Whova Organizer Community Award Winners

We would like to highlight and thank the members who put extra time and effort to help other organizers in the community.

October 2020 – Special Award

Bio: Chris Krimitsos is the Chief Creative Officer of Podfest Multimedia Expo. He brings the unique perspective of success from both sides of an event. He understands the challenges of the organizer that needs to move an audience, having himself facilitated over 2,000 events that have brought together business owners, toward economic growth, under the umbrella of Tampa Bay Business Owners, which he founded in 2008. That success regionally was the springboard to launching a national event, Podfest Multimedia Expo, which he grew to over 975 attendees in just five years, with an expectation of 1,500-plus in year six, thanks to his ability to communicate key messaging to that community.

Recent activity: Chris was a guest speaker at one of our Fireside Chats with Event Experts. He shared how Podfest set a Guinness World Record for virtual conference attendees in 2020 and how they sourced great speakers and the best content directly from their attendee community.

Bio: Brian is a serial entrepreneur and the owner of factor 110, Destination Oklahoma, 110 events, Blue Circle Productions, and Scissortail Gifts. factor 110 is the region’s leader in event and destination management, and the company remains the first and only destination management company in Oklahoma. Ferrell received the 2020 Destination Management Professional of the Year, the 2015 JoAnneO’Connor President’s Award, and the company has garnered four international Achievement Awards in Best Corporate Social Responsibility Program, Best Team Building Program, and Best Creative Event from the Association of Destination Management Executives International (ADMEI). Ferrell has earned the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), the Destination Management Certified Professional (DMCP), and Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) designations.

Recent activity: Brian was a guest speaker at one of our Fireside Chats with Event Experts. He shared various information about virtual event production and running a successful virtual conference. His company have produced over 20 virtual conference in eight months.

Bio: Melanie is a co-owner in Blake Productions, a production company that has provided audio-visual services for over 15 years to clients in Northern British Columbia, Canada. Brent, Melanie’s husband, has worked with their team of technicians to build the company while Melanie was always been behind the scenes, working on logistics and marketing. Since the pandemic began, Melanie has stepped into the Role of Virtual Events Coordinator and is responsible for engaging with clients to help them better understand what virtual options exist. She works with them to find the best-fit option for their needs. She has recently supported events on Whova development and AV production such as LEAP Conference for Women in Business.

Recent activity: Melanie was a guest speaker at one of our Fireside Chats with Event Experts. She shared various information about event production company.

October 2020 – Top Expert Award

Bio: Karla Muguerza is the Co-founder and Developer of Displaying Technologies, a Mexican company dedicated to the development of interactive technologies for education, advertising, events and exhibitions. Our services range from technological advice for the proper selection of equipment, the development of interactive content on different platforms and after-sales service.

Events organized: 4th National Congress of Rare Diseases (Oct 2020), 2020 Komen Virtual MBC Impact Series (Oct 2020)
Recent community post: I wanted to share with you our experience with the last minute registrations. So, we setup a small emergency call center – that is three people for last minute registrations. We had almost no places left so new registrations were told: sorry ☹️. Calls and emails were from people who registered but hadn’t downloaded the app, the didn’t know how to setup their account or they’ve lost their password. Numbers: 210 emails for registration help and 220 calls. All this happened from 2 hours before the first conference, phone kept ringing till the end. Be prepared!

October 2020 – Top Active Members Award

Bio: Kelly Kolton is Marketing Manager at Stout, a global advisory firm headquartered in downtown Chicago. At Stout, she is responsible for the planning, development, and execution of marketing for the valuation advisory line of business. She is the main event manager for their signature annual Stout Summit event, which was redesigned as a virtual event in 2020. In her 14+ years working in the marketing field, her previous experience includes working in various industries including the legal, nonprofit, and higher education sectors. As an in-house marketing professional, she has worn many hats and built skills in marketing, managing teams, social media marketing, graphic design, and event planning. Kelly received her bachelor’s degree from Bradley University and her MBA from Lewis University. Follow her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kellykolton/.

