MPISCC Proudly Announces Its 2017-2018 Chapter Leaders

The slate of chapter officers and directors for MPISCC’s 2017-2018 fiscal year has been announced.  The slate is the result of the work of the Nominating Committee which is headed by the Immediate Past President.

The application process is open to all active members in good standing. Applicants are asked to provide statements of endorsement from employers and other references along with their application. The Nomination Committee then evaluates potential candidates and recommends a final slate. The nominees are recognized and installed at the annual awards gala in June, and get to work as of July 1.

MPISCC and MPI, its parent organization, place a great deal of emphasis on leadership development and education, which ultimately benefit those volunteers of all levels in their professional careers.

MPISCC leaders for the coming year are:

Joe Marcy, CMP, Monterey Convention & Visitors Bureau

“It’s an honor and a privilege to serve as your 2017-2018 President. Our organization has influenced and inspired the meetings industry. Our chapter has done its part to build a strong community. Together we network, educate and evolve. I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead this organization with the talented Board of Directors listed below. Past board roles include: President Elect, Vice President of Finance, Membership, Leadership Development and Communications. Director of Fundraising and Strategic Sponsorship, Marketing, Publications and Advertising. Awarded Chapter Leader of the Year in 2014. I appreciate the support of the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau. As their Regional Sales Executive based in Los Angeles, our relationships within the community have been worthwhile. I’d also like to thank our chapter members who have encouraged and supported our leaders.”


President Elect
Bryan Quinan, CMP, Milken Institute

“Thank you for the nomination to serve on the Board of MPISCC as President-Elect 2017-2018. This is an important role that I am honored to share with you. It’s very humbling to be recognized by one’s peers to lead our chapter. I’ve been a member of MPI for 16 years and recently served as Vice President of Finance. I’ve been a member of the Southern California Chapter for over 10 years. My volunteer experience ranges from the leadership and education committees, to redeveloping the Meeting Basics program, working as co-chair & eventually the board Director of the former tri-chapter SoCal EdCon & Expo. In my role for Professional Development our chapter was awarded a $2500 grant from the MPI Foundation for a peer-to-peer networking event. As the Director of Strategic Sponsorships, we raised $26,000 last year. I currently plan & execute corporate meetings and events for a globally recognized non-profit. As the Director of Events at the Milken Institute we convene the largest gathering of the world’s capital markets. This includes managing complex stake holders like Fortune 500 CEO’s, Nobel Laureates, former & sitting Heads of State and other celebrities and athletes. I’m very excited about increasing the value of the MPI Southern California Chapter. I want to help members recognize and promote the benefits of our organization. I look forward to goals that are getting our members talking about and actively supporting our chapter. I appreciate being able to continue my work for the members of MPISCC in this prestigious role. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.”

Immediate Past President

Nicole Newman, SearchWide

“After a busy and memorable year serving as the MPISCC Chapter President, I am humbled and honored to be spending the 2017- 2018 board term as the Immediate Past President. Located in SearchWide’s West Coast office in Phoenix, AZ, I specialize in senior level recruiting services for all sectors of the hospitality industry by recognizing the needs of my clients and identifying best in class talent. Spanning a 20 year career in the hospitality industry, I bring experience in the group sales, catering and event planning disciplines with Marriott International, Noble House Hotels & Resorts and The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa. I have been an active member of MPISCC since August 2006, volunteering at every level from committee member to committee chair to director to Vice President to finally chapter President. I am excited to serve the chapter as the Immediate Past President for 2017-2018. Thank you.”


Vice President, Finance
Paulette Erato, CMP, International Council of Shopping Centers

“It is an honor to be nominated for the position of the Vice President Finance. I’ve been in meeting planning since 2006 and an MPI member since 2007. In the past, I’ve served on the Board of MPISCC as Director Professional Development, Director of Public Relations and Media, Vice President Communications, and have served on many committees over the course of four years. In 2011, I received the CMP designation. As the Western Division Manager, I manage conferences and events in the Western United States for the International Council of Shopping Centers. Working for a global member-based organization gives me keen insight into working with and for volunteers and enriches my ability to do the same for MPI. As the Vice President of Finance, I look forward to continuing to contribute to this wonderful organization and to our chapter.”


