Peter RushChairman & CEO | New York
Michael BrooksCFO | Atlanta
Ralph Vasami, Esq.President | New York
Pamela ChumleyExecutive Vice President | Atlanta
Greg SchultzExecutive Vice President | Chicago
Greg SherryExecutive Vice President, Communications | New York
Phelps Hope, CMPSenior Vice President, Meetings & Expositions | Atlanta
Russell LemieuxSenior Vice President | Atlanta
Terrence RocheSenior Vice President | Chicago
Travis RushSenior Vice President | Washington, D.C.
Bonnie SonnenscheinSenior Vice President | New York
Robin ApplebaumVice President | Atlanta
Patricia FaisonVice President | Atlanta
John FerraroVice President | Washington, D.C.
Michael FischerVice President | Washington, D.C.
Liz FreynVice President | Chicago
Carol FreysingerVice President | Washington, D.C.
Michael GreskiewiczVice President | Chicago
Doug JohnsonVice President | Atlanta
JerrieLynn KindVice President | Kansas City
Holly KoenigVice President | New York
Jeannie MilewskiVice President | Atlanta
Michelle MillerVice President | Chicago
Mardi MountfordVice President | Atlanta
Robert RankinVice President | Washington, D.C.
Kismet SaglamVice President, Education | Chicago
Maria UngaroVice President | New York
Sarah WashburnVice President | Chicago
Martin BaySenior Director | Atlanta
Olya RyabininaSenior Director | Washington, D.C.
John WoestmanSenior Director | Kansas City
Chairman & CEO
A visionary in the fields of association management and communications, Peter Rush continues his long history of achievement as he guides the steady growth and success of Kellen. Peter provides leadership to the company’s seven offices worldwide and is the guardian of the firm’s vision, mission and values.
Peter joined Kellen in 2001 and was named Kellen Chairman and CEO in 2008. He has led the company’s rapid growth both domestically and internationally as Kellen has expanded its footprint with acquisitions in Chicago, Washington, DC, Denver, Kansas City, Brussels and Beijing.
An expert in the areas of governance, board development, strategic planning, marketing and public relations, Peter has served as Executive Director of more than 10 associations in his career. His clients have ranged from AT&T to AlliedSignal to the U.S. Department of Energy and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, as well as dozens of trade and professional organizations. He began his career as a journalist with the New York Times Company and as a magazine editor at Harcourt Brace.
Michael has more than 25 years of experience in accounting, finance, strategic planning, business development, and operations including shared service centers and information technology. He is responsible for ensuring an efficient and effective infrastructure, directing all information technology, administrative operations, risk management and financial planning and analysis activities for Kellen and its clients.
Michael manages the company’s accounting, information technology and operations departments. He has extensive senior executive experience in the professional services and consumer products industries, as well as with a “Big 4” CPA firm, Deloitte & Touche, where he passed New York’s CPA exam. Michael holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Emory University and a Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Finance from Wilkes University.
Ralph Vasami, Esq.
Ralph Vasami, Esq has a broad background in engineering, business management, operations, finance, strategic planning and law. He is actively involved with leading clients’ efforts to modify and enhance National Building Codes, and is regularly called upon to facilitate client strategic planning meetings.
Ralph is a pioneer in the vinyl window and door industry. As chairman of the Vinyl Window & Door Institute, he was responsible for gaining Model Building Code acceptance for vinyl as a fenestration product. He was also instrumental in setting up testing and standards for the products as well as the current industry certification program.
Ralph received a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University and a law degree from Pace University. He is a member of the New York State Bar.
Executive Vice President
Pamela Chumley is a member of Kellen’s Executive Committee. She has more than 19 years of experience in association management and over 28 years in the food industry. Pamela provides senior oversight to a number of Kellen association clients and serves as chief executive for several of these clients.
Her primary responsibilities include strategic advice, technical and regulatory affairs, financial management, meetings and trade show management, public relations, client research and administration. She specializes in issues management, membership communications and industry statistical and scientific research programs.
She currently serves as President of the Association of Dressings and Sauces, the Vinegar Institute and the Horseradish Information Council, and as Executive Administrator for the International Flight Services Association. She provides senior leadership to clients such as the Calorie Control Council, the International Formula Council and the International Food Additives Council.
Pamela earned a bachelor’s degree in Food Science from Clemson University.
Executive Vice President
Greg Schultz has been the driving force behind innovative and successful strategies and programs for association growth for more than 30 years. With Kellen, Greg creates invested, results-driven client teams, providing Kellen vision and strategies for growth to Kellen clients and staff teams, and market analysis and business development.
