Meet Our Team
True to our name, our team is a montage of diverse backgrounds, experiences, perspectives and strengths. But we all have one thing in common – doing 'more' is in our DNA.
Nichelle Hunter Nichols
Dr. Johni Cruse Craig
CEO | Purpose-Driven Marketer | Proud PTA Member
Mercedita has a thick skin, a big heart and an uncanny ability to function on very little sleep. She formed the idea for Montage in 2014 after nearly 30 years of experience in agencies across the globe. It’s sort of like the third child she still wants – don’t tell her teenagers.
Daughter of an immigrant, Mercedita inherited a spirit of hard work, determination and advocacy for others. She points her compass toward working for a greater purpose; and she doesn’t believe in failure. It’s no surprise that the #1 song on her personal soundtrack is “Don’t Stop Believing.”
Mercedita binds Montage together with her PR, advertising, marketing, communications and experiential expertise. Her colleagues call her strategic, steadfast and versatile. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and has won a ton of awards that she’ll probably never mention. Family is her touchstone. Green tea is her fuel. And nothing stands in her way.
Chief Operations Officer | Ninja Multitasker | Boy (x3) Mom
Teresa finds motivation in navigating new situations. That’s probably why she fearlessly entered the male-dominated field of sports marketing fresh out of college, has transitioned from agency to nonprofit to business ownership without blinking an eye, and once celebrated Thanksgiving Day by giving birth to twins.
She is fiercely loyal and excels at keeping people and projects on track. It’s no surprise that some of her former colleagues have joined her at Montage.
Though Teresa’s dream of becoming a CIA agent never came to fruition, she takes great pride in building a company that creates impactful marketing solutions for socially-conscious brands. She believes all work and no play is a no-no, can read a room with spy-like astuteness (so you’re saying there’s a chance?) and loves learning what makes someone tick. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from American University, a MBA/MS Sports Management from UMass Amherst, and proudly roots for a baseball team halfway in between – the NY Yankees.
Vice President, Marketing Communications | Master of Divinity | Ice Cream Queen
Hailing from the Mitten, Beth finds goodness, grace, and beauty on Lake Michigan’s shores – three gifts she carries out into the world.
Sure, she has steered communications strategies for big corporations, national nonprofits, and state governments, but Beth’s true calling is to create meaningful connections with people. She believes deeply that all lives are inextricably linked, that there are no “others.” It is through that lens that Beth works fiercely to achieve justice and equity.
Amidst Beth’s professional credentials are an associate pastorship, facilitator of anti-racism workshops, and outreach to homeless and incarcerated people. Beth doesn’t think in traditional terms of accomplishments. Instead, she relishes in life’s gifts – precious time in her mother’s final years, midday walks with her dog, and a freezer full of ice cream.
Group Account Director | Events Extraordinaire | Lover of Electric Violin
Dianne’s favorite quote is “Don’t count the days, make the days count.” Muhammad Ali was probably talking about her when he said it. Dianne is an unassuming powerhouse. She learned English within six months of immigrating to the U.S., graduated college in three years while working full-time, and staffed over 500 nationwide events annually for nearly five years.
Dianne hails from Colombia (the country, not the district), and loves the sun and coffee accordingly. If there’s a beach, she’s probably been there and made us all jealous in the process.
Dianne honed her experiential marketing expertise in-house and in-the-field, a potent combination that she applies to the benefit of Montage’s clients. She is proud to work for a company that prioritizes projects that benefit her community, and is an avid fan of Celia Cruz.
Creative Director | Cellist | Netflix Nut
From Beethoven to Bauhuas, Amy Driscoll attributes her foundation in music as a guiding principle in her creative endeavors. Indeed, this design-savvy, strategic thinker shines in all things artistic.
Amy has successfully oscillated between in-house and freelance positions for most of her 20+ year career in marketing. While producing large-scale branded events using innovative technologies, she found a new passion for experiential design. Montage was in the right place at the right time, bringing her on and immediately applying her talents.
