by Terence Baker | February 01, 2004

Olson joins PCMA
Nancy Kay Olson has been hired as director of meetings at the Chicago-based Professional Convention Management Association. Previously, Olson spent 24 years as director of meeting services at the Arlington Heights, Ill.-based American College of Occupational & Environmental Medicine. She has been a member of PCMA since 1987 and was past president of its Greater Midwest chapter.

Iman Butler
has been named director of sales and marketing at the 370-room Loews L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Terri Bisignano has been appointed regional vice president of sales, with responsibility for the Southeast United States, for Rymark International, the Orlando-based site selection and event management firm. In addition, Alaina Buckey has been promoted to sales manager, relationship marketing program.
Hali Cooper, CMP, has been named sales manager, national associations, at the 246-room Hilton Savannah (Ga.) DeSoto.
Bruce Granet has been appointed senior event manager at the 349-room Eden Roc Miami Beach.
Judy Hare has been appointed group marketing manager at the Newport News (Va.) Tourism Development Office.
Stephen Ing has joined the 550-room Fairmont Chateau Whistler (British Columbia) as director of group sales.
Anne-Juliette Maurice has been named director, sales and marketing, at the 603-room Swissôtel, The Drake, in New York City.
Chris Miller has been appointed director of sales, Chicago market, for the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Susan A. Raitt has joined the 111-room Somerset Hills Hotel as well as the 120-room Inn at Somerset Hills as director of sales and marketing. Both properties are in Somerset County, N.J.
Charmaine Singh has joined Tourism Toronto as vice president, meeting and convention sales.

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"The definition of what it means to be illiterate is changing. For example, we teach basic computer skills now..."

Melanie Hughes Younger, CMP, is director of professional meetings and conferences at the Newark, Del.-based International Reading Association (, a group that promotes literacy. A planner since 1990, Hughes Younger has been with IRA since 2002. She plans about 50 meetings a year, including a biennial World Congress.

How did you become a planner? I fell into working for associations when I moved from New Hampshire to Maryland. I was asked to help out with some planning and found I had a talent for it. Initially I worked on board of directors’ meetings. After being director of conferences at the American Neurological Association, I came to IRA.

What are some key differences between medical and education meetings? Certainly the audience needs are different. Teachers want practical, hands-on information and are not so focused on research. They also, perhaps, are not quite so demanding.

Is illiteracy an urgent issue? Yes, as the lack of reading skills is a worldwide problem. But the definition of what it means to be illiterate is changing. For example, we teach basic computer skills now, where before it might just have referred to the written word.

What project are you working on now? The Panafrican Reading for All Conference 2005, in Swaziland, a landlocked African nation surrounded by South Africa. The conference is affiliated with IRA. However, most of my time is spent on events in the United States.