Greg began his career in 1984 as a writer and editor for trade journals with an association management company. In 1991 he and John Waxman bought the firm and renamed it The Sherwood Group. The Sherwood Group merged with Kellen in 2015.
Greg has served as the chief staff executive for a number of organizations, including founding executive director and marketing strategist for the International Society for Stem Cell Research, setting a course for the organization’s growth from a startup to the international focal point for the field.
Greg is Chair-Elect for the Association Management Company Institute (AMCI). He has chaired several AMCI committees, including Market Expansion and Membership Development. He has served as a board member on the American Society of Association Executives’ Association Management Section Council.
Executive Vice President, Communications
Greg Sherry is a member of the Executive Committee and an award-winning marketing and communications executive with 25+ years of experience developing strategic, integrated campaigns for many leading worldwide brands. In addition to serving as founder and CEO of his own agency, which he built and later sold to Publicis, Greg has held senior level positions with several, top independent firms. Greg also directed corporate communications for a 1B+ global consumer products company.
Greg oversees Kellen’s team of 65 Communications professionals, including Public Relations, Digital Marketing, Creative and Web Development, across the company, both here in the United States and International.
Greg has deep experience, working with many leading Consumer, B2B and Professional Services clients, worldwide. He has strong expertise in many of Kellen’s key markets, including Food & Beverage, Building & Construction, Consumer Lifestyle, Technology and Financial Services
In addition to membership in numerous Communications and Business organizations, Greg serves as a mentor for Platinum Minds, an education-based program, providing leadership training for inner city youth.
Phelps Hope, CMP
Senior Vice President, Meetings & Expositions
Phelps R. Hope has more than 30 years of experience in meetings, events and tradeshow management and holds the Certified Meetings Professional (CMP) designation, an indication of both his experience level in the meetings industry and his dedication to excellence.
He is familiar with every nuance of the meetings, tradeshow and events production process, and places the highest priority upon the delivery of unique creative solutions that help to deliver on the strategic goals and objectives of Kellen client conferences and events.
He is an active member of the Georgia Chapter of Meeting Professionals International, Skal International, and currently serves on the board of the Professional Convention Managers Association (PCMA).
In 2014, Phelps was awarded the PCMA Global Meetings Executive of the Year. He was recognized for his vision, commitment and passion for the evolution of the meetings industry, creating exceptional value for clients expanding their reach into new global arenas.
Senior Vice President
Russell Lemieux has more than 30 years’ experience in the association management industry. Russell has extensive experience as chief staff executive, conceiving and directing a variety of association programs, including public relations, marketing and branding. He is also an experienced strategic planning facilitator, writer, editor and speaker and is regularly quoted in print and broadcast media as an industry spokesman.
Russell serves as Executive Director for the Airline Passenger Experience Association, and is the senior executive advisor for several additional Kellen association clients, including the Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals, Research Chefs Association, National Pecan Shellers Association and the Association of Fundraising Distributors and Suppliers. His primary responsibilities include strategic planning and counsel, marketing, membership development, administration, meetings and trade show management, public relations and government affairs.
Russell holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia.
Senior Vice President
At Kellen, Terrence leads an organizational change and operational excellence program that supports the achievement of the organization’s long-term strategic objectives. In addition, he manages several operational functions that help Kellen staff support the success of clients, including Information Technology, Information Services, Customer Service, and Facilities Management.
Terrence came to Kellen from YMCA of the USA, the national office for the largest nonprofit association in the U.S. He held leadership positions in strategy, planning, product development, and change management. Terrence also serves as an adjunct lecturer at Northwestern University where he teaches strategy and leadership in the Master’s in Learning and Organizational Change program.
Terrence is a decorated veteran who served as an Officer in the United States Marine Corps with an overseas deployment supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. He also was an Advanced General Manager at Cintas Corporation. Terrence earned a MS in Learning and Organizational Change from Northwestern University, and holds a BS in Management from Tulane University.
Senior Vice President
Travis is responsible for Kellen’s increased engagement with 501c3 organizations and the ongoing support to cause-based groups through operational efficiencies provided by Kellen. Travis has provided strategic development and implementation plans for the Copper Development Association, the Cruise Line International Association, the Window Covering Safety Council, the Interior Design Educators Council and the American Society of Journalists and Authors.
He has established dozens of unique marketing and media programs, leveraging demographics and behavioral history to create value and enhance the user experience. A graduate of The George Washington University, Travis is a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), New York Society of Association Executives (NYSAE) and Green Spaces.
