Overall Excellence Chapter Award



Board of Directors

Executive Committee:



Stephanie Evans, MBA, CMP




Stephanie B. Evans, MBA, CMP is the Worldwide Event Production, Conference Manager for Gartner, and visionary behind her thriving family business Wedding Event Design (W.E.D.) and Meeting Professionals International DFW Chapter incoming President-Elect. Stephanie is passionate about all thing’s events. 

With over 15 years of event planning experience, Stephanie continues to develop innovative event management solutions. She has expertise in many different areas, from creating and executing personalized and sophisticated wedding packages to designing and producing live and corporate events that drive growth, marketability, and profitability in challenging and competitive markets.

She has handled everything from live event productions with 250,000+ attendees, corporate events, and intimate social affairs. No matter the size of the event, her commitment to conscientious and professional service remains unchanged.

I look forward to working with all of you to ensure that our organization continues to thrive and make a positive impact. Whether you are the next rising star, a seasoned industry veteran, or someone transitioning to the events industry, I want to remind you all that "You Belong Here!" as a part of the MPI family. 


Tim Altbaum Headshot




Tim Altbaum, CMP, CMM, CESP, HMCC 

Tim Altbaum is CEO of Vario, a premiere Event Production, Virtual Platform and Technology company servicing clients who are looking for a trusted and reliable resource to provide all pre‐production planning, in-person and hybrid A/V, and event technology needs. He is a former board member of NACE, current board member of MPI D/FW, and was awarded Community Leader of the Year by MPI and Supplier of the Year by NACE. He actively contributes to other professional organizations, as well as holds CSEP, CMP, HMCC, and CMM designations. 


As a special event producer and technology junkie, he is constantly striving to bring new and innovative experiences to the meetings and events his company Vario manages. His diverse knowledge set includes extensive expertise in Hybrid/Virtual Meetings, Experiential Marketing, Projection Mapping, Holograms, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR), and Artificial Intelligence (AI).



Annie Matthews

Immediate Past President 

Sandra Dyeak, CMP 

Ferrari's Italian Villa & Chop House



Sandra grew up immersed in the arts and food, ultimately heading to New York University to pursue a degree in Performing Arts Administration.  After school Sandra moved to Houston where she managed the special events program for Stages Repertory Theatre, worked for an event décor firm, Art Attack, and was recruited manage events at The George R. Brown Convention Center.

In 2009 Sandra moved to Los Angeles and ran her own company, Bright Red Events, where she would regularly manage dance and theatrical events throughout the Los Angeles area.

In 2014, Sandra moved to Dallas where she ran the events programs for Sissy’s Southern Kitchen, Lisa Garza Taste Studio, and Cane Rosso.  Sandra was then hired by The Adolphus to cultivate a new restaurant event sales program where she represented The French Room, City Hall Bistro and The Pool at The Adolphus. 

Just recently, Sandra started her own business, The Events Project, building and managing events programs for the restaurant industry. 

Sandra has been heavily involved in the MPI D/FW Chapters for several years – chairing two galas and acting as Director of Education on the Board as well as taking part in many other volunteer opportunities.  She is  looking forward to supporting the chapter’s members in her new role as President.

There is a tree that loved a boy. And when the boy was young he enjoyed the tree’s shade: swinging from his branches, climbing up its trunk and eating its apples. As the boy grew older and his life changed, he needed different things from the tree – apples to sell for money, branches to build a house, the trunk to build a boat, and the stump to simply sit and rest.

This year, I want YOU to think of MPI D/FW as your tree. As you Evolve & Grow throughout your personal life, your professional career, and your experience within MPI, you will need different things from the chapter – apples, leaves, or maybe just a nice stump to rest. 



MPI Pres Elect 2022 (1)



Riz Moosa HS

Vice President of Marketing and Communications


Paola Bowman, CMP, CMM 
Arlington CVB


Paola Bowman is currently the Director of Client Services and Events at the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau. As an experienced hospitality and events professional, Bowman has worked in numerous positions, from front of the house to sales and services. Prior to her current role she worked with the Grapevine CVB leading the Destination Services team. Her previous roles include Visit Fort Worth for over nine years, where she succeeded in a variety of roles from tourism to convention services. 


