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.


Agency Management

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.

Caitlin Fox

Caitlin Fox
vice president

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Caitlin Fox

vice president

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.

Hillary Stubblefield

Hillary Stubblefield
business development specialist

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Hillary Stubblefield

business development specialist

A native of Middleburg, Virginia, Hillary is part of the business development team with mdg. Previously, she worked in Washington D.C. in government relations for a lobbying firm and in business development for a federal contractor specializing in IT services for civilian agencies. She holds a bachelor’s degree in History from the College of William and Mary. In her free time, Hillary enjoys reading, sailing, snowboarding, gardening and hiking with her dog Bucket.

Jacob Antrican

Jacob Antrican
agency marketing coordinator

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Jacob Antrican

agency marketing coordinator

With a deep background in digital sales and marketing, Jacob brings his passion for leveraging data and the latest tools into new opportunities to mdg. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Virginia Commonwealth University, he quickly developed a strong interest in marketing and gained expertise through years of hands-on experience. When not at work, you can find him strumming a guitar or biking around the beautiful destinations in Washington, DC.

Jacquelyn Wells

Jacquelyn Wells
vice president

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Jacquelyn Wells

vice president

Jacquelyn joined mdg in 2007 as a member of the account services team. She’s since earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of San Diego and has been instrumental in driving and managing the agency’s exponential growth. In her current role, she consults directly for and leads teams serving event clients in myriad industries, from food and beverage to technology, healthcare, and more. Specifically, she has developed campaigns to acquire, engage and retain attendees for clients such as the International Baking Industry Exposition, AUVSI XPONENTIAL, and World of Concrete. Jacquelyn has lived, studied, and worked overseas and is currently leading an initiative to streamline the onboarding and training of new agency employees.

Jenn Brennecke

Jenn Brennecke
talent acquisition and HR specialist

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Jenn Brennecke

talent acquisition and HR specialist

Jenn has extensive experience in the human resources field within the hospitality and non-profit industries. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication from University of California, Santa Barbara and specializes in talent acquisition. She has a true passion for finding amazing talent to join the mdg family. Jenn is a San Diego native, and when not enjoying the beautiful California sunshine, she can be found on her mat, practicing yoga.

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
accounting generalist

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Kerry McAuliffe

accounting generalist

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.

Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes, CEM

Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes, CEM
president/owner

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Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes, CEM

president/owner

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.

Marc Blumer

Marc Blumer
customer journey architect

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Marc Blumer

customer journey architect

Blumer brings to mdg a host of fully integrated processes to deliver resonant, targeted messages to the right prospects, based on their individual information needs, related to our clients’ offerings, at the exact moment they want it.

This includes the unified planning of client goals and objectives with campaign performance modeling, benchmarking, conversions targets, testing, optimization and reporting in order to drive strong marketing ROI. This also includes the alignment of value proposition, message planks and segmentation with the data and content strategy needed to efficiently identify, target and reach the target prospect at the right point with the best message to drive engagement and conversion.

Blumer has two decades of experience in both B2B agency and technology brand environments as well as an M.S. in Direct and Digital Marketing from Mercy College and served on their adjunct faculty. Prior to joining mdg, Blumer has planned integrated attendee marketing programs for two of the largest trade shows in North America as well as hundreds of demand generation campaigns for Fortune 1000 companies.

Suzanne Scheidel

Suzanne Scheidel
accounting & hr manager

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Suzanne Scheidel

accounting & hr 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.

Vincent Polito

Vincent Polito
owner

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Vincent Polito

owner

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.

Chicago Account Services

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.

Jessica Burke, CAE

Jessica Burke, CAE
account director

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Jessica Burke, CAE

account director

Jess Burke is a Certified Association Executive with a passion for telling the stories of nonprofits and their people. In her work at mdg, Jess helps clients leverage their strengths and overcome their challenges to put on great events and make a mark on their industries. In the association space since 2009, Jess has conducted market and member research, implemented print and digital campaigns, managed social media accounts, and much more. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the Pennsylvania State University and an M.A. in English Rhetoric and Composition from Seton Hall University. On the weekends, you can find Jess at the movies, seeing whatever looks the scariest.