Vice President, Membership
Amani Roberts, The Amani Experience

“I am very honored and excited to be nominated to the 2017-2018 MPISCC Board of Directors as Vice President Membership. Previous positions with MPISCC include Director PR & Social Media and Vice President Communications. I am very proud of the growth our chapter has seen this past year as we have launched our new website and created a new chapter-specific app. We have plans in place to continue our growth in numbers and quality of members. After over 20 years of working in the hospitality industry (including 19 years with Marriott International), I now manage my own Digital Media agency and boutique DJ agency. In my roles, I am responsible for managing the online PR and social media for numerous brands and individuals. In addition, I am also responsible for providing music at various venues, private parties and corporate events throughout the world. I have personally performed at events ranging from 25 people to over 10,000 people in cities that include Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Las Vegas and Cuiaba, Brazil. I have been an active member of MPISCC since 2013 and I cherish the education, networking and mentorship opportunities that MPISCC has made available. Thank you for this opportunity!”


Vice President, Communications
Kristin Twombly, CMP, Capital Group

“I am honored to be nominated as the Vice President Communications for MPISCC 2017-2018. After moving from Massachusetts to Los Angeles six years ago, the MPISCC chapter became my event industry family and I feel so privileged for the opportunity to give back. I currently work as Senior Event Manager at Capital Group. Prior to that, I was the Global Event Manager at Zynx Health in West Los Angeles. I am a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) with over 13 years of professional event management experience producing conferences, incentive trips, tradeshows, weddings and special events. I recently served as the Director Monthly Programs and am eager to continue my involvement with our chapter.”


Vice President, Education
Joe Martin, BDI Events

“Thank you so much for the opportunity to continue spearheading our Education programs for our chapter. By staying in this position for another term, I will be able to focus strategically on our calendar of events, programs and education for future planning. Education is where my heart is in this chapter. Prior to being elected as VP of Education this past year, I have served as a committee member on both the 2012 Annual Fundraiser and the 2012 EdCon event. In addition, I chaired the 2013 Installation Dinner and have served on the Board as the Director of Special Education and Director of Fundraising & Advertising. I was also the proud recipient of the 2014 Gary J Rosenberg Scholarship. I would love to involve the ideas and topics needed from our members, so please reach out to me and give me your feedback! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve again!”


Vice President, Leadership Development
Clint Upchurch, Extraordinary Events

“I have been a member of MPISCC on and off for over 15 years, serving in a variety of capacities as a committee member and Chair on the Membership and Communications teams. I am passionate about the value of membership in this organization and believe that active participation is key. Being an active member has enhanced my life personally and professionally, while also affording me the opportunity to hone leadership skills. I am looking forward to serving as Vice President Leadership Development with the amazing opportunity to engage MPISCC members and strengthen our leadership development together!”


Director, Public Relations & Media
Sasha Tani, CMP, Universal Studios Hollywood

“I am honored and excited to serve the MPISCC Chapter as Director of PR & Media. I joined MPISCC as a student and looking forward to my first Board of Directors position after volunteering for various committees and chairs since 2010. My favorite event was leading the Future Leaders Forum at the Collins College for Hospitality Management, Cal Poly Pomona in which we connected MPISCC industry leaders with hospitality students. In my professional life, I am currently the Sales Manager for Group & Special Events at Universal Studios Hollywood. We offer a unique venue for the ultimate Hollywood movie experience ranging from a fun teambuilding, black tie gala, corporate meetings, or even a fun evening buyout. I appreciate the opportunity to serve on this year’s board and ready to continue the success of our chapter!”


Director, Strategic Sponsorship
Libby Zarrahy, CMP, Hyatt Regency LAX

“It is a great privilege and honor to be nominated to serve on the 2017- 2018 MPISCC Board of Directors as the director of strategic sponsorship. As a 21-year member of MPISCC, I am very passionate about this organization and the significant value that it brings to its members, sponsors and others across the meeting planning industry. I was honored to be awarded Member of the Year by MPISCC in 2016 and, in 2014, received MPI’s Lois K Hauser Award. In this new role, I will seek to establish and strengthen relationships with MPISCC sponsors and ensure that they understand the tremendous benefits of supporting the chapter and its initiatives. I have more than 30 years of meeting planning experience at a variety of hotels and resorts, all of which has contributed to my ability to manage various stakeholders and define value for a variety of sponsors and customers. In my current role, I have overseen the launch of the Hyatt Regency Conference Center, a first-of-its-kind stand-alone meeting space near LAX, from its conception to opening. In partnership with my team of 14 sales and marketing representatives, I have been tasked with retaining past meeting customers and promoting the space to new customers leading to its highly successful opening in January 2017. I am confident that my depth of experience with MPISCC and in meeting planning leadership will serve the chapter well as I embrace this new role. Thank you for this opportunity to serve MPISCC in the 2017-2018 year!”


