20 in Their Twenties

PCMA Recognizes Industry’s Brightest Young Leaders

PCMA has selected the 2016 class for its 20 in Their Twenties program, honoring emerging leaders in the meetings industry.

Now in its third year, the PCMA Education Foundation program — supported by the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Austin Convention Center — is designed to engage the industry’s best and brightest young professionals. This year’s winners will be recognized on the main stage during today’s Opening General Session.

“Our 20 in Their Twenties program continues to engage the brightest rising stars,” said Deborah Sexton, president and CEO of PCMA. “This class group views our industry through their own unique lens; our goal is to tap into their vision and insights and bring those to life in both PCMA’s face-to-face and digital channels.”

To qualify, applicants were not required to be PCMA members but had to be employed full-time in the meetings industry, be 29 years old or younger at the time of recognition, and demonstrate ways they consider themselves to be industry leaders. A committee made up of program alumni and veteran meeting professionals reviewed nearly 70 applications before selecting the top 20.

The individuals selected will receive complimentary 2016 Convening Leaders and Education Conference registration and money to cover travel expenses, as well as discounted registration until they reach the age of 30. Recipients will also receive complimentary PCMA membership for 2016 and discounted membership until they reach age 30. To assist in further development of their innovation and careers, they will have the opportunity to be paired with industry leaders for face-to-face or virtual mentoring sessions.


20 in Their Twenties Class of 2016

Kalee Barnhardt, CTA, Sales Manager, Experience Columbus
Jamie Bruce, CMP, Meeting Planner, Right Hand Events
Edward Byers, CHRP, CMP, Manager of Professional Development and Events, REALpac
Shannon DeSouza, Manager of Event Strategy, EventMobi
Michael Doane, Marketing Manager, CadmiumCD
Bianca Ferrer, Creative Director and Producer, CoterieSpark
Jessica Fitting, Assistant Event Manager, Stanford Alumni Association
Sarah Gould-Stotts, CMP, Corporate Marketing Events Manager, Greystar Real Estate Partners
Juraj Holub, Marketing and Content Manager, sli.do
Irena Jelenova, Membership Development Executive, International Congress and Convention Association
Noreen Leahy, Conference Planner, National Association of Attorneys General
Victoria Lee, Global Travel and Meetings Associate, Estée Lauder Inc.
Alexander Plaxen, President, Little Bird Told Media
Claire Repass, CMP, Manager, Communications, SocialTables
Lauren Santarone, CMP, Senior Meeting Manager, American Association for Cancer Research
Peter Simonelli, Event Services Coordinator, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority
Jenny Stanfield, Lead Event Producer, Engagement Unlimited
Havovie Suraliwalla, Conference Coordinator, SeaCourses Cruises
Erin Sweeney, National Sales Associate, Global Experience Specialists (GES)
Julia Yong, Senior Sales Executive – Association, Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau