. The 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry for 2015 | Successful Meetings

The 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry for 2015

Successful Meetings' annual list of impact players

25 Most Influential People 2015

Once again, we present our yearly list of luminaries, chosen because they have either contributed to the business of meetings, made it easier for meetings professionals to do their jobs, helped raise awareness of the industry, or in some way have had a significant impact on the industry.


The Advocates

Leonard Hoops, President and CEO, Visit Indy
Visit Indy President Leonard Hoops (in conjunction with Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard) helped the entire industry stand up and be noticed while fighting Indiana's anti-gay Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Visit Indy and the mayor not only fought the good fight here, but rallied the meetings industry to stand up and show its economic clout, forcing the state government to back down and reverse itself in a matter of days with the threat of a boycott.

The U.S. Travel Association has been talking for years about the need to demonstrate the industry's importance to economies of all U.S. cities and states, and it did so here, with Visit Indy and the city's mayor in the lead. In that respect, the incident became a statement about the importance and power of the MICE industry as a whole. It's also worth noting that this is the only time in decades that Visit Indy has gotten involved in a political issue, excluding lobbying for a convention-center expansion.


Fiona Pelham, Managing Director, Sustainable Events Ltd and Positive Impact; Chair of Meeting Professionals International (MPI)
Pelham is one of the event industry's most respected leaders in sustainability, a pioneer who also acts as the chair of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). In this role, she's working to bring more than 30 different countries and five liaison bodies together to develop the ISO 20121 event-sustainability management-system standard. "I passionately believe that the event industry makes a difference in the world," Pelham told Successful Meetings. "As MPI says, 'When we meet, we change the world.' Sometimes, we can become too focused on timelines and budgets and forget the bigger picture of the impact made by the job we do. My role with MPI and the development of ISO 20121 gives me the opportunity to remind our community of the potential we have to make an impact. Imagine if all event food waste was eaten by people who need it; this is just one example of what we can accomplish. Everything is impossible until it's possible, and my aspiration for my leadership roles is that they give other people the ideas, inspiration, and access to go into action to make a difference in areas that are important to them."


Michael Dominguez, Senior Vice President and Chief Sales Officer, MGM Resorts International; Co-chair, Meetings Mean Business Coalition (MMBC)
A great advocate and speaker with proven passion for the meetings industry, no one explains the hotel business side of the hospitality world to planners better than Dominguez. In his role at MGM, he has been an innovator in dealing with the Wi-Fi accessibility issue, and a leader in bringing wellness concepts into hotel rooms, all while leading his team to a record year of sales for group rooms in 2014.

At Meetings Mean Business, he has helped grow the coalition, including the recruitment of Fortune 500 CEO Bill McDermott of SAP as a vocal advocate for the power of face-to-face engagement and launching this year's first annual North American Meetings Industry Day. As he considers the challenges the industry is likely to face, Dominguez predicts that the "battle for talent and succession planning" will be on planners' radar, as will "equipping current leaders and preparing future leaders."


Beauvois

 Nan Marchand Beauvois, Vice President, National Councils, General Manager, Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations for U.S. Travel Association
"Meetings Mean Business has the potential to galvanize the industry and propel it to the next level," says Nan Marchand Beauvois, the U.S. Travel Association's vice president of national councils, overseeing the National Council of State Tourism Directors, the U.S. Travel Experience Network, the Destination Council, and the MMBC. "In just 18 months we have created a central platform to unite the industry in a way that has never been done before. I want to continue to drive this coalition forward to achieving its goals. That would be a great legacy."

Marchand Beauvois originally predicted that the first annual North America Meetings Industry Day on April 16 would consist of about 20 events. The continent-wide advocacy day surpassed her expectations with 88 events held in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and South America, and it also became a trending hashtag on Twitter. The event rallied and convened leaders to show the industry's strength and impact on businesses, economies, and communities.


The Game Changers
Mickey Schaefer, CEO and Founder, The EXPERIENCE Institute (TEI)

A 30-year industry leader who helped create the CIC's APEX initiative, Schaefer has continued to give back with the Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) program (27,000 certified in 17 states). CTA's success in enhancing the visitor experience led to her launching TEI and defining the first-ever visitor experience standards for the industry. Through its Experience Dedicated Destination program and new Attendee Experience Report, TEI gives planners and destination management organizations a means to measure the experience and take action on what matters to attendees and visitors. Along the way, Schaefer is building a network of destinations that are dedicated to improving what for them is the most difficult part of a meeting: how attendees experience their city.


