We are pleased to announce our special speakers for Roadmap to Transforming Meetings in Miami, FL.
The Great Office Escape
The Great Office Escape provides employee wellness opportunities, as well as meeting, incentive and event planning services. It was founded on the belief that employees and customers (strategic partners, dealers, distributers and/or resellers) are among a company’s most valuable assets. In supporting their ambitions and helping them to achieve their goals, companies in turn help shape their own success.
Before founding The Great Office Escape, Hallie founded Hallie’s Comet Travel in 1983, which focused on all areas of corporate, leisure and incentive travel and corporate meetings and events. She later added golf tournament and travel to her services. She was appointed to the U.S. Dept. of Commerce to Chair the People–to –People sub-committee of the U.S–Japan Tourism Exchange Promotion Program in 1996, where golf was used as a tool to build interest and communication between the two countries.
Impact 4 Good
Ira brings 20+ years of experience in the meetings/events industry to Impact 4 Good. Ira is an active member in the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence and has chaired many committees, as well as addressed numerous conferences concerning the incentive industry. Ira has lived abroad both in Japan and Spain and has traveled worldwide.
Ira believes that with success comes a responsibility to others. His vision for Impact 4 Good is that individuals will work more cohesively when they better understand other cultures in society. Helping others builds individual success in both the workplace and at home.
Eli Gorin, CMP, CMM
Hospitality Growth Partners
Eli Gorin, CMP, CMM is managing director of Hospitality Growth Partners (HGP), a hospitality consulting firm focused on helping organizations make sense of their approach to meetings and events through meetings management consulting and training/professional development. Prior to HGP, he worked as vice president of global client relations for a convention services company specializing in international group housing for medical conferences, and as president of gMeetings, Inc., a meeting management boutique focused on the logistical development and coordination of international corporate meetings and events with a specialization in the Latin American market.
A great proponent of education within the meetings/events industry, Eli has been part of the adjunct faculty of GWU and Johnson & Wales University, and is currently a senior fellow of the International Institute of Tourism Studies at the George Washington University.
He has received his Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation and attained the prestigious Certificate in Meeting Management (CMM), one of the highest-level designations in the industry. A frequent speaker at industry association meetings and conferences, Eli has been a member of the MPI Platinum Speakers Series, as well as a Best In Class Speaker for PCMA.
We are pleased to announce our special speakers for Global Meeting Planning in New York, NY.
Victoria Ascione, CMP, CMM
Owner & Chief Event Strategist
V Event Management
Victoria Ascione is founder of V Event Management, an integrated event services and management company, and also serves as its chief event strategist. She provides a unique combination of professionalism, creativity and expertise—and is passionate about customer service and delivering excellence for her clients.
An industry veteran with over 25 years of corporate expertise in strategic meetings management, Victoria most recently served as director of corporate meetings and events for Bacardi USA. She holds the designations of Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and Certification in Meetings Management (CMM), which represent the industry’s highest standard of professionalism.
Cream of the Crop Events
Deidre has been a partner in COTC for the past 7 years, and before that was the owner of Highlight Event Design. She has filled passports traveling worldwide to produce special events and general sessions for top corporate clients. Keenly attuned to the messaging when developing unique theme treatments, she excels in flawlessly blending the creative vision with logistic reality and the budget parameters of each individual client.
Katherine Manfredi, CMM, CIS
Katherine is a vibrant and accomplished events professional, speaker, trainer and writer. Since her career launch in marketing at a performing arts center, she’s developed and directed hundreds of events for a range of organizations.
Her passion for incentives and commitment to advancing sustainability and CSR shines through in all aspects of her career. She is an MPI Platinum Speaker, Accredited Trainer for MPI’s Global Certification in Business Meetings & Events program, and Approved GMIC Trainer for the APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Event Standards.
Katherine is co-founder, GMIC Florida/Caribbean chapter and an MPI Business Panel member. She was recently a global board director for GMIC; an MPI representative for ISO 20121 Sustainable Event Standard Development; MPI advisor to the US Green Building Council Hospitality Advocacy Committee; SITE 2013 Global Conference Sustainability Committee member; and program chair for the 2013 GMIC Sustainable Meetings Conference; and has served in numerous other positions with industry associations.
Katherine is a Certified Incentive Specialist (CIS) and holds a Certification in Meetings Management (CMM).
Benoit Sauvage, CMP
Founder & President
Connect Travel DMC
Ben is president of Connect Travel DMC, the only CMP-certified DMC in the Dominican Republic. He is a director on the Site Florida & Caribbean board.
CTS is a full-house DMC specializing solely in incentive, meetings and event organization, renowned for offering the most personalized and hands-on service in the DR.
CTS is the winner of the 2011 IMEX Commitment To Community Award for its dedication to improving the local Dominican communities while providing clients an opportunity to incorporate a CSR project into their program.
Agnès Canonica, CMP, CMM, HMCC
Global Director, Strategic Meeting Management
Born and raised in the south of France, Agnès also lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Grand Case, St. Martin prior to moving to the United States in 1981. She is fluent in French and Spanish and has a working knowledge of Portuguese. Her professional background includes owning her own incentive company for ten years and strategic meeting management in multiple industry sectors, including Life Sciences. For the last 12 years, Agnès has worked for leading agencies, responsible for implementing, growing, and leading International teams and accounts across the globe.
As a thought leader/subject matter expert in the meetings industry, Agnès is frequently invited as a guest speaker and editorial contributor on Life Sciences global compliance/regulatory and meeting planning topics, in addition to serving as an advisory board member for various global hotel brands.
Agnès obtained her Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation in 2000, as well as her Certification in Meeting Management (CMM) in March 2008. She is also an active member of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association and currently serving a three-year term on the CIC CMP Governance Commission.
Chief Visionary Officer
Eco Serendib Villa and Spa-St. John, USVI
Harith Wickrema is an innovative educator, hospitality visionary and award-winning event producer who has been recognized internationally for sustainability and environmental responsibility over his 30+ year career. At Temple University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, where Wickrema served on the Dean’s Council and has been a faculty member for more than a decade, he designed the first ever sustainable/CSR event management curriculum at the university.
In February 2015, Wickrema had the honor of being invited to speak on the subject of Peace through Tourism at the IIPT World Symposium on Sustainable and Peaceful Communities and Nations in South Africa. He was included among Lodging’s Top Ten Hospitality Innovators in the area of Sustainability for his efforts at Eco Serendib Villa and Spa on St. John. Eco Serendib was created with the mission of giving back to the community and protecting the environment while providing a luxurious “edutaining” guest experience in harmony with nature. His green efforts extend beyond the borders of the retreat to include his support of the “Preserve St. John” program to create a vital island-wide recycling program and Friends of the VI National Park to plant indigenous trees.
He is incoming president of the Island Green Living Association and trustee of the Green Meeting Industry Council Foundation; former president of the ISES Foundation; and former chairman of SITE’s Crystal Awards and Education Committee; and has been honored with 80+ awards/ nominations including the GALA, ESPRIT and Crystal Awards.