Meet the Event Garde Team
Our clients think of us as a strategic partner who doesn’t just work for them—but works with them, as an extension of their team.
Healthy by Association (HBA) is a space for association and hospitality #GoalGetters to set goals, share workout accomplishments, exchange healthy recipes and, above all, stay motivated. Join the movement by clicking the Facebook icon below!
Our clients think of us as a strategic partner who doesn’t just work for them—but works with them, as an extension of their team.
Aaron’s obsession with learning traces back to preschool, where a knitted purple people eater taught him important life lessons (like cleaning up after yourself). All these years later, Aaron’s honed his craft and now designs engaging, multisensory learning experiences for association learners, resulting in the acquisition of new knowledge and skills, the forging of new relationships, and the application of new ideas and perspectives in the workplace. A serial learner and entrepreneur himself (with an alphabet soup of letters trailing his name), Aaron is nationally recognized for his professional development work with boards, learners, staff and volunteers. Having launched four successful brands – Event Garde (coincidentally reprising his early fascination with purple), Healthy by Association, Review My Speaker and FacilitateMI – Aaron’s equal parts practitioner and theorist. While the hours are long, Aaron ensures there is no shortage of fun amidst the Slack notifications, email pings and video chats – from the personal connections he shares with each client, partner and colleague to the precious moments of free time spent stalking the latest episodes of his favorite true crime podcasts.
Alina has 18 years in association management experience and is skilled in project management and client relations. Drawing from her extensive experience in the certification and assessment industry, she has assisted certification and licensure programs in their mission to positively impact, serve, and measure applicant competency thru verified assessment practices, delivery, and support services. Prior to entering the testing arena, she served the non-profit sector, enriching customer service experience, educational and professional development programs with her knowledge and enthusiasm. Throughout her various tenured positions and personal life, Alina believes that passion is magic and people are fascinating.
When she’s not cheering on her team members and managing client projects, she’s playing ‘ringmaster’ to her own circus which features two energetic teenagers, her mother, fiancée and devoted pet, Paddy
Lindsay is an experienced meeting facilitator with over a decade of experienced working with multidisciplinary groups, assisting them with goal setting/action planning, and creating an engaging environment that allows for consensus building. She has worked with professionals from both the public and private sector to help them work towards gaining common vision and achieve their goals. Lindsay is known for working with challenging groups to conduct needs assessments, system’s analysis and work together to co-create actionable recommendations for improvement. Lindsay is also an experienced public speaker and trainer, presenting at national conferences on a variety of topics relating overall system change and how to engage with communities. Lindsay is a graduate of Michigan State University with both her bachelors and masters in Social Work. She is licensed by the State of Michigan in both clinical and macro level social work. Aside from her job, Lindsay loves exercising and embracing a healthy lifestyle in mind and body. It is her stress reliever and where she finds strengths to take on the challenges of everyday life. Lindsay is currently completing her nutrition coaching certification and is particularly focused on helping others develop a healthy relationship with food, removing traditional food “rules” and restrictive thinking, and embracing an abundance mindset around health.
Tracy is an experienced, dedicated education leader who creates dynamic, engaging learning experiences. She brings a cheerful energy and a positive attitude to the team. She has spent the majority of her career in the high school and college classrooms where she taught English, technology, and French courses. She has also designed and taught English courses for Madison College and the University of Wisconsin—Whitewater. Today she works primarily with associations to provide learning solutions that will move the organization forward and enhance member’s educational experiences. Tracy is also a health enthusiast, personal trainer, and CrossFit trainer.
Sara is a storyteller and activist with a knack for inspiring people of all backgrounds to join forces and create positive change in the world. In just 15 years, her bold leadership, strategic communications, and penchant for relationship-building have generated more than $30M for innovative programming in the mental health, arts and culture, tourism, and environmental sectors. Now as a consultant, Sara helps clients to refine program metrics, strengthen marketing and communications efforts, streamline operations, better engage and support staff, and adopt a wellness-focused workplace. She also leads yoga practices, guided meditations, and arts-based experiences for companies and individuals wishing to explore a particular problem and foster a fresh perspective.
Sara is currently a volunteer/member at the following organizations:
Sara’s past organizations have included:
Sara stays abreast of the latest research and trends on learning through internet research, conferences/workshops, TED talks, local networking events, books, and articles.
Currently, Sara participates in the following networks/organizations:
Sara approaches everything she does from a holistic point of view, seeking to identify natural connections between each of her passions and then leveraging those talents collectively for bigger impacts. Sara enjoys strategizing, but also gains deep satisfaction from successfully implementing those big ideas on the ground. Sara’s professional experience has allowed her to easily shift between macro- and micro-level perspectives, helping to bridge gaps that might exist for others. Perhaps Sara’s most valuable skill is her ability to practice active listening and then to adapt in real-time to ask the right questions and get the job done.
