At Meeting Expectations, we have an intensive interviewing process to ensure we not only hire the most qualified individuals to do a job, but to acquire top-notch professionals who complement our values-driven culture and delight our clients. Our team’s diverse backgrounds, strength of character and commitment to excellence are our greatest asset. Get to know our company leaders and subject matter experts.
Brian MeyerPresident and Managing PartnerDuring Brian’s tenure as president, Meeting Expectations has attained 90% or better client and staff retention rates. Meeting Expectations has won number awards, including a longstanding position on the Corporate Meetings & Incentives CMI 25 list (a list of the 25 largest and most influential North American meeting and incentive planning companies) and the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Best Places to Work. In 2010, he spearheaded the creation of Meeting Expectations consulting practice, Ascend Consulting, Inc. Brian further supports the industry by participating in numerous industry councils and roundtables.Read more ›
Before becoming managing partner and president, Brian was financial manager and vice president of finance and administration. He joined Meeting Expectations in 1997.
Previously, Brian served as managing partner at Meyer and Johnson Accounting Firm, serving a wide variety of clients such as Women's Health and Fitness and Dunkin' Donuts of America.
Brian received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida with a concentration in finance and accounting.
Jeff RauschChief Operating Officer
Since 1996, Jeff has been a central part of Meeting Expectations’ growth and development, and has been involved at every phase of client interaction, including sales, planning, implementation, monitoring and metrics collection and analysis. Under his direction, the company’s technology department processes tens of thousands of transactions and tens of millions of dollars in ecommerce transactions annually. The IT team creates custom web and Windows applications and maintains multiple web-enabled databases ranging from 500 to over 100,000 contact records.
Under Jeff’s leadership, Meeting Expectations has implemented a broad array of technology solutions, including custom social networking sites, presentation management systems, content management systems, wikis, blogs, instant messaging systems, discussion forums, list servers and others geared toward business and association management application.
Previously, Jeff served as a principal of Moir Danforth & Brandon, an organizational development and strategic planning consulting firm, developing the company's client technology programs. In addition, he has been involved in strategic planning for a wide range of firms, from web development to construction companies.
Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Alfred University with emphases in marketing, biology and art.
Karl Kirsch, CAEVice President
Prior to joining Meeting Expectations in 2002, Karl worked in association management for nearly 20 years as an executive with the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry, the Institute of Industrial Engineers and national and regional associations. His experience includes executive director and director level positions over membership, technical divisions, certification programs and the implementation of continuous improvement efforts.
Karl holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering technology from the State University of New York College at Buffalo and a Master of Science in technology management from the Stetson School of Business at Mercer University. He is also the recipient of the 2014 GSAE Skelton-Massey Award.
Lisa Burton, CMPSenior Vice President
She joined Meeting Expectations in 1996 and has extensive experience with clients world-wide with programs such as customer/franchisee conferences, seminar series, sales and analyst meetings to city-wide conventions. Her customer portfolio includes industries such as high-tech, franchise, salon/spa and agriculture.
Before joining Meeting Expectations, Lisa worked in the US House of Representatives and for the Biotechnology Industry Organization in Washington, DC.
Lisa holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Louisiana State University.
Christine Hilgert, CMPSenior Vice President
Christine has extensive experience in budget management and has overseen client budgets ranging from $100,000 to $10 million. Christine has also facilitated speaker management for programs consisting of 30 - 350 speakers. In addition, she has managed show floors with up to 300 exhibiting companies and 100,000 gross square feet. She has also coordinated the fulfillment and management of many high profile partner programs.
Christine has experience working on meetings at hotels and conventions centers throughout North American, Europe, Asia PAC and the Middle East. She has been the lead venue liaison for programs ranging in attendance, 200-10,000.
Before joining Meeting Expectations, Christine worked as a multi-sport manager with Special Olympics of Georgia.
Christine holds a Bachelor of Arts in hospitality management from Florida State University.