Airbnb

The Airbnb Team
Back in 2008, who knew that three roommates from San Francisco would revolutionize the hospitality industry with an air mattress? Struggling to make their rent, Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky, and Joe Gebbia listed their apartment online as an "air bed and breakfast" to attract attendees from a design conference at the nearby Moscone Center and thus, Airbnb was born. Today, Airbnb has more than a million listings, with hosts in 34,000 cities in nearly 200 countries, and its impact is being felt throughout the tourism industry -- as well as in meetings and events.

Together, the three co-founders, Blecharczyk (chief technology officer), Chesky (CEO), and Gebbia (chief performance officer) have created a new shared economy tool -- valued at $10 billion -- that has revolutionized the way we travel and book rooms. In the process, it's also become a threat to the traditional revenue models for hotels, destination marketing organizations, and tourism boards around the world. Right now, Airbnb is looking to revolutionize the way we meet, too, by actively targeting the meetings and events industry. Only time will tell how our industry responds to this game-changing company.


Craig D. Brennan, CEO, QuickMobile
Meeting and event apps are changing the way we meet, and QuickMobile is a marquis brand within the industry as the inventor of the first mobile meeting and event app, earning kudos from meetings technology experts like Corbin Ball and Jim Spellos along the way. As an industry pioneer, the company's leaders continue to innovate and learn from their years of experience working with customers that range from Fortune 1000 companies and global associations to trade shows and universities. Brennan, who arrived at QuickMobile in January, is eager to lead the mobile-events industry in a new direction, developing a multi-event platform that's more scalable, but also more innovative, than ever before. "I came on board to help take our business to the next level by introducing the habits and behaviors of enterprise software companies," Brennan told Successful Meetings. "It's not just a mindset, it's a business model."


Julius Solaris, Founder, EventManagerBlog.com; CEO, Showthemes
You would be hard-pressed to find anyone in the meetings industry who has harnessed the power of social media and turned it into a cohesive tool for networking, education, and marketing as well as Julius Solaris has. His list of accomplishments is a template for how to create maximum traction in the virtual arena. In 2007, he started EventManagerBlog.com, which has grown to have a global audience of event professionals. His Event Planning and Event Management LinkedIn Group currently has just under 270,000 members, making it the undisputed largest online community for meeting and event planners and industry suppliers. He is also the author of The Event App Bible, The Good Event Registration Guide, and Social Media for Events, three e-books that have generated over 50,000 downloads at last tally. He also finds time to work on events. As CEO of Showthemes, an event-theme website production company, Solaris has worked with clients all over the world.


Roger T. Helms, Founder and CEO, HelmsBriscoe
When Roger T. Helms co-founded HelmsBriscoe in 1992, it not only changed the way clients booked their meetings, it also transformed the way hotels and destinations view business from third parties. Today, the company is the highest volume purchaser in the meetings and events industry, with 1,200 associates in more than 55 countries. In 2014, HelmsBriscoe booked a record $1.003 billion dollars in room revenue -- the first time in industry history a company has delivered more than $1 billion in group rooms revenue in a single year.

Last year, HelmsBriscoe launched another industry first, HB Inspect, a mobile site-inspection app. This tool enables a team of HB associates to access a dynamic site-inspection checklist from their mobile or tablet devices. From there, the information can not only be easily shared with HB clients, but the data entered is also populated in the company's global knowledge database.

The Consensus Builders
 

 David Dubois, CMP, President and CEO, International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE); Chairman, Board of Directors, CIC
As chair of CIC, Dubois has worked to strengthen the council's efforts to showcase the global impact of meetings, exhibitions, and events on the economy and continues to help drive the growth of its global CMP program and "the enhancement of industry best practices through the CIC APEX program," as he puts it. He has overseen the growth of IAEE to more than 9,000 members across 50 countries and has redoubled efforts on the association's "two strategic pillars" of advocacy and education. All of this goes toward what Dubois describes as his and IAEE's effort to "collaborate with many industry associations to enhance the positive impact of all that the MICE industry does to advance our societies and global economies."


