At mdg, experienced event and association professionals, strategy gurus, branding experts, digital dynamos, creative geniuses, research nerds, multi-linguists and other uniquely qualified marketing and public relations professionals work together to achieve positive results for event and association clients.


Leadership and Agency Management

Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes, CEM

Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes, CEM
president

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Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes, CEM

president

With 15 years of event marketing experience, a Master of Science in Business Administration and an uncanny ability to switch from left-brain to right-brain thinking (and back again), Hardcastle blends focus and discipline with innovative thinking and creativity to craft unique solutions for agency clients. She’s a CEM faculty member, a Krakoff Leaders Institute alumna, the editor of mdg’s marketing newsletter, a presenter of industry seminars on strategic marketing planning and, most importantly, an integral collaborator for several prominent association and event clients across in the country. She’s also a mom, runner, reader, lover of east coast cities and west coast beaches and is known to eat lunch at her desk as early as 9:15 a.m.

Vincent Polito

Vincent Polito
principal

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Vincent Polito

principal

With more than 20 years in senior leadership positions in the industry, Vincent is generally recognized as a content development and execution specialist. During his career, he’s had two international postings, launched events on five continents and developed highly specialized conferences in technology, life sciences and healthcare. Vinnie is also the past Chairman of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), the leading organization in the conference and trade show industry.

Allison Vassallo

Allison Vassallo
human resources manager

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Allison Vassallo

human resources manager

With a background in event planning, hospitality and higher education, Allison uniquely combines industry experience with HR expertise. She supports the collaborative, innovative mdg team, translates agency strategies into people strategies, and helps recruit and retain the ‘best-of-the-best.’ Allison has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Spanish from Marist College and a Master’s in Postsecondary Educational Leadership from San Diego State University. When she is not contributing to the growth and development of mdg, this East Coast native can be found traveling, hiking, reading or relaxing with her husband and daughter.

Amanda Marks

Amanda Marks
Administrative Assistant

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Amanda Marks

Administrative Assistant

With a background in non-profit management and hospitality, Amanda thrives on helping people. The desire to make things easier for those around her combined with her love of organizing make her the ideal administrative assistant. Amanda earned a bachelor’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Butler University and a certificate in Non-profit Management. She is also a certified yoga teacher, amateur photographer and tea enthusiast.

Caitlin Fox

Caitlin Fox
vice president, event marketing

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Caitlin Fox

vice president, event marketing

Even at the tender age of 8, Caitlin could read the writing on the wall: Lemonade’s heyday had come and gone. Thus, she began her marketing career as sole proprietor of the only fresh grapefruit juice stand in the neighborhood. Thanks to the use of innovative thinking, a clear competitive differentiator and a keen understanding of her audience, she enjoyed the sweet (or in this case, sour) taste of success for the first time. In the intervening years, she’s used the same recipe to market conferences and trade shows within a wide range of industries, including healthcare, renewable energy, media, technology, and luxury goods. Now armed with two Master of Business Administration degrees in Marketing and International Business, Caitlin’s tools may be more sophisticated, but her goal is the same: to help clients create and seize opportunities based on market conditions and to stand out in a world of sameness.

Jennifer Johnson, CAE

Jennifer Johnson, CAE
vice president, association marketing

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Jennifer Johnson, CAE

vice president, association marketing

With more than 20 years in the non-profit sector, Jennifer has lead marketing initiatives across organizations representing a number of diverse fields, including K-12 and higher education, health and human services, technology, corporate governance and financial services. She specializes in relationship marketing and the development of integrated campaigns that acquire, engage and retain. Jennifer has a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Penn State University and a Master of Science in Marketing from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a Certified Association Executive.

Julie Krieger

Julie Krieger
senior vice president

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Julie Krieger

senior vice president

With 22 years of marketing and advertising experience, Julie takes a big-picture, strategic approach to all her projects. A detailed planner and skilled executor, she has a keen ability to create campaigns that generate positive results, including a high rate of return on her clients’ budgets. Before joining mdg, Julie worked on both the agency and client side to develop multi-channel marketing campaigns for several high profile hotels and casinos in Las Vegas.

Kerry McAuliffe

Kerry McAuliffe
Human Resources Specialist

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Kerry McAuliffe

Human Resources Specialist

Kerry has worked in the human resources field in higher education, private banking and technology. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Providence College and specializes in payroll, recruiting, benefits and other HR areas at mdg. Even though she’s a Boston girl at heart, Kerry loves the eternal 70 degree weather of San Diego and also enjoys traveling, hiking, friends and family.