Events organized: Stout Summit: Investment Fund and Portfolio Valuation 2020 (October 2020)
Recent community post: @Karla, i am wondering how to deal with the people wanting to register and attend within minutes. I have been doing the import/export attendees function and i dont know how to do with last-minute people yet. Going to be a pain, I think.

Bio: Kelly Battistuzzi is the Project Lead of the Scientific Secretariat and Events at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR). In this dual role, Kelly balances her time between managing grant review processes for various funding opportunities and organizing internal and external events. Kelly holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree from the University of Manitoba and spent the first five years of her career in advertising at a large telecommunications company. Following a two year work experience in the UK, Kelly returned to Toronto and joined OICR in the fight against cancer, where she has worked for the past seven years.

Events organized: 3CTN Annual Stakeholder Meeting (November 2020), 2021 OICR Translational Research Conference (March 2021)
Recent community post: Hi there! I was wondering if any event organizers in this forum collect equity/diversity/inclusion type of details during registration? If so, what questions, and how do you ask them? We are considering doing this ourselves but don’t know where to start, so trying to see what others do! Thanks

Bio: Luciana Pegorer is in the music business since 1991, her graduation year. A former flute player, she started out in a live concert production company, followed by seven years at Warner Music Brasil. In 2003 she founded LPE Productions, a company that holds the brands Delira Musica and Trends Brasil Conference. Delira Musica launched over 150 products (CD/DVD) focusing Brazilian genres, produced over 70 concerts and tours in Brazil and abroad, created over 15 cultural projects and 6 conferences. Since 2016 she organizes and curates Trends Brasil Conference, the meeting point of the Brazilian music business, attracting top executives from all over the world https://www.trendsbrasilconference.com.br/.
Events organized: Trends Brasil Conference 2020 (October 2020)
Recent community post: My event is being prepared for October. For the timezone purpose, I’m building 3 separate blocks of content being 3 hours early in the morning, 3 hours in the afternoon and 3 hours at night. With that, I support most of the different timezones.

September 2020 – Special Award

Bio: In late 2017, Jo McCutcheon began her work with the Association of Canadian Archivists as the Executive Director. In 2018 and 2019, she supported the ACA’s program and host teams with the associations in-person annual conferences. In 2020, she worked closely with the Program Team Chair, Emily Lonie and her team to transition the annual meeting to an online format and supported the best attended ACA conference to date.
Jo holds her doctorate in Canadian history from the University of Ottawa and has been teaching part-time at the university’s History department since 1997 and more recently in the Institute of Canadian and Indigenous Studies. She teaches a diversity of Canadian and American survey history courses from contact to the present, focusing also on First Nations, Inuit and Metis experiences with an emphasis on Indigenous education and digital history research methods. She on the executive of the Canadian Historical Association and is on the Board of Directors for Minwaashin Lodge in Ottawa.

Recent activity: Jo was a guest speaker at one of our Fireside Chats with Event Experts. She shared great ideas on how ACA’s current members donated and helped new attendees register for the event, how ACA gave back to their sponsors, and her vision for future ACA conferences, and more..

Bio: Dr. Lori Rodgers serves as the Assistant Superintendent of District Effectiveness and Federal Programs for Bibb County Schools. She assists in the journey to building a high performance culture for students and staff by facilitating the continuous improvement process for 37 schools and programs.
Dr. Rodgers holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Georgia, Master of Science in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Educational Policy studies at Georgia State University. She has completed both the District Office Professional Development Program and the Superintendent Professional Development Program with the Georgia Association School Superintendents Association. In addition, Dr. Rodgers has served as an AdvancEd External Review team member and an Associate Lead Evaluator for school district accreditation.

Recent activity: Lori was a guest speaker at one of our Fireside Chats with Event Experts. She shared great tips on how to jump-start conversations among attendees in a smaller event, how to make the virtual event experience easier and more enjoyable, and more..

Bio: Rachel Valosik is Marketing Director at QuaverEd, a digital curriculum company that serves elementary schools all over the world. Rachel’s background is in eCommerce, and virtual events give her that same joy – using first-party data and analytics insights to treat events as a true conversion opportunity.
She received an audio engineering degree and later a business process management certificate, but never imagined how process and logic would play into the marketing efforts of today.
Rachel enjoys spending time with her dog Billy, and plays drums in a heavy metal band. Based in Nashville, TN.

