Meet Avenue M
The Executive Team
Sheri Jacobs, CAE, President + CEO
As the founder of Avenue M Group, Sheri is a leader, innovator, and visionary who has helped associations, small and large, tackle their most challenging issues.
Most people who meet Sheri quickly learn that her high energy and enthusiasm are a perfect combination for someone who is an avid marathoner. Having completed more than a dozen marathons, including the Boston Marathon, Sheri sees a clear correlation between training for a marathon and developing and executing a marketing plan. Unlike a 5K race, training for a marathon requires making a commitment of resources, time, energy, and passion, along with the right set of tools and the support of others. The sense of accomplishment you feel when you cross the finish line of a marathon far surpasses how you feel when you finish a 5k race. Association marketing is very similar. Success rarely happens overnight, but with the right planning, energy, passion, and assistance, anything is possible.
As a senior executive and an association management veteran with more than 15 years of experience, Sheri applied her experience in research, marketing, strategy, and branding projects to create a unique firm that helps associations meet their goals.
Sheri started her nonprofit career in the development office of the Chicago Children’s Museum and moved into marketing after becoming a founding officer of Picture This Projects. Sheri transitioned from the philanthropic community to the association community in 1994 when she became the director of membership and marketing at the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. She expanded her knowledge further when she joined the American Bar Association in 1999.
In 2002, Sheri joined the Association Forum of Chicagoland as the Chief Marketing Officer and Director of Membership. During her tenure at the Association Forum, Sheri built award-winning campaigns that resulted in double-digit growth of membership and educational attendance.
Sheri is a top-rated speaker and a contributor to various associations and publications including the ASAE publication Decision to Join. She currently serves as vice chair of the ASAE Foundation Development Council. She also serves on the ASAE Professional Development Section Council and the ASAE Healthcare Committee. She is a past chair for ASAE Membership Council and Marketing Council.
Sheri is the co-editor and contributor of ASAE’s best-selling membership book, Membership Essentials (ASAE 2007) and the author of the recently published marketing book 199 Ideas: Powerful Marketing Tactics That Sell (ASAE 2010). Sheri earned her Bachelor of Arts in History and Journalism from Indiana University and went on to become a Certified Association Executive in 2003. Sheri's newest book, The Art of Membership, will be published in August 2013 by ASAE and Jossey-Bass.
Linda Wing - Director, Market Research
As Director of Market Research for Avenue M Group, Linda Wing joined our team with 29 years of professional experience in market research for professional societies and trade associations. Linda is a former association research provider for Premier Research Solutions and previously served as the Director of the Market Research & Statistics Group for SmithBucklin Corporation. From such experience, Linda has personally managed hundreds of research projects, which have given her extensive experience in survey design, implementation, data analysis, and report presentation.
Much of Linda’s work over the years has involved gathering market insights and industry statistics to help identify the value proposition of an association and/or its' events. Linda specializes in industry research programs that provide members and association leaders with information on the characteristics, activities and trends within their profession and business environment to assist in strategic planning, public relations and government relation’s efforts.
Linda earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business-Marketing with a Mathematical Sciences minor, Cum Laude, from Northern Illinois University. She also holds Certificates in Marketing Research and Advanced Marketing Research Techniques from DePaul University’s Kellstadt Center for Marketing Analysis and Planning. Linda is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Predictive Analytics at DePaul University.
Linda will incorporate her knowledge of advanced analytical techniques to answer key research questions and provide data-driven strategic insights and recommendations to our clients. Her background includes Member Needs Assessments, Satisfaction/Loyalty Surveys, Market Segmentation Studies, Brand Positioning Surveys, Benchmarking Surveys, Focus Groups, Telephone Interviews, Statistical Software and Web surveys.
Maria Berg-Stark, CMP - Director, Strategic Marketing
With a background of over 25 years in marketing, Maria Berg-Stark is a recognized expert in developing successful marketing strategies with a noteworthy track record in the business world. She offers her vast experience in conceptualizing and implementing innovative, comprehensive marketing programs.
Prior to joining Avenue M Group, Maria served as the Director of Marketing and Sales for the Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago. Past positions include Director of Corporate Communications for Urban Retail Properties and Senior Marketing Manager for Northbrook Court Shopping Center. Maria was the Founding Executive Director for Chicago’s North Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau where she managed the organization from inception with responsibility for marketing, brand identity, community relations, public relations, membership programs and government grants.
Maria earned Bachelor of Science degree from Illinois State University in Speech Communications with minors in Mass Communications and Public Relations.
Roya Meshulam - Director, Operations
Roya Meshulam is the Director of Operations for Avenue M Group, LLC. She is responsible for maintaining the company’s financial records, including accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, budgeting, reporting and other numerous activities to help ensure the company is running smoothly. Roya began her accounting career at KPMG Peat Marwick where she worked for fours years. She later spent three years at Baxter International in the accounting department. Prior to joining Avenue M, Roya spent the last twenty years in property management where she was responsible for all aspects of maintaining the rental property, from leasing the units to preparing the financial statements.
Roya graduated with a B.S. in Accountancy from Northern Illinois University and also has her CPA license.
Avenue M Group Team
Caitlin Burns Bekta - Market Research Specialist
As the Market Research Specialist for Avenue M Group, Caitlin joined our team with a background in statistical and experimental research. Prior to joining Avenue M, Caitlin worked in a cognitive science lab, conducting research on memory bias and reconstruction. She is experienced in experiment design and implementation, IRB preparation and submission, and data collection and analysis. Caitlin has been successful in applying her scientific background and quantitative mindset to the field of Market Research.
As a heart disease survivor, Caitlin is an active spokeswoman and volunteer for the American Heart Association. She is passionate about spreading awareness of the prevalence of heart disease and educating people about signs, symptoms, and prevention. Above all, Caitlin strives to send a message of awareness and hope for everyone affected by heart disease.
Outside of her professional field and volunteer work, Caitlin is an avid rugby and football supporter. Caitlin earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Saint Xavier University.