Information For

Instructor Bios

Blas

Marlene Blas, MTA, CMP,
Program Advisor for CSUSM Meeting & Event Planning Certificate Program

Marlene is the Associate Director for meetings and events at California Western School of Law and holds a Masters in Tourism Administration from The George Washington University. Current appointments include: Membership Advisory Council for Meeting Professionals International, Editorial Advisory Board for Southern California Meetings + Events Magazine and Advisory Board for a peer reviewed journal. Blas is a three-time recipient of the Wyndham International-United Airlines Scholarship, and co-authoring of a meetings and events textbook. Marlene is also the Program Advisor for the Meeting & Event Planning Certificate in San Marcos. (teaches in both the San Marcos & Temecula programs)

Kimberly Adams with more than 22 years of proven leadership with U.S. and international, theme park attractions in operations and start-ups became the founding president and CEO of the Temecula Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau in 2004. One of her first priorities was initiating and developing a Tourism Improvement District to generate sustainable funding for the bureau. That district is the first in inland Southern California to use marketing assessment fees rather than taxpayer money to market the region and funds a current, annual budget of $1.5 million.  In 2008 she launched of a comprehensive branding initiative that has  effectively positioned the destination as “Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country.”

JIll Wien Badger

Jill Wien Badger

Continuing Education/ROP Instructor Jill holds a designated subject Teaching Credential in Hospitality, Tourism & Recreation, and Information Technology from the California Commission on Teaching Credentialing (CCTC). She is a cum laude graduate of Florida International University’s School of Hospitality Management with over twenty years of industry experience.  A veteran of Hyatt and Westin Hotels & Resorts in both food & beverage management, as well as sales and marketing, she was published in The Meeting Professional Magazine where she wrote feature articles and co-wrote the monthly column called Coming to Terms.  She presented at the MPI Professional Education Conference and the World Education Congress in 1997, 1998 and 2000.  In 1995, she was awarded “Meeting Professional of the Year” by the San Diego Chapter of Meeting Professionals International.

Currently, Jill teaches in the Meeting Planning Certificate Programs at San Francisco State, CSU San Marcos and UC Irvine.  In 2004, she was asked to join the opening team of the San Diego Met High School on the Mesa College campus for the San Diego Unified School District.  Her responsibilities include training high school students for internship readiness, tracking their placement throughout the San Diego business community and teaching career technical workplace preparedness, which articulates for community college credit.  As Internship Coordinator for the school, she has presented her curriculum at The Big Picture Conference on Personalization & Real World Experience in 2006, the San Diego County Department of Education in 2007 and the Gateway to College Peer Learning Conference in 2008.  She was awarded Distinguished ROP Teacher of the Year for the SDUSD by the County Department of Education in 2007.

A worldwide traveler, Jill  began her career in hospitality and tourism working as a flight attendant for Pan American World Airways.  She has been a member of World Wings International since the airline ceased operations in 1991.   Her passion for global cuisine continued to develop when she worked with “celebrity chefs” at the annual Food & Wine Magazine Classic in Aspen for 15 years.  She is particularly proud of her autographed cookbook collection!

Currently, she spends her free time motorcycle touring with her husband and renovating their home in Bonita, CA.

Pierre Charmasson, is currently the Director of Sales for Velocity Audio Visual, Inc., located in San Diego. Pierre has an extensive background in the hospitality industry and is regarded as a well-respected Meeting Professional.  Pierre’s list of credits includes Video & Film Producer/ Director, Live Event Producer, Meeting Manager, Professional Auctioneer and Voice-over Talent. An advocate for continuing education, Pierre enjoys sharing his experiences both on and off the air. (teaches in the San Marcos program)

