Artists of Assembly: 2017 40 Under 40

By Connect Staff, May 4, 2017

Event professionals are the ultimate puzzle solvers. To most, the idea of putting together a set of dates, a venue, a program, a speaker lineup, an education schedule, food and beverage orders, audiovisual packages, marketing materials and more is overwhelming, to say the least. Then there’s the whole part about actually getting people to attend. But somehow, there are individuals who piece it all together perfectly, executing events that are not only educational and have ROI for their associations, but that participants enjoy. There’s an art to it all, and one that commands respect. We are proud to introduce Connect Association’s 2017 40 Under 40 class, who we’ve officially dubbed “Artists of Assembly.” We can’t wait to see what they dream up next.

Sadie Agurkis Connect Association 40 Under 40Sadie Agurkis, CMP

38 • Education and Training Manager
Northwest Regional Primary Care Association


Rachael Antonucci Connect Association 40 Under 40Rachael Antonucci

26 • Meeting Services Specialist
American Society of Anesthesiologists
Arlington Heights, Ill.


Eduardo Arabu Connect Association 40 Under 40Eduardo Arabu

32 • Associate Director
National Hispanic Corporate Council
Washington, D.C.


Kelsey Berglund Connect Association 40 Under 40Kelsey Berglund, MMP

26 • Director of National Events
Arabian Horse Association

Co-Founder and Event Connoisseur
Cowgirl Creative LLC

Lydia Blanchard Connect Association 40 Under 40Lydia Blanchard

27 • Sales Manager
Fairmont Chateau Laurier
Ottawa, Ontario


Jamie Blick Connect Association 40 Under 40Jamie Blick

35 • Marketing and Conference Administrator
Association for Iron
& Steel Technology


2017 40 Under 40Krzysztof Celuch, Ph.D., CMM, CITE,

34 • Director
Poland Convention Bureau, Polish Tourist Organization

Warsaw School of Tourism and Hospitality Management
Warsaw, Poland

Colleen Chase Connect Association 40 Under 40Colleen Chase

30 • Senior Account Manager
Stewart Transportation
Solutions Inc.


Kristy (Klawitter) Corrente Connect Association 40 Under 40Kristy (Klawitter) Corrente

31 • Member Services and Conference Planner
Canadian Association of Physician Assistants
Barrie, Ontario


Robyn Davis Connect Association 40 Under 40Robyn Davis

31 • Trade Show Strategy Specialist
Exhibitor Education by WINH


Caroline "Carrie" Dietrich Connect Association 40 Under 40Caroline “Carrie” Dietrich

38 • Program Manager, Conferences and Meetings
League of Cities
Washington, D.C.


Elizabeth Glau Connect Association 40 Under 40Elizabeth Glau, CMP

38 • Attendee Experience Manager
International Society for Technology
in Education
Portland, Ore.


Barb Harris Connect Association 40 Under 40Barb Harris, CSEP, DMCP

31 • Vice President of Event Services
CTC Destination Management


Samantha Huff Connect Association 40 Under 40Samantha Huff

31 • Program and Planning Manager
Golf Course Builders Association of America
Lincoln, Neb.


Derrick M. Johnson Connect Association 40 Under 40Derrick M. Johnson II, CMP

32 • Director of Meetings
The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers
Washington, D.C.


Mahoganey Jones Connect Association 40 Under 40Mahoganey Jones, CMP, DES, HMCC

37 • In-Person and Hybrid Event Producer
Event Specialists
Brampton, Ontario


Melissa Kane Connect Association 40 Under 40Melissa Kane

30 • Co-CEO
Black Bird Design
Rochester, N.Y.


Holly Lammert Connect Association 40 Under 40Holly Lammert

26 • National Convention Sales Manager
Explore St. Louis
St. Louis


Wojciech Liszka Connect Association 40 Under 40Wojciech Liszka

36 • Owner and CEO
Krakow, Poland


Molly C. Marsh Connect Association 40 Under 40Molly C. Marsh

31 • Director of Education and Engagement Design
Management Services
Lexington, Ky.


Taylor Michel Connect Association 40 Under 40Taylor Michel

24 • Meetings Manager
American Gaming Association
Washington, D.C.


Tory Ondrla Connect Association 40 Under 40Tory Ondrla, CMP

39 • Conference Supervisor
Association of College & Research Libraries, a Division
of the American Library Association


Alex Plaxen Connect Association 40 Under 40Alex Plaxen, MTA

31 • President and Founder
Little Bird Told Media
Silver Spring, Md.


Morgan Popalaski Connect Association 40 Under 40Morgan Popalaski, CMP

33 • Executive Director of Sales and Services
Luxor Hotel and Casino
Las Vegas


Robert P. Richie II Connect Association 40 Under 40Robert P. Richie II

34 • Association Sales Manager
Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel & Conference Center
Rome, N.Y.


Robert Riggs Connect Association 40 Under 40Robert Riggs, CAE

37 • Executive Vice President
Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity

Executive Director
Phi Kappa Theta Foundation

Laura Romaine Connect Association 40 Under 40Laura Romaine, CMP

29 • Senior Meeting Planner
NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association
Arlington, Va.


Julia “Jules” Schenk Connect Association 40 Under 40Julia “Jules” Schenk, MSM

35 • Director of Marketing
National Panhellenic Conference Inc.


LaToya Scott Connect Association 40 Under 40LaToya Scott, CMP

35 • Meeting Planner
Texas District & County Attorneys Association
Austin, Texas


Craig Shoffit Connect Association 40 Under 40

Craig Shoffit

36 • Director of Group Sales
Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.


Clark Sikora Connect Association 40 Under 40Clark Sikora

33 • Sales Manager
Embassy Suites by
Hilton Sacramento Riverfront Promenade
Sacramento, Calif.


Shane Sorenson Connect Association 40 Under 40Shane Sorenson, TDM, CTE

30 • Convention Sales Manager, SMERF and Government
Visit Plano
Plano, Texas


Jason R. Stewart Connect Association 40 Under 40Jason Stewart

29 • Youth Engagement and Events Manager
National Youth
Leadership Council


Elisa Stritt Connect Association 40 Under 40Elisa Stritt

31 • Meeting Planner
National Conference on Weights and Measures
Lincoln, Neb.


Ushma J. Suvarnakar Connect Association 40 Under 40Ushma J. Suvarnakar, MTA, CMP

34 • Director of Meetings and Conferences
American Anthropological Association
Arlington, Va.


Brandi Tribell Connect Association 40 Under 40Brandi Tribell, CMP

35 • Director of Operations and Events
Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association
Okemos, Mich.


Taylor Weinstein Connect Association 40 Under 40Taylor Weinstein

27 • Director of Event Management Services
Redstone Agency Inc.


Deidre Wetelainen Connect Association 40 Under 40Deidre Wetelainen

39 • Vice President of Convention Sales and Services
Visit Rochester
Rochester, N.Y.


Kira Wisniewski Connect Association 40 Under 40Kira Wisniewski, CMP

33 • Director of Operations
National Women’s 
Studies Association


Vick Wowo Connect Association 40 Under 40Vick Wowo

29 • Senior Sales Manager
Whitney Peak Hotel
Reno, Nev.


About the 40 Under 40 process: Nominations are submitted by colleagues and peers through Connect Association’s website. They are then reviewed by Connect’s editors, and finalists are vetted before the final list is selected for publication. Honorees must be under the age of 40 as of May 1, 2017.

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