Suzanne Scheidel

Suzanne Scheidel
accounting & human resources manager

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Suzanne Scheidel

accounting & human resources manager

Responsible for accounting, human resources and office operations, Suzanne provides a comprehensive array of critical services to the mdg team. Suzanne earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from San Diego State University and has over 25 years of accounting and office admin experience. Prior to joining mdg, Suzanne worked for a construction company that completed many infrastructure public works projects in San Diego.

Talia Franco

Talia Franco
Marketing Coordinator – Agency Activities

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Talia Franco

Marketing Coordinator – Agency Activities

Tali earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a focus in Public Relations and a minor in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland, College Park. Tali’s attention to detail and organization skills mixed with her creativity and positive outlook create the perfect attitude to get things done. At mdg, Tali is putting her background of writing, editing and communicating to use with her work on internal projects and marketing. Tali is obsessed with her nephews, mini dachshund and the latest fashion trends.

Marketing and Public Relations

Abbi Boose

Abbi Boose
account manager

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Abbi Boose

account manager

Abbi brings enthusiasm, strategic planning, and project management expertise to her projects at mdg. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations from George Mason University and professional experience in event management, public relations, corporate branding and strategic planning for government, commercial, and association markets. When not in the office, Abbi can be found baking, traveling, or cheering on the Green Bay Packers.

Alexandra Malaty

Alexandra Malaty
Account Director

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Alexandra Malaty

Account Director

With a background in experiential educational program marketing, Alexandra manages strategy and implementation of multichannel marketing campaigns with results in mind. Since 2011, Alexandra has been managing marketing and communications strategy for educational leadership programs, maintaining relationships with educational partners and vendors and generating more than $5 million in revenue. Outside of work, Alexandra enjoys cooking, spending time with family and friends, and travels any chance she gets, 18 countries and counting!

Alexis Williams

Alexis Williams
account manager

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Alexis Williams

account manager

Alexis holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a specialization in Marketing from Adelphi University. Before joining mdg, she worked in the higher education and non-profit industries. Most recently, she worked for a media staffing organization serving clients from non-profit organizations to international companies to large financial institutions. During her time there, she provided clients with skilled media and creative talent in order to create impactful campaigns, while growing her knowledge in media and production. Alexis brings her attention to detail, passion and love for working with clients to mdg, where she continues to grow her skills in strategic marketing and communications.

Amie Cangelosi

Amie Cangelosi
Account Director

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Amie Cangelosi

Account Director

Amie is a dynamic marketer and project manager with a sharp eye for detail. She believes in using customer research to guide strategic initiatives and closely analyzing data and metrics to maximize campaign impact for her clients. Prior to joining mdg, Amie spent more than a decade at Reed Exhibitions where she worked across a number of industry trade shows and led the marketing campaigns for the security & life safety event portfolio. She received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Anastasiya Pribus

Anastasiya Pribus
account coordinator

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Anastasiya Pribus

account coordinator

With a degree in Business Administration with a focus in Marketing and International Business and a background in market research, Anastasiya is well equipped to deliver on her clients’ informational needs. She combines strategy, creativity, innovation, and enthusiasm in her approach to research and helps translate insights into actionable strategies.

Andrew Bellows

Andrew Bellows
account director

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Andrew Bellows

account director

Andrew has more than eleven years of marketing and advertising experience and a reputation for creating successful campaigns that provide solutions to his clients’ most formidable business challenges. Prior to joining mdg, Andrew developed and executed fully-integrated direct marketing and communications campaigns for a wide range of federal government clients. In addition to his experience in behavior-changing marketing initiatives, Andrew applies a strategic approach to problem solving, has excellent attention to detail and connects both personally and professionally with his clients.

Fun Fact: Andrew works in DC!

Anjia Nicolaidis

Anjia Nicolaidis
international marketing specialist

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Anjia Nicolaidis

international marketing specialist

Anjia is mdg’s global nomad-in-residence, with almost two decades of experience living and working overseas in South America, the Middle East, Europe, and South Asia. Anjia helps mdg clients navigate foreign markets, cultivate and deepen relationships with key international industry stakeholders, and uncover unique market insights to maximize the value of international outreach. Prior to her work with mdg, Anjia held positions with the departments of Commerce and State, national environmental nonprofit organizations and a global advertising agency.

Ashleigh Kades

Ashleigh Kades
account manager

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Ashleigh Kades

account manager

Armed with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from University of Maryland, Ashleigh began her career at the DC Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation where she was responsible for event planning, marketing and fundraising. At mdg, she is known for her creativity, organization, eye for detail and the ability to anticipate her clients’ needs. Originally from Durban, South Africa, she enjoys traveling, tennis, painting, and spending time with family, including her dog, Charlie.

