by Successful Meetings staff | July 01, 2014

James Montague, CEO of Plannernet

James Montague
As CEO of Plannernet, a global third-party planner network, Montague leads a team of nearly 2,000 planners globally, with about 500 of them located in 110 countries outside of North America. It was under Montague's leadership that the company made an aggressive international expansion, allowing for meetings in countries such as India, China, and Korea. Montague was also a founding member of the International Medical Meeting Planners Association (which just transferred its Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certificate to MPI, and disbanded), and he played a key role in the initial development of the Certified Medical Meeting Manager program -- currently the Healthcare designation in the Certified Meeting Planner program.

Cecilia Tee, Regional Vice President of HelmsBriscoe

When she joined HelmsBriscoe in 2012 as regional vice president, Tee became the company's first Asia associate in a strategic leadership position. Based in Hong Kong, Tee was actively recruited by HelmsBriscoe to head up its new Asia offices and to expand its reach within the region. In her current role, she is responsible for enhancing the global hotel partnerships in the region, educating and promoting the HelmsBriscoe global value proposition, and increasing its regional market share. She is also responsible for recruiting and training a network of associates in parts of Asia. In her more than 20-year career, Tee has spearheaded key account management, and developed MICE management strategies and GDS education in China, Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Taiwan.


Pat Schaumann, Director of Professional Development, Healthcare Sector, for MPI 

As the founder of the International Medical Meeting Professionals Association and director of the MPI Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certificate (HMCC), Schaumann anticipated the future confusion around the Sunshine Act -- and she set out to help solve it. Schaumann is the author of Breaking the Code to Healthcare Compliance, a health policy resource book for meeting professionals, physicians, and manufacturers that addresses the impact of the National Physician Payment Transparency Program: Open Payments (formally the Physician Payments Sunshine Act) on the industry. Schaumann is the first recipient of the International Destination Management Professional of the Year award by ADME International and was most recently named "One of the 25 Most Influential Women in Business" by the St. Louis Business Journal.

Nan Marchand Beauvois, Senior Director for the National Council Relations of the U.S. Travel Association 

Beauvois is a busy woman: As senior director of national council relations for the U.S. Travel Association (since 2011), she is responsible for the oversight and management of the administrative, functional, and governance requirements of the National Council of State Tourism Director, the National Council of Attractions, the Destination Council, and the MMBC. Of her role in the Meetings Mean Business Coalition, industry experts say she is the key driver behind the campaign, getting everything organized behind the scenes to push the initiative forward. "She is really the key organizer who raised her hand on behalf of The U.S. Travel Association to be the organizer behind the Meetings Mean Business coalition," says Michael Dominguez, senior vice president of corporate hotel sales for MGM Resorts International.


Christie Hicks, SVP of Starwood Sales Organization

Hicks is guiding her team of more than 450 senior global sales associates to revolutionize the way Starwood does meeting (as well as transient and leisure) sales. Her team recently launched a new customer loyalty index, meetings apps, and online meetings. They also introduced a new module to the StarwoodPro educational program, aimed at teaching travel professionals how to upsell in order to boost loyalty and profits for their organizations. Add to that a new Google Glass app that allows Starwood Preferred Guests and planners to immerse themselves in the company's 1,200 properties, and Hicks is embracing technology at a level few hoteliers are.

Jonathan Tisch, Chairman of Loews Hotels & Resorts 
Jonathan Tisch
A major advocate for group travel in general, Tisch has guided the Loews brand to continue making big, bold moves that are fast expanding the options available to meeting planners. He is currently overseeing the build of the Cabana Bay Beach Resort in Orlando -- the largest hotel in the world outside of China -- as well as the acquisition of four new hotels. Add in dozens of renovations and expansions (such as the $100 million-renovation of flagship Loews Regency in New York City), and Tisch is overseeing the spend of almost $1 billion to ensure his brand is giving planners what they want.  

Michael Dominguez, SVP of Sales for MGM Resorts International; Chairman of MPI

While heading the sales team for one of the biggest hospitality brands in the world, Dominguez also works tirelessly promoting the meetings industry. As current chairman of MPI, he is guiding the organization as it has introduced new tools such as "Meetings Outlook" reports and acquired the Healthcare Meeting Compliance certificate program. He is leading the fight against room poaching as co-chair of APEX's Industry Piracy Taskforce, and working to help grow business for the hospitality industry as a member of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International Foundation Board of Directors. He's also keeping plenty busy at MGM, launching the industry's first Meetings Wellness Program and the new "Ultimate Recipe Showdown" at 12 major meeting markets throughout the country.

Paul Somogyi, Sales Director of Middle Market, Government, and Affinity Segments for Marriott International

As government meetings face ever-greater scrutiny, Somogyi is working to ensure the travel industry has a seat at the table, literally. As the only hotelier to serve as a member of the General Services Administration's (GSA) new Governmentwide Travel Advisory Committee, he is ensuring the industry's voice is heard as the GSA reviews federal travel policies to ensure accountability and transparency. Somogyi's work with the committee offers an example of how hoteliers can take a proactive approach to the tightening budgets and greater restrictions being placed on government gatherings.

Sebastien Tondeur, CEO of MCI Group 

Tondeur has worked to make MCI Group a model of forward-looking event management, providing clients with a full suite of strategic services, from brand enhancement to content services. The group has a presence in 29 countries throughout Europe, IMEA, and Asia-Pacific, and the recent acquisition of 3Events Agency has added the growing Turkish market to its portfolio. Tondeur helps advance the professionalism of the industry more broadly through his work running the future leaders forum in conjunction with MPI and IMEX. Under his guidance, MCI has also put a spotlight on environmental responsibility, last summer launching an online sustainability report, managing a number of high-profile energy and sustainability events, and earning the IMEX-GMIC Green Meeting Award for 2014. SM Questions or comments? Email [email protected]