Recent activity: Rachel was a guest speaker at one of our Fireside Chats with Event Experts. She shared great tips on how they attracted attendees from different marketing channels, how they utilized the virtual exhibitor booth to acquire new customers, and more..

September 2020 – Top Active Members Award

Bio: Ashley Methot is the Event Coordinator with the NH Municipal Association. She has 11 years of event planning experience. Ashley is the “behind the scenes” coordinator for various events such as the Budget & Finance Workshops, Municipal Law Lecture Series and the NHMA Annual Conference. Ashley holds a B.A. degree in Sociology from Keene State College.

Events organized: NHMA Budget & Finance Workshop (September, 2020), Land Use Law Conference (October 2020), NHMA Annual Conference and Exhibition (November 2020)
Recent community post: Thank you @Ann and @Cheryl for answering my question!!!! Did you explain that they needed to be available during their session time and that they would be answer question in the Q&A and not in person? Did you provide instructions to them on how to do this and if so, would you be willing to share what you wrote/shared with your speakers about this?

Bio: Amanda Nicholson is the Director of Outreach at the Wildlife Center of Virginia, a non-profit hospital for native wildlife, with the mission of teaching the world to care about and to care for wildlife and the environment. Amanda has worked at the Center since 2001, and her current role, oversees the department responsible for public education and community involvement. Amanda oversees the Center’s ever-changing website, manages the “Critter Cam” and moderated discussion, organizes the annual Call of the Wild conference, helps plan various events, and finds placement for non-releasable animals at educational facilities. She also serves as the program coordinator for the National Wildlife Rehabilitation Association’s annual symposium. Amanda loves the dynamic nature of the ever-changing activities going on at a wildlife hospital and sharing the Wildlife Center’s mission and stories with others.

Events organized: NWRA Symposium 2020 (February 2020), Call of the Wild Conference (November 2020)
Recent community post: Ah, perfect, that’s just what I was looking for! Thanks. And yes, wasn’t looking to approve (you’re right, that sounds like a TON of work that no one needs!) but was just looking to see if I, as an admin, could add a comment or answer a question from the web browser, or if I could only do that via the app. Thanks!

August 2020 – Community Award

Bio: Donna Blake-Weems is the Executive Director of ISMTE – the world’s only professional organization dedicated to connecting, educating, and providing resources for professionals who are passionate about editorial office practices and the operations of peer-reviewed publications. A meeting planner with more than 10 years experience planning events, Donna’s professional experience includes membership engagement as well as planning meetings, events, trade shows, and social media content generation.

Events organized: ISMTE North America Virtual Event (August), ISMTE Asia Pacific Virtual Event (September)
Recent community post: We used only Whova Q&A for all our sessions, but offered up the Q&A/chat in Zoom for technical issues – asked people to contact a specific person if they were having issues. This meant that we didn’t need to have another communication method between moderators, speaker, and staff. For communication between staff members we used Teams.

August 2020 – Special Award

Bio: Elyse Maxwell is the Director of Marketing and Communication at Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration (CCOSA). CCOSA’s member are public school administrators across the entire State of Oklahoma, such as Superintendents, Principals, central office staff members, Directors of special services, etc.

Recent activity: Elyse was a guest speaker at one of our Fireside Chats with Event Experts. She shared great tips on how they adjusted the ticket price and exhibitor booth charge, and how they maximized the value for their exhibitors, and more..

Bio: Tammy is a recent San Diego State University graduate who majored in Business Management with an emphasis on entrepreneurship. Tammy has over 5 years of event planning and management experience in the education, non-profit, and business-related space. She is currently the event manager for the International Council of Small Business. She also started a company out of college to help organizations move their in-person events online. Besides running events, Tammy is also the President of Streets of Hope, a non-profit organization that focuses on building relationships and providing resources for the homeless community in San Diego.

