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  • Writer's pictureCourtney Stanley

Celebrating the Event Industry's 2023 Women to Watch

Updated: Feb 8

There is no better experience than watching someone shine in their own unique light.


Last year, I decided to launch the first-ever Women to Watch Awards in an effort to elevate and celebrate the phenomenal women of the event industry for International Women's Day. Recognizing that visibility is a key ingredient for success, why not spotlight leaders who are making an incredible impact on their community and the people around them?


Reading the entries that hundreds of men and women from across the globe wrote when they nominated their colleagues, mentors, mentees and peers was incredibly heartwarming. The stories they shared and the admiration and appreciation they have for the women you're going to scroll down and read about is truly inspiring. These leaders are compassionate, strategic, gritty, creative, resilient, strong, kind, empowered, and authentic. They are the women who make the meetings industry - and the world around them - better.


So please, join me in celebrating and honoring the women who have been nominated by their peers for this year's Women to Watch Awards. Cheers to you, ladies!


Alex Bakalis

Alexa Martinez

Alison Bedwell

Amanda Suric

Amy Dorey

Amy Kramer

Angela Tormey

Avital Rosen-Topel

Bansri Shah

Beth McDaniels

Brittney Shea Cobb

Carol Meza

Carolina Barbosa Groenendal

Carrie Davenport

Cindi Cohn

Connie Cay-Santos

Danielle Snelson

Devin Lewis

Elena Fis

Elodie Morini

Elyse Boule

Heather Black Cosgrave

Heidi Jacobson

Jenn Morden

Jennifer Beatty

Jillian Cardinal

Josephin van Waasen

JT Long

Kelsie Holt

Kim Lefebvre

Kristen Porchia

Krisztina Stiegeler

Ksenija Polla

Leanne Calderwood

Limor Cunia

Liz Caruso

Madone Pelan

Mandi Graziano

Mariles Krok

Meagan Zeller

Melissa Majors

Natalia Bayona

Nataly Horan

Necoya Tyson

Noreen Hendershot

Rachel Andrews

Rachel Stephan

Rebecca DeLuca

Rita Chretien

Rumbidzai Chigumira

Samantha Mele

Sara Stehle

Sasha Saladziak

Shosh Carmeli

Shannen Stewart

Shannon Jones

Sharon Bonner

Sheila Neal

Shelley Willams

Sina Bünte

Stephanie Couch

Suzi Schnell

Tess Vismale

Tracy Stuckrath

Vicky Marmolejo

Yvette Campbell


Keep scrolling to get to know each member of our class of 2023 Women to Watch!



 


Alex Bakalis

Sr. Manager, Sales Enablement, Coyote

Logistics

One word that describes her: Courageous

Her runway song: Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys


Alex is a woman who makes things happen. Whether it's planning the latest fundraiser for Special Olympics Chicago or organizing a weekend getaway for 30+ friends, Alex dreams big and doesn't take no as an answer. As the former president of the Special Olympics Chicago Associate Board, I was so grateful to have Alex as our Vice President of Finance. She inspired us to take our fundraising events to the next level and could be relied on to not just tackle, but excel at any challenge, be it negotiating a contract with a venue, coaching board members how to solicit corporate donations or emceeing an event at a moment's notice. Most importantly, Alex does this with a confident, yet also open, authentic and inclusive energy that encourages everyone around her to be a bit more courageous too. She hustles hard while always thinking about the greater good and building up the people around her along the way.



Alexa Martinez

Specialist – Event Proposition Partnership Operations, St. James's Place

One word that describes her: Powerhouse

Her runway song: Firework by Katy Perry


I'm Alexa's mentor on the Fast Forward 15 mentorship scheme (a cohort to support women into leadership roles across the events industry) - although I haven't worked with Alexa directly I'm very aware of her approach to her life, her work and her family. She is an outstanding human - juggling two kids at home, a busy job supporting a large group of stakeholders to deliver a busy event programme with SJP, she runs a podcast, she's organising a charity event (with the FF15 cohort) to raise funds for The Lady Garden Charity (raising awareness and funding for gynecological health) AND she represents the north of the UK for the Event Managers Association. I don't know how she not only gets everything done, but is always cheerleading, creative, and always a bright positive spark. She's cheerful, yet calm and collected, and I truly believe she deserves an award like this one!



Alison Bedwell

Director of Event Strategy & Business Development, Caspian Agency

One word that describes her: Unstoppable

Her runway song: Titanium by David Guetta ft. Sia


Alison is a shining warrior who takes on the world, is truly driven and unstoppable, and is a natural talent with boundless energy which is shown with everyone she meets. She believes in herself and has the ability to drive the team to take action, push through the storm, and remain focused on the vision no matter the challenge. Alison drives new business at Caspian (along with many hats) but she has a unique gift to sell Caspian by embracing new connections, trends and ideas. She has a natural ability for clients to say YES (not no). Her understanding and knowledge of the events industry, the teams'/clients' roles, vendors' involvement and all of the moving pieces is inspiring to watch. She is focused on results and keeps an open mind for new possibilities. No matter how much comes her way, she manages to keep a life balance even if she is starting her work day at 5am.



Amanda Suric

Associate Director, Event Operations, NYU

One word that describes her: Gracious

Her runway song: Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys


In an intense environment with hundreds of obstacles, Amanda is professional, kind, and gracious. Her customer service with every client is admirable and impressive. Over the past year, Amanda has dealt with many heads of state, government officials, VIP clientele and guests and has adapted to the ever-changing logistics and challenges thrown her way. There is never a bad word said about her and she is a huge asset to the hospitality industry.



Amy Dorey

Associate Professor & Program Coordinator Hospitality Management, Ferris State University

One word that describes her: Fearless

Her runway song: Finish Line by Rita Ora


Amy is a powerhouse, not only within the event industry and academia, but also in life. As the program director of Ferris State University's Hospitality Management program, she advocates for improvements in curriculum, student engagement, and hands-on practical industry experiences. She is an accomplished food scientist, quality assurance expert, and environmental science specialist. Aside from building a successful event/hospitality program at the university level, she also serves on the leadership team for XGAMES, an annual action sports event that is organized, produced and broadcast by ESPN and ABC. When it comes to friendship, Amy is fiercely loyal, protective of her tribe, and 100% all-in. She understands the altruistic value of relationships with women and she encourages everyone around her to continue to grow, learn, forgive, and rebuild. If I was ever in a foxhole, Amy would be the one I would want with me. She is absolutely irreplaceable and it is an honor to be her friend.



Amy Kramer

Innovation Leader, Maritz Global Events

One word that describes her: Fabulous

Her runway song: Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys


Amy leads our company in innovation. Any of our people can come forward with an idea and take it to the next level. My two roles within the company were a result of Amy's work. She is a visionary, forward-thinker and just an all-around good person with flare. She is a mom of four and has the best outlook on life. She is my inspiration.



