to destinations around the world, The Mamones are confident their success is due in no small part to their People First Then Profit philosophy. As a speaker, strategist, coach and catalyst, Don is dedicated to helping teach creative entrepreneurs how to revolutionize their business by building legacy brands that attract their dream clients for life by loving themselves unconditionally and showing up unapologetically! Don lives happily outside the gender binary as a spouse to their beautiful and talented wife Emily and as a proud parent to their intelligent and loving daughter Frankie.

Paige Mejia, FPO (Co-Owner/Chief Marketing Officer at Pyrotex)

Paige Mejia, FPO

Co-Owner/Chief Marketing Officer at Pyrotex


Educational Breakout Speaker

Paige Mejia, FPO, has been featured on KERA’s Art and Seek, NBC, CBS, The CW, The Meeting Professional Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal. A fourteen-year veteran in the events industry, she is co-owner and serves as Chief Marketing Officer of Pyrotex, the oldest Texas-based professional pyrotechnic display company. This firework lovin’ gal is passionate about the value of networking in growing your event business. Past board member of CCEP, TxACOM, and ILEA Dallas, Past President of the D/FW Chapter President of Meeting Professionals International, and incoming board member of D/FW NACE, Paige resides in McKinney with her high school sweetheart, two teens, and a menagerie of animals.

Tara Melvin (Founder & CEO of Perfect Planning Events)

Tara Melvin

Founder & CEO of Perfect Planning Events


Educational Breakout Speaker

Seventeen years and continuing, Tara Melvin has evolved into an award-winning event planner in the Washington DC metro area, thought leadership expert, helmed as one of BizBash’s Top 500 Most Influential Event Professionals in 2020, founder and producer of The Signature CEO Conference (TSCEO), founder and mentor of The Executive Wedding Planner Mentor Program, and founder and President of The National Society of Black Wedding & Event Professionals (NSBWEP); the first and only non-profit association for Black professionals in the wedding/events industry. Her experience as a professional allows Tara to connect with people and create moments that clients cherish for a lifetime. Her passion for the beauty of creating fabulous moments yields to the fulfillment of the hearts of those who have hired her; however, it is Tara’s fierce attention to detail and flawless execution that is noticed and provokes a resounding BRAVO! by all engaged in the experience. Always.

Rajan Mistry (Owner at District Events & Catering)

Rajan Mistry

Owner at District Events & Catering


Educational Breakout Speaker

Having over 15 years of experience in the catering and event industry, Rajan Mistry has fulfilled all roles in servicing and executing both social and corporate events. These roles include menu curation, vendor relations (contract negotiations), client relations (event creation), timeline production, venue relation (communication), catering service, and project management to lead a team for event execution. Rajan has produced and managed many successful events of high capacity, domestic and international. Recent accomplishment includes joining the ICA Board.

Gabrielle Mourino, CPCE (Senior Account Manager at Imprint Events)

Gabrielle Mourino, CPCE

Senior Account Manager at Imprint Events


NACE Orlando Conference Ambassador

Gabrielle Mourino, CPCE is a graduate of the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida with a degree in Event Management and a love for the industry. Over the past 10 years, she has collaborated on a variety of events including weddings, fundraisers, concerts, and corporate meetings. Gabrielle is motivated by creating one-of-a-kind experiences and seeing those visions comes to life. Gabrielle is currently a Senior Account Manager for Imprint Events Group, a boutique experiential events company where she helps clients produce events that make a mark. She is a Past President of the NACE Orlando Chapter and has earned her CPCE designation. In her spare time you can find Gabrielle trying out the newest foodie spot in Orlando or exploring the outdoors with her husband and rescue pup!

Mallory Mullen (Sales Manager at Goodshuffle Pro)

Mallory Mullen

Sales Manager at Goodshuffle Pro


Educational Breakout Speaker

With over a decade of events and entrepreneurship experience, Mallory Mullen thrives at Goodshuffle Pro as a Sales Manager, empowering owners to unlock their potential and reach their business goals. Mallory has worked with a variety of companies, ranging from small businesses, to corporations, to tech startups to solve their unique challenges, drive customer/client engagement, and ultimately generate more revenue for their businesses. Acting as both a trusted advisor and hands-on coach, Mallory’s background in operations, marketing, and sales enables her to tackle business challenges holistically rather than the sum of the parts.

