March 01, 2003
Meetings & Conventions: People March 2003

Current Issue
March 2003

By Terence Baker

  Coffee With... Barbara K. Hickernell, CAE

Barbara K. Hickernell, CAE

Barbara K. Hickernell, CAE, is conferences director at the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Engineering Conferences International (, which is affiliated with the Engineering Conferences Foundation and Brooklyn’s Polytechnic University. She and her team organize approximately 25 to 30 interdisciplinary scientific and engineering conferences per year.

How are you funded? Purely from registration fees, so there always is a lot of risk. We are at the mercy of economics. Approximately 75 engineers attend each conference, and our fingers permanently are crossed.

Who gets to decide where you meet? I do. I choose destinations that are of interest to attendees who can opt to meet anywhere. In April, one of our conferences will be held in Tomar, Portugal, and I have planned a banquet in a castle that used to be home to the Knights Templar.

Do you have experience as an engineer? I started as a chemist, doing research at the University of Washington in Seattle, and that helped because I understand the terminology of science. My husband has a doctorate in organic chemistry, but my children want nothing to do with the subject: One is a lawyer, the other works in finance.

How do you spend your spare time? I am a board member of the Westchester Civil Liberties Program, and I do work for the local Westchester (New York) library system. Libraries are places where everyone always is welcome. At the moment, I am reading The Best American Travel Writing 2002 [Houghton Mifflin;], which has whetted my appetite to go to Australia. I organized a conference there two years ago but had to send my husband in my place.

Grey Separator LineON THE MOVE


Soyster joins real-estate association
Karin Soyster, CMP, CAE, has been named vice president, meetings, for the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts in Washington, D.C. Previously, Soyster was director of administration, meetings and education for the Arlington, Va.-based Manufactured Housing Institute.

Skorepa moves up at AUA
Janet V. Skorepa has been promoted at the Baltimore, Md.-based American Urological Association as director of conventions and meetings. Her primary responsibility will be to arrange the association’s annual meeting. Formerly, Skorepa was an account supervisor at the association.

  • G’nell Abracosa has been appointed director, Western regional sales, for LA Inc., the convention and visitors bureau of Los Angeles.
  • Marc Anderson has been named vice president of sales and marketing at Chicago-based Talking Point Inc., an event management and consulting firm.
  • Francesca Gori has been appointed North America director of sales for London-based Rocco Forte Hotels. She is based in New York City.
  • Matt Hourihan has rejoined the Pasadena (Calif.) Convention & Visitors Bureau as director of sales.
  • Courtney Lowe is the new director of sales and marketing at the 183-room Equinox Resort in Manchester, Vt.
  • Melissa Salem has joined the 402-room Radisson Plaza Hotel in Myrtle Beach, S.C., as national sales manager.
  • Mary Spellerberg has been named sales manager at the 201-room Pierre, a Four Seasons hotel, in New York City.
  • Stephen R. Stickford is the new senior vice president of sales and marketing at the Mobile (Ala.) Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
  • Richard Weinstein has been promoted to the position of vice president of corporate and incentive sales at Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines.
  • If you would like notice of a career move considered for inclusion in this column, contact Terence Baker, People Page, M&C, 500 Plaza Dr., Secaucus, N.J. 07094; fax: (201) 319-1796; e-mail:
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