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The IAEE Board of Directors plays a critical role in setting the direction for the association, ensuring necessary resources are in place for carrying out the mission, values and vision. They establish IAEE policies and priorities based upon the mission; represent member needs; ensure the financial stability and growth of the association; and promote the broad exhibitions and events industry.

To view our past board chairs, click here. | To view our staff, click here.

IAEE Board of Directors

2023 Chairperson
Dennis Smith
Vice President of Business Development
Asian American Hotel Owners Association

Dennis is the Vice President of Business Development for the Asian American Hotel Owners Association. Previously Dennis held the title of Sr. Director for Exposition Sales and Business Development at AVIXA which is the global trade association for the pro AV and integrated experiences industry. Mr. Smith began his trade show career in Europe and spent close to 18 years living and working in countries like Germany, United Kingdom and Turkey working for some of the top trade show organizations to include Deutsche Messe and Messe Frankfurt.

Apart from launching his own trade show company in 1997, Dennis has held several executive level positions and has been directly responsible for organizing more than 250 different international events in more than 30 countries covering a multitude of industries to include textiles, automotive, manufacturing, technology, food and construction.

Born in Colorado and having served in the US Army, Dennis has an MBA in International Business and is highly experienced in global strategy for events around the globe.

Dennis is married with two children and currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia.


Marie Browne
Group Vice President


As Group Vice President for RX, Marie is responsible for leading the LaunchPad team.  Her focus is to drive growth for the business via the launch and management of new events.   Marie assumed this role in late 2016 which has resulted in the launch of eight events in 2018.

Marie has been at Reed for 18 years and has held a variety of event management and corporate development roles.   Her immediate past position was Vice President of Corporate Development where she handled multiple acquisitions in the US, Mexico and Brazil.

Prior to joining RX, Marie held senior marketing positions at a number of event management and membership organizations.

Marie holds a Masters of Business Administration degree with concentrations in marketing and finance from the University of Connecticut.

Janet Sperstad CMP-F
Faculty Director, Meeting and Event Management
Madison College

Janet Sperstad’s professional history reflects her lifelong vocation: driving excellence in meeting and event management execution and education. She has dedicated her career to defining the competencies and career pathways that articulate meeting planning as a design discipline – separate and distinct from hospitality – requiring skills in the social sciences, executive leadership, and the cognitive sciences.

Her contributions are global in scope and rooted in over 25 years as a meeting professional and executive leader in the corporate and non-profit sectors. Janet has been employed by a Fortune 500 global company, a statewide association, and owned a professional event management firm.

Janet currently leads Madison College’s Meeting and Event Management Associate degree program, which she founded in 2002. This award-winning program is recognized for its stringent requirements that faculty demonstrate direct meeting planning experience and credentials; the program currently offers the greatest number of meeting and event management credits in the United States and has served as a model for other programs at colleges and universities in North America and Europe.

Immediate Past Chairperson
Carrie Ferenac
CNTV (Convention News Television)

Carrie and her business partner, Marcelo Zolessi, co-founded Convention News Television (CNTV) in 2007 after seeing a need for digital content and live production in the exhibitions and events industry.   Now, the company produces live and remote content for more than seventy clients annually.   The video stories bring events to life, and offer associations and for-profit show organizers a new stream of revenue through sponsorships.   CNTV also partners with IAEE, PCMA, TSNN and Tradeshow Executive to produce video content and live coverage of industry events throughout the year.

Carrie has an extensive background in broadcast journalism and management.  She spent eleven years at the NBC affiliate in Orlando (WESH-TV).  Now, Carrie is entrenched in the meetings industry.    She is the current chair of the CEIR Board of Directors, and incoming Chair of the IAEE Board.    She was a finalist for PCMA’s Supplier of the year in 2017 and 2019.   She volunteers her time and energy to projects that forward the industry, including Exhibitions Day and the Exhibitions Mean Business campaign.

Mary Bender
VP of Sales & Operations
Taffy Event Strategies

Mary has been in the trade show industry for 20 years and has excelled in a variety of roles including sales and marketing for service providers as well as show management teams. Prior to joining Taffy Events, Mary led marketing and sponsorship sales efforts for U.S Boat Shows, a division of Informa Exhibitions. Prior to Informa, Mary worked for trade show industry companies including Smart City, Sands Expo & Convention Center, GES and Emerald Expositions (formerly GLM). In addition, Mary has been active in the trade show industry serving on the Southwest Chapter board for IAEE as well as multiple committees focusing on awards, education and innovation.