Selina Mullenax, CPCE, CMP, CGSP (District Account Executive at CORT)

Selina Mullenax, CPCE, CMP, CGSP

District Account Executive at CORT


NACE Orlando Conference Ambassador

As a first-generation college graduate, Selina Mullenax, CPCE, CMP, CGSP earned her bachelors’ degrees in event management and hospitality management from the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida. In true hospitality fashion, she has worked in multiple restaurants, a children’s resort, 3 wedding planning companies, a national event management company and now the largest furnishing rental company in the country. Selina serves as the Secretary for NACE Orlando. In addition to NACE, Selina is serving on the Board of Directors for the Orlando chapter of MPI for the 7th year. Selina gives back to the community by volunteering her time and expertise to her alma mater via the Event Advisory Board, the Dean's Alumni Board, and the Rosen College Alumni Chapter where she serves as a Mentorship Co-Chair. Selina was awarded the inaugural Rosen College of Hospitality Management Alumna of the Year award in 2017 and was in the 2019 class of UCF’s 30 Under 30. Selina founded a sales mastermind group for the meetings and events industry called “The Glittering Hour.” Lastly, Selina is a co-host of a weekly industry podcast called “#SwagAndRepeat” which serves as the voice behind the networking events in Orlando’s meetings and events industry.

Abhi Natarajan (Senior Partnerships Manager at Instawork)

Abhi Natarajan

Senior Partnerships Manager at Instawork


Educational Breakout Speaker

Abhi Natarajan is a Senior Partnerships Manager at Instawork, responsible for working with over 100+ hospitality Partners across the East Coast. As a senior member of the Team, he supports new customers as they implement a flexible staffing solution into their operations.

Christie Osborne (Owner at Mountainside Media)

Christie Osborne

Owner at Mountainside Media


Educational Breakout Speaker

Christie Osborne, proud data nerd, is the owner and founder of Mountainside Media, a consulting firm devoted to using market research, data, and analytics to support event professionals as they develop scalable marketing strategies to grow their business. Christie is dedicated to guiding the industry in a direction that ditches tired, old sales pitches and turns its focus on what really matters: turning data into dollars. Her penchant for all-things-digital and a knack for critical thinking have made Christie into the analytics master that she is today, always prepared to dig into web metrics and refine a marketing strategy based on its ROI. Her approach marries website stats with social media data for an effective one-two punch of real, concrete analytics that is invaluable to her clients. Beyond data-driven marketing analysis, Christie frequents the national speaker circuit where she shares her expertise onstage for organizations like NACE, Catersource, WIPA, and ABC. She is also a regular contributor to industry publications, including Special Events, Catersource, Sage Wedding Pros, and Wedding Business Magazine.

Lee Pancake, DipWSET (Owner and Director of Education at Slate Wine Academy)

Lee Pancake, DipWSET

Owner and Director of Education at Slate Wine Academy


Wine Pre-Conference Education Speaker

Lee Pancake, DipWSET got his start in the wine industry in 2011 as a stock clerk at his uncle's locally owned wine market in Orlando, Florida. At the time, he was attending UCF for business management and entrepreneurship while trying to figure out what he wanted to do after university. As time passed, Lee was bitten hard by the "wine bug" and developed an insatiable thirst for wine knowledge. Through books provided to him by his uncle, Lee developed an impressive base knowledge on the subject. In 2017, Lee began his journey through the WSET after meeting local Master of Wine, Jean Reilly. He quickly rose through the ranks under her guidance and later that year began teaching under Jean, fulfilling his dream of educating others on the subject he had become so passionate about. Four years later, after honing his skills in front of a classroom, Lee became the Education Director and Owner of Slate Wine & Spirits Academy. Lee divides his time between working with his uncle in their family-owned wine market and teaching WSET courses through Slate Wine & Spirits Academy. When he is not teaching, Lee produces music and spends time traveling the globe with his beautiful wife Madison.

