Chapter Leadership

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Jessica Alton

Jessica Alton, President 

Thomas Preti Events, Event Director
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Jessica Alton is an Event Director at Thomas Preti Events.  She has selling and crafting events with Thomas Preti for 15 years.  Jessica started planning events long before joining Thomas Preti.  Always loving to entertain, she parlayed her passion for throwing parties into a career. Her favorite part about event planning is being able to extend her circle of events (and budget) making every day a celebration.

Prior to joining Thomas Preti she pursued careers in technology and media.  She worked for CMP Media and founded an internet commerce company.  She graduated from Union College in Schenectady NY and has her masters in International Affairs from Columbia University.

Matthew Bonavita

Matthew Bonavita, Chapter President-Elect

Rhythm In Motion, President and Founder
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Matt Bonavita transcends the role of average DJ entertainer with unique combination of theatricality, sensitivity, an endless supply of fresh music ideas and over two decades of professional DJ experience.

As owner and lead Disc Jockey for his company, Rhythm In Motion, Matt and his staff have performed at a wide array of venues and events, from some of the hottest night clubs in New York City to Saturday Night Live After Parties, Netflix’s “Orange Is The New Black” premiere party and corporate, nonprofit and private events 

Matt joined the New York Metro Chapter of the International Live Events Association in 2008. Since his initial sign up he has been a featured speaker at the Northeast Regional Education conference, ILEA Live 2018, a committee member, a Board member, VP of membership and now President Elect. 

Matt credits his exposure and education through ILEA with the growth of Rhythm In Motion.  With over 19 years’ experience in all types of events, Matt values the vision, flow and vibe of every event that Rhythm In Motion is entrusted with and always uses his event experience and his skills to make it a live event to remember.

Elizabeth Beskin

Elizabeth Beskin, Vice-President of Communications

5th Avenue Digital, CEO
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Elizabeth Beskin has been CEO of 5th Avenue Digital, a nationwide photography company, since 2008.  5th Avenue Digital addresses the needs of today’s fractured and confusing photography market by offering experienced photographers for corporate events, weddings and life's other important occasions, in addition to green screen photography, onsite prints, photo booths, headshots and other photography services.

Elizabeth was awarded Enterprising Woman of the Year in 2012 by Enterprising Woman magazine.  A proud and active member of the Women Presidents Organization, Elizabeth earned her Executive MBA from the Harvard Business School in 2011, and she's a 2014 graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10K Small Business Program. She's been an ILEA member for over 20 years, and this year served as Vice President of Communications on the ILEA Board. She and her husband live in Harlem. 

Daniela Grafman

Daniela Grafman, Vice President of Education and Programs

Vision Event Co., Chief Amazement Officer and Partner
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Daniela Grafman is the Chief Amazement Officer & Partner at Vision Event Co. focusing on event coordination and entertainment production. On paper, she is a Certified Wedding & Event Planner, has Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Fordham University, and speaks four languages. Off paper, she has a serious passion for chocolate, loves to dance like no one’s watching, and her glass is always half full (sometimes with an extra lemon).

She has been planning weddings, corporate events, non-profit galas, and fundraisers for the past six years. Being hands-on with every aspect of the company (both on the creative and business side) gives her keen insight to all the intricate foundations that are necessary for the bigger picture of accomplishing event goals.

Having worked at United Way of NYC and a range of New York based organizations and production companies as a Special Events Associate, she approaches each event with the experience of executing large productions. Whether it’s a wedding for 100 guests or a gala for 500, her attentive, composed, and efficient methods of planning achieve any event goals presented. 

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David Fells - VP of Strategic Partnerships

Plus 2 Promotions, Inc.
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David started Plus 2 Promotions in February 2000.  He has been in the industry since 1996, with over 25+ years of promo marketing experience.  He has built his business partnering with event professionals. 

At Plus 2 Promotions, Inc. We keep your brand permanently in the minds of your clients and prospects.  We have a creative approach with the use of promotional products, branded merchandise, executive gifts, logoed apparel and virtually anything you can put your brand/logo on.  No deadline is to scary!!

We are full-service, offering online company stores, recognition, award and incentive programs, in house warehousing and fulfillment, pick and pack, kitting, custom packaging and just about anything else associated with your band identity.  If we can’t, we have strategic partners that can. 

David graduated from The University of Maryland with a degree in Economics.  He currently lives in on Long Island, with his Wife Allison, Twin 19-year-old twin daughters (Sydney and Jordyn) and yellow lab (Hudsyn). In his spare time (what spare time?) he likes to Work-out, Play Golf and Read. 

He has been on the Board of Directors of ILEA NYC since 2014

Carl Bambina

Carl Bambina
High Style Rentals
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I have worked with event producers, wedding/venue planners, and live event designers for over 16 years.  My years of experience include working first in production, then moving on a sales manager, and currently as Vice President of Salem for High Style Rentals.

I understand that each event presents unique challenges, whether it involves special logistics or a High End client.  Together with the High Style Rental's team of specialists, we apply out experience and talents to complete any task out client's require.

Elaina Luparello

Elaina Luparello

Cirque Central, Founder and Creative Director
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Elaina Luparello is the founder and creative director of Cirque Central.

With a background in Rhythmic Gymnastics, Elaina delved into the world of performance, aerial and entertainment after graduate school.  

She was one of the founding board members of US Aerial which served as a platform to unite the circus and aerial arts in America.

While training and performing throughout the US and abroad she established a network of talent, mentors and experience in the event world which she utilized to create Cirque Central in 2015.

