Session Descriptions

Friday, 15 November

11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Mindset situational awareness: exceptional focus, performance and control in extreme situations​

Mark Herrera

This session will give you the tools to augment your situational awareness to mitigate risk through guest service interjection. You’ll learn to increase your observational capabilities of anonymous behavior and identify behavior patterns not conducive to your venue environment. You’ll also hear about the current threat level facing venues and how to establish increased mental preparation, response, and mitigation to possible threats and learn about the current security initiatives.

12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

#MysterySolved: learn the secrets of working effectively in a regulated healthcare meeting environment​

Betsy Bondurant, CMM, CTE

This interactive session will explore healthcare meetings from a variety of perspectives in order to increase your understanding of the issues and concerns regarding regulated healthcare meetings for planners, suppliers and healthcare professionals (HCPs). The session will begin by examining how regulated meetings came in to being and the impact of national and international codes of practice have on these meetings. Pharmaceutical and medical device product lifecycles and their related meeting types will also be discussed.

Additionally, HCP meetings will be studied through the lens of the compliance officer by understand what are considered compliant venues, the expected language, knowledge and imagery needed in selling regulated meetings, reporting of transfer of value, the consequences of non-compliance, and the benefits of demonstrating understanding of this complex sector.

The session will wrap up with a review of how the role of the meeting planner, venue sales and operations teams and HCPs have evolved within this regulated environment.

Saturday, 16 November

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

It's a small world after all: best practices in global sourcing and contracting for US meeting planners

Alisa Peters, CMP, CMM

Navigating the unfamiliar waters of global sourcing and contracting can be tricky, even for the most experienced planner. There are some very simple and straightforward best practices to make sure what you are asking for, or contracting, is not "lost in translation"... and to start your global relationships off on the right foot, building relationships that last. The laws and customs of the country you are doing business with may heavily influence what your initial offer looks like, how aggressively it can be negotiated and how it is contracted. This session will provide the learner with some key "must dos" when navigating international markets to help you get to the very best possible market, offer and contract and will provide guidance on some key tips to ensure that the lines of communication stay open, even if your native languages are different.

Learning objectives

  • Improve your ability to be a strategic advisor to your organisation by learning the key questions to ask to identify markets that are suited to host your programme, and to quickly weed out markets that may not be a good (or affordable) fit.
  • Walk away with a better understanding of how to build a clear and concise RFPs, to get the most complete responses, in the shortest amount of time and the key contracting "must haves" when going abroad to protect your organisation and avoid disputes.
  • Leave with five tips to maximise your organisation's budget dollars – whether your budget is luxe or shoestring.

Roundtable session: healthcare meetings professionals​

Barbara Connell, CAE, CMP

Planning meetings in the healthcare field? Join this roundtable discussion amongst your peers to discuss the issues most affecting your job. Barbara Connell will lead a discussion focused on the impact of regulations in healthcare and their effect on the meeting professional. Other critical topics of discussion will also include CME, compliance, and reporting/reconciliation with industry and how the meeting professional must comply with these topics to align with maintenance of certification.  Helping meeting facilities understand the unique needs of medical meetings and the requirements that must be adhered to will be discussed as well. Come prepared to engage in open facilitated discussion to help find answers to your greatest meeting planning challenges.

The care and feeding of introverts

Mariela McIlwraith, CMP, CMM, MBA and Tyra Hilliard, CMP

This is an exploration of the difference between introverts and extroverts and how meetings tend to be geared more toward extroverts. Tips on how to make conscious decisions to make meetings more introvert-friendly without alienating extroverts. Bleeds over into personal lives, as well as managing staff who are different than managers on the I/E scale.

Learning objectives

  • Understand the characteristics of introverts and extroverts and how they affect how people interact in meetings.
  • Learn how to design meetings to be more inclusive for both introverts and extroverts.
  • Better understand your own communication styles based on where you fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum.

