Meet the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation Team
Eileen Wayner, Chief Executive Officer
As CEO of Tales of the Cocktail Foundation, Eileen is passionate about leveraging her 15 years of strategic planning, project management, and event experience to create meaningful programs and initiatives that will benefit the global drinks industry. With experience working in non-profit, corporate events, university and government settings, she applies a diverse set of skills to her work at TOTCF, expanding efforts to support bartenders Beyond the Bar, ensuring the Foundation is actively listening to, learning from and creating inclusive and equitable opportunities for the industry, expanding educational resources, and executing the industry’s most important event of the year – Tales of the Cocktail.
Ideal Flavor Profile: Crisp, bright, citrus
Alex Smith, Events Director
As the Events Director, Alex oversees all of the events taking place onsite at our host hotel; which includes seminars, tasting rooms, brand education activations, special events and the Spirited Awards. Alex also directs the Spirited Awards program and Cocktail Apprentice Program (CAP).
Alex Smith hails from small-town Louisiana but has recently called New York home. She joined Tales of the Cocktail in 2014 as the Logistics and Sales Assistant and now, as Events Director oversees the Spirited Awards, Cocktail Apprentice Program (CAP), as well as all Tales-related logistics. When not working for TOTCF, Alex loves reading, hanging out with her cat, catching up with friends, and watching and listening to anything related to true crime.
Ideal Flavor Profile: Bold, bitter, and surprising
Bree Williams, Events Coordinator
As the Events Coordinator, Bree assists with the execution of onsite events during Tales of the Cocktail and throughout the year for the Foundation. Bree also coordinates the administrative needs for Dame Hall of Fame.
Bree graduated and worked at the Croft Institute for International Studies at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, MS before moving to New Orleans with her husband. She assists in all logistics needs for the Foundation and for Dame Hall of Fame. Bree can now often be found sitting or meandering around Bayou St. John soaking up the sunshine with a book and drink in hand.
Ideal Flavor Profile: Light & refreshing!
Lola Thomas, Program Director
As Program Director at Tales of the Cocktail Foundation®, Lola has the pleasure of directing education, philanthropy, policy, and Beyond the Bar® initiatives. She works with dozens of international committee members to plan the TOTC seminar slate and manage a suite of service and philanthropic efforts.
Lola Thomas, M.A., is a lifelong advocate for holistic education and worker advocacy. After serving in the U.S. Peace Corps in West Africa, Lola went on to run various philanthropic programs in the food and beverage space in New Orleans, LA. She received her Master’s Degree in Human Rights and Development in Bangkok, Thailand and loves reading sci-fi and drinking mezcal.
Ideal Flavor Profile: Smoky Spirit Forward
Megan Stubbs, Program Manager
As program manager for the foundation, Megan oversees and implements the education, philanthropy, policy, and Beyond the Bar® initiatives.
Megan Stubbs is an avid reader, traveler, and consumer of no & low abv’s. After earning her Bachelors in Social Work, she moved to New Orleans to delve deeper into nonprofit work in the hospitality sector and began her internship with TOTC in 2019. She graduated with her Masters in Public Administration in 2021 from the University of New Orleans, and now oversees the different programs and projects for TOTC’s Education, Philanthropy & Development, and Policy committees. Her passions include talking about mental health, sustainability, and her favorite foods.
Ideal Flavor Profile: Sweet & Fizzy
Tammera Catchings, J.D., M.S.
Policy Project Manager
As Policy Project Manager, Tammera is responsible for leading the Policy Protection Initiative, which ensures selected policy and legislation is beneficial to employees within the industry across the country.
Tammera’s professional experience includes nearly fifteen years of legislative and policy management experience in both state and federal lobbying campaigns. Prior to working as the Legislative Liaison and Project Specialist for the Mississippi Attorney General, Tammera worked as an independent Government Affairs Specialist for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, and U.S. District Court experience.
Ideal Flavor Profile: Bubbly and Crisp with slight hint of fruit
Ashley D. Solomon, Grants and Contract Coordinator
As Grants and Contract Coordinator, Ashley oversees transactional legal work and grant writing.