Senior Vice President
Bonnie Sonnenschein has been leading branding initiatives and developing and directing integrated marketing communications programs for corporations and associations for more than 25 years. Firms have ranged from the U.S.-based Steelcase and Burlington Industries to European-based luxury writing instrument manufacturers LAMY and Caran d’Ache.
Currently, Bonnie manages a team of accounts that range from the global testing and certification firm Intertek to the Copper Development Association (CDA), the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA), the American Down and Feather Council (ADFC) and its international parent group, the International Down and Feather Bureau (IDFB).
Bonnie holds a B.A. in English Literature and Political Science from Syracuse University and an M.S. in Public Relations Communications and Administration from the Newhouse School of Public Communications of Syracuse University.
Robin is a seasoned communications executive with extensive agency experience in New York and Atlanta. She leads Kellen’s communication team in Atlanta, which has a proven track record of providing clients strategic communications programs that help grow their brand and positively influence their target audiences using custom integrated marketing, public relations, and online/social media plans. Robin is responsible for clients such as the Airline Passenger Experience and the Infant Nutrition Council of America, and has previously led PR efforts for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s childhood obesity program, the 93rd PGA Championship, Chanel, and Sony Pictures, as well as numerous B2B and B2C marketing programs and campaigns. As a former TV producer, Robin has a strong, proven track record working with many national media outlets including TODAY, CNBC, Bloomberg, New York Times, Associated Press, and USA Today, to name just a few.
Patricia Faison has over 25 years’ experience in association management and the food and beverage industry. She currently serves as Director of Regulatory and Technical Affairs for the Association for Dressings & Sauces (ADS) and Technical Director for the Juice Products Association (JPA). Her responsibilities include monitoring current legislative and regulatory activities affecting the food industry, providing reports to members and facilitating various projects undertaken by ADS’ and JPA’s working committees. Patricia has developed numerous comments on regulatory, legislative and technical issues to federal, state and international agencies.
Patricia received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Savannah State University and holds a master’s degree from Purdue University. She is a member of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP).
John Ferraro has over fifteen years of association management, government relations, and legislative affairs experience, including more than eleven years with Kellen managing operations for trade associations in the transportation, health care, building construction, and manufacturing sectors.
John’s association management responsibilities include providing direct oversight and executive management of activities for associations. In this capacity, he oversees all functional teams and areas of operations, including membership development, conference management, communications and marketing, information technology, education services and accreditation programs, government affairs, and financial / investment management.
Currently, he serves as the executive director for the Extruded Polystyrene Foam Association (XPSA), Composite Lumber Manufacturers Association (CLMA), and American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association (AMRPA).
John has a Bachelor Degree in Political Science and International Affairs and a Master’s Degree in American Politics and Policy, both from Florida State University.
Michael Fischer has been in the building products industry for 33 years, holding management positions in regulatory affairs, manufacturing, and marketing. His involvement in building and energy codes, environment and sustainability issues, product standards, regulatory affairs, and product safety issues within the industry provides a comprehensive background to deliver responsible advocacy for Kellen clients.
Mike is a member the International Code Council (ICC), ASHRAE, and ASTM International and serves on the Technical Committee of the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition (EECC).
Mike has provided strategic representation before the US Department of Energy and Consumer Product Safety Commission, the California Air Resource Board, the California Energy Commission, the California Office of the State Fire Marshal, and state code adoption bodies in Florida, New York State, Minnesota, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Texas, North Carolina, and other building and energy code official agencies.
He has testified before legislative bodies and helped to lead successful client strategic efforts from product standards through code and regulatory development. Mike is a respected contributor to trade publications and a frequent presenter at building industry events and conferences.
Liz Freyn is a member of Kellen’s management team with more than 37 years of experience in the meetings industry, specializing in international meetings for the medical and research industries. Liz heads up the meetings and expositions operations in the Chicago Kellen office and guides a team of more than 15 meeting specialists.
In addition, Liz currently serves as the conference director for the American Society of Pediatric Surgeons; Society of Pediatric Pathology; American Society of Dermatopathology and the International Ombudsman Association.
Liz earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Indiana University School of Business with a major in marketing and a minor in management. In 2014, she earned a Certificate in Association Management through the American Society of Association Executives.
Liz is a member of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, Professional Convention Management Association and Greater Midwest Chapter-Professional Convention Management Association, where she has served on the various committees. Liz currently serves on the association customer advisory board of Marriott and previously served on the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau and Tourisme-Montreal.