Angela Tormey

Market Sales Manager, Discover DuPage

One word that describes her: Imaginative

Her runway song: Let's Get It Started by The Black Eyes Peas


Angela has worked to include partners in all decisions that affect increased revenue performance. She has a magnetic personality and brings out the best in people around her. Her leadership style is to communicate effectively and listen to the needs of others. She has the most approachable persona. Angela invests in the team by creating mutually beneficial tasks that she demonstrates and participates for guidance. Angela brings incredibly creative ideas, encouragement and confidence to every room and I have no desire to leave a leader as fantastic as Angela.



Avital Rosen-Topel

Vice President of Business Development, Kenes Group

One word that describes her: Allegiant

Her runway song: You Can Make It If You Try by Sly & the Family Stone


Authoritative, Authentic, Astonishing, Ageless, Active, Accomplished, Admirable... All of these A's describe Avital! Not many people can say that they have gone up the ladder as flawlessly as Avital, who started her journey at Kenes Group some 30 years ago as a university trainee and today is the Vice President of Business Development. Of all the A-words, Allegiant is a beautiful one to describe her, because her loyalty to the higher purpose of the company and to the shared mission with her clients - many of which are her good friends as well - make her a leader by example. She's sharp, direct, and keeps her eyes on the prize. The value of her experience is as rich as her path forward!



Bansri Shah

Content & Events Director, Russell Publishing

One word that describes her: Boundless

Her runway song: Stronger by Kelly Clarkson


Some people have the ability to empower all those around them, whether it's with their words or actions. Bansri is one of those people. She knows when it's the right time to push people out of their comfort zone, while also respecting their strengths and sometimes weaknesses. Bansri is a true leader with a pioneering spirit. Absolutely calm under pressure, she inspires her team to be trailblazers and disruptive in a what is a patriarchal industry. Constantly striving for excellence and innovation, Bansri shows that she has years of experience in her field, yet always has time for everyone.



Beth A. McDaniels

National Director of Business Development & Sales, Streamline Event Agency

One word that describes her: Resilient

Her runway song: Stronger by Kelly Clarkson


Beth is the kind of person who doesn't need to be the center of attention. She just rolls up her sleeves and makes things happen! She is positive and confident even in times of uncertainty. Being told "no" has only strengthened her resolve to succeed. Beth also believes in giving back; she has served as a mentor to those just starting out in their meetings and events careers. She is also active in industry associations; currently she is Director of Communications for the PCMASE Chapter and serves on the MPI Foundation North American Council. She will soon be joining the MPITN Board of Directors as Director of Operations.



Brittney Shea Cobb

Manager, Global Events, INNOV8 Meetings + Events

One word that describes her: Strong Feminine

Her runway song: Mississippi Girl by Faith Hill


Brittney is truly an amazing person. She has been through so much adversity in her life, yet she has managed to maintain her femininity and her ability to relate to others with empathy and compassion. Even though she has faced some of the darkest moments life can throw at you, she has managed to turn those experiences into beacons of hope for others who may be going through the same struggles. I am in awe of the quiet, but powerful impression Brittney makes on everyone she meets. Her ability to relate to others on a deep level and offer them hope and encouragement is truly inspiring. Despite the challenges she has faced, Brittney never lost her sense of compassion and her desire to make the world a better place. I truly admire Brittney and the strength and resilience she has shown throughout her life. She is a shining example of what it means to turn adversity into something positive and to make a real difference in the lives of others.



Carol Meza

Events and Operations Manager, NYU

One word that describes her: Innovative

Her runway song: Confident by Demi Lovato


Carol's dedication to innovation and creativity in every event (big or small) that she leads is admirable. Her contribution to DE&I initiatives has made a considerable impact to the organization. Carol's approach is thoughtful and well executed from start to finish and is a force to be reckoned with.



Carolina Barbosa Groenendal

VP Industry and Partnership, Kenes Group

One word that describes her: Admirable

Her runway song: ​​Superwoman by Alicia Keys


Carolina is a super powerful, strong, smart and outstanding woman. She sees mainly good things and qualities in people, and gives everyone a chance to succeed and show the best of themselves. She finds solutions from all difficult situations with a smile and great professionalism. Carolina is trustworthy and has your back, and gives you the feeling of always being there for you. She is a real inspiration for me, a real friend and an amazing colleague. I am so lucky working with Carolina side-by-side to create and implement new ideas. We need more women like Carolina in our lives. She showed me what is like to be a good manager and leader, while still caring and being there for your employees. Even though she is crazy busy almost 100% of the days, she always finds the time for you to listen and help when needed. More than a manager, she is definitely a friend, and she always has your back. I feel very lucky to work alongside her every day, even if at a distance! She is a true superwoman!



Carrie Davenport

Lead Meeting Planner, Altria & CEO of CEO.Carrie & Face It Till You Make It!

One word that describes her: Tenacious

Her runway song: Lovely Day by Bill Withers


Carrie has kicked butt and been a trailblazer in the industry for almost 20 years. Her multiple passions over the years have led to creating the Association for Women in Events, the Events Industry Sexual Harassment Task Force, Events from Black to White - a DEI conversation, Like an #EventBoss podcast, while also championing and elevating other women to leadership roles across the events sector and beyond. Her passion lives in connecting people and helping others ascend. She turned 40 this year, so she is rebranding all of her different brands, podcasts, media, leadership coaching and speaking into a single lifestyle brand, 'Face it till You Make It!" a motto that she is in the process of trademarking and something that she has used for a long time in her presentations and mentoring!



Cindi Cohn

Virtual Class Coordinator, Makesy

One word that describes her: JOY

Her runway song: Don't Stop Me Now by Queen


Let me tell you about my friend Cindi - she is the queen of joy! From the moment you meet her, her infectious energy and enthusiasm just radiate out of her. Cindi has an amazing ability to brighten up any room she walks into, and she always manages to make everyone around her feel happy and upbeat. What I love most about Cindi is her incredible spirit and her positive outlook on life. Even when things are tough, she always manages to find the silver lining and keep a smile on her face. I think that's why so many people are drawn to her - she just has this natural ability to lift people up and make them feel good about themselves. Whenever I'm feeling down or stressed out, I know that I can always count on Cindi to be there with a kind word, a big hug, and a contagious laugh. She truly is the queen of joy, and I feel lucky to have her in my life. Her energy and optimism are a constant source of inspiration to me, and I know that she will continue to spread joy and positivity wherever she goes.



Connie Cay-Santos

Director of Engagement Strategy at Quest AV and Chief Experience Strategist at CAY VII INC.

