People News: MMBC’s New Co-Chair, PCMA’s COO and More Fall Hiring News

October 8, 2020

From appointments to awards to new hires and promotions, this fall is keeping us on our toes for people announcements. Take a look:

Meetings Mean Business Coalition unanimously selected Michael Massari, chief sales officer for Caesars Entertainment, as its next co-chair in September. Effective January 2021, he will join Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company, in guiding the coalition and the meetings industry through the continued recovery from the pandemic.

PCMA has appointed Bruce MacMillan to the position of chief operating officer, effective Sept. 2. He was previously the organization’s chief marketing officer and brings more than 30 years of experience to his new position. He was also the architect behind PCMA’s Recovery Discovery initiative.

Jeff Hughes was named chief operating officer for Pittsburgh-based NEP Group, a technical production company for live sports and entertainment events. He was most recently with FOX Networks’ Digital Consumer Group, where he was president and COO.

Trumbull, Conn.-based Clarion Events has promoted Liz Irving, who's been with the company four years, to executive vice president and head of marketing, technology and customer experience. She will lead the company’s virtual product team on product development, integration, customer journey and audience engagement, as well as oversee new digital product offerings including virtual product showcases.

International Market Centers announced a new organizational structure for its leasing and leadership teams last month. Effective Sept. 11, Dorothy Belshaw and Scott Eckman are promoted into new executive leadership roles; and Ryan Mahoney, Julie Messner, Terence Morris and Caron Stover expand their category-specific leasing responsibilities across all IMC’s campuses. Belshaw is chief customer and marketing officer, also having executive oversight of LightFair, the world’s largest architectural and commercial lighting trade show; and Eckman will now oversee all permanent showrooms and temporary tradeshow leasing as chief revenue officer.

International Housewares Association named seven new directors, with three-year terms that began Oct. 1 that run through Sept. 30, 2023. They are: Kim Cole, CEO, Gleener Inc.; Kristine Malkoski, business unit CEO, foods, Newell Brands; Tom McMahon, president, Jura Inc.; Robert Michelson, president and CCO, Bradshaw Home; Keith Mirchandani, principal and CEO, Tristar Products.; Michael Otterman, president and CEO, Lodge Cast Iron; and Luke Peters, president and CEO, NewAir. Also elected were new board officers: Chairman William Endres, president, Select Brands; Vice Chair/Chair Elect Yvette Laugier, managing director, Peugeot Saveurs North America; and Treasurer Steve Greenspon, CEO, Honey-Can-Do International.

Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau Chief Operating Officer Rolando Aedo will join Destination International Foundation’s Board of Trustees, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering destinations globally to excel through innovation and resource incubation.

Claudia Stephenson has been appointed managing director for London-based [INVNT GROUP], EMEA region. She was most recently with Freeman and brings two decades of experience to her new position.

Fernando Gorbarán, president and CEO of Messe Frankfurt Argentina, was selected as one of 15 most influential leaders in Latin America’s meetings industry by Latinamerica Meetings Magazine. With 20 years of experience in the sector, he has led the Argentine subsidiary of Messe Frankfurt GMbH since 2003 and served as regional director for South America since 2010.

Venue management company Spectra has brought on David DiSalvo as director of sales for the 102,000-square-foot Owensboro Convention Center in Kentucky. Most recently, he served as director of sales at Kalahari Resort in Mount Pocono, Penn.

Have more People announcements? Send them to kogletree@tsnn.com.

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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.