Robin ApplebaumVice President | Atlanta
Carole BachmannSenior Association Manager | Brussels
Marco BaldoliSenior Association Manager | Brussels
Steven BasartVice President, Asia | Beijing
Martin BayVice President | Atlanta
Céline BeniniSenior Association Manager | Brussels
Michael BrooksCFO | Atlanta
Emily BurchVice President | Chicago
Raquel Ponte CostaSenior Association Manager | Brussels
Hans CraenVice President | Brussels
Nele DevolderAssociation Director | Brussels
Patricia FaisonVice President | Atlanta
John FerraroSenior Vice President | Washington, D.C.
Michael FischerVice President | Washington, D.C.
Francesco GattiglioSenior Association Manager | Brussels
Tom GoodingVice President | Washington, D.C.
Paul HagarSenior Vice President | New York
Phelps Hope, CMPSenior Vice President | Atlanta
Doug JohnsonVice President | Atlanta
JerrieLynn KindSenior Vice President | Kansas City
Holly KoenigSenior Vice President | New York
Jean-Christophe KremerAssociation Director | Brussels
Russell LemieuxSenior Vice President | Atlanta
Sofie Cabeceiro LuizHR Director | Brussels
Matt MantioneVice President | Washington, D.C.
Jeannie MilewskiSenior Vice President | Atlanta
Michelle MillerSenior Vice President | Chicago
Nuria MorenoSenior Association Manager | Brussels
Mardi MountfordVice President | Atlanta
Delia MurphyVice President | Washington, D.C.
Adriana NosewiczSenior Association Manager | Brussels
Alexandra Smith OzerkisVice President | New York
Robert RankinSenior Vice President | Washington, D.C.
Peter RushChairman & CEO | New York
Travis RushExecutive Vice President | Washington, D.C.
Maria Teresa ScardigliVice President | Brussels
René SchroederSenior Association Manager | Brussels
Bonnie SonnenscheinSenior Vice President | New York
Meredith TaylorVice President | Chicago
Michael TaylorVice President | Washington, D.C.
Ralph Vasami, Esq.President | New York
Maria WangSenior Account Coordinator | Beijing
Alfons WestgeestExecutive Vice President, Europe | Brussels
Jean XuAssociation Director | Beijing
Robin Applebaum is a seasoned communications executive with extensive agency experience in New York and Atlanta. She leads Kellen’s communication team in Atlanta, which has a proven track record of providing clients strategic communications programs that help grow their brand and positively influence their target audiences using custom integrated marketing, public relations, and online/social media plans. Robin is responsible for clients such as the Airline Passenger Experience and the Infant Nutrition Council of America, and has previously led PR efforts for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s childhood obesity program, the 93rd PGA Championship, Chanel, and Sony Pictures, as well as numerous B2B and B2C marketing programs and campaigns. As a former TV producer, Robin has a strong, proven track record working with many national media outlets including TODAY, CNBC, Bloomberg, New York Times, Associated Press, and USA Today, to name just a few.
Senior Association Manager
Carole Bachmann is a senior consultant at Kellen, predominantly serving the European Rental Association (ERA), the representative association of the European equipment rental industry, based in Brussels.
Spanning a career of more than 20 years, her experience in the construction equipment and building systems industry includes her role as managing director, Europe for the rental software company, Wynne Systems, as delegate to the president of the European rental company, Loxam, and as an internal auditor with Bull and in financial services/consulting at Arthur Andersen.
Carole also manages the financial services and administration of IAMA, the Independent Aircraft Modifier Alliance, an association created in 2020 and based in Hamburg (Germany). Carole graduated from ESSEC Business School in France.
Senior Association Manager
Marco is a seasoned association management professional with deep expertise in EU regulatory and public affairs. Currently, Marco serves as Secretary-General of TomatoEurope, representing the tomato processing industry in the EU. In addition, Marco also acts as a regulatory affairs manager for the European Potato Processors’ Associations (EUPPA) and for the European Producers and Traders of Processed Fish (AIPCE-CEP).