Carol Freysinger provides associations with the tools for extensive growth, specializing in consensus building, leadership development, financial management, and membership services. She has more than 13 years of experience in association management, during which time she has provided oversight as well as hands-on management of committees and boards with a focus on consensus building.
Carol is experienced in working with trade counsel on issues such as tariffs and countervailing duties. As Executive Director, Carol has helped grow associations such as the National Pasta Association, Juice Products Association and the National Institute of Oilseed Products, among others. She also played a primary role in growing the National Candle Association as Executive Vice President, the Vacuum Insulation Association as well as the US Advanced Ceramics Association.
Carol holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from Allegheny College, with graduate studies in Economics from George Mason University.
As Kellen’s Sales Director, Michael spearheads the team responsible for developing integrated sponsorship and advertising programs that leverage the inherent value of client programs.
Michael joined Kellen more than five years ago, bringing with him 30 years of sales and marketing experience. He specializes in building partnerships with public and private organizational stakeholders, finding new revenue streams and building on existing programs. His responsibilities also include account management, negotiations, and strategic planning for national and international accounts.
Prior to joining Kellen, Michael was the Associate Publisher of Food & Beverage Packaging, Brand Packaging, and Flexible Packaging magazines. Michael has also worked in publication printing sales for national and international printing companies such as R.R. Donnelly, Ringer, and Editors Press.
Doug Johnson directs Kellen’s IT department, responsible for supporting and maintaining the company’s network infrastructure including a wide area MPLS network. Doug and his team are responsible for internal web servers and communications infrastructure based on Cisco VOIP products, in addition to the company’s association management software systems and databases.
Doug has more than 20 years of systems experience and expertise, with extensive knowledge of all major software applications, operating systems, networking hardware, communication systems, and association management software systems. He is a certified network engineer and has received extensive training from leading manufacturers such as Microsoft and Cisco along with AMS software vendors such as TMA Resources.
Doug holds a bachelor’s degree in Management Science from Bridgewater State College.
JerrieLynn Kind has brought success to professional societies and trade associations for more than 25 years and has been serving Kellen’s clients for 15 years. JerrieLynn provides executive oversight to 13 associations based out of the Kansas City office. She also serves as Executive Director for the American Society for Pain Management Nursing, the National Association of EMS Physicians, and the Pediatric Endocrinology Nursing Society.
She has a broad background with membership associations, financial planning, and project management. Prior to joining Kellen, JerrieLynn worked as membership director and career development manager to national associations in the golf industry.
JerrieLynn is a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the Kansas City Society of Association Executives and has been active in committees and educational activities. JerrieLynn is also an approved facilitator of ASAE’s Certificate Program in Association Management.
Holly Koenig provides executive oversight in marketing and business development as well as strategic support to Executive Directors in the company’s New York City office. She is a highly-skilled association executive with over 25 years of experience leading complex organizations at the international, national and local levels.
Holly has served dozens of nonprofits, trade groups and professional societies in the capacity of Executive Vice President or Executive Director including New York Women in Communications, the National Society of Healthcare Foodservice Management and the Association of Fundraising Professionals, New York City Chapter.
Holly currently serves on the Board of Directors of New York Society of Association Executives. She is a speaker on many association and organizational subjects and she conducts internal training and educational workshops on such topics as Board development and sponsorships. Holly has published numerous association management articles, enjoys career coaching and mentoring young professionals.
Jeannie Milewski is the executive director of the Association for Dressings and Sauces (ADS), a 160-member international trade association. She focuses on strategic direction, executive committee and board support, organizational leadership, priorities management, quality assurance and directing the general operations of the association. Additionally, Jeannie serves as executive director for The Vinegar Institute and leads the Fruit Spread Section and Concord Grape Section of the Juice Products Association.
She has more than 17 years of association management experience and has worked for several Kellen clients in the food industry. Prior to joining Kellen in 1995, Jeanie was involved in the foodservice sector with responsibilities including research and development, specifications and training.
Jeanie holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Science and a Master’s in food Science from the University of Tennessee.
With over 20 years of association management experience, Michelle provides strategic oversight and guidance to various client organizations with focus on trade groups. She specializes in re-aligning organizations towards profitability and identifying growth opportunities, ensuring governance structures are aligned with strategic initiatives, solution orientated with emphasis on problem identification and conflict resolution, staffing utilization, developing staffing models to support organizations and transitions.
Michelle currently serves as the Executive Vice President of the Pressure Sensitive Tape Council and manages Kellen transitions/onboarding of new client organizations. She is a graduate of Northwood University in Midland Michigan and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and Marketing. She lives in the Western suburbs of Illinois with her husband and two children.