Maureen Winston

Maureen Winston
account director

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Maureen Winston

account director

Maureen has a passion for understanding people, their past behaviors, and and the usage of that information to influence future behaviors. This passion has translated itself into a career helping clients obtain maximum ROI through integrated marketing campaigns. Proof that trade shows have always been near and dear to Maureen’s heart—she considers a 1984 COMDEX luggage tag as one of her prized possessions. Maureen performs improv comedy in her spare time and brings the “Yes, and …” technique to her role at mdg.

Meg Falat

Meg Falat
account coordinator

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Meg Falat

account coordinator

Meg’s background in marketing stretches from campaign planning to post campaign analyses and everything in between, including market research and social media management. She’s served higher education, nonprofit and Fortune 500 companies with energy, creativity and attention to detail. Meg grew up in Northwest Indiana, close enough to Chicago to have always been able to call it home. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Ball State University.

Sierra Buechler

Sierra Buechler
account manager

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Sierra Buechler

account manager

With several years of agency experience, Sierra brings a great combination of creativity, analytical backing and omni-channel thinking to her clients’ campaigns. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a concentration in Advertising from Bradley University. Out of the office, Sierra is a practicing foodie, which serves as the perfect way to get to know her new city of Chicago.

Tina Campbell

Tina Campbell
account director

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Tina Campbell

account director

Tina has been a jack of all trades, leading marketing departments and developing initiatives across a diverse set of industries, including technology, healthcare, higher education and government. A planner and serial list maker, Tina uses her ability to see the big picture to help clients develop strategy, but dives into the details to ensure successful execution. Before joining mdg, Tina worked on both the agency and client sides to develop multi-channel marketing campaigns for B2B clients focusing on digital and marketing automation. A University of Wisconsin graduate, with majors in Journalism and Communication Arts, Tina has an affinity for all things cheese, and the wine that often accompanies it. Outside of the office, she enjoys exploring the city with her family, seeing live music, and true to her nature, planning her next meal.

DC Account Services

Ashleigh Kades

Ashleigh Kades
account director

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Ashleigh Kades

account director

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.

Heather Ireland

Heather Ireland
account director

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Heather Ireland

account director

Heather is a high-energy, passionate people person. With a mix of agency and in-house corporate marketing experience, she’s promoted everything from real estate and insurance to food service, electrical contracting and more. Heather’s strategic focus, creativity and attention to detail aid her ability to analyze situations and deliver thoughtful and unique solutions to mdg clients. She takes pride in kindling strong and trusted relationships with her clients and coworkers and being a go-to resource and collaborative partner.

Heather loves to laugh, spend time with family, try her hand at cooking up new recipes, experience cultural events in DC and travel as much as possible. She also has a weakness for sweets, which she balances by teaching group fitness classes for fun.

Ingrid Thorson

Ingrid Thorson
account director

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Ingrid Thorson

account director

Ingrid has an extensive background in trade association marketing and communications. Her skillset includes creating streamlined and thought-provoking messaging, developing creative event promotions and managing overall brand identity and reputation. Ingrid brings years of experience to mdg. Her adventure began at the Roller Skating Association in Indianapolis, then the Professional Association of Innkeepers in Philadelphia and lastly the National Golf Course Owners Association in Charleston. Ingrid enjoys exploring the city parks with her Shiba Inu dog, Kobe, in her free time.

Katy Smith

Katy Smith
account manager

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Katy Smith

account manager

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.

Lindsay Wolf

Lindsay Wolf
account coordinator

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Lindsay Wolf

account coordinator

Lindsay has a bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Maryland and experience in account services and digital marketing. Her attention to detail and work ethic mixed with creative spirit make her a perfect fit for mdg. She loves a challenge and enjoys the fast pace of an agency. During her free time, she likes to ride her horses, exercise, and explore the city.

