Tracey Bockhop, CMP

CEO, Meet Meetings

Empathetic, Impactful, Tenacious

Moment I Knew I Belonged in the Meetings Industry: I was very fortunate to find my passion young in life. I was very involved in my High School FFA and with that involvement came many meetings and events to be a part of. As I went to more events as an attendee, I gained new ideas and the passion for enriching other lives with the experiences and community with the local events I helped plan and execute. As a junior in high school, we held our first regional speaking competition, and I was able to coordinate and execute the entire event with our chapter. Following the event, I received many handwritten notes from local advisors thanking me and letting me know what a huge success it was; at that moment I knew I needed to pursue this life going forward.

Welcoming Strategy: I am naturally a people-person. I enjoy getting to know others and genuinely care about others’ lives and passions. I make it a point to find that person in the room that may seem like they know no one and go up to them and speak with them. I take a lot of pride in having my worlds intertwine; my family assists with some of my events, my clients and suppliers are part of my social gatherings, and my colleagues are my mentors. I work hard at growing and maintaining relationships and that sense of community trickles down to everything I commit to in my life. Start with a warm smile and open mind and the possibilities are endless.

Next Goal: I recently have become more involved with others in the small business space. I am extremely grateful for the path I chose to own my own company. I joined the National Small Business Association, and I am getting involved on committees to assist with legislative and community programs to help educate and advance the needs of small businesses. I would like to help encourage and support others in their passion for their small businesses.

Cherryl Brazier, CIS, SEPC

President, Anchor Collection

Sustainable, Creative and Memorable

Moment I Knew I Belonged in Meetings Industry: When working as a sales manager at a 5-star hotel in London and got I got invited to join the board of the MPI UK chapter which was my first volunteer role on a board within the meetings industry and really good training for positions like Site International Board of Directors.

Welcoming Strategy: Always be positive. Have a smile. Take time to get to know people and find a common connection. At the end of the day, the lasting impression is not what you say but how you make people feel.

Next Goal: Professionally, to grow the sales team for Anchor Collection this year by adding salespeople in the Midwest and Northeast. Personally, blocking off the time in my diary for more yacht racing.

Daniela Caputo, EDC, CIS, WPICC, CMP, CMM, VEMM

President, Montreal Event Planner

Creative, Sustainability, Perfection

Moment I Knew I Belonged in the Meetings Industry: The second year of opening my business I was invited to join MPI’s local chapter and never looked back. I was a board member for eight years and then moved on to other MPI chapters on the international level.

Welcoming Strategy: Treating them with unequivocal respect, respect, respect.

Next Goal: Open to anything. I can’t wait to see where this decade will bring me now.

Kathan Dearman

Partner, Co-Owner, Cypress Planning Group

Client-centric, Strategic, Collaborative

Moment I Knew I Belonged in the Meetings Industry: During my hotel career, I assisted a client who had never used an official RFP in creating a hotel RFP for their 500-person annual conference, guiding them through the process of presenting their needs to a hotel in a structured format. Seven years later, while establishing Cypress Planning Group, the same client sought meeting planning support for their expanding conference. They became our inaugural client, and to my surprise, they were still utilizing the RFP I had crafted for them years ago. Today, they remain a loyal client, and the conference has surpassed well over 1,000 attendees.

Welcoming Strategy: I tend to be very relational, and am a naturally curious person. In my world, relationships are the heartbeat of connection. I love discovering shared interests and building connections, whether it’s finding common ground with someone, or linking them with others who share similar experiences or interests. My goal is always to create an atmosphere of welcoming—where no one feels alienated, and everyone finds a place to belong. Everyone has a story, and I strive to be mindful that we never know what is going on in someone else’s life.

Next Goal: With nearly nine years since the establishment of our company, my aim is to continue fostering the continuous growth of Cypress Planning Group, consistently delivering unparalleled service and value to our esteemed clients, empowering our incredible team of meeting professionals with the tools to thrive and create meaningful impact for our clients. The legacy we work to create is not solely rooted in immediate success, but in the lasting impact we hope to imprint on the industry. We strive to be a company that is not only sought after by incredible clients and collaborative partners, but also celebrated as an employer of choice.