One word that describes her: Empath

Her runway song: Ready or Not by Fugees


I've done business with Connie while we were both at past entities. Once I moved over and found out she was a free agent, I pushed our leadership team to bring her in to the fold. I'm convinced at this point that there is very little that she can't do in the creative and person-to-person spheres. I know that I am biased but there is something to the timbre of her voice that encourages and empowers people to be their best selves. As corny as it sounds, there are limited chances in life to connect with a person like Connie and I am happy I have. Connie is an exceptional woman who has consistently made a positive impact in the events industry, inspiring young professionals to be brave and passionate in their careers. Connie's calm leadership style, coupled with her shared authentic thought leadership on social media, has attracted a following of like-minded individuals who are drawn to her influence. As a curator of strategic partnerships, Connie has established a reputation of trust through her human-centric approach to building meaningful connections and collaborative opportunities. Connie indeed wears many hats and balances her roles as a mother, industry influencer, founder of CAY VII INC, Director of Engagement Strategies at Quest Audio Visual, board member for the MPI Toronto Chapter, and mentor to young professionals seeking guidance with grace and determination. Her confidence and commitment to delivering quality work sets her apart, and her dedication to balancing, inspiring, and delighting her community through her engagement strategies is unmatched. She will continue to positively impact her field and inspire those around her for years to come.



Danielle Snelson

Creator of one-of-a-kind team experiences, Sona Events

One word that describes her: Adventurer

Her runway song: Fly Away by Lenny Kravitz


Danielle is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to creating unforgettable event experiences for remote teams. Danielle is one of the most innovative and creative people I've ever met, and her passion for trying new things and going on adventures is truly infectious. One of the things I admire most about Danielle is her ability to think outside the box and come up with fresh, exciting ideas that no one else has thought of. She is always up for a challenge and is constantly pushing the boundaries of what's possible when it comes to event production. What really sets Danielle apart, though, is her love of new experiences and adventures. She is always seeking out new challenges and opportunities to explore, and that sense of curiosity and wonder is something that she brings to all of her work. Whether she's planning a virtual team-building activity or organizing a remote conference, Danielle always manages to infuse her events with a sense of excitement and energy that really sets them apart. She is truly a master at creating memorable event experiences for remote teams, and I know that she will continue to make a huge impact in her field for many years to come.



Devin Lewis

VP of Sales & Business Development, Bermuda Tourism Authority

One word that describes her: Change-Maker

Her runway song: Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys


Devin Lewis has been a trailblazer in the industry for many years. It’s hard to go anywhere without seeing her smiling face. When you see her, you know she is on a mission. Not the kind of mission many us are on for ourselves. Devin’s mission is much different because her focus is usually on someone else in the industry. She is intentional in the way she seeks to support others and be a resource for those needing direction. A collaborator and mentor who works to make an impact on all those around her, Devin makes it a point to stay knowledgeable about the things that are happening in our industry. She then takes that knowledge and shares it with others. Serving sits high on her list; she makes it her business to support our industry through volunteerism. During the pandemic she lead the Potomac chapter of MPI. Just as we came out of the worse of the pandemic, Devin took the courageous leap forward to obtain a new position in unfamiliar territory. She is an inspiration for all women to define your path and to never lose sight of your goals. Devin has made an impact on all she comes in contact with by leading by example.



Elena Fis

Executive Assistant to CEO & Sustainability Officer, Kenes Group

One word that describes her: Daring

Her runway song: All by Myself by Ellie Goulding


Elena (or Lena as friends and family call her) is a wonderful woman who is not afraid of challenges and difficulties. She is independent, daring, and always thinks about new things and new ideas and does the utmost to follow her dreams. Elena is a true leader who knows how to listen and help her colleagues whenever they need her. She has just started her new role as Sustainability officer after working in procurement of hotels and venues for many years where she became a real expert in sourcing, contracting and negotiation. Her knowledge of destinations and hotels all over the world is unbelievable and amazing. In her new position, I am sure she has already a bunch of great ideas and strategies for how to implement and develop sustainability initiatives for the company and our clients, how to make our world and lives better, and how to leave a positive footprint on our kids and future generations.



Elodie Morini

Responsable Commerciale Externe, Focus Ambassades et Corporate, Novotel Paris Centre Tour Eiffel

One word that describes her: Fierce

Her runway song: BREAK MY SOUL by Beyoncé


Elodie has been a force to reckon with in the short few years since I met her. No one can break her momentum to step up to the next phase of her professional career. Not only during her time in Ottawa Canada, but also during her recent relocation to Paris France. She is hungry to experience growth and learn new things, is social media savvy, and has a huge heart underneath her fashionista exterior. Her global background includes restaurant management in Canada (Montreal and Ottawa) and in the United States (Philadelphia), and a strong sales experience in governmental, corporate, and social (wedding) markets. She has worked for international hotel brands such as Sofitel Hotels and Fairmont Hotels (Accor Group). Elodie is an effective communicator and negotiator with skills for handling new accounts and promoting new business. Her volunteerism with #MPI in her spare time shows that she is actively contributing to her local community with a positive impact. There is a big and bright future ahead for this young Sales Executive.



Elyse Boule

Event Producer, akire productions

One word that describes her: Detailed

Her runway song: I Got You Babe by Sonny and Cher


Elyse has been working with me for only a year now, but I can tell she is a true rockstar. Her attention to detail is insane and I love it. Elyse is reliable and takes charge when needed. She knows when to hop in and problem solve. Her years of event knowledge are evident in her quick intuition. Her creative ideas are always on point and her approach to systems spot-on. I can't wait to see the work she pumps out this year!



Heather Black Cosgrave

Director of Customer Success & Operations, Soundings

One word that describes her: Dedicated

Her runway song: Back in Black by ACDC


The journey Heather has had with Soundings should become a Hollywood level biopic at this point! From starting out learning the ins and outs of our business in 2020, to becoming a key leader for our company operations team, Heather has been a key reason to the success we have seen to date. Driven by the passion for the work she does and the care she holds for both our talent and customers, Heather shines in her position and leads her team with that same passion as well. Not to mention she's just such a fun human being to be on a team with overall. Heather is a woman to watch and is more than deserving of this honor!



Heidi Jacobson

VP, Business Development, Level5 Events by The Expo Group

One word that describes her: Wisdom

Her runway song: Vogue by Madonna


Heidi is truly an amazing person! She has been in the event production industry for three decades now, and her experience and expertise are truly unparalleled. She knows everything there is to know about putting on a successful event, and she always goes above and beyond to make sure that everything runs smoothly. What I admire most about Heidi, though, is her incredible wisdom and kindness. She is one of the most compassionate and empathetic people I've ever met, and she always has a kind word or a listening ear for anyone who needs it. Her ability to connect with people is truly remarkable, and she has a way of making everyone around her feel valued and important. But Heidi isn't just a kind and wise person - she is also a born leader. Her natural charisma and her ability to inspire and motivate others make her a force to be reckoned with. Whenever she's in charge of an event, you know that everything is going to be top-notch, and she always manages to bring out the best in everyone around her. Overall, I feel so lucky to know Heidi and to have her in my life. Her wisdom, kindness, and leadership are truly inspiring, and I know that she will continue to make a positive impact on the world around her for many years to come.



