A pioneer in the entertainment industry, Darren Olarsch began his career in 1989 providing music for local private events. A few short years later, in 1993, Olarsch founded On the Move Events and turned it into a widely successful global entertainment production company. Olarsch specializes in providing exclusive entertainment concepts and high
profile talent for social and corporate events across the globe while based in New York City.
Currently, in addition to representing several exclusive entertainment groups under On the Move, Olarsch consults with many clients individually to coordinate complex entertainment programs creating “One of a kind experiences”. Olarsch works with each client as if they are the only event of the year. In his words, “A successful event has many key elements, but none more important than the entertainment that will captivate, inspire and entertain your guests.”
Olarsch works side by side with the some of the most prolific event planners in the industry, including Marcy Blum, David Tutera, and Preston Bailey, among many other marketing and communication firms as well. Olarsch has appeared on CNN, WE and Lifetime Television networks and has been featured on NBC’s “The Apprentice”, “Platinum Weddings” and “Get Married”. Olarsch has contributed to Modern Bride Magazine, New York Magazine, Bridal Magazine and is on the Advisory Panel of “EQL” Magazine, a new, nationally distributed LGBT Wedding publication. Some notable clients include Uma Thurman, Regis Philbin and Donald Trump. Olarsch has also been noted as an extremely sought after Host and Master of Ceremonies. He has been hand picked by many corporations to collaborate on their events, including Time Warner, Nike, Allstate and American Express.
Olarsch graduated from the University of Michigan and currently resides in northern Bergen County with his wife, two kids, a yellow lab, and a 69’ Mustang.
Steve Paster, President-Elect/Treasurer
Mitchell York runs a Maui Wowi Hawaiian Coffees & Smoothies franchise providing coffees, smoothies and other products for corporate, private party and college campus events.
Earlier in his career he was president of LendingTree.com in its startup phase; and president of a NetCreations, a leading email
marketing company, where he built the executive management team and positioned the company for a
successful acquisition. Mitch was the founding publisher of TechWeb, the first technology website to sell advertising, and vice
president and founder of the Internet division of CMP Media Inc., an international media company. At CMP for
17 years, Mitch published some of the nation’s largest technology newspapers and magazines. He also was
senior vice president of Ziff Davis Media where he published InteractiveWeek, one of the pioneering
newspapers covering e-commerce.
Mitch is also a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and has worked with hundreds of clients in his coaching practice (www.E2ECoaching.com). He is a certified graduate of the Coach Training Program at Coach U. He is also an executive coach for Ferrazzi Greenlight, a leading management consultancy; and for ClientWise LLC, which specializes in coaching financial services executives. He is a member of the International Coach Federation.
Mitch is the author of Franchise: Freedom or Fantasy–How to Know if a Franchise is Right for You After Your
Corporate Career. He received an M.B.A. from Columbia University and a B.A. with honors from Northwestern University.
Jessica Alton | Vice President for Programs and Education
Sharon Kleinberg | Vice President of Communications
Sharon Kleinberg has always had a knack for helping people and enterprises grow. As a young woman, she served first as a camp counselor and then as a group leader assisting other counselors in their development. Later in her career, she spearheaded a clothing manufacturer’s growth from $1M – $30M in annual sales. Subsequently, she joined her husband in driving the family printing business’s expansion beyond traditional ink on paper to innovative digital techniques, large format work and vinyl graphics. The way she has done it is pretty simple: hard work, quick thinking and sharp focus on what needs to be done, along with early adoption of new technologies. If you happen by one of her affiliated print shops late one night, don’t be surprised to see her wielding a blow dryer to make sure the final coating on an important project is set to perfection.
As the owner of Symmetry Lithographers, Sharon is passionate about the creative process, helping clients express the purpose of their projects and realize outstanding results through meticulous planning and service. She is especially sensitive to the contemporary imperative to deliver value in the shortest time possible. She also enjoys educating clients – especially young designers – in the nuances of production. Sharon works with a wide range of designers, as well as both corporate and nonprofit marketing departments. She has successfully delivered projects for such high profile clients as Microsoft, the Anti-Defamation League, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Maxim, BASF, Queens College and the AMC Up Front Awards.
