by The Successful Meetings Staff | July 01, 2015

The Strategists


Greg Bogue, Vice President, Experience Design, Maritz Travel Company
For over 30 years, Greg Bogue has been dedicated to creating experiences that move people. A creative catalyst who can quickly synthesize a message and help organizations deliver it to their guests at a higher level, Bogue applies the latest in neuroscience to help Maritz Travel Company transform the way it designs and delivers meeting and events. He is actively working on defining the methodology for measuring experience design and building the foundation of transformational events.

"Today, it seems we have service delivery measurement dialed in," he notes, "but we need to fully understand the impact of experiences and create an effective methodology to measure them. Until then we'll be stuck in a service delivery mindset." For transformational events, he says, "we are evolving from 'holding a meeting' to 'staging an experience'. What's next? 'Start a Movement,' purpose-based events that truly transform."

Kari Wendel, SMMC, Senior Director, Global SMM Strategy and Solutions, CWT Meetings & Events
Kari Wendel's name is synonymous with Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) in the meetings and events industry. For more than 20 years, Wendel has led CWT Meetings & Events' global SMM initiatives and played a crucial role in developing the industry's first professional certification in SMM. She also served as the co-chair for developing another industry first, the SMM Maturity Model.

She continues to drive thought leadership within the entire meetings industry, and regularly engages with customers and non-customers in key cities throughout North America.

Alison Taylor, Senior Vice President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Sales Organization
Following in the footsteps of industry veteran Christie Hicks, who was the former senior vice president of Starwood's entire global sales organization -- a team of more than 5,000 associates around the world -- would seem a daunting task, but Alison Taylor is clearly up to the job. The Starwood veteran of 25 years has spent the last decade developing the chain's surging Asia-Pacific market and now, in her new role, she will be responsible for setting Starwood's global B2B sales strategy. "Our team is keenly focused on enhancing our corporate, leisure, and group segmentation strategies, as well as ensuring that innovative programs like SPG Pro reach their full potential," Taylor told Successful Meetings. "Another goal is to improve our speed of execution, from contract to booking and through execution, while enhancing our operations to support a faster turnaround." Taylor also is leading the company's dedicated Group & Emerging Platforms team. "Group business remains mission critical for Starwood," she notes, "which is why we're making a more concerted effort than ever to put in place the resources, structure, and leadership that will support this segment across existing and emerging channels."

Paul Van Deventer, President and CEO, MPI
Paul Van Deventer's first full year with MPI was 2014, when a need to refocus and evolve the association to retain the organization's prominent position as an industry leader was recognized. "We developed and launched new mission and vision statements for both MPI and the MPI Foundation, designed to refocus our long-term aspiration," he says. "To deliver against the updated mission, a new strategic plan was developed and implemented." To enable the new strategy, significant changes were made to MPI's global infrastructure, including restructuring its leadership, recruiting key executives, and updating its governance model. "In addition, we launched five strategic imperatives, focused on broadening our professional development offerings, expanding our live events portfolio, increasing the support that we provide to our volunteer leaders, improving the chapter infrastructure, and increasing member value," says Van Deventer. Specific to increasing member value, in 2014, MPI rolled out the updated CMM and the Health Care Meeting Compliance Certificate programs.

Tammy Blount, President and CEO, Monterey County CVB
In California, Tammy Blount's spearheading of Monterey's brand campaign has been a model for how a destination marketing organization can build incremental business while also creating a rallying point for the city's stakeholders in both the private and public sectors.

Just as influential is her work as one of the chief architects of DestinationNEXT, Destination Marketing Association International's (DMAI) initiative to provide DMOs with actionable tactics to make those organizations competitive in a fast-changing tourism industry. At the start of this year, DMAI began hosting workshops to help destinations throughout the world develop "NEXTPractices" for positioning themselves for growth in the coming years. "Being nimble and at the same time collaborative in the building of our communities and tourism economies requires a rethink of how we DMOs are modeled, and how we do business," says Blount.

