About Us

Mission Statement

To provide a gateway to iconic leading facilities and memorable experiences through comprehensive event planning services for the University of Michigan and greater community.

Vision Statement

We are your gateway to the tradition, the history and the prestige of the many unique and distinctive venues at the University of Michigan.

We partner with you to create a conference or event that is everything it must be. And more.

We work beside you from ideation to finale. For the big picture and for every tiny detail.

We are here for you in every way—from guest accommodations to catering—with seamless ease, quiet confidence and reassuring expertise.

This is Michigan Conference & Event Services.


Ben Belanger

Conference Manager

Ben oversees South Quad and Fletcher residence halls for Michigan’s summer athletics camps. Before joining Conference & Event Services in 2016, he was a Director of Operations with the U‑M Athletic Department. His work there included logistics for team travel. He brings strong relationships with coaches and staff to his role as a Conference Manager. Ben graduated from the University of Michigan Sport Management program in 2010 and received his Master’s degree in Higher Education Student Affairs from Eastern Michigan University in 2014.

Kaitlyn DeVergilio

Conference Manager

Kaitlyn attended U‑M where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Since joining the Conference & Event Services team in 2016 she has been working on the organization of summer conferences and conference planning/registration. Kaitlyn values organization and is devoted to providing excellent customer service in her role as a conference manager.

Julia Fituch

Event Manager

Julia joined the team in 2012 with responsibility for sales, summer programs, conferences and registration services. Today, she provides event planning assistance to U‑M student organizations, university groups, business organizations and private parties. Julia has a bachelor’s degree in German from Wayne State University and a master’s degree in Linguistics/Teaching English as a Second Language from the University of Michigan. Before joining the Conference & Events team, Julia worked with international families in University Housing, teaching English and planning events and field trips.

Bernadette Foerster

Event Manager

Bernadette has planned events at the University of Michigan since 2000. Her background includes experience in multiple catering companies, where she worked in both operations and sales. Bernadette has assisted clients in producing and hosting seamless events from start to finish. Bernadette’s clients appreciate her breadth of experience, her knowledge of the U‑M campus, her interest in anything related to food and her enthusiasm for customer service.

Andrea Garcia

Sales and Business Development Coordinator

Andrea joined Conference & Event Services in 2015. Her contributions to the team include experience in customer service, conference planning and working with students, as well as her knowledge about the university as a whole. As a U‑M student, she worked with both Michigan Dining and Conference & Event Services. Two years after she graduated, Andrea returned to the university as the Assistant Manager of Martha Cook Dining, where she worked until joining the Conference & Event Services team. Andrea is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Business Administration at Eastern Michigan University.

Nancy Harper

Assistant Director for Sales

Nancy’s background is rich in hospitality, sales and marketing, food services and hotel and restaurant management. Her practical experience with weddings, social events, business meetings and conferences is invaluable, both to the Conference & Event Services team and to the clients we serve, whether they are wedding parties, conference planners or university departments. Nancy has worked with Conference & Event Services since 2004 and now guides the sales and marketing efforts for Conference & Event Services.

Chelsea Herlein

Event Manager

Before joining Conference & Events Services in 2015, Chelsea served as a lead event coordinator with a local wedding and event production/design company. She has gained extensive experience with event planning, having been involved in more than 200 weddings. She also worked as a Training Specialist/Continuing Education Coordinator for the University of Michigan Health System. Chelsea takes great pride in connecting with her clients and making each event a success.

Laura Kokkales

Assistant Director

Laura has worked in catering, food service and hospitality for more than 30 years. Her experience working for high-end restaurants, country clubs, hotels and the world-famous Zingerman’s Delicatessen allows her to bring an unprecedented level of customer service and culinary expertise to catered events at every level. Laura’s clients appreciate her creativity, her knowledge of the latest culinary trends and her interest in unique food displays.

Claire Leigh-Monstevens

Event Manager

Claire is a specialist in event management. In her current role, she assists clients, from students to brides, in envisioning their perfect event. Claire comes to Conferences & Events from Automation Alley where she was an event specialist. There, her hands-on responsibilities included the successful completion of more than 100 events ranging from seminars and workshops to golf outings and black tie galas. Claire values the relationships built with each client, working diligently to create distinctive events on their behalf.

