Meeting Planners Unite Team Bios

Team Bios

David Bruce, Executive Director and Founder

David Bruce

With more than 43 years of experience, knowledge and connections, David has a competitive advantage in almost every way. He’s seen just about everything in this business, he can draw inspiration from ideas that worked and dismiss directions that didn’t. In addition to planning meetings, he also manages the company’s day-to-day operations, serves on several professional boards and has twice been given Convention South Magazine’s “Meeting Professional to Watch” award.

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Mike Dominguez, President & CEO, Associated Luxury Hotels Int'l

Mike Dominguez

Michael Dominguez joined Associated Luxury Hotels International as President & CEO in June of 2019 after an impressive hotel career of over 30 years. Michael has had many roles in the industry including: Chief Sales Officer, MGM Resorts, Loews Hotels, Hyatt Hotels, Starwood Hotels, Marcus Hotels as well as a leadership role as a destination marketer.

Michael is actively involved in leadership roles in the Meetings and Events Industry and serves in a number of roles that support advocacy and growth of the meetings & events industry.

Michael’s leadership involvement includes board positions as:

  • Past Chairman, MPI’s International Board of Directors
  • US Travel Association (Executive Committee)
  • ASAE’s – Board of Directors
  • Past Co-Chair of the Meetings Means Business Coalition
  • Past Co-Chair APEX Room Piracy Taskforce with the Convention Industry Council
  • APEX Standards Committee with the Convention Industry Council
  • GBTA Foundation Board
  • HSMAI Foundation Board
  • FICP – Hospitality Professional Advisory Committee
  • Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees

Michael has been recognized for his leadership in the industry and other numerous honors including:

  • BizBash’s Top 500 People in the Events Industry 2018
  • HispanicBusiness.com’s “50 Most Influential Hispanics in the US”
  • Successful Meetings Top 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry 2013 – 2016
  • Successful Meetings Top Speakers 2016
  • Smart Meetings 2015 Smartest Industry Leaders
  • HSMAI’s 2014 Top Minds in Sales and Marketing
  • Meetings Focus Trendsetter
  • MeetingsNet Changemakers
  • MPI’s Industry Leadership Award 2015
  • LV Hotel Association’s 2016 Industry Leadership Award
  • Lanyon’s 2016 Industry Leadership Award
  • Timothy S.Y. Lam Foundation’s 2017 Leadership Award in Collaboration

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Bob Schuster, Board of Advisors

Bob Schuster

Bob Schuster heads up our Florida office. His four decades of experience is extensive in areas of marketing, negotiations, public relations, special/media events, tradeshows and corporate golf outings, which has given CMP a serious advantage and a trusted resource. He’s worked with corporations, associations, governments and teams, and has consistently exceeded their expectations.

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Paul Trapp, Board of Advisors

Paul Trapp

Paul Trapp - A former senior military leader, Paul served as Chief of Recruiting for the Army National Guard and successfully managed a national sales force of over 4,500 military recruiting personnel. Paul's background includes event management, government contracting, sales management & training, multi-state operations and overseeing a nine-digit annual budget. Assuming the role of Chief Executive Officer of National Conferencing, Inc., Paul is responsible for driving EBITDA, business development, associate training, internal and external communications, and branding / marketing. He currently oversees an international team of 53 full time meeting professionals and over 3,000 annual events. Paul is also the founder of an emerging franchise brand, EventPrep, a home-based franchise model providing Hotel Site Selection, Registration, Housing and Event Planning services. Paul is a proud graduate of Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, and currently resides in Northern Virginia with his wife Kimberly.

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Robyn M. MIETKIEWICZ, Board of Advisors

Robyn M. MIETKIEWICZ

Robyn Mietkiewicz, CMP, CMM, is an industry leader and innovator.  She is a frequent speaker at industry events, providing cutting edge education to the meetings and events industry.  She continually contributes articles to several meeting industry trade publications on a wide range of topics from Strategic Meetings Management, Contract Strategy, Budget & Cost Savings Techniques, and more! 

