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Early Registration: 
October 5 - January 6
MNFEA Members $250/person
Non-Members $300/person

Standard Registration: 
January 7 - Onsite
MNFEA Members $300/person
Non-Members $350/person

Conference fees include general sessions, breakouts, networking activities, included optional events, and most meals.


2024 Conference Speakers


Kalsey Beach, President, Do Good Events
Kalsey started Do Good Events in 2013 after many years in a variety of event positions. Event planning has always been a great outlet for her desire to bring people together and an excellent use of her type A skillset. Kalsey focuses on events that build awareness and relationships and loves thinking creatively to solve whatever event curveball is thrown her way! When not event planning, Kalsey loves exploring the Twin Cities Restaurant scene, being on or near any body of water, and being with her three kiddos - ages 6, 3, and 9 months and husband!  Nick Borelli, Marketing Director, Zenus
Zenus Director of Marketing, Nick Borelli, leverages his background in experience design, event tech, and digital marketing to help event professionals reach their full potential. His background includes decades of contributions to live and digital communication helping to facilitate his mission: bringing the world together through intentionally designed experiences. To further this mission, he has presented on a wide range of topics internationally, volunteered with numerous industry associations and contributed to dozens of publications.

He has also served as a board member for a decade with the meetings and events industry nonprofit, The SEARCH Foundation. Nick has been named a Changemaker by MeetingsNet, awarded International Volunteer of the Year by International Live Events Association, and has won numerous marketing awards.

He has served as an advisor for associations, conferences, technology companies and event suppliers.Nick is the instructor of the Enhancing Events with AI course with the Event Leadership Institute.

Ashley Cook, Owner, Ashley Skeie Events
I am the heart and soul behind a decade-long journey of planning and designing weddings, creating flower magic, and a spontaneous dive into the world of coffee. Turns out, I’m not great at sitting still. I love the events community and the vast amount of people I’ve had the pleasure to meet, the clients I’ve been able to work for, and the friends that I’ve made. When I’m not surrounded by a sea of flowers or wedding plans, you'll catch me herding my three kiddos – my absolute chaos and joy. Balancing work and family might be a bit of a circus, but it keeps things interesting. In those rare moments when I'm not knee-deep in events or mom duties, I'm all about chasing new horizons. Whether it's exploring new places, finding a dance floor that feels just right, or trying out a new restaurant, I'm up for it. My idea of a perfect day involves a mix of caffeine, laughter, and maybe a spontaneous dance break. 

Caroline Correia, Account Manager, BeEvents
Caroline handles Business Development for BeEvents. Her first job in 1996 was running the Taste of Mystic food festival in Connecticut. She tried to step away for a brief stint as a stay at home mom, but the industry pulled her right back in and she’s back living and breathing all things event related. BeEvents is an experiential design agency with an optimistic, boundary-pushing approach. We offer guest-centric solutions and make life easy for our clients. We believe it takes constant curiosity, the courage to try new things, and a dedication to excellence to continually deliver the experiences people love.

Sara Collins
A leader in event production and sponsorship development for more than 20 years. Currently, Sara is the Festival Director of the Stone Arch Bridge Festival, Loring Park Art Festival, and Art in Bayfront Park. She is also the COO and Marketing Director of WE Fest Country Music & Camping Festival. 

Alyssa Olson, Marketing Director, Cumulus Media
As Marketing Director for Cumulus Media, Alyssa manages all marketing, promotions and event operations for local radio stations 93X, KQRS and LOVE 105. Prior to joining Cumulus Media, Alyssa has supported marketing and event production for festivals across Minnesota, including the St Paul Winter Carnival, Cinco de Mayo West Side St Paul, Minnesota Renaissance Festival, and the creation of the City of Isanti's winter lights festival, Illuminate Isanti. She also managed station promotions and events for JACKfm, 102.9 The Wolf, and News Talk 830 WCCO.

Alyssa has also been an active Board member of the Minnesota Festivals and Events Association since 2018, serving as Communications Committee Chair, Conference Committee Chair, and Secretary throughout that time. She is the current President of the Association.