Sandra Chong

Sandra Chong, Esq.,

Sandra has been teaching hospitality law since 1999 as a licensed, practicing attorney who has successfully represented hotels, industry professionals, and travel agencies in disputes and litigation.  She has also organized large scale events for and provided legal advice to the Asian Business Association of San Diego and San Diego Dragon Boat Team.   She is active in various community organizations, and is currently the chair of both the Advisory Board to the Crawford  High School Academy of Law  and its fundraising nonprofit foundation.   Sandra regularly provides legal trainings, presentations, seminars, and lectures on a variety of legal topics to non-attorneys in an entertaining, straightforward, and understandable manner with real life examples and practical tips.  She received her B.A. in Economics and Political Science from UC San Diego and her J.D. from UC Davis School of Law.   In 2007, San Diego Metropolitan Magazine recognized her as one of San Diego’s top business and civic leaders with the “40 Under 40” award.  In 2013, Pan Asian Lawyers of San Diego and Filipino Lawyers of San Diego named her as "Attorney of the Year."   (teaches in the San Marcos program) 

 

Lisa English

Lisa English, CMP, CMM
Operations Manager
CWT Meetings & Events

Lisa has wide-ranging experience in designing and executing meetings and conferences, special events, and incentives. With expertise managing planning teams for corporations, as well as leading operations for a third-party meeting management company, Lisa understands meeting management from multiple perspectives. She received the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation in 1999 and the Global Certification in Meeting Management (CMM) in 2007. She has completed intensive training with the ROI Institute, executive negotiations training from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, and leadership training from the Center for Creative Leadership. She has served on the MPI Membership Advisory Council, NBTA SMMC Committee, and the PCMA National Marketing Committee. Lisa is uniquely qualified in the area of Strategic Meetings Management (SMM), and is experienced in designing and implementing Strategic Meetings Management Programs (SMMP). Lisa is also the program advisor for the Temecula program.  (teaches in the Temecula program)

Karen Holmes is a third-generation designer, praised in a Riverside Press Enterprise article for her "ability to blend business sense, artistic flair, and sensitivity."  For over 20 years her innovative deisgn projects have included meeting and events; interior and architectural designs; and various communication formats.  Karen holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business/Marketing; studied Comparative Cultures in Paris, London and Salzburg; and is a graduate of the CSUSM Meeting & Event Planning program.  She has also written for various publications on the subject of Design.

Ed Nesfield, CMP, is the Director of Catering & Events for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. He is an accomplished leader with more than 10 years of event management experience consistently increasing sales, from conferences to conventions to concerts and catered events. He has a demonstrated track record of managing large scale events and budgets in excess of $1.5 million, including hiring, training and leading a staff of up to 45 employees. (teaches in the San Marcos program)

Lidia Pareno is currently the Director of Event Sales & Marketing for FOX Sports San Diego Grill in San Diego, CA. With more than twelve years in Hotel Sales and Hospitality Management, she brings extensive experience in Convention and Conference Services, Social Events, Wedding Planning and Restaurant Management. An alumni from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts College translates into her deep passion for all things food and beverage. Her leadership has lead to her team’s top ranking awards in event sales and prestigious dining recognitions. (Temecula)

Annette Nielsen

Annette Nielsen's passion for wedding and event planning has spanned for over 25 years.  Growing up in Oregon provided her with a different perspective that has benefited her greatly when she transitioned to the Temecula area in 1998. Over the years she has had the privilege to work with top notched wedding and event facilities, running a successful wedding and event planning business Events By Annette, along with founding and directing a local wedding networking organization Temecula Valley Wedding Professionals. She brings to the table is a wealth of real world knowledge of the wedding and event industry regarding all aspects of events. "When you love what you do you can't imagine doing anything else." (teaches in the San Marcos and Temecula programs)

 

Karen Charest

Karen S. Charest, CGMP

Karen is currently conference coordinator/ editor for the San Marcos Office of the WestEd Center for Child and Family Studies. She is responsible for setting up seminars for teachers on how to include children with special needs in early childhood settings, such as child care, preschool and elementary school. She also edits and produces all seminar teaching materials, handles online registrations, holds participants’ hands before and during the seminars, oversees onsite logistics, etc. Karen has a diverse background from writing and editing for publications such as the Los Angeles Times and Teleflora Magazine to producing employee communications for corporations such as the Southern California Gas Company and the University of Southern California. Her event planning gigs have ranged from two international conventions for a non-profit that drew over 20,000 individuals each to organizing her son’s wedding – and everything in between.

