Ciara Glendon – President
Ciara (pronounced “key‐ra”) has a BA in Communications and Culture from the University of Calgary with a major in Leisure and Tourism. She also has a Latin American Studies diploma from the Collegio de Jalisco which she received while living and studying in Guadalajara, Mexico. Ciara worked at the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which plans the Canadian Juno Awards. She also worked for one of Canada’s top promotional product companies working with clients such as GE and Heinz.
Ciara is an international award winning luxury wedding planner and event designer from Canada. She is a sought after speaker in the coaching and event industry with over 15 years in the event industry planning multi‐million dollar weddings and events and over 8 years as a business coach. She has spoken in front of hundreds of event professionals at events such as the Association of Bridal Consultants Annual Conference, the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada Annual Conference, The Association of Club Catering Professionals and The Special Event Show Annual Conference. She has also spoken on the stages of leading internet marketers on how to run a successful, engaging events highlighting her work planning 100‐500 person multi‐day events for high profile internet marketing coaches.
She now works at Azuridge Estate Hotel as a Wedding Specialist planning luxury weddings in the Alberta Foothills
Stavroula Kangles – Immediate Past-President
Stavroula is the Manager of Hosting Venues and Facilities at Spruce Meadows. Her love of creating and planning started as a childhood hobby and has turned into a lifelong career. With curiosity, open mindfulness and passion, Stavroula samples new experiences in life and creates fabulous adventures. She is consistently quenching her thirst of learning and achieving a diverse portfolio.
Regardless of whether she hosts a two person meeting, a 1500 person family day, or a Royal visit, Stavroula’s attention to detail, ability to multi-task, and listen to the needs of the client is how her long lasting relationships have been created. She has been on the board since 2014 and currently serving as the President for 2016/17. Stavroula looks forward to creating many more lasting relationships within the ILEA Calgary family and memorable experiences.
Joel Olandesca – VP Finance/President Elect
In 2013, with his extensive experience in mobile technology, graphic design, and finances, Joel created and co-founded SOS Charging Solutions. SOS is a company focused on helping everyone stay connected and charged up by having easy, simple access to mobile device charging. The company started in 2013 and has since grown to having the privilege of working with event professionals, and providing their solutions to many events all across North America.
Since joining ILEA Calgary, Joel has volunteered as a member of the Communications sub-committee, and was a Director at Large (Communications), prior to his current role as VP Finance/President-Elect for the 2017/18 chapter year.
In addition to being a local entrepreneur and innovator, he is also a firm believer of giving back to others, which has turned Joel into an avid volunteer who loves to support causes that are close to his heart, in and around Calgary.
SOS Charging Solutions
Meghan Hird – VP Communications
After graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Finance in 2011, Meghan knew that crunching numbers wasn’t her calling – and began her career in the event industry. With experience in the non-profit sector, oil and gas, and most recently exploring her finance background with a role in retail banking, Meghan brings a wide breadth of knowledge to her role as Event Producer with internationally award-winning POP Kollaborative. She is passionate about creating lasting relationships with both clients and event partners, and loves the collaborative aspect of the industry to take a dream concept into reality. Earlier this year, she was awarded Emerging Leader at the 2017 Canadian Special Event Industry Awards.
A strong advocate of continuing education, Meghan was accredited with the Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) designation and also served as Director at Large, Education and Program on the International Live Events Association in 2012/13. Meghan is thrilled to be returning to the ILEA Board this year and looks forward to making strengthened connections with the Calgary event community.
Julia Rooney – VP Education & Programs
After receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Calgary, Julia moved to South Korea where she taught English to elementary school students for three years. In 2011, she made the decision to move back to her hometown of Calgary, Alberta to pursue her passion for event planning.
Upon her return she enrolled in Mount Royal University where she received an Event Management Certificate. In July 2014 she took on her current role as an Event Coordinator at TELUS Spark. She first served on the ILEA Calgary board back in 2015 as a Director at Large for Communications, which then led her to VP Membership over the past year. Julia is creative, hardworking and extremely passionate about the events industry. She is excited for the journey that lies ahead for her as the VP Education & Programs on the Calgary Board.
Erin Bjorkstedt – VP Marketing &Sponsorship
Erin Bjorkstedt is Owner & Lead Dreamer of Eventful Planning, a bespoke events planning & design company specializing in weddings, parties & corporate functions and Pop-up Weddings Calgary, creators of epic elopements & pop-up wedding days in Calgary and the surrounding area. Her passion for producing distinctive, creative and unforgettable events is apparent in everything she does.
In addition to planning and producing events & weddings for her fabulous clients, Erin spends her time as the Managing Director of Calgary Bridal Alliance and as a Mealshare Ambassador.
In her second year as VP Sponsorship & Marketing, Erin is excited to continue contributing to ILEA Calgary and supporting the Chapter and it’s members.
Lynda Greuel – VP Membership
Lynda Greuel, owner of Hillcrest Events, holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Calgary. She has been planning events for three decades, but began planning professionally in 2007 after completing the event management program at Mount Royal University.
Lynda has had the privilege of participating in a number of corporate events where teams of experts are brought together to produce engaging, inspiring events! As she often chooses to subcontract to a number of event management companies, she is allowed to work with the brightest and best in the field and witness amazing results!
