Meet Our Team

Our people are our greatest asset.

At the Mission Bay Conference Center, we believe our people are our most valuable resource and the key to our success. It's our policy and our mission to recruit and hire people at all levels of our organization that have the highest levels of integrity, talent and motivation. We know these qualities are essential in every aspect of our business. Whether it's providing exceptional customer service, protecting and preserving the environment, or ensuring a safe experience for our guests and employees, it all comes down to our team.

Let our expert staff help plan your next event. Contact us today.


Mark Wallace - General Manager
phone: 415.514.4670

In the hospitality field for over thirty years, Mark is responsible for guiding the Mission Bay Conference Center team towards their mission of being a "world class meeting facility in the heart of Mission Bay."

Mark started in the meetings industry with Marriott Hotels in Palm Springs, CA and Portland, OR. After ten years in the hotel industry, he went to work as the Regional Director of Sales for the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, OR. This was followed by a four-year stint as Director of Sales and Marketing at The Anaheim Convention Center where he was recruited to be the Assistant General Manager in charge of planning and opening the new Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, AZ.

A graduate of Oregon State University, Mark also studied at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Madrid, Spain. He has been a volunteer with the American Diabetes Association for over twenty-three years, serving on the local Northern California Leadership Board as well as the National Income Development committee.

6621_AA_0110.jpgMaris McLauglin - Senior Sales and Marketing Manager
phone: 415.502.2387

Maris McLaughlin brings 19 years of hospitality experience to the Mission Bay Conference Center as the Senior Sales and Marketing Manager. She has worked every facet of the meeting and event industry from Wedding Planning, Conference Sales Manager, Operations Manager and everything in between. Needless to say, Maris has a strong passion in providing exemplary and flawless service to all of her guests and has found her niche in selling and planning the Corporate events that take place here at MBCC.

Maris has worked at every level of meeting and event venues and started out at Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. From there, she transferred to the Embassy Suites in San Luis Obispo to gain a working knowledge of corporate meetings and allowed her to transfer to the Bay Area in 2007 to become a Regional Director of Catering for Embassy Suites. From there she worked as the Director of Catering at private catering companies here in the Bay Area where she has sold and planned events for President Obama’s campaign committee, planned and executed week – long conferences for up to 7,000 people and has been a personal assistant to local celebrities.

Maris has an educational background in Animal Science as she was raised in an agricultural family. All of her hospitality experience has been hands on training and learning by doing; however, she attributes her strong work ethic on working long hours for the family farming business.

JustinM.jpgJustin Martinez - Sales Manager

Justin Martinez comes to the Mission Bay Conference Center with 9 years of hospitality, catering and private dining experience planning corporate conferences, non-profit galas and weddings for up to 900 attendees. Justin began his career as a floor manager at Buca di Beppo coordinating catering and private events for two of this quirky Italian Food chainís locations in the area. Later he accepted a position managing outlets for Hotel Derek, a local Houston boutique hotel, where he was quickly promoted to the Hotel's administrative sales assistant position working with the sales team to coordinate group bookings and events for celebrities, high profile government officials and local philanthropists. Spending time in this role prepared him for a management sales position with the Courtyard by Marriott Houston Westchase where he spent a year specializing in Social, Military, Educational, Religious, and Fraternal group bookings. Transferring to a sister property, the Hilton Houston Westchase, Justin worked to coordinate primarily Weddings, Association Conferences and Non-Profit Special Events with creativity and flair bringing an out of box idea and novelty with him while moonlighting with event coordination at various venues throughout the greater Houston area.

A desire to live in the Bay Area brought him from his native Texan roots where he held positions as a Catering Manager with the Hyatt Fishermanís Wharf & Hotel Kabuki managing 17,000+ Square Feet of meeting and event space opening doors to his current position with the Mission Bay Conference Center as a Sales Manager.

Justin has an educational background in Sociology, continuing his studies today, with additional focuses on special event certifications to stay up to date on current catering trends, practices and cutting edge ideas.

