Honorable Mention Chapter Award

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Honorable Mention Chapter Award

 

 

2020-2021 Board of Directors

 

bruno_duarte_2020President
Bruno Duarte, CTA
Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen
Tel: 714-563-7261
E-mail: president@mpioc.com

Bruno Duarte was born and raised in Los Angeles County where he started his restaurant career at an early age.  He now finds himself as a new resident of Orange County working at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney for over 17 years.  Bruno has transformed his knowledge of restaurant management to become the Sales and Special Event Manager for The Jazz Kitchen.  In his role, Bruno has contributed with PR & Marketing of The Jazz Kitchen not only as a restaurant but in establishing a world class event venue.  Through his role, Bruno has been involved with events for Big Brothers Big Sisters of OC, CHOC & Aids Service Foundation OC Aids Walk and with partners such as Visit Anaheim and Meeting Professionals International.

Bruno continued his education at Cal State University, Fullerton receiving a certificate in Professional Meeting Planning.  He wishes to continue his education in the event and meeting planning industry and to receive his CMP designation one day.  His never-ending involvement with industry associations such as NACE, ILEA, and MPI have helped develop his new passion in the meetings and special events industry.  

Bruno has been on the Board of Directors for MPI of Orange County and continues to volunteer as Chairmen for many of their events.  He was awarded the MPI Rising Star Award for 2014 as well as the Outstanding Chapter Leadership and the President Award from MPIOC.  Bruno is excited to take on the role of President of the OC chapter of MPI for the 2020/2021 term.

Planning an event with Bruno Duarte is not only an experience for any client and their guests, but a lasting relationship - professionally and personally.

jon_trask_2020President-Elect
Jon Trask, CMP CMM
Strategic Meeting Tech
Tel: 714-757-9281
E-mail: president-elect@mpioc.com

Owner of Strategic Meeting Tech and previously the co-founder of AVforPlanners. Jon has spent the last 33 years in the audiovisual and technical production area of the meetings and events industry. Prior to his current position he worked for a number of AV/Staging companies in Southern California as a Technician, Project Manager, General Manager, Senior Account Manager, Director of Sales. Over the past five years he’s also worked as a freelance Technical Director. Jon has been elected to serve as our Chapter President for the 2021-2022 Term. Previous to his current role as President-Elect he served 2 years as Vice President of Finance, and also previously served on the Chapter Board from 2004-2006. 


pawntra_shadab_2019

Immediate Past President
Pawntra Shadab, CTA CIS
Elite Productions International
Tel: 949-367-2900
E-Mail: past-president@mpioc.com

 

Pawntra Shadab is Vice President at the award-winning digital and live event experience agency, Elite Productions International. With the company now for over fifteen years, Pawntra has a hand in designing and producing events for top corporate clients, social and celebrity cliental as well as shows including The Academy Awards, The Grammys, and The Golden Globes. 

In addition to serving on the board of MPI, Orange County, she is also an Ambassador for the Meetings Mean Business (MMB) initiative, Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Committee Member with MPI Global and on the Advisory Board for the School of Entertainment & Hospitality Management at California State University, Fullerton.

Pawntra Shadab has been recognized by her peers, being named “Meeting Planner of the Year” & “Outstanding Chapter Leadership” by MPIOC,  “Smart Woman of The Year“ by Smart Meetings Magazine and “Young Professionals to Watch” by Special Events Magazine.

