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Regional Ambassadors

The Ambassador Committee consists of regional leaders who serve as your local point of contact for FFEA. Each Ambassador acts a resource to the members in their region, hosts regional networking events and workshops and acts as an additional point of contact between FFEA and its current and future members.

If you are interested in serving as a Regional Ambassador for your area, contact our office at 407.203.1334.
“Volunteering as an Ambassador creates opportunities for relationships with the leaders in the Florida festival and event community. I get to know fellow event professionals as they get to know me on another level. One of the best pieces of advice that I have received was 'Don't just join an organization to be a member; join an organization to be visible, to further share your expertise and embody your brand.' Volunteering has helped achieve that goal.”
- Lanie Shapiro, Touch Poll South Florida

Central West Region

Central West Region

Kris Koch, City of Clearwater

Kris spent over a decade climbing the ladder in professional baseball prior to joining the City of Clearwater in 2013 holding jobs overseeing food service, stadium operations, sponsorship sales, marketing, and ticketing operations. Kris, along with his dedicated team partner and produce over 50 events annually including the Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival, Fun n’ Sun Clearwater, the Turkey Trot, Maxima Concierto Herencia Hispana, and also advise and permit over 100 other local events. Kris has been an FFEA Member for 6 years and an Ambassador since 2015.

North Region

North Region

David Ballard, City of Gainesville

In his position as event coordinator with The City of Gainesville, David is currently in charge of the “Free Fridays” Concert series, The Downtown Countdown New Year’s Eve Celebration, The Holiday Tree Lighting and his newest creation, Jest Fest, which showcases world renowned cirque and comedy/variety entertainers. David is also a master puppeteer and performing artist. He has entertained at such venues as the Smithsonian Institution, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the National Park Service and Walt Disney Productions. In addition to being an Ambassador, David also serves on the Entertainment Committee and Board of Directors for FFEA

Central Region

Central Region

Maritza Rivera, City of Clermont

Maritza is an Event professional with over 15 years of experience making all kinds of events successful. Her passion is to serve others by using her creativity and sense of humor along with attention to detail by providing quality, award winning, events. She is currently employed by the City of Clermont and is also contracted with Orange County Government. She can be found most days in Clermont, Florida or undercover at Disney World.

Southwest Region

Southwest Region

Elyzabeth Spires, Westin Cape Coral

Lyz Currently has been working in events for the past 10 years. She studied Event Management at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida where she gained her love & passion for events, marketing and volunteering. One of her biggest passions is giving back, all of the Chamber of Commerce events that she manages give to companies like Wounded Warrior Project, Special Operations Communicators Association, Invest in Vets Cape Coral, Cape Coral Caring Center & Food Pantry, ACT for Girls, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer & local public services. In her free time she volunteers with Relay for Life – Cape Coral & Cypress Lake Youth Football and Cheerleading, spends her weekend with family, and owns a cupcake company with her husband. She is married with two furry children Stella & Ice.

Southeast Region

Southeast Region

Lanie Shapiro, Touch Poll South Florida

Since 2005, Lanie Shapiro has been the founder and owner of TouchPoll of South Florida. Lanie has worked with hundreds of festivals, events, conferences, museums and attractions. TouchPoll's services include designing surveys and implementing on-site and online data collection so that her clients can strategically plan their marketing, promotions and sales materials; as well as optimize sponsorships and grant applications; receive valuable visitor feedback, and conduct economic impact studies. Lanie's prior experience includes over twenty years in sales, marketing and advertising, including sponsorship sales for WGBH in Boston as well as Clear Chanel (I Heart Media) and BizBash in Miami. Lanie is a former board member and current Ambassador and committee-member with the Florida Festivals and Events Association. Ms.Shapiro also serves on the board of the Greater Miami Festival & Event Association where she was awarded "Most Valuable Vendor"

Alex Valle


Alex Valle, City of Parkland

Alexandra (Alex) is a proud graduate of the University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management (Go Knights!). She spent seven years in the beer industry organizing everything from annual Beer Festivals attended by 5000+, Ticketed Murder Mystery Banquet Dinners, Infamous Pi(e) Day Celebrations, Holiday Costume Contests, and various Fundraising Events for Local Charities. She realized that her true passion is ignited when coming up with unique ideas for special events for the community to enjoy.

Transitioning from the Private to Public Sector, she is currently the Special Events Coordinator for the City of Parkland. Featuring a seasonal Farmers’ Market with over 100 vendors, The Parkland Dash 5K which benefits a different nonprofit organization every year, a newly added Parkchella Concert, and many more family friendly events throughout the year.

Mechelle Abruzow


Mechelle Arbuzow, City of Stuart

As the City of Stuart's Special Events and Tourism Specialist, Mechelle is responsible for permitting over 300 events that take place in the City. To assist in the advertising of these events, she creates monthly flyers of events and posts event flyers on the City's website and social media. Events are a big part of the City, both residences, businesses and visitors benefit.

Mechelle earned her associates degree in Travel and Tourism Management which empower her to understand the impact of Festivals and Events on local communities.
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