Board of Directors

The Association of Wedding Professionals of Greater Washington, DC (AWP) is governed by a dedicated team of wedding industry leaders.  Tasked with managing the day-to-day operations of the organization, the AWP Board works diligently to provide our members with pertinent educational content, efficient member services, and effective association business administration.

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MEET THE BOARD MEMBERS

PRESIDENT

SHARIA BARKSDALE (she/her)

CEO and Resident Rock Star of ECLECTIC FÊTE 

Sharia Barksdale, MTA, CMP, DES is the CEO & Resident Rock Star of Eclectic Fete, a colorfully modern event planning company!  She revels in creating innovative event experiences for weddings and social events.  She is also the DC Regional Director of the Say I Do! Wedding Expo—an event geared toward inclusivity and diversity in the wedding event market. She is also serves as an advisory board member for Prevue Meetings + Incentives and is a member of MPI and ASAE.  The proud alumna of Hood College and The George Washington University, Sharia spends her free time plotting her world takeover, traveling, exploring dope museum and art exhibits, and making epic memories with those she loves.

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VICE PRESIDENT

KAYLA HARRELL (she/her)

Event Planner and Coordinator of BE YOUR OWN GUEST EVENTS

With a little over 4 years of events management experience, Kayla uses her skills of problem solving, creativity, and flexibility to help clients produce weddings and private events. She excels at logistics and operations, and her attention to detail means that events go smoothly from concept to completion. Good at wearing multiple hats, Kayla is adept at responding quickly to changing circumstances, always maintaining an upbeat, can-do attitude. As project manager, she specializes in customer service that nurtures positive, productive relationships with both clients and suppliers. Kayla advances her clients’ mission by making the most of their event experiences. Kayla is a certified Wedding and Events Planning Professional and is top planner with Be Your Own Guest Events. Kayla enjoys traveling,outdoor adventures and when she’s not busy planning events, she’s bartending events as a licensed mixologist.

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TREASURER

Linda Joyce "LJ" Gyimah (she/her)

Owner and CEO of EMBRACE MAKEUP ARTISTRY

Linda "LJ" Gyimah is a makeup artist based in Northern Virginia with over 10 years of experience. LJ specializes in making women look and feel like the best version of themselves by enhancing their beauty. She has worked with brides from global backgrounds allowing her to hone her skills to meet the beauty needs of all clients. Weddings are full of love and joy and LJ takes the stress out of the day by creating detailed plans to cover everything you could imagine and beyond so you don't have to.

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Secretary

PATRICE VAN SICKLE (she/her)

Owner of VIRTUE VA SERVICES

Patrice Van Sickle has over 15 years of administrative experience and is no stranger to supporting managers, executives, and business owners. After planning her own wedding in 2017, she fell in love with the planning process and decided to mix her joy of wedding details and backend tasks to launch her virtual assistant business. Not long after launching her business, she realized that social media is where she thrived! From there she decided to focus her business on social media marketing by helping wedding businesses gain more visibility through strategic marketing and content creation with ease online. She knows how important social media is and is passionate about building connections and creating heart-centered businesses. She is excited to be joining the AWP Board and bringing new ways to serve the wedding industry.

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Site Chair

VIRGINIA PERRY (she/her)

Owner of VP CONSULTING and EVENTS 

Virginia Perry has over 17 years of hospitality experience, including hotel/convention sales, restaurant management, bartending/menu design, music editing and DJ services. Throughout her career as Catering Sales Manager for various hotels, including Hilton hotels, Virginia planned and oversaw over 500 events, including galas, fundraisers, trade shows, corporate conferences and over 300 weddings! Virginia Perry has a Bachelor’s Degree for George Mason University. As a personal consultant, Virginia now focuses on wedding clients, Corporate events and private reception consultations.

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Membership Chair

VICTORIA DELGADO (she/her)

Owner and Lead Photographer of TORI DEL PHOTOGRAPHY

Victoria Delgado is the owner of Tori Del Photography. We offer refined wedding photographs that will last forever through the DMV and beyond.

 

Their photographs consist of both digital and film format bringing a whimsical and dreamy esthetic to all our our couple's weddings. Victoria is married with 3 children and an adorable pup who was adopted prior to the pandemic. She resides in Maryland.

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Membership Chair

HOWARD LANSAT (he/him)

Owner of LANSAT PHOTOGRAPHY / WASHINGTON TALENT AGENCY

Howard started his photography studies at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and continued at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

Lansat Photography has provided professional photography services for over 30 years. In 2018, he joined forces with the amazing team at Washington Talent so that he could focus all his attention on photography while still being able to offer green screen, photo booths and dozens more novelties for events.

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Members-at-Large

JON FLEMING (he/him)

Owner  of JON FLEMING PHOTOGRAPHY

ASHLEYRAE SWANN (she/her)

Owner of CYGNUS STUDIO

WELVIN WONG (he/him)

Owner of W3 DJ ENTERTAINMENT

The Members-at-Large are elected by the membership of the Association and serve a one-year term.  Their main responsibilities are to be an advocate for the AWP membership body of their respective locality, while also keeping the AWP Board knowledgeable of any member concerns and opportunities for organizational growth.

 

The Members-at-Large inspire and motivate AWP Members to find innovative ways to help our community succeed.

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Past President

NICOLE FINGERS (she/her)

Owner and Lead Stationery Stylist of FINGERS IN INK

Nicole Fingers Woodward, owner and head stationery designer for FINGERS IN INK fine invitations and stationery. Her stationery boutique, located in Arlington, Virginia, is celebrating nineteen years in creating custom and trendsetting event invitations. Nicole’s enthusiasm and experience in the wedding industry brings a wealth of innovative ideas to the AWP organization. She has been an active member for nine years and has served on the AWP Board as Vice-President and President. Under her administration, she worked to elevate the AWP Brand. Nicole was known for bringing outstanding events and educational programs for members and followers.

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Past President's Circle

Nicole Fingers Woodward (2017) - Fingers in Ink

Amanda Smith (2016) - White Pumpkin

Tara Melvin (2012) - Perfect Planning Events

Marilyn Patterson (2010) - Joyous Events LLC

Jim Johnson (2008) - The Picture Story Studio

Susan Gildersleve (2006) - Perfect Wedding Guide

Ken Rochon (2004) - The Umbrella Syndicate

Steve Kimbell (2000) - Oracle Band

Marc McIntosh (1998) - The Wedding Experience

Shelby Tuck-Horton (1993) - Exquisite Expressions

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INTERESTED IN AWP LEADERSHIP?

The AWP Board of Directors are biennially elected and devote their time and resources to growing the impact of the association throughout the Greater DC area as well as serving the full needs of our membership community.

 

The next election cycle will open in the fall of 2022 for Members-at-Large and the fall of 2023 for Board Members. 

 

We encourage members interested in participating in AWP as a leader to explore the current volunteer opportunities available below:

Board Member Position - Program Chair

Membership & Retention Committee

Marketing Committee

Program Committee

Sponsorship Committee