  

alivia_kimotho_2019Vice-President, Finance
Alivia Kimotho, CMP CTA
IREM Orange County
E-Mail: vp-finance@mpioc.com

 

Alivia has been in the events industry since 2011, where she got her start as an Event Planner for a High School Reunion company. She has also worked at the venue / property level and loves working with clientele from near and far, booking their programs within the Orange County area! She is currently the Executive Director for Institute for Real Estate Management (IREM) Orange County Chapter. Previously she was a Sales Manager with Hilton Worldwide for over 3 years. Alivia looks forward to the experiences and opportunities being a board member for MPIOC will bring during the 2020-2021 term serving at Vice President of Finance.

becerra_analaura_2020Vice President, Membership
AnaLaura Becerra, CTA
Destination Irvine
Email: vp-membership@mpioc.com

 

Born and raised in Mexico City, AnaLaura has been a world traveler since childhood.  Her career started as a camp counselor and while attending University she completed rotating internships that allowed her to experience the hotelier life. With a degree in Tourism Management, she joined Korean Air and was recruited later on as part of the opening team for Malaysian Airlines office in Mexico City. She held a teaching position at her Alma Mater for over a decade. After moving to the US she's worked for Hyatt, Marriott and Hilton properties. Entertaining visitors makes her extremely happy, and she enjoyed her time with AlliedPRA as a DMC. Networking is second nature as well as taking care of guests. In her current role with Destination Irvine, AnaLaura  promotes the city as a premier meeting area of Southern California.  She enjoys long flights, the beach, date nights, popcorn, friends, cooking and volunteering with MPI because when we meet, we change the world. 

beth_hoffman_2020Vice-President, Education
Beth Hoffman, CDS
ConferenceDirect
Tel: 949-510-8580
E-Mail: vp-education@mpioc.com

 

Beth Hoffman, Vice President, Global Accounts, joined ConferenceDirect in April of 2003. She has over 18 years of industry experience in multiple market segments including corporate, association, incentive, non-profit, and direct selling organizations. Beth has been successful in saving her clients time & money, while minimizing future hotel contract liabilities & maximizing meetings ROI. Beth has helped her association clients increase conference attendance, fulfill hotel room block commitments, reduce & remove attrition, negotiate & collect earned rebates, and streamline their overall housing processes.  Recently, Beth has been successful in adding virtual components to her client’s event strategy, as well as reducing or eliminating cancellation damages for events that were forced to cancel due to the pandemic. 

Prior to joining ConferenceDirect, Beth had a successful 15 year career in integrated media sales, including print, digital, and event sponsorship.  Throughout her career at ConferenceDirect, Beth is consistently recognized as a top producer. She is serving her second term as VP of Education for MPI OC.  She is also regular volunteer with the SITE SoCal Holiday Event Annual Fundraiser.  Beth is a founding member of the CD-ECPAT task force team to help spread awareness and stop the exploitation of children forced into human/sex trafficking. Beth lives on Lake Mission Viejo, has two college age children and two rescue kitties. Her passions include experiential travel, gourmet food & wine, dancing, hiking, paddling, snow skiing, and fitness.

deanne_figueras_2020Vice-President, Communications
Deanne Figueras, CMP CMM
California & Nevada Credit Union Leagues
Tel: 951-990-7920  
E-Mail: vp-communications@mpioc.com

Deanne Figueras is Senior Manager of Meetings & Conferences at California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues. She is continuing her role this year as the Chapter's Vice President of Communications and looks forward to serving the Chapter's marketing and communications needs. 

dina_morales_2020Director, Edcon
Dina Morales
Dina Morales Events
Tel: 310-210-7594
E-Mail: edcon@mpioc.com

Dina Morales has been producing social, corporate and live music events for 20 years now. She has been a key member of the production team for the Recording Academy/MusiCares Foundation and an integral part in some of the music industry’s most famous events - including GRAMMY Week events, high-profile benefit concerts, and VIP Experiences with an emphasis on talent relations.  Her client list includes Live Nation/House of Blues, Music Forward Foundation, Dave & Busters and Nike - as well as countless social and corporate partners. 

