Our Professional Planners & Event Specialists
Sally Webb Berry, CSEP
Chief Executive Officer
Sally Webb CSEP is CEO of The Special Event Company with offices in North Carolina, USA and London, England. Sally founded TSEC in 1987 from a background in sports PR and marketing.
The Special Event Company delivers live communications through events and for a diverse clientele in education, financial services, technology, pharmaceuticals, media, manufacturing, sports and non-profits. Over the past three decades, Sally has produced events in over 25 countries throughout Europe, USA, Africa, South America and Asia.
The company has won over 40 international event management awards for their work. Her personal accolades include International Event Producer of the Year by Event Solutions Magazine in 2004, Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Special Events Society (ISES) in 2008, Business Leader Magazines Top 50 Women Extraordinaire Award in 2010 and Special Event Magazines Top 25 Greatest Industry Influencers of the past 25 years in 2011. In January 2013 she was the recipient of the Special Events Leadership Award for outstanding contributions to the Special Event Industry.
She is a regular lecturer in event management globally, speaking at numerous conferences and in many universities and is a founding member and former President of the International Special Events Society in the UK, before moving to the US in 2005.
Sally is a founding board member of Roger Daltrey & Pete Townshend’s The Who Cares: Teen Cancer America organization www.teencanceramerica.com, and heads the initiative to bring Teen Cancer facilities to North Carolina.
She lives in Cary, NC with her husband Grant Berry, who is a professional caddie on the PGA Tour.
Susan Fishel, CPA
Chief Operating Officer
Susan joined The Special Event Company in July 2015 with 20+ years of diversified financial experience in accounting, business management, auditing, financial reporting, and analysis. As Chief Operating Officer, she provides leadership, management, and vision for the Company as our market continues to grow.
Susan began her career with KPMG Accounting Firm auditing many companies across diverse industries. Since then, she has held management positions in various markets with the most recent one being in the trade show industry. Susan brings enthusiasm and focus to the team and strives to help each team member be the best they can be.
Chief Financial Officer
John Kurtzweil comes to The Special Event Company after 19 years in a chief financial officer role for multiple publicly traded technology companies. Most recently, he served as VP of Finance of Cree, Inc. and Chief Financial Officer of Wolfspeed, a Cree company. Prior to that, he served as Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Special Advisor to the CEO of Extreme Networks, Inc. He brings significant senior executive leadership experience, having spent nineteen years as chief financial officer of publicly traded technology companies.
In his role, John will assist with managing the company's significant growth within the last few years and continue to develop the overall business strategy and financial plans for future growth.
Barbara Taylor Leedy
Director of Business Development
Barbara began her career in meeting and event planning on Wall Street coordinating shareholder meetings and incentive trips for Alliance Capital Management where she rose to Assistant Vice President of Marketing. After taking time off to raise three sons, she returned to the workforce as part of the start-up airline ExpressJet based out of RDU Airport. She later joined the first management team for the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) working from construction phase through the opening season. As the Front of House Manager, she hired and trained all ushers and staff while overseeing day-of-show guest operations. Barbara then transitioned to the hotel industry working as Director of Corporate Sales for a local hotel management company for six years. In 2015, Barbara joined Sally Webb and the TSEC team as Director of Business Development, having first met Sally when TSEC managed the grand opening and ribbon cutting at DPAC during her tenure there.
During her free time, Barbara enjoys attending college football and basketball games, playing golf, and attending lectures as an active member of the World Affairs Council of Charlotte and the Guilford College Bryan Series. She enjoys traveling with favorite trips including Europe, Russia, Slovenia, and Cuba.
She received her B.S. in Marketing from Fordham University and her MBA in International Marketing and Finance from Pace University, both in NYC. Barbara is a native New Yorker who has resided in Durham for over 20 years.
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.
Tracy L. Adams
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
Senior Program Manager
Our Senior 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.
In her role 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
Senior Program Coordinator
As a Senior 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 Program Coordinator, Lauryn Amick assists in the planning and implementation of programs. She has a passion for working with her team to realize each client’s vision.
Lauryn’s interest in the event industry stems from a young age, when she was exposed and introduced to corporate events in various countries. Her interest grew when she attended North Carolina State University and began studying Program Management. Lauryn recently earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, with a concentration in Program Management. She began her journey with The Special Event Company as an intern, where she learned the operations of the company and the effectiveness of its teamwork.
Lauryn is a native to Emerald Isle, North Carolina, however she spent a number of her earlier years living in other states and countries, including Canada and England. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her family and friends, trying new restaurants and cuisines, and visiting her hometown beach.
Brooklyn Ladd joins The Special Event Company as a Program Coordinator. She has a background in event coordination and planning for a not-for-profit financial cooperative. Brooklyn enjoys working with clients to exceed their expectations from concept to completion.
Brooklyn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Family and Consumer Sciences from Meredith College and is a native of North Carolina. She and her husband love to travel to the beach and attend concerts and baseball games. Outside of her love for events, Brooklyn also enjoys staying active by running and paddle boarding.
Jayne Regan joins the team as Program Coordinator, where 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.
Stacey Phillips Webb
Production and Sourcing Manager
As the Production and Sourcing Manager, Stacey Phillips Webb utilizes her strong event planning background and her training in theatre and stage management to be a part of a team that produces impactful and successful events for clients.
She has worked in the event planning arena for the past six years and takes great pleasure in having a job that allows her to be creative and to utilize her years of training in communications, advertising and graphic design, as well her experiences as an actress and stage manager.
Stacey enjoys spending time with her husband, two young daughters and Australian Shepherd. You can always catch her and her family in Chapel Hill to cheer on their Tar Heels!
“I feel truly fortunate that I have found a career that incorporates my passion to make others look and feel like stars.”
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.
Zil Senczy began with The Special Event Company in May of 2017. As Accounting Manager, she oversees the day-to-day financial functions of the company. Her five years of experience in the accounting industry have provided her the opportunity to work within the areas of personal and business tax, sales tax, accounts payable, accounts receivable, strategic planning, and process improvement.
Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Zil relocated to North Carolina to attend Elon University, where she received her bachelors of Science in Accounting and her Bachelors of Science in Management. She enjoys spending her time doing acro yoga and relaxing with her two cats and German Shepherd.
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.
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!
Though Grant Berry is a PGA Tour caddie by profession, he dedicates his spare time and creativity to The Special Event Company in our Props Department, helping to design and construct props and other needs for events.
Grant has been a PGA Tour caddie for over 30 years and has participated in the European, Australian, Asian and US PGA Tours for over 60 professional golfers including: Daniel Berger (present), Henrik Stenson, Carl Pettersson, Thomas Bjorn, Jesper Parnevik, Gordon Brand Jr., Howard Clark, Russell Claydon, Anders Forsbrand, Richard Johnson, Tom Gillis.
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.