Bob Farrace, CAE

Bob Farrace, CAE
director of public affairs

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Bob Farrace, CAE

director of public affairs

With 17 years of experience in non-profit communications, Bob has lead award-winning publishing programs and strategic communications campaigns that engage the target audience and enhance the client’s public-facing and industry-facing images. Bob specializes in public relations and public affairs initiatives that leverage a blend of traditional and new media and build the self-advocacy capacity of professionals in education—a particular industry focus of the Reston office. Bob has a bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish and a master’s degree in Education, both from La Salle University in his native city of Philadelphia.

Cecilia Lopez

Cecilia Lopez
account coordinator

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Cecilia Lopez

account coordinator

Armed with a master’s degree in Communication from Virginia Tech, a strong research background, a can-do attitude and relentless attention to detail, Cecilia contributes value on multiple levels of her clients’ campaigns. She’s lived in the U.K., Luxembourg, Argentina, Mexico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic and speaks fluent Spanish, French and German. Cecilia loves dogs, travelling, hiking and staying fit.

Cristina Bontempo

Cristina Bontempo
account manager

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Cristina Bontempo

account manager

Cristina serves as the day-to-day contact on her accounts, managing the strategic-to-creative translation process to tackle her clients’ toughest marketing challenges. With a background in higher education, nonprofit, research and, of course, marketing, Cristina brings a broad, fresh perspective to every project she manages. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A proud Chicago native, she’s on a quest to find San Diego’s best taco.

Derek Bass

Derek Bass
Database Marketing Manager

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Derek Bass

Database Marketing Manager

Derek began his career in database marketing in 1999, at Barona Resort & Casino, where he was responsible for all marketing data. During his 12 year tenure, Barona took home 30 local, regional, and national awards and mentions for its marketing programs. At mdg, Derek applies his expertise to help clients analyze data and use it to craft personalized messaging for their target audiences. When he isn’t bridging the gap between marketing and data, he makes homemade marshmallows.

Dustin Gunderson

Dustin Gunderson
account director

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Dustin Gunderson

account director

Dustin is a dynamic marketer and problem solver, with a critical eye for detail.  He utilizes data driven insights to guide marketing decisions that deliver tangible ROI. Dustin works with clients to execute comprehensive communication strategies, and helps them unlock the full potential of their existing content and association based platforms, while infusing innovative marketing concepts. Prior to joining mdg, Dustin spent nearly a decade at AMGA, formerly the American Medical Group Association, where he led countless marketing initiatives for all aspects of the association. He holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from Marymount University, and a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the George Mason University.

Elena Lien

Elena Lien
Account Director

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Elena Lien

Account Director

Elena is a skilled, multi-channel marketer with a passion for generating new leads and surpassing quantifiable objectives. Elena’s analytical approach and belief that the devil is in the details have produced record-setting results for her event and association clients. Before joining mdg, Elena led community and corporate outreach efforts and marketing campaigns for a national STEM education program and worked as a legal analyst. Elena holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government with minors in Arabic and Environmental Studies from Georgetown University.

Jacquelyn Wells

Jacquelyn Wells
account strategist

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Jacquelyn Wells

account strategist

Jacquelyn manages daily operations, oversees execution of campaign deliverables and keeps campaign elements on schedule, on budget and on target. Jacquelyn manages campaigns for three of Trade Show Executive’s Gold 100 trade shows and has worked in Europe for InfoNxx and Pepe Jeans London. She recently earned her Master of Business Administration from the University of San Diego.

Jennifer Jones, CAE

Jennifer Jones, CAE
Account Strategist & Director of Communications

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Jennifer Jones, CAE

Account Strategist & Director of Communications

Jennifer is a Certified Association Executive with extensive experience in communications, marketing, publications and strategic partnerships. Past accomplishments include leading the launch of a monthly magazine and three websites as well as identifying new revenue sources at several healthcare and education associations. She comes to mdg from SHAPE America, where she most recently led a major renaming and rebranding initiative and was part of the team honored with two “Power of A” awards from The Center for Association Leadership. Jennifer lives in northern Virginia with her husband, two sons and dog Lucy.

Jennifer Prahl

Jennifer Prahl
account coordinator

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Jennifer Prahl

account coordinator

Jennifer Prahl earned her Bachelor of Science in Public Relations from the University of Tennessee. In her hometown of Knoxville, often called the biggest small town in America, Jennifer began her career with a non-profit opera working in event marketing and fundraising. Before joining mdg, she created marketing, social media and sales strategies in the trade show and fitness industries. Jennifer embraces a good challenge and has found that the most rewarding work comes from facing complex and demanding obstacles. Outside of work, she challenges herself in physical activities like running and biking. Jennifer loves to travel and has visited several countries including Germany, Jamaica, India and the U.A.E.