The relationship challenge: how to bring out the best in everyone at your event

Bill Durkin, CSP

Are you trying to create positive change? Do you want to be a positive influence on all the stakeholders connected with your events? If you answer was “yes,” you'll want to get better at building positive relationships and bringing out the best in all the people around you. When a leader under-achieves personally or professionally, it’s usually because of their inability to build and sustain positive relationships and resolve conflicts with those whom they work, live and serve. An individual can be extremely intelligent, technically proficient and have a powerful passion to succeed, and still fail or flounder if they don't master the people side of their job. Unfortunately, at a time when “soft skills” are in high demand, we live in a world where people would rather text than talk. As a result, our relationship skills are beginning to atrophy. Don't wait for good relationships to go bad before you learn to turn them around. Everyone wins when relationships get better and we all lose when they deteriorate.

The Relationship Challenge addresses 3 priorities and 7 practices essential to building better relationships before, during and after an event.

The 3 priorities are:

  1. Put People First: Get better at building positive relationships with all stakeholders.
  2. Be Purpose Driven: Make inspiring, influencing and bringing out the best in the people around you your mission as a leader.
  3. Improve Performance: Get better at adding more value to all stakeholders.

The 7 practices are:

  1. Being optimistic and resilient Listening to understand and connect
  2. Asking the right questions at the right time
  3. Resolving conflict in a positive way
  4. Inspiring others to give their best effort
  5. Giving positive feedback
  6. Leading virtuous lives

The workshop is built on an action learning model. There are no lectures. Knowledge is important, but it doesn't change behavior. To improve your relationship skills, you need to practice. During the breakout, you will be involved in a role-play and exercises to practice the skills needed to bring out the best in people. The programme will encourage participants to apply what they learn to building better relationships in all areas of their life and helping the people in their workplace, family and community excel. Each participant will also be encouraged to create a 28-day relationship improvement plant.

Learning objectives

  • Upon completion of the breakout the participants will know how to get better at building positive relationships with all stakeholders.
  • Upon completion of the breakout the participants will know how to bring out the best in all stakeholders.
  • Upon completion of the breakout the participants will know the positive way to resolve conflicts in their personal and professional life.

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Explore the murky middle ground of ethics

MaryAnne Bobrow, CMP, CAE, CMM

It is sometimes hard to get two people to agree on what is right and what is wrong when the subject is ethics. Explores the murky middle ground of potential ethical dilemmas meeting professionals face on a routine basis. When decision time comes around, what will yours be ethical or not?

Learning objectives

  • Assess situations for compliance with CMP Ethics and with accepted standards for personal, professional, corporate and business ethics.
  • Examine proposed activities and measure their correctness against established ethical standards.

How inclusive is your event? Welcoming all stakeholders

Tracy Stuckrath, CSEP, CMM, CFPM, CHC

Humans can differ from each other in more than 200 ways. Visibly, we can see race, gender, age and body shape. Not visible are dietary needs, economic class, educational background, sexual orientation, religious beliefs and mental abilities. Our challenge as event professionals is to intentionally and consciously create event environments that are welcoming and inclusive to thousands of participants, each with their unique perspectives, preferences, challenges and needs. Diversity is our differences, but inclusion is the act of ensuring diversity is welcome. In this interactive session, we will take a strategic meetings management approach to understand how to plan and produce events that are inclusive, appreciate our diversity and capitalise on the unique perspectives of a diverse participant base. 

Leadership essentials: 4 tools you need to be an effective leader

Doug McPhee, M.Ed., CMP, CMM

Effective leaders need certain skills and knowledge to be successful. I have been fortunate to work with some great leaders and to teach leadership in corporate and association settings. My discovery that there are four models that contribute to great leadership is the essence of this session. It is critical that leaders know these four models that employ leadership skills and personal understanding. In this session, participants will discuss the skills and characteristics they think are needed to be a strong and effective leader. A list of skills and characteristics will be displayed and examined. There will be four leadership models shared and analysed to compare to the characteristics listed. Participants will leave understanding the four crucial models that effective leaders can use to influence others. The session will include an overview of each model for consideration to dig deeper following Conclave. The four models include: Situational Leadership Strengths Learning Styles Personality Styles: DiSC 

Learning objectives

  • Upon completion, the learner will know the four personality styles of DiSC.
  • Upon completion, the learner will have a basic understanding of Situational Leadership II.
  • Upon completion, the learner will know the main characteristics of effective leaders.