Lynda’s attention to logistical detail helps clients make dreams a reality in executing an event.
Amanda Bazant – Director at Large, Membership
Amanda has always had a passion for events. While working full-time at ATB Financial she decided in 2009 that she should start her own part time events company called Studio B Events while at the same time also pursuing her Event Management Certificate at Mount Royal University. In 2013, Amanda decided to pursue her passion for events full time and took the leap into corporate events and joined dmg events who are the organizers of Global Petroleum Show and other international energy events around the world as a Conference Coordinator. In 2016, she was promoted to Conference Producer where she currently is developing conference programs for seven events in 2017.
She recently created a launch document that awarded her a trip to dmg events largest conference and exhibition event called ADIPEC, which takes place annually in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Also in 2017, she will be launching dmg events first non-energy focused conference which she is eagerly awaiting to bring to the market.
Amanda is always eager to meet new people, network and continuously gain more knowledge to aid in developing bigger and better events. She was super excited at the opportunity to join the ILEA Board as Director at Large of Marketing & Sponsorship!
Riley Fisher – Director at Large, Education & Programs
Having been committed to the food and beverage industry for over 12 years, Riley developed a strong sense of devotion to the live events sector. Her past includes managing events for some of Calgary’s top restaurants/event spaces as well as a lead role with Packwood Grand.
Further to exploring her role as Director at Large in 2016/2017, Riley is now looking forward to the opportunity to create a purposeful and positive impact on the event community through the execution of ILEA Education and Programs Strategic Plan for the Chapter Year.
ILEA has given her a valuable source of mentoring and advocacy from industry leaders on both a local and international level. #BecauseofILEA, she is currently the Project Coordinator for OneWest Event Design & Logistics.
OneWest Event Design & Logistics
Leigh Stevens – Director at Large, Education & Programs
A graduate of the SAIT Hotel/Restaurant Management program and the Mount Royal University Event Management program, Leigh spent 20 years in the restaurant industry holding back of house positions varying from Team Lead to Corporate Trainer.
An avid pro-cycling fan/amateur rider and semi-pro baker, she participated in two Rides to Conquer Cancer, raising nearly $7000 selling baked goods to fellow co-workers. Her passion for volunteering and events led her to roles with the 2014 Tour of Alberta Local Organizing Committee and the RBC Gran Fondo Banff. She has also had the privilege of serving on the Tourism Calgary White Hat Selection Committee for the past three years.
Leigh joined ILEA in 2015, serving as a sub-committee member to the Education and Programs group for the 2015/16 and 2016/17 chapter years. She is excited to undertake the role of Director at Large for the 2017/2018 chapter year and looks forward to continuing to build on industry connections.
Afton Koutzun – Director at Large, Communications
Afton Koutzun is an Event Manager with e=mc2 events. With offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary, e=mc2 events has grown to be one of the leading event design, production and conference management companies in Canada. The team has been honoured with over 43 national and international awards, and is the only Canadian firm showcased on the Special Events Top 50 Event Companies list since 2013.
Afton holds a Staging and Interior Re-Design Diploma, a Floral Certificate and an Event Management Certificate, so she is well equipped to design any size or style of event her clients might desire. Afton is seriously detail oriented, and can visualize the flow and strategy on floorplan layouts. She has a love for choreographing stage shows and takes pride in her ability to draw and hold the attention of the guest to what matters in a room. Most recently, Afton was announced as one of the 2017 Young Event Pros to Watch by Special Events Magazine.
Afton has participated in many committees and volunteer roles in her six years of ILEA membership. She is passionate about connecting, collaborating, and sharing and is excited to bring those passions to the ILEA Calgary Chapter Board, as Director of Communications.
*She may also use “jazz hands” from time to time.
Reid Hubick – Director at Large, Communications
Reid got his start in the events industry in 2008 when he earned an Event Management certificate from Mount Royal University. Inspired to grow and develop in the events industry, Reid moved to Toronto the following year and enrolled in Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism four-year Bachelor of Commerce program.
While pursuing his degree at Ryerson University, Reid worked for the Dean’s Office as a member of the special events team. In his final year at Ryerson, Reid held the elected role of Vice President, Events on the Ryerson Commerce Society, where he served as head planner for the organization, producing some of the largest student-run events on campus.
Upon moving back to Calgary in 2015, Reid began working for Calgary Stampede as an Event Manager in the Sales & Event Management department. Reid manages approximately 75 events each year, with a focus on the special events and meetings and conventions lines of business.
The 2017/2018 year will be the first year Reid will be on the ILEA Board of Directors and he is looking forward to the many new challenges and experiences this opportunity will bring.
Orysia Andryo – Director at Large, Membership
After attending the University of Calgary with a major in Entrepreneurship & Innovation for three years, Orysia decided to switch gears and focus her career path on following her passion for Wedding & Event Planning. Orysia is currently working at Spruce Meadows as an Event Coordinator, following a few years breaking into the industry with a focus on the weddings side of the industry. Orysia loves seeing all of the little details of an event coming together to create one united and successful event. Whether it’s executing a corporate meeting, getting a bride set-up to walk down the aisle, or working a large tradeshow, Orysia loves challenging herself to learn new things from each event she does. Looking ahead, Orysia is ready and excited for the new opportunities that will come with being a part of the ILEA board for her first year as Director at Large.