CEMA Newsletter February 2020

Jim Kelley

Jim Kelley

VP Marketing,
Fern Expo
CEMA Secretary


“You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give” —Winston Churchill.

Early in my career, I am confident that one of my bosses “voluntold” me to serve on an industry committee of some type. Without hesitation, I can say that the moment this occurred has been the single most significant thing that has had an impact on my career and personal life.

Since then, I do not recall a time that I was not serving at least one industry organization. At first, I served because I thought it was a great way to get my name out there, meet people (a.k.a. prospects), and improve my standing with my then employer. This thought process lasted for a couple of years until something clicked, and I stopped thinking about volunteering in a transactional manner. At that moment, when I realized that volunteering truly brought me joy, it was helping me get better in a 360-degree way. It was filling a void in my life and my time as volunteer moved from taking to giving. As time progressed, I realized how much it meant to be able to help others grow and become more effective volunteers. Still, more importantly, I realized that I had a responsibility to give back in some manner to the industry that I am so fortunate to be a part of.

At this point, you are thinking OKAY why he is sharing this. My point in sharing this is to encourage you to volunteer and give back to our industry to the degree which you can. Hopefully, CEMA will be an organization you consider. Every contribution matters, it makes an impact and seeds progress. Regardless of your role, your title, your age, or your anything else, your contributions as a volunteer will matter and will make an impact. Not only will you be making an impact on our industry, you will make an impact on an individual, you may not see or understand that impact directly, but it will occur. Remember, CEMA, like all other organizations, is a byproduct of the sum of its parts. On the “WIIFM” front, when you volunteer and share your time and talents, your world will open up. You will learn things that otherwise could take years, you will have experiences that you otherwise may have never known, your mind will open up to the possibilities of what could be, your heart will be full, and you will grow in ways you never imagined. We grow by being uncomfortable; volunteering provides you a sandbox to practice being uncomfortable.

Every journey begins with a single step. Take the first step; our industry depends on it, and you will be better for doing it.


Member of the Month

Mercedes Williams

Mercedes Williams

National Account Executive
Visit Houston

The quote that has guided Mercedes Williams through life personally and professionally:

“People will forget what you said, forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou

Mercedes Williams is an experienced hospitality professional originally from Port St. Lucie, Florida. She attended Georgia State University in Atlanta, where she was very active in service and community organizations while earning a business degree in marketing and management.

Following graduation, Mercedes accepted a position with Grand Hyatt Atlanta where she started as Corporate Management Trainee and then became a rooms division manager. She then joined Sara Lee Corporation’s sales team as an account manager before moving to join Hyatt Regency Houston as its meeting connection sales manager in 2009. She quickly moved up the management ranks during her four years there managing major market accounts, in 2013 she made a move to join the Grand Hyatt San Antonio as its senior sales manager.

Starting in May 2018, Mercedes joined the Visit Houston sales team as its national account executive handling west coast corporate accounts. For the past 10 years, she has been right in the middle of exciting changes in Houston and now a part of the team that showcases this amazing city every day.

Mercedes has been a member of CEMA for just one year, but this journey thus far has been a rewarding learning experience.

She loves spending time with her husband, Ron, and their two girls, Kamryn and Kali. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, playing tennis and exploring the incredible food scene Houston has to offer.


Platinum ProGlobalEvents Executive of the Month

Dick Wheeler

Dick Wheeler


Dick Wheeler serves as president of both ProGlobalEvents and ProExhibits. And congratulations to Dick as he was recently re-elected as a board member of CEMA!

ProGlobalEvents and ProExhibits are both expanding and as a result, Dick is constantly on the hunt for talented event professionals. Drawing on decades of experience, Dick is recognized as a thought leader in the industry and has published many informative articles in national trade publications.

Dick has a Bachelor of Science degree from Wittemore School of Business & Economics at the University of New Hampshire and has completed the Entrepreneurial Executive Leadership Program sponsored by MIT, YEO and INC. He is also actively involved in Vistage, an interactive group of over 20,000 CEO’s and presidents worldwide.


CHEERS! to Gold Member and This Month’s E-Newsletter Sponsor Live Nation

Live Nation

Live Nation is your nationwide venue solution! With over 150 venues across North America, Live Nation Special Events offers unique event spaces, state-of-the-art production and branding capabilities, as well as an experienced staff ready to provide seamless execution and exceed your guests’ expectations.

As the world’s largest live entertainment company, Live Nation Special Events is the one-stop solution for all your event needs. Their incredible spaces are the perfect location to host your corporate events, product launches, networking events, private concerts, or conference receptions. With access to the world’s greatest musical entertainment and full-service event production, their talented team of event specialists will make your next private event one to remember!

Let their dedicated National Sales Team serve as a single point of contact to take your event to the next level. For more information visit livenation.com/specialevents or contact National Sales at specialevents@livenation.com.


CEMA Wants Members to Stay Informed-EIC Statement and Curated Resources Regarding Coronavirus

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Coronavirus update to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). We know that globally, event professionals take very seriously the care, health and safety of event participants and workers, and we are committed to providing timely and accurate information to assist our community in making informed decisions. To this end, the EIC has created a page on their website with resources that provide up to date information

More Information on Coronavirus:
GPJ Client Advisory Coronavirus 2020
CE STB Letter to International Partners


Make Your Mark in 2020

Help your organization make a huge impression with those who lead our industry in thought leadership and innovative practices. We have a limited number of sponsorship opportunities available now for CEMA Summit 2020. You’ll want to act fast to secure your company’s spot on the Highlight List. Access the Sponsorship Opportunity Prospectus here, and contact Meg Fasy to discuss opportunities to be a CEMA Summit 2020 sponsor.