As an events and destination services professional, Bowman has worked with event planners to build attendance, select partner services, assist with marketing efforts to promote, and welcome the group, and overall help design a successful event and destination experience. In her current role, Paola enthusiastically oversees the destination services offered and to enhance the planner and visitor experience in Arlington, Texas.


Bowman holds the CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) designation from the Events Industry Council and earned her CMM (Certificate in Meeting Management) from Meeting Professionals International. She was named to the Smart Meetings Magazine “100 Women Who Inspire Us” list in 2018 and was recognized in the Connect Association 40 under 40 group of 2019.


She is active in the Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA) currently serving as President, and on the conference, DEI, & continuing education committees, as well as remaining engaged through the mentorship program and the webinar series. Paola is also involved in the local DFW MPI Chapter and was recently re-elected to the Board of Directors, for the 2022-2023 term. Her passion for the hospitality and events industry drives her to remain engaged with industry organizations. 

Vice President of Educational Events


Samantha Vogel 

Freeman Company




Samantha is a strategic and creative thinker with a background in creating and curating experiential events and sponsorships. She is also skilled at leading multi-faceted communication teams, as well as building and scaling global corporate communication strategies. She has a strong focus on internal and external stakeholder relations with an ability to positively influence at all levels of management, as well as work collaboratively to bring unique and unexpected stories and experiences to life. She is detail and results oriented with a passion for creating connection. She has an in-depth understanding of internal and external communications, event & exhibition management, sponsorship & sales management, project management, a passion for learning and a determination to share her talents with others.

Specialties: corporate communications, strategic event management, experiential design & production, sponsorship acquisition & retention, sponsorship activation, trade-show Management, VIP relationship management, contract negotiation, social media marketing, business development, team building.

Vice President of Special Events 

Brandon Walker, CUDE

Cornerstone League



Brandon Walker is the events director for Cornerstone League. Walker has held progressive
positions of responsibility over his 14 years at Cornerstone, including training and events
coordinator, exhibits and sponsorships manager, and event planner, all of which have
culminated in a broad portfolio of experience. His passion for the industry began in high school when he decided to take over the planning of prom and graduation for his class of … 25 students.

Walker grew up on a farm in a tiny town in Oklahoma, but being a farmer would not be his passion. After graduation, he moved to Oklahoma City where he attended the University of Central Oklahoma and received a Bachelor of Science in adult education.

Outside work, Walker enjoys time with his family and two dog-sons, Braxton and Radley. Random road trips or vacationing somewhere tropical are always his sweet spots for enjoying
life. He is very excited to join the board of directors as the VP of special events, and he looks forward to learning and making many connections.


Headshot2022_CharleneEdwards (1)Vice President of Leadership


Charlene Edwards, CMP
Project Unity



Charlene Edwards, CMP, is a 21-year Meeting and Events industry enthusiast who is passionate about the industry and is dedicated to fostering education, ensuring client satisfaction and creating unique and memorable events. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she started her career as a Systems Engineer, but soon found her passion was not in programming computer systems but using her critical thinking and knack for program management to plan meetings and events.

Charlene has meeting, event and trade show experience in the mortgage, pharmaceutical, information technology and oil and gas industries. As a former small business owner of an event planning venture, Charlene worked with public and private sector business entities, colleges and universities, chambers of commerce, non-profits and professional associations on planning and executing a variety of small scale to mega-complex, multi-faceted events and programs. Her ability to have seamless and flawless execution on events gained her the nickname of “the Wizard” of events.

Since 2021, Charlene is enjoying her current role as Director of Programs and Events for Project Unity, a non-profit organization focused on building and sustaining relations between law enforcement and the community and bridging the racial divide. Prior to 2021, she worked at ExxonMobil as an Event Planner for seven years.

In 2014, Charlene earned the Certified Meeting Professionals (CMP) designation and since has been an active member of the MPI D/FW Chapter. As a member, she has served on the Education and Events committee for 7 years, co-chaired the 2015 and 2016 chapter galas, volunteered as a facilitator for the CMP study group for 7 years as well as served as the CMP Study Group committee chair for the last 6 years.

