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2012 Board of Directors


ROCCO LA FORGIA
PRESIDENT

R.LaForgia
Rocco La Forgia, Director of Sales Worldwide Accounts with Hilton Worldwide,
has been an active member of the hotel industry forover 20 years. After graduating from Pace University with a BBA in Marketing, he started as a night auditor at the Hilton Woodcliff Lake in NJ. He then moved into various sales positions, and since 2005, he has been representing Worldwide Sales.

Rocky is very active in the industry, from a former Board of Director for ESSAE, as well as a member - and Chairman of various committees - for MPI NJ, MPI WestField, GNYMPI, NYSAE, and now NYPCMA.

STUART RUFF
VICE PRESIDENT
Stuart

Stuart Ruff, CGMP, CMP, has worked in the hospitality and tourism industry since 1998, planning meetings since 2002. His experience spans the event spectrum and includes planning international events on behalf of the National Institutes of Health and the US State Department. He is currently the Senior Meetings Planner, Marketing and Programs Strategy, at the International Trademark Association in New York.

 

Stuart holds a B.A. in English, and is a Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP) and a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP). He is the Director of Programs for NYPCMA, serves on the PCMA International Taskforce and, is on the Convention Industry Council (CIC) Standards  Review Committee.

 

ANNE SHEERIN
TREASURER

AnneS Anne C. Sheerin, CMP has her own independent meeting planning company. ACS Inc. is a boutique company that offers contract negotiations, on site conference management and best practice solutions in the meetings industry.
 
Anne's meeting planning experience, attention to detail and excellent people skills allow her to be successful. Her goal is to provide clients with personalized solutions to address their business needs.
 
Anne Sheerin served as department manager and senior conference planner during her 18-year career at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Anne earned her Certified Meeting Professional designation in 1996, and successfully trained many conference planners during her tenure at the Institute. Anne is an active member of PCMA on both the local and national level.

LESLIE DILEO 
SECRETARY

LeslieLeslie DiLeo, CMP began her conference industry career at LOMA (Life Office Management Association) in Atlanta, working her way from admin assistant to senior planner with her CMP.  After 13 years working on insurance industry conferences from San Francisco to Montreal to Kuala Lumpur, she moved to New York and joined the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for 8 years as manager of and then director of conferences.  Following that, she was the director of conferences for 3 years at the American Montessori Society.  Currently, she is working as a consultant for project and conference management, and as a communications consultant for international business clients.

Leslie has served on client advisory boards for the cities of Denver and Montreal, and is a longtime member of both PCMA and MPI.

 

AMANDA CIARLONE
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT


A Ciarlone

Amanda Ciarlone represents the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau and works with clients based in the Northeast to consider the fabulous city of Dallas as a meeting destination.  Her affiliation with PCMA began when she was a student in the late 1990's. Amanda, who was living in New York, relocated back to Dallas with her family in September 2010. She has spent the majority of her career in the CVB world, but also spent some time working at hotels in Dallas.

Over the past few years, she has held various leadership positions in MPI and PCMA, and the Junior League of Northern Westchester (an organization of women dedicated to building better communities).  She is very passionate about volunteering and her experience is the more that you give by volunteering the more you get back in return.

 

During her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband Tom, and young children Cate and Jack.  Reading, cooking, and practicing yoga are some of her hobbies.   Amanda is excited about continuing to volunteer as a leader with the PCMA New York chapter and looks forward to working with other leaders and our members to build on the succesful momentum we created in 2010.

 

LISA BOYD   
DIRECTOR, AWARDS & RECOGNITION


Lisa

Lisa Boyd, CMP has over 20 years of event management experience planning and executing all aspects of domestic and international conferences. As Manager Conference Planning, IEEE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers headquartered in Piscataway NJ, Lisa provides oversight and management of the IEEE Meeting & Conference Management planning team. She specializes in onsite facilitation, account /project management, and strengthening Strategic Meeting Management through vendor/supplier relationships. Lisa was previously employed by The Human Resource Planning Society (HRPS) and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.   

