November 01, 1998
> Meetings & Conventions: People November 1998 Current Issue
November 1998 People


  Coffee With...Mary Stover

Mary Stover

Mary Stover is a meeting planner for State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. in Bloomington, Ill. She started with the company five years ago in the administrative services department, where she first got a taste for the meetings profession.

If you could pass off one planning responsibility, which would it be?
Rooming lists. They're mundane and tedious to keep up with because of all the phone calls.

Pick a celebrity planning partner.
Bill Gates. He's so successful and has a talent for looking at the big picture. That's what every meeting planner has to do - look at the event in its final stage and then break it down, piece by piece.

What would you have him do for the meeting?
I'd make him do the rooming list. (Just kidding.) I might have him assist in production, programming and technical aspects. It would be fun to have someone really well versed in that area to offer new ideas, to heat up the show.

What was your most creative idea for a meeting last year?
We do monthly task force meetings of 10 or 15 people, both locally and around the country. They usually meet in little hotels. It's a challenge to keep them going month after month. I found a very unique setting, a charming country B&B on a former thoroughbred horse farm. Since then I've booked it six or eight times. The attendees are not at a conference table, they're around a dining room table or in wing-back chairs in front of a fireplace. There's one person who cooks and cleans. It's like being in someone's home.


Grey Separator LinePLANNERS

Michael J. Bandy has been named president of the Trade Show Exhibitors Association, based in Springfield, Va. An 11-year veteran of TSEA, he most recently served as the organization's vice president. He replaces Peter J. Mangelli, who has retired.

Vanessa Kane, CMP, has been appointed meeting manager at the Veterans of Foreign Wars, headquartered in Kansas City, Mo. Prior to joining the VFW, she was a planner at ASE Group, Inc., an Overland Park, Kan.-based meeting and event management firm, and manager of meetings and travel for the national franchise of ERA Real Estate, also based in Overland Park.

Michele Malin has been named director of corporate events at Criterion Events Group, the newly created events management division launched by Criterion Communications, a King of Prussia, Pa.-based multimedia firm.


  • Brian Adkins has been named executive meeting manager at the Sawgrass Marriott Resort in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
  • Marla Crider has been appointed director of sales at the Hot Springs (Ark.) Convention & Visitors Bureau.
  • Manuel Diesen has been promoted to conference services manager at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples (Fla.).
  • Kevin Kirby has been appointed vice president, convention sales and special events, of Orlando-based Universal Studios Escape, which includes Universal Studios Florida, Universal Studios Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios CityWalk and Universal Studios Escape hotels.
  • Michael Kellam has been promoted to corporate sales manager at the Worthington Hotel, Fort Worth, Texas.
  • Lori Millwood has been named director of conventions at the Huntsville (Ala.) Convention & Visitors Bureau.
  • Sheri Noland has been appointed national sales manager at the Westin Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas.
  • Tara Shannon has been named national sales manager at the Westin Rio Mar Beach in Puerto Rico.
  • If you would like notice of a career move considered for inclusion in this column, contact Lisa Grimaldi, Senior Editor, M&C, 500 Plaza Dr., Secaucus, N.J. 07096; fax: (201) 319-1796; e-mail:

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