Meet The Team
It takes a dedicated team to bring events to life, and our strength is in our team of professionals – each bringing something different to our creative table. Learn more about the special mix of individuals behind each event we produce.
Joy Wallace | President and CEO
The cornerstone of the company will always be Joy's strong faith and sense of morality. Fueled by her infectious enthusiasm, Joy’s business aplomb has grown, her instincts about people (clients, employees and colleagues) have sharpened, and her sense of style has remained totally unique. She remains involved in the day to day operations of the company, drawn in by the excitement of a bustling office producing something new each day and her love of meeting and pleasing new clients, and of course, instantly turning them into new friends. Joy attends almost every event produced. Seeing our team’s events come to life is truly the best part of the business.
Years of industry experience make Joy an invaluable resource, as she is well attuned to client needs and treasures their trust in the company. A well traveled foodie, she speaks the international language of the guests we serve. Joy has a keen understanding of luxury service and expectations. She instills this into each member of her company. She considers the services AJW provides to be a responsibility – her team responsible for the most important day of their clients’ lives and it is the team’s responsibility to make them shine.
Andrew Smith | Director of Operations
Andrew has a diverse skill set, with an educational background of culinary execution as well as front of house operations. He has prior experience in the kitchen as a chef which is critical to understanding the needs of the culinary department. Andrew’s experience in front of house operations and off-premise catering has made him the team’s lead event coordinator. He is a familiar face at events, directing and training staff to run a smooth production.
Andrew is from Long Island, NY and a graduate of Johnson & Wales University with a degree in Culinary Arts. Andrew is classically trained in front of house service and is also a trained chef. Prior to joining the team, he was a water sports instructor, worked in retail and trained in catering with Russell Morin Catering and Events in Massachusetts. Outside of, Andrew is a Crossfit enthusiast, beach lover and (in his “spare time”) loves a great home improvement project.
Ashley Deoleo | Creative Design Coordinator
Ashley is from New Jersey, of Cuban/Dominican descent and fluent in English, Spanish and conversational Portuguese. She is a huge shoe lover, football aficionado and self professed Pinterest addict. Ashley is a graduate of Florida International University with a degree in Hospitality & Event Management.
Elgin Woodman | Corporate Executive Chef
Elgin’s expertise and candid presentation skills have earned invitations to speak at a variety of industry conferences, educating culinary newcomers and veterans alike. Her work has also been featured in a variety of publications and magazines, both locally and internationally. Honored by the International Caterers Association, she was awarded Chef of the Year for outstanding culinary work in the catering industry.
Elgin is of Peruvian descent and has been cooking from a young age. She is a graduate of Florida International University with a degree in Hospitality Management and Johnson & Wales University with a degree in Culinary Arts. When Elgin is not up to her elbows in pots, pans, sauces and soups, she is an avid runner and outdoors enthusiast.
Fernando Romero | Design Warehouse Manager & Set Designer
Due to his loyalty, reliability and creativity, he quickly grew to become a full time team member after joining AJW 10 years ago. Fernando’s multi-faceted personality and ability has allowed him to dabble in many other roles at AJW, before finding his current position with the admired design division. His favorite part about his job is concept,create and craft sets to be used in AJW events.
Born and raised in Baranquilla, Colombia, Fernando is bilingual and has roots in Colombia and Miami. Outside of AJW, he enjoys watching soccer games, and spending time with his family, which includes his beautiful wife & daughter and their dog Lukas.
Jessica Zeidler | Director of Design Production
Jessica first joined the A Joy Wallace team after meeting Joy at a design event being executed for an on-premise location. Previously, she worked for a private event firm and for the Compass Group at the University of Miami. When Jessica joined the AJW team, it was first in catering sales, moving to design sales when an opportunity opened in the division. Her client focus was on corporate events as well as destination management companies, though she dabbles in weddings from time to time. Jessica still currently maintains several corporate and destination management clients for catering and design as her role has expanded.
A University of Florida graduate, Jessica has roots in Atlanta, Georgia but grew up in Miami. She is an avid runner, enjoys cooking at home and, a true wine enthusiast, is also pursuing her Sommelier Certification. Jessica was also named Event Solutions Magazine Female Rising Star and winner of the AFR Event Furnishings Annual Live Design Challenge in Las Vegas, NV.
John McPhee | General Manager, Vizcaya Musuem and Gardens Cafe and Shop
Prior to AJW, John spent a great deal of time managing restaurants, and this talent came back full circle when it was time to re-open the renovated Vizcaya Museum and Gardens Café and Shop, operated by the AJW team. John is now General Manager, responsible for the day to day operations of running a top caliber café and gift shop. This includes a boutique cafe dining experience, wonderful shop featuring unique Vizcayan treasures, all highlighted by exceptional customer service.
John was born in Michigan and graduated with a degree in Liberal Arts from Miami Dade College. He is a self professed book worm, and loves a great mystery novel! He also loves to travel and stay active.
Jordan Elbaum | Client Coordinator Assistant
Jordan earned her degree in Hospitality & Event Management from the University of Central Florida, but her passion for food and interest in event design led her back to her roots in South Florida and straight to AJW. Jordan is a self-proclaimed foodie and enjoys trying new restaurants, traveling and experiencing different cultures through food.
