KAREN SMILEY

Director of Events

Karen has more than 30 years experience as a hospitality professional with expertise in event planning, tour and travel, and destination management. Prior to joining Bella Collina in 2012, Karen worked as a National Sales Manager for Destination Management Companies in LA, as a Director of Destination Services and Offsite Catering at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel, and as the Director of Catering at Marbella Country Club.

Hometown: San Clemente, California

Favorite Part about this Industry: Creating a successful event for our clients and exceeding their expectations

What is an interesting fact about you? My life in hospitality started when I was 9 yrs old working each summer at my grandmothers Restaurant & Tea House in Nashville Tennessee

Favorite Hobby: Working in my garden and wine tasting

Favorite Place Traveled: Kenya and Tanzania

 

ELISA VICTA

Event & Wedding Coordinator

Elisa joined Bella Collina as our Venue Coordinator and in-house Wedding Coordinator. After graduating with a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management and Business Administration, Elisa began her career in Hospitality with the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks Minor League Baseball Organization, Mosaic Catering, and then switched things up and joined the Promotional Products and Marketing business for a few years. Missing the event industry, after moving back to California, she pursued certifications in Event & Wedding Planning and Event Design and found her way to Bella Collina in 2015.

Hometown: Laguna Hills, California

Favorite Part about this Industry: Being able to create and watch an event evolve from the very beginning to the finished product

Interesting Fact: I attended college at North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota on a Division 1 Softball Scholarship for 4 years.

Favorite Food: Chips and salsa and anything carbs!

Favorite Hobby: Crafting and spending time at the beach

 
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AVALON WADE

Assistant Event Coordinator

Avalon joined the Bella Collina team in 2014 while attending Azusa Pacific University. She graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies with the plan to be a part of the event industry post college. Fun fact - Avalon is the face behind our Instagram stories so make sure to check those out and say hello!

Hometown: Laguna Niguel, California

Favorite Food: Chicken Parmesan

Favorite Hobby: Hiking in Laguna Beach

Interesting fact about you: Better than Travis Jones at Tae Kwon Do

Favorite Place Traveled: Costa Rica

 

ALEXIS PETROVICH

Banquet Captain

Alexis joined Bella Collina in 2011 while pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from University of California, Irvine. After graduating, Alexis joined Saddleback College working in Administration for their Honors Program while continuing to be a team member of Bella Collina. Wanting to spend more time with her son, a few years later, Alexis chose to solely work for Bella Collina and we are so grateful to have her!

Hometown: Born in and raised in Anchorage and Juneau, Alaska

Favorite Part of Bella Collina: My Bella Collina Family!

What Drives You: My motivation comes from the desire to be the best at what I do, and to set an example for my son.

Favorite Hobby: Racing motorcycles at the racetrack and playing billiards.

Hidden Talent: I played the cello for ten years, and I have won a few trophies in billiards.

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LEONEL VILLAMIL

Executive Chef

Chef Leonel calls himself a modern young Chef, with old school technique and hand-crafted specialties. Prior to joining Bella Collina in 2016, Chef Leonel was the Executive Chef for Farrentellis Dana Point for 7 years and honed his technique at places like St. Regis, Canaletto’s Italian, and Ti Amo in Laguna Beach.

Hometown: Taxco, Mexico

Favorite Thing About Being a Chef: Being creative with ingredients and being able to create new dishes while keeping the integrity of traditions

Favorite Item to Make: Hand crafted pastas and cooking with wood fire grills

Favorite Part of Bella Collina: Interacting with our members and clients and being able to share stories and ideas

Favorite Hobby: Fixing up classic cars and then taking them on road trips

 

TRAVIS JONES

Director of Food & Beverage

Travis joined Bella Collina in 2015 with years of experience in the restaurant industry. Prior to joining our team, Travis managed Del Frisco’s, Cheesecake Factory, and was the General Manager for The Beach House in Dana Point for 7 years. Travis is a father of two, husband, active surfer, and mountain biker living in San Clemente. He is proud to call Bella Collina his second home.

Hometown: San Clemente, California

Favorite Food & Cocktail: Pacific Lobster and Cadillac Margarita

Favorite Hobby: Mountain Biking

Interesting fact about you: I'm a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do

Favorite Place Traveled: Fiji

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