Prior to joining Kellen, Marco worked as a legal consultant in Rome and London before moving to Brussels to work for FoodDrinkEurope in 2015. His expertise centers on public affairs, advocacy activities, environmental policies and regulatory topics in the agrifood sector. He holds a Master’s degree in Law (LLM) from “La Sapienza” University of Rome.
Vice President, Asia
Steven Basart serves Kellen’s international associations through strategic planning and by identifying global market opportunities for their industry or profession. He has guided clients on the implementation of their strategy for Asia by successfully establishing their government relations, communications, membership development programs, as well as overseeing their local Chinese website launches.
Steven has served as the former director China for the Drug Information Association during which time he actively built strategic alliances with local counterpart organizations and government agencies including the Commissioner of the SFDA, key players at the Ministry of Health, and leading pharmaceutical and healthcare industry media. He has also supported international questions on Chinese food laws and delegations at the Codex Committee meetings on food additives.
Steven represents Kellen and their clients at the Beijing-based European, American, and Benelux Chambers of Commerce. He holds a Masters in Chinese Studies and Bachelors in Law with cum laude distinction from Leiden University.
Martin Bay has more than 25 years of meetings, events, and tradeshow management experience. He is responsible for the technical and professional development of the Kellen meetings staff, the procurement of all contracted meeting space and sleeping rooms for over 200 contracted events annually, and is the lead solutions provider for all Kellen clients.
Martin has experience in both the corporate and association meetings management industries, and specializes in processes and procedure management. His professional passion and his meticulous attention to detail has made him a leader in the meetings management industry, and he has developed an expertise with the technological aspects of our field.
Martin is an active member in the Professional Convention Management Association, and the International Association of Exhibitions & Events, for whom he serves on the board of the southeast chapter. He is also a former member of the United States Canoe/Kayak Team, an avid bicyclist, and his interest in international travel has taken he and wife Nancy to over 21 countries, including a two-year residence in Cairo, Egypt.
Senior Association Manager
Céline is bioengineer and holds a PhD in bioengineering and agronomy from Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (Liège University). Prior to Kellen, Celine worked for a European food sector association where she was responsible for scientific and regulatory affairs in the food law, animal feed law and agronomy areas, specializing in scientific issues, data gathering and advocacy.
Currently, Céline is Acting Secretary General of the Association of Manufacturers and Formulators of Enzyme Products (AMFEP) and also provides regulatory and scientific support for the International Special Dietary Foods Industries (ISDI) and the Organisation des Fabricants de produits Cellulosiques Alimentaires (OFCA).
Michael Books has more than 25 years of experience in accounting, finance, strategic planning, business development, and operations including shared service centers and information technology. He is responsible for ensuring an efficient and effective infrastructure, directing all information technology, administrative operations, risk management and financial planning and analysis activities for Kellen and its clients.
Michael manages the company’s accounting, information technology and operations departments. He has extensive senior executive experience in the professional services and consumer products industries, as well as with a “Big 4” CPA firm, Deloitte & Touche, where he passed New York’s CPA exam. Michael holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Emory University and a Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Finance from Wilkes University.
Emily Burch is an association management professional with over 15 years of extensive experience serving Professional Societies, Healthcare and Medical Associations. She serves as Executive Director for the Association of College and University Auditors, Society for Vascular Medicine, and the Society for Pediatric Pathology.
Emily has a passion for working with organizations and helping them move their mission and vision forward. Emily has a special skill for relationship building, helping organizations future focus and a keen interest in resource management.
Additionally, Emily provides oversight and strategic guidance to multiple account executives and staff within Kellen’s healthcare portfolio, education services and accreditation programs. Emily has a proven track record of successfully working with organization leaders on budgets, program development and analysis to take their organization to the next level.
Emily holds a bachelor’s degree from Millikin University.
Raquel Ponte Costa
Senior Association Manager
Raquel specializes in EU regulatory affairs and digital communications. She has been responsible for the public relations and communications activities for a number of Kellen clients, including the European Window Film Association, Global Facilities Management Association, Association of European Automotive, and Industrial Battery Manufacturers.
