April 01, 2000
> Meetings & Conventions: People April 2000

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April 2000 people


  Coffee With... Lori Harrison

Lori Harrison

As president of her own independent meeting, convention and event planning firm, Atlanta-based 701 Productions, Lori Harrison credits her entrepreneurial spirit to her mother. “She was an O.R. nurse, but always did something else on the side,” she says. “She is retired now and makes custom wedding dresses and headpieces.” Harrison’s company is 5 years old, but she has been in the meeting planning industry for 17 years and also serves as vice president of education and programs for the Society of Corporate Meeting Professionals.

When you became a planner, what surprised you most about the job?
Because I came from the visitor’s bureau side, I thought planners had these huge budgets and staffs, and I’d think, “Why don’t they just get their stuff together? We need it!” Once I came to the planning side, I realized very quickly that it wasn’t nearly as easy as I had thought.

How do you deal with the stress and pressure of being a meeting planner?
I enjoy gardening. Gardening is most definitely like meditation for me. If I’m on site somewhere, I like to try to find books about the area and what plants grow there. Then I read them when I’m back in my hotel room. Even in the winter, I go through the gardening catalogs and think about the things I’d like to plant in the spring. That’s a stress-reliever.

Is there a place you have visited where you would consider living?
I think I could live in London. It is just so pretty, and I love the sense of history. It seems so regal, and the gardens there are just beautiful. Even areas that are not in the best part of town are still quaint.

What celebrity would make the best planning partner and why?
I guess I should probably say Oprah Winfrey. I actually worked with her in Charleston, S.C. I was the events services manager at the convention center there during Hurricane Hugo. She brought her show down and did a remote from our building about the storm. She just seemed like she really had it together. But I’d rather have Denzel Washington.


Grey Separator LineON THE MOVE


After 14 years on the hotel side of the industry, Susan M. Giver has been hired as exhibition manager for the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers in Jersey City, N.J. Giver most recently served as national sales director of the Greater Pittsburgh Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Oren Jaffe, CMP, has been named director of meeting services for Cygnus Corp., a communications and consulting firm based in Rockville, Md. Previously, he served as director of meeting services at Infrastructure Defense Inc., a high-tech firm in the Washington, D.C., area.


  • Gary W. Brown is the new vice president of convention sales and services for the Baltimore Area CVA.
  • Iman P. Butler is now director of sales and marketing for the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner in McLean, Va.
  • John Francishas joined the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau as a housing specialist.
  • Marsha Howard has been appointed director of sales for the Hotel Sofitel Miami.
  • Cathy Grant is now director of hotel sales for the Renaissance Portsmouth (Va.) Hotel.
  • Phillip Kendall is now vice president of food and beverage for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, based in White Plains, N.Y.
  • Jack Myers, CMP, is the new director of marketing at the Renaissance Worthington Hotel in Fort Worth, Texas.
  • Katharine Priess has been named corporate sales manager for the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago.
  • Ling Riley has been appointed director of sales and marketing for the Mandarin Oriental, Miami.
  • Mary Lou Spinelli has been named corporate group sales manager for the Hyatt Sarasota (Fla.)
  • Sarah Stanton has been promoted to guest services manager at the Gold Lake Mountain Resort & Spa in Ward, Colo.
  • Sherri Wilder is the new sales manager for the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.
  • If you would like notice of a career move considered for inclusion in this column, contact Amy Drew Teitler, Senior Editor, M&C, 500 Plaza Dr., Secaucus, N.J. 07094; fax: (201) 319-1796; e-mail:
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