Ashley has worked as an attorney in New Orleans for 8 years. Before joining Tales of the Cocktail Foundation, she furthered her experience as an Assistant Attorney General for the Louisiana Department of Justice and as an Assistant Parish Attorney for Jefferson Parish. She serves on the Board of Directors of Boys Hope Girls Hope of Greater New Orleans, and she is involved with several non-profit and civic associations such as St. Michael’s Special School and the New Orleans and Jefferson Parish Bar Associations. She is married to Sam Mickal Solomon, and they have a daughter named Olivia.
Ideal Flavor Profile: Tequila, soda, lime, jalapeño!
Taylor Barron, Director of Partnerships
Taylor’s mission is to connect the products, people, and programs that propel the global drinks industry with Tales of the Cocktail Foundation. She leads our Partnerships Team in securing funding for all of TOTCF’s events and programs and working directly with our incredible sponsors to bring their visions to life at Tales and year-round. Taylor’s favorite part of her job is TOTCF’s competitions and event series – where she’s able to meet bartenders and industry members from across the country and bring the Foundation’s mission to life in markets around the world.
Taylor Barron is an avid French 75 drinker and the Director of Partnerships at Tales of the Cocktail Foundation. She moved to New Orleans after earning degrees in Marketing and Hospitality Management at The University of Alabama. Taylor found TOTCF through her growing hospitality network and love for non-profits, and she signed on for what was to be a three-month internship. Five Tales of the Cocktails later, Taylor oversees the Partnerships Team’s fundraising efforts for the Foundation. Taylor lives steps from the French Quarter with her cat, Baron Martini de Marigny, at her side, her Kindle in her hand, and a constant stream of Taylor Swift in the background.
Ideal Flavor Profile: Boozy, Bubbly, Fresh
Anna McLoughlin, Partnerships Account Manager
Anna offers opportunities and creative vision to our partners that align with their goals and the goals of the Foundation to educate, advance, and support the bar industry.
Anna spent the last decade in New York City working for award-winning bars and as a brand ambassador. As a former TOTC seminar presenter and multiple times attendee, Anna now loves working with the Foundation in continuing to uplift, celebrate, and build the bar industry community.
Ideal Flavor Profile: Fizzy, fresh, strong, refined
Katelyn LeBoeuf, CSS
Partnerships Account Manager
Driven by Katelyn’s shared values with the Foundation, she is committed to ensuring the growth and advancement of TOTCF’s mission by focusing on partnership expansion. Katelyn strives to develop existing or emerging brands on the TOTCF platform so they can elevate their awareness and improve their philanthropy efforts through their contribution to the advancement of the global hospitality industry.
Spirited sales and marketing professional with 8 years of experience developing Wine & Spirit portfolios and launching innovative brands. Superpowers of passion and perspective fuels Katelyn’s work, and an individualized approach to collaboration translates new relationships into long-term partnerships.
Ideal Flavor Profile: Variety spices up life!
Amanda Rose-Lee, Partnerships Account Manager
Amanda is a liaison between TOTCF vendors and partners to build, manage, and maintain long-term relationships with current and prospective partners.
Amanda Rose is a New Orleans native who received her BA in Film and Communications at the University of New Orleans. Spending over 15 years in event management, sales, and production, Amanda successfully developed new strategies and approaches that advanced her quickly through the world of private events, festivals, and weddings before moving into the non-profit sector. Most recently she served as the Director of Programming and Special Events for the Ogden Museum, overseeing the execution of museum-related programming and in-kind sponsorship. Now, Partnerships Account Manager with Tales of the Cocktail Foundation, Amanda plays a vital role with her colleagues as a liaison between TOTCF vendors and partners to build, manage, and maintain long-term relationships with current and prospective partners.
In Amanda’s spare time, she enjoys mentoring New Orleans Youth, advocating for social and racial equity, traveling, and of course, watching the Saints. She has received The President’s Volunteer Service Award, Public Broadcasting System Award, a NAACP Award, and American Film Institute Award for works in video content and advocacy in the New Orleans community.
Ideal Flavor Profile: Champagne Train
Paige Blanchard, Partnerships Assistant
As the Partnerships Assistant, Paige supports the Partnership Team by providing administrative, events, and customer service support to TOTCF’s executive and fundraising staff.
