Robin ApplebaumVice President | Atlanta
Carole BachmannSenior Association Manager | Brussels
Marco BaldoliSenior Association Manager | Brussels
Abiola Bankole-HameedExecutive Vice President | Atlanta
Steven BasartVice President | Beijing
Martin BayVice President | Atlanta
Céline BeniniSenior Association Manager | Brussels
Kim ChhabriaSenior Vice President | New York
Lauren CostelloVice President | New York
Hans CraenSenior Vice President | Brussels
Nele DevolderVice President | Brussels
Erin EricksonGroup Vice President | Atlanta
Patricia FaisonVice President | Atlanta
Patricia Ferchland-BinghamVice President | Chicago
John FerraroExecutive Vice President | Washington, D.C.
Michael FischerVice President | Washington, D.C.
Tom GoodingExecutive Vice President | Atlanta
Phelps Hope, CMPSenior Vice President | Atlanta
JerrieLynn KindGroup Vice President | Kansas City
Holly KoenigExecutive Vice President | New York
Russell LemieuxGroup Vice President | Atlanta
Sofie Cabeceiro LuizHR Director | Brussels
Matt MantioneSenior Vice President | Washington, D.C.
Pam MeadowsVice President | Atlanta
Gert MeylemansAssociation Director | Brussels
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 NosewiczAssociation Director | Brussels
Sheila O’NealVice President | Kansas City
Rosario PalmieriGroup Vice President | Washington, D.C.
Michael PattiVice President | Chicago
Brad PrybaExecutive Vice President | New York
Robert RankinGroup Vice President | Washington, D.C.
Travis RushCEO | Atlanta
Maria Teresa ScardigliExecutive Vice President & Managing Director | Brussels
Marla SchragerVice President | Chicago
René SchroederSenior Association Manager | Brussels
Bonnie SonnenscheinSenior Vice President | New York
Angela StephensVice President | New York
Meredith TaylorVice President | Chicago
Susan ThompsonVice President | Atlanta
Ralph Vasami, Esq.President | New York
Philip WaitzmanSenior Vice President | Chicago
Maria WangSenior Association Manager | Beijing
Alfons WestgeestBoard Member | 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.
Executive Vice President
Abiola Bankole-Hameed is a strategic and results-driven leader with more than 20 years of extensive financial and operational experience. As executive vice president of finance and accounting, she is responsible for steering the financial strategies of Kellen while overseeing the finance and accounting operations of the company’s more than 130 managed trade associations, representing the interests of over 10,000 companies in their respective industries.
Abiola has a deep understanding of the complex association industry as well as executive leadership experience in propelling organizations forward. Prior to joining Kellen, Abiola served as the chief financial officer for the National Black MBA Association where she was responsible for setting the organization’s overall financial policy and direction, financial administration, business planning, and budgeting, while being an active participant in the leadership team. In previous roles, she led business strategy and oversight for all financial functions for several organizations and companies.
Abiola holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, as well as an MBA with a concentration in Financial Management and Control from DePaul University. She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA). Abiola served as Board Treasurer for the Susan G. Komen Chicago from 2015-2016 and Advisory Council Member, Susan G. Komen Atlanta from 2016-2018. She was selected as a Finance Advisory Committee Member for the City of Naperville School District 203 in Illinois, U.S.A from 2007-2010 and appointed to the Governmental Executive Committee, Women’s Executive Committee with the Illinois CPA Society in 2014. She is currently serving as the Board Treasurer for King’s Court Chapel, Roswell, GA.
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).
Senior Vice President
As the Senior Vice President at Kellen, Kim Chhabria focuses on discovery, development and delivery of marketing initiatives and overall strategies for Kellen’s client partners. In addition, sharing best practices and trends to foster growth and creativity. Kim brings significant experience in association marketing and management and has experience in creating and delivering strategies focused on member retention and acquisition, credentialing and educational courses, new product launches, and events.
Kim has shared her knowledge with her peers as a speaker at American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Mid-Atlantic Society of Association Executives (MASAE), the American Marketing Association (AMA), and various in-company leadership and marketing events. Kim received her Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Boston College and lives in New Jersey with her family.