Renee Sabo (Founder and Owner of Urban Soirée®)

Renee Sabo

Founder and Owner of Urban Soirée®


Educational Breakout Speaker

Renée Sabo’s lifelong love affair with weddings started out as a high school dream that quickly evolved as she pursued a career in the industry throughout college and beyond. From rentals to planning to catering, her diverse experience has touched every corner of the industry and has led to her role as a multifaceted thought leader for event professionals everywhere. Inspired to start her own business, Renée received her MBA with a focus in entrepreneurship and quickly put her degree to work when she launched Urban Soirée® in 2017. Today, her award-winning company delivers elevated and romantic celebrations through full-service wedding planning and design for couples on the East Coast and destinations worldwide. Renée’s success with Urban Soirée® has earned her and her company numerous accolades, including being named as the Best of Boston® 2020 - Best IRL Wedding Planner by Boston Magazine. She was also recognized as ILEA Boston’s Top Planner in 2019 and has ranked in WeddingWire’s Couples’ Choice Awards for three consecutive years since opening her doors. When she’s not busy bringing her clients’ dreams to life, she’s committed to providing quality education to the industry through her podcast, The Confetti Hour, where she shares insight and fosters candid conversations with experienced wedding creatives. Her devotion to the future of the industry extends to her role as President of ILEA Boston, as well as her passion for one-on-one mentoring with the next generation of planners. Renée resides in Boston with her husband, Chris, and their dachshund, Lincoln. In her spare time, you can often find her sipping on bubbly and oysters with friends, exploring the charm of New England, or traveling to far-flung destinations seeking out new cultures and design inspiration.

Geoffrey Sandler (Owner at Celebrations Entertainment)

Geoffrey Sandler

Owner at Celebrations Entertainment


Educational Breakout Speaker

Geoffrey Sandler, owner of Celebrations Entertainment, has been working in the event industry for over 30 years. While growing up in Madison, Wisconsin, Geoffrey’s family was very involved in the arts and this gave him the base for his love for performing. While he loves music, his passion is guiding an event through all its phases. Whether it is a wedding reception, fundraiser, corporate event, Bar or Bat Mitzvah, or just a simple picnic, Geoffrey personalizes each unique event for each unique client. While serving in the military in the 80’s and 90’s, Geoffrey learned many different musical styles and ethnic traditions. This, along with his theater and dance training, gives him the extra edge while at events; the edge to feel the energy of the guests, the edge to be a storyteller and guide the event through all the phases and traditions and the edge to play the perfect song at the perfect time. No two events are the same and Geoffrey thrives on letting events be what they are. Geoffrey is not cheesy, scripted, or forceful. Many DJ’s try very hard to ‘entertain’ or ‘play games.’ Geoffrey believes that everyone is coming to your event to have a good time and he just lets them. This has led Geoffrey to be an event director, host, emcee, and even as an event auctioneer.

Michael Stavros (Partner | BizDev at M Culinary Concepts)

Michael Stavros

Partner | BizDev at M Culinary Concepts


Educational Breakout Speaker

After 24 years in the industry, Stavros still has unbounded passion for all things catering and live events. He and his partners at M Culinary Concepts have built one of the largest and most diversified privately held catering companies in the US. As leader of BizDev and long-term strategy, Stavros always looks forward with excitement for what's next, from business opportunities to industry developments to tantalizing trends. As a devoted member of NACE, Stavros is honored to be at Experience with longtime colleagues, new friends-in-the-making, and professional idols.

Shannon Tarrant (Co-Founder of Wedding Venue Map)

Shannon Tarrant

Co-Founder of Wedding Venue Map


Creative Consultant and Educational Breakout Speaker

Shannon Tarrant is on a mission to help event industry businesses shake things up. A professional go-getter, she has a distinctive 15-year background in developing companies into the top of their local market. As an off-site caterer and then venue manager, she developed both companies into local powerhouses by following the same system for success. Shannon is a highly regarded coach, working alongside vendors while running her own wedding business - Wedding Venue Map, a resource helping couples to find the perfect venue. Her successful system includes strategic planning, goal-oriented sales, outside-the-box marketing, and exceptional vendor relationships. Shannon has been featured on Catersource, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Special Events. No matter which hat she's wearing, her goal is simple - to empower companies to differentiate themselves and drive measurable results using a proven system of small changes with big impact. Shannon tells it like it is, whether you’re ready for it or not.