Jane Lloyd

Assistant Director

Jane began her career with the university as a catering server while she was still a U‑M student. She learned all about event flow and how to create a sense of hospitality for her guests. When she graduated, Jane worked as an event planner for Zingerman’s Catering, where she planned and managed more than 50 events at venues throughout southeast Michigan. In 2013, she joined the Conference & Event Services team and was promoted to assistant director of social sales in 2014.

Kayla Marut

Event Manager

Kayla became part of the C&ES team in 2015. Before coming to U‑M, she served as an event coordinator at Saginaw Valley State University and program coordinator for a company leading in meetings and exhibits for Fortune 500 brands. Kayla appreciates the fact that every meeting or conference venue at U‑M is different, with something special to offer.

Julie Marra

Associate Director

Julie received her undergraduate degree from Kansas Wesleyan University and her Graduate degree in Sports Business Administration from University of Central Missouri. Before coming to U‑M in 2014, Julie worked at the United States Olympic Committee for six years working in a variety of roles that ranged from Residence Life management to Business Development Manager when she departed.

Laurie McBride

Meetings and Campus Events Assistant

Laurie brings eight years of experience in fine dining, sales and event design to her role with Conference & Event Services. She is currently enrolled in the Event and Meeting Management Program at Cleary University.

Lynne Mydlowski

Meetings and Special Events Assistant

Lynne joined the university in 2007 as a meetings and special events assistant. She is a Central Michigan University graduate with a degree in Secretarial Science. Prior to joining U‑M, she worked for several Detroit area businesses where she held a variety of administrative, sales, meeting and event support functions.

Barb Niemi

Associate Director of Event Operations

Barb graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management. In 1986, she joined U‑M as a Food Service Supervisor, gaining hands-on experience in food and catering management, kitchen production and dining room supervision. In her current role, Barb is responsible for all aspects of event sales management, reservation systems and finance. Over the course of her career, she has had a hand in hosting thousands of events, working diligently to make each one a success.

Rebecca Robbins

Administrative Assistant

Rebecca graduated from Grand Valley State University with a degree in Psychology and is currently working on a master’s degree in Human Resource Management at Eastern Michigan University. She joined Conference & Event Services in 2013, bringing with her five years of administrative experience from Cambridge-Michigan Language Assessments.

Angela Ryan

Finance Manager, Senior Accountant

Angela graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science. She has a minor in International Business and is currently working to complete her MBA. Angela has been a small business owner and has acquired 15 years of experience in small business/international accounting and business plan creation for start-ups. She enjoys creating efficient financial processes and assisting clients in everything from contracts to billing.

Susan Schaefgen

Assistant Director

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Hotel and Restaurant Management, Sue joined U‑M in 1989, working in Dining and Catering as an event planner. In 1997 she joined Conference & Event Services as a Conference Manager.

Eileen Shields

Event Manager

With a degree from Michigan State University in Economics and Food Systems Management Eileen began her career at U‑M in 1981. After four years with Michigan Dining, she went on to the prestigious Culinary Institute of America where she earned a two-year culinary degree. Since her return in 1987, Eileen has been deeply involved in event planning and catering at various areas throughout the university and now with Conference & Event Services.

Lindsay Sorgenfrei

Assistant Director

In 2003, Lindsay joined the Michigan League catering staff as a waitperson and learned the catering business “from the plate up.” She served as a student catering supervisor, receptionist, and special events coordinator before being promoted to Assistant Director of Events in 2014. Lindsay attended Eastern Michigan University.

Jessica Weirauch

Conference Manager

Prior to joining the Conference & Event Services team, Jessica served as a meeting coordinator for the Michigan Society of Association Executives and as an event manager for DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. A graduate of Central Michigan University, Jessica majored in Recreation, Parks and Leisure Service Administration, with a concentration in Commercial Recreation and Facility Management and a minor in Hospitality Services Administration and Event Management.