Mindset situational awareness: exceptional focus, performance and control in extreme situations​

Mark Herrera

This session will give you the tools to augment your situational awareness to mitigate risk through guest service interjection. You’ll learn to increase your observational capabilities of anonymous behavior and identify behavior patterns not conducive to your venue environment. You’ll also hear about the current threat level facing venues and how to establish increased mental preparation, response and mitigation to possible threats and learn about the current security initiatives.

1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Driving sponsorship revenue in a social, digital and content age

Dan Kowitz​

This session will give attendees a better understanding of the sponsorship industry of today and arm them with ways to implement revenue generating sponsorship strategies including:

  • Aligning assets to brand needs
  • Creating, borrowing and growing assets
  • Packaging benefits in a way that meets brand marketing objectives
  • Driving value though content and digital

State of Sustainability in the Events Industry: It's time to deliver​

Mariela McIlwraith, CMP, CMM, MBA (Moderator), Angie Ahrens, CMP, Lindsay Arell, Michelle Guelbart, Mike Pietraszek, CEM and Yalmaz Siddiqui

2020 marks the beginning of the "decade of delivery" for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Join us for this panel discussion to hear how leading events and industry suppliers are actively integrating environmentally responsible practices into their operations, and how the events industry is helping tackle social justice issues, including human trafficking.

Thriving in chaos

Corinne Hancock

In business and in life, we’re put to the test not when things are going right, but when they get chaotic. How we react can be the difference between success and failure and determine whether our team comes together or falls apart. Learn strategies to adapt your thoughts and plans on a moment’s notice, lead through uncertainty and thrive in chaos. This session challenges participants’ assumptions and ideas, challenging assumptions and mindsets. It gives participants practical tools and ideas for how to prepare for change, how to deal with it when it hits and how to rise to the occasion and lead yourself and others, regardless of the organisational challenges.

Learning objectives

  • Tested framework that shows you how to prepare for chaos, what to do when it happens and how to be at your best when things are challenging.
  • Strategies to prepare yourself and your team to thrive in chaos, no matter the situation.
  • Tools you can immediately use to improve collaboration and enhance the effectiveness of your communication.

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Creating a zero waste menu

Mariela McIlwraith, CMP, CMM, MBA

We’ve talked a lot in the last year about what to do with food that is left over at your event. But, what if we flip how we look at and think about our menus and plan for there to be no waste at the end of your event? Impossible you say? Join us for a new way of thinking about how to develop your menu. We will look at the process from the very start and think through ideas, concepts, suggestions and how to approach your chef with what you’d like to do.

Learning objectives

  • Learn what it means to have a zero waste menu.
  • Learn how to start conversations around a zero waste menu and how to help your partner build one out for your group.
  • Learn the strategies needed to reshape menu design.

Events' impact on social change

Jessica Levin, CMP, CAE

There is no force on the planet that brings people together in a more meaningful way than events. This means that we have an incredible opportunity to discuss and solve some of the most challenging problems in the world. As event organisers, how do we initiate and manage this process and why should we get involved? This session is filled with statistics on how events, both corporate and association, are including CSR initiatives into their programmes. Filled with practical tips and action items, attendees will have a better understanding of why CSR is important to their programme from attracting attendees to PR. We will explore the varying degrees of social change that events can impact this and will discuss road blocks for implementing a world-changing programme.

Learning objectives

  • Understand the importance of CSR in today's marketplace.
  • Learn about the various ways that events can impact social changes beyond turnkey CSR projects.
  • Develop talking points for talking to senior management about social change.

How to lead through a crisis: lessons from the most effective meeting planners

Adele Cehrs

This exciting "choose your own adventure" style video training breakout session will offer audience participants three 90 second crisis scenarios meeting planners will likely have to handle. The scenarios include twists of fate, taped advisers and conflicting advice to show how complex crisis management truly is for events. Participants will walk away with templates for communicating a crisis at an event including emails to attendees, social media announcements and onsite communications techniques to minimise panic. Cehrs has done this type of training to SMP in Puerto Rico, ASAE, NSA, IDSA, Lockheed Martin and the United Nations.

