The Messengers: 2020 Connect Association 40 Under 40

Meet Connect Association's 40 Under 40 Class of 2020. In an unprecedented year, meetings industry gurus turned to communication and virtual solutions to save the day.

40 Under 40

The events industry is filled with professionals who thrive when it matters most. This year has been unprecedented with the COVID-19 pandemic. When communication, messaging, brand storytelling and virtual solutions moved to the forefront of the meetings industry, these messengers rose to the occasion. These planners and suppliers have every right to call themselves exceptional.  Meet "The Messengers” our 2020 Connect Association 40 Under 40. 

About the 40 Under 40 process: Nominations are submitted by colleagues and peers through Connect Association’s website. They are then reviewed by Connect’s editors, and finalists are vetted before the final list is selected for publication. Honorees must be under the age of 40 as of April 1, 2020. Job titles and responses reflect honoree’s status as of September 2020.


Shahara Anderson Davis  SHAHARA ANDERSON-DAVIS

Management Consultant of Energy, Sustainability & Infrastructure Guidehouse Washington, D.C. 


SHAYNA ASGILL 40 under 40  SHAYNA ASGILL

Event Manager Redstone Agency Inc. Toronto, Ontario, Canada 


Rhette Baughman 40 under 40  RHETTE BAUGHMAN

Chief Revenue Officer National Speakers Association Los Angeles 


Cory Baum Hyatt  CORY BAUM

Director of Sales and Marketing  Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa Lost Pines, Texas 


Karissa Bingham  KARISSA BINGHAM

Senior Meetings Manager  Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Arlington, Virginia 


ERIN BRANHAM 40 UNDER 40  ERIN BRANHAM, CSEP

President and Founder A2 Events Fort Lauderdale, Florida


COREY BRISCOE  COREY BRISCOE

Managing Partner and Chief Operating Officer ABCD & Company Rockville, Maryland


Rocky Brooks 40 under 40  ROCKY BROOKS

Senior Meeting Planner American Health Information Management Association Chicago


CHRIS CHERKIS  40 UNDER 40  CHRIS CHERKIS, CMP

Director, Meetings Experience National Business Aviation Association Washington, D.C.


Isabel Musial-Dotto 40 UNDER 40  ISABEL MUSIAL-DOTTO

Vice President of Conferences & Exhibitions McVeigh Global Meetings and Events New York City 


DANIEL ECKLUND 40 UNDER 40  DANIEL ECKLUND

Director of Event Services CTC Destination Management, A DMC Network Company Chicago


SAMANTHA FAGAN  40 UNDER 40  SAMANTHA FAGAN

Convention Services Manager Destination DC Washington, D.C.


Alicia Gazda  40 UNDER 40  ALICIA GAZDA

Convention Sales Manager Visit Rochester Rochester, New York


TOMMIA HAYES  40 UNDER 40  TOMMIA HAYES

Senior Manager of Communications CHC: Creating Healthier Communities Washington, D.C. 


Kimberly Hoffman 40 UNDER 40  KIMBERLY HOFFMAN, CMP, DMCP

Director of Event Services Accent Indy Indianapolis


Matthew kalb  40 UNDER 40  MATTHEW KALB, CMP, CEM-AP

Event and Exhibitions Professional Denver


Kati Kaup  40 UNDER 40 KATI KAUP

Area Director of Sales Convene Chicago


Lindsay Kirchinger 40 UNDER 40  LINDSAY KIRCHINGER

Chief of Protocol & Director of Events State of Michigan/Michigan Economic
Development Corporation
 Lansing, Michigan


Kathy Lovato 40 UNDER 40  KATHY LOVATO, CMP, DES

Senior Manager of Logistics & Exhibits American Dental Association Chicago


LINDSAY MARTIN BILBREY  40 UNDER 40  LINDSAY MARTIN-BILBREY, CMP

CEO Nifty Method Marketing + Events Fort Worth, Texas


Joe Martin 40 UNDER 40  JOE MARTIN

Partner and Director of Conferences & Meetings BDI Events Gig Harbor, Washington


Rex maxion 40 UNDER 40  REX MAXION

Director of Sales Moxy Oakland Oakland, California


Jenny Ng 40 UNDER 40  JENNY NG, CMP

Event Planning Senior Manager National Co+op Grocers Minneapolis


Lauren Nikole Avellan 40 UNDER 40  LAUREN NIKOLE AVELLAN, DMCP

Account Executive DECO Productions, Inc. Miami


Cassie Papandrea 40 UNDER 40  CASSIE PAPANDREA

Events Director Albany Business Review Albany, New York


Rex maxion 40 UNDER 40  SHELBY PARISH, CMP, CAE, IOM

Meeting and Event Planner DCG Communications Washington, D.C.


HOLLY POTTER-HARVEY 40 UNDER 40  HOLLY POTTER-HARVEY 

Account Executive 360 Destination Group , LLC Arlington, Texas 


Lee Rekas 40 UNDER 40  LEE REKAS

Area Director of Sales & Marketing Highgate Key West, Florida


Sara Roberts 40 UNDER 40  SARA BERNER ROBERTS, CMP, DES

Manager of Member Engagement and Programs Greater Houston Partnership Houston, Texas


RALPH ROBERTSON 40 UNDER 40  RALPH ROBINSON,  CAE, CMP

Director of Meetings & Affiliate Relations Florida Apartment Association Orlando, Florida


Shyanne Robinson 40 UNDER 40  SHYANNE D. ROBINSON, CMP 

Principal & Creative Director 3 Experiences, LLC Atlanta


Taylor Savagae 40 UNDER 40  TAYLOR SAVAGE

National Sales Manager Experience Columbus Columbus, Ohio


Jessica shea 40 UNDER 40  JESSICA SHEA, CMP

CEO and Head Event Strategist J Shea Northern Virginia 


Kathy Sinnen 40 UNDER 40  KATHY SINNEN, CMP

Manager of Meetings and Fellowships The American Orthopaedic Association Rosemont, Illinois


Christina Smith 40 UNDER 40  CHRISTINA SMITH, MPA, CAE

Owner and Principal Smith Strategies Association Management Birmingham, Alabama


David T Stevens 40 UNDER 40  DAVID T. STEVENS

Director of Global Events Alation Redwood City, California


Kristen Vencl 40 UNDER 40  KRISTEN VENCL 

National Sales Manager Tulsa Convention and Visitors Bureau Tulsa, Oklahoma


Jeff Ware 40 UNDER 40  JEFF WARE

Director of Operations Catering by Michaels Chicago


DUSTIN WESTLING 40 UNDER 40  DUSTIN WESTLING, CSEP

Managing Partner OneWest Events Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Executive Vice President Leblond Studio


Cortney Whitlow 40 UNDER 40  CORTNEY WHITLOW

Manager, Meeting Registration & Industry Partner Engagement, ASAE  – The Center for Association Leadership 
Washington, D.C.