Socialize Your Heart for CEMA this Month During the Valentine Season

Thank you, Erika Brunke, Head of the Grove, Google Experience Center, for suggesting a #myCEMA30 social campaign for our 30th year celebration. We’re asking you to share your story on social about what CEMA has done for you. Each entry also counts for the January-February social sharing contest announced Leap Day and rewarded at Summit. Here’s how you can help:

Heare are a few tips to making the leaderboard:

  • Watch for CES Study tour and other event posts
    • We post on Tuesdays and Thursdays @8:30 PST
    • Watch for posts on Valentine’s Day
  • Share your experiences and ideas while you attend events on your social pages
  • Share and like CEMA’s pre-in and after event posts


We LOVE Philadelphia

Love Stature

CEMA members are the finest event planners, and most experienced event marketers in the country. We love planning world class events, and we revel in identifying amazing spots to host those events. Now featured on the CEMA website is first-hand knowledge and behind-the-scenes information from our seasoned destination marketing organization experts on their favorite city! We currently have fantastic information available on San Francisco and Dallas and just uploaded – super cool info about why you should LOVE on Philadelphia. Explore the information available in our the Destination Marketing Organization web link. If you’re interested in showcasing your special happy place, contact Stacey@CEMAonline.com


Ask a Question, Receive an Answer from the Experts

CEMA members have the exclusive opportunity to pose a question to our knowledgeable and experienced panel of CEMA experts and receive an answer from any/all who have valuable information to provide.

Question: How are you planning for the coronavirus?
“The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States has reached 11. The virus, which has claimed more than 400 lives and sickened thousands in China, has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization. It has now been detected in five states: Washington, California, Arizona, Illinois and Massachusetts.

The virus has also spread to more than 20 countries, with Italy, Spain and Sweden among the most recent additions to the growing list. Two deaths outside of mainland China have been reported, in the Philippines and Hong Kong.

How are you planning for and/or advising on domestic events happening in the next 6 weeks amid this coronavirus hysteria?

Also looking for how companies are handling all the travel bans/cancellations around the coronavirus. What are companies seeing or doing in terms of best practices who might be hosting events now or in the near future. Is anyone doing anything precautionary onsite? Are people cancelling or moving events?”

See what CEMA Members are Anwering: Click Here >>


Your 2020 Calendar is on FIRE with CEMA 2020 Upcoming Events


We’re ready to blow you out of the water this year with a series of events you won’t want to miss. Grab a pen if you’re a fan of the old school print calendar, or plant your fingers on your keyboard, and place these dates on your calendar.

CEMA Study Tour

Behind-the-Scenes of Atlassian
April 2nd, 2020
Las Veas, NV

Join the CEMA community at Atlassian Summit 2020 in Las Vegas, where over 5,000 attendees gather for Atlassian’s annual conference. Experience this Best in Class Event and learn firsthand about managing a hugely successful proprietary event. A panel of Atlassian event experts and partners will share insights into what makes Atlassian Summit unique in the industry. At Atlassian, Working Open is a mindset, a culture, and a set of practices that moves work forward. It’s at the core of building the future of teamwork.

The CEMA Atlassian Study tour offers you a first-hand look at how the Atlassian Event Marketing team, along with their partners, embrace these principles to innovate, design, and produce this dynamic, growing and immersive experience for all attendees.



CEMA Study Tour
Behind-the-Scenes at the NFL Draft
April 23rd, 2020
Las Vegas, NV

CEMA Study Tour
Behind-the-Scenes at SAP Sapphire
May 12th-13th, 2020
Orlando, Florida

CEMA Summit 2020
Hosted at the JW Marriott
July 26th-28th, 2020
Nashville, Tennessee
Registration will open in March, 2020
Please note you will be required to have an active CEMA membership to attend CEMA Summit 2020

CEMA Study Tour
Behind-the-Scenes look at Workday Rising
September 21st, 2020
San Francisco, CA

Honoring our CEMA Member in the News: MotivAction


MotivAction is an Augeo company delivering full-service meeting and event solutions to Fortune 500 clients in a variety of industries. We’ve made the CMI 25 list of the largest and most influential meeting and incentive companies for 13 straight years, we’ve won SITE crystals and over 150 awards from industry organizations for our efforts in meetings and events, and several of our team members have been recognized in Incentive Magazine’s 25 Most Influential People in the Incentive Industry over the years. And in 2019 we won Incentive Magazine’s Motivation Masters Award for our full-service incentive, recognition, meeting and event solution delivery. For more information visit motivaction.com or contact Kari Vrba at kvrba@motivaction.com

You’re Now All in the Family: Welcome New CEMA Members in 2020

There is no better way to start off the decade than by joining the organization where your career can be nurtured and grow in ways you’d never imagined. Congratulations to Andrea Suszko of Omni; Ellide Smith and Allyson Evans of Streamlineevents; John Ellard and Brett Robertson of shworldwide; Bill Love of Waldorf Astoria, Conrade, LXR Hotels; Nicole White and Ciaran Gribbin of Rock and Roll Team Building; Emily Farwig of Key Events; Kelsey Calaci of Mirror Show; Patti Callahan of Naylor; Jodi Goodenough of Jazz Phamaceutical; Becky Gregory of Destination by Design; Christina Fisher of Atlantis Bahamas Resort; Ashley Welling of Group Delphi; Marc-Antoine Gariepy, Joelle Mathieu-Lessard and Audrey Parent of Coveo; Cerra Carpenter of Atlassian; Pablo Alberti of Singapore Airlines and GOLD members Anne Houghton, Heather Griffin, Mike Sandler and John Capano of Impact-xm.