The 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry for 2017

Successful Meetings' annual list of impact players.

25 Most Influential People 2017 opener

Recognizing only 25 people who are contributing to the betterment of the meetings industry is a difficult task. Our 25 influencers this year were chosen because they have either contributed to the business of meetings; made it easier for meetings professionals to do their jobs; or helped raise awareness of the industry.

Potential honorees were suggested by key members of the industry, recipients from previous years, and open nominations. The final 25 were chosen by our editorial team.


• Amy Ledoux, CMP, CAE, senior vice president, meetings, expositions & special events, ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership

• Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International

• Oni Chukwu, CEO of etouches

• Reggie Aggarwal, founder and CEO of Cvent

• Roger Tondeur, founder, chairman, MCI Group

Read about how these individuals are changing the game for meeting planners.


• Nina Freysen-Pretorius, CEO, The Conference Company South Africa; president, ICCA

• Roberta A. Kravitz, executive director, International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM); member, PCMA Education Foundation board of trustees

• Christian-Claus Roth, co-president, International Pharmaceutical Congress Advisory Association (IPCAA); head global scientific engagement governance, Novartis Pharma AG

• Jennifer Patino, DMCP, CEO, Hosts Global

• Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX Group

• Jami Stapelmann, director, global travel and meetings, Estee Lauder Companies

• Arne Sorenson, president and CEO, Marriott International, Inc.

We all strategize, but these individuals are implementing strategies that impact everyone's plans. Better read about them. 


• David Jefferys,
 president and CEO of the Altus Agency; founder and executive director of the LGBT Meeting Professionals Association

• Bradford Rand, president and CEO at TECHEXPO, Cyber Security Summit

• Steve Goodling, president and CEO of Long Beach Area CVB

• Annalisa Ponchia Baccara, CMP, CMM, CEO, European Society for Organ Transplantation (ESOT)

• Marsha L. Flanagan, M.Ed., vice president of learning experiences, International Association of Exhibitions & Events (IAEE)

There's much work to be done when it comes to growing the meetings industry and making it as inclusive as possible. Here's how these influencers are doing that.


• David Peckinpaugh, CMP, CIS, president, Maritz Global Events (includes Maritz Travel and Experient); chair-elect, PCMA Education Foundation board of trustees

• Michael Massari, chief sales officer, Caesars Entertainment; board member, MPI

• Roger Dow, president and CEO, U.S. Travel Association

Why are these people advocates for meetings? Find out here.


• Amanda Armstrong,
 CMP, director of corporate travel and meetings, Enterprise Holdings, Inc.; chair-elect of Meeting Professionals International (MPI)

• Jessie States, CMM, manager of professional development, Meeting Professionals International

• Natasha Syed, director of global conference & incentive sales, Rocco Forte Hotels; vice president, Young Leaders/Event Liaison, SITE Texas

• Jason Yeh, founder & CEO, GIS Group

• Danielle L. Urbina, CMP, director of meetings and exhibits, American Society of Anesthesiologists

There are lots of places to get education in the meetings industry today. And these people are responsible for much of the best that is out there.