Lauren.jpgLauren Talbott - Sales Coordinator

Lauren Talbott’s passion for event planning started in High School. She attended the Hospitality and Tourism Academy at George Washington High School, here in San Francisco, Ca. Prior to joining MBCC, Lauren held an internship with Warriors World TV, One of ESPN True Hoop’s top websites for the past 4 years. Her outgoing personality landed her with her own segment titled “90 seconds with Lauren” interviewing professional athletes and musicians.

As our sales coordinator, Lauren is also responsible for supporting both the Sales and Conference Planning teams by working towards sales goals and conducting client surveys, maintaining the highest level of customer service at the Mission Bay Conference Center.

6621_AA_0045.jpgNicole Talbott - Executive Meeting Manager
phone: 415.514.4848

Nicole Talbott brings two years of experience in the Special Events Industry and is responsible for supporting both the Sales and Conference Planning teams by working towards sales goals, assisting with the creation of contracts, planning and implementing events, and conducting client surveys, while maintaining the highest level of customer service at the Mission Bay Conference Center.

Prior to joining MBCC, Nicole interned for Glodow Nead PR Firm, and worked for UCSF Special Events Department where she held the position of Special Events Assistant and was responsible for coordinating all aspects of events, while maintaining exceptional customer service levels.

Nicole earned her Bachelor's degree in Communications from San Francisco State University.

8249_KT_MBCCHeadshots_095.jpgHolly Szeto - Senior Conference Planning Manager
Holly Szeto brings more than 14 years of professional experience to this role, having most recently worked as the Senior Convention Services Manager at the InterContinental San Francisco Hotel, and as the Catering and the Convention Services Manager at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Holly’s hotel career has taken her to properties on both coasts of the US and her leisure travel has taken her to six of the seven continents.

As Senior Conference Planning Manager at Mission Bay Conference Center, Holly will be working with guests to plan corporate, University, and social events at the Conference Center.

8249_KT_MBCCHeadshots_065.jpgErica Duncan - Conference Planning Manager
Erika Duncan is a recent graduate of Western Washington University with a degree in Business Management and a Minor in Communications. Working throughout college, she started as a food service employee and after a year was promoted to a student manager for two years. Using this work experience, Erika expanded on the management position by applying her learning to student organizations and community internships. As part of the Residence Hall Association executive board in 2011, Erika worked as the VP of Planning to lead a team of 30 students to fund and facilitate other clubs and organizations on campus. The Ski to Sea race of 2012 was a 5 month internship with 2 other students that put Erika in charge of the community involvement events that occurred in tandem with the race. Both of these experiences put Erika into leadership positions where constant communication, dedicated teamwork and creating and implementing action plans were job requirements.

After working for Aramark in other capacities, she aims to expand her knowledge base in this new field and position as a Conference Planning Manager. Growth from this position will assist Erika in her goals of breaking into the hotel industry one day and becoming a General Manager of a property.


John Finley - Executive Chef
phone: 415.514.4749

Born and raised in Louisiana, John Finley has a strong background in creole and Cajun dishes. He was Executive Sous Chef at the Oakland Coliseum, creating menus for large events and crowds, and serving dishes to champions, athletes, and managers from the sports industry.

As the Executive Chef for the Mission Bay Conference Center and The Pub at UCSF, Chef John Finley brings his culinary vision to the menu with ethnically diverse dishes from traditional southern dishes, to Turkish, Moroccan, South America, and Central American just to name a few. In addition to the diversity of menus, John looks to the wealth of local produce in the Bay Area to inspire wholesome meals for the staff, faculty, students, and community at UCSF Mission Bay. John graduated from Baltimore International Culinary Academy with honors.


August Olson - Executive Sous Chef
phone: 415.514.4749

With over twenty years of experience in all facets of the food service industry, August has been the Mission Bay Conference Center's Executive Sous-Chef for the past six years.
Prior to joining MBCC, August was the Vice President and Executive Chef for one of the top catering companies in the Bay Area.