Jessica Stevens

Jessica Stevens
account coordinator

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Jessica Stevens

account coordinator

Jessica Stevens earned her Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from the University of South Carolina. She began her marketing career at a medical non-profit working to expand brand recognition and implement various marketing initiatives. Armed with experience in both the creative and the technical aspects of marketing, Jessica has the ability to address client pain points and see a campaign through to completion, while addressing every detail along the way. Jessica welcomes a challenge and strives to help clients identify market opportunities and realize them with innovative strategy and impactful marketing solutions.

Kasey Connors, CAE

Kasey Connors, CAE
account director

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Kasey Connors, CAE

account director

With a passion for creating unique experiences for members, attendees and stakeholders, Kasey truly connects with her clients and their diverse audiences. She excels at forging relationships to implement marketing strategies and brand alignment to increase attendance and engagement at events. She understands the dynamics of associations and adeptly navigates the challenges faced to create new opportunities for growth. Prior to joining mdg, Kasey oversaw marketing and events in various industries including sports, non-profit, associations, hospitality and events. Kasey has an undergraduate degree from University of Delaware and a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from Drexel University. She is also a Certified Association Executive.

Kate Blom-Lowery

Kate Blom-Lowery
pr strategist

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Kate Blom-Lowery

pr strategist

Having never learned the “Don’t talk to strangers” rule, Public Relations seemed the perfect career path for Kate. With a degree in Journalism, her career has taken her from the Halls of Congress to a bank and finally to the wonderful world of trade shows and associations. While working for NAMM and Emerald Expositions, Kate helped launch at-show media preview events, consumer media events and other live experiential media events. She has led fully integrated launch and go-to-market communications, crisis management and partnership announcements. Kate blends strategy and creativity in her approach to communications and enjoys telling the clients’ stories as much as she enjoys ensuring members of the media get the scoops they’re after.

Katy Smith

Katy Smith
Account Coordinator

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Katy Smith

Account Coordinator

Having worked in the consumer goods and manufacturing industries, Katy has diverse experience marketing to retailers, engineers, and other business leaders and – most importantly – she understands how to adapt her approach accordingly.  She builds strong relationships with her clients by proactively managing expectations, timelines, and all the other details along the way. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Apparel Merchandising and a minor in Business from Auburn University.

Kelly Nelson

Kelly Nelson
account strategist

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Kelly Nelson

account strategist

Kelly is an accomplished, award-winning marketing professional, creating effective marketing and advertising campaigns since 2001. A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing, she’s a creative visionary with proven success in developing overall brand vision and strategy. Kelly won five National Capital Region Emmy Awards for campaigns she created with the Washington Wizards. At mdg, she builds long-term client relationships, drives creative solutions and manages all aspects of integrated marketing campaigns. In her free time, Kelly enjoys traveling and touring wineries around the world.

Kimberly Coerr

Kimberly Coerr
vip programs strategist

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Kimberly Coerr

vip programs strategist

Kimberly “KC” Coerr has over twenty-five years experience in meeting, event and exhibition pre-show and on site management. KC has worked with several of the largest trade shows in the United States, including the Specialty Equipment Market Association SEMA Show, as well as the Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers AWFS Fair and the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association DEMA Show; trade show management companies; and automotive road shows. KC holds a degree in French Studies from Stanford University and is a fan of Stanford Football.

Leana Salamah

Leana Salamah
account strategist & executive director

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Leana Salamah

account strategist & executive director

Growing up, Leana’s passion was theater. With an uncanny ability to get into the heads of diverse personalities and identify their motivations, she seamlessly inhabited characters ranging from Sandra Dee to Lady Macbeth. Today, the skill to identify with various personas fuels her marketing career and helps her quickly and intuitively recognize audience attitudes and needs and develop persuasive brand positioning and messaging to drive demand.

Leana’s formative years were spent at award-winning Chicago B2B agencies. Following a brief foray into “client side” marketing, during which time she oversaw successful marketing and content development for the National Restaurant Association’s annual event, Leana rejoins the agency world with the perspective and insight to become an effective extension of any internal marketing department. Armed with a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications, a passion for data-driven creativity (wait, what?), and a voracious appetite for research and target audience relevancy, she seamlessly integrates strategy, tactics and execution that deliver results.

Lindsay Davis

Lindsay Davis
Account Director

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Lindsay Davis

Account Director

Lindsay is a proven project manager for a variety of mediums, including public relations, direct mail, and relationship management. Prior to joining mdg, Lindsay worked primarily with federal and local government clients to execute integrated marketing campaigns and develop print collateral. Lindsay earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with a minor in Graphic Design from Longwood University.