Currently, Raquel acts as the Executive Director of VIPA International, the Vacuum Insulation Panel Association, and as General Manager of EASEE-gas, the European Association for the Streamlining of Energy Exchange – gas. In addition, she is also involved in consulting projects with Kellen clients, including the facilitation of strategic planning sessions, reputation analysis, governance support, review of internal structures, and establishment in Brussels, among others.
Before joining Kellen, Raquel worked as a trainee for both the International Wool Textile Organization and the European Parliament with a Portuguese MEP. After graduating with a degree in European Studies and International Politics in Portugal, Raquel continued her academic career at the Institute for European Studies of the Université libre de Bruxelles, where she concluded a Master’s in European Studies. Raquel is a Portuguese native speaker and is fluent in English and French.
Hans Craen joined Kellen’s Brussels office in 2003. He specializes in EU affairs, with a focus on environmental, construction and energy policies. Hans acts as secretary-general for several of Kellen’s European clients including the European Portable Battery Association and the European Window Film Association.
As secretary-general, Hans supports the Board in its strategic thinking, implementing public affairs and public relations activities and representing the organization in front of the European and national legislative bodies. He is also involved in several consulting projects for Kellen’s global clients.
Before joining Kellen, Hans worked as an EU Affairs coordinator for Hitachi’s liaison office in Brussels, covering environmental policy issues. Prior to that, he worked as a trainee in the legal department of the European Ombudsman’s office in Strasbourg.
Hans holds a law degree from the Antwerp University, as well as a European law degree from the Liège University. He also obtained a post-graduate degree in Business Management from the Vlekho Business School.
Nele joined Kellen in 2001 and specializes in marketing and communications. She is involved in strategic advice projects and consulting for trade associations and professional societies on a global level. She has an extensive experience in the management of national, European, and international associations.
Her current assignments include the International Association of Lighting Designers, for which she serves as their European office Manager, and the European Utilities Telecom Council, for which she is the Senior Manager of Operations in Europe. Nele also serves as the Executive Director in Europe for the EU-Russia Industrialists’ Roundtable, a business platform composed of leaders of multinational companies from the EU and Russia. She also leads the Kellen team that serves as the secretariat of the CEC, the Co-ordinating European Council for the Development of Performance Tests for Fuels, Lubricants and other Fluids.
Nele has experience in several industries and sectors and has mainly worked with associations active on an international level, several of them in the healthcare field; such as the International League Against Epilepsy and the American Health Information Management Association. Nele studied Communications at the EGON Hogeschool in Gent, Belgium. She is Belgian of Dutch mother tongue and speaks English, French, and German.
Patricia Faison has over 25 years’ experience in association management and the food and beverage industry. She currently serves as Director of Regulatory and Technical Affairs for the Association for Dressings & Sauces (ADS) and Technical Director for the Juice Products Association (JPA). Her responsibilities include monitoring current legislative and regulatory activities affecting the food industry, providing reports to members and facilitating various projects undertaken by ADS’ and JPA’s working committees. Patricia has developed numerous comments on regulatory, legislative and technical issues to federal, state and international agencies.
Patricia received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Savannah State University and holds a Master’s degree from Purdue University. She is a member of the Institute of Food Technologists and the International Association for Food Protection.
Senior Vice President
John Ferraro has over fifteen years of association management, government relations, and legislative affairs experience, including more than eleven years with Kellen managing operations for trade associations in the transportation, health care, building construction, and manufacturing sectors.
John’s association management responsibilities include providing direct oversight and executive management of activities for associations. In this capacity, he oversees all functional teams and areas of operations, including membership development, conference management, communications and marketing, information technology, education services and accreditation programs, government affairs, and financial / investment management.
Currently, he serves as the executive director for the Extruded Polystyrene Foam Association (XPSA), Composite Lumber Manufacturers Association (CLMA), and American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association (AMRPA).
John has a Bachelor Degree in Political Science and International Affairs and a Master’s Degree in American Politics and Policy, both from Florida State University.
Michael Fischer has been in the building products industry for more than 30 years, holding management positions in regulatory affairs, manufacturing, and marketing. His involvement in building and energy codes, environment and sustainability issues, product standards, regulatory affairs, and product safety issues within the industry provides a comprehensive background to deliver responsible advocacy for Kellen clients.