Michelle Schneider, CMP, CMM has been coordinating meetings and events professionally for over 13 years. She is currently the Director of Events for the AVID Center where she oversees the planning and execution of over 90 trainings and conferences annually with close to 28,000 educators trained per year. An educational non-profit, AVID Center provides professional development for educators to implement the AVID program, a college-readiness system designed to prepare all students for four-year college eligibility and success. Michelle is a graduate of UCLA, where she managed student programs and coordinated commencement celebrations. She is an active member of the San Diego Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI), and her love for education has brought her to chair the CMP Study Group committee, helping others attain the prestigious certification. Currently, the SDMPI CMP Study Group maintains a 100% pass rate for the CMP exam. In October 2011, Michelle earned the Certification in Meetings Management (CMM) designation. In 2012, Michelle was honored as Planner of the Year for her contributions to the San Diego Chapter of MPI.

Melody Brunsting

Melody Brunsting,
Owner, Melody's Ad Works, Inc.

Melody's 25-year old company, Melody's Ad Works, Inc.  has promoted the Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival for 18 years, raised funds for non-profit organizations building the Community Recreation Center, Old Town Temecula Community Theater, Chamber of Commerce Building, and the rebuilding Dorland Mountain Arts Colony. For 15 years has been contracted by the city to produce year-round events in Old Town Temecula. She has won awards for advertising design, photojournalism, marketing, and public relations. Her most recent awards were for marketing of the 2013 Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival. This campaign won three top awards from the  International Festivals and Events Association, including  Gold Pinnacles (top) for the Best Media Relations, Best Press Kit,  and Most Effective News Stunt. She has also won an IFEA Gold Pinnacle for best new campaign/social media. Melody has a Bachelor of Science from California Polytechnic University Pomona and continues to update her marketing knowledge to utilize cutting edge technology, social media strategies and public relations integration.  She has also studied at UCLA in the creative writing program and is often a presenter at Calfest Conventions for current marketing trends. (Temecula)

 

Elizabeth Glau

Elizabeth Glau, CMP

Elizabeth launched Building Blocks Social Media in 2009. With a thorough knowledge of key social platforms and understanding of content flow within these networks, Elizabeth's thirst for "What's Next" keeps her on the cutting edge of the tools and tactics in interactive media. Elizabeth has helped to increase the proficiency of the meetings and events industry by consulting and speaking on topics such as personal branding, engagement technology, big data and event marketing.

The 9th edition of the Convention Industry Council Manual features Elizabeth’s expertise in event marketing. Elizabeth is an instructor at the California State University San Marcos Meeting and Event Planning Certificate Program. She graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University with a degree in International Business. Elizabeth earned the Certified Hospitality Sales Professional (CHSP) designation in 2003 and the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation in 2006.

Melody Brunsting's  25-year old company, Melody's Ad Works, Inc.  has promoted the Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival for 18 years, raised funds for non-profit organizations building the Community Recreation Center, Old Town Temecula Community Theater, Chamber of Commerce Building, and the rebuilding Dorland Mountain Arts Colony. For 15 years has been contracted by the city to produce year-round events in Old Town Temecula. She has won awards for advertising design, photojournalism, marketing, and public relations. Her most recent awards were for marketing of the 2013 Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival. This campaign won three top awards from the  International Festivals and Events Association, including  Gold Pinnacles (top) for the Best Media Relations, Best Press Kit,  and Most Effective News Stunt. She has also won an IFEA Gold Pinnacle for best new campaign/social media. Melody has a Bachelor of Science from California Polytechnic University Pomona and continues to update her marketing knowledge to utilize cutting edge technology, social media strategies and public relations integration.  She has also studied at UCLA in the creative writing program and is often a presenter at Calfest Conventions for current marketing trends. (Temecula)