Paige Blanchard is a St. Louis native who moved to New Orleans to attend Tulane University; where she graduated cum laude with degrees in Communication and English. New Orleans is also where Paige learned what she considers to be a few wonders of the world: food, music, and cocktails (Bourbon Street was omitted from this list). Joining the Tales team as an intern in 2021, Paige has honed her love for both non-profit work and the hospitality industry and now operates as the Partnerships Assistant to aid the Foundation in reaching its goals. Paige now lives in Austin where you can find her reading, seeing music, at the farmers’ market, or eating tacos.
Ideal Flavor Profile: Bitter, Spicy, + Refreshing
Amber Niewald, Associate Marketing Director
Though her chief ambition is to one day see every dive bar interior in the world, Amber stays busy leading Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s Marketing Team by planning and producing marketing projects, working closely with the partnerships to promote our growing partner programs as well as writing copy….and rewriting others’ copy.
Originally from Virginia, Amber relocated to New Orleans in 2014 because she thought it would be a better life sweating more and drinking more Sazeracs. After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science: Sociology, and a Bachelor of Humanities & Arts: Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, Amber has dedicated implementing intersectional theory within her career and everyday life practice. When she’s not working (does social media ever really end?), Amber can be found in the backyard with her dog Lenny, on a long run, or playing dominoes with friends at a dinner table with a nice bottle of wine.
Ideal Flavor Profile: dry and smooth
Callie Carlson, Marketing Manager
Callie supports the Marketing Team by coordinating and collaborating with other TOTCF departments, as well as partners, to keep our array marketing projects and programs moving along successfully.
Born in Pennsylvania, Callie ventured beyond the Mason-Dixon line to attend Tulane University back in 2015. Studying Public Health alongside working at a local New Orleans restaurant led her to an internship with Tales of the Cocktail Foundation in 2019, where her passion for the hospitality community flourished. After a detour into the world of high-volume sales and start-up operations, Callie jumped at the opportunity to return to the Tales Team in 2022 and is honored to play a part in serving such a vibrant, inspiring industry.
Ideal Flavor Profile: Bitter + Boozy + Herbaceous
Daniela Jagemann, Creative Development Director
As Creative Development Director, Daniela creates and develops implementation plans for creative business development opportunities within the Foundation’s mission and unique ways to collaborate with brands, organizations and individuals. The goal of her role is to help elevate the craft of bartending and the drinks industry through Foundation growth.
Daniela graduated cum laude from VCU with a Bachelors of Science degree in Anthropology in 2009. Studying Anthropology has helped her apply her studies to the workplace; having a knack for attention to detail and operational strength. Daniela joined Tales of the Cocktail Foundation in 2018, helping define the strategic growth of the Foundation including the development and facilitation of the Grants Program and Beyond the Bar initiative for the global nonprofit organization. Prioritizing an anthropological approach, Daniela believes in an emphasis on empathy and an intersectional approach when it comes to each of her professional endeavors. She thinks of herself as a storyteller who defines brands. Her desire is to create experiences that encapsulate businesses and captivate their audiences, successfully creating unique and compelling narratives through traditional and digital marketing campaigns, experiential events, and merchandise production. When not at work, Daniela is a sculpture artist; dabbles in fiber arts; is a karaoke enthusiast and enjoys walking her dog, Des.
Ideal Flavor Profile: bitter + bright
Aly Velasquez, Business Development Manager
As Business Development Manager, Aly assists with researching and planning the framework of business development, as well as assessing and identifying opportunities for growth within the Foundation. She also maintains the oversight and implementation of the creative direction of the physical spaces of the Foundation’s events and video production projects.
As a military brat and lifelong world traveler, Aly is passionate about developing tourism and building an inclusive community in the hospitality industry. She graduated from Centenary College of Louisiana in 2017 with a Bachelors of Arts in Communication with a focus in professional writing. Prior to joining Tales of the Cocktail Foundation in 2022, Aly was the Marketing Manager at the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau where she attended the Louisiana Travel Association’s Tourism Leadership Academy, developed community projects with local attraction and restaurant partners, and oversaw marketing campaigns. In her free time, Aly can be found rummaging through an estate sale, checking out a local band at a dive bar, exploring art galleries, and enjoying a good book with a glass of wine on her front porch swing.
Ideal Flavor Profile: Botanical, citrusy, & bubbly