Maggie Stevens

Maggie Stevens
senior account director

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Maggie Stevens

senior account director

Intensely curious and passionately creative, Maggie has been immersed in event and association marketing since 2001. Holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), she indulges her odd combination of right- and left-brain creating omnichannel marketing campaigns in support of attendee and member acquisition. Additional obsessions include inbound/content marketing, using data to direct and predict event patterns and leveraging automated marketing in both electronic and direct mail. When not at work, Maggie maintains balance through time with her two children, running, yoga, drawing and sipping wine. (Results and frequency of each may vary.)

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.

Natasha Magino

Natasha Magino
account coordinator

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Natasha Magino

account coordinator

Natasha Magino graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a concentration in Marketing. Given her background in print, email, and digital marketing, Natasha is well equipped to assist mdg clients with executing results-driven marketing campaigns. Outside of work she records a podcast with a close friend about navigating life in their 20s. She is also currently working on creating a not-for-profit digital magazine to cater to the creative people, places, and events in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia areas.

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.

Reston Account Services

Abbi Boose

Abbi Boose
account director

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Abbi Boose

account director

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.

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.

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.

Cassandra Young

Cassandra Young
account manager

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Cassandra Young

account manager

Cassandra has a nearly insatiable curiosity and an entrepreneurial spirit where she is driven by those “aha!” moments, the feeling you get when you discover or execute new marketing methodologies that are truly epiphanic. This has led her to a mix of agency and in-house corporate marketing experiences, where she’s marketed everything from security and casino gaming to federal IT, pop culture, book publishing and more. Cassandra is a high-energy, passionate people person and believes that a flexible balance of creativity, attention to detail, collaboration and strategy is recipe in delivering the mdg brand promise to her clients. Originally from Connecticut, she enjoys traveling, spending time with family, being outdoors and channeling her inner-Martha Stewart.

Christine Johnson

Christine Johnson
account manager

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Christine Johnson

account manager

Christine is laser focused on driving results for her clients, working with the mdg team to blend data-driven strategies with impactful creative to achieve measurable goals. With a bachelor’s degree in Marketing Communications from Emerson College and a background in digital and content marketing for clients including Panera Bread, Chevrolet, Hitachi, TBS, and GED Testing Service, Christine is a constant learner who holds herself to a high standard of excellence. Outside the office, you can find her curled up with a good book and her Boston Terrier, Miss Moneypenny.

Dana Pyles

Dana Pyles
account director

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Dana Pyles

account director

Prior to joining mdg, Dana worked for a K-12 education company handling niche audience marketing for student acquisition initiatives. There she identified non-traditional opportunities to elevate brand awareness and increase qualified leads and student enrollments. Additionally, Dana has several years of experience working with clients in various industries to manage marketing projects of all types, including digital, direct response, event, and non-traditional. Dana draws from her experience to provide high-level strategic and tactical support to her clients, delivering effective marketing and public relations campaigns. Dana holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from George Mason University and an Associate of Science from Northern Virginia Community College.

Dustin Gunderson

Dustin Gunderson
account director

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Dustin Gunderson

account director

Dustin is a problem solver. He’s just as quick to dive into the details of why it matters to use a serial comma, as he is to discuss overarching strategic decisions affecting marketing KPIs. Dustin has worked with a diverse portfolio of clients, from national scholars to heavy-duty vehicles, food manufacturers and in between, executing comprehensive communication and membership strategies. 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 of Science in Business Administration from Marymount University and a bachelor’s degree in marketing from George Mason University. When he’s not in the office, you can find him fighting alongside other guardians protecting Earth’s Last City, or at the local Whole Foods obsessing over artisanal cheeses.

Jaclyn Callo

Jaclyn Callo
account coordinator

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Jaclyn Callo

account coordinator

Jaclyn received a bachelor’s degree in Media Studies from the University of Virginia and has experience in digital marketing, project management, and public relations. Prior to joining mdg, she held an account services role at a boutique ad agency where she worked with a diverse set of clients and assisted with on-site media relations. She is bilingual and loves to combine creativity with business. An adrenaline junkie and avid traveler, she is always looking for her next adventure to occupy her free time outside the office.