Michael is a member the International Code Council, ASHRAE, and ASTM International and serves on the technical committee of the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition.
He has provided strategic representation before the US Department of Energy and Consumer Product Safety Commission, the California Air Resource Board, the California Energy Commission, the California Office of the State Fire Marshal, and state code adoption bodies in Florida, New York State, Minnesota, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Texas, North Carolina, and other building and energy code official agencies.
Michael has previously testified before legislative bodies and helped to lead successful client strategic efforts from product standards through code and regulatory development. He is also a respected contributor to trade publications and a frequent presenter at building industry events and conferences.
Senior Association Manager
Francesco has over six years of experience in association management and communications. He is the E.U. Affairs Manager of EUROBAT and the Association of Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers, as well as a policy officer to the Vacuum Insulation Panel Association.
Francesco specializes in public affairs & advocacy and digital communication in energy and transport markets.
Prior to Kellen, he worked at the European Commission’s DG Environment and as a trainee at Burson-Marsteller, the Portuguese NGO “Doctors of the World”, and the Italian Embassy of Caracas.
Francesco has a B.A. in International Studies and an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Florence. He has also a Master’s degree in International Political Economy from the University of Warwick. Francesco is fluent in Italian, English, and Spanish as well as basic French and Portuguese.1
Tom Gooding leads Kellen’s corporate business development efforts and oversees a number of shared services teams, including client technology, design and corporate partnerships sales. He also provides strategic guidance to several trade associations focused on federal advocacy in the technology, energy and transportation industries.
Prior to Kellen, Tom served as a senior executive at an innovative software firm funded by The Blackstone Group that provides fundraising and deal management solutions to leading global private equity firms and as a sales executive and project manager with Bluewolf, an IBM Company.
Tom holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from The George Washington University.
Senior Vice President
Paul Hagar focuses on understanding big-picture goals, diving into the business, and doing the detailed work it takes to establish engaging communications and marketing programs. He has deep experience with technology, luxury home goods, and building and architectural products, having worked on both traditional and digital campaigns in those markets for more than 15 years. He particularly enjoys finding and testing ideas that address challenges to create new opportunities for organizations. Paul brings a diversity of experience to the table, having grown up in Montana, then graduating from Princeton, and working in a range of businesses, from consulting firm D.H. Brown Associates, to e-commerce startup Tapestria.com, to leading architectural and window coverings manufacturer Hunter Douglas. Paul joined Kellen in 2018 to lead its digital team and to direct communications for a number of clients.
Phelps Hope, CMP
Senior Vice President
Phelps Hope has more than 30 years of experience in meetings, events and tradeshow management and holds the Certified Meetings Professional (CMP) designation, an indication of both his experience level in the meetings industry and his dedication to excellence.
He is familiar with every nuance of the meetings, tradeshow and events production process, and places the highest priority upon the delivery of unique creative solutions that help to deliver on the strategic goals and objectives of Kellen client conferences and events.
He is an active member of the Georgia Chapter of Meeting Professionals International, Skal International, and currently serves on the board of the Professional Convention Managers Association (PCMA).
In 2014, Phelps was awarded the PCMA Global Meetings Executive of the Year. He was recognized for his vision, commitment and passion for the evolution of the meetings industry, creating exceptional value for clients expanding their reach into new global arenas.
Doug Johnson directs Kellen’s IT department, responsible for supporting and maintaining the company’s network infrastructure including a wide area MPLS network. Doug and his team are responsible for internal web servers and communications infrastructure based on Cisco VOIP products, in addition to the company’s association management software systems and databases.
Doug has more than 20 years of systems experience and expertise, with extensive knowledge of all major software applications, operating systems, networking hardware, communication systems, and association management software systems. He is a certified network engineer and has received extensive training from leading manufacturers such as Microsoft and Cisco along with AMS software vendors such as TMA Resources.
Doug holds a Bachelor’s degree in Management Science from Bridgewater State College.