Denise Olsen, Sr. Tourism Sales Director, Enjoy Eagan
Denise Olsen is the Sr. Sales Director at Enjoy Eagan and has been with the organization for 17 years.  Before her time with Enjoy Eagan, she worked at the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce as the Membership Director.  Denise has earned her Certified Travel Information Specialist certification through Destinations International and will be starting her Certified Destination Management Executive certification.  She works the group, sports and leisure markets and attends numerous trade and industry shows throughout the year.  She is the proud service person to her rescue dog Sadie Mae (a pure bred Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier) who she adopted in March 2020.  She loves nothing better than spending sunny summer days, nights and weekends watching her two grandsons (ages 9 and 15) playing baseball.

Molly Gallatin, VP of Communications, 2026 Special Olympics USA Games
Molly Gallatin has worked in sports communications and PR for nearly 20 years leading content, brand, and communication strategies and working with media all over the world in baseball, golf and now the Special Olympics.

Molly is currently the VP of Communications for the 2026 Special Olympics USA Games where she leads the communications, PR, and marketing efforts. Prior to joining the USA Games, she spent 10 years in the golf industry with both the PGA of America and the LPGA. At the PGA she led brand, marketing, and communications efforts for all member consumer efforts before shifting to the inclusion and culture team with a focus on DEI storytelling and leadership development. While with the LPGA she led PR and communications efforts with a focus on developing an international PR plan and increasing awareness of the players and corporate partnership opportunities.

Molly began her career with the Minnesota Twins in their baseball communications department and spent over 10 years in MLB in a variety of communication roles. She's been a part of planning, designing, and opening two world class facilities in Target Field (2010) and PGA Frisco (2022) and developed communications and marketing strategies in 14 different countries. Molly, her wife, and son are back in Minnesota after 10 years in Florida and Texas and are happy to enjoy the four seasons once again!

Andrea Graham, Co-Executive Director, Big Ten Men's & Women's Basketball Tournaments, Minnesota Sports and Events
Andrea is a Minneapolis-based brand experience consultant currently acting as the Co-Executive Director of the Big Ten Basketball Championships coming to Minneapolis in 2023 and 2024. She originally partnered with Minnesota Sports and Events as a member of the Minnesota Local Organizing Committee responsible for bringing the 2022 NCAA Women’s Final Four Championship Tournament to Minneapolis. For this project she was responsible for the VIP hospitality events programming, oversaw the partner advisory council, managed local DE&I priorities, and served as the Title IX Program Director for the Title IX 50th Anniversary campaign. With a passion for community building and a need to create work that positively impacts the world around us Andrea has also been lucky to have worked with the teams at Minnesota Festival and Events Association, Twin Cities Catalyst Music, St. Paul Downtown Alliance, Towerside Business Alliance, the Basilica Block Party Planning Committee, Rock What You Got, Surly Brewing Co, and American Public Media Group. Andrea is also a co-founder of the Great Lakes Association of Musicians and Artists, a membership-based non-profit committed to supporting the contribution of independent artists and musicians in our community by providing the social, mental, and physical support resources that allow them to continue to create a kinder, more beautiful world.
Hannah Hegman, Director of Experience, Do Good Events
Hannah Hegman is the Director of Experience at Do Good Events. Over the past ten years, Hannah has worked with a wide variety of businesses and nonprofits to build community, raise funds, and generate brand exposure. Her passion for events stems from the belief that events are the backbone of our communities - they bring us together for good! When not planning an event, Hannah is busy with her two kiddos and husband. She enjoys running, camping, puzzles, and chasing her kids around to all their activities.

Jaimee Lucke Hendrikson, President/CEO, Visit Saint Paul
Jaimee Lucke Hendrikson has spent her career in destination marketing, events and enthusiastic promotion of Saint Paul. Currently, she serves as President and CEO for Visit Saint Paul, leading a team dedicated to positively impacting Saint Paul’s economy through tourism and conventions. She started at Visit Saint Paul in 2013 serving in the roles of Vice President of Membership and Vice President of Marketing & Partnership. Prior to that she was the partnership director for The Beer Dabbler and Growler Magazine, and program director for the Grand Avenue Business Association.