   

This is Lisa's second term on the NYPCMA Board - she originally served as Director of Communications - and currently serves PCMA at the national level as a member of the International Task Force.

  

Lisa resides in Somerest, NJ with her husband John and their 2˝ year old brown and white Border Collie "Stoli" - both of whom she adores.   

   

MOLLY MEREZ   
DIRECTOR, MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS


M Martinez

 

Molly Mérez is executive director of Ticket Summit® LLC, overseeing all event strategy, marketing and operations for the bi-annual conference held in New York, NY and Las Vegas, NV. Mérez also serves as associate vice president of corporate marketing for TicketNetwork® where she manages the company's corporate branding initiatives and communications. Previously, Mérez conducted research for SmartRevenue Marketing Research Company, and provided program evaluation assessments for ESPN, Inc., Schering Plough, and Lowe's.  

 

Mérez holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Yale University.

 

AMBER LEVY  DIRECTOR, MEMBERSHIP

A Levy
Amber Levy is currently the Director, North and Southeast Region Hotel Sales for LA INC., the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau. 

A nine-year veteran of the hospitality industry, Levy was most recently the National Sales Director for the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau.  Levy has also served as the Director of Sales for The Hyland Group, based in New York City and Arlington, VA.  Amber handles the Northeast market, the southeast market and the Sports market nationwide.

Amber has been actively involved within PCMA for the last several years and is excited to serve as the PCMA Membership Chair for the second consecutive year.  

Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA)
MICHELLE JAMES
DIRECTOR, NETWORK FOR THE NEEDY

AmandaC Michelle James, CMP is Director, Event Logistics and Program Development at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) which represents hundreds of securities firms, banks and asset managers. She was formerly Senior Event/Meeting Project Manager & Team Leader  for the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), a trade association serving the global retail real estate industry.  Prior to joining ICSC, Michelle was Manager of Conferences and Special Events for the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) of New York City. 
 
Michelle is a graduate of Elon University where she received a BA in Political Science.  Since moving to New York, Michelle attended NYU Event Management classes and received her CMP in September 2009.  Michelle currently resides in Manhattan.
ELIZABETH GEORGE
DIRECTOR, PROGRAMS
Elizabeth

Elizabeth George, CMM resides in Sag Harbor where she heads the Northeast Regional Sales office for the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau (NOCVB). With over 15 years in the hospitality industry, Elizabeth served as the manager of Global Chapter Relations and Development for Meeting Professionals International (MPI) from 2002-2006. During her tenure at MPI, she supported 18 chapters, domestically and internationally.

 

Elizabeth has served as a retreat facilitator and has shared her passion of leadership development through the creation of many training programs and forums for industry events. As a volunteer, Elizabeth served as president of MPI New Jersey chapter and as a speaker she has presented sessions on corporate social responsibility and green meetings for FICP and MPI conferences.  

 

Elizabeth is honored to be serving as programs chair for the Greater New York chapter of PCMA and is committed to providing education that will engage, stimulate and support creativity and innovation.


BLANCA FERRERIS
DIRECTOR, SPONSORSHIP & ADVERTISING

Blanca

Blanca Ferreris, CMP, CMM, is housing and hospitality manager for the Risk and Insurance Management Society, Inc. (RIMS), a trade association dedicated to advancing the practice of risk management. Blanca has over 20 years of industry experience and began her career at John Wiley & Sons publishers.

Blanca earned her Certified Meeting Professional designation in 2004 and her Certified Meeting Manager designation in 2009.

 

During her free time, Blanca enjoys spending time with her granddaughter Esme Rose and serves as worship director at her church where you can find her every Sunday leading the choir.

 

MICHELLE NICOLETTI
DIRECTOR, MENUS & VENUES

Nicoletti


Michelle Nicoletti is Director of Worldwide Accounts for Hyatt Hotels Corporation.  Michelle has been in the hotel industry for more than 20 years and began as an Association meeting planner with National Retail Merchants Association.  After nine years as a planner, she moved over to hotel sales as part of the pre-opening team at the Hotel Macklowe in New York.  From there she moved on to the Sheraton New York as a sales manager in the association market.  In 1995 Michelle moved to Hyatt and has just hit her 15 years with the company. 