Learning objectives

  • Practical and engaging lessons learned from other meeting planners who have responded to a crisis at an event in real-time through traditional and social media channels.
  • Meeting planners will gain an understanding of the four Rs of event crisis management: reputation, revenue, relevance and risk
  • Upon completion meeting planners will be able to create a process for handling a crisis at an event, write template messages to the attendees to explain a crisis, and respond quickly on social media to quell attendee concerns before panic or rumors start.

Innovate your 4x4 event strategy: excite attendees and extend value before and after your events

Julie Holmes, M.A., F-PSA

Your event is facing some stiff competition! In a noisy world full of competing demands, your delegates are making tough choices about their time and attendance, even after they’ve registered. What are you doing to get them excited, connected and showing up? What’s more, when (if) they show up at your clearly awesome event, how are you articulating and stretching the impact so they’ll come back again and bring others with them? This is the perfect time to up your event game by developing your 4 Before and 4 Beyond Event Strategy. In this interactive programme, we’ll be using proven innovation strategies to create your personalised plan to increase excitement and engagement 4 weeks before your event and to extend the impact and value 4 weeks after.

Learning objectives

  • Expand the impact of your event by developing a pre- and post-event strategy during the session.
  • Increase attendance and enthusiasm for your upcoming events without having to increase your budget.
  • Build engagement (and raving fans) after your event by understanding what matters most to your attendees.

4:30 p.m – 5:30 p.m.

AV RFPs: from creation to comparing responses, everything you need to know

Nathan Honeycutt and Ashleigh Cote, CMP ​

In this transparent presentation, audiovisual production will be dismantled and demystified. You will learn how to shop AV, what is important in AV, how to budget for it and how to write an RFP that gets you the results you want. With plenty of laughs, and templates you can take back to the home office, this session will be enjoyable and extremely useful to meeting planners.

Learning objectives

  • Upon completion, participants will have an outline RFP for an event they are planning ready to take back with them.
  • Upon completion, participants will be able to feel confident in comparing AV RFPs from different companies.

Cocktails & conversations — crafting an inclusive conference beverage menu

Tracy Stuckrath, CSEP, CMM, CFPM, CHC

True to all events, there will be food and beverage. As planners, we spend more time choosing what everyone will eat than what they will drink. From cocktails to mocktails, craft beer to cold brew, coffee to tea, juices to functional water, the beverages we serve at meetings and events need to represent the diverse needs of today’s attendees just as much as the food we serve. This session will cover the booming creative beverage trends that can help enhance your event’s food and beverage programme while creating healthier, more inclusive social environments for all participants. Whether you prefer bourbon or a mocktail, this session will help diversify your beverage menu and not leave you thirsty for innovative beverages for your next event.

Learning objectives

  • Understand how the latest food and beverage trends can enhance your event.
  • Take a holistic view of health and wellness through a wine glass, a martini glass and a high ball glass, to create a healthier beverage menu.
  • Manage their beverage budget while incorporating the latest trends.

Small budget, big promos: event marketing for meeting managers

Kristine Golden, CMP

Meeting managers need to manage all aspects of an event, but sometimes that also means promoting it too. The resources can be limited, for those working on smaller association meetings, or volunteering for non-profit organisations. There isn’t always a publicist or art director on staff to help. The event manager is sometimes one that creates and implements the marketing plan. Events are more successful overall if a promotional plan is in place. In this workshop, meeting managers will learn best practices for creating marketing content and promoting an event, even if you think you're not a writer!

Learning objectives

  • Upon completion, participant will be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of different communication channels.
  • Upon completion, participant will be able to develop a promotion plan, and identify currently available marketing tools.
  • Upon completion, participants will be able to utilise strategies to creating compelling copy.

