A storyteller at heart, Karen Craven cut her teeth as a reporter in Chicago and is a rich communicator who understands how all aspects of communication are connected to success and growth. She joined ACG Global in 2018 to oversee all messaging and communication and ensure that it continues to effectively reach and engages all of its stakeholders. Since 2004 she has been a senior leader in corporate and not-for-profit settings, where she managed myriad crises, developed long-term growth strategies, reorganized and or rebranded organizational image with key stakeholders, and brokered relationships that helped garner state and federal dollars as well as substantial capital investment. She has consulted for an array of not-for-profits and corporations, focusing on public affairs, communications, and development strategies that have resulted in multi-million grant awards and contracts.
She joined ACG Global in 2012 as Vice President, Communications & Marketing. Under her direction, she launched a new communications strategy, including the monthly digital publication, Middle Market Growth, intensified public policy efforts to establish ACG as the voice of the middle market and published Driving Growth: The Impact of Private Capital on the U.S. Economy. The latter is the first of its kind, graphically depicting this important data for each Congressional district.
Before ACG, Melendes’ experience included the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), where her strong strategic marketing initiatives grew revenues, membership and retention.
Leslie Whittet, CAE, has been with ACG since 2002. She began her career at the association as the executive director of ACG Boston before moving to Chicago in 2008 to take the newly created role of VP, chapter operations, for ACG Global. In her current role, Whittet manages and facilitates all facets of chapter operations, from leadership development to governance to website and technology support – all focused on fostering growth among ACG’s 56 chapters across the globe.
Whittet has brought her more than 15 years of experience as an association professional to bear at ACG, building upon her successes to help drive middle-market growth within each individual chapter. As an executive director, she nearly tripled the membership of ACG Boston from 350 to 950 and doubled the number of annual events. As VP, she works primarily with the volunteer chapter leaders, helping develop efficient leadership and governance practices, and effective strategic planning to ensure continued growth. Her team provides all of the necessary technological support to power the chapter’s success.
As a skillful advocate with more than twelve years of experience providing strategic counsel and advancing public policy objectives in Washington, D.C., Maria Wolvin leads the development and implementation of ACG’s federal public policy strategy and agenda. In this role, Wolvin ensures that policymakers hear the important voice of the middle market and understand the critical role that middle market growth plays in the U.S. economy.
Before joining ACG, Wolvin was Vice President and Senior Counsel of Regulatory Affairs at ACA International, the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, where she headed the association’s regulatory advocacy efforts on behalf of its nearly 3,500 members. Previously, Maria was an Associate for seven years in the Public Policy and Regulatory practice group at Patton Boggs, one of the top U.S. public policy law firms. She started out her career at the U.S. Department of Justice where she was selected to participate in the Outstanding Scholar Program in the Antitrust Division.
Wolvin received her law degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and studied at the Universiteit Leiden School of Law in the Netherlands. For her undergraduate work, she attended Ursinus College in Pennsylvania. Wolvin is a member of the Maryland Bar and the District of Columbia Bar.