About ILEA Austin

About ILEA Austin Chapter


Westwood Country Club

Born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area, Melissa settled in Austin, Texas in May of 2015 after living in Atlanta, Georgia for almost 10 years. After graduating with a Business Management degree from Kennesaw State University in 2008 during a terrible economy, she stumbled upon a job opportunity waiting tables at an established and nationally ranked private country club. Although the goal was to network with the rich and successful to find a more permanent job, her goals quickly shifted to wanting to move up the country club ladder. Within a two year timespan, she went from waiting tables to managing private events as a banquet captain, to the catering office where she hasn’t left since.

Over the past ten years, Melissa has planned and executed events for the likes of former US President George W. Bush, Jon Bon Jovi, Arthur Blank, Ryan Seacrest, Tyler Perry, and many more all through the private country club industry – all of which could not have been done so well without the help of her industry friends. She knew when moving to Austin over 3 years ago that her first plan of action was to sign up for a membership with ILEA, especially since she was new to the city as a whole. She has not regretted this decision one bit since and has formed some of her closest friendships and business relationships all from being a part of such a great and supportive organization as ILEA.

Melissa is a proud “dog mom” to her 4-year-old black lab, Noodles, in which you can find them both enjoying the beautiful Texas weather on the weekends at the local dog park or greenbelt. In her spare time, she enjoys wake surfing, cycling, paddle boarding, traveling, and drinking rosé.


Immediate Past President
Eclipse Event Co. 

Lauren was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. The day after her high school graduation, she moved to Austin to attend The University of Texas. Upon graduating with her degree in Public Relations, she then went on to earn her Certification in Meeting and Event Planning, studying everything from Weddings to Trade Shows and Conferences.

Over the years Lauren interned at Elite Weddings and worked at In Style Weddings and Destinations before starting Eclipse Event Co. with Kristi DePew.

In her spare time, Lauren enjoys spending time with her twins Logan and Lacey along with her husband Rob.

Lauren has been a member of Meeting Professionals International and Wedding Network USA. She is also currently a member of the Junior League of Austin. This is her fourth time to serve on the Board for the International Live Events Association and is very excited to serve in her new role!

Root Cellar Catering Co.

Vanessa Vass has been in the event industry for over 10 years and loves making event dreams come true. She has been the Catering Sales Director at Root Cellar Catering Co. since April 2016 and has enjoyed every minute of it. As a Texas State University Alumni, Root Cellar Cafe was always on the calendar for every Sunday Morning Brunch and when they asked her to join the team it was the easiest decision she ever made. She is a part of event organizations such as ILEA, NACE, and The Rising Tide Society. Lastly, she is a huge nerd and routinely plays dungeons and dragons as well as video games in her spare time.

Kelsey Harrison
VP of Membership 
CEO of Oh Happy Day Booth and Pop & Drop

Originally from Allen, Texas, Kelsey has a degree in public relations from Texas State University. She founded Oh Happy Day Booth in 2015 and her goals from the beginning have been to build a great team of intelligent women, and change the way that people perceive professionals with physical disabilities. She began photographing weddings in 2011, but due to her progressive neurological disorder, she knew her photography career had a shelf life on it. She added photo booths to her service list for her wedding clients, and quickly determined it was a business opportunity she wanted to develop with the vision of delegating the physically demanding parts of the business to a really great team. When she is not working, Kelsey enjoys visiting local restaurants and trying new food with husband and friends, and playing with her schnauzer Bailey.

County Line

Tayler Herrington is a 5th Generation Austinite born and raised. In her spare time she
enjoys adventuring in the outdoors with her darling baby girl and husband or hanging out with
her wonderful godson and best friend.

Tayler grew up in South Austin, graduated from James Bowie High School, and received
her degree from Austin Community College in Welding Technology specializing in Metal
Sculpture. Throughout her education, she worked in the service and hospitality industry, as much
as art was her passion she realized the hospitality industry in Austin was where she would be
able to support herself. Starting in 2013 at The County Line as a server she realized this family
company was one she did not want to leave. Over the years she worked her way up through the
company and was given the opportunity in 2017 to run the Private events as their Events
Coordinator at their Hill Location. Immediately falling in love with the process of working with
clients and helping put their dreams into reality, she realized this was the job for her. In 2018
she joined the International Life Events Association to further her experience and education in
the events industry and was given the opportunity to serve on the board for 2019-2020 as their
director of membership and 2020-2021 as their VP of membership. This is only the beginning of
an exciting and evolving journey here in Austin with the sky as the limits!

Danielle Rogers
Vice President of Programs & Education
Whim Hospitality

Danielle began her hospitality journey as an intern with a local event planning company while attending Texas State University. Upon graduation, Danielle joined the new Waterloo team as a sales coordinator, at their first hotel venture, Hotel Ella – here she managed corporate events and weddings at the boutique, downtown property. In hopes to expand her event experience, she joined the Whim Hospitality family in 2015 and served as an account manager at their 289-acre property, Camp Lucy. As Whim expanded to Austin, Danielle found her current home at Whim’s Austin Event Design Center, where she works closely with clients to bring their event visions to life.

Danielle keeps busy raising her son, Jett alongside her husband, Jason. Together, they enjoy spending time outdoors, renovating their home, and exploring Austin.

VP of Communications
BoothEasy Photo Booth Company

Jonathan Jow has been in the events industry for over 10 years and is most intrigued by how events can shape the outcome of brands and their marketing events.

Deseree Hierholzer
Director of Communications
Premiere Event Rentals
Deseree Hierholzer, CERP, is a Senior Event Consultant at Premiere Events. Over her last seven years in the event industry she has become proficient in tent specialization and site services management. Which has led to her working with varying scope clientele, such as Magnolia Market, SXSW, Austin Food & Wine Alliance, University of Texas, City of Austin, Sea World and may more. She has a passion for networking, enjoys margaritas and most of all she loves her husband and daughter.

Amy Bay
Director of Programs & Education

Eclipse Event Co., Senior Planner

Amy was born and raised in Harker Heights, Texas and is a native Central Texan. Her love of events and southern hospitality was instilled in her at a young age. She went on to pursue a degree in Family & Consumer Sciences from Sam Houston State University. After graduating, Amy moved back to the Central Texas area and has spent the past six years obtaining invaluable event experience. She has worked for various companies in catering, rentals, and floral. But as her true love was always event and wedding planning, she joined the Eclipse Event Co team in September 2018. Amy has been a member of the ILEA since 2020 and this is her first time serving on the board. When she is not planning events, Amy loves spending time with family and friends or in her craft room, where she makes beautiful handmade cards. She also loves movies, books, cooking and exploring the Great State of Texas, especially during wildflower season.

Arrington Grawunder
Director of Membership 
Uptown Valet & Transportation, President

Arrington Grawunder moved from Bedford, Texas to attend the University of Texas in 1999. After graduation he formed Uptown Valet and Transportation. Uptown Valet & Transportation has serviced events for former US Presidents, Grammy Winners, Academy award winners, and many other high-end clientele. His goal is to provide a higher level of service and exceed expectations. Being actively involved with ILEA since 2008 has been an integral part of success and something he considers vital for Uptown to thrive. He is married to Christy and has twin daughters, Addison and Vivian, and a son named Jack. He is also a dog dad to Henry, Lilly, Teddy, and Cooper. He is also actively involved with Austin Angels, Austin Pets Alive, Texas Exes, and Habitat for Humanity.

Thank you to Lisa Hause Photography for the Board headshots!