Mark Bogdansky

Vice President Meetings & Events
Auto Care Association

Mark Bogdansky is the Vice President of Meetings and Events for the Auto Care Association. Bogdansky oversees all tradeshows for the Auto Care Association, its segments, committees and managed associations, including the AAPEX and HDAW shows. His responsibilities include strategic planning, tradeshow management, partner and vender relationships, contract negotiation and on-site logistics.

Prior to joining the Auto Care Association in November 2016, Bogdansky worked on the conventions for the National Retail Federation and Heart Rhythm Society. Prior to that, Mark was a high school teacher and college basketball coach.

He is an active member of the International Association of Exhibition and Events, and currently serves as the chairperson of the MATSO Council. He has also served on multiple industry advisory boards and committees and spoken at several industry events.

Raised in Boston, Bogdansky graduated from Yeshiva University in New York, with a bachelor of arts in mathematics and a minor in business. He lives with his son in Maryland.


Michael Clarke
Senior Director, B2B Events & Programs
Portfolio, Luxury & Leisure, Global Sales Organization – US & Canada
Marriott International Inc. & Marriott International Luxury Brands

Michael leads a dynamic team of marketing and business event professionals inside the Global Sales Organization at Marriott International. With a focus of assisting the GSO Team in staying connected with Marriott’s largest volume customers within association, corporate, intermediary, wholesale, retail and TMC segments, he works with key GSO executive and associate stakeholders to provide strategy and relevant, personalized information and content to group, business transient and leisure travel customer channels, enabling more efficient decision making and problem solving across Marriott’s portfolio of 30 brands.

In addition, Michael manages Marriott’s meeting, event and tradeshow division, producing internal sales and external customer facing events across all segments and within all premium and luxury brands. Further, he is responsible for all of Marriott’s sponsor and partner programs with all industry associations and organizations.

He and his team recently launched Marriott’s first and very successful hybrid event – Connect With Confidence – showcasing an effective planning approach to both virtual and in-person events with the purpose of encouraging our industry to once again consider face-to-face business events within a well-being environment.


Legal Counsel
Paula Cozzi Goedert
Barnes & Thornberg LLC


Michelle Edmonson, CEM
Vice President, Exhibitions
AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology

Michelle Edmonson, CEM is the Vice President, Exhibitions at AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology. She previously held the position of Senior Director – Events and Content; AMT-The Association For Manufacturing Technology. Her 25+ years of trade show history allows her to combine her experience with fresh ideas to all AMT Events – including IMTS – The International Technology Show. Michelle recently stepped into the role of managing content for the Association and continues to help develop new products for the MT marketplace.


Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes, CEMDirector
Chuck Grouzard
Executive Vice President, Business Development

Chuck Grouzard is Executive Vice President of Business Development at GES. With over 25 years of industry experience, he is not only a veteran, but knows his stuff. He enjoys leading the exhibition sales team on a day to day basis with new and exciting tactics. He’s worked with various types of clients and is always up for a challenge!

Mary Pat Heftman

Mary Pat is the Principal of MPH Solutions, LLC, a newly launched consultancy assisting association and for-profit trade show & event organizations to achieve their full potential strategically, operationally and financially.

Over her 30-year career, Mary Pat is known worldwide as a senior executive at the National Restaurant Association and Winsight Media, leading the National Restaurant Association Show’s unprecedented innovation and growth.

Mary Pat’s career-long active involvement in leadership roles at MATSO, PCMA, CEIR and IAEE propelled those organizations into the future and current status as leaders in their respective association categories.


Anytra Lowe, CEM
EVP, Client Solutions

Anytra D. Lowe began her career in the events industry in 1996.  Anytra joined Freeman in 2004 and has held several positions such as Senior National Account Manager, Assistant Director of Sales of Las Vegas, and Director, National Account Management.  Anytra was also responsible for overseeing many Association, Corporate, and Technology customer events while Vice President, Expositions of California.  Her concentrated experience in both sales and account management has consistently helped customers elevate the show planning experience.