Mardi Mountford is the executive vice president of the Infant Nutrition Council of America (INCA), a trade association representing infant formula manufacturers. In her role at the INCA, Mardi oversees state, federal and international legislative and regulatory issues as well as technical and scientific industry issues. She serves as an industry media spokesperson, and has testified before congressional and legislative committees.
Mardi also serves as vice president on the Governing Board of the International Special Dietary Foods Industries, of which INCA is a member, and has been closely involved in the transition of the organization from its former Paris location to Kellen’s Brussels office.
Mardi has more than 30 years of experience in association management. She received a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry and biology from St. Andrews Presbyterian College in North Carolina, and a master’s degree in public health, with an emphasis in nutrition, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Robert Rankin has over 15 years of association experience, with particular expertise in food industry issues management. Robert joined Kellen in 2005 and has consistently delivered strategic solutions to address complex regulatory, legislative and administrative challenges.
Robert has broad experience in the food and food ingredient industries, and is fully engaged in a number of activities which utilize his areas of expertise. He has worked closely with officials at key US Government agencies including the Food and Drug Administration and Department of Agriculture, and has also worked with regulatory agencies in Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia/New Zealand. He also has extensive experience in the development and communication of industry positions and has testified before U.S. state legislatures, the World Health Organization and local authorities on industry issues.
Robert earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Studies from Duke University. He currently serves as President of the Calorie Control Council, Executive Director for the Infant Nutrition Council of America and Executive Director for the International Food Additives Council.
Vice President, Education
Kismet Saglam, MS Ed. director of education with Kellen since May 2008, has led the growth of client education programs for professional societies and associations. Kismet manages accreditation programs in Continuing Medical Education (CME) and Continuing Education (CE) for healthcare and science research-based associations, and Continuing Legal Education (CLE) for business and technology organizations.
In addition, Kismet creates multi-faceted distance education programs that include live and recorded webinars, live webcasting, maintenance of certification programs, certification programs, and other educational opportunities. Her team works strategically with volunteer education committees to effectively utilize content matter experts as well as to align education goals to membership and overall organizational strategic goals. Her team works closely with Kellen’s marketing/communications, IS, and client teams for project implementation and ongoing program maintenance. She serves on the management team at Kellen/Chicago.
Kismet earned a Master of Science in Education from Shenandoah University in Virginia, as well as a BA in political science from Roosevelt University in Chicago. Kismet led a team of facilitators to implement a program to deliver the ASAE Certificate in Association Management Program in the Chicago area.
Maria Ungaro serves as executive director for The Content Council, the New York Women in Communications (NYWICI) and the NYWICI Foundation – the largest foundation for women’s communications scholarships in the United States. Maria is a seasoned association executive with almost 20 years at Kellen.
She is highly skilled in strategic thinking, operational effectiveness, membership retention, growth marketing and major event planning and fundraising. Maria has previously served Kellen in many other capacities including roles as executive director for the New York Women’s Agenda and deputy director to many trade associations such as the Builders Hardware Manufacturers and the Window Covering Safety Council.
A graduate of Fordham University, Maria holds both a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major of Political Science with minor a Minor in Economics, as well as a Master of Business Administration in Marketing.
Sarah Washburn joined Kellen in 2009. She has more than 15 years’ experience in association management, specializing in operations, finance and board relations. Sarah has worked with a number of clients including the Institute of Packaging Professionals, the Business Marketing Association, the Contract Packaging Association, the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers, the Pressure Sensitive Tape Council and the Recreational Vehicle Aftermarket Association.
Prior to joining Kellen, Sarah served for eight years as the vice president of finance and operations for the Naperville Chamber of Commerce. A graduate of Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics.
Martin has over 25 years of meetings, events, and tradeshow management experience. He is responsible for the technical and professional development of the Kellen meetings staff, for the procurement of all contracted meeting space and sleeping rooms for over 200 contracted events annually, and is the lead solutions provider for all Kellen clients.
Martin has experience in both the corporate and association meetings management industries, and specializes in processes and procedure management. His professional passion and his meticulous attention to detail has made him a leader in the meetings management industry, and he has developed an expertise with the technological aspects of our field.
Martin is an active member in the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), and the International Association of Exhibitions & Events (IAEE), for whom he serves on the board of the Southeast Chapter. He is also a former member of the United States Canoe/Kayak Team, an avid bicyclist, and his interest in international travel has taken he and wife Nancy to over 21 countries, including a two-year residence in Cairo, Egypt.