Robyn has earned the prestigious CMP and CMM certifications. She is a Past President of the MPI Orange County Chapter and has served as Chair of an MPI International Task Force.  As President, she was responsible for overseeing a 19 member Board and 400 member Chapter.  Robyn received the 2014 MPI RISE Award for Member of the Year and was also recognized by the CIC in 2013 with a Pacesetters Award.  She continues to advance the meetings industry through industry volunteerism, serving on multiple Advisory Boards and consulting MPI Chapters on strategic initiatives.    

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Jeff Berger, Board of Advisors

Jeff Berger

Bringing over 25 years hotel sales, marketing and operational experience to the firm, Jeff Berger is the company's President & CEO. Prior to the introduction of Conference Planning Resources, he served as Senior Vice President of Global Sales for an industry leading hotel site selection firm. As SVP, Mr. Berger oversaw the company's efforts in building a team of entrepreneurs with offices in dozens of cities across Canada, the United States and Brazil. These remote offices secured relationships with virtually every major hotel brand, independent properties and cruise lines and assisted hundreds of organizations in obtaining access to the best deals at appropriate hotels and resorts worldwide. Mr. Berger has been awarded the honor of serving on the Client Advisory Board for the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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MaryBeth Powers, Board of Advisors

MaryBeth Powers

MaryBeth A. Powers, CMP, has been the owner and president of Planning Powers, LLC for the past 21 years.   Planning Powers is a full-service meeting planning company that specializes in site selection, contract negotiations and provides on-site meeting management, travel management, budgeting, registration and more.

As an independent planner, MaryBeth has spent the majority of her professional time working for a variety of associations, cultivating a myriad of skills involved with planning successful meetings and events, ranging from 10 to 5500+ attendees per meeting.  

Prior to forming her own business, MaryBeth started her career working in a hotel, then at an association management firm, then on to two associations, one that boasted an attendance of 23,000 people, then as the sole meeting planner for a 3-association annual meeting of 1200.    

MaryBeth has achieved her CMP (certified meeting professional); is a member of the Advisory Board for the Alliance of Independent Meeting Professionals (AIMP) and is an active member of the Professional Convention and Management Association (PCMA), where she has served as a member of the Independent Meeting Planners Task Force.   She was the Program Chair for the Association of Meeting Professionals (AMPs), where she was recognized 2 years in a row for the “Meeting Planner of the Year” Award.

MaryBeth lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband, two boys and her dog. She is heavily involved with school events for her boys and offers her services to local charities.  As an avocation, she has developed and licensed a pet product that helped prolong her dog’s life after he was given 2 weeks to live due to cancer.  She is now experimenting with a similar product for human consumption.

 

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Alex P. Doyle, Board of Advisors

Alex P. Doyle

Alex P. Doyle, CMP joined 21st Century Group in April 2000 and is responsible for conference management, event strategy, sponsor/partnership and event communication related services. Mr. Doyle personally manages over 15 meeting accounts ranging from national associations, major corporations and professional societies located in the US West  and around the United States. In 2018, Doyle was elevated to the position of Vice President, Meetings & Events for 21st Century Group.

 

With over 20 years in the meetings industry, Doyle has served both on the hospitality side as a Director of Conference Services, National Sales Manager and as Director of Sales & Marketing, for a number of meeting resort hotels in California, Florida and Hawaii and as an independent conference planner. In his planning career, Mr. Doyle also served the Western Energy Institute as their in-house conference strategy director from 2003-2009 for this Portland, OR based training association and Mr. Doyle has managed over 1500 meetings, varying in size from 12 to over 4000 attendees.

 

Alex holds a BS in Business Administration/ Economics from the University of Nevada, Reno and is active in numerous meetings industry organizations such as, Meeting Professionals International, Rocky Mountain Chapter, Oregon Society of Association Management, and Professional Convention Management Association. He is also recognized as a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) by the Events Industry Council. In 2014, Alex was recognized by Meeting Professionals International-Oregon Chapter as their Planner of the Year Award recipient.

 

Alex resides Aurora, CO with his wife Debbie and is actively involved in the meeting and hospitality industry community as well a supporter of numerous charitable endeavors and local service organizations such as: the Rotary Club of Parker, CO and the Knights of Columbus Council 7880. Hobbies include CrossFit, golf, cycling and the great outdoors. Alex serves on the Membership Committee for AIMP.