Senior Vice President
JerrieLynn Kind has brought success to professional societies and trade associations for more than 25 years and has been serving Kellen’s clients for 15 years, to provide executive oversight to 13 associations based out of the Kansas City office. In addition, she also serves as executive director for the American Society for Pain Management Nursing, the National Association of EMS Physicians, and the Pediatric Endocrinology Nursing Society.
She has a broad background with membership associations, financial planning, and project management. Prior to joining Kellen, JerrieLynn worked as membership director and career development manager to national associations in the golf industry.
JerrieLynn is a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the Kansas City Society of Association Executives and has been active in committees and educational activities. JerrieLynn is also an approved facilitator of ASAE’s Certificate Program in Association Management.
Senior Vice President
Holly Koenig provides executive oversight in marketing and business development as well as strategic support to Executive Directors in the company’s New York City office. She is a highly skilled association executive with more than 30 years of experience leading complex organizations at the regional, national and international levels.
Holly has served dozens of nonprofits, trade groups and professional societies in the capacity of Executive Vice President or Executive Director, including New York Women in Communications, the National Society of Healthcare Foodservice Management and the Association of Fundraising Professionals New York City Chapter.
Holly currently serves as CEO of the New York Society of Association Executives. She is a speaker on many association and organizational subjects and conducts internal training and educational workshops on such topics as Board development and sponsorships. Holly has published numerous association management articles, and enjoys career coaching and mentoring young professionals.
Jean-Christophe has 15 years of experience with Kellen. He leads two trade associations in the food industry; ISDI, the International Association for Special Dietary Foods Industries, representing infant, medical, and other specialized foods, and FEDIMA, the European Federation of Bakery Ingredients Suppliers.
He most frequently works with members on strategic positioning and contact building with governing bodies such as the European Union, the World Health Organization, and Codex Alimentarius Food Law.
Before joining Kellen, Jean-Christophe was a political advisor to a Member of the European Parliament and worked in public relations. He holds a Master’s in History from KU Leuven and an additional Master’s in European Political Studies from the College of Europe.
Senior Vice President
Russell Lemieux has more than 30 years’ experience in the association management industry. Russell has extensive experience as chief staff executive, conceiving and directing a variety of association programs, including public relations, marketing and branding. He is also an experienced strategic planning facilitator, writer, editor and speaker and is regularly quoted in print and broadcast media as an industry spokesman.
Russell serves as executive director for the Airline Passenger Experience Association, and is the senior executive advisor for several additional Kellen association clients, including the Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals, Research Chefs Association, National Pecan Shellers Association and the Association of Fundraising Distributors and Suppliers. His primary responsibilities include strategic planning and counsel, marketing, membership development, administration, meetings and trade show management, public relations and government affairs.
Russell holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia.
Sofie Cabeceiro Luiz
Sofie Cabeceiro Luiz assumes HR leadership for our Brussels Kellen office, focusing on the employee experience, coaching, training and talent development. Her career spans over 20 years, including various HR responsibilities at Accenture, the global consulting firm. Prior to Accenture, Sofie worked in recruitment, legal and operations sectors. Sofie is recognized for her flexible yet determined human approach with sensitivity to authentic communication and business partnering.
Additionally, Sofie is a Gallup certified strength coach, trained in HR management with Cornell University and Accenture; and holds a Master in Applied Linguistics in Dutch, English and Portuguese translations from Erasmus, Brussels.
Matt Mantione is an experienced association executive with proven success leading organizational growth strategies and driving overall excellence with boards, staff and key stakeholders around the world. Matt has more than 15 years association management experience, with executive positions held in both trade associations and professional societies, supporting c3 educational and c6 individual and trade associations, delivering strategic solutions for membership development, sales and marketing, governance, strategic planning and component relations.
At Kellen, Matt leads key trade associations representing the interests of organizations in the building and construction and logistics industries to develop organizational growth strategies, membership development and engagement initiatives.
Matt has a Bachelor Degree in Corporate Communications from Radford University with additional credentials as a Certified Association Executive and a Professional Certified Marketer. He is currently a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) as well as published author and experienced public speaker.