Dina is a Certified Wedding Coordinator,  a member of Meeting Professionals International,  has served as Southern California Chair for the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Coordinators, has Co-Chaired the Association of Bridal Consultants and has also served on the planning committee for the International Special Events Society, now known as International Live Events Society. She is currently working towards her BA in Interior and Set Design. 
She is proud to lead a team that includes some of the best producers and designers in the industry. Her passion for event production is evident in every project she is involved in; no event is too big and no detail is too small.

demea-metcalf-2020Director, Supplier Sponsorships
Brandie Metcalf, CMP
Meetings Made Easy
Email: spa@mpioc.com

 

Brandie Metcalf, CMP, MS, MA has been going strong in the hospitality industry for the last 18 years through a variety of roles including Executive Director of Visit Visalia, Director of Sales of Destination Irvine, and National Sales Partner with Hilton Worldwide Sales. She has also managed departments at the hotel property level in group sales, event management and new business development. She is a master's degree level tourism planning and destination marketing professional who currently runs her own event planning business as part of the Meetings Made Easy third party planning group. As a Certified Meeting Professional, that enjoys teaching customer service management courses for the University of California, Irvine (UCI) Department of Continuing Education, she also volunteers on the Meeting Professionals International Foundation’s Community Engagement Committee in addition to her board position with our local MPI Orange County Chapter. She is globally minded and a strategic leader who always looks for opportunities to inspire the next generation of hospitality leaders in their pathways to success.

kelly_feeney_2020Director, Special Events
Kelly Feeney
Disney Destinations
Phone: 714-936-7028
E-Mail: specialevents@mpioc.com

 

Kelly Feeny is a Sales Manager with the Walt Disney Company. Kelly looks forward to serving with the Chapter for the 2020-2021 term as Director of Special Events.

gina_gaytanDirector of Education Events
Gina Gaytan, CMP
PRA Destination Management
Email: programs@mpioc.com

 

Gina Gaytan, CMP got her start in the Hospitality Industry at the age of 14 as a restaurant hostess and has never looked back.  30 years later, she has worked her way though many sectors of the industry she loves.  After receiving her Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fullerton in Communications with an emphasis in Entertainment & Tourism Studies, she shifted from food service to event planning and execution.  Cutting her teeth planning events in the restaurant environment she loves, she spent the first decade of her career in events with Patina Restaurant Group and as a Regional and National Events Sales Manager for Maggiano’s Little Italy.  Following was a brief, but exciting time planning events at a 5 Diamond Resort before landing at Visit Anaheim for many years as a Destination Services expert and discovering how much more dynamic selling an entire destination can be.  Her passion for selling Orange County and all the beauty it has to offer visitors lead her to her current role at PRA Business Events, where she has the honor of representing Long Beach and the whole of the OC experience.  

Gina is a California Native and 25 year Orange County resident whose passion for the ocean/nature and food/wine fuels her enthusiasm to represent the destination she loves so much.

troy_karnoff_2020Director of Member Recruitment
Troy Karnoff, CMP
Email: recruitment@mpioc.com

 

Troy brings over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Karnoff's first job in the industry was with Marriott, initially working various operational roles at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa and working his way up to director of group sales. After 16 years with the company, he transitioned into the Conventions and Visitors Bureau sector at Discover Los Angeles, Team San Jose, Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau (based in Chicago) and most recently the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau. Prior to making the move back to California, Karnoff served as manager of new business development for Arena Americas in Chicago.

A Bellflower, California native and current Long Beach resident, Karnoff spent 20 years working with the Special Olympics and is involved with multiple community organizations, including the LGBTQI Center of Long Beach and Art Theatre of Long Beach. His passion for volunteering compliments his business role in the meetings industry culture.

Troy is a newlywed with his husband, Juan Luis Karnoff, the love of his life.

nicole_hickey_2020Director of Retention
Nicole Hickey
AAY Corporate Events
Phone: 949-735-7355  
E-Mail: retention@mpioc.com

 

Irvine, California native Nicole Hickey is an accomplished event planner who has built a reputation of excellence for her company, All About You (“AAY”) Events. Nicole’s over-twenty years of experience has been within all aspects of the events industry, and she’s been recognized with more than 40 “Five Star” reviews from WeddingWire, winning the WeddingWire “Couples’ Choice Award” three times (2016, 2018, 2019).
Nicole has consulted on and planned corporate events for Edwards Life Sciences, MedFit Education, Kia Motors / Hyundai Motor Group, American Cancer Society, Samueli Academy, California Marketing Agency (CMC, Inc.), Pelican Property Management, Digital Machine Design Lab, Newport Boats, Stellar Properties, CFC Concrete Floor Coatings, Susie’s Deals Clothing, and Coast Cabinet Supply, among others.