An empath by nature, Amy really cares about getting her work just right. She listens carefully, sees needs, and fills them with smart and visually stimulating creative solutions. With coffee, tea, and more coffee by her side, Amy powers through even the most demanding projects. And when it’s all said and done, she loves a good Netflix binge.
Director, Data & Analytics | Efficiency Enigma | Big Lego Guy
Don’t doubt Matt Kreider. He is motivated by challenges, eats obstacles for breakfast, and embraces every opportunity to prove naysayers wrong. He’s also one of the friendliest guys you’ll ever meet.
Matt came to Montage following a 10-year career in the association sector. As the team leader, he oversees the processes, workflows, and reporting of client and organizational analytics. What really gets his juices flowing is telling stories using data visualizations. The more daunting the task the better. Ask him why and he’ll channel his inner JFK: “We do these things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
Despite his fondness for finding operational efficiencies, Matt enjoys taking the scenic route in life. He loves laboring over Legos with his son, playing guitar, and perfecting his morning coffee.
Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility | U.S. Air Force Veteran | Off-Hours Interior Designer
Home is Nichelle’s happy place, which is remarkable considering she’s lived and visited so many places around the world. Perhaps it’s a credit to her ability to make any place feel like home, something she’s certainly carved out at Montage.
Following a 24-year career in the U.S. Air Force, Nichelle pivoted to help advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility for Montage and our clients. She considers two key qualities her keys to success. The first, building trusting relationships. The second, remaining teachable. Nichelle knows that an open mind can get her through any task put in front of her.
In addition to serving the country, Nichelle counts the birth of her children and marrying “the best husband in the world” as some of her greatest accomplishments. It’s these three that drive her in life and inspire her to make her home everything she’s ever dreamed of. If only she could convince Hilary Farr from “Love It or List It” to design it alongside her.
Director, Experiential Operations | Field Leader | Gamer
Jon has seen a lot – big cities, small towns, all walks of life. With each experience, he’s learned a new lesson: How to find multiple solutions to any problem. How to calm your nerves before speaking to a crowd of 100,000 people. How to make marketing feel less like marketing and more like something people want to be part of.
Here at Montage, Jon is responsible for delivering unrivaled experiential solutions. It’s a job he’s been preparing for since 2005. From his first post working as a brand ambassador for PlayStation to traveling the country as a tour manager to producing tradeshows for Fortune 500 companies, Jon has covered all aspects of the experiential industry. He’s now putting his vast knowledge and experience to use in service of our clients.
Jon is cool, calm, and collected by nature; an avid gamer; and a steadfast friend. Although he’s currently posted in Washington, D.C., he’s always happy to return to the road, especially if it means clocking a visit to another sports stadium – 150 and counting…
Art Director | Experience Designer | Chocolate Lover
Crafty, creative, and cool, Breck is your quintessential Art Director. But don’t let her chill demeanor fool you – Breck loves a challenge. She completed graduate school while pregnant, working full-time, and raising two children. Yes, you read that right. This professional working mother of three doesn’t let anything stand in her way.
A Virginia native and George Washington University alum, Breck appreciates Montage’s position as a local, woman-owned, experiential marketing agency. It is an ideal home to flex her design muscle and balance time with family.
When she’s not churning out top-notch creative or momming like a boss, Breck is likely unwinding with some chocolate and the hottest new TV series. She’s always ready to give a great recommendation and a solid piece of life advice. Her favorite, “Don’t stress. Do your best. Forget the rest.”
Multicultural Advisor | Difference Maker | Former Competitive Gymnast
When opportunity knocks, Rima answers. That’s what brought her to the U.S. from Mexico at age 17, inspired her to launch a Japanese outpost of a global nonprofit that promotes opportunities for women in business, and ultimately, drove her to Montage.
A gymnast in her youth, Rima’s flexibility has evolved from physical to mental. She is an astute listener and avid learner. Montage particularly benefits from her ability to build strong relationships with people from all walks of life and transform complexities into impactful solutions. She appreciates the agency’s commitment to excellence – and that no one on the team takes themselves too seriously.