Charlene is very active in her church, St. Paul United Methodist Church Dallas, where she plans community outreach events and works with the youth. She is a Dallas resident with husband Michael Demby and two adult children, Micah and Michael, II.




Cheryl Batzing Headshot

Vice President of Membership 

Cheryl Batzing 

Independent Planner



Cheryl has been involved in the event industry for over 30 years with the opportunity to plan meetings and events as part of a Fortune 500 team, for a national high school baseball tournament, a CPA review firm, a children’s furniture company, a church, and most recently for a VIP Buyer’s Program in the home building industry.  

In addition to her work she enjoys volunteering as a planner for most any organization she stumbles across, currently for her church and MPI’s Dallas chapter.

A member of the MPI D/FW chapter for 4 years, Cheryl learned about the chapter through M.T. Hickman’s Hospitality and Event Planning Program at Dallas College. Cheryl immediately joined the chapter and the Membership committee, where she has served from day one. She’s excited to be a part of the 2023-2024 Board as the VP of Membership and spread the great news about our chapter.

Cheryl grew up near White Rock Lake in Dallas and married a Yankee who was transplanted in Dallas temporarily. They live in Richardson and travel to upstate NY every chance they get to hang out at the family dairy farm. In her spare time Cheryl can be found having coffee with friends, exercising, hiking with her husband, or volunteering at her church or for the American Heart Association.

Vice President of Finance and Sponsorship


Zhanna Atherton
Kalahari Resorts and Conventions


Meet Zhanna Atherton, a dedicated and dynamic individual with a passion for hospitality and building connections. Currently serving as a Group Sales Manager at Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, Zhanna excels at creating tailored solutions and providing services to clients beyond expectations with a focus on fostering meaningful relationships. 

Additionally, being a member of the MPI DFW Chapter, Zhanna actively engages with a vibrant community of professionals in the event and meeting industry. Through networking events, educational opportunities, serving on committees and collaboration, Zhanna continuously expands her knowledge and stays up to date with the latest trends in the field. 

Driven by a love for learning, Zhanna embraces new challenges and seeks personal growth. Zhanna’s genuine interest in meeting new people creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere, making her an asset in building strong professional relationships. 

Beyond her professional pursuits, Zhanna cherishes her time with family and her two dogs. Whether it is taking family road trips, or enjoying quality moments together, Zhanna finds joy in the simple pleasures of life. 

With her experience in operations and group Sales, dedication to professional development and commitment to meaningful connections, Zhanna embodies the spirit of hospitality and the power of forging genuine relationships in the business world and bey


Director of Marketing and Communications


Please contact Stephanie Evans at president@mpidfw.org if you are interested in the position.

Evelyn Hall Bio PicDirector of Educational  Events 

Evelyn Hall
Reata Pharmaceuticals, Inc



Award-winning executive administrative assistant, highly skilled at multitasking and scheduling, planning meetings, events, travel, and office administration.  My motto is to choose joy in every circumstance.  Setbacks are set ups for comebacks.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to shine in my role at Reata Pharmaceuticals, Inc, where we actively pursue scientific discoveries to advance medicine.


Director of Special Events


Jennifer Kachinsky

Jennifer Kachinsky has an over ten-year career in the hospitality industry.  She currently is employed by Hilton Hotels in their corporate Worldwide sales office, where she handles the Association market.  Her duties include assisting her many clients who wish to source meetings with Hilton properties.  Jennifer’s previously worked as an on-property Group Sales Manager for the Hilton Anatole Hotel and the Westin Dallas Downtown.

Originally from Boston, MA, Jennifer relocated to Dallas in 2018 and has been a member of the MPI DFW chapter for 4.5 years.  Prior to her recent selection to the Board of Directors, Jennifer volunteered on various committees including the Leadership, and Special Events committee. She also chaired the 2023 CMP/CMM Breakfast.

Jennifer prides herself on her strong relationships she has built with her clients and in return has become a trusted advisor.  In 2023, Jennifer earned a Hilton’s Circle of Excellence award for her 2022 sales performance. This prestigious award is only reserved for an elite group of Hilton’s top sales performers.

