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Meet The IOnTheScene Team

The IOnTheScene Team is a group of keen, eager and innovative digital marketing, content development, event planning and communications professionals with years of experience bringing entertaining, engaging and unique content and opportunities to consumers and brands alike. Meet the team, and contact us with any questions!

Irene Michaels – Founder & President

Over the years the accomplished Irene Michaels has demonstrated that it is not in her nature to slow down. The dark haired beauty thrives on the challenges presented by her demanding work schedule, silently taking pride in highly deserved success and remaining ever grounded and gracious to those who have contributed to her mission along the way. For the past several decades, the savvy Chicago based entrepreneur has glided gracefully from one project to another, jetted from one city to the next to pursue opportunity after opportunity, and has rarely paused to catch her breath. She has taken on the roles of model, actress, producer, publisher, and inside journalist. She is an accomplished equestrian and avid animal lover. Few can match her work ethic, and she has a great deal to show for her efforts. Ms. Michaels has done it all and has become a significant figure within Chicago society. Read more…

Suzanne Tripaldi – Director of Development

Suzanne brings a vast array of business development  and public relations experience, having worked with numerous major brands including the Trump Organization, Capri Capital, Bvlgari, and Bentley Motors. A graduate of Rutgers University, Suzanne combines her years of experience with an ever-searching eye for new ideas to promote business development to its utmost.

John Engle – Vice President for Strategic Implementation

John Engle is a merchant banker and author living in the Chicago area. His work has been featured by the Heartland Institute and the American Thinker. His first book, Trinity Student Pranks: A History of Mischief and Mayhem, was published in September 2013. John is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and the University of Oxford.

Sandra Trevino – Senior Writer

Sandra Trevino is a Chicago journalist and the founder of Enchufate, a website dedicated to all things Latin alternative. You can listen to her radio broadcasts every Thursday via Radio One Chicago on 88.7FM and 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month via Lumpen Radio on 105.5FM. When she’s not writing or on the radio, you can find her playing music at different venues across the city as part of DJ duo The Ponderers.

Contributors & Writers

Cie Allman-Scott, Ph.D. – Contributing Writer

Dr. Cie is an award winning television talk show hostess, working for several years nationally on ABC, NBC, FOX and UPN networks. She currently works as a media psychologist, lecturer, and writer, having written self-help books and audiobooks as well as many national health, fitness, and self-help columns. An avid traveler since childhood, she now blogs international travel advice at In addition to keynote speeches and seminars, she has been lecturing around the world on exciting destinations and what she has coined as “travel psychology.” Prior to earning her doctorate in psychology, she was an international spokesmodel and live narrator for over 150 companies including 3M, Polaroid, Ford Motors, Lipton, Sumitomo, Kraft, Hilton, and Trump Hotels. She has also presented over 100 health and beauty products to consumers on television via commercials and infomercials. Dr. Cie evolved from an actress to an executive producer and cherry picks new projects; she is a voting member of the Television Academy, producing the Primetime Emmys. Her hobbies include scuba diving and mixed media art; she creates kinetic art for American art galleries and has been noted as a fine artist and juried member of the Arizona Art Alliance. She has been awarded Art Renaissance Woman of the Year and is currently Scottsdale Woman of the Year. She is a board member and volunteer for several charities. She usually resides in the elegant mountains of Arizona with her husband and three dogs.

Lori Borlack – Contributing Writer

During her past 35 years in the interior design business Lori has always focused in on how all of the “arts” inspire her designs. She loves being surrounded by beautiful things. Her travels around the world have given her great inspiration and a keen eye for what is currently impacting the consumer.  She always maintains a respect for the past, present, and future.

As president of her interior design firm, Lori has always combined an analytical mind with an ability to think creatively.

During the past five years, Lori has been indulging her creativity, direction, and romance into the fashion industry designing my fashion furniture and signature handbags.  She has realized, through her recent focus on fashion furniture and signature handbags, a need to pursue new endeavors and challenges in the fashion field. There is a need to romance and educate the new luxury brand client. With her knowledge of the past and present, and a keen eye for the future, Lori will only add to this unique experience to blog about fashion, “The Art of Fashion” on a high level.

Extensive travels around the world, enjoying other cultures, people, and beauty give Lori wonderful inspirations for new designs and a keen eye for what is currently impacting the fashion conscious consumer.

Jen Emmert – Contributing Writer

Jen Emmert is a West Virginia native living in Chicago with a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and a Bachelors in Journalism. If she’s not photographing a music event, interviewing an artist or writing quirky prose, she’s likely at LA Fitness, running along the Lakefront Trail, informing you about the latest indie acts or attempting to make you laugh with one of the myriad of voices she often speaks in, she’s likely traveling, spending time in the sunshine or cuddling with her two cats. She is currently revising two young adult fiction novels and bonding with a Fender Stratocaster.