Jenn Morden

Convention Services & Events Manager, Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau

One word that describes her: Driven

Her runway song: Good As Hell by Lizzo


Jenn is passionate about the meeting and events industry and always looking for ways to educate herself through strategic networking, continued educational opportunities or organizational volunteerism. She is curious; always asking questions, looking for ways to innovate and strengthen her skills as a leader in the industry.



Jennifer Beatty

Director, Partnerships, TIAC

One word that describes her: Brilliant

Her runway song: Roar by Katy Perry


Jen is a forward thinker, full of hustle, and works to make all connections matter. She continually thinks about different ways to not only advance the industry but people who work in this industry. She steps right into every challenge she meets with determination and guts and reflects on her experiences so others can learn.




Jillian Cardinal

Business Development Executive, Braindate by e180

One word that describes her: Powergirl

Her runway song: Don't Stop Me Now by Queen


Jillian is full of energy and brings her creative mind and fabulous writing skills to the table which makes her a great collaborator for an event manager. She loves the industry and people give her energy. She always tries to solve others' problems and is very supportive.




Josephin van Waasen

Programme Manager EMEA, PCMA

One word that describes her: Resilient

Her runway song: Play Hard by David Guetta ft. Ne-Yo & Akon


Josephin is very dedicated to her work, has a strong attention to detail and works day and night if necessary. Onsite, she is a social butterfly and lives according to work hard, play hard. She truly enjoys being in the events industry. Now at PCMA, she manages the programme development and speaker communication and she has a bright career ahead and we are very proud what she has already achieved. She needs to be recognized!



JT Long

Editorial Leader, Smart Meetings

One word that describes her: Joyful

Her runway song: Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield


JT is a fantastic storyteller and a respected industry leader, collecting viewpoints across the sector on numerous topics, challenging us to think differently, introducing us to different points of view, and opening the dialogue for discussions that need to happen. She has conducted countless interviews with industry experts, bringing their stories to life and center stage and empowering others to use their voices. JT’s contributions to the industry go far beyond the editorial pages, like cohosting Smart Experiences nationwide, bringing together clients and partners to form social connections and support one another in growing their businesses. She advocates for women and cohosts the Smart Women awards, an industry favorite, celebrating women who innovate, inspire, and lead our industry forward. JT is building a community of successful meeting professionals with every story she tells. She is a trusted advisor, connector, collaborator, and someone who truly wants to see people grow and be successful in this industry. There is always something new and fresh on the horizon, and I am excited about her latest endeavor with Marin Bright, a Podcast called “What one thing made a difference?” a view into how to get to the top of the meetings industry. JT has a warmth about her and is always full of positive energy, arriving on the scene with a big smile and a hug. I am glad to know her, work with her, and call her a friend. Always an advocate for the industry and a champion for its people, she is a shining example of a Woman To Watch.



Kelsie Holt

Customer Success Manager, Soundings

One word that describes her: Kindhearted

Her runway song: Cuff It by Beyoncé


Kelsie has been an absolute shining star for the Soundings team, and has become a key part of the Soundings Customer Success Team. In every call and interaction you have with Kelsie, she is full of warmth, kindness, and humor. She has a skill to truly understand the needs and culture of an organization, and uses that to find the perfect talent matches within our Thrive Community. Both our customers and talent agree that Kelsie is the real deal, and it shows! Although she is one of the newest employees of our team, it feels like she has been a part of the company since the beginning. She is so deserving of this women to watch award, and we are all excited to see the amazing things she will continue to accomplish! Kelsie, thank you for your spirit of optimism and professionalism in the last year - and for being an overall amazing human being!



Kim Lefebvre

General Manager, Imprint Events Group

One word that describes her: Effervescent

Her runway song: Fighter by Christina Aguilera


Kim is a Woman to Watch because she can light up a room with her passion for creating and producing events. She is a person whose adrenaline is sparked by problem-solving in stressful environments. Kim is someone who shows care for not only her clients but her colleagues. She is someone who lights up a room with her genuine personality and warm smile! Share a good dirty martini with Kim and you'll know why we're all BIG fans!



Kristen Porchia

Senior Sales and Catering Manager, MotorCity Casino Hotel

One word that describes her: Vibrant

Her runway song: Woman by Kesha ft. The Dap-Kings Horns


Besides being a leader professionally and in the community Kristen exudes a LET'S DO THIS! attitude. Kristen knows how to manage the details of events with multiple dimensions and understands the importance of profit versus costs when managing event expectations and outcomes. She has won many industry awards for her events and her taste and creativity are top-notch. Kristen’s ability to troubleshoot and willingness to push her clients and colleagues to dream bigger in terms of goals and event outcomes is unmatched. When Kristen isn't working the crazy event hours at a 24 hour/365 day property like a casino, she is volunteering in the community. Donating time, resources and her knowledge to Shriner's for Children she has brought new life to many of the events that they have hosted in the Metro-Detroit Area. Shriner's Children's is an organization that she is extremely passionate about as her husband was a patient at the Chicago hospital and now sits on the board for the organization. Nothing stops the drive of this woman!



Krisztina Stiegeler

Senior Project Manager, DIA

One word that describes her: Strong

Her runway song: Believe by Cher


Even in the most stressful situations or when the workload is super high, Krisztina remains calm and manages everything with super high quality and professionalism. I have known her now for some years now and I always enjoy talking to her and exchanging ideas for how to make scientific or healthcare association events more interesting and engaging, both industries that are not easy to motivate to change or implement innovative ideas. However, Krisztina is able to do so. Even though she works around the clock she still volunteers at local charity events.



Ksenija Polla

Head of Education and Legacy Programme, ICCA

One word that describes her: Mentor

Her runway song: Run The World by Beyoncé


Ksenija has been in the industry for a long time and is well-known as a very knowledgable, member-oriented and loyal staff member of ICCA. I had the pleasure of working with her for many years and her dedication for the association and association industry in general is remarkable. She often offers support to other associations and has a big network, always staying up-to-date on what is going on in our industry. You can always reach out to her for ideas, guidance or just an open ear.



Leanne Calderwood

Personal Branding Trainer & Speaker, Leanne Calderwood

One word that describes her: Authentic

Her runway song: Raise Your Glass by P!nk


Leanne is a master curator of stories AND she helps others find their voice to tell theirs. In a world where we all strive to find our place and stand out, she has chosen to be that individual who helps others achieve success through personal branding. Even as a self-proclaimed introvert, she is a tough-love social branding coach and she means business, making sure you understand that success begins with you. Getting to know her through LinkedIn over the last year, I look forward to her inspiring, always authentic and encouraging posts on goal-setting, personal branding, and maximizing your LinkedIn in new ways every day. Leanne is a great storyteller with a passionate voice for mental health in the events industry and uses her platform to bring awareness and support to this critical topic. As a person, she is kind, caring, giving and SUPER hard working! She is loved by so many in our industry simply based on who she is as a human.