THE POWER of INCLUSION: Impact of Unconscious Bias on Excellence ©

Sonia Aranza

Today's meeting environment is more diverse and complex than ever! If you want to succeed, diversity and inclusion awareness and skills are imperative. This engaging learning experience is considered the next generation approach to diversity and inclusion. It explores the science, research and impact of unconscious bias. Ms. Aranza utilises a multi-media approach to allow participants to explore the human condition of bias and its impact on decision-making. Participants become aware of potential blind spots, learn ways to mitigate bias, and create inclusive meetings where everyone thrives! Participants gain important insights about the power of inclusion and its impact on excellence.

Learning objectives

  • Heighten awareness, knowledge and skills on unconscious bias and the impact on decision-making.
  • Enhance personal effectiveness and excellence in a diverse environment.
  • Gain insights to create inclusive meetings where participants thrive.

Sunday, 17 November

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

B2B exhibitions – the only constant is change​

Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE

From the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, gain exclusive insight on top exhibition trends. This session will explore vital statistics and trends currently impacting, or likely to impact, how trade shows are conducted. Are changes being driven by market disruptions, technology, exhibitor needs, attendee needs or all of these? This session will explore strategies and tactics to consider for responding to these trends and will equip you with information on selling change to your leadership and important stakeholders based on industry data.

Event financial management success: perspectives from an association CEO

Steve Bova, CAE​

So you’re an event planner; why is it important to have sound financial management skills to be effective at your job? Demonstrating value in any career includes being versatile and understanding all facets of the business, not just your specific role. This includes understanding corporate strategy, customer service, technology, sales and marketing and, yes, even financial management. While you do not have to be a CPA, this session will teach you how to think like a CEO and a CFO as you run your part of the business. You will learn about:

  • Budgeting, calendarizing and forecasting (and building meaningful assumptions)
  • Analyzing, reviewing and communicating (presenting) financial information, including financial statements
  • Translate these skills into your personal life – including some useful tools, tips and techniques

The secret is really more about being able to frame and tell the story than the numbers themselves. Walk out of this session having more confidence speaking about numbers and how they impact the success of your organization.

Some learning objectives:

  1. Increase your financial knowledge and acumen
  2. Improve your ability to practice sound and credible financial management

Roundtable session: practical discussion on combatting human trafficking in the events industry

Michelle Guelbart

Join a facilitated discussion by ECPAT-USA, the nation’s leader in eradicating child exploitation and human trafficking. Bring your ideas and an open mind as you learn how to get your company involved or more engaged on the issue.

To protect & serve: how to put your attendees first in an ever-changing social climate

Akande Simons, CMP

With the current political climate, planners are feeling the duty of care responsibility stronger than ever. Contract clauses and venue sourcing strategies that have a strong eye on protecting marginalised groups are a necessary skill as we are responsible for creating a safe space for our attendees. Even if you are not planning an event specifically for a marginalised group, you have attendees and members of your organisations that identify with one or more groups, to whom you have a duty of care. Are you aware of the current DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) event design practices and contract protections? Let’s discuss responsible spend, current and proposed laws, intersectionality and attendee first event strategy.

Learning objectives

  • How to be an informed advocate for your attendees and yourself within industry organisations.
  • DEI contract and sourcing strategies.
  • Set the stage! Creating an inclusive experience at your meetings and events.

9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

A template for sustainable events: how the new EIC Sustainable Events Standards will inspire innovation and impact for our industry

Mariela McIlwraith, CMP, CMM, MBA and Courtney Lohmann, CMP

Since July of 2017, a team of dedicated sustainable event professionals have been working to redesign, rewrite and relaunch the sustainable event standards formerly known as APEX/ASTM. With the supplier sectors (accommodations, audiovisual, destinations, exhibitions, food & beverage, venue) almost complete and the event organiser standards out for industry commentary, we will recap the journey of this industry-wide collaboration and talk about how the standards will bring innovation and impact to the event world, including a preview of the rollout of the standards and how we can all work to spread the word!

Learning objectives

  • For all event professionals: Learn how the new industry-wide requirements and guiding principles can get you on the path to sustainable events and lay the groundwork for certification.
  • For all supplier professionals: Learn why the new supplier standards are more approachable and how certification can bring value to your business through innovation and partnership.
  • For event organisers: The old meeting planner standards were one of the most ambitious creations in sustainable event planning and while that rigor is still there, the new standard aims for any and all to pursue this certification. Also, learn how you can better engage your suppliers on sustainability.

