Meet the TCMC Team

According to American Association of Association Executives (ASAE), the association management industry has continuously grown to more than 600 service providers worldwide that work with associations representing 3 million+ members. For some team members at The Core Management Company, the association management industry was not the industry they had initially planned on working in. In fact, this is something that can be arguably be said of most association management professionals in general. Yet, as the association management company (AMC) industry continues to grow, our team has found their place in providing quality solutions for organizations and passion in helping them fulfill their missions. TCMC is a close group of people who all enjoy working together and we wanted to take the opportunity to share a little bit more about some members of our team.  Also, our team recently underwent the Gallup Strengthfinders 2.0 assessment and we’re sharing everyone’s number 1 trait also!

David Murillo, CAE


 #1 CliftonStrength: Ideation

The Core Management Company David Murillo Headshot

TCMC’s President + Chief Mission Officer, David Murillo, majored in risk management/HR in college and was working in the insurance industry in his early 20’s when he fell into association management after a fateful lunch with a friend who worked for an association and casually mentioned there was a possible employment opportunity in his group for someone with an insurance background.  

The rest as they say, is history. As his career has evolved, David has developed an aptitude for operational management of associations and now focuses on fundamental value proposition examination and organizational strategic planning. He possesses a profound belief that associations change the lives of people on a daily basis. His work mantra is: “Think deep. Think often.” 

Kristy Babb

 #1 CliftonStrength: Arranger

Kristy Babb, Client Management Services Executive at TCMC was introduced to the association management industry through her previous work in the communications field. She began working with associations by providing communication and public affairs strategies, and eventually moved into an executive role. She enjoys the people-connection aspect of association work and admires how integral associations are to advancing the missions of the industries they serve and how multifaceted their operations are.

Emily Mullin, CAE

 #1 CliftonStrength: Communication

Emily Mullin, Management Services Executive at TCMC got her first position in the association management industry immediately after graduating college. Her work in the association world eventually led to her meeting her husband. Emily’s favorite part about her job is connecting with people on an authentic level. Everyone has a unique story, and she is fascinated to hear about everyone’s life adventures. 

Will Hixson, CAE

 #1 CliftonStrength: Consistency

A career in the public affairs and communications realm was the initial path for Will Hixson, a Management Services Executive at TCMC. FSB Core Strategies, a precursor to the Core Strategic Group which is TCMC’s parent company is where Will’s career began.  FSB’s trajectory of growth included an association management practice arm, which eventually became The Core Management Company.

When Will’s career path came to fork in the road between communications and association leadership, and he chose the latter. Will finds that no day is the same working for associations which keeps it exciting. Will believes that if more individuals were aware of the industry, we would have increased engagement with associations at all levels. An increased presence of associations has the power to benefit countless industries and the individuals they represent.

Christina Bauders, CMP

 #1 CliftonStrength: Relator

Christina Bauders, Senior Operations Executive at TCMC, found her way into the association management industry after she was placed in in an association via a temp agency. She excelled so much so that the and the association created a new position to keep her on full time after the temp position ended. Her favorite part about the industry is the collaboration and community that comes from working with associations.

Cher Ekasala

 #1 CliftonStrength: Communication

The Core Management Company Cher Ekasala Headshot

Cher Ekasala, Administrative Services Manager at TCMC, has worked in both the public and private sector but felt really drawn to association and non-profit work because she found it fulfilling and meaningful. Possessed of a congenial and socially-driven personality, Cher finds working with others to help them achieve their goals extremely rewarding. 

Cher wishes lawmakers and the public at large better understood the extent of work these groups do for their memberships and beyond to change lives for the better and is happy to be part of that education effort. 

Jenna Bailey

#1 CliftonStrength: Restorative

The Core Management Company Jenna Bailey Headshot

Jenna Bailey is a Senior Event Services Specialist who found her way to TCMC after a friend recommended her for a position. She has witnessed firsthand how being part of an association is a great way to network and grow professionally and enjoys watching friendships grow between members that have met at association events.

Elizabeth Ernster

#1 CliftonStrength: Communication

The Core Management Company Elizabeth Ernster Headshot

Elizabeth Ernster is a Membership + Communications Coordinator who began her career at TCMC as an intern after graduating from Chico State. With a major in public relations, Elizabeth stumbled into the association management industry, but has found that she enjoys being able to work with members and boards of each association. She has learned how essential the association management industry is and wants to make sure everyone knows how many associations are out there and encourages everyone to join. 

Tamra Smalewitz

#1 CliftonStrength: Empathy

The Core Management Company Tamra Smalewitz Headshot

Tamra Smalewitz, a Member Services Coordinator at TCMC, enjoys working with clients and colleagues and has found that every day she is able to learn something new and create a new way of working in association management. When it comes to working in the industry, she doesn’t want people to be afraid to learn from others or teach others what you can do. 

She lives by the mantra “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” by Maya Angelou because she believes kindness and smiles can be a domino effect and that if one succeeds, everyone can succeed. 

Salwa Mikbel 

The Core Management Company Salwa Mikbel Headshot

Salwa Mikbel (who goes by Sel to friends and colleagues) is a Financial Services Supervisor at TCMC who got her start in the association management industry immediately after college when she got her first job as an accounting assistant for a non-profit organization. Sel’s favorite part about her job is of having a front seat in client financial operations and helping Boards make good decisions based on sound data. 

When work gets stressful, she finds wisdom and solace in her favorite quote from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: “What’s coming will come, and we’ll meet it when it does.” Her attitude toward an upcoming challenge is embracing and recharging in the calmness that usually precedes a storm, which in her case, can come  in the form  an upcoming scheduled  audit, financial report deadline, or budget season.

Khadeja Ibrahim

#1 CliftonStrength: Context

The Core Management Company Khadeja Ibrahim Headshot

Khadeja Ibrahim is a Financial + Administrative Coordinator at TCMC and her favorite part about her job is working with a team of individuals who are dedicated to what they do. Khadeja says that behind every big success, are hours of detailed worked. The team is very thorough to ensure a result that is of the highest quality. 

She believes that “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” by Seneca because true success requires tenacity and grit. If you have a goal, you must work towards it every day. Being prepared when the right opportunity arises is what makes a person lucky.

Joseph O’Brien

#1 CliftonStrength: Achiever

Joe O’Brien, a Financial Services Specialist is the most recent addition to the TCMC team. After a great interview and seeing how close everyone in the company is, Joe decided TCMC was the place for him. His favorite part about working for an AMC is that there are always new challenges, and he has yet to stop learning new things. During his time here, he has seen how powerful an association can be in terms of influencing the world around us, and AMCs play a vital role in helping them succeed.

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