Maoreen Every, CIS, CITP, DMCP

Managing Director, COO, ECO Destination Management Services of Aruba

Organized, Creative, Collaborative

Moment I Knew I Belonged in the Meetings Industry: Being invited to speak as a guest lecturer to students at the University of Aruba was my A-HA moment. Being able to share my knowledge of the MICE industry and the DMC world with them was a unique opportunity. It was rewarding to learn that my stories provided a new perspective and appreciation for the hospitality industry. I stressed the importance of MICE groups to our destination and the value of local partnerships. By being passionate, proud of my island and committed to sharing my knowledge, I hope to inspire further growth. “Be the opportunity in every challenge.”

Welcoming Strategy: I believe in creating a positive and playful environment by focusing on humor and encouragement. I believe in prioritizing to make candidates feel comfortable by chatting with them during their first interview and throughout their career with us. At events, it can be a simple gesture of greeting each guest with a smile that can make an impact. Most importantly, I believe laughter is essential for healthy relationships, teamwork and successful living. Even in moments of stress, I value humor over shaming and bullying and prioritize making everyone feel included, respected, and cared for.

Next Goal: My professional goals to be reached before our company’s 40th anniversary in 2027: Grow our team by nurturing and developing leaders from within; get more of our team members certified; become an accredited DMC via ADMEI; get the SITE CIS certification established as part of the curriculum for the FHTMS students at the University of Aruba; have our DMC win an ADMEI Award. My personal goals: Travel to South Africa, pay off my mortgage, learn another language (Mandarin and/or Portuguese).

Jill Garcia

President, Owner, Chief Inspiration Officer, The Hutton Group–Inspired Meetings & Events

Optimism, Inspiration, Dedication

Moment I Knew I Belonged in the Meetings Industry: I knew early on that I loved planning. I had an epiphany, though, just recently. After starting work as a convention coordinator in Orlando, 35 years later I was at the same resort as the owner of a full-service planning company. I was now on the “other side.” I was the much-sought-after and revered client. At the pre-con, I sat in the same meeting room where, years earlier, I worked as a young adult just out of college, unaware of my future in the industry. I had with much hard work, determination and tremendous belief, come full circle.

Welcoming Strategy: Each individual, whether a member of my team for three years or someone who is assisting for just one day, should be made to feel special. I sincerely enjoy meeting new people and getting to know them and their personal story and professional aspirations. Before our events, I encourage my team to ensure that our client, and each and every attendee has a memorably positive experience that they take away from the conference. In life, it is important to me to feel welcome and included. I hope to time and again create that experience for others.

Next Goal: Professionally, I plan to grow my team both on the sales and planning side. I intend to expand our incentive business, assuring that we create inspirational memories that last a lifetime for attendees. I also hope to continue to share my love of the hospitality industry with my children so that when I retire someday in the far-off future, they might want to take over the business. Personally, I want to travel globally more frequently. I also need to get my youngest through college, and I look forward to one of my older children making me a grandma.

Melva LaJoy Legrand in black dress smilingMelva LaJoy Legrand, CMP, DES

CEO, Founder, Event Expert, LaJoy Plans

Intentional, Collaborative, Diversified

Moment I Knew I Belonged in the Meetings Industry: Many years ago, I planned a convention which featured a then relatively unknown social justice pioneer, Bryan Stevenson. At the end, many shed tears of joy about what they witnessed; my sound engineer and I fell on a pool of confetti on the floor, jubilant and exhausted. At that moment, I knew that I was meant to do this work for organizations I care about. On February 9, I will plan my 400th career conference which for me cements my love for this industry and that I have a unique role to plan mission-forward meetings for the foreseeable future.

Welcoming Strategy: My approach is inspired by my grandmother, who was a brilliant functionally illiterate maid. She said: “Always make space for people, especially the unnoticed.” Professionally, I attempt to connect with people supporting my events: housekeepers, servers, and others, who are critical, but often overlooked. Daily, I strive to live empathetically, share my story, and own my mistakes. What I tend to believe is that it is better to build than break; it is better to help than hurt; and it is better to understand than undermine. When we do these things, we build culture, and life and work thrive there.

Next Goal: My dream is to continue to be a teacher in the field that shares career lessons to the next generation of planners because it is important to me that our field thrives and remains at the forefront of innovation.Also, I never want to stop learning. Therefore, I am excited to deepen my knowledge of artificial intelligence to understand how it can elevate our industry to new creative heights. Last but not least, I will never stop being an advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion, and sustainability because I believe that our industry, like the world, depends on it.

