Our Professional Planners & Event Specialists
Sally Webb Berry, CSEP
Chief Executive Officer
Sally began her career in sports PR and marketing in London, England. She founded the company in 1987 as one of the first dedicated event management companies in the UK, and opened offices in the USA in 2001.
As a founding figure and recognized leader in the event industry, her personal accolades include International Event Producer of the Year by Event Solutions Magazine, Lifetime Achievement Award from the UK International Special Events Society, Business Leader Magazine’s Top 50 Women Extraordinaire Award and Special Event Magazine’s Top 25 Greatest Industry Influencers of the past 25 years. In 2013, she was the recipient of the Steve Kemble Leadership Award for outstanding contributions to the special event industry.
Sally is a regular lecturer in event management globally, speaking at numerous conferences, including CASE, IMEX and The Special Event Show, and in several universities as a regular speaker, including the Duke Event Certification Course, NCSU, Perdue, UCLA and Oxford Brooks. She is a founding member and former president of the United Kingdom Chapter of the International Special Events Society, and past regional vice president for the Euro-Africa region. Sally sat on the Certification Committee for ISES and was the first member of the UK chapter to obtain the Certified Special Event Planner (CSEP) designation.
Sally sits on the advisory board of Special Event Magazine and the Event Industry Benevolent Society, The SEARCH Foundation. She is also a main board member of Roger Daltrey’s Teen Cancer America non-profit.
Sally resides in Cary, NC with husband Grant Berry, a professional PGA tour caddie. They have a combined collection of offspring: Charlie, Isobel, George, Rupert and Harry.
Susan Fishel, CPA
Chief Operating Officer
Barbara Taylor Leedy
Director of Business Development
Director of Program Operations
Sara Ellis has a background in business policy and procedure and more than seven years of experience in the event industry, including two with The Special Event Company. Ellis is responsible for preparing client and vendor contracts, maintaining and reconciling budgets, and developing program proposals. In addition to previous work with the company, she worked for four years in pharmaceutical meeting planning and nearly two years in charity events while traveling with the PGA Tour. Ellis holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a native of Dunn, N.C.
As Program Manager, Tracy Adams takes pleasure in overseeing multiple logistical aspects of events and meetings. Her goal is to ensure the client’s vision and needs are thought through and executed to their satisfaction. Her background in customer service management and social/non-profit event planning boasts excellent communication skills, attention to detail and budget management experience.
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Tracy earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH. Over her career, she’s worked for a wireless communications company, living in Illinois and Florida, and owned her own wedding planning business in North Carolina for 10 years. She is an active member in the International Live Events Society (ILEA), having served as a local chapter board member and president, and having served on an international committee.
Tracy met her husband in Florida and chose to make North Carolina their home. Together, they enjoy cooking, watching movies, traveling and most of all – music! Tracy is known for always having a song in her head and in her heart.
Amber Caudle, CMP, CSEP
As a Program Manager, Amber Caudle enjoys working closely with clients and vendors to design and manage various types of meetings and events. Her background in human resources and experience with academic events has provided her with strong customer service, budget management and organizational skills. Amber is passionate about the event industry and strives to provide each of our clients with a customized and unique experience.
Amber earned her Bachelor of Arts in English, with a concentration in professional writing, from Meredith College, and later completed the Event Development Program through Duke University Continuing Studies. She continues to pursue educational opportunities within the industry through her involvement with ILEA and MPI.
A North Carolina native, Amber enjoys camping and hiking, biking local greenways, and visiting any venue with live music. She is an active volunteer, serving as a coach with the Miracle League of the Triangle, and enjoys reading the classics in her spare time.
As Program Manager, Blair Hofmann works to effectively plan and implement the client’s vision and message through all aspects of meetings and events. Her professional experience in the hospitality industry allows her to possess excellent contract negotiation and strong communication skills, approaching them with a client-first mentality. Through this experience, Blair has familiarized herself with not only corporate events, but with academic, nonprofit and pharmaceutical meetings as well. A native of North Carolina, Blair earned her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from East Carolina University. Blair is a member of Meeting Planners International (MPI) and is currently working toward earning her Certified Meeting Planner designation.
Blair grew up in Washington, NC but has lived in the Triangle for 12 years. In her spare time, Blair practices hot yoga, enjoys her three dogs, two cats, and spending time with her son, step-daughter, and, of course, her husband.
Whitney Freberg, CMP
As a Program Coordinator, Whitney Freberg assists the program managers with the planning and execution of meetings and events. Her professional background in federal meeting planning allows her to effectively and efficiently communicate with vendors and help produce exceptional events for our clients.
Whitney comes to The Special Event Company after having worked as an Assistant Meeting Planner at MDB, Inc., a strategic consulting firm in Durham, NC for more than four years. She recently completed the Event Development Course through Duke University Continuing Studies and subsequently received her Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) certification. Whitney earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology with a concentration in Bioarchaeology from North Carolina State University in 2010.
A native of North Carolina, Whitney stays active with running and biking on area greenway trails, and enjoys spending time with her family and friends. In her spare time, she competes in and volunteers for triathlons and half marathons.
As a Program Coordinator, Jayne assists the program team with the planning, implementation, and management of all aspects of the meetings and events. She has a passion for the event industry and enjoys working with clients to develop their vision and messaging into a successful event.