Lauren Costello has over a dozen years of experience managing international trade associations encompassing Board relations, government affairs, communications, events, financials, membership recruitment and engagement, sales, and strategic planning and execution. She serves as the Executive Director for the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and the International Flight Services Association (IFSA). Lauren also serves as the Operations Director of the American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association (AMRPA). She previously served as Executive Director for the Home Fashion Products Association (HFPA). In these roles, she manages the team in Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Beijing, and Brussels.
Lauren is based in New York City and is a graduate of SUNY Oswego, earning an MBA in Management and a BA in Business Administration / International Business.
Senior Vice President
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.
Group Vice President
Erin joined Kellen in 2014 and has over ten years of association management experience. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals. Erin is responsible for developing and driving strategic growth and providing oversight of membership program and services.
Erin graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a bachelor’s degree in communications, and is a current member of the Colorado Society of Association Executives.
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.
She has been with Kellen for four and a half years and works with ACOEP, IDA, ISTSS, RCMA, and SMRP on multiple education-related projects. In addition, she provides oversight on compliance and Accreditation for all Kellen clients. Before working at Kellen, Patricia was the Education Manager at Urgent Care Association.
She attended Queens College studying Education in New York. She also attended Marquette University, studying education and journalism in Wisconsin. Patricia completed her Associate of Arts in Education from the College of DuPage in Illinois.
Executive 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.
Executive Vice President
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.
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.
Group 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.
Executive Vice President
Holly Koenig serves as the Executive Vice President over Kellen’s People & Culture Department. She also 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 a track record of developing high-performance teams and 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, enjoys career coaching and mentoring young professionals, and is a strong advocate of empowering women and next-generation female leaders.
Group Vice President
Russell Lemieux has more than 35 years of experience in the association management industry. Russell has extensive experience as a 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 is responsible for Kellen’s General Trade Association Group. He serves as a senior executive advisor for a wide variety of Kellen clients, including Airline Passenger Experience Association, Inflight Services Association, Custom Logistics & Delivery Association, National Candle Association, Alliance for Digital Innovation, and American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association. His primary responsibilities include strategic planning and counsel, marketing, membership development, administration, meetings and trade show management, public relations, and government affairs.
Russell is a past Board member of the Association Management Company Institute. He 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.
Senior Vice President
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.
Pam joined Kellen in 2003 and has over 35 years of experience with non-profits and for-profit entities in the professional services industry, healthcare, and public accounting. As vice president of corporate accounting, Pam leads Kellen’s corporate accounting team and shared services accounts receivable and accounts payable teams.During her +19 years, Pam has led Kellen’s corporate accounting team through significant growth, acquisitions, and technology implementations. In addition, her team supports Kellen’s association management business model while building stronger not-for-profit organizations.Pam graduated with Accounting and Marketing degrees from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in addition to her MBA.Pam is an active member of Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance, for whom she has served in multiple leadership roles at the chapter level, including president and treasurer. In addition, she currently serves as the AFWA Foundation liaison to the Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance board of directors. Both AFWA and their foundation provide Pam with the opportunity to promote women’s advancement opportunities through scholarships, continuing professional education, certifications, and other leadership growth opportunities.
Gert joined Kellen Brussels as Senior Communications Manager in August 2018 and mainly worked on EUROBAT – the Association of European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers. As Communications Director, Gert’s role is to strategically communicate critical messages to the available channels and make sure EUROBAT’s voice will be better heard in the Brussels arena and across Europe. Gert, who holds a degree in Marketing and Communications, has 30 years of expertise and international experience in automotive PR and corporate communications. He previously worked at Nissan Belux, was Head of Corporate Comms at Bridgestone EMEA, and worked as a freelance communications consultant amongst others at CLEPA, the European Association of Automotive Suppliers.
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.
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.
Sheila O’Neal is a seasoned Association Executive who has been working with nonprofit organizations for more than 30 years, and has been serving Kellen clients for 22 years. Sheila has experience working with trade associations, professional societies, standard setting bodies as well as advocacy organizations focusing solely on healthcare related organizations at Kellen. She currently serves as the Executive Director for the American Board of Genetic Counseling and the Special Operations Medical Association.
Sheila is a strategic thinker and change manager with comprehensive experience in board relations and governance, organizational management, and strategic planning. She is also experienced in event planning and management and project management. Sheila is a current member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the Kansas City Society of Association Executives (KSCAE).