Recent activity: Tammy was a guest speaker at one of our Fireside Chats with Event Experts. She shared her experiences how to successfully expand a 100 attendee in-person event into a 1000 attendee virtual event in 3 weeks, and how they doubled the number of sponsors, speakers and more.

August 2020 – Top Active Member Award

Bio: Kathy Short is an association management professional with over 30 years of experience. As executive director of Laack & Associates, she provides event management and consulting services to professional associations and non-profit organizations. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a master’s from Northern Illinois University and an executive management certificate from Harvard University.

Events organized: IR for Business as UNusual (September 2020)
Recent community post: @AnnSheldon That’s exactly what we are doing. Our event is September 24&25 and we are holding rehearsals now. The only people that have been uploaded as attendees are our panelists, event committee, sponsors and exhibitors. We will probably still run a practice session after attendees are uploaded, but I don’t believe most attendees will be using the app until the day of the event — we’ll take our chances.

Bio: Ann Sheldon is the executive director of the Ohio Association for Gifted Children (OAGC). Part of OAGC’s mission is to develop high-quality professional development opportunities for gifted educators. OAGC is currently pivoting from three physical conferences to three virtual conferences over the course of six months.

Events organized: OAGC Annual Fall Conference (Oct, 2020)
Recent community post: So, I put in a couple of links from Whova to our live presentations so we can practice this week. Seemed to be pretty easy to set up. Most of our presenters will likely present from zoom. We will also have a couple of our folks as panelists to help with q and a. They would likely just do that from the direct zoom link as well, but they will need access to the Whova q and a for that session. I thought I read somewhere that if someone is signed into zoom that they would have to access the same Whova session from a different email address. Is that correct? Or was that for some other issue?

July 2020 – Community Award

Bio:Prosper Chemouil is a past Research Director on Future Networks at Orange, the major network and service provider based in France. As such, he has been a leading contributor in the design and management of networks and services during the last 30 years. He has organized many conferences in the area of telecommunications and computer networks, and has been an editor of several journals and magazines. Prosper has been the recipient of international awards for his technical contributions and his community involvement. While duly retired, he is now a Research adjunct at Cnam in Paris, France.

Events organized: NetSoft 2020 (June), IFIP Networking 2020 (June)
Recent community post: We provided beforehand on our official website detailed guidelines for i) attendees in general, ii) presenters, and session chairs. These were also posted on Whova. Last but not least, we organized two training sessions for organizing committee members and session chairs, so they could get accustomed to the whole process of running a session including introduction of speakers, Q&A, chat, pre-recorded videos, ..

July 2020 – Special Award

Bio: Christine Cleaver has served as an adjunct faculty member within the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management of Temple University since 2000, leading courses in event operations, the business of events, the business of sport, program planning, and event planning. Cleaver’s professional experience includes management of a full-service event management and event production company, and additional roles in marketing, organizational leadership, production management, and social media content generation and leadership.

Recent activity: Professor Cleaver was a guest speaker at one of our Fireside Chats with Event Experts. She shared informative tips on how to engage speakers and attendees at a virtual event, how to make sure things run smoothly, and more.

July 2020 – Top Active Member Award

Bio: Danielle Robinson works with PRSA Section committee members to increase their member engagement through events and communication. By creating content calendars and using data driven practices to increase membership engagement, her goal is to increase the number of members. She produces webinars and videos, marketing collateral informed by best marketing practices. Her sections are Technology, Entertainment and Sports, Financial Communications, Independent Practitioners Alliance, Association Nonprofit and Public Affairs and Government.
Events organized: PRSA Public Affairs and Government Virtual Summit (June 2020)
Recent community post: We had a team of three for a 100+ attendee event. One to handle the zoom- opening the webinar, handling the speakers. One to handle any technical issues that arose from the attendees. And one for anything else that may have arisen. It was really simple. The hardest part is user error. Attendees can have slow internet connections and computers and you can’t help that. You can guide the live speakers to make sure they are on time for their slot and know how to operate their slides. We have zoom webinar for the sessions and for our virtual happy hours, we used meeting so everyone could chat. Next time I would just use whova’s virtual rooms.