Liz Goldsby

Liz Goldsby
director of marketing operations

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Liz Goldsby

director of marketing operations

Liz has a diverse background in marketing and management as well as broad exposure to the non-profit and corporate sectors. She has over 20 years of experience in developing, executing, and analyzing successful strategic marketing plans as well as setting objectives and budgets targeted toward achieving the long-term goals and initiatives of an organization. She is a strong believer in collaborative leadership and data-driven decision making. Before joining mdg, Liz worked in marketing for the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). In addition to entrepreneurial and consulting stints, she also worked many years in the telecommunications industry for corporations like Verizon and TimeWarner, where she managed all marketing endeavors for a multi-state region. Liz has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts from James Madison University.

Marissa Thompson

Marissa Thompson
account director

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Marissa Thompson

account director

Marissa is an integrated marketing strategist with experience in implementing digital and print marketing campaigns, social media management, events and promotions. Prior to mdg, Marissa fell in love with event marketing at the National Automobile Dealers Association after consistently driving attendance to their annual meetings. She graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and makes multitasking look easy.

Megan McCorry

Megan McCorry
account coordinator

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Megan McCorry

account coordinator

Megan has a diverse resume in client service positions. Most recently before joining mdg she worked as a social media and graphics consultant for a startup clothing company in Charleston, SC. Her passion for art coupled with her Psychology and Business degree allows her to understand mdg’s work from every angle, start to finish. She has hosted a total of 5 exchange students from Germany, Italy, and Spain, which allow her to acclimate to our clientele’s expansive backgrounds. When she’s not in the office, she’s either traveling or planning her next trip.

Nicole Moya

Nicole Moya
account manager

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Nicole Moya

account manager

Born and raised in Mexico City, Nicole brings a creative, international perspective to her accounts as well as the ability to find unconventional solutions to conventional visitor and exhibitor acquisition objectives. From direct marketing to media planning and buying to managing expectations onsite, Nicole strives to always exceed her clients’ expectations.

Peyton Nichols

Peyton Nichols
Account Coordinator

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Peyton Nichols

Account Coordinator

Peyton earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration concentrating in Marketing and a minor in Communications Studies from Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. Before joining mdg, she worked primarily with federal government clients on branding, event management, media monitoring, collateral development, public relations, and industry/stakeholder outreach and relationship management. Outside of work, Peyton loves to travel, visit antique stores, and spend time with friends and family.

Rachel Peterson

Rachel Peterson
account director

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Rachel Peterson

account director

The daughter of a retired association president and a multi-tasking domestic goddess, Rachel Peterson was born with leadership, problem solving and project management in her blood. Fit with a unique understanding of the inner functioning of the not-for-profit world, she has influenced the direction of a wide breadth of marketing campaigns including industry events, volunteer, certification and standards programs. She believes that the user experience is what drives satisfaction and that satisfaction is what creates lifelong relationships. This philosophy is mirrored in the priority she puts on building and maintaining a rapport with her clients and her team, and her end goal of connecting members to their association for life.

Rachel Scharmann

Rachel Scharmann
account manager

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Rachel Scharmann

account manager

Rachel is a dynamic marketer with an eye for branding and design. Prior to joining mdg, she executed integrated marketing campaigns in the Public Relations and Communications events sector, where she honed her skills in social media, analytics, SEO and digital marketing. Rachel earned a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies and minors in Graphic Design and Business from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA.

Sara Bazian

Sara Bazian
Account Director

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Sara Bazian

Account Director

Sara holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a focus in Public Relations from the University of Maryland. Before joining mdg, Sara applied her marketing acumen to the JCC Association in Jerusalem and, most recently, the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.) in Washington, DC. Sara specializes in association marketing, is known to sweat the details so her clients don’t have to, and believes that print is not dead.

Sara Morgenstern

Sara Morgenstern
Account Director

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Sara Morgenstern

Account Director

A self-identified modern marketer, Sara believes in the power of harnessing technology and creativity to provide “marketing moments” for her clients. Sara began her event experience at a biotechnology trade association, serving in customer service, registration, sponsorship and marketing and leading multiple events ranging from 100 to 15,000 attendees. After discovering her true passion was event marketing, she never looked back. Sara strives to deliver personal, impactful and effective marketing to her mdg clients that resonates throughout the “show cycle”. In her downtime, she loves exploring DC, eats/sleeps/breathes the NBA, practices yoga and dreams about the next destination on her travel wishlist.