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Jeff Canham, Board of Advisors

Jeff Canham

Jeff Canham is a Partner with Prestige Global Meeting Source. Prestige is a site selection, meeting management firm headquartered in Minneapolis, MN with offices throughout the US and Canada. We currently have a team of 56 amazing, talented hospitality experts that strive for the best solutions for our clients. Jeff joined Prestige in 1999 after working on the hotel property level as a sales manager with various brands. Jeff resides in Palm Springs with his partner and 2 awesome dogs – Jake and Benny!

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Stephanie A Watson, Board of Advisors

Stephanie A Watson

Ms. Watson's passion, creativity and affinity for event management and planning began in 1988 as she entered her Freshman year at the campus of WMU - Western Michigan University where she planned, facilitated and managed events for the BAS Dept. and participated in an array of activities, i.e. student recruitment efforts, student ambassadorship, fashion show choreography, university affairs and held office in various business oriented organizations while pursuing her degree in higher education from her freshman year to graduation. She was most recognized for planning the visiting scholar affairs, youth summer science programs, University VIP collaborations and various student activities while serving in Leadership roles at WMU. As a young adult beginning at the age of 18 she embraced her destiny and love for leadership, helping others and the pursuit of innovation personally and professionally.

Stephanie A. Watson is the President & CEO of DZS Savvy Event Planning, Design, PR & Consulting Company | DZS U.S.A. The Company: Marketing, Training & Development, Business Consulting & Speaking Company established in 1996.

Ms. Watson has developed a plethora of affiliate businesses of DZS over the past 24 years in business; inclusive of, but not limited to: The Business Strategist, a business development and enhancement company. The Workshop Suite | D3P:: DZS Promo | PR | Publicity + Marketing; an event planning, entrepreneur and business consulting, training, advising, and promotions company, Professional Entrepreneurs:: Nationwide: a social media networking and business exchange company, The LAB (Ladies About Business): a virtual networking group of stellar business women, Spectacular Speakers Worldwide: a plethora of optimal speakers networking and interacting, The Planner Suite Nationwide; a virtual networking and resource sharing spot for planners nationwide, DZS Business Consulting; a company specializing in offering professional business enhancement and advising services, customer service, sales training and virtual administrator services, Destination Weddings, Events & Soirees' by DZS: a destination wedding, event and soiree planning /design company- The Destination Affiliate of DZS Savvy Event Design Co. and The Shower Chateau: an upscale baby and bridal shower design company for the savvy bride and mom-2-be, DGG; a collaborative group of professional women aimed at embracing, uplifting and enlightening women and DZS Posh! Décor; an all inclusive decorating company for corporate, private and social affairs, Flowers With Bling; A Silk Floral Bouquet & Design Co., Tea Parties With Style: A Traveling Tea Party Co., Oh! That's So Pretty Parties -Pretty Parties for Girls with a Purpose with a touch of education, etiquette and fun, “Poised-2-Perfection” A Business & Social Etiquette Consulting Co., Spectacular Speakers Worldwide : social media virtual networking for professional speakers & Rep That Model: educating models to learn about the Business aspects of Modeling. Her other successes include 700 + events professionally planned in her 20+ year tenure with a professional clientele extending into the hundreds.

Ms. Watson received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Organizational Communications and Journalism from Western Michigan University. Additionally, she has completed graduate work in the Human Resources Industry at Marygrove College.

Ms. Watson has earned certificates in higher and further education in the Healthcare industry and as a Certified Destination Wedding Specialist from Love Mexico Weddings and Wedding Planner Certificates from Consultant & Director certificates from Wedding MBA, FABJOBS & Wedding Solutions collectively. Additionally, Ms. Watson has been certified as "Train The Trainer" in the healthcare arena.

