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.
Alyssa Longeuay graduated with a BS in Hospitality and Tourism Management from San Diego State University and has made her way back there in her current role as the Business Development Account Executive for Conference Services. Her new role allows her to partner with clients to create memorable experiences on campus while hosting their meeting, conference or camp. Before coming back to SDSU, Alyssa worked for AlliedPRA for almost five years where she used her knowledge and expertise of San Diego to help clients design 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 he Director of Recruitment, she has now taken on the role as VP of Finance for a second term 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!
Amy Cowden, CMP
Amy Cowden is a graduate of San Diego State University and a veteran of the meetings/events industry with over 25 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. She now shares her experience & knowledge as an Instructor and Program Manager with SDSU’s Payne School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. 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 Chapter President. Amy welcomes the opportunity to work with the board to ensure our chapter is meeting our members’ needs.
Pascale Senejoux, CMP
Pascale Senejoux, a native Californian, is a graduate of San Diego State University with a B.S. in Business Management and a 20-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, tradeshow participation, 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 Vice President of Leadership Development for the San Diego chapter, and is a volunteer with the San Diego Humane Society since 2009.
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 Finance.
Umut Aslan is the co founder of MIB Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation. Board member for (SDBTA) San Diego Business Travel Association and (HSMAI) Hotel Sales Marketing Association International and actively involved at other hospitality organizations. A native of Turkey, Umut loves exploring different countries and cultures.
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.
Megan Powers has wide and deep experience in the meetings and events industry spanning the last 20 years. She’s worked in writing and marketing for tech co’s, in a venue, as a planner, and in audio-visual production sales. All of these experiences give her a unique lens through which she sees and approaches events. Her company Powers of Marketing is a boutique strategic communications agency, providing strategy consultation, content, and execution to companies seeking to strategically market themselves. She’s a proud graduate of San Diego State (undergrad) and Gonzaga (masters in Communication). When she’s not working you’ll find Megan at a sporting event, at a concert, or traveling the world with a high-adventure focus!
Jen Cease, CMP
Jen Cease grew up in Berkshires Massachusetts but attended college at University of Rhode Island, where she obtained her B.S. in Business Administration. Jen has over 16 years in the hospitality industry in roles from banquets, housekeeping, and reservations to catering and sales management positions. She currently is the Senior Sales Manager at the Westin San Diego, where she has been since 2006. Her favorite part of being involved in MPI is connecting with others that have a passion for meetings and events and the continuing education she receives. Exciting news for Jen, beginning in August, she will take on a new role as the Global Account Executive with ConferenceDirect! In her free time she enjoys traveling, nature hiking, and spending time with her dog Kona.
Alex Johnson is originally a farm kid from Iowa with Sports Marketing degree from The University of Northern Iowa. He began his career in media, while volunteering with a young professionals networking charity, The Austin Young Chamber. He helped raise tens of thousands of dollars in sponsorships for their signature events and found his passion working for sports and entertainment organizations around the world. During his time in Austin, Alex began working with TicketSauce, a San Diego based events management company, who recruited him to join their team in San Diego. Now as Director of Business Development, he works with event organizers all over the country with ticketing, marketing and event production. Alex is now an avid surfer and enjoys exploring the area with his husky, Ghost.
Nathan is a student athlete alumnus of Sonoma State University. His passion for soccer took him to Germany, where he played professionally from 2010-2013. Returning to the US after 4 years, he joined the meetings and events industry. Landing a sales position in 2015 at Vario, his passion for meeting new people, and developing relationships, lead him to become a member of SDMPI. Immediately looking to be more than just a member, he joined the board as Director of Membership Recruitment. Nathan looks forward to learning as much as he can from his peers on his journey to becoming influential, in the meetings and events industry. When not on site, in meetings, or at the office, Nathan can be found out on the soccer field, grilling, or out being social in America’s Finest City!
Lavonne Scott recently turned her passion into her career when she discovered her full-time desk job wasn’t fulfilling her everyday life. With over 20 years in and out of the hospitality in industry (with 11 of those being in Las Vegas she decided to do what just came natural, entertaining, decorating, cooking and creating experiences for friends and family so she decided to take the plunge and create her own catering and events business, Sage Bleu. Lavonne has a degree in Marketing from UNLV and a Meeting and Event planning certification from SDSU. Along with that she volunteers when she can for very large events here in San Diego to gain different perspectives for different types of events and constantly be meeting new people. When she is not in front of her computer, in the kitchen cooking, or out at networking events you will see her out on the water sailing or hiking a trail in or around San Diego or sitting on a hammock with not a care in the world!
John’s first gig in hospitality was working on the banquets team at the Playboy Mansion while studying at UCLA. Since then has worked as a personal trainer and a sushi chef, before managing events at the Hard Rock Hotel and Hotel Solamar in downtown San Diego. He now works as an Account Executive with Alliant Event Services and volunteers as Director of Communications with MPISD. He is passionate about all this events and technology.
Erin Scholes, CMP, CSEP, CMM
Erin Scholes is a past MPISD Chapter President and currently Executive Director of the chapter. During Scholes 16 year tenure with MPISD she has served seven years on the MPISD board of directors and three years as a committee chair. She owns a local meeting & event planning business SD Meeting & Events. SDME provides full service meeting planning, hotel site selection and local onsite event staffing. Erin is a faculty member of the Institute for Meetings and Events in the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at San Diego State University. Scholes carries the respected designations of CMP (Certified Meeting Professional), CMM (Certificate in Meeting Management) and the CSEP (Certified Special Event Professional).