Amy Cowden, CMP
Amy Cowden is a graduate of San Diego State University and a veteran of the meeting/event industry with over 20 years of experience, earning her CMP in 2005. Her experience includes being a corporate planner as well as working as an event manager for third-party planning companies in both Dallas and San Diego. Amy has been an active member of the MPI San Diego chapter since 2009 serving on the CMP Study Group committee, as the Director of Education for 2 years, as the VP of Education for 2 years and now as President-Elect. Amy welcomes the opportunity to work with the board to ensure our chapter is meeting our members’ needs.
Steve Levin, CMP
Steve Levin earned his CMP and CMM designations to be a better supplier for his transportation clients and better leader for MPISD. Steve is President of Sterling Rose Consulting, a company serving the transportation and meeting industries to provide better experiences for meeting and event ground transportation. Steve previously served as President of Sterling Rose Transportation, an award winning chauffeured transportation provider serving all of Southern California before selling his company in July of 2016. Sterling Rose specialized in providing transportation to the Meeting and Events Industry. Steve has created a system he calls “collaborative manifest management” using Google docs to create a live manifest that reflects the current status at all times. Steve was awarded the first Outstanding Connector award by SDMPI for 2011-2012 for his efforts in promoting Meeting Professionals International and the San Diego Chapter. Steve was also awarded the Community Leader of the Year Award for 2013-2014 for his activities representing SDMPI in the local community, as well as other hospitality organizations.
Michele Kemp has been working with events since 2013 and her background includes special events, catering sales and destination management. Since joining MPI San Diego’s chapter, Michele has been an active member and has served as the Opportunity Drawings committee chair and Volunteer Recruitment committee chair. Currently she assists as the Director of Volunteer Leadership helping the Volunteer Recruitment and Mentor Program chair in their new roles. When she is not working or volunteering, you can find her spending time with her family or hiking one of San Diego’s beautiful hiking trails. As a native of Brazil, Michele enjoys the adventure of learning a new culture as much as finding the best new restaurants in San Diego.
Alyssa Longeuay graduated with a BS in Hospitality and Tourism Management from San Diego State University and always wanted to work for a DMC. She joined AlliedPRA San Diego as an Account Manager in April of 2012 with extensive sales training and was later promoted to her current role as National Sales Manager. Her knowledge and expertise in the meetings and events industry has enabled her to exceed client expectations and elevate guests’ overall experiences, by designing unique events to meet their budgets. Although she is not a San Diego native, Alyssa and her husband have made San Diego their home. She became a Member of MPI in 2013 and has been involved ever since. After serving as a the Director of Recruitment, she has now taken on the role as VP of Finance to help grow the chapter. In her spare time she enjoys being outside taking advantage of all San Diego has to offer – especially a day at the beach or catching a baseball game!
Tracey Amernick, CPCE
Tracey Amernick is the Director of Group Sales and Special Events for The Cohn Restaurant Group. She joined them in 2013, to build a sales department responsible for driving revenues, and creating sales opportunities. She works closely with the catering teams at multiple locations; and has implemented new software applications, policies and standards, and marketing programs for catering special events and promotions. She’s currently launching the catering and banquet department at the newest member of CRG, Coasterra on Harbor Island. Prior to joining the Cohn Group, Tracey was with Evans Hotels for years as Director of Catering, at the Bahia Resort Hotel and Sternwheelers, the Evans Garage, and the Catamaran Resort. She has worked 15 years at Westin Hotels, and Club Corp of America, planning premier corporate and social events, and has received numerous local and national awards for her event productions. Tracey has a wealth of experience, having ensured guest satisfaction ranging from one-of-a-kind Weddings at The Plaza Hotel in Manhattan to corporate and social events for Fortune 500 Companies, Destination Management Companies, and Incentive Houses throughout the world. She’s a member of NACE and Executive Women International, and was President for both of the San Diego Chapters. Tracey is also a member of Les Dames d ’Escoffier.
Leslie Arsenault, CMP
Leslie Arsenault is the Senior Meeting Manager for Carling Communications, Inc., a San Diego-based, professional services firm that specializes in full-service marketing, advertising, and physician communications within pharmaceutical, medical device, and specialty biotechnology industries. She joined Carling’s Meeting Services team 2 years ago and is responsible for all client events to include product launch Receptions, Ad Boards, Trade Show Booths, National Sales Meetings, and more. Prior to moving to San Diego and joining the Carling Team, Leslie worked as a Senior Corporate Event Manager for Carestream Dental, based in Atlanta GA and managed a team of 3 planners and was responsible for over 200 events a year. She became a member of the Georgia Chapter of MPI in 2010 and joined the San Diego Chapter in 2014.
