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
Apr 06, 2021
As manager of engineering services at Detroit’s TCF Center, Al Vasquez is typically responsible for directing and managing the maintenance of the venue’s buildings, grounds, equipment and utilities. He works to keep the facility compliant with local building codes and Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations while assisting customers with their facilities requirements. But in the spring of last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic was first hitting cities throughout the U.S., his role at the downtown venue took on a whole new level of importance and urgency. On March 30, 2020,… more
Mar 10, 2021
As the corporate events and hospitality industries gear up for better days ahead, hotels and event-related companies across the U.S. are appointing new leaders and expanding their teams. Take a look: Thirty-year hospitality management industry veteran Jacqueline “Jackie” Volkart has been appointed dual general manager at The Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Miami Beach, including the newly reimagined, 376-room Ritz-Carlton, South Beach and the 95-room Ritz-Carlton, Bal Harbour.  Most recently, Volkart served as general manager at The St. Regis San Francisco, where, under her leadership, the hotel… more
Tech Giants: Intrado President Ben Chodor on the Next Virtual Reality
Feb 15, 2021
It’s noon on a Wednesday (somewhere) when Intrado Digital Media President Ben Chodor jumps on a Zoom call. There is no ballgame to catch, rush hour to beat or train to hop on. Gone are the days of the easy excuses to take a break from work. Chodor is, for better or worse, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. On the bright side, Intrado employs 1,500 workers in 17 countries. The flexibility to meet with a team across multiple time zones has distinct advantages. It allows for more brainstorming sessions, which, in turn, facilitates innovation. Given Intrado’s crucial role in advancing… more
Bill Hansen Finds the Secret Sauce for Miami Corporate Events
Feb 04, 2021
The late President George H.W. Bush famously detested broccoli. But you know what he liked? “Oak grilled duck breast with lychee sauce,” said Bill Hansen, caterer to the stars in South Beach, Florida. “It was on a buffet and he asked if could have some more. Of course, we brought more over. He loved it.” That’s just a taste of the stories Hansen can cook up when detailing his experiences managing his catering company for 40 years. He’s managed the kitchen for golfing greats at the Masters (16 ordered milkshakes, part of Tiger Woods’ requested menu), hosted four U.S. presidents (Reagan, both… more