Mike Augustyniak, Director of Meteorology, CBM, CCM, WCCO-TV Minneapolis, CBS Sunday Morning
Mike Augustyniak joined the WCCO team in 2008 and is now the meteorologist for "The 4" weekdays at 4:00p.m. He also created "Mike's Mix," a weekly segment focusing on the art and science of making the perfect cocktail. His work has been recognized with multiple Emmy Awards for Broadcast Excellence.

At the University at Albany, he studied meteorology under several of the world's leading research scientists. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in atmospheric science and is an American Meteorological Society Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and Certi- fied Consulting Meteorologist. He received his Master of Science degree in atmospheric science, also from the University at Albany. Findings from his master's thesis are used by the National Weather Service to make more accurate forecasts around the region. He has been on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, CBS Evening News, CBS Mornings and the BBC.

J Marie Fieger, CEO, Nemer Fieger
J. Marie is energized by the opportunity to work with a team of passionate experts to create and implement impactful communication and advertising strategies to grow our clients businesses. Their amazing team at Nemer Fieger works in harmony to deliver creative, meaningful and impactful creative solutions, media buys, public relations campaigns, events, and cause marketing initiatives with heart and soul.

She enjoys connecting great people, being active in the business community and is thankful for the chance to give-back through serving on boards and volunteering with a variety of non-profit organizations.

Max Feldman, Event Specialist, Eventeny
Max Feldman is an Event Specialist at Eventeny based out of South Florida. Spending the last 8+ years in the SaaS Industry, he has empowered countless clients to discover tailored business solutions. Max is particularly passionate about collaborating with event organizers on Eventeny, leveraging its tools to maximize their event management capabilities and ensure unparalleled success.

Mike Zipko, Principal, Velocity Public Affairs
Mike Zipko is a principal at Velocity Public Affairs. Velocity Public Affairs is a full-service public affairs company that combines experienced leadership with market-leading, proprietary technology to help clients strategically address and manage public affairs challenges and opportunities.

Jenny Kollander, Business Development & Partnerships, Sky Elements Drone Shows
Jenny Kollander has over thirty years of business experience specializing in sales and marketing. Kollander Media specializes in representing niche publications as well as programmatic and digital. Most currently in the Out of Home space with Sky Elements Drone Light Shows.

Over her career she has worked on brand development, sales and marketing, strategic multi-media planning, and advertising sales. Currently she represents: American Automobile Association -AAA Ducks Unlimited Sky Elements Drone Light Shows

Cory Lake, CEO/Owner, Lake Group Insurance
Cory began his career as a real estate investor, sold his first company in 2014, and has decades of experience advising start-ups, corporate collaborations, and philanthropic partnerships. A leader in advising and evaluating changes in emerging markets, including the cannabinoid and med tech industries, Lake is also Co-Founder and Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for the medical software firm Palisaid.

Brittany Morris, Owner/Wedding & Event Planner, Bella Mystique
Brittany Morris with Bella Mystique is a seasoned events professional with over 10+ years of experience specializing in event design and creating unforgettable experiences. With a passion for turning ideas into immersive realities, Brittany has crafted and executed a wide array of events, ranging from weddings, corporate functions and private/social gatherings. Known for her exceptional eye for design and meticulous attention to detail, Brittany has a talent for transforming spaces and curating atmospheres that leave a lasting impression on guests. Her creative approach to event planning goes beyond logistics, with a focus on crafting unique and memorable experiences that captivate audiences. Throughout her career, Brittany has earned a reputation for excellence, consistently exceeding client expectations and bringing their visions to life in spectacular fashion. Brittany expertise in event design, decor, and ambiance creation has made her a sought-after professional in the industry. Driven by a deep commitment to creativity and innovation, Brittany thrives in dynamic environments where she can push the boundaries of traditional event concepts and introduce fresh ideas that engage and inspire. She is passionate about using her skills and expertise to create meaningful connections and unforgettable moments for clients and guests alike. Outside of work, Brittany enjoys exploring new trends in design, seeking inspiration from art and culture, and giving back to the community. With a dedication to excellence and a talent for creating immersive experiences, Brittany of Bella Mystique looks forward to continuing to push the boundaries of event design and leave a lasting impact on every event.