Terrica (Wedding Industry Educator, Speaker & Podcaster at Terrica Inc)


Wedding Industry Educator, Speaker & Podcaster at Terrica Inc


Educational Breakout Speaker

With over seventeen years in the wedding industry, award-winning wedding planner and designer Terrica has been creating exquisite weddings and events in the Golden Isles. As the Chief Wedding Planner and Designer of Cocktails & Details®, she leads a team of talented wedding planners and event managers in creating unforgettable destination Southern weddings. She also launched The White Lounge, a virtual wedding planning concierge service that brings destination wedding couples and wedding professionals together.

Passionate about the industry that has given her so much, Terrica also spearheads the Unity Through Community initiative to make the industry more diverse and inclusive.

A recent nominee for NACE’s Speaker of the Year Award, Terrica’s speaking engagements are always highly anticipated as she is known for her humorous, yet blunt down-to-earth approach. Traveling across the States and internationally, shares her breadth of knowledge at conferences such as Wedding MBA, Catersource, Wedding Pro, NACE Experience, DWP Congress, and a host of others.

Blase Viti (Director of Partnerships at Qwick)

Blase Viti

Director of Partnerships at Qwick


Educational Breakout Speaker

Blase Viti is Qwick’s Director of Partnerships and has worked exclusively in the technology-driven staffing space for over 6 years. As the Director of Partnerships, he leads all the strategic integrations and builds national workforce solutions at Qwick. Over the last 6 years, Blase has built complex workforce solutions equating to over $1 billion in total spend. Working on both the local and national level, he has extensive experience in matching talent resources to business needs with a particular emphasis on the technology and hospitality industries. Currently, Blase is the President of the Chicago Arts in Partnership Junior Board, is a member of the Midwestern Jesuit Fundraising committee, and holds the F&B Chair for the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Men’s Club. Before embarking on his extensive career, Blase earned his Master’s of Science in eCommerce from Dublin City University in Ireland and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management at The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

Leah Weinberg (Owner at Color Pop Events)

Leah Weinberg

Owner at Color Pop Events


Educational Breakout Speaker

Leah Weinberg is the owner and creative director of New York City-based wedding planning company Color Pop Events and author of the newly published book, The Wedding Roller Coaster. Celebrating eight years of business, Leah continues to leverage the organization skills, calm communication style, and ability to multi-task she initially developed as a commercial real estate lawyer in her previous career. Her colorful work and party planning tips have been published online and in print with Vogue, the New York Times, People, CNBC, Bravo, Martha Stewart, and The Knot, among others. Recently, Leah has been recognized as a 20 on the Rise winner by Honeybook and the Rising Tide Society, one of the 25 Young Event Pros to Watch by Special Events Magazine, and one of BizBash's Top 500 Event Pros in the US. A WeddingPro Educator with The Knot + WeddingWire since 2020, Leah travels throughout the country sharing insight with her peers regionally, as well as at national conferences such as ALT Summit, NACE Experience, and The Special Event.

Roderick Westmaas, CPCE (Community Support Leader at The Camden Society London)

