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.
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.
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.
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 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.
talent acquisition and HR manager
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.
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 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
With 18 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.
customer journey architect
Marc Blumer, from a young age, accompanied his father, VP at Leo Burnett Media, into the Chicago HQ where Marc was able to experience the creative department first hand. Today, with an M.S. in direct and digital marketing from Mercy College and more than 25 years in B2B marketing leadership roles on both the agency and client sides, Marc sits at the critical intersection of data and content. At mdg, Marc teams with our account strategists to orchestrate and integrate the efforts of the digital, web and data teams into marketing programs fully aligned with the customer journey – especially those within complex industries. Included within Marc’s previous client engagements are lead attendee strategist roles for CONEXPO-CON/AGG and PACK EXPO, lead marketing automation strategist for Dow Corning as well as serving on outside agency’s strategic leadership team in building the three-year marketing strategic roadmap for Indorama Ventures in late 2017.
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.
Vicky, also known as “Vi”, has worked as an administrative professional in several different fields, from financial technology to health insurance software. Her organized and detail-oriented approach makes the job feel like second nature. Along with office management duties at mdg, she also works closely with the accounting team and provides support to multiple departments. When she’s not buried in a book, she enjoys exploring the many sights in San Diego.
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
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
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.
As a third generation Chicagoan from the South Side, Jodi has an accent so thick it could cut through a slice of deep dish. With that accent comes a work ethic and drive that has helped Jodi succeed as a strategic marketing and communications leader in Chicago’s association hub. Jodi has helped more than a dozen associations blaze new trails in member communications, launch award-winning online platforms, break conference attendance records and develop forward-thinking brand and product strategies.
A tech junkie in the truest sense, Jodi has worked on numerous website builds and redesigns, has successfully launched several online communities and has been on the forefront of marketing automation. As an account strategist for mdg, Jodi partners with clients to help them grow in ways that can measured—from brand awareness to member acquisition to conference attendance.
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’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.
With experience ranging from work with consumer food and beverage brands, to non-profits and government outreach, Megan brings a multi-audience perspective to each project focusing on what will have the most creative impact. Megan has a unique library of knowledge ranging from branding, events, social media campaigns and experiential consumer marketing. She holds an Master of Arts degree in Theatre for Young Audiences from Eastern Michigan University and a bachelor’s degree in Music Business from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She’s more than happy to start any meeting chatting about her husband, son or the latest gossip from Jersey Shore or The Bachelor or Bachelorette.
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.
DC Account Services
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 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 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.
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.
Lilia focuses on creating strategic public relations, social media and digital marketing campaigns for clients. Whether targeting segmented voter populations on the campaign trail, working with the press on Capitol Hill, creating multi-channel campaigns at an international nonprofit or at mdg, she strives to deliver the most impactful results for her stakeholders. In her spare time, Lilia enjoys traveling home to Arizona, experimenting in the kitchen, and spending time with loved ones.
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.
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 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.
Melissa came to mdg with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Loyola University of Maryland and experience with both agencies and non-profit organizations. She applies the same drive, energy and organizational acumen that helped her graduate cum laude to her role to mdg. Melissa is an expert at understanding clients’ needs and aligning agency resources to achieve them and she takes pride in helping her clients advance their goals and meet deadlines. Melissa treasures her Bernese and Lab and loves traveling, live music and spending time on the water.
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 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.
senior 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.
Bill started his career as an “Ad Man” in second grade when he was assigned a project to answer the following question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” While the other students wrote about becoming an astronaut or even a dinosaur, Bill wrote, “I want to make commercials” (whatever that meant and obviously not spelled correctly). His passion led him to Lynchburg College to obtain a degree in marketing while also tearing it up on the tennis courts. At mdg, Bill exudes a “nothing is impossible” attitude, leaving no stone unturned to provide strategic insights and marketing solutions for his clients. Bill lives in northern Virginia with his wife, two sons and dog, Berra—yes, after the great Yankees catcher Yogi Berra. You can often find the Cioffis at a local playground or exploring all that Virginia and Washington, D.C., have to offer.
senior account director
As a high-impact strategist, Camille has been at the helm of traditional and digital marketing strategies that drive results and achieve sustainable growth for her clients. She is a collaborative leader, creative problem solver and relationship builder with extensive marketing, membership and communications experience within the education, non-profit and telecommunications industries. Camille received her B.B.A. in marketing from Radford University, an MBA in management from Marymount University and an Event Management Certificate from George Washington University. She is a proud “military brat” who has moved over 20 times, living throughout the United States and in Germany. This sparked her love of traveling. In addition, she spends her spare time doing volunteer work, attending concerts and seeing the latest movie.
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 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.
