Knowland Names Former Hyatt Exec Jeff Bzdawka as New CEO
Jun 15, 2021
Jeff Bzdawka, new CEO of Knowland, talks of three Ps that led him to the industry’s oldest and one of the most respected data-gathering firms. The people and the product are top-notch at Knowland, he feels, but it’s the third, positioning, that uniquely qualifies the former vice president of technology of Hyatt for this role. Between his leadership roles at Hyatt and tech-travel companies TravelClick and Pegasus, Bzdawka understands how to turn data-driven research into actionable insights. That skillset may be the most valuable commodity in meetings and events as the county emerges from the… more
Glisser CEO Mike Piddock: Forget the Hybrid. Just Call Them Events
Jun 09, 2021
Mike Piddock, founder and CEO of Glisser, gets a kick out of watching soccer – or football, as they call it in his native United Kingdom. He’ll go to a few matches per year, but prefers to experience most of the season from the confines of his couch watching the television. He is hardly unique in this pattern. There are costs, convenience and comfort that factor into when to make the plunge to go to the stadium. It is Piddock’s belief that the same sorts of decisions sports fans make annually will become the norm for event attendees. Yes, some gatherings will be can’t-miss events. But a… more
Women Execs Team Up to Enhance Corporate Events
May 26, 2021
It’s little surprise Victoria Neeson, CEO of Dreamtek, and Erica Boeke, CEO of Liberty & Co., bonded through Chief, an organization for women executives. Perhaps the only shocker is it took the two accomplished leaders so long to connect. One year after that first meeting and having executed a virtual graduation together, the two have formalized a partnership between their cutting-edge companies, bringing the best of Dreamtek’s broadcast technology and production expertise with Liberty & Co.’s experiential planning prowess to an impressive list of clients. Now they are a fully… more
May 21, 2021
The hiring craze at event and hospitality companies continues, with organizations, CVBs and hotels across the country tapping fresh leadership and expanding their teams. Take a look: Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau  Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau has appointed 15-year hospitality sales and marketing professional Dee Mittman as its new convention sales manager. Most recently, she served as national sales manager for the Greensboro Convention and Visitors Bureau, spending seven years at the CVB successfully sourcing meetings and events in the sports, corporate,… more
BCD Meetings & Events Global President Scott Graf Talks Leadership Amid a Crisis
May 12, 2021
BCD Meetings & Events Global President Scott Graf sees the currents changing. Because reopening is staggered across the globe, it’s impossible to maneuver the corporate events management company as one large ship. Rather, there are several yachts moving at varying speeds. The United States and United Kingdom have reached the Atlantic Ocean and are poised to push their engines. Continental Europe and Latin America remain closer to home, awaiting their turn to push off from port. The good news is BCD is not in any danger of recreating the Titanic’s fate. Through meaningful customer… more
May 06, 2021
Detroit’s TCF Center has landed a new general manager. On April 19, Larry Alexander, board chairman of the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority announced that Karen Totaro has been tapped by ASM Global to lead the convention center. In her new role, Totaro will be responsible for the overall management, promotion and operation of the facility, leading its team of professionals, building on key industry partnerships in the community and supporting the overall mission of the TCF Center and the DRCFA.  “Karen Totaro is the right person at the right time to take the TCF Center back to… more
Rhanee Palma Takes Over as Chief Sales Officer at FACE2FACE Meetings & Incentives
May 04, 2021
The first time Jordan Clark approached Rhanee Palma about working for him, Palma lost a friendship with a fellow applicant over a job opportunity at Caesars Entertainment that she ended up bypassing. Palma didn’t hold a grudge and Clark was undeterred. Years later, the 30-year industry veteran and founder/CEO of FACE2FACE Meetings & Incentives finally got his woman. Palma, arguably the face of Visit Oakland for nearly five years, most recently as chief sales officer, is now running the sales department for the Las Vegas-based meetings and events company. A veteran of Marriott… more
Tech Giants: Aventri CEO Jim Sharpe Stresses Simplicity With Hybrid Meetings
Apr 30, 2021
One of the driving factors that led Jim Sharpe to become CEO of leading events platform Aventri was that he saw a chance to work within an industry about to undergo a technological revolution. That was in January 2020. “I didn’t appreciate what that meant,” said Sharpe, who had a grand total of six weeks to become acclimated with events before COVID-19 turned the world on its head. A newbie to the MICE industry, Sharpe was previously responsible for tech-enabled services at companies like Gerson Lehrman Group and Standard Purification. “More than anything, I leveraged my experience as a CEO… more
Apr 15, 2021
As the meetings industry sets its sights on a post-pandemic future, organizations and companies throughout the country are appointing new leaders, creating fresh roles and making promotions in preparation for busier times ahead. Take a look! Visit Sacramento has appointed its 15-year Chief Marketing Officer, Sonya Bradley, as its chief of diversity, equity and inclusion, a new role created to address the organization’s commitment to taking action and creating lasting change in the Sacramento region’s tourism industry and across the country. A 25-year veteran of the travel and tourism… more
Assistant Director of Sales Stacey Purcell Marks 30 Years at Caesars
Apr 12, 2021
Stacey Purcell’s career in hospitality started brewing in Maui, home of the beloved Kona coffee. When not cheerleading, she would accompany her father on his trips to Las Vegas. He’d love to gamble at The Riviera, where he’d go four or five times per year. “Las Vegas was kind of like Maui — there was a little valley and some mountain around it,” Purcell recalled. “The only difference was it was steaming hot.” Flash forward 30 years and Las Vegas is home to Purcell, who now visits Hawaii. Her dad passed prior to the move, but she has found several father figures in what has amounted to a… more