2015-2017 DesignDawgs’ Advisory Board Members:
Kristin Banta, Owner: Kristin Banta Events
With an extensive background in fashion, entertainment, and event production, as well as experience in catering and interior design, Kristin Banta creates unforgettable celebrations while bringing a fresh perspective to the mix. Her events, from society weddings in exclusive locations to progressive film and music industry soirees, are as unique and diversified as her clientele, which ranges from Fortune 500 companies to multi-platinum recording artists. In 2014, Kristin was named “Event Planner of the Year” by Event Solutions, “Los Angeles Wedding Vendor of the Year” by California Wedding Day Magazine, and was nominated for the National BizBash Event Style Awards in 2013. Most recently, Kristin was announced as a contributing editor for Frontiers new nationwide wedding magazine, “Hitched.”
Sean Low, Owner: The Business of Being Creative
Sean Low is the Founder and President of The Business of Being Creative, a consulting firm focused on providing practical advice to those in the business of being creative. Prior to founding his company in August 2009, Sean spent six years as the President of Preston Bailey Design, Inc. representing Preston in his business endeavors around the world. Sean has a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and, apart from working with amazing creative professionals, his business acumen is honed from his previous experience as a lawyer, investment banker, financial executive and small business owner.
King Dahl, Executive Director of Event Design: MGM Resorts Event Productions
King Dahl, Executive Director of Event Design for MGM Resorts Events, has turned his passion for art and design, environmental aesthetics, music, and fine food into a flourishing career in the world of special events. King’s 100+ person team produces more than 1,000 events a year in Las Vegas. During the past 30 years, King’s work has earned him many awards as well as respect on the speaker’s circuit and throughout the meetings and special events industry.
Jack Weiner, Owner and Founder: kool. Party Rental Services
Jack Weiner is the President and CEO of kool. Party Rentals. Considered an events industry Jack-of-all-trades, Jack’s career journey includes stints as a balloon delivery boy, disc jockey, party MC and game show host. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Jack moved to Arizona where he started kool. Party Rentals in 2006. Recently the company has expanded offices in Southern California and Nevada and acquired Girari Event Rentals.
Chris Nirschel, Founder/CEO: Culinary Bad Boy Productions
Chef Chris Nirschel is the Founder and CEO of Culinary Bad Boy Productions, a New York City-based catering company. Chris began his culinary career at The French Culinary Institute in 2009, where he became classically trained in French and Italian cuisine. He has most recently worked as an in-house consultant for New York’s Slide Restaurant. At Slide, Chris recreated their menu, trained the kitchen staff and managed the restaurant’s booth at the San Gennaro Festival in the Fall of 2013. Before that, Nirschel held the Executive Chef position at Celsius in New York City’s Bryant Park, where he created customized menu options for multiple corporations.
Sara Gorlick, Director of International Events: Rakuten.com
As Director of Global Events for Rakuten Inc. and Rakuten Marketing for the past five years, Sara travels to more than 13 countries to oversee production of more than 40 events a year. In addition, she leads the strategy, planning and execution for Rakuten Marketing events, one of the largest global digital marketing companies in the United States. In 2011, Sara won the BizBash Corporate Planner of the Year Award, and in 2014 she was an Event Solutions Spotlight finalist for Corporate Event Planner of the Year.
Gina Wade, Owner : Gina Wade Creative
Gina began her career in special events in 1997 at OnBoard Media, a division of Louis Vuitton, Moet and Hennessy in Miami Beach, Florida. Upon moving to Los Angeles she worked with the Mondrian, Social Hollywood and Bolthouse Productions/SBE before beginning her own firm — Gina Wade Creative – in 2007. She has worked on events and projects with clients such as Estee Lauder, InStyle Magazine, CBS Television, UCLA and the Vanity Fair Oscar Party, which she has worked on for the past six years. Gina has also booked events for top fashion and entertainment companies for her venue clients. Recently she launched a blog called “From Hollywood to Home” on which readers can find tips on how to incorporate Hollywood entertaining ideas into their home events.
Debra Lykkemark, CEO and Founder : Culinary Capers, Vancouver and Beijing
Debra Lykkemark is the CEO and Founder of Culinary Capers Catering and Special Events in Vancouver, BC. Debra served on the International Caterers Association Executive Board for nine years, including a two-year term as President. She has been featured as one of Canada’s Top 100 women business owners for several years. Her other career highlights include taking part in three Olympic Games: Torino, Italy in 2006, Beijing, China in 2008 and Vancouver, BC in 2010. In 2008, Debra partnered with Executive Chef Billy Kawaja to successfully launch Culinary Capers Catering and Special Events in Beijing, China.
Ken Kristofferson, President/Chief Creative Officer: POP Kollaborative
Ken Kristoffersen CSEP, CEM is the President/Chief Creative Officer of POP Kollaborative, a Life Experience Agency based out of Calgary and activating worldwide. In 2013 and 2014 POP was selected by Special Event Magazine as the first Canadian company to make the list of top 50 Event Agencies in the World. Ken has an extensive history as an industry educator and leader, as well as inspiring his teams to many national and international awards, including Canadian STAR awards, The International Special Events Society ESPRIT awards and Special Event Magazine GALA awards. He has been honored as Canadian Event Professional of the year and twice as Canadian Event Producer of the Year. Ken was also the recipient of the Canadian Spirit of the Industry award for his contributions to the advancement of the Canadian event industry and most recently, the Steve Kemble International Leadership Award.
Andrew Spurgin, Owner/Chef : Andrew Spurgin
In his latest venture, ANDREW SPURGIN™, Andrews creates bespoke events from concept, styling and menu design. He has designed parties and menus, and overseen the production of events honoring dignitaries and glitterati for the past three decades. He has cooked for three US presidents and has designed menus and events throughout the United States, Canada, England and Mexico.
Kevin White, Chief Innovation Officer : XPL
Kevin White is the owner of XPL, an experiential design agency that strives to deliver innovation to the event industry and its products by rethinking how organizations develop ideas and implement change. Kevin is also the president of the International Special Events Society (ISES) and currently teaches at the Event Leadership Institute. He has been an adjunct professor at New York University in the Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management School and has been a presenter at university campuses and event industry conferences throughout the world on various event topics.
*Cara Kleinhaut, Owner: Caravents, Inc.
*Bio coming soon.