Senior Vice President
Jeannie Milewski is the executive director of the Association for Dressings and Sauces, a 160-member international trade association. She focuses on strategic direction, executive committee and board support, organizational leadership, priorities management, quality assurance and directing the general operations of the association. Additionally, Jeannie serves as executive director for The Vinegar Institute and leads the Fruit Spread Section and Concord Grape Section of the Juice Products Association.
She has more than 17 years of association management experience and has worked for several Kellen clients in the food and beverage industries. Prior to joining Kellen in 1995, Jeanie was involved in the foodservice sector with responsibilities including research and development, specifications and training.
Jeannie holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Science and a Master’s in food Science from the University of Tennessee.
Senior Vice President
With over 20 years of association management experience, Michelle provides strategic oversight and guidance to various client organizations with focus on trade groups. She specializes in re-aligning organizations towards profitability and identifying growth opportunities, ensuring governance structures are aligned with strategic initiatives, solution orientated with emphasis on problem identification and conflict resolution, staffing utilization, developing staffing models to support organizations and transitions.
Michelle currently serves as the executive vice president of the Pressure Sensitive Tape Council and manages Kellen transitions/onboarding of new client organizations. She is a graduate of Northwood University in Midland Michigan and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and Marketing.
Senior Association Manager
Nuria brings extensive expertise in regulatory affairs in food ingredients, Codex Alimentarius, ISO standards and sustainability to Kellen, serving as association manager for a variety of global and European food business associations. Currently, Nuria acts as the Secretary-General of the European Vegetable Protein Association (EUVEPRO). In addition, she is involved in the European Potato Processors Association (EUPPA) as well as the Association of Manufacturers and Formulators of Enzyme Products (AMFEP). Prior to this, Nuria supported associations representing infant, medical and other specialized foods (ISDI) and bakery ingredients suppliers (FEDIMA).
Nuria holds a Master’s degree in European Public Affairs from Maastricht University and completed an Erasmus programme at the Institute d’Etudes Politiques de Grenoble, with a focus on EU decision-making and interest representation.
Mardi Mountford is the executive vice president of the Infant Nutrition Council of America (INCA), a trade association representing infant formula manufacturers. In her role at the INCA, Mardi oversees state, federal and international legislative and regulatory issues as well as technical and scientific industry issues. She serves as an industry media spokesperson, and has testified before congressional and legislative committees.
Mardi also serves as vice president on the Governing Board of the International Special Dietary Foods Industries, of which INCA is a member, and has been closely involved in the transition of the organization from its former Paris location to Kellen’s Brussels office.
Mardi has more than 30 years of experience in association management. She received a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry and biology from St. Andrews Presbyterian College in North Carolina, and a master’s degree in public health, with an emphasis in nutrition, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Delia Murphy is an association management professional with extensive experience leading programs and overall executive management for associations. Delia has built a portfolio of successful programs, including delivering on Board-level initiatives and strategic planning objectives, developing membership and member services programs, enhancing association and affiliate relationships, and organizing and managing high level events. She has experience building credibility and maintaining communication with stakeholders in different sectors, including federal agencies, universities, nonprofits and multiple industries.
Delia is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and a 2019 winner of the Association Forum and USAE 40 Under Forty Award. Delia is a graduate from the University of Delaware.
Senior Association Manager
Adriana has spent the last decade working with European associations. A lawyer by training, Adriana spent two years in the legal profession before leaving her native Poland to move to Brussels.
Adriana is the Secretary General of the European Potato Processors’ Association. She specializes in E.U. regulatory affairs and environmental & sustainability issues for the International Stevia Council along with strategic advisory services.
Adriana, a Polish national, holds a Master’s degree in Law from Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun. She is fluent in Polish, English, Italian, and has a basic understanding of French and Dutch.
Alexandra Smith Ozerkis
Alex Ozerkis brings over 15 years of experience in public relations, marketing communications, and event planning with knowledge in a wide range of sectors, including science and technology, food and nutrition, beauty and wellness, consumer products and nonprofits. At Kellen, Alex has overseen communications programs and teams for clients, including the National Pasta Association, Toy Association, MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership and Copper Development Association, among others.