Meleika Gardner – Contributing Writer

Recognizing that people are struggling in life, Meleika Gardner provides inspiration and a welcoming distraction that goes beyond the glitz and glamour of the rich and powerful to fearlessly report…the real. Prior to branching off on her own as an independent writer, she held a staff editorial position for The Guardian Liberty Voice online news publication. Having been immersed in the good, the bad, and the ugly of the business world as well as the Hollywood music, film, and television scene for many years, readers look forward to Meleika’s fresh perspective.

Joey Grant – Contributing Writer

Joey Grant, native Chicagoan, has worked in local print and digital media for the past five years. He started in publishing with a Men’s lifestyle magazine, and more recently created web-series featuring Chicago LGBTQ identified people. Joey’s experience also lies in event planning, graphic design and social-media management. His love for culture, art and design, fuels his passion for creating content and being part of the Chicago community.

Jennifer Meltzer – Contributing Writer

Jennifer Meltzer has her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois. She worked as a fashion model for Wilhelmina in New York at age 18 until traveling the globe landed her in Chicago, IL. She continued to use Chicago as her base, and kept moving as she worked as a model/actress for many American companies including Kraft, Ford, Kodak, Hewitt Packard, Macy’s, Sears, K-Mart, Walgreen’s, etc.

Jennifer has hosted and co-produced three cable television shows in the Chicago area and has done public relations for interior designer Marc Straits, female clothing designer Maria Rodriguez, and Patrick Reynolds of the Reynolds Tobacco family.

After years of being in front of the camera (and having three sons), Jennifer turned the camera outward. She photographed and wrote for Today’s Chicago Woman’s “Gal About Town” as Jennifer Sioux and had a very successful showing at Mars Gallery in Chicago. Additionally, Jennifer has worked with Irene on TV commercials in Chicago, and now lives in Malibu, CA!

Margaret J O’Connor – Contributing Writer

Margaret J. O’Connor is the founder/owner of MarCon Communications, a Chicago-based public relations consultancy integrating publicity, promotions and special events which helps clients build their personal, professional and business brand. Margaret, who was educated in Africa, Australia and America, worked as a runway and catalogue model and co-founded Élan Finishing & Modeling School with former Miss USA, Karen Morrison, in the early eighties. She co-founded a second business, Total Image, a full service salon and health club/spa. Under Élan Productions. She produced spring and fall fashion shows for malls across Illinois and for charity events, served as a judge for several pageants and appeared as a frequent guest on the show Something of Interest, talking fashion, travel and lifestyle. She founded her present company in 1992 and works with a diverse clientele across industry lines. She is also a freelance writer and contributor to publications and online blogs and magazines. She holds degrees in marketing and finance from the University of Illinois.

She’s been involved with numerous charities in Chicago. She began a fundraiser to raise money for adult literacy students and their families and in five years raised over one million dollars. She’s served on the Board of Directors of numerous boards including serving as President of Literacy Chicago’s board, President of the Board of Directors of the Partners of Hospice at Northwestern, Vice-Chair of the Board of DIFFA/Chicago, was a founding member of the Board of Directors for Common Threads and served on the BOD of ProLiteracy Worldwide, an international adult literacy organization headquartered in New York, the Advisory Board for Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center and is the 2014 co-chair of the Chicago Bears, Bears Care Gala.

She has received several awards and recognitions. MarCon received the national award for Best Event Produced for a Nonprofit, awarded by Special Events Magazine and PRIMEMEDIA in 2004. MarCon has also been selected as a national finalist in other categories. She was recognized by TCW Magazine as one of, 100 Women Making A Difference in 2002. She is a past recipient of Outstanding Women In America, Outstanding Young Women In Illinois and Who’s Who in America.

Lenna Ohanesian – Contributing Writer

Lenna Ohanesian is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in French and Business Administration. She is from a northern suburb of Chicago and has lived in the area all of her life. Her interests include fashion, cuisines of different cultures, and traveling.

Sugar Rautbord – Contributing Writer

Sugar Rautbord is the author of three bestselling novels: Girls in High Places, Sweet Revenge and The Chameleon. She has been featured on OPRAH, Larry King Live, and national TV shows as a keen political and lifestyle observer as well as the subject of Women. She has been a contributing editor to Town & Country, Connoisseur, and Chicago Magazine, Huffington Post and has been featured in Time, People, The Wall Street Journal, and Vanity Fair. She is nationally recognized for her fund-raising and civic work. Sugar Rautbord lives in Chicago, where she is active in philanthropy, politics, and heads a Consulting/Media Firm.