A native of New Jersey, Sharon received a B.A. in psychology and business from the University of Maryland. Sharon currently serves as VP of Marketing for ISES (International Special Events Society). She is also a member of WPO (the Women Presidents’ Organization) and WID (Women in Development). In her free time, Sharon enjoys skiing, gardening, hiking, cooking and entertaining.
Maura is a gifted, accomplished and highly respected professional in the events industry with over 15 years of experience. In her position as Director of Special events at New York Water Taxi & Circle Line Downtown she oversaw the conception, execution and sales of all charter events & Specialty Cruises. Her accomplishments include successful inception of the Charter department, which has experienced substantial year after year growth, and creative event development into new markets such as the Out & About Pride Cruise, Casino Nights & Ladies Night Out series. She executes multiple events weekly and responsible to oversee 9 events on 4th of July alone. She is also credited with the development of the FAM program for event professionals with a two day, multiple partner FAM to West Point as her latest installment.
Aside from her passion, enthusiasm, creativity & dedication to all of her events, Maura also demonstrates superior customer service. Prior to this she held positions at Aviator Sports & Events Center as Director of Special Events & Group Sales and Breezy Point Cooperative as Event & Recreation Planner. Maura is a dedicated member of ISES where she has served on the Programs/Education Committees and the Sustainability Committee. Maura also works with other Event Organizations in NYC.
Mark Musters | Director of Programs and Education
Carol Smith|Director of Communications
Carol Smith is the President and Creative Director of Creative Source, where she oversees design and creative services for all projects. Smith has 25 years of experience creating dynamic, powerful marketing communications, including the original design of the MetroCard. She specializes in branding and marketing communications for a wide variety of clients, including Canon, MTA, TIAA-CREF, and The Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
David Fells|Director of Membership
Debra Roth | Director at Large for Communications
Debra Roth is telling the truth when she says she learned about stretch-fabric from the inside-out. Beginning in the heyday of the 80’s performance art movement, Debra created art in motion by the live animation of abstract, sculptural forms and costumes made of stretch-fabric that she, literally, performed within. And to enhance the theatrical experience, she designed and sewed brightly-colored, highly imaginative stretch-fabric stage set elements – complete environments, all of which became the basis of her business, Pink Inc. BI (before the internet).
Seeing a viable outlet for her work, Debra entered the special event marketplace where her innovative tension-fabric structures and unique costumes have become the most sought-after and long-standing decorative design products the industry has known. Debra has worked with some of the most recognizable brands in the world; Victoria’s Secret, Proctor and Gamble, Macy’s and MTV, to name a few, and has popularized such signature products as the “Tree of Life,” the “Hourglass Diva” costume and the “Circle Surround,” among many others.
As an innovator in the industry she has continued to combine unique ideas and materials while bringing new products to the events arena. Her visuals and designs continue to win awards and accolades in all markets, capped by her recent presidency of the ISES, NY Metro Chapter.
With the arrival of The Originators, Debra is poised to revolutionize fabric structures yet again. The Originators infuse creativity, ingenuity, with a can-do spirit into all of our Design + Fabric Structures! Our creative niche is 3-D space design, fabric décor installations and live special effects for events, exhibits, environments and experiences. Debra stars as The Originators’ co-founder, creative director, head of design and co-director of marketing. She is a fierce practitioner of Bikeshare, an avid gym-rat (we mean that in a nice way) and a social media maven. And Debra has never met a flea market she didn’t want to check out.
Matthew Saravay is President and CEO of Wizard Studios NY, and has vast experience in event production, theater, and television production, branding, marketing and sales in several industries. Mr. Saravay’s work in Special Events has been recognized over the years through the many awards he has won for set design, logistics management, and Corporate Social Responsibility. In 2011 Wizard Studios was named Best Corporate Event Planner by the New York Metro Chapter of the International Special Events Society at it’s annual Big Apple Awards.
Mr. Saravay has served on the Board of Directors of the New York Chapter of the International Special Events Society from 2004 – 2010. His career includes stints as Advertising Manager of Brand Marketing Magazine; Marketing Manager for WABC-TV in New York; and Director of Business Development for Cendant Corporation. He headed the expansion of Wizard Studios in New York in 2001.
Matt Bonaavita | Director at Large for Membership
Matthew Bonavita – President, RHYTHM IN MOTION, transcends the role of average DJ entertainer with unique combination of theatricality, teacher’s sensitivity, an endless supply of fresh music ideas and over a decade of professional DJ experience.
