Top 50 Smart Women in Meetings 2017

Meeting Planning

It’s never an easy task to make our annual selections for Smart Women Leaders, given that we receive hundreds of nominations and nearly all of them deserve serious consideration. But once again, after considerable deliberation, we’ve made our choices—this time 50 of them, doubling the number we had last year!

These women not only play significant professional roles in the meetings and events industry, but also have achieved excellence in their work. They go the extra mile and they find ingenious solutions to complex problems consistently.

Equally important, they feel a passion for their work that is readily apparent to colleagues, clients and everyone else they encounter. Where does this passion come from? Certainly, much of it comes from within, but the always-fascinating industry also feeds it.

“There is no routine and tremendous variety in our environment with each day and every event being one of a kind,” says Cara Banasch, senior vice president of business development and strategy for New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, who was selected as one of the Industry Leaders. “It is still fascinating to watch all the complex moving pieces come together that is half science and half art. None of us have a single function; we all learn to have multiple specialties and roles that keep things interesting.

“Also, there is contagious energy at meetings with collective interest groups, which can be anything from neurosurgeons to waste-management experts to cat fanciers. You come away with an understanding and respect for so many realms you may never have even known existed.”

Let’s all salute this energetic, talented bunch—the 2017 Smart Women Leaders!