Shantelle Johnson

Shantelle Johnson
account director

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Shantelle Johnson

account director

Prior to joining mdg, Shantelle launched and ran a commercial real estate-focused marketing agency, where she served two of the most notable mixed-use development projects in the nation. To provide expert tactical and strategic guidance to her clients, Shantelle carefully listens to their needs and goals and then translates objectives into creative, effective and efficient marketing and public relations campaigns. Shantelle holds a Bachelor of Science in Counseling with a minor in Journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Shauna Peters

Shauna Peters
account strategist

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Shauna Peters

account strategist

Shauna is a strategic problem-solver and ardent project manager. A creative thinker and detailed executer, she utilizes data-informed decision making to guide association clients through project timelines with a results-focused eye. Prior to joining mdg, Shauna served the public sector events market, including government and education technology with re-evaluation and re-positioning campaigns. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a double major in English and Sociology.

Design and Messaging

Ben Moser

Ben Moser
production manager

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Ben Moser

production manager

Ben brings an eagle eye (yes, nearsighted, but still eagle-like) and a wide range of print production knowledge to mdg. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, he began building his experience in printing and graphics in 2000, ultimately becoming prepress manager at a printing company. He has also freelanced full-time—preparing print jobs for printers, designers, agencies, news media and nonprofits—giving him a firm footing in both the client and vendor worlds. Through all his roles and lots of practice, he has become a professional fine-tuner of files who has sent thousands of jobs to press.

Channing Avery

Channing Avery
graphic designer

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Channing Avery

graphic designer

With a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design, Channing brings 15 years of production and design experience to mdg. Prior to moving to San Diego from Albuquerque, New Mexico, he served as production director for the Albuquerque Business First (a business news publication owned by American City Business Journals), where he received awards for Advertising Design, Publication Design and Typography. Prior to that, Channing worked in design firm/print shop environments, where he managed a multitude of design projects from conception to completion.

Christina Page

Christina Page
copywriter

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Christina Page

copywriter

Jersey girl by birth, San Diegan by choice, Christina received her Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies and Spanish from Penn State University and is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Latin American Studies at San Diego State University. Highlights of her professional career include 10 years of progressive marketing roles in the health care industry, a full portfolio of articles published in national and regional magazines and her copywriting position at mdg, where she blends her marketing acumen, passion for writing and strong communication skills to help advance the objectives of her clients.

Cory Serna

Cory Serna
Traffic Manager

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Cory Serna

Traffic Manager

With a strong background in traffic and print and a dynamic personality, Cory is one of the unsung heroes at mdg. He keeps the cogs moving, helping ensure all client deliverables are executed on time, on budget and without a hitch. Cory graduated with honors from CSUSM with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications. Prior to joining mdg, he held the position of Traffic Specialist for a multinational biotechnology company. When Cory isn’t working, he is feeding his creative soul through travel.

Dragutin Cvijanovic

Dragutin Cvijanovic
senior designer

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Dragutin Cvijanovic

senior designer

Dragutin is an award-winning art director with 15 years of experience designing web and print campaigns for consumer-facing educational technology and media companies. His lifelong love of all things art, design and technology has inspired him to teach himself to code websites and continually strive to expand his skill sets, as well as those of his co-workers. Dragutin holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Virginia Tech.

Elaine Aadland

Elaine Aadland
senior copywriter

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Elaine Aadland

senior copywriter

Versatile writer and experienced strategist, Elaine built and sold one of the largest advertising agencies in Anchorage, Alaska before heading to warmer climes and joining mdg. Her award-winning concepts and strategic copy have created effective voices for mdg clients since 1994.

Kacia Sullivan

Kacia Sullivan
managing art director

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Kacia Sullivan

managing art director

With experience in fashion, retail, action sports, entertainment and health care, Kacia’s diverse background serves her well in an agency environment. She holds a Master of Arts in Design Strategy and Innovation from Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Saint Anselm College. Kacia’s creative serves as the platform on which mdg’s results-generating campaigns are built. When she’s not in her creative zone you can find her checking dream surf destinations off her bucket list.

Lara Severson

Lara Severson
copywriter

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Lara Severson

copywriter

With previous marketing experience in the beauty, insurance and music products industries, Lara has a knack for understanding unique client needs when developing large-scale campaigns and managing the smallest details. Before joining mdg, she spent nearly 14 years as a writer at NAMM, creating strategic messaging to increase association membership and trade show participation. She is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas with a double major in Journalism and Sociology, and has received certifications in Marketing and Digital Design from the University of California, San Diego.

Larissa Leroux

Larissa Leroux
copywriter

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Larissa Leroux

copywriter

With a Master of Arts in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego, Larissa draws on a scientific understanding of human social behavior to craft messaging and reach target audiences. She combines an extensive research background with diverse experience in fields such as consumer electronics, education, earth science and health care. The characteristics that make her an effective copywriter for mdg (visualization, planning, mental focus and determination) also make her a formidable billiards player.