Jana Sabol

Jana Sabol
account director

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Jana Sabol

account director

With extensive experience in associations, specifically membership, Jana is a results and data-driven marketer with a passion for understanding consumer behavior. Having served a diverse portfolio from healthcare and research, to human resources, aviation, and education, she brings with her years of experience on not just acquisition, but a focus on the journey of a member. Prior to joining mdg, Jana has held roles both with agency and in-house teams, specifically focused on the strategic management, implementation, and analysis of multi-channel membership marketing programs. In her free time, you will find her cheering on the Steelers and Penguins, playing with her dogs, or out finding the next adventure.

Jennifer Jones, CAE

Jennifer Jones, CAE
senior communications strategist and senior director of operations

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Jennifer Jones, CAE

senior communications strategist and senior director of operations

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.

Lindsay Davis

Lindsay Davis
senior account director

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Lindsay Davis

senior 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.

Lindsay Sheldon

Lindsay Sheldon
account strategist

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Lindsay Sheldon

account strategist

Lindsay brings a unique perspective to mdg, having spent time at an advertising agency servicing Fortune 500 clients while also leading the marketing communications initiatives at an education association for a number of years. Lindsay has a background rooted in strategic planning and shareholder consensus building. She has experience in both B2C and B2B markets and enjoys developing creative, innovative and pragmatic solutions to meet client needs.

Lindsay holds both a Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from St. Bonaventure University. She is an avid football fan, board game enthusiast and lover of anything chocolate.

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.

Liz Miller

Liz Miller
account director

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Liz Miller

account director

With a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University and marketing and event planning experience, Liz is equipped to take on any client challenge and turn it into an opportunity. She finds joy building relationships, executing multi-channel marketing plans and learning new things. Outside of work, Liz is a fitness enthusiast, reader, scrapbooker and avid watcher of Friends reruns.

Mark Shayka

Mark Shayka
account coordinator

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Mark Shayka

account coordinator

Mark earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Graphic Design from Lees-McRae College. Before joining mdg, he worked as a small business marketer primarily with wineries and real estate companies improving their collateral and social media. Outside of the office, Mark can be found on a golf course, a volleyball court, or in an area wine bar or vineyard.

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.

Noura Bayoumi

Noura Bayoumi
account manager

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Noura Bayoumi

account manager

With a Bachelor of Science in journalism, Noura brings strong editorial skills (as well a strong commitment to deadlines) to mdg. Previously, she worked for a trade association in Washington, D.C., performing project management tasks, event marketing, email marketing, social media and content development. Outside of work, Noura enjoys meditation, yoga and exercise.

Peyton Nichols

Peyton Nichols
account manager

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Peyton Nichols

account manager

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.

Sara Carlson

Sara Carlson
account coordinator

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Sara Carlson

account coordinator

Sara has diverse experience in event management, association and magazine marketing as well as hospitality PR. She strives to contextually understand client needs, lend a hand wherever one is needed and provide the best work in a timely manner for her clients. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from George Mason University, she combines creativity, cleverness and a can-do attitude in her approach. When she’s not keeping everyone on track, Sara can be found checking out new restaurants, channeling her inner Joanna Gaines or spending time with her pups (Lincoln + Riley).

Sarah Marshall

Sarah Marshall
account manager

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Sarah Marshall

account manager

Sarah has a decade of experience in integrated marketing communications, graphic design, print production, and nonprofit management both domestically and internationally. With a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Psychology from the University of California, San Diego and strategic marketing experience with the U.S. military, a regional chamber of commerce, and an international nonprofit, she has become equally as passionate about design layouts and typography as she is about spreadsheet formulas and analyzing production timelines. When she’s not at work, she’s spending time with her family, reading, traveling, and correcting spelling and grammar typos on everything from billboards to menus to magazines.