Alex holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Cornell University and serves as a Cornell Almuni Admissions Ambassador. She has lectured on the topic of public relations at the National Society of Association Executives, New York Women in Communications, Fashion Institute of Technology and The New School in New York City.
Senior Vice President
Robert Rankin has over 15 years of association experience, with particular expertise in food industry issues management. Robert joined Kellen in 2005 and has consistently delivered strategic solutions to address complex regulatory, legislative and administrative challenges.
Robert has broad experience in the food and food ingredient industries, and is fully engaged in a number of activities which utilize his areas of expertise. He has worked closely with officials at key US Government agencies including the Food and Drug Administration and Department of Agriculture, and has also worked with regulatory agencies in Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia/New Zealand. He also has extensive experience in the development and communication of industry positions and has testified before U.S. state legislatures, the World Health Organization and local authorities on industry issues.
Robert earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Studies from Duke University. He currently serves as President of the Calorie Control Council, Executive Director for the Infant Nutrition Council of America and Executive Director for the International Food Additives Council.
Chairman & CEO
A visionary in the fields of association management and communications, Peter Rush continues his long history of achievement as he guides the steady growth and success of Kellen. Peter provides leadership to the company’s seven offices worldwide and is the guardian of the firm’s vision, mission and values.
Peter joined Kellen in 2001 and was named Kellen Chairman and CEO in 2008. He has led the company’s rapid growth both domestically and internationally as Kellen has expanded its footprint with acquisitions in Chicago, Washington, DC, Denver, Kansas City, Brussels and Beijing.
An expert in the areas of governance, board development, strategic planning, marketing and public relations, Peter has served as Executive Director of more than 10 associations in his career. His clients have ranged from AT&T to AlliedSignal to the U.S. Department of Energy and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, as well as dozens of trade and professional organizations. He began his career as a journalist with the New York Times Company and as a magazine editor at Harcourt Brace.
Executive Vice President
Travis is responsible for leading Kellen’s operations, including technology, program management, business development and resource planning. Additionally, he provides strategic development, consulting and implementation for clients in the manufacturing, transportation and media industries. Travis has also worked with the Copper Development Association, the Cruise Line International Association, the Window Covering Safety Council, the Interior Design Educators Council, and the American Society of Journalists and Authors.
He has established extensive and successful sales, marketing and development programs by leveraging data, demographics and behaviors to create value and enhance the member, sponsor and partner experiences. A graduate of The George Washington University, Travis is an active member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the Association Management Company Institute (AMCI). He resides in the Capital Hill area of Washington, D.C.
Maria Teresa Scardigli
Maria Teresa Scardigli serves as the executive director for several associations, managing projects for clients in food drink and chemical sector. Her main responsibilities include supporting the Board in its strategic thinking, chairing of meetings, coordinating public affairs and public relations activities and representation of the organizations towards third parties.
Maria is the executive director of the International Stevia Council representing the interests of the producers and manufacturers of the natural, zero calorie sweeteners. She is also involved in consulting projects with Kellen clients, including the facilitation of strategic planning sessions, the legal and governance support to associations to establish themselves in Europe, among others.
She graduated from the University of Rome with a Law Degree, and received her Master’s Degree in European and Community Law from the European University Center of the University of Nancy in France.
Senior Association Manager
René has over 12 years of experience in E.U. regulatory affairs. He is the Executive Director of EUROBAT, the Association of European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers. He works with leading European and global companies on the positioning of the battery manufacturing industry and advocating the sustainable applications for mobility and energy services.
His expertise centers around policymakers with experience as a policy officer with the European Waste Management Federation FEAD, between 2007 and 2013, and with the European Chemicals Federation (Cefic), the European Parliament, Siemens, and the E.U. delegation in Washington, D.C.
René holds a postgraduate Master’s degree in European studies from the College of Europe as well as a Master’s in Political Science from the University of Rostock.
Senior Vice President
Bonnie Sonnenschein has been leading branding initiatives and developing and directing integrated marketing communications programs for corporations and associations for more than 25 years. Her work at previous firms have ranged from the U.S.-based Steelcase and Burlington Industries to European-based luxury writing instrument manufacturers LAMY and Caran d’Ache.