Steven R. HughesVice President
As executive director, Steven is responsible for all the strategic direction, partnership development, membership growth and retention, international relations of the organization, as well as maintaining a close working relationship with key executives at Oracle Corporation. Under his leadership, the organization has achieved numerous milestones including membership and revenue growth, the development of a Partnership Program, the re-branding and launch of a new website, as well as the integration of 20 different application communities into one global community.
In addition, Steven is a principal of Meeting Expectations' sister company, Ascend Consulting, Inc., a strategic business and non-profit organizational consulting firm.
Micheal A. NorthVice President, Finance and Accounting
Prior to joining Meeting Expectations, Micheal was the external reporting manager for AT&T, Inc. He has previously worked for C. R. Bard Inc., Komatsu Forklift USA, Maxell Corporation of America and Georgia-Pacific Corporation in various positions.
Micheal is a licensed CPA, a member of the Georgia Society of CPAs and the American Institute of CPAs. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting from West Georgia College.
Mary Lynn Miller, CAEConsulting Director
Under her leadership and her team’s efforts, SHRM-Atlanta experienced unprecedented growth, expanding from 1630 members as of January, 2006 to more than 2600 members as of October 2011.
Prior to taking the helm of SHRM-Atlanta, Mary Lynn served as director of finance for Meeting Expectations, providing financial oversight and reporting for several clients, including The Association for the Paper and Pulp Industry (TAPPI), the Association for Information Systems (AIS) and SHRM-Atlanta. She spent over 20 years working for TAPPI, most recently in the capacity of vice president of finance, before joining Meeting Expectations in 2006.
Mary Lynn received an MBA from Mercer University and a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Brenau College. She also completed the Certified Association Executive Program in 1992.
Kowana Ragland, CMPDirector of Meetings
Kowana has been in the meeting management industry since 1992 and has orchestrated multiple domestic and international conferences in various industries. She has provided conference management services, including but not limited to budget management, strategic and creative direction, exhibit hall management, sponsorship management, marketing, venue management, speaker/agenda management, vendor management, on-site implementation and wrap-up reporting, for association and corporate clients. During the course of her career, Kowana has focused on developing strategies and procedures to improve efficiency and productivity.
Prior to joining Meeting Expectations, Kowana worked at the International Society of Automation (ISA), an organization serving instrumentation, systems and automation professionals.
Kowana holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She served on the 2009–2010 board of directors of Meeting Professionals International - Georgia Chapter as vice president of education. Ragland was named a "Meeting Professional to Watch" by ConventionSouth magazine in 2009.
Robin D. Lane, CAEExecutive Director
Prior to joining Meeting Expectations, Robin worked in communications and marketing for several associations, including the Florida Podiatric Medical Association, the Florida Institute of CPAs and the State Bar of Georgia.
Robin is a member of the Georgia Society of Association Executives (GSAE), where she currently serves as the co-chair of the GSAE Branding Task Force, which has been instrumental in the introduction and maintenance of GSAE's new brand platform, logo and membership marketing message. She is also a former co-chair of the GSAE New Member Welcome and Orientation Committee.
In 2010, Robin was given the GSAE Stephen Styron Award in recognition of her service as an outstanding volunteer chair. In 2007, she was named to GSAE's list of "90 Movers & Shakers" for her participation and support of the association community in Georgia.
In addition, Robin is a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), where she currently serves as a member of the Association Management Company (AMC) Section Council, which is charged to ensure that ASAE provides programs, services and information that help emerging AMC owners and staff address the unique association management and business challenges faced by an AMC.
Robin completed the Certified Association Executive (CAE) program in December 2008. The CAE credential is the highest professional credential in the association management profession and is administered by ASAE.
Hali Cooper, CMPDirector of Business Development
Most recently, Hali served as manager of global accounts for HelmsBriscoe, locating and negotiating venues for clients. She has held various hotel management positions with Hilton, Hyatt and InterContinental Hotels Group, and served as director of conference services for the Regional Investment Bankers Association of Charleston, South Carolina.
