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SUZANNE NEVE, CEO

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Upon graduation from the Pennsylvania State University, Suzanne began her professional career in the hospitality industry where she honed her organizational and marketing skills. Managing a high performing Marriott property, she garnered several awards including Manager of the Year, General Manager of the Year and Hotel of the Year.

Prior to accepting the position as Executive Director for FFEA, Suzanne spent five years directing events for the Northern Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce. In her position there, she oversaw the production and execution of over 60 events per year, including the ArtiGras Fine Arts Festival. ArtiGras is one of the largest art festivals in the state of Florida and has been recognized as one of the top 50 art festivals in the U.S. and one of the top 20 events in the Southeastern U.S. During her time at the Chamber, their events earned several awards for advertising and organizational excellence.

As the CEO for FFEA Suzanne is responsible for all operational aspects of the organization, including membership growth, multimedia marketing, and event management. FFEA's 600 members represent the industry's top leaders and the Association serves as a resource to help them perform at their peak through education, networking and the cultivation of the highest standards. In her role with FFEA, Suzanne and her team visit events throughout the state of Florida and United States and they strive to connect, educate and advocate on behalf of FFEA's diverse membership.

She and her husband Jeff have recently relocated to the Orlando area with their two children Matthew and Elizabeth and are enjoying being closer to their family (and Mickey Mouse of course!).

NIA EDWARDS, CONVENTION COORDINATOR

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Nia is a student at Florida Atlantic University and will be interning with us over the summer. She is majoring in Hospitality Management and plans to graduate in December. Nia has served as the Events Coordinator for the University's Business Professionals of America chapter, as an Admissions Ambassador and currently holds a leadership position as the President of the FAU Chapter NAACP.

Get to Know Nia:

What is your career goal upon graduation?

My career goal once I graduate college is to become an Event Planner. Once I've gained some relevant industry experience, I hope to open my own Event Planning Firm and eventually I would like to start an Event Planning Internship program for students like me who are always looking to gain experience.

Tell us about your interest in the events industry.

I've had a passion for planning events since the age of nine - when I planned a surprise birthday party for my mother. Seeing how successful and smooth the event ran made me realize that I want to try planning huge events. What motivates me to continue planning events is to see how an event can brighten someone's day. Think of a wedding or a young girl's sweet sixteen, this is something that many people look forward to growing up. If I can make their dreams and visions come alive through an event that will ignite true happiness, I have completed my goal!

What are you most looking forward to in your FFEA internship?

I am most looking forward to learning new and creative ways to plan events. I want to gain as much experience as possible within the industry so that I will be prepared once I venture out on my own. I also am interested in learning how to plan and execute different types of events which will allow me to step out of my comfort zone.



SHANE PINAK, CONVENTION COORDINATOR

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Shane is a student at the University of Florida and will be interning with us over the summer. He is majoring in Advertising and plans to graduate in August.

Get to Know Shane:

What is your career goal upon graduation?

My current career goal is to work in media and events and help to produce memorable experiences through connections, art and entertainment. A special part of this comes with bringing people together, and this unity is an important part of life. Whether it be in person or virtually, I hope to always be able to bring others together throughout my career.

Tell us about your previous experience in the events industry.

Previously, I worked in New York for a media/events company that held seasonal forums and a yearly summit for fashion, retail & tech executives. I started out as an intern with the company last summer and was hired full-time as an operations manager in January. Throughout the past year, I worked with my team members to prepare and run successful events. From helping with marketing strategies and partner deliverables to operating on-site and managing webinars, I have been able to amass a decent amount of knowledge across the industry.


What are you most looking forward to in your FFEA internship?
I am really excited to take skills I’ve already learned and make them better. It’s exciting for me use prior knowledge and apply it to a new situation. Growing up as a native Floridian, I have always loved attending events around the state. As previously stated, I think it’s incredibly important and rewarding to bring people together, so it’s awesome to finally be a part of a something that helps drive these amazing experiences.


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