Laura Magnuson

Laura Magnuson
art director

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Laura Magnuson

art director

With a Bachelor of Arts from San Diego State University, numerous design awards and 10 years of experience with big name clients such as Procter and Gamble, the San Diego Natural History Museum and Marika Sportswear, Laura is an integral member of the creative team. Her on-target concepts and marketing-driven designs, both print and electronic, have been impressing mdg clients for more than three years.

Lisa Schnabel

Lisa Schnabel
graphic designer / production specialist

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Lisa Schnabel

graphic designer / production specialist

Lisa has over 20 years of experience in print design, with a strong emphasis on magazine design and conference materials. She has worked in associations and creative studios as well as run her own design business for five years. She has earned numerous awards for digital design, print design, and creative direction. Lisa recently returned to school for a certificate in Web Design Management. Lisa danced in a ballet company for eight years and still attempts to take classes on a regular basis (with varied results).

Michelle Delapenha

Michelle Delapenha
graphic designer

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Michelle Delapenha

graphic designer

Michelle has over 20 years of experience working in corporate and non-profit marketing departments. She enjoys working with clients and taking their digital and print projects from vision to reality. She is a relocated Brit, who after many years of being in America, still loves all things British. Michelle has an undergraduate degree in Journalism with a Graphic Design concentration from Liberty University.

Michelle Shirey

Michelle Shirey
managing art director

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Michelle Shirey

managing art director

Michelle Shirey is a multidisciplinary designer with a broad range of experience creating solutions for an equally broad range of clients. She calls on a combination of design research and an iterative and collaborative process to develop treatments that are unique to each organization she works with. Prior to joining mdg, she led design efforts for clients including Whirlpool Corporation, Lockheed Martin and T. Rowe Price. Michelle holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design from Virginia Tech, as well as a Master of Science in Design from Arizona State University.

Sam Gonzalez

Sam Gonzalez
copywriter/pr specialist

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Sam Gonzalez

copywriter/pr specialist

An educator by trade, Sam knows what it means to encourage curiosity and engagement about any subject. A strong writer with more than ten years experience in teaching, program management, and communications, Sam comes to mdg having worked at educational institutions, the federal government, and nonprofits. She graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature and a Master of Arts in Medieval Literature from the University of York, UK. Outside of work, Sam enjoys traveling, reading and learning to play music.

Susanne Mundt

Susanne Mundt
graphic designer

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Susanne Mundt

graphic designer

With a master’s degree in Visual Communication from Burg Giebichenstein (University of Art and Design) in hand, Susanne packed her bags and moved from Germany to the United States in 1999. mdg discovered her in 2004, while working as a photographer’s assistant on a photo shoot, and she’s been creating award-winning work for the agency’s clients ever since. Prior to joining mdg, Susanne worked as a freelance designer for the San Diego Museum of Man and for Stahlphotographics, where she continues to moonlight during her free time.

Terry Lowe-Edwards

Terry Lowe-Edwards
Senior Copywriter

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Terry Lowe-Edwards

Senior Copywriter

Let’s talk! A firm believer that all effective messaging begins with a conversation, Terry asks questions (plural) and won’t stop until she gets answers—all of them. Terry brings to mdg more than a decade of marketing communication experience from association, education, and retail circles. Earlier in her career, she held marketing and public relations roles with radio and TV stations where she conceptualized and managed numerous promotions and live events. Terry completed her Bachelor of Arts in Communications and graduate study in Digital Media Skills at American University in Washington, D.C. A stickler for details, Terry is a passionate defender of the Oxford comma.

Vanessa Page

Vanessa Page
Copywriter

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Vanessa Page

Copywriter

A transplanted New Yorker who has been writing and editing professionally since 1997, Vanessa has produced a full spectrum of advertising and public relations copy for industries ranging from gourmet food to book publishing. Balancing writing mechanics with the delivery of a clear, powerful message, she strives to fully understand her client’s audience to create copy that connects. Prior to joining mdg, she developed revenue-generating digital content for Top 10 e-commerce retailer, QVC — writing thousands of creative product descriptions, as well as landing pages, e-newsletters, blogs, product inserts, magazine articles and print ads — and crafted long-form marketing copy for The Great Courses, an educational company based in Chantilly, Virginia. Earlier in her career, she served as a copywriter for Macy’s, specializing in print campaigns and direct mail promoting fashion, beauty and special events. Vanessa received her bachelor’s degree in Magazine Journalism and master’s degree in Museum Studies from Syracuse University.

Digital Marketing

Amanda Cunningham

Amanda Cunningham
digital marketing specialist

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Amanda Cunningham

digital marketing specialist

Amanda has a motley background in digital marketing with a focus in paid search, analytics and web strategy, while working in a myriad of industries, including, hospitality, K-12 education, food service, outdoor boating recreation and cyber security. She graduated with honors from McDaniel College with a bachelor’s degree in History, and is in the process of completing a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Georgetown University. In her spare time she loves hanging out with her school-aged daughter, hiking, napping (Zzzz), traveling, eating, and singing loudly and proudly anywhere the nerve strikes.