 

Deborah Sexton, President and CEO, PCMA
Strong, knowledgeable, and a visionary to emulate, Deborah Sexton's hallmark humility identifies her unique leadership style. Asked to list her successes, she focuses the spotlight on her PCMA team. "It's not me; it's what our organization has been able to do that allows me to be recognized," says Sexton, who joined PCMA in March 2005 as its president and CEO. Under her leadership, the organization's membership is at an all-time high, and the PCMA annual meeting has broken attendance records for the last five years.

With more than 30 years of experience in the meetings and convention industry, Sexton previously served as president of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau [now Choose Chicago] and is a past chair of the Convention Industry Council, not to mention having held positions on the Foundation Board of Trustees of the International Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus and ASAE Foundation Board. She is an active member of the American Society of Association Executives and a current board member of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research.


Denise Dornfeld, President, AlliedPRA, Inc.
Denise Dornfeld has dedicated 29 years to the destination management industry. She currently oversees operations of 20 U.S.-based franchise and wholly owned AlliedPRA offices. This includes directing the staff and franchise operations while managing the global sales efforts of the North American based AlliedPRA Global Sales Team.

An industry and community leader, Dornfeld holds active memberships and volunteers her time on numerous boards and committees, including the Site Foundation's Board of Trustees, Site SoCal Chapter, FICP, MPI, and the Association of Destination Management Executives International. In addition, she serves as a committee member for the Girl Scouts Urban Campout annual fundraising event. "As a strategic arm of the industry, we have gone from being called ground operators, mainly responsible for local tours and coach transfers, to destination management experts," says Dornfeld.


The Globalists

Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX Group
Heading up the largest trade-show group in meetings, and connecting with more buyers and sellers than perhaps anyone else in the industry, Bauer continues to guide IMEX Group and the industry as a whole to bigger and better things. The past few years have seen the launch and further development of IMEX America in Las Vegas, as well as continued growth of IMEX in Frankfurt, Germany. Bauer sees these developments as reflective of the "wider evolution of the industry, where once-emerging markets are beginning to mature and new markets are springing up." She adds, "This is a great place for our industry to be as we look ahead to the next five to 10 years."

Another recent high point for Bauer has been the growth of the IMEX Politicians Forum, aimed at educating policymakers on the value meetings bring to their destinations. "The issue of advocacy has never been so important, and much momentum has been built through our programs, but also by campaigns such as Meetings Mean Business," she says.


Arnaldo Nardone, Immediate Past President, International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA)
The Uruguay-based immediate past president of ICCA has demonstrated his ability not only to influence the Latin American meetings market, but the broader global meetings community with his numerous industry roles. As the head of his own consultancy firm, Nardone has directly influenced government meetings policy in Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, and Peru, and as the director of the FIEXPO Latin American trade show, he established an influential Politicians' Forum for industry advocacy across Latin America.


Edward Liu, President, Asian Federation of Exhibition & Convention Associations; Group Managing Director, Conference & Exhibition Management Services
Edward Liu is a prime example of the emergence of leaders in the meeting industry from beyond the traditional centers of Europe and North America. The recipient of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events International Excellence Award earlier this year, Liu manages 15 major exhibitions and events in Asia, including China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand in his role as group managing director for Conference & Exhibition Management Services.

Dubbed by Singapore's Straits Times as "The Exhibition Man," Liu is a major force in the meetings and events association scene in Asia. As immediate past president of AFECA, Liu plays a central role in coordinating cooperation among 26 MICE associations, from 13 countries and regions in the Asia-Pacific region. He also currently serves as an advisor to the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade; the Chengdu Municipal Government, Sichuan; the Chongqing Convention & Exhibition Bureau; and the Macau Convention & Exhibition Association; and he is honorary president of the Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers.



Questions or comments? Email [email protected]


This article appears in the July 2015 issue of Successful Meetings.


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."


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."


Wendel

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

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."