8249_KT_MBCCHeadshots_165.jpgKenneth Guzman - Restaurant Manager
As the Restaurant Manager for The Pub at Mission Bay Conference Center, Kenneth Guzman brings over 8 years of experience from the Food and Beverage industry. Prior to joining the team of MBCC, Kenneth lead San Francisco's number one Starbucks Store as the Assistant Store Manager. His leadership roles also developed at top restaurants in the Bay Area including Elephant Bar and Pasta Pomodorro. Kenneth enjoys the fast paced environment that the restaurant industry provides. He has the drive and mindset to lead the The Pub to its ultimate potential.

As a Psychology graduate of San Francisco State University, Kenneth also holds a Liberal Arts degree from Skyline Community College.


Sara Hancock - Assistant Controller
phone: 415.476.4676

Sara Hancock brings over eight years of experience in food service to the Mission Bay Conference Center and as Assistant Controller is responsible for overseeing the Accounting Department.

After a career as an educator, Sara was drawn by the lure of good food into the world of catering. Prior to joining MBCC, Sara held positions in the accounting departments at the Phoenix Convention Center and Arizona Mills Mall.

Sara holds two Bachelor’s Degrees from The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.


Tony Dee - Accounting Assistant
phone: 415.514.4676

Tony brings over five years of accounting systems and financial experience to his role as Accounting Assistant for the Mission Bay Conference Center where he is responsible for payroll, check processing, and collections.

Prior to joining MBCC, Tony was in customer service at the Holiday Inn, Fisherman's Wharf, handling guest check-in/check-out, daily reporting, and billings.

Tony holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from the University of San Francisco.

Catherine.jpgCatherine Alesna - Accounts Payable

Catherine Alesna works as the Accounts Payable Clerk- Vault person for the Mission Bay Conference Center Accounting Department. She has been part of the Finance and Accounting Department since June 10, 2010. Catherine Alesna received the Encore Award during first quarter of the year 2014. The Accounts Payable Clerk- Vault takes care of all accounts payable, sets up change for vault, sets up deposits, reconciles receipts, weekly meals report, reconciles credit card transactions, purchase orders, reviews vendors statement, counts bank and month end inventory review. Education and Certificate Bachelor of Science in Biology from Southwestern University, Philippines, Medical Billing Coding and Health Claims Examining, Los Angeles, California.

Catherine Alesna upholds company missions statement: "Deliver Experience that Enrich and Nourish Lives."


Shannan Flanagan - Catering Food and Beverage Manager
phone: 415.286.3899

Shannan Flanagan brings over seven years of experience in Hospitality and Catering Industry and is responsible for managing the catering operations department at the Mission Bay Conference Center. Prior to joining the team at MBCC, Shannan worked for the University of Delaware where she held the position of Catering Event Manager and was responsible for the day to day operations of the catering department for the university. Shannan began her career as a banquet server for the catering department at James Madison University. Shannan earned her bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Hospitality and Tourism Management from James Madison University in the fall of 2008.

8249_KT_MBCCHeadshots_253.jpgDavid Rutkin - Events Manager
David Rutkin brings more than a decade of conference, event and entertainment experience to Aramark. Following a three year stint as Assistant General Manager for two Napa restaurants, he followed his passion for event management to Mission Bay Conference Center.

He started his career as Operations Manager of a high end catering company in Seattle, serving the city’s elite and their international guests. Armed with that experience he moved into conference center and sports arena foodservice management serving as Catering Manager for Centerplate and Levy Restaurants. This experience has ingrained the “customer first” precept into David’s service style.

David has coordinated events for groups as small as 10, with their security detail, and as large as 7,000 in Washington, D.C. honoring an international dignitary. He has arranged a myriad of events ranging from private family gatherings, sit down off-site events held at outdoor venues, Green Room service for celebrities, corporate meetings filling sports arenas and pre-game VIP experiences.

During the summer David returns to Seattle to serve as Operations Director for the four-day Auction of Washington Wine, which raises close to $2 million annually for uncompensated care at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital.