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.

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.

Elaine Hanke


Elaine Hanke joined the University in February, 2017, coming from the University of Nevada Las Vegas where she was the Associate Director, Student Union and Event Services. Her experience is rich in managing campus-wide events and conferences, ranging from cheer-leading camps to US presidential visits. Most recently, she served on the Presidential Debate Technical Committee (UNLV was the final 2016 Presidential debate host site) where she handled broadcast network media staging and contracts. Elaine has experience working collaboratively with student organizations, community partners, departments, and commercial groups. Elaine’s vision for Conference & Event Services is to be recognized as the event experts on campus with the team having a reputation for creating exceptional client experiences.

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.

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.

Laura Newhouse

Full-Service Conference and Summer Operations Manager

Laura joins our team of full-service conference and summer operations managers at CES and is running the Wolverine Summer Camp program. Laura first connected with CES when she worked as an intern in the summer of 2016. She received a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Central Michigan University, a master’s degree in Higher Education Student Affairs from Eastern Michigan University, and went on to work in donor programs at the Ross School of Business. Laura was born in Ypsilanti but now resides in Pinckney. When she’s not at work you’ll find her renovating her home or, if the weather is warm, enjoying time outside. She’s excited to be back with CES and we’re so happy to have her.

Angela Otto

Sales Manager

Bringing 15 years of experience, knowledge and connections to Conference & Events Services, Angela is the perfect candidate to lead our dynamic conference sales team. Prior to joining us as sales manager, she served as director of sales at the Residence Inn Marriott Novi. Angela studied philosophy and history at Eastern Michigan University. When she’s not at work she enjoys musical theatre and equestrian sports.

Jennifer Pomerantz

Full Conference and Summer Operations Manager

An Ann Arbor native, Jennifer brings 10+ years in hospitality and event planning to Conference & Event Services. She attended Bowling Green State University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Hospitality Management. Jennifer spent many years in the luxury hotel sector (St. Regis and Ritz-Carlton) before returning to Ann Arbor to work for a well-known local catering firm. She joined the University in 2017.

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.

Michael Sydlowski

Associate Director of Sales

Michael has extensive experience in contract negotiation, sales, strategic planning and personnel management. He served as the General Manager of Freedom Hill Amphitheatre and was responsible for sales, marketing, operations, guest services, PR and finance. He also served as the V.P. of Sales and Marketing at Michigan International Speedway where he managed a team of 18 full-time employees. Michael’s resume also includes university experience, having worked at the University of Toledo, Old Dominion University, the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Kent State University.

Jessica Weirauch

Interim Associate Director

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.

Lauren Yanakeff

Event Manager

Lauren is dedicated to planning successful and memorable events. With over five years of experience in the event planning industry, she enjoys building strong relationships with clients. When Lauren is not busy planning seamless events, you can find her cooking and enjoying time outside. Lauren is a graduate of the School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University, where she also competed as a varsity student-athlete.