About ILEA Austin Chapter
MEET OUR PRESIDENT
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
Sara Champagne is a Louisiana girl by birth, but a Texan at heart. Raised in Southeast Texas for most of her life, Sara made the move to Austin in 2012. After graduating from Lamar University, she worked in non-profit and business management roles. Being involved in the planning processes of company events in her previous roles was something that Sara always enjoyed, and she made the decision to transition full time into the world of events in 2014. Sara has been working as the Sr Event Producer for MYEVENTISTHEBOMB since that time.
Always up for an adventure, in her free time, Sara can be found on the trails with her pup, paddle boarding/kayaking, or getting out of town for a quick road trip!
I absolutely love the dynamic of the event industry in Austin as well as the amazing opportunities for building relationships, collaboration and professional development that I have found in my involvement with ILEA!
Vice President of Communications
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.
Vice President of Programs & Education
Big Time Creatives
David originally hails from St. Louis, Missouri but moved to Austin in 1998. With a background in art, merchandising, and education, and heart for non-profit work, David began his events career working for the Austin Museum of Art, the Austin Humane Society, and the Thinkery. From art openings, galas, fundraisers, executive luncheons to weddings and rehearsal dinners — no event is too small and David brings the same attention to detail to each event.
David is also the biggest nerd you will ever meet. He is equally passionate about video games, comic books, and movies as he is with Art, interior design, and fashion... with him, you never know what you're going to get.
Vice President of Membership 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!
Director of Communications
BoothEasy Photo Booth CompanyJonathan 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.
Director of Programs & Education
Lover of Jesus, the mountains and cats, Crissalane Discher is the owner and principal designer of Disch Events, based out of Dripping Springs, Texas specializing in event floral and lighting design. When she’s not designing events, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Johnny, son, Holz (4), and daughter Kennedy (2).
A native Texas, Crissalane earned her BA in Marketing, her BA in Advertising, and a minor in philosophy from SMU in Dallas, TX. Upon graduation, she moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas where she earned her MA in Advertising. Closing the door on corporate America by leaving IBM in 2009, Crissalane and her husband started their own company in 2010. Disch Events recently took home a Texas Star Award and an ASE for their contribution to an ILEA Team effort event and is nominated for the ESPIRIT award for best wedding from $75,000-$150,000 category. Winners will be announced in August at the ILEA LIVE Conference in Minneapolis. Crissalane’s life hint that she practices both personally and professionally is to invest in others, and they too will invest in you.
Director of Programs & Education
The Peached Tortilla
After graduating from Texas Tech, Lora Null relocated from her hometown of Lubbock to embark on her latest adventure in Austin, Texas. Known worldwide for its diverse array of cuisine, culture, and music, Austin was the perfect place for her to begin honing her event-planning craft and create a name for herself. Lora hit the ground running and has managed weddings and events for distinguished companies such as High Beam, Red Velvet Events, Whole Foods, and Speakeasy, which have all helped pave the way to join The Peached Tortilla Team in 2016.
Lora has been a member of ILEA since 2017 and this will be her first year on the board.
In her spare time, Lora can be found sipping margaritas by the pool, cooking for friends, exploring Hill Country Real Estate, or catching a show at Greune Hall.
I am Jordan Flowers. I like to say that I did not choose the flower life, it chose me. Our Flowers family has been passionate about flowers and gardening for generations. From farms to gardens we LOVE what we do and we hope to bring the same flowers love and passion to everyone.
I am a Texas native and grew up in the beautiful Texas Hill Country area. In 2005 I got my first job at the local flower shop. It was love at first smell. My passion and love of the industry continued throughout high school and college where I continued working in floral design and special events jobs while working on my BA in Education. After moving to Austin and working under one of the top flower shops in the nation I decided teaching was not my passion. Instead, I decided to open my own flower shop specializing in events only to allow me to concentrate on the two most important things in my life; family and flowers.
If I am not designing an event, I am running/peddling around town with our son or volunteering with Meals On Wheels or Senior Access. I have been a proud member of the Texas Floral Association and a contributing writer for Texas In Bloom Magazine since 2013.
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.
Thank you to BoothEasy Photo Booth Company for the Board headshots!