Scott Kellner
Vice President of Marketing,
George P. Johnson
Experience Marketing

As the guy who controls messaging for a “meeting planning” company that’s more than 100 years old, Scott Kellner knows a thing or two about the industry. But the very term “meetings industry” sells it short, as the “experience” is rapidly becoming the marketing vehicle of choice for some of the most powerful, and emerging, brands.

“There’s been a paradigm shift in marketing communications, and the allure of experiential meetings in general,” Kellner, vice president of marketing for George P. Johnson Experience Marketing, contends. “There’s been an increase in investments that build relationships and away from investments that strictly are for awareness.”

Meetings and events let brands physically interact with their target market, an incredibly powerful tool that is especially relevant to the current demographic tsunami massively disrupting business, according to Kellner, whose company just picked up Tesla Motors and Fitbit as customers, in addition to having Salesforce and traditional Fortune 500 companies such as IBM in its client portfolio.

“The reason we’re landing some of these emerging brands is that when was the last time you saw a television commercial for When was the last time you saw a Tesla commercial?” he asks. “The emerging brands recognize that their target audience is Millennials that tune out traditional awareness campaigns.”

The lesson is that meeting professionals need to recognize their power to persuade, and to be on a continuous learning path, whether they’ve been in the business for five or 30 years.

“Imagine the power you have when someone is there willingly, versus doing everything they can to avoid what you’re telling them,” Kellner sums up.


Megan Lantz is the new account manager for Koncept Events at its West Coast division in San Diego. During her career in destination management, she’s worked with groups of 20-1,000 and budgets of up to $1,000,000. In her new role, Lantz works closely with all of the Koncept Events team members to make sure the clients visions are executed.
Antwone Stigall, CMP has been promoted to events manager at the New Memphis Institute, which works to create and keep jobs in Memphis.
Kate Vinyard is now working for streamlinevents as an event manager. Streamlinevents is a California-based company that offers corporate event marketing strategy, full-service meetings management and event production.


Brian Lynx launched Hawaii Insiders (, a full-service site selection and destination management company. It offers clients hotel rate discounts through consolidated buying, negotiating expertise and activity and tour services. Lynx has 25 years of hospitality experience, most recently as vice president of meetings, convention and incentives for the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

The 1,306-room Grand Hyatt New York announced John Schafer as area vice president and general manager. In his new role, he will manage all aspects of the hotel and its day-to-day operations. Schafer began his career with Hyatt Hotels Corporation more than 30 years ago and has served in 10 different cities in large convention hotels, most recently as the vice president and managing director of the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego. The Grand Hyatt New York has over 60,000 square feet of meeting space.

The Fairmont San Jose named Michael Musarra the general manager of the 805-room property. He will focus on further development of the hotel’s F&B outlets, supporting local environmental sustainability initiatives and driving efforts to strengthen downtown San Jose. Musarra was most recently the general manager of the Fairmont Dallas. The Fairmont San Jose features 65,000 square feet of meeting space and can accommodate up to 3,000.