Ms. Watson was awarded The Spirit of Detroit Award (City of Detroit) and Business Woman of The Year Award (Sistah's Ministry International-Community Organization) and has over 18 years of progressively successful experience collectively in corporate sales, public speaking, marketing, training, community relations, meeting, conference and event planning. She planned, provided event design and event management for "An Afternoon of Pink Awareness: Cancer Fundraiser & Silent Auction" (Michigan ) for 3 times, and The Tatisa Joiner Foundation Cancer Gala (Chicago). Ms. Watson co-produced and designed "Pamper The Bride Bridal Expo": (5 expos) A Michigan Based Bridal Show co-sponsored by GetMarried.com, WeddingSolutions.com, Macy's Wedding Registry, MissNowMrs.com and Premier Bride Magazine. Ms. Watson served as the marketing/vendor director for Romantic Wedding Essence Bridal Show, Regional Sales Director (MI) for WeddingSolutions.com and was a former Planning Committee Member: American Diabetes Association “Commitment For A Cure” Gala and the role of Board Member as the Director of Special Events for the Social Media Association of Michigan's Conferences & Retreat.

Ms. Watson has provided PR & Promotions for "Mind Talk" (LIVE Talk Show) featuring Professor Victoria Mayberry; former Relationship Expert For Ebony Magazine, (Michigan) Beauty From Head To Toe (5 Southern State Conference Tour), L’ Renee (Recording Artist) “Reflections” Concert (Michigan), Families Who Support Breast Cancer Survivors. "An Afternoon of PINK Awareness" Cancer Fundraisers, Luncheons & Silent Auctions Nationwide (Virginia/ Michigan), Black & White Fashion Ball (Michigan), Fit For The King Christian Conference (Michigan), Sistaz Snap Women’s Empowerment Conference (North Carolina), Michigan Hair & Trade Show (Michigan), Western Michigan University Bronco Bash, Changing Oasis-Life Coaching, Chicago Chix’s Virtual Boutique (Chicago), Fruit Fantasy-Fruit Artistry (Michigan) & National Theatrical Productions (Michigan, Chicago, Los Angeles), Exclusively Bella: Fine Arts & Fashion FB Magazine (Nationwide) & Astaia Collections (Michigan).

Ms. Watson has held active memberships in the following organizations: National Association of Professional Women, National Association of Business Women Owners, Society For Marketing Professional Services, Women In Communications, American Marketing Association, MICC- Michigan International Chamber of Commerce, NAPW-National Association of Professional Women, MPI- Meeting Planners International, MWBE- Minority Women Business Enterprise, ASAE- The Center For Association Leadership, International Network of Wedding & Event Designers, Michigan Association of Female Entrepreneurs, Michigan Wedding & Event Professionals, Small Business Association of Michigan, National Association of Female Executives, U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Coordinator’s Corner, Onyx Women & Association For Wedding Professionals International, SGMP - Society of Government Meeting Planners, AIMP Alliance of Independence Meeting Planners and Board Member, Director of PR & Events for Black CEO Association- Detroit Chapter Midwest.

Ms. Watson has been a speaker for the "Love Mexico" Conference in Riviera Maya, Mexico and "Latino Americano de Bodas de Destino Congreso" in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Ms. Watson was a virtual speaker for the "Glamorous Getaway" Beauty, Swag & Success Empowerment Pre-Conference at the Disney Resort in Orlando, FL, Social Media Association of Michigan (SMAMi) Annual Conference & Retreat in Michigan & Alma College. (AWAOA) Aspiring Writers Association of Michigan - Writers Conference and has also been featured as a keynote speaker for “Empowering Women For Change Series Part I“ for the Ovaleye “Back To Business Building Summit“ Online Conference (Virtual), Michigan Business Network (Virtual), STYLES in the City Fashion Conference & Expo for fashion professionals, stylists, photographers and designers in Detroit, Michigan, keynote speaker for the University of Michigan-Detroit Alumni Association in Detroit, Michigan, keynote speaker for Alma College (SIFE) Leadership Organization in Alma, Michigan, keynote speaker for Southeastern Michigan Entrepreneur Association in Southfield, Michigan, keynote speaker for Insurance Association of Metropolitan Detroit, speaker for Aspiring Writer's Association of Michigan's Weekend Conference in Flint, Michigan, keynote speaker at Karen L. Donald - Empowering Women For Change Luncheon in Dearborn, Michigan, keynote speaker for the ACW (American Christian Writers) in Detroit, Michigan and Living In Full Empowerment Women's Conference at Ashland Theological Seminary in Southfield, Michigan.