Roderick Westmaas, CPCE

Community Support Leader at The Camden Society London


Educational Breakout Speaker

Rod Westmaas, CPCE, served NACE as President of the South Florida Chapter (2005-2006), President of the Inland Empire (1991-1995, South of Los Angeles) Chapter, Foundation President (1995-98) and National 2nd Vice President (1992-1994). He grew up and was educated in the UK before moving to the US in the early eighties. He first settled in South Florida and then moved to Los Angeles when he joined the Specialty Restaurants Corporation, working at two of their most prominent properties: The Rusty Pelican (Key Biscayne, Florida) and the Castaway (in Burbank, California). He served as Director of Catering at each property and worked in addition as Corporate Catering Trainer. He returned to the UK ten years ago to spend time with his late father. He continued to work in the hospitality industry joining the French contract caterer, Elior, as Hospitality Manager and was responsible for the catering in the meeting rooms of a prestigious London law firm. During the 2012 Olympics he worked at the VIP restaurant and was responsible for hosting royalty, celebrities and politicians alike. He also worked for Arsenal (the legendary soccer team) alongside celebrity chef, Raymond Blanc. Rod and his wife, Juanita, live in South London. He took his hospitality career in a different direction upon the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic. Joining a prominent British charity, he manages a respite for special needs adults ensuring that their quality of life is maintained and respected. Passionate about history, he has written and presented on Black Legacies and currently offers walking tours in London highlighting their contribution to the city.

Amanda Williamson (Owner at Save A. Date Events)

Amanda Williamson

Owner at Save A. Date Events


Creative Consultant

Amanda Williamson of Save A. Date has a true passion for event design & planning. She makes it her #1 priority to ensure that her clients’ vision comes to life and that they enjoy their celebration, stress-free. With over 18 years in the hospitality industry, Amanda has a keen sense for organization, timeliness, and design. She holds a professional certification from The Bridal Society and earned her bachelor’s degree in Event Management from the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida. Amanda is a proud Knight and gives back to her college as well as the community. She is on the Programs Committee for the Orlando Chapter of NACE and the Events Committee Co-Chair for the University of Central Florida's Rosen College Alumni Chapter.

Kristin Wilson (President at Our DJ Rocks + Photobooth Rocks)

Kristin Wilson

President at Our DJ Rocks + Photobooth Rocks


Creative Consultant

Kristin Wilson is the Founder and CEO of the admired all-female DJ company, Our DJ Rocks. Based in Orlando, Florida, they rock 800-1000 events a year collectively with their roster of 10 talented DJs and a team of over 30 dedicated event and hospitality professionals. Loving what she does and leading by example, Kristin is passionate about educating DJs and industry professionals worldwide. Partnering with brands like WeddingPro, Perfect Wedding Guide, The Bridal Society, Disc Jockey News, DJ Times, and QSC, Kristin is working to help others excel forward in all areas of business and life. She is also a member of the Dean's Advisory Board for the University of Central Florida and acts as Director of Communications for the National Association of Catering and Events (NACE) in the Orlando Chapter. She is highly sought after in the event industry as “someone you need to know,” and continues to expand both businesses through constant recruiting and training, seamless operations, and a laser focus on sales management and leadership.

Philip Wolf, CMP (CEO & Founder of Cultivating Spirits and Cannabis Wedding Expo)

Philip Wolf, CMP

CEO & Founder of Cultivating Spirits and Cannabis Wedding Expo


Educational Breakout Speaker

Philip Wolf, CMP is a widely recognized cannabis pioneer, visionary, and Rolling Sone Culture Council Member. He’s a 12-year legal cannabis industry veteran who started out opening medical dispensaries in 2009. Since his dispensary days, the legal cannabis market expanded, and so did he. He founded a cultivation consulting company and worked with a Wall Street banker/investor to open OBT Ventures, a holding company focused on the ancillary side of the plant. OBT Ventures inspired Philip to do the work he was born to do: open the minds of Americans to the benefits of cannabis, and showcase them in the form of celebration, ritual, and elevated dining. Since then, he’s founded Cultivating Spirits (Colorado, Las Vegas and California), co-founded the Cannabis Wedding Expo (Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Boston and Toronto - New York/Chicago in 2022) and is currently creating CashoM. His focus: to bridge the gap between mainstream America and cannabis through experience and lifestyle.

NACE National Conference Advisory Committee

Thank you to the NACE National Conference Advisory Committee who provide feedback and support for the planning, themes, and trends for the conference!

Committee Chair: Steve Kemble

Committee Members:

Andy Bomberger, CPCE

Carol Dekkers, P.Eng, Cicerone Level 1

Michele Edison, CPCE

Scott Malouche, IMM

Cindy Marshall, CPCE