Lead like a coach: how to develop and lead a rock star team

Dean Savoca, M.Ed., BCC, CSP™

If you’re a leader in the hospitality industry, you can confirm the fact that at least 65% of your time is spent dealing with people issues. Current industry trends like high turnover, sales vs. operations, and increasing customer demands put additional pressure and demands on you and your team. The pace is daunting. However ironic it sounds, sometimes slowing down can help managers bring out the best performance in their people and lead to better results. Possible? Absolutely. How?

A coaching approach to leadership, which leads to more cohesiveness, innovation, creativity and problem solving – giving you some of that 65% of your time back to focus on other things. Employees who clearly understand expectations -- and know they’re accountable -- enjoy a higher level of job satisfaction, stay longer, and produce better results. Isn’t that what we’re all after?

Managing disruption and threats to the contracted room block

Alisa Peters, CMP, CMM

Attendee and exhibitor preferences are changing, but are your event management strategies keeping up? The impact of the sharing economy, housing disruptors and the dynamic nature of room blocks have forced event managers to shift the way the work. Whether it’s poaching, Airbnb or lower rates that are threatening your room block, proactive management will be key to ensuring a positive customer experience. Learn from an industry expert, current CMP Governance Commission member and former MPI International Board member on the future of room blocks and analyse seven strategies to manage your room block effectively.

Learning objectives

  • Identify current room block trends (reg to res) and the top threats to successfully filling them.
  • Walk away with successful strategies you can use to help with block erosion, and some tools that you can put to work immediately to help with room block management.
  • Combat block pirates by learning that they are NOT all the same, by understanding their dirty tricks, and by learning how to make them "walk the plank."

Roundtable session: elevating to the C-suite​

Cornelia Horner, CMP

Looking to take your career to the next level? Join this roundtable discussion to hear gain insights from an industry professional who has experience with this career growth firsthand.  You’ll leave this session with takeaways on how to escalate to the next level within your organization and beyond.

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Lead like a coach: how to develop and lead a rock star team

Dean Savoca, M.Ed., BCC, CSP™

If you’re a leader in the hospitality industry, you can confirm the fact that at least 65% of your time is spent dealing with people issues. Current industry trends like high turnover, sales vs. operations, and increasing customer demands put additional pressure and demands on you and your team. The pace is daunting. However ironic it sounds, sometimes slowing down can help managers bring out the best performance in their people and lead to better results. Possible? Absolutely. How?

A coaching approach to leadership, which leads to more cohesiveness, innovation, creativity and problem solving – giving you some of that 65% of your time back to focus on other things. Employees who clearly understand expectations -- and know they’re accountable -- enjoy a higher level of job satisfaction, stay longer, and produce better results. Isn’t that what we’re all after?

Prospecting. Is it your business?

Akande Simons, CMP, and Antwone Stigall, CMP, DES

As an event professional, you started your company thinking you would focus on logistics, operations, execution and design for your clients. No one told you that, if you’re newly on your own, prospecting plays a major role in the success of your business. Prospecting is the process of searching for potential customers, clients or buyers in order to develop new business. The end goal is to move prospects through the sales funnel until they eventually convert into revenue-generating customers. Now that you know what it is, what is the first step to crafting a successful prospecting strategy for your business? This session will provide the newly independent planner with helpful tips and tricks on how to successfully prospect. Let’s discuss best practices, tips and tricks to mind your business!

Learning objectives

  • Leads vs. Prospects: Understanding. Identifying. Sourcing.
  • Prospecting vs. Re-targeting: Develop your message. Understand where most people get it wrong, and how you can get it right.
  • Learn strategies to ensure you make time to prospect.

Roundtable session: room block poaching

Alisa Peters, CMP, CMM and Betsy Bondurant, CMM, CTE

Take a deep dive into the complexities of room block poaching and learn best practices from your peers and colleagues on how best to mitigate your risk and protect your events. Alisa Peters and Betsy Bondurant will facilitate discussion for attendees to walk away with solutions to implement in their businesses.