Additionally, Ms. Watson has served as the Co-Host for “The Wedding Information Show”, a featured guest presenter on BLOG Talk Radio Shows: WEA (Women Entrepreneurs of America) "Business As Usual For An Entrepreneur"- based in Indiana & " Great Minds Think Alike" based in North Carolina both aired Nationwide, “ Konversations With Karen” based in Michigan aired Nationwide and “The Talk Lately Show” Radio Show based in Maryland, "Champion Central" Talk Radio based in Virginia and "Write The Vision: Raizin The Praiz" Radio Show based in Michigan.

Additionally, Ms. Watson has commentated and been an MC for: RUNWAY: Fashion Show and Michigan Hair & Trade Show, and a contributing blogger for BExcellent Inc. Real Sisters Rising (helping women find the diamond in their destiny), Koinonia Business Women Newsletter, 100% Woman-Business & Coaching Ethics, Bridalspace.com, Coordinatorscorner.com and she has been featured in the following publications: Small Businesses Doing It Better ,The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, Michigan Chronicle, Michigan Citizen, Illinois Voice, Voist Magazine, ShelenaDiva.com, FashionZing.com, WCHB 1400 Radio Station & Channel 4 WDIV TV.


As a "WebStylist" Ms. Watson has designed professional and stylish websites for: Families Who Support Breast Cancer Survivors, Inc., Halo's Beauty Experience Salon, RTT Personal Trainer Fitness, Fit For The King Christian Conference, Chicago Chix Virtual Boutique, Timeless Entertainment DJ/ Lighting, Pamper The Bride Expo, Custom Lampshades & More, SWAGG Sheila - Breast Cancer Movement, Zaria's Boutique Worldwide, La'de Girls Mentoring Group, KNisha Presents Event Planning , Restless Stylz Events, Michigan Hair & Trade Show, The Cookin Diva, LLC and Greater Heights Coaching & Professional Development.

Ms. Watson‘s clients include: actress Vivica A. Fox with "Jolie" magazine launch party, The Cleveland Ohio Toast New Years Weekend Party, McKenzie High School 10 Year Reunion, Southfield Chamber of Commerce Taste Fest, Western Michigan University, Life Coach-Audrey Woodley (Chicago), Award Winning Author, Sylvia Hubbard, Author Kai Heru, Joyful Treats Catering Company, Diamond Essence Couture Boutique, Social Media Association of Michigan, Nurse Leann Watson, Henry Ford Academy School For Creative Studies, University Prep Academy, Fortune 100 Pharmaceutical Companies, Michigan Hospitals, Hospices and Physicians, Non-Profit & Corporate Sectors, Higher Education Institutions, countless other companies, organizations, professionals and clients in the Corporate, Association, Faith-Based, SMERF, MICE, Higher Education & Specialty Sectors.

* Ms. Watson is available For Nationwide - Motivational, Business, Etiquette, Event Planning & Inspirational Speaking Engagements. She is also available for MC & Facilitator Conference & Event Hosting, Event Planning, Design & Management Planning & Styling, Event Planner & Entrepreneur Workshops & Seminars & Trainings.

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Andy Ortiz, Board of Advisors

Andy Ortiz

Andy Ortiz, founded Global Incentive Management, DMC in 2001 and is its President and Managing Director, with a corporate office in Cancun, Mexico. As GIMDMC’s President, Mr. Ortiz is responsible for the management of 10 destinations throughout Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America.

Global Incentive Management currently has satellite offices in Mexico City, Los Cabos, Punta Cana, Puerto Vallarta, Cuba, Panamá, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. This enables to provide destination management services for clients with needs in these unique places with the same degree of service and professionalism that Global Incentive management is known for. Ortiz began his career 27 years ago with Penta Hotel Corporation in New York, Hilton Hotel in Philadelphia, Sands Hotel & Casino in Puerto Rico, Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, Hyatt Resort Caribbean In New Jersey (Regional Office) and Fiesta Americana Coral Beach, Cancun in various operations and sales positions. Also a pioneer in the development and promotion of several hosted buyer programs, not only in Mexico but also in Central America and the Caribbean.