Sara’s hobbies include:
Sara has two pets: LandoCalrissian (17 year old female tabby cat named after Billy D. Williams; blame my husband) and Luna Lovegood (5 year old dachshund/beagle mix named after a Harry Potter character). Both pets are adopted from a shelter.
Kara has a passion for helping organizations identify creative ways to work with corporate partners and individual donors. With more than 15 years of non-profit and association leadership experience, Kara has refined skills in working with board members, corporate partners, and individual donor audiences. Kara’s unique consultative approach to selling helps her uncover her clients’ needs and identify custom solutions to reach their goals. She has a diverse background in marketing, sales, sponsorship management, and fund development along with a knack for relationship building. Kara holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from the University of Detroit Mercy with an emphasis in Public Relations, Marketing and Organizational Development. She has received specialized training in facilitation skills and in sponsorship development/management from IEG – a known leader in partnership strategy, development and fulfillment. In her free time Kara and her husband Steve keep busy with their three daughters Emily, Jenna and Avery. When they get a break from car pools and sports activities they enjoy spending time relaxing at the pool or the lake with friends and family during the few warm months in Michigan.
Kate has almost 20 years of association experience combined with extensive technology work. She prides herself on being able to help clients find more efficient and effective ways to manage their meetings, information, data and communications. Her background in leadership and experiential learning led to her involvement with our Facilitation team. When she’s not working, she’s enjoying time with her family. Between her husband and their four kids, someone usually has something happening somewhere related to school, scouts, track, gymnastics, dance, volunteering, friends, or medical appointments!
Lisa is a focused leader with a strong background in communications, marketing, and member relations. She is an experienced professional with a wide-range of experience leading programs that enhance engagement and generate revenue at the six-figure level. She brings her clients expert insight in the areas of strategic communications, marketing, program management, and membership retention/engagement.
Lisa reads CEO Update and ASAE Articles to stay abreast of latest research and trends.
Lisa routinely take advantage of any networking opportunity provided by ASAE. She also has found value in networking at Chamber of Commerce events.
Lisa develops a personal strategic operating plan to transfer skills.
Tim’s accounting career spans 35 years and includes employment at large and small non-profits in his home town of Grand Rapids. He earned his undergrad business administration and accounting degrees at Calvin College in the 1980s and completed his graduate studies at Grand Valley State University where he earned his Masters in Business Administration in 2007. In 2014 Tim left his job to become his own boss at Tim Berghuis, Accountant LLC and has had no regrets whatsoever! He enjoys traveling with his spouse Jill and looks forward to 2020 when they celebrate their 25th anniversary with their two daughters and four grandchildren.
I preach best practices when it comes to QuickBooks and accounting work, so it’s important to me to stay informed on the latest in regulations and technology. I’ve always been interested in researching my clients’ questions and I am drawn (Go Math Club!) to the numbers side of business operations.
I enjoy leveraging both Facebook and LinkedIn to network.
With QuickBooks tutoring, I show people how to accomplish the tasks necessary to run their operations. So my ability to support client transfer is usually face-to-face and one-on-one. I move from the general (e.g., always balance your business checkbook because that is the key task to running a business) to the specific (e.g., here are the 10 steps from start to finish on how you should balance your checkbook).
Born in Grand Rapids and raised in South Windsor, Connecticut. Returned to the nest to attend college and never left.
Jenny manages Event Garde’s social media presence by regularly posting to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. She also serves as the Manager of Membership and Administration for the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE). When not supporting Event Garde clients, Jenny spoils her dogs, Mylee and Lillie.
Kristen joined Event Garde in June 2013 as digital content manager and is responsible for Event Garde’s various communication platforms, including the blog and newsletter. She also works for Michigan State University’s public relations office. Kristen is experienced in several key communication disciplines, including publications, print media, media relations, and issues communications. She is the former editor of an international trade publication and the former communications director for a nonprofit health care association. Kristen is a 2000 graduate of MSU’s journalism program. Kristen is also an active member of the Central Michigan Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and is a member of Ragan Communications.
I subscribe to dozens of e-newsletters and blogs that cover a gamut of topics relevant to the meetings and events industry. I also read leading industry magazines (usually online), and maintain Google alerts for various topics.
I am an active participant of CMPRSA and regularly attend its events. At the same time, I am a member of the PRSA CHE programming committee, a responsibility for which I regularly network, whether in person at meetings and events, or via social media.
For me, my biggest knowledge transfer happens through written communication. After learning something new and absorbing its content, I write about it, often inserting my two cents. And after every post, I use Twitter to transfer that knowledge to my followers.
East Lansing, MI
Fish—hundreds of them (over the years)!