Sharae Bennett

Sharae Bennett
account manager

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Sharae Bennett

account manager

Sharae is a creative problem solver. She works passionately at building strong relationships with clients, executing multi-channel marketing campaigns, writing and developing strategic plans, and managing multiple projects from conception to design to implementation. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art from the University of Maryland and continues to develop her creative and industry skills via the latest marketing and communication strategies. When out of the office, Sharae enjoys shopping, trying new restaurants and traveling.

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.

Stephanie Gallagher

Stephanie Gallagher
account director

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Stephanie Gallagher

account director

Stephanie brings a versatile accounts service background in advertising, marketing, and media and public relations to mdg. She balances strategy, content and creative execution to deliver integrated campaigns that build stronger brands, thought leadership and audience engagement. Stephanie has led successful programs for global companies and start-ups in the health care, technology and hospitality industries, and associations in the higher education and transportation sectors. While she hails from the “Carousel Capital of the World,” her agency career spans the East, West and Gulf coasts. A tea enthusiast, Stephanie also enjoys craft beers, live music in the D.C. area and skiing.

San Diego Account Services

Emily Golding

Emily Golding
account director

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Emily Golding

account director

Emily is a marketing communications leader and strategic problem-solver who believes that a flexible balance of creativity, attention to detail and data-driven logic is key in delivering the mdg brand promise to her clients. She has overseen marketing and events in a wide range of industries including audio visual, spa and wellness, solar power, organic beauty, sustainability, and real estate, and is poised to master the nuances of new industries. Having graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a double Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication and Environmental Studies, she is excited to soon complete her MBA with a specialty in marketing from West Texas A&M Business School. Emily loves authentic bagels, listening to NPR podcasts (such as “A Way with Words” and “This American Life”), and playing with her dogs, Lola and Benicio.

Jessica Stevens

Jessica Stevens
account manager

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Jessica Stevens

account manager

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.

Kate Calderazzo

Kate Calderazzo
account director

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Kate Calderazzo

account director

Kate provides expertise in the art of project management, expertly managing the details required to execute marketing initiatives from start to finish. Her passion for data and analytics helps her evaluate and optimize strategies throughout the life of a project to achieve exceptional results. When she is not increasing attendance for her trade show clients, Kate is busy kickboxing and baking treats for her mdg coworkers. Kate is a Northern California native with two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Communications and Political Science from UC Davis.

Shantelle Johnson

Shantelle Johnson
senior account director

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Shantelle Johnson

senior 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.

Victoria Palazzo

Victoria Palazzo
account manager

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Victoria Palazzo

account manager

Tori earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Connecticut.
She brings her background in client relations and strong work ethic to mdg, while she continues to build and grow her skills in strategic marketing. When she’s not at work, Tori can be found at country concerts, traveling the National Parks or back on the East Coast visiting her niece.

Copy

Ashley Weber

Ashley Weber
publications specialist

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Ashley Weber

publications specialist

Prior to joining mdg, Ashley spent five years in publications management with a DC-based association management company. She brings experience, organization, and commitment with her through each workday. As a publications specialist, she is dedicated to maintaining close attention to detail, and adhering to clients’ objectives. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in writing from Christopher Newport University. Outside the office, she pursues a passion for young adult literature with her personal writing projects, and also enjoys cooking and travel.

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.

Julian Kimble

Julian Kimble
copywriter

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Julian Kimble

copywriter

Julian has worked with brands including Nando’s Peri-Peri, Spotify and Ray-Ban and has written for publications such as of The Washington Post, GQ and Billboard. He believes creativity is defined by how you solve problems.

Kristen Powell

Kristen Powell
copywriter

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Kristen Powell

copywriter

Throughout her career, Kristen has focused on communications. This includes her four years in the Army, where she led a Patriot missile fire control crew and cross-trained as a multichannel transmission systems operator. Since returning to civilian life, she has immersed herself in more traditional forms of communicating; engaging diverse audiences through her work at marketing and advertising agencies as well as at a global art and design university. Kristen enjoys partnering with mdg clients to create concise messaging that speaks directly to readers’ goals and compels action. A graduate of Armstrong State University, now part of Georgia Southern University, Kristen reads, practices German and creates training games for her dog, Tank, in her free time.

