CEMA Newsletter May 2019

May Header

May 2019

Angie Smith

Angie Smith

Head of Global Events, Atlassian
CEMA Board Member | CEMA Past Chairwoman

“Other people don’t get to tell you what you can have! Someone else doesn’t get to tell you who you can be! The world doesn’t get to decide what you can try. You are the only one who can make that decision.”
– Rachel Hollis, Girl, Stop Apologizing

It’s a beautiful time of year to take a moment and reflect. Just last week I had an epiphany about a few things and wondered why I kept listening to that inner voice who often says, “Don’t go after that, it will be too much work” and “You won’t be good enough, so just stick with what you know”.

I watch/read/write more that the average individual after being inspired by people like Rachel Hollis, Shawn Achor, Brené Brown and dozens of other motivational and leadership coaches. I know better in that I can do anything I put my mind to, and so can you. So, before half the year is gone my friends, push yourself to do something you haven’t done before. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in ages. Send a note to a colleague and thank them for their support. Be grateful for the small things and above all else, do something that involves a little self-care on a daily basis (if you are looking for easy wins on this, reach out — I will be glad to help).

CEMA is a vibrant, smart and incredible community full of inspirational, giving and great humans. We are Event Marketers creating incredible experiences for others so be sure you are sprinkling a bit of that magic into your own life as well.

As your past Chairwoman elect, my time is coming to a close on the board. I have one big task left at hand and that is to help with the nominations for the incoming Board Member process. I say to you now, GET ENGAGED! Nominate yourself, a friend, a mentor, a colleague. We are looking for the best and brightest to continue helping make CEMA the association you can’t live without.

Counting down the days to CEMA Summit and I can’t wait to stay engaged with all of you for a lifetime.


Member of the Month

Polly Kruz

Polly Kruse

VP of Executive Programs,

Polly has over 15 years of experience dedicated to various aspects of customer programs and event management. Her experience covers the management of corporate events—internal and external, customer user events, executive briefing centers, customer councils, customer advisory boards, and customer communications. She has spent time working for organizations based in India, Japan, Australia and managing global teams in those regions and Europe. Polly recently started a role at Citrix as VP of Executive Programs where her team is responsible for all C-Level events and experiences as well as the Global Briefing Centers and Global Reference Program. Polly first joined CEMA back in 2004 and credits a lot of the success she has had in her events to the partnerships she has formed from being a CEMA member.

Polly holds a B.S.B.A in International Business and a MS degree in Communication both from the University of Denver. Polly resides in Denver and is also on the Board for a Denver-based Labrador Retriever rescue where she adopted her black Lab, Osborne, from seven years ago. In her spare time, she is often volunteering for the Lab rescue, traveling, spending time with Osborne, or cheering on Nebraska football.


This newsletter brought to you by…
CEMA Platinum Member One10

Polly Kruz

We are grateful for our May e-newsletter sponsor One10. Thank you for your sponsorship, One10, and for our CEMA members, read more here about their organization!

High stakes, even higher expectations. But year after year, you deliver game-changing product launches, conferences, meetings, and incentive travel programs. And each year has to be bigger and better than the last, even if the budget isn’t. Partnering with One10—with our people powering your engagement dreams—allows the unthinkable to be possible.

One10 provides a comprehensive suite of solutions to align your business goals with what’s important to the people who are the face of your brand: your employees, dealers, channel partners and customers. We work with you to develop events that inform, engage and reward your stakeholders. Because at One10, we believe in better.


Our CEMA Executives ROCK!

Lisa Messina

Lisa S. Messina

Caesars Entertainment Vice President of Sales

Lisa S. Messina is Caesars Entertainment’s Vice President of Sales in Las Vegas, who is responsible for leading Caesars Entertainment sales strategy for meetings and events globally. This includes the oversight and coordination of all Meeting and Convention Sales, and all direct and inside sales efforts in the regions and at the properties.

