WEF BOARD MEMBERS
With over thirty years experience in hospitality and travel industry Brenda Allen has served in a multitude of roles. After entering the meeting, event and incentive planning industry Brenda has operated as the lead planner, project manager, operational director for meetings and events for some of the most recognized global brands. These meetings and events have been conducted throughout North America, Hawaii, Mexico, and Central America ranging in size from a few executives to over 3,000 attendees.
Laura Varner, ACC, consultative approach to business health helps businesses and individuals discover inefficiencies and incorporate high-performing processes and business practices that create a healthy team atmosphere and profitable results.
Before Laura created AHA Strategic Partners, she was the Owner and President of Expo Chemical Company. Laura was the company’s visionary, and led its prosperous evolution and sale in 2012.
With her vast knowledge, Laura is now sharing her 35 plus years of lucrative experiences, to be a Consultant and Coach to managers, teams and executives. For individuals and companies, she is able to discover limitations, leverage strengths to overcome these obstacles, and accelerate achievements towards any goals. Two of the tools she uses to help identify those strengths, are the Birkman Method and the Kolbe System.
I have served on the board of WEF since 2015 during my time on the board I have been Secretary, Treasurer, President and Co-Chair. My current position is past Co-Chair. I have gained far more from this amazing organization that I have been able to contribute.
Marie B Gonzales
Board Chair- Scholarships and Grants
I am a dedicated Insurance Agent professional with more than 20 years experience. Extensive knowledge in all lines of personal and commercial insurance plans; specializing in working with clients to achieve responsible and economical decisions to meet their insurance needs. As an Independent Insurance Agent, it allows me the opportunity to provide a more diversified policy selection and more competitive prices for those insurance products. My commitment is excellent customer service, exceeding client expectations from initial contact through post sales follow up.
Board Chair - Corporate Sponsors
JT Driscoll is an entrepreneurial, innovative executive with 20 years of professional employment experience. In 2017 his recruiting organization was named by the INC 500 to be the 2nd fastest growing company in Arizona. Recognized as one of the most accomplished recruiters in the US and having assisted more than 3,000 professionals advance their career, JT now consults with private organizations to create hiring solutions that produce exceptional results in a highly competitive employment market.
Kelly Ryan, Secretary, Director and Founder of Super Golf Inc. founder of Premier Media Service Inc., Premier Distributing, as well as being a board member of Fix the Hurt, DV Prevention, board member Women’s Enterprise Foundation, adviser to Pappa’s Kids School House Foundation, member of NAWBO. Ms. Ryan has over 30 years of experience working with start-ups on their “Go to Market” strategy in cooperation with their bankers, attorneys and accountants and specializes in corporate structure, finance and marketing. Ms. Ryan recently merged PMSI’s interest in a medical device company, after successfully executing a large 4500 hospital system GPO contract. Ms. Ryan’s efforts were supported through the members at Eliances, and a Shark Tank investment and brain trust alliance. In her career Ms. Ryan has worked with private and public companies to locate marketing alternatives, along with creating brand awareness in the investment and financial communities for their clients.
Scholarship & Grant Committee
Owner of Copper Theory Creative, a design and print business founded in 2016. We specialize in graphic design with marketing in mind. I always knew I wanted to be a designer, and one of my favorite things to ask a client is “When is the last time you updated your logo?” I specialize in helping start-up businesses evolve their brand and carry that brand through their business collateral (design and print). If your logo is older than I am, it might be time for an update!
Upon completing my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2013, I began working as an in-house designer at a consulting firm. I then began working at Splash Printing & Marketing as a graphic designer/marketer, and then I was the Graphic Design & Marketing Specialist at the Arizona Animal Welfare League. I excel in the Adobe Suites, social media, WordPress, printing services and customer service.
In August 2016, I started my own business, Copper Theory Creative. This business was founded on providing long-term branding solutions and design products to help businesses grow.
Toby Benton, NBC-HWC
When Connie isn’t supporting WEF, along with her husband Bob, they are creating personalized portraits of families, couples, children and professionals. Their portrait studio, Siena Artè Portraiture, is known throughout the valley for their elegant Masters Touch Portraits that are paintings finished in oils and cherished by families for generations.