100 Years of Advancing Destinations

Partnering with Leading Millennial Meeting Planners

Author: Joy Lin
Posted: November 04, 2014
Blog Topics Covered:

Following the success of planner roundtables at last year's Convention Sales Summit, DMAI is bringing the format back with a whole new line up for millennial meeting planners representing the next generation of meetings leadership.

These young, change-makng, and go-getting movers and shakers will participate in small, face-to-face discussions with you to discuss:

  • Meeting planning practices
  • Communication preferences
  • Challenges and opportunities in a modern world

All to drive our DMO industry's understanding of how to better partner and serve our growing and evolving clients.

Meet the 9 Millennial Leaders of the Meetings Future now, and register for a seat at their roundtables.


Casey Carignan, Program Coordinator

Creative Group, Inc.

Casey Carignan, program coordinator, joined Creative Group, Inc. in September 2014 after a year and a half working at lia sophia® as their Meeting and Events Coordinator. At lia sophia® she helped coordinate their annual conference of 3,000 attendees, along with incentive programs. She is also actively involved with PCMA, Professional Convention Management Association. Casey was part of their 2013 Student Advisory Task Force and also spoke to students at the 2014 PCMA Convening Leaders conference about the transition from college life into the career world. In November 2013, Casey was recognized in PCMA’s inaugural Class of 20 in their Twenties, which honors twenty individuals under the age of thirty in the Meetings and Events Industry from around the world. Recently Casey has had a voice in industry articles on the trending of technology in the meetings industry. Casey graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Platteville in three years with a double degree in Business Administration and Communication Technologies.

Meaghan Daly, Sourcing Manager – Meetings & Travel Department

American Bar Association

Meaghan DaleyMeaghan Daly recently joined the Meeting Planning Services team as a Meeting Sourcing Manager at the American Bar Association, one of the world’s largest voluntary professional organizations, with nearly 400,000 members and more than 3,500 entities. Prior to her current position, Meaghan was the Meetings Manager for the Section of Labor and Employment Law for seven years. During that timeframe, Meaghan managed the logistical aspects and provided strategic guidance for a wide range of continuing legal education programs and networking events in the US and abroad.  Meaghan has also worked at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry as a meeting planner and at Business in the Community in Plymouth, England designing cause related marketing and corporate social responsibility initiatives. Meaghan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public and Community Service from Providence College and a Master’s Degree in Marketing from the National University of Ireland, Galway in which she focused on the importance of employee involvement in cause related marketing. 

Julie Eplett, Buyer, Global Sourcing Services

Meetings & Incentives Worldwide, Inc.

Julie EplettJulie Eplett is a Buyer at Meetings & Incentives Worldwide (M&IW) located in Caledonia, WI and is based in Chicago, IL. Julie has more than 6 years of experience in hotel sales with a proven track record of excellent customer service and a can-do attitude. In her current position, she is responsible for sourcing venues, assisting in site selection, negotiating proposals, and contracting venue locations for a variety of meetings both nationally and internationally. She works primarily with pharmaceutical and corporate clients, but often helps with new accounts from all different industries. In addition to daily sourcing duties, she also maintains relationships within the industry and keeps M&IW on the top of everyone’s minds by attending industry events. These relationships are invaluable when it comes to partnering with suppliers, whether it’s for assisting with a smooth negotiation or just to make sure our clients get the best care while on property. Additionally, she keeps up on all the current happenings of hotels around the world to be able to share the latest and greatest information with our clients. Julie uses her knowledge from the hotel sales industry to negotiate the best possible package for our clients for each meeting- everything from rates to contract terms. Customer satisfaction is always her number one goal and she strives to find our clients exactly what they are looking for and at the right price. Julie joined the Meetings and Incentives Worldwide team in March of 2014. Before that, she was a Senior Group Sales Manager at various Chicago Hotels where she assisted with the contracting, execution and supervision of clients’ events. She built relationships with clients from all industries while promoting her hotel to groups. Julie earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communication at Loyola University in Chicago. She is a member of the MPI Chicago chapter.

Mia Friel, Meetings Manager

American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Mia Friel

Mia is currently the Meetings Manager at the American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, where she joined in April of 2013. Prior to her current position, Mia was with Accenture’s Global Event Marketing team from 2005-2006; Advogent from 2006-2008; and SmithBucklin from 2008-2013. Growing up in a busy, social family, Mia learned from an early age that the best memories are created in a room full of people, which is how she fell into an industry that advocates the importance of bringing people together.

