Faculty

Y'Anad Burrell

Y'Anad Burrell is a native San Franciscan and the Founder of Glass House Communications, LLC, a premier boutique company that specializes in public relations, marketing, branding, social media/strategic communications planning, event design/planning and fund development/fundraising. GHC has two offices in the Bay Area (Oakland and San Francisco) and their clients have national platforms. GHC provides services to corporations, small businesses, non-profit organizations, government entities and the faith-based community. Education is something that Y'Anad really pursuing and she plans to get your Ph.D. very soon. Currently Y’Anad holds a BA Degree in Accounting from SF State and an MPA degree and MHA degree, both from Golden Gate University. Y'Anad is also the Founder of the largest charity fashion show on the West Coast, Fashion On The Square (FOTS). She has a passion for the arts and fashion and blended the two in the production of the 10th anniversary celebration of FOTS with Fashion On The Square Week. Before going in the PR industry, for more than 10 years Y'Anad worked in the legal field as an Intellectual Property Litigation Paralegal for top laws firms in Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Y'Anad enjoys public service and currently sits on these boards: Board VP, California Diversity Council – San Francisco Chapter, Commissioner, Arts & Culture Commission Contra Costa County (AC5), President-Elect, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), San Francisco Chapter Board VP, Diversity & Inclusion Chair, Assoc. of Fundraising Professionals – Golden Gate Chapter, Board Member, Berrett-Koehler Publishing Foundation and Advisory Council Member, Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD), The Vanguard.


Laurie Earp

For more than twenty years, Laurie Earp & her dynamic team have partnered with non-profit and labor organizations, public sector agencies and progressive candidates to more fully define their goals (tangible and intangible), messaging, identify potential donors, so that success is achieved on all levels. Our straightforward approach has resulted in raising millions of dollars. We recognized there is no cookie-cutter approach to our clients' needs, and a unique plan is crafted for and with each client to maximize the bottom line.In addition to serving as the Finance Director/Fundraiser for candidates and ballot issues, we serve clients in producing Annual, Banner-Year or Grand-Opening (fundraising) events, golf tournaments, conferences, and community festivals.

In addition to her on-hands event planning & fundraising work, Laurie has helped to inspire a new generation of fundraising event planners. She has done this through mentoring as well as participating in Conferences, serving as a Guest Lecturer at Universities throughout the Bay Area, and as a standing faculty member of San Francisco State University’s Non-Profit Management Department; each semester Laurie teaches a course entitled “Special Events.” Laurie also writes articles on fundraising and served as Guest Editor for the Grassroots Fundraising Journal’s “Special Events” Issue.

In addition to her on-hands event planning & fundraising work, Laurie has helped to inspire a new generation of fundraising event planners. She has done this through mentoring as well as participating in Conferences, serving as a Guest Lecturer at Universities throughout the Bay Area, and as a standing faculty member of San Francisco State University’s Nonprofit Management certificate program; each semester Laurie teaches a course entitled “Special Events.” Laurie also writes articles on fundraising and served as Guest Editor for the Grassroots Fundraising Journal’s “Special Events” Issue.


Kerry Fiero

Kerry Fiero began working in the music industry in 1996 as a personal manager for an act on Atlantic Records. She went on to work at a nationally recognized management firm before starting her own management company, Strive Management, which she ran for ten years. Her passion to support & promote the careers of music artists and music professionals has opened many doors in her career: personal manager, tour manager, event planner, publicist, marketing & booking for a venue & award show, paralegal at an entertainment law firm and establishing the SF Chapter of NARIP. She is an adjunct professor in both the MRI program and the Event Planning program. See Kerry Fiero on LinkedIn.


Melissa Pottorff

Melissa Pottorff, CMP, is fast approaching 20 years of meeting and event planning experience. She started her career as a Travel Analyst in the Procurement Department at UC Berkeley, while putting herself through college in the evenings at San Francisco State University. She was later promoted to Travel Program Administrator, after she beta-tested, implemented, marketed and trained the UC Berkeley faculty, staff and administration on the very first online travel booking tool, a tool that has dramatically changed how we all book our travel today. At the end of her tenure, Melissa was negotiating meeting and event contracts for various departments, combining meeting and travel services. Recognizing the significant value of meetings and events in professional services, Melissa left academia and went on to plan domestic and international meetings and events from start to finish for an executive search firm, investment banking services firm and for the past 10 years, an international law firm. When she is not planning corporate meetings and events, Melissa leads wedding and event planning boot camps and provides coaching to event teams, helping them get their "Big Day" plans in shape.


Chris Holmes

Chris Holmes is a world-class projectionist and international logistics guru, with more than 20 years in the production and staging industry. He has been asked for by name to consult for projection manufacturers, the White House, NASA, and Hollywood executives. In the past few years he has worked on projects that range from the Red Bull Air Race world championships, to APEC and the NATO summit. Chris has been a technical advisor for several film festivals including Sun Dance, Slam Dance and the Newport Beach Film Festival. One of his favorite projects involved designing, building and operating an HD theater in a warehouse, which allowed a major Pharmaceutical company to show a feature length documentary to their employees and guests. This temporary venue ran for four weeks and showed to more than 10,000 attendees. Along with his AV knowledge as an event producer, technical director and ARS specialist, he also brings his experience as a professional photographer, to his clients. Chris is a graduate of SF State, and he was once able to do a standing double back flip.


William Swearingen

William Swearingen, M.B.A, CMP, has 37 years of experience in meeting, conference and special events planning. He got his start with nonprofit organizations and has worked with the State of California for the past 29 years. He is also the President and principal trainer for Always Perfect Events, a meeting planning firm located in Sonoma County. Bill is an experienced instructor, having taught seminars for meeting planners and hotel industry personnel throughout the country.