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.

Renee Goldstein

Renee Goldstein
copywriter

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Renee Goldstein

copywriter

Renee brings nearly a decade of writing, editing and marketing experience to mdg. With a history of managing publications and writing for associations in the printing and medical industries, a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from George Mason University and a Master of Professional Studies in publishing from The George Washington University, Renee is able to develop messaging strategies and language that compels action and drives results.

Vanessa Page

Vanessa Page
managing copywriter

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Vanessa Page

managing copywriter

Vanessa brings two decades of writing and editing experience to mdg, having created content for Fortune 500 companies and industries ranging from gourmet food to fashion to online learning. Whatever the topic or industry, her goal remains the same: to fully understand the audience and their motivations so she can create a powerful, engaging message that truly connects. Prior to joining mdg, Vanessa developed digital and editorial content for QVC; print advertising for Macy’s East; and long-form direct mail and online marketing copy for The Great Courses. Vanessa received her Bachelor of Arts in Magazine Journalism and Master of Arts in Museum Studies, both from Syracuse University.

Data, Digital and Web

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.

Breann Billiet

Breann Billiet
database marketing specialist

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Breann Billiet

database marketing specialist

After fleeing the Midwest in favor of San Diego’s weather and beaches, Breann joined mdg, where she analyzes and interprets client data to drive relevant experiences and deliver more effective marketing messages. Her professional experience includes working in the marketing database and analytics departments in industries such as health and benefits administration and casino gaming. She earned her degree in marketing, with an international business concentration, from Loras College. In her free time, Breann enjoys traveling, hiking and yoga.

Burns Foster

Burns Foster
digital marketing manager

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Burns Foster

digital marketing manager

Burns has a lifelong background in customer service and brand loyalty that drives her passion for understanding the customer journey. Creating seamless and memorable experiences that span from the digital campaigns she designs to the events they support, Burns enjoys designing strategic plans that are both intuitive and based in data. She loves digital marketing because of its unique ability to marry the creative and data-driven sides of her brain, which keeps each day at mdg very interesting!

Caitlin Garrity

Caitlin Garrity
digital marketing coordinator

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Caitlin Garrity

digital marketing coordinator

Caiti has a bachelor’s degree in Sport Management from George Mason University and experience in social media and digital marketing. Caiti monitors and reports digital and social campaign performance to ensure client goals are achieved. In her free time, you will find her at Capitals, Redskins and Nationals games, hanging out with her tuxedo cat, Pippin, or traveling around the world to find the prettiest bridges.

Clinton Hall

Clinton Hall
web developer

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Clinton Hall

web developer

Clinton has more than 12 years of design and development experience in the beautiful world of non-profit associations. With a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design from Arkansas State University, Clinton now creates stunning user interfaces that give life and movement to modern day web design. In his spare time, Clinton enjoys the occasional beer at his local pub and bowling.

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.

Irina Anthony

Irina Anthony
digital marketing manager

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Irina Anthony

digital marketing manager

Irina is a certified digital marketing professional who is passionate about developing and implementing strategies that support client goals while respecting the bottom line. After graduating with honors from University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing, she has devoted her career to developing and implementing successful organic and paid search campaigns. Irina is passionate about creating recognizable brand imaging and the kind of concrete numbers clients strive for. Originally from Russia, Irina loves traveling and exploring new cultures.

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.

Kristen Ferrer

Kristen Ferrer
director of digital marketing

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Kristen Ferrer

director of digital marketing

As a strategic marketing leader, Kristen focuses on marketing operations and digital campaign/program optimization. She is known for creating data-driven strategies that guide organizations through digital transformation and achieve organizational goals. Her favorite projects include digital acquisition through organic search, paid search and social, as well as email, user experience design and data analytics. Kristen has been creating exceptional digital experiences for organizations of all types, including K12 and higher education, tech companies, professional services and consumer goods since 2000. Her experience ranges from working with non-profits and associations, to startups and established for-profit companies of all sizes. Kristen has never met a spread sheet or a pug she didn’t like.

