With a 30-year successful track record of strategic and operational leadership experience in media, Barbara most recently has been recognized for her keen knowledge and understanding of custom publishing, particularly with regard to supporting, enhancing and extending the conference and event experience across a wide range of channels, markets and industries.
In 2003, Barbara was recruited to assist in building this newly formed media company, Ascend Media, in Overland Park, KS. She assumed leadership responsibility for the event media division. There, she reorganized, refined and eventually established this as a standalone company, Ascend Integrated Media, where she served as president. Ascend became recognized as one of the finest event media and custom publishing companies in the country, winning numerous national and international awards. Through her personal efforts with the American Heart Association, Ascend earned “Vendor of the Year” for bringing revenues for the American Heart Association to a record-breaking high.
While at Ascend, she has served on the Advisory Council for Exhibitions for a number of association clients. She also has held a seat on the Advisory Counsel for the Healthcare Exhibitors Association where Ascend has been a long-standing member.
Prior to joining Ascend, Barbara served as publisher at Primedia Business Magazine & Media for the leading national buyers guide serving the electronics market, The Electronics SourceBook.
She earned a bachelors degree from Hamilton College in Psychology/Education and a masters in Business Management/Management Information Systems from the State University of New York, Binghamton.
Her pastimes include playing the piano, yoga and gardening. She enjoys opera, theatre and art museums.
Rhonda Wickham’s journalism career spans more than 30 years and multiple job titles. She spent 23 years with Intertec Publishing Corporation where she worked her way up from editorial assistant and associate editor of a variety of B2B titles to editorial director of the highly successful Cellular Business and Wireless Review. She also served as editor-in-chief for Wireless Week magazine. And rounding out her journalism experience, she owned her own freelance business Wickham Ink. Rhonda earned her B.S. in Journalism from the University of Missouri – Columbia. At Ascend, Rhonda oversees all areas of content creation and development across all of the company’s products.
Rhonda’s passion for the printed word has been cultivated and nurtured by her University of Missouri-Columbia education, her cub reporter days under the tutelage of seasoned editors, her decades-long editorial directorship for wireless technology magazines as well as a fruitful freelancer experience.
Her passion for the printed word also now extends into eMedia, video, mobile and social media, art forms unto themselves. She describes herself as a selective Virgo. She’s exacting when it comes to all things editorial. She treasures the power of the written word, the beauty of a well-constructed sentence and the emotion of an impactful headline. In the early days of cellular, she readily admits that texting pained her, but now she can go acronym and phonetic with the best of them. However, if her housecleaning were a sentence, its verb tense would be wrong and the punctuation would be missing. Her passions outside of work? Most sporting activities as long as they do not require leaping from extreme heights or night-diving the water’s depths. She has a voracious appetite for movies, music, books and theater. Besides world peace, her only other wish is to uncover more hours in every day.
Kate oversees all print purchasing, supervises venue distribution and manages our internal project management team. Since joining Atwood Publishing (the predecessor to Ascend Integrated Media) as the original owner’s first employee in 1983, Kate has been providing the utmost in customer service and publishing experience to the company’s clients since the very beginning.
Kate has been married to her husband Mike for nearly 30 years, almost as long as she’s been an employee here at Ascend. They have two daughters Rachel and Hannah and also their beloved family dog, Booger. Kate spends her extra time volunteering at school events, boating, attending school sporting events and spending time with family.
Donna Sanford has a nationwide reputation for creating programs that move event businesses forward. She grew up in the family business as a meeting planner, and later spent 21 years as the eyes and ears of the industry in her role as founder and publisher of EXPO magazine.
In addition to launching her own consumer event, Donna has also provided contract services to leading organizations in the event industry since leaving EXPO in 2010.
- She created and launched a 16-module online learning and certification course for the Virtual Edge Institute (a division of PCMA);
- Crafted and managed the education programs for two annual summits – with more than 40 education sessions and 60+ speakers;
- Executed and marketed multiple virtual events;
- And researched and prepared white papers for various industry organizations.
Donna is a writer and event planner by trade, and a project and sales manager by nature. Visionary enough to create new business opportunities, she’s also detail-oriented enough to make them happen.
Donna’s skills include:
- Product/service/event launches
- Business research/writing
- Content for marketing
- Opportunity analysis and qualifications
- Business plan development
- Digital events
- New business pipelines
- Strategic alliances
- Stakeholder relationship management
- P&L management and budgeting
- Marketing campaigns
At Ascend, Eric works predominantly with associations to help them communicate effectively with their members and meeting attendees. And, to create non-dues revenue for those associations. He enjoys sharing innovative ideas and best practices with Ascend client partners.
Eric has more than 30 years of publishing and media experience, having worked for 27 years at Penton Media (formerly Primedia Business and Intertec Publishing Corporation) before joining Ascend in early 2010. During his career, Eric served in various magazine publisher and vice president roles, and for 13 years led a business development, acquisitions and divestitures team that completed more than 50 media transactions.
Eric has a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Michigan and a M.S. in Journalism from the University of Illinois. Eric also earned an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management.
Eric’s passions include running 5K and longer races that benefit non-profits primarily within the Kansas City metro. And, he enjoys traveling, movies, music, exercising, mentoring and volunteering in the community. Eric’s favorite foods include deep dish pizza, mint chocolate chip ice cream and carrot cake. He loves Motown music (heavily influenced by his growing up not too far from Detroit, Mich).
Tricia works closely with both medical and non-medical associations developing custom event media such as daily newspapers, directories, mobile apps and eMedia solutions. She has 15 years of experience in B2B publishing, advertising and marketing. Tricia worked in several capacities for Primedia prior to joining Ascend. She was a regional account rep for the Electronics Source Book in Irvine, Calif., and then St. Louis, Mo. She was also a marketing manager and graphic designer for several magazine titles at Primedia.
Tricia graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism, with an emphasis in advertising and fine arts. She and her husband, Dan, live in St. Louis with their three daughters and son. Tricia loves to paint and garden.
As senior managing editor, Greg oversees Ascend’s team of editors, writers and photographers that develop content for client newspapers and websites. He spent more than a dozen years working for daily newspapers as a reporter, covering government, schools, police and court beats; as a news editor, overseeing production of daily newspapers; and as a managing editor in charge of a newsroom and the editorial page.
In 1991, he joined Atwood Publishing, which later became Ascend Integrated Media, and has been a writer, photographer, page designer, editor and project manager. He has worked on almost every company daily newspaper project, covering a variety of medical specialties as well as business topics ranging from hardware to computers and food to communications.
As the father of five, he has spent an unnecessary amount of time over the fenders of their cars — and the occasional classic — a labor of love (and necessity) when facing dental and college bills. His penchant for figuring out how things work carries over to Ascend’s computer and photo equipment, which can be handy — and occasionally a hindrance — when working on newspapers and websites on the road. His favorite parts of the job are beating tough deadlines, seeing researchers presenting work that could change our lives and hearing topical speakers addressing the hot issues of the day.