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Prior to leading Special Occasions, Jamie Carnes was the founder of Design Effect. She used her more than 15 years of experience in event coordination, design, marketing and fundraising to assist corporate and non-profit clients throughout the country. Although she grew up as a Spartan in East Lansing, she spent many years coordinating in both Chicago and New York City.

Prior to launching Design Effect full time, Jamie was the Director of Event Management for RSVP Events in Grand Rapids, where she successfully worked with more than 75 clients each year to raise key dollars and plan stunning, unique events. While Jamie was managing the RSVP Events team, they received several awards including 2014 and 2013 recipient of The Knot Best of Weddings, 2012 recipient of Brides Choice Award, Wedding Wire and 2012 recipient of 8 Perfect Michigan Weddings, the Knot Michigan.

In 2010 Jamie acted as an Account Coordinator for SeyferthPR with clients such as McDonald’s, Huntington Bank, Kent County Parks Foundation and many others. She was also instrumental in the planning and implementation of the Grand Rapids Art Museum’s 100th Anniversary Gala and the Princess Diana Exhibition which visited Grand Rapids in November of 2010.

Prior to joining the Grand Rapids community, Jamie held the position of Director of Special Events at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City, where she, with the support of a talented team, planned over 500 events each year.

Additional experience includes talent and performance management for individuals such as The Roots, Dane Cook, Jason Mraz, Jim Gaffigan, Naz and others.

Prior to leading Special Occasions, Keri Kujala worked in special events at Mercy Health Saint Mary's for over 14 years. In her role she significantly increased the organization’s visibility by planning and executing events such as the Saint Mary’s Annual Gala, Up on the Roof, and the Shoppe Soirée, which attracted thousands of people and raised over $500,000 annually. Other projects Keri lead included organization wide picnics for 3,500+ individuals, the kickoff celebrations, community open houses and public relations plans for the Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences Building, Mercy Health Southwest Campus and the 125th Year Anniversary of Mercy Health Saint Mary's.

In her role as Director of Corporate and Donor Relations, Keri secured corporate event sponsors and oversaw all of the major events and benefits for the strategic initiatives of the President and CEO of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s and for the Saint Mary’s Foundation.


Prior to working at Mercy Health, Keri was the Concierge at Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

Some of Keri's accomplishments and awards include Certified Tourism Ambassador™ Designation, 2014 Grand Rapids Young Professionals Community Impact Award Recipient, 2013 Young Non-Profit Professional of the Year Finalist, and participant of the 2013 Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Grand Rapids class.

Keri's Bio
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