Kellie Woodward| Purchasing & Product Development, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens Cafe & Shop
With her sunny demeanor, this Auburn alum has poured her heart into the Vizcaya Museum and Garden Shop, procuring the most unique selections from around the globe which reflect the beauty of Vizcaya. Her passion is to further our guest’s Vizcaya experience, by creating enduring memories thru the treasures they bring home.
Kellie is a Past President of the Florida Chapter of the Museum Store Association. Kellie enjoys family, product development, purchasing, travel, painting, reading, conferences, and…well be sure to ask her about her chicken farm!
Kelsey Richardson | Marketing Coordinator
Kelsey was born and raised in Upstate New York , however after many cold winters, and four years of college in Erie, Pennsylvania, she chose to move to the sunshine state, and make below zero winters a thing of the past. She is a lipstick and nail polish addict, has a great sense of humor and a big heart. Kelsey also considers herself a budding wine and scotch connoisseur!
Kevin Cossio | Director of Information Technology
Kevin enjoys working with electronic devices at all levels, including physically creating them. Fun fact: he once created a replacement circuit board to fix the company's Cryovac machine; he added a few new features for extra credit! Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Kevin started working with A Joy Wallace when he finished high school. He joined the company 14 years ago as a waiter, and made his way up to becoming our IT Gem.
Outside of his employment, Kevin enjoys photography, which goes well with his love for nature and the outdoors. Also, as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, he spends a significant amount of time studying the Bible, and assisting others to do the same.
Laurie Linchenat | Casting Coordinator
Prior to joining the AJW team, Laurie spent 20 years working for the Malnati Organization in Chicago, IL. She trained in every area of their hospitality/food business: from orders/cashier to hostess, serving, accounting and event coordination - making her a multi-talented asset to the Joy Wallace team. Laurie was born and raised in Chicago, is a Crossfit enthusiast and enjoys spending time with her family.
Linda Fallowes | Executive Sous Chef
Two cherished nieces later, she followed family ties to Miami, Florida where she planted her roots. Since 1997, Linda has been a part of the family at A Joy Wallace, actively involved in the production and execution of large scale high end catering events. In 2008, Linda took three Austral Summers off to flex her culinary muscles for the science team at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. With amazing stories full of experiences plus several encounters with penguins – Linda returned to her A Joy Wallace home and sunny Miami skies. Linda takes pride in her current role with A Joy Wallace in purchasing and preparing the fine fare that is coordinated with care for each and every event. Linda is a Culinary Institute of America graduate, and in her spare time she loves outdoor adventure trips, working on her home, and caring for animals.
Priscilla Bittson | Senior Client Coordinator
When she first joined, Priscilla was our Executive Chef, having a strong background in culinary arts which helped built the foundation of the company. Later, she moved to sales team, and she enjoys having direct interaction with clients. Her sales approach for the corporate market is one of enthusiasm and education on food from an events focus.
Priscilla has roots in a variety of cities but loves Miami the best! Prior to joining A Joy Wallace, she had experiences as a Catering Operations Manager, Cooking School Director and Teacher, Culinary Events Coordinator and Instructor and of course, Executive Chef of AJW. Priscilla is also Vice President of Les Dames de Escoffier, a non-profit focused on the culinary education of our youth. She is a Florida International University graduate with a degree in Hospitality Management, enjoys reading, gardening and volunteering.
Sabdy Pacheco-Williams | Director of Marketing
Sabdy joined the A Joy Wallace team by signing up for a two week job with the Disaster Relief Services division of the company after Hurricane Ike in Texas. She then joined as an assistant to the AJW Sales & Ops team, then grew to focus on project management, expanding marketing efforts and event sales. For Sabdy, events are fueled by the passion of bringing people together for heightened brand experiences – enhanced with amazing food and design. She was named Event Solutions Magazine Female Rising Star, awarded to promising industry pros still in the early years of their careers.
Sabdy, born in Bad Hersfeld Germany, is of Panamanian and Puerto Rican descent, fluent in English and Spanish. She is a University of Florida graduate with a degree in Hospitality and Tourism, an avid reader and a travel lover.
Sara Silver | Director of Sales
Smart solutions and business savvy help Sara connect with clients from experiential marketing agencies and luxury brands to educational institutions and charitable organizations. She is a member of Business Networking International (BNI), connecting her with a wide network of professionals. In 2015, Sara won the Rising Star Spotlight Award, presented by Event Solutions Magazine.
Candid and witty, Sara has an entertainingly honest view of the world. She loves to travel each summer, inspired by the food and history of each country. Sara is a Miami native and University of Florida graduate with a degree in Business Administration/Travel and Tourism concentration. Sara has a professional working proficiency in American Sign Language and is a proud Make-A-Wish foundation Wish Granter.
Thomas "TC" Chan | Chef de Cuisine
TC is of Chinese descent with a mix of Asian and South African culture. He is fluent in English, Afrikaans, Chinese, and in the process of learning how to speak Spanish now that he is in South Florida. On his time off TC likes to relax at home making BBQ’s “Braais” with his wife, two young boys, and friends.
Yekaterina "Katia" Ponomareva | Client Coordinator
Katia enjoys travel and cooking, and aspires to pick up Spanish & Italian as her next languages. She was born in Vladivostok, Russia and is fluent in both Russian and German. Katia graduated from Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia with a Bachelors Degree in Linguistics and holds a Masters Degree in Hospitality Management from Florida International University.