People News: ASM Global, CEMA and More Tap Industry Professionals, Bolster Teams

May 16, 2023

The U.S. corporate event industry is forging a strong Q2 as event-related venues and organizations across the country tap experienced industry leaders and appoint new team members to expand their growing teams. Take a look! 

ASM Global

Leading venue and event strategy and management provider ASM Global recently welcomed three event industry professionals to three convention centers in its expansive client portfolio.

The Hawai‘i Convention Center in Honolulu welcomed Executive Chef Brooke Tadena to lead its award-winning food and beverage team. He brings more than a decade of culinary leadership experience to his new role, most recently serving as executive sous chef at the Hilton Hawaiian Village since 2014. As a senior chef at the resort, he was responsible for budgeting, staffing and working in coordination with Hilton partner properties. 

Tadena previously served as an executive sous chef at Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, and as a banquet chef at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. In addition to overseeing some of the state’s largest banquet facilities, his experience spans scheduling, training staff for fine service and food preparation, and organization of large-scale food and wine events.  

Jason Humphrey has been named the first general manager of the new Ithaca Downtown Conference Center in Ithaca, N.Y., the first fully electric conference facility in the U.S., set to open in 2024. An industry professional with more than 12 years of experience in event services and hospitality, he will be responsible for overseeing every aspect of venue management and customer experience and will work closely with the facility’s owners, the Downtown Ithaca Local Development Corporation, to drive new economic activity in the destination.  

Most recently, Humphrey served as an event services manager for the University of Pittsburgh, where he oversaw the planning and execution of various events within the University Club and other locations. Prior to that, he managed catering sales for Cornell University and served as an assistant general manager at the Hilton Garden Inn in Ithaca. 

Detroit’s Huntington Place has hired HR professional Nicole Johnson as its director of human resources, responsible for the development and implementation of HR strategies and initiatives, including those prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). 

Certified by the Society for HR Management (SHRM) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) by the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI), Johnson brings 15 years of experience in human resources at Fortune 200 companies across a range of industries. Most recently, she served as senior director of human capital for Promise Schools, where she was responsible for the development and execution of human resources strategies, programs and policies. 


The Corporate Event Marketing Association (CEMA), powered by PCMA, has appointed Sandra Marcus and Nicole Kern as vice president, strategy and operations, and manager, community development, respectively. 

As vice president, strategy and operations, Marcus will work collaboratively with the PCMA team and the CEMA Advisory Board to execute the vision and lead growth initiatives for the organization, including brand marketing, new program development, events, membership and ongoing community engagement. She joins the CEMA team bringing more than 30 years in the corporate industry as an event professional and a marketing leader, 20 of which were spent at IBM in a variety of event leadership roles.  

In the new role of manager, community development, Kern will manage CEMA membership retention and acquisition with support from the PCMA Community team. Most recently, she served as the publications and communications coordinator for the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.  


Global event technology and production services provider Encore recently made two senior executive hires focused on elevating customer experience: Trevor Ferguson as COO and Michelle Brown as senior vice president of operations and customer excellence. 

Ferguson joins Encore’s leadership team from Aramark, where he worked for more than 17 years, most recently serving as president and COO of the hospitality provider’s higher education business. 

In her new role, Brown will lead Encore’s operational best practices with a focus on scaling service excellence across the business. She previously served as vice president of digital products and analytics at United Airlines, where she worked in many roles, including CFO of commercial business units, managing director of airport operations and managing director of the MileagePlus loyalty program. 

T3 Expo

Trade show and corporate event general service contractor T3 Expo recently expanded its go-to-market team with the appointment of Matthew Kalb as vice president of client relations. 

An award-winning Certified in Exhibition Management Advanced Professional (CEM-AP) and Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), as well as an IAEE CEM instructor who teaches domestically and internationally, Kalb brings nearly two decades of client service experience to his new role. He previously served as director of business development for PRG and has held roles at leading trade show companies including GES and Hargrove. 

Diversified Communications 

Leading international media company Diversified Communications recently announced new leadership for its U.S. operating division with two promotions: Liz Plizga as president and Joann Leonard as senior vice president, business operations.  

In her new leadership role, Plizga will focus on strategic initiatives and the division’s diverse product portfolio of events, conferences, digital products and publications. Bringing previous expertise in event planning and logistics, she joined Diversified in 2002 as an operations manager and later took on director roles overseeing trade events and digital media. After four years of leading and growing Diversified’s global seafood portfolio, she was promoted to vice president of events and media in 2015.  

Leonard will handle the day-to-day business operations to ensure the central service teams are nimble, integrated and properly resourced. Her 26-year career in trade show operations at Diversified started at the coordinator level and led to eight years as vice president of operations, customer service and registration, where she built, managed and directed three central service departments. 

YCD Multimedia 

YCD Multimedia tapped award-winning sales and business development professional Carrie Garcia as its new business development manager in the U.S., tasked with building brand awareness and developing opportunities for the digital signage platform company’s suite of products.  

Bringing a strong background in the information technologies, AV and services industry, Garcia possesses a strong network of designers, content creators, consultants and integration partners who will serve her well as she begins to connect with them for digital signage CMS opportunities. She most recently served as an account executive at Poppulo and prior to that, worked as a senior account executive at ULTATEL. 


Destination and event management company CSI DMC welcomed Taylor Abbate to its team as director of national sales. An award-winning events professional, she brings years of expertise in events and destination management, client relations and operations to her new role. 

Abbate comes to CSI DMC following a highly productive tenure at Bishop-McCann as an attendee experience manager, focused on managing client relationships and delivering premium attendee experiences for in-person and hybrid meetings. Prior to that, she spent just under five years at the American Public Works Association as a meeting planner and meetings coordinator, responsible for overseeing the association’s national conferences and meetings.  


Global LED displays leader for live events, virtual production and rental staging INFiLED is making a transition to the fixed installation market with the hiring of dvLED professional Rick Bortles as senior vice president of strategy for North America. With more than 10 years of experience under his belt in the dvLED field as well as countless high-profile installations globally, Bortles joins the growing INFiLED North America team to grow channel sales.  

Widely known as a game-changer in the LED manufacturing community, Bortles most recently worked at SNA Displays for almost six years, serving as vice president of global sales and before that, as vice president, North America channels.

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