Phil Schliesman, Special Events Team Coordinator, City of Minneapolis

Phil Schliesman’s knowledge includes experience in the law enforcement field for over 7 years and for the past 22 years, and counting, working on the City of Minneapolis’s major national events including NFL Super Bowl, NCAA Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Final Four Tournaments, MLB All-Star Game events, NHL Stadium Series events, as well as with iconic local events such as Twin Cities Pride, Basilica Block Party, Stone Arch Festival, along with national and local corporate event experience. Phil holds the current position of City of Minneapolis Special Events Team coordinator bringing vital event management experience to organize all events big and small within the City of Minneapolis.  He is also an event and hospitality consultant for events outside of Minneapolis.

Mark Rausch, Director of OperationsMpls Downtown Council

Mark Rausch’s background experience includes work with major national and local signature events including NFL Super Bowl / Pro Bowl, NASCAR, NCAA College Football Play-off Championship, Kentucky Derby, Formula 1 Miami, and corporate event experience with companies such as Microsoft and Carlson Companies. In Mark’s current position locally as Director of Operations for the Mpls Downtown Council, this management experience is vital in organizing key areas involving pre-planning and on-site execution for events like Aquatennial and Holidazzle. His attention to details in event logistics, empowering teams to perform at their highest level, and relationship building ensures a win-win outcome.

Andi Otto, Executive Director, Twin Cities Pride
Andi Otto was hired as the Executive Director in October 2022 after 15 years of volunteering and working for Twin Cities Pride. He has held many positions with Pride including, Director of Operations, Board Member, Volunteer Manager, Safety and Security, and Parade Manager. His dedication comes from ensuring that all LGBTQ+ community members get to be their authentic selves and feel supported in the community. Andi comes from a background in leadership positions at fortune 500 companies to being the CEO of an LGBTQ+ birthing and fertility business. He brings a unique ability to blend the strategic thoughts of business with the needs of the community. Andi is a proud member of the trans community and lives with his spouse Dana (they/them), and their young daughters. The whole family is very active in youth hockey, huge MN Wild fans, has a love of animals, and enjoys being outdoors.

Jason Tarasek, Counsel, Vicente LLP
Jason Tarasek founded Minnesota Cannabis Law in 2018 to serve the hemp, cannabinoid, medical-marijuana and adult-use marijuana markets in the Upper Midwest. During the Spring of 2022, Jason successfully lobbied in favor of Minnesota’s “THC-infused edible” law and he is currently lobbying in support of an adult-use legalization bill in Minnesota. Jason previously served as the Minnesota Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project. Jason has nearly 20 years of legal experience as a transactional attorney and litigator. He has been named to the list of Super Lawyers, which is an honor bestowed on only the top 5% of attorneys in Minnesota. In addition to Minnesota, Jason represents clients in South Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan and North Dakota. Jason previously served as an Adjunct Professor at Mitchell Hamline Law School, where he taught a seminar titled “Marijuana and the Law.” Jason is a frequent speaker on legal issues related to hemp, cannabinoids and marijuana.

Grant Whittaker, Owner, Grant Whittaker Creative
Known locally as the Twin Cities style expert, Grant arrived in 2001 and has been making waves ever since. Originally from Germany, Grant sets the style and experiential table with European flair, strong organization, big ideas, and a wealth of style and production knowledge. As the owner of Grant Whittaker Creative....A fashion consulting, production & creative agency. His titles have ranged from Senior Style Editor at Twin Cities Luxury and Fashion, Fallon Advertising's Catalyst, Minnesota Monthly's Muse Make-over Spokesperson, Freestyle Production's SVP of Creative and Development, Fashion & Event Producer, Editorial Director, and Style and Trend Correspondent. His work, character, and voice have graced all the local media outlets and publications. When not immersed in making the style community stronger, Grant is found leading his team at Grant Whittaker Creative. Mentoring new talent and colorful productions.

Grant Whittaker has been the Twin Cities' Fashion Authority since he arrived in 2001. As the epitome of all things style, he's been the go-to authority in every role that he's held - from creative catalyst at Fallon to Senior Style Editor at Twin Cities Luxury + Fashion Magazine. Today, he takes on event production, editorial direction, hosting, styling, media, and more through his fashion consulting and creative production agency, Grant Whittaker Creative. A revered part of his community, he has become a fashion personality, appearing in major news outlets, magazines, TV and on the radio. Whether he's helping someone find their confidence through his style expertise or creating premier shows and events. Grant is living his dream and helping mentor others to live theirs.

