FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                       


For more information:
Guy LeCharles Gonzalez
Group Marketing Director


(JULY 5, 2016 – SECAUCUS, NJ) Successful Meetings has named its annual list of 25 outstanding professionals who have had a significant impact on the meetings industry during the past year.

“This year’s list of impact players represents a diverse group of exceptional professionals—some being recognized for the first time, alongside past honorees whose work continues to drive the industry forward,” said Vince Alonzo, Editor-in-Chief of Successful Meetings. “They’ve been chosen because they have either contributed to the business of meetings, made it easier for meetings professionals to do their jobs, helped raise awareness of the industry, or, through their actions, have had a significant impact on meetings professionals.”




  • Chris Kelly, president and co-founder, Convene
  • Dan Berger, founder and CEO, Social Tables
  • Robert Khoo, former president of operations and business development for Penny Arcade and show director of PAX
  • Danielle Bishop, president, HB Hospitality


  • Michael Dominguez, senior vice president and chief sales officer, MGM Resorts International; co-chair, Meetings Mean Business Coalition (MMBC)
  • Matthias Schultze managing director of the German Convention Bureau
  • Nan Marchand Beauvois vice president, National Councils & General Manager, ESTO, U.S. Travel Association
  • Julie Larson, former project manager, meetings and events for McDonald’s
  • Tom Noonan, president and CEO of Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau; former CEO of Visit Baltimore
  • George Aguel, president and CEO, Visit Orlando


  • Alison Taylor, senior vice president global sales, Starwood Hotels & Resorts
  • Brian King, global sales officer and global brand officer, Marriott Signature Brands
  • Mike McIlwain, president, PSAV
  • Keegan Hooks, senior director of events for SAP Marketing
  • Isabel Bardinet, CEO of European Cardiology Society
  • Richard Harper, executive vice president of HelmsBriscoe; co-chair of the Meetings Mean Business Coalition (MMBC)


  • Don Welsh, president and CEO, Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI)
  • Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX Group
  • Anja Loetscher, director, Geneva Convention Bureau, as well as a DMAI board member
  • Janet Sperstad, CMP,CMP, program director for the meeting and event management degree program at Madison Area Technical College; chair of the Convention Industry Council's CMP governance committee
  • Bill Reed, senior director of meetings, American Society of Hematology (ASH). and current chair of PCMA
  • Brian Stevens, CEO, ConferenceDirect; incoming chair of MPI Global Board


  • Julie Coker Graham, president & CEO, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB)
  • Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, chief convention bureau officer, South Africa National Convention Bureau
  • Richard Gray, LGBTQ managing director of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau (GFLCVB); vice chair of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA)

The 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry for 2016 were selected by the editors of Successful Meetings, the leading trade magazine for multi-tasking meeting planners across a variety of industries and job titles. Each honoree will be featured in the July 2016 issue of Successful Meetings and online at


“The 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry” list was launched in 1994 by Successful Meetings’ sister brand, Meeting News, to chronicle the history of the most significant milestones and individuals in the meetings industry. Discontinued in 2007, it was revived in 2012 by Successful Meetings, and more than 500 individuals have been honored by inclusion on the list throughout its 22-year history.




Successful Meetings is the leading multi-platform brand for multi-tasking meeting planners representing a variety of industries and job titles, delivering clear and easy-to-implement how-to strategies, creative solutions, and sourcing services. Successful Meetings’ data, digital, events, and print products serve a vital sector of the meeting-planning marketplace that industry associations and other media companies are unable to reach—including senior executives, department heads, sales and marketing directors, and administrative professionals who plan and approve a range of business events from high-level retreats and conferences to ad hoc meetings. For more information, visit




The Northstar Meetings Group is the leading B-to-B information and marketing solutions company serving all segments of the business events market, including full-time and part-time meeting planners, as well as senior corporate, association, and not-for-profit decision-makers and incentive professionals, facilitating their professional development and achievement of business goals. The Meetings Group’s influential brands—Meetings & Conventions, Successful Meetings, Incentive, and Meeting News—currently serve over 200,000 active planners and incentive professionals through its data, digital, events, and print products. For more information, visit