Her many years of experience in development/project management and customer support at a Fortune 500 corporation helped her gain excellent communication skills, and strong planning and organizational skills, and great attention to detail.
Born and raised in Lexington, KY, she developed a passion for college basketball and horses, but Raleigh, NC is home for her now. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree at Auburn University in Auburn, AL in Computer Science with a minor in Business, and later completed the Event Development Program through Duke University Continuing Studies.
She also enjoys designing and making jewelry, working on various DIY projects around the house, and traveling and seeing new places.
As Operations Manager, Berrenda Nelson keeps the office running efficiently by managing day-to-day financial and operational needs. Her professional experience and educational background allow her to take on a variety of tasks including HR, accounting and payroll. Berrenda earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a minor in Human Resources Management from Eastern New Mexico University.
Berrenda grew up living in various locations across the United States as well as in the United Kingdom before moving to Durham. She enjoys traveling and trying different cuisines.
In her role as Marketing Manager, Chelsey works to effectively communicate the company’s brand and message across all platforms. Her professional experience and educational background allow her to take on a variety of tasks from digital marketing, to press release copywriting and distribution, to branding and logo design.
A native of Pennsylvania, Chelsey earned her Bachelor of Arts in graphic design and communication, with a concentration in advertising and public relations from St. Vincent College. Additionally, she earned a Master of Science in media arts and technology, with a concentration in creative media practices from Duquesne University.
Chelsey grew up in Pittsburgh, PA but has enjoyed learning her way around Raleigh. In her spare time, Chelsey enjoys going to concerts, trying out new restaurants with her husband, and, of course, cheering on her favorite Pittsburgh sports teams.
Monica M. Smith
Business Development Manager
Monica M. Smith joins The Special Event Company team in Business Development. Monica’s strong relationships with key decision makers, including owners of Fortune 500 firms and individuals seeking investment opportunities, enables her to successfully connect individuals who can mutually benefit from such introductions.
With a stellar track record, Monica’s innate ability to read people and situations has supported her natural inclination to make those connections fruitful for all parties.
Monica is a graduate of the University of Louisville and the proud mother of Sydney and Nolan Smith. Monica enjoys reading, tennis, travel and attending sporting events with her spare time.
Business Development Manager
Lana Calloway joins The Special Event Company in Business Development after a 40-year career in the trade show and event industry. Her position within the company will allow her to stay connected to an industry that she is passionate about, by coordinating opportunities for special events, trade shows, and conventions at the local, national, and international levels.
Lana served as President and owner of Exhibit Resources, an award-winning exhibit design and production agency in Raleigh, NC, for 25 years. Exhibit Resources was one of the first certified, woman-owned exhibit companies, which earned them a WBENC certification in 2002. Calloway is highly regarded as an industry leader, and she leaves a legacy of award-winning exhibit design and production as an inspiration to her female colleagues.
Over the years, Lana has served in many leadership roles, including Chapter President of Greater Raleigh NAWBO, Advisory Board for Enterprising Women Magazine, Board of Directors for the Women's Center of Wake County, and Board of Directors for the Triangle Down Syndrome Network. She has won numerous business and community awards, and also led Exhibit Resources to become a Certified B Corporation in 2013, reinforcing her commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.
In addition to spending as much time as possible at the beach and checking items off of her bucket list, Lana’s spare time is filled serving as a volunteer with Triangle Down Syndrome Network and Gigi’s Playhouse – organizations dedicated to the support and empowerment of individuals with Down syndrome.
Caroline Sewell grew up enjoying the thrill of Mardi Gras in New Orleans and the pomp and circumstance of Washington, D.C., and always knew she wanted to be involved in this exciting industry. Caroline enjoyed 17 years as President/Owner of her own event planning company, designing and producing events for social and corporate clients. As Event Designer, she brings her passion for design and creativity to produce events with style and flair, never losing sight of the clients’ goals.
Through the years, Caroline has been involved by holding many positions at the local and international levels of ILEA (International Live Events Association) including president of her local chapter for 2 terms and serving four years as editor of the association section found in Special Events Magazine. She teaches “Event Design” and “Starting a Small Business” for the Duke Event Development Certification Program and welcomes any opportunity to encourage those interested in a career in the event industry. She holds a B.S in Marketing Management from Virginia Tech.
Caroline enjoys cooking and entertaining her friends. She loves spending time at the beach, attending live concerts and cheering for her Hokies!
Operations Manager, UK
As Operations Manager of The Special Event Company in the UK, Angie Nicol has handled the company’s affairs since 2006. Her professional qualifications and experience across a broad range of businesses have been invaluable to her in this role. As a Fellow Member of the AAT, with a license to practice, along with being P/Q CIMA, Angie has owned and managed various businesses in cabinet-making and general aviation — she has even owned her own aircraft.
Angie Moved to London from her home town of Bristol in 1970, and has two children of her own, plus, having spent 10 years as an Adolescent Foster Carer, she has an extended family — in all six children and five grandchildren. Angie loves to travel, her favorite place being Sri Lanka, where she goes on safari with her daughter who is a keen photographer, in search of the leopards in Yala National Park. She also enjoys the West End shows. Her hobbies include restoration and garden design. She has recently completed the restoration of her 19th century cottage in Chelmsford.