Read MoreCMP Spotlight: Get to Know Melva LaJoy Legrand, CMP

Diane B. Lyons, CMP, DMCP

Owner, Creator, President, ACCENT New Orleans, Inc., a DMC Network Company

Interactive, Cultural Diversity, Memorable

Moment I Knew I Belonged in the Meetings Industry: Navigating life, I’ve worn many hats–teacher, tour guide–until serendipity steered me into the eye-opening world of event planning. Picture this: the ’80s, New Orleans, and the prestigious American College of Surgeons making its debut here. The city didn’t need selling; its allure preceded it and the event was already booked. That’s when the challenge ignited my passion. Like a rocket on a launchpad, I was charged with lifting the event for five days from merely memorable moments into an otherworldly experience, marking a pivotal juncture where my diverse journey coalesced into crafting truly unforgettable memories for others.

Welcoming Strategy: Contrary to the myth that leaders are born, my journey reveals it’s a blend of perseverance, self-discovery, and meaningful connections. It all begins with a strong family foundation. I believe in the power of genuine bonds, crucial not just in personal life but also in business. People long to be part of something greater, forging connections that lend purpose to existence. My team isn’t just a workforce; they’re my second family. Gratitude is the seed and relationships are the garden. I tend to both, witnessing a flourishing world where our collective growth becomes a bloom of success.

Next Goal: Life doesn’t stop, nor do I. Between life and career twists, one thing remains constant: my love for connecting with people and making a difference. Author Simon Sinek nailed it – helping others brings lasting fulfillment. My goals are a crazy mix of work and play, deeply woven into both my professional and private worlds. Looking ahead, I’m pumped to up the ante in doing good for my community, cooking up exciting partnerships to spread some positive vibes. After all, life’s too short not to make a splash and leave a mark that lasts.

Tami Maynard-Griffin

Director of Events, GEMS (Griffin Event Management Services)

Commitment, Passion, Motivation

Moment I Knew I Belonged in the Meetings Industry: During a General Session for an annual meeting, a keynote speaker delivered a presentation that was not well-received by over 700 in attendance. His tone and false information had alienated and offended several of our peer groups. At the end of the conference, I was called to the stage to give a few closing remarks. I addressed the audience with positive words of comfort and assurance that our organization’s mission was not represented by the prior speaker. Afterwards, I received many thanks and compliments from the constituency. I felt great knowing that in my role as the meeting planner for this event and representative of the organization, I was able to take this opportunity to turn a negative situation into a positive one and make a difference.

Welcoming Strategy: I treat others with respect even if situations or circumstances are difficult.  I am an attentive listener and exercise control of my tongue and actions. I smile and greet people, whether in person or in writing. I strive to always be encouraging and give support when possible. I have been told that my sincerity shines through in these ways.

Next Goal: My immediate and continuing goal is to grow my business of managing clients’ programs and events. I am staying relevant and connected to the meeting industry through educational opportunities, attending trade shows and networking for leads to provide my services to groups, corporations, associations and social gatherings.

Sarah Meister

Founder & Chief Event Officer, SM Event Co Strategic Housing Solutions & The EVENTrepreneur Network

Strategic, Reliable, Savvy

Moment I Knew I Belonged in the Meetings Industry: Two decades ago, I began my event industry career during college. Witnessing seamless events revealed my destined path. The moment when the doors to the auditorium opened and attendees streamed in, I knew I had found my calling. Throughout my career, I have held various positions, each with its own merits, but none have been as personally rewarding as the establishment of my own company with an exclusive focus on strategic event housing. I am so grateful for my clients and love the work that I do. As the saying goes, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life!”

Welcoming Strategy: It is of paramount importance to me that individuals in my personal and professional circles, as well as attendees at our events, feel valued and recognized. I consistently strive to offer a receptive ear, ensuring that everyone feels understood and supported. In my experience as an entrepreneur in this field, I have identified a significant underrepresentation of independent business owners at industry events. I believe it is crucial for those not affiliated with larger corporations, associations or third-party entities to have a sense of belonging at these gatherings and access to tailored educational resources. To address this, I established The EVENTrepreneur Network. This platform serves as a sanctuary for business owners seeking a collaborative, communicative, and supportive community.

Next Goal: My immediate goals focus on strategically expanding my business, strengthening client relations and enhancing our team to manage our expanding portfolio effectively. As specialists in event housing management, we’re committed to refining our processes and working closely with platform partners, ensuring we deliver top-tier technology solutions to our clients. Navigating the competitive landscape, especially against larger third-party housing management firms, presents its challenges. However, our distinct boutique approach, characterized by tailor-made housing strategies for each event, distinguishes us in the marketplace. My primary goal for this year is to intensify efforts in educating the industry about the critical role of a well-conceived housing strategy in the success of events, further solidifying our position as innovators and leaders in this specialized niche.