Other Achievements:

Founder of:
Hosted buyer program with USA, Canada
direct and third-party buyers

Business Card Exchange- Hosted Buyer Program- Mexico & Caribbean (11 years to Present)
Mexico Showcase & Travel Expo in Cancun (13 years)

Puerto Rico Showcase & Travel Expo (3 Years)
Punta Cana Showcase & Travel Expo (2 years)
http://www.mexicoshowcase.com
http://www.dominicanshowcase.com
http://puertoricoshowcase.com
Founding Member MPI- Cancun Region-2000
President MPI Mexico Chapter-2005-2006
Active Past President MPI Mexico Chapter 2006-Present
Founding Member PCMA México Chapter-2012
http://www.mpimexico.org.mx/home
https://mexico.pcma.org/

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Cindy Dodson, President Meeting Services Inc

Cindy Dodson

Cindy Dodson is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP) and Certified Government Contractor (CGC). She is a member of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP).

She has been a recognized leader in the meeting industry for over the past twenty years. She was named “One of the Top 100 Meeting Professionals to Watch” by Convention South Magazine. She served on the Board of Directors for the Society of Government Meeting Professionals National Capital Chapter in various capacities. She has received numerous awards throughout her career including twice begin named “Contract Planner of the Year” for the Society of Government Meeting Professionals National Capital Chapter and received the NATCPA President’s Award for Excellence and the SGMP National President’s Award of Excellence. Cindy was also named “Meeting Planner of the Year” for Meeting Professionals International Carolinas Chapter.

During her years in the industry, she has managed conference planning, registration procedures, and special event planning for groups of 5 to 5,000 persons. Her client contacts include Federal Aviation Administration – Office of the Administrator, Aerospace Transportation and Flight Standards, United States Postal Service – Office of the Postmaster General, USDA Leadership Academy, Society of Financial Examiners, International Hunter Education, NC Center for Nonprofits, Department of Defense, and the Comptroller of the Currency.

Cindy has presented at numerous national conferences in the meeting planning industry. Cindy also served as a member of the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau Advisory Board.

Cindy participated as program developer and instructor for the pilot session offered by Society of Government Meeting Professionals for an industry certification for government meeting planners. Cindy has been involved in the structure of the program, content of the course materials, and instructed in the pilot program in May of 2005. This program offers a Certified Government Meeting Professional to the successful participants and is the highest such designation in the Government meeting planning industry.

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Heather Herrig, Board of Advisors

Heather Herrig

Heather Herrig, CMP, is the President & Chief Event Strategist of Every Last Detail, a full-service corporate events and meetings firm dedicated to high-touch, seamless, and strategic events. For Heather, it’s all about bringing people together, and helping organizations achieve more as a result.

In addition to event planning and management, Heather's diverse career includes work in marketing, corporate communications, and organizational strategy - allowing her to offer clients a comprehensive array of services.

She joined the field of meeting and conference planning full-time in 2005, though she had been planning events well before her first official position in the industry. Heather’s event experience includes local, domestic, and international destinations; small, medium, and large attendee sizes; and numerous types of meetings and events from tradeshows to board meetings and from conferences to incentive trips.

Heather is deeply committed to the meetings and events industry and seizes every opportunity to give back. She has previously served on the Board of MPI Georgia (Meeting Professionals International) for multiple terms, contributes to the SPIN Small Business Community, and is on the teaching team for Emory University’s Continuing Education Certificate in Event Planning, where she has discovered a deep passion for teaching and supporting the next generation of event professionals. Most recently, she has joined the Board of Advisors for the Alliance of Independent Meeting Professionals.

In addition, she has co-created The Business Bootcamp for Independent Planners, which builds on her passion to support this industry’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Heather’s achievements within the hospitality industry were recognized recently by BizBash, as she was named to their inaugural list of the Top 500 People in Events.

Heather is a graduate of the University of Georgia and resides outside of Atlanta with her husband and two daughters. When not spending time on her business, or with her family, you can usually find her savoring Atlanta's many culinary offerings or deeply engrossed in a crossword puzzle.

