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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.
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, multi-sensory experiences for a diverse range of 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 learning, meetings, and facilitation work with boards, volunteers, members, and staff. Having launched three successful brands - Event Garde (coincidentally reprising his early fascination with the color purple), Healthy by Association, and FACILIT8me - 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 shows and podcasts.
Dilhara is an experienced facilitator with a background in strategic planning and diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is skilled in designing and leading engaging workshops that promote dialogue, critical thinking, and action. She is passionate about creating inclusive environments that enable individuals and organizations to reach their full potential. She has over a decade of experience in public health, advocacy, and health equity and racial justice work. When not working, Dilhara enjoys trying new recipes, coaching tennis, and planning her next travel adventure.
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. In addition to overseeing client events and technology needs, her background in leadership and experiential learning carry over to support our facilitation team. When she’s not working, you'll find her running, reading, or enjoying time with her husband and their four kids.
Krista has extensive experience in facilitating, training and providing technical assistance to local, state and national non-profit, government and private sector organizations in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She is known for taking great care and patience with participants when assisting organizations in establishing a baseline of understanding, developing methods for systems change and establishing practical skills for equitable practice. Krista is a graduate of Michigan State University and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Advocacy and Governance with a concentration in Political Science. Krista is passionate about connecting with family and friends, laughing - a lot, and Lake Michigan.
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 in 2020 celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with the support of 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 and curates the monthly Gardian eNews. When not supporting Event Garde clients, Jenny spoils her dogs, Lillie and Linus.
Danielle has extensive experience in child welfare, maternal health, public health, equity and reproductive justice work, and military research. This experience has a profound influence on her work as a facilitator, project coordinator, and birth and postpartum doula. Her intent is to help facilitate an inclusive, safe, productive, and fun space for clients as they do challenging work. Danielle has been working with Event Garde since 2020 and is a moderator for the FACILIT8me community of practice.
Danielle loves being with her family and friends, good food, chasing sunsets, reading, being active, and working with her birth and postpartum doula clients.
Shannon Lockwood is a collaborative leader with 10+ years of experience in the meetings and events industry. As an independent meeting planner, Shannon’s passion for project management allows her to support the organizational mission of her clients with exceptionally executed trade shows, conferences, meetings, and events. Her experience with hybrid and virtual events allows her to contribute to the strategic vision of the organization and deliver events with impact. Her professional experience includes work in non-profit associations, official service contractors, and convention center sales and operations.
Shannon graduated from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the Public Honors College, with a degree in economics and a minor in political science. Shannon’s certifications include IAEE’s Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM), the Event Industry Council’s Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), and PCMA’s Digital Event Strategist (DES). When Shannon is not meticulously reviewing production schedules and spreadsheets, she can be found racing sailboats, testing out new recipes on her dinner guests, or playing unlimited amounts of fetch with her dog, Crash!
Trevor Mitchell, MBA, FASAE, CAE, CDP is the Executive Director and CEO of American Mensa, Ltd. and the Mensa Foundation. His focus is on helping leaders and associations create a strategic vision for the future and working to achieve it. Trevor has been involved in association management for over 15 years and has contributed to the profession through speaking, writing, and volunteering. He is currently the chair of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Diversity and Inclusion Committee and Chair-elect for the Texas Society of Association Executives (TSAE). Trevor most frequently consults on strategic planning, strategic implementation, board governance, and diversity, equity and inclusion (including everything from a DEI overview to inclusive leadership).