Hali is active within the meeting planning community, currently serving as vice president of education for the Chicago chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI); she recently contributed to the curriculum for MPI’s online CMP study program and will serve as president-elect beginning in July 2013. She was designated one of the "Top 100 Meeting Planners to Watch" from ConventionSouth magazine and has had various speaking engagements with MPI, PCMA and GSAE.
Hali possesses degrees in hotel management and restaurant management from Triton College. She also graduated gymnasium from Vadsboskolan in Mariestad, Sweden.
Allison DixonSenior Director of Marketing & Creative Services
Allison is a veteran of art museums, where she learned to maximize marketing resources by identifying and leveraging every available channel to reach the intended audiences and inspire their attendance at art exhibitions, lectures and other special events.
Prior to joining Meeting Expectations, Allison served as senior manager of marketing communications for Novare Group, a real estate development firm. In that role, she managed project-related public relations efforts in five markets and developed sales-enabling e-marketing campaigns.
Allison led the marketing and public relations department for Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum for six years. She promoted major international exhibitions, research initiatives and special events, frequently working with media outlets such as The New York Times, NOVA and CNN, for which she received the Grand Award for a Media Relations Project from the Coalition for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). She has also served as an account executive with Melissa Libby & Associates public relations firm and as a publicist for Atlanta’s High Museum of Art.
She has an MBA with a concentration in marketing from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School and a Bachelor of Arts in art history, also earned at Emory.
James M. HobbsSenior Director of Global Programs
James's experience ranges in managing programs from $50,000 to $25 million. He has extensive experience managing both hotel and convention centers in the US and abroad for programs with attendance ranging from 25 to 2000 attendees. James has worked extensively throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia.
In addition, he has managed a variety of suppliers globally to establish local call centers for events, translation services, special event companies, production and audio-visual companies, service contractors, lead retrieval providers, transportation specialists, security specialists and housing management companies.
Before joining Meeting Expectations, James served as director of global conferences for Oracle Corporation.
James holds a Bachelor of Arts in art history and communications from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.
Alex MurphySenior Director of Sites and Contract Services
As senior director of site selection and contract negotiations at Meeting Expectations, Alex Murphy oversees a talented site selection team, helps clients to select the best venues for their events, negotiates contracts with hotels and convention centers and manages housing for client engagements.
Before joining Meeting Expectations, Alex worked in the American and European hospitality industries for over 20 years, which has allowed her sharpen her skills in venue selection, hotel management and contract negotiations. She completed a management training program with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, where she worked in guest services and sales.
Alex holds a bachelor’s degree in business from The Kaufmaennische Handelsschule in Baden, Switzerland. She is fluent in German, French, Italian and English. She serves on the Salt Lake Customer Advisory Board.
Beth Chitnis, CAEVice President
Beth joined the Meeting Expectations in 2006. In July 2008, she led a team to open the Chicago area branch of Meeting Expectations to provide more convenient service to clients of Meeting Expectations located in the Midwest and Northeast.
Beth is a member of the Georgia Society of Association Executives (GSAE), where she currently serves as the co-chair of the YourMembership.com SIG. She is also a member of Meeting Professionals International volunteering as a speaker on board governance and membership recruitment and retention strategies.
Beth brings a background in meeting planning, event management, business development and leadership training. She worked as a meeting planner for an international association in Atlanta and for Dale Carnegie Training in Chicago. She holds an MBA with concentrations in marketing and organizational management from Emory University's Goizueta Business School, and obtained her Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana. She earned her Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in 2012.
Litika ColemanDirector of Registration ServicesLitika works closely with the information technology and meeting planning teams to ensure clients' registration and member services needs are met.Read more ›
Prior to joining Meeting Expectations in 2000, Litika, along with a team at Hilton Hotels Corporation, developed ROVER, a lead referral program, which generated over five million dollars in revenue within a year.
Litika is a native of Memphis, Tennessee, and received an Associate of Arts from Southwest Tennessee Community College (formerly Shelby State Community College). Additionally, she received a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s degree in business administration from Shorter University in Atlanta, Georgia.