Currently, as Executive Vice President, Client Solutions, Anytra strategizes with internal teams and customers on high-level logistics, creating and implementing project plans focused on retention, account management, a superior service.   She often takes a “no excuses” approach to account service and continuously develops our internal teams to align with customer and industry expectations.

Anytra joined the IAEE Board of Directors beginning in January 2022 and has extensively participated IAEE Chapter events as well as the Krakoff Leadership Institute and several task forces.  Anytra is based in Las Vegas, has two children, three dogs, a turtle, and is an avid supporter of the National Brain Tumor Society.



Justine L. McVaney
SVP Event Planning & Operations
National Association of Broadcasters


Justine McVaney is responsible for all the event planning, budget management, logistical operations, and customer service programs of NAB’s events and conventions.

Since joining the NAB convention department in 1994, she has held various management positions in the department and was promoted to her current leadership position as Senior Vice President for Event Planning and Operations in 2011.

Justine is active in the trade show industry.  From 2000 – 2003 she served on the IAEM (International Association of Exposition Managers) DC Chapter Board of Directors and in 2004 was name one of the Next Generation of Leaders by Tradeshow Week magazine.  She currently is a member of the Maritz Advisory Board, vice chair of the Major American Trade Show Organizer Council, and past chair of the IAEE Senior Executive Education Forum.

Justine is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a BA in American Government.  She resides in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Jim and their son James.


Brian Pagel
Executive Vice President
Emerald X 

Brian Pagel currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Business Development and oversees the Residential and Commercial Connections portfolio at Emerald.  Brian began his career at Shore Varrone in 1998 and has worked in a variety of leadership positions with Bill Communications, VNU, Nielsen Expositions and Emerald.

Brian has produced nearly 100 events in his career, successfully repositioned several struggling properties and was a part of the deal team that acquired CEDIA Expo in 2017.  In 2013 he helped to champion an effort to co-locate the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) with the International Builders Show (IBS), creating Design and Construction Week. Brian holds a degree in Organizational Communications from the University of Kansas and is an active volunteer with both the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) and the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE).  He is also a frequent industry speaker, blogger and guest columnist.

Brian is originally from Littleton, Colorado, but currently lives and works in Alpharetta, Georgia.


Necoya Tyson CEM-AP, CGMP, CCEP, Owner & Chief Event Officer
Lightsey Event Solutions

Necoya Tyson is the Owner and Chief Event Officer with Lightsey Event Solutions. She was previously DIrector of Meeting Operations with CASSS – An International Separation Science Society. And before, she was the Vice President of Education & Events at the Texas Bankers Association, located in Austin, TX. With over 15 years of experience in the exhibitions & events industry, she leads the professional development and educational needs of the association’s members throughout every stage in each of their careers. Her strategic thinking and innovative approach help members keep education at the forefront of their minds.

Tyson has worked with various national associations in the Washington, D.C. area including the American Traffic Safety Services Association as the Director of Meetings & Conventions, National Trade Productions, Inc. as the Director of Operations and Conferences and the Society of American Military Engineers, as the Meetings and Exhibits Manager.

She is an active member of the International Association of Exhibitions & Events (IAEE) where she serves on the DC chapter board of directors and is a member of the CEM faculty. As a CEM faculty member, she teaches CEM classes all over the world.

She is a graduate of Shaw University with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications. She is also a certified corporate event planner, certified exhibition manager-advanced professional and government meetings professional.


Nichapa “Nikki” Yoswee, CEM
Senior Vice President
Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB)

Nichapa Yoswee is a seasoned professional with over 30 years of experience in the field of international business events. Her journey has been defined by a relentless pursuit of excellence, making her a notable figure in the business world. As a strategic thinker, Nichapa is known for her creativity and innovation, always push the boundaries and capitalize on emerging opportunities. Her leadership style is marked by versatility, and her skills in various aspects of business management including investment policy and framework development. She has played a pivotal role in shaping the sustainability practice in Thailand’s business event industry.

Nichapa’s adeptness in stakeholder management has been a driving force in her professional accomplishments. Her ability to build strong relationships with governmental, non-governmental, public, and private entities both on a national and global level has been crucial in fostering partnerships and securing strategic alliances. In her impressive journey, Nichapa has gained extensive knowledge and market intelligence across diverse industries, including international business, tourism, manufacturing, and business events. This resourceful understanding of the market has given her a competitive edge and allowed her to make informed decisions that propel organizations forward. With an illustrious career defined by leadership, innovation, and strategic vision, Nichapa Yoswee continues to be an inspiring figure in the world of international business, leaving a lasting impact on the organizations and industries she has touched.