Currently, Bonnie manages a team of accounts that range from the global testing and certification firm Intertek to the Copper Development Association, the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association, the American Down and Feather Council, and its international parent group, the International Down and Feather Bureau.
Bonnie holds a B.A. in English Literature and Political Science from Syracuse University and an M.S. in Public Relations Communications and Administration from the Newhouse School of Public Communications of Syracuse University.
Meredith Taylor is an association management professional with a focus in the media and communications fields. She manages the transition process for new clients into Kellen and oversees a portfolio of clients in the media and communications industries.
Meredith has supported the College Media Association, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and New York Women in Communications. She was honored with the New Star Award from New York Society of Association Executives and the Young and Aspiring Association Professional Award from Association TRENDS.
Meredith graduated summa cum laude from Syracuse University, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with majors in linguistics and public relations.
Michael Taylor has more than thirty years experience in government affairs, with an extensive track record of successful advocacy programs built during his roles with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Plastics Industry Association and the U.S.-India Business Alliance, along with senior roles serving organizations in the maritime and energy industries.
Under his leadership at Kellen, Taylor’s government and regulatory affairs team has bolstered initiatives on behalf of Kellen’s far-reaching client portfolio while elevating the trade associations and professional societies’ presence among relevant governing bodies.
Ralph Vasami, Esq.
Ralph Vasami, Esq has a broad background in engineering, business management, operations, finance, strategic planning and law. He is actively involved with leading clients’ efforts to modify and enhance National Building Codes, and is regularly called upon to facilitate client strategic planning meetings.
Ralph is a pioneer in the vinyl window and door industry. As chairman of the Vinyl Window & Door Institute, he was responsible for gaining Model Building Code acceptance for vinyl as a fenestration product. He was also instrumental in setting up testing and standards for the products as well as the current industry certification program.
Ralph received a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University and a law degree from Pace University. He is a member of the New York State Bar.
Senior Account Coordinator
Maria Wang is the Senior Account Coordinator for Kellen’s Beijing office. Maria has extensive experience in coordinating and arranging delegation visits, as well as membership services, meetings/trainings support services, website content management, data analysis, and desk research. She coordinates the initiatives and planning for the China advisory body of a global association, representing companies engaged in research, development, and manufacturing of veterinary medicines, vaccines, and other animal health products.
Executive Vice President, Europe
Alfons Westgeest leads Kellen’s global development and operations, from our offices in Brussels, Belgium and Beijing, China. He is also responsible for Kellen’s strategic affiliates in Asia, Middle East and South America.
Alfons is involved in client board and member meetings, strategic planning and government affairs. He is a member of the Kellen’s Executive Committee and is responsible for preparing and implementing the company’s global expansion. He has expertise in various sectors including automotive, engineering, electronics, food, health care, construction, and financial services.
Alfons leads a team of 30 European professionals from 13 nationalities who advise, manage and represent European and U.S. based associations in various industries. He is also responsible for Kellen’s Beijing office, which has recently expanded to serve multiple international associations in China.
A graduate of Leyden University in the Netherlands, he holds a Master degree in Commercial and European law and was previously a partner at EY. Alfons is a former Board member of ASAE (American Society of Association Executives) and ASAE Fellow since 2006. He represents Kellen at Chambers of Commerce in Europe and Asia and received the 2011 ‘Outstanding Contribution to EU Public Affairs’ award.
Jean XU has over 10 years of experience in the areas of government affairs and monitoring, as well meetings management, marketing, business development and sales administration. Jean leads regulatory monitoring and related projects for Kellen clients in China, including Food and Pharma related industries. She also coordinates the China activities for the International Food Additives Council, including coordinating submissions to relevant government agencies and local counterparts.
Prior to joining Kellen, Jean served as Assistant Director and Marketing Supervisor for the Beijing International Finance Forum, a United Nations backed organization that provides a platform for world financial leaders to contribute to the revitalization of the international economy. At the forum, Jean was responsible for the coordination and management of all conference logistics, as well as all public relations and marketing endeavors.