Midcourse Corrections is the online home and blog of Velvet Chainsaw Consulting, Inc. Jeff, Dave, Sarah and Donna blog on Midcourse Corrections about annual meeting improvement, association and corporate meetings and education, and the convergence of Web 2.0, social media, meetings, events and education.

Dave Lutz

About the Velvet Chainsaw Consulting Team 

Dave Lutz, President

Dave Lutz, better known as the Managing Director or “the boss”Dave Lutz is a business improvement consultant specializing in the convention & meeting industry. His clients include a number of industry leading technology and service providers, CVB’s, Hotels and associations. Prior to going down the consulting road, Dave was with Experient for 22 years where he ran the two largest operating divisions. Dave is certified in Lean Processes & DFSS for Six Sigma, is on the board of directors for Passkey and is a Certified Meeting Professional. He has a regular column in Convene on Performance Excellence.

Jeff Hurt, Executive Vice President, Education and Engagement


Jeff Hurt

Jeff Hurt joined Velvet Chainsaw Consulting in January 2010 and currently serves as Executive Vice President, Education and Engagement. In 2012, he was recognized as the PCMA 2011 Educator of the Year. Jeff has worked in leadership roles with five associations, five government organizations and several companies in the education, events and meetings departments, including Meetings Professionals International and Promotional Products Association International, one of the top 50 shows in the industry.

Sarah Michel

Sarah Michel

Sarah Michel, Vice President, Professional Connexity

Sarah Michel is a meetings architect with 15+ years of experience designing one-of-a-kind meetings that matter. Her vast knowledge of next-generation learning and facilitation skills help design dynamic meetings, rich in networking and peer-to-peer interactions to assure return on attendance. Sarah is a nationally recognized professional speaker and the creator of the NetWORTHing™ process. As a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), Sarah has keynoted and facilitated sessions to help audiences be more effective connectors. She is the author of Perfecting Connecting©, A Guide to Mastering Networking in the Workplace. Sarah served as a national board member and convention chair for the National Speakers Association and lives with her family in Colorado Springs.

Wendy Holliday, VP, Attendee Acquisition & Experience

Wendy Holliday joined VCC in September, 2013. Wendy is a seasoned association professional with significant expertise in strategic sponsorship, marketing and membership. For the past seven years, Wendy has served as the Vice President, Marketing and Member Services for the National Association of College Stores where she drove the a plan that increased sponsorship revenue by over 300% over a four year period. Prior to joining NACS, she was responsible for strategic partnerships for Certified Angus Beef.

Donna Kastner

Donna Kastner

Donna Kastner, Director, Expo/Sponsor Sales & Activitation

Donna Kastner  brings a wealth of event planning, instructional design and business development talent to Velvet Chainsaw Consulting. She’s helping event organizers to enhance the conference event experience, boosting learning AND networking outcomes in a big way. Prior to joining Velvet Chainsaw Consulting, Donna led a sales & management training practice (Enlighten 123). Before that, she served as Director, Learning & Development at Experient. A native New Yorker, Donna now happily calls Cleveland, Ohio, home. Innovator? Yep, she’s also founder of Retirepreneur, a community where Boomers can explore if/how they might launch a part-time business as a perfect segue to retirement.

Michele Frania

Michele Frania

Michele Frania, Director, Client Projects & Stories

Michele Frania was added to the Velvet Chainsaw Consulting team for her Marketing experience and background in Project and Event Management. For the past couple years, Michele worked for brandmuscle as a Client Service Manager where she led the team responsible for developing marketing tools and solutions for Allstate and Hampton Inn & Suites. She also served as a Senior Marketing Coordinator with Universal American for several years. Her responsibilities there included corporate event planning and managing/coordinating the company’s participation in over 15 medical/pharmacy tradeshows each year.