People in the News

Stephen Graham

Chief Operations Officer at the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Stephen Graham, has announced his retirement after more than 19 years with the company. Graham oversaw SPE’s portfolio of shows around the world, leading the management of 100-150 shows each year. Graham also served as the Executive Director of the Offshore Technology Conference, expanding it from one annual Houston-based event to several more around the world.

Reach Stephen Graham at or +1 (972) 952 9517

Lissa Frenkel

The Charleston Gaillard Center in Charleston, S.C., has announced that Lissa Frenkel will be its new Chief Executive Officer. Frenkel joins the Center after serving as managing director of the Park Avenue Armory for 15 years, during which she grew the operating budget from $6 million to $27 million and lead the $165 million redevelopment project on the Armory building.

Reach Lissa Frenkel, CEO, at or +1 (843) 724-5212

Sonia Thomas

Sonia Thomas, previously Chief Operations Officer of UFI, joins jwc GmbH as a Senior Consultant. Thomas brings 15 years of experience to her new role at jwc and balances advising with serving as a part-time professor at the Dauphine University in Paris and a team coach for the Master’s in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the HEC Business School.

Reach Sonia Thomas, Senior Consultant, at or +33 769 87 37 70

Thad Lurie

Thad Lurie, CAE, CIP, has been named as Executive Vice President of Events at Community Brands, a management and accounting software service provider for associations, nonprofits, K-12 schools and faith-based-groups. Lurie joins the Community Brands leadership team after previously spending three years at Maritz Global Events as Vice President of Business Intelligence and Performance.

Reach Thad Lurie, Executive Vice President of Events, at or 727-827-0046

Raymond Bianchi

AE Ventures has named Raymond L. Bianchi as their Director of Business Development-Rural Innovator Events. In this role, Bianchi will direct the launch of a new portfolio of events for AE Ventures that highlight rural innovators in agriculture, health and infrastructure. Bianchi brings years of experience in show management and direction to his new role at AE Ventures.

Reach Raymond L. Bianchi, Director of Business Development, Rural Innovator Events, at or 708-620-9738

Douglas Lugo

Douglas E. Lugo, CEM, has been appointed to the Event Director of the INTERPHEX trade show by Reed Exhibitions US. Lugo brings his decades of experience directing events and working with organizers and associations to bear as he takes the lead of the New York-based pharmaceutical and biotechnology event.

Reach Douglas Lugo, Event Director of INTERPHEX, at or 203 840 5997

Jim Kelley

Corporate Event Marketing Association (CEMA) has announced Jim Kelley as a 2021 Board member. CEMA provides networking opportunities and promotes industry standards. Kelley, Vice President, Marketing & Industry Relations of Fern Expo, was named CEMA’s Secretary. Kelley has worked in the events industry since 1987.

Reach Jim Kelley, Vice President, Marketing & Industry Relations, at or 781-314-1992 

Informa Markets Elevates Michael Duck to Vice President — Commercial Development

Michael Duck

Informa Markets has named Michael Duck Executive Vice President of Commercial Development. He brings more than 30 years of experience to his new role. Duck previously served as Informa Markets’ Executive Vice President of Asia. As Executive Vice President of Commercial Development, he will build relationships through Mergers, Acquisitions and the internationalization of brands.

Reach Michael Duck, Executive Vice President, at or 852 2827 6211

Cathy Breden

Cathy BredenCMP, CAE, CEM, was selected as The Events Industry Council’s (EIC) 2021 Chair-Elect. EIC is the the umbrella organization for the global meetings and events industryBreden is IAEE’s Executive Vice President and COO. Breden also serves as CEO of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR).  

Reach Cathy Breden, Executive Vice President, COO, at or (972) 687-9201

Anna Dycheva-Smirnova

Anna Dycheva-Smirnova has been named CEO of Reed Exhibitions UK. In her new position, she will oversee World Travel Market and The London Book Fair. This role is in addition to her position of CEO of Russia, Turkey and the Middle East. Dycheva-Smirnova has been with Reed Exhibitions for 13 years.

Reach Dycheva-Smirnova, CEO, at or +44 20 8271 2134