Lyn Lewis-Smith, CEO, Business Events Sydney
As CEO of Business Events Sydney and president of the Australian Association of Convention Bureaus, Lyn Lewis-Smith promotes Sydney in the global marketplace.She joined Business Events Sydney (formerly the Sydney Convention and Visitors Bureau) as director of sales but, in 2008, moved into the role of general manager of marketing, then COO, and in July 2011, she was promoted to CEO, a role in which she has been able to build strategic relationships with key industry leaders and manage a global team of 50 in six offices.

The real work for which she is being recognized is an innovative initiative to measure event ROI at the destination level. Sydney is the first city to attempt to systematically measure the impact, beyond direct expenditures, of the international association meetings it hosts (measuring things such as inward investment generated, knowledge transferred, business conducted between delegates, among others). Lewis-Smith has been the driving force behind this effort.

The Educators

Pat Schaumann, CMP, Director, Professional Development, Healthcare Sector, MPI
Pat Schaumann has been a tireless educator in helping the pharma and medical planner community deal with compliance issues. In the past year alone she has:

 Authored the third edition of Breaking the Code to Healthcare Compliance.

 Designed the My Compliance Wizard App -- first ever to help meeting professionals access cross-border healthcare compliance.

 Spearheaded the MPI CMP Healthcare certification training program utilizing the latest in instructional design and study apps.

 Been the faculty head for the Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certificate and saw a 75 percent increase in classes in 2015. Over 500 meeting professionals currently have received their HMCC.

 Served as lead author for the MPI CMP HC workbook.

It's an impresssive body of work that has increased awareness of the complexity of healthcare meeting compliance issues and has taken medical meeting management to a higher level through innovation and education.

Carol Krugman, CMP, Chair, Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Events, Metropolitan State University of Denver
Considered one of the meeting industry's top experts in cross-cultural planning, global meeting operations, and risk assessment, Krugman brings much-in-demand academic insight to the industry. While she has worked in meetings for 35 years, the past two years have seen a significant expansion in Krugman's role, serving on the editorial team that updated the sixth edition of the Professional Convention Management Association's (PCMA) Professional Meeting Management handbook, updating it to appeal to both undergraduate students and veteran professionals.

She also served as chair of the Student Task Force of MPI, sat on the board of directors of the Convention Industry Council's (CIC) Certified Meeting Professional program, and became a member of the APEX Standards Committee, charged with addressing industry trends and issues. "It is testimony to the CIC that it recognizes the growing importance of academia to the profession by including an academic on the committee," Krugman says of her selection. She adds that "the next big challenge and opportunity for our industry is to develop an accepted and acceptable accreditation process for university programs."

Jeff Hurt, Executive Vice President, Education and Engagement, Velvet Chainsaw 
Considered one of the leading authorities in the meetings industry on adult education, conference design, and digital events, Hurt speaks frequently about meetings and technology trends, the future of conference education, and adult learning. Running one of the most popular blogs in the industry, and boasting 13.5 million Twitter followers, he is showing MICE members how to leverage the power of social media for maximum impact. He says one of the most recent highlights for him and the Velvet Chainsaw team is the growing awareness from organizations "that their traditional conference business model is not working in today's context," and that they "must reinvent and create the new traditional conference that focuses on being customer-centric, not product-centric."

Kelly Peacy, CMP, Senior Vice President, Education and Events, PCMA 
Peacy has spent 20 years working in association management, specifically in meetings and events, marketing, and strategy. A member of the PCMA staff for the past 14 years, Peacy leads a team in the strategy, planning, and delivery of all face-to-face events, including PCMA Convening Leaders and the Education Conference. She also oversees the development of PCMA's online distance-learning products such as the CMP Online Prep Courses and webinars.

A Chicago native, Peacy is a graduate of Illinois State University. "I have the distinct privilege to work for a forward-thinking organization such as PCMA, where taking risks is part of the culture, and I don't take this opportunity for granted," she says. "At our face-to-face events, we are not afraid to try something that's never been done before and see how it works -- sometimes we succeed and sometimes we don't, but all of our event risks and innovations are taken with the advancement of the industry in mind. Experimentation is what PCMA is all about."