The Survivor Diaries: How Smart Women are conquering epic COVID disruptions

Presenter: Marin Bright, Stefanie Maragna, Cheryl Rogers, Desi Whitney, Cindy Brewer

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The Survivor Diaries: How Smart Women are conquering epic COVID disruptions
The global pandemic and accompanying social and economic threats that stemmed from the need to put meetings on hold indefinitely has threatened the hospitality industry in profound ways. These women faced the pause, processed their emotions and options and took decisive action. You will learn:
  • How they found inspiration even on the darkest days
  • How work-life balance became a necessity
  • Why sometimes what looks like the end is the best time for new beginnings
Marin Bright is founder and CEO of Bright Business Media, which publishes the award-winning Smart Meetings magazine and the companion news and lifestyle web site www.smartmeetings.com and manages an online community of a combined 145,000 event professionals with 57,000 social media followers. She previously served as vice president and publisher of Meetings Media, West Coast Sales Manager for Meeting News and National Sales Manager for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. She is a graduate of Mills College with a bachelors degree in communications and psychology. Bright was honored with the San Francisco Bay Area Meetings Industry Excellence Award in the Legend category from the Northern California Chapter of PCMA in 2011. She also received back-to-back honors as one of Folio’s Top Women in Media in 2014 and 2015 and was the 2015 recipient of WPA’s Leadership Award.
Stefanie Maragna is vice president of corporate marketing and events with Sage Intacct, a San Francisco Bay Area-based accounting software company. She leads the company’s public relations, analyst relations, social media, field, customer, partner marketing and event programs.She is also a wife, mother, stepmother, daughter and sister and embraces the benefits of a company that understands the importance of work-life balance.
She started her career at Kraft Foods in Queensland, Australia and served in marketing roles at Starlight Children’s Foundation, Mincom/Hitachi in Brisbane, Australia, Salesforce and Host Analytics. In her 20 years in the industry, she has worked for manufacturers, nonprofits and IT companies. She is a Smart Women in Meetings 2019 Hall of Fame winner.
Cheryl Rogers is executive assistant to the CEO and corporate events manager with Solara Medical Suppliers in San Diego, California. She is the founder of All About The Experiences: Living Without Limits, podcast.
She earned an MBA in organizational leadership from Ashford University and an MBA in hospitality administration and management from Sullivan University. She is the winner of a Smart Women in Meetings Rising Star award in 2019.
Desi Whitney begun her meetings industry journey at 19 years old, paved the way for the Sourcing Operations process for HPN Global and currently serves as HPN’s senior vice president of Sourcing Operations & Industry Relations.
In addition, Desi co-founded Emergency Concierge International (ECI)–an All-Hazards Emergency Planning company for events. Together, Desi and the team at ECI bridge the gap between emergency planning and the meetings industry.
She is a Smart Women in Meetings 2019 Hall of Fame winner.
Cindy Brewer is co-founder and principal of LEO Events, a global brand experience agency that produces over 300 events a year for clients including Walmart, AutoZone and ExxonMobil. With more than 25 years’ experience in hospitality, public relations, destination marketing and management, and event planning, Cindy oversees the marketing and administrative teams and concepts all internal meetings and philanthropic initiatives. Cindy has been named “Smart Women in Meetings” by Smart Meetings Magazine; “Top 25 Super Women in Business” by Memphis Business Journal; and an Inside Memphis Business Magazine Power Player.
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