Jennifer is excited for this honor of being asked to join the Board of Directors.  She looks forward to learning from her esteemed fellow board members, to offer her experience and expertise, and especially, to interact with our MPI DFW members.


Director of Leadership

Shakara Shelton
Hilton Worldwide




Shakara Shelton, Senior Manager with Hilton Worldwide Sales leads an account team of 8 sales professionals who support Hilton’s unmanaged accounts. Her team is focused on driving results directly into the enterprise through multiple booking channels. Shakara is considered a player-coach where a significant portion of her time is dedicated to supporting Hilton’s Business Development team in uncovering underserved accounts who should have National Representation from Hilton.


She is most passionate about helping others by unlocking their full potential and guiding them grow into the best versions of themselves.


She graduated from Texas Woman's University. Shakara currently holds a seat on the Pioneer Alumni Association Board of Directors where she is passionate about supporting underserved students at TWU. She married her high school sweetheart, and they have two young children (11 and 2). In her free time, she enjoys basking in the sun with a good book, preferably romance genre.

Shakara is excited to take on the role of Director of Leadership with MPI’s DFW Chapter. She is looking forward to learning, leading and making meaningful connections with the members of MPI DFW Chapter.


Director of Membership


Dena Eichhorst, CSEP
G Texas Catering  



Being part of the event industry has been a hugely rewarding part of Dena Eichhorst’s life.  She first dipped her toe into events over a decade ago not realizing how stressful, rewarding, frustrating, and amazing it would be!  Currently Dena is the Director of Off-Premises Sales with G Texas Catering – a company she has been a part of since the beginning of her career.  She enjoys leading her team in the ever-changing world of event planning and venue management with partners across the DFW metro.

After growing up in Fort Worth, Dena made her home in Dallas with her puppy Bella - who helps to keep the kitchen floor clean while she cooks!  While not in the office, Dena loves to travel and has been fortunate to circle the globe in her travels; and she makes it a quest to get at least one passport stamp each year.  And one day – sooner rather than later – she will make it to Antarctica to complete her goal of touching every continent!

Dena is excited to serve on the MPI Board this year as Director of Membership after many years of serving on committees with the MPI DFW Chapter.


Director of Sponsorships 


Evya Potts-Richards




Evya has worked as Meeting Manager for The Energy Council, a non-for-profit legislative organization for 17 years. Before joining the Council, Evya, was the Southwest Area Meeting Manager for KPMG LLP Accounting Firm for seven years and a Senior Communications Specialist for three years with the firm. 

 With over 20 years in the hospitality industry, Evya has enjoyed all the opportunities, travels, and great relationships that she has developed within the industry. One of her great achievements as a meeting planner was The Energy Council being selected the 2014 Group of the Year by the employees of The Jackson Lake Lodge in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Evya felt it was truly an honor as this hotel hosts groups domestic and international, and to single her and the organization out was an outstanding accomplishment.

 Evya feels that the hospitality industry is continually evolving and the crossroads of a younger generation along with (vintage) professionals who are teaming up to do great things and it is truly an exciting (and busy time). Evya has been a member of MPI for over 20 years, and although serving on various committees, she acknowledged that this is finally her time to give back to MPI and lead on a committee that she feels will simultaneously challenge and excite her. 

 Outside of work, Evya enjoys creative writing, yoga and walking. She has been married to Darryl, who also shares her passion for yoga, for 32 years and they have a son, Kendall. Evya and Darryl love traveling together and have shared some amazing traveling experiences. Recently, Evya became a volunteer at the Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts in Richardson and feels her hospitality skills are a great fit for continuing to build relationships while giving back to her community. 


Caitlin WatsonChapter Administrator
Caitlin Watson
Account Executive, Madeleine Crouch & Co., Inc.
(972) 233-9107 ext. 201

Caitlin went to Arizona State where she received a BIS with concentrations in business and tourism development. She has worked in hospitality for the last 10 years. She originally became a student member of MPI in 2009 for the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter. Currently, Caitlin works for Madeleine Crouch and Company an association management company, with a focus in non-profits, as an Account Executive. She has works with several clients and continues to provide them with professional service. It was through her involvement with the different associations that she joined MPI D/FW in 2018 and has been supporting them as their Chapter Administrator.

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