Jennifer Jones, CAE
senior communications strategist and senior director of operations
Jennifer is a Certified Association Executive with extensive experience in communications, branding, publications and strategic partnerships. A passionate agent for change, Jennifer has led several rebranding initiatives for organizations, events and publications, launched a monthly magazine and identified new revenue sources at several healthcare and education associations. Together with colleagues, she’s been honored with two “Power of A” awards from The Center for Association Leadership and has received many accolades for her rebranding work. Jennifer lives in northern Virginia with her husband, two sons and dog Griff. When not busy at mdg, she likes to travel, cook, hike and entertain and is a lover of sunshine, adventure and dinner parties.
Functioning at the intersection of creativity and strategy, Kate brings years of marketing, communications and public relations experience to mdg. Her passion for the field was affirmed by a fashion show during college in which she was selected to head communications efforts for the show. Over the following decade, Kate has grown her expertise while working with numerous nonprofit organizations, restaurants, events and media companies. Kate is a native of the Washington, D.C., area who enjoys soaking up the sun by the water and volunteering with a local animal rescue.
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 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.
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 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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
San Diego Account Services
Alex earned a Bachelor of Arts from Northeastern University with a concentration in Journalism. She brings her background in client services and writing to mdg where she assesses clients’ needs and helps execute results-driven marketing campaigns. Alex is a Colorado native and outside of work, can be found searching for every outdoorsy activity California has to offer.
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.
Kate found her career calling in marketing at the crossroads where words matter, images evoke, experiences transform and actions mean everything. With prior experience as an in-house Marketing Manager, Industry Association Committee Member and member of the Board of Directors for a non-profit organization, her ability to recognize and navigate clients’ pain points and business objectives comes intuitively. An innovative thinker, driven by data and fueled by client success, Kate manages the execution of campaigns from conceptual to tactical. When not in the office she can be found at the local yoga studio, exploring around the globe or traveling the world of music as a performance reviewer. Kate is a fourth-generation Californian and settled in San Diego while earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from San Diego State University.
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.
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.
Siritha holds dual degrees in graphic design and advertising from the Art Institute of California, San Diego. Siritha made her transition from Michigan to sunny San Diego several years ago and has yet to look back. With many years of client service experience along with a strong background in digital and traditional marketing, Siritha brings creative and strategic concepts to mdg. Outside of the office, you can find her at the park with her dog, Joe Pesci, or at the beach with her family!
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.
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.
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. She taps into the audience’s psychographics and demographics to write authentic copy that helps clients achieve their attendance and engagement goals. Before joining mdg, Lara 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 UC San Diego. Outside of work, Lara enjoys running, reading and traveling with her husband.
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 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.
As a journalist turned marketing copywriter, Sheree brings more than a decade of experience and wide range of skills to mdg. Her affinity for the written word prompted her to pursue a double major in communications and English with a journalism emphasis at Boise State University. After earning her degree, Sheree put her writing and editing savvy to work for publications and tech companies in Boise, San Francisco and Seattle before moving to San Diego and joining the mdg team. She adores alliteration, gets a kick out of eliminating superfluous commas and will seize any opportunity she has to use the word “revamp.” When she isn’t crafting content that both delights and inspires action, you’ll find her relaxing at the beach or heading to the airport to start a new adventure.
Data, Digital and Web
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.
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!
digital marketing manager
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 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.
digital marketing manager
Crystal is a multitalented, high-energy business professional who has earned her reputation as a passionate leader in the world of marketing, advertising and communications. With over 12 years of experience in a diverse range of industries such as technology, food & beverage, communications and entertainment, her knack for connecting brands to people has always been through creative brand storytelling. At mdg, Crystal is highly engaged in working with the digital team to create and execute strategies that align with the clients’ expectations and goals. She truly aspires to travel the world to educate others about marketing and become the go-to source for people of all ages. Outside of the office, Crystal is either on the football field taking down defenders, biking or running through the city, or sideline reporting at Wizards game.
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.
senior web developer
Ibukun has over a decade of experience in the graphic design and web development world. He has created brands, print material and websites for a wide range of clients, including non-profit, legal, entertainment and startups. With a bachelor’s degrees in Political Science, History and Journalism from Rutgers University (which he never actually uses), and an overactive imagination, Ibukun may be better suited to be a raconteur than a developer, but the possibilities in code are irresistible. Ibukun enjoys sparkling conversation, quick wit, Game of Thrones and gummy bears.
director of digital activation
Hailing from the Southside of Chicago, Joe is a recent SoCal transfer that has led strategy and fulfillment teams across the digital marketing landscape since 2005. He got his start with small business SEM, which led to managing both search and display campaigns for some of the largest advertisers in the country. He partnered with companies from all walks of life—healthcare, technology, retail, CPG, and more—and is now working with mdg’s digital activation group managing association and event campaigns through paid search, social media, and programmatic display and video. When he’s not thinking about cost per acquisition or conversion rates, Joe can be found paling around the San Diego area with his bulldog/pug hybrid PorkChop.
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.