Ben McRae

Ben McRae
director of web strategy

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Ben McRae

director of web strategy

Though his focus is all things web, Ben aims to be a true Renaissance man, applying his technology savvy and Bachelor of Arts in Writing to provide clients with dynamic web and email solutions that wow users and administrators alike. His other passions include mathematics, which makes him an ideal analytics manager, and music, which makes him fun to hang out with at parties.

Erik Holtan

Erik Holtan
ux developer

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Erik Holtan

ux developer

With a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and three years of experience at the helm of his own agency, Erik has a keen understanding of web design and web development. He’s been honing his skills since 2008 and keeping mdg on the forefront of new trends and technology solutions since 2015.

Joshua Lapid

Joshua Lapid
web developer

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Joshua Lapid

web developer

Born and raised in San Diego, Josh’s interest in web development started when he had to create a website for his family’s restaurant. As part of the mdg team, Josh uses his knowledge of web development to provide clients with functional and responsive web and email solutions. Outside of work, his passions include cars, bouldering and eating burritos.

Meghan O’Keefe

Meghan O’Keefe
digital marketing manager

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Meghan O’Keefe

digital marketing manager

With a background in digital marketing, Meghan works to help mdg clients succeed in the constantly changing digital space. She earned her Business Degree from University of Rhode Island with a focus in entrepreneurship. A Jersey Girl by birth, Meghan spends her spare time catching a San Diego sunset at the beach.

Michael Engard

Michael Engard
web developer and ux/ui specialist

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Michael Engard

web developer and ux/ui specialist

Combining knowledge in international relations acquired from the University of Toronto with experience as a web editor and developer, Michael possesses a unique skill set spanning the creative and technical sides of web publishing. With a history of developing innovative solutions that bridge the gap between the needs of his clients and the challenges of implementation in an ever-changing digital world, Michael is a welcome addition to the mdg web team. He hails from the frigid north (Rochester, New York to be exact) and is now enjoying life a little closer to the equator.

Sam Watkins

Sam Watkins
social media marketing manager

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Sam Watkins

social media marketing manager

A self-described online marketing & digital social #TecNerd, Sam helps mdg clients connect and build relationships with their most important fans online. Throughout his career, Sam has leveraged his bachelor’s degree in Journalism/PR to help popular brands like Kinko’s, Beachbody, Technicolor, and Viking Cruses communicate with audiences and grab attention in an often noisy digital space. Outside of work, you’ll probably find Sam working on one of his side-hustles, blogging, participating in a marketing or business course, or listening to a podcast.

Santana Inniss

Santana Inniss
Director of Social & Digital

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Santana Inniss

Director of Social & Digital

With a track record of success in social media, content and inbound marketing, Santana is helping mdg clients win in the digital age. She graduated with honors from Columbia University in New York, has lived in three countries and has traveled to nearly fifty. A speaker of English, German and Spanish, Santana blends her global viewpoint, passion for analytics and vast marketing experience to develop creative solutions that increase event attendance and association membership for a wide portfolio of agency clients. If she¹s not online figuring out the newest tech-y tools, you can find her running, reading, traveling, laughing, or singing in the office.

Tom Kimmelman

Tom Kimmelman
studio manager

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Tom Kimmelman

studio manager

An electronic media guru and IT expert, Tom manages the development and execution of our clients’ websites, email broadcasts and dynamic media campaigns. With a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design from California State University at Fresno and several years of experience working for companies like DirecTV and Apple, Tom has been an essential member of MDG’s creative team since 2005.

Etc.

Denise Paccione

Denise Paccione
Founder

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Denise Paccione

Founder

As the founder of mdg, Denise built a far-reaching reputation in the trade show industry by consistently delivering positive results for a wide range of national and international clients. Her commitment to building a collaborative culture, ensuring creative excellence and passionately pursing the right ‘strategic-to-creative translation’ continue to be cornerstones of the mdg brand.

Joey & Soonie

Joey & Soonie
chief canine officers

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Joey & Soonie

chief canine officers

They say opposites attract and this office romance is a telling example. Joey was a stray who appeared in mdg‘s yard looking for an owner. He enjoys eating trash, once fought off a coyote and has become one of the fastest dogs at the dog park. Soonie is from Beverly Hills, and loves fashion, ice cream and tough dogs from the wrong side of the tracks. Both can be found curled up under desks or cuddled on laps, providing stress relief and creative inspiration to the human members of the mdg team.