Meet the Team

Speak with Our Talented Sales Team

The experienced team at the UCLA Luskin Conference Center and Hotel in Los Angeles is ready to help you plan your next conference, meeting, event or visit to Southern California. Contact us to request specific information or to answer any questions you may have. We’d love to introduce you to this unique UCLA hotel – a place to meet, engage, explore and be inspired!

Ellen Thornton, Director of Sales & Marketing

Ellen Thornton

Director of Sales & Marketing

(310) 794-1253

What Drew Me to UCLA:

I am a native Angeleno and fourth-generation Californian with local and international luxury hotel sales experience. I am thrilled to be a member of the UCLA community and the UCLA Luskin Conference Center team. I am inspired by the UCLA Hospitality motto of "Hospitality First!" and am proud to represent such an impressive LEED Platinum-certified facility.

Hedy Varga, Senior Group Sales Manager

Hedy Varga

Senior Group Sales Manager

(310) 206-8718

What I like most about working at UCLA:

The work we are doing serves a higher purpose. Every single person with whom I meet fulfills a mission to educate or serve the community in some capacity. We are making the world a better place!

Shannon Terhune, Group Sales Manager

Shannon Terhune

Group Sales Manager

(310) 794-9905

Why I love working at UCLA:

I am thrilled to be a part of the UCLA Luskin Conference Center family! After more than two decades of working in the corporate hospitality industry, I decided to use my experience to support higher education. I have great respect for UCLA and am honored to support the esteemed university. The stunning Luskin Conference Center is truly a unique offering on any college campus, and I am incredibly proud of our team’s unwavering commitment to customer service and excellence.

Brian Tanaka, Group Sales Manager

Brian Tanaka

Group Sales Manager

(310) 794-1137

What drew me to UCLA:

Growing up in Hawaii, UCLA was one of the few staples I knew about the mainland. Once I moved to Los Angeles, I immediately learned of the impressive cultural impact UCLA has beyond being a leader as a public academic institution. I am ecstatic to have gone from vision board to being able to say I’m now a Bruin!

Alfonso Chavez, Senior Catering Sales Manager

Alfonso Chavez

Senior Catering Sales Manager

(310) 794-1173

What drew me to UCLA:

Growing up in Fresno, I always had hopes and dreams of living in Southern California. I moved to L.A. a few years ago and have loved every minute of it. Nothing compares to getting the opportunity to work for one of the best universities in the world. I am beyond excited to learn, grow and be a part of the UCLA family. Go Bruins!

Dorcus Lam, Catering Sales Manager

Dorcus Lam

Catering Sales Manager

(310) 794-7944

What drew me to UCLA:

As a global prestigious education institution, UCLA has a long history of excellence in research and an extensive track record of involvement in the community. I am proud to be a Bruin and to serve our guests at the state-of-the-art Luskin Conference Center and Hotel. I love that our work also helps the university support and reinvest in student housing. This mission motivates us to work harder each day.

Yessenia Picazo, Catering Sales Manager

Yessenia Picazo

Catering Sales Manager

(310) 794-1173

What drew me to UCLA:

There are a lot of key factors that attracted me to UCLA, including the opportunity to express my passion for hospitality in a uniquely creative way to help others and expand my knowledge to serve the community. I also love that the revenues we generate are reinvested back into UCLA programs and students.

Anthony Moreno, Small Meetings Manager

Anthony Moreno

Small Meetings Manager

(310) 794-7923

What drew me to UCLA:

Being born and raised in Los Angeles, I’ve always had a strong appreciation for UCLA because of its strong academics, involvement with the community, philanthropic activities and campus diversity. I’ve been in the hotel industry for the past 16 years and never imagined there would be an opportunity for me at UCLA. I’m excited to have found a new home here and to be part of the Bruin family.

Jeanne Yu, Sales & Marketing Administrator

Jeanne Yu

Sales & Marketing Administrator

(310) 794-7925

What drew me to UCLA:

Having grown up in Los Angeles, UCLA has always drawn a profound respect from me. I admire the outreach and sense of community that UCLA anchors in Los Angeles. I am very excited to be part of the Luskin Conference Center and Hotel team.

