For M&C's inaugural list of the Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry,
we asked these outstanding individuals to share the professional achievement they are most proud of, as well as how they would like to further make their mark on the meetings industry. Here's what they told us. 1. Carina Bauer
CEO, IMEX GroupProudest achievement:
The launch of IMEX America was probably my proudest thus far.
Making my mark: Advocacy for the meetings industry -- both in the corporate and political worlds -- is one of the most important issues we face as an industry, and one that I would like to continue to campaign for.
2. Nan Marchand Beauvois
Vice President, National Councils, and General Manager, Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations, U.S. Travel
Proudest achievement: Achievement/satisfaction comes from being able to mentor future leaders for our industry. It's a way for me to give back to an industry that has been so good to me. Last week I was touring a group of high school students studying tourism/hospitality on the show floor at IPW in Orlando. It was so cool seeing the lights go on in their heads when I was explaining all the different opportunities our industries offer and they got to see that first hand. It's energizing!"
Making my mark: The Meetings Mean Business coalition has the potential to really galvanize and change our industry in so many positive ways. I want to continue to drive this coalition froward to achieving their goals. That would be a great legacy."
3. Tammy Blount
President and CEO, Monterey (Calif.) Convention and Visitors Bureau
Proudest achievement: I think the best part has been finding and mentoring so many young people over the years, and watching their commitment to the industry and their careers grow.
Making my mark: I am excited to be nominated as secretary-treasurer for DMAI -- that places me in queue to be the association's fifth woman chair. If we can continue to empower youth, encourage diversity and grow both the science of our industry as well as the acknowledgment of its importance -- nationally and globally -- I will feel good about being a part of that.
4. Rhonda Brewer
Vice President of Sales, Maritz Travel, and 2015 President, SITE
Proudest achievement: First, having the opportunity to work at Maritz for over 25 years and gain experience in most of the areas within the meetings and incentives division. These experiences have allowed me to learn from many incredible managers and grow personally and professionally. I am proud to be able to use all the knowledge and experience I've gained over the years to lead and mentor an amazing sales team.
Second is being elected to my current role as SITE president. From a global perspective, SITE has taught me so much, and the lifelong relationships and connections that I have made along the way are priceless. Signing the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct to raise awareness of human trafficking, implementing processes and educating our members on this topic, I know will make a difference on this global issue. I am proud to be able to serve such an amazing organization and make a difference by rolling out a strategy that will follow SITE for years to come.
Making my mark: At this stage in my career, I feel I have been blessed to work in this industry and want to continue to pursue my passion for connecting people and making a difference wherever I can. I have been fortunate to work with and get to know so many amazing industry professionals across the globe and want to continue to serve as a champion for incentive travel and a mentor for the next generation of industry leaders.
5. Sallie Coventry
Portfolio Director, IBTM Global Events Portfolio
Proudest achievement: I think it would have to be becoming managing director of W&O Event Management at age 32. I realized that such an achievement was daunting, lonely and of course a huge responsibility. I had a team of 35 and I was controlling budgets of some £16m annually. This experience showed me that the skills of leadership are nothing if you do not have the right team to support you, and in this industry the team effort is fundamental to the success of an event.
Making my mark: In my role heading up the IBTM events portfolio, I would like to be seen as a provider of support to help the industry in each of the regions we serve, to listen to their needs and to develop events that provide the platforms for what they want.
6. Karen Chupka
Senior Vice President, International CES, and Corporate Business Strategy, Consumer Electronics Association
Proudest achievement: Our launch of CES Asia. We had just wrapped up the largest CES ever and found ourselves months away from launching a brand new show in Shanghai, China. Most of our team members had never been to China and had never launched a show. In a few short months our team had to adapt and learn how to do business in a new culture all while building a show from the bottom up. There were language barriers and time-zone challenges, but everyone kept their focus and flexibility.
The launch was successful, with over 20,000 attendees and over 200 exhibitors totaling just over 103,000 net square feet of exhibit space. I'm most proud of it because it is hard to launch a new event let alone do so within 10 months (we announced it in July) -- and within six months of producing a record-breaking event.
Making my mark: I'd like to help our team continue to come up with new ideas for our customers. I'd be happy if, 25 years from now, both CES and CES Asia are breaking records!
7. Lisa Sommer Devlin
Principal, Devlin Law Firm
Proudest achievement: While I am proud that I became a successful litigator at a time when there were not yet many women in the courtroom, I am more proud that I am now recognized as an expert in meetings industry legal issues. I love it when someone says, "Everybody told me that you are the person to ask about this issue." It's a wonderful feeling when people put their trust in me, and even better when I can help them solve their problem.
Making my mark: I have long tried to help make the industry less adversarial, and I hope to continue that process by educating industry professionals. If parties learn about each other's positions both legally and from a business perspective, they can create contracts that are fair and reasonable to both sides. I hope to advance that understanding in my writings and presentations.
8. Tracy Halliwell, MBE
Director of Business Tourism & Major Events, London & Partners
Proudest achievement: It has to be my MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire), which I was awarded last year in the Queen's birthday Honours lists for services to business tourism. The Eventia Outstanding Achievement Award rates highly as well.
Making my mark: I think we still have a long way to go in gaining recognition as an industry in our own right, and that's because we're still very fragmented and cut across so many different sectors. The events industry drives significant economic growth and contributes so much to the business marketplace, but receives very little recognition. It's on this issue that I'm continuing to focus my time and energy. If we can gain government support for the business tourism sector, we can cut through the barriers that are standing in the way of future industry growth.