UCLA Hospitality creates new events team

We make events happen

Meetings and conferences at UCLA have always been fantastic, but now they are even better. After strategizing ways to amplify the talents of our Conferences & Catering professionals for the betterment of our guests and clients, a new events team has emerged.

“We are expanding UCLA’s meeting servicing expertise to now include the Luskin Conference Center,” said Samantha Chan, director of conferences, catering and events, who leads the team.

To help deliver world-class service and guest experience to a large clientele is no small feat. It takes an array of multi-dimensional talent working as a unified team in various roles – both client-facing and behind the scenes – coordinating everything from handling incoming inquiries and business leads, event preparation and execution, space inventory and allocation to other administrative tasks.

For many UCLA partners and meeting planners, this new events team makes it easy for them to work directly with an event manager. “Our clients now feel they have a one-stop shop for handling their programs, whether it’s an event on the Hill, a conference at the Luskin Conference Center or a catering delivery in their departmental building,” said Chan. “It gives them a sense of relief and comfort knowing someone truly understands their event needs.”

Let’s introduce you to some of these enthusiastic service-oriented individuals.

Gina Alva-Evans has been part of the team here at UCLA for the past seven years. Thanks to this experience, Gina brings a great deal of institutional knowledge to this newly restructured team and continues to leverage her catering, conference services, event management and team-building skills as a UCLA Hospitality veteran.

Cecilia Lopez has also worked at UCLA for several years, starting first as an administrative assistant for Meeting Room Services. Working in that department, she knew she would have opportunities to grow, so when the chance came for her to become a sales and event manager, she jumped at it. Armed with both operations and administrative know-how from her previous roles, Cecilia is superb at coordinating logistics especially at the myriad event locations on campus.

Maddy Samuel is a UCLA alumna who is no stranger to UCLA Hospitality. Before beginning her role as a sales and event manager, she was a front desk agent at the UCLA Guest House and a conference and catering intern. While she left UCLA briefly to work in hotels, Maddy is back on campus and ready to handle programs combining her experiences in the private sector with the unique care of university hospitality.

Luis Amaya has grown in his role with the UCLA Hospitality team over the years. As a former banquet captain at the Luskin Conference Center, Luis understands the operational side of the business and brings this valuable knowledge to the team. His insight on production execution is helpful for clients in terms of understanding timing of service, room layouts, and other aspects required to deliver a successful event.

Natalie Lewis recently joined UCLA with more than two decades of event experience in hotel hospitality and, more recently, non-profit sectors. Natalie’s multi-faceted background has proved to be a strong asset especially in assisting clients in getting creative with sometime limited budgets.

LaTonia Allen is the most recent addition to the team, having come from a hotel resume specializing in conferencing and catering throughout Southern California. One of the unique skills LaTonia brings is that she served on several hotel taskforce teams geared toward newly acquired or rebranded hotels focusing on their operating procedures and standards in event management.

Visit the Luskin Conference Center’s Meet the Team page to learn more about this talented group.

For more information about how you can get our new events team involved with your next meeting, conference or event at UCLA, please call 888-825-5305 or visit conferences.ucla.edu.