Nicole’s experience includes international sales support for the Newport Beach Visitors Bureau (now “Visit Newport Beach”), where she planned and executed Familiarization Tours for groups from the world over. Showcasing Newport Beach’s fantastic five-star restaurants and golf courses gave Nicole the opportunity to develop the indispensable skills required to implement a five-star experience by tailoring each event perfectly from beginning to end.
Organization, attention to detail, creative imagination and contagious enthusiasm: These traits have earned AAY a reputation for unparalleled excellence in event planning and production. Nicole and her team will oversee and implement your concepts flawlessly while maintaining a pleasant, calm, and helpful demeanor to ensure an amazing experience for you and your guests. 

Nicole is a board member for Meeting Professionals International Orange County Chapter (MPIOC), and a Certified Wedding Planner through the Association of Bridal Consultants, as well as an active member of WeddingWire and the OC Brides network. 

Nicole is a passionate  member of the American Cancer Society and prepares their annual Relay For Life event in Orange County. Nicole believes in giving back to the community and industry through volunteering, sponsorship and creating standards of excellence to raise the bar of professionalism. 

In her spare time, Nicole is a wife and mother to two amazing boys. They enjoy their time together as a family and with their dog, Sadie. Nicole enthusiastically loves to run and has completed numerous half-marathons. 

jolene_campbell_2020Director of Marketing
Jolene Campbell
Visit Anaheim
Email: marcom@mpioc.com

 

Jolene has been in the events industry since 2008 and began in the fabulous world of OC weddings at Tustin Ranch Golf Club. She has since transitioned to the Meetings & Conventions industry, a welcomed change from “bridezillas” to meeting professionals. She currently works for Visit Anaheim as a Destination Services Manager and has been a part of MPIOC for over 2 years. She is excited to take on the opportunity of Director of Marketing and looks forward growing the MPIOC brand and chapter. 

michelle_sais_2020Director of Public Relations & Social Media
Michelle Sais, CMP
HSF Affiliates, LLC
Email: communications@mpioc.com

 

Michelle has been in the meetings and events industry since 2001, and brings an array of experiences in planning meetings & events with enthusiasm to her board position.
She earned her certification of meeting planning from Cal State Fullerton in 2000. Her eight years of membership with MPI Orange County Chapter has consisted of five plus years volunteering, two years previously on the Board holding the position of Director of Member Retention, as well as awarded the Shining Star. 
Michelle proudly earned her Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) accreditation in 2017, and is excited to continue to grow in the meetings industry and with MPIOC chapter as she serves on the 2020-2021 board in her new role as Director of PR and Social Media.  
Michelle enjoys living by the beach in Huntington and currently works in Irvine as Meeting Manager, Global Conference & Meeting Services for HSF Affiliates LLC.

mike_lasher_2020Chapter Administrator
Michael Lasher, IOM
Gayle Stewart Enterprises, Inc.
Email: info@mpioc.com

Michael Lasher is an association executive with almost 30 years experience in non-profit management. Through his affiliation with the association management firm Gayle Stewart Enterprises, Inc., he currently serves as Chapter Administrator for IFMA Orange County. He is also the Chapter Administrator for Meeting Professionals International, Orange County Chapter (MPIOC), which serves the local meetings and events industry.

Mike began his association management career with Gayle Stewart Enterprises (GSE, Inc.), an association management firm located in Tustin, California, where he aided non-profit professional and trade organizations since 1991. He has served as chief staff executive for nearly a dozen organizations over the years.

He is a 1999 graduate of the Institute for Organization Management and received his Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation from the American Society of Association Executives in 1999.

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