She is also a partner at a Merchant Bank advising and consulting on Growth Strategies.

Leigh Johnson – Contributing Writer

Leigh Johnson recently moved to Chicago after earning her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from the University of Tennessee. She is currently writing a collection of humorous essays and preparing the launch of, which features the photography and mixed media works of local artists as well as her own. Her hobbies include dancing Brazilian Zouk and traveling with friends.

Jim Wattron – Contributing Writer

Jim graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, with a degree in Business Administration. Jim has worked with the team from the beginning and he consistently strives for innovation with refreshing topics that inspire readers with context of new adventures and happenings, locally and internationally.

Lisa Zembruski – Contributing Writer

Lisa Zembruski has been practicing yoga for over 25 years. She first began at Woodbury Yoga Center falling in love with the physical benefits immediately. Through exploration she continued her passion for learning by studying various types of yoga. After discovering the spiritual side of yoga, she was excited to begin a new journey and left public school teaching after more than 20 years to pursue her passion and love of yoga. Along with her 200 RYT hour training from Buddhi Mat Power Yoga, she has attended multiple workshops and trainings. Her greatest passion is helping others find their true inner self. She is an avid athlete and yogi. She continues to live her life based on The Magic by practicing gratitude each and every day. Today you will find Lisa offering special master classes, offering 200 hour RYT teacher training, teaching yoga as a sport credit at Westover School, giving private yoga lessons, traveling to teach throughout the Caribbean with Fit Bodies organizing yoga retreats and always offering a kind word and a smile to others.


Helena Rafeyan – Photographer

Helena Rafeyan is a Chicago photographer who specializes in action photography. Her eye has captured some of the most fascinating events. Her portfolio includes Horse Polo Matches, Auto Racing, Major League Baseball, Gymnastic, Ballet, Music Events, and Fashion Runway just to name of few.

Helena’s work has been published local and International.

Mitchell Canoff – Photographer

Mitchell Canoff is one of Chicago’s most colorful and talented photographers. For the past thirty years he has been observing the world through the lens of his camera. His portfolio includes an examination of life studies from his travels around the world. The subjects vary from vast landscapes to reflective portraits. His experience as both a commercial and fine art photographer has been celebrated in several exhibitions that featured a retrospective of his work.

Canoff’s photographs have been featured in solo and group shows in Taos, Mexico, New York City, San Francisco, Tulsa, Oklahoma and a number of galleries in his hometown, Chicago.


Sam Paakkonen – Videographer

A producer and editor in Chicago, Samuel Paakkonen is multifaceted and works on commercial and documentary projects. Graduated from Tribeca Flashpoint College, Samuel Paakkonen focused in post-production. Sam is proficient with Adobe Premiere Pro CC and skilled with Adobe After Effects. Originally from Stillwater, Minnesota but now currently lives and is based out of the city of Chicago. In addition, Sam has worked for multiple clients including Tribeca Film Festival, Glass City Films, Emeritus Productions and other production companies. Sam leads a life of filmmaking and works to bring a story together both in the field and in the edit room.


Makeup Artist

Darcy Lynn McGrath – Makeup Artist and Photographer

For over 25 years, celebrity makeup artist, contributing beauty editor, and special request photographer Darcy McGrath has specialized in classic modern beauty. She was one of the first one-on-one educators for Mastering your Makeup™ and Beauty and the Bride™ “making house calls before it was hip!” Her advertising work is considered some of the best in the industry. From commercial, editorial, runway to celebrity work and product development. Her career collaborations reads like a Who’s Who of the Fashion & Beauty industry. Darcy has been honored to have worked with Oprah Winfrey, Cate Blanchett, Cindy Crawford, Joan Cusack, Andie MacDowell, Anne Hathaway, Jodi Foster, Guiliana Rancic, Larsa Pippen, Venus Williams, Gabrielle Reese, Halle Berry, Alicia Silverstone, Chris Rock, Michael Jordan, Mariah Carey, Nora Jones, R.E.M., Arsenio Hall, Magic Johnson, etc. Her extensive editorial credits have included VOGUE (US & Italy), Allure, Allure Bride, Vanity Fair, Glamour, Real Simple, Cosmopolitan, Elegant Bride, InStyle & InStyle Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings, Modern Bride, Brides, East Hampton Star Wedding Book, Town & Country, Fitness, Seventeen, Ladies Home Journal, Redbook, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine, Chicago Social, Sift , Today’s Chicago Woman and TWOMUCHSTYLE.COM.