Group Vice President
Rosario Palmieri joins Kellen from the White House Office of Management and Budget where he served as associate administrator of the regulatory coordination office (OIRA). Previously, he spent more than a decade at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) as vice president, charged with managing broad areas of legal and regulatory policy, including consumer product safety, labor and OSHA, transportation and infrastructure, food and agriculture, antitrust, product liability, energy and environment.
Prior to NAM, he served on congressional committees in the U.S. House of Representatives overseeing regulatory policy. A lawyer by training, Palmieri also serves on the leadership council for the Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice of the American Bar Association.
Michael Patti is an innovative leader in association management, with more than 25 years’ experience helping non-profits achieve their technology goals. As Vice President of Technology, Michael leads a team that implements association management (AMS) and content management (CMS) systems for more than 130 clients. Michael is expert at bringing diverse stakeholders together to craft technology solutions that drive increased membership, customer engagement, non-dues revenue, meeting registrations and online education offerings. Michael has led the development of several award winning website redesign projects.
Michael holds bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Music Performance from Knox College, and has achieved certifications in SQL Server programming and C#/asp.net development. Michael’s technology experience includes Azure and AWS server management, WordPress site development and infrastructure management, Kentico and DNN CMS development, PCI compliance, DNS management, and Sofware Development Life Cycle project management. In his spare time, Michael enjoys playing guitar and trumpet, bicycling and hiking, and visiting museums in his hometown of Chicago.
Executive Vice President
Bradley Pryba, Esq., has extensive experience advising and representing associations, boards, and professional services firms. A lawyer by training, Brad has served professional associations and licensed professionals throughout New York State, and across the country, with strategic planning, board training and governance, government relations, lobbying, and general legal matters.
Brad has supported the missions of a variety of professional and trade associations in the accounting, psychology, and veterinary professions to name a few. He spent significant time with the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants where he served as chief legal officer and head lobbyist. In his role at NYSSCPA, Brad guided three Boards of Directors, provided annual board training and compliance programs, oversaw the ethics process, spearheaded advocacy efforts, and ensured the smooth operation of the association’s governance and operational priorities.
In addition to his prior association work, Brad is a seasoned government relations professional where he has advanced legislation at the state level, handled administrative matters before state agencies, and interacted with local elected officials and agencies on behalf of clients spanning multiple industries including associations, professional services firms, hospital systems, pharmaceutical corporations, and educational institutions. He has also handled legal work including regulatory compliance and investigations, risk management, and ethics compliance and training.
Brad received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Middlebury College and a law degree from St. John’s University. He is a member of the New York State Bar.
Group 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.
Under Travis’ leadership, Kellen has evolved the association business model, unlocking significant value for trade organizations such as the American Medical Rehabilitation Professionals Association, International Door Association, Healthcare Nutrition Council, and the Airline Passenger Experience Association. In addition to trade organizations, Kellen has also added value to professional societies, including the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals, and the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians.
A proponent of the “people, process, technology” management methodology, he has helped build a modern, diverse team of the best association professionals, using the industry’s best systems and integrated processes. Leveraging said methodology, he has guided the transformation of technology, sales, marketing, events, and advocacy initiatives for more than two dozen more client organizations.
Before Kellen, he worked in real estate, film production, consulting, and sales.
As an avid traveler, he has visited six continents, thirty-three countries, and forty-five states. He graduated from The George Washington University in Washington D.C., where he was an infielder on the varsity baseball team and disc jockey at the radio station. He currently resides in the Atlanta area and is a diehard fan of the New York Mets and Bruce Springsteen.
Maria Teresa Scardigli
Executive Vice President & Managing Director
As of 2022, Maria Teresa Scardigli is Managing Director for European operations from the Kellen office in Brussels, Belgium.
Maria Teresa leads the strategic directions of Kellen at the European level and supervises more than 45 professionals servicing around 35 trade associations and professional societies (at European and international levels).
She has strong knowledge and expertise in the food sector with more than 20 years of experience in European public affairs, interest representation, and strategic association management. She acts – amongst others – as the Executive Director of the International Stevia Council, the trade association representing the interests of the stevia industry at a global level.
Maria Teresa Scardigli graduated from the University of Rome with a Law Degree and received a post-master’s degree in European and Community Law from the European University Center of the University of Nancy in France.