Heather Reid, ARCT MSc

CEO & Founder, Planner Protect Inc.

Always be Learning!

Moment I Knew I Belonged in the Meetings Industry: Although I started my business as an independent meeting planner in 1994, it wasn’t until 2011 that I truly discovered “my place” in the industry. My very first client in 1994 handed me a 21-page convention centre contract to negotiate. Contracts? I was immediately aware of both the seriousness of the task and the enormity of the learning curve I needed to embark on. And learn I did! Seventeen years later, when I overheard a planner say “I didn’t know you could negotiate force majeure”, I knew with all my being where I belonged and how I could contribute to the industry I loved!

Welcoming Strategy: In 2023 (the 30th year of my business journey), I made the decision to stop taking on individual clients for planning services. Instead, I directed my career full-time to Planner Protect Inc–which I had started in 2013. The consulting services and educational products offered by Planner Protect Inc are crafted to welcome, encourage and support both emerging and seasoned industry professionals in developing one of the industry’s fundamental core competencies…contracts. As someone with a genuine passion for teaching, I strive to foster an open, inviting, and inclusive learning environment that meets industry professionals where they are–and helps them to “always be learning” too.

Next Goal: I am a firm believer in “giving back” and as you now know, “always be learning.” My next goal combines both!! I’m tremendously excited to reveal that Planner Protect Inc. will be releasing a certification program in 2024 focused on understanding, interpreting and negotiating balanced event contracts. The certification program is being designed with the main goal of serving as an essential learning resource for industry professionals today and for years to come.

Darlynne Reyes Menkin, MWBE

President, Owner, Where You Want To Be Tours, Inc. & Out of the Ordinary  

Uplifting, Joyful, Out-of-the-box Thinking

Moment I Knew I Belonged in the Meetings Industry: There have been many memorable moments where I knew I was in the right industry but perhaps the first time I experienced this, was when I was invited to be a panelist at a San Diego Tourism Authority Sales & Marketing conference. That was a wonderful opportunity that led to many other speaking and emcee engagements. What’s interesting is that in addition to talking about “team building,” I’m often asked to moderate panels/workshops on “public speaking” and how to work through the fear.  I’m a former TV News Reporter, so I love how I now get to use those skills to help others in the Meetings industry.

Welcoming Strategy: Both my parents are from Hawaii so from a very young age, it was instilled in me to treat everyone with the “Aloha Spirit.” Now, as a business owner, that practice is at the core of everything we do, as our team building adventures are all about lifting up our guests and bringing them to a better place. But that philosophy is how we treat everyone, from our team to our partners and vendors, to our family and friends. Whether you’re part of our team or you’re a guest experiencing one of our adventures, our hope is that you’ll say to yourself I’m exactly “Where I Want To Be.”

Next Goal: Of all the team building programs we offer, our corporate charity team building activities are the programs we find especially fulfilling. This year, we’ll continue to expand this division by adding more unique and “Out of the Ordinary” CSR programs. Because our mission statement revolves around practicing the “Aloha Spirit,” this will play a major theme in all our programs, as we’ll focus on communities we’re passionate about such as unhoused youth, disabled, senior citizens and military families. For us, it’s so much more than putting on a fun team building event. We want to provide a memorable life experience.

Wendy Spivak

Principal, Co-Founder, The Castle Group

Collaborative, Forward-thinking, Resourceful

Moment I Knew I Belonged in the Meetings Industry: My mother was in the events industry, planning large, muti-faceted events all over the country. I was always curious about the events she produced and attended many of them and my interest was sparked. That interest led me to a position as a marketing communications director for a healthcare company where I oversaw company events. Planning those events was exciting and allowed me to create engaging and memorable experiences for our attendees, while helping tell the company story. Watching the enjoyment people got from those experiences, I knew this was the career for me.

Welcoming Strategy: I listen–to my team, our clients, and our event partners. We are better together so I foster those connections between us. Not to sound cliche, but my door is always open, and my office is always full of people. I try to empower my team and they understand that their point of view, ideas and priorities are important to me and to our company. For our event guests, it’s about creating a flawless event experience from the moment they walk in the door to the time they leave. That means extraordinary attention to detail and a high level of service.