Ex-Officio Members

Representing IAEE Asia Council

Representing the IAEE China Council

Representing Chapters Leaders Council
Sarah Kokernot, CEM, CMP
Director of Meetings & Events
Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care Society

Sarah Kokernot is the Director of Meetings and Events at the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society, where she heads the tradeshow and meetings team. Sarah is a graduate of the University of Texas in San Antonio with a BA in Geography. She is originally from Boerne, Texas where she currently resides with her two children.

Representing the IAEE MATSO Council
John Rozum
Senior Director, Ag & Utility Exhibitions and Events
Association of Equipment Manufacturers

Rozum is Senior Director of Ag & Utility Exhibitions and Events at the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. A self-described “event nerd” with more than two decades of experience leading some of the largest trade shows in the United States, Rozum plays a critical role in the planning and execution of industry-leading trade shows such as The Utility Expo and CONEXPO-CON/AGG, as well as Commodity Classic. In addition, he is currently serving as Chairperson of Major American Trade Show Organizers (MATSO) and President of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA). Rozum joined AEM in 2013. He started his career in radio and found his way to the event industry, where he spent more than a decade leading the World Dairy Expo. He earned a Bachelor of Science in both Ag Journalism and Poultry Science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Representing the Past Chairpersons’ Advisory Group
Julie Smith, CEM-AP, CTA
Senior Vice President, Business Development

Julie Smith, CEM-AP, CTA, is senior vice president, business development, GES, where she manages a portfolio of business and GES’ West Coast business development team. Smith is a past chair of IAEE, a past president of ESCA, and a past chair of the CEIR board, and has served on many committees and the boards of these organizations. She was IAEE’s inaugural Woman of Achievement, and earned ESCA’s Lifetime Achievement award, among other honors. She is chair of the Event Industry Council’s APEX new business model working group and led the EIC COVID 19 business recovery working group that developed the B2B and B2C Exhibitions accepted practices guide. A frequent speaker and contributor, Smith also served as a mentor for SDSU’s School of Hospitality & Tourism graduate program; was previously on the boards of Visit Anaheim and Local 831’s Health & Pension trusts; and is a CEM faculty member who taught CEM courses in seven countries.

Representing IAEE Consumer Events Council
Michelle Metter
Fast Forward Event Productions

With 26 years’ experience in event production and launches, sales, marketing, operations and logistics, Michelle’s leadership, vision, and focus on innovation have led Fast Forward to become one of the most widely respected businesses of its kind in the alcohol beverage and culinary events industry. She is often recruited as a speaker at industry conferences and often quoted as a thought leader in the live event industry. She is currently a board member for SISO chairing the B2C Special Interest Group, ex-officio board member for IAEE and chair of the public events council, board member for SDEC (San Diego Events Coalition), and a board member for the San Diego Tourism Authority. As owner of Fast Forward, she specializes in consumer and trade events for the alcohol beverage industry including the 19th Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, SommCon, Proof Beverage Expo, Craft Beverage Experience, Craft Beverage Expo, and Women in Craft.

Cathy Breden, CMP-F, CAE, CEM
Interim CEO


Cathy Breden, CMP-F, CAE, CEM serves in the capacity of Interim CEO of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events®️ (IAEE), a trade association representing the exhibitions and events industry. She began her association management career in 1984. She is the 2022 Chairperson of the Events Industry Council Board of Directors. She earned the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation in 1990, the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in 1995, the Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM) designation in 2019 and was recognized as a CMP Fellow in 2022.

Also, Cathy is the CEO of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR). Breden provides strategic direction and manages the day-to-day activities and business operations of CEIR. CEIR conducts primary, exhibition-related research studies to help exhibition stakeholders with evolving norms, shifting marketing trends and other issues that can have an impact on the channel itself or how to use if effectively in light of trends. Reports include digital/technology, attendee/exhibitor engagement, attendee acquisition and retention, generational workforce shifts, economic performance and impact, and exhibitor studies evaluating motivations for use of the exhibition marketing channel. She has been working with CEIR since 2006.