Board of Directors

Chapter Leadership

President - Joel Olandesca

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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 have the privilege of working with event professionals and providing their solutions to many events all across North America.

Joel and joined ILEA Calgary in 2014, and most recently was a member of the Communications sub-committee prior to taking on his current role as Director at Large. 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.

Immediate Past President - Ciara Glendon

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4.pngPresident Elect, VP Finance - Julia Rooney
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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. Julia began her career in the industry at an association management company before joining POP Kollaborative and Lynn Fletcher Weddings as an event crew member. In July 2014 she took on a new adventure in her current role as an Event Coordinator at TELUS Spark. Julia is creative, hardworking and extremely passionate about the events industry. 

VP, Sponsorship - Lynnette MacDonald

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VP, MarComms - Erin Bjorkstedt
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After leaving the event and hospitality industry with ten years of experience, Erin found her way back when she founded Eventful Planning and Pop-up Weddings Calgary. As Owner & Lead Dreamer, Erin's passion for producing distinctive, creative and unforgettable events is apparent in everything she does.

In addition to planning and producing incredible experiences under her own brands, she also joined Decor & More in 2018 as their Team Lead - Calgary. In this role, she has the honour of leading an amazing team of creative professionals who are 
passionate about inventive and beautiful event design.

No stranger to the board of directors, Erin is extremely excited to fill the role of VP MarComms this year.

VP, Education & Programs - Riley Fisher

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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 Business Development Coordinator for OneWest Event Design & Logistics.

VP, Membership - Kaitlin Knoll
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After graduating from the University of Victoria with a focus on journalism, Kaitlin moved over to real estate, and then marketing – before finally finding her calling in the event industry. In 2014 she began to work for The Event Group, as an Event Manager, helping to produce numerous galas and concert events. She is currently working for Red Events, providing design and décor for weddings, festivals and corporate events.

Kaitlin is a born and raised Calgarian – who has always wanted to give back to this city where she can. At age 16, she was white-hatted, after being selected as a youth ambassador for the Phoenix sister cities program. For the past five years, she has held numerous roles within the board and as a committee leader, for The Junior League of Calgary, a non-profit organization dedicated to working with vulnerable Calgary youth.

She is incredibly excited to be joining the ILEA board as VP Membership and getting to know and learn from the leaders within this industry.


Director - Afton
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Director - Shannon Collins

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At age 23 Shannon started her dream in the basement of her home while working full time as the Communications and Marketing Director for a private golf course. Retiring in 2011, after 13 years she pursued her passion for event design full time.

From concept creation to full execution, Shannon is a visionary with a mind for designing extraordinary events finding passion wherever she goes. She is known for her touch of “Bling” and continuously works to challenge her herself and try new things to create a custom experience for all her clients.
Shannon believes in the value of working together and is one of the Co-Owners and Founders of Event Core; which is a collaborative community of industry professionals who believe in the power of partnership. They strive to create an industry where we work together to enhance the easy of planning any event for clients while creating a stronger industry of vendors who help each other to grow their business together.

Charitable work and giving back to the community are at the core of what Shannon values most. This is evident in her donation of tens of thousands of dollars to charitable events every year; as well as her personal dedication as a Board member for charitable organizations like the Wishing Well Foundation; who grant end of life celebrations to terminally ill people.
Director  - Megan Sawchuk 
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After graduating with her PhD in Plant Biology, Megan found herself disenchanted with research and decided to hang up her lab coat. At the same time, she was volunteering with DanceSport Alberta helping plan their ballroom dance competitions, and fell in love with planning, organizing and executing events. Megan decided to jump into the event industry by completing an Event Management Certificate and then by creating Megan Sawchuk Weddings, a wedding planning and design company. Megan loves helping her clients celebrate their love for one another by creating weddings that reflect the personalities of her clients.

Megan is excited for her first year on the ILEA Calgary Board of Directors, and is looking forward to meeting more members, and experiencing all of the challenges, opportunities, and growth that comes with this position.

Director - Paul Spencer
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Paul Spencer started his DJ career in 1989 working for Golden West broadcasting at their Radio Station CHRB in High River and CFXL in Calgary. From there, the dream of being a full time DJ and business owner took flight. Split Circuit Sound DJ Service was born in 1989, and steadily grew to be one of the busiest multi-op services in Southern Alberta.  In 2004 we bought out our largest competitors “Westrax” and overnight became one of the largest DJ companies in Western Canada. Today, we do over 400 shows a year including: weddings, corporate events, school dances, graduations, and Bar / Bat Mitzvahs. No matter the size, Split Circuit Sound / Westrax is ready to handle any party.  

Paul Spencer and his crew have built a reputation for being a high quality, interactive DJ service, while providing the very best in sound and lighting equipment. Paul is highly sought after for many family dance, weddings and Mitzvahs in the Southern Alberta area. His interactive blend of music, games and personality leads to many referrals from previous events.  

Director - 
Hayley De
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Hayley works at The Lakeview Signature Inn as a Sales and Events Manager. Her role varies from planning multi day corporate events to fundraisers fully equipped with a cat walk, food and beverage sponsors as well as live music. Hayley has worked and volunteered in the event industry for over 5 years and has obtained her Event Management Certificate.

Besides working full time in events at her 9-5, she also works with various events, marketing and Communication Company’s as a side hustle. Hayley loves entertaining, making connections, family time in California and champagne! You’ll often find her checking out new restaurants and cocktail lounges imagining how she could transform the space and make any vision come to life. On Sundays she will usually be with her “Little Sister” from Big Brothers and Big Sister doing fun activities and exploring the city.

Hayley is excited to be on the ILEA Board of Directors for many reasons, such as learning new skills and connecting with like-minded people in the industry.

Director - Krystyn Persuad

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Krystyn works at the University of Calgary as an Institutional Events Specialist on the Community Engagement team. She has a wide scope of work in her role - from leading large community events to high profile government announcements – even hosting Prime Minister Trudeau the Aga Khan and the Governor General. Krystyn has worked in the events industry for the past seven years. She has an Event Management Diploma and is currently earning her Public Relations Management Certificate. Krystyn’s career includes dynamic roles in both the private and public sectors, working with non-profit organizations and planning community events for Lululemon.

 An avid traveler, Krystyn is passionate about all things related to food & beverage and loves to learn about new cultures. Krystyn also enjoys attending events around Calgary and staying active in the local event industry. She also aims to try all new restaurants in Calgary and shares her reviews with family, friends and colleagues.

Krystyn is excited to join the ILEA Board of Directors and looks forward to meeting new people and learning from peers in the industry.