Kate Gemmell, CMPDirectorKate has worked extensively throughout North America, Europe and Asia coordinating global programs ranging in attendance from 100 to 5,000. Of particular note is her experience working with a US-based client to produce a customer and partner conference for their Europe, Asia-Pacific and Americas-based attendees in each of those regions. Prior to joining Meeting Expectations in November 2006, Kate worked for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, planning and coordinating over 50 events a year for the museum and its donors. At PGI Washington, DC, Kate was involved in many events, including the 2002 Virginia Governor’s Inauguration where she was active in organizing all events, including the two official inaugural balls. Kate has a degree in hospitality and tourism management from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and possesses the designation of Certified Meeting Professional (CMP). She was selected as one of ConventionSouth magazine’s “Meeting Professionals to Watch” for exhibiting outstanding professionalism, creativity and dedication in the meetings and convention industry.Read more ›
Lauren AndrewsDirector of Sites and Contract ServicesLauren has worked with clients in diverse market segments, including agriculture, education, entertainment/film, finance, food service, franchising, human resources management, insurance, logistics, manufacturing, non-profit, religious, salon/spa and technology, to find their ideal meeting venues. Lauren serves on the San Francisco Self-Contained Meetings Advisory Council. Previously, she served on the Fort Lauderdale Customer Advisory Board and on the Las Vegas Millennial Customer Advisory Board. She previously worked for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company for three years. Lauren earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in marketing with a minor in hospitality from Georgia State University. Her commitment to excellence was recognized by Meeting Expectations when she was awarded the Employee of the Year award in 2007. In addition, ConventionSouth magazine designated Lauren as a Meeting Professional to Watch in 2015.Read more ›
Jalene Bermudez, CMPFounding PartnerMeeting Expectations evolved into a worldwide provider of diverse event and conference management solutions, as well as association and educational management programs. Jalene has assisted client companies to plan and execute many types of events ranging from small C-level forums to city-wide educational conferences, in multiple countries around the world. Prior to founding Meeting Expectations, Jalene was a partner of the Colorado-based company, Meeting Planning & More. She started her career as an independent event planner serving the International Golf Tournament after three years of experience in hotel convention services, catering and sales management in her hometown of Denver, Colorado. Jalene earned a Bachelor of Science degree in hospitality management and marketing from Metropolitan State College in Denver, Colorado, and a CMP certification in 1996.Read more ›
Luis BermudezFounding PartnerSince inception, BKI and MI worked closely with mainstream telecommunications and media companies as strategic advisor, assisting in the development of long-term strategy and leading implementation projects involving product development, “go to market” strategy, acquisitions and joint ventures worldwide.Read more ›
As part of the Meeting Expectations' consulting team (ACI), Luis is able to leverage his extensive experience in the private business sector to provide unique insight and solutions to not-for-profit organizations.
In 2004, he co-founded Hispanic Yellow Pages Network LLC, a leading publisher of Spanish language yellow page directories in major US markets created by the acquisition of several companies and subsequently expanded through market launches. Magellan served as a consultant to the company leading a variety of strategic planning, market development, financial planning and operational projects. In addition, Luis served on the Board of Directors of the company from 2004 through 2007. This project enabled Magellan to develop a unique understanding of the Hispanic segment and positioned the firm to help clients develop strategic plans and implement business development initiatives to capitalize on opportunities within this important segment.
Prior to forming BKI, Bermudez was co-founder and managing partner of Hello Yellow, a computer-based and operator-assisted talking Yellow Pages company. He was involved in the development of the business plan, raising venture capital and was responsible for the development of both strategic and marketing plans for the company. The company established cooperative agreements between Hello Yellow and US West Direct (the information services unit of US West, now a part of RH Donnelley). In 1988, Bermudez and his partners negotiated the sale of Hello Yellow to US West.
Luis earned an MBA degree in 1986 from the University of Denver and undergraduate degrees in economics and marketing management from the University of Georgia in 1981.