Overseeing a team of analysts and strategists, Olya serves as the lead in defining integrated marketing strategies for trade associations, professional societies, and brands. With a heavy background in marketing research and consumer psychology, Olya previously served as senior strategist at Oracle, reputation management strategist at Levick, and consumer engagement specialist at Philip Morris International. Any project that Olya manages, from a website build to multi-channel marketing campaigns, starts with landscape research and needs analysis, and is concluded with a ROI report.
John Woestman is manager of codes & regulatory affairs for Kellen. In this capacity, he provides building codes advocacy and technical service on behalf of several Kellen clients, including Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association, Composite Lumber Manufactures Association, and the Extruded Polystyrene Foam Association.
John is a member of the International Code Council (ICC), the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), and ASTM International. John has represented Kellen client interests in ICC’s building codes development, NFPA standards development, and ASTM standards development.
Prior to joining the Kellen, he was with a large window and door company for over 20 years with a variety of responsibilities in manufacturing, human resources, and marketing. John has a mechanical engineering degree from Iowa State University and an MBA from the University of Iowa.
Alfons WestgeestExecutive Vice President, Europe | Brussels
Hans CraenVice President | Brussels
Maria Teresa ScardigliVice President | Brussels
Nele DevolderAssociation Director | Brussels
Dani KolbAssociation Director | Brussels
Susanne MeyerAssociation Director | Brussels
Raquel Ponte CostaSenior Association Manager | Brussels
Patrick FoxSenior Association Manager | Brussels
Francesco GattiglioSenior Association Manager | Brussels
Jean-Christophe KremerSenior Association Manager | Brussels
Adriana NosewiczSenior Association Manager | Brussels
Aline RutsaertSenior Association Manager | Brussels
René SchroederSenior Association Manager | Brussels
Executive Vice President, Europe
Alfons Westgeest leads Kellen’s global development and operations, from our offices in Brussels, Belgium and Beijing, China. He is also responsible for Kellen’s strategic affiliates in Asia, Middle East and South America.
Alfons is involved in client board and member meetings, strategic planning and government affairs. He is a member of the Kellen’s Executive Committee and is responsible for preparing and implementing the company’s global expansion. He has expertise in various sectors including automotive, engineering, electronics, food, health care, construction, and financial services.
Alfons leads a team of 30 European professionals from 13 nationalities who advise, manage and represent European and U.S. based associations in various industries. He is also responsible for Kellen’s Beijing office, which has recently expanded to serve multiple international associations in China.
A graduate of Leyden University in the Netherlands, he holds a Master degree in Commercial and European law and was previously a partner at EY. Alfons is a former Board member of ASAE (American Society of Association Executives) and ASAE Fellow since 2006. He represents Kellen at Chambers of Commerce in Europe and Asia and received the 2011 ‘Outstanding Contribution to EU Public Affairs’ award.
Hans Craen joined Kellen’s Brussels office in 2003. He specializes in EU affairs, with a focus on environmental, construction and energy policies. Hans acts as secretary-general for several of Kellen’s European clients including the European Portable Battery Association (EPBA) and the European Window Film Association (EWFA).
As secretary-general, Hans supports the Board in its strategic thinking, implementing public affairs and public relations activities and representing the organization in front of the European and national legislative bodies. He is also involved in several consulting projects for Kellen’s global clients.
Before joining Kellen, Hans worked as an EU Affairs coordinator for Hitachi’s liaison office in Brussels, covering environmental policy issues. Prior to that, he worked as a trainee in the legal department of the European Ombudsman’s office in Strasbourg.
Hans holds a law degree from the Antwerp University, as well as a European law degree from the Liège University. He also obtained a post-graduate degree in Business Management from the Vlekho Business School.
Maria Teresa Scardigli
Maria Teresa Scardigli serves as the executive director for several associations, managing projects for clients in food drink and chemical sector. Her main responsibilities include supporting the Board in its strategic thinking, chairing of meetings, coordinating public affairs and public relations activities and representation of the organizations towards third parties.
Maria is the executive director of the International Stevia Council representing the interests of the producers and manufacturers of the natural, zero calorie sweeteners. She is also involved in consulting projects with Kellen clients, including the facilitation of strategic planning sessions, the legal and governance support to associations to establish themselves in Europe, among others.
She graduated from the University of Rome with a Law Degree, and received her Master’s Degree in European and Community Law from the European University Center of the University of Nancy in France.
Nele joined Kellen in 2001 and specializes in marketing and communications. She is involved in strategic advice projects and consulting for trade associations and professional societies on a global level. She has an extensive experience in the management of national, European, and international associations.