“My extensive training in all of the traditional live performance arts has helped me enormously in the DJ booth.”
Every night a DJ has to read the unique energy of his audience and interact with them. Live performance taught me how to adapt to my audience. The problem with most DJs is that they have no idea how to do this. As a DJ/performer I’m able to make sure the crowd is having the best time possible, every night.”
A life-long Brooklyn-ite, Matt Bonavita was born into a family legacy that included centuries of musicians. Every Bonavita originally comes from Amantea, Calabria, Italy and every single one knew how to play a musical instrument. Not wanting to break tradition, Matt’s instrument of choice, though possibly considered an unconventional selection, is the DJ’s turntable and mixing board.
After high school Matt attended the State University of New York at New Paltz where he transferred his focus from theater to teaching. “I wanted to go into teaching because it was the best way that I could think of to use my theatrical training while doing something meaningful.” Then for three years Matt taught at the same high school he graduated from while at the same time directing all of the school’s theater productions and attending Brooklyn College to attain his Masters degree in History.
In 1998 Matt started DJing with a special event entertainment company where he met his future Rhythm In Motion business partner Anthony Istrico. After working for this company for over four years and feeling as if he could aspire to greater things, he and Anthony decided to take a leap of faith and start their own special event DJ company, Rhythm In Motion, Inc.
In addition to Rhythm In Motion, Matt is currently a Dean at Midwood High School in Brooklyn, NY and teaches Historiography, a study on how the interpretation of how historical events change over time. As a Dean he interacts with thousands of students every day and many of them are more than a little interested in his DJ alter ego. “While assigned on ‘cafeteria duty’ at school I often will be approached by groups of students who ask me questions about music. At the same time, if they are wearing a T-Shirt with a new music artist or if I ask them what’s in their iPods, they often provide me with a complete education on the latest trends in artists and music stylings.”
Matt Bonavita has taken his positive attitude and passion for his work and created a role model for DJs, businessmen and young people alike.
Liz founded Elizabeth Rose Consulting, LLC in 2003 with the vision of utilizing nearly two decades of professional event planning experience, fundraising expertise, staff management and corporate savvy to make a positive impact on non-profit organizations. Her goal is to offer services that are geared towards rejuvenating fundraising efforts for local non-profits.
Liz’s non-profit experience started in her church as a young girl, where she worked side by side with her parents to implement and run various community outreach programs. As an adult, Liz spent over 13½ years at a Real Estate Investment firm as VP Corporate Events, where she was tasked in developing a successful charitable foundation from the ground up giving her a strong understanding of the various growth stages non-profit experience. Her multi-tasking skills came in handy as she oversaw nearly 70 events a year (domestically and overseas), while simultaneously launching a new corporate foundation.
Dedicated to taking a “holistic” approach when working with her clients, Liz believes that customization is key; that all organizations are not the same and should not be treated as such. Her boutique consulting agency has helped over 15 non-profit organizations raise a total of $20 million in the past seven years. She remains committed to making a difference through her work.
As an industry leader, her work has been featured on NBC, FOX, NY Post, Hamptons Magazine, Special Events Magazine, BizBash, Agenda and more. She is a proud member of AFP and ISES. She is a CMP (Certified Meeting Planner) and CSEP (Certified Special Events Professional). Liz holds a degree in Business Management and has a background in the Arts.
With a background in creative arts therapy, Joan previously held the position of Assistant Executive Director at a non-profit agency where she was responsible for program development and operations. Her interest in the special events industry developed during her work as Director of Operations at Mrs. John L. Strong Fine Stationery, overseeing the showroom on Madison Avenue, the boutique at Barneys New York, and workroom operations. In addition to day-to-day management, Joan coordinated the work of an international network of artisans, participated in product development, and expansion of the company into additional US and European locations.
Joan completed a certificate in Meeting and Event Management at New York University, followed by an internship with Empire Force Events. She holds an M.A. in Dance Education from Columbia University Teachers College and a B.A. in History from the University of Iowa.
Joan has brought her low key style, commitment to collaboration, and analytical skills to her work as an Independent Event Planner and to her role as Executive Director for the ISES New York Metro Chapter.