Social Media Marketing Manager
Katherine brings her passion for and expertise in social media and marketing to mdg. Before mdg, she led marketing initiatives for Bloomberg’s Marketing and Events division. Throughout her career, Katherine has worked with various companies and organizations to build their social presence. Working first with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, she refined her skills while exploring the influence of social media on the 2012 presidential election. Katherine also enjoyed working with the Women in Cyber Security organization, creating social media blasts to build brand awareness and encourage young women to enter this fascinating field. She holds an interdisciplinary Media Studies degree from the College of William and Mary. Outside of the office, you will find Katherine sailing, hiking and seeking out every adorable dog in the Washington, D.C., area.
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.
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.
digital project manager
Roberto has been managing creative and technical projects in advertising agencies and in-house marketing departments since the early 2000s. Having worked in corporate, agency and nonprofit settings, he has a wide breadth of experience in digital, web, video and other mediums. Finding creative solutions to minimize roadblocks and keep projects running smoothly makes him happy.
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.
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.
digital marketing manager
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from East Carolina University, Steven spent five months in Madrid, where he fell in love with digital marketing. Working with various startups, he learned how to develop digital strategies from the ground up. At mdg, he refines those strategies to develop successful marketing campaigns in both the paid search and organic areas. In his free time, Steven enjoys playing soccer, traveling, exploring Washington, D.C., and cooking.
digital design specialist
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.
digital marketing manager
Vanessa brings a background in event marketing to mdg. As a digital marketing manager, she designs, monitors and reports on digital campaigns to ensure client goals are met. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communication and psychology from UC Santa Barbara. When not in the office, you’ll likely find her sipping on coffee, dancing to live music or enjoying the great outdoors with friends.
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.
Caitlin has gained experience in the marketing and design world working within a wide variety of industries such as hospitality, travel, fitness and retail. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design from San Diego State University and an Associate in Arts from Cuyamaca College. Always staying on top of current trends in the art world, Caitlin’s eye for design serves as a fresh perspective for mdg’s creative team. When she’s not at work, you can find her scoping out the newest art exhibits, dancing to her favorite disco songs and exploring new cities.
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 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.
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.
With a degree in visuals arts Josh combines his background from multiple mediums in order to provide a vision from any angle. His out-of-the-box perspective allows him to create unique and meaningful connections between clients and their audiences. Originally from Northern California, he migrated south to the sunny shores of San Diego in search of the perfect amount of kerning. In his spare time you can find him paddling out before sunset or picking up a paint brush.
director of creative services
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.
Lishani De Silva
Merging knowledge with her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations acquired from American University with experience as a graphic designer, Lishani has experience in creating brands for a variety of companies and organizations. She has a passion for design and came to mdg to expand her career in the marketing/creative industry. In her free time you can find her social media sweeping and fan girling over the latest pop culture (but of course with moderation). She also has love for boba and anything mango infused in it.
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.
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.
senior graphic designer
With experience in fashion design and graphics, Tila spent seven years in New York City before returning to California with a strong work ethic and drive to succeed. She combines a love of color theory and composition with an innate understanding of the psychology of design to exceed the expectations of clients from a wide variety of industries. An avid world traveler and adventure seeker, she’s experienced a lot of what the world has to offer. When she’s not focused on creating clean designs for mdg’s diverse client base, you can find her somewhere on or under the water in San Diego—or wherever her wanderlust takes her.
Specialists (PR + International + Traffic)
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.
A storyteller and extrovert, Connor is known for his strategic communication skills and effervescent spirit. With a Bachelor of Arts from the Michael G. Foster School of Business at the University of Washington, he began his career in the CPG industry where he directed trade shows, hosted media events and developed marketing campaigns that earned him DRY Soda Company’s BOSS Award in 2017. Connor enjoys building relationships with media partners and ensuring mdg’s clients receive impactful press coverage.
international marketing specialist
With work and life experience on three continents, proficiency in four languages, an MBA and an analytical mindset, Federico’s role at mdg is to support clients by uncovering insights and opportunities for growth worldwide, devising innovative ways to tap into new markets and developing long-term relationships with global partners. His experience navigating between cultures and languages, along with his knowledge of digital marketing and strategy, allow him to discover new paths to growth, and to plan and execute successful campaigns for mdg’s clients.
Prior to joining mdg, Federico’s experience included financial technology and international marketing, translations/localization, as well as NGO humanitarian work.
public relations manager
Julie brings more than a decade of communications experience to mdg and has guided the successful efforts of a wide variety of corporate, association and nonprofit clients. She is experienced in the areas of public relations, social media, advertising, email marketing, website management, corporate communications and investor relations. She takes pride in leading effective integrated strategic communications strategies that support each organization’s mission and goals. Julie graduated from Penn State University and lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and two daughters. In her free time, she enjoys listening to crime and entertainment podcasts, cheering on the Nittany Lions, meticulously planning her next trip to Disney and being an enthusiastic cheer/soccer/swim/gymnastics mom.
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.
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.
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
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.