Messina has over 20 years of leadership sales experience at global hospitality brands and was most recently Executive Director, Intermediary Group Sales at Hilton Worldwide, leading a team of sales directors and managing key intermediary customers. She negotiated and activated global partnership agreements to drive market share and revenue to all 14 brands and 5,000+ hotels.

Prior to Hilton Worldwide, Messina was the Chief Marketing Officer of ConferenceDirect, one of the world’s leading event management and hospitality service firms. She was also the Associate Publisher of MeetingMentor Magazine, a leading trade publication and held several sales leadership positions with Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts properties in the U.S.

Messina received her Bachelor of Science at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. She has called Las Vegas home for more than seven years, where she enjoys all that the city has to offer, including outdoor activities she shares with her husband Joe and their two chocolate labs.


CEMA Summit -You Thought Fireworks Were Only Meant for July 4th?!

We beg to differ. This July, there’s one event where you’ll experience the feeling of excitement, awe and delight you’ve felt while watching the best fireworks shows ever. Join us at CEMA Summit 2019, July 21st through the 23rd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. You’ll hear from brilliant speakers, get the chance to learn from and network with experts in the industry, and connect with colleagues and friends from around the world. Get ready for the fireworks.


Register Here


NOTE: Summit 2019 has a waitlist for IP members. Contact Stacey@CEMAonline.com to be added to the waitlist.


Speakers to Inspire at Summit

Jay Acunzo

Jay Acunzo

Summit keynote speaker Jay Acunzo. Jay will speak Tuesday from 9AM-9:55AM. Jay is sponsored by SpeakInc.


Learn More


Sponsor Opportunities Available for CEMA Summit 2019

We’ve almost finalized all sponsor opportunities for CEMA Summit 2019. If you’re interested in participating to elevate your organization’s brand with senior level event marketing professionals, please contact Meg Fasy at Meg@fazefwd.com.



2019 is THE YEAR for Amazing Events with CEMA

CEMA @ Rejuvenation of a Classic- Napa Valley in Napa, CA
April 25, 2019

Napa Valley

Cheers to the group that attended the Napa Study Tour! We were treated to one of the first hard-hat-tours of the gorgeous Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa, which will be open for business at the end of the year. The meeting space is amazing!

Attendees also had the chance to see the newly renovated event space and education theater at the Louis M. Martini Winery. Visit Napa Valley treated us to lunch in the amazing Martini cellar as we learned about the rejuvenation of Napa and how it provides the event marketing industry with new opportunities.

We concluded with a site visit of the Archer Hotel for a lovely rooftop reception (BTW- the ONLY rooftop venue in Napa). Thank you to long-time CEMA member, Rose Stanton of Wine Country Destinations (WCD), for orchestrating this very special insider’s view of Wine Country. Rose has been nominated for Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Member of the Year 2018-2019 Rise Award, was recognized as the 2018 PCMA NCC Bamies Legend Award recipient, and was awarded the 2018 MPI’s NCC President’s Award, just to name a few of her accomplishments.

WCD specializes in Wine Country tours, activities, and events for groups. “As a local award-winning company, we have unique offerings and special relationships that open doors to exclusive and personalized experiences. It is great to produce study tours in Wine Country for CEMA. The organization “gets it” and I appreciate sharing my favorite places with you.” You are welcome to reach out to Rose for questions to maximize your organizations Wine Country events. rose@winecountrydestinations.com.