Director, Special Events
Melissa Goodman, CMP, Denton’s US LLP

“I am honored to be nominated to serve on the Board of MPISCC as Director of Special Events for 2017-18. I have been a member of MPI for the past two years, serving as Chair for the annual fundraiser in 2016 and recently receiving the Shining Star award in January 2017. I have been in the event industry for over 10 years with experience as both a corporate planner and as a Catering Sales Manager for Hyatt Hotels. In November of 2016 I received my CMP, joining the prestigious group of 10,000+ meeting professionals globally. I look forward to bringing my professional background and personal passion to the MPISCC Board of Directors and am thankful for this wonderful opportunity.”


Director, Professional Development
Nikki Wilbur, CMP, Paul Hastings LLP

“I am honored to serve on the MPISCC Board of Directors as the Director of Professional Development. I have been a member of MPI since 2010, originally a member of the New England Chapter prior to moving to Los Angeles and joining the Southern California Chapter in 2014. As a corporate event planner with over 10 years of experience, my transition to the Southern California Chapter has been nothing short of wonderful. Starting fresh in a new city, MPISCC has provided a foundation for networking, education and support that has allowed me to cultivate lasting relationships in just two short years. I’ve served as the Co-Chair for the 2016 WECON program and as Director of Special Events in 2016-2017. I was also the proud recipient of the 2016 Shining Star of the Year award. Volunteering with MPISCC and becoming a member of the board has been a memorable and enlightening experience. It’s provided the opportunity for involvement in other areas of our industry that I don’t normally work within and has allowed me to recognize and hone my leadership skills. I’m very excited to serve as the Director of Professional Development as I believe our educational workshops are vital to our personal and professional growth. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve and appreciate your support!”


Director, Member Recruitment
Kimberly Dunnegan, Island Hotel Newport Beach

“I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to serve on the Board of MPISCC as Director Member Recruitment. While I have had an MPI membership for years, the last few years of actively participating in MPISCC meetings and events have been the most rewarding! MPISCC not only affords members education and networking, but the chance to be a teacher, student, leader and friend. Having been in the Hospitality Industry for more than 20 years, I currently am a Senior Sales Manager with Island Hotel Newport Beach, one of three hotels in the Irvine Company Coastal Collection. This past year I was on the committee of Member Recruitment and appreciated making connections to welcome new members to our organization. Taking this to the next level by leading the effort to promote memberships, will be a challenge, but rewarding. The opportunity to work with a team gives me another avenue to exercise my leadership skills and creatively inspire others. I look forward to working with our Board, members and visitors to grow our chapter and create more partnerships in our industry!”


Director, Member Care
Akemi Shapiro, Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach

“I am honored and thrilled to be nominated as Director of Member care for 2017-2018. I have served as the Director Member Recruitment, Director Member Care, and Director Strategic sponsorship. I’m now in my ninth year at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach. I started with the company as a sales manager, and now as the Director of Sales and Marketing, winning the Director of Sales of the Year in 2015. While at the Westin Hotel at LAX, I was recognized as one of the top sales people in North America. I am able to juggle my work life with my family life. My daughter just graduated from the University of Hawaii and my son is a freshman in High School. Of course I love to travel, but can be found in the kitchen trying out new gourmet recipes. My husband and I enjoy watching professional football, and I count myself a huge fan of the NY Giants and Jon Bon Jovi. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.”


Director, Monthly Programs
Morgan Smith, Entire Productions

“I’ve been a part of MPI for about a year and a half and this organization feels like my family. The first event I went to was the World Education Congress in San Francisco and it was informative AND wild… because that’s what event planners do! They create space to learn, grow, and connect and extend opportunity, all the while having fun, in a relaxed, respectful, and often exciting way. I am so excited to join the MPISCC Board of Directors as Director of Monthly Programs because I want to shake things up a bit and help create the best experiences possible. We are a group of amazing members and I look forward to collaborating with as many of you as possible. Cheers to the future ahead!”