Next Goal: In the 27 years we’ve been in business, we’ve been through a lot. And as the world changes, so do we. We must continually adapt and evolve to ensure that we have the skills needed for our craft, as well as a company culture where people can thrive and do their best work. As we continue to grow, I’m focused on supporting our amazing team, so they have the tools they need to grow along with our company. Next up, starting the planning for our 30th anniversary!

Nancy Spooner

Founder, CEO, Tempo Live Events, Inc.

Tactical, Seamless, Diligent

Moment I Knew I Belonged in the Meetings Industry: I’ve been in the live event industry for 30 years, but my impact became evident in 2020. When Covid shut down our event world, I initiated a Zoom “happy hour” for my Tempo contractors. This meet-up quickly led to the birth of the Tempo Think Tank, a weekly gathering of freelancers, sharing insights on remote show production. Not only was I creating connections during that lonely time, I was getting people back to work, and I was transforming lives. The feedback revealed my true calling—to connect and inspire. This journey made me realize that shaping the industry and changing lives is what I was meant to do.

Welcoming Strategy: I prioritize making people feel welcome by starting with the basics: learning and remembering their names, whether it’s a food server at a restaurant or new event staff on show site. This personal touch extends to all interactions, and I make a conscious effort to address individuals by their names. When we have new teammates at Tempo or when I meet new people in general, I like to listen to their stories, try to find commonalities and acknowledge them. I believe this approach helps them foster a sense of belonging and contributes to making everyone feel welcome.

Next Goal: In 2024, our primary objective is to expand Tempo’s client base. Over the past 16 years, Tempo has experienced organic growth driven by contractors sharing the opportunity for more freelance gigs with their peers. It’s been a network of contractors guiding clients to Tempo when facing staffing shortages. For the first time, we are proactively reaching out to potential clients, aiming to enhance our client base and, in turn, provide more opportunities for Tempo freelancers.

Sara Stehle, CAE, CMP

Owner and Independent Planner, Wow Moments Experience & Event Design

Care, Passion, Curiosity

Moment I Knew I Belonged in Meetings Industry: My first Annual Conference for the International Association of Fire Chiefs. When I walked into the exhibit hall and heard that sound–that beautiful sound of people connecting with each other. I knew then that I was where I was meant to be.

Welcoming Strategy: I’ve been told by enough people that it must be true that I have a very calming demeanor. My ability to stay calm under pressure helps reassure others and provides a welcoming environment for my team to succeed.

Next Goal: The quote “To those which much has been given, much is expected” seems appropriate here. I’ve had a wonderful career so far because people took the time to teach me and believe in me. I’m working towards a few leadership positions in the meetings industry that will allow me the opportunity to help mentor the next generation of meeting professionals.

Jenn Strutzel, CMOB, WBENC

Founder, President, Premier Events Corp (PEC)

Inclusive, Memorable, Experiences

Moment I Knew I Belonged in the Meetings Industry: My passion for events was born from the life experiences of my maternal grandmother, a Japanese-American interned during WWII. Her individual perspective and perseverance not only gave her strength but also placed tremendous value on coming together as a community. Through her I experienced how events bring a community together. Countless evenings were spent with my grandmother and fellow Nisei celebrating life milestones at potlucks, sharing stories to educate new generations, or playing raucous pickleball games. As a child I experienced the power of events. As an adult I knew that I wanted to create these experiences as my passion.

Welcoming Strategy: Our Company’s mission is to create memorable experiences that foster human connections. This philosophy is not limited to client engagement but extends to how we hire, facilitate professional development, and foster a culture of collaboration and excellence. We are storytellers by heart, but we must understand one another’s stories first. Whether we take time to relax and celebrate at our annual summer retreat, learn one another’s unique talents at holiday wreath making and charcuterie board happy hours, or celebrate our culture with an el Dia de los Muertos celebration, we recognize our people are our greatest resource. This is life.

Next Goal: I am loving where I am at. I enjoy building relationships with my team and our clients, but my work is not done yet. As I look to add another chapter to my story, it may be building upon my craft in coaching and leadership. I love learning others stories to understand their foundation, crafting what’s next and celebrating their successes. To be a part of this journey is empowering to me and I want to continue to share this with others.