Adrienne is a recipient of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) credentialing specialist certificate. In addition to her work with Event Garde, Adrienne and her husband, Keith, own a boutique association management company (AMC) specializing in the development and maintenance of certification programs. Based in Littleton, CO, Adrienne serves as its chief operating officer and chairman. Previously, she served as the director of credentialing and operations for the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA), as well as chief staff executive to multiple national association certification programs via Partners in Association Management. Adrienne has extensive experience in exam development, ANSI ISO 17024 accreditation, NCCA accreditation, education audits and credential marketing.
Association Trends 2016 Young and Aspiring Association Professional
To keep on top of the latest trends within the education/credentialing space, I am constantly reading the latest white papers, books and articles. Likewise, I frequent many webinars on the latest and greatest research and subscribe to many blogs on topics critical to the professional development community.
As a member of CSAE, FSAE, ASAE and ICE, I enjoy leveraging these opportunities – both formal and informal – to network with my association, education and credentialing colleagues.
I enjoy the opportunity to leverage my newfound knowledge and connections in my day-to-day work and find that I’m more successful the more quickly I’m able to apply these new ideas and fresh takeaways to real work situations.
Miniature Schnauzer named Jessie James
Ashley Uhl, CAE brings solid association management and event planning skills, as well as experience with exhibits & sponsorships, market research, and membership to Event Garde. Ashley is a strong believer that an association’s main value to members is top-notch experiences, including all aspects of in-person events, from educational content to networking to “Instagrammable” moments. Ashley is an active member of the American Society of Association Executives; and is Vice Chair of the Membership Section Council for the 2019-2020 year. When not working, Ashley enjoys running and training for races. Her favorites are 200ish mile relay races that take 24-36 hours to complete.
Brian is an Instructional Designer in the Professional Learning and Instructional Design unit for NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES). Brian has worked as an Adult Educator, Trainer, and Instructional Designer for more than 7 years. Brian has taught a variety of certification and professional development courses at the collegiate level as well as in collaboration with the United States government. Outside of work Brian enjoys hiking, sports, and spending time with his family.
Karel is an instructional designer/trainer with more than 20 years of experience working in industries such as healthcare and credit union insurance. Her passion is developing instructional material, both eLearning and instructor-led. She has earned several ATD certificates, including Master Instructional Designer, Learning Transfer, Advanced eLearning Instructional Design and Designing Virtual Training, as well as advance training in Storyline and Captivate. When she isn’t building curriculum, Karel facilitates family wellness programs, primarily pre-marriage seminars for Anthem Strong Families, a nonprofit organization. Karel and her husband Dan have been together for more than 30 years. They have four children and eight grandchildren.
Through Prime Therapeutic’s ‘Star Recognition’ program, Karel won the Quasar and the organization’s highest award, Galileo.
Karel was born in Anchorage, Alaska, but grew up in Milwaukee, WI; Fort Worth, TX; and Houma, LA.
Karel attends certificate programs to enhance her skills a few times a year, reads blogs and participates in eLearning communities, such as Storyline.
Karel spends a majority of her networking time engaging with members of the Association for Talent Development (ATD).
When learning something new, Karel immediately incorporates the takeaways into a project and transfers the knowledge to peers. She feels like the sooner she can teach the information to someone else, the more it’s reinforced for her.
Karel’s hobbies include swimming, as well as anything adventurous (i.e., riding motorcycles, sky diving and bungee jumping).
Erik is a performance leader that combines his experience in human resources, learning and development, operations management, process engineering, six sigma, change management and leading teams in each of these areas to maximize organizational results. He leverages this varied experience to tackle enterprise-wide challenges holistically through strategies that address people, process and technology. Erik’s experience spans healthcare, medical device, transportation, logistics, and retail industries. Highlights for Erik include leading teams in the design, development and implementation of operational best practices for a multi-billion-dollar international expansion; leading integration efforts for mergers and acquisitions; guiding organizations on enterprise wide changes and building engaged teams through learning. Beyond driving great results for organizations, Erik’s passion is helping people maximize their potential by teaching, facilitating and mentoring. Erik continues this focus outside of work through volunteering in his local community. While Erik grew up and went to school in California, he moved to the Twin Cities over ten years ago and is finally getting used to winter and shoveling snow. In the summers, he loves spending time at the family cabin in northern Wisconsin. When not traveling, he’s usually hanging out with the neighbors or working on projects around the house.
One of Erik’s top 5 with Clifton Strengths Finder is Input and it shows in how he approaches life. He is very inquisitive and collects information on just about anything he finds interesting. Go-to sources for learning for him include subject matter experts, books and blogs, YouTube, Pinterest, and his favorite - firsthand experience.
Erik focuses on nurturing his existing network while continuing to grow it through local associations and networking in the Twin Cities as well as national conferences. He also builds his network by speaking on a variety of professional topics with local groups.
For something to really stick, Erik makes it a point to incorporate the new skill or idea into his work. He maintains an individual development plan to stay focused and track progress. A tactic he commonly uses to cement the transfer is to teach others the new skill/idea as well.
A beagle named Howard.