With more than 15 years of experience managing professional associations, Marla Schrager continues to be a collaborative, driven, and accomplished Association Executive. She joined Kellen in 2015 and serves as executive director to multiple clients focusing on strategic development to help these organizations thrive. In addition, she provides executive oversight to her clients to increase membership, revenue, and efficiencies while expanding services and growth for the accounts.
Prior to Kellen, she was the executive director for the Business Marketing Association Chicago (now called the Association of National Advertisers Business Marketing) exceeding profitability goals year after year in membership, sponsorship, and events.
In 2013, Marla met the qualifications and passed the exam to obtain her Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential. In the association business, the CAE designation is commonly thought of as “masters-level” training and signifies a commitment to lifelong learning and best practices in association management.
Marla is a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the Association Forum. She has been involved in several non-profit organizations including Chicago Gateway Green, United Cerebral Palsy, the Looking Glass Theater, and DePaul University’s Kellstadt Marketing Center Hispanic Marketers Group and Off the Street Club.
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.
Angela Moore Stephens is the Chief Executive Officer of the American Group Psychotherapy Association, a professional membership and educational organization consisting of over 2,000 mental health professionals. She also is the Secretary-Treasurer to both the Group Foundation for Advancing Mental Health and the International Board for Certification of Group Psychotherapists.
Angela has more almost 40 years of association management experience. She is a results-oriented executive, with a proven ability to develop and implement new programs and projects utilizing a strategic planning approach. Experienced in charitable foundations, membership associations, and certification organizations with significant expertise in the following areas: public relations, writing/editorial/communication, strategic planning, fundraising, and volunteer and staff management.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology and is a Certified Association Executive. She is a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) as well as the local chapter, the New York Society of Association Executives (NYSAE).
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.
Susan is a results-driven leader with an extensive background in strategic planning, system implementations, budgeting, and reporting. Serving as the Vice President of Client Accounting Operations, she will lead our client controllers in providing value-added services to our Associations.
Susan brings a well-rounded accounting experience, strong people management acumen, and demonstrated expertise leveraging technology to drive efficiency. Before joining Kellen, Susan was the Accounting Director at ServiceMaster, where she led a team of 20+ professionals, implemented a new ERP system, and developed KPI’s. In addition, she served as the Consulting and Solutions Team Engagement Director with Clifton, Larson, Allen LLP. In her role at CLA, she built relationships with clients, business executives, and others to help solve their accounting, finance, and internal audit issues and focused on strategic initiatives to deliver exceptional value to clients. Susan also had a 14-year career with LeasePlan USA, where she held progressive roles starting from Financial Accounting Manager to Corporate Controller and later VP Finance.
She received her bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Reno, Nevada. She is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
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 Vice President
Philip Waitzman MBA, MPH, MA, LSW comes to Kellen as a mental health clinical and executive leader. Most recently, Phil served in a turnaround and stabilization capacity as Interim Executive Director at the Institute of Cultural Affairs USA. Phil has a background in higher education, associations, professional services, nonprofits, and healthcare. In addition to serving as an IED, Phil recently served as a Nonprofit Consultant to organizations, schools, and associations across industry segments with needs ranging from the turnaround, strategic growth, Board development, management and marketing, enrollment, and fundraising to program development and beyond. Previously, Phil served as President and CEO of Vision Share, a mid-to-large-sized transaction-oriented global healthcare Members Association. In addition, he has held senior partnership and strategic alliance positions with American Orthopaedic Association, Jones International University, and Adtelem. Phil is a Licensed Social Worker and has a Bachelor’s Degree from Drake University, a Master’s Degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago, and an MBA and MPH from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Senior Association Manager
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.
As of 2022, Alfons Westgeest is Kellen’s Board member for global development, and Maria Teresa Scardigli is the Managing Director for the European operations from our office in Brussels, Belgium.
Alfons supervises Kellen’s Beijing office, which has recently expanded to serve multiple international associations in China. He is also responsible for Kellen’s strategic affiliates in Asia, the Middle East, and South America.
Alfons has expertise in various sectors including automotive, engineering, electronics, food, health care, construction, and financial services.
A graduate of Leyden University in the Netherlands, he holds a Master’s degree in Commercial and European law and was previously a partner at EY. He is co-moderator of the European Government Affairs Roundtable and teaches international lobbying at the Free University of Brussels (VUB)
Alfons is a former Board member of ASAE (American Society of Association Executives) and ASAE Fellow since 2006. In addition, he 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.