The Comeback Kids: 2021 Connect Corporate 40 Under 40

Meet Connect Corporate's 40 Under 40 Class of 2021. With so many unknowns these 20- and 30-somethings forged ahead to bring business back to the industry.

40 under 40 Connect Corporate

What. A. Year. These 40 resilient corporate meeting and event professionals found a way to get through a once-in-a-lifetime (hopefully!) experience and they came back stronger than ever. With so many unknowns these 20- and 30-somethings forged ahead to bring business back to the industry. They absorbed jobs, learned new skills, invented new ways of doing business and are poised for the biggest comeback in history. Meet "The Comeback Kids” our 2021 Connect Corporate 40 Under 40. 

About the 40 Under 40 process: Nominations are submitted by colleagues and peers through Connect Corporate’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, 2021. Job titles and responses reflect honoree’s status as of March 2021.


Pam Baker Connect Corporate 40 under 40  PAMELA BAKER, CMP, CMP-HC

Senior Manager, Sales MCI Group Canada Inc. Toronto


Caroline Barbosa Groenendal Connect Corporate 40 under 40  CAROLINA BARBOSA GROENENDAL

Industry Liaison and Sales Director Kenes Group Amsterdam


Ashlee Barton 40 under 40  ASHLEE BARTON

Director of Sales and Marketing Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa & Casino, Hyatt Hotels Incline Village, Nev.


KATIE BOHRER 40 under 40  KATIE BOHRER, CMP

Vice President, Meeting Design and Experience Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) Dallas


Jessica Campos 40 UNDER 40  JESSICA CAMPOS, CMP

Chief Experience Officer Wicked Experience Design LLC Houston


Gianna Cardinale Gaudini  GIANNA CARDINALE GAUDINI

Global Head of Events Amazon Web Services Training and Certification; Author, “The Art of Event Planning” San Francisco


CRISTINA CATANIA 40 UNDER 40  CRISTINA CATANIA, CMP

National Sales Manager Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino and Delano Las Vegas, MGM Resorts International Las Vegas


SHY COLEMAN 40 UNDER 40  SHY COLEMAN, HMCC

W Hotel Sales Executive W Scottsdale Scottsdale, Ariz.


BRIAN CRUMBY 40 under 40  BRIAN CRUMBY, CED

Associate Director of Key Accounts and Strategic Partnerships Caesars Entertainment Lake Charles, La.


ELYSE DAWSON  40 UNDER 40  ELYSE DAWSON, CMP, DES

Manager, Corporate Events and Conference Center Invesco Atlanta


SEPIDEH EIVAZI 40 UNDER 40  SEPIDEH EIVAZI

Director of Global Accounts Elevated Meeting Solutions Los Angeles


CHAS EMERSON 0 UNDER 40  CHAS EMERSON

Sales Manager Cox Business Convention Center – ASM Tulsa Tulsa, Okla.


Noreen Esson 40 UNDER 40  NOREEN ESSON, VEMM

Product Experience Manager Nextech AR Solutions Toronto


RUTH GORRIZ 40 UNDER 40  RUTH GORRIZ, CMP, DES, HMCC 

Manager, Planning MCI Group Canada Inc. Toronto


Benjamin Hindman  40 UNDER 40 BENJAMIN HINDMAN

Co-Founder and CEO Splash New York City


Noa Freilich Pollack 40 UNDER 40  NOA FREILICH POLLACK

Team Leader, Industry Liaison and Sales Associate Kenes Group Göttingen, Germany


Chris Federspiel 40 UNDER 40  CHRIS FEDERSPIEL

CEO and Co-Founder Blackthorn Events New York City


Keyana Kashfi   40 UNDER 40  KEYANA KASHFI

Global Director, Experiential Production Spotify New York City 


SAMANTHA KEARNS  40 UNDER 40 SAMANTHA KEARNS, CMM

Owner Kearns & Company San Diego


CHRISTLEEN KNAUB 40 UNDER 40  CHRISTLEEN KNAUB

Awarded for: Program and Events Manager SWFL Inc. Currently: Marketing Coordinator CONRIC pr + marketing Bonita Springs, Fla.


JAVANNI KIEZER 40 UNDER 40  JAVANNI M. KIEZER, M.S., CMP

Event Planner Noble Research Institute Ardmore, Okla.


ASHLEY LAWSON  40 UNDER 40  ASHLEY LAWSON, CITP

Vice President of Business Partnerships Achieve Incentives & Meetings Cleveland


CHEYENNE NELSON 40 UNDER 40  CHEYENNE NELSON

Proposal Development Director McVeigh Global Meetings & Events New York City


META JANE NELSON 40 UNDER 40  META JANE NELSON

Founder and Speaker Agent Meta Speakers LLC College Station, Texas


BREE NIDDS 40 UNDER 40  BREE NIDDS

Vice President of Sales Discover Lehigh Valley Lehigh Valley, Pa.


JACQUELINE PACHECO 40 UNDER 40  JACQUELINE M. PACHECO

Event Planner WorldatWork Scottsdale, Ariz.


Allison Pulikoswki 40 UNDER 40 ALLISON PULIKOWSKI, CMP

Gathering Producer Ember LLC Newburyport, Mass.


KELSEY RECKLESS 40 UNDER 40  KELSEY RECKLESS, CMP, HMCC

Meeting Planner Cardinal Health Dublin, Ohio


ANDREW ROBY 40 UNDER 40  ANDREW ROBY

CEO Andrew Roby Events Washington, D.C.


KAREN ROCHA 40 UNDER 40  KAREN ROCHA

Events Specialist Paragon Events Inc. Delray Beach, Fla. 


SAMANTHA ROSEN  40 UNDER 40  SAMANTHA ROSEN

Senior Event Planner Redstone Agency Inc. Toronto


Megan M. Seppmann 40 UNDER 40  MEGAN M. SEPPMANN, CVP

Vice President of Sales Wisconsin Center District Milwaukee


PAWNTRA SHADAB 40 UNDER 40  PAWNTRA SHADAB, CTA, CIS, CITP 

VP of Events and Marketing Elite Productions International Laguna Niguel, Calif.


TYLER SNOOK 40 UNDER 40  TYLER SNOOK

Awarded for: Marketing Events Manager, Pushpay Currently: Event Marketing Manager, iObeya Redmond, Wash.


CINDY SMITH 40 UNDER 40  CINDY SMITH, CMM, VEMM

Owner and Founder SocialHouse Event Co. Woodland, Calif.


KATHERINE TOOLEY 40 UNDER 40  KATHERINE TOOLEY

SVP Vice Media Group Branded Studio New York City


BRITNEY TURNER 40 UNDER 40  BRITNEY TURNER, CMP

Meeting Planner DMI Events Houston 


BLAIR WALTHER 40 UNDER 40 BLAIR WALTHER

Director of Events Forbes Jersey City, New Jersey


EMILIE WATROB 40 UNDER 40  EMILIE WATROB, CMP

Head of Event Marketing ZS Evanston, Ill.


David T Stevens 40 UNDER 40  DAVID T. STEVENS

Director of Global Events Alation Redwood City, California


THOMAS WHELAN 40 UNDER 40  THOMAS WHELAN

Director of Banquets Boston Convention & Exhibition Center and John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center Levy Convention Centers Boston