IAAP Facilitators - CAPstone Fall 2021

Jessie States – Meeting and Event Planning Specialty Certificate Course

capstone fall 2021

Jessie States, CMP, CMM, is the Director of the MPI Academy for Meeting Professionals International, where she leads and advances MPI’s professional development strategy, developing and managing MPI’s portfolio of educational products delivered through all channels, including live and digital events, educational experiences, professional certificate programs and through educational partnerships.

Jessie received the 2018 Pacesetter Award from the Events Industry Council, an honor that recognizes emerging leaders and industry supporters who exhibit individual excellence based on innovation, impact, vision, leadership, influence, collaboration, courage, perseverance and other achievements. In 2017, she earned a place on the list of 25 Most Influential People in Meetings and Events (Successful Meetings magazine) and the title Trendsetter (Meetings Today magazine).

John Willard – Business Writing Specialty Certificate Course

capstone fall 2021

John has spent his career in leadership roles in Consumer Insights/Market Research at Bayer Consumer Health and American Express, after starting on the advertising agency side with Publicis (formerly DMB&B).

During his corporate career, John created and led training sessions on Marketing Excellence, Insights Development, Market Research for Marketers, and Coaching and Developing Others. He has also lectured on marketing and marketing research at the University of Virginia, Columbia University, and NYU.

Prior to his market research career, John taught writing courses at Rutgers University. He played a central role in launching the first Scientific and Technical Writing course at Rutgers, providing advanced level writing instruction to aspiring scientists, engineers, and architects.

John holds an MA in Literature from Rutgers University and BA with Distinction from the University of Virginia.

Dionne Thomas -Providing Virtual Support Core Certificate Course


I founded The Zeva Group (along with my husband). I started providing remote support to companies, contractors, non-profit organizations, and entrepreneurs in 2007—before the terms “VA or OBM” was really a thing. While during that time I have taken on full-time consulting contracts, I love seeing the fruits of my labor, a little more up close and personal.

The Zeva Group is a little different than other VA & OBM groups. While I take on clients myself, I also partner with other professionals for larger projects as well as specific tasks, depending on the need. Our group has grown from just me to 20+ team members. Whether you choose to work with me directly, or have me find the perfect support for you, we work as a team to ensure your project is always complete and your business is running smoothly! We are more closely aligned with a staffing firm—with a twist!

Now, for the boring stuff, I don’t give out traditional resumes, because that is not really what you are interested in … or is it? I started out my professional career way back in 1989, and I have worked for some really large companies: New World Television, Merrill Lynch, Bristol Myers Squibb, Frito-Lay and Express Employment Professionals. I also spend a great deal of time volunteering with organizations that are close to my heart. I also serve on the Board of Directors for International Virtual Assistants Association as the Membership Director.

In my life providing virtual support services and Online Business Management, I specialize in Strategy, Organization, Event Planning and Project Management — those are my sweet spot areas. My experience in everything from sales to HR to wedding planning, gave me a wide variety of skills that allow me to adapt quickly to new opportunities.