Outside of business hours, Mia enjoys playing intramural sports, stimulating the local economy via independent shoe stores, and cheering on her beloved Indiana Hoosiers.

Catherine Hunter, Event Services, Coordinator


Cate HunterCate has been working in the association management industry on the meeting planning side for just over three years now at SmithBucklin where she is an events coordinator. Working with volunteers and other professionals who are passionate about their work and their organizations are what she finds most appealing and intriguing about this area of event planning. In her free time Cate volunteers with Special Olympics Illinois and Special Olympics Chicago Young Professionals Board. Her twin sister has down syndrome and her abilities and drive for life are a true inspiration to Cate. She has a bachelor’s degree in History and a minor in English Literature from Illinois Wesleyan University where she graduated in 2010. Cate grew up in Oak Park, IL but currently lives in Roscoe Village in Chicago.

Clare Keesey, Meetings Coordinator

Orthopaedic Research Society

Clare is the Meetings Coordinator at the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS), the world’s premier musculoskeletal research organization. Since she joined ORS in 2012, Clare has organized, designed, and implemented a wide range of conferences, business meetings, and events in cities across the United States. Clare also assists with ORS’s marketing, communications, and fundraising efforts. Clare holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Marquette University and is a member of ASAE, CESSE, and PCMA. She is a Disney Destinations PCMA Education Foundation scholarship recipient and is currently pursuing her CMP accreditation.

Gerry Manuel, Meeting Coordinator, Event Services - National Meetings & Events

YMCA of the USA

Gerry ManuelWith more than ten years' hospitality and sales background, Gerry is especially skilled at understanding client needs and internal sales and operational relationships and extensive knowledge of all designated markets including group sales experience in selling hotels with up to 500+ rooms, an in-depth ability to participate as an active sales team member to benefit the overall sales department efforts and goals, and maintain excellent relationships and partnerships with National Sales and Tourism Account Managers. As Meeting Coordinator with YMCA, he is responsible for handling between 30-40% of the sourcing and contracting needs of the event planning department. Prior to joining the organization, Gerry worked with HelmsBriscoe, Doubletree Hotels, Drake Hotel, and Shertaon.

Maddie Metcalf, Meeting Planner

American Institute of Steel Construction

Maddie MetcalfMadeja “Maddie” Metcalf is new to the meeting and hospitality industry. Born and raised in the Western Suburbs of Chicago she attended the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. While there she studied Hospitality/Business Management and was very active on campus in both Greek Life and the hospitality program. After graduating in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management, Maddie moved back to Chicago. She now works as the Meeting Planner for the American Institute of Steel Construction and was recently named one of the Professional Convention Management Association’s “20 in their Twenties.” Maddie loves ramen noodles, hanging out with friends in the city and trying new things.

Kelly Piva, Event Services, Coordinator


Kelly Piva

Kelly Piva, Event Services Coordinator at SmithBucklin, is responsible for executing all aspects of variously sized events, ranging from board meetings for ten people to annual conferences and tradeshows that routinely feature an attendee list greater than 1,500. She serves as the main contact for all vendors, volunteers, and convention center liaisons and is an integral component of client teams varying in size from ten to twenty members. She is directly responsible for high level analysis of six-figure financial statements, budgets, and forecasts for internal and external utilization that range in revenue from $1.3 million - $2.0 million. Kelly also serves as SmithBucklin’s CVB Liaison for the United States Southeast. Originally from Arkansas, Kelly also lived in Brazil for 6 years before moving to Chicago and she speaks fluent Portuguese. Prior to joining SmithBucklin, Kelly worked with Visit Indy and the 2012 Super Bowl Host Committee to host Super Bowl XLVI and has been with SmithBucklin for nearly three years.

Erin Shamus, Manager, Education Foundation


Erin ShamusWhile not a meeting planner per se, Erin is responsible for influencing the site selection of PCMA's Education Foundation meetings and events. She has worked as Manager for nearly two years, but has worked with the association in various capacities for several years as a Specialist and Operations Assisstant. She is currently responsible for managing projects for the PCMA Education Foundation including: Dinner Celebrating Professional Achievement, Silent Auction, donor recognition, grants and scholarships. She also assists with Board and Volunteer Relations.