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Instructor Bios

Kimberly Adams

Kimberly has 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"

”Marlene Blas, MTA, CMP,
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)

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)

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.

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, 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)

 

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'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)

Please enjoy reading through the Mosaic-Bride magazine created by Annette.


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'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)