Limor Cunia

Vice President of Clients & Operations, Kenes Group

One word that describes her: Amazing

Her runway song: The A in Amazing by Noga Eres


Limor has been working for Kenes Group for over 15 years in several positions. From Association Management to Client Management and now holding the role of VP of Client & Operations leading Kenes Group’s Business Unit, Limor makes sure to deliver her unique added value both to the project itself and to the team. A strong strategic thinker and long-term planner, Limor has the ability to recognize business opportunities and leverage them in favor of Kenes and her clients. One of the topics that is always on her agenda is sustainability and making events more sustainable. Being a mother to four children literally completes how amazing Limor really is!



Liz Caruso

CEO, techsytalk

One word that describes her: Connector

Her runway song: Count On Me by Bruno Mars


Liz Caruso is a phenomenal connector! She not only connects people to people, but also people to the information they need. Her techsytalk community and events she creates for event professionals have been the key to survival for many of us as we pivoted to a virtual then hybrid world. Her Ignite consulting program works with event professionals to develop their businesses into companies that contribute to a thriving lifestyle instead of bloodsucking, high burnout machines (my words!). I credit participating in her Ignite program pre-covid, and following Liz throughout the pandemic, to my survival during those uncertain times. She always pours into everyone around her! Not only her fellow event professionals, but now also as a mother. Her motherhood journey started just before the pandemic, as she had her first baby at the end of 2019 and second in 2021. She has gracefully shown how you can combine work and family in a way to support both, even during a pandemic. The thing about Liz is that she not only wants to learn the thing, but she wants to share the thing she learned so that everyone can benefit from it. Just by being in her vicinity you will take away gold nuggets that will prove to be invaluable in your work and life!



Madone Pelan

General Manager, Oak Bay Beach Hotel

One word that describes her: Tenacious

Her runway song: Independent Women by Destiny's Child


Madone is a leader in the Hotel and Tourism industry who not only has a seat at (many) board tables, but sends the elevator back down to help bring others up. Madone sat on the MPI British Columbia Board for 6 years, including her time a President of the Chapter. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for the BC Hotel Association, the Board of Directors for Destination Greater Victoria, Chair of the Finance Committee for DGV and is Chair of the Oak Bay Tourism Committee. She was appointed as General Manager, from her role as Director of Sales and Marketing, on March 1st, 2020. Within weeks of starting this new role the pandemic forced the closure of all 3 restaurants, the spa and eventually the hotel. Despite being new in the role, Madone led the team to great achievements over the past three years. This includes two back-to-back, record-breaking revenue years for the hotel, receiving the #1 Hotel in Canada and #19 Hotel in the world recognition from Conde Nast Magazine, Reader's Choice in 2021, #1 Spa in Western Canada and #20 Spa in North America in 2023, along with #1 Employer on Vancouver Island in 2022 and the highest Employee Engagement Scores in the hotel history. Madone builds leaders and dedicates time to mentor her team, empowering them to find their own success. This included her Marketing Manager receiving a Top 30 under 30 award at the Canadian Tourism Industry awards, and both her Chef and her Operations Manager receiving Leaders of the Year within the ownership's group of companies.



Mandi Graziano

VP of Global Accounts, Instructor, Sales Coach and Author, Hospitality Performance Network and San Diego State University

One word that describes her: Connector

Her runway song: Let's Go by NeYo and Calvin Harris


Mandi is a hidden gem within our industry who has been doing amazing work behind the scenes with her work at HPN and as an instructor at San Diego State University. In addition, she coaches professionals in our industry on the art of sales and how to be successful which is crucial in our current environment. Indirectly, Mandi has helped me improve how I organize my leads and close specific sales leads. She has also helped me improve my mindset in terms of what is possible for my business and staying strong with my worth and value. I feel that more people should know about Mandi!



Mariles Krok

Vice President, Meeting & Partnership Sales, Visit Anaheim

One word that describes her: Powerhouse

Her runway song: Can't Deny It by Fabolous


Mariles is on the rise within the CVB world and has deep knowledge of hotel sales and marketing. Mariles started on the bottom as a hotel sales coordinator and has ascended ever since. She worked with me at Marriott as a Sales Executive and continued to establish herself as a sales leader by building excellent relationships with her clients across Southern California. At the same time, Mariles became a leader within our local MPI chapter (MPISCC) and worked her way up the ranks to Chapter President. While being president, she presided over the death of her Immediate Past President with amazing grace, courage and humility. She continued to lead the chapter to amazing heights while developing her board to keep the chapter on the rise. I believe that Mariles will soon be the leader of a major CVB organization across the country and then the secret will be out!



Meagan Zeller

Director of Operational Excellence, Soundings

One word that describes her: Brilliant

Her runway song: Eye of the Tiger by Survivor


Meagan can easily be described as a "superwoman" for the incredible work she has done during her time so far at Soundings while balancing one of the most rewarding and challenging roles of being a mother. Her eye for operational efficiencies and strategic strength has led her to successfully implementing new technologies for the company and a foundation for training for our customer success team. This is not an easy feat working in the ambiguity of a start-up environment! Her past experience with Maritz and workforce technology platforms made her the perfect person to rise to the challenge of helping to build our operations team. Meagan is more than deserving of the Women to Watch award - there's so much more to come on her journey and we look forward to making amazing things happen with her!



Melissa Majors

Author, Speaker, Consultant & Coach, Melissa Majors Consulting

One word that describes her: Inspirational

Her runway song: Fighter by Christina Aguilera


Melissa continues to lead the way in speaking to significant companies about DE&I. She mentors countless professionals in the events industry and always shows up for her community no matter the situation. I admire Melissa's resilience and capacity to inspire a small boardroom of 10 people and a large ballroom of 500+ people. In addition, she is open to learning and eager to understand different perspectives on new issues. I love how Melissa continues to evolve the environment we work with in the meetings and events industry. She is a model of what a professional should be and we need more Melissas in our industry.



Natalia Bayona

Director of Innovation, Education & Investments, World Tourism Organization

One word that describes her: Competent

Her runway song: Girl On Fire by Alicia Keys


In the shadows, without shining much light on herself, Natalia works arduously for GEN X to elevate the next community of tourism professionals with a focus on innovation and education. She is extraordinarily competent and dedicated to the mission of elevating tourism internationally.



