Meet The HPO Team

Kelsey Leeper


Venue Manager
About Kelsey

Hi! My name is Kelsey and I'm the venue manager for the HPO. I've been with the building since it underwent renovations in 2016 and I'm pretty sure I have the best job in the world! Not only did I play a part in the renovations and design of the building, but I've also gotten to build the company from the ground up alongside our amazing team.

Before I began working for the HPO, I was a full time middle school science teacher and also had my own company for event planning - Kelsey Ann Events LLC. It took me a while to figure out which career field I was meant to be in, but I finally found my forte in the wedding and event industry!

When I'm not at the HPO, you'll find me snuggled up at home with my husband, our daughter and our pets.

My favorite thing about the HPO is the original wrought-iron work on the outside of the building. I think the metal accents the venue with the perfect combination of historic charm and contemporary flair.

Madeline Harris


Assistant Venue Manager
About Madeline

My name is Madeline and I'm the assistant venue manager for the HPO. I moved to Newport News a few years ago and studied Music Theater at Christopher Newport University. While attending CNU I fell in love with wedding design and with Hampton Roads. I attended the HPO's Grand Opening, immediately fell in love with the space, and joined the team shortly thereafter!

When not coordinating events, you'll find me performing music and travelling often.

My favorite aspect of The Historic Post Office is the history and architecture (Beaux-Arts in case anyone was wondering!). I've always been fond of old things - vintage clothing, furniture, movie musicals - so caring for a space with some age is a dream come true. What better way for a relationship to stand the test of time than beginning in a building over one hundred years old?

Ellie Bernstein


Venue Assistant
About Ellie

Hello! My name is Ellie and I am an Event Assistant at the HPO. I just celebrated my one year anniversary with the venue, and hope to be here for many more.

I started in the event industry as a planner for a local catering company, as well as 30 years as a Program Director for a non-profit. I love helping others make the most of their special occasion and contributing to their special day.

I am married with three great kids, a dog and a cat. I love to watch college football (Go Gamecocks and Hokies), spend time with my family, sit on the beach and enjoy a nice glass of wine.

My favorite thing about the HPO is the beauty of the interior of the building. I look forward to each event to see how each person executes their vision for their extraordinary day.

Sylvia Hutson


Venue Assistant
About Sylvia

Hello! My name is Sylvia and I am one of the venue assistants at the HPO.

I have been involved with this building from the Studio days when we shot TV shows and I was the costume designer, before the renovations. I love the architecture and the history of this building. It is simply breathtaking.

When I am not working here I am running my Talent Agency that I own for the past 13 years, so many of my actors have been on TV shows shot in the HPO building.

I love working the events and the weddings here, to see the special day all come together and to see the joy on the wedding party's faces when they enter is simply amazing.

When I am not here or at my other job, I am either ballroom dancing, yoga, gym, or lounging at home with my loved one and our crazy critters, Kaya, Tucker and Gizmo.

Marie Orta


Venue Assistant
About Marie

Hi! My name is Marie and I am a Venue Assistant at the HPO. I am the newest addition to the team and I love it!! Wedding decoration and home/interior design are two of the things I am the most obsessed with. I am also French, a proud Navy wife, and a dog mom.

In my spare time, I would either be cooking, reading a good mystery book or cuddling with my puppy.

What I love the most about the Historic Post Office is the history behind its architecture and the infinite possibilities of set up that make each of our weddings unique and authentic.



Event Assistant
About Mckenzie

Hello! My name is Mckenzie and I’m an event assistant for the HPO. I love everything about weddings. I grew up around weddings; admiring the decorations, dresses and giant parties, all because two people fell in love. It all seemed magical!

My passion for weddings has only grown over the years. My favorite thing about the HPO is the vintage feel of the building. I have always cherished the feel of historical buildings. The HPO has maintained its historical feel while becoming modern, and is an amazing blank slate for each wedding to create their own individual style.

I appreciate the opportunity to help make weddings special for each of the couples that marry at the HPO. During my spare time you can most likely find me at the beach or around a campfire with friends and family.



Event Assistant
About Leslie

Hi, my name is Leslie. I’ve been with the HPO in an administrative role since the beginning and have just recently begun assisting with the events. I love being involved in our clients’ celebration and helping to make their day special.

Our building is beautiful and my favorite thing about it is that our clients can make it whatever they want. From simple and charming to amazing and spectacular. Whatever makes them happy.

I was born and raised in Newport News and graduated from Christopher Newport College with a degree in accounting. I live in the Hilton area with my husband and two kids, both of whom are currently attending Longwood University. I love the beach and when not working am usually trekking to and from Avon, NC.



Event Assistant
About Juanisha

Juanisha acquired her Bachelors In Fine Arts degree in Fashion Marketing from American InterContinental University. She has an extensive background in the event and education industry, working in such a high-stress environment helped her master the skills of multitasking, time management, and efficiency of customer service as a top priority. Juanisha loves being part of making events come to life and goes out of her way to make sure they are flawless.

She was born and raised in Virginia and enjoys shopping and the endless number of restaurants to try. She has a love for traveling and enjoys learning about and experiencing new cultures. When she is not working an event, you can find Juanisha on the cheer mat coaching, spending time at home with family and a good meal, spending a day at the beach, or a weekend getaway with her husband. Her favorite part of working at the HPO is watching how the brides bring their wedding day vision to life.

Photos by Audrey Rose and Will Hawkins