Despite the craziness and uncertainty, due to COVID, I’m so excited to officially announce our full team… and a renewed commitment to keeping up with this blog.

So here are our introductions:

Julie Park- Owner and Lead Planner

Julie’s background has fostered in her a tremendous attention to detail. With 12 years’ experience and a degree in Event Management, Julie started her career at the Vice President’s Residence where she was fortunate to be involved in the planning of both social and private events for the Vice President of the United States. Since the start of her career, she has planned a mixture of political, government, and social events from small intimate gatherings to working on the 2008 Republican Convention, attended by thousands.

Before starting Birch, Julie served as the Director of Protocol for The 25th Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter. In that position Julie had the privilege to travel and plan events all over the world. While she loved the logistics and planning of diplomatic events she missed the opportunity to design one of a kind, creative, events. This is why she decided to start her own planning company at the end of the last administration and Birch was born.

When Julie isn’t working, or on travel, she can be found completing DIY activities and throwing dinner parties at home for loving friends. Julie lives in Alexandria with her husband and their five children. YES FIVE. Julie is the manager of chaos in life and in events.

Kristina Garcia – Lead Planner

Our proud Texas native, Kristina, brings a strong hospitality background to Birch Event & Design. She found a love for planning while organizing events for a non-profit in Dallas. She moved to DC in 2015 to follow and elevate her passion and has touched almost every part of the industry including catering, coordination, calligraphy and more.

As a lead planner, Kristina organizes and leads team members, marshals resources, and calls upon several years of experience to bring her clients vision to life.

When Kristina isn’t working, she spends her free time playing volleyball, practicing her calligraphy and binge-ing Netflix shows. She is a big fan of organizing everything from closets to calendars and loves adventuring to new places. Kristina will also be getting MARRIED this September and we cannot wait to execute her dream reception in September of 2021, once it is safe to gather in larger groups!




Kimberly Bender – Associate Planner
Kimberly is in the Middle

Kimberly’s love of organization and planning has followed her throughout her career, and always shines through in her work. While serving as the Director of Scheduling for two Secretaries of Defense, she had the opportunity to plan meetings with the White House, Congress, industry, and leaders of foreign governments.

As an associate wedding and events planner, Kimberly is especially excited to focus on her passion for helping clients create truly fantastic experiences. She believes there is nothing more satisfying than knowing her hard work and attention to detail makes her clients’ events a success.

Outside of spending time with her husband and best friend, Kevin, you can find Kimberly coaching her daughters’ soccer teams, or volunteering at their school. She is happiest when she is hosting friends for dinner and giving back to her community.


Penny Papas – Office Manager & Event Assistant

Penny is middle right and Nailah is middle left 

A true Greek goddess, Penny brings more than a decade of restaurant management experience and organization. Penny’s organization skills and attention to detail allows for us to focus our full attention on the needs of our clients. From sourcing the perfect decor elements to restocking that all important restroom basket she helps us make sure that no detail is overlooked.

Besides planning her next trip back to the Greek Isles, Penny is often found on the sidelines cheering on her two children and supporting their sports dreams. She is always on the hunt for ways to enhance her interior spaces so don’t be surprised if you run into her at a local HomeGoods.

Nailah Beyene-Martin – Event Assistant                    

Although raised in Alexandria, VA, Nailah currently attends college in Southern California. Nailah discovered her passion for event planning at school, and eventually joined the Birch Team, as an intern for the summer of 2019, to further develop her organizational skills and learn more about the event planning industry. She was such an asset, to the team, that we couldn’t let her go at the end of the summer!

Nailah helps with vendor outreach, remotely, and when back in Virginia she works as an event assistant. Her favorite part of assisting with events is seeing all the small details come together that ultimately create an atmosphere where lifelong memories are created.

Outside of studying and enjoying the California beaches, you can find Nailah reading a good book, spending time with her little sisters, or planning her next adventure. She also loves all things reality TV and will watch anything from Cake Boss to the Real Housewives of the Potomac.