In her spare time, Rima chairs the board of CASA, one of the largest and most prominent nonprofit organizations in the Mid-Atlantic region, which provides a comprehensive array of services, education and civic engagement programs for low-income immigrants. She aspires to be a difference maker, as if she’s not well on her way, and never wants to live without her family, her dog and skim chai lattes.
Director, Marketing | Word Wizard | Globetrotter
Julia embraces an environment where excellence is expected, and then tries to do better. Her middle school teachers and Montage’s leadership both picked up on this trait, respectively electing Julia as General in her 8th grade Civil War unit and marketer for the marketing agency. For the record, her side won that year, and her mom embarrassingly brags about both.
Identifying as a Midwestern, a Washingtonian, and a nomad, Julia is accordingly hardworking, competitive, and curious. Her greatest accomplishments include running 5k in under 20 minutes and traveling to 51 countries and counting. She also wrote most of what you’ll read on this website.
Julia credits Montage’s culture of creativity, autonomy, purpose, and empowerment as inspiration for doing her best work and motivation to contribute more to the world than likes and clicks. She is a recent convert to the Oxford comma.
Finance Director | CPA | Distance Runner
Whether you want to talk finance, fitness, or finding yourself, Brett is your guy. He delights in learning, exploring, and evolving in body and mind. His professional credentials – MBA, CPA, real estate investor, property manager, business owner – speak to his insatiable curiosity. He also holds the title of father to two daughters, a role he has found very helpful in learning the virtues of equanimity.
As Montage’s main money man, Brett keeps the books in good order. He’s always happy to support motivated and appreciative leaders. The weekly personal training sessions are an added bonus.
When Brett is not crunching numbers, he’s exploring new ways to live happier, healthier, and wealthier. His future plans include an Ultra Marathon, a Spartan Race, and the ongoing work to improve balance in all aspects of life.
Engagement Counselor | Coalition Builder | Divinely Purposed Queen
Every team needs a Dr. Johni. Creative, collaborative, charitable, and communicative, she flourishes at fostering meaningful connection and shifting mindsets in a positive direction. Whether she is helping the Black Greek Letter Consortium (BGLC) develop impactful community engagement strategies or singing birthday wishes to a Montage colleague, Dr. Johni moves with passion, conviction, and authenticity.
Adopted and embraced as our team’s everyday spiritual leader and style icon (have you seen those glasses?), we all count ourselves blessed to work within her orbit. Dr. Johni’s many professional hats include educator, marketer, facilitator, designer, mentor, author, and inspirational speaker. But it’s the roles of wife, mother, and grandmother that gratify her most. In each, she efficaciously and enthusiastically uses her talents to fulfill her divine assignment. For Dr. Johni, It’s A Heart Matter®, so much so that she trademarked the phrase.
Operations Manager | Logistics Leader | Horror Fan
They say, “Smooth seas never made a skilled sailor,” and Hunter agrees. His career thus far has been a testament to his willingness to push past his comfort zone, learn new skills, and grow where he’s planted. He doesn’t shy away from goals – whether it be saving up for a house or revamping warehouse operations – and his hard work pays off.
Punctual, practical, and process-orientated, Hunter sees an objective clearly and knows how to get there. He excels at managing logistics, but he’s also adept at understanding people. He prioritizes consistent communication to build good relationships. His laidback personality and subtle sense of humor also play their part.
In his down time, Hunter can be found strumming his guitar, biking, hiking, fishing, camping, indulging in horror movies (both good and bad), and sipping ice-cold water and tea.
Senior Program Manager | Committed Collaborator | Playful Parent
Yurubi follows where her internal compass points. In the last decade, she has moved from Venezuela to Colombia to North Carolina; from consulting to corporate to nonprofit to agency. She alone has charted her path – asking questions, finding answers, learning, growing, and building confidence to meaningfully contribute in all she undertakes.
