Leadership

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 Meyer

    Brian Meyer
    President and Managing Partner

    As managing partner and president for Meeting Expectations, Brian is responsible for the overall strategic direction of the company. In addition, Brian is responsible for executive development, key customer contact and the overall financial performance of the company.

    During 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.

    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.

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  • Jeff Rausch

    Jeff Rausch
    Chief Operating Officer

    Jeff Rausch is the chief operating officer and a managing partner of Meeting Expectations. As COO, he oversees overall company operations and helps to drive the strategic planning process for the company. Jeff is responsible for the planning, direction and implementation of technology initiatives for the company and its clients.

    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.

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  • Karl Kirsch, CAE

    Karl Kirsch
    Vice President

    Karl Kirsch, CAE, serves as the vice president of the association management business unit (AMBU). His main responsibility is to lead AMBU client teams into successful execution of association objectives. Through his direct interactions with client boards and senior leadership, he leverages his considerable association management experience to help associations move positively towards their objectives, increase membership and maximize return on investment.

    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.

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  • Lisa Burton, CMP

    Lisa Burton
    Senior Vice President

    As senior vice president of the meeting management business unit, Lisa Burton, CMP, is responsible for the operational management and strategic direction of the group, which is comprised of meeting planners, registration and site selection/contract management staff. Her focus is on client relations, staff management and process improvement.

    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.

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  • Christine Hilgert, CMP

    Christine Hilgert
    Senior Vice President

    As senior vice president of the meeting planning business unit, Christine Hilgert, CMP, is responsible for client management and strategic direction of the meeting planning staff, which is comprised of meeting planners, registration staff and contract management staff. Her focus is to introduce the latest ideas and opportunities offered by the industry to her staff and clients.

    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.

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  • Steven R. Hughes

    Steven R. Hughes
    Vice President

    Steven R. Hughes is a vice president and executive director at Meeting Expectations. Steven is the executive director of the Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG), the world's largest independent user community, a position he has held for ten years.

    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.

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  • Micheal A. North

    Micheal A. North
    Vice President, Finance and Accounting

    As the vice president of finance and accounting for Meeting Expectations, Micheal North manages the financial groups and accounts for the concurrent financial management of multiple clients.

    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.

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  • Mary Lynn Miller, CAE

    Mary Lynn Miller
    Consulting Director

    Mary Lynn Miller, CAE is a seasoned association management professional who provides consulting and special projects support to Meeting Expectations' clients. Previously, as chief operating officer for the Atlanta Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-Atlanta), Miller was responsible for working with the SHRM-Atlanta board of directors to facilitate strategic planning for the association and managing its full-service professional staff.

    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.

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  • Kowana Ragland, CMP

    Kowana Ragland
    Director of Meetings

    As director of meetings, Kowana Ragland, CMP, works within the meeting planning business unit to manage client engagements as well as serve as a supervisor within the department. Since joining Meeting Expectations in November 2000, she has done extensive work within both the meeting planning and association management sectors.

    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.

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  • Robin D. Lane, CAE

    Robin D. Lane
    Executive Director

    Robin D. Lane, CAE, has been a member of the Meeting Expectations team since June 2003. In her role with the association management business unit, Robin serves as an executive director for multiple clients and is responsible for a variety of association client functions, including communications and marketing, electronic and print publishing, public and media relations, strategic planning, financial management and membership development. She was named Employee of the Year in 2006.

    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.

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  • Hali Cooper, CMP

    Hali Cooper
    Director of Business Development

    Hali Cooper, CMP, joined Meeting Expectations as director of business development in January 2011. She is responsible for the overall direction of sales and client service initiatives. Hali consults one-on-one with potential and current clients to design their conference and association management strategies.

    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.

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  • Allison Dixon

    Allison Dixon
    Senior Director of Marketing & Creative Services

    Allison Germaneso Dixon, as senior director of marketing and creative services for Meeting Expectations, leads a marketing and creative services team to create dynamic and effective marketing programs for a diverse set of corporate and association clients. She also drives Meeting Expectations’ corporate marketing and public relations initiatives. In 2010, the International Association for Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) awarded Allison the Outstanding Achievement in Marketing and Sales Award for Show Management.

    Allison is a veteran of art museums, where she learned to maximize limited 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.

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  • James M. Hobbs

    James M. Hobbs
    Senior Director of Global Programs

    James Hobbs, as senior director for global programs, is responsible for overseeing all aspects of global meeting and conference management for key clients.

    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.

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  • Alex Murphy

    Alex Murphy
    Director of Sites and Contract Services

    Alex O'Keefe Murphy joined Meeting Expectations in 1999 as director of sites and contract services. She has extensive experience researching venues throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.

    As 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.

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  • Beth Chitnis, CAE

    Beth Chitnis
    Executive Director

    Beth Chitnis, CAE, serves as an executive director for multiple clients for whom Meeting Expectations provides full-service association management services. As executive director, Beth is responsible for working with boards of directors to facilitate strategic planning for the associations she oversees. She also manages each association's staff at Meeting Expectations to provide support services including communications, database management, membership operations, financial management and meeting/event planning and execution.

    Beth joined the Meeting Expectations in 2006. In July 2008, she transitioned to Chicago where 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.

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  • Litika Coleman

    Litika Coleman
    Director of Registration Services

    As director of registration services, Litika Coleman oversees the registration and member services team and is responsible for its strategic direction and operations. She also manages the development, setup and management of online registration, as well as on-site logistics, specifications and training for conferences and events.

    Litika works closely with the information technology and meeting planning teams to ensure clients' registration and member services needs are met.

    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.

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  • Jalene Bermudez, CMP

    Jalene Bermudez
    Founding Partner

    As the founding partner and principal of Meeting Expectations, Jalene Bermudez contributes to the development of company initiatives in the areas of strategic partnerships, sales and direction. In 1992, Jalene launched Meeting Expectations as a full-service events management company focusing on the technology industry.

    Meeting 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.
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  • Luis Bermudez

    Luis Bermudez
    Founding Partner

    Luis Bermudez has over the last 20 years offered a wide range of consulting services since founding BKI in 1988 and now as a principal with Magellan International, Meeting Expectations and its consulting subsidiary, ACI.

    Since 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.

    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.

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