Ioana Vladescu is the Director of Special Events and Group Sales for Birch Aquarium at Scripps, the public outreach center for the world renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. In this role, she implements, manages, and oversees the facility rental program of approximately 180 external events yearly, such as corporate parties, meetings, weddings, and nonprofit galas. She also plays a key role in aquarium events such as the popular Green Flash Concert Series, stewardship events for current and prospective donors, staff events, and more. She has been with the aquarium for 10 years. A native of Romania, Ioana has a bachelor’s degree in Communication with emphasis in Media Management from San Diego State University and she received an Emmy Award in 2004 for the “Wild Fires News Coverage” and was nominated for Edward R. Murrow Award.
Donna Shabkie, CMP
Donna Shabkie has 20+ years of experience in the hospitality industry in an academic setting. Currently the Director of Institutional Events and Venues at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, she oversees all institutional events as well as 300+ external events including weddings and conferences at the Martin Johnson House and Scripps Seaside Forum.
Peggy Jewell has established herself as an industry leader with over 25 years in the corporate event industry. She has served as the President for the Association of Bridal Consultants San Diego (2004-2008), Board Member for ILEA (formerly ISES) San Diego, while currently serving on the Communication Committee for MPI San Diego and has served on many San Diego charitable boards and projects. For many years, Peggy was a faculty member at the University of San Diego and California State University at San Marcos and taught in their prospective Event Management Certification Programs. In 2011, Peggy received Instructor of the Year from USD. She is a former voiceover artist and singer, a San Diego native, and believes that no event is too small or too big. She deems herself an Entertainment Match Maker and puts equal value on the client and the artist.
Elisa Trotter, CMP, CMM
Elisa Trotter is a 15 year veteran of the Hospitality and Event Industry. Currently, Elisa is an Implementation Consultant for CVENT, partnering with organizations to implement best in class business practices for Enterprise clients. Prior to her current role, Elisa developed and led the Events Department at a local Fortune 500 company for six years. Elisa’s experiences also includes venue management, food-service/catering, tradeshows & marketing, and 3rd party planning. Elisa earned her Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation in 2009, and the Certification in Meetings Management (CMM) designation in 2011. She is an adjunct faculty member at San Diego State University, College of Extended Studies teaching the Financial Management course and co-teaching the Introduction to Meetings and Events. Elisa is a member of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and is currently the 2016/17 VP of Education for the San Diego chapter.
Marisa Anticevich is an Association & Conference Manager at Meeting & Association Management Services, Inc. She assists with conference registrations, design and décor, member activities, site selection, and special projects. Marisa is a graduate of the University of San Diego having graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a minor in Management. She has been an active MPI member for four years, starting as a committee member of the Education Team. She is excited to continue to grow with MPISD by taking the role as Director of Education. In her spare time she practices kickboxing, volunteers with Urban Angel’s, and enjoys San Diego’s beautiful outdoors!
Spencer Bezy is a former nationally syndicated On-air radio mix DJ of 13 years, producing shows in various formats for 40 stations nationwide including shows airing in San Diego, Las Vegas, Houston, New Orleans and more. As the owner of Mobile Music Plus Inc., he’s the award winning DJ and Emcee that San Diego’s Event Coordinators and Hotels call on for their own parties. He has been recognized as a Master Emcee by the San Diego Association of Bridal Consultants and regularly speaks to groups of Event Industry professionals on entertainment related topics. He served as Chapter Co-Director for the San Diego Association of Bridal Consultants from 2011-2015 and now serves as MPI San Diego VP of Communications.
Pascale Senejoux, a native Californian, is a graduate of San Diego State University and an 18-year veteran in the Meeting and Event Planning industry. Currently, Pascale works for the San Diego Tourism Authority as Director of Event Management. She leads the department with events and meetings for members and customers in an effort to bring group, citywide and tourism business to the destination. Pascale has been a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) since 2004, and a member of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) since 2001. Pascale currently serves as the Director of Communications for the San Diego chapter.
Erin Scholes is a past MPISD Chapter President and currently Executive Director of the chapter. During Scholes 14 year tenure with MPISD she has served seven years on the MPISD board of directors and three years as a committee chair. She also owns a local meeting & event planning business Scholes Meeting & Events. SME provides full service meeting planning, hotel site selection and local onsite event staffing. Scholes carries both the designation of CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) and CSEP (Certified Special Event Professional) and is a faculty member at San Diego State University and Mesa College for their meeting and event management programs.