Nataly Horan

Executive Vice President, eGroup Communications & The X-Change MICE Conferences

One word that describes her: Passionate

Her runway song: We Are The Champions by Queen


Nataly has earned an incredible pulse on the tourism industry by taking the time and effort to form genuine and authentic connections with the people who make up this industry. She is passionate about her role as a “connector” and is a shining light of positivity wherever she goes.



Necoya Tyson

Director of Meeting Operations, CASSS

One word that describes her: Unicorn

Her runway song: Work That by Mary J. Blige


Necoya’s energy, fresh perspective, and knowledge have made her a great addition to the CASSS (an international scientific association) team over this past year. She is an active member of the International Association of Exhibitions & Events (IAEE) where she currently serves on the board for both the IAEE headquarters and the Central Texas Chapter. Necoya also serves as an IAEE CEM faculty member and is an in-demand instructor of coursework related to tradeshow planning and management. Speaking for myself and on behalf of the team that she supervises, her tenure at CASSS as the Director of Meeting Operations has been monumental to the success of the organization. Day after day, I have watched her turn challenges into triumphs and transform what seems to be impossible into success - without missing a beat. What makes this even more awe-inspiring is that this is all demonstrated through her “day” job, where she oversees a portfolio of a dozen international meetings and a multi-million dollar operating budget. In a matter of a few short years, Necoya has made her mark in the Austin professional community and has developed the very successful Mimosa Fest - an emerging staple of the Austin social scene that has grown to include multiple dates across the United States, as well as the spin-off event, “Mornings Are For Mimosas.” Recognizing the demand for collaborations, connections, and the need for a solid network amongst Austin’s small business community, Necoya created the Goal Digger’s Brunch series in 2023. She is a true woman of vision - even the sky can’t limit what she will achieve. Necoya is a multi-hyphenate - a leader, dream maker, businesswoman, confidante, and visionary, with an infectious laugh who will always make time for a karaoke session. We simply don’t know how she does it all - a point that is made regularly during our team meetings - but she always makes it happen. Necoya embodies the mythical and elusive unicorn and is truly one-of-a-kind.



Noreen Hendershot

Owner, NH Connection

One word that describes her: Determined

Her runway song: Firework by Katy Perry


Noreen enrolled in an online event management program just before the pandemic. Since completing the program, she has been a force! She joined the MPI Greater Edmonton Chapter as a volunteer and within a short period of time, made her way onto the Chapter's Board of Directors. She not only dove into her new career with a passion that is admirable, but has also achieved so much success and respect in a very short period of time, including the recent launch of her own event management organization, NH Connection, in partnership with a friend and mentor she made through her volunteer work. Her tenacity, determination, and drive to thrive make her a #WomanToWatch.



Rachel Andrews

Senior Director of Global Meetings & Events, Cvent

One word that describes her: Savvy

Her runway song: Level Up by Ciara


There is so much to be said about Rachel and the monumental impact she has had not just on Cvent (in her 12 years and counting), but on the industry at large. What she brings to her role is an incredible level of expertise, passion and pure grit that has not only enabled her success, but even more importantly (especially if you ask her), the success of those around her. In 2017, Forbes named Event Planner one of the most stressful jobs in the world (trailing just behind police officer, firefighter, and military personnel). In short... it's no job for the faint of heart. Fast forward a few years and think about having that role at one of the biggest event technology companies in the world... and oh yeah, throw in a pandemic that completely wipes out the event industry as we know it. There's no doubt that Rachel was a star pre-pandemic (she has been from day one), but the last few years have put her and her team in the middle of one of the biggest transformational shifts our generation has seen - and she didn't just help her team survive; they thrived. Rachel managed these immense challenges with grace and deep dedication to both her people and to delivering incredible experiences - whether those were virtual, in-person, or a blend of both. She is savvy in everything she does. She is savvy in the way the manages and inspires her team. She's savvy in the way she approaches events. She's savvy in the way she can seamlessly switch gears between planner, manager, colleague, friend, and industry expert. She seemingly never puts herself first and instead, empowers and enables her team to rise to to her high standards of excellence. She embodies the true meaning of what it means to lead. She walks the walk, inspects what she is expects, and is opening the door for the next generation of not just great event planners, but great leaders. To me, Rachel has always been a "Woman to Watch" - expertly adapting to every stakeholder that she comes across - from the C-Suite to a new team intern, and unselfishly sharing her time and energy to ensure the best outcomes for everyone involved. I expect we'll see her on the main stage sharing her insights and expertise a lot this year and in many years in the future.



Rachel Stephan

snöballer-in-chief, snöball event marketing

One word that describes her: Chilled Go-Getter

Her runway song: Unstoppable by Sia


Rachel is an empowered woman in event tech driven by the needs of the events industry. She pours her soul into finding out what can help event marketers with their events, and then delivers. She is an incredible strategic thinker, creative idea generator and a leading event industry speaker on innovation.



Rebecca DeLuca

Director of Key Accounts & Strategic Partnerships, Caesars Entertainment

One word that describes her: Wonderful

Her runway song: Sunshine by OneRepublic


Rebecca is such a light. She is someone who knows how to help, what to say, when to do it, and why it matters. Rebecca makes room at every table, leads with yes, and genuinely cares about true wellbeing of everyone around her. Plus, she's always raises the cool factor in every room.



Rita Chretien

Producer, Innovative Entertainment

One word that describes her: Speedy

Her runway song: Lovely Rita by The Beatles


I’ve know Rita for just about fifteen years. We met working in San Francisco, and she quickly became my Work Wife. Rita has always been willing to help out others in the workplace, even if it doesn’t help her. Have you ever met someone who has a superpower of speed? I've always been amazed at how quickly and accurately Rita completes tasks. She is also really good at multi-tasking (which I am not). We don't work together anymore but I've always admired her work ethic. She is lovely and I adore her. She is definitely a woman to watch as she quickly taking the San Francisco event entertainment industry by storm.



Rumbidzai Chigumira

Creative & Technology Enthusiast

One word that describes her: Servant Leader

Her runway song: The Outsiders by Need To Breathe


When I think about Rumbi, the first thing that comes to mind is servant leadership. She is a natural leader who is passionate about media and technology, and she is always looking for ways to give back to her community and help others grow and succeed. As a Live Sound Engineer, Rumbi is constantly learning and pushing herself to be the best she can be, but she also takes the time to mentor and inspire the next generation of female engineers and event professionals. One of the things I admire most about Rumbi is her commitment to equipping other tech teams in smaller towns. She understands that not everyone has access to the same resources and opportunities, and she is always willing to share her learnings and insights to help others grow and succeed. Her passion for giving back and helping others is truly inspiring, and it's a testament to her servant leadership style. In addition to her work as a Live Sound Engineer, Rumbi is also the host of a podcast called Masithethe, which means "let's talk." Through this podcast, she explores a wide range of community-focused topics related to everyday life experiences. Whether she's discussing issues related to mental health, relationships, or personal growth, Rumbi always brings a spirit of empathy, kindness, and genuine curiosity to the conversation. Overall, I feel so lucky to know Rumbi and to be inspired by her servant leadership and her commitment to helping others. She truly is a shining example of what it means to live a life of purpose and meaning, and I know that she will continue to make a positive impact on the world around her for many years to come.