Work with Our Events Team

Our team of accomplished meeting professionals works together in this vibrant UCLA hotel to manage even the smallest details of your event. You’ll be free to focus your energy and imagination on making your next breakthrough happen.

Samantha Chan, Director, Conferences, Catering, & Marketing

Samantha Chan

Director, Conferences, Catering, & Marketing

(310) 206-9273

Why I love working at UCLA:

As a self-proclaimed people person, this job is perfect for me as it allows me to meet and work with so many different individuals each day. Though in a university environment, it allows me to exercise my passion for hospitality in unique and creative ways to serve people, UCLA and the broader community. I love seeing and hearing people say they had no idea that UCLA has a venue as great as this! And what we do and the revenues we generate go back to UCLA programs and students, which makes me proud, gives me purpose and aligns with my core values.

Natalie Lewis, Senior Sales & Event Manager

Natalie Lewis

Senior Sales & Event Manager

(310) 794-4792

What drew me to UCLA:

Growing up in Texas, I wanted to attend UCLA. Now I am officially a Bruin! I come from a hospitality and non-profit background, and UCLA has given me the opportunity to blend both worlds. I also admire the university’s fiscal responsibility and commitment to reinvest the revenue earned to support student housing. I am honored be a part of the Bruin family and an amazing events team with such a diverse range of experience.

Cecilia Lopez, Sales & Event Manager

Cecilia Lopez

Sales & Event Manager

(310) 206-3589

What drew me to UCLA:

UCLA is a place where I knew I would have opportunities to grow. I started out as the administrative assistant for Meeting Room Services, where we helped with all event set-ups on the Hill. It would always make me smile to see just how happy clients were when seeing their vision brought to life, and I love that I now get to do this in a greater capacity.

Maddy Tassinari, CMP , Sales & Event Manager

Maddy Tassinari, CMP

Sales & Event Manager

(310) 825-5305

What drew me to UCLA:

There are so many reasons to love UCLA – such as the beautiful campus, friendly people and exciting events and activities that are always occurring. As a UCLA graduate, I am honored to be working at one of the most prestigious universities in the nation, while creating unique connections with amazing clients who are part of the UCLA family and beyond.

Luis Amaya, Sales & Event Manager

Luis Amaya

Sales & Event Manager

(310) 825-7584

What drew me to UCLA:

As someone born and raised in beautiful Southern California, I feel that UCLA exemplifies the diversity of the city. UCLA allows me to help serve our local community and help strengthen our future. As a former UCLA banquet captain, I understand what is needed from the operational side and I bring this knowledge to the team. I also enjoy seeing the smiles on our guest as they are leaving their events.

LaTonia Allen, Sales & Event Manager

LaTonia Allen

Sales & Event Manager

(310) 206-9332

What drew me to UCLA:

As a Southern Californian, one of the highlights of my childhood was touring the UCLA campus. Although I pursued my academic studies at another prominent university, I’m thrilled to finally call myself a Bruin - something I've always felt destined to do. I’m honored to bring my background in hotel sales and events to this prestigious campus. Providing excellent service to students, staff and to the community is incredibly rewarding.

Flor Cruz, Sales & Event Manager

Flor Cruz

Sales & Event Manager

(310) 206-1322

What drew me to UCLA:

As the top public institution in the nation and a globally renowned institution, UCLA has made the world better – and continues to do so - through cutting-edge research and discoveries. I love interacting with the Bruin community and helping them in any way I can. It’s incredibly inspiring. The UCLA campus is also beautiful and inclusive, and there are many great things to experience here and in the neighborhood, including restaurants, art, sports and cultural events. It truly feels like home.

Marites Gaite, Conference Services Administrative Assistant

Marites Gaite

Conference Services Administrative Assistant

(310) 794-7929

What drew me to UCLA:

Initially, I was drawn to UCLA because it is a world-class academic institution with a rich history in cultural arts, service programs and a deep community involvement. Learning about the Luskin Conference Center and Hotel with their commitment to service in making this a place “where great minds come together for a greater purpose to make the world a better place” makes me proud and equally humble that I am a part of this team.