Meet the Team

A Highly Experienced Team

Makes the Difference

Our

Team

East West Connection’s employees are our greatest asset. We have 32 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. Our vast knowledge of the field helps to provide the unrivaled experience our clients have come to love. Here are just a few of EWC’s team members:

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.

Deborah A. Dickerson

Chief Operating Officer

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.

Adrienne Bright

Executive Vice President

Adrienne is EWC’s Executive Vice President and has been affiliated with EWC since its inception. She is one of the company’s strategic influencers. Adrienne has held various management positions in the company ranging from managing quality initiatives to ensure the highest quality standards are met to overseeing procurement and the development of incentive gift programs. Adrienne currently is responsible for maximizing East West Connection’s Financial and Administrative performance. This encompasses Finance, Human Resources, Design, Compliance, Procurement, Public Relations and Marketing, Technology and the Culinary Consortium. A graduate of Howard University, Adrienne previously was in the Marketing Department at MCI and the Procurement Department for Logicon.

Carol Padgett

Vice President, Data Security Compliance & EWC Institute

Carol has 21 years of experience in all aspects of meeting and event management as well as directing and managing teams. In her role as EWC’s Vice President, Data Security, Compliance & EWC Institute, Carol is responsible for overseeing our systems and processes to ensure that our staff is trained and actively working within data, privacy and security standards. Carol works in partnership with EWC’s teams and is propelling EWC by developing the EWC Institute – an innovative initiative that will allow EWC to develop aspiring diverse talent for strategic meetings (in-person & virtual), events, and incentive programs.  Prior to joining EWC, Carol was with USA Hosts where she was responsible for managing the team of meeting planners in the New Orleans office of this international destination management company.

Cheryl Salley

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

389 Pittstown Road
Pittstown, NJ 08867
(p) 908.713.9655