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Carla Salvans - Buchborn, Board of Advisors

Carla Salvans - Buchborn

Carla Salvans-Buchborn, CMP is owner & president of Meeting Innovations, a worldwide site selection & contracting firm. With over 25 years in the hospitality industry, including 7 years as Sales Manager for one of the largest convention hotels in the world, Carla has orchestrated over 4,500 group meetings, providing her clients valuable expertise in meeting planning and contract negotiation.

A Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), Carla is recognized as having achieved the industry’s highest standards of professionalism. Renowned for her industry expertise and valued by both clients and hotel partners, Carla serves on several industry committees, and has been involved in various educational events as instructor and presenter. She has also founded MeetHouston, a networking group for meeting planners & hotels in the greater Houston Area.

Having lived and worked in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Las Vegas, her extensive knowledge of these destinations are truly beneficial to our clients. Her strong relationships with the best hotels around the world make her an essential part of the coordination of any meeting site selection or event.

Carla lives in Houston Texas (Go Astros!) — with her loving husband Rick Buchborn. When they are not traveling to new corners of the world, you’ll find them hosting friends and family in their backyard watching birds, cooking and enjoying great conversations.

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Michael Ferreira, Board of Advisors

Michael Ferreira

Mike started working in hotels at sixteen (Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort - Huntington Beach) and attended Cal Poly Pomona where he studied hotel management. He was recruited after graduation by Bellagio into their Management Training Program (MAP) where he was then placed into Convention Services as a CSM.

He quickly realized after three years that I had a passion for relationships (sales)! He rose through the ranks in hotel sales while getting his Master Degree in Executive Hospitality Administration from UNLV.

His Father, Mother, and Grandmother are all Entrepreneurs which explains his passion for business. He took the leap of faith and started Meetings Made Easy wherein two and a half years they have booked over 30 million dollars in convention room revenue. They have the largest following on Instagram out of any third party.

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Patricia Payne, Board of Advisors

Patricia Payne

Patricia Payne is the founder and CEO of 3P-Events, LLC. a certified Women-Owned Business. Since its inception in 2013, Patricia Payne has grown 3P-Events, LLC year-over-year in the corporate events industry, and has branched out into branding to meet and exceed her clients’ needs. Patricia uses her 20 years of experience in the travel and event planning industry to lead her team forward to create one-of-a-kind experiences. Just as no two snowflakes are alike, no two events are alike and each one must be given the white glove treatment.

Patricia has managed sponsorship and sporting events, including major tours for the PGA, NCAA, NFL, NBA, and NASCAR. She has also planned corporate events, training, Board of Director meetings, and incentive trips. Handling more than 700 events annually, arranging for logistical needs such as guest accommodations, meeting space, food and beverage service, and travel, she is a renaissance woman. One of her favorite accomplishments was coordinating the FedEx Kinko’s Classic – Senior PGA Tournament for six years. Over 90% of the participants rated the event as excellent in the last 2 years of her running it, and revenues from the top five accounts associated with this event had grown by more than $3M in that time.

Seven years ago, with the push of a very good client, Patricia decided to venture out on her own into uncharted territory for herself. As a single mom, it was a daunting thought, but as the risk taker that she is, she successfully created 3P-Events, LLC. She has a great book of professional contacts she can lean on for guidance. She prides herself on using no advertising dollars to find clients and has built 3P-Events, LLC using primarily word-of-mouth and her many years of corporate relationship-building to find new clients. Patricia’s number one pillar is honesty and considers that her biggest contribution to this industry. Her transparency to clients and employees is what she prides herself on. A true leader, she doesn't like to be called “boss”, as she considers herself part of the team.

Outside of work, she is a mom of a beautiful 17-year old daughter who lights up her life. Her daughter plays competitive softball for two teams and that keeps her busy most weekdays and weekends. She is a lifelong DFW resident, she has a great circle of friends and family and absolutely loves it here. She always finds new hidden restaurant gems to enjoy happy hour with them. She loves to take care of her plants and enjoys taking long walks each day to relieve the stress of the day. Every day, Patricia thinks of new ideas and her goal is to get on Shark Tank one day with those ideas.

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