Samantha Mele

Founder and CEO, THE CREATIVE CONNOISSEUR

One word that describes her: Radiant

Her runway song: Where My Girls At by 702


A true connector and experience curator, Ms. Worldwide (to me), Samantha is more than a creator, I believe it is her years in dance that has led her to incredible success as a new entrepreneur and her focus on value-based relationships. She is a WOMAN FOR WOMEN; she is so passionate about self-development and being an ally for other women. She drives each day, conversation and event with tenacity and admiration to grow another. We are blessed to have her energy, compassion and spaghetti-on-the-wall concepts to elevate our lives in work and life. Samantha is a truly girlboss! She founded her own company last year and I'm super proud of everything she has accomplished in her previous job and now with her own company.



Sara Stehle

Owner, Wow Moments and Experiences

One word that describes her: Multitasker

Her runway song: I Feel Like Dancing by Jason Mraz


Sara not only manages a household with three kids and a husband, but is also able to work on multiple events at the same time and tackles all these different client requests. She is a total momboss and an idol for a lot of working moms.





Sasha Saladziak

Director of Special Events, Live Nation Canada

One word that describes her: BRAVE

Her runway song: Innerbloom by Rufus du Sol


When you first meet Sasha, you are lovestruck by her beauty and grace. Once you hear her speak eloquently about her passion for the events industry, you are taken aback by her BRILLIANCE. Learning about her story, she boldly took on a very new position at Live Nation Canada as Director of Special Events. She understood that as a new role there would be kinks to work out, but she was motivated to grow the marketshare in Canada for Live Nation. Having limited support from Live Nation US, she has completely designed an efficiently-oiled machine in Canada for her amazing venues. It's a daunting job but she was ready for the task at hand. Rather than just duplicating what is successful in the US, Live Nation Canada has allowed Sasha to have full ownership of the entire division across Canada. Being grateful to call her a client of mine, I've been on site to witness her boss babe leadership. She is a powerhouse! Her portfolio is now said to expand to nearly 4 more additional venues. I truly believe she is on the brink of something MASSIVE for our industry. She is service-driven and cares deeply for the events that are hosted in her venues. Her smile and can-do attitude are contagious. She is THE ONE to watch as Live Nation becomes a true venue disruptor in the Canadian market. The success will be all due to this beautiful woman, Sasha!



Shosh Carmeli

Project Manager - Applications Support, Kenes Group

One word that describes her: Exceptional

Her runway song: The Best by Tina Turner


Shosh is a very dedicated and hard-working woman who inspires not only her team members, but also her peers and everyone who surrounds her. It's inspiring to see Shosh prioritize her work-life balance and make sure she does her weekly sports activities, eats healthy and is very much connected to her inner passion towards her friends and colleagues. Shosh is an outstanding, kind and loving person!



Shannen Stewart

Founder & President, Heels & Handshakes

One word that describes her: Fierce

Her runway song: Push It by Salt-N-Peppa


Shannen Stewart is the epitome of a 2023 Woman to Watch! Shannen is the Founder & President of Heels and Handshakes, an organization for Women in Business and Entrepreneurs. Her organization is making a huge impact in the Nashville & Birmingham Markets. Since the launch in 2013, their community has grown to over 3,000 members. She stands on her foundation of women supporting women and community. Not only has she created a successful & thriving business, she also makes a point to give back to the community. Heels and Handshakes has recently expanded to Birmingham, Alabama with an Austin, Texas market not too far behind. Remember the name Shannen Stewart, she is definitely a Woman to Watch!



Shannon Jones

Meeting and Events Manager, Destination South

One word that describes her: Fierce

Her runway song: ​​9-5 by Dolly Parton


Shannon is someone everyone knows and for the best reasons possible. She lights up a room the minute she walks in and captivates her audience. Shannon is a mentor to many and is so incredibly passionate about the industry. She is a fearless woman who does an incredible job, making her a Woman to Watch year after year!



Sharon Bonner

CEO & Founder, Bright Ideas Event Agency

One word that describes her: Determined

Her runway song: ​​I Am Woman by Helen Reddy


Sharon is an industry pioneer who forged her way independently through the event business during the early days of computers and cellphones in the late 1980’s. She tells stories of hand-writing her proposals on paper and driving them over to her clients’ offices. With over 3,000 events under her belt, she has some very interesting stories to tell and a wealth of experience and knowledge to share. In the three-and-a-half decades since the inception of Bright Ideas Events, Sharon has mentored over 200 local and international event personnel in the ‘Art of Event Planning’. She shares her tips, secrets and empowers them to think outside the box. She stresses the importance of networking & building meaningful relationships. Sharon has been an ILEA member since 2001, sitting on the board several times and is currently active with the Vancouver chapter, inspiring young budding event entrepreneurs to follow their dreams. Sharon penned her first book called The Bright Ideas Adventure chronicling her 25-year journey of Event Excellence. As she enters her 35th year of Event Production in 2023, she is working on her 3rd book called The Bright Ideas European Adventure where she travels through Europe interviewing Event Producers throughout France, Italy, Switzerland and Spain. When COVID hit in mid-March 2020, Sharon formed The Global Events Community (GEC) to provide support and inspiration during the current global pandemic. The community's mission is to offer resources and information for the challenges facing the event industry. In these troubled times where the future is unknown, Sharon wanted to bring event professionals together from all over the world through knowledge, as the daunting task of looking at dozens of event websites daily to gather current news in our industry was overwhelming. In February 2021, inspired by her pivot to virtual events, Sharon released her first digital E-Book called Donuts In The Lunchroom which focuses on making teams feel valued in a virtual world. Sharon is one of the top Event Producers in Canada. In October 2022, Sharon launched her consulting business www.sharonbonnerconsulting.com to assist those event companies struggling to find reliable, qualified event staff. Sharon also gives back to the event community by welcoming international interns to share her industry knowledge and demonstrate how a commitment to mutual respect, trust, and exceeding expectations is the foundation for successful events, satisfied clients, and a thriving business. Her career has been long and filled with dozens of industry awards, but her greatest accomplishment in her own words is “making a significant impact on an intern's life that will forever change their trajectory in the event industry”. She plans on giving back to the community that served her so well, long after she has retired from producing events.