Michelle has always been active in both NYSAE and PCMA.  Michelle lives on Long Island with her husband Peter and their 12 year old Weimaraner, Nikki.  Michelle and her husband work out together and enjoy biking, antiquing and entertaining in their home.


STEPHANIE LANGDON
DIRECTOR, STUDENT PROGRAMMING

Stephanie

 

Stephanie Langdon, Staff Associate for the Hospitality Studies Department at the New York Institute of Technology, has over ten years of experience in event planning and food service.  She holds a BPS in Hospitality Management from NYIT and is currently studying for her Masters in Communication Arts. Stephanie is the event planner for NYIT's Day On Wall Street, Food For Thought: MCC Green Committee Film Festival, the BCA Fifth Culinary and Hospitality Student Career Discussion and the School of Management Honors Galas. She also works with external contacts to coordinate events such as Bloomberg Television & Time Warner Cable Business Class' event: Social Media Victories: Real Business, Real Campaigns, Real Results.

Stephanie has held multiple leadership positions at NYIT including Resident Advisor, Club President and Executive Assistant for Student Advancement Programs. While at NYIT, Stephanie interned at The Ritz-Carlton, Central Park. In 2010, she served as NYIT's student commencement speaker, addressing over 12,000 people.

Stephanie serves as the Executive Vice President of NYIT's School of Management's Society for Women in Leadership and Secretary for the Delta Mu Delta Business Honor Society Alpha Xi Chapter.  Stephanie looks forward to serving as the Chair of Student Programming and creating opportunities to further engage the PCMA student members.

 

SAMANTHA BOWERMAN
COMMITTEE CHAIR, RAFFLES

Samantha

 

Samantha Bowerman is President of Strategic Meetings Group, which is a full service meeting management company. Prior to forming Strategic Meetings Group in 2007, Samantha was the Director of Meetings and Conferences for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the only national professional organization for all Certified Public Accountants.  During her tenure she managed more than fifty national conferences annually, ranging in attendance from 100 to 2,500 attendees, and also managed more than 200 off-site committee meetings.

 

Samantha was President for the New York Chapter of PCMA in 2006. She currently serves on the advisory board for the New York Institute of Technology School of Hospitality Management. She has also served on meetings advisory boards for InterContinental Hotels, Omni Hotels, the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau and Tourism Montreal.  She earned a B.A. from Rutgers University and has been a Certified Meeting Professional since 1996.

 

GAYLE WEISMAN, CMP
COMMITTEE CHAIR, AWARDS

gayle

 

Gayle Weisman, CMP is a senior meeting planner with IEEE Communications Society.  She has worked at IEEE Communications Society for 16 years working her way up from administrative assistant in the meetings and conferences and marketing departments to her present position.  Gayle manages conferences worldwide varying in size from 60 -2500 attendees.

Her colleagues joke that there may be six degrees from Kevin Bacon but there are only 2 degrees from Gayle Weisman.  She knows someone in almost every city she has traveled to.    

As the result of her travels Gayle knows how to say hello and/or thank you in about 20 languages.  

 

DONNA CAPPO
BOARD LIAISON - STUDENTS

DCappo

 

Donna Cappo,Director of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) at the Association for Computing Machinery, oversees the management of ACM's 37 SIGs, which represent major aspects of computing technology.  Partnership with the SIG leaders, she provides guidance for their conferences, publications, and services to help promote the professional interests of their members.  Donna leads ACM's international conference program, managing the administration of more than 170 conventions, symposiums and forums for exploring cutting edge technology.  She also serves as liaison to the ACM SIG Governing Board and manages the SIG Services staff at ACM headquarters.

 

Cappo joined ACM in 1985, and held several conference management and SIG operations positions.  She was named director in 1995. She earned  a B.S. in Business Administration from Long Island University, and an M.A. in Graphic Communications from New York University. A member of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), Meeting Professionals International (MPI), and the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives (CESSE), she served on the Customer Advisory Boards of Vancouver and Seattle as well as  Starwood and Fairmont Hotels.