Her current assignments include the International Association of Lighting Designers, for which she serves as their European office Manager, and the European Utilities Telecom Council, for which she is the Senior Manager of Operations in Europe. Nele also serves as the Executive Director in Europe for the EU-Russia Industrialists’ Roundtable, a business platform composed of leaders of multinational companies from the EU and Russia. She also leads the Kellen team that serves as the secretariat of the CEC, the Co-ordinating European Council for the Development of Performance Tests for Fuels, Lubricants and other Fluids.
Nele has experience in several industries and sectors and has mainly worked with associations active on an international level, several of them in the healthcare field; such as the International League Against Epilepsy and the American Health Information Management Association. Nele studied Communications at the EGON Hogeschool in Gent, Belgium. She is Belgian of Dutch mother tongue and speaks English, French, and German.
Dani has 12 years of experience managing international associations and professional societies, particularly those in the healthcare sector. Dani specializes in E.U. affairs, marketing, communications, and strategic advising.
Prior to Kellen, Dani worked for the Union of European Soft Drinks Associations (UNESDA). She was a trainee in the European Commission, the Parliament, and the Permanent Representation of Germany to the E.U.
Dani is Vice President of the Society for European Affairs Professionals (SEAP), and, within the Center of Association Leadership (ASAE), Dani has chaired the International Section Council.
Dani studied European Business and Management, followed by a Master’s program in European Studies & European Integration. She also holds an M.B.A. in Wine & Spirits from the Bordeaux Management School.
Susanne has been working for EU trade associations in the food sector since 2005. She presently serves as Secretary General for EUVEPRO, the European Vegetable Protein Association. Previous positions include 8 years as Secretary General of PROFEL, the European Association of Fruit and Vegetable Processors, as well as work for UNESDA, OEIT, AEMTD, and CIUS, the Committee of Industrial Sugar Users. Susanne always supports her respective Boards in their strategic thinking.
With over 20 years’ experience following EU food policy, agricultural policy, trade policy, and regulatory affairs, Susanne has a thorough understanding of the EU decision making process, and has a proven track record of successful advocacy. Prior to managing associations she worked as research assistant to Members of the European Parliament in the areas of food safety and consumer legislation. Having lived in the UK and Russia for parts of her studies, Susanne holds a Master’s degree in Modern Languages and Educational Sciences from Leipzig University. A German national, she speaks fluent English and French, Russian, and basic Dutch.
Raquel Ponte Costa
Senior Association Manager
Raquel specializes in EU regulatory affairs and digital communications. She has been responsible for the public relations and communications activities for a number of Kellen clients, including the European Window Film Association, Global Facilities Management Association, Association of European Automotive, and Industrial Battery Manufacturers.
Currently, Raquel acts as the Executive Director of VIPA International, the Vacuum Insulation Panel Association, and as General Manager of EASEE-gas, the European Association for the Streamlining of Energy Exchange – gas. In addition, she is also involved in consulting projects with Kellen clients, including the facilitation of strategic planning sessions, reputation analysis, governance support, review of internal structures, and establishment in Brussels, among others.
Before joining Kellen, Raquel worked as a trainee for both the International Wool Textile Organization and the European Parliament with a Portuguese MEP. After graduating with a degree in European Studies and International Politics in Portugal, Raquel continued her academic career at the Institute for European Studies of the Université libre de Bruxelles, where she concluded a Master’s in European Studies. Raquel is a Portuguese native speaker and is fluent in English and French.
Senior Association Manager
At Kellen, Patrick works as the Secretary General for the European Association of Manufacturers and Formulators of Enzyme (AMFEP) and the European Food and Feed Culture Association (EFFCA).
He specializes in the scientific, trade, and health & safety aspects of the food industry, including the REFIT exercise for general E.U. food law.
From 2012 to 2016, Patrick was Manager for Food Policy, Science and R&D with FoodDrinkEurope, the European federation representing the food and drink industries across Europe.
Patrick, an Irish native, has a Bachelor of Commerce from University College in Dublin and a Master of Science from the Smurfit Graduate Business School.
Senior Association Manager
Francesco has over six years of experience in association management and communications. He is the E.U. Affairs Manager of EUROBAT and the Association of Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers, as well as a policy officer to the Vacuum Insulation Panel Association.
Francesco specializes in public affairs & advocacy and digital communication in energy and transport markets.
Prior to Kellen, he worked at the European Commission’s DG Environment and as a trainee at Burson-Marsteller, the Portuguese NGO “Doctors of the World”, and the Italian Embassy of Caracas.