While she derives great satisfaction from her professional pursuits, Yurubi finds her true north in her two young children. Reading, playing, crafting, and helping them grow top her priority list. Cleaning up after them? Not so much. There’s nothing more irritating to her than a crumb-covered floor.
Yurubi was drawn to Montage for its diverse team and commitment to giving back. She contributes her own unique experiences and perspectives as a Program Manager, building bulletproof strategies and strong relationships with Montage’s customers and clients.
Senior Program Manager | Problem Solver | KitchenAid Addict
Melissa lives by the three Ps: patience, positivity and persistence. She loves a challenge, is skilled at solving puzzles and prides herself on being able to see the silver lining in every situation. In the mind of Melissa, nothing is impossible.
Melissa made her way south to DC via Amtrak’s Northeast Regional route. She grew up in New York, spent her childhood in Pennsylvania and landed in DC to attend George Washington University. She’s a talented French horn player and former member of the GW pep band. Melissa includes playing at a university event attended by Barack Obama among her favorite memories.
The opportunity to be part of a young company’s early stages initially attracted Melissa to Montage. Prioritizing purpose-driven work sealed the deal. We’re thrilled to have Melissa on the team, both for her positive presence and program management skills. Did we mention she can bake?
Talent Acquisition and Retention Manager | Organized Optimist | Professional Car Napper
Julie may be a small-town girl, but she knows it’s a great big world out there. The way she sees it, the sky is the limit.
Inspired by possibility, Julie parlayed her skills from a 10-year career in higher education to become an essential part of Montage’s talent team. She is empathetic, organized, and communicative – all the qualities you want from the first person future employees meet on their Montage journey. Her bona fides include building a role from the ground up to lead recruitment for priority academic programs at Bowling Green State University and developing and training a team of more than 25 student ambassadors.
Julie credits her family, her beloved Bichon pup, and copious amounts of coffee for keeping her striving and thriving. She will gladly sing a Christmas tune or take a quick snooze in the car at any time, and if you’re ever feeling down, Julie will offer her life mantra: No matter what, I am enough.
Partner Strategist | Proud MexiCAN-AmeriCAN | Ray of Sunshine
Hardworking, empathetic, and ebullient sum up Mäe. She moves through life joyfully and gratefully, proud of her heritage and the path she is charting.
Born in Texas, raised in Mexico, and residing in Indiana, Mäe cherishes growing up in a multilingual family. Today, she applies her bilingual talents while engaging communities in the All of Us Research Program.
Mäe finds purpose in helping others, bridging gaps between people, and advocating for equity across communities. She loves that her values align with Montage’s – aspiring to do more and be more for herself and others.
Given her sunny disposition and love of bright lipstick, you might be surprised that Mäe once identified as Goth. She further embraced life’s evolutions when learning how to swim at age 40. According to Mäe, “You are never too old to learn something new and overcome what you once thought was impossible.”
Training and Integration Specialist | Amateur Actress | Mama Bear
Whether she’s on stage, on screen, or behind the scenes, Brooke is a performer any cast would be lucky to have. She plays a leading role at Montage as a frequent host of virtual events and at home as a mother of two. Brooke also captivates audiences in her spare time – performing in community theater productions.
A former middle and high school teacher, Brooke landed at Montage intent on continuing work in support of the greater good. She currently conducts outreach, engagement, and communications efforts in support of the All of Us Research Program. She is proud to do meaningful work alongside a team of people who “get it.”
Brooke is a longtime resident of the Sunshine State. While she loves her beaches and theme parks, she aspires to make tracks far and wide. The top of her list: hike the length of the Appalachian Trail.
Outreach and Engagement Manager | Lifelong Learner | Texan
Karen is a striver. She’s a first-generation college graduate, an English-as-a-second language-learner, and always has three drinks (coffee, tea, and water) at the ready. Karen is curious, passionate, and persistent. All qualities that make her a great fit at Montage.
In both her personal and professional life, Karen aims to solve problems and drive change. She is an active volunteer in her local community and a key member of Montage’s All of Us Research Program outreach team. Regardless of the setting, Karen communicates and connects with people of all backgrounds and abilities.