Elaina has since been extraordinarily lucky and grateful to be able to help elevate the live event experience by adding unique and engaging entertainment enhancements. 

Erin Halley Reddy

Erin Halley Reddy - Director at Large
Colin Cowie Productions, Senior Event Producer
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Erin is a Senior Event Producer for Colin Cowie Celebrations, and has been producing lavish social parties in New York since 2003. Working from Colin’s New York headquarters, she manages all aspects of event and design installations around the world from conception to completion.

Prior to joining the team at Colin Cowie Celebrations, Erin managed her own private clients and non-profit events, as well as managing event projects with Preston Bailey Entertainment and Set Design. For Preston she has produced multiple million-dollar parties in Qatar, Greece, Malibu, Bali, Malibu and around the US.

Colin Cowie Celebrations has mastered the art of entertaining by blending beauty with business. We facilitate the process of vision to reality and concept to execution. Serving domestic and international clients seeking private or corporate services around the globe, we have designed and produced a variety of events ranging from intimate gatherings for 50 to grand-scale productions for over 5000.

FUN FACT ABOUT ERIN:

A former Future Farmer of American and 4-H over achiever, Erin used to raise and show lambs, chickens and rabbits from her childhood east Texas home.

 

Jaclyn Zendrian

Jaclyn Zendrian, Acting VP of Membership
CurePSP, Vice President for Events
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Jaclyn Zendrian currently serves as the Vice President for Events at CurePSP. CurePSP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to awareness, education, care, and cure for devastating prime of life neurodegenerative diseases. Jaclyn began working in events in 2008 at The Johns Hopkins University, Neurology Development Department as a Development Coordinator. After leaving Johns Hopkins, Jaclyn became Project Manager at a continuing medical education organization, Med-IQ.

Jaclyn has a BA in Business and an MA in Management from Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore. She also has her Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certificate from Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and St. Louis University.She lives in Jersey City with her two cats, Friday and Josie. If she’s not reading a good book she’s also volunteering with the International Live Events Association (ILEA) or drinking a better glass of wine with good friends.

Frank Ammaccapane

Frank Ammaccapane - Director at Large
Natural Expressions NY/Florida
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Frank Ammaccapane has been in the event photography and cinematography industry for 20 years. He started Natural Expressions NY/Florida 11 years ago. Natural Expressions is a boutique company utilizing a “one on one” personal approach to events of all kinds: social, corporate and political. Effectively listening to, and achieving his clients’ wants, needs and goals is instrumental in his and his talented team’s success.

Frank’s understanding of how each event’s “run of show” works, and the role his teams play within that event, is part of his backstory. It is here, that Frank’s extensive past experience in the food and hospitality industry, proves invaluable. When other professionals realize that Frank and his team are sensitive to their responsibilities, they are much more responsive toward Frank’s goals for his clients.

Frank feels strongly that when all professionals work together in producing an event, we will all win in the end. That’s a model approach to take in any client driven industry.

Dianne Devitt

Dianne Devitt - Past President
DND Group
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Dianne Budion Devitt, industry innovator and founder of the DND Group specializes in experience design, creative direction and event production.   As an inspirational Speaker, Educator and Event Producer, Dianne is known for her unique style blending creativity, vision and leadership for over 25 years in hospitality industry.

Dianne is the Immediate Past President serving on the Board of Directors of the Metro New York Live Events Association.  She is a member of Women’s Leadership Exchange, National Speakers Association and the Luxury Marketing Council. Dianne is past President of the Greater New York Meeting Professionals International chapter. 

A sought after hi-level event consultant, she has led, participated and managed teams for global events including the First European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, the Vietnam 50th Commemorative Anniversary, the Apollo 40th Commemorative for MIT and the Clinton Global Initiative.

A best-selling author of What Color is Your Event?, Dianne created ColorUP!, a workshop focusing on creative design and how to interpret strategy into any live experience.   She is an Adjunct Professor at NYU for over 25 years, and is a recipient of the NYU “Award for Teaching Excellence.”   Dianne currently teaches Undergraduates Conference and Event Management and Event Design   Dianne conceived and created the first event conference and trade show, called the Agenda Xpo.

Her latest ventures are SenseUP!, a Summit based on sensory marketing. Launched in New York City in April 2016, the event is designed to be the next movement in experiential marketing

FUN FACT ABOUT DIANNE:

She is a certified prana yoga practitioner, loves the theater, cats, and recreational skiing.

Sacha Lehto

Sacha Lehto, Director of Strategic Partners
CCS Fundraising, Executive Director
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Sacha Lehto brings international experience and a wealth of knowledge from her 13-year career in the Events and Nonprofit sector. Currently with a New York City-based Consulting Firm, Sacha works with numerous charity clients in fulling planning the scope of their events, from developing fundraising strategies for finalizing logistical details. Her past positions in Vancouver, BC, have including overseeing the Signature Events portfolio at BC Cancer Foundation, the largest charitable funder of research and care in the province of BC. At BC Cancer, one of the highlights was managing the 10th anniversary Inspiration Gala which raised over $5 million for the Personalized Onco-Genomics Program, making it the highest grossing fundraising Gala in Canada at that time.

Sacha’s expertise, talents, and skill-set have resulted in recognition nationally and internationally, including being one of only five nominees for Event Planner of the Year at the 2016 Catersource  Spotlight Awards in Las Vegas. Sacha has also been a speaker at an Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) session on “Gala Do’s and Don’ts.” Sacha’s degree in Fashion Design lends its creativity to her events – from conceptualizing the initial creative design to selecting venues and ultimately ensuring every detail works cohesively and harmoniously.