Francesco has a B.A. in International Studies and an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Florence. He has also a Master’s degree in International Political Economy from the University of Warwick. Francesco is fluent in Italian, English, and Spanish as well as basic French and Portuguese.1
Senior Association Manager
Jean-Christophe has 15 years of experience with Kellen. He leads two trade associations in the food industry; ISDI, the International Association for Special Dietary Foods Industries, representing infant, medical, and other specialized foods, and FEDIMA, the European Federation of Bakery Ingredients Suppliers.
He most frequently works with members on strategic positioning and contact building with governing bodies such as the European Union, the World Health Organization, and Codex Alimentarius Food Law.
Before joining Kellen, Jean-Christophe was a political advisor to a Member of the European Parliament and worked in public relations. He holds a Master’s in History from KU Leuven and an additional Master’s in European Political Studies from the College of Europe.
Senior Association Manager
Adriana has spent the last decade working with European associations. A lawyer by training, Adriana spent two years in the legal profession before leaving her native Poland to move to Brussels.
Adriana is the Secretary General of the European Potato Processors’ Association. She specializes in E.U. regulatory affairs and environmental & sustainability issues for the International Stevia Council along with strategic advisory services.
Adriana, a Polish national, holds a Master’s degree in Law from Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun. She is fluent in Polish, English, Italian, and has a basic understanding of French and Dutch.
Senior Association Manager
Aline Rutsaert has over ten years of experience working with European associations. She is the Secretary-General for the European Association of Fruit and Vegetable Processors. She is also responsible for the Brussels office of the European Association of Sweet Corn Processors.
Aline started her career as an economist at the University of Antwerp and specialized further in International Relations at both the University of Antwerp and the University of Bologna.
She obtained a Master’s degree in European Economic Integration and Business from the College of Europe in Bruges where she wrote her thesis on food regulation in the European Union. Aline also holds a Professional Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University College AP in Antwerp. Aline is Belgian national, fluent in Dutch, French, English, Spanish, and Italian.
Senior Association Manager
René has over 12 years of experience in E.U. regulatory affairs. He is the Executive Director of EUROBAT, the Association of European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers. He works with leading European and global companies on the positioning of the battery manufacturing industry and advocating the sustainable applications for mobility and energy services.
His expertise centers around policymakers with experience as a policy officer with the European Waste Management Federation FEAD, between 2007 and 2013, and with the European Chemicals Federation (Cefic), the European Parliament, Siemens, and the E.U. delegation in Washington, D.C.
René holds a postgraduate Master’s degree in European studies from the College of Europe as well as a Master’s in Political Science from the University of Rostock.
Steven BasartVice President, Asia | Beijing
Jean XuSenior Account Supervisor | Beijing
Maria WangSenior Account Coordinator | Beijing
Vice President, Asia
Steven Basart serves Kellen’s international associations through strategic planning and by identifying global market opportunities for their industry or profession. He has guided clients on the implementation of their strategy for Asia by successfully establishing their government relations, communications, membership development programs, as well as overseeing their local Chinese website launches.
Steven has served as the former director China for the Drug Information Association during which time he actively built strategic alliances with local counterpart organizations and government agencies including the Commissioner of the SFDA, key players at the Ministry of Health, and leading pharmaceutical and healthcare industry media. He has also supported international questions on Chinese food laws and delegations at the Codex Committee meetings on food additives.
Steven represents Kellen and their clients at the Beijing-based European, American, and Benelux Chambers of Commerce. He holds a Masters in Chinese Studies and Bachelors in Law with cum laude distinction from Leiden University.
Senior Account Supervisor
Jean XU has over 10 years of experience in the areas of government affairs and monitoring, as well meetings management, marketing, business development and sales administration. Jean leads regulatory monitoring and related projects for Kellen clients in China, including Food and Pharma related industries. She also coordinates the China activities for the International Food Additives Council, including coordinating submissions to relevant government agencies and local counterparts.
Prior to joining Kellen, Jean served as Assistant Director and Marketing Supervisor for the Beijing International Finance Forum, a United Nations backed organization that provides a platform for world financial leaders to contribute to the revitalization of the international economy. At the forum, Jean was responsible for the coordination and management of all conference logistics, as well as all public relations and marketing endeavors.
Senior Account Coordinator
Maria Wang is the Senior Account Coordinator for Kellen’s Beijing office. Maria has extensive experience in coordinating and arranging delegation visits, as well as membership services, meetings/trainings support services, website content management, data analysis, and desk research. She coordinates the initiatives and planning for the China advisory body of a global association, representing companies engaged in research, development, and manufacturing of veterinary medicines, vaccines, and other animal health products.