The Consensus Builders
 

 David Dubois, CMP, President and CEO, International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE); Chairman, Board of Directors, CIC
As chair of CIC, Dubois has worked to strengthen the council's efforts to showcase the global impact of meetings, exhibitions, and events on the economy and continues to help drive the growth of its global CMP program and "the enhancement of industry best practices through the CIC APEX program," as he puts it. He has overseen the growth of IAEE to more than 9,000 members across 50 countries and has redoubled efforts on the association's "two strategic pillars" of advocacy and education. All of this goes toward what Dubois describes as his and IAEE's effort to "collaborate with many industry associations to enhance the positive impact of all that the MICE industry does to advance our societies and global economies."


 

Deborah Sexton, President and CEO, PCMA
Strong, knowledgeable, and a visionary to emulate, Deborah Sexton's hallmark humility identifies her unique leadership style. Asked to list her successes, she focuses the spotlight on her PCMA team. "It's not me; it's what our organization has been able to do that allows me to be recognized," says Sexton, who joined PCMA in March 2005 as its president and CEO. Under her leadership, the organization's membership is at an all-time high, and the PCMA annual meeting has broken attendance records for the last five years.

With more than 30 years of experience in the meetings and convention industry, Sexton previously served as president of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau [now Choose Chicago] and is a past chair of the Convention Industry Council, not to mention having held positions on the Foundation Board of Trustees of the International Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus and ASAE Foundation Board. She is an active member of the American Society of Association Executives and a current board member of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research.


Denise Dornfeld, President, AlliedPRA, Inc.
Denise Dornfeld has dedicated 29 years to the destination management industry. She currently oversees operations of 20 U.S.-based franchise and wholly owned AlliedPRA offices. This includes directing the staff and franchise operations while managing the global sales efforts of the North American based AlliedPRA Global Sales Team.

An industry and community leader, Dornfeld holds active memberships and volunteers her time on numerous boards and committees, including the Site Foundation's Board of Trustees, Site SoCal Chapter, FICP, MPI, and the Association of Destination Management Executives International. In addition, she serves as a committee member for the Girl Scouts Urban Campout annual fundraising event. "As a strategic arm of the industry, we have gone from being called ground operators, mainly responsible for local tours and coach transfers, to destination management experts," says Dornfeld.


The Globalists

Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX Group
Heading up the largest trade-show group in meetings, and connecting with more buyers and sellers than perhaps anyone else in the industry, Bauer continues to guide IMEX Group and the industry as a whole to bigger and better things. The past few years have seen the launch and further development of IMEX America in Las Vegas, as well as continued growth of IMEX in Frankfurt, Germany. Bauer sees these developments as reflective of the "wider evolution of the industry, where once-emerging markets are beginning to mature and new markets are springing up." She adds, "This is a great place for our industry to be as we look ahead to the next five to 10 years."

Another recent high point for Bauer has been the growth of the IMEX Politicians Forum, aimed at educating policymakers on the value meetings bring to their destinations. "The issue of advocacy has never been so important, and much momentum has been built through our programs, but also by campaigns such as Meetings Mean Business," she says.


Nardone

Arnaldo Nardone, Immediate Past President, International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA)
The Uruguay-based immediate past president of ICCA has demonstrated his ability not only to influence the Latin American meetings market, but the broader global meetings community with his numerous industry roles. As the head of his own consultancy firm, Nardone has directly influenced government meetings policy in Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, and Peru, and as the director of the FIEXPO Latin American trade show, he established an influential Politicians' Forum for industry advocacy across Latin America.


Edward Liu, President, Asian Federation of Exhibition & Convention Associations; Group Managing Director, Conference & Exhibition Management Services
Edward Liu is a prime example of the emergence of leaders in the meeting industry from beyond the traditional centers of Europe and North America. The recipient of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events International Excellence Award earlier this year, Liu manages 15 major exhibitions and events in Asia, including China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand in his role as group managing director for Conference & Exhibition Management Services.

Dubbed by Singapore's Straits Times as "The Exhibition Man," Liu is a major force in the meetings and events association scene in Asia. As immediate past president of AFECA, Liu plays a central role in coordinating cooperation among 26 MICE associations, from 13 countries and regions in the Asia-Pacific region. He also currently serves as an advisor to the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade; the Chengdu Municipal Government, Sichuan; the Chongqing Convention & Exhibition Bureau; and the Macau Convention & Exhibition Association; and he is honorary president of the Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers.



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This article appears in the July 2015 issue of Successful Meetings.