Sheila Neal

Associate Director, Sales, Visit Detroit/Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau

One word that describes her: Influential

Her runway song: ​​Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys


Sheila is a savvy, strategic, and influential destination marketing and management professional. She works with and for Visit Detroit and embodies the entire destination. In the industry, she is known by one name, Sheila. When someone asks about Detroit, it will not be long before you hear her name. In 2021 while our industry was making its way back from the lingering effects of the pandemic, Sheila used her skills to bring support to MPI Potomac, the largest MPI chapter. Visit Detroit became MPI Potomac's Strategic Partner and Continuing Education Partner. Visit Detroit was awarded MPI Potomac’s Supplier of the Year in 2022. Both partnerships continue today because of Sheila’s advocacy. Sheila serves on various committees and supports PCMA, AMPs, and other industry organizations as well. Sheila is everywhere all the time! She is filled with boundless energy and is always willing to listen and learn. In any given week, she serves as a leader on many industry boards and committees, leads site inspections, collaborates with destination partners, actively meets with clients, and attends conferences. Sheila enjoys nurturing relationships, building alliances and working diligently to bring people together. I admire Sheila as a woman, a friend, and industry colleague, for her work ethic and commitment to the meetings and events industry.



Shelley Willams

Head of Global Sales, Hard Rock International

One word that describes her: Passionate

Her runway song: ​​I'm Every Woman by Chaka Khan


Shelley is a rock star. She intentionally steps out of her comfort zone continuously to push herself to learn new skills and make sh*t happen! Shelley is passionate in her leadership, her mission, and her company's mission. She is a living example of an inspiring woman in our industry.



Sina Bünte

Hybrid and Digital Events Producer, IUCN and Founder and CEO, digitalmind.events

One word that describes her: Brilliant

Her runway song: ​​Suavemente by Elvis Crespo


Sina takes the path less travelled. She has no issue speaking her mind all while listening deeply to her client’s needs in order to determine the best course of action. She doesn’t just “go with the flow,”she paves the future. Her genuine warmth and care is evident in all she does. Her creativity and detail takes every project she works on to the next level. She is incredibly intelligent. Her passion for the events industry is unmatched. She is creative, passionate and likes to get her hands dirty to problem solve. She has certified herself with 4 of the TOP event accreditations in our industry. In our PCMA group chat, she is active and always providing advise to those in need. She's an advocate for women supporting women and true reliable industry affiliate that I am so lucky to call a friend.



Stephanie Couch

Lead Event Producer, JPL

One word that describes her: Unstoppable

Her runway song: ​​Home by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros


Stephanie is an event maestro! From short notice, one-day events to month-long events across state lines, Stephanie provides top notch experiences to everyone involved. Recently she spent 27+ days in another state, rotating teams of event support for a 4-week national training event. Being away from home for an extended time period is hard, and that's why she planned ahead to have rotating teams for each week to keep spirits, mental health, and experiences high. Stephanie takes the time to get to know her teams and support them in ways that bring them closer together. One of my favorite stories of her leadership is of a time when she and her fellow event members were traveling on the Easter holiday. She took the time to prepare Easter "baskets" and a scavenger hunt for everyone to participate in while going through airports and layovers. It's these small gestures that bring people together during incredible events that happen in the blink of an eye.



Suzi Schnell

Regional Vice President of Sales, Connect

One word that describes her: Trustworthy

Her runway song: Viva Las Vegas by Elvis Presley


Suzi is a fixture in the hotel and events industry, particularly in Las Vegas, where she is based. Her positive attititude and professionalism make her someone clients trust - and for good reason. Suzi is the genuine article, meaning she actually cares and does not simply pay lip service to anyone. She is incredibly responsive and trustworthy. Whenever Connect has an event in Las Vegas, Suzi is the go-to person for contacts and venues. Each time, she delivers and the big winners are the event professionals who attend Connect shows. Suzi is a true standout and very worthy of the type of recognition she does not seek out.



Tess Vismale

Founder & CEO, iSocialExecution, Inc.

One word that describes her: Extraordinaire

Her runway song: ​​Miss Independent by Ne-Yo


Tess brings her soul and her heart to every event and every conversation she has with anyone. She has unconditional love for the event profession. She has 25+ years of experience in event planning, production & technology. After being one of the earliest adopters of tech in the events world, she began supporting people in the events world through event tech training, ideation & execution, and has made a name for herself as a go-to expert in the industry.



Tracy Stuckrath

Founder & Chief Connecting Officer, Thrive Meetings & Events

One word that describes her: Advocate

Her runway song: ​​Roar by Katy Perry


Tracy is a leading expert on meetings and events food and beverage, with a focus on dietary restrictions, sustainability, and inclusion. She believes that food and beverage experiences should be designed to ensure that each and every guest can access the table and leave feeling satiated and included. When the pandemic hit, she didn't wait for the challenges to pass - she took them head-on and created solutions, launching the Eating at a Meeting Facebook group, the Eating at a Meeting weekly podcast, and the online course Every Meal Matters. Tracy is passionate about inspiring change and creating solutions. Her message of food inclusivity and sustainability is more important now than ever, and she is dedicated to creating accessible, sustainable, and inclusive dining experiences that benefit individuals, communities, and the planet. She truly embodies courage, creativity, integrity, hustle, and kindness, inspiring others with her dedication to making a difference and her commitment to staying true to her values.



Vicky Marmolejo

Business Development Manager, Kenes Group

One word that describes her: Passionate

Her runway song: ​​I Am Woman by Helen Reddy


Vicky is an inspirational woman who has been working in the meetings industry since 2000, winning bids for international medical conference worldwide. She plays the role of mother and father of two daughters and is a young enthusiastic grandma. Vicky is a "make it happen person," an inspiration for the next generation, and a social activist who supports women in the Mayan communities.



Yvette Campbell

Meeting Broker, Meetings Made Easy

One word that describes her: Caring

Her runway song: ​​The Best by Tina Turner


Yvette puts people first. Most people pay lip service to this concept, but she really does it! She had absolutely NO reason to invest in a relationship with me - we met in an online networking event during the pandemic, yet she keeps in touch, supports me, encourages me, and is always there for me. Yvette works hard to understand and serve her clients. She is incredible at sourcing hotels and venues that meet her clients’ needs and budget. The lengths to which she will go and her knowledge of the industry is top shelf!


 

Shine a light on this year's Women to Watch by sharing on your social media channels - don't forget to tag me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so I can show your post some love! Cheers to a collective of phenomenal women.


Contact me to lead, inspire, or facilitate a game-changing conversation during your next conference or event.



Each nominator/nominee granted permission to Courtney Stanley Consulting, LLC the right to use provided logos, graphics, photographs, videos, audio recordings, documents, testimonials, video interview content, written quotes, the nominator’s and nominator's nominee personal likeness, and other materials (the “Materials”) provided by you for use by Courtney Stanley Consulting, LLC as described in this release (the “Release”). The Materials shall include the following specific list of materials, together with any additional materials you provide to us in the future at a later date under this Release: 2023 Women to Watch Awards blog posted on Courtney Stanley Consulting, LLC's website and social media platforms.


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