Allison Vaillancourt, Founder/Creative Director, BLNCD Naturals
Allison is the Founder and Creative Director of BLNCD Naturals, a women-owned cannabis company based in Northeast Minneapolis. With diverse expertise in the entrepreneurial landscape, Allison enjoys building brands, creating community, and the excitement of growing a small business. Allison is an advisory board member of the MN is Ready Coalition and is passionate about supporting an equitable cannabis marketplace in Minnesota. She holds a degree in Economics and Finance from St. Catherine’s University.

Amy Zaroff, Founder / Creative Director, Amy Zaroff Events + Design
Myriad career paths have led Amy Zaroff to this high point in life. An early career as a television producer and later as a marketing director allowed Amy to refine her skills in design, planning and time management. Along with her husband, Amy fine-tuned her innate skills in event planning at their authentic, New York-style delicatessen. In 2004, she purchased the invitation, stationery and gift store, Give My Regards To, and added full-service event planning to the company’s repertoire of services. Over the next several years, Amy began to build an all encompassing event planning company that would deliver exceptional customer service by working intimately with clients to understand every aspect of their special event. By channeling years of experience in marketing, design, catering and event planning into one endeavor, Amy and her team have become known as the prime source for creating life’s most memorable experiences as Amy Zaroff Events + Design. Her company now handles social, corporate and non-profit events including experiential marketing activations across the country. Amy currently serves on the Advisory Boards of the Minnesota Events Coalition and #ShareTheMicMN. She prevously served on the boards of Appetite for Change, Pab's Packs and The Birthday Party Project. Amy was recently named one of the 100 people to know in Minnesota by Twin Cities Business Magazine and a Best Planner in America by Brides Magazine. Amy volunteers for several local agencies and organizations, offering pro-bono event planning for Twin Cities non-profits that benefit women and children.

Mark Valenziano, Dine in the Dark Experience
Mark was only fifteen years old when he was told he was going blind. His journey from being sighted to being blind filled his life with constant change and challenge. But at a young age, he developed and utilized tools that helped build the happy and successful life he enjoys.

People rely so much on their eyesight every day. But losing this important sense never slowed Mark down. After graduating from Clark University with a minor in psychology and a business management major, Mark’s first real job was learning the brokerage side of the insurance industry with a leading company specializing in disability income coverages. His rapid rise to success got him noticed by Prudential who hired Mark to spearhead marketing of their products in thirteen midwestern states. Mark’s creativity and success then got him noticed by the top executives at FORTIS, who hired him to run the entire disability income line of products at one of their subsidiaries, Time Insurance.

After launching new products and restoring growth with profitability, Mark moved on to pursue his entrepreneurial passion, co-founding a cutting-edge medical resource on the new frontier of the Internet. Under his leadership as president and chairman, Mark grew the company from an idea to 59 employees, a nationwide customer base, multi-million dollar contracts with, at that time, industry-leading companies such as America Online, Yahoo!, and, and soaring revenues. Sadly, while raising the last tranche of $10 million of investment and on their way to an IPO, the Internet bubble burst.

After that wild ride, Mark founded a manufacturing company. The focus was to improve the health and comfort of families all across the country. Working with scientists and engineers,they developed air quality products that reduced symptoms of asthma and allergies, and created safer healthier environments for people with weakened immune systems. Along with manufacturing Mark built a subsidiary wholesale and retail sales company. Shortly after the sale of the companies, Mark was serendipitously contacted by Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and asked to create a sensory-awareness experience around losing one’s sight. His creation, called Dining in the Dark, received extremely high ratings and went on to win a YPO Best Personal Development Award. Mark has presented this ‘only-in-YPO’ experience to YPO and GOLD chapters all across the United States, Canada, Central America, South America, and Puerto Rico.

Mark adapts this inspiring, fun get-out-of-your-comfort-zone experience for other professional organizations, and corporate sales & leadership meetings. This powerful motivating message can also be consolidated into a ‘non-experiential’ keynote address. After decades of navigating snowy Minneapolis winters without sight, Mark now resides in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with his wife Lori. 

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