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.

Rachael Long

Rachael Long
social media specialist

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Rachael Long

social media specialist

Rachael is a social media enthusiast who helps mdg clients meet their digital marketing goals. Upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Christopher Newport University, Rachael has devoted her career to assisting organizations with their social media efforts. Her experience ranges from working with non-profit associations to large for-profit companies in the education world. In her free time, Rachael can be found at a rock concert, practicing yoga, eating sushi or traveling.

Ryan Edwards

Ryan Edwards
web developer

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Ryan Edwards

web developer

Ryan has harnessed a lifelong passion for figuring out how things work into a varied skill set across many disciplines in the digital realm. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The School of Visual Arts, Ryan has earned recognition for his paintings, for innovative web projects, and for his work in animation – including a Daytime Emmy Award nomination. When not plugging away behind a monitor, Ryan can be found enjoying the beautiful Virginia outdoors with his family.

Sam Watkins

Sam Watkins
associate director of digital marketing

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Sam Watkins

associate director of digital marketing

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.

Sarah Abdallah

Sarah Abdallah
digital marketing manager

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Sarah Abdallah

digital marketing manager

Sarah is an enthusiastic and driven digital media authority with experience building and executing digital marketing strategies for multiple brands. With a diverse background working on digital teams in agency, freelance, and publishing environments (at brands that include Cooking Light, Health, and Real Simple magazines) she leverages her varied skillset to implement campaign strategies that meet and exceed client campaign goals. Sarah is a graduate of George Mason University with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Linguistics. In her free time Sarah can be found painting, spending time with family and friends, and dreaming of teleportation to simplify her love of travel.

Sean Fernandez

Sean Fernandez
web maintenance specialist

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Sean Fernandez

web maintenance specialist

Interested in technology from a young age, Sean received a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from San Diego State University. He found a passion for the constantly evolving web as the perfect medium to unite his interests in design and programming. Flexible, quick-witted and thorough, Sean draws from his experience at startups and digital marketing agencies to create elegant and robust web and e-mail solutions.

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.

Design

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
associate art director

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Channing Avery

associate art director

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.

Dragutin Cvijanovic

Dragutin Cvijanovic
associate art director

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Dragutin Cvijanovic

associate art director

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.

Jason Sawyer

Jason Sawyer
managing art director

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Jason Sawyer

managing art director

Jay has extensive experience providing design solutions for innovative shows, national brands and mom and pops alike. Everything Jay does is relationship-based and at mdg, he utilizes this underlying methodology to strengthen his team’s creative, maximize impact and deliver results for clients. Jay holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from the Ringling College of Art and Design. He is sometimes mistaken for The Dude and can easily be bribed with a bottle of good bourbon.

Kacia Reilly

Kacia Reilly
director of design

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Kacia Reilly

director of design

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.

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.

Susanne Mundt

Susanne Mundt
senior graphic designer

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Susanne Mundt

senior 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.

Specialists (PR + International + Traffic)

Angela Nicholas

Angela Nicholas
pr coordinator

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Angela Nicholas

pr coordinator

Angela studied Public Relations and English Literature at Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts, before moving her marketing career cross-country to sunny San Diego in 2017. At mdg, Angela helps execute public relations campaigns for a variety of clients, ensuring each campaign is designed with a strategy for success. Outside of work, Angela enjoys traveling, yoga and live music.

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.

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.

Stacy Schmeltzer

Stacy Schmeltzer
traffic manager

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Stacy Schmeltzer

traffic manager

With a diverse work background, Stacy has been involved in marketing and advertising for many different industries: motorcycles, crafting supplies, and commercial real estate, just to name a few. Her progression into a traffic management role was a natural one because she enjoys daily multi-tasking, detailed organization, and having her hands on projects that flow through every department of the agency. When she’s not at work, she loves anything related to the ocean and taking pictures. Her perfect San Diego afternoon would include fish tacos and a cold beer by the water.

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.