100 Years of Advancing Destinations

Inside the Minds of Planners

Author: Joy Lin
Posted: December 10, 2013
Blog Topics Covered:

Join us in the next editions of this year's Convention Sales Insider in the special series, "Inside the Minds of Planners."

Over the last remaining weeks of 2013, we talk directly with various meeting professionals and explore topics that are most relevant to us as DMO sales professionals, because they are of highest concern to our customers.

What's more, as a part of this year's Convention Sales Forum, these highly engaged meeting professionals within our community will also join you -- up close and personal -- to share what exactly is inside their heads through intimate, round table discussions with attendees.

Guest #8

Susan Katz

We're looking forward to receiving Susan's insights next week at Convention Sales Forum.

Susan Katz is the Director of Corporate Events & Travel with True Value Co. She has over 25 years of experience and served for everal non-profit organizations including the National Safety Council and the American Dental Association. She serves as Member of Chicago Advisory Board at BizBash Media Inc. She serves as a Director of Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). She sat on several Industry Advisory Boards including the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau, InterContinental Hotel Group and the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau Advisory Council. She also volunteers at the Gus Foundation, an organization dedicated to raising funds for research on pediatric brain tumors


Guest #7

Kay Granath, CAE, CMP

Take advantage of Kay Granath's expertise at Convention Sales Forum.

Kay has been with AMC for more than 20 years and has been in the meeting planning field for more than 30 years. Kay won the Meeting Planner of the Year award from MPI Chicago Area Chapter twice and has been inducted into the chapter's Hall of Fame. As a result of her volunteerism and involvement in professional organizations, she is able to understand board members' perspectives and roles within an association, as well as how staff members interact and team with association boards.

Not only does Kay have experience within the meeting planning field, she served as executive director of the Chicago Advertising Federation (CAF) for 14 years. When CAF came to AMC, she helped them grow from a small individual-member organization to a well-structured and growing company-membership organization that hosted numerous successful educational and networking events annually.


Guest #6

Kelly Fox, CAE

We're excited to have Kelly Fox at Convention Sales Forum's round tables.

Kelly joined the American Veterinary Medical Association in June of 2009 as Director, Convention and Meeting Planning Division.  She previously held positions at Academy of General Dentistry, American Health Information Management Association and American Academy of Pediatrics.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and has more than 20 years of convention management experience.  She is a member of the Association Forum of Chicagoland and the Professional Convention Management Association where she served on the Board of Directors and various committees and task forces at both the national and local levels.


Guest #5

Deidre Ross, MHA, CMP, CAE

We look forward to seeing Deidra Ross at Convention Sales Forum.

Deidre Ross, MHA, CMP, CAE is Director of Department of Meetings and Administration at the American Osteopathic Association. Ross joined the AOA with more than 20 years of diverse experience in planning and executing conventions, developing business plans and instituting strategic direction. Previously she worked as director of conference services for the American Library Association, where she was responsible for annual conferences of up to 25,000 participants.

Ross received the Robert J. Donovan Award from the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) — Greater Midwest Chapter. The award recognizes the meeting planner of the year. In 2007, she was named among the Top 22 Trade Show Managers by Expo magazine. In addition, she serves on the American Society of Association Executive’s Member Meeting and Exposition Section Council and previously served on PCMA’s Board of Directors.

Ross earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Illinois and her master’s degree in hospitality administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.


Guest #4

Tonya Almond, CMP

Help us welcome Tonya Almond as our guest at Convention Sales Forum.

Tonya Almond, CMP is Senior Director of Meeting Services for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), Almond has spent her career in association management helping organizations meet and exceed their financial goals through her strategic vision and ability to increase non-dues revenues. Prior to joining the AAPD in 2009, Almond was the Director of Meetings & Event Services at the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R). She also worked at DRI and a variety of associations during her time at SmithBucklin. She is the Chair of the Sponsorship Committee for the PCMA Midwest Chapter. Almond was recently nominated to the Board Directors for the PCMA Midwest Chapter beginning in 2014. She lives on the north side of Chicago with her husband, Dave, and their two sons.

"Many CVBs have re-tooled themselves over the years as the industry and the economy has evolved. The reality of CVBs as DMOs is one I truly believe helps better define their role. Total destination marketing better defines what they do, especially for those planners who are unsure about how to enlist their valuable resources. Hopefully, this change in mind set will help sustain the real value of the CVB/DMO well into the future."

Tonya Almond, CMP, Senior Director of Meetings Services
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry


Guest #3

Robin Anderson, CMP, CCTE, CMM

We're looking forward to having Robin Anderson at Convention Sales Forum this year.

Anderson is a recognized leader in the travel and meeting industry. Currently, she is the Corporate Travel and Meeting Manager for T-Systems North America, Inc. in Downers Grove, Illinois. Anderson was formerly the Travel and Meeting Manager for ARAMARK Corporation. She has over 20 years of corporate meeting planning experience, planning meetings for 10 to 5,000 people. In addition to these roles, she is an avid industry volunteer. Anderson is the Branch Director for the Senior Planners Industry Network (SPIN) Chicago Chapter. Previously she served on the board of Chicago Business Travel and as Chair of the Education Committee.


Guest #2

Martin Balogh

This week, we welcome Martin Balogh to join us at Convention Sales Forum.

A 30-year employee of the American Bar Association, Balogh has held numerous positions in the Meetings and Travel Department. As Director of Meetings and Travel, Balogh and his staff manage the association’s annual meeting of 16,000 attendees and a midyear meeting with over 4,000 attendees, and negotiate contracts for over 300 additional meetings a year. In addition, Balogh oversees an in-house travel agency for both member and staff travel.

He and his staff are responsible for an in-house conference center, which books more than 5,000 meetings a year in 20 meeting rooms at the association’s headquarters in Chicago and their D.C. office. Balogh has been a member of PCMA since 2001 and has been actively involved in the organization for several years. He has served on its Board of Directors since 2012.


Guest #1

John Folks

This week, we welcome John Folks to join us at Convention Sales Forum.

As a 25-year veteran of the hospitality industry and currently President & Principal of Minding Your Business, Inc., a strategic meetings and event agency, Folks comes ready to engage directly with us to develop new and sustainable solutions toward the success of DMO and meeting planner partnerships.

“To continue to be successful in the changing business landscape of our industry,  the DMO sales professional has to elevate their relationship with their client from a transactional one (rates/dates and space) to a strategic one (how can I be a solution). This is only way to build a sustainable relationship and to differentiate yourself."

John Folks, President & Principal
Minding Your Business, Inc.


Convention Sales Forum is a one-day event on December 16, in conjunction with Holiday Showcase in Chicago.

As Cathy Keller, Director of Sales for the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau says, "The value of attending the Convention Sales Forum/Shirtsleeves is the opportunity to network with your peers in a great environment without any distractions. You also gain valuable insight on current trends in the meetings industry. And you may just come back with a couple of great ideas to implement in your sales office."

For more information on educational and networking content to be delivered, click here.