Bio: Jody Sergi is a Senior Project Manager at Kirksey Architecture in Houston, Texas. She is an Architect skilled in K-12 and Collegiate architecture. Jody has a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Cincinnati. She is involved with the local Houston chapter of the American Institute of Architects and last year, became the chair of the Gulf Coast Green Conference and Symposium. Gulf Coast Green has a 15 year history of focusing on sustainability in the building industry in the Gulf Coast region. Previously, She had been involved in event planning as a volunteer with the US Green Building Council and the AIA Committee on the Environment.
Virtual Events organized: Gulf Coast Green Virtual Conference – Sustainability + Technology (July 2020)
Recent community post: It was to try and make it easier for the attendees to just have one spot to get all Information AND view the conference. We’ve decided to abandon the idea despite being able to tackle all the glitches except one. Now, attendees will go to the website and find instructions to click through to the Whova web app

June 2020 – Community Award

Bio: Barbara Trojecka is a conference coordinator at Erlang Solutions Ltd.
She has organized Code BEAM Lite (previously Erlang Factory Lite) events all around the World, a functional programming conference in Krakow Lambda Days, and assisted with the organization of Erlang Solutions’ main programming conferences, like ElixirConf EU (Barcelona, Warsaw) and Code Sync family of conferences: Code BEAM SF (San Francisco), Code BEAM STO (Stockholm), Code Mesh and Code Elixir (London).

Events organized: Code BEAM SF 2020 (March 2020), Code BEAM V (May 2020), ElixirConf EU Virtual (June 2020)
Recent community post: I recommend setting up a test session for attendees prior the event and letting them know they can join it and test. I was just sharing them Whova presentation/slides and playing some music and check the chat if they have any issues. Not many people used this opportunity, but at least we have fewer cases of ppl missing the keynote, due to their problems with hearing/seeing the presentation and testing different browsers.

June 2020 – Top Expert

Bio: Michael Ferree has spent over a decade in the performance marketing industry as both a buyer and a generator of Internet leads. He is well respected in the lead generation industry for his leadership on the LeadsCouncil, writings distributed on industry blogs and publications, and his presentations on the topic of lead management, call center services, and online marketing.
Events organized: Lead Generation World (Jan 2020), Lead Generation Week (May 2020)
Recent community post: If I had three individuals to use I would have them do the following: 1. Speaker Management: Insure presenters have been contacted and have all their final questions answered the day of the show. 2. Manage the live sessions: I introduced each presentation and also helped transfer questions from the App into Zoom. 3. Community engagement: I would have the 3rd person manage engagement within the app.

June 2020 – Top Active

Bio: Ivy Algazy is the CEO & Founder of The Ivy Network, LLC., the mastermind behind the Annual Collaborate with Edge Leadership Conference and the Director of the Long Island Associations Women’s Collaborative. She started The Ivy Network, LLC in 2014, teaching her innovative Edge Women’s Leadership curriculum to 100’s of women; creating stronger bolder women leaders.
Events organized: Collaborate with Edge Mini Conference (June 2020)
Recent community post: I’m doing a conference that will have 3 workshops at the same time, how do you live stream that? Do you need 3 zoom webinar programs?

Events organized: Lab Animal Enrichment Symposium (August 2020)
Recent community post: We are running a scavenger hunt with our exhibitors … in order for participants to participate in the raffles they have to visit our exhibitors and get answers or codes to the questions and submit to us. The exhibitors will also put their names down for a raffle from their booth … We are still working on the details! We are also doin a 5-10 minute shoutout | push | announcement for each of our vendors through out the symposium.

Bio: Brittany Coats is an Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah, with Adjunct Assistant Professor affiliations in Bioengineering and Pediatrics. She completed her undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah and then went on to earn her PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Her post-doctoral work, evaluating the effect of repetitive head trauma in an animal model, was in collaboration with the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania.
Events organized: SB3C2020: Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering, and Biotransport Conference (June 2020)
Recent community post: For the Whova portion, we had 550 videos, 120 zoom URLs, over 750 attendees and it was just me doing it. I did have help uploading videos and URLs. We each did about 70-80.

Pin It on Pinterest