Karen loves to discover new things. She is always on the lookout for new recipes, travel destinations, music, museums, and Netflix shows. She’s even in the process of learning Brazilian Portuguese just for fun. Muito bem!
Research Engagement Strategist | Change-Maker | Cheesecake Lover
Change isn’t easy, but Henrik doesn’t mind. He embraces it – always striving to keep up with the latest innovations and in-demand skillsets. His versatility stands as one of his greatest strengths.
Highly accomplished is his youth, Henrik’s personal and professional achievements extend into adulthood. He currently serves as a protégé with American Marketing Association Marketing Mentors Network. He has also followed on his collegiate swimming career, waking up for an early morning freestyle with the Lane 4 swim team.
Henrik is adaptable, disciplined, and eager. While it might be hard to believe, he does enjoy a few guilty pleasures. When he’s not working or working out, you’ll likely find Henrik savoring a slice of cheesecake or unwinding to country music.
Program Analyst | Data Detective | Metalhead
Espen is so much more than spreadsheets. He is versatile, curious, and confident that he can find a solution to any problem he’s presented. While skilled at spotting trends in complex data sets, Espen understands that people interpret information differently. For him, creativity, communication, and context are equally important – and he’s committed to delivering across all aspects.
Inspired by opportunities for growth and improvement, Espen moves through life as if any given experience might become his new favorite thing. At the same time, he believes excellence is born out of repetition; if he puts in the time, results will follow. His stick-to-it-iveness is certainly what landed him a gig at the DC-area’s premier heavy metal club. Perhaps it’s also why he must drink at least one Harris Teeter Zero Calorie Cola every day. Whatever fuels him, we’re happy this talented team player is among us.
Engagement Counselor | Former Educator | Living Room Comedian
Larissa intends to leave a legacy. She’s already excelled as an educator and an entrepreneur, and nothing will stand in her way of continued success. At Montage, she’s currently equipping organizations across the country to raise awareness about medical research and help improve health for the next generation.
Larissa’s life is guided by the three f’s – faith, family, and fun. She’s a firm believer in counting her blessings; she’s a devoted wife, mother, daughter, and sister; and she’s always the life of the party. Larissa holds her loved ones close and wants to make them proud.
When it comes to her professional life, Larissa leans into her patience, persistence, and adaptability. She’s an organized, enthusiastic people-person who helps individuals and organizations thrive. Her ideal work environment includes a tidy space, a great soundtrack, and a monthly massage.
Engagement Counselor | Early Bird | Optimist
Did you know that Ashley once lit a campfire with a single match? It’s true! It’s also a metaphor for her professional life. Ashley has repeatedly navigated unfamiliar territory and used her intrinsic spark to kindle success. She is bright, bubbly, intentional, and optimistic, a quick study, and an avid collaborator—an ideal combination for someone who now spends her days cultivating client and partner relationships.
Ashley takes pride in creating a culture of belonging, both at Montage and as a mentor for local causes like Barrier-Free Maryland. She devotes her down time to cuddling her beloved 15-year-old Chihuahua son, discovering new plant-based recipes, and dancing to anything by Rihanna. Just don’t ask her to stay up past 9:30 P.M. Ashley’s early bedtime is non-negotiable.
Operations Coordinator | Published Photographer | Powerlifter
Kevin Carrillo is a study in contrast. He loves pushing himself in the weight room. He also loves cuddling his goldendoodle, Moose. He counts landing his first corporate role as one of his greatest accomplishments. On the same list? Getting his photos published in GQ Portugal.
Kevin was born in Guatemala and moved to Virginia at age four. Growing up, his parents, both business owners, instilled in him an unbeatable work ethic and an unshakable sense of self-efficacy. It’s for these reasons that Kevin takes such great pride in his achievements. It’s also why he values Montage’s familial culture.
With a background in customer service, Kevin is a natural empath. He goes out of his way to help people at work and in his community. He then rewards himself with a Coke Zero and a burrito from Chipotle. Who are we to judge?