Lucretia Williams, NMSDC, MBE, WBENC, WBE, SBA WOSB

President, CEO, Distinct Event Planning, LLC

Innovative, Empowering, Tailored

Moment I Knew I Belonged in the Meetings Industry: The defining moment of truly belonging in the meetings industry was during a large-scale corporate event I planned and executed. As I watched everything unfold seamlessly, with attendees deeply engaged and the client visibly satisfied, I felt a profound sense of accomplishment. It was more than just the success of the event; it was the realization that I had created an experience that resonated with everyone involved. This event was a culmination of my skills, creativity, and passion, and it solidified my place in the industry as a professional who could not only envision but also bring to life extraordinary events. This was the moment I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be.

Welcoming Strategy: To make everyone feel welcome, I prioritize inclusivity and empathy. At the heart of my approach is active listening, ensuring each team member, event participant and individual in life feels heard and valued. I embrace diversity in ideas and backgrounds, fostering an environment where everyone can contribute uniquely. By tailoring experiences to reflect varied needs and perspectives, I create a sense of belonging and connection. This inclusive atmosphere extends beyond professional settings, as I believe in nurturing relationships with kindness and respect, making inclusivity not just a practice, but a fundamental aspect of my personal and professional ethos.

Next Goal: My next goal is to expand the reach and impact of the EmpoWEred Women Society, with a focus on building a global network of women entrepreneurs. This involves creating more robust online platforms and resources that can be accessed worldwide, fostering a broader community of like-minded, faith-driven women. The aim is to not only connect these women but also provide them with practical tools and knowledge to grow their businesses. By doing so, I hope to empower more women to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams, breaking barriers and making a significant, positive impact in diverse communities across the globe.

Heather J. Wilson, CMP, CITI

Founder, Managing Brand Director, The Brand Strategy Tank

Pioneering, Inclusivity, Unexpected

Moment I Knew I Belonged in the Meetings Industry: THE Larry King had heard about my Continuing Medical Education symposia and called to ask to moderate one of my scientific sessions in Beverly Hills. I was known for bringing in cadavers and donated scientific specimens to teach with, and this piqued his interest. I think about fell over in glee and disbelief! Sir Doctor Magdi Yacoub (who was close to and did wonderful charity work with Princess Diana) flew in, as did other physicians and surgeons I greatly respected.

Wolfgang Puck hosted our dinner, and many years later, these doctors still mention what an impact that event had on them. It deeply resonated that no matter how famous, how accomplished or how privileged, everyone wants to belong and find magic in their experiences. I knew then that I’d create experiences in an inclusive way for the rest of my career.

Welcoming Strategy: I had an attendee once write me a message on LinkedIn, “You didn’t know me, but you made me feel like you did. “It has stuck with me. That is how I try to make sure my team, event attendees and those in my life feel. Recognizing the power of two ears to listen, two eyes to observe, and one mouth to speak, I read and listen to the feedback.

I also fly a bit in the face of the status quo and subscribe to the idea that adults don’t need to be managed. Rather,  my job is to manage the workload and processes and to elevate them so my team is doing the best work of their careers. It’s about fostering an atmosphere where everyone thrives personally and professionally. In life, every person has a story. I care about those stories and creating a welcoming space where I can learn about them and build relationships that matter. It’s a personal and professional value I hold close to.

Next Goal: Another degree, I graduate in May and then onto a doctorate! And continuing to teach businesses the power of elevating people through the art of experiences to drive business success and build stronger teams.

DeShawn Wynn, CMP-HC

Chief Meeting Architect, Wynning Touch Event Design

Strategic, Relevant, Inspired

Moment I Knew I Belonged in the Meetings Industry: I organized an annual staff holiday party for a corporate client who favored elaborate themes. One year, the chosen theme was cirque. This was going to require a lot more attention to the aesthetic design, and my comfort zone is based in logis􀆟cs. Towards the end of the night I, along with my vendor partners, sat in the back of the room smiling at the success of the event. It was at that moment that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, I was built for this.

Welcoming Strategy: Pay attention. It seems so simple, but yet this concept seems to be so hard for our world. Making people feel welcome means that you actually have to see the person. We live in a society that is always trying to figure out how to do things faster. However, with people we need to do the opposite. Stop long enough to actually hear what a person is saying. Reflect long enough to understand what they need. And most importantly, care enough to move in the direction that will meet their needs.

Next Goal: Teaching has always been my passion, and I’m diving deeper into it by dedicating more time to teaching, consulting and professional speaking. I’m broadening my scope beyond the meeting and event planning industry. I am using my experiences to assist entrepreneurs. My goal is to guide them in cultivating a mindset that fosters success, drawing from my own journey to provide valuable insights and support.

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