Concurrent speakers

Your latest budget friendly event technology

Miguel Neves, Social Media Chefs, Founder and CEO, CMP

Miguel is a passionate social media advocate and an experienced events industry professional who regularly speaks on social media and event technology. Since 2009 Miguel has focused on digital engagement for the meetings industry and from 2011 to 2017 he managed the IMEX Group’s social media activity and digital strategy. In 2017 Miguel founded Social Media Chefs where he now combines his love of food and his social media expertise to develop content and training. Miguel sits on the International Board of Directors of the Meeting Professionals International, he co-chairs the Events Industry Council’s Industry Insights Committee and holds a master’s degree in Conference and Events Management from the University of Westminster.

Fighting food waste: A triple win for people, planet, and prosperity

Aurora Dawn Benton, Courtney Lohmann, and Chance Thompson


Top rends and innovations from NACE one awards

Ed DiAntonio, Director of Catering and Event Management, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, CMP, CPCE

Ed DiAntonio is Director of Catering and Event Management for the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. With more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, focused on catering and convention services areas. Ed is passionate about events, especially the food and beverage elements. Ed specializes in innovative and creative events based around the VIBE concept (Visionary, Innovative Banquet Events). These events are entirely encompassing, from overarching concept and design to every detail of food, beverage, service, entertainment and decor. Ed is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association for Catering and Events (NACE) and is its 2018-2019 National President.

Lawrence LEonard, Executive Director, National Ssociation for Catering and Events, CAE, CMP

Lawrence Leonard, CAE, CMP is the Executive Director of the National Association for Catering and Events. Lawrence has nearly 25 years of experience in association management and business events. He has previously served as the Chief Operating Officer for the Events Industry Council, Director of Conferences and Events for the National Association of Home Builders and other events management roles.

Secrets of the general session: a peek behind the curtain

Glenn Thayer, Professional Conference Moderator, The Voice of Meetings & Events

Known as The Voice of Meetings and Events, Glenn Thayer is a professional conference moderator and master of ceremonies. He has more than 15 years of experience facilitating corporate and association conferences. His clients span varied industries ranging from technology, healthcare, and financial services. 

Specializing in creating dynamic general sessions, Glenn works with his clients to enhance the audience experience through the use of technology, compelling content, and open, interactive dialogue and interviews. 

When not involved with a meeting or conference, he uses his communication skills and as a corporate spokesperson and voiceover talent for television and radio. He can be seen regularly on PBS and donates his time to Fins Attached, a shark conservation and marine research organization. 

Glenn is a contributing author to the meeting and event design section of the Convention Industry Council’s CMP manual.

Rebecca Garrett, Sr. Consultant, Event Producer, Garrett Marketing/Impact Point Marketing

Rebecca is passionate about helping clients design and create events that communicate and connect with their external and internal audiences. With over 17 years of cross-functional communication, strategic marketing, branding, event, and project management experience, she is a seasoned event producer and marketing consultant. Working with companies such as Cisco, VMware, ServiceNow, and Equinix on their general sessions and programming initiatives, Rebecca balances both tactical execution and strategic vision. Her strategies complement companies that place a high value on creating programs that make meaningful connections for both clients and employees.

60 cost saving tips in 60 minutes

Doug McPhee, M.ED., CMP, CMM

Doug McPhee has worked with Experient since 2000. His experience teaching elementary school and consulting with corporations including TJX Companies and Pfizer. As a professional speaker and trainer he has presented to groups in the US and abroad for over 35 years. Doug has presented at MPI-WEC, local chapters of MPI, Conclave, and to his colleagues at Experient. He works with organizations to improve learning. 
Doug has served MPI in local and international positions including President of the NENY MPI chapter He served as Chair of the Albany NY County CVB. He was the founding Chair of the APEX Standards Review Committee, 2008-2012. 

Beyond expectations: creating social media goals for our events and achieving them

Alex Plaxen, President/ Founder, Little Bird Told Media

Alex Plaxen, President and Founder of Little Bird Told Media, is an award-winning speaker and social media strategist. He began his events career while studying at The George Washington University. In graduate school he worked on mega events with Capitol Concerts, conferences with the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, and experiential marketing activations with RedPeg Marketing. After graduating with a Master's in Tourism Administration, he was the Director of Marketing for EventRebels. In Fall of 2015, he left EventRebels to start his own company, Little Bird Told Media, a consulting firm focusing on social media strategy and implementation for conferences and events. Alex has been recognized as a top social media influencer at some of the largest marketing and technology conferences in the world, including Dreamforce and Inbound. In addition to his industry work, Alex has been an active member of MPI, most recently sitting on the Potomac Chapter of MPI's Board of Directors. He has been honored locally and internationally as an emerging leader in the events industry, being named to the PCMA 20 in their Twenties Class of 2016, Connect Association's 40 under 40 in 2017, Meetings Today's 2018 Meetings Trendsetters, and receiving the MPI RISE Award for Young Professional Achievement in 2018. You can find Alex across most social media platforms @aplaxen.