CEMA @ Salesforce’s World Tour
New York City, NY
May 5-6th, 2019

One of the most valuable benefits of being a CEMA member is the ability to connect and learn from your peers. How awesome is it to instantly have BFF’s at small, mid and enterprise brands who are willing to share best practices, top of mind challenges, and success stories? That’s exactly what happens at our exclusive behind-the-scenes Study Tours where you receive customized insights that can transform your events into industry case studies. We just returned from NYC where we showcased Salesforce and their World Tour. Hats off to the dynamic Elizabeth Gilstrap (aka EG), Senior Director, Strategic Events, Salesforce who personally curated an experience that will stay with the Study Tour attendees for a long time. Elizabeth presented their best practices for Registration, Keynotes, Campground, Breakouts, Executive Program, Security and Ancillary Programs and moderated an esteemed panel of industry experts that shared success stories and challenges. Thank you Debbie Brewer, VP, Strategic Events at Salesforce and Eileen Zerbonia, Director, Strategic Events at Salesforce for making this all possible! We finished out the tour at Javitz Center headquarters, where their management team presented their plans for the exciting expansion! And because CEMA is about having fun too, Cory Rosenberg and NYC & Co welcomed our group and made sure we didn’t leave without experiencing a unique NYC evening. Our immersive progressive dinner in the Flat Iron District was amazing!!! Thank you Cory and team! Thank you to our wonderful partner New York Hilton Midtown, who spoiled us with a fantastic room rate, incredible snacks and views from the Conrad Presidential Suite for the welcome reception!


Follow CEMA on Social Media:

As we lean into Summit we’re asking for your assistance. If you haven’t already, please follow us on:

Twitter https://twitter.com/cemaonline

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/cema-corporate-event-marketing-assoication

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CEMAonline/

And we just launched an Instagram account
Send us your handles so we can engage with your posts.

For pre-Summit and Summit posts please use #CEMASummit #EventExecs #MeetingProfs


Expert Advice from CEMA Professionals

CEMA members have access to an exclusive benefit called ASK CEMA? Members are able to request guidance from fellow CEMA members who provide thoughtful, experienced advice to their fellow members in the event marketing world.

To access this benefit, log in as a member and ask your question. CEMA members will answer your question. Begin the conversation here:




Ask CEMA Question:

I am seeking some insight from the CEMA community on how to estimate the # of sleeping rooms needed for a conference.

I am hosting a conference for 2,400 people. It would be for our east and ½ of our middle America markets in Maryland. It is a 3 day conference so, rooms will be needed. I am just worried I will OVER block our hotel and get stuck paying fees, etc.


Ask CEMA Answers from the Experts #1:

Suggest to talk to the CVB in the city, as they will know how other similar conferences have performed. There are so many things to consider & try:

  • Attendees – are they price sensitive, and what level of seniority in their organization: will they shop around, or book the HQ no problem?
  • Are there other hotels close by that people could stay if they choose to stay outside the block?
  • What is happening on day One and three: will people be likely to come just for one night, or is there a compelling reason to stay for 2 or three nights?
  • Work with the hotel on a block review clause if they will let you
  • Figure out a graduated cut-off date
  • How many attendees are within 4 hours drive? They are likely to stay less nights, that those that have to fly.

But overall – yes, block under rather than over: no one likes attrition!

Harriet Porter-Visit Anaheim


ASK CEMA Answer #2:

Depending on the location (current market conditions) and event timing, we suggest contracting about 50% of the rooms needed. As you gain history, you can better gauge the rooms needed for future years. Attendees will book their own rooms where they want to stay.

If you have an attrition issue, you may need to negotiate out of it by using additional pick up of pre/post rooms to offset attrition costs.

Contracting suggestions:

  • Important that contracts are written in a fair manner regarding cut off for rooming list/names, attrition amounts, etc. Cumulative best- vs “per night” attrition also important.
  • Add a clause that states rooms booked outside of block will be counted toward attrition.

Add a clause in the contract that states your group will be given the lowest room rate.


ASK CEMA Answers from the Experts #3:

Here is our answer to your question from our experience with registration at conferences we have produced.

Typically 60-70% of people will need rooms for an event like this. Depending on when the event ends on day 3 or when it starts the first day will determine whether you need as many rooms on the nights of day 0 and 3 as you will on the nights of the day 1 and day 2. Finally, if this event has happened before, historical hotel pickup should be the best guide as that tells the most about the attendee group booking habits. Let me know if this makes sense to you or if you would like me to respond to the person.


Valuable Information for CEMA Members

We are constantly posting new case studies, white papers and blogs to the CEMA website. Connect with us!

