East West Connection’s employees are our greatest asset. We have 75 full-time employees with an average of 15 years of industry experience. EWC also has a network of meeting professionals who work around the world as an extension of our team.Here are just a few of EWC’s team members:

Ralph D. Weaver
Ralph D. Weaver
Founding President & CEO

Ralph has over 30 years of experience in meeting, planning, and corporate communications. He founded EWC in 1990 and has built the company into a diverse organization. Ralph formerly headed East West Consulting, which specialized in marketing communications and public relations. He was director of marketing communications for Johnson & Johnson where he managed marketing and communications programs for the pharmaceutical sector. At Bristol-Myers Squibb, Ralph was Manager of Public Affairs, Consumer and Healthcare.

My personal passion: I’m an avid art collector and interior design enthusiast. I collect works of art during my extensive travels around the world. Making a difference in the lives of others is important to me and I want to do that by mentoring young professionals and encouraging others to dare to dream to realize their full potential.

Adrienne Bright
Adrienne Bright
Corporate Vice President

Adrienne has been affiliated with East West Connection since 1990. She has held various management positions at the company ranging from new business development to managing sales incentive programs. Adrienne currently oversees the company’s Quality Initiative that ensures the highest standards are met at all times. Adrienne also works with government agencies on new business opportunities.

My personal passion: I love food. I spend my leisure time shopping for new kitchen gadgets, experimenting, creating unique meals, and enjoying the fruits of my labor with my wonderful family and friends.

Carol Padgett
Carol Padgett
Vice President, Client Account Services

Carol brings over 21 years of experience in all aspects of meeting and event management. Carol has led the planning of and has managed and executed conventions, medical education meetings, consumer programs, sales meetings, Advisory Board Meetings, Association Meetings and Incentive Trips. Carol has a reputation for excellence and attention to detail. Using a hands-on approach and leading by example, Carol builds strong relationships with clients, supplier partners, and local industry. Prior to joining East West Connection, Carol worked for Hosts New Orleans.

My personal passionI do my best to operate authentically, and to make a positive difference. My quest is to always enjoy the adventures of life. One element that brings me joy is my love for music, especially the blues.

 

Deborah A. Dickerson, CMP, CMM
Deborah A. Dickerson, CMP, CMM
Director of Operations

With a strong background in meeting planning, Deborah comes to EWC from American Express Meetings and Events.  Deborah is uniquely qualified to lead the meeting planning team as she has served in various leadership/operational capacities across our industry.    She is a results-driven professional with 20+ years of experience in global operations management, global leadership, strategic meetings management, and project management.   Included in her remit was the opportunity to influence the strategic direction and implementation of a large pharmaceutical company’s Global Meetings Management program.  Deborah was also afforded the opportunity to manage and support the meeting activity driven by the C-Suite of American Express and other business verticals.

My personal passionSpending time with family and friends is what makes me most happy.  Mentoring is my “passion.”  Two infamous quotes that I embrace daily: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Lao Tzu;  “Not everyone can be famous, but everyone can be great, because greatness is determined by service” – MLK, Jr.

Linda Guldner
Linda Guldner
Human Resources & Office Manager

Linda has a distinguished career specializing in Human Resources and Office Management. Prior to joining EWC, Linda served as Office Manager for Ike Brothers Transport of Long Valley, NJ. For nine years, Linda was Human Resources and Payroll Manager for Gateway Outdoor Advertising where she was responsible for managing human resources in nine national offices planning corporate functions and events, coordinating community outreach, and overseeing corporate giving.

My personal passion: I enjoy cooking and baking with my family, and just spending time with them. I still contemplate going to law school one day. I am a youth adviser for senior high students and love being their mentor.

Amanda Hartman
Amanda Hartman
Strategic Account Manager

Amanda joined EWC with 10+ years of corporate meeting planning experience. Her primary focus has been in the Strategic Meetings Management Program (SMMP) sector for pharmaceutical clients. She has experience in project management, account management and leading a logistics planning team. She is a customer-centric, strategic and process-minded individual with a bigger-picture focus. Her professional passion is effectiveness and efficiency in an empowering and supportive environment.

My personal passion: I love all things wellness – yoga, mindfulness and finding alternative ways to make not so healthy foods healthier. I do love sweets and know it’s all about finding the right balance. I believe all of these cultivate a powerful attitude. When I’m in a positive mental state, I’m my best for myself and everyone else. Mindset is everything!

Sandra Heater
Sandra Heater
Senior Program Manager

Sandra Heater is a Program Manager who partners with our clients to execute patient educational based programs that bring people together to form a close personal and business connection and to help facilitate understanding about disease states through a patient perspective. After spending nearly two decades in corporate accounting and administration, Sandra strives to understand the client’s needs and to deliver and exceed their expectations.

My personal passionI am committed to understanding the needs of my customers and I believe this comes through in my warm yet professional demeanor and I strive to provide concierge level service to our clients.

Cheryl Salley
Cheryl Salley
Account Manager

Cheryl has 19 years of corporate experience in event planning and project management. Cheryl has successfully organized multiple planning projects simultaneously while working as a Meetings and Events Manager for UC The Source, Inc. Previously at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cheryl served as a Resource Manager where she was responsible for contract negotiations for over 60 domestic and international meetings annually. In addition, Cheryl served as the lead planner for Medical Education programs planning Advisory Board Meetings, its Speakers Bureau and Investigator Meetings.

My personal passion: I relish spending time with friends and family.

Spiro Yulis
Spiro Yulis
Innovation and Technology

Spiro Yulis leads EWC’s Innovation and Technology Division.  Over the past 15 years, Spiro has supported life science and pharmaceutical companies with the application of new technologies to solve their organizational and marketing needs. At EWC, he evaluates and applies technologies that help to improve meeting planning efficiencies and enhance the attendee experience at live and virtual events.  Spiro possesses extensive experience leading teams that develop and deploy custom software solutions for the pharmaceutical industry – and applies a current knowledge of OIG, OPDP, and digital privacy guidelines.

Annie Prizzi
Annie Prizzi
CULINARY EXPERT

Celebrated for her reign of culinary catering excellence and attention to detail, Chef Annie Prizzi is well known for her subtle fusion of classic French cooking. Chef Annie’s love of all things culinary began in her childhood kitchen where her grandmother would acquire fresh produce and meats from local shops and farmers.  As a result, she has an infectious passion for food of every kind. Her passion and adventurous spirit are what have created loyal fans around the world. Chef Annie’s passion is bringing fresh seasonal dishes that are good for the plate, the palate and the planet. 

A graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, Cornell University Management Hotel and Restaurant Master’s program and the Simone Beck Cooking School in Paris, France, Chef Annie honed her skills drawing upon 17 years international experience with the iconic Windows on the World restaurant located in New York City. She refined her culinary artistry in Costa Rica where she opened her first solo venture, the renowned Annie’s Bistro, among the country’s most desirable dining experiences. Today she is the founder and owner of Pure Life Kitchen in Southwest Florida that offers wine dinners, cooking classes, and catering for special events and private parties.

Over her celebrated her career Chef Annie has earned several awards. An additional highlight of her career was cooking alongside culinary icon Chef Jean Louis of the Watergate Hotel.

Dennis Williford
Dennis Williford
Culinary Expert

Chef Dennis, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, brings more than 20 years’ experience to EWC, where he is our resident connoisseur of all things culinary. In addition to focusing on the dietary needs and desires of our clients, Dennis is our liaison with venues recommending tasty and creative food choices to appeal to the diversity of our clients and showcase food from around the world.  Dennis is not only a chef, he’s a foodie who in his spare time loves growing food and hosting his friends at dinner parties.

A graduate of the School of Visual Arts in Photography, Dennis is also an accomplished photographer.  A lover of Japanese culture, his bucket list trip is to visit Japan.