Just ask the lawyer: legal forum - the sequel

Jonathan Howe, Founding Partner, Howe and Hutton​, JD

Jonathan T. Howe is President and Founding Partner of Howe & Hutton, Ltd. He has written hundreds of articles and papers, and has spoken to organizations all over the world. He is recognized as one of the true leaders of the not-for-profit organization bar as well as the hospitality and meetings, travel, incentive, hotel, and trade show industries, and for trial and appellate advocacy. Jon was named Association Forum of Chicagoland's Associate Member of the year for outstanding service to the association community and is also General Counsel to Meeting Professionals International. He was selected by his peers as a Member Fellow of the American Society of Association Executives and received the "Pacesetters Award" from the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International. Jon has been honored by numerous other organizations world-wide and has served as a director, officer and chief elected officer of several associations and charitable organizations.

Carol Norfleet, Executive Vice President, Destination Nashville, MBA, CMP, DMCP

Carol Norfleet serves as Executive Vice President with Destination Nashville, An AlliedPRA Company, Nashville’s largest and most award winning DMC. Currently serving as co-chair of the Industry Insights Committee for the Events Industry Council (EIC), Carol co-chaired the 2016 update of the industry cornerstone publication, the APEX Glossary. In 2017 Carol was honored as ADMEI’s (Association of Destination Management Executives International) Destination Management Professional of the Year. As the MPI (Meeting Professionals International) 2016 RISE Award Member of the Year, Carol also was named a Woman of Influence from the Nashville Business Journal in February of that same year.

Carol leads the CMP certification exam study groups throughout Tennessee and internationally for MPI since 2002. As Past Chair for the Accreditation and Certification Board of ADMEI, Carol ensures the advancement of education and professionalism in the DMC and meetings industry. A recipient of the prestigious ADMEI Joanne O’Connor President’s Award, as well as MPI:TN Supplier of the Year, Carol is a requested presenter on meetings industry issues such as site selection, food and beverage and destination management as well as her passion, effective employee training. She has been awarded the MPI:TN West TN Meeting of the Year for two consecutive years, 2017 & 2018. She also serves on the faculty for the Belmont University Meeting & Event Certificate Program specializing in Site Selection. 

All about you - preparing a leadership development plan

Deanna Griffith-House, Sr. Program Manager, Spetctrum Reach, CMM, PMP, CMP

Deanna Griffith-House is a 20+ year veteran of the meetings industry and is an innovative and deeply experienced planner and program manager. Presently, she is a Senior Program Manager for Charter Spectrum Reach responsible for many of the division’s most strategic initiatives. 

Deanna joined the cable industry from the high tech arena, bringing with her a broad base of global Business-to-Business and Business-to-Consumer marketing leadership and program management. She has served as Director of Marketing at both Exact Software and Jacobsen, leading teams to high levels of success at both organizations. 
Deanna is highly credentialed. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and a Program Management Certificate from George Washington University. She is both a Project Management Professional (PMP) and a Certified Marketing (PCM). Additionally, she holds certifications from other professional certifying organizations: Certified Meeting Professional (CMP – Convention Industry Council; Certified Meetings Manager (CMM – Meeting Professionals International) and Certified Manager of Exhibits (CME - Exhibit & Event Marketers Assoc.). Her academic accomplishments are evidence of her life-long love of learning.

Deanna is active with the Convention Industry Council’s Governance Commission and also serves as the Director of Meeting Planning for the MPI-Carolinas Chapter. In addition, she serves on the cable industry’s WICT Carolinas Board serving as the Chair for its annual conference and awards for more than three years. 2016 Carolinas Annual Conference and the 2016 and 2017 Red Circle Awards. She also co-developed WICT Leadership CoP, a mentoring program for senior-level members in the Carolinas. She is also Deanna is a long-time volunteer with Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure and the USO North Carolina. She resides in Huntersville, NC with her husband Mike and Wylie, their dog who serves as the neighborhood ambassador.