CEMA Companies Are Part of the Top 10 in the Industry

CEMA Blogs
Expand Your Experience at the Javitz Center Expansion in NYC



CEMA @ Google Grove
Redwood City
May 29, 2019

Learn from diverse experts in the security industry on what you need to know before your next event. Whether you’re tasked with a 50 person C-Suite lunch, a 10 x 10 booth, a 300 person incentive program, or a global 5,000 person user conference, there’s a new standard in event security. Have you prepared your leadership, your team, and your attendees?

Given today’s real threat of violence and terrorism how do you balance safety and the customer experience with effective unobtrusive security management? Our Lunch & Learn will offer a diverse array of presenters, perspectives, and professional experiences to give attendees a chance to network and to discuss current trends and issues within event security. Join us to exchange key ideas, best practices, network, and learn from your peers and multiply your strategies to proactively anticipate and stay ahead of the rapidly changing threat landscape. Link to register.


Register Here


CEMA at CMA Festival
Nashville, TN
June 5-7, 2019

Gain valuable insight in how this campus style event remains intimate with best of breed interactive experiential marketing activations happening throughout the city. You’ll also be treated to a Grand Ole Opry House Backstage Tour and Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum Experience! CEMA is proud to offer its attendees, an exclusive interactive discussion with a panel of experts who will share their accomplishments and challenges.

Since CEMA is about education AND networking, you’ll get the opportunity to build relationships with the other attendees during the Rascal Flatts and Florida Georgia Line concert on Thursday night!

Have We Got An Opportunity for You! (or a Friend 🙂)

CEMA members have access to both provide fabulous new job opportunities to fellow members, and also to explore exciting new opportunities. Please send your new job opportunities to stacey@cemaonline.com. Include a detailed description of the position, all contact information, as well as the location of the position. CEMA will post the job opportunity until the position is filled. Visit CEMA Careers for current job postings.

Current Job Opportunity:

Congratulations and New Adventures for our Favorite CEMA Members!

Congratulations to Polly Kruse, who is now with Citrix as VP of Executive Programs; Rory Davis is with San Francisco Travel Association as Senior Manager, Sports & Entertainment Sales and Mark Cherry is now with Las Vegas Convention and Visitors as Sales Executive.

Member in the News:

Jay Acunzo

Congratulations to Carolyn Pund and Ashely King on being honored at #smartmeetings Awards Gala.

Welcome to Our New CEMA Members

A warm CEMA welcome is extended this month to: Lindsey Davis of Education Networks of America; Jean Marie Janssen of American Marketing Association; Bob Clancy of Acumatica; Cathy Palmateer of Meeting Resource Group; Christina Heyel Sabene of Oracle; Haley Martis of Dell; Tyler Adams of Visit Denver; Sarah Coo of Visit Denver; Cheryl Trinidad of Cetera Financial Group; Heather Doran of Microsoft; Stephanie Edens and Hannah St.Clair of Wolfgang Puck Catering; Diana Watson of Streeteasy; Lee Linderman of MUFG Bank; Sandy Hickson of FileMaker, Inc. and Sally McComic of GES Events, Ann Marshall of Checkmarx and Eileen McCormick of Thousandeyes.

CEMA Board of Directors Nomination Form is open and we are looking for you!

Have you ever thought about joining the CEMA Board of Directors? Are you a passionate Event Marketer or Industry Professional that is serious about getting involved to continue to help evolve and nurture this amazing CEMA community? Do you have expertise in the hotel business, creative design or social media? What about digital marketing, event design, industry research, measurement & metrics and/or have excellent writing skills? These are just some of the skillsets and experiences we are always looking for to add to the Board of Directors.

This year, our timeline is a little different so take a look:

  • May – Nomination form is OPEN!
  • July – Still not sure if you want to get involved? Join us at our Tabletop at registration during Summit OR a hosted breakfast to ask current board members questions on just how rewarding it is!
  • Aug – Oct – Nomination forms still being accepted until Oct 25th.
  • Nov – Slate of proposed Board members will be voted on by CEMA membership
  • Dec – New Board members will be voted on and announced!

